Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How About This, DCCU?

Yes, a lot of my posts as of late have been about the DCCU, but with the news that Ben Affleck is Batman (something which I am currently neutral about, will be above neutral if he directs the Batman reboot), I had to post it again. Why? Affleck is 41 and will be 43 by the time Man of Steel II: World's Finest comes out, so if Man of Steel III, we should also have another Batman film by then because otherwise, Affleck will be too damn old and the first film we'll get will be be Batman: Battle for the Cowl.

So after Man of Steel II, by the time III get's filming, the first Batffleck will need to start filming as well. Why? Well, We can expect this to happen in 2016, with Affleck about 44, Hugh Jackman age, so the perfect age to portray Batman. If Affleck wants Robin the sequel will be the perfect time to add him, if not, delay it to the third film. We should, however, only get three films with Affleck as Batman, a trilogy. Just like we should only get a Man of Steel Trilogy and a Wonder Woman Trilogy. This puts more emphasis on the Justice League which could extend past a trilogy and award other characters their own films. It would be better than replacing Affleck when he gets too old, it would be gradually taking emphasis away from him. If Affleck does want a fourth film, we'll give him the Dark Knight Returns.

Sounds good WB? Yeah, it does.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Are We Automatons Too?

This is the special post.

So, watching Futurama the other day, the one where Bender is upset because robots have no free will and whatnot because of their programming got me thinking. Bender can control his own actions, say what he wants, do what he wants, but because how his programming designed him to operate, his choice will ultimately be dependent on his circuitry. For example, if Bender robs a bank, it will not be because he wanted to, but because his programming decided it would be a good choice upon being given the option.

What it got me thinking was, could humans, us, not be Automatons as well? Now, an Automaton is a mechanical device, but I am going to use it in the Futurama sense for this post. You see, humans are much more like robots than we let off. What a computer does is dictated by it's design, what is written in the programming may not limit what it does, but oftentimes does dictate what it will do. Our genetic code, our Genes, the DNA that makes us up plays a very similar role. Do we dictate what we look like, how tall we grow, if we get black hair or red? No, our genes do that, our genetic structure. Now that has nothing to do with free will, but rather spontaneity, so I'm removing that from the equation quickly because it is not related to the argument. Why? Because to determine whether or not we are Automatons, in a sense, it is our free will that would need to be judged upon, and this is simply our appearance, both inner and outer.

Studies show that a child put up for foster care or an adopted child will act and behave more similarly to their birth parents rather than those who nurtured them. There is the word, nurture, no matter how much it adds, it cannot truly kill nature. If these children act more like the people they have never met or barely know, it means that the genes they inherited from their parents that have some influence over behavior, I'm guessing hormones come into play here, are persistent because they refuse to accept nurture, they refuse to adapt. Now, the main word here is free will. We believe we have free will because of the actions we do, but if the actions we do are dictated, or the likely scenario influenced, by the genes we inherited, then how free is our will? Many people get the concept of free will wrong because they confuse it with willpower, how much we can resist, but that cannot effect something that is neither irresistible or repulsive. That is our genes, our genetic code. This code will help influence what kind of foods we like, what smell we find good and at an extreme extent, maybe even our preferred genre of literature.

We cannot control our genes and how they affect us, we can affect them, but what they do to us, reversible or not, preventable or not, will affect us. Our willpower is related to our thoughts and we cannot communicate via our thoughts to our genes or our blood cells, that is why willpower has no place in this argument. I will say one thing, though, no matter how much our genetic structure can influence our minds, it cannot control them. It cannot make us do anything, that isn't free will, but rather you guys should think of it as a meter that can break the dial, but continue to work. What I mean is that if we are a dial and a meter regulates us, when that meter breaks it will still work, but it won't control the dial. So I suppose what I am trying to say is that our genes do have an affect on us, almost similar to the affect that Bender's programming has on him in Futurama. We are not Automatons, not yet anyways.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What Will Man of Steel III Be?

This is not the post I planned to post today, simply because I need to put more thought and effort into that post before I can post it. Hence, I'm giving this one today on a topic that has become one of 2BIN's favorites since it came out, Man of Steel.

So we all know that WB is pretty much pushing for the CW to incorporate Arrow and the Flash into the new DCCU. Those are two well known characters of the Justice League, and dare I say it, but I believe that Green Arrow could potentially replace Green Lantern in the Justice League movie simply because he will have been given more time to have been built up. Think about it, the Justice League movie will have five members and I honestly think the Green Lantern franchise should be given space, so why not Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Arrow, more human members initially makes Batman seem a lot more believable. How, though, are WB building up Trinity? The main three heroes of the Justice League?

Well Man of Steel established Superman and Man of Steel II: World's Finest (I'm still pushing for this title) will incorporate Batman into that mythos as a supporting character. We can figure that after Justice League Batman will get his own film series again. I believe the best way to incorporate Wonder Woman is the same way that they are putting Batman. I'm sure that part two will be good, but fans will want the third Superman movie to feature just him, no guest roles from other heroes. Unfortunately, I'm calling the third film for 2017 and Justice League for after that and you know what, if WB is so scared of introducing Wonder Woman alone, they need to put her in Man of Steel III: Amazonian (Random title thought up on the spot) or a Superman/Wonder Woman film. By introducing her first in Justice League, she will overshadowed without a doubt, but giving her a role like Batman has in the third Man of Steel film, essentially putting the entire Trinity on film (so three fifths of the League is already established) is a recipe for success. Not only will she get the screen time she deserves, but will also be loved by the audience. Hence, her own film won't fail (not that it would anyways, considering that Wonder Woman, unlike Supergirl and Elektra, is a cultural icon) like WB is scared it will.

There you have it, what I believe WB should do in addition to my countless other posts on the matter.

Monday, August 19, 2013

WWE 2K14 WrestleMania Mode

I never really liked the Road to WrestleMania mode that replaced the season mode in the last days of SvR and the early days of the WWE titles. It took something away, the obscurity and possibility of anything that Here Comes the Pain had highlighted all the way to it's last day. I liked some of the storylines, the Chris Jericho ones obviously, but they all, in the end, seemed like fanfiction based off of a real life scripted tv show.

So when THQ replaced it with the Attitude Era mode in WWE '13, I will admit, I was a tad skeptical. Let me start off by saying that I still would have preferred Season Mode more (since they barely appeared to be adding changes to Universe Mode) if it was akin to the old days. You see, aside from the in-match objectives, the Attitude Era mode was not too different than Road to WrestleMania, but here was why I loved it: it was based off of reality. It gave us the great characters of ye old '90s and basically allowed us to relive the old storylines in a brand new fashion, by playing them! That was what was great about the Attitude Era mode and the main reason why (aside from the gameplay fixes) it was much much better than that Road to WrestleMania mode.

The Attitude Era mode covered the early days of the WWE's most iconic era, up until the first WrestleMania encounter between Stone Cold and the Rock and then some. It did not, however, cover the last days of the Attitude Era's main events, which some could argue were really a descent into Ruthless Aggression. So I figured that Visual Concepts would be working on some new modes and overseeing gameplay fixes, while Yukes did their thing (as in everything else) and made the Attitude Era mode part 2. It would not be as original an idea as last years, but a satisfying one nonetheless.

They did not do that, instead they added a WrestleMania Mode, which if I am not mistaken is much like the games based off of WrestleMania itself, rather than the Road to WrestleMania modes. However, it does borrow certain aspects from both modes, but from what I gather, looks more like the Attitude Era mode times ten, at least. I am very happy with this, very happy indeed. It combines the best from the WrestleMania games, gives us what Road to WrestleMania was about in the presentation of the Attitude Era. That's a recipe for success, especially since it is bound to be bigger than the Attitude Era mode, giving us 30 years of WrestleMania (they'll make up for it in months or DLC since WrestleMania 30 is next year). It also gives us characters that we thought we would never see again in a WWE game again, such as Goldberg or Hulk Hogan, sure to be a boon to the game.

That isn't why I am excited, though. I am excited because the game features what I wanted most specifically, the Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania 28, a match I love to death simply because of the grandeur around it. I remember wanting a WWE '13 WrestleMania 28 edition. I remember posting that they should make this with the WM 28 cover attached and a small Road to WrestleMania mode featuring the rivalry and the match. It appears as if I will be getting my wish in this new WrestleMania Mode. Don't blame me for being happy about this one match alone, most of the WrestleMania's were before my time.

Well, next post (tomorrow) will be more different than anything I've ever posted.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How Old is Zod?

So I'm back, after two whole weeks of no 2BIN, how did you people survive? So this is more of a question about the Man of Steel movie that I was wondering about, how old is General Zod? I mean, this could explain why Superman could beat him, an age difference, but yeah. I have two special posts that I will post within five days. So lets start on this one:

The Man of Steel movie novelization states that General Zod and Jor-El are the same age. This is something to consider as it provides us with a multitude of options, because I'm assuming they are the same age.

1) Russel Crowe was 47 when Man of Steel started to film. Now if Zod is the same age, add 33 to that number and we would have an 80 year old General. It seems very hard to believe that Superman had so much trouble with an 80 year old senior citizen. Now, let me point out that time passes by either far more slowly or quickly in space so the 33 years that Zod went through may not have aged him very much. This is possible, but let's ignore the number 80 because this is not The Lord of the Rings.

2) Michael Shannon was 37 by the time filming started, let's add 33 to that one. We get 70. This is more realistic (even for Superman) because I do believe there are a couple of 70 year olds who could kick my ass. Now, in addition to the space-aging theory, lets add another that could be likely for this one to be true (because adding it to the last one would be overkill given the age). Kryptonians age differently and live longer when not on Krypton. This one has been explored numerous times in comics and such so it would not be too hard of a theorem to believe, but I'm still not willing to accept 70, 60 is really the max for me.

3) In the first draft of the movie, Zod was married to Faora, so it shouldn't be irrational to believe they were designed to be around the same age, right? Well, Michael Shannon is not so much older than Antje Traue for this to make a huge difference.

4) Like the Faora one, this one is just out there. In most Hollywood movies I have seen, guys normally become fathers in their mid 30s and given Crowe's haggard appearance, it wouldn't be irrational to assume the Jor-El he was playing was around 35 with a lot of stress. Again, not a lot.

5) A lot of guys become parents at the ages of 25 as well and on Krypton, where marriages are arranged (according to the novelization), it would not be wrong to assume Jor-El married early. So assuming he's 25 when Krypton was destroyed, Zod would be 58. This seems to be the most likely answer out there, that Zod and Jor-El were both around 25 when Krypton went kibosh. You see, lets add the Krypton-aging one, it takes around ten years off and the time aging one five to ten. That is from fifteen to twenty years off Zod's age, which would make him from 43 to 38 years old in physical appearance and strength. Zod's graying hair could support this theory. However, hear is the fun part, lets look at Hulk Hogan. At his age, 59 I believe, he is still very muscular and athletic (ROIDS!) and say he was genetically manufactured like Zod was, I believe Hogan could give Superman (not John Cena) a run for his money, but like Zod would ultimately lose in the end.

Well, I'm back and I choose Number 5 because it seems like the most logical answer!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Grant Morrison Era is Over

The Grant Morrison Era of Batman began through the eyes of Commissioner Gordon in an arc titled Batman & Son, which started in the 655th issue of the first volume of Batman. In other words, Grant Morrison's first issue of Batman in a long time, it was drawn to perfection by Andy Kubert. Now Batman, Incorporated 13 has come about and this time, drawn masterfully by Chris Burnham.

You see, Zur en Arhh appeared ever so vaguely around these issues on walls and such. A load of Golden Age and Silver Age concepts started to spring up in a new light in the subsequent arcs, detailing the Three Ghosts and the Black Glove. It was these first three arcs by Morrison that were to lead up to Batman R.I.P. (Rot in Purgatory). It was these three arcs that were so representative of Morrison: new concepts made brighter by a reinvention of what made Batman, well, Batman and how these new concepts, muddled in with the thought erased past, can show the simple truths of the Dark Knight. You see, these new concepts caved in around Batman, pushing him down into the Golden Age, the Silver Age and the early Bronze Age and brought back the concepts, in a sort of opaque way mind you, that actually made people love Batman. Suppose this, that if Morrison's arc had the simple purpose of showing why Batman was loved, would it be so good if it did not detail and enrich the new history with the old?

Batman R.I.P. showed the culmination of the First Act of Morrison's works with Batman. The ending of all this Black Glove business and the ending of all this early-Batman history. Morrison is not that kind of writer who sticks with one tone through the entire run, no, Morrison is the kind of writer who wants to give the reader something new, even if it means revisiting the old. But what happened after was bridging the gap to something completely new. Last Rites and the Final Crisis storyline involving Batman finally fully detailed these Golden Age issues and their relevance now, but allowed for the transition to be made into a completely new tone, the tone that would be used in the arcs of Batman and Robin, the comic book, not the m-m-m-(*cue Bat-Cow)-m-M-M-MOOOOO! When Time and the Batman was released, it was meant to simplify the events of Last Rites and Final Crisis and even though it was told in the same vein as the stories prior to Battle for the Cowl, it was written in a much more simple, yet crazy way, despite reusing several old dialogues. I suppose this first act was to show that Batman will never die.

These arcs of Morrison's managed to introduce the symbolism that he as a writer is most famous for and their significance. From small things like Zur en Arhh scrawled across a dumpster to underground films  having gonnegtions later on in the story, Morrison introduced several key symbols into the story with these first arcs. The only symbol he did not introduce was the Oroboro, because Oroboros worked with an entirely different theme altogether. Like I said, the tone Morrison used when he approached everything up until Batman and Robin was very typical Batman Begins. Due to this, the theme was much darker than anything Batman he had written since. These symbols worked because they showed the dark Batman, even in the looniest Zur en Arhh moments of the story. It was these small symbols and their significance that made the story complicated and hard to read for some, but it was these small symbols that enriched the tale.

Moving on to the Batman and Robin arcs, Grant dealt with issues in a whole new way. He gave a new Batman and a new Robin, both of whom approached a situation far differently than Bruce Wayne would. This changed tone and completely new light-hearted, although a bit gruff, theme opened up several new story telling possibilities for other books as well. It let Paul Dini tell some excellent stories and Tony Daniel prove his mettle as a writer. The first two arcs of Batman and Robin were stand alone, but the third arc, Batman vs. Robin was the beginning of a larger story Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. The last two arcs dealt with this, all the while displaying the grimness of the first act in a whole new light (ironic, I know). The last issue was a mix of the first two acts completely, displayed by the varying art styles. This second act, however, was more than just this new series, it was also a self titled six issue miniseries that went under the Return title. This sent Bruce Wayne spiraling through time, from cavemen to the end of the world. This was not at all like the last act, which was wholly comprised of Bruce Wayne. Rather, the storytelling of the art made it seem as if we were reading a continuation of Batman and Robin. In the end, this second act was to show that Batman has never been alone.

Then came the third and final act and dare I say it, the best, yet most confusing act, out of all three.This act was fully comprised of a single series, Batman, Incorporated, yet, albeit unfortunately, split into two volumes by the arrival of the New 52. Lets talk about the first volume first, it introduced the idea of Batman Incorporated: a franchise of international Batmen who are in reality an army to prevent the apocalypse. The first couple of issues showed the recruitment process and those who would become the international Batmen, as well as introducing Spyral, Leviathan and the symbol of Ororboros. The beginning is the end is the beginning is Grant Morrison. This symbol stood out more as a way to expose Leviathan in the first volume than anything of really any significance. It also stood as a way to flesh out a few more details of the Dark Knight's past, involving Kathy Kane. Really, though, this volume was little more than something ended too quickly, because it had not even introduced all of the Batmen, truly, and explored all of the ideas I believe it needed to.

One could see that Grant Morrison was planning on working with the Dick Grayson Batman and the Stephanie Brown Batgirl for the last half, but after the New 52 reverted the former and retconned the latter, Dick Grayson appeared as Nightwing and Batgirl disappeared from the story. These were some unfortunate casualties, but their lack of mention more than made up for it. The final twelve issues by Morrison (not that one-off by Burnham) put a far greater emphasis on Oroboros and how the Oroboro was continually affecting Batman. It, unlike the first volume, did not put as much emphasis on Batman's past, a contrast. One may argue against this by the presence of Spyral and Kathy Kane, but all of her appearances were modern and new, based more off of the new of Batman than the old, despite respecting the past. This volume had it's share of dramatics, through Damian's death Jason's adoption of the Wingman title, but in the end, that final issue was magnificent. Grant Morrison said that he thought people would hate it, and many people did because it was not the ending they wanted, same reason why many hated Man of Steel. I digress, though, I loved the ending. It was a nice simple way to finish the story without going too overboard, with good dialogue from Gordon and nice art from Burnham. Some may be pissed that Morrison wrote a cliffhanger and is himself not continuing on it, but if you read comics, you'll know that Morrison wrote the teaser for the new writers like Tynion and Layman.

In the end, Grant Morrison's Batman run, 7 long years of Batman, has finally come to an end, not with a bang, not with a whimper, but rather with a solemn bow of the head, grabbing his umbrella, cap and bidding adieu. Morrison's run ranks amongst the highest of comic runs written, it is in the same category as Geoff John's Green Lantern, Frank Miller's Daredevil and John Byrne's Superman. The Grant Morrison Era is over, now we'll be in a null period again, waiting for Zero Year to finish and to see who out Layman, Hurwitz and Snyder leads Batman to his next great era.