THE TOWN: A Twin Peaks-Inspired RPG

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THE TOWN

Diane,

It is 3:50 AM. I just woke from a dream with a sharp pain on my back. When I looked in the bathroom mirror, I saw it was a mole on my back that has grown dangerous large and swollen. But the dream showed me a secret. A secret I must share with the others…

It’s true. It is 3:50 (now, 3:53) and I did wake from a dream with a sharp pain on my back. And I do have a mole on my back that is dangerously large and has become painful. And the dream is something I feel the need to share. With you.

(I should note this is, in no way, an officially licensed vision. Just something I felt the need to write down. Also, I haven’t playtested this. It’s literally coming from my head to the page.)

Making the Town

There’s a small Town somewhere in America. Maybe it’s in the Mid-West, maybe it’s in the South, maybe it’s in the Southwest, maybe it’s in the Great Northeast. Players decide where the Town is.

Next, go around in a circle and every player add one, two or three Details to the Town. These could be Locations, Businesses or Secrets. Every player adds one at a time until the group feels they’ve added enough Details. Don’t add too many! You want enough Details that you have a feel for the Town, but you also want enough freedom to add more Details later.

Making a Character

You are portraying someone in the Town. The first thing to do is write down your role in the town. That may be Sheriff or Deputy, it may be High School Student, it may be Mechanic, it may be Tavern Owner. This is your Role. Write it down.

Next is your Secret. Everyone in the Town has a secret. It could be that you’re involved in the Town’s drug community. Your Secret should be dangerous. If anyone else discovers your Secret, they could blackmail you for it. It could be that were responsible for someone else’s death (accidentally or intentionally) and you helped cover it up. It could be that you’re married and having an affair. Or, it could be that you become possessed by a hungry spirit and you’ve murdered your daughter.

Finally write down the word Danger and write a “1” next to it. Everyone in the Town is in some kind of danger.

Explore the idea of having multiple characters.

Making the Mystery

Finally, make a Mystery that has fallen over the Town. This is a large, dramatic even that has changed the town in some way. It could be a fire that burned down the local high school, the disappearance of a prominent member of the Town, or the murder of the prom queen. The Mystery should be dangerous and affect everyone in the Town.

Telling the Story

First, let’s talk about the Director.

Each player takes a turn being the Director. Have a special token that indicates when a player is the Director. If you are the Director, you’re responsible for playing any characters who are not played by players and for running Scenes. If you are the Director, none of your characters appear in the Scene. If one of your characters appears in the Scene, you must surrender the Director Token to another player who does not have a character in the Scene. You choose who gets the Token. If you receive the Token and you have a character in the Scene, your character must find a reason to suddenly leave the Scene.

Second, let’s talk about Scenes.

The story is told in a series of Scenes. Typically, a Scene is limited to a physical location. Characters can walk in and out of Scenes, but when focus leaves the physical location, the Scene has changed. When you change a Scene, change Directors.

Gaining Danger

Characters can do anything in a Scene, but whenever they take an action the Director feels could a) put them in mental or physical danger, b) expose their Secret, or c) gets them closer to solving the Mystery, the character gains a point of Danger.

Whenever a character gains a point of Danger, roll a d6. If the d6 rolls lower than the character’s current Danger, the player must decide how the character is injured or changed in the current Scene. Their Secret may be revealed for the first time, they may find themselves tied up and left for dead in THE WOODS. This may include the character’s death. Remember, the player decides how their character changes. Use each point of Danger to say one thing that is now different about your character. This could be a physical difference, such as a scar. It could be a knowledge difference, such as something your character knew that she didn’t know before. Or, it could be a mental difference, such as a change in attitude toward another character or situation. For each change, reduce the amount of Danger by one.

Confronting the Mystery

Finally, characters may choose to confront the heart of the Mystery. If they do, they take all their Danger with them. They must choose a number of ways their character is changed by the Mystery. No rolling dice. Their character is permanently changed in a number of ways by confronting the Mystery equal to their current Danger.

* * *

Diane, it’s 4:55.

I’ve decided to see old Doc Whipple about this mole on my back. But the dream still lingers behind my eyes, affecting everything I see. I don’t think I’ll be the same after all of this, but often times, a place changes you more than you could have anticipated.

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Get out and Vote!

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Hey everybody!

Today in America is election day! And in case you felt like staying at home, I suggest you take a look through history—even fake history like 7th Sea—and remember what Americans fought and died for. Your right to choose our government.

I know the choices aren’t the best, but as someone who’s been voting since 1984, I can tell you, they never are. You might even say the choices are worse than they’ve ever been. Yeah, that might be true, but here’s something you should remember:

You’re not just voting for President.

Here in Arizona, we have a ton of important things and people to vote on. And if you think your vote doesn’t count, I have to say, you’re just not paying attention.

Go vote. And then come home, run an adventure in Vodacce or Montaigne and remember why.

Go vote!

Not sure where to vote? Find your polling place here.

A Candid Post About Depression

I’m supposed to write a blog post every week. Hannah, my Marketing Director, tells me so. And as I type those words, I have to ask myself, “When the hell did I get a Marketing Director?”

And then, I remember… oh, yeah. 7th Sea.

However, for the last five days, I’ve been in a deep depression. Like, struggle to get out of bed kinda depression. As in, my brain chemistry is so bad, when I stumbled across the Try Anything video from Zootopia, I started to cry. I didn’t even hit “play.” I just started to cry.

Okay. Time to visit the doctor for my meds.

I’ve suffered from clinical depression all my life. When I was a teenager, my life was awful. I had moved to Georgia with my family and was terrorized by bullies who knew how to make every day a living hell. I was small, geeky and from a state above the Mason Dixon line. That made me the perfect candidate for bullying. At school, none of the teachers were on my side. The kids all lied and covered for the bullies. The teachers, too. I tried suicide twice. Not cries for help, but legit suicide attempts. I had to be taken to the hospital. It wasn’t a good place to be.

Put on top of that a condition in my head that makes even the sunniest day look bleak. I didn’t need a reason to try suicide, I needed to find reasons not to. Every day was a struggle to find reasons not to just jump off a bridge. When I got a driver’s license, I was terrified. Now, I could just be driving down the road and my dark mood could take over. “Fuck it,” I’d say and twist the wheel into oncoming traffic.

Medications in the mid-80’s were awful. I was heavily medicated and while I no longer had thoughts of killing myself—most of the time—I felt slow and stupid. Without medication, I could read a Stephen King novel in an afternoon. On medication, I couldn’t read two pages without falling asleep. My school work suffered. A life-long A student, I was getting C’s and D’s. I couldn’t study. But at least I wasn’t trying to find ways to stay alive.

After a while, I stopped taking the medication. I couldn’t deal with it. I’d spent my life figuring out ways to keep myself alive, but I couldn’t live with the person I’d become while medicated. A therapist introduced me to cognitive therapy, changing the way I was thinking. I studied Buddhist meditation and discovered zen. And I played drums. A whole helluva lot of playing drums. My depression manifests as self-destruction. Hitting my drums as hard and fast as I could was a great substitute. It drove my parents insane, but it kept me alive.

All this week, I was supposed to turn in a blog post to Hannah. I kept putting it off, putting it off, putting it off. I was working on the Jaragua chapter for Pirate Nations and it was all I could do to just focus on that. And I was getting out of bed later and later…

So, it’s time to go back on medication for a while. This happens a few times a year. The medications are so much better now than they used to be. I don’t feel fatigued or like my head is full of cotton. I can focus and maintain my concentration. And I don’t feel like getting in my car, driving out to the freeway, and twisting the wheel into traffic.

For those of you who also suffer from depression but are afraid of medication, I understand. My experiences with antidepressants when I was younger kept me from trying the new ones. Let me assure you, human beings have made great progress in pharmacology over the last twenty years. And if you need them, you should get them. They help me. No matter what Tom Cruise might say.

Depression is an illness. Just like having a cold, just like measles, just like getting the flu. It’s a chemical imbalance. That’s all it is. You aren’t a bad person. You aren’t weak. Just like sickle cell anemia. Just like cancer. Nobody’s ashamed when they catch the flu. Nobody’s ashamed when they get a cold. It’s the same goddamn thing.

Evil Thrives on Silence

Bob Dylan performing at St. Lawrence University in New York, 1963.
Bob Dylan performing at St. Lawrence University in New York, 1963.

Just yesterday, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Since hearing the news, his words have been dancing around in my head, demanding attention. I was never a big Dylan fan when I was younger. I didn’t like his voice, felt his guitar playing was… adequate… and put my attention to musicians who were more devoted to playing in strange time signatures.

(Yes, I’m a Rush fan.)

But as I got older, I started appreciating his work more. Especially his poetry. Describing what makes Dylan’s words so special is not an easy task. The subtlety and nuance, the pure poetry of his lyrics… See, Rush fans are typically musicians because musicians can hear the complexity and nuance and poetry of the music. As a drummer, I could listen to Neil Peart play the skins all day long. Sure, watching him bang away with speed and accuracy is one thing, but knowing exactly what he’s doing, and then watching him do it… as a drummer, it’s simply amazing.

Now, a it turns out, I had to become a better writer to hear what Dylan was doing with words.

I was a Lovecraft fan when I was younger. Well, I still am, but less so now. Lovecraft’s prose was… well, let’s just say you don’t become a Lovecraft fan because of his prose. You become a Lovecraft fan because of his ideas. I had to put some on some miles—and read different writers—before I started gaining an appreciation for what Dylan was doing. But once I got it… I got it.

My favorite Dylan song always chokes me up. A play on the Lord Randall ballad, a mother sees her son who left home long ago, returning to the place of his birth. She asks, “Where have you been, my son?” and the balladeer answers, describing the places he’s seen since he left.

In Dylan’s version, the places he describes are nothing short of nightmares. Dark, miserable descriptions of the 1960’s. Awful places I’d never want to be or see or even think about.

I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it

I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it

I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’

Listening to the lyrics now, reminded that he wrote them in 1961, describing the things he’d seen and putting them down on the page. Seven years before I was born. But I look around now, and I see the same things he saw. The world hasn’t really changed all that much. Yes, the internet is here, and cops are still shooting black men face-down on the street. Yes, we can travel all the way around the world, and in this year’s election, we have to choose between the lesser of who cares. (Thank you Aaron Sorkin.) We eradicated Polio, only to have it show up again because people would rather listen to ex-Playboy bunnies than doctors. No, the world hasn’t changed all that much.

And, at the end, the mother asks her prodigal child, “What will you do now?” And the answer he gives is the part I choke up. Always.

After all the horror he’s seen, he hasn’t given up hope. Instead, he will go back into those awful places, singing the songs of hope he brought with him.

And I’ll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it

And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it

And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’

But I’ll know my song well before I start singing

Many of my friends tell me today’s political climate has murdered their hope. Looking at the world today does not fill my heart with despair. It reminds me that I’m not singing that song of hope loud enough. Others need to hear it. In the shadowy places where “none is the number,” they need to hear it. The hard rain that’s coming will wash all of the filth and heartbreak and hatred and scum away. It’s coming. You’ve got to believe me, it’s coming.

Evil thrives on silence. That’s why we cannot be silent. Speak. Shout. And sing. For all you’re worth, stand on the rooftop, stand on the mountain, stand in the gutter… and sing.

UnReview: Luke Cage

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I just finished watching the first four episodes of Luke Cage and after the first, I came to a realization.

I could not write this show.

The other two Marvel shows, I could have taken a swing at. I could write about Daredevil, I could have written about Jessica Jones. Whether or not the shows would have increased or decreased in quality isn’t the issue. I could have taken a swing at those shows and written with some skill.

I watched the first fifty minutes of Luke Cage and knew I wouldn’t have stood a chance at making something this awesome. Not only that, I would have been lost in the woods.

Back in the ‘90’s, Spike Lee took a lot of heat for saying a white man couldn’t direct a movie about Malcolm X. I understood what he meant at the time. My 10th grade Civics teacher was a black man. We were in Georgia. He had a picture of King and Malcolm on the wall. I knew who King was, but I had no idea who Malcolm was. So, he gave me a copy of Malcolm’s autobiography on a Friday. I read it all weekend. Stayed up at night. I burned through it like a Stephen King novel. I returned it on the following Monday. He was surprised I read it that fast and even suggested I hadn’t read it and gave me a small verbal quiz. Then, he asked me what I thought.

I told him, “I understand why you don’t trust white people.” Then, I said, “In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t trust white people anymore.”

So, when Spike Lee said a white man couldn’t make a Malcolm X movie, I understood what he meant. The same goes for Luke Cage.

Sure, I could write a Luke Cage script, but it would not have the nuance or substance this show has. It wouldn’t have the same dialogue, the same nuance. I would have never thought to put the Notorious B.I.G. on Cottonmouth’s wall. I couldn’t write the basketball dialogue. I wouldn’t know the black authors and poets to invoke. In short, I would have made the script white. And Luke Cage isn’t white.

I love this show. I can’t express how much I love it. I spent five years in Georgia, and for three of those years, I was steeped in black culture. That’s because I was a kid from the North. The white kids literally tortured me. For the latter part of my life in Georgia, most of my friends were black. The black kids didn’t trust me at first, but I earned that trust. Even still, that was a long time ago and I was still an outsider. But I learned blues and jazz from men and women who played and sang. I learned how to tell stories from an 80-year-old black man, sitting on a back porch, drinking sweet tea. But I was still an outsider.

Watching Luke Cage reminds me the world is a lot bigger than I see. Luke’s Harlem may as well be on the other side of the world. The language is different. The culture is different. If I stepped into Luke’s world, I’d be stumbling around helplessly trying to figure things out.

But the people are people. They care about family and friendship. They care about keeping your word. They love good food, good music and good sex. And…

… hey, let’s stop for a moment and talk about how amazing the music is on this show? Marvel, can I haz soundtrack, please? Please?!?!?

Luke Cage is a hero. A different kind of hero who lives in a different kind of world. It’s a world that I’ve seen as an outsider, but I could never write with the degree of authenticity and urgency this show has. If I wrote Luke Cage, it would be his story through the eyes of a white man. And that would be a goddamn shame.

Oops. Swear jar. Sorry Pops.

My Wonder Woman

EXT. DAY – TWO DAYS AFTER DIANA’S FIRST APPEARANCE AS WW IN NY

PANEL ONE

JESSIE WILKINS, a professional ambush reporter, approaches DIANA after she stops a bank robbery. He rushes up, putting the microphone directly in her face. DIANA looks confused.

WILKINS
Wonder Woman! Can you answer a few questions for me! Why are you dressed this way? Do you think it’s a good example for young girls?

DIANA
Excuse me?

PANEL TWO

WILKINS pushes closer, pressing on the advantage of confusion.

WILKINS
Do you think you’re a good example for young girls running around dressed in your underwear?

PANEL THREE

Close up of DIANA as glares at WILKINS, not saying a word.

PANEL FOUR

Same shot. DIANA responds.

DIANA
Where I come from, we celebrate the human body as beautiful and we do not shame our children into believing they must cover themselves.

WILKINS
So you…

DIANA
On your way to speak to me, you rushed by a man sitting on the corner with a sign that says, “Will work for food.” And you did it without any pause or hesitation.

PANEL FIVE

WILKINS
So you believe you are a positive influence—

DIANA
That is a man who is literally begging for the right to live. Begging for the right to survive another day. And you did it without thinking. Because you have seen it a thousand times a day and it means nothing to you. A man who is literally begging for the right to live. And you are not disgusted by it. Or disgraced by it. Or dishonored by it.

PANEL SIX

DIANA begins flying away, holding the homeless man. WILKINS holding up the microphone. She looks down at him.

WILKINS
—a positive influence on young girls?

DIANA
And yet you persist. You are a pathetic creature. Go home and apologize to your mother that you have dishonored her so miserably. She deserves better than the likes of you.

 

UnReview: Suicide Squad

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A desperate plea to all screenwriters. Please stop trying to destroy the Earth. Or, if you’re gonna do it, have some guts and actually do it.

I have a notion for a Star Trek campaign for my friends. They’re Federation cops on the fringe of Federation space handling smugglers, renegade Klingon captains and other miscreants. Their ship is small (a command crew of five with a squad of marines) but heavily armored and armed. Yes, they try to use diplomacy, but their job sometimes calls for a little firepower.

They stumble on a shapeshifter plot to destroy Earth and cripple the Federation. They capture one of the conspirators and with the help of a Vulcan mind meld, they discover the details of the plot. They send the information back to Earth—they’re on the fringe remember?—and start heading back to help and drop off their shapeshifter buddy.

Then, the Earth blows up.

All Federation computers go down. All starships have to be manually rebooted and are helpless while doing so. Sixty minutes of emergency life support and nothing else.

The shapeshifters invade with the Romulan Empire.

The Klingon Empire divides into two factions: those who want to help their allies and those who are ready to exact revenge.

The Vulcans look at the situation and come to the only logical conclusion to save their species: they surrender.

Everything’s fucked. Every. Thing. Is. Fucked.

And our little police ship—with a crew of five, some marines and a shapeshifter in the brig—are on their own.

If you’re gonna blow up the world, have the guts to blow up the fucking world.

So. We were talking about Suicide Squad...

My friend Rob Justice (www.robjustice.net) ran a Suicide Squad game for our online group last year. I had a blast. We all had a blast. Rob understood the comic is about consequences and choices. The characters not only pay for the consequences of their past lives, but pay for the consequences of their choices in the Squad. Folks die. A lot of folks die. Our first mission had us waking up in mid-drop, plummeting toward the ground. We all pulled our parachutes… and Kraven the Hunter’s shoot didn’t open. He went splat.

Was that intentional? Was it an accident? Was it a message? We didn’t know and our boss wasn’t telling.

That’s how our game started.

My favorite session involved Amanda Waller ordering us to find and kill The Batman. We spent four hours talking about it. How we would do it, if we should do it, if we should just run. I asked Waller, “Can I have a suitcase nuke?” She said, “Yes.” And gave it to me.

Shit got real after that.

But the game was always about the consequences of our choices. The World’s Greatest Thief, the World’s Greatest Assassin, the World’s Greatest Mastermind and the World’s Greatest Imposter. Others died around us, and we knew we could die at any moment. And our choices mattered. Our choices got other folks killed. And maimed. And splatted.

Because that, my friends, is what Suicide Squad is about: choices and consequences. Everything else is bells and whistles.

And so, when the movie came out, with all of us in one place at Gen Con, we conspired to see it together. A little drunk. Well, the world conspired against us and that didn’t happen, so I saw it myself this morning.

I really liked the beginning. I liked the style of it. Liked the introduction of Deadshot and Harley Quinn. The others… eh. Oh, except for Diablo. I loved Diablo. But more on that later.

I love “gathering the team.” And that’s exactly what the first act of this film was. The director made it fun, the actors made it interesting and I was thinking, “Why do people hate this movie so much.”

Then, the second act started. And I wished I was doing anything else. Such as laundry.

You see, the plot has our anti-heroes going after a villain who wants to destroy the world. Is she going to succeed?

NO. OF COURSE NOT. ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID????

Of course she’s not going to succeed because that would mean the end of the DC Cinematic Universe. And because this is Warner Brothers, they’re not going to do anything remotely that interesting or daring or challenging.

Instead, we make sure to get plenty of shots of Harley’s ass. Make sure she bends over, boys. As often as you fucking can.

 

Now, let me stop right there for a quick aside. Because I have something to say about Margot Robbie. She saved this fucking movie for me. Her performance sold me. She knows the Harley Quinn character. She’s perfect for the role. This is despite all the bullshit dialogue they throw at her, despite all the cheesecake shots, despite all the… well, despite the film itself doing its best to bury her performance.

And Will Smith delivers. He gets an opportunity to play a real bad ass. And he milks it for all he’s worth. I don’t know for certain—in fact, I’m just guessing—but I believe his best lines were written by him or improvised on the spot. Will Smith’s Deadshot is a real motherfucker and I like him. Despite the fact the film does its best to bury his performance.

And let’s talk for a moment about Jay Hernandez in the role of Diablo. Goddamn, I loved him. I loved this character. I bought it. There’s a bit at the very end that made me stand up and cheer. Granted, I was in a mostly empty theater, but I did it anyway. My buddy Mark Diaz Truman needs to see this movie for Hernandez’s performance. I’m telling him that as soon as I get done here.

 

So, anyway, back to the whole blowing up the world bit. The second act begins with the Squad crash landing on the outside of the city where all this shit’s going on and they have to hoof it to the huge beam of light flashing into the sky to stop Zul from opening the…

… yeah. It’s the plot from the first Ghostbusters. Fucking hell.

So, like Frodo and Sam, they walk to the fucking big beam of flashing light. And that’s when the plot grinds to a dead halt. We get a fight scene we know they’re gonna win because they have to get to the big beam of light. And they have another fight scene we know they’re gonna win because they have to get to the big beam of light. And Harley has a solo fight scene so we can prove she’s a real bad ass in high heels and a thong and we know she’s gonna win because…

… you get the point.

Everything that happens after the crash landing bored me to fucking tears because I know where all this is going. We’re gonna get to the big beam of light, they’re gonna fight the villain, they’re gonna win. And maybe—just maybe—some of them are gonna die.

Deadshot? Not a chance.

Harley Quinn? Not a chance.

Killer Croc? He has maybe two lines of dialogue, so I don’t give fuck all about him.

Captain Boomer—

… sorry. I had to stop myself from crying/laughing. Captain Fucking Boomerang.

In other words, you know exactly who’s disposable and who isn’t. Unfortunately, they kill off the most interesting non-disposable character—if you’re paying attention, you know who that is—which also made me wish I was doing anything else.

Because I know how this all ends. The Squad beats the villain, saves the world and goes right back to their cells. I’m not intrigued. I’m pretty fucking far from intrigued. And when you kill my favorite character… yeah, you can fuck right the hell off.

I really liked the first act. I liked it a lot. But the movie misses the entire point of the comic.

Choices and consequences. They don’t matter in this universe. We’ve seen that in the Zack Snyder movies. Choices and consequences don’t matter.

In Suicide Squad, they’re the only things that do matter. Except in this film.

In this film, the only thing that matters is walking to the inevitable ending.

 

 

 

BATMAN v (supersomeguymaybe) PLUS WONDER OMG WOMAN

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Before I begin, I feel the need to reintroduce my concept of an “unreview.”

I write reviews using e-prime, a linguistical tool that excludes all uses of the verb “to be.” In other words, I can’t say “the movie is bad” or “the plot is confusing” or anything like that. I put this limitation on myself because I feel most reviewers would be out of a job if they couldn’t utilize that language. Instead of telling you whether or not the movie is good or bad, I just talk about my own reactions to it. My own highly subjective reactions that you evaluate on your own. Using e-prime also assists a writer in getting rid of a pesky little habit known as “passive voice.” If you want to learn how to write, I suggest you try it sometime.

Also, in reference to reviewers of any kind, I highly suggest you remain skeptical of anyone who makes a living criticizing the creative accomplishments of others.

Oh, and I’m including spoilers. Just so you know.

 

 

Now, in other mediums (cough-cough-Facebook-cough) I expressed some doubts about Zach Snyder directing a second Superman film. In fact, I think I expressed doubts on whether or not anyone should allow Zach Snyder to direct any movie ever again. However, I decided to check out this latest my adoration for Superman demanded I check out this film.

I liked Gal Gadot. She looks right, sounds right, moves right. My friend Mike said that when he first saw her—the way she moved, the slinky red dress, the way she was flirting with Bruce—that he thought she was Selina Kyle. I could see that. My (very healthy) preoccupation with Wonder Woman means I could not make that mistake, but after some reflection, I could see why he would. And I liked the way she looked in the costume. Although, I couldn’t parse out why she wanted her picture back. Because she didn’t want a picture, she wanted a digital copy of a picture which… well, I didn’t understand that part. Maybe because I was distracted by the fact every outfit she wore directed by eyes to about three inches below her shoulders. Not that I’m complaining! I like her shoulders very much.

I thought this Bruce Wayne was the most comic book Bruce Wayne we’ve seen yet. What I mean by that is, this whole movie felt like a Batman comic. Out of all the Bruce Waynes I’ve seen on the screen, I like Ben Affleck’s the best. I like the news about him getting to write and direct his own Batman movie. I think I will like that one more than this one. Although, I have to say, if we’re going with a Batman who kills people—and he kills a lot of people in this movie—I can’t think of a reason why the Joker is still alive in the DC Cinematic Universe. A Batman with such a casual attitude toward murder would not allow the Joker to take ten more steps. Harley Quinn, neither. In fact, half the cast of Suicide Squad should be in the ground. Batman murders gangsters without blinking an eyelash, he sure as shit ain’t lettin’ the Joker walk away. He’d take one look at that crazy sumbitch and PLLLLTHTHTHTH no more Joker. Which also made me wonder why Lex Luther was alive at the end of all this. Batman killed his cronies, why didn’t he kill Lex? Hm. Questions to ponder.

I felt the initial scene of Wayne in Gotham should have started the film. I’ve seen Batman’s folks killed a thousand times already, I don’t need to see it in Zach Snyder Slow Motion (TM). In fact, those moments really took my breath away, that shot of everyone running away from the wreckage and ruin and Wayne running toward it? That moment communicated more to me about who this Bruce Wayne is than anything else in the movie. I like this Bruce Wayne. Which made all the moments after that one really difficult for me to watch.

I didn’t like Batman and Superman threatening to kill each other. Not at all.

And I don’t like being ahead of the detective. For those of you who don’t read mysteries, “being ahead of the detective” is when you feel like you’ve figured out the mystery before the protagonist does. In this movie, I know from the first second of the film that Superman is a hero (e-prime protocol break there; my apologies). I know this, but Batman does not. Which means throughout the entire film, I’m ahead of Batman. I’m smarter than Batman. And it isn’t until the very end of the film that Batman catches up to the audience. I didn’t like that. Not one bit.

As for other stuff I liked…

Um…

Uh…

Yeah.

Gal Gadot looked fantastic. I understand Snyder isn’t directing the Wonder Woman movie. I’m glad about that.

And if I have to suffer through this movie to get an Affleck Batman… after seeing Gone Baby GoneThe Town and Argo, I’m good with that.