Monthly Archives: March 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Film Review)

A Warner Bros. Film, Directed by Zach Snyder

Released: 25th March 2016

Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter and Laurence Fishburne.

Review: What if Batman was real?

A figure so traumatised by a childhood event that he dresses up as a devilish creature and administers his own brand of ‘justice’ to those he feels deserves it. He would be brutal, unrelenting and focused; he would have a complete disregard for the lives of those he pursues.

This is definitely the case in this milestone superhero movie epic. Batman takes down criminals with a brutality akin to his fighting style in the Arkham Knight game and its predecessors.  His fight choreography is both beautiful and harsh. It works well, until the film gets to its titular battle, at which point all that brutality is focused on Superman. At which point you’re once again reminded just what you’re watching: Something unpleasant.


At no point was this fight fun to watch

Batman v Superman was a film that held a lot of promise. It was meant to be, as Lex Luthor states “The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world”.

But in DC’s desire to match Marvel’s cinematic universe, it went too far; failing to focus on what the film actually should have been about. On paper, the idea that Superman, a godlike figure who could destroy the world if he wanted, would attract scrutiny from men like Batman and Lex Luthor, makes for a good film. But Zach Snyder ham-handedly throws in Justice League cameos and irrelevant dream sequences (one of which is somehow orchestrated by the Flash?) which add nothing to the plot and are more confusing than helpful.

Not only is it plagued with unnecessary storytelling, but the direction itself is something rather tragic. The film jumps about from Clark in Metropolis, to Bruce in Gotham, to Clark in the Africa, to Lex in Metropolis, to Bruce having another unnecessary dream, to Wonder Woman wandering around, to etc. etc. with no real time spent to trying to justify what’s going on. And if Snyder’s jumpy film-cutting hadn’t already put you off, all the laser-beams and explosions that completely blot out everything that’s going on will.


Guest starring a troll from Lord of the Rings

The writing is also a mess. Whilst characters like Jeremy Iron’s Alfred and Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White offer humorous little breaks from the rather maddening plot-line and begin to bring the film back to reality, other characters like Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor stop that in its tracks, speaking in unnecessary and unbelievable grandiose styles that really don’t fit the piece.

And then there’s Wonder Woman, who doesn’t really say much. She’s suggested to be a mysterious bad-ass, but then barely features and has all her appearances drummed out by horrific rock theme-music.


Keep an eye out for W.W. rocking the 1910s garb with Chris Pine

The messiness of the film is at its most apparent right at the end, where they orchestrate the ‘Dawn of Justice’. Throughout the film, the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg are seen ever so briefly, and at its conclusion, Bruce states that they must find the ‘others’ as he knows there is a greater threat coming than Superman or Doomsday.

Why is it Bruce deciding this? Because obviously he’s pretty much the main character. His Batman is efficient, his motivations drive the narrative and his quest is told in full. Meanwhile, poor Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent is naught but a side piece; a ragdoll for Batman to fling around after exposing him to Kryptonite.


He’s had a pretty bad day

If you’re a fan of Superman, I’d warn you to stay away from this film. People thought Man of Steel was bad (although I for one quite liked it), but this film basically should have been advertised (if you’ll excuse my use of expletives) as ‘FUCK SUPERMAN’.


This review comes from my website in progress,

It’ll be filled with comic book suggestions, news, reviews and character bios to get you up to date. If that strikes your fancy, then follow me on Twitter for progress on when it goes live. And if it doesn’t strike your fancy, please do it anyway because it’s for my MA project and I’d love you forever.


Posted by on March 26, 2016 in Comic Books, Film & TV


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Deadpool (Film Review)

I’m still working on my other site;, but before it’s up, I thought I’d showcase some of the stuff that’s going on over there. First off, my ‘NewToComics’ review of Deadpool.

Release Date: 12th February, 2016

A 20th Century Fox Film, Directed by Tim Miller

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarino, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand and Stefan Kapičić

deadpool taxi

Review: If you scan the internet following the release of Deadpool, you’ll be faced with countless articles about how it has changed the comic-book film industry by successfully releasing a R-Rated film which toys with continuity as much as it wants whilst still adhering to the much coveted cinematic universes that everyone is chasing after.

Whilst this is untrue, as it ignores the earlier releases of films like Kick-Ass and Super, it tells you one thing you should know; Deadpool is a hugely popular and very enjoyable movie.

Currently ranking in the top ten of a lot of comic-movie ranking lists, Deadpool tells the story of Wade Wilson; a former soldier who is confronted by the fact he has terminal cancer. Approached by a shady government type, Wilson undergoes a procedure that awakens his mutant gene; granting him a healing factor to rival Wolverine’s and a face that, in his own words, is completely “unfuckable”. But when his ‘creator’, the sinister typical British villain, Ajax, kidnaps his girlfriend, Wilson must don a superhero suit, and slice his way through Ajax’s grunts so that he can get revenge.

deadpool drawing

If we’re honest, in terms of storytelling, the plot doesn’t really break any boundaries. If you reorganise the non-linear film, you’ll see that it is your basic ‘guy gets powers, fights bad-guys, saves girl’ story. This is highlighted particularly by the villains; neither of whom ooze personality, but this film isn’t about them.

No, the beauty of Deadpool comes from the title character himself. For those of you unfamiliar with Deadpool, he is known as the ‘Merc with a mouth’ due to his capacity for non-stop witty banter and crude jokes. It is probably one of the funniest comic films to date, with near every line the character utters having some sort of joke or hidden meaning in it. Does it always work? Of course not. But that’s true of most comedies. But with his ability to break the fourth wall and talk to the audience directly, Deadpool gives us something a bit different; whether that be commenting on his own film’s lacking budget or the smoothness of Hugh Jackman’s testicles; it which makes for interesting confrontations with established X-Man Colossus, and his protege Negasonic Teenage Warhead (the latter of whom was chosen entirely because of her name).

deadpool colossus negasonic2

It’s hard to believe that this is Director Tim Miller’s first big-screen outing, because on top of the hilarity brought on by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s script, the film also has beautiful choreography, a great sound track, and is beautifully well-paced. He’s been given great tools to work with, and he’s utilized all of them well.

Ryan Reynolds has spent around a decade campaigning to make this film made; whether to see Deadpool in a film or to correct his previous failings in the previous films X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern (both of which also get little in-jokes) and the result is one of the most enjoyable, comic-accurate and nonsensical characters ever to hit the big screen.

deadpool load

(Although, that probably depends on your sense of humor, my hairdresser, for one, wasn’t a fan of all the swearing, so be prepared for that).

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Posted by on March 24, 2016 in Comic Books, Film & TV


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The Big Short (Film Review)

A Paramount Pictures Film, Directed by Adam McKay

Released: 23rd December 2015

Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, John Magaro, Finn Wittrock, Hamish Linklater, Rafe Spall and Jeremy Strong

Review: I don’t know much about economics; I never have and I probably never will. But that still didn’t stop me from enjoying The Big Short.

Out of the recent ‘big’ movies I’ve seen; The Force Awakens, The Revenant, Deadpool; The Big Short offers something different and, in my opinion, far more entertaining.

Adam McKay has crafted a masterful picture with witty dialogue and an intriguing structure.

christian bale.jpg

His assembled class shines, with each of the main actors; Carrell, Bale, Pitt and Gosling all giving stellar performances which are further enhanced by their lesser-known co-stars’ also thoroughly enjoyable performances. Before seeing the film, I was in the mindset that Bale and Gosling were to be the stars of the piece, but that is not so. Bale plays the interesting yet awkward Dr Michael Burry who, although appearance throughout the film, acts as a bookend of sorts of the film. Gosling, meanwhile, is the enabler, mixing his portrayal of smarmy businessman Jared Vennett (based on Greg Lippmann) with hilarity and cunning; summed up near the film’s conclusion where he asks the audience ‘did you think I was the good guy?’.

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That’s because the real hero of the story is Steve Carell. Carell is lumped with one of the sorts of roles he is known for as witty angry manager Mark Baum (based on Steve Eisman). His messy looks and messier temperament drive the main narrative forward, and his confrontations with the various other characters are golden. Pitt is also one of the ‘good guys’, but to a lesser extent, stepping out of the spotlight to serve in an ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ type capacity.

McKay also brings a wealth of other famous names into the film, as The Big Short continuously breaks the fourth wall in a clever manner, whether that be Ryan Gosling running us through proceedings and telling us which parts of the film are more accurate than others, or bringing in celebrities like Selena Gomez and Margot Robbie to help explain the economy of the mid-2000s to us in terms we’ll understand. He cleverly introduces Robbie as the first guest selection; for anyone not entirely focused on the movie, he sets her up sipping champagne in a bubble-bath as she talks us through what’s going on.

margot robbie2

It’s this clever inter-cutting of comedic film and serious documentary style info-drops that make The Big Short such a great watch. Adam McKay knows what he’s doing, and cleverly tackles the fact that economic collapse isn’t a laughing matter. As we reach the final act of the film, Carell’s character asks the audience (both his in-film and the viewers of the real world) “Still got a sense of humour? Well, you shouldn’t”, before the film is transformed with wholly serious and emotional scenes that bring us into the present day and remind us that we’re far from safe.

McKay ends with a statement that the main problem his characters have faced throughout the film, has just reemerged in 2015; as if history were repeating itself. Definitely a film to get you thinking.

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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Film & TV


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How The Force Awakens Could Have Been Better


I’ve been pretty vocal about my issues with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and even now, three weeks, one day, eighteen hours and fifty-five minutes after sitting down to watch it upon its release, it’s still on my mind.

Yesterday, I was looking at the IMDb page for the movie, and having a look at some of the reviews. I found them somewhat comforting, as the [categorized: best] user-reviews you come across assured me that I’m not alone in my opinions, despite the overwhelmingly positive response the film garnered (it’s now the highest grossing US movie of all time).

One review, in particular, summed up my sentiments pretty dead on, explaining that the main problem is that the film lacks progress from the original trilogy, and instead is basically just a soft reboot of the franchise.

This, coupled with my appreciation of YouTuber Michael from Belated Media‘s videos, wherein he edits the stories of the Prequel trilogy (minor edits of The Phantom Menace and then pretty much complete rewrites of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith to follow this new story-line he has created) inspired me to do the same for The Force Awakens.

I figured it could be a bit of fun, and perhaps an interesting read for you all. A What if? Because I’m not being obsessive. Honestly.

Seriously, stop judging and listen to me on this.

Anyway, some rules and restraints, because without restraints we’re no better than Tusken Raiders, are we?

I’m not going to out-and-out rewrite the film. That would be silly. Or sillier than what I’m doing, anyway. Instead, I’m just going to change some things, which in my opinion would rework the film into something more complete, whilst still leaving room for the next to films to build from. In italics are my reasoning and background information on the film.

I’ll be using the basic plot outline from the film’s Wikipedia page, and going from there. I’m also assuming you’ve all seen The Force Awakens by now. But if not, obviously SPOILERS!


Approximately 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star, Luke Skywalker has disappeared after one of his students turned against him and tried to destroy his new Jedi. In response, Luke has taken a batch of new students and retreated to an unknown destination.

Meanwhile, the First Order has risen from the fallen Galactic Empire and seeks to eliminate both Luke and the New Republic.


Learning that the First Order have learnt of the map to Luke’s location, and are planning to make a move, New Republic pilot Poe Dameron meets Lor San Tekka, Luke’s eldest student, on the planet Jakku.

Stormtroopers under the command of Kylo Ren destroy the village and capture Poe, whilst Lor San Tekka is killed in the ensuing firefight. Poe‘s droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and locates scavenger Rey Solo, at a junkyard settlement under the protection of Chewbacca.

Rey has been left on Jakku to avoid the gaze of the First Order, who are aware that the map to Skywalker requires a relative adept in the light side of the force, and to protect her from the same fate as her brother, Kylo Ren.

Having Chewbacca stay with her for however long also demonstrates his loyalty to Han Solo, and would make sense for them to be living within proximity to the only person who knows where Luke actually is.

Also, considering the title is THE FORCE AWAKENS, having a jedi show up early on shows that Luke has actually had some success in the past thirty years. 


Ren tortures Poe and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187, unable to kill for the First Order, frees Poe and they escape in a stolen TIE fighter and Poe dubs FN-2187 “Finn”. They crash on Jakku, and Finn appears to be the only survivor. He searches for Rey and BB-8, but the First Order tracks them and launches an airstrike. The four flee the planet in the Millennium Falcon, piloted by Chewbacca.

The Falcon breaks down, but is saved from the First Order by a much larger ship, piloted by Han Solo who reclaims his former vessel and is reunited with his daughter and best friend. Han explains that Luke tried to rebuild the Jedi Order but went into exile after a student turned to the dark side and destroyed all that Luke had built.

With Han having an emotional connection to Rey and Chewie, it makes more sense for him to arrive to pick the Falcon up as quickly as he does. It gives us a reason for the Falcon to be on Jakku specifically, and also removes the nonsense of him having it stolen from him and returning to the smuggling game, throwing all his development and relationship with Leia to the Sarlacc Pit.

I’ve decided to skip the whole part with Maz Khanata; as frankly, it annoyed me, and ‘finding answers in a den of criminals’ has already been done four times in the saga already (Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, A New Hope, Return of the Jedi).

Likewise, the Starkiller base, if it makes it into my trilogy, has not yet been built. Like the den of criminals, we don’t need a third death star straight away. To make it a greater threat, it should be built up over the trilogy (as Lucas intended in his original films, might I add) and not just destroyed straight away.

Plus, destroying the New Republic in the first film ruins all the progress made after Return of the Jedi. We need progress, not a reboot.

And so, this is where my film deviates from Abrams’ version for a bit.


Having saved Chewbacca, Rey, Finn and BB-8, Han returns the group to Coruscant, where Leia and C-3PO are waiting for them. The family share a reunion, and Rey is shown what she is heir to. As she gets reacquainted with her mother, Han does some bonding with Chewbacca, and reveals that although he is glad the war is over, he does somewhat miss his more rebellious life. Meanwhile, Finn struggles with being on the main planet of the New Republic, a place he has spent his whole life being trained to hate; he feels guilty and awkward around them, but his choice to leave the First Order has now truly begun to seem right.

Having these scenes allows for more character development. This  isn’t to say I didn’t think J.J. Abrams’ version had it, but what with some of the ‘creative missteps’, shall we say, they weren’t the developments that the characters deserved.

Han, for instance, still longs for a life of adventure, but due to his commitment to Leia and her efforts in building the New Republic, he has put that part of his life to rest and not just run away. He is still the same character, but he has grown. It also gets rid of that nonsense with the CGI tentacle monsters.


Having settled in, Leia explains the reason that the First Order are hunting them, and begins revealing Rey’s heritage that is the Force. As Leia exposits what has happened since the fall of the Empire, Imperial Loyalists learn of Rey’s identity and contact the First Order. As Leia reveals that she has been collecting links to Luke (such as his old lightsaber, a gift from Lando), the loyalists stage an attack on the Solo/Organa homestead and kidnap Rey. They also attempt to take BB-8, but the heroes manage to keep him safe.

Up until now, Leia has been trying to respect Luke’s wishes by not seeking him out. This is the turning point where she realizes there is a clear and present danger, and that the Jedi are needed. 

On the First Order base, Rey is confronted by Kylo Ren, who reveals himself to be her brother. He in turn presents her to his Master, Supreme Leader Snoke via hologram, who is actually the old Sith Lord, Darth Plagueis, in disguise. Plagueis reveals that by rights, the two siblings belong to him, as he has orchestrated the whole Star Wars saga, manipulating the midichlorians in Shimi Skywalker to create Anakin Skywalker. Plagueis orders Kylo Ren to return to Korriban with his sister, before disconnecting.


Although I’m not entirely sure of the whole Plagueis/Snoke theory, which has apparently been denied by Andy Serkis, this, I feel, is a way to unite the whole nine films, once they’re complete. Because although people didn’t like the prequels, they did happen, and it’s time to face that fact.

This also gives the chance for more Force Ghosts when Plagueis is seen in person. Palpatine could be watching as a ghost from his side, arguing about how things should be done, and also providing exposition on how Plagueis survived in Episode XIII. Is this too much for new fans to take in? Perhaps, but it is entry number seven in the franchise, so really, its not that big a deal.

Back on Coruscant, the group come to terms with the fact that the First Order is more powerful than they realized, and that if they take Rey, she too could fall to the Dark Side of the Force. Leia begs for the full backing of the New Republic’s forces to retrieve her daughter, but they argue that they have already wasted enough resources endeavoring to retrieve the map she originally stressed they needed, which still remains in their possession. Furious, Leia begs Han to save their daughter, and urges him to return their son, Kylo Ren alive.

Using the Falcon, Han, Chewbacca, Poe and Finn infiltrate the base with a small group of soldiers loyal to Poe. They find Rey whilst setting explosives around the base (like in the film, she uses the force to escape captivity, allowing us to still see Kylo Ren go beserk), before being confronted by Ren.


Having Poe here makes the fact that a Stormtrooper and someone who has just learnt of the Force beating Kylo Ren by themselves more believable in their upcoming fight. It also gives viewers more chance to see what has become a fan-favorite character.

The two factions engage in a gunfight, as the base is put on high alert. Hoping to give his friends a chance to escape, Han confronts Ren, calling him by his birth name, Ben, and implores him to abandon the dark side. The pair find themselves conflicted, and Han starts to ponder if Ren is in fact still the son he once loved. Determined to prove himself to Plagueis, Ren kills Han. Enraged, Chewbacca shoots Ren in the side and sets off the explosives.

Now that Kylo Ren and Rey are brother and sister, the upcoming battle between them is more emotionally fueled than in the actual film, where Rey’s logic is more ‘this guys a jerk and he killed that other guy I barely knew but offered me a job’.


The group begins their escape, and an injured Ren pursues them outside. Finn retrieves the lightsaber Leia gave him to pass on to Rey and engages Ren with Poe’s help, hoping to spare Rey the pain of fighting her sibling, but is overpowered and badly wounded. Rey takes the lightsaber and fights Ren, overpowering him with the Force and again, Poe’s help.

However, before she can strike the killing blow, Rey halts, stopping Poe from doing the same, and restrains her brother, taking him aboard the Millennium Falcon, which Chewbacca has recovered. Desperate to kill Ren, Chewbacca is forced to stand down out of respect for Rey, whom he has spent the past nineteen years with.

Back on Coruscant, Leia, Chewbacca, and Rey mourn Han‘s death.

There’s also a funeral/memorial scene or something, because if Qui-Gon, Padme and Darth Vader got one, so should fucking Han Solo, body or no!


With Kylo Ren under watch, Leia asks Rey, Chewbacca and Finn to take C-3PO and find her brother. The group fly off to an uncharted system, where they find Luke surrounded by his new pupils, with R2-D2 at his side.

The End.

I think the actual ending for The Force Awakens frankly looks a bit stupid/awkward.

I think by showing the progress Luke has made instead of him just being a whiny bitch, the film gets a more fulfilling ending: Luke has clearly succeeded in some form, furthering his journey from Return of the Jedi and Ren HAS been brought home alive, like Leia requested, but at a cost. When the gang is reunited, with Ren in the picture, there will be more conflict to start within the next film, as although he is their relative, they all resent him for killing Han.

This way, the film has obvious ties to the rest of its trilogy, but works even better as a standalone, because it ties off the majority of loose ends, and unites the whole Saga, keeping it focused, like Lucas intended, as a family drama.

Furthermore, you could get a whole side-plot going about how, in spite of Luke’s efforts to defeat Vader, if him and Leia are reunited, they do essentially rule the Galaxy like Vader wanted all along… Something to think about. 

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Posted by on March 13, 2016 in Film & TV


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Two Years of WordPress

Well, this is depressing. I have this site set to come up whenever I open chrome for the first time and today I was greeted with a ‘happy anniversary’ from WordPress.

Two years this blog’s been going. That’s older than some of my nieces and nephews.

I think.

I don’t actually know if I’m honest with you. I’m only their step-uncle.

But what I do know is that I’ve had a crisis of faith over the past few months. My desire to write has been dulled; I still get ideas, but I never get round to putting them to paper. They just sit in the archives of the notes on my phone, untouched and dying away.

Or at least that was the case over the winter (we’re out of winter now, right?)

But in chatting to my neighbour about life and travelling, I’ve been reinvigorated to make that my goal once again, rather than just resigning myself to a miserable existence has I had been doing for the past few months.

Unfortunately, that means working more, which whilst worth it for the money, is tiring and sometimes frustrating. I’ll try and fill you in the next few days.

In other news, it was Brian‘s birthday yesterday, so a belated happy birthday to him. I didn’t manage to see him, but he never made it back to Scotland in the end unfortunately. He’s survived the whole Christmas period out on the streets, and never once lost his resolve. He’s a better man than I. It’s not a sad ending to his story though, because this time next week he’s getting his own room nearby. So although it’s been a rough road for him, for now, he’s getting his happy ending to his story.

Now I just need to focus on what sort of story I’m going to tell for myself, because apparently, two years ago today was the day I properly started making an effort to become a writer with my first ever post, The Dude Abides.

Let’s see what happens next.

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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in Life


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