And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
The best kind of compliments are backhanded.

The best kind of compliments are backhanded.

Robin, the Boy Wonder, is one of the most controversial characters in superhero comics. First debuting in 1940 as a transparent attempt to (what else?) attract new readers, he immediately became a popular and enduring staple of the Batman mythos despite inspiring decade’s worth of Gay Panic, humorous or otherwise. The general populous conceives Robin as an eternal twelve year-old, jumping around rooftops when he should be doing his homework. But who can concentrate on algebra when Killer Croc’s out killing mobsters in a bid to take over Gotham City’s underworld? What kid wouldn’t want to live over the Batcave?

Thankfully, comic book Robin’s been allowed to grow up. By the late 70s, his civilian identity, Dick Grayson, had graduated high school and moved off to college. As Robin, he’d assumed command of the Justice League’s youth brigade, the Teen Titans, and helped save the world on numerous occasions. By 1983, he’d all but disappeared from Gotham, necessitating a new youngster fill his little green boots.

Enter Jason “Oh my God” Todd. As in “Oh my God, Bruce, I can not believe you took this kid under your wing.” First conceived as a transparent replacement for Dick Grayson (how transparent? Well, Jason was also a second generation circus acrobat whose parents also happened to catch their death from Crime), Jason suffered a lot in the great continuity rewrite of 1986, Crisis on Infinite Earths. When the multiverse finally stabilized, Jason was reborn as a street urchin, orphaned by Crime and taken in by Batman after Bruce caught him trying to steal tires…off the Batmobile…yeah… Continue reading

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Elektra (2005)
Nice job covering up where the stab wound's supposed to be.

Nice job covering up where the stab wound’s supposed to be, guys.

At least one of you has already called me out for seeming to lavish all my attention on the masculine side of superhero film. Thank you, you’re right, and I mean no disrespect to all the super-powered ladies who’ve done so much to enhance my life, and the lives of most Good Nerds, throughout the years. The long, lonely years…Honestly, it’s just that their films suck. Off the top of my head, I can think of exactly one kinda-sorta-good superhero film that focused around a female protagonist. And trust me: you’ve never heard of it. If you can guess what I’m thinking of, I’ll mail you a cookie.

That can’t be it though, right? There’s got to be another one out there somewhere. And since March is National Women’s History Month in the United States, I’ve got all the excuse I need to get in touch with superherodom’s feminine side. Continue reading



Armageddon (1998)

Michael Bay has survived every epithet in the Movie Critic’s Mean Word Handbook. We’ve called him a “hack” and a “bullshit artist.” We’ve called him “the Devil,” “the Antichrist,” and even honored him with the title “American Uwe Boll.” All of these characterizations are false, missing the quintessence of Bay. In their rush to (rightly) condemn the man’s aesthetic failings, critics have miss the essential and obvious point: Like a great many evil things, Bay is first and foremost a creature of the late 1990s, an artistic distillation of that time, with all the glory and the horror that implies. Continue reading



Event Horizon (1997)

"When the moon hits your eye like a big, black-hole generator..."Watch enough of these films and you begin to see man-shapes moving behind their curtains. After ninety minutes of alright-if-exceedingly-cheap Horror Movie you begin to notice odd things…besides the walking corpses. Characters appearing and disappearing with no real logic or explanation; the consistent jump-cutting away from gorier shots which, up until this point, the film’s been not-at-all-coy about; a half-assed, utterly pointless non-ending, because no one had the balls to do like The Blob did back in the day, and have their “The End” title card morph into a giant question mark. These are the signs of a film that’s Missing Something. About thirty minutes worth, as it turned out.

These are the scars of a bad test screening and mandated-from-above reedits, the kind honest directors live to regret in their old age. Paul Anderson is something else, and what else should we expect from the man who gave us Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil: They Picked Me After George Quit? {More}