How many ways can you “save” the world of DC superheroes from itself? Imagination Connoisseurs share their thoughts and more with lots of letter.

Do we really need a black Superman?

Hello Rob.

Thanks for reading my previous letters. Before I get into this one, I gotta say happy birthday. Hope your birthday is amazing.

This letter is about the recent discussions around a black Superman. The idea has prompted me to write in again.

Do we reallly need the story of a black Superman? Opinions vary.

Full disclosure Rob, I’m African American. I’ve been a comic book fan for over 30 years. Over that time, I have never felt that race made me unable to relate to or enjoy Spiderman or Batman stories. Last time I looked, Peter Parker is white. It’s 2021, maybe I should check again and not assume that he still is white. My love of Star Wars was never dampened by Luke, Anakin and Ob-Wan being white. The thought never entered my mind.

It’s insulting to think that people need a character to look like them or be the same gender to fully enjoy the stories. What does that assumption say about female Batman fans or female Captain America fans? Did they feel less investment in the stories because the main character is a guy? That’s ridiculous.

So I ask why? Why change Superman? Why make him a black man? Why not do an Icon movie? Is Icon too conservative? Would his views ruffle some feathers in current day Hollywood? Why not do a John Stewart Green Lantern movie? In my opinion, changing Superman serves only one purpose: race.

Why make Superman black if a racial story isn’t the goal? If an African American Clark Kent is written just like Christopher Reeves or Dean Cain were written, what’s the point? No this idea is only worthwhile if race is a major feature of the narrative. Considering who WB picked to write it, race may be the only feature of the narrative. It’s tokenism and I hope WB changes course. Thanks and take care. And again, happy birthday!!

Jermaine K.

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How the Snyderverse could have found its legs and gone on to rival the MCU.

Greetings, I have some thoughts on the DC cinematic universe, I refuse to call it the DCEU cus I don’t like that title.

I have a theory on how things could have worked out better. And how they could have continued the Snyderverse.

I once fantasized about what would I do if I was in charge of making a marvel video game. I immediately wanted to create a cohesive but diverse universe, where there were many levels, many worlds, many characters, many storylines etc etc. And I had thoughts and imaginations about all sorts of different aspects, character arcs, story arcs etc.

However then Spiderman from Insomniac came out and they used one character and his lore, that game was better than what my imagination could produce and I knew that.

So why was that?

I think the reason is that instead of having a million small ideas that would have cost an enormous amount of time and money, it’s better to sometimes compress and focus these ideas on smaller projects.

I think Square Enix did the same mistake with the Avengers game, they had a lot of different scenery and characters and a good plot but basically, just one game mechanic, raid through hordes of enemies by smashing combos, that’s it.

I think that and this might be controversial, but if Snyder had compressed his ideas, into a smaller project, it would have been easier for WB to safely execute them and it would have been easier for other story tellers to take their piece of the pie in the canvas.

In BVS not only does he introduce WW for example, but he gives her a backstory, that Patty Jenkins then ignores by making WW84. WB casts Jason Momoa, making Aquaman cool then James Wan makes him look ridiculous again by putting him in the orange costume.

These are conflicting ideas, thematically and plot-wise, but I don’t think Wan or Jenkins was wrong, I think that Snyder should have left Wonder Woman more blank so that Patty could do whatever she wants without breaking canon.

That’s my theory, I think if the Snyder verse would have been more compressed, more storytellers could have added their voice without breaking canon, and the Snyder verse could have continued and the Man of Steel Justice League Arc could have been told to its somewhat full extent.

I do look forward to his and Jay Oliva’s Norse Mythology show on Netflix, and I’m not hung up on what could have been, but those are my thoughts on what should have been.

Emil Johansson

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Thanks to RMB, this Imagination Connoisseur is now lost in the fantastical world of Gundam

Hi Rob!

Explore the world of Gundam – there are so many good stories to be shared.

Thanks to you I finally decided to dive into the vast world of Mobile Suit Gundam. I was always fascinated by the mecha designs but didn‘t really know where to start watching all the stuff that‘s out there. I’m already a fan of anime since I saw Akira and Fist of the North Star sometime in the 90s, so this wasn’t a whole new world I wanted to discover. There was just this one continent in the anime world I always planned to travel to, but forgot about over time.

Anyway. On Robservations you recommended The Origin as a starting point. So I remembered that magical, forgotten mecha continent and bought the movies on Blu-ray and watched all six of them on three consecutive evenings. I was hooked, but also a bit disappointed because there wasn‘t too much mecha action. I also bought Blu-ray sets of the series that started it all … and ended up watching the whole thing on four evenings. Amazing. That‘s more like it! Although the animation is obviously dated, I loved it. Zeta Gundam is next on my list. It will take some time before I can watch it because I have to import the discs from the UK (I‘m in Germany), which sadly can take a couple weeks.

But as I was watching Gundam in this specific order, I wondered: Is this what it must be like to watch the Prequels first and then get to the real Star Wars for the first time? Did I rob myself of discovering and being surprised by for example the connection between Sayla and Char during the events of the series? Well, it‘s done now. Nothing I could change about that. Thanks again for reminding me of Gundam and giving me a starting point.

Oh, and finally: Happy birthday to you, Rob! Should have said that first, right?

Kai

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Ash provides a glimpse into RMB’s “other life” as a Metal-headed Rock Star …”

Happy Birthday, Rob!!

I hope you enjoyed your birthday today and hope you were blessed with yet another wonderful annual celebration of your life! It was so weird to hear you say that you would finally be going back to the movies tonight to see Zack Snyder’s ARMY OF THE DEAD. It still seems surreal to me that it’s been 15 months since cinemas closed.

Let us hope this never happens again, and we all do our part to responsibly put this pandemic behind us and get back to a sense of pre-pandemic life. Things are slowly getting back to normal, at least here in SoCal. I received my second Pfizer shot yesterday afternoon, and I might come in and out of the chat tonight as I’m feeling a little lethargic. It’s my loss, unfortunately, because I’m loving these MIDNIGHT METAL shows and cannot believe how far and amazing this show has become in just 6 weeks! I can only imagine how epic these shows will be going forward!

Sometimes the best things happen when you’re drunk, and boy am I glad that you were drunk that fateful night you decided to go live!

I was stunned to see that you were still streaming when I woke up around 4 am last night! A 5-hour live stream of MIDNIGHT METAL?! NOW THAT’S FUCKING METAL! Each show gets longer and longer yet feels oh so short due to all the fun we have in the chat and all of the wonderful guests.

All I can say is that this show is becoming something very, very special. I know it might fuck with our sleeping patterns, but MIDNIGHT METAL is something that allows for a more engaging, nuanced, and uncensored conversation that we can’t really get during the daytime.

I wish you nothing but success on this next trip around our sun, Rob.

Ash Chauhan
P.S. Attached are a few pics I “unearthed.” I had no idea you were such a rockstar with such an epic career, Rob! Stay metal, dude!

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Are people being realistic when they look at Zack Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE?

Hi Rob,

Mr. “Science and Reason” Lover here with my second letter. I plan to write more frequently, but I’m currently watching older shows trying to catch up. For reference, I’m watching episode #648 right now, so it will take some time. Consider this letter to have traveled through time to get to you.

Episode #648 aired right after the Snyder cut was released and is the latest in a long line of shows covering the movie. But I want to offer a different take that I hope no one has discussed between the episode I’m watching and when you read this. My central premise is this: people now are looking at Zack Snyder’s work in the DCEU with rose colored glasses. Zack Snyder’s Justice League was going to be a financial disappointment if it was released in 2017 and WB knew it.

Now, some context and history.

Director Zack Snyder on the set of JUSTICE LEAGUE

For personal context, I’m a big Zack Snyder fan. I enjoyed almost all of his movies, but my favorite is actually the extended cut of Sucker Punch. I’m a fan of Man of Steel. I saw it 3 times in theaters and enjoyed it every time. I do have issues with it that prevent it from being a great movie, but that will be the subject of a different letter. And I really liked Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Maybe even more than Man of Steel.

On the other hand, Batman v Superman (especially the theatrical cut) is one of the dumbest mainstream superhero movies I’ve ever seen. The Ultimate Edition is much better, but still an idiotic movie. From the second I heard they were bringing Batman in for the next movie after Man of Steel, it reeked of a desperate attempt to try and catch up to Marvel. This was all but confirmed when the name of the movie was revealed.

I think only a committee of executives could’ve come up with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” And every trailer released left me with a feeling of dread. So my expectations were low going in and the only reason I saw it in theaters is a friend paid for the ticket. And it was worse than I thought it was going to be. I had absolutely no intention of seeing Justice League after that.

As an aside, there are good things in BvS hidden underneath the stupid character and story choices. That will also be the subject of another letter, where I break down why it’s so stupid in greater detail. And, of course, my opinion is not a judgement against anyone who liked the movie.

Now for the wider context. I think most people who saw the theatrical cut of BvS would agree with my opinion, by and large. How do I know this? Because the movie didn’t make $1 billion. For God’s sake, it made $422.5 million worldwide in it’s first weekend! It took off like a rocket at the box office, but then it dropped off a cliff fast. Even the most cynical Man of Steel haters expected BvS to crack $1 billion easy.

So why didn’t it? There are only a couple of viable reasons. People were super excited to see it but felt no need to come back and see it again. Repeat viewers are a big source of revenue for these movies, especially since they tend to bring new people every time they see it. That didn’t happen here. And bad word of mouth kept people away who otherwise would have gone to see it.

To put it simply, the movie going audience was not picking up what Zack Snyder was putting down. They just were not into it. This was evident after the divisive reaction to Man of Steel and BvS cemented it further.

So now WB had a problem. They committed to having Zack Snyder work on Justice League and gave him a massive budget, but they could see the same things I (and many others) saw. WB had 2 clear options. Go all in with Snyder’s vision or cut ties with his DC work and move on. Unfortunately, they chose neither and found a way to screw themselves over and inflict an injustice against Snyder by interfering with his work. I’m not going to rehash the whole history because most of us are familiar with it, but the way he was treated was truly despicable.

The point of this letter is just to remind those of us who are Imagination Connoisseurs that many people did not like Zack Snyder’s DC work for good reason. I think his work was compromised by the studio as soon as Man of Steel failed to meet WB’s expectations. But no matter what happened, many people checked out and were no longer interested in where he was taking these characters or the DC universe. WB was right to do something but they failed miserably.

Anyway, just my 2 cents. Thanks for reading Rob.

Trying to bring rational discourse back to fan musings.

Mr. “Science and Reason” Lover.

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Re-discovering Rob (and FREE ENTERPRISE).

Hey Rob!

Thought I would send a last minute birthday wish. By the time you read this on the show, it will be two days later so happy belated birthday! I hope you had a terrific weekend with Elysabeth.

I was driving Lyft earlier this week and had Robservations playing in the background. Towards the end of the night, when your show ended another video popped up randomly and I couldn’t figure out what it was until I heard they started talking about William Shatner and then your voice came on and you were talking about him. I didn’t immediately realize who it was because you sounded a bit different.

The vid went on to talk about how you and Shatner and someone else got together to read a script that you had written. I didn’t realize this about you. That you had written a script that Shatner had liked. Anyway, when I was done driving for the night, I finally was able to look at my phone and saw that the video was quite old. Maybe it was from the 2000’s.

I never finished the video, nor was I able to go back and find it. When did this happen? It seems there is so much more to your story than I know.

You always say, “Everyone has a story to tell…” and I believe, sir, that you have many stories to tell. If you know what I am talking about, please indulge us.

Perhaps you have told this story on the show but I have definitely missed it. Maybe I haven’t watched this show long enough either.

Anyway, you have yourself a better day!

Sincerely,
Prestonian

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