Four Letter Nerd

Tag - man of steel 2

BREAKING: Lex Luthor and Alfred Have Been Cast for Batman vs. Superman

After weeks of speculation, Warner Brothers has finally announced who will play Lex Luthor in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel, and the choice might surprise you.  Joaquin Phoenix? Nope.  Matthew Goode?  Get that crap out of here.  It’s Jesse Eisenberg.  Wait… what?

That’s right, Columbus from Zombieland is playing Superman’s most iconic villain. At first glance this choice might not make sense, but after a quick pondering I can see it.  He has proven that he can play intelligent very well, which is Lex’s main thing.  I see his Lex as intelligent, maybe a little more awkward than past iterations, but I think he will have a maniacal undertone.  He will be younger and less flamboyant than prior Luthor’s, which can prove to be much more sinister.

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It was also announced that Jeremy Irons will be playing Batman’s confidant, Alfred Pennyworth.  I think this is a tremendous choice.  It is definitely a lot less surprising than Eisenburg.  I think he will play the cultured, British butler with a penchant for sarcasm amazingly well.  I don’t think they could have picked a better actor for this role.

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I talked with 4LN writer, Stephen and he said, “Jesse Eisenberg can be a MEGA arrogant prick. Perfect for Lex. And how the hell do you follow up Michael F—-NG Cain as Alfred? You get the next best (little bit younger), classically trained British actor. It makes sense to me. The whole point with these films is to turn our concepts of the characters upside down and show them to us in a new light. We’ve seen the same bald Lex every f—ing time he’s been on screen. Why not change the look a little. They certainly won’t lose the ego with that casting.”

One thing is for certain — WB is making some gutsy casting decisions thus far.  We will have to wait a few years to see if they pan out, but I like that they are breaking the mold a bit.

What do you think about the casting choice?  It definitely has a lot of potential.

 

Man of Steel Sequel Release Date Pushed Back!

It’s been announced by Warner Bros and DC that the highly anticipated sequel to last year’s Man of Steel has been pushed back from it’s original release date of July 17 2015 to May 06, 2016. The reason that’s being given is it’s so that it can provide “the filmmakers time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story.”

Source: “MAN OF STEEL” SEQUEL MOVED TO 2016

Additionally, the new release date is the same day that Marvel had announced they’d be releasing an as-yet-untitled project. That same month X-Men: Apocalypse is scheduled to release, in the following month Amazing Spider-Man 3 is on the docket, and then Marvel has ANOTHER movie set for July 8. Early summer 2016 is getting kind of crowded…

Oh yeah, I almost forgot that this has been announced as well…

 

That’s just too many superhero movies in one small block of time. Seriously. There’s 12 f—ing months in a year and these movie studios feel like they have to cram EVERY superhero movie into this 4 month box (May – August). I think what should happen is this:

X-Men and Spider-Man can stay where they are. I don’t really care about them. Not because I don’t think they’ll be good, I just don’t think they’ll be GREAT. Marvel should let WB and DC just have that date for the Man of Steel sequel, and they should push they’re projects back to July and August. Hell, they could even do July or August and then November. I’m sure whatever they have planned won’t have any real competition in those months and it’ll build hype between films.

Whatever the case may be, the main thing here is that it’s going to be A LOT longer before we get to see a glimpse of Batffleck, or Gal Gadot in her Wonder Woman garb. That’s the thing that bums me out. I’m really curious what the costumes are gonna look like for those two.

Holy Batsuit Nipples, Batman!

WB Trying to Land Joaquin Phoenix for Man of Steel 2

The Man of Steel sequel rumor mill has been working at a feverish pace that past few weeks.  Last week we noted that Jason Momoa (aka Khal Drogo) was in talks to join to film in an unspecified role, and Gal Gadot has officially been added to the cast as Wonder Woman.

This week Variety is reporting that Warner Brothers is very interested in trying to add Joaquin Phoenix to the cast, possibly as the films main villain.  There is a lot of speculation that the Superman’s main antagonist in this film would be Lex Luthor, although that also hasn’t been confirmed.   It’s important to note that this is not definite by any means, and there it is not certain that Phoenix would even be interested if offered since he seems to have been more interested in independent style films as of late.

What do you guys think?  Could Phoenix pull off a Ledger-esque performance if he lands the role?

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Jason Momoa to Join Superman vs. Batman?

Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones) is in negotiations to join the ever-growing cast of the now misnomered Superman vs. Batman.

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As of right now it is not clear who he would be playing, but rumors are swirling that he could be cast as Doomsday, the monster that killed Superman back in the 90’s (don’t worry, Superman returned and brought long hair with him). Personally, I think the inclusion of Doomsday might be a little premature since he is one of Superman’s most powerful enemies. Why use him at the start of a blossoming Justice League franchise? That would be like using Parallax in the first Green Lantern film… wait…

Another rumor is that he could possibly be cast as the J’onn J’onnz, the Martian Manhunter. If the intention is to turn Man of Steel 2 into Justice League 1 then I think this would be a much better choice, especially when you consider Momoa’s physique and overbearing brow.

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What do you think of the choice and the direction of the film in general? I know some of us here at 4LN are worried that they are adding too many characters and turning this into the Justice League movie too early.

Batman or Superman: Who is the Greatest Superhero?

Previously on 4LN I wrote about how Superman would absolutely destroy Batman in a fight. I did not hold any punches in my argument, and that might have rubbed some people the wrong way (ironically, “pulling punches” is the only way Superman wouldn’t murder Batman’s existence).

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It was nice of the artist not to depict Batman’s head exploding off his body

However, Superman being more powerful than Batman does not make him a greater superhero, it only demonstrates that he is the more powerful of the two. Actually, I would argue that Batman’s lack of superpowers would make him much more heroic than Superman.

This argument is obviously predicated on Batman being a superhero. There are some very intelligent people that I have known who would argue that while Batman does perform feats of heroism, he is not a SUPERhero. I disagree. I might devote some more time to this in the future, but I will try to lay out a brief overview of why Batman is a superhero (at least in my eyes).

Quick! What do you think of when you think of heroism? Courage? Outstanding achievement? Submarine sandwiches? When we think of heroic acts we think of people who risk their lives for others; who put others well-being over their own; people who are courageous enough to stand in the face of life-threatening danger.

 

Hero

If you guessed “submarine sandwiches” you’d technically be right

Batman is courageous; he risks life and limb in order to provide protection for others; his desire to bring justice to those who evade it and to bring protection to those who do not have it outweighs his desire to live a normal life (or however normal a life can be when you are a billionaire). However, this only addresses Batman as being “heroic,” and most of us wouldn’t argue that he is not (unless you are arguing that he can’t be heroic because he does not exist… if that is the case, why are you here?).

In order to be a SUPERhero you have to do that which is heroic to an extraordinary level. What about Batman would we consider “ordinary?” There isn’t a lot there really. He has an extraordinary intellect, coupled with extraordinary courage. He has extraordinary willpower, coupled with the extraordinary ability to not kill but leave villains wishing for the sweet release of death. The heroics accomplished by Batman are not done on an ordinary level, but an extraordinary level. Hey, do you know what another word for extraordinary is? Super! So by definition Batman, both extraordinary AND a hero, has to be considered a superhero. Also, when I said I would be brief I apparently lied to you, but that was not my intention – I just got a little carried away.

So with that semantically charged argument finished we can finally move on to why Batman is a greater superhero than Superman.

Some do not like Superman because he is overpowered. If you think of something omnipotent, then dial it back by one or two notches and you have Superman. Personally I love Superman, he oscillates between the one and two spot in my favorite hero Pantheon of Justice. Could he beat Batman in a fight? Absolutely. There is almost no chance if you compare them logically side by side (I know that some of you do not agree because (insert comic book title) here, but come on… really? Everything will be okay, I promise).

However, there is a sliding scale that exists between invulnerability and courage. The closer you are to invulnerability, the less courageous you have to be. If I know that a bullet cannot hurt me, then I don’t have to worry about a man with a gun. If I know that I can catch a rocket propelled grenade with my bare hand and let it explode in my supertights and be 100% good to go then I don’t really have to have courage to stop them – I can just slowly walk towards them while thinking of what’s on my DVR, or trying to figure out what is so appealing about Sudoku.

Batman is one of us; he is as vulnerable as we are. This was his greatest weakness when it came to fighting Superman, but it is also what makes him a greater hero than Superman now. Batman faces death or bodily harm every time he dons the cape and cowl. The ability to continuously face extreme danger takes an absurd amount of courage. There is very little risk for Superman when he confronts a criminal, but Batman could be taken out by a low-level street thug with a lucky shot.

That 14 year old almost did what the Joker has been trying to do for decades

That 14 year old almost did what the Joker has been trying to do for decades

Batman’s does not have invulnerability, super strength, heat vision, or flight (or x-ray vision, or freeze breath, or super speed, or sonic hearing…), and it is the lack of these things that make his decision to fight crime on an extraordinary level so great. That level of courage is why he is a superhero, and it is that level of courage that makes him one of the greatest superheroes of all.

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4LN Discussion: Batfleck Addition

As most of you have heard by now, Ben Affleck has been confirmed as Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, and not a lot of people are happy about it. There was even a White House petition requesting that it be made illegal for Ben Affleck to play Batman.

Since this has become an overnight issue, we are going to make this the first in our 4LN Discussion series. In a 4LN Discussion we will have two or more of our writers write standalone arguments for a particular issue. Today, Cody will be writing why Ben Affleck is a horrible choice, and I will be writing a pro-Affleck argument. Here goes:

Cam:

Judging from my Facebook feed, and the explosion of the Twittersphere, I can only assume that those of us that are actually comfortable with Ben Affleck as Batman are few and far between. We are like survivors of some post-apocalyptic tale, in which droves of leather-clad gangs roam the streets in their armored pick-up trucks hunting for stragglers to eat i.e. the Road, or Mad Max.

Affleck does come with some superhero baggage. He played Matt Murdock, a.k.a. the pudgy-cheeked, Daredevil, in one of the worst superhero movies of the modern era. I absolutely hated that movie, and I never even saw Elektra, which I assume was just as terrible. Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are pretty much the power-couple of awful superhero movies. And let us not forget Gigli, which is frequently cited as one of the worst films ever made.

However, the Affleck of today is on a completely different level than the Affleck of the past. I don’t know how much time he spent killing lower level creatures and running side-quests after that slew of awful movies, but he leveled up big-time. Over the last decade he has starred in (and directed) some amazing movies. The Town? Great. Argo? That movie is considered one of the best movies of 2012.

I have seen several people say they would rather have George Clooney over Ben Affleck. I am not sure what nostalgia pills they are taking, but up until the news broke yesterday people spent half their time wishing the Schumacher era (which I will now refer to as the Dark Times) never existed, and the other half of their time wondering why Bruce Wayne adopted a 28 year old acrobat.

There are several flaws with equating Affleck as Batman with a return to the Dark Times. First of all, Zach Snyder is on a completely different level than Schumacher. With Snyder, we aren’t going to be subjected to an Austrian Mr. Freeze with a penchant for stupid quips (“Ice to meet you!”), nor will we be subjected to Bat-Ice Skates. We don’t have to worry about Batsuit nipples; we don’t have to worry about neon-laden gangs, or a mentally-handicapped Bane. Do people even remember how awful the Dark Time films were?!

Secondly, Affleck is slowly becoming a master craftsman when it comes to acting. He is dedicated to his craft, and I have no doubt that he can put on the suit and become Batman. My only worry was his ability to pull-off Bruce Wayne, but with the story appearing to call for an older, wiser, Batman, Affleck won’t have to become a billionaire playboy, as much as he would a business savvy CEO. If you’ve read Alex Ross’ World Finest, you’ve seen Bruce Wayne as the socially conscious, business owner, and Affleck would be at ease in that role.

Overall, I don’t think Ben Affleck is all that bad. Could they have found someone better? Perhaps, but they also could have found somebody unbelievably worse. I absolutely loved Christian Bale as Batman, but we have to face the facts – he isn’t coming back. Worst-case scenario I see him being a slightly underwhelming, but decent, Batman. However, judging by his recent work, I have no problem with the idea that he could dominate that role.

Cody:

WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING CAM!? Look I know that the Dark Times were dark, and I don’t really put this on the same playing field, but it’s just a matter of Christian Bale owned the role of The Dark Knight. Owned it. I swear he has a deed to the character in a vault somewhere. The reason why social media is blowing up is because everyone knows you’re not really going to get a better Batman. You’re just not. Another reason I hate this decision is because Affleck is similar to Ryan Reynolds. No matter how you dress him up, he’s not really going to be cool in the role. I mean this is Keanu Reeves bad. Now Ben Affleck is a much better actor then Keanu, but do we really want the guy from JERSEY GIRL as Batman!!?? Here’s the other thing, when you look at the line of Marvel movies and how they are all somewhat cohesive with each other, part of what makes that successful is having the same cast throughout. So this interpretation of Batman will be the same one for the Justice League, which if it’s as Bostonian as I imagine it could be will be horrible. For some reason I envision Affleck needing to put the Boston Redsox’s B on the front of his suit as well. Which brings me to this script I wrote, with Affleck as Batman:

Scene:34 (Scene opens to a smoky low lit room and a gang of thugs playing cards)

(Door crashes open. Batman enters breathing deeply)

Batman: Where’s da jokah!?

Thugs: Huh? I don’t know nothing!

Batman: Get outta heeya before I’s calls da cawps! Or I might have my boy wondah Rawbin hit ya wit da flim flam!

Don’t you see how terrible this is going to be!? Boston Batman. Terrible Decision

So what do you think? Is this the worst casting decision in the history of cinema? Does Affleck have the ability to pull this off? Will this movie make you wish you hadn’t gotten the Bat-symbol tattooed to your left calf? Sound off, nerds.

The Dark Knight vs the Man of Steel

Since the birth of comic book heroes people have debated who would win if two heroes were pitted against one another. Injustice: Gods Among Us even grants us the opportunity to play through these battles (and like we all expected, Aquaman fights dirtier than the Cobra Kai in Karate Kid). I myself have participated in many such debates, and have come to the conclusion that 98% of the time people just say their favorite hero would win even if the odds are so far in favor of the other hero that it is comparable to believing Rambo would lose in a fistfight against Steve Urkel sans Urkelbot.

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There is no way this has a happy ending

I want to start off by saying that Batman is definitely one of my favorite super heroes. As a matter of fact, Batman was by far my number one until my son was born and my allegiances slowly shifted to Superman. However, I constantly hear people say things like, “Batman could totally destroy (insert any superhero here).” The fanboy in me cheers them on and says “Hell yeah he would,” but could he?

I have my doubts.

First things first, if Batman were real he would be extraordinary by human standards. He has an enormous IQ, is in peak physical condition, has indomitable will, has been trained in the most elite and effective combat systems, has backup plans for his back up plans, and is filthy rich which gives him access to some pretty advanced equipment. Against any human foe the odds would be heavily stacked in his favor.

However, when us fanboys and fangirls get together and speculate who would win in a fight we rarely, if ever, actually pit him against a human opponent.

We pit him against veritable demigods. We pit him against beings that can knock planets out of orbit with their bare hands.

“But Batman knows all of the weaknesses of everyone, he knows Superman is weakened by Kryptonite, that the Martian Manhunter resembles a four year old that accidentally saw the movie Saw when he is around fire, and let’s not even get started on Wonder Woman’s weakness!”

Well, my friend, they know his weakness as well… bullets, laser beams, explosives, cold, heat, sickness, lack of oxygen, traumatic force, choking on a rogue chicken bone, you name it. Elite physical conditioning will not help you if you are thrown into the sun or pummeled into the core of the Earth.

Batman vs. Superman is probably the most popular match up so this is the one we will focus on today. Those two are like Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali of superheroes.

The best thing that Batman has going for him is his mind; he would absolutely destroy Supes in chess, and probably most other board games. However, we have seen in countless Superman tales that pure intellect, even when combined with excessive strength, is rarely a match for the power to break the moon in half. Lex Luthor, like Bruce Wayne, has a superior intellect, and he is totally okay with murdering the hell out of some folks (something Batman is unwilling to do most of the time), but Lex still never wins.

Batman #655 shows Batman bench-pressing well over 1000 pounds. That is an incredible amount of weight. In fact, that’s nearly 300 pounds over the current world record, which is 722 pounds. All Star Superman #1 shows him lifting 200 Quintillion tons which is after he gets exposed to “critical levels of stellar radiation,” the scientist tell Superman that this is triple his original strength. So your regular, old, run of the mill, garden variety Superman can only lift 67 Quintillion tons give or take a few Quintillions. Obviously, Supes has Batman in any ensuing arm wrestling matches.

You may be saying to me through your screen, “Everyone knows Batman keeps Kryptonite in a lead lined compartment of his utility belt just in case Superman ever turns to the Evil (extra emphasis added to the IL to make it sound more menacing).” Kryptonite is basically a short-range advantage for Batman. If Superman was exposed and the fight devolved to hand-to-hand combat, then Batman would have the advantage. But would the fight ever go there?

It’s not like you can sneak up on Superman. In Superman: For Tomorrow, Superman (SPOILER ALERT) knew that Lois Lane had disappeared off of the face of the Earth because he could no longer HEAR HER HEARTBEAT.

If Superman knew it was a fight it would never end up in a hand-to-hand match with him weakened by Kryptonite. It’s like racing a cheetah; if the cheetah knows it’s a race then you have lost.

Superman is like the Navy SEALs of super heroes. He can attack you from anywhere: Sea, Air, or Land. Even with Batman’s reflexes most likely being in the 99.99% of humanity, he would not be able to react fast enough to someone moving near the speed of light.

The amount of time between Superman deciding to throw a punch and his fist making contact is probably not even enough time for the synapses in Batman’s brain to have registered that his world was about to be rocked.

We haven’t even talked about Superman’s other powers he could use to end the fight. If Batman had Kryptonite, Superman could use heat vision to catch Batman on fire from the air, or freeze Batman in place with super frost breath and wait for hypothermia to set in, or just fly so fast towards Batman that by the time he got close enough for the Kryptonite to actually weaken him his forward momentum would carry him into Batman like a rocket powered freight train.

In the end, I would estimate based on nothing more than subjective reasoning that Batman would lose 96 out of 100 fights, with 3 wins by forfeit because Superman wasn’t in the mood to fight, and 1 win based on sheer luck.

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So what do you think? With every tool at his disposal could Batman actually have a chance in an all-out brawl with Superman? What would it take for one of humanities greatest heroes to overcome the Last Son of Krypton?

The Nerd Rises

What is a “nerd?” The term itself is abstract. I believe our generation has come to define a “nerd” by how deeply someone delves into or obsesses over whatever their particular interests are, be it comics, sci-fi, fantasy, video games, music, it really could be anything. We think of a nerd as someone who is obsessed with these things.

Side note: while the definitions of geek and nerd used to be very different, they have slowly become two sides of the same coin. The lines between the definitions have blurred, and now can be used almost interchangeably. One is usually considered more socially awkward than the other, but even that is subjective.

The rise of the nerd in pop culture has been subtle. The word has slowly shifted from something that was meant as an insult to something that is accepted, even something that is actively sought after.

But how did this happen? How did the way culture views nerds shift from Revenge of the Nerds to the Big Bang Theory?

The origin of the term “nerd” is hard to place. Many believe that the first time the word “nerd” was used was in the Dr. Seuss book If I Ran the Zoo which was released in 1950. The term was first reported as a synonym for someone who is “square” in 1951 after an article in Newsweek titled In Detroit. “Nerd” really entered the mainstream as an insult when it was frequently used by the epitome of cool, Arthur Fonzarelli a.k.a. the “Fonz” from Happy Days.

Throughout the eighties Anthony Michael Hal was the go to actor to portray your typical nerd. He was Rusty Griswold in the original Vacation, and also played the role of the nerd in Weird Science and The Breakfast Club. Revenge of the Nerds, another popular eighties movie, also helped solidify the image of what a nerd was.

However, since that time I think there has been a shift in our public perception of what a “nerd” is. The shift has not been instantaneous, but over time things that would have been considered “nerdy” are now filtering into the mainstream. Obscure characters are starting to get movie franchises – Ant Man is getting his own movie for god’s sake.

The Big Bang Theory is one of the most popular TV shows right now, and it stands in stark contrast to how Revenge of the Nerds portrayed nerd culture. Sure the guys from Big Bang Theory are socially awkward – Raj can’t even talk around women without alcohol – but they are all the heroes of their own story, and they all get the girl in the end.

There are many possible causes for this transition. I think the most prominent being globalization. Nerds are no longer isolated. Instead, through the use of the Internet, social media etc. (created by other nerds) they are able to form communities around their particular flavor of nerd.

If there is shared interest for a show, or game, or movie, or comic book, then forums are created. People passionately discuss their likes and dislikes, and a community is formed. Through this shared community a buzz is created around their likes, and that buzz creates a market.

Case and point; since opening day The Avengers has grossed $623 million, The Dark Knight Rises has grossed $448 million. That’s over a BILLION dollars in less than two years by two movies based on comic book characters. This year alone Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel have grossed around $300 million, and as of right now there are over ten superhero/comic based movies scheduled to be released over the next three years.

San Diego Comic Con, the Mecca for Nerds, is another example of nerd culture transitioning into the mainstream. The first Comic Con was in 1970, had only 300 attendees and five guest speakers. Fast forward to 2012, Comic Con took over San Diego with 130,000+ people and over sixty guest speakers.

It went from attracting a couple of comic artists and sci-fi writers to attracting the biggest names in film, TV, gaming, and comics; from being housed in a small hotel to taking over the San Diego Convention Center, Gaslamp, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina, Petco Park Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, and the Chula Vista Center

Another heavy hitter that would have been relegated to the fantasy shelf if it had come out in the seventies or eighties is Harry Potter. J. K. Rowling tapped into nerd culture by writing about wizards and magic, and the mainstream couldn’t get enough. If you thought Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises made a lot, then prepare to be blown away. As of November 27, 2012, the total revenue for the Harry Potter Franchise, including books, films, and toys, was over $24 billion. That is $7 billion more than the GDP of the entire European Union in 2012.

A good analogy for the rise of nerds is the movie Paul, with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. At the beginning of the film they were attendees of Comic Con, caught up in all of the sights and sounds. They were “nerds” in the “cool” world of Comic Con. By the end of the film they, the “nerds,” were the headliners.

It has been a long ride since the 1950’s, but nerds are becoming the norm. Nerds are “coming out of the closet” as it were. People aren’t afraid to get excited about what they love. Simon Pegg, who is somewhat of a role model of mine, has said, “Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”

The purpose of this website is to explore what it means to be a nerd. What does it mean to you?