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Any fellow DCEU fans here?

LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,157
edited August 9 in Off-Topic
Let me make clear that I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I'm basically superhero genre film fan in general (or more broadly the entire fantasy-adventure umbrella including sci-fi, high fantasy, sword and sandal, etc.). I'm not into the whole MCU vs. DC Extended Universe fan war. I enjoy both cinematic universes.

However that said, I admit that I do have an affinity for the DCEU--and in particular what Zack Snyder has done with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I expect great things from Justice League as well. Basically, as I see it (this is actually formulated from interviews with Snyder, his wife, and screenwriter Chris Terrio) Snyder has placed superheroes in a world resembling the one we actually inhabit to explore what superhero mythology means to us today in our postmodern world versus in the less self-reflecting, simplistic world in which superheroes first arose (1938 through the 1960s, let's say). When one really grasps and appreciates this way of seeing the films, it is impressive as hell. But anyway, I'm mainly a fan of what Snyder has done when it comes to the DCEU. Although I have always also liked the DC Comics characters a little better since childhood also.

As for the other DCEU pictures... Suicide Squad would have been a brilliant movie with just one scene added at the end. (I can elaborate if anyone is interested.) As it stands it's meh story-wise although the characters are enjoyable to watch.

Wonder Woman... I do like it for what it is. But to be totally honest I feel it is overrated. Very good but not great.

I rate them as follows:

BvS - 9.75
MoS - 9.5
WW - 8.5
SS - 7.0

And to place this in context, here is my top 10 favorite superhero film list:

1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
2. Man of Steel
3. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
4. Guardians of the Galaxy
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
6. Captain America: The First Avenger
7. Iron Man
8. Thor
9. Wonder Woman
10. X-Men: First Class

Anyway, please weigh in on your thoughts about the DCEU!
Post edited by Lemernis on
bleusteel

Comments

  • KamigoroshiKamigoroshi Member Posts: 4,057
    Of course I'm a fan of the Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage! I mean, who isn't nowadays?
    LemernisArtonaWarChiefZeke
  • O_BruceO_Bruce Member Posts: 2,342
    I wouldn't call myself a fan, but I enjoyed most of the DCEU, at least for now (the Suicide Squad was an exception to this). I do see DC movies as flawed, but enjoyable. Wonder Woman is probably my favourite so far, since I think it learned from earlier made mistakes.

    I may not be a real fan, but I do enjoy and appreciate both DCEU and MCU. If I ever wanted and had time to get into comics, I wouldn't know where to starts. With cinematics universes, all I have to do is to watch a movie once in a while to be up to date.
  • bleusteelbleusteel Member Posts: 288
    I don't know if we can have a serious conversation if you omit THE best superhero film of all time for your list:

    The Incredibles

    Anyway, as a kid, I always felt the DC characters were too one-dimensional. And old. I couldn't relate.

    Marvel, on the other hand, had many characters that were young and had to deal with young people problems on top of fighting super villains. I loved that.

    Now that I haven't collected comics in 25 years, and my main superhero fix comes from films, I find the DC movies enjoyable. I really liked the Dark Knight reboots. I also really enjoyed Batman v. Superman and thought the Wonder Woman cameo was great.

    I'm thrilled with the success of the Wonder Woman feature film. Anything to broaden the appeal of superheroes is a good thing for the genre.

    Here's my top 10 list (leaving out The Incredibles to remain On Topic):

    1. X-Men Days of Future Past
    2. Deadpool
    3. X-Men 2
    4. Superman 2
    5. Batman v. Superman
    6. X-Men First Class
    7. Dark Knight
    8. Suicide Squad
    9. Wonder Woman
    10. Iron Man
    Lemernis
  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 1,860
    Most fans who have problems with superhero films have those problems because they go into watch the film with a head full of expectations as to what the film "should" be, thus robbing themselves of the experience of what the film actually is. My response to people whose general reaction to a superhero film is "omg that filmed sucked! it should have done x, or been y, or the costume looked stupid, the wrong actor(s) were chosen, the director didn't understand the material" or whatever other complaint they have is always the same--if you are such a movie genius then why aren't you in Hollywood writing screenplays or directing movies?
    NimranPapa_LouLemernis
  • NimranNimran Member Posts: 3,679

    Most fans who have problems with superhero films have those problems because they go into watch the film with a head full of expectations as to what the film "should" be, thus robbing themselves of the experience of what the film actually is. My response to people whose general reaction to a superhero film is "omg that filmed sucked! it should have done x, or been y, or the costume looked stupid, the wrong actor(s) were chosen, the director didn't understand the material" or whatever other complaint they have is always the same--if you are such a movie genius then why aren't you in Hollywood writing screenplays or directing movies?

    Same opinion, here. If they want something true to the comics, then they can go read the comics. The rest of us will be over here enjoying ourselves at the movies.
    Papa_LouLemernis
  • KamigoroshiKamigoroshi Member Posts: 4,057
    I'm proud to say that I neither like superhero comics nor their movie adaptions. Partly because the parodies are so much more interesting than the reals stuff. Like the legendary Bicycle Repairman!

    But mostly because I find the concept of both superheroes and supervillains supersilly. Superi supermean, superthat "super" superprefix superalone supermakes supereverything superunseriously. :p
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,125
    I find the DC cinematic universe too dark and gritty for my tastes, with an unrelentingly grim color palette. I much prefer the bright and shiny Marvel cinematic universe. Oddly, I picked up my comic tastes in the late 80s and early 90s, where much of Marvel was dark and grimy, while DC was a joyful spray of color with its super-soaps.

    That said, I really enjoyed the Wonder Woman movie, but have low expectation for the Justice League movie, despite having some of my favorite characters, and possibly building up for my favorite bad guy. I don't buy Zac Snyder's vision, but understand completely why others might. What he does, he does very very well.
    Lemernis
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 3,323
    edited August 9
    Since I don't read and have never read comic books, Super Hero movies never disappoint me, but I find they often fall very, very flat. Off the top of my head, the only ones I absolutely, 100% enjoyed were X-Men 2, X-Men: First Class, Guardians of the Galaxy (haven't seen the second, assume I will like it alot), Both Tim Burton's and Nolan's Batman movies, and.....that's about it. Even the Richard Donner Superman movies I don't find that appealing. The original 3 Tobey Mcguire Spiderman movies get worse everytime I watch them.

    As for the recent DC reboot, that is trying match Marvel's dominance.....it's ok. I enjoyed both Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman. They both had problems. I don't much care for Zack Snyder as a director. I've heard Suicide Squad is fun, and that Wonder Woman is awesome (which doesn't surprise me based on her small role in Batman v. Superman). On balance, I probably am more into DC than Marvel at the moment just because it hasn't become overly saturated. Whatever I guess. And ANYTHING is better than Superman Returns, which is a piece of hot garbage I wish I could burn from my mind.
    GreenWarlock
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,157
    edited August 9

    Most fans who have problems with superhero films have those problems because they go into watch the film with a head full of expectations as to what the film "should" be, thus robbing themselves of the experience of what the film actually is. My response to people whose general reaction to a superhero film is "omg that filmed sucked! it should have done x, or been y, or the costume looked stupid, the wrong actor(s) were chosen, the director didn't understand the material" or whatever other complaint they have is always the same--if you are such a movie genius then why aren't you in Hollywood writing screenplays or directing movies?

    This is beautifully stated. And it is a big problem with superhero films especially for comic book fans because there are so many versions of the characters spanning multiple decades. Each hardcore comic book fan has his or her own favorite "definitive" version of the character, and general sense of what tone they prefer for the genre. It's impossible to please everyone, and I love that some directors refuse to simply make cookie cutter McSuperheroFilms. (One of the reasons films by James Gunn and Matthew Vaughn are on my top 10 list.)

    Filmmaking is art to me, and the director is an artist working in the medium of cinema. Zack Snyder, for example, is a trained painter (he graduated from art school as a young man). His style is distinctly "painterly." And he is also heavily into Joseph Campbell, consciously drawing from the 'hero's journey' by weaving together visual symbolism. He reminds me of Stanley Kubrick, actually, who is another director that powerfully uses visual imagery to create a kind of gestalt for the viewer.

    In a lot of ways BvS is basically an arthouse film that Snyder subversively managed to release as a blockbuster. As one director said "the most expensive indie film ever made."

    I think it's crucial to understand the director's vision as an artist for a film like BvS--which, let's not forget, is the dark middle film of a trilogy. Here are three salient quotes from Snyder that I feel sum up what he is doing with this trilogy of MoS, BvS, and JL:
    [Superman] is the first. He's the greatest superhero. He's the top of the pyramid. Especially in the DC universe. In my opinion in all of comics. He's certainly the first. And I would argue that he's the Godfather in every genre of comic book. To make him work is to make that whole world--to legitimize that whole world... Make him work, and you're justifying the "why" of comic books, or the "why" of graphic storytelling.
    Here Snyder establishes that Superman is, in his films, representative of superhero mythology itself in this trilogy.
    I never felt like a [superhero] movie should exist in the real world before, but I feel like Superman should... All the Superman movies that have been made exist in some weird stylized world where everyone's, like, apple pie and Chevrolet and it's like the American Dream in a weird way. [T]he thing I find interesting is being able to release the character from that world, where he's been stuck and shackled, and bring him to our world and see what he does.
    This explains the deconstruction used in BvS. In the space of Snyder's lifetime he watched the cultural force of modernism give way to postmodernism. Modernism is basically like a Newtonian way of understanding truth and meaning. It is scientific and objective. There are absolute truths, and we can uncover them scientifically and all agree upon them. The original Superman character is born from such a cultural consciousness. Postmodernism is more like the physics of Einstein, which notes that the perception of reality is based on the relative position of the observer. This is more of multiverse type of understanding of truth in which are compelled to make an effort to understand how truth and meaning are constructed more relativistically, and to what end politically (whose agenda do society's 'great lies' serve?).

    How can superheroes, which arose so innocently to reflect ideals about human character and virtue in a time when there was little self-reflection about what such symbols might mean, "legitimately" exist in this postmodern world in which we are constantly deconstructing myths?
    And then you finish Watchmen... and because I was a fan of comic books--also, it's sort of the "evolved" version of comic books... "Watchmen." Right? It's the "I'm like an intellectual who likes comic books, so I like Watchmen." So I'm going to make that into a movie to justify my love of comic books or whatever. And then once that's out of your system, though, I gotta say... there's a hollowness to the end of Watchmen, right? Especially in geekdom. You know? You finish Watchmen and you're like "ough!" There's no hope! Like, is there a way to like--isn't there a way to love--is it okay to love this [i.e., comic books and superhero mythology]? And I think that's the relationship I had to Superman in making the film. I really wanted to love Superman. I want Superman to be "okay." Because he represents so much.
    So essentially what we have with this trilogy is an examination of what it might look like if these superheroes actually existed in our real world today. And in turn how that reception by the world would shape the superheroes, and how they might choose to act.

    This is the same premise of Watchmen, which at its heart poses the question 'would it actually be a good thing if superheroes existed in the real world?' In Watchmen the answer is a resounding no. But Snyder tells us that even though there is deconstruction going on in BvS, he intends to resolve that dramatic tension by reaffirming that we can indeed "love Superman" (i.e., all superheroes, or superhero mythology) in a more innocent way, and superheroes (as archetypes) do serve a sort of valid psychological purpose for us in this more confusing, complex world that we live in currently. So that's what I'm expecting from Justice League.

    I mean, yes, perhaps I'm intellectualizing and overthinking it. And I can appreciate if all of this, if accurate, rubs others the wrong way. Best I can see, this trilogy by Snyder was certain to be divisive from the getgo. So if some hate it, that's okay. Sometimes art shakes up the status quo and makes us more aware in ways that aren't always happy. That can be unsettling. So be it.

    I'm just making the case that we have a way of understanding what the director is attempting directly from his own interviews. And if you can sit back and appreciate it in that way, it is actually astonishingly good. But in contrast if you are approaching these films with a more traditional set of sensibilities and expectations about the genre, then of course you're probably going to be troubled by what you see.
    Post edited by Lemernis on
    Mathsorcerer
  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 1,860
    Lemernis said:

    And it is a big problem with superhero films especially for comic book fans because there are so many versions of the characters spanning several decades. Every hardcore comic book fan has his or her own favorite "definitive" version and sense of what tone they prefer for the genre. It's impossible to please everyone, and I love that some directors refuse to simply make cookie cutter McSuperheroFilms. (One of the reasons films by James Gunn and Matthew Vaughn are on my top 10 list.)

    One of the primary reasons that Guardians of the Galaxy did so well (it was the second-highest grossing movie of 2014, beat only by Winter Soldier) is because people did not have preconceived notions of who the characters should be. I suspect a full third of people watching the movie probably sat down in the theater thinking "Rocket is a what? Groot is who? Wasn't Gamora a Japanese monster movie from the 1960s?" This allowed them to accept the movie on its own merits. If you say "Batman", on the other hand, then everyone immediately pulls all their cataloged information about what they think of Batman, his function in society as a character and a concept, what they like, what they don't like, and so on. Any director has to fight against all that to try and make a film work.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,157
    edited August 9
    @Mathsorcerer Yes indeed!

    Opening up this can of worms for how Batman has been portrayed in (live action) film...

    My own personal feelings of course, this is just me. Just talking about the live action films (versus animated or LEGO):

    As a child I remember being excited as could be the 1940s Batman movie serials even as primitive as it was. The costuming and visual effects were terrible, but it had a sort of crime drama and high adventure/swashbuckler vibe to it that came through despite all the shortcomings. It actually took the characters seriously.

    I hate the 1966 Adam West Batman comedy/parody approach. They're making light of Batman! Gah! I can appreciate that others are able to allow that humor along with the more serious versions. But I just can't. I was a kid when that series hit the television airwaves and I was hugely let down by it. I guess I've never gotten over that early disappointment, lol!

    Burton's Batman is still just too camp for my taste. I have almost zero tolerance for campiness in superhero films. Keaton was an interesting offbeat choice and he managed to pull it off surprisingly well. But it is hard for me to regard him as a "definitive" Batman. Keaton's a good actor so he made it work well enough, but for me that's about where my appreciation ends.

    Schumacher's Batman is again waaaay too camp for me. Batman and Robin is just incredibly not what I want to see. Although Val Kilmer was actually not bad as Bruce Wayne in the first of those two films.

    I really liked Nolan's/Bale's Bruce Wayne but was never a fan of that Batman (i.e., in costume). I didn't care for the suit (too modular). I don't like the guttural, overdrawn Bat-voice. And re: fight choreography there is an almost complete lack of fighting style finesse.

    Snyder and Affleck got it just right for me. Affleck is outstanding as Bruce Wayne. And in terms of costume and fighting style they absolutely crushed any previous film iteration. The digital distortion of the voice via the high tech Bat-cowl solves the problem of disguising the voice, and is perfectly sensible.

    See my comments above about the deconstruction of BvS for the whole kerfuffle about an older, jaded Batman that is not only indifferent to hostiles' death, but actually sets some of the worst offenders up for execution in prison. Snyder takes Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns a step further in terms of disillusionment and loss of sense of purpose for the character. In a nutshell, here we have a Batman that has been subsumed by his Jungian 'Shadow'. That is just way more interesting to me than a traditional take on the character. Again, if these characters were real there would be consequences to living in the real world. BvS explores what might reasonably be expected to happen to an individual with Bruce's unresolved issues (which ultimately requires him to face his own 'Shadow' a la Jungian theory). And so it is a Batman who by the end is set on a path of redemption. And I like that arc.
  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 541
    edited August 9
    A more accessible version DCs heroes for me was the DCAU and all their animated series and even in that they tackled some of the stuff that BvS tried to do. And that was like years before Snyder took the stage and it was a childrens cartoon as well! So at the very least I don't think Snyder committed heresy. From the limited selection of comic books I've read, the whole dark approach has been experimented with since the mid 80's at least, with both Batman and Superman. So a lot of the heat that Zack Snyder is taking for his interpretation of Superman is seriously overblown imo.

    BvS does have a lot of structural problems though and I've only watched the ultimate edition, so I don't really know how the cinematic version felt.

    Ah and the Arkham asylum video game series is really fun for me.
    GreenWarlock
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,157
    edited August 9
    batoor said:

    A more accessible version DCs heroes for me was the DCAU and all their animated series and even in that they tackled some of the stuff that BvS tried to do. And that was like years before Snyder took the stage and it was a childrens cartoon as well! So at the very least I don't think Snyder committed heresy. From the limited selection of comic books I've read, the whole dark approach has been experimented with since the mid 80's at least, with both Batman and Superman. So a lot of the heat that Zack Snyder is taking for his interpretation of Superman is seriously overblown imo.

    BvS does have a lot of structural problems though and I've only watched the ultimate edition, so I don't really know how the cinematic version felt.

    Ah and the Arkham asylum video game series is really fun for me.

    Well, also Batman's been dark as hell in the comics also, right? Superman too, all of them, really. And there is a long tradition of 'elseworld' comic series (i.e., alternate universe, not belonging to the current official continuity at the time). Both The Dark Knight Returns and Red Son were both strong inspirations for BvS.

    After the first couple of viewings I would have agreed that there were structural problems, but having watched BvS carefully now at least half a dozen times, I mostly agree with the decisions Snyder made in telling the story the way that he did. Understanding the film in the way that I do now, I don't find the narrative to be muddled or overstuffed (to use Jeremy Irons' description).

    However there are some things I would like to have seen done differently:

    The subplot of Lex Luthor setting up Superman to look bad when he rescued Lois in Africa is a bit hard to follow. All the stuff about the bullet, and so on. I can accept it at face value as simply part of the story to show what a devious puppet-master Lex Luthor is. But was it really needed? For me it would have been enough for Superman simply to show up and save Lois. Have that set off the warring chieftains, one of whom goes on a killing spree in a village. At the end of the day all we really need is for Senator Finch (Holly Hunter) to simply try to hold Superman more accountable for his unilateral actions around the world, i.e., his interventions have political ramifications and fallout for governments (especially intelligence operations), local populations, etc. Lex didn't really need to be the mastermind of all that, in my opinion.

    I still don't quite get the part about the psychological impact upon Bruce Wayne of discovering that checks Wayne Corps sent to former employee Wallace Keefe (the guy who lost his legs at the Black Zero incident) were returned uncashed. Bruce is angry but it seems to be more than that, and I'm not sure what he is supposed to be feeling and why.

    There is reportedly a scene, confirmed by Zack Snyder, that was left out showing Superman using his super hearing to try to locate his mother after she was kidnapped by Luthor's operatives. Snyder said he hears all the cries of distress and evil-doing within his hearing range, and its disturbing. They felt it was too dark. But it actually sets up the strange scene of Clark's imagined conversation with his adoptive father Jonathan at the mountaintop. The theme for both scenes is that in the real world at any given moment Superman must decide when and where to intervene. And that there can be unintended negative consequences to any well meaning act. Which belongs to the theme of what if these characters actually existed in our real world? What would that look like? Etc.

    And finally, the "Martha" scene I now suspect Snyder may have deliberately chosen to present as ambiguous in order to create what is called in film the 'Rashomon effect'. The scene is possibly left deliberately vague in terms of what Superman is thinking, and we are free to figure it out for ourselves and come up with an interpretation individually. That would fit the theme of Superman's struggle to exist in this postmodern world that Snyder places him in. Bear in mind that all throughout the film we see Superman being defined by others. But he himself is inwardly struggling to define himself (mainly in terms of how and when to use his powers). It has been so deeply ingrained into Clark how gigantic his impact will be on the world by both Jonathan Kent and Jor-El, that I believe the 'Shadow' that Superman must face is his inclination to constantly live for others versus himself. He's tentative and self-doubting because he's too much of a people-pleaser.

    But anyway... I would have prefered something else. Using "Martha" is okay, and I'll explain why. But I think that we should have been shown a scene of Clark Kent researching Bruce Wayne (shortly after Clark's interest is piqued by their initial charity ball meeting) and reading the story of the Thomas and Martha Wayne murders as a rather obvious shaping experience in Bruce's childhood and personality development. In DC canon Superman has always had a genius level intellect. After using his super hearing to monitor Bruce Wayne for a day or two he would confirm that he is Batman. I think by the time he shows up to try to intimidate Batman into retiring ("The Bat is dead" warning) he already knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne (and unless Batman has a lead lined cowl--and we have no reason to believe so--he can easily see that with his x-ray vision). In my mind, there is no way that Superman has not figured out who Batman is not long after they first met.

    So when Superman says "Martha" he does so deliberately to put Batman into touch with the fact the the great threat that he is out to destroy in Superman as a potential evil overlord of earth is actually the dude that killed his parents as a kid. Superman has pulled his punches throughout the fight because he has sympathy for Bruce, basically by then having deduced what makes him tick psychologically.

    This also explains why Batman suddenly makes an about-face to become Superman's friend. Superman basically just gave him a powerful insight into himself, and helped Bruce regain his sanity. It was a great gift, when understood that way. Superman gave Bruce back his entire self, allowing him to incorporate the split off parts of himself that he was unconsciously acting out so negatively.

    And there is a beautiful symmetry then to Batman defeating Superman physically, and Superman outsmarting Batman psychologically! This flips our expectations for the outcome of the battle.

    It is possible to 'read in' what I just outlined. But I think we should have been given more clues with which to confidently surmise that is what's going on. Even just a six second scene showing Clark reading a headline like "Thomas and Martha Wayne murdered outside theater" would be enough to say, yes, I am sure that Superman says Martha deliberately to elicit the effect it has on Batman.
    batoor
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 3,323
    edited August 10

    Lemernis said:

    And it is a big problem with superhero films especially for comic book fans because there are so many versions of the characters spanning several decades. Every hardcore comic book fan has his or her own favorite "definitive" version and sense of what tone they prefer for the genre. It's impossible to please everyone, and I love that some directors refuse to simply make cookie cutter McSuperheroFilms. (One of the reasons films by James Gunn and Matthew Vaughn are on my top 10 list.)

    One of the primary reasons that Guardians of the Galaxy did so well (it was the second-highest grossing movie of 2014, beat only by Winter Soldier) is because people did not have preconceived notions of who the characters should be. I suspect a full third of people watching the movie probably sat down in the theater thinking "Rocket is a what? Groot is who? Wasn't Gamora a Japanese monster movie from the 1960s?" This allowed them to accept the movie on its own merits. If you say "Batman", on the other hand, then everyone immediately pulls all their cataloged information about what they think of Batman, his function in society as a character and a concept, what they like, what they don't like, and so on. Any director has to fight against all that to try and make a film work.

    The first Guardians of the Galaxy was simply the most fun I'd had at the movies in over a decade. I imagine it felt alot like how some felt when Star Wars came out in 1977. It was simply an unfiltered sugar-rush of entertainment. The music was great, the characters were extremely likable, it used it's special effects the right way, it was funny without being dumb. And yes, like you said, it was so obscure (from a comic book perception) that it was simply using Marvel as a way to advertise the movie and little else. It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but it was among the best times I have ever had in a theater.
    GreenWarlockMathsorcererLemernis
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,157
    edited August 10
    @jjstraka34 My experience as well. I was elated by GotG and it had me completely at the scene where Peter turns on his 80s Walkman and jams to Redbone's classic Come and Get Your Love. I was blown away by that. What an absolute gem that movie is. It's a damn near perfect film.

    My wife watches all these fantasy-adventure movies with me and she was late to the party with GotG on home theater, watching it with me a day before we saw GotG 2 in the theater. For her it was love at first site for both films. She adores them.

    That initial discovery of such an amazing assortment of characters is something that only happens with the first film. So it will always have that special status for me, that will be hard to top. But in certain respects I'm just as impressed by vol. 2 because it develops the family bonds that the team has. GotG 2 is about emotional connection triumphing within a dysfunctional family. And the farewell scene at the end (set to Cat Stevens' Father and Son) is one of the most genuinely moving I have ever experienced in any genre! Simply amazingly powerful emotional stuff.
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