Monthly Archives: July, 2013

Retrospective – Batman: The Animated Series

Forgive the burgeoning bat bias that’s been creeping into this blog as of late, but I’ve just finished playing the brilliant Arkham City (finally) and I have to indulge my reignited love for Batman in any way possible.

Batman: The Animated Series is the greatest superhero cartoon ever. This is fact. This is scientifically proven. To even call it a cartoon does it a disservice. It was a dark, intelligent and brooding show that had just as much for grown ups as it did for kids (at least that’s what I tell myself since I still watch it every now and again).

Not only did the show pick up a boat load of awards and recognition, but it refined and even created characters that have gone on to be fan favorites within the actual comics continuity. Harley Quinn, the Joker’s main squeeze originated in TAS and the hugely popular Batman Beyond was an original idea spinning off from TAS.

The casting was always spot on. To my mind, Kevin Conroy will always be Batman and Mark Hamill will always be the definitive Joker (all due respect to Heath Ledger). If any proof were needed of this, the two were asked to reprise their roles for the Arkham games, years after TAS wound to a close.

It was a beautifully written show that never shied away from the fact that The Joker kills people, or even that Batman is in fact actually a bit of a mental case himself. Previously one dimensional characters like Mr Freeze were given deep and fairly tragic back stories that again got picked up in the comic books.

While a cartoon can have all these factors, it’s nothing if it doesn’t look good. Thankfully, TAS had a gorgeous, 1950s art deco style that made Gotham feel like it had a personality all of it’s own. The character designs were simple yet effective and the action sequences were always engaging and well executed.

If you’re the sort of person that doesn’t feel embarrassed to watch old cartoons from back in t’day, (and why should you?) you could do a lot worse than Batman: TAS. It’s the purest and most enjoyable form of Batman you’re ever likely to find. And I haven’t even mentioned that glorious motherfucking theme tune.

Arctic Monkeys Track Reviews – 2013/Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?

Confession time; After the less than stellar Do I Wanna Know B Side 2013 stumbled out last week, I’ve been worried about The Arctic Monkey’s fifth outing.

 

While one might usually argue that you can’t judge a band by their B sides, the Arctics have till now consistently ensured that theirs have been nothing short of genius on par with any of their album tracks or singles.

2013 has shown me that the Sheffield lads do indeed have chinks in their armour. (If you argue that Humbug was a chink in the armour you can fuck off right now, but that ain’t the point).

2013 is musically dull and shockingly inadequate lyrically. While not a bad song by any stretch, it is easily the worst Arctic Monkey’s song I have ever heard.

Thankfully then, the brilliantly titled Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High has (for now at least) put to rest any worries that AM might be a bit shit. It’s nothing short of a funky, infectious tune that is a joy to keep on repeat for criminal amounts of time.

The Turner wit that was absent for 2013 seems to have returned in force, along with the bands’ ear for a hook. If the rest of the album can keep up the standard set by this and Do I Wanna Know, I’ll sleep easier.

Five Reasons a Batman Beyond Movie Would Be Awesome

It’s sad, but we all know that the Batman movie franchise is gonna get rebooted faster than you can say “Christopher Nolan”. Following the Man of Steel and the recent news of a Batman/Superman movie as the inevitable build up to a Justice League, it makes sense that DC and Warner will be looking to revive their biggest cash cow in his own franchise as quickly as possible.

But since the Dark Knight trilogy literally just hung up its cape and the next Superman film will (presumably) feature the Batman we all know and love, DC should be taking the Batman film franchise in a new, unexpected direction.

Cue Batman Beyond. A late 90s cartoon set in a futuristic, Orwellian Gotham City. Without going into too much detail, a young juvenile called Terry McGinnis stumbles across a long deserted batcave and a long since retired Bruce Wayne. Needless to say, Wayne ends up mentoring McGinnis and they fight all manner of futuristic nasties and corporate corruption.

It was fucking brilliant.

So as if the synopsis alone wasn’t enough to justify a movie, here are five reasons why DC and Warner should make it so.

Old Bruce Wayne

An embittered old man who was forced to give up his war on crime but is still an absolute don who does not take shit from anyone. On top of that, he has a cool bat hound called Ace. Just think of some of the old badasses of film that could own that role. Chuck Norris taking out gang members with a walking cane? Worth the ticket price alone.

Terry McGinnis

Like I said, if they reboot the franchise this soon, it needs to be as different as can be and Terry McGinnis is no Bruce Wayne. For a start he’s still in high school and has a family and girlfriend so right away there’s a new dynamic to work with. But even on an emotional level, McGinnis is a wisecracking, cocky Batman unlike Wayne’s calculated and silent Dark Knight.

Villains

Beyond rarely fell back on classic Batman villains and usually opted for original creations, most of which were awesome. There’s an entire gang of “Jokers”, an evil CEO with a skin condition (which is cooler than it sounds, I swear) and some weird Venom like lady. Of course, if they wanted it to tie in more with Wayne and his past they could give an old villain some futuristic twist.

Why Batman Quit

Because Bruce doesn’t just stop being Batman, he completely turns his back on everything he ever had to do with it. It would be interesting to see the events leading up to his retirement unfold (in the series he relied on a gun after having a senior moment, and was so disgusted with himself he quit). But maybe there could be something more on top of that, some great trauma or loss that was the catalyst for him giving up.

The Costume

One of the coolest costumes ever. Seriously. They’d barely need to change a thing to make this look viable in a live action movie. Please, God make it happen.

Or… just give us another series of Batman Beyond. Such a great show.

5 Things The Daleks Could Do In the 50th

 

We all saw it coming. it was at Comic Con when it was confirmed that The Daleks (those metal bastards) will be making an appearance in the much anticipated Doctor Who 50th anniversary bash.

One may express concern that with this on top of Zygons, the tenth Doctor, Rose, Queen Elizabeth and John Hurt as some super nasty prick Doctor, that the 50th may collapse under its own weight.

The Daleks need to be used smartly to avoid such crushing dissapointment. Here are five things those pepperpots could be up to. I’ll leave you to decide which ones are legit. 

Plumbing

Because after 50 years of watching the Doctor do battle with the Daleks, it would be nice to see them finally use their plungers to unclog a toilet or something. 

Cameo

Because after all this hype, there would be nothing better than seeing the iconic villains sidelined or only shown for a few seconds. There’s nothing funnier (or easier) than annoying internet fanboys.

Save The Doctor

Celebrating half a century deserves a twist and if anyone could predict The Daleks cutting in to save the day, I’ll eat my hat. I’d have to buy one first mind. Of course, it’d never happen because it would just ruin what makes Daleks Daleks. 

Grow Legs

Imagine a Dalek with long, smooth lady legs. That image is worth tuning in alone, surely?

Flashback

Probably what is going to happen. Going from the pictures we’ve seen, it looks like a flashback to the Time War. Something Whovians have been foaming at the mouth to see since the idea came up in 2005

This has been a pointless post borne of a lack of imagination or anything worthwhile to say. Cheers for reading 

Batman/Superman Movie in the Works

 Yep. Director Zack Snyder confirmed that Man of Steel 2 will feature the Dark Knight in a team up comic book fans have been waiting to see take to the big screen since there was a big screen.

We can assume that this will be a different Batman to Nolan and Bale’s brooding trilogy and it makes perfect sense to reintroduce Bats in a different franchise. Given Rises only just rounded things off, it’s way too soon to bring back Batman in his own franchise.

Of course, what’s most exciting is that this is inevitably the beginning of DC’s build up to The Justice League. Given that I always preferred the DC super team, I say bring it on.

 

The Man of Steel Review (8/10)

I came into the cinema with one thought; Please, Christ be better than Superman Returns. I’m happy to say it was much better than Bryan Singer’s ill fated love letter to the 1978 classic. However, if you’ve seen Returns you’ll know that really isn’t saying much at all. 

Man of Steel succeeds because it acts like Richard Donner’s Superman (the film that made superhero movies what they are today) never existed. This is a fresh take on a seventy fiver year old character and it succeeds in reintroducing Supes to a modern audience. The only thing you’ll really miss from the original is that beautiful John William’s score, but Hans Zimmer does a pretty good job himself. 

Does it take itself too seriously? Maybe. It could do with a little (well, a lot) more humour but it’s hardly The Dark Knight. This is still Superman. This character is absolutely the same as from 1978 and if it feels different it’s because the world around has changed, not because he has. 

That ending has caused some debate among the die hard fans and while I won’t spoil it here, it is completely a logical and justified move and not something that has been tacked on for the sake of grit. 

The action sequences are properly impressive. We get to see Superman punching bad guys through buildings and out into space. It feels like the kind of thing you’ve always wanted to see in a comic book movie. A fight that reminds you these people have super powers, and the city looks like it’s been nuked by the end of it, as it should. 

The cast is solid. Cavill is pitch perfect as both Clark and Superman while Amy Adams gives  us a cracking Lois Lane. Zod was a genuinely unsettling villain with a believable agenda for wanting to lay a bitch slap on Earth. My only gripes were the absence of Jimmy Olsen and the proper, bespectacled Clark Kent (although the latter finally appears at the very end, making me fanboy harder than seeing him in costume).

Man of Steel is a strong reboot, packed with action and tense moments. The sequel will doubtless improve if only because we don’t have to go through all the origin stuff again, but then, if I do have to sit through an origin story I know like the back of my hand, at least Zack Snyder was kind enough to add in Russel Crowe riding dragons for me.