Monday, May 30, 2016

Beauty and the Beast is Coming!

They say there's nothing new under the sun, but that doesn't always turn out to be a bad thing. Take Disney's decision to turn their princess movies into live-action films--brilliant.

I'm sure there are people who disagree with me, but I don't care. Disney says "Original animated features with live actors" and the part of me that is still in third grade responds, "ERMAHGERD YAAASSS."

I’m excited for this movie, not just because I love the casting, but because of the hope the recent live-action Cinderella gave me. I was always a Belle and Ariel kind of girl, so the announcement of a new Cinderella movie didn’t get my heart racing. I thought it would be cute and fun, but not much more.

And then... it turned out to be one of my favorite movies. I know adorable princess stories aren’t for everyone, but the depth the studio added to the story was fantastic. I loved seeing the relationship the prince had with his father, as well as a few better reasons for Cinderella to stick with her evil stepmother and stepsisters.

Knowing what they did with Cinderella makes me even more excited for Beauty and the Beast. It also worries me. I love the story of Beauty and the Beast. I don’t care whether it’s the Disney animated film or the 1946 French film. Robin McKinley loves the tale so much she wrote two versions in novel form (and I love both of them). Beauty has gotten me through every crappy life situation since I first picked it up. When relationships go sour and my career heads toward the drain, I pick up Beauty*.

You can understand why I’m a little nervous to see what they’re going to do with one of my all-time favorite characters. I mean, I even look like her, you guys. Come on. 

The music from the trailer gave me goosebumps. The castle looks gorgeous. Emma Watson’s is brilliant and classy and the perfect pick for this part. I am worried that the screenplay won’t match my imagination. I’m worried I won’t love it as much as I loved Cinderella simply because I have so much more at stake…

How do you feel about Disney remaking their classic animated films as live-action movies?

Little Michelle used to dress up in a bright blue poodle skirt and white blouse to watch Beauty and the Beast. She can still sing along with every song. 
You can find Michelle here on Mondays, or on Twitter almost every other day as @redactionaire. 

*I also love Spindle’s End. Really just anything Robin McKinley writes. She’s wonderful. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Shock Factor Fail

If you follow comics at all, you probably heard about Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, and the shock factor Marvel is using to market the new Captain America comic run. If you haven't, long story short: in the first issue of the latest comic run, Steve Rogers is apparently revealed to be Hydra agent. The link above has a fantastic look at some of the multiple reasons why this is problematic, but I'm not going to use it as more than a jumping off point for this particular post.

There's a tendency in creative circles (especially when we get into marketing, but a lot of new authors do it, too) to use shock factor in an attempt to make people care about products, stories, or characters. You know, killing characters off just to surprise the audience, or suddenly having a character betray everything they've stood for without any sort of foreshadowing. Things of that nature. Anything that shocks and surprises the reader out of nowhere. I think it's often a writer's attempt to salvage what they feel is a story that isn't working or has gotten boring, but it backfires more often than it works.

The problem with using shock factor to try and make your story interesting again is that it tends to pull the reader out of the world you've created. That isn't to say you shouldn't try to surprise your readers (who doesn't love a good plot twist?), but you need to make sure that any twist makes sense, can be seen in hindsight, and isn't there just to try to get a reaction--of disgust, anger, whatever--from your audience. A shock twist makes the reader ask what the heck is going on and, at least for this reader, makes them put down the book.

So take a look at your plot twists and surprises. Ask yourself if you're putting them in just for shock value or if they add something to the plot and character development. Sometimes it's not easy to tell the difference as the creator, so ask for outside opinions. Especially if your twist is going to involve a good guy apparently revealing connections with a world-destroying hate group like Hydra.

Emily is thoroughly disappointed in Marvel at the moment. She's sure there will be some twist eventually revealed to ensure that Steve isn't actually a Hydra agent, but that only really makes it worse. So, to make herself feel better, she's going to build a cave out of her Image and Aftershock comics and soak up the good-feels of Saga and Insexts until she's not angry any more.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

When to Stop Writing

A lot of aspiring writers ask the question: "When do I stop writing?" Or, "When should I give up?"

Well, that's a personal question with complicated answers. A lot of writers, agents, and editors have tackled that question, but they all boil down to the same answer (NOTE: Chuck Wendig can be in-your-face, but his advice is good, in my opinion. Click that link at your own risk).

I've thought about walking away from writing many times, especially after I hit that 100th rejection and had yet to get a single request for pages. But pitching, querying, and publishing are things you DO with your writing, they are not, in and of themselves, writing. As Chuck Wendig said (see the link above), to write, you have to sit down and WRITE.

Life around the Beyond the Trope crew is getting pretty crazy. For all of us. At any given point in the last year, we've all looked around and thought, "How much easier would it be if we didn't have this desire to create stories?" Personally, I've hit a point where that'll hit me about once ever ten days. Yes, that frequently. A busy schedule that barely allows for writing time, combined with life complications that have to be dealt with, lead to a desire to simply walk away from the one thing that isn't "producing results." If I'm not writing, I have more time to spend with my wife. More time to consider long-term career options. More time to rest and recover from the daily slog of beating up my body in a warehouse job.

But I don't give up, and there's one simple reason: I love writing. It's part of who I am. The writing itself isn't, but the fact that I can sit down, think of a scenario, and craft that into a story is something special for me. It's hard work, sure, and it takes a lot of time to reach a point where those stories are good enough for other people to enjoy them (still working on that part). My life without writing might be "easier," but it wouldn't be better.

Which begs the question: when should a writer STOP writing? Well, I would say that a writer should never STOP writing altogether, but there are times when they should walk away from a project. And that's when the project is utter trash, or when the time they spend "fixing it" is simply making it different and not better (or worse).

Listen to any of our Trunk Novel episodes. Many of those books are unfixable. They've been hammered at, revised, or just clumsily started. So, like a statue that's been carved nearly to the point of collapse, anything we try to do to fix them will only cause problems. For that and many other reasons, we each made the decision to walk away. And move on to the NEXT project. It's important to finish what you start, but don't waste time on something that will never be "good." The tough part, especially early on, is figuring out when something IS good, when it has potential. And, also, when it's beyond hope. That requires a lot of study, practice, and reading (read inside AND outside your genre!). It will never happen if you give up.

Here's my challenge to you, especially if you're on the verge of quitting: go write something. Anything. And finish the first draft. Then rewrite it. Get a complete SECOND draft. Then find two or three readers you can trust (people who will tell you the TRUTH, not try to be "nice") and get them to read it. They need to tell you what works and what doesn't. Then take those notes and revise again. If, after that point, you don't think the story can be improved, start over from step one. Repeat endlessly.

No matter what, though, if you've reached the point where you revised AFTER beta readers got a hold of it, put that story in a drawer if you decide to walk away. Don't throw it out. Some day, when you're older, wiser, and more skilled, you may be able to use pieces of that story, or even rework the whole thing, and turn it into something great.

Long answer short: don't walk away from writing. Learn when to walk away from projects, then start new projects. This isn't an easy task, but that's why we write, right?

This blog post is as much of a challenge to Giles as it is to his readers. Never fear, though: he will follow his own advice. Eventually.

Monday, May 23, 2016

When Reading Becomes Writing

When people ask me what books inspired me to become a writer, my gut instinct is usually to say, “Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series.” Lately, I’ve realized that isn’t true. While I loved, and still love, those books, they weren’t the first or only books to get me excited about storytelling.

My real/complete answer isn’t as straightforward as I’d like. I’ve always been addicted to stories. I had books everywhere—in my backpack, by the TV, in the car, by my bed. I brought books to birthday parties so I didn’t have to deal with the inevitable drama of elementary and middle school girls. When I wasn’t reading, I wrote stories about floods that introduced telepathic dolphins to Denver, kids who woke up from a coma in the wrong world, and 10 year-olds who saved the galaxy from a group that was suspiciously similar to the Sith as ruled by Rita Repulsa*.

I read Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Jane Austen before I ever read anything like Garth Nix’s Sabriel or Robin McKinley’s Beauty. While everyone else was reading Harry Potter**, I ripped through The Iliad and The Odyssey, then Kafka’s Metamorphosis. I gulped down all of Shakespeare’s comedies and half of his tragedies. And through it all, I wrote terrible, awful, painful short stories that I thought were pure gold (see previous paragraph).

Some writers never “decide” to write – they’ve always been writing. If I listed every book that made me want to be a writer, you’d be reading for hours and the list would never stop growing. Every month, I find new storytellers who remind me why I bother to be creative in the first place.

It’s true that certain stories stuck with me over the years, but every book I ever read lead me to where I am today. Even Julie Andrew’s Mandy and Gertrude Warner’s The Boxcar Children had an effect on the kinds of things I write. I didn’t care if a few things went over my head or if the main characters were younger than me. I wanted any and every kind of written word.

So, what books inspired me to be a writer? All of them.

Michelle reads a lot of YA, but she's trying to branch back out to include more classic literature (there's a lot she missed as a kid!). She loves Jane Eyre and anything by Maggie Stiefvater, which may or may not be an odd combination. You can find her here on Mondays or every day on Twitter, @redactionaire. 

*You can hear the first pages of this GLORY of a manuscript in my trunk novel from Episode 27.

**Don’t worry, I finally got to HP when I was a freshman in college. But I ended up binge-reading EVERY SINGLE ONE in the matter of a week and a half, and now they're all just "Harry Potter" in my head, not individual titles. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lessons Learned

It isn't often that we here at Beyond the Trope do something SO terrible that we have to throw it out. I mean, come on. Recently it was pointed out to us that, when talking about the literary device known as Chekov's Gun, one of us (probably me) called it Pavlov's Gun. When we brought up that email on the show, we used it as an opportunity to have fun at our own expense. As far as I'm concerned, it made for an entertaining segment. And, let's face it, that's funny.

Mistakes are opportunities to learn, to move forward with new perspectives, and sometimes a chance to smile in humble acceptance of our own fallibility. But on Saturday, we recorded 15 minutes of audio that was SO terrible that I deleted it. I had to. It wasn't even a conversation or an episode, really. Just three people trying to put together at least one complete thought that could get posted to our feed.

What came out was bad. Not a minor mistake worth using as an example for our listeners, but a painful, cringe-worthy disaster that hurt so badly that I was about to insist on getting BOTH of my illustrious co-hosts to listen to it before I posted it (I'm currently the only one listening to every episode for quality control). I needed all of us to agree that it was up to our standards. Before I could open my mouth to say that, though, Michelle spoke up and said we couldn't post it. When Emily agreed, I deleted the audio, emptied the trash, and moved on. Short of hiring a hacker to pull the ones and zeroes out of my hard drive to rebuild the file, it's gone.

We may record the topic at some point in the future, but what I learned that day is that, even when we're prepared for a discussion on a particular topic, there's a chance that it's not deep enough for us to record a conversation about it. We'll keep the event in mind as we plan for our future, too, but for now, we'll just have to live with the fact that we utterly FAILED at something in a way that was so painful, we unanimously agreed that it was utter garbage.

Giles doesn't like remembering that painful incident, but it's an opportunity to learn. And it creates fodder for his WiP.

Monday, May 16, 2016

When Characters Steal Your Story

My goal for yesterday was to put a thousand words on the page of my brand-new work-in-progress. I knew exactly how it was going to go down: My anti-hero was going to say, “All right, let’s plan this out.” And then everyone was going to make a plan to break into a secret lab in Hong Kong.

Team building! Fun conversation! Easy lines! It was going to be a simple, easily orchestrated scene. SIMPLE. EASY. And then my anti-hero sneered at me, and instead of saying the lines I had planned for her, she opened her stupid mouth and said, “I need some time alone.”

I was hurt and confused. I had done everything correctly. I was even wearing my Superpowered Writer Headbands and my fuzzy socks. My library was lit by candlelight and my new book playlist was blasting from my speakers. Yet, all I could do was watch as that story-stealing hag tossed her dreadlocks, reminded me that Hong Kong was still flooded, and waved me out of the room.

That…that b*tch. Well, I thought, two can play at this game. She completely ruined my story, so I taught her a lesson. I left her alone and wrote a hugely revealing, emotional scene that wasn’t supposed to happen for three more chapters. HA! TAKE THAT, YOU JERK.

I know what you’re thinking: “Michelle. She is pretend. P-R-E-T-E-N-D. You are the writer! You do what you want!” To that I say, “No, I really don’t.”

In truth, that character knows my book better than I do. Actually, she probably knows my entire creative psyche better than me. Her character is the product of everything that fascinates me about Moriarty and Sherlock, Henri Michaux and Captain Nemo. Who am I to try to force a sociopath to do what I think is best? Seriously. Have you ever tried to reason with someone like Captain Nemo? It’s impossible. This means that when a main character veers off my plan, I tend to follow. 

Whenever my characters in my first drafts steal the story I have planned and replace it with something else, I ask myself one question: “Did it happen because I’m avoiding a difficult scene, or because this is the right way to go?” If I’m avoiding a tricky scene, I delete the bunny trail, tighten my Superpowered Writer Headbands, and wade into the murky, uncertain waters at my feet. The story is more organic that way, and in my experience, the end result of going with the flow is far better than anything I outline.

I’m weird like that.

Michelle outlines, but rarely before she’s at the end of Draft 1 or working on Draft 2. You can find her here on Mondays or on Twitter as @redactionaire almost every other day of the week.  

p.s. that goal of a thousand words? Yeah, I hit 3,000. Woot! 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pushing the Comfort Zone

I'm bucking the system again and not writing a review this week! I'm such a rebel. I also haven't consumed enough media recently to write a review of anything, because it's been a ridiculous couple of weeks for me. When I'm behind on reading Saga, you know I'm behind on everything.

But I'm not going to make this a complaining post. Instead, let's talk about stretching yourself as a creator!

Last year, I wrote my first comedic story--"Glitter Bomb." As my critique group will tell you, I was so convinced it wasn't going to work that I initially tried to retract the first pages I'd sent them. Seriously. I sent the first ten pages, then two days later sent another email telling the group not to read them because they were so bad I was going to scrap it and start something new and in my comfort zone of not-funny. One of the group members had already read the pages and replied telling me how entertaining he found the pages, which prompted another of our group to read them and say the same thing. So, long story short, I retracted my retraction, finished the story and went through a couple round of rewrites/edits. I don't have the full press release information yet, but I signed a contract for "Glitter Bomb" a few months ago and it's due out in an anthology some time this summer (more information coming as I get it).

We all want to stay in our comfort zones and write our favorite types of stories over and over again. Which is great to a point, but we can't grow as writers if we do that and, eventually, we start writing the exact same thing without realizing it. I think there's a special kind of 'block' that can come from staying with stories that you're comfortable with--it's called boredom. No matter how much you like something, eventually you'll probably get bored with it if it's all you do.

So I'm trying another comedy story, because it still scares me a little bit, and it's different enough from what I've historically written that it feels fresh enough to keep me interested. What kinds of stories are outside your comfort zone that you want to try to write at some point? What's keeping you from trying?

Emily's still pretty surprised that she actually managed to make people laugh with her writing. But she's not going to complain at all. In fact, she's going to keep trying. And reminding herself that she's funnier than she thinks she is. Sometimes. When she feels like it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Video Game Review: Tropico 5

Yes, it's another game review! Tropico 5 is, at it's core, a city-building sim game. There are technology research functions and a fairly deep political system. Well, as far as I know. I'll admit, the last time I played a sim game, it was Sim City 2000. Unless Civilization Revolution counts as a sim game.

So, yes, I'm not the most experienced player when it comes to these particular games. However, since all reviews are opinion anyway, I'll share my thoughts.

First of, I like this game. Not because it's a sim, and not because of the setting or the research, or the goals that can be set for victory. I like it because of the economic functions. Running budgets and managing numbers is oddly fun for me.*

I haven't completed a full play through, yet, either in campaign or sandbox mode (campaign is a "storyline" that pits players against specific scenarios throughout each era in which the game takes place while sandbox is, as implied, simply free-play). I don't KNOW if the game is satisfying to complete. But I DO know that I'm getting a LOT of play for my time. And it does consume a decent amount of time, especially for someone who can't dedicate a ton of hours each do to gaming.

The different methods for managing budgets, politics, and citizen is a real challenge, especially if the player decides to run simply on ideals. I found that, early on, if I want to not lose (get voted out), I either have to buy off protestors and/or voters, change the laws to restrict who can vote, or send in the military. That's if I want to run it the EASY way. The challenges of running it NOT as a dictatorship is a lot of fun, though.

Do I recommend this game? Well, I like it. And because my rating scale is based on how much I find enjoyment/entertainment (and the occasional challenge), I'll give it 3.5 out of 5. It's currently free for PS Plus subscribers on the PS4. If you're interested, check it out.

Giles isn't a dictator. Running a free society is a lot of work, though, so he'll sit behind his computer, play a few games, and then dive into writing when he wants a world to "work out" the way he wants. Even when it doesn't.

*Managing budgets is only fun when nothing is at stake. Only pretend money. So games, simulations, theoretical projects. When REAL money gets involved, all the fun goes away and is replaced with panic, desperation, and a strong desire to hire someone else to do the work.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I can’t lie – the first reason I picked up this book was the cover. Ermahgerd. It’s gorgeous and reminds me of the opening sequence for Netflix’s Daredevil.

I read the book because it’s a superpowers story, and I’m a sucker for them*. You can read the longer blurb on Goodreads, but for now all you need to know is there’s a teen, chick protagonist who discovers superpowers she isn’t supposed to have. Evil government. Militant rebels. The concept isn’t terribly new, but the book was definitely a fun read.

So, a couple of minor cons first: In the beginning few chapters, I had no idea when we were. Medieval times? Modern world? It feels medieval, but all of a sudden we have electricity and vehicles and women in tight trousers? Huh?  It was not my favorite way to enter a world. The latter half of the book gives you hints, but by then it was too late for me.

It took me a while to warm to Mare. She’s capable, snarky, strong  all those things we want our heroines to be – but also really violent and hateful at times. Mare makes a ton of big decisions without really thinking them through. And yet, she lives in and is a product of an incredibly violent world, so it’s difficult to see her reacting in any other way.  

One of the things Aveyard does best – like, wow-level best – is keep the reader in suspense. Mare has no idea who to trust. Are the princes good? Are the rebels good? IS ANYONE GOOD?? I went back and forth so many times that I probably assigned each and every character the mantle of “Most Evil Person” at least once. 

The characters in this book are terrifying. If I had to pick my favorite elements of this book, it’s the way Aveyard played with suspense and character development. Maven and Cal were brilliantly played. The Queen was amazing. The Barrow family dynamics were believable.

This book was a pretty solid 4/5 stars for me. If you love superpowers, rebels, courtly intrigue, and vaguely-medieval-but-not settings, this is right up your alley. 

Michelle is addicted to audiobooks and writing reviews for everything she reads. You can find her on Goodreads and on Twitter, @redactionaire. 

*That and the whole “reading the competition” thing, you know.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Free Comic Book Day 2016

Rather than get in the middle of Michelle and Giles' screenwriting debate, I'm going to talk about comics--specifically FREE comics!

For those of you who don't know, Free Comic Book Day is tomorrow. Since 2002, on the first Saturday in May, comic book shops across North America have a selection of totally free comics to give away. The idea is to entice people into the shops (obviously), and to provide a cool, low-cost entry point for folks interested in comics. The selection of free comics available changes every year (no, you can't just grab any comic off the shelf), but there's enough variety that there's always something for everyone. Depending on the store you go to, there might also be sales, signings, or other cool events going on, too.

I'll be heading out to my local comic shop bright and early to grab my free comics and pick up my pull box for this past week (yay new Black Widow and Rat Queens!) and I hope you'll consider doing the same. Free Comic Book Day is always fun--and who doesn't like free comics?

Emily is especially excited about the Legend of Korra and Doctor Who mini comics. Because, let's face it, she's a total freaking nerd.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bad Writing and Good Entertainment

On Monday, Michelle expressed her thoughts on bad scripts and how the best acting and directing will always fail to make up for a bad screenplay. In some cases I'd probably agree (Wolverine Origins, for example, and Smokin' Aces is STILL probably the worst movie I've ever seen, if not the worst movie ever written), but I think there are some exceptions to that rule, both from the perspective of culture, and according to my own personal opinion.

First example: Army of Darkness. I thought it was clever and maybe almost funny, but I didn't like it. I am the only person I have ever met who's seen that movie and didn't absolutely LOVE it. On that note, I HATED Bubba Ho Tep, and, again, I can't remember meeting a single other person who hated it. On both of those movies, the scripts were lame (I'd give them maybe 2/5 if forced to rate them), the direction made them FEEL like they were searching exclusively for a cult following, and the acting was pretty much what you'd expect from any low-budget, post-grad film from an untried director (which Sam Raimi was NOT). Still, people LOVED those movies and think they're some of the best films ever made (while admitting that they're not blockbusters).

Second example: The Matrix. Stop, think about it for a second, then look back on the writing itself. All on its own, that movie had ONE thing going for it: special effects. It looked SO COOL. But with the exception of Laurence Fishburne, the acting, again, was sub-par. However, terrible writing and awesome effects aside, the directing was brilliant. The way the scenes were cut, the angles of of the camera, lighting, sound, and soundtrack, all made for an amazing movie that took TEN YEARS to make a writer like me (admittedly a picky one when it comes to writing) capable of even NOTICING the utter failure that WAS the script itself.

Third example: Every James Bond film pre-Daniel Craig (and even a few of those). The plot lines are far-fetched and unbelievable, dialogue contrived and often stiffly delivered, and characterization of everyone BUT Bond is shallow and sometimes offensive. But I've enjoyed every Bond movie I've seen, even the ones EVERYONE else hates.

Each and every one of those movies would've been better with stronger writing, but (aside from the first example), all of them were consistently successful. My point, really, is that, while great writing makes for better movies (and, of course, better books and comics), it's not ALWAYS critical to entertain an audience. Of course that shouldn't stop writers from trying to get better, and there's never an EXCUSE for horrible writing. Still, bad scripts can make good movies. It's a lot harder for the director and actors, but it's possible.

Giles watches bad movies at least as much as anyone he's ever known, and as long as they're entertaining, he generally won't complain. Of course, he's always looking for that next amazing and inspiring film that will send him to the computer to bust out some of his own awesome writing. Or at least get his heart hammering with excitement.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Terrible Movies Start With Terrible Scripts

In elementary school, I watched Batman & Robin with my dad. My freshman year of college, a few of us ate pizza and watched the Halle Berry Catwoman. A few years ago, I actually went to the theater to see The Last Airbender.

I’ve spent a lifetime watching terrible movies.

This gets me thinking: Great screenwriting can save mediocre acting, but can great acting save a mediocre screenplay? The screenplays of those three movies weren't the best, but the acting wasn't, either. Could better acting or directing have gotten a better outcome?

My hypothesis was no, great acting can't save terrible writing. It's the same for audiobooks: No matter how talented the voice actor or actress, a badly written book is a badly written book. To explore my theory, I "analyzed" a few not-so-great films (all superhero flicks. What a shock):

Batman Forever (1995): Script? Baaaad. Acting? Ehhhh. Direction? Campy.
X-Men (2000): Script? IMHO…great. Acting? Meh. Direction? Good.**
Watchmen (2009): Script? Wonderful. Acting? Solid. Direction? Ugh.***
Fantastic Four (2015): Script? Terrible. So, so bad. Acting? Not awful. Direction? Also not awful.****

Let’s look at Pitch Perfect 2 (hey, an example that’s not a superhero movie!). While the first movie is fantastic, the sequel was the first movie on a different set. I can’t really blame the screenwriters; they knew the first one was a winner, so it makes sense that they would try to stick to the mold. But it didn’t work. The talent was there, but the screenwriting fell flat. It felt like dating an ex in disguise. 

When a movie has a good or even a great script, the actors and actresses in the film have more opportunities to perform as stars. I can't think of anyone who has won an Oscar for starring in a badly written film. Take Daniel Day Lewis' performance in Lincoln. Good script, right? It wasn't a shining star of glory, but it was good. Lewis' performance, though, was amazing. Everyone in that film had the chance to shine because they had a solid foundation of good writing under their feet. 

I honestly believe a bad script dooms the entire film. Can anyone find proof to the contrary?

Michelle broke down and got a Twitter. Besides feeling like she betrayed herself, she's actually having fun posting character sketches and writerly things. You can stalk her @redactionaire 

*A fact I actually NEVER NOTICED until I re-watched the film a couple of years ago. Sheesh. I was much less discriminating as a kid. Evil minions on ice skates? Then: HECK YES. Now: WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING.
**I love this movie. If anyone ever needs to ingratiate themselves to me, I recommend talking about how much you also love this movie.
***It kind of feels like watching a movie that keeps nudging you and saying, “Hey, I’m a movie based on a comic book! Look how dark I am! Hey! Hey LOOK AT ME!” It does a great job of keeping to the source material while making things more clear, but for some reason it still falls flat. 
**** They just weren’t given the chance to be amazing. I was so mad about this movie. It had the potential to be SO GOOD and the screenplay was SO BAD.