“Gone, gone the form of man…And rise the Demon Etrigan”
The latest animated movie from our friends at DC has our favorite vigilante provide assistance to individuals who aren’t exactly known for capes and tights…mate.
For me, the standout moments of this feature was of course Matt Ryan returning as John Constantine (never should have canceled that show NBC) and all of the resentment and dislike he garnered from pretty much every character he interacted with. Also, as a memoir to us fans of the series proper, a nice remix of Constantine’s theme throughout the film. Now having Zatanna having a past with John instead of with Batman (a la Justice League Unlimited) made their relationship a little more cohesive but got a little grating on the nerves at certain points. Boston Brand (they never called him by his Deadman codename) served as this film’s comedy…enjoyed his initial reaction of “why is Batman even here?” We get Etrigan the Demon’s backstory and I love the fact that he rhymes and the film really makes him to be a powerhouse as does another character introduced…Swamp Thing. Did not know the Avatar of the Green was basically nature’s answer to Martian Manhunter.
The movie didn’t feel like a new sub-section of the Justice League taking off as it was more of Batman coming to accept more of the mystical aspects of the opposition he faces. (Even though Wonder Woman disproves this at the beginning of film and their later battle with Faust). Putting it up against the last Justice League movie (Versus Teen Titans), doesn’t stand up quite against it. Not a bad film but of the 8 Justice League animated movies…the first one (New Frontier) to me is still the weakest, but it doesn’t move up higher than that.
This is more of a Monday “Night” Gotham. Reason being, went and saw WWE Royal Rumble last night in San Antonio and didn’t get back till late today. And of course, the winter finale for Gotham. What can I say that hasn’t been said already, or rather what can I feel that all of you out there already have experienced? So instead of going into the episode proper…let’s talk about one of my favorite lines (and I’m sure it’s someone else’s too).
“I will not kill.” – Bruce Wayne Season 3: Episode 14: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
Some people look at others and say ‘holier than thou’. Others look and say ‘morally corrupt’. All of us have standards and practices that we try to follow. But regardless where we fall on the morality scale, there are still some universal things that should be understood across the board. But even then, with racial lines, cultural lines and especially religious lines…what’s understood is not always what’s agreed upon. I love that Bruce established his line as he prepares to become the Dark Knight someday. Having one set up in place keeps us from going too far. When a person has no limitations place upon him, sometimes circumstances or just sheer force of will can make someone redefine what their limits are or even if they should have any at all. In my opinion that only makes you reckless. We all should strive to place limiters on our lives to keep us from just doing any and everything without considering how this affects you and the people around you.
Some things you just can’t come back from…you can’t step back over the line. So show love and appreciation for the people you see everyday.
The biggest motif about superheroes, (and for those of us with hero complexes) is the need to hide our identity behind a hood, cowl, or mask. But what happens when the “face” we put on overtakes the person we are trying to be? Is that even a bad thing? Tonight’s Gotham sees Dwight, one of Jerome’s biggest disciples, become such a component in his “reanimation” that he literally will wear Jerome’s face as a mask…surrendering with his hands up.
“Poor, blind baby. It’s always hardest to see what’s right under our noses.” – Barbara Season 3: Episode 11 – Beware the Green-Eyed Monster
Sometimes the idea of taking on a persona becomes stronger than the very ideals we try to uphold. I mean look at Batman…the line between the Bat and Bruce Wayne has blurred and sharpened drastically over the long history of the character. A lot of us have to be more than just our regular old selves to get through certain aspects of our day. Does that make us faceless? Should we be able to be just ourselves and let that be the end of it? The truth is that all of us have an innate desire to do more, to be more. We all want to be better, stronger than we were before. To do that, some of us have to look deep inside of ourselves and tap into something that may or may not have existed. Others may have to just change altogether. I know what that’s like. Being seen one way and placed in this fixed position can leave you feeling under-valued, unappreciated. That becomes the seed that grows into the desire to want to break out from up under one’s former characteristics.
I don’t have a secret identity. Yet, the mask I wear does differentiate me from the man I once was. Sometimes, we don’t always lose ourselves in our new personas…we might even gain an identity in of itself. To have a mission, to have purpose, to have reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other…maybe we aren’t so faceless after all?
The big takeaway for tonight’s episode is the return of Jerome.
“I said Jerome’s in the house…watch ya mouth!” Wrong show, but seriously who else has been waiting for this. Hugo Strange’s resurrection program as it were, combined with Jerome’s murder (by Theo Galavan) last season…should be some interesting developments but I’m not here to talk about any of that. Let’s go back a bit and quickly analyze a line from Mr. Valeska’s more memorable messages.
“Why be a cog…be free, like us!” – Jerome Valeska sending a message to the GCPD
Season 2, Episode 2: Knock, Knock (Rise of the Villains)
So what exactly is the deciding factor when it comes to the decisions that we make? It is family, personal gain, pride, loyalty? The expression, “Freedom ain’t free” makes a lot of sense when you factor in the military overtones it serves. But what about for regular people who just work a normal job…people who make up the framework behind some of these big companies; the cogs in the huge machines. Does being free mean not having to be a little man amidst a bigger plan? Yes. Key word not having to be. The true cost of being free lies in an even greater power source: choice. The deciding choice that determines winners, losers, victories, defeats on a daily basis. I know I can be viewed as a cog, a spoke on the wheel and am at the mercy of my employers. Sometimes it’s not about bringing down the machine in order to be free. I think Jerome, in the Gotham sense wants to prove that while he may be a part of grander design, he can still operate independently, apart from whatever said plans may or may not have for him. When you are good at what you do, somebody will be willing to compensate for your services. Knowing this, means that while you may be a cog, you can be one that can exist in any machine and that is a level of freedom that pays for itself.
What is your next big decision? Will it allow you to be more restricted or offer you more flexibility? Let that be you deciding factor.
Gotham was a show that I really wanted to get into when it first came out…and it was a chore to get through when it first started. It ended up turning me off the show all together. Season 2 happened, I caught one episode and it pulled me back into its universe and now I find myself looking forward to the show each week like some of my other favorite superhero related shows. I thought about reviewing Gotham week to week, talking about the episode proper and what to look forward to next. But there are so many little aspects of Gotham that I really like thematically and rather than try to explore them within the Gotham universe or even the Batman-related universe itself…I’m going to give perspective on individual lines or scenes from different episodes and briefly talk about them in a more real-world format. I really want to give people a reason to think about certain aspects of their own lives and how they can be explored.
Season 3, Episode 4: New Day Rising
Selina says to the Bruce Doppelganger after he assumes she doesn’t know what it feels like to be alone, “People are overrated.”
The expression “one step forward and two steps back” is always used to describe individuals who seemingly demonstrate some growth in their life but ultimately fall back into their old patterns, whatever they may be. Selina suggests that the Bruce Wayne clone is better off alone rather than him wanting to explore the idea of having a friend or at the very least someone actually caring about him. I hear so many people talk about how they need to mind their own business or want to be left to wallow in their own suffering because they feel its what they deserve. Most of us have experienced our own varying degrees of hardship and pain in our lives. So I do not disagree with the “overrated” quantifier when it comes to people in general.
I do ask this question. Is life really that much more interesting if we all just walked through it and not interact with nobody? It is very easy to grow tired of people. Work or play, people are almost always involved and sometimes you just want that feeling of being the center of your own universe. In the same breath, the universe is a big place and loneliness can rob you of all the oxygen in your atmosphere if you let it.
I have a “hero complex” admittedly and there are times where I feel like no one gets me and I’m all alone in places where everyone knows who I am. But are people themselves overrated? I don’t think so. For all the faults and stresses that humanity brings to the table…it’s still good to be seated and see someone across from you who’s just trying to get something to eat too.
Just the other day, his heart became heavy
Without understanding the bevy of emotions that would overtake him
As the oceans’ waves carry the tree limb of his arduous decision away
He wishes to stay, he wishes he could say
Yet these words carry an empty power
To influence but never change, to entice but not rearrange
It is far more lonely than just being alone
His moments simulate what he wants to be real
They stimulate how he wishes he could feel
Fleeting, is it not?
Needing, wanting, hoping for a spot, for a shot
Becoming light and weightless, remembering what faith is
And having to stand where time continues to go on