Justice League was released to theaters in the United States last weekend, and, to put it mildly, it underperformed. In the same way that the Atlanta Falcons underperformed in last year’s Super Bowl.

Sure, there was a lot of weird buzz about reshoots and rewrites and new directors surrounding the movie, but none of that answers the question: was it any good? And did it deserve to underperform as compared to, say, Batman Vs. Superman, or Suicide Squad?

So we discuss the movie: what worked, what didn’t, what could have been improved, and why we think it didn’t do nearly as well as Suicide Squad, let alone The Avengers. We also talk about ways forward for a cinematic universe that includes starts with Superman killing a guy, and ends, for now, with redacted, under cover of darkness, robbing a damn grave.

This episode was recorded live to tape, so if you want to find out why Amanda think Aquaman went to Bowdoin, you’ve come to the right place!

Thanks for listening, suckers!

avengers_age_of_ultron_movie_logo_1301720927We are at peak Avengers: Age of Ultron backlash. The flick hasn’t been reviewed with nearly the nerd boner that the first Avengers movie got… and on some level, I agree. The first Avengers was better. That doesn’t automatically make AoU bad, but I can see how it would disappoint some people. You know, people who didn’t live through a time when, across a three-year span of time, the only comic book movie we got was Howard the Duck.

But the backlash has strengthened, for some, into legitimate anger. Consider this 4,200 word complaint that AoU is a failure on almost every level that one would want in a “popcorn movie.” Sady Doyle, the author, says she likes popcorn movies – big ‘splosions, giant robots, “pure, overwhelming spectacle.” She says she likes ’em big and dumb, kids. So then we’ll be on her side as she tears the flick apart, piece by piece, as useless.

She’s wrong, of course. Let’s figure out why! And I got my own 4,000 words to do it, so buckle up!

tmp_ant-man_movie_logo871384253It is Saturday of the American Memorial Day long weekend. This means that, in general, there is fuck-all going on in the way of genre news other than redundant tales of heavy drinking by comic creators (and comic bloggers), and Edgar Wright’s departure from Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man movie.

There’s a dearth of actual hard news about what actually happened to lead to the split. Latino Review has a story based on a bunch of anonymous sources saying it had to do with the script, but with no names attached, I’m just gonna link to it and let you draw your own conclusions.

Wright himself hasn’t said anything, and his Twitter feed has been silent… except for a re-Tweet of a wordless picture post Avengers and Avengers 2: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon threw up earlier today, and which you can check out after the jump.

wondercon_fangirl_shirt_designOkay, okay; it’s been slightly more than a week (eight days, you want the exact tally) since our last podcast, but we (I) have a good reason, which I expand upon in the first few minutes of the show.

Tune in this week for discussion about:

  • Automobile vandalism! (Shit, I gave away the super-secret reason for the show’s delay!)
  • Misguided fangirl hate (Prompted by the t-shirt on sale at Wondercon, the design of which you can see at the top left, and the truly reprehensible reaction to Janelle Asselin’s critique of the upcoming Teen Titans #1 cover and suggestion that it might be a book prime to be designed for a female audience)
  • The new Joss Whedon written and produced movie In Your Eyes, which recently debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival and which can be rented for video on demand via Vimeo right now! Here’s the first three minutes of the movie (with a built-in button to rent the whole thing) so we’re at least kind of on the same page:
  • Scott Snyder’s Batman: Eternal #2 and American Vampire: Second Cycle #2!

And as always, our disclaimer: this show was recorded live to tape, so there may be a few more instances of “um,” “uh,” and “douchenozzle” than you are accustomed to in a comics podcast. Further, this podcast contains explicit, vulgar language, and is not safe for work. Every cell phone you have owned since 2006 has come with earphones. Use them.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

avengers_age_of_ultron_movie_logo_1301720927There’s been a lot of news about Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man recently (including the recent revelation that, in the face of the delay of Batman Vs. Superman until 2016, Ant-Man’s release has been moved up two weeks to take Batman Vs. Superman’s original July 17, 2015 date), to the point where it might be easy to forget that, about two months before that movie’s release, we’ll be getting Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Which means that Age of Ultron is firmly into pre-production, and director Joss Whedon is beginning to talk about what we can expect in the movie. Not in the sense of any actual spoiled plot points or anything – Whedon is a professional, after all, and even rank amateurs know better than to say something that would set Kevin Feige gnawing on their doorknobs and hissing for revenge – but more in the sense of story and plot structure and inspiration.

But Whedon, being no fool, explained his general inspirations to a French publication, probably knowing that they would roll over and surrender the instant Avi Arad hurled himself out of a tree at them, screeching like a rabid were-wombat.

Which, honestly, would be overkill in this case. Because Whedon’s great revelation is that he’s modeling Avengers: Age of Ultron after another classic sequel.

No, not The Empire Strikes Back; Whedon hates that (maybe there’s a little rank amateur still left in the man). I’m talking The Godfather: Part 2.

avengers_age_of_ultron_movie_logo_1301720927So the big geek news today was that James Spader has been cast to play Ultron in Joss Whedon’s upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, to which my initial reaction was, “Huh. Whatever.”

Seriously, I didn’t have much of an initial positive reaction to the news, firstly because early this morning, I read a wild-assed rumor on Ain’t It Cool News that the plan for Ultron was to make Tony Stark’s JARVIS artificial intelligence go rogue and start tearing shit up for, I don’t know, being forced to spend four movies as part of the programming for Stark’s jockstrap or something. And while I didn’t know whether there was any truth to the rumor or not (clearly, there was not), the idea made a lot of sense to me. It utilized an existing character, it completely cut around the inclusion of Hank Pym in Ultron’s creation, and most importantly: it would have eliminated the need for probably at least 20 minutes of story setup to get Ultron off his ass, on his feet, and whimpering about his daddy issues in ways that would embarrass Lena Dunham.

But James Spader? Who really gives all that much of a damn about James Spader?

whedonNot a lot of time here today at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, but this little tidbit caught my eye: Joss Whedon just did an extended interview with Entertainment Weekly, which is in this week’s issue. But the magazine released a couple of quotes to tease readers into picking up the issue, and only one of those quotes was enough to send half of geek fandom into a seething frenzy of hatred!

Specifically, Whedon discusses his feelings about The Empire Strikes Back, the Star Wars movie widely held to be the best of six movies and variety of television specials to date (although I have a special place in my heart for The Star Wars Holiday Special. Because the last time I saw it was in college, on grainy VHS, while I was hammered).

And amazingly, coming from the man who clearly loved Han Solo enough to basically create a television series and major motion picture based on a suspiciously similar character, those feelings are somewhat negative.

Empire committed the cardinal sin of not actually ending… which at the time I was appalled by and I still think it was a terrible idea.

Yeah, I hate it when movie franchises don’t have an ending. That’s why I’m so glad that they ended the Alien franchise after James Cameron’s Aliens! Yup, just the two movies. That’s how I remember it. There certainly was no attempt to lure fans back to the theaters with some twisted tale about cloning Ripley!

…yeah, sorry. Lot of caffeine today. What’re you driving at, Joss?

Crisis On Infinite Midlives is a comics-based Website, and therefore we try to advance no political opinions nor particular ideological agendas.

However, even if we are unwilling to endorse any political positions, as genre geeks there are two things that we care about almost more than anything in the world: the opinion of Joss Whedon – creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and director of Avengers – and the impending and inevitable zombie apocalypse.

And, even though we would never think to tell you for whom to vote for in the impending United States Presidential election, nor would we tell you who we personally intend to vote for, when Joss and the zombie apocalypse collide in a single political endorsement video? Well, we feel we have a duty to present it to you.

So, without further ado, here is Joss Whedon, explaining the best of all possible reasons we have heard to date to vote for Mitt Romney.

And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth’s Mightiest Frozen CEO awoke from his slumber and said, “Guys: don’t be dicks. The Avengers is the third-highest grossing movie since the invention of light. Why don’t we hire the guy that, you know… did that, and see if we can’t get lucky and only get a fraction of those profits and make only a third of a billion dollars next time around. Waltos… has… SPOKEN!” Then Waltos made out with death, fingerfucked Minnie, went back into his sarcophagus and lo and behold!

Joss Whedon was hired to write and direct Avengers 2.

Later on today, we’ll try to post some of the remaining videos we took at SDCC 2012, but it will be a bittersweet experience. Because the one question we’ve been getting from most of our friends and acquaintances since we got back to the Crisis On Inifnite Midlives Home Office has been: “Did you get to the Firefly Tenth Anniversary panel?” Even the owner of our local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me to stop talking about movies to the paying customers, or at least to stop talking about the movies I find on Web sites with a top level domain name ending in “.XXX”, who you would think would be more interesting in upcoming developments in the products he sells, was disappointed that we didn’t spend hours in line for Ballroom 20 to see the reunion.

But we chose not to do that because we know that all the high-demand panels, like the Firefly panel, arrive on YouTube within ten days of their occurrance.

Case in point: please enjoy the video of the entire Firefly reunion panel, available after the jump.