For Part 1, click here.
Almost three years ago, the world was blessed/cursed (decide for yourself) with Zack Snyder’s reboot of the Superman franchise: Man of Steel. Man of Steel proved to be… Uh… Let’s succumb to massive understatement and say it was divisive. Some people (myself included) really liked it. Others think it was the worst thing to happen to the character since The Quest for Peace, a movie so atrocious it single-handedly crippled Christopher Reeve’s career.
Despite the mixed reaction, Man of Steel made enough money to get a sequel greenlit, which was originally announced as being another Superman movie, but was eventually revealed during Comic-Con as being both a Batman and Superman movie. This was huge news. Even people who have never entered a comic book store can tell you the basic plot points of Superman and Batman’s origin stories. Shit, even people in North Korea can tell you that the two characters were both created by Kim il-Sung as satires of Western imperialism so subtle that our backwards capitalist lizard-brains have yet to notice them as being anything other than cool characters who dress funny. This movie was going to make BANK, regardless of whether it was actually good or not. And now, in 2016, here we are, almost one month after the movie’s release. And boy, was it ever…. Well, it was something.
Now, I’ve seen Batman v Superman: World’s Finest (See Warner Bros.? That’s a GOOD title. And not much sillier than Dawn of Justice, either!) multiple times, and I’ve given myself some time to process my feelings on the film. I know that everybody who didn’t love the movie is kinda sick about hearing about it at this point, but oh well.
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I don’t know if you could tell by the fact that a shot from the anime sequence from Kill Bill is my Twitter and Gravatar profile picture, but I’m kind of a giant nerd. One of the actions of nerd-dom that I fully embrace is collecting random shit that has to do with the pop culture that I love.
As of right now, I have a fairly sizable collection of movies, music, Nintendo merchandise (See above) and comic books. What I would love, though, is to possess an actual prop from an actual movie (As opposed to from a fake movie, I guess???).
So, because content pays the bills (I wish) I’ve rattled off a list of movie props that I want. Like, desperately. If anyone possesses any of these props, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can arrange a hand-off. I’m down with paying for it too, as long as you don’t mind me tracking you back to your home, murdering you, and taking all your money after the transaction is complete.
…Yeah… let’s do it!
The CPU (Terminator 2: Judgment Day)
When most people picture the one device that could cause human extinction, chances are you picture something like a massive nuclear bomb, or maybe something magical like the One Ring or the Infinity Gauntlet (Two more props I want, by the way). In the Terminator franchise (By which I mean, the two movies worth mentioning), the tiny CPU that contains the consciousness of SkyNet, the all-knowing A.I. that will eventually wipe out almost all of humankind.
Don’t let the fact that it looks kind of like a Kit-Kat knock-off fool you. Leaving this device in the hands of somebody with even the of best intentions (Hello, Miles Dyson!!!) could result in everybody you know, don’t know, love or hate dying via nuclear fire.
And I want to use it as a USB stick! So, you know, sleep easy Planet Earth.
A tooth from the animatronic T-Rex from Jurassic Park
Dinosaurs are amazing. That is not an opinion. It is objective fact.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex from Jurassic Park is also unquestionably incredible. not only in terms of the inherent awesomeness of T-Rexes, but also because it’s a seamless combination of animatronic and CG special effects. Obviously, I’m not fitting the whole animatronic in my house without a Batcave (Although, if anybody has a spare Batcave lying around…), but it would be almost as awesome to have even one of the teeth on my shelf.
That or a Velociraptor claw I actually just want something to threaten children with.
Fun fact, this is more or less what Peter Quill’s alter-ego looks like in the Guardians of the Galaxy comics.
Anyways, a badass helmet that doesn’t give you hat hair? I’m so in.
Hit-Girl’s detachable sword
I don’t talk enough about Kick-Ass, which is a shame, because it’s one of my favourite movies of all time. My favourite character from this mildly unappreciated superhero dark comedy is Mindy MacReady, the preteen mass murderer known as Hit-Girl.
In her first scene as her masked alter ego, she effortlessly wastes a room of scumbags with a weapon that looks like a detachable, dual-edged naginata. Watch it yourself, It’s fucking awesome.
The drumsticks from Whiplash
Why do I want Miles Teller’s DNA, you ask? Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.
Hattori Hanzo Katana
Ask any nerd what the coolest reality-based sword is, and odds are, he or she’ll probably say “the katana”, with little to no hesitation, and nobody has exploited the use of the samurai sword better than Quentin Tarantino.
The Bride is an awesome hero, and she deserves an awesome weapon, so it’s only fitting that she receive a special weapon from the brilliant Japanese, uh, swordmaster (?) Hattori Hanzo that, by the end of the movie, claims the life of O-Ren Ishii and a metric shit-ton of Yakuza members in one of the greatest fight scenes of all time.
The scorpion jacket from Drive
Look at it. It’s…glorious…..
Also, it looks really cool with blood splattered all over it, so that’s definitely a plus.
The suitcase from Pulp Fiction
What was in the suitcase? Money? Diamonds? Drugs? Marcellus Wallace’s soul? In many ways, I hope I never find out, but regardless, this would be an awesome to possess such an enigmatic piece of film history.
Last week, likely in response to Marvel’s announcement of the plot details to Captain America 3, Warner Bros. decided to go one further by announcing all of the movies planned for the DC Cinematic universe up to the year 2020, along with some casting details and a couple director announcements. So, was this really a hasty, impulsive announcement that doesn’t really bode well for DC’s ongoing rivalry with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, or is this a genius publicity move by WB that will get people to forget all about the MCU?
Definitely the former. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested though. So, after getting through the last of my TV reviews until this week’s Legend of Korra episode, I decided to take a quick look at the movie announcements, with each movie accompanied by a short blurb. Let’s do this!
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Release date: March 25, 2016
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Produced by: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder
Screenplay by: Chris Terrio (Argo)
Story by: David S. Goyer
Cast: Henry Cavill (Superman/Clark Kent), Ben Affleck (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman/Diana Prince) Amy Adams (Lois Lane) Laurence Fishburne (Perry White) Diane Lane (Martha Kent) Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor) Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth) Holly Hunter (U.S. Senator) Tao Okamoto (Mercy Graves)
Cameos: Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry/Aquaman) Ray Fisher (Cyborg/Victor Stone)
This is the movie that we currently have the most information on, as it’s currently the only movie that’s in production. Really, there isn’t much more to say about it. I still liked Man of Steel more than most and think that the returning cast from that movie could do a great job, I still have faith that Ben Affleck can pull Batman off (Even more so now that the photos of him in the batsuit have been released), and Jesse Eisenberg is still kinda iffy for me. I guess this is where you pull the Heath Ledger card on me, because “You don’t now if he’s gonna be great until you see him.” That’s true enough, I suppose. I guess we’ll just wait and see.
Also, high fucking time that Wonder Woman appears on the big screen. We had a damn Steel movie with Shaquille O’Neal and no Wonder Woman? Bullshit.
Release date: August 5, 2016
Directed by: David Ayer
Screenplay by: Justin Marks
This…. This announcement really threw me off.
I just don’t get it. There was no solo Batman or Superman movie announced, and yet, a Suicide Squad movie?
The only possible reason that I can imagine why this was green-lit is that Warner Bros. saw Marvel and Disney make all the money because of Guardians of the Galaxy and thought “Hey, we can make a movie starring charming criminals who become reluctant heroes!!! Let’s do that!”
Regardless, I’m still pretty pumped about the movie, although I’m kinda pissed off that it doesn’t look like Harley Quinn’s gonna be in it as, morbid sexual attraction aside, I think she’s a great character. But hey, Deadshot’s gonna be there, and even if he’s got a bunch of nobodies behind him, they’re in negotiations to bring in an A-list cast of Will Smith, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy and Margot Robbie (Who, just saying, would be a great Harley Quinn). Also, David Ayer is a pretty highly regarded director, having helmed movies like Fury and End of Watch. I dunno, it’s bizarre, but it could pay off.
To be continued…
I’ve never been that big of a Flash fan, to be completely honest. It’s not that I don’t like him, it’s just that he’s never been any more to me than the funny guy from the Justice League cartoon. I guess I’ve always liked him in the sense that he was a member of the Justice League, and it was cool to see him fight along some of my favourite heroes like Batman and Wonder Woman, but even today, I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy a Flash solo comic.
But hey, it only takes one good interpretation of the character for me to really embrace him or her, even if previous interpretations haven’t grabbed me. That’s why I was looking forward to this new Flash show. Knowing that CW, the channel behind Arrow, was developing it gave me hope that it would turn me on to Barry Allen like Arrow did for Green Arrow.
And boy did it not disappoint.
Let’s just jump right in. Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is a twenty-something forensics analyst working for the Central City Police Department under his boss and adopted father, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), who took him under his wing after his father was incarcerated for the murder of his mother, despite Barry’s insistence that he is innocent, and that a “man inside a ball of lightning” killed his mom. Joe’s daughter, Iris (Candice Patton), is Barry’s best friend, although he has feelings for her that she is too shy to admit. However, when a particle accelerator at S.T.A.R. Labs explodes and creates a lightning storm, Barry is struck by one of the bolts of lightning and goes into a coma for nine months.
Upon waking up, he discovers that he can now move at superhuman (Sorry, metahuman) speeds, because fuck science. The scientists who looked after him are ex-S.T.A.R. Labs employees Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), as well as A-list scientist Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh), who was a respected scientist until the particle accelerator explosion, which left him seemingly crippled and his reputation in tatters. This trio help him develop his power and pursue the other, less friendly metahumans that the particle accelerator explosion created, like Clyde Mardon (Chad Rook) and Danton Black (Michael Christopher Smith).
Before I truly get into what I loved the show, let’s get through the two things that I hated about the show. And that was one line in each episode. Those would be the line during Green Arrow’s cameo in the first episode (“I think that lightning struck you for a reason.”) And Barry(?)’s line in the second episode (“We were all struck by lightning that day.”)
God, that fucking sucked.
Once you get past the occasional cheesiness of the dialogue, you get a pretty great show. The action pushes aside the grittiness of Arrow for pure comic book action, which I would expect from a movie about a guy who dresses in all red and runs at superhuman (Metahuman, dammit!!!) speeds. Actually, it kind of reminded me of the good parts of the latest Spider-Man movie. The action is great for a TV show (Not quite blockbuster level, but would you really expect it from a CW show?), the atmosphere is great, a lot more lighthearted and comedic than Arrow, but it also excels in its dramatic moments, mostly thanks to the spirited performance from Jesse L. Martin, who plays Iris’s dad and Barry’s adopted dad, who is reluctant to allow Barry to go after murderous super-criminals. Understandably so too. It’s hard to run at all when you have a million clones punching you in the head.
Grant Gustin, who you may remember from Glee, if you happened to watch that show (In which case, you saw something in it that I sure didn’t), and so far, he’s pretty great! Stephen Amell may be great as Green Arrow now, but it took him a few episodes for him to really settle into a groove. Grant Gustin has settled into that groove pretty much right off the bat, reminding me, again, a lot of Amazing Spider-Man 2, regarding Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker. You know, minus the bodacious hair.
Anyway, doubling back to the atmosphere of the movie, I think that maybe the most prominent way that it blows Gotham out of the water is in tone and/or atmosphere. As I have mentioned in my reviews of the aforementioned sho Gotham hasn’t really shown what it wants to be quite yet. Is it a gritty crime/cop drama? I mean, I guess, but it throws in way too much camp and corniness for me to really take it all that seriously. The Flash, feels like a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. It’s lighthearted, yet dramatic at times, and really delivers on showing a badass superhero doing badass superhero things, instead of bouncing around to a bunch of villains that you’re not that interested in. Especially in this case, since the Flash’s rogues gallery isn’t quite as impressive as Batman’s or Spider-Man’s. Sure, we do have Reverse Flash and Gorilla Grodd to look forward to, but I think it’s nice for them to focus on the minnows like Multiplex, or whatever while we have the chance to get into Flash and his friends, who, by the way, are pretty great. Especially Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells. I can’t stop pondering what this guy might be all about. I thought for a while that he might be Reverse Flash, but that’s probably not the case. And, for the life of me, I can’t recall a character of that name from the comics (Admittedly, I don’t read Flash comics), but DAMN, is it ever gnawing at me.
If anybody spoils it for me, I will grow violent.
“Fastest Man Alive”: 4.5/5
Okay, so we’re officially four episodes into Gotham, so, going by general television rules of thumb, we should have a pretty good handle on what exactly this show is about. And so far, Gotham has been pretty….. All over the map, to say the least. So far, it’s been two good episodes (The pilot and “Arkham”) and two mediocre episodes (“Selina Kyle” and “The Balloonman”). Since we’re around this TV milestone, I figured I’d use this entry not so much to focus on the two recent episodes, but to underline one strengths, one weakness and one mediocre trait that the show has displayed so far. I’ll still talk about the individual episodes, but… Yeah, I guess you get the idea.
The Tim Burton Batman movies and the Christopher Nolan trilogy both had different ideas on what the look of Gotham City should be. Burton definitely had a ton of creative input in his movies, especially Batman Returns, as his Gotham is appealingly ugly and highly stylised. One could almost say it’s more faithful to the comics, but that would imply that Burton actually read the comics, which he didn’t. Nolan’s Gotham always reminded me of the rust belt, matching the gritty, realistic tone of the movies. Gotham successfully succeeds in combining the best elements of both Gothams to create a city that looks to be straight off the pages of DC Comics. Props to whoever was in charge of that.
Oh boy, oh boy. Holy shit does this show have some problems here.
With the exception of the Nolan movies, which were ultra-modern, and the ultra campy iterations, Batman stories have always had somewhat of a timeless feel to it. The 1989 movie brought a lot of fashion, images and dialects straight from the early-to-mid 20th century, as did the animated series, mixing them with more modern technologies like literally anything in Batman’s utility belt. It may not have made the most sense when you think about it, but hey, it was charming, or at least I found it to be.
While I also really enjoyed the tone of the new movies, and the campy movies had…. Actually they all sucked, but my point is that Gotham tries way too hard to be a balanced mix of all of these styles, which just ends up coming across as stilted and jarring. At times, it wants to be very dark and realistic, but there are other times when the over-the-top villains and cartoonish violence just take me out of it (I’m looking at you, Balloonman. Jesus Christ, wasn’t that a fucking stupid concept?). Black comedy and camp can be put to good use, but that’s not really the case in this show.
I should be the first to admit that I was a little high on the actors in my review of the pilot episode. And I’ve still gotta be honest, I haven’t seen a straight-up bad performance just yet. Robin Lord-Taylor as Penguin is still my favourite performance, even if his arc is really improbable. I really like John Doman in the limited screen time he gets as Carmine Falcone, as is Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth. I also really like Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue, even if McKenzie can sometimes be overly stoic for my taste. Jada Pinkett-Smith as Fish Mooney and Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma are also fine, even if neither has done much, and the showrunners can’t seem to help drilling the fact that Nygma becomes the Riddler into our brains ever so much.
A lot of the characters just seem to be there for the sake of being there, though. Montoya, Allen and Barbara are all boring as hell. I have yet to feel a twinge of interest towards any of them. And, while they aren’t bad actors per se, I would argue that they’re better than most other child actors out there, David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, respectively, jus don’t have interesting enough stories for me to really get invested.
That’s all for now. Hopefully the show picks up, because at the rate it’s going, it’ll fall off of my review list after this season. This last episode was better than the two before it though, so maybe that’s a sign it’s trending in the right direction? I sure hope so.
“The Balloonman”: 2.5/5
The season so far: 6.5/10
So, in my review for the pilot episode of Gotham, I went into some detail about what I liked about the show in that 45-minute debut, and, as I found, there was quite a bit to like. The actors were great, the writing was tight, the atmosphere was appropriately dark, and its take on the Batman mytho seemed interesting enough to hold my attention. It’s not like it was flawless though. I found the framing of Gordon to be stupid, I felt that they tried to cram in too many villain cameos and in respect to the villains, there was a bit too much pointless fanservice.
Were those problems resolved in the second episode? Well, kinda. The cameos feel a lot less pointless this time around, and it feels like every character served at least some semblance of a purpose to the plot. Problem is, the fanservice is still there, and it really got on my nerves this time around. It wasn’t so much Cobblepot’s dislike of the title of “Penguin” that bothered me this time around as the title character, Selina Kyle (Played by Camren Bicondova)’s insistence on being called “Cat.” Seriously. That is the very picture of violently beating subtlety to death.
Even if the fact that Selina Kyle is Catwoman wasn’t already spoiled thanks to the show’s marketing campaign…
… We pretty much would have figured it out based on the fact that she dresses pretty much exactly like what you’d expect Catwoman to dress like, minus the skintight catsuit and gratuitous cleavage.
Also, is it just me or did the writing seem to take a turn for the worse? I wasn’t like it was a work of art, but it sure wasn’t as clunky as, say “My name is Cat” or whatever. And while I do like Bruce Wayne in this show, his dialogue seems a touch too formal for-what is he, a twelve year old?
While I’m still bitching about things I didn’t like, I really hope that the subplot about Allen and Montoya believing that Gordon is a crooked cop is wrapped up neatly and disposed of within the next episode or so. Man am I not interested at all in that being a thing.
Before I sign off, I feel like I should compliment what this episode does well, because honestly, there’s still a lot of good things to say. The show still looks fantastic (I’m a sucker for comic book visuals) the performance are still great (Robin-Lord Taylor is my favourite actor on the show at this point, and Camren Bicondova did a fine job as Catwoman Jr.), the villains were sufficiently menacing, I appreciated the reference to the Dollmaker (If you don’t know who that is, do yourself a favour and read the first volume of the new Detective Comics series) and hey, despite its’ faults, I still liked the episode! Yeah, it didn’t live up to the pilot, but I don’t think that it’s that serious of a setback. I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next episode brings.
Episode Rating: 3/5
Season Rating: 7.0/10