deus ex machina

All I ask of a Superhero

Iron Man
Image via Wikipedia

A couple of people took me to task for my take on Iron Man 2. I like to think of myself as a simple man, but maybe that isn't true anymore.

Rethinking my expectations

I started reading comics as a kid.  Batman, Green Lantern, The Hulk, and the X-men were some of my favorites.  Growing up, superheroes were pure escapism.  Granted some of the characters had family problems, personal problems, and even Batman lost a Robin, but the stories were all larger than life.

Superhero flicks are still larger than life, but they have more "realistic problems."

  • Batman is a male Paris Hilton who fights crime.
  • Peter Parker wouldn't know what to do with the girl if he got her.
  • Tony Stark is rotting away from a self-inflicted disease + he is a male Paris Hilton who doesn't fight crime, he is bringing about world peace.

Holding out for a Hero!

Ok, everyone knows that I am a huge Bonnie Tyler fan, but every time I watch one of these movies, I hear her in the back of my head:

Where have all the good men gone And where are all the gods? Where's the street-wise Hercules To fight the rising odds? Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed? Late at night I toss and turn and dream of what I need

I need a hero I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night He's gotta be strong And he's gotta be fast And he's gotta be fresh from the fight I need a hero I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light He's gotta be sure And it's gotta be soon And he's gotta be larger than life

I want a superhero who is, well a hero.  They don't have to be perfect, and well they can have basic human flaws, but at the end of the day, they need to be a hero!

Returning to Iron Man 2, I thought Whiplash made a good case against the Stark family, and Tony just acted like the spoiled brat Whiplash thought he was.  I actually found myself wanting Whiplash to win.  I can't stand whiny, self-important bitches, and that is all I saw in Tony.  His womanizing turned me off, and his self-pity made me roll my eyes.  He dug his own grave, and I was ready to see him lay in it.

Escapism and Realism

I think my biggest issue with the film is that I was really looking for some pure escapism from the movie. That is what I look for in a superhero movie.

I watch a superhero for action, mystery, and pure escapism. Watching a super hero struggle with illness was outside the realm of what I wanted to see, especially with people in my life actually struggling with various illnesses that do not have a magical deus ex machina serum.  It felt like salt in the wound.

The illness reminded me of my real life, and the magic cure just upset me.  I went to see a movie where a superhero and super-villain tangled with each other until the film climaxed in a super-mega-ultra battle.

The movie, like all (not so) superhero movies since Batman Begins, opened with scenes of stark realism... but it is a superhero movie!!  Superheroes just aren't realistic, and films cannot serve two masters.

I am not sure exactly when escapism became a bad word, but my life is complicated enough.  Sometimes I just want to walk into a dark cave and forget about my real life for a couple of hours.  It might sound petty, but that is it.

I want a great, escapist spectacle from time to time, but more than anything, I want filmmakers to be honest with me and with their material.  If the movie is not an action movie, don't tell me it is.  If the movie is not a smart, well written think piece, be good with that.  Just don't pretend one is the other, and stop telling yourself you can be both at the same time.

A half-assed story with half-assed action is just a half-assed movie.  Two half-assed jobs never make a whole.

I know some of you liked the movie.  Great!  I wish I was one of you.  Keep having fun, and sharing. It is good to hear contrary opinions.  Just remember, we don't have to love the same things, we just need to help each other find more things we can all enjoy.

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Project:Shadow 2007 November Newsletter

Hey everyone! Are you concerned about keeping up to date as to the latest sci-fi / fantasy / horror news? Are you just boiling with rage over the casting for the new Star Trek film? Would you like to talk with other like minded fans of sci-fi / fantasy / horror? Then join us at the Project:Shadow HQ where you can share with us your favorite finds or talk about your latest fascination. The conversation is here!

What’s New

Matt gets a great write up in on the ( Community member Matthew Wayne Selznick received a great write up that talked about all of his current projects. The article highlighted Matthew's DIY ethic and podcast Writers Talking. This is a great article, if you haven't read it yet check it out at ( If you have some news you would like to share with us then log into the HQ and share it we would love to hear about it.

Release information for next episode of Fates Harrow, Black Moon Rising: The next episode of Fates Harrow, Black Moon Rising is finished and shall be published through the amazon shorts program any day now. Sorry we can't give you any more information as to a specific date. You can get your copy through the Project:Shadow store and if you haven't already you can get the other episodes Deus Ex Machina, and Night Terror.

Get your one stop holiday shopping with us at Project:Shadow. We set up a store so that you can get your holiday shopping done in one stop, stores include Amazon, Hot Topic, and Sharper Image. We also have cool t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise available.


Share your opinion on the newest forum discussion: Who's at fault for all of the remakes we see today. In the discussion we want to take a look at why or what cause has lead us to seeing so many remakes and rehashing and why there isn't a lot of new projects being produced? Is it the producers fault. It is easier to invest money into a known project that has an established audience. It is easier to market and sell something that already has a known franchise behind it because for the most part if it is already established all you need to do is mention the franchise and the audience will try it and buy it. Is it the consumers fault. As consumers how do we find out what is new? How do we find out what is good? Are we lazy or do not have enough time to seek out and or try new things. Do we not have enough money to buy into new things only to have them turn out bad and are not willing to risk our money on something that is not established Is it the fault of too much stuff because there is too much new stuff coming out so the only way to be heard and discovered is to ride in on the franchise of something already established.

National Novel Writing Month: This is National Novel Writing Month! Throughout the month of November writers sign up to try and write 50,000 words in 30 days. It's a great exercise and a lot of fun. If you are signed up and are feverishly writing away stop in the HQ and share your experience with us.

C.E. Dorsett is doing a video blog for National Novel Writing Month in November: Eric is working on writing a novel this month for National Novel Writing Month. If you would like to follow along and see how he is doing then catch his video blog at

We Love Net Flix! We have been a member of Netflix for more than five years now and it is great! Before that we would spend one to three hours in the video store every Friday looking and trying to decide what video we wanted to rent (a large chunk of this time was spent trying to remember what videos were out that we wanted to see), spend all that money on the rentals, and then have to go through the hassle of trying to watch and return the video so that we would not get charged a late fee. This terrible experience was flipped with Netflix. Now we have a list of videos that we want to see set up. Whenever we see a trailer for a movie or show that we want to rent we just add it to our list and when it gets released to dvd about a year latter the video just arrives! Now every week we get excited waiting for the mail to arrive so that we can see what new videos arrive. We watch them when we get time to watch them. Then when we are done watching it (in some cases this can take several weeks to accomplish partially due to some hectic event that takes up all of our time and in some situations it's because we end up watching it over and over again) we just drop it in the mail. If you don't already use Netflix then go to the ProjectShadow store get signed up!

Listen Live, daily, to our new podcast Project:Shadow Informant: We are doing a live podcast Monday through Friday at 1:30 est on talk shue ( You can also stream the podcast or download it. On the Project:Shadow Informant we cover news and topics related to the speculative fiction culture. Its great fun and a nice way to keep up as per what is going on, join us!

Share your favorite video clip with the group: We now have 76 videos available to members at the ProjectShadow HQ that have been shared to us by members of the groups. Its a great way to share your great finds with everyone and also a great way to catch the coolest, neatest new videos that are out.

Chapters 2 & 3 are up on the liquid sky erratta! Yes the next two chapters are done and available for members to read and share their input. The new fixes are really looking great and takes the reading experience of Liquid Sky to a whole new level.

Have you uploaded your fun photos yet? We now have 98 photos available for the members to enjoy on the HQ. If you have some fun photos that you would love to share with the group then go to the HQ and add them.

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