Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Shortly after I first started this blog, I made a post discussing Wonder Woman's powers—specifically her endurance and stamina.

In this post, I discussed how Wonder Woman's ability to take/endure damage is often portrayed inconsistently and how that's a real problem with the character.
In particular, when it comes to poison gases or toxins, and I mentioned how there's something ludicrous—and extremely lame—that we have a god-like character who can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Superman, but can get knocked out cold by sleeping gas or chloroform.

So then there's THIS bullshit I happened to stumble across today....

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Miscalculations of the Star Wars Prequels

Huzzah, the first installment of the new Star Wars trilogy, The Force Awakens, is (as of this writing) just around the corner. And I thought I'd commemorate this occasion by......beating a dead horse and going on about the Prequel Trilogy.

Yeah, yeah, I know...pretty much everyone and their mother has critiqued the Star Wars prequels. We've now reached a point where most think-pieces on them fall into one of two categories: "The prequels really weren't THAT bad," or, "No, the prequels really did suck."

Personally, I'm in the camp that the prequels were not particularly good. So if you're expecting a defense of them here, you're out of luck—a lot of what I'm going to write here are my thoughts on why the prequels don't work.
However, don't expect cries of raped childhood or parroting of Red Letter Media either. I'm not interested in repeating the obvious complaints of too many special effects or poor dialogue or wooden acting. It's been done.

Overall, when I think of the prequels, what I see more than anything are creative miscalculations by George Lucas—hence the title. Because one thing I've noticed when people discuss the prequels is the question: have we any right to question George Lucas's vision, and was it ultimately impossible for him to meet the fans expectations?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Halloween: The Shape, Michael Myers, & Cthulhu

Full disclosure...I would be very hesitant to call myself a fan of the Halloween series.

That isn't to say I have no appreciation for them. I definitely recognize and respect the original for being such a ground-breaking film. As a fan of Friday the 13th, I certainly know those movies wouldn't exist without Halloween. And whenever the Halloween season comes, and AMC or some other channel has its inevitable marathon, I usually end up watching most or all of them.

Except Resurrection. Fuck that movie.

But of the big slasher icons—as I've mentioned in previous posts—I've always been a Jason guy.
Even back when I was young enough to actually be scared of these movies, Michael Myers just never hit me.

A lot of that can be chalked up to personal taste. I just found the atmosphere and background music of Friday—especially the earlier ones—scarier than that of Halloween. For whatever reason, I thought Jason's hockey mask more intimating than Michael's Captain Kirk.
Different strokes and all that.

But I think the biggest thing that always kept me from really getting into the Halloween movies and Michael Myers as a characters was, frankly, I just didn't buy him.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Top Nostalgic Movie Villains

And now for something a little different...from me anyway. A lot of people do "Top whatever" lists—I just haven't until now.

Everyone loves villains. Everybody loves a good "bad guy." There's that old adage: "A hero is only as good as their villain."
I wanted to do a top ten list of villains, but that's far too broad, so I decided to narrow it down to the villains that stand out from my childhood watching movies. I'm not going to pretend this is objective in any way, but these are the characters that, when I think of them, push that personal nostalgia button and take me back to my youth.

So let's bring on the bad guys...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Movies, Doomsday, & Salt

Heyyooo...figured I'd get some thoughts out about recent developments in the land of Wonder Woman. No real united theme or point, just catching up on recent stuff and news.

So let's get rambling...

The Movies
I suppose the appropriate place to start would be on Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, what with the San Diego Comic-Con and I haven't touched on the subject since they cast Gal Gadot.

First...how she'll look in the movie. Quite a few months ago, we got the first official image of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Defying Gravity

Hey, it's been a while since I've prattled on about Wonder Woman.

Looking back, for all I've written about her, one topic which tends to divide fans—and jackasses who don't know anything about Wonder Woman but seem to think they know how she "should" be portrayed—that I've kind of overlooked is her ability to fly.

There's just no end to controversial Wonder Woman topics, is there?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Kitana Retrospective - Part V: Closure

And now we come at last to the final part of my retrospective on Mortal Kombat's Kitana. Who'da thunk I could write so much about a video game character? Hell, I originally planned this to only be three parts—yet here we are.
I chronicled her humble beginnings in MKII and her development into a major character. I looked at her downward spiral into mediocrity and finally bottoming out in MK9.

When we last left Kitana, she'd been retconned into oblivion, reduced to a victim, and stuffed in the proverbial fridge. A sad, sorry end to what had once been an engaging protagonist and strong hero.
That, among many other things, led me to give up on Mortal Kombat as a whole. The story, as far as I was concerned, was dead. There was nothing to look forward to, and I was left with a strong bitterness about the whole thing.

But Mortal Kombat 9, lousy story aside, was a major success. From what I understand, it had probably the best core gameplay in the series' history. I can't comment on that—didn't buy it or play it. And although the story itself was lousy, one couldn't argue the quality presentation.
So of course the franchise machine rolled on. After a diversion with Injustice: Gods Among Us, the developers began moving forward with Mortal Kombat X.

And it's here, shockingly, we might find a happy ending.

Oh...and since MKX is still fairly new as of this writing, SPOILERS ahead for those concerned.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Kitana Retrospective - Part IV: Rock Bottom

And so we come to the penultimate part of our look back on Mortal Kombat's resident assassin-turned-princess, Kitana. In Parts one and two, I've chronicled her rise, growing into a well-developed and strong protagonist, and in Part three, her fall, sliding down a slippery slope that would reduce her to a two-bit damsel-in-distress.

Is there any hope for our heroic assassin princess?
The aftermath of Armageddon promised a whole new era in the story, and with the purchase of Mortal Kombat by Warner Bros. there was a great deal of anticipation for what Mortal Kombat 9 would end up being. Would we see Kitana reclaim her rightful place as one of the franchise's best and most compelling characters or—at the very least—end on a good note?

As the old saying goes: it's always darkest before the dawn.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Kitana Retrospective - Part III: Fall From Grace

As explained in Part I & Part II, Kitana—assassin & step-daughter of Shao Kahn turned rebellious & heroic Princess of Edenia—was a rich character with (for a fighting game) dimension, motivation, development, conflict, and agency who grew over the course of the series into a strong hero and leader.
Not surprisingly, combined with her striking look and memorable choice of weapons, she emerged as a beloved fan favorite and icon of the franchise.

Here's where things turn sour.

Now, as I've tried to keep clear, a great deal of Mortal Kombat's "depth" is reading between lines, connecting dots, and filling in gaps. In regard to Kitana in particular, I've tried to maintain a distinction between what is actually presented in the game's story and what is me putting pieces together.

Because Mortal Kombat is, first and foremost, a video game—meant to be played. For better and worse, the story is a low priority for the developers and they are pretty much making it up as they go along. This can be good when it leads the type of organic storytelling I talked about in the previous post, which is partly what made Kitana a solid character to begin with. But it also means there's likely little-to-no plan or deliberate consistency.

So when I talk about the thematic meaning of Kitana's battles with Mileena, the full implications of her internal conflict to redeem herself, and how her story can be interpreted with Joseph Campbell's Monomyth...that's me reading into the story, and no, I'm sure the developers of Mortal Kombat do not/did not have any of that in mind when making the game.

I'm pointing this out because, when I say things are going to go bad for Kitana, I'm sure some probably think it's because the developers did something or took the character in a direction that didn't sync up with my interpretations and I'm mad they've clashed with my personal head-canon.

Believe me...if only it was that simple. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Kitana Retrospective - Part II: Rebel to Princess

Welcome back to my retrospective on Mortal Kombat's resident assassin princess, Kitana.

In my last post, I covered her debut in Mortal Kombat II and went on at length about her motivation, conflicts, agency, and rivalry with Mileena. 
When we last left her in the story, she'd just fought and killed her demented clone, outing herself as a traitor to Shao Kahn.

And from here, things are really going to pick up as Earth gets invaded, friends turn against her, her mother returns, and Kitana grows into a Princess and leader.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kitana Retrospective - Part I: The Assassin

Once upon a time, I was a huge Mortal Kombat mark. I was there in the beginning, and I stuck with the series through the highs and lows for a long time.

One of the things that kept me coming back was the storyline and its characters. If anything can be said about MK, it has probably the most ambitious—if not always coherent or consistent—story of any fighting game, and I was one of the idiots that obsessed with its lore.

The thing one must understand about Mortal Kombat's story is—at least until recently—it was like a puzzle. Every character had their little bio at the beginning of the game, explaining who they are and why they're there, and their little ending when you beat the game, explaining what might have happened to them.
These were your puzzle pieces—disconnected and with no inherent structure—and you wouldn't know which endings came true and which ones didn't until the next game, if you found out at all.

As such, how good (or not good) the Mortal Kombat story was depended on how you put the puzzle together. One person can look at the story for what it is and see an incoherent mess. Someone else might put it together into a simple, straight-forward story that—although not ground-breaking or terribly original—might at least make sense. And finally there are those who really try to put the story together and find something worth a damn.

I was one of the guys that always tried to make sense of the story, read between the lines, and make it out to be something grand and epic...within reason. There are some who go too far with that and find connections and meanings based on nothing. I always tried to stay within the bounds of confirmed canon.

What I'd like to do here is focus a couple of posts on one character that would emerge as my personal favorite—who also happens to be one of the franchise's most beloved and iconic characters: Kitana.

Credit: joshwmc
Kitana is a character with a rich history within Mortal Kombat's lore and is one of the few characters in the franchise to undergo an actual arc throughout the story. She's also, unfortunately, been the victim of some horrendous character derailment that has, in the eyes of many fans, tarnished her.

So strap in as I ramble on at great length about a fictional video game character, beginning with her rise: what made her such a stand-out character and, for my money, one of Mortal Kombat's best creations—then going into her fall: how and where it all went wrong.