The Batman Trailer FULL BREAK DOWN

Okay. WOW.

I know I get excited about basically everything, but anyone who’s read this site before knows that when it comes to Batman/DC, I’m not afraid to call out crappy iterations and inaccuracies (cough Suicide Squad cough). But when I say that this trailer gives me more hope and more excitement for Batman than anything that’s come in the last 20 years, I really REALLY mean it.

I stayed up for the entire Fandome event, despite it taking place from 3am in Australia. Mostly, it was fluff and minor fan service, but right at the end came the panel with Matt Reeves. He spoke for a while on his version of Batman, and with every word my confidence in him grew. He really GETS Batman, in a way that so far no other director has. He gets the darkness, the corruption, the psychology, the noir detective aspect. He gets that the villains are just people who are twisted, like Bruce Wayne himself.

Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves both are huge fans of Batman, and honestly even in such a short trailer, their passion shines through clearly. A lot of people were against Robert Pattinson being cast as Batman. I have to admit I was a little hesitant, but from the beginning I could see his potential. It’s important to remember at this point that with every single casting of both Batman and Joker, tons and tons of people have lost their shit, complaining and saying how terrible it’ll be. And after almost all of the movies actually came out, everyone changed their tune. So honestly, hate him all you want; I’m very definitely on Pattinson’s side. And now that I’ve seen him in action, I have total faith in him. I genuinely think he could be the best live action Batman so far.

I’m going to start this with all the facts, and then I’ll break down the trailer, and then I’ll speculate on some theories I have for where it might go. So, without further ado…

What We Know:
During Matt Reeves’ panel, he gave quite a bit of information on the tone and setting of the movie; a lot more than I thought he would:

-It’s set less than two years after Batman first appears.
-Batman is still learning. He is flawed, inexperienced, and making mistakes.
-The movie will focus heavily on Batman’s detective side/skills.
-The corruption of police/government in Gotham City is a huge part of the story.
-Each villain will be explored; they’re not quite the fully-fledged characters we know.
-The characters will be easily recognisable to fans, but will be presented in a way that has never been seen before.
-The growing perception and reputation of Batman will be important to Batman himself and in the movie on a broader level.

Now all of that adds up, to me at least, to an incredible Batman movie. Combined with the trailer, I really can’t wait to see it. So, onto the trailer then…

The Trailer:
From the very beginning, the trailer is dark and creepy. An unconscious person (or corpse) is being duct taped up by a masked man (who we can safely identify as Riddler).

“Riddle me this: what’s covered in duct tape and just about to die?”

The victim’s face is completely covered. There are low breathing noises, but I believe those are the Riddlers, as the body is not moving. On his face is written “no more lies” – A clear message from Riddler to Gotham City that the corruption and deception of the Government, Police, and Media isn’t going to be tolerated any more.

Jack’s friends didn’t understand why he was so terrified of the naughty chair.

Then we cut to the crime scene after it’s discovered by police. We see Gordon (his rank in this movie is unknown, though it’s unlikely he’s Commissioner just yet) walk through, with all the police staring daggers at the camera behind him (clearly Batman). We get a look at the crime scene a little, as we hear Gordon’s voice.

The code at the bottom translates to “Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg…”

During these shots, he’s speaking in rhymes that he’s clearly reading from the Riddler aimed at Batman:

“From your secret friend. Who? Haven’t a clue? Let’s play a game, just me and you.”

Then he asks if it means anything to Batman; which means even at this early stage, Gordon trusts Batman’s input.

“That letter’s for me? Oh right, I totally forgot to update my address to the Batcave.”

Then we see a fairly public scene that Batman, without his suit, is watching in secret. We see, for the first time in a Batman movie, that Bruce Wayne does indeed put make-up on his eyes to wear the cowl:

“It makes my eyes pop, okay?”

After that, Batman rides into what looks like a potential Batcave, though the staircase around it is a little confusing. We hear Alfred say “you’re becoming quite a celebrity. Why’s he writing to you?” From this we know that Alfred definitely knows Bruce is Batman (in some iterations, Bruce keeps it secret from Alfred for quite a while before finally letting him in on it).

After that, we cut to what looks like a funeral, and see Bruce Wayne properly for the first time.

Then a car comes crashing through the doors, and comes to an ungraceful stop right next to the deceased person’s framed picture. A person comes out, tied up and holding what looks like a small tablet or large phone taped to his hand. There’s a green dot and a red dot on it, which I think means a phone call. Nothing concrete is known about this situation, so I’ll speculate further after this breakdown. The person also has a letter to the Batman taped to his chest.

The only recorded incident of “talk to the hand” being contextually justified.

After this, we finally get to see Catwoman (though Reeves stated that she’s not known as Catwoman in this movie) as she slides down a rope into a building and begins breaking into a safe.

With Selina Kyle adequately teased, we go back to the funeral/hostage situation as Riddler talks in rhymes in voiceover; “if you are justice, please do not lie. What is the price for your blind eye?” During these words, we get a montage of shots, including a quick shot of the Penguin (who I did not recognise until my 30th viewing of the trailer):

“I’m not a crook!”

The montage also shows a lot of action; a meeting behind a warehouse looks like it turns into a shootout, Selina and Batman meet and fight, Batman brawls with a room full of police, and the hostage from the funeral explodes with Batman standing in front of him.

What’s interesting about this is that in the initial shots of the hostage situation, Bruce Wayne is present (as in, without the Batsuit). I’ll explore this more after the breakdown.

We get to see Riddler again, a little clearer this time. The jacket he’s wearing is definitely green, and the mask looks to be handmade. He’s wearing glasses, which is generally not part of the Riddler’s appearance. It may just be part of the disguise though.

Now we cut to possibly my favourite moment, and definitely one of the most impactful (literally and figuratively) moments in the trailer. A group of thugs is facing down Batman.

“Who the hell are you meant to be? Because, like, you’re the only one who looks weird around here.”

The leader asks who he’s meant to be, and then attacks. In a series of vicious moves that were too quick for me to screenshot with any clarity, Batman utterly removes the man from existence. It’s unclear whether he literally kills him, but he’s certainly anything but gentle with the thug’s face (he hits the man 12 times, each one sounding hard enough to break bones. Yes, I counted). The atmosphere in the group of thugs changes instantly from smug machismo to pants-shitting terror, and just to make sure they get it, Batman introduces himself formally.

“I’m vengeance.” (okay, maybe not a formal introduction, but the thugs definitely understand who he is now.)

After that, we get literally three different angles of the Batmobile, just so we can enjoy its pure awesomeness:

Then a quick-cut montage of action and chaos ensues, some of which I managed to screenshot:

Batman gets shot in the chest point blank (don’t worry, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t die).

Batman flies up through the centre of a spiralling staircase using his grappling hook.

Batman chases Penguin in the Batmobile, with Penguin exclaiming “this guy’s crazy!”

“I came here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubble gum.”

Batman rises in front of the group of thugs, ready for more fighting.

Then, we get the title screen, and then we cut to a shot of the batcave with Batman removing his cowl. We hear the Riddler say “you’re part of this too,” to which Batman says “how am I a part of this?” Riddler’s answer is a mysterious “You’ll see.”

“I really need to up my eyeliner game.”

After that, the audience is treated to perhaps the most unsolvable riddle of all time:

What the hell could it possibly mean?!?!??

Some Theories and speculation:

There is so much to unpack here, I could speculate for days. The most exciting thing for me personally is that Reeves stated that only 25% of the movie has been filmed; everything we’ve seen is only cut from a quarter of the whole thing. There is SO much yet to see, and even out of such a tiny amount of footage, the trailer is still absolutely incredible.

Firstly, I want to start with the crime scene moments. Batman and Gordon are clearly okay with working together by this point. I think there will be strong Year One vibes here, where Gordon is idealistically attempting to address the corruption of the police from within its ranks, and being met with aggression and disdain from his peers. In Year One, this results in actual beatings and outright bullying. In the movie, it wouldn’t surprise me to see just as much violence between the police and Gordon as there is out on the streets of Gotham.

Now, I really want to talk about the hostage situation, because as I mentioned before, there is a change from Bruce Wayne sans Batsuit to full-on Batman being there. What I think happens is that the phone in the hostages hand rings and Riddler begins a conversation with Bruce. Now I’ve looked closely, and in the last shot of the trailer, Bruce isn’t actually talking. The exchange between him and Riddler regarding Batman being “part of this” is voiceover. I think Riddler knows his identity, and once all of the funeral-goers have left (and knowing that the hostage will die), Riddler makes it plain to Batman that he knows who he is. I think that dialogue occurs in this scene instead of in the Batcave. He gives Bruce time to change into Batman, then poses him a challenge and/or threat, and then kills the hostage. It’s very clear that Riddler and Batman have at least some similar goals; they both want an end to corruption and deception, and they both want Gotham to be free of powerful criminals ruling over them. This is an interesting concept to play with, because Batman is still figuring out how to go about his mission; could Riddler pose a temptation? Might Batman believe they could team up, since they both want the same thing? Does Riddler know even more about Batman than even Bruce does (like, for example, who killed his parents…)?

There’s also the matter of the Batcave. Looking as closely as I can in the very brief shots in which it appears, it seems as though the Batcave is located outside, or in an old subway tunnel, or something similar. The staircase above it is ornate, nothing like what has been seen in any other Batcave iteration thus far. There are rails along the ground that seem to end in a ramp… it is possibly still bellow Wayne Manor, but its design speaks to a greater purpose; a secret dock or transportation tunnel? It certainly looks far older than Bruce, so my only thought is that he’s taken over a space he found that was designed for something else, rather than simply building his workspace in a natural cave. I’m very interested to see what it is, but the lighting and space suggests to me that it’s outdoors; when I first saw the trailer I didn’t even realise it was the batcave. The other shots look more like they’re in a secret dark space, but that initial shot just looks so open and accessible.

One of the biggest inspirations on Matt Reeves for this movie was the comic “The Long Halloween”, by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. The comic is based in the Year One continuity, and is set shortly after that story ends, still during Batman’s early years. Both comics are heavy on the detective noir tone, and I’m a huge fan of both. Given the casting of the villains, it seems very unlikely that the movie will actually contain many actual plot points from the Long Halloween; but even the tone and themes are a great place to build a Batman story from.

I love that we haven’t seen any of Penguin at all, and only flashes of Catwoman. I know that that’s because only a quarter of the movie has been filmed, but I’m honestly hoping the Riddler will be the main villain anyway. I’ve always thought he would make a brilliant villain if done in a really dark, messed up way. He suits the tone Reeves is going for perfectly, and is definitely a great villain for Batman’s early years.

Also, this is a minor thing, but I have a theory on the scene where Batman beats up the thug. He’s seen towards the end of the trailer rising back to his feet, still facing them. I think he actually will give the full line of famous dialogue at this point; “I am vengeance. I am the night. I am Batman.” Not exactly a groundbreaking theory, but I would be very surprised if it wasn’t the case. I can’t remember where it first showed up, but I definitely remember it being in the 90’s animated series. Either way, I’d love to hear Pattinson say the full line.

We have yet to see Alfred, but we did hear his voice, and Andy Serkis is a great actor and I’m keen to see what he does with the character. I honestly can’t fault any of the casting; I really think it’s all spot on. Jeffrey Wright has gravitas and integrity, and I think he’ll be perfect as Gordon. Zoe Kravitz strikes the perfect balance between sensual energy and kick-assedness (I don’t know how else to say that).

Paul Dano has the look of a bullied, rage-filled genius; he looks perfect to emanate the same kind of destructive and toxic energy as a school shooter or bomber (sorry Paul). And his voice is just incredible; strong but tinged with frightening madness and uncontrolled emotion. I think other than Pattinson as Batman, Paul Dano absolutely has the potential to steal the show. I’m really hoping for the same kind of unhinged and disconcerting but still sympathetic performance that we got from Joaquin Phoenix in Joker. A character you understand, but still condemn.

The actual plot is mostly unknown, but we’ve got a lot of information about the tone and themes. I really love speculating, but I don’t like getting too deep into possible plot points or storylines because I don’t like approaching movies like this with specific expectations. I do think that Batman will make at least one huge mistake, something that rocks him and changes his outlook permanently (as in, turns him into the experienced and controlled Batman we all know). I also think the only villain to be caught and remain locked up will be Riddler (or that Batman will kill him), and that there will be at least one other villain appear in their pre-villain form (and my money’s on Harvey Dent). I also think Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne will either already be dating (as they were in Long Halloween), or will begin dating during the movie. I think that the Riddler will be the only person in the movie to find out Batman’s true identity, and will keep it to himself.

I’m really really hoping we’ll get some flashbacks that show Riddler’s messed up childhood and his transformation into the Riddler, but I won’t go as far as to say it’ll happen. I think Penguin and Catwoman can be done fairly briefly and organically, but Riddler really deserves some dissecting and exploration. Especially with an actor as talented as Paul Dano.

One final bit of speculation, and this is based on nothing but looks: there are only a handful of actors on the IMDB page that haven’t been assigned roles. Two of them, Max and Charlie Carver, look like they’d be perfect as Alberto and Mario Falcone. The two sons of Carmine Falcone feature in the Long Halloween, and Carmine has been confirmed as being played by John Turturro. In support of this theory, Max and Charlie are actual brothers. The other bit of speculative casting I’m going to go with is Mark Killeen as Harvey Dent. This is purely based on his face; he’s got the same handsome and chiselled look as Aaron Eckhart. Like I said, pure speculation, but it’s fun to think about what other characters may appear in the movie.

I absolutely can’t wait to see more, especially a second (and third) trailer after more footage is filmed! For now, I’ll leave it at that, and just say I’m so keen for it!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker FULL TRAILER BREAKDOWN

01 Title Screen

Oh boy. I’m so, so conflicted about Rise of Skywalker, but the newest trailer honestly has me incredibly keen.

Now firstly, I want to explain the reason I’m so conflicted; The Last Jedi. That should speak for itself, but in case it doesn’t… I loved The Force Awakens, liked A LOT. And then The Last Jedi came along and completely threw all the story arcs out, forgot loose ends and open questions, disregarded everything that JJ Abrams worked to build, and just generally made a film that didn’t fit into the saga in any way. I know that JJ Abrams is back in control for episode 9, and I could not be more excited. No one is a better choice to tidy up Rian Johnson’s mess. Having said that, the reason I’m conflicted is that as much as I love JJ Abrams’ work on Star Wars, because of Rian Johnson he has a LOT of work cut out for him if he’s going to turn the saga back on track and finish strong. Don’t get me wrong, I think JJ Abrams has the skill, but he’s working against a massive mountain of obstacles.

Okay, now on to the new trailer! As always, I’m going to pull out a few key points that particularly excite me, and rant about them like a lunatic. Here we go…

Jedi Training/Force Vision

The first few shots seem to be Rey training in the forest, as Luke did with Yoda. Now, she probably won’t have a tiny green Yoda-type Jedi Master to instruct her, but Luke’s voice is a prominent one in this trailer, and it’s pretty well guaranteed his force ghost will be in the movie, so I’ll go out on a limb here and say this will have a sort of “Luke training on Dagobah” vibe, but mixed with “Luke speaking to Obi-Wan’s ghost”. In that very first shot, we also see Rey deflect a laser shot from what looks like a training remote like what Luke used on the Falcon in ANH. Funnily enough, we see that exact training remote pop up in The Force Awakens in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. So it’s not unlikely Rey kept it and uses it under Luke’s instruction.

02 Jedi Training 02

“Wow, this is SO much easier without Master Luke piggybacking!”

Even if she’s not training and she’s merely running from/to something, these shots are surprisingly intimate; it’s just her, alone in the jungle (and then the inside of the ship, reminiscent of her life on Jakku). I’m very keen to see what this is about. I’d also love to see the equivalent shots but for Kylo; in The Last Jedi (and one of the only elements I enjoyed), Kylo and Rey had a really interesting connection through the force. I’d like to see a parallel between them that sort of highlights the distance between them after the events of TLJ, while at the same time showing their similarities.

My other reaction to these shots is that they may be a force vision. Rey is now stranger to force visions; she’s had at least one in both movies so far, so it’s really not a stretch to think that some of the things we’ve seen in the trailers aren’t really happening and are just visions. The helmet at the very beginning, as well as the leap that starts in the jungle and ends inside a ship definitely support this (I’m not certain, but I’m quite sure that’s the helmet Rey wore in her lonely scavenger days on Jakku – unless she went back and sorted through her old belongings to find that helmet, why would she still have it?). It could just be a normal Resistance helmet, of course, but where’s the fun in that?

03 Jedi Training 01

“I keep running from it, but it always comes back in my dreams. It’s the Freddy Krueger of helmets.”

What’s interesting about these shots is that it sounds like Finn talking… about the force. Very strange. Although he’s the only non-force sensitive person to have ever used a lightsaber in the movies, it seems unlikely that he would really understand the force or be revealed as force sensitive at this point; so him talking about it like that seems odd. Especially given his very obvious lack of knowledge on the topic in TFA (“That’s not how the force works!”). His comment that “the force brought us together” makes sense, because even the rebels and the resistance said “may the force be with you”, but he’s talking as though he knows how it feels to use the force which shouldn’t be the case. Speaking of the resistance…

The Resistance

“We’re not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them.” Spoken by Poe Dameron, of course, and I love his character arc. I’m super keen to see him as a leader in the resistance, especially after his experiences in TLJ. He struggled a lot with authority, and trying to cool his jets on the whole “jump into a cockpit and shoot stuff” approach in favour of thinking strategically. I like to think the silver lining of The Last Jedi’s cloud is that the characters have all changed and we’ll be getting some interesting dynamics and perspectives in TROS. It’s very cool seeing Lando come back too, and again in what seems to be a leadership role. He’s a great leader, although a little shady, and it’ll be cool to see him interact with the new generation of Star Wars characters.

04 We're Not Alone

“Oh I’m not helping, I’m just here to get the Falcon back. I mean, Han’s not using it, right?”

Another beautiful element of this trailer is seeing the Tantive; or at least the same model of Correllian transport, anyway. I love the classic ship designs shown all throughout this trailer, actually. Even the original Star Destroyers are back, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I saw a B-Wing too, hopefully you guys caught it but if not watch the trailer again!

Rey V Kylo

I mentioned earlier that Finn talking about the force was strange. Now we hear Rey talking, and honestly her comment is just as strange. “People keep telling me they know me. No one does.” This is a surprisingly dark and ominous thing for our hero to say, especially given that one of the recurring themes is that Rey herself doesn’t know much about her past… Unless she does? Has she been keeping secrets this whole time? Her identity is clearly central to the plot, and TROS is the last chance for it to be revealed. I think we’re going to see a new side of Rey in this movie, and not just because we’ll finally know who she is. I think she knows a lot more about herself than the audience ever suspected. I titled this little section “Rey V Kylo”, but it’s not clear they’re really enemies at this point. We see them clashing a little, but mostly we see them simply facing each other. In TLJ, they faced off quite often, but through the force instead of in person.

05 Rey v Kylo

“Is this even real, or am I dreaming again? If you see my helmet, let me know.”

Their relationship is complicated, especially after the ending of TLJ, but they may not be enemies the entire movie. Kylo, for all his talk of killing the past and creating something new, had embraced his role as Supreme Leader by the end of TLJ; but that may have simply been a tool to get his way. Maybe he’s biding time before convincing Rey to join him again? After all, he professed to know Rey’s history in TLJ, and he clearly knew her in TFA (“What girl?!” was his reaction to hearing a girl was involved – and he was instantly filled with rage and interest… not a normal reaction if the girl in question is a complete stranger.). His response to Rey’s statement in this trailer is “But I do,” so it will be very interesting to see Rey’s identity confirmed; especially if Kylo is bluffing and Rey knows more than we think.

The Emperor

FUCK. YES. “Long have I waited.” Oh boy, oh man, I cannot WAIT to see Palps come back! I love the Emperor, he’s genuinely such a great villain. I was beside myself in the first trailer when his laugh was heard at the end, and hearing him actually speaking in this one is incredible. That throne, the fact that things are STILL going according to his master plan… un-fucking-believable.

06 Throne

“I just told my decorator to out-do Game of Thrones.”

I’m so, so excited about this. It also opens even more possibilities up for Rey’s history and involvement. It has been made canon (I’m quite sure) that Palpatine created Anakin from the force with his master, Plagueis. So perhaps Rey is their second shot at a new chosen one. Or perhaps she was made (NOT a clone, but made in a lab) by the First Order in the hopes of reviving the Emperor’s spirit by giving it a healthy and powerful young host (which has been done in the Expanded Universe btw).

OR his appearance could just be as a force ghost as well, or force vision… He’s still out there, but definitely dead, and maybe he’s trying to convince Rey to be his new “apprentice”, until he gets her into a position where he can possess her body.

Now one thing that I’m thinking about here is the image of “Dark Rey” that showed up in the first trailer. I have a theory about this. It relies on my previous theory, that Rey was created as a powerful artificial force user in the hopes of reviving Emperor Palpatine. In the EU, creating a force sensitive being was incredibly difficult, and countless failed attempts were made. My theory is that the First Order attempted it many, many times, and had the only force sensitive person they could find train the beings they created. For the purposes of my theory, let’s say it would be far more efficient to use the same body but with minor genetic variations to try to activate the midichlorians that exist in all life. So you end up with a bunch of people who look exactly the same, but who mostly can’t use the force, or at least aren’t powerful enough for what the First Order have in mind.

07 Dark Rey 02

“Hey, I always wanted sisters.”

Can you think of a group of mysterious people who have a force sensitive leader, who showed up in TFA and whose faces have never been shown?

That’s right, my theory is that the Knights of Ren are in fact the other copies of Rey, the unsuccessful versions. This would explain Kylo’s reaction to her mentioned earlier, plus the “Dark Rey” we’ve seen, plus how Kylo knows a lot of her past, and how she knows a lot of it too. It also explains how she wouldn’t know her parents, and how she might believe that Kylo does. It also brings Emperor Palpatine into the story in a really interesting way, and wraps up some other loose ends. My theory would go on to say that Luke, before he disappeared after his failure with Kylo, took the young force sensitive Rey (the only powerful being the First Order managed to create) and hid her on a desert planet so that Kylo and the First Order would never find her. Or possibly it was Han/Leia who took her and hid her, or some other character that is good at hiding things (Lando, or Maz?).

08 Dark Rey

“Actually I’m still on the light side, I just got into my teen goth phase a little late.”

Full-On War

For a series called Star Wars, you kind of expect some pretty epic battles, set in space. This trailer is really promising a lot in that regard; we see tons and tons of resistance ships, and tons and tons of Star Destroyers and other Empire/First Order ships. This is going to be BIG.

09 War 03

“Uh… hey guys, does anyone have a white flag I could wave?”

There are a few really interesting and exciting shots in the last few moments of the trailer, and I’m going to go over them in this last segment because they don’t really fit anywhere else.


Firstly, I want to potentially embarrass myself and admit that I have no idea what the significance is of C3PO’s brief scene in the trailer. Is he sacrificing himself somehow? He’s certainly been in worse shape before than what we see here, and he’s perfectly cohesive. There’s no immediate danger, and his mind was wiped after the prequel trilogy, so his memory only goes so far back. They’re obviously going to be doing something with his brain, I just don’t understand what it would be. It’s also strange to me that he has his normal gold arm back. The weird little red arm thing in TLJ seems to just be yet another completely random and meaningless change that Rian Johnson threw in for change’s sake. I don’t see the emotional purpose of 3PO’s line here, but I’m sure it will become apparent.

10 C3PO

“Oh the wires? I’m, uh… sacrificing myself to save you all! It’s totally not a sex thing… I don’t even know this computer.”


There’s a very brief shot of Finn running and shouting “Rey!”. He looks scared, and I think this is a great way to build some tension… After the last few Star Wars movies, it has become clear that main characters can and do die, so it’ll be very interesting if Rey is in a real amount of danger. As the final film in the Skywalker Saga, I think there’s a palpable sense of scale and finality, and I think it will translate to a truly exciting suspense in scenes like this.

11 Finn

“Rey! Wait! You left your helmet back there!”


The shot of the resistance running along the outer hull of a Star Destroyer is honestly incredible to me. It’s such a vulnerable position, and facing so much danger, that I can’t wait to see these battles play out on the big screen. Every shot of battle in this trailer is awesome, and they all look like a whole new kind of war that Star Wars fans have never seen before. I really think JJ Abrams and the Star Wars team are going all out for this last movie, and that’s exactly what fans will be hoping for.

12 War

“Wait a minute, are we not in space right now? Is this entire movie a dream?”

The Emperor V Rey

Now THIS shot excited me more than anything else I’ve seen. It may not literally be Rey about to fight the Emperor (in fact I very much doubt that an outright fight would actually happen), but the fact that they’re directly facing off at all is amazing. What I would imagine is that the Emperor plays Kylo and Rey off against each other, with the plan to take the winner as his apprentice (or host, if my earlier theory is correct). I would assume that Kylo’s earlier wish to kill the past, as well as Rey’s inner sense of good, will mean they join forces and destroy the Emperor for real this time. I also think the Knights of Ren (unmasked this time, all with Rey’s face) will converge on Kylo and Rey, and a massive fight will occur right in front of the Emperor. Sort of a thematic echo of the throne room fight in both ROTJ and TLJ, except this time Rey and Kylo will actually remain joined to the same side.

13 The Emperor

“Something, something, dark side. Something something, something… complete.”

Statue Thing?

I’m really confused about this. I’ve heard some theories, but they’re all heavily steeped in the EU and I’m just not sure how deep it’s plausable to go in a movie that already has a lot of loose ends and messes to clean up. Either way, Kylo and Rey are clearly working together at least for a moment in the movie, and since there are shots of them both fighting and cooperating, it’s safe to say their complicated dynamic isn’t exactly smoothed out super easily.

14 Statue Thing

“I know it’s just a statue, but we can totally kill the Emperor like that, right?”

The Throne Room

Now we have TWO thrones that the Emperor is using. This shot is gorgeous, and I cannot wait for this scene! Seeing the two new most powerful characters facing off in the same throne room where Luke and Vader faced off is just so exciting. This shot reminds me a lot of the shots in TFA. In my opinion, TFA is one of the most visually beautiful Star Wars movies; not just in visual design, but cinematography and composition as well. JJ Abrams has a natural talent for these kinds of shots, and I’m really looking forward to seeing another Star Wars movie with his incredible visual style.

15 Rey and Kylo - Throne Room

“Winner gets the throne?” “Uhh… you can keep it. I found a better one earlier.”

There are a lot of other things going on in this trailer, but I’ve picked out all the parts I think are most exciting/important. I know I’ve gone a little deep here with theories and such, but beyond that I’m not willing to speculate too much on how things will go. Despite my theories, I’m actually really not going into it expecting anything specific. I just can’t wait to see how JJ Abrams ties it all together. If anyone can turn the mess that was The Last Jedi around, fix all the crap Rian Johnson left behind, and create a really great Star Wars movie out of it, JJ Abrams can.

16 The Force Will be With You

“Help me, JJ Abrams. You’re my only hope.”

No matter what happens, it’s the last movie in the Skywalker Saga, and I’m So Keen For It!

Rant: The Mandalorian

00 - Mandalorian Header Image

Holy crap seriously, I cannot overstate how excited I am for this show!

So The Mandalorian was announced a while ago, and I’m a bit late to the party in writing this article, but I just need to get a rant out before it comes out in two weeks, so here we go.

Firstly, I just want to say that this show gives me a huge amount of faith in Disney and the future of Star Wars. The Mandalorian, along with the shows focused on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassien Andor, show that Disney is willing to invest in full narratives and exploring more interesting themes and scenarios. Instead of dropping blockbuster Disney money on more CGI and big movie events, they’re stepping away from the big screen and bringing more intense but personal stories to fans. I think a lower budget with focus on story is EXACTLY what Star Wars needs, and I really think the fans are going to love it. A huge part of what made the original Star Wars so endearing was the fact that everything was cobbled together from real world pieces, and that the production worked through a very restrictive budget which forced the team to work creatively and earnestly to tell the best story they could. That’s not to say that less money equals a better story in every case, but with Star Wars it certainly became one of the magic ingredients.

Another thing that I think the Mandalorian has that the more recent Star Wars movies don’t is a focus on darker themes (with the exception of Rogue One, which is just absolutely incredible). The trailer shows that this show is going to be a really intense story, and it won’t shy away from violence at all. It has been described as a space western, with the titular character being classified as a “Clint Eastwood type”.

01 - Stormtrooper Helmets

“Oh come on, it’s not that dark; there are totally not decapitated heads inside those helmets.”

One of the most iconic and obsessed-over characters in all of Star Wars is Boba Fett. What he brought to the table was the embodiment of almost everything that made Star Wars a global phenomenon; mystery, danger, adventure, and a gritty used visual style that spoke of rich history and a hundred stories to tell. The Mandalorian, though clearly not about Boba Fett, is so exciting because it promises to deliver on all of that. It feels like the culmination of every over-excited conversation held by children and adults alike in the late ’70s and ’80s; “Where do you think Boba Fett came from?” “Do you think he could win a fight against ____?” “What do all those gadgets and tools actually do?” “I just want a story about him!” “Imagine if the Empire wanted to hunt him down instead of hiring him!” “Is he the best bounty hunter? Are the others scared of him?” And so on… This show, although Boba Fett won’t be around, feels like finally settling all those questions.

02 - Jango Dead

Although to be fair sometimes it’s best not to settle those questions.

I for one absolutely love Mandalorian culture. I love the armour, the weapons, and their ideals. I also love the concept of bounty hunters within the Star Wars universe. I have a book that I got years ago called The Bounty Hunter’s Guide, and it fascinates me endlessly, even to this day. I also absolutely loved the Bounty Hunter video game on Gamecube that featured Jango Fett. Since one of the confirmed characters is the leader of a bounty hunter guild, I’m really excited to get to see this side of bounty hunting explored in a canon TV show.

It’s also incredibly promising that Jon Favreau is so heavily involved. I’m a huge fan of him as a director and writer, and I think he’s one of the people who is single-handedly responsible for the MCU becoming the massive powerhouse it is today; if not for the first Iron Man movie being incredible and amazing and successful, the rest of the movies may not have followed with such dedication and funding. Favreau being involved with such an interesting character and such a promising project shows they’re really looking to create the best show they can. That may sound obvious, but a lot of studios these days don’t make shows or movies to tell the best story; they do it to make the most money. I really think that everything I’ve seen so far of The Mandalorian shows that the creative team involved is invested in making the best show possible.

As well as the “Clint Eastwood-esque” Mandalorian, some other characters who have been confirmed are a former Rebel shock trooper, a former governor of the Empire, and an IG model assassin droid. IG-88 was another character who inspired questions and speculation in the original trilogy, and the brief flash of combat we got to see of IG-11 in the trailer for the Mandalorian promises that we’ll get to see exactly what IG droids are capable of. The best thing about this is that IG-11 is voiced by Taika Waititi, who is as hilarious as he is awesome. But I’m very interested in the former Rebel and Empire characters; it’s a unique way to explore the aftermath of the Emperor’s death and the destruction of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. I don’t know how much of a role those characters will play in the overall story, but I’m really hoping for some exploration of the war and the morality of the Empire V the Rebels from their perspectives. If there are scenes of the two characters actually talking and getting to know each other, I think that would be an awesome dynamic for a Star Wars series to contain.

This may be a long shot, but one thing did come to mind when I started really thinking about the potential of The Mandalorian in the context of the wider Star Wars universe; the fact that we know Emperor Palpatine is still alive (or at least still exists in some form or another) because of his laugh at the end of the Rise of Skywalker trailer. It would be very interesting if there were any subtle hints about this in the series, as most (if not all) of the episodes will be released by the time Rise of Skywalker comes out. Now obviously they wouldn’t explore it in any detail, but it’ll be super exciting if even a tiny hint is dropped somewhere in The Mandalorian that the Emperor is still out there.

03 - Mando Palps

“Yeah, err, out there… I’m certainly not Palpatine! Execute Order sixt- I mean, move along.”

What I think would be even cooler, though, and possibly slightly more realistic, is if the Mandalorian himself is involved in the locating and collection of Luke’s saber in Bespin. Obviously too many gaps filled in will result in a total lack of mystery and therefore a bit of anticlimax instead of excitement, but I really think that the Mandalorian being hired by Maz Kanata (or someone else) to retrieve Luke’s saber isn’t completely off the table. Remember, Maz is a friend of the Mandalorians, as the Mandalorian Mythosaur skull appears front and centre on her castle entrance.

This is not a full-on theory that I’m invested in, but it would be very exciting and fun to have such a close link between this show and films that still gives enough distance to allow a completely separate story – and just for fun, keep in mind that the character description of the bounty hunter guild leader says “the leader of a bounty hunter guild who hires the Mandalorian to track a valuable asset.” Now, obviously there are countless valuable assets in the Star Wars universe, but wouldn’t it make more sense and provide excitement for fans if that valuable asset is something we all instantly recognise and have an emotional investment in? And an asset which is already the subject of a mystery as to how it came into a certain character’s possession? Alternatively, other options for “assets” which could be exciting for the Mandalorian to track could be;

-Darth Vader’s helmet

-Something to do with the Emperor (that allows him to eventually come back somehow in episode 9?)

-OR something belonging to Boba Fett – his ship, or his armour, etc

Just to be clear, I don’t even slightly believe that any of these things will happen, it’s just really fun to think about. I’ll love the show no matter what the valuable asset in question is, but I sort of do secretly hope that it’s Luke’s lightsaber.

04 - Luke's Saber

“Thank you, The Mandalorian. Weird that I hired you and still don’t know your name. Also, just out of curiosity, what did you do with the severed hand that came with this?”

Anyway… Another thing I find completely intriguing about the show and the character is the complete and utter mystery surrounding his identity; he is only known as The Mandalorian. There is no further information about him. Granted, I haven’t dug into the show too deeply because I don’t want spoilers, but it’s really interesting to me that they haven’t named the character publicly yet. Most of the other characters have been given names, but for the main character to not have a name at all is a really fascinating choice. He could end up being a “Man with No Name” type character, which I think would actually be kind of cool.

All of the ingredients are perfect for a really great Star Wars series, and I could not possibly be more excited for it!

Review: Joker

I don’t even know where to start. Joker absolutely blew me away. This film is unforgettable. Uncompromising. Confronting. It is the only movie I’ve ever seen that made me deeply uncomfortable but still had such a positive effect on me. It is beautifully made, written, and performed. It is slow paced but intense and hard-hitting. This is far and away the best DC film ever made, and I really hope DC/Warner Bros can continue on with this approach for their future movies. As I often do, I’m going to rant about all the things I love most about this film, and I will endeavour to do so without spoilers, but there are some things I want to discuss that will contain spoilers, so fair warning: SPOILERS ARE IN THIS REVIEW.

Okay, now that the spoiler warning is out of the way, onto the things I love about Joker!

Exploration of Mental Illness

02 - Mental Illness

“If I put ‘Jokes’ at the top of the page, people will laugh… right?”

Films about mental illness can be very hit-or-miss; it’s difficult to portray such delicate and potentially triggering material in a powerful but sensitive way. As someone who has dealt with mental illness both firsthand and secondhand, my opinion is that Joker handles it incredibly well. This is the story of a man who has been utterly forgotten, a man who is in dire need of help and support, and who receives neither throughout his entire life. I really love that to create a character study of the Joker, the most famously insane character in all of comic book history, the writers and director began by creating a character who has a complex and problematic mental health record. As much as I love the Killing Joke, which is perhaps the most well known and canonically accepted origin story for the Joker, its portrayal of the Joker being created in “one bad day” is frankly ridiculous. I know it’s a comic book, and realism isn’t exactly the point, but no one becomes that irreversibly, psychotically dangerous after one bad day, no matter how awful it is. So having an origin story that shows the man who becomes the Joker as a damaged and mentally ill person from the beginning is a great way to explore the character. I loved that his transition from Arthur Fleck to the Joker is slow, tense, and takes a cohesive path that doesn’t exactly justify his actions, but at least shows why he is who he is.

Character Study of a Villain

03 - Bruce Wayne

“Wait, you mean I’m not the main character? Why isn’t anyone paying attention to me?” – Bruce Wayne, age 9

I absolutely LOVE the premise of this film; a character study of a very famous DC villain, which sits outside of and separate to any of the existing DC movies and doesn’t form a shared universe. According to DC and Warner Bros, this is going to be their approach from now on; each film that comes out will be its own story, with no Marvel-style build up to another massive blockbuster franchise full of CGI and wisecracks. As much as I love the MCU, I cannot begin to express how phenomenally excited I am that Warner Bros is FINALLY showing an understanding of the content and atmosphere of DC comics. For a studio that has historically only focused on formulaic approaches to movies in order to appeal to the widest possible market and maximise profit, this huge step towards creative integrity is exactly what could turn the tide on the quality of their films (which ironically will hopefully bring them even more profit and push them to focus on story and characters rather than money).

Focus on Atmosphere

04 - Tension

“This is the most relaxed I’ve been all day, and I’m just about to shoot some people on national television.”

This film is TENSE. From the very first frame, all the way through, it is absolutely enthralling. Even when danger is not immediately present, the atmosphere of Joker is just constant threat and anxiety. It’s truly incredible. Every other DC movie I’ve seen (which is literally all of them) focuses on spectacle and action far more than character and atmosphere; including Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. This film eschews all of the high budget spectacle and explosions of the typical superhero movie and replaces it with a personal, gritty, terrifying look at humanity. It feels real, and dangerous, in a way that no other comic book movie ever has before; In fact, in a way that almost no other movie has before, regardless of genre. The film is a slow burn, with probably the majority of it being build-up, and the payoff is just massive. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is another level of amazing, and if he doesn’t win awards for it there is something seriously wrong. Todd Phillips as a director has truly created a masterpiece. More than that, he’s done it completely out of left field; who knew the guy who made the Hangover movies could pull of the best movie of the decade? (I’m saying that with no thought whatsoever, don’t quote me on that because I really haven’t actually thought about the potential contenders for that title)

Style and Cinematography

05 - Cinematography

“If I’m going to be given another origin story, it better be eighties as hell.” – the Joker

Joker was inspired by three films by Martin Scorsese; Taxi Driver, the King of Comedy, and Raging Bull. In terms of style, its resemblance to films of that type is very clear, with the opening credits even written in a font reminiscent of ’70s and ’80s crime films. The soundtrack is also full of old school songs, including such artists as Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire. Considering the inspiration from Scorsese’s earlier (and perhaps best) work, and the fact that the character of the Joker didn’t receive an origin story at all until the Killing Joke in 1988, I think a ’70s/’80s feel is perfect for this film. One thing I absolutely love about the cinematography is the gradual but noticeable change as Arthur’s journey continues into madness; the camera angles get lower as Arthur descends into chaos, and the film gets darker as Arthur’s mind does the same. The camera also doesn’t shy away from violence and conflict where most films would; we see everything, and the camera sits on some images long enough to make you uncomfortable, which I think is a great technique that suits the tone. Slow, patient shots are shown throughout the film, which is indicative of confident and mature film making. Todd Phillips has created a film that speaks entirely for itself, without any shame or reservation or self consciousness. Its style is clearly pulled from existing works, but it still speaks in its own voice and tells a unique and powerful story.

As I said earlier, this film was heavily inspired by a few Scorsese films. I watched one of them before seeing Joker, and I watched another just before writing this review. The three main influences were the King of Comedy, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull. All feature Robert De Niro, who as you may know has a fairly prominent role in Joker also (in fact his role in Joker is a very clear homage to his role in the King of Comedy). I watched the King of Comedy before going to see Joker, and I have to say I’m very glad I did. There are some clear parallels between the two films which really helped me to get behind the style and atmosphere of the film from the very first frame. When it comes to comic book movies (especially DC/Batman), I can be very nit-picky and pedantic. But getting a sense of the film by watching an inspiration for its creation first helped to get me out of that sort of expectation and closed mind, so that when I sat down to watch Joker I was as open and accepting as possible. The other thing that helped me get rid of my cynicism for another adaptation of the Joker was the fact that very early on, Todd Phillips announced that this was not a typical comic book movie, but instead a character study that was completely separate to Batman and any other DC movies. This was a brilliant move by Phillips and Warner Bros in my opinion; it meant they could really explore a character without having to pander to the very narrow expectations of comic book fans. They didn’t pander to anyone in making this film, and that comes across as confident and strong as film makers.

My absolute favourite thing about this film is that it holds nothing back. It explores the ugliest aspects of humanity without censoring itself, without cushioning the fall. It is as beautiful for that as it is unsettling. It works as a character study of a famous and iconic Batman villain, but also as a stand alone thriller that explores one broken man’s attempt at connecting with the world and his fall to tragedy when he is cast out. It works as a black mirror to aspects of our current society, but also as a noir comic book movie that will thrill even the most stoic of DC fans. It is brilliant, powerful, and utterly intense. I cannot emphasise enough how much I love this film and what it has done/will do for future DC films.

Thank you, Todd Phillips, Joaquin Phoenix, and thank you to everyone else who worked on Joker. It is an incredible experience and I truly cannot wait to see it again!

Now, with the actual review done, I’d like to get something off my chest:

A note about the controversy surrounding this film: I really don’t understand why people are stating that this film glorifies violence and might inspire mass shootings. I don’t like getting political or talking about too much real world stuff, but I’m going to make an exception in the context of this film. Firstly, I want to point out that no movies/TV shows/video games/anything EVER really inspire mass shootings. The people who do that would have done it regardless, especially in America, where literally anyone can buy any kind of gun with no reason whatsoever. The gun culture in America is what inspires mass shootings and gun violence, not fiction. Secondly, I feel the need to say that if anything, this is one of the very few violent movies that specifically DOESN’T glorify gun violence. It in fact goes to great lengths to portray violence as ugly, horrifying and with real consequences. Every death in this film is incredibly impactful, and deeply disturbing.

Joker is an exploration of mental illness, a society that allows mental illness to continue decaying people’s lives, and a culture that allows violence to occur at any given moment. It is not a justification or glorification of said mental illness or violence. If someone watches this movie and finds themselves thinking violence is a great option, I put forward that that is a problem with the person watching, rather than with the film. Films, television, video games, and novels can (and should) explore these types of issues, and I can’t believe how many people are under the impression that the mere existence of a contentious social or political problem in a film constitutes support of that problem. I’m sorry, but frankly that’s ridiculous.

Joker is very clearly showing violence and lack of support for mentally ill people as a very negative thing, and if you think the film is glorifying or supporting those things you have completely and fundamentally misunderstood it. That’s not the film’s fault, it’s yours. Further to that, I’m absolutely sick of seeing people point at anything other than loose and ineffective gun law as a cause of gun violence. If you want gun violence to stop, look at politicians, lawmakers, and the general gun culture in America. Fiction has nothing to do with it. I mean, Arthur Fleck is literally just handed a gun. No questions, no anything. And that can happen in America, right now. Of course there are other forms of lethal violence, but the fact that guns are everywhere and so easy to obtain is far more troubling and a far more immediate cause of gun violence than one film that contains some gun violence ever could be. So please stop saying this film should be boycotted, because America had hundreds if not thousands of mass shootings before Joker came out and it will continue to have them until gun laws are changed, regardless of what movies are released in the meantime. Trying to stifle creative expression while at the same time leaving gun laws as they are is hypocritical and damaging, and will achieve literally nothing.

Rant: Jedi: Fallen Order

01 - Featured Image

Oh boy!

It really has been a while. But there are a ton of awesome things coming out soon and I just had to dust off So Keen For It and start my ranting again!

This article is focused on Jedi: Fallen Order, the upcoming Star Wars video game; a game which I’ve wanted desperately since I was a child. And when I say that, I mean specifically this exact game has been on my mind for a very long time; to the point where I began a story in early high school with the exact same story line! The only difference is that in mine, the young padawan escapes the Jedi Temple on the night Anakin storms the place, and stumbles across the lightsaber of Mace Windu in the lower levels of Coruscant. He then gets trained by Mace Windu’s force ghost, and the story goes from there…

Obviously mine was fan fiction and my obsession with Mace Windu featured pretty heavily, whereas Jedi: Fallen Order is a far more unique and original story. There are a few aspects of this game that I’m incredibly excited about, depending on how they go, and I’m going to rant about them now.

-Exploration/Open World…edness

02 - Planet Map

“Yes, we have a spaceship and an entire galaxy… but you can only go to these four planets.” – Used Spaceship Salesman.

I just watched the latest trailer and there’s a scene where someone says “so… where do you want to go next?” along with a hologram of four planets – one of which is Kashyyyk, yes! One thing I’ve wanted in a Star Wars game ever since I can remember is the ability to fly to different planets (at the player’s choice, instead of rigidly going to each planet as per a linear story line) and then exploring those planets freely. If Fallen Order allows players that freedom, it will be my favourite Star Wars game ever. The four planets displayed might be the only options, which is more than enough if they’re open world. If travel between the worlds is more linear and restricted, honestly I’ll be a little underwhelmed.

-Order 66

03 - Order 66

“Sorry, Emperor Palpatine, we’re heading into a tunnel. Did you say ‘execute all the sissy kids’?”

Living through Order 66 as a young Jedi is such an exciting concept; except I read that the story of Fallen Order is based five years after Revenge of the Sith… so I’m not sure how much of the actual Order 66 we’ll see, but I’m really hoping for a prologue level that shows Cal Kestis escaping from the Clone Troopers before the proper story begins. Even if not, playing as an outcast Jedi in the dark times of the Empire will be super awesome and really interesting.

-Learning the Force and levelling up

04 - Skills Menu

“Clear your mind.” “Done.”

I’ve seen bits and pieces of the skills menu, and I’m super excited about how they’re doing it! Having the skills menu be a sort of meditative force trance is really awesome and makes for a perfect in-universe integration for the menu. It’s one of my favourite things when games can do that; the Pip-Boy in Fallout comes to mind as a great example, as well as games that use the character’s helmet as the HUD. Onto actual progression: I loved the Force Unleashed games for the fact that you could learn specific force techniques and upgrade them as you improved. Fallen Order is going to improve on that style a lot, and I absolutely cannot wait.


05 - Saw Gerrera

“My legal middle name is ‘Motherfucking’.”

I have one thing to say… SAW MOTHERFUCKING GERRERA!!! Ever since Rogue One I was desperate to learn more about Saw. He had almost the same effect on me as Boba Fett in the original trilogy; he clearly has an intense and complex history, and all I want is to see it all. Besides, any character who is at odds with the Rebel Alliance for being TOO anti-Empire is a guaranteed badass. I love characters who are more complex, and Saw is a great example of a grey area type character. He’s technically fighting for good, but he’s doing so by doing truly terrible things. The fact that he’s involved in Cal’s story, a young Jedi trying to rebuild the Jedi Order, shows there may be some interesting moral choices Cal is confronted with. Or at least some intense arguments.


06 - Gameplay

“Damn it, hang on, the X button is jammed. My lightsaber won’t move.”

Star Wars games, especially those that deal with Jedi characters, can be quite hit-or-miss when it comes to gameplay. From what I’ve seen, Fallen Order looks amazing, and I can’t wait! General movement and combat is pretty important, but force powers are where it’s at. As long as controls are intuitive, I’m happy. But these days most games have become quite good at utilising intuitive control systems, and I don’t see it being an issue. Again, my biggest concern is for the game to be sufficiently open and free. I don’t just want another linear story where we play a Jedi. I want to BE a Jedi, exploring the galaxy (even if just a small handful of planets) myself at my own pace. The story is important, of course, but gameplay and freedom are equally as important, at least to me personally.

I have to say, other than the story line, this isn’t quite the perfect Star Wars video game I’ve been imagining my whole life… The game I’m still waiting for would be essentially Skyrim but in the Star Wars galaxy. A free and open choice of race, skills, and character design, with a main story line but more of a focus on exploring the Star Wars galaxy, with side quests and guild/faction quests (Bounty Hunter’s Guild, Jedi, Sith, Rebels, Empire, Mandalorians, some kind of smugglers guild, etc). There are SO many ways to build an incredible open world Star Wars game.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m ultra keen for Fallen Order, I’m just saying I’ll still be waiting for my perfect Star Wars video game after I’ve played it.


Review: Logan

Logan Poster


Logan is stunning. It’s real, and vivid, and hard-hitting in every way. It’s tragic, and beautiful, and captivating. This is Wolverine at his best, and it’s a whole new kind of superhero movie.

Right from the very start, we’re introduced to a completely different side of Wolverine, so different he’s almost unrecognisable. The first scene shows a stumbling, dishevelled Logan emerging from a car being pulled apart by thugs at a gas stop. He asks them to stop and they promptly shoot him and keep at their work. He asks again, they shoot him again, and things get messy. For them. Sounds like typical Wolverine fare, right? Only something is different; He is slower, he seems to take the hits harder, and his wounds aren’t healing.

01 LoganBeatUp

“Nah, mate, I’m fine. Just.. Just give me a minute”

We find out that Logan is sick, and taking care of an even more sick Charles Xavier. They live close to the American/Mexican border, and Logan works as a limo driver to make money to pay for Xavier’s medication (without it, he suffers from seizures which unleash his powers on anyone in the vicinity, causing insane damage on a massive scale), plus indulging in some “medication” of his own. Then a woman finds Logan and pleads with him to take a little girl with him all the way to North Dakota, to a safe place she calls “Eden”. Shortly afterwards, a group of bad guys track him down too, looking for the little girl. After that the story becomes a cat-and-mouse style chase as Logan just tries to get away from everyone and the bad guys try to take the girl. I just massively over-simplified things, but if you want to experience a great story, go see the movie. I’m just ranting about it, not retelling the whole thing.

The performances in this movie are phenomenal, every single part was perfectly cast and each character just feels real. Hugh Jackman has always been amazing as Wolverine, but in Logan he explores new depths to the character. This is Logan as we’ve never seen him but always wanted to.

02 Superhero Retirement

As a limo driver. That’s what we all wanted, right?

So, now I’m going to list the things I love most about this movie, because I feel like ranting instead of reviewing…


1: Old Man Logan
There’s something captivating about seeing a superhero aged and dying, at the end of his tether, struggling to keep up with the world. And when that superhero is Wolverine, the invincible, unkillable berserker; it’s not only captivating but genuinely moving. Hugh Jackman plays this perfectly; the emotions of an emotionally stunted loner. The body language of an old dying man who’s not used to physical limitations. Jackman has struck the perfect balance in this story, playing subtlety against rage, and love against loss with the deft hands of a master craftsman. His 17 years of playing Wolverine have culminated in one of the deepest and most beautiful portrayals of a comic book character ever seen on-screen.

03 Logan Sad

2: Charles “I’m fucking 90” Xavier
The same can be said of Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier. He is going senile, and the exploration of a brain powerful enough to destroy the world also going through the final stages of life is heart-wrenching. He plays an old man whose mind is failing him after decades of almost unlimited power, and he plays it in such a real, vivid way that his vulnerability and frailty is one of the most powerful aspects of the film. Xavier in this movie is written and performed as a real man, struggling with a real illness, who just happens to have superpowers. It’s a fine line, but one that Logan (and Patrick Stewart) tread with perfect balance. I’ve always found dementia and senility to be particularly powerful and terrifying in storytelling, and in Logan its exploration is even more poignant, as the effects of losing his mind include Xavier causing catastrophic damage to countless innocent lives. The dichotomy of incredible power contained within a helpless mind is jarring and deeply moving.

04 Xavier

“I could kill you with my mind… But who are you, again?”

3: X-23 aka Laura
Relative new-comer Dafne Keen is phenomenal as X-23, and absolutely stole the show, despite the fact that she was completely silent for at least half of the movie. One thing I love about her performance is she has a great dichotomy of bravery and fear; when she needs to fight she does not hesitate, but once it’s over she’s terrified of being hurt, and whenever she’s in a position of helplessness she is completely beside herself with terror. To me it shows that even at 11 years of age, Keen has obviously got the skill, thoughtfulness and attention to detail of a great actor. She played X-23 as an animal with the intelligence of a human, just as a lab-grown person conditioned to be a human weapon would behave. My favourite aspect of her character was how whenever she was shot or hit or anything, instead of cowering or even flinching, she just let out a scream and pushed her attack even harder. It shows her fight-or-flight response has been so heavily altered that there is absolutely no “flight” instinct. I love this, and it’s exactly how Wolverine would have been if he’d been a child when he was experimented on. I also love the dynamic between Laura and Logan, a father-daughter relationship where both are broken and struggling in their own way.

05 X-23 Attacking

4: The Violence, my goodness the violence!
I love that Logan got a higher rating than previous X-Men movies; finally we get to see Wolverine go berserker properly! THIS is what Wolverine looks like when he fights. Not to mention X-23, holy damn! I absolutely love the first scene where we get to see what Laura can do: She’s sitting in an abandoned warehouse, eating cereal and looking as innocent as only an 11-year-old can. The bad guys are outside, having restrained Logan after a bit of a fight. The bad guy sends a few of his men into the warehouse to capture the young girl. We see Laura calmly watch the security monitors sitting next to the bench where she’s seated. She knows exactly what’s coming for her, and does not look frightened. Cut back to outside, and the bad guys and Logan suddenly hear screaming and gun shots, and then quiet. Laura emerges, alone, carrying something in her tiny arms. She gets close enough to the group of bad guys, shifts her balance, and throws the thing at the leader. It bounces and then rolls to a stop at the bad guy’s feet, and we see it’s the head of the biggest guy who went in after her. They open fire and she runs back into the warehouse, chased by more enemies. What proceeds is like something out of an Alien movie, but where the Alien is a tiny 11 year old girl. She hides, occasionally being briefly sighted by an enemy out of the corner of their eyes as she bolts between benches and walls and pillars, brutally tearing apart anyone she comes into contact with. This movie is bloodthirsty, and intense with the action scenes. It’s amazing, and I loved every second of the action.

06 Violence

This is probably the tamest moment in the whole movie.

5: The End
Okay so spoilers, obviously… But holy crap. I absolutely love the ending to this movie, because it’s literally the only time I’ve ever seen a main character who has the ability to heal from anything die and stay dead. As much as I love Wolverine, it’s so satisfying for a character to actually remain dead instead of being subject to ridiculous Hollywood Deus Ex Machina style resurrection regardless of how much it detracts from the tension and emotional turmoil that should be caused by the death of a character. There were two moments that really hit me;
-Laura and Logan’s moment of acknowledgement just before he dies… she actually says “daddy” as she sobs, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking.
-The moment, just before walking away, when Laura takes the makeshift cross out of the ground and re-positions it in a much more appropriate and meaningful “X” at the head of Logan’s grave.

07 Logan Tag

I just can’t express how amazing this movie is, especially after the previous Wolverine films. This is exactly what fans have been waiting for, and more. It’s more than a superhero movie, it’s more than an action movie, and it’s more than a great movie. It’s one of the only (if not THE only) comic book movies that is entirely focused on character development instead of being event- and action-driven. These characters are just real and present in a way they’ve never been before, and it makes for a truly special and satisfying cinema experience.

Please go and see Logan, it’s ridiculously awesome!

Review: Split



Hi everyone, this review comes a little late… I’m not sure if Split is even still out at the cinema, but if it is PLEASE go and see it! Anyway…

So I’ve seen Split twice now, and I am blown away. This is M. Night Shyamalan returning to his element. He shines with this film, and its quality is on par with his earlier work; The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable. I loved every second of this movie and I’m genuinely excited to see it again.

James McAvoy is absolutely phenomenal, and his performance is beautiful. He is intense, terrifying, tragic, funny, and utterly captivating.

What excites me most is the ending… I won’t spoil it right now, but there is a sort of twist, and it’s beautiful. It’s not as drastic a twist as Shyamalan has used before, but in this case that’s a very good thing. He’s walked a more subtle path in this film, and fans of his past movies will really get a kick out of it. I know I did. In fact I actually cheered out loud at the reveal, and was so excited I accidentally spoiled it for my brother who hadn’t seen it yet.

So… onto more of an actual review.


Split follows a man who has DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the effects, both physical and psychological, that the disorder has on him.

The film’s premise takes the idea that identity disorders can potentially alter your body chemistry; the subject’s psychologist describes several examples where sufferers have been blind in one identity and had normal sight in another, or were allergic to certain foods in one identity and had no such allergies in another, and so on.

We’re introduced to James McAvoy’s character, a mysterious and silent man who kidnaps three teenage girls. He is then introduced to us through a meeting with his psychologist as Barry; but he is friendly, chatty, and artistic, not at all the man the audience has seen until now.


We learn gradually that this man is host to 23 distinct individual identities, and that they are vying for control in order to protect the man’s original identity, Kevin Wendell Crumb, who is described as a very weak man by one of the other identities. Two of the identities are called “undesirables” by their psychologist, and have gained control of Kevin’s body. They are controlling the other identities through scaring them with tales of a 24th identity called “The Beast”.

I just want to say at this point that every performance in this film is absolutely spot-on. James McAvoy is breathtaking; this may be his greatest work to date. Anya Taylor-Joy is intense and stunning as Casey Cooke, and her performance was absolutely perfect; subtle and real, and utterly believable. Betty Buckley was unbeatable as Dr. Karen Fletcher, and her performance was as captivating as it was beautiful. She was chilling and inspiring and intelligent and just perfect in the role.


The three girls who are kidnapped try several times to escape, with the most intricate escape plans orchestrated by Casey Cooke (played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who I’ve never seen in other work but who absolutely nailed her performance in this), a quiet, calculating teen who keeps a level head where the other two completely panic. She finds herself engaging with one of the identities, a nine year old boy called Hedwig who obviously takes a liking to Casey.

Not that the feeling is mutual...

Not that the feeling is mutual…

The film slowly showcases subtle examples of “Kevin’s” different physical traits depending on who is inhabiting his body (or who is “in the light” as they call it), and slowly builds towards a suspension of disbelief in the audience in preparation for the unveiling of “The Beast”. One of my favourite examples is that Hedwig is unable to open a door that the girls are blocking despite literally throwing himself at it several times; but an identity called Dennis (one of the undesirables) can push the door open relatively easily even with all three girls pushing against the other side.



Now, I’m a huge fan of Shyamalan’s earlier work and it was at this point that I started hoping that this movie was somehow related to Unbreakable. It had the same tone, and same “almost reality”, but with a believably unreal quality to it; think Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but less gadgets and much more “real-world”. In fact, nearing the end of the movie, I decided to believe that this movie was based in the same world as Unbreakable regardless of how it ended.

It turns out I was massively rewarded for that belief; Finally, at the end of the film, we get to see “The Beast”, and he is glorious.


He is a true super-villain, in a real-world setting. He is stronger, faster, and more… Unbreakable than any regular human could ever be. And he is evil. He feasts on the flesh of the impure, a word which he has decided means “anyone who has never experienced trauma”.


He describes them as “still asleep”, and his warped idea of the next step in human evolution is growth through pain and suffering; since he himself was born through the trauma and pain of his host’s original identity. Kevin Wendell Crumb was abused as a child and his first alternate identity was born in his first experience with abuse.

I really love this because it’s such a beautifully tragic origin story for a villain. The Beast was created, born from thin air, as the defence mechanism of a terrified young boy who just wanted to feel safe in his own home. The Beast was a very real physical manifestation of all the power, confidence and superhuman ability that Kevin had always wished he could have; and his disorder gave it life.

Now, I still haven’t revealed how I was rewarded for hoping that this was related to Unbreakable…


Well, right at the end of the movie, we see that The Beast has escaped and is at large. There is a news report on the television of a random diner, where the reporter states that because of the unique state of Kevin Wendell Crumb’s disorder, he has now been dubbed by the public as “The Horde”. The reporter goes on to say, in a slightly more conversational tone with her co-anchor, that it reminds her of another criminal who was locked away about 15 years ago, who was also given an odd nickname by the public. She cannot recall the name, but the camera pans to one of the patrons of the diner, an instantly recognisable face wearing a jumpsuit with the surname “Dunn” stitched into the breast pocket… And he certainly remembers the name.

“Mr Glass,” he mutters to himself, looking as exhausted as he does resolute…

Fucking drop the mic, roll the credits, holy fuck! What an amazing way to reveal that Split was just the villain origin story for the next Unbreakable movie!

This! All of the this!

This! All of the this!


I can’t believe how well done this was, despite my self-assurance halfway through the movie that it was totally related to Unbreakable, it still blew my mind actually seeing Bruce Willis on screen and having it confirmed. I haven’t been this excited over a non-comic book and/or non-Star Wars movie for a very long time.

Split is powerful yet subtle, ominous yet entertaining, tense yet beautiful. I really, really mean it when I say that M. Night Shyamalan is BACK!

Review: Rogue One


I don’t even know what to say.

I’ve seen Rogue One twice now, and it’s just nowhere near enough. What an amazing, thrilling, beautiful story. This is what the prequels should have been.

Now, I have to start this by saying SPOILER ALERT! If you have not seen Rogue One yet, aside from the myriad problems which undoubtedly arise from living under a rock, you will not be able to read this article. Now that I’ve said that I’m going to go crazy with the spoilers, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Firstly, I want to expand on one of the previous sentences: This is what the prequels should have been. When I say that, I’m talking mostly about the tone and atmosphere of the story. Now, with a story like this, we’re dealing with a situation where everyone knows what the end result is: The Rebels steal the Death Star plans and get them to Princess Leia, and the Empire is close on their heels at the beginning of ANH. So we know roughly how the story ends, the same as we did for the prequel trilogy; We know that the jedi are wiped out and the Republic becomes an Empire, we know that Anakin becomes Vader and has two children who are hidden from him, and we know that there was something called the Clone Wars. But the fun is supposed to be in the journey, and that’s where Gareth Edwards showed his audience that he truly understands this essential facet of storytelling in a way that George Lucas absolutely does not. The OT was mostly injected with all the amazing aspects of its story through external creative input: Ralph MacQuarrie’s phenomenal visual design, John Williams’ legendary music, and in terms of story (for ANH, anyway), a lot of the tension of the film came from Lucas’ wife Marcia, who came up with the idea of having Han show up last minute in the Falcon, and who changed the pacing of the end scenes completely from drawn out conversation about destroying the Death Star to a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat climax. After ANH, the writing and direction were handled by others, whose vision (in my opinion) captured what Star Wars truly is. Irvin Kirshner (Director of ESB), Lawrence Kasdan (writer for ESB & ROJ), Leigh Brackett (co-writer for ESB), and Richard Marquand (Director of ROJ) are the ones who really gave Star Wars its timeless essence. George Lucas is a great ideas man (mostly; he’s had some doozies), but other than ANH (which as stated before, owes its greatness mostly to others) he really sucks at actual film-making and even storytelling (before other people slapped some sense into him, the original title for Star Wars was “Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars” – seriously). He is and always has been an experimental, indie film-maker caught up in a billion dollar franchise he was unable to handle.

So by the time the prequels came around, George Lucas was sick of making these massive movies catering to the broadest demographic. He was old, and lazy, and sick of the ordeal of big budget movies. He was also a billionaire, and used to being on a gigantic pedestal. So he made the prequels how he wanted, and his laziness, cynicism and ego bleed through those movies painfully obviously. No one told him no, no one took over the director’s chair or writer’s chair, and no one had any creative input other than Lucas. By that time he’d forgotten what Star Wars really was, and he didn’t have the patience to tell the story the way it needed to be told. Now, despite how harsh that was, I actually don’t mind the prequels, for what they are. I just happened to be the perfect age when they came out to enjoy them as much as the originals and desperately want all the toys, which is exactly what Lucas wanted. But from an objective standpoint, I can quite clearly see that they aren’t at all of the same calibre as the OT. The only reason I went on this anti-George Lucas rant is to highlight the comeback that Star Wars is making, and more importantly, to highlight WHY it is making such a huge comeback.

We’re now getting Star Wars films made by people who grew up watching the original Star Wars, and who understand what makes it so special. Those of you who have visited my site before have hopefully read my thoughts on The Force Awakens. I won’t go into too much detail about it here, but JJ Abrams was the first in the new generation of fan/film-maker hybrids who is helping to make Star Wars as beautiful and timeless and amazing as it was in the 80’s. Now I love The Force Awakens, but I’ll say it now and never take it back:

Rogue One is something else entirely. Watching Rogue One FELT like watching A New Hope. It is an unforgettably breathtaking experience from start to finish. Its style is raw and real, and parts of it are shot like a war movie (I’m thinking of the Jedha battle sparked by the bombing of a tank, and the shoot-outs on Scarif). There is danger, and tension, and darkness in surplus. But there is also heart, and hope, and even humour.


… But mostly darkness.

Gareth Edwards is an absolute genius and a true Star Wars fan. He understands that a story like this is about the journey, not the destination, as I said before. So, even though the audience knows exactly what is coming, Edwards somehow still made us sit wide eyed on the edge of our seats, cheering with every success and gasping at every disaster. In telling his story so expertly and lovingly, he made us forget about the fact that we know what will happen, and experience the story as it happens, completely in the moment. If the prequels were made with the same energy and care, the audience would have been brought to tears by Anakin’s downfall and transformation into Darth Vader. But instead, I stare uncaring and even a little derisive as the whiny self-obsessed brat straight up murdered children and destroyed the Jedi order for no reason other than his mentor wasn’t enabling his bloated ego. If George Lucas had’ve relinquished creative control of his media empire to the right people at the right time, the prequels would have been unbelievably amazing. But he eventually saw reason, and now we are getting unbelievably amazing Star Wars movies after all.

Now I’m gonna go through this movie in my usual half-organised, half-mad-rant kinda way and list the aspects that I believe make it so utterly amazing:

1: Tone

One of the hardest things to get right in this kind of story, tone is something that can easily make or break any movie on its own. Now, I’ll admit to being quite apprehensive when Gareth Edwards was announced to direct Rogue One because all of his previous works were either low budget indie movies or kinda “meh” (yes, sorry, the Godzilla remake was meh). Monsters was… interesting, but I’ve honestly never felt the need to go back and re-watch it, and I re-watch fucking everything. So I just really was not too excited about it early on. But Gareth Edwards just absolutely nailed it. I don’t know how or why, maybe the chance to add to the Star Wars Mythos just brought out his inner genius, or maybe indie/monster movies just aren’t his forte and he didn’t realise until now. Whatever the case, the tone of this film is so ridiculously on point that I cannot believe how absorbed I am when I watch it. The time flew by both times, I sat down at the beginning, went under a trance of awesomeness, and then it was suddenly over after what felt like five minutes. Now that’s not just because of the tone, but it just demonstrates how perfect that tone is. Let me go into a little more detail instead of just ranting about how good it is on a surface level. This movie is dark. Really, savagely dark. It’s gritty and heavy and you really feel like you’re right in the middle of a brutal war in a much more defined and pressing way than in ANH. But there’s humour too (K-2SO is absolute gold all throughout the movie – “You’re letting her keep the blaster? Would you like to know the odds of her using it against you? They’re high. … Very high”). There’s also a desperate hope that the audience can’t help but feel while the characters are grasping for it. And there’s love. So much love in this movie. Not romantic love, there’s actually no love story (which I, for one, am very relieved about). But a simpler, more beautiful love that comes through in two different ways: Gareth Edwards’ love of Star Wars shines through the entire story, in a subtle, undertone kind of way; but also there is a shared love between the characters and you can see them bonding as they go further in their mission (one of my favourite scenes and the best example of this is Jyn saying to Cassian “I’ve never had anyone stick around when things go bad”, and Cassian’s amazing reply of simply “welcome home.”). It’s all perfectly balanced and flows so there’s no jarring scene where you’re dragged from one emotion to the next in an instant.

2: Attention to Detail

This was something that was always going to be an absolute necessity since Rogue One is linked so closely with ANH. It’s also something that I can say with 100% certainty that George Lucas would have fucked up beyond repair if he was in charge of Rogue One. But now that we’re in the era of Star Wars fans making Star Wars movies, this kind of thing really should not be a problem any more. Gareth Edwards, as I said earlier, is a true Star Wars fan. And he understands the purpose of continuity and attention to detail. He put an incredible amount of effort into making countless links and references in to Rogue One, not just because he knew fans would be dissecting it, but because he knew that he would genuinely love to see his movie merge so flawlessly with his own favourite movie. From Star Wars Rebels’ Ghost making a cameo, to Mon Mothma, to the amazing CGI Peter Cushing, to the Tantive IV and Darth Vader. Bail Organa mentioning his “old friend” from the Clone Wars who could help, and sending someone he trusted with his life to get a message to him safely (which leads seamlessly to the Tantive arriving above Tattooine at the beginning of ANH). All the original Stormtroopers and Rebel pilot outfits and the X-Wings and TIE Fighters and perfectly integrated ANH footage spliced into the space battle. The same camera angles and ignition sequence for the Death Star. Beautiful.


Try to guess if that’s CGI. Okay it’s not, I couldn’t find any screenshots from Rogue One. It was cool though, I promise.

3: Love of ANH

This ties in to the previous point, but is a little more specific. This movie is basically a love letter to A New Hope. This is one fans answer to the movie that changed the world. It’s a way for us to experience that same amazement and wonder, but all over again and brand new at the same time. It’s a way for us to see our favourite movie from a new angle, with new information and context. I would not have thought it possible, but Rogue One actually retroactively improves A New Hope. It makes what many consider to be the best movie of all time even better. That’s what a prequel does when it’s made with a real love of the source material, George (I know George Lucas will never read this, but I can dream).

4: The “Grey Area”

Now this is something I’m REALLY excited about. This movie shows the Star Wars universe from the perspective of normal people fighting desperately against an evil and seemingly unstoppable Empire. This was the premise of the Original trilogy, but they had the force and Jedi and Harrison Ford on their side so it made it fairly obvious that the underdog was gonna own shit and win the day. But Rogue One presents to us a world where the Jedi haven’t come back yet. They were wiped out in the Clone Wars, and non-force-wielding people have had to pick up the slack in the fight against evil. Except the thing about this story is that these normal people are fighting a real war, not a space-monk-knight magical war, which means they have to do horrible things to achieve their goals. Sabotage, murder, collateral damage, torture. These things happen in war, and the Rebels are outnumbered and outgunned, which means they need to resort to these things way more that the Empire. The thing about war is, there are no good guys and nobody wins, and Gareth Edwards understands that. I mean, the movie starts with two different scenes where two different characters established as “good guys” shoot at someone, one cold blooded murder and the other a desperate attempt to save her family, but still. This story shows the moral, emotional, and physical toll that war takes on people, and it does not hold back. One of my favourite scenes is a sudden bombing in a city square in Jedha, which was filmed using the angles and techniques used in actual war movies.


“I love the smell of napalm in the mor- oh wait, wrong war movie.”

It starts with a grenade being thrown under an Imperial tank, followed immediately by a group of hidden Rebels revealing themselves and firing openly into Stormtroopers even while innocent people are still right in the crossfire. The camera evens pans over a small screaming child, trapped in the middle of the square while lasers and explosions go off all around her. A really powerful, really effective scene. Then there’s Saw Gerrera. Oh boy, is this guy something. It wasn’t until after my second viewing that I realised he is a clear mirror image of Darth Vader himself. Saw is half man, half machine, and in his own words, “there’s not much of me left”. He is brutal, uncompromising, and feared by both sides of the war. He is deluded by paranoia (like Anakin in ROTS); he even assumes Jyn (a person he has known since she was a baby) is trying to kill him, and wildly overreacts to perceived danger (he set a mind-reading animal known to turn people insane loose on an Imperial defector even after the defector willingly gave him a recorded message from Galen Erso, saying “lies, all lies.”). But all Saw does is “for the cause”. I love moral grey areas in fiction, and Rogue One got it absolutely perfect.



“Yeah, Bitch!” – One of the Stormtroopers behind Vader. Probably.

OKAY. ALRIGHT. I cannot describe how the last ten minutes of this movie made me feel. I literally do not know how to convey that feeling in words. I could take the last scene of Rogue One, play it on repeat forever without ever doing anything else, and die a happy man. This scene IS Vader. This is as pivotal a moment for Vader’s character as his reveal in ESB as Luke’s father. It finally delivers on his oft-promised but never-quite-delivered status as the most powerful of the Jedi and the Sith, the Chosen One. And I think the reason is that we’re seeing him from the perspectives of non-Jedi. These are people who’ve never seen a lightsaber, who’ve never seen the Force in action. I love this scene so much. It is ridiculous. My whole body reacts with chills and goosebumps even just thinking about that reveal in the corridor. It is so incredibly powerful. I can honestly say that it’s one of the single greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life, and as a Star Wars fan, I’ve never felt more loved and more fulfilled than seeing Vader lightsaber-fuck his way through a bunch of terrified Rebel soldiers like a rage hurricane. 

This is what the highpoint of my life looks like.

If I had ten minutes left to live, I would spend it watching the end of Rogue One, and I would have absolutely no regrets.

Review: Ghostbusters 2016


Okay. Alright.

Ghostbusters was released amid a storm of controversy and sexism. A lot of people tried to boycott its release and issued death threats and tried to overwhelm movie rating sites like Rotten Tomatoes with fake reviews to drive down numbers. If you are one of those people, fair warning: This movie is good. Really, really good. If you’re an MRA and you’re reading this, I’m just gonna say it outright, I’m a feminist and I love this movie and this entire article is gonna be replete with triggering sentences that will make you want to throw your computer at my face. I genuinely do not care how angry you are or how much you think this movie “puts men down” or whatever. I’m a man and I loved this movie, in fact I got through the whole thing without feeling “put down” because I’m a mature and intelligent adult and I understand what fiction is and I understand that women can be in movies and can be successful and funny and awesome. I generally don’t like talking about real-world issues on this site, but it’s an inevitable topic when addressing a movie like this, because feminism is so intrinsically linked with every facet of the movie. But even though it’s not my preference to talk about it on a pop culture blog, I’m not going to shy away from the  discussion because even though I’m not exactly an activist, I am very passionate about the issue and I think now is as good a time as any to step up and let my feelings be known. I think that this little section of history is a turning point, a bookmark in pop culture history which we will be able to look back on and say “this is where things started to really change. This is where we got Rey and Katniss and Triss and Wonder Woman and the Ghostbusters. This is where movies started to embrace equality.” Obviously we have a long way to go yet (and I’m talking purely about pop culture here, not the deeper real world societal sexism which still remains), but this is a huge step in the right direction and it’s very overdue and I’m really excited about it.

Anyway, onto the actual important stuff. The review!

Now I love the original, so don’t think that I’m only a fan of the new one because I don’t love the old ones or anything. But this movie did something with Ghostbusters that I think is important for remakes and reboots and reimaginings: It retold the story but with a new voice. And there’s one recent movie that was absolutely phenomenal that did the same thing, and that’s Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens. The creative energy behind both these movies is very similar, and all the positive things I have to say about Ghostbusters I can also say about The Force Awakens. I’m gonna list those things now and then talk about a few other aspects of the film later on:

1: Honouring the Source Material

This is the biggest thing that a remake and/or sequel needs to address. Ghostbusters maintained the same tone and energy and sense of fun mixed with creepiness and action that the original had. We saw the same props, same ghosts, same comedy, and even had cameos from the original cast. The story was similar but different enough that it felt fresh, and just watching the movie gave the audience the same experience as watching the original. That, to me, is all that is required to consider a remake successful, but there’s more that this movie got right.

2: A fresh voice

Now this one is difficult because it needs to be balanced with the previous entry and that’s a difficult balance to achieve. But this entry is all about having a creative reason to remake or extend a franchise beyond monetary gain. And this is where the importance of a female cast comes in (as well as feminism and giving young children positive female role models, but I’ll cover that later). In this case the creative reason for remaking the film was to tell the story with literally a different voice, having females lead the story instead of males. I honestly think that if they’d remade Ghostbusters but with an all-dude cast it would’ve been the most redundant remake ever. Why bother remaking the same movie when the original is already so good, if you’re not gonna change anything about it? But if you remake it in a fresh creative context, there is a point to remaking it. This version of Ghostbusters actually achieves something, it starts a conversation, it gives children new role models, it brings a new flavor to a classic franchise.

3: Nostalgia

This is different to honourng the source material. To me, this is about the feel and visual style, and also the inclusion of familiar faces. I know I mentioned the cameos in the first item on this list, but in this case it’s more that the y are present in this film as a way to show the audience that the old ones are still there, unchanged and undamaged, and the old cast is happy with this new version. They wouldn’t have been in the movie if they were against it being made. That to me says that any audience member who is pissed off that this movie got made is actually arguing with the original cast too. But the nostalgia part goes beyond the cameos, it’s also in the special effects, and in the writing, and in the general feel of the movie. The special effects were very reminiscent of the original movies, with the ghosts looking almost exactly the same (albeit a little clearer).


This fucker’s still around too.

The writing was spot-on as a remake (the plot points were very similar but different enough that it felt good to watch, just like the Force Awakens), and all the jokes were in the same tone as the original. The authority figures in the film (the mayor and police and scientists) were all blindly moronic just like in the original (anyone who says that this was a mistreatment of male characters has obviously completely forgotten the original movies). The general tone and feel of the movie gave the exact same impression as the original. It was funny, with a lot of action, a lot of scariness and a lot of heart. This movie is related to the original in every way, they have the same soul and the same story and the same style. I genuinely walked out of the cinema feeling as though I’d watched the original, but fresher, a new just-out-of-the-box experience of an old beloved franchise.


Now I want to talk about the actors and the things that made this movie different from the original. I have to say at this point that I was already a fan of the actresses cast in these roles, and I think that honestly that did help me to enjoy the movie. Objectively, if you are not a fan of these specific actresses and their previous work, it would be a little harder to enjoy and embrace this remake. Having said that, it can also be objectively stated that the quality of this movie is great; and as I stated before, it maintains the tone and energy of the originals incredibly well whether you like the new actresses or not.

I personally am a huge fan of all four actresses. I have to say though, the stand out performance for me was Kate McKinnon. I’ve watched a lot of SNL and I’m a huge fan of her work on that show. She makes me laugh almost constantly, and she has the kind of effortless comedic talent found in the original Ghostbusters cast. She is outrageous and insane and hilarious. I find Melissa McCarthy a little hit-and-miss honestly, but she was great in Ghostbusters and I found it refreshing that she didn’t rely on her weight for comedy as she has in a few previous films. I absolutely adore Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones, and I think both of them nailed their roles. Leslie Jones is another actress and comedian who I think has a great delivery style, and her work on SNL is incredibly funny.

I have to say it was also great to see Chris Hemsworth flex his comedy muscles instead of the real ones for a change, and he was great as Kevin, the hopeless secretary.


“Kevin, answer the phone!” “I can’t reach it, it’s in the fish tank.” “No, the phone that’s ringing. The real one, on your desk.” “Oh, right… sure!”

I love that he was supportive of taking on the idiot role and obviously had no problem portraying a secretary to women bosses which is a dynamic that should not have a negative stigma attached to it but unfortunately still does. This is a great step in the right direction in addressing that though, and was a great dynamic to watch in the movie. I’ve seen Hemsworth’s work on SNL, and he was great in that too, so it’s not like I doubted he’d be good in a comedic role, but this is more than just comedy, this is active feminism and it requires men as well as women to change the way we live, and Chris Hemsworth is directly involved in that change and it’s great to see. As a side note, I also loved Bill Murray’s cameo as the sceptic scientist and Dan Aykroyd’s angry cabbie who “ain’t afraid of no ghosts”.


Now I’m going to talk about feminism for a little bit. If you’re an MRA and/or other kind of sexist and you’ve read this far: congratulations on not breaking your computer in a childish hissy fit. The following part of this review is going to be even more challenging for you, and for that I make no apologies. I think firstly that it’s very important that this movie was made with female leads. I think that not only girls and young women, but boys and young men need some strong, intelligent and accomplished female role models to look up to these days. I think that this movie breaks the tired old bullshit idiom that “women aren’t funny”. I think that it really shouldn’t be a big deal that a movie was remade with a female cast because it doesn’t affect the old movie and it doesn’t offend anyone unless you choose to be offended by women not being treated like nothing more than eye candy. And if you are offended by that, you have some serious and dangerous issues that you need to fix immediately. I think that before you condemn a movie for its content, you should be willing to view that content first and actually make an educated decision afterwards based on what you’ve seen instead of jumping on a bandwagon of hate based on nothing but outdated and damaging gender roles.


I know, shocking concept, right?

I love that this movie was released after so much controversy because it shows that the creative team still wanted to tell this story even though they knew it would piss a lot of people off, and I think it’s a story that deserves to be told. I think that this movie is just as timeless and lovable as the original, if not more so because it pushes boundaries and embraces inclusivity. This movie didn’t put women in the lead roles just because they’re women, or just for the sake of diversity. It had women in the lead roles because the specific women cast are incredibly talented and funny, and because they were able to tell this story the way it needed to be told.

At the end of the day, I feel very much the same about this movie as I did after seeing The Force Awakens: It holds its own against a beloved older franchise, it can be enjoyed despite comparison and even when taken as part of the whole franchise. It is funny, and fun, and well made. It embraces diversity but based on merit and talent instead of out of any sense of obligation. It honours the original source material but stands out as a great movie and story on its own. Everything about it is great, and I can’t wait to watch it again.

A Whole New (Virtual) World: The Future of Virtual Reality


I recently got the latest Samsung phone, the Galaxy S7 Edge, and with it came a promotion for a free Samsung Gear VR. Now, I’ve always been excited about the prospect of Virtual Reality, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to see blossom into a commercially viable and widely available medium. But up until now, I always tried to lower my hopes and assumed that it would take decades or longer to get a really great VR experience, and even then I thought it would cost Bruce Wayne levels of expendable income.

I’ve done some research, but before I get into that I thought I’d share with you the idea I had in my head for what I personally thought would equate to the perfect Virtual Reality Experience:

My one major idea for VR was to have a full suit to wear and a way to move around without walking in the real world so that your movement feels real. The suit would simulate every sensation you can feel, from temperature to impact to texture, smells and sounds and wind and everything else. There would obviously also be a VR headset and some way to access menus and do all that stuff. For the latter, my idea was to have the controls built into the gloves of the suit, so that specific gestures could bring up menus and pause and quick save and change weapons or items through a quick-select wheel and so on, Minority Report style. My other thought about the suit is to have a sort of exoskeleton system lining the suit which can become rigid at the joints in certain situations to simulate obstacles and objects and resistance. So basically you’d be able to move freely, and then if there’s a wall or a table in front of you the joints of all the parts of the suit that are in contact with the edge of that wall or table would lock up if you try to keep moving, thus making the virtual object a real physical presence. The same principle could be applied to the gloves, meaning you’d be able to hold any item and actually feel the resistance you would feel if you had a real item in your hand. You could pick up a ball, a sword or gun, clothing, potions and upgrades, any in-game item you would pick up in a video game you’d be able to literally hold in your hands. I’m not sure of how that would work, but if it could be done it would be insanely cool.

So that’s what I had in mind, and now let’s discuss what’s actually really available and/or in development right now, and how closely it compares to my ideal fantasy VR experience:

We’ll start with the obvious, which it the VR Headset itself:

There are a lot of these available right now, and a lot more being developed, and it’s in a stage of constant growth already, so I don’t think there’s much to discuss here as it’s something a lot of people either have already experienced or have the option of experiencing one way or the other. But just for this article’s sake, I will list a few of the headsets available and in development now:

-Oculus Rift:
So this one is the obvious choice at the moment as they’ve been developing them for a while, compatibility seems great, and for an industry still in its infancy they’ve already made a name and reputation for themselves which is impressive. As I said at the beginning of the article, I’m getting a Samsung Gear VR for free, but once I properly start to invest in VR and get better hardware, I’m absolutely going to be getting one of these. (Price: $835 AUD, available now)


-Samsung Gear VR:
This is a great option, but is very specific to Samsung smartphone owners. One thing I’ve heard about this in its favour is that it’s one of the only headsets available now which is wireless. Since it’s designed for use with a phone instead of a computer or console, it doesn’t need to be plugged into anything. Unfortunately though, this means you’re relying on the battery life of the phone, so you can really only use the Gear for as long as the battery lasts. (Price: $250 AUD, available now)

The PSVR is something I feel a little conflicted about. It’s built to be immediately usable with PS4 systems, so there are no compatibility issues, and any game Sony release for the VR will work without issue, but at the same time that means it’s not compatible with any other hardware. Now personally, I would spend any amount of money on the PSVR just for the Playstation Exclusive Batman: Arkham VR game, because I am the biggest Batman fan I know and it looks insanely amazing. But I’m also nervous about not being able to play other games I want to play if they haven’t been released specifically for PSVR. The Oculus seems to have the best compatibility with other games and hardware, so I think that’s my preference, but seriously, Batman VR! (Price: $550 AUD, available October 2016)


There’s also a more immersive auditory option, which is noise-cancelling headphones. A few of the VR Headsets available (most notably the Rift) come with headphones of their own but I feel like noise-cancelling headphones of a higher quality are a must for people who really want to experience Virtual Reality on another level. I don’t know too much about the range available but I do know that Bose is insanely good quality, and I’ll be getting a pair of Bose QuietComfort 25s for my VR set-up, available here.


As I said before, these probably aren’t technically necessary, but they will provide a much more immersive experience which is the whole point of VR after all. (Price: $400 AUD, available now)

Now, this next option is something I’m really excited about, and something that mimics my original idea of being able to walk without actually needing walking space. The Virtuix Omni is an omni-directional walking platform with a harness, allowing the user to move in any direction while using a VR Headset, opening up new possibilities for immersion which would otherwise be completely off the table. It allows unrestrained walking, running, strafing, back-tracking, jumping, and even sitting due to the harness. It’s compatible with any PC that can take standard game controls and is also currently compatible with a fair few amazing video games on PC including Skyrim, Fallout 4, Minecraft, and I believe one of the Battlefield games but I’m not 100% sure. Check it out:


The Virtuix Omni only needs about 150cm x 150cm to be fully set up, and honestly is about 10 million times more exciting and useful than a treadmill, as you can use it for video games as well as exercise. I think when I get one of these with Skyrim, I will be Olympic Athlete-level fit within about a month. Just imagine going for a run, but teleporting yourself to the surface of the moon, or the Jedi Temple, or Middle Earth, or a post-apocalyptic wasteland. This’ll give Zombie Run some serious competition. Instead of syncing your playlist to the sounds of zombies, you’ll be right in the middle of a ruined street with actual zombies running right at you. You could get into a Podracer or X-Wing (through the harness’ ability to allow for seated positions) and have a full-on VR race through the Star Wars Galaxy. GTA would be ten times more fun, running around and getting into any car and driving anywhere you want. Super exciting. (Price: $1,500 AUD including shipping to Australia, available estimated Q3 2016)

OKAY GUYS… Are you ready?

This is the one thing that I honestly didn’t think was going to be possible for a long, long time. This is something that I have been obsessing over in my head for ages now, even contemplating studying engineering and computer science just to get involved in the research and development of this type of technology. But, after a little Googling, I realised that is unnecessary, as some absolute geniuses have already read my mind and have started developing them. What I’m talking about is a full-on haptic feedback suit. Check this shit OUT:


GOD DAMN SON. It even looks like something Iron Man would wear! So this suit has motion capture sensors to accurately track your movement within the game and control the game. It has tactile feedback throughout the entire suit, allowing it to simulate a huge range of sensations. It has temperature control. It has a control unit in the belt which is basically a built-in computer that allows control of all of the components of the suit. Other than the exoskeleton idea I had, this thing is basically word-for-word my exact description of the perfect VR suit. It’s insane how amazing this technology is. Now, granted, I haven’t actually seen this suit in action and there’s not even a price point yet that I’m aware of, but as long as they’ve done their thing and haven’t made any major mistakes, this thing is gonna change the world. This is what VR was made for, a real, tangible simulation of any fictional virtual world. You’ll be able to feel the world you’re standing in for real, and really interact with everything in it. The possibilities from here on a basically limitless, this is just the first generation of Virtual Reality haptic feedback suits. every subsequent iteration will be better, smoother, more realistic, cheaper, more compatible. We’re standing right in the doorway of endless virtual worlds, and every year they’ll get more and more real. (Price: Unknown, availability unknown)

The other thing I’m really excited about is sort of an extension of the last entry, as it’s very similar but just a bit more specific. They are controller gloves, still using haptic feedback technology but focused on the hands and with a primary goal of being control mechanisms. They allow for the feeling of really picking up items, and can simulate not only texture but weight as well, which is insanely cool. At the moment they’re still in the Kickstarter phase, but relatively soon they’ll be commercially available and will hopefully start to get a bit cheaper. The problem is that I can’t find any information on their compatibility with other VR hardware and software, and for such a new medium, that kind of ambiguity is not very helpful. And since the price is around $200 per glove, they’ll need to provide some more info before I’m willing to invest. Don’t get me wrong, considering the technology and what you can do with it, the price is very reasonable, it’s just not knowing exactly what I can use them with and how they work makes it difficult to make that financial commitment.


I’m not at all discouraging anyone from investing in these, but I think I’ll be waiting until more information is out and maybe until some reviews have been released. (Price: $525 AUD, available through their Kickstarter here, ETA unknown)

So, to recap:

1: VR Headset:
-Available right now
-Immersive video playback
-Motion tracking for 360 degree field of view
-Compatible with most hardware and consoles (depending on the model/manufacturer)

2: Noise-cancelling headphones
-Available right now
-Allows for complete auditory immersion
-No compatibility issues (chorded)

3: Omni-directional walking platform with Harness:
-Available later this year
-Allows for walking, running and strafing in 360 degrees and even sitting
-Compatible with all VR Headsets and all PC Video Games with standard controller inputs

4: Haptic Feedback Suit:
-In development
-Control Unit in Belt with VR Headset compatibility
-Motion Capture sensors,
-Tactile feedback through electrode pulses
-Climate Control System

5: Haptic feedback controller gloves:
-Available this year
-Compatibility unknown
-Tactile feedback through electrode pulses
-Allows for sensing of weight, texture and size and manipulation of in-game virtual items
There’s a crazy amount of VR Headsets and noise-cancelling headphones (for those who want them). Then we have an omni-directional walking platform, a full haptic feedback suit, haptic controller gloves and a bunch of hardware and games already compatible with this kind of tech. So we are just steps away from a complete, 100% Virtual Reality immersion system.

All up for the products I’ve ranted about in this article, you could have an almost 100% immersion experience for about $3,200 AUD. That’s not including the Teslasuit, but if you assume the price for that at around $1,500, you’re still spending under $5,000. I understand that’s a lot of money, but if you think about the kind of technology at work here, and what you’re really paying for, that’s insanely cheap. You’re paying for essentially a doorway into countless alternate realities, a literal platform through which you can explore landscapes and situations that look and feel 100% real but which are physically impossible. I can’t even express how excited I am at this technology and what it means for the future. This is not just about video games, this can be used in countless contexts; you can use it for:

-Fitness (with the Virtuix);

-Exploration (imagine a 360° camera attached to an orbiting satellite or rover on the surface of a distant planet, where you can connect to it and see the planet for yourself);

Movies (there are already real narrative movies being filmed with 360° cameras, but I want to go further than that. Imagine an ensemble movie like the Avengers where you can swap between each character’s point of view at will, and they’re all doing different things and sometimes they’re in different places, so the movie is completely different each time you watch it. Imagine a survival/horror movie like Alien or Nightmare on Elm Street from the character’s POV. Imagine a TV show like 24 where the whole thing is in real time and you have a mystery to solve or an attack to stop. Sherlock or NCIS with 360° camera footage, so you can see the whole crime scene from every angle and follow along with the clues the characters see; the possibilities go on and on);

-Education (online courses? what about VR lectures, practical VR training, seminars and TED talks and educational films all ready to go through Google Play and/or 360° cameras set up at the events);

-Communication and social media (imagine being able to pick any setting like the Death Star or Rivendell or the Tower from Destiny or the flight deck of the Starship Enterprise and just hang out with your friends there, watch a movie together in that setting or play crazy virtual games);

-Tourism (3D 360° cameras could be set up at key tourist attractions or attached to touring vehicles like tour buses, helicopters and controllable drones and anyone could log in and look anywhere they want, and capture screenshots from their own perspective);

-Shopping (this sounds insane, but I’m thinking of that scene in Futurama where the internet is actually a digital landscape that the characters walk around in after putting on VR suits, and each website is a separate building. Online shopping could be like that, where you show up and there’s a long street and each building is a different place to shop like eBay or Etsy or whatever, and you can fill your cart by grabbing stuff on the shelves, and if the program can save your measurements, imagine being able to select the exact right size for you by resizing the clothing the way you’d resize an open window on your desktop, pulling at the corners or something. It would not only be really fun and interactive, but you’d actually be more confidant that what you’re buying fits).

That’s just what I can think of right now, imagine a decade or two in the future, we will be able to do anything from the comfort of our own homes.

I would make a conservative prediction that within the next 5 years we’ll have those components consolidated into a complete VR set, compatible with PC and hopefully consoles. It’s a matter of either the current manufacturers working together, or one (or more) of the manufacturers building their own hardware with the same specs and abilities. So, so close!

I’m so Keen For It!