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Wonder-ful

Wonder Woman makes me feel like being a very bad boy (Warner Brothers)

At the recent Comic-Con convention in San Diego, California, Warner Brothers debuted footage from the upcoming film Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and, for the most part, its reception was quite good.

Yes, there are still people who doubt whether Ben Affleck can play the Dark Knight effectively, but there will always be naysayers.

Of course, one thing that might shut the naysayers up is Wonder Woman, who will be played by Gal Gadot in the 2016 film. Warner Brothers released an image of the Amazonian princess and one thing is for certain: she can tie me up with her invisible lariat anytime she likes! Hubba hubba…

Reality Round-Up: Express Edition

Another great Express: the Hogwart’s Express! (Warner Brothers)

Since it’s such a nice, cold fall day—and since there are still a few minutes of daylight left to enjoy—here’s an express edition of the Reality Round-Up to keep things moving.

In MICHIGAN, a woman is suing Etihad Airways over a flight she took from Abu Dhabi to Chicago on August 6th. She reached into her seat pocket to retrieve the knob from her broken tray table, felt something poke her finger and discovered it was a hypodermic needle and syringe! A long and powerful treatment of drugs to prevent AIDS later and I think it’s clear she has a case.

A man in PLEASANT HILL, MISSOURI has just been charged with abandonment of a corpse and tampering with a vehicle. Police visited his home on November 4th to investigate reports of a stolen vehicle and drugs. Upon searching his home, officers discovered a bucket filled with freshly poured concrete. Encased in cement was the stillborn son his wife had delivered nearly a month earlier! Gross-and-macabre is not a good mix!

Pay close attention to your winning cards (The Guardian)

A convenience store owner and his son are in big trouble in HEMPSTEAD, NEW YORK. A customer who doesn’t speak English recently handed the clerk a scratch-off ticket he believed to be a winner. Karim Jaghab, 26, told the man he won $1000, handed him the cash and pocketed the ticket—which was really worth $1 million! Fortunately, the customer realized what happened, contacted the authorities and the scam was uncovered. The owner and his son claim a faulty lottery machine was to blame, but they seem to have forgotten the most important thing… the thing any convenience store owner who deals with lottery tickets should know: only payouts under $600 can be paid immediately by store clerks!

Finally—in BALTIMORE, MARYLAND—it looks like 14 more corrections officers have been indicted for working with prison gangs, most notably the Black Guerrilla Family. This brings the total to 44 people indicted on federal charges—27 of whom were Baltimore corrections officers. Apparently—and for quite some time—guards have been paid to smuggle drugs, cell phones and other contraband items to inmates. Some even develop personal and sexual relationships with convicts. They trade sex for money, sneak prohibited objects to them inside their body cavities and even bear children for notorious criminals. Alleged gang member Tavon White has impregnated four guards to date and likes prison so much he had this to say about it in a taped cell phone call: “This is my jail. You understand that? I’m dead serious… I make every final call in this jail… and nothing go past me.”

I’m certainly glad we can keep our criminals happy. It’s important to be sensitive to the wants and needs of our incarcerated brothers and sisters. After all, they’re people, too.

Seriously, though… I’m full of shit. Prison should be punishment, not paradise. I couldn’t even keep a straight face as I was typing that!

So ends the express edition of the RRU. Enjoy the last remnants of your weekend, peeps!

Mourning the Loss of Batman

Only two years and counting! (Warner Bros)

Only two years and counting! (Warner Bros)

After the brilliance of The Dark Knight—especially the genius of Heath Ledger as the Joker—and the excitement of The Dark Knight Rises, director Christopher Nolan and Bruce Wayne himself, Christian Bale, announced they would not return for a fourth installment in the popular franchise. Fortunately, I heard that Warner Brothers wants to keep Batman alive, but filling these vital roles continues to be a challenge. And who knows when we will finally see the Caped Crusader on the Big Screen again… if ever.

Initially, I was crushed at the prospect of having to wait indefinitely for films featuring my favorite comic book hero. Then the rumors started to fly about who would step up to play the next lead. Would Joseph Gordon-Levitt take the helm after his performance as honest cop John Blake in The Dark Knight Rises? Will it fall to an actor like Ryan Gosling, Joe Manganiello or Josh Brolin? Can Christian Bale be convinced to return if the price is right?

Frankly, I was getting weary and stopped thinking about the next potential Batman film altogether. And I would have been fine if the people at Warner Brothers hadn’t dropped a bomb on Batman lovers everywhere this past week. At first, it was the equivalent of winding up and kicking comic book fans square in the nuts. I am happy to report, however, that this effect dulls significantly with time. Here’s what happened.

Zac Snyder’s Man of Steel was released in June and has already pulled in more than $649 million worldwide, a notable achievement for a film produced for roughly $225 million. It is also noteworthy for re-launching a movie franchise most people thought was re-launched by Bryan Singer in 2006’s Superman Returns.

I think we are all fortunate that franchise never happened. It wasn’t a very good film. And even though I haven’t seen Man of Steel for myself yet—the closest theater pretty much sucks and I prefer to save my $50 for more important things, like electricity and food—it is breaking records and entertaining millions of people, so I certainly look forward to screening it soon.

Then this past Thursday and the shocking announcement from Warner Brothers came, which reminded me of someone asking, “So which do you want first: the good news or the bad news?” In this case, the good news is that a sequel is being made for Man of Steel and its Kryptonian hero. Superman—as imagined by British actor Henry Cavill and the aforementioned Snyder—will be back in theaters soon… and he won’t be alone.

Batman will be there, too! Woohoo!

Can Affleck handle a comic book hero like Batman? (Warner Bros)

Can Affleck handle a comic book hero like Batman? (Warner Bros)

For the first time in film history, the two superheroes will meet onscreen. They will even face off against one another, much as they did in the classic Frank Miller graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. Even actors Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane and Amy Adams signed on to return. In other words, it seemed like the perfect sequel and left me with only one nagging question: Who was going to play Batman?

Oh, how I would come to regret asking that question.

If only for the next Superman film—there is no guarantee he will headline the Batman franchise later—it looks like the person wearing the pointy-eared mantle will be… drum roll, please… Benjamin Geza Affleck!

That’s right… Ben Affleck will serve as the next Dark Knight and, if things go well, may even get a shot at the recurring gig. I don’t really see that happening—and thousands, maybe even millions of people online seem to agree—but it is not outside the realm of possibility. After all, some jackass cast him in Daredevil back in 2003, and that horrible hero performance is what many haters seem to be citing as the foundation of their anger over Warner Brothers’ recent decision.

Are we really allowing Ben to screw up another of our comic book heroes? Sadly, it appears the answer is yes.

Then I started to think about it. You know, Ben Affleck isn’t as terrible as people make him out to be. Yes, movies like Daredevil, Gigli and Jersey Girl cast doubt over his acting ability—or maybe his deductive reasoning skills since he’s the one who agreed to star in these flops. But there have been some high points, and I say we give him a chance.

Some reactions were worse than others (The TV and Movie Spot/Twitter)

Some reactions were worse than others (The TV and Movie Spot/Twitter)

I first saw Ben Affleck in School Ties—thinking nothing of him since his role was so small—and again in Chasing Amy, a Kevin Smith-View Askew production I thoroughly enjoyed. Ben did a pretty decent job, I must say. I also liked him in Good Will Hunting—for which he and partner Matt Damon won a screenwriting Oscar—as well as other films some might consider cheesy: Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, The Sum of All Fears, Paycheck and Hollywoodland—a film in which Ben played George Reeves, the actor best known for portraying Superman in the 1950s television series the Adventures of Superman.

Funny how everything comes around full circle, isn’t it?

I won’t lie. Ben Affleck wouldn’t be my first choice for the next Batman, even though I have enjoyed much of his work. He also seems like a pretty decent guy and has done some things in his personal life that I respect: volunteering to spend time with disabled children; supporting Democratic political candidates, at least those worth supporting; bringing attention to the plight of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and contributing to cancer research at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, to name a few.

Even other actors tweeted in response (Richard Dreyfuss/Twitter)

Even other actors tweeted in response (Richard Dreyfuss/Twitter)

Ben also took home the Oscar for Best Picture last year for Argo, so it’s not like his career is declining, either.

I say give Ben a chance to prove to us all—and by us I mean die-hard Batman lovers who question Warner Brothers’ logic and decision-making abilities—that he can pick up where Christian Bale left off and fill the large boots he left behind. I have my doubts, as I said, but at this point, I feel that Ben deserves it. And I, for one, hope he can pull it off.

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