Upcoming Stuff: No Man’s Sky

01 - Logo

Holy crap, No Man’s Sky you guys. Seriously, this game is going to be insanely, scarily good.

Here’s the elevator pitch (or my version of it anyway):

You have a spaceship which can travel anywhere in the universe as long as you have the fuel to take you there. You have an entire universe of unique and diverse planets to explore. A literal ENTIRE UNIVERSE. So many unique planets that if you had 10 lifetimes to devote solely to this video game, you still would not see them all. Someone has created a real video game the size of the universe, and you can explore the entire freaking thing!

So that was the shortest pitch I could come up with without going overboard and non-stop ranting about this amazing game. But now that I’ve done that, I’m going to go overboard and non-stop rant about this amazing game…

I’m just going to start by quoting a bit of the Wikipedia article for the game:

“No Man’s Sky’s gameplay is built on four pillars — exploration, survival, combat and trading — in which players are free to perform within the entirety of a procedurally generated deterministic open universe, which includes over 18 quintillion (1.8×1019) planets, many with their own set of flora and fauna. By exploring, players gain information about the planets that they can submit to The Atlas, a universal database that can be shared with other players of the game.”

Did you see that number? over 18 quintillion! I didn’t even know that was a number until I looked up this game! That’s insane! It’s literally beyond human comprehension. This company (Hello Games) has literally CREATED A UNIVERSE. This is not just a video game, this is a technological and creative marvel. This is a benchmark, a life- and world-changing innovation. What’s even more impressive is that due to the way the code creates the planets, when you play offline, you get exactly the same planets as when you play online. The planets are procedurally generated, which means a single “seed number” is used to create everything using deterministic algorithms and random number generators via mathematical computation. That basically means that one number is all that is needed, and the rest is created as a flow on: the seed number creates the foundation, the code created from the original seed is used as the seed for the next part, for example the position of the planets in the first Solar System, and then the code generated from that determines what life forms will be generated on the planets in that Solar System, and so on. So, by setting up a self-generating universe, they’ve effectively eliminated the need to create these planets and life forms by hand, meaning that all they needed to do was create the rules and laws by which the life forms and planets operate (not saying at all that they didn’t work hard, just that they worked smart and freaking nailed it). Also by using specific coordinates to travel to any given planet, they’ve created an awesome and efficient way to quickly code an area for generation by the player. The coordinates work as the seed for the Solar System when used to travel. This means that even offline, if a friend discovers a useful planet and gives you the coordinates, you will be able to travel (provided you have the resources to do so) directly to the exact location your friend discovered and see the exact same thing.

02 - Dinosaur

“Get over here dude, there’s a Brachiosaurus. Seriously, dinosaurs!”

Now, as a musician, what I find most intriguing and impressive is that even the music is procedurally generated. These people created MUSIC THAT WRITES ITSELF based on where you are, how much danger you may be in, what the look and feel of the planet is like, and so on. That’s ridiculous! That’s so freaking cool that I don’t even know how to describe it! Maybe I should get these guys to procedurally generate me some compliments to give them; They can do it for everything else. Along the same lines as the music, is the fact that they’ve also created a way to procedurally generate the animal calls, ensuring that not only will the life forms on each planet look different, but they will sound unique too. I can’t even begin to describe how impressive this game is and I haven’t even played it yet.

03 - Jawas

I really hope these ones sound exactly like Jawas.

So as I said before, the whole game revolves around exploration, survival, combat and trading. Those first three are my favourite things to do in video games, and the added element of trading ensures a more realistic approach to being a universe-travelling explorer, and also encourages online cooperation and communication between gamers, something I think is incredibly important in this era of ultra-competitive online death matches full of needlessly aggressive tweens screaming pointless insults and empty threats at each other. In No Man’s Sky, people can fight, sure, but it’s all about exploring and reaping the benefits of said exploration through trading and upgrading your equipment using the resources you get. It’s approaching it from a more pragmatic, real-world perspective; if we all actually did have the ability to explore the universe that deeply, we would only benefit as a species if we worked together and shared the resources and knowledge we obtained from the universe. It also offers a unique reward for exploration and a more healthy, less destructive type of competition: When a new planet is discovered in the online game, it can be uploaded to the Atlas, and the player who discovers it first will be credited by name and will be able to name their discovered planet as well as leave notes for other players or themselves for reminders (such as whether the atmosphere is toxic, what resources there may be, and how dangerous/numerous the local life-forms are).

One thing I’m really hoping for and that wasn’t explicitly mentioned in any articles or promotional material I could find is properly customizable spaceships. I know you can upgrade them as that’s an integral part of the game, but what I mean is being able to actually design the look and feel of the ship you own. It would suck if it was the same generic ship for everyone, or if certain upgrades had specific aesthetic looks and you couldn’t change it much at all (I’m lookin’ at you, Destiny armour). I want a really unique, special vehicle that no one else has. I mean, it’s obviously not that big a deal, but it would make a difference to me and I’d imagine to a bunch of other people too. Having said that, the ship that’s shown in all the promotional material basically looks like a legally safe (if a little generic) version of an X-Wing, and who doesn’t wanna fly around the universe in their very own X-Wing? I know I do! I just feel like it’ll be a bit weird if everyone’s flying around in the exact same vehicle.

04 - X-Wing

“Check out my X-Wi- I mean, my non-Lucasfilm owned, completely unique spaceship…”

I’m also really interested in how the flight controls work and what the control panels and consoles look like in the cockpit. I know there has been some gameplay footage (and I’ve actually seen it, but my memory is God-awful), but I think it’ll feel different when actually playing the game and I hope it works well. Don’t get me wrong, I have absolute faith in the Hello Games crew and I’m all but certain they’ll pull it off, I just have to wonder about it until the game is in my hands.

My absolute favourite thing about this game though, is that it can be played offline with almost no change in gameplay, quality, exploration options, or anything else. I’ve already mentioned the fact that you can play offline, but I just really wanna stress how much I love that option and how impressive it is that even when you’re offline, you’re still exploring the same universe. I’m not a huge fan of people, especially online people (since as soon as any kind of anonymity is granted, people suddenly turn into revolting, hate-spewing trolls), and so I love having offline options in video games. My favourite games are invariably offline, single player, open-world RPG type games, and this game ticks all those boxes, but instead of open-world, it’s open-freaking-universe. I like it that the online/offline choice changes almost nothing about how the game is experienced, beyond only being able to save planetary discoveries while online (which is obviously fair enough).

I haven’t been this excited for a video game in quite a while, the last notable ones I think being Fallout 4, Battlefront, and Arkham Knight. This one is on its own unique level though, achieving things that I genuinely did not think would be possible in video games for another few decades. We’re making a huge step forward here, and I think this kind of technological breakthrough has potential applications in Virtual Reality which could really help with creating more complete worlds to explore using much less processing power. But I’m getting ahead of myself. This game on its own is gonna be plenty impressive enough. I’m just super excited about the prospect of seamlessly flying from one planet to the next, getting out of the ship, and walking around. The more I read about this game, the more impressive it is, and the more excited I am to play it.

05 - So Pretty

Ooh, so pretty!

06 - So Pretty Again


Even conversing with NPC aliens in the game (who can appear anywhere in space between planets or on a planet’s surface) is super awesome, as they will have unique alien languages which will require either translation using monolith-like “Rosetta Stones” found on some planets or wild guesswork followed by process of elimination (obviously this one requires an insane amount of luck to not end up blown into atoms in space by disgruntled aliens insulted by your accidental use of the alien equivalent of a “ya mum” joke). But once you’ve established a working relationship, you can trade with and support each other and there may be other perks later on too depending on what the developers have in mind. The very fact that there are random unknown alien species scattered around the universe each with their own complete language and resourcesready to be contacted shows an awesome level of attention to detail and creativity from the developers. They’re really putting everything they have into this game and I think it’s definitely going to show.

07 - Hello Games

Even the concept art looks perfect.

One more thing I’m hoping this game will nail is the control and design of the ships, as I mentioned before. I’m hoping for something along the lines of Elite: Dangerous, as the controls and interface of the ship were realistically complex and intriguingly immersive. It would be amazing to see something like that. I’m just hoping it’s not TOO simple. I understand that they’ve built an insanely massive game, and that is incredibly impressive, but it would be sort of wasted a little if the ship you use to travel through that incredibly massive universe was controlled by boring, two-dimensional, barely simulator-level flight controls. I’m not at all suggesting that’s what’s happened here, I’m just saying I hope it’s not the case.

08 - Controls

“OK, now… Where did I put that instruction manual?”

Anyway, those are pretty much all my thoughts on No Man’s Sky, and I’m just gonna end on another over-excited burst of praise:

Seriously, guys, this game is gonna be SO INSANELY FREAKING AWESOME. JUST SO DAMN GOOD, GUYS.

I’m So Keen For It!

Rant: Why Batman V Superman is an Amazing Movie

01 - BvS Logo

So Batman V Superman got crapped on. Despite being insanely awesome, and
making a boatload of money, and seriously just being INSANELY AWESOME. I
just need to make one huge point before I say anything else. This is
putting aside my own biases and opinions (mostly)…

This is the ONLY live action DC movie that has gotten Batman right. THE
ONLY ONE. Sure, maybe you love the Nolan trilogy. Maybe you’re even
misguided enough to think that it’s the “definitive” Batman. You can think
that if you want, I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. But the
fact is, Nolan’s movies were never meant to be comic accurate, and they
aren’t. They are a separate universe. They are Nolan’s VERSION of Gotham;
sort of a half-way-real version, like if Batman existed in the real world,
and if all of his gear and methods could be produced and explained with
modern, real science and technology, that’s where Nolan’s Batman lives. But
Snyder’s Batman is the REAL Batman. The Comic Book Batman:

-His suit is accurate (grey material with black cowl, cape, gauntlets and
boots, NOT black rubber or black full body armour);

-He can move like Batman (he is the only live action Batman who can move
like an actual martial artist; even Bale had the clunky, robotic movements,
even after his suit was upgraded to supposedly deal with his lack of

02 - Movement Comparison

-He is obsessive and single-minded (all the other Batmen were worried about
other crap like romance and other character’s drama, and were fairly
relaxed in their approach to crime fighting compared to the Comic Book
Batman and Affleck’s version);

-He has a history that is obviously rooted deeply in the comic book lore
(Robin has been killed, his suits and gear are weathered and well-used, the
Joker has obviously been plaguing Batman for a while, the Riddler’s
question marks show up)

03 - Robin

I’m gonna go through all the points that I keep seeing people bring up when
they talk about why they don’t like BvS, and rant about why I think they’re
wrong and just generally rant about how much I love the movie. So here,
from what I understand, are the biggest arguments against Batman V

1: It’s “too dark”

04 - Too Dark

Now this one works on two levels. People thought it was both literally too
dark, i.e. there was not enough lighting to show what the characters were
doing; and it was thematically/emotionally too dark of a story for a
Superman sequel. Now, the first could be a legitimate complaint, if not for
the fact that Batman is famous for only appearing at night, in the shadows,
very much on purpose. The second point I think is incredibly closed minded
and is discarding basically all recent DC Comics’ history. DC is very dark
generally, and especially the comics that BvS is inspired by, so it stands
to reason that the film would be dark too. It also makes sense contextually
when you look at what Man Of Steel built up to in its narrative. Superman
was a vastly powerful being who was first indirectly responsible for Zod
showing up, and then directly responsible for destroying a lot of
Metropolis. He is not trusted by the American Government and the rest of
the world, and the movie ends with him having broken Zod’s neck.
Introducing a dark character like Batman into an already dark story is not
going to turn it into a comedy. If you’re expecting a light-hearted romp
through comic-book land, watch a Marvel movie. And while we’re on the
subject: DC IS NOT MARVEL. STOP COMPARING THEM. If you like Marvel, that’s
great. I do too. But please, stop expecting DC movies to follow in their
footsteps. Just because the formula Marvel employs works well for them, it
doesn’t mean it’ll work for Batman. It’s also incredibly frustrating
because the same people who condemn DC for not being light-hearted and
“Marvelly” enough are the people who are condemning DC for TRYING to
emulate Marvel. So basically, you’ve just arbitrarily decided that DC can
never win no matter what they do. If that’s the case, stop going to see
their movies and let people who will actually enjoy them go to see them.
It’s the same as the inevitable Nolanverse comparison; everyone gets angry
at any new version of Batman characters if it isn’t “as awesome” as Nolan’s
characters, but also shits on them for daring to compare themselves to
Nolan. But you’re the one making the comparison. If all you want is the
Nolan trilogy, then just watch that. But anyway, my point is that Batman is
a huge part of this movie, and Batman is dark. Deal with it.

2: Batman kills people

05 - No Killing

This one is interesting. At first, I was a little mortified that Batman was
indeed killing people. But the more I looked into this world that Snyder
has created, the more I became convinced that this is actually a realistic
and really interesting take on Bruce Wayne’s obsessive and brutal nature.
First, you have to realise that Bruce Wayne has devoted every single second
of his life to ending crime in Gotham since his parents were murdered.
Every single second that he is awake, he spends endlessly pursuing justice.
After a few years of this, a young kid comes along who has the potential to
become a great crime fighter. Bruce takes him in, trains him, and starts
teaming up with him out in the field. Eventually, the kid is murdered.
Batman was not fast enough, didn’t have the firepower, didn’t have the
conviction to kill the Joker before that moment, and it cost the life of
his partner whom he saw as a friend, a surrogate son, a member of his small
but irreplaceable family. His obsession, and all the effort, time, money,
and training he has gone through, were all for naught. He could not save a
boy from murder. The only thing that would have saved him was if the Joker
had himself been killed. The Joker, and all the other criminals in Gotham,
will keep pushing, keep killing, keep corrupting Batman’s city unless they
are stopped permanently. I bought the BvS Tech Manual as soon as it came
out, and it’s an amazing insight into the history of Snyder’s Batman.

One amazing thing I learned from it is that the Batwing was designed with a
two-seat cockpit. Soon after Robin dies, he replaces that second seat, that
literal empty space in his life, with weaponry. He replaces his aversion to
killing with the unfortunate certainty that it is what he will need to do
if he has any hopes of completing his mission. It takes the death of a
young boy to push Bruce Wayne over that edge, but it is something he has
always been close to. I want to quote a conversation between Batman and
Jason Todd, the comic book Robin who is murdered by the Joker and then
resurrected only to become an antagonist of Batman:

Jason: “I can forgive you for not saving me, Batman. But why, why on Earth,
is HE still alive?!” *points at the Joker*

Batman: “You don’t understand, Jason.”

Jason: “What, are you afraid it would be too difficult?”

Batman: “No. God, no! I’m afraid it would be too easy! I’m afraid that once
I start, I won’t be able to stop.”

That is paraphrased, obviously. My memory is not that great, but that’s the
gist of their conversation. Batman has always been on the more brutal side,
and he has killed people occasionally in his 75 year history. I think that
it fits the Snyder version of Batman and it makes a lot of sense given the
history hinted at in the film. It also lends context to his decision to
stop Superman by killing him instead of stopping him by other means.
Lastly, people seem to have completely overlooked/misunderstood Batman’s part of the story; This movie starts with him having lost his way, and his storyline is all about redemption and becoming a hero again. Snyder essentially played Batman as a villain in this movie. He is someone who has gotten so lost and consumed by his mission after 20 years of battling Gotham that he has stepped over the line and has resorted to killing people. You’ll also notice that the only people he kills in the movie are people who are literally trying to kill him first at the time (or who are threatening innocent people with death, like the flame-thrower dude with Martha Kent). So even for his lowered moral standards, he’s justified in stopping them the way he does. It’s only with Superman himself that Batman is considering cold-blooded, pre-meditated murder, and even that’s only because he’s dealt with psychopaths in crazy costumes for two decades now and understands the risks of letting them loose. He sees Superman the same way he sees the other supervillains of his world, and why shouldn’t he? Superman levelled half a city and then broke the neck of the second-last surviving Kryptonian in existence. So Batman finally makes the decision to kill someone pre-emptively instead of standing back waiting for another city to be levelled. It’s not until Batman has Superman literally under his boot heel with a spear at his face that he realises that Superman is just like him, just a man with extraordinary abilities trying to save as many people as possible, trying to be the best he can be. When Superman cries out “they’re gonna kill Martha!”, Batman realises that he is about to kill a living creature who has a family, and who is trying to fix his mistakes, and who is not evil. He realises in that moment that he’s on the wrong path. But even then, it’s difficult for him to break out of his deadly habits; He essentially kills all of the henchmen guarding Martha Kent in his effort to save her on Superman’s behalf. The seed of redemption had been planted, but it couldn’t flower until the death of Superman, when Batman realised that there was one less real “hero” in the world, and he would need to step up and properly change his ways to honour Superman’s memory.

It’s at this point that the Justice League is hinted at, and I think it’s really important that Batman reached his redemption before meeting the rest of the team, as he was always one of the more moral, ethical and level-headed members. Also, Batman realises that if he is the one who brings them all together, and since he has Lex’s research, he can keep an eye on all of the members of their new group and step in if any of them step over the line. This is a nice little set-up of the “Tower of Babel/Justice League: Doom” story line, and given the Flash’s interaction with Bruce in the cave, there’s also a hint of Injustice: Gods Among Us. I think those two story lines can mix well and would be very interesting to see in this version of DC.

[For anyone unfamiliar with the storylines I just mentioned, Tower Of Babel
(in the comics) and Justice League: Doom (in the animated movies) is about
someone stealing Batman’s last resort back-up plan research detailing how
to bring down every member of the Justice League and puts all of those
plans in motion, forcing Batman to try to undo all of the damage and
introducing tension and mistrust between the rest of the League and Batman.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is the video game where the Joker tricks Superman
into murdering Lois Lane and their unborn child. In a rage, Superman then
kills Joker and takes over the world, forcing humanity into a cease-fire,
zero tolerance, crime-free Totalitarian Dictatorship. The rest of the
Justice League splits up into two groups: those who believe Superman’s
actions are justified and who support his way of enforcing peace; and those
who disagree and believe freedom is as important as peace.]

3: Superman is “not inspiring enough”

Haha. Yeah, this is hilarious. So from what I’ve heard, a lot of people are
angry about the fact that Superman isn’t the perfect, morally upright boy
scout that he was in the old days of Comics when every hero was perfect in
every way. This complaint should have been abandoned even after Man Of
Steel. This version of Superman is complex. He is real. He struggles with
morality, just like anyone else. More, in fact, since he has more power to
act on his thoughts and feelings than any human. His adoptive parents
weren’t perfect, and never pretended to be, and it rubbed off on him. They
knew what was right, but they admitted that it’s more often the difficult
path compared to doing what’s “wrong”. Scenes like the conversation between
a young Clark and Jonathan Kent in MoS highlight this perfectly, and work
to foreshadow the kind of man Superman will be:

Clark: “What should I have done then, let them die?”

Jonathan: “I don’t know. Maybe.”

They have a discussion about how at that time, hiding who he really is is
more important than saving everyone and doing “the right thing”. This
cements in Clark a grey area in morality. He knows that sometimes, humans
can’t be saved from themselves. He knows that a lot of them hate him. He
knows that even the ones who don’t hate him want him to give up his
control. He is idolised, worshipped, hated, blamed, protested and taken to
court, all at the same time. On top of all that, he has lost his birth
parents and his entire home planet (without ever getting to meet them), His
adoptive father died so that he could protect his secret, and he has the
power to destroy the entire human race if he so chooses. He is struggling
with all of these things, and although he is a superhuman, he is
emotionally no different to a human being. He was raised from infancy by
humans among humans and his mind works the way a human’s does. Now, imagine
if you were given the powers of a God, and then immediately after that you
were forced to murder the only other God in existence, and then the entire
world bombarded you with pleas for help, hatred, worship and criminal
charges all at the same time. Would you be able to maintain a perfect moral
attitude and be a generous, perfect, inspiring, benevolent God/Superman to
all humans, all the time?

Thought not.

4: Lex Luthor is not Lex Luthor

06 - Lex

“Oh no, I’m TOTALLY Lex Luthor… I’m just different in every way.”

I actually have a theory about this one, but even if it’s not true, I still
like Jesse Eisenberg’s take on the character, if only because they still
kept the core of Lex’s character alive through his intimidating
intelligence and his Machiavellian manipulations of Batman and Superman. My
theory is that Jesse Eisenberg is not Lex Luthor, but is actually playing
the Riddler. There are two reasons for this: one is that Zack Snyder said
in an interview that he originally wanted the Riddler to have a major part
in the movie but rewrote it. The Second is that “Lex” is almost constantly
posing questions and riddles, is jittery and more focused on information
and riddles than people. Eisenberg’s performance is much closer to Riddler
than Luthor and on a side note, Eisenberg is actually playing Lex Luthor’s
son, not the classic Luthor that we know. This is another reason I could
see him being Riddler, because it could be an elaborate fake identity.
Maybe Lex never had a son. Maybe he did but Riddler killed him and took his
identity. Or maybe Jesse Eisenberg and Zack Snyder just have a different
idea of what Lex Luthor should be like. It’s also important to remember
that this is basically still Luthor’s origin story. He’s young, still had
his hair (until the end of the movie), and has only just been introduced to
Superman. I think we’re gonna see some insane stuff with his character in
the future, and it’s either gonna get WAY more Luthor-y, or it’s gonna be
revealed that he is indeed the Riddler playing everyone. Either way, I’m

5: Doomsday looks like a generic Orc/monster

Honestly, this one I totally agree with. Doomsday legitimately does look SO generic in this movie:

08 - Monster 1

Oh wait, that’s not Doomsday…

09 - Monster 2

Damn, still not Doomsday…

10 - Monster 3


11 - Monster 4

Is that him?

12 - Monster 5

Yes, finally! Oh, wait…

13 - Monster 6

Oh fuck it, whatever.

There was no reason at all to change the design of the character, especially since in this case they changed it to look more like every other orc/generic monster in every other recent movie instead of going in a unique direction and making it look awesome and different. Also having his origin changed so that he’s created by Lex is pretty weird too, but oh well. You win some, you lose some.

6: The Dream sequences are muddled/unclear

I only have one problem with the dream sequences, and that is that Bruce
Wayne’s post-apocalypse Darksied future dream had a weirdly prophetic and
uncannily specific quality to it. If it comes to pass that one of the
future Justice League or other DC movies contains that same stuff in a
future scene, I’m gonna have to call shenanigans; Bruce Wayne is not a
fortune teller, and randomly having a vision of the future which somehow
comes true is not a character trait you can explain away with the old
“because he’s Batman” excuse. I love the tortured psychological nightmares
Bruce has outside of the weird future one though, like the giant bat coming
out of his parent’s graves, the distorted dream version of the batcave
experience, and so on. Very cool and indicative of the darkness within
Bruce Wayne’s psyche.

I have a little more to say in defense of Batman V Superman: This is one of
the only superhero movies I’ve ever seen which made me feel like I was
actually reading a graphic novel. It IS a graphic novel, but on the big
screen. The story, the tone, the cinematography, the scope and character
design (other than Doomsday) are all spot on DC Comics. Finally seeing
Batman the way he’s supposed to be in live action was one of the greatest
cinematic experiences I’ve ever had.

Also, I touched on this briefly before, but I need to say it again because
it impressed me so much: One of the things this movie got perfectly right,
and the same thing that a lot of movies these days are sorely missing (what
with all the prequels and sequels and origin stories and reboots) is a
sense of mystery. Batman V Superman was confident enough as a film to leave
things unsaid. There is one other major film franchise which also achieved
this and is in fact celebrated for it: Star Wars. That’s right, I’m drawing
a clear and decisive parallel between this movie that everyone apparently
hated, and arguably the most beloved film franchise of all time. The
original trilogy contained a lot of characters, events and places that were
mentioned or briefly seen, and then never explored, and it piqued the
audiences interest so much that we obsessed over them and created actual
whole subcultures out of them. It also helped to instill a sense of
complexity, depth and realism in the fictional universe being explored.
Snyder has done the same thing with BvS. We see Robin’s empty suit
displayed as a memorial, with graffiti from the Joker, we hear Bruce Wayne
talk to Alfred about the effect Gotham has on people (“20 years in
Gotham… How many good guys are left? How many stayed that way?”) and we
even see a glimpse of the fact that Batman has already been through a lot
with his armour being scratched up and weathered prior to starting the
fight with Superman (similar to how Boba Fett’s armour was beaten and
weathered in Star Wars).

At the end of the day, all this movie did wrong is that it wasn’t the
perfect, ultimate, unachievably amazing movie that fans and critics were
demanding and imagining in their heads. The movie itself is great and is
exactly what it is supposed to be: a visually gorgeous tribute to comic
books and an imaginative and new retelling of a battle between two of DC
Comics’ biggest heroes.

Here’s a tip: Next time you go to see a movie that has characters you
really love and care about, try to remember that you’re not the only person
in the world. It is not YOUR movie. It is not YOUR version of these
characters. And, most importantly, it is not based on YOUR imagination or
preferences or expectations. There will be more Batman movies, and more
Superman movies, and they will be different each time and you will see all
of them. If you expect every one of them to be identical to your imagined
“perfect movie”, you will be disappointed every time. But if you go and see
it with an open mind, and embrace someone else’s perception of
Batman/Superman/whoever, you might actually enjoy yourself.

I certainly did.


Batsuit Photoshoot – With Upgrades and Alterations!

Hey everyone,

So it’s been a while since I posted, life has gotten in the way.

I’ve also been upgrading and altering my Batsuit, and decided to take some photos to show it off a bit.

The changes I made are:

*Trimmed the bottom of the cape so the height fits me better;

*Sewed the top of the cape so that the neck part is fitted to my neck;

*Got rid of the snaps I previously used to close the gauntlets as they didn’t allow for adjustments to be made and were a little loose;

*Installed side-release buckles in place of the snaps in the gauntlets;

*cut and Velcroed some thinner urethane arm wraps to work as the undersides of the gauntlets so they would look more finished and professional; And

*Bought a new custom belt (from Valor over at the RPF).

So, here is the photoshoot:

So there ya go!

I’ll be competing in the Andrometa Cosplay Competition in my home town of Canberra, if I can get photos from someone who attends I’ll post them next.

I’m So Keen For It!

Rant – Why Star Wars: The Force Awakens is one of the Best Star Wars Movies Ever

01 title

Ok, I saw The Force Awakens 7 times in 3 days, and thought about it a lot, and talked about it a lot, and now I’m gonna rant about it a lot.

I genuinely, absolutely rank this movie right up in the OT level. I’m not sure how controversial this opinion will be, but right now my list of favourite Star Wars movies (in order) is:

1: Empire Strikes Back (obviously);

2: The Force Awakens;

3: A New Hope;

4: Return of the Jedi;

5: Revenge of the Sith;

6: The Phantom Menace; and

7: Attack of the Clones.

… So yeah. That’s my deal.

Now I’m gonna go through all the reasons I believe this movie deserves that place in my list.




-The Opening Crawl

A Long Time Ago

Holy shit, you guys. Just… Wow. I was lucky enough to get to see the Sydney Darling Harbour IMAX midnight release of TFA, and it is an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. We were ushered into the cinema, climbed the insanely tall staircase (the screen, and therefore the cinema, is about 8 stories tall), and sat down at about 11:58. Really close to go time. There was a bit of an introduction from one of the staff members, talking about how Sydney IMAX is the largest screen in the world and one of a very lucky few who were able to obtain a rare special 2D IMAX print of the film (only 20 were produced, and the Sydney one I saw was the only one in Australia). Then, with no previews or advertisements or anything other than the staff member saying “… Enjoy!”, the lights went down, everyone cheered, and the Lucasfilm logo appeared on the largest cinema screen in the world. Everyone cheered again. Then, the greatest words for any Star Wars fan to read on a cinema screen: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” were met by another cheer. Then, the words “STAR WARS” smashed onto the screen with the familiar John Williams overture, and the opening crawl was finally revealed for the first time in 10 years. I am not at all embarrassed to admit that from the first second the Lucasfilm logo appeared, I was crying silently (other than the cheers) in my seat with a gigantic grin on my face, and when I read the first line (“Luke Skywalker has vanished.”), I actually let out an audible sob of unrestrained emotion.


-Practical Effects


This is a HUGE point for me, especially lately. This is a huge deal even for movies outside of Star Wars, but seeing all the practical effects in this film really highlights the difference they make to the effectiveness of storytelling within the Star Wars universe. The coolest and most immediately noticeable example of this is the very first character seen on screen in the movie: BB-8. The droid is an obvious call-back to R2 in the original trilogy when he was built from the ground up, and all the movements and attitude were a real, tangible character that actually moved around the set and actually interacted with the cast. And BB-8 was really, physically there, and it makes a massive difference. Then there’s also the other creatures, the explosions, the ships (the Falcon was recreated, and real X-Wing sets were built), the props, the stunts… All so real. There was obviously CGI used, but aside from a few characters, it was used the way it is supposed to be used in film: Sparingly, and to augment what was already on camera. JJ Abrams knows this, and he nailed it.



Crashed Star Destroyer

Now I’m not a film snob. I don’t know much about the technical details involved in cinematography. But as the saying goes, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like”; so I can confidently say that I adore the cinematography in this movie. There are literally countless shots that could be transferred onto canvas and used as a gorgeous work of art completely on their own merit. The long shot of Rey slipping down her rope into the belly of the star destroyer; The shot of Rey sledding down the sand dune; The shot of Rey’s crashed AT-AT home. Kylo and Han on the catwalk with a ray of light illuminating them from the doorway where Rey and Finn are standing. Kylo standing in the shadows underneath the gigantic Supreme Leader Snoke, looking up in awe. Kylo looking out the triangular windows of his shuttle as the Starkiller Base’s massive multi-planet killing beam races across his field of view into space. TIE fighters flying through the atmosphere with a setting sun in the background, turning them into blurred, menacing silhouettes. The reveal of Starkiller Base. Several shots during the battle between Kylo and Rey were super visually amazing. The explosion of Starkiller Base, just as the escaping Resistance fighters come into view. Luke and Rey standing on the precipice of his mountain home, wordlessly conveying their hope, desperation, and questions to each other. That’s just a handful of moments in a movie packed with epic battles, glorious landscapes and moving moments.



BB-8 Thumbs Up.jpg

The tone of this film is phenomenal. They balanced humour with heart and intensity, and none of it feels artificial at all. BB-8’s mannerisms and movements make for some great moments. Finn shines as a comedic relief character (but that’s far from all he is). Han Solo, of course, has some great lines delivered as only Harrison Ford can, and when combined with Chewie’s reactions there are some truly hilarious moments.


-An Homage to the Original Trilogy

Han And Chewie.png

Now this one’s interesting. A lot of people keep saying that the movie being too similar to A New Hope is a bad thing. But they seem to be the same people who hated the prequels for being too different and the same people who think that A New Hope is the best movie ever made… Do you see the lack of logic there? This is absolutely not a “remake” or “Rip-off” of A New Hope; it’s an homage. And it’s perfectly done. It evokes the same sense of wonder, of hope, of exhilaration. It explores well-conceived characters struggling to achieve the impossible against an overwhelming opponent, all with breathtaking visual design, moving music, and witty dialogue. The pacing is perfect. The cinematography is perfect. The music is beautiful. All of it adds up, the same way it did in the Original Trilogy, to a great, unforgettable film.


-A Complex Villain

Starkiller Beam.png

Kylo Ren is amazing. I was genuinely confused about Adam Driver being cast, to be completely honest, but now that I’ve seen his performance, there is absolutely no one else who could have pulled this off. And I don’t know about you, but I even found myself wishing that Adam Driver had been around to play Anakin Skywalker in the prequels. I love Kylo because he’s the polar opposite, sort of an inverse mirror-type version of Luke Skywalker. This is what I see as the key points that mirror Luke:

*He is being trained in the dark side, but feels tempted by the light (obviously Luke is the opposite).

*He wants to follow in Vader’s footsteps (where Luke wanted to follow in Anakin’s).

*He is willing to kill his father to achieve greater power in the dark side and complete his training (where Luke refused to kill Vader and threw away his weapon, embracing the light side of the force fully and inspiring Vader to be redeemed as Anakin once again).

*He submits himself completely to Snoke and has complete faith in his master (where Luke refused to bow down to the Emperor’s rule, even after the apparent destruction of the Rebellion and being tortured by the Emperor’s own sith lightning, and even refusing Vader’s constant convincing).

And his journey in the film (and even his journey before the film, from the brief glimpses we get of it) is amazing!

So he is born Ben Solo, and starts training as a Jedi. Then he finds out that his grandfather was Anakin Skywalker, and that he turned into Darth Vader. He is fascinated by Vader and everything he achieved, and begins to obsess over him. He yearns to follow in Vader’s footsteps, but where others see the darkness as a horrible misstep in Anakin’s life, Ben sees the power that can be gained from embracing the dark. The more Ben thinks about it, the more it makes sense to him. And the more Vader’s apparent “redemption” looks like a failure. So Ben realises that his destiny is to finish what Vader started, and that he needs to be stronger than Vader was to guard himself against the light side of the force. So he betrays and murders the Jedi that Luke is training, renames himself Kylo Ren, joins (or possible founds) a group called the Knights of Ren, and goes looking for the remnants of the Empire to bring them under his command. He finds the First Order, the fierce new organisation that has emerged from the ashes of the old Empire. Then, Supreme Leader Snoke, a mysterious dark side force user, takes Kylo under his wing and trains him in the dark side. They strip surviving records from the old Empire that show all information about old Jedi sights and sightings/movements of Luke Skywalker after the battle of Endor. Kylo pursues Luke to achieve what even Vader could not: destroy the last Jedi. The film starts with news of the last piece of the map leading to Luke’s whereabouts which sets both the Resistance and First Order gunning for Jakku. If you’re reading this, you’ve obviously seen the movie, so I won’t go into too much detail; But I do want to mention what I see as the highlights of Kylo’s character in the film: I love that he has insane, uncontrolled fits of rage. I love that he is desperately trying to be a sith lord, and I love that he’s genuinely conflicted about his destiny and his place in the force. I love that he fuels his own pain and rage and emotional confusion to strengthen his connection to the dark side (this is why he hits himself in the wound inflicted by Chewie, and why he has the rage induced freakouts, and why he kills his father). I love the line in his intro scene where Lor San Tekka says “You cannot deny the truth that is your family” and Kylo replies “you’re so right”, before striking him down. Lor San Tekka is obviously referring to Han and Leia and Luke, but Kylo is turning it around and referring to Vader as his family. Such an awesome moment, and very indicative of Kylo’s personality and story arch. I love that Kylo offers to teach Rey in the ways of the force, trying to lure her the way Vader tried to lure Luke. And then there’s the character design… Oh, that voice! The robes are hand-made and rough, and reminiscent of a sort of Medieval monk and also the ancient Sith. The helmet is an obvious call-back to Vader himself, and a huge insight into the level of admiration and obsession that Kylo has for the late Sith Lord. The lightsaber… Oh my god, I love this saber. The hilt is hand-made by Kylo, meant to emulate the designs of the ancient Sith lords who built over-powered blades and had to incorporate power vents for excess energy to redirect from the main blade. The blade itself is violent, unhinged and barely controlled, just like Kylo, as the result of a cracked and imperfect crystal (my theory here is that Vader’s saber was somehow salvaged from the remains of the second death star and Kylo is using the damaged crystal as a physical embodiment of carrying on Vader’s legacy… God I hope that turns out to be true. I wouldn’t put it past Snoke to somehow be able to obtain artefacts like that… After all, Luke’s saber was recovered from Bespin and Vader’s helmet was recovered from the forests of the moon of Endor).



Knights Of Ren

I really really love that this film wasn’t afraid to leave loose ends and have little sentences, characters and places that hinted at a larger galaxy than what we get to see. That was one of the absolute best things about the originals. We saw Boba Fett just chillin’ in the background and we were like “damn, that armour is SICK! Who IS that guy?!” We heard Obi-Wan say something about the Clone Wars, and we were like “Woah, what is that? What would a clone war even look like?” The Emperor wasn’t revealed for ages, we didn’t see the lightsaber in action until the very end of the film… So much mystery, and The Force Awakens emulates that perfectly. We don’t know much about Maz or Snoke, we don’t know how Luke’s lightsaber was collected from Bespin. We don’t know how Poe survived the TIE crash or how Kylo got Vader’s helmet (although it stands to reason that Luke may have kept it as a reminder of the danger of the dark side at whatever site he used to train the new generation of Jedi, and that might be how Ben first found out about Vader’s legacy. Either that, or Snoke knew where Vader’s pyre was and told Kylo after he’d already abandoned the Jedi). There are just so many questions and so many jumping off points for episodes 8 and 9, but at the same time, enough questions were answered as to not leave the audience frustrated. It also sets up a few characters for future reveals/exploration, such as Snoke, Phasma, Luke, and even Kylo.


-That “Lived In” Feel

Reys Speeder

One of the things that gave this movie an immediate and noticeable connection to the original trilogy is the fact that the visual design and make-up/painting effects gave the characters, props, vehicles and settings the same old lived in feel. The galaxy feels old again, and larger than what we get to see. There’s a visual history behind everything, and all the little details that show up hint at a story so far untold. The greatest example of this is the visual design of Rey. Her arm wraps are medical gauze, obviously scavenged from a crashed star destroyer’s medbay. Her goggles are stormtrooper helmet lenses. Her staff is cobbled together from engine parts, and her home is a crashed AT-AT. That’s so awesome! Her intro scene, without any dialogue, shows us exactly who she is. We know almost everything about her before we even hear her speak, just because of the amazing mix of visual design, music, and tone. One of the biggest problems with the prequels was that everything was so shiny and CGI’d and unreal that it felt completely alien to the grounded, complex, personal feeling that the OT inspired in its audience. But with The Force Awakens, we get to experience that same amazing feeling and tone, and see brand new characters in an old familiar galaxy.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that this, finally, is a real Star Wars movie. After more than 30 years of waiting, this is more than worth the wait. The Force Awakens is a return to proper film-making, artistic storytelling, and the furthering of a mythos for a new generation without excluding the generation before.


I’m So Keen For It!

To Spoil, Or Not To Spoil? – A Star Wars Social Experiment – Part 1

Ok, so I made a decision a little while ago (around the time the second trailer for the Force Awakens came out): I will not learn anything about Star Wars: The Force Awakens that wasn’t shown in the two official trailers until I see the film. It has been remarkably difficult, and as the film draws closer it is getting more so.

A good friend of mine, Albert of tweedygamer.com, has chosen the polar opposite plan of action: He basically knows the entire story of the film, and all the characters and all the production information and so on. Obviously, this has been interesting to deal with as we are good friends who both love Star Wars, so Episode 7 is a natural and commonly occurring topic of conversation. I am very excited, as this differing of opinions arose very organically and without planning, and has now turned into a sort of social experiment between the two of us: Will we experience the film the same way? Will we leave the cinema feeling the same sense of awe and amazement, despite our different angle of approach? Does knowing about a film’s twists, turns and ending really make a huge difference when it comes down to sitting in the cinema, watching it properly for the first time?

We are going to find out. I want to chronicle the experience, so the first chapter of that journey starts now, and then I’ll write part two once we’ve seen the movie. For the record, we are both going to the same screening together, so we will be side by side when the experiment is concluded. We’ll be going to the midnight screening at IMAX in Darling Harbour, Sydney (if we can get tickets), because we live fairly close but mostly because it is the largest cinema screen in the world.

Firstly, I’m going to explain why I’m choosing to stay in the dark:

1): I hate spoilers.

I really do. I want to see a movie and not know anything about what’s coming. Most of the time, if I’m interested enough to see a movie but not so emotionally invested that I’m obsessing over it, I’ll gladly speculate and may even look into some production information and leaked information, as I’ve been doing with the trailer rants I’ve posted here. But when it comes to Star Wars, I just can’t do it. There’s one very specific thought that has been driving my need for secrecy regarding episode 7, which brings me to my next point:

2): I want to know what it was like to see Empire Strikes Back in the cinema in 1980.

Those people had seen a Star Wars movie before, had been blown away, and had 3 years to stew in that awesomeness before another one came out. Then, with absolutely no knowledge of the story and what to expect, they went to the cinema and experienced a whole new level of Star Wars. That is exactly what I want. I want to know what it’s like to view a brand new Star Wars story for the first time and be absolutely blown away. I mean, sure, I saw the prequels at the movies, and I loved them, but that’s because I was 10 years old when Phantom Menace came out. I was blown away by literally everything when I was 10 years old.

But now, I’ve grown a lot and have seen an incredible amount of movies, and have learnt a lot about storytelling and Star Wars and a bunch of other stuff. Now, when I get blown away it’s because something is actually awesome, not because it’s super colourful and fun and things explode (although that’s still pretty cool, especially when it’s done really well)

3): There hasn’t been a real, genuine Star Wars movie since before I was born.

The prequels are an interesting phenomenon. Everyone hates them, but most people don’t actually give any logical, clearly defined reason for their hate. As soon as the prequels are mentioned, even in passing, certain people will react as though you have bitch-slapped their genitals with a canoe paddle. It’s a knee-jerk reaction for these people, in that they don’t even really stop to think about it anymore, they just hear the words “Star Wars Prequels” and they temporarily lose their minds. It makes talking about Star Wars a murky minefield of potential social awkwardness among an already stereotypically socially awkward subculture. Now, I personally feel that the prequels get way more hate than they deserve, but that’s a topic for a different article. The point that they don’t fit in with the original trilogy, however, is definitely valid; regardless of how you feel about the prequels, you have to admit that they are somewhat lacking when compared to the originals. So, even though I don’t mind the prequels, I still feel that it’s justified to state that a REAL Star Wars movie has not been seen since 1980 (Return of the Jedi, according to a lot of Star Wars fans, is when things started going downhill). That’s 35 years with no satisfying Star Wars movie experience. I’m younger than 35, so I haven’t had to wait that long, but it’s still a long time to wait for a good Star Wars movie.

4): I trust the team and JJ Abrams.

This is a big one for me, and was one of the things that originally made me think I should steer clear of spoilers. I did actually indulge in a lot of speculating when the movie was announced, and when the first trailer came out, and even a little after that. I looked into who had been cast, and a few other things. I didn’t find out anything of substance which I’m very glad about. But as soon as I’d had a good understanding of who was involved, and how they felt about Star Wars, I felt comfortable stepping aside and enjoying the ignorance of not knowing anything further about the film itself. JJ Abrams has been an avid Star Wars fan since he was a child. He saw the original trilogy at the movies at the same age I saw the prequels at the movies, and he has been in love with the universe ever since. He is also a very talented director and has a proven history of successfully rebooting an old beloved sci-fi franchise. John Williams is returning for the music, whom hopefully all of you will recognise as the most musically talented man in the history of mankind. Lawrence Kasdan (who wrote Empire fucking Strikes Back) has written the screenplay, along with Michael Arndt (who wrote Toy Story 3, one of the only genuinely amazing sequels ever made). Most of the visual design is heavily inspired by original Star Wars concept art from Ralph McQuarrie (the guy who designed every beloved Star Wars character ever). Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Kenny Baker are in the film; I shouldn’t need to tell you but they played Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 respectively. The film is mostly being shot using practical effects instead of relying on CGI, which was one of the biggest criticisms the prequels received; and one of the best things about the originals was the use of practical effects and real built sets.

Everything is pointing to this film being amazing, and I’m happy to let the team surprise me because of that fact and how much faith I have in them.

Now we’ll get into the reasons Albert chose to learn information about the movie before seeing it:

Hi Everyone, Albert here. As Brendan has outlined in his segments, I chose very early on to fully and completely immerse myself in every available piece of information regarding not only The Force Awakens, but every other in-progress Star Wars project, be it film, television, novel or game. The reason for this is simple, and before I break it down into my own four segments, I figured I would say it loud and proud: I believe Star Wars is forever. It is timeless and its stories resonate with the human experience itself, in a proven-to-be-real phenomenon which relates to Joseph Campbell (a prime influence on Lucas) and his teachings about The Hero’s Journey – the patterns of the journey of life, from the outset, the trials and obstacles along the way, the gaining of wisdom and finding one’s place in the world – these themes are so ingrained into us ALREADY that on a fundamental level, those stories are Infinitely and unquestionably going to be ever-fresh and ever-relevant to our lives. In short, my decision to fully ‘spoil’ (again, how can it be truly spoiling something when the subject in question is something so inherently within every person, ALREADY known to them, on a primal, human level?) Star Wars for me is a testament to how un-tarnishable its stories are. Star Wars is one of the few mythologies, not just films or pop culture stories, that people have been able to enjoy over and over again for over 30 YEARS. It’s a mark of its infinite, transcendent power! So while I completely respect Brendan’s approach and don’t on ANY level consider my own to somehow indicate I have more ‘faith in Star Wars’ ability to renewably impact an audience just as effectively, over and over’ than him, I have personally cleared my conscience about knowing – and I mean this – almost EVERYTHING about the new direction of Star Wars. It’s all out there, thanks to drones, smartphones and the like. And yet Star Wars, I feel it in my heart of hearts, remains completely untouched; Untarnished. And I’m just enjoying every minute of experiencing this Phenomenon of its own – how despite each and every new reveal, I don’t feel my future enjoyment of such perennial, intrinsically human and mythic stories to be reduced at all. In fact, it’s the ultimate CONFIRMATION to me that the rules that apply to other, come-and-go type stories, do not apply to the eternal, peerlessly powerful Star Wars.

1): Star Wars is known to you ALREADY. Inside You.

As I touched on in my big summary answer, there is – in my sole opinion, to which everyone is allowed their own and deserves to have respected equally – no significant point to holding oneself back from finding out the mere shape and form (names of characters, planets) and the sequencing of events (flow of narrative) of a Star Wars movie, because their patterns are firmly, by the very definition of what constitutes Star Wars itself, rooted in Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth, which is not only ‘already spoiled’ as far as its presence in every extant and extinct culture goes, but also in terms of the human experience, the arc of characters in such mythic tales, these are so firmly a part of our development, our cultures, that its actually something to CELEBRATE – the fact that Star Wars is already a part of you,  and that while the cinematic experience may vary between those who know what’s coming and those who have chosen not to, the substance, rather than the spectacle alone or the precise ways it’s going to take shape ‘this time’ (infinite re-tellings of forever-exciting, forever-intriguing and effective tales, remember?), is what is most enduring, most IMPORTANT, about Star Wars. It’s phenomenal, truly, that in familiarising myself so closely with The Force Awakens, I haven’t felt so much robbed of what Star Wars is, but profoundly reminded of it, reaffirmed of its presence inside me already, and renews my faith each and every time in the folks whose hands Star Wars is in now – the people who grew up with it.

2): Star Wars is BETTER when you treat it as exempt to ‘normal’ spoiler rules.

You are honouring how Star Wars is DIFFERENT by diving head on into spoilers – it’s like discovering that in this ONE instance, you don’t drown. Your feet don’t get burned by the coals. You can breathe underwater, you can walk on coals, it’s the magic of Star Wars at work – in a way that it’s proving itself to be, far more than being reliant on any level on initial impact of the tale’s telling.

3): Star Wars is the ONE thing we should give more and more web traffic to.

This one is a no-brainer – show Google that Star Wars is where it’s at. More people becoming aware of the Saga. Also, looking up stuff is a confirmation of THE TIMES from here on out – strap yourselves in folks. Get used to having Star Wars on the brain 24/7. One. Film. Every. Year. For essentially the next 10 years and beyond. There was a massive void created by Lucas’ ‘benevolent dictatorship’ of Star Wars, never quite letting those who cherish it most truly live there, be there. It is time.

4): It makes EVERYTHING that’s up ahead so much more exciting/worth anticipating.

Continuing from my previous point, seriously, ENJOY this. CELEBRATE this amazing influx of information, of new things happening. This has been A LONG TIME COMING. And yet, to confirm Brendan’s point, nothing – not even knowing what I believe is essentially everything – will be able to actually prepare me. And it never ever will!

Now, I want to talk about what our experiences may be like based on our differing approaches. I think that we will both love the film, but obviously there are good things and bad things about both approaches. So I want to discuss the pros and cons now. I’ll do two pros and two cons for each approach.

I’ll start with Albert, who has chosen to learn as much as he can about the film before seeing it…



Firstly, when you know how a story will play out, you may start to imagine what it will actually look like, or you may fill in some gaps in your knowledge with imagination. While speculation is fun and can be a really good conversation topic, it can also lead to specific expectations which may not be met by the finished film.

*Lack of Tension

Secondly, When you know too much about a story, there can be a lack of emotional weight to the experience as while you are watching, you will already know where the scene will end and what the happen to the characters. While the old adage “it’s not the destination, but the journey that counts” is quite appropriate, it can’t be denied that a journey, once travelled too many times, starts to lose its excitement.


*The Journey

As mentioned just above, “it’s the journey that counts”, and I think that if your expectations are managed, you can still greatly enjoy a story when you know how it goes. If that weren’t the case, no one would ever watch a movie more than once. I’ve watched each Star Wars film more times than I can even remember, and I still love them to bits. There’s a great Psychological Science article about how spoilers can actually improve the experience of movies, and I feel like that’s a very appropriate read when linked with this article.

*knowledge vs Experience

There’s also a huge difference between knowing what will happen and actually seeing it go down, so I feel that even if you’ve seen some leaked script or something, seeing the action on the big screen is a whole other ball game. Especially when that ball game is Star Wars related (I don’t know sports metaphors).

Then there’s my approach, so here are the pros and cons for me:



So with this one, it can go either way. When you know nothing about a story, it’s very easy to start thinking about what may happen. Especially when it comes to Star Wars, as there’s already a wealth of lore and expanded stories that came before Episode 7, which if taken into consideration could prove to provide expectation for the film itself. I was aware of this at the time I made the decision to go dark, and so I’ve taken great pains to avoid speculation since then. I am endeavouring to keep my mind completely blank on the subject of The Force Awakens, and while it’s difficult, I feel like I’m still pulling it off. I honestly have no idea where the story will go and I have actively avoided thinking about it. I don’t expect anything specific from the film, although I do maintain a vague optimism that it will be a great movie.

*Staying Spoiler-Free

At the time of writing this, it is still a couple months till the movie comes out. I am still completely spoiler-free. But one huge disadvantage to trying to remain so is that the closer it gets to release, the more information will be available about the movie and the more coverage said information will get. There are a lot of spoilers at this point, and social media is a horrendously prolific cause of spoilers and leaked information. I have been exposed to a lot of spoilers about Game of Thrones, Dexter, Hannibal, and several others through Facebook statuses and tweets; so at this point I’ll list the very act of attempting to stay spoiler-free as a con in itself due to how difficult it will get from here on.


*”No… I am your father!”

Yeah. If there are any huge moments in this film, if there is anything that happens that was designed as a surprise, I will be completely and utterly gob-smacked. Also just generally finding out about the characters and places, events and vehicles, all of these things will be brand new and completely unexpected for me.

* “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

Just imagine how it’ll feel when those words show up on screen. The excitement before the film is going to be insane. Now, I absolutely know that Albert will feel the same level of excitement as me even though he knows what to expect, but I honestly think that if I knew about the film too much before showing up to see it I wouldn’t feel the same way. I just know that because I have no idea what is coming, my excitement will be off the charts. I honestly don’t think I’ll be capable of normal human speech once I’m lined up for this movie, all the way up until probably a day or two after I’ve seen it.

So we’ve got my reasons for choosing to stay in the dark, Albert’s reasons for delving into production info; we have the potential pros and cons for both spoiler and non-spoiler approaches… Now it’s just a matter of waiting until December, when Star Wars will be changed forever and when I will release part 2 of this article…

I’m So Keen For It!

Cosplay Update: Custom Batsuit at Sydney Supanova 2015

Hey everyone!

I’ve been a little busy for a while but I have something to show for it so that’s pretty cool!

I had a custom Batsuit commissioned from SMP Designs which is just the most ridiculously beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. The build process was covered in depth on that website, specifically here.

I also purchased a few other bits and pieces, all from the wonderful people over at the RPF forums. You need to be a member to see what the other members are selling but you can see all of their build logs and heaps of advice and help without needing to log in. Every one of those people is absolutely amazing and crazy talented, and a few of them contributed directly to my Batsuit.

Then, with the finished suit, I took some Batselfies, because why not:

03 Batman selfie 01 05 Batman selfie 03

Then, my girlfriend took photos with a couple of poses I just needed to try:

01 Pose 01 02 Pose 02

And then, it was off to Supanova!

Firstly, a couple of awesome kids asked for a photo with Batman, which made my day:

07 Batman with Sidekicks

Then I met one of the War Boys from Mad Max: Fury Road:

08 Batman with a Warboy

And captured Harley Quinn (a.k.a. Harley Sinn Cosplay) and Poison Ivy (a.k.a. Ivy May Cosplay):

09 Capturing Harley and Ivy

And then finally found the Batmobile (you always forget where you park, even in that thing):

11 Batmobile 01 12 Batmobile 02 13 Batmobile 03 14 Batmobile 04 15 Batmobile 05 16 Batmobile 06

And stumbled upon a Doppelganger:

10 Two Batmen

And then something beautiful happened. Something that I will never forget. I got a photo token to be able to get a photo with Nathan Fillion. Yep, THE Nathan Fillion.

Here, from memory, is the conversion that ensued when I entered the photo booth as Batman:

Nathan seems only slightly, briefly taken aback by seeing Batman walk up to him. He recovers quickly, nods his head, extends his hand for a handshake and simply says “Batman.”

Batman nods too, almost plays it cool but fanboys too hard and says “hey man!” with a stupid grin on his face. 

Batman then asks if it is ok if they strike a pose, as though they are about to fight each other. Nathan, being the ridiculously amazing person that he is, says “oh, of course, of course!”

And, thus, history was made:

18 Batman vs Nathan Fillion


Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Holy. Fucking. Crap.

You need to see this movie. Like, right now.

Seriously, go and see it. I’ll wait.

… Wasn’t that movie just the best?!

Oh my god.


There are so many reasons I love this movie. This is actually one of the best actions films in recent memory, and certainly one of the best overall films of the year.

I’m gonna list all the reasons I love this movie, and rant about it for a while. This probably won’t be a normal review, it’ll probably read more like a child talking about his favourite Batman toy.

And of course, for the 3 or so people in the world who haven’t seen it because you assumed I was joking at the beginning of the article: SPOILER ALERT.

01 Banner

Ok, now firstly I’ll do a brief synopsis, and then I’ll get right into it.

So Mad Max: Fury Road is a sequel to the previous Mad Max films, obviously. I’m really glad about this because for a long time I thought it would be a reboot, discounting the original movies which would have been a big mistake. This story follows Max as he is captured by the “War Boys” – a cult-like gang of warriors led by a terrifying and insane-looking guy called Immortan Joe. Max is used as a “blood bag” – an unwilling blood donor – for a sick War Boy called Nux. We then go to a character called Imperator Furiosa, who is leaving on a mission to obtain gasoline, a rare resource in the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max. Almost immediately after Furiosa leaves, however, she veers off course for no apparent reason. Immortan Joe sees this and then realises that Furiosa has taken his “five wives”; Women who are selected to be used for breeding by Immortan Joe (yeah, he’s a sick guy). Immortan Joe then gathers his entire army of War Boys and pursues Furiosa across the post-apocalyptic desert to reclaim his wives.

From there the film is an almost literally non-stop car chase with a truly obscene amount of explosions and gunfire. Mad Max is kept in the story by way of Nux needing to strap him to his car when he leaves (to continue the blood “donation”) to help Immortan Joe. So yeah, for a decent portion of the movie, Max looks like this:

02 Max

ANYWAY, I’m gonna get straight into listing the reasons why I love this movie:


1): The Practical Effects

Literally every single thing happening in this shot happened for real.

Literally every single thing happening in this shot happened for real.

Now this topic alone is something I could rant about for hours. I’m very passionate about practical effects in film, and I think that it’s something movies have been lacking for quite a while. But lately, we’ve seen a resurgence of a more traditional method of film-making, and it couldn’t not have come sooner. Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the films that tried as much as possible to avoid using CGI, and you can tell the difference. That is the biggest thing about special effects in film: You can tell the difference. Everyone knows when the crazy explosion they just saw was created on a computer. We know when real cars are flipping and when fake, CGI cars are flipping. It’s not difficult. I compared this film to Avengers: Age of Ultron because that was the most recent action movie I saw before Fury Road. There is no competition. I mean, I love superhero movies, and Age of Ultron was a lot of fun, but it had no weight to it. There was no sense of consequence to the action. Mad Max: Fury Road is an entirely different breed. I have never before seen an action sequence in a film that lasts for so long without losing tension. I was barely breathing throughout the action scenes in Mad Max, and for anyone who’s seen it, that’s a dangerous amount of not breathing. This movie grabs you by the face from the first frame and drags you along for the ride without ever slowing down. In Fury Road, when something explodes, you flinch. When a gun is fired, you flinch. When someone is punched, you flinch. This movie has so much power, and so much consequence, that I would not be surprised if it caused some heart attacks in audience members.

This film is a clear and compelling reason for Hollywood to start using CGI less and practical effects more.


2): The Characters

Road Trip!

Road Trip!

Now Fury Road got a lot of shit from people because Max Rockatansky is not technically the main character in the film. The majority of the people who complained, however, were “men’s rights activists” (aka losers) who argued that they had been duped by action scenes into seeing “feminist propaganda”. They disagreed with a man having less screen time and less dialogue than a woman; and thought that a man having to be beside a woman who is strong enough to take care of herself and strong enough to fight and beat men is attacking their way of life. This issue is way bigger than the article I’m writing now, and I’d rather not spend the rest of the article focusing on a separate issue, so let’s just say that people upset over Max not getting enough screen time are idiots and leave it at that.

Anyway, the characters in this film are amazing. The “five wives”, though initially giving off the impression of victims, are each individually strong and diverse characters with different opinions and different motivations that are explored as the story progresses. They are a group of women who are kept captive by Immortan Joe for the sole purpose of bearing him sons to add to the ranks of War Boys. They are strong and capable people who are finally given the chance to fight back against their oppressors. The character’s names, in keeping with Mad Max tradition, are really weird: “The Splendid Angharad” (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley); “Capable” (Riley Keough); “Toast the Knowing” (Zoe Kravitz); “The Dag” (Abbey Lee); and “Cheedo the Fragile” (Courtney Eaton).

Angharad is pregnant with Immortan Joe’s child when they make their escape, which obviously makes her journey much more difficult than it would have otherwise been. She is

Capable is a great character as she is the first one to show compassion to Nux, before she is even sure of his motivations. She demonstrates an otherwise incredibly rare level of humanity in a brutal, unforgiving world.

Toast is headstrong and unwavering. She is taken captive again briefly in the course of events by Joe, and even still does not show any weakness.

The Dag has an aggressive and mischievous personality that is demonstrated in her verbal attacks on the War Boys, even in the heat of battle.

Cheedo is an interesting character. She is the only one of the wives who is actually unwilling to try to escape from Joe’s captivity. She has grown to accept the world she lives in and might even have developed something similar to Stockholm Syndrome, as she tries to go back to Joe at the earliest opportunity to do so. She does develop strength over the course of the film though, and grows to realise that life without Immortan Joe is definitely a good thing. All the “wives” were incredibly well cast and work well together as a team.

05 The Wives

Max is a great character as well, and worked well as a mysterious, not fully explored figure. I think that using Max as more of a companion actually works in his favour in this film, as it grants him the same atmosphere as, say, Boba Fett in the original trilogy. We know he’s a bad-ass, and his abilities are hinted at, but we don’t know what he’s fully capable of and that makes him all the more scary and interesting.

04.2 Furiosa

Imperator Furiosa is absolutely brilliant, and I’m a fan of Charlize Theron, so I love her character. She has the same kind of mysterious air as Mad Max himself, and I think that they revealed the perfect amount of the character’s personality and ability; she is clearly an incredibly capable warrior, as seen when she fights Max and several other characters. She has a brutal past, as seen in the fact that she is missing an arm and by the haunted look in her eyes and her general demeanour (all aspects of a stunning performance by Theron). But they also left a lot to the imagination, which is something not often seen in film any more. Hollywood have gotten into a habit of justifying and explaining every little detail about every little aspect of every film they make. It’s ridiculous, frankly. As an audience, we need mystery. We need to use our imaginations, at least a little. We need a story that makes us think, that shows us just enough of a wider world to make us want to explore more. Always leave ’em wanting more, as they say. With Furiosa’s character, that’s exactly what the film-makers have done, and it was a great move and a breath of fresh air.

04.3 Nux

Nux, as played by Nicholas Hoult, knocked this performance out of the water. He is one of those rare actors who has had the chance to play a huge range of completely different characters, and has flourished with the challenge the opportunity entails. He is immensely talented, and almost unrecognisable, which is one of the signs of a great actor.


3): The Bad Guy

06 Immortan Joe


06.2 Immortan Joe 02

Hahaha, holy shit. I love this guy. He looks like a Predator and Beetlejuice had a baby. He is absolutely insane and terrifying and they nailed this character. Immortan Joe is the leader of a huge cult of warriors known as “War Boys”, and is horrible in every way. He is portrayed by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who some people may recognise as the actor who played Toecutter in the original Mad Max. He is absolutely brilliant in this role, and is a highlight of the movie.


4): The Insanity

07 Fury Road

This is just the first chunk of Immortan Joe’s army, and there are at least two other gangs/armies involved in the action of the film (it’s hard to keep track – everyone is shooting at everyone else, basically). This all adds up and lends itself to several of the greatest action sequences you’re ever likely to see. As mentioned before, all the stunts are real in this film and things like this:

07.2 Jump

… And this:

07.3 Swinging

… Are no exception. This movie contains stunts that I would never have even dreamed of, and is over the top in every way. This movie is insane in every sense of the word, and it’s beautiful.

The film also actually explores insanity in several forms, and does it incredibly well.

We have Immortan Joe and Mad Max (the clue is in the name), who are just straight up crazy.

There’s Nux and Cheedo, who both show similar symptoms of obsession and sort of a hero-worship of Immortan Joe. The reason I call the War Boys a cult is because they literally see Immortan Joe as a god, an all-powerful being who grants them life through his sparingly distributed fresh water. Immortan Joe obviously enables this belief and uses it to manipulate the War Boys into doing his bidding.

We have the fanaticism of the War Boys themselves, obviously, which is very well done.

But we also see people coming out the other side, such as the previously mentioned Cheedo and Nux overcoming their obsession with Joe.


5): … Seriously, Guys, The Insanity

I’m gonna lead this section of the article with one of my favourite screenshots in the world:

08 Guitar

That is exactly what it looks like. There are enough speakers on the front of that truck to make Metallica shake their heads in amazement. And there is someone attached to a harness on the front of the truck, playing an electric guitar. This truck is going quite fast, by the way. Now, when I mentioned practical effects before, this scene may have you thinking I didn’t mean every little bit of the movie was done for real. I understand that you’d think that, looking at this screenshot. But you’d be wrong. That is a real person, attached to a real truck, playing a real guitar, actually going at incredible speed.

And if you didn’t think that was insane enough (what are you, crazy?), the guitar doubles as a flame-thrower:

08.2 Guitar Flames

Oh, and yes, they built the guitar to actually work as a fucking flame thrower. In real life. THAT GUITAR IS ACTUALLY A FLAME-THROWER. That is without question the coolest factual sentence I’ve ever written in my life.

This, above all, is the biggest reason I love this movie. It is unapologetically insane. It is over the top, and still manages to pull it off.

Mad Max: Fury Road is more than just insane though. It’s an ode to pure, unadulterated fun. It is proper entertainment; Action-packed, funny, unique, well made and absolutely breathtaking.

So, since this is a review, I guess I have to give it a rating.

5/5, 10/10, 100/100, A+ … etc.

Seriously, go and see it right now. I was not joking about that.

Rant (sort of): David Ayer Is Murdering DC Comics

Oh boy.

So a few more pictures have leaked from various sources showing the production of
the Suicide Squad movie.

01 Jared Leto - Grill

02 Jared Leto - Tattoos Confirmed

They confirm that the Joker definitely does have the grill and the tattoos in the

My theory has been disproven. Normally I would rant about it, and talk for two or
three thousand words about how annoyed I am, but at this point I am speechless, so
I will instead express my feelings using the following pictures:

Adam DeMamp Andy Sadberg George Michael Sad Homer Sad Jake Sad Jim Carrey Sad NO Patrick Sad Pikachu Sad R2-D2 Sad Sad Batman Sadbot Spongebob Sad Steve Carell Dead Inside Tennant in the Rain Tobey Sad

Nice one, David Ayer.

Rant: The Batman vs Superman Trailer

22 Title Screen


I’m not sure if you’ve picked up on this yet, but I’m just a huge Batman fan. This movie is gonna be awesome.

Lately I’ve posted a couple of negative rants, but don’t worry, we’re back on track!

I feel like I can’t really do this trailer much justice in this format as there’s a lot of overlapping dialogue and
interesting things happening on the audio front. But I will go through my reactions to each bit of the trailer and
just rant in general.

01 BvS Opening Scene

So we open with a courtyard scene, slowly zooming in to a statue that you’d have to assume is Superman. Very dark,
very promising. We can see Metropolis in the background, which is weird because I’m pretty sure Superman K.O’d the
whole city in the last movie, but stranger things have happened…

We’re hearing some very, very cool dialogue which asks a lot of questions regarding Superman’s actions in the last
movie, which is absolutely perfect. I feel like this movie is actually going to explore how the world would react
to a Superman who has not yet gained control of his powers. A lot of people (who aren’t intimately familiar with
the comics) keep asking why Batman and Superman would be fighting in the first place, and this, to me, is the
perfect reason. Batman was a witness, with the rest of the world, when Zod stomped on Metropolis and Superman
awkwardly levelled buildings trying to bring him down. Batman has always been in a moral and legal grey area when
it comes to his methods of crime-fighting, but he has never caused billions of dollars of damage and most likely
the lives of millions of people. So he heads over to Metropolis, and lets Superman know that he’s kind of a know-
nothing rookie and needs to either get his shit together or get the fuck out. Maybe Superman reacts badly to a
diplomatic request from Batman to stand down, or maybe Batman goes straight for the “let’s just take him the fuck
down to avoid even more collateral damage” approach, but either way, shit is obviously going to get real.

I really think this is the coolest and most organic way to not only introduce Batman into this shared universe, but
also to explain why they would be fighting. It’s also a perfect continuation of the Man of Steel storyline, and is
a great way to explore the fallout of Superman’s bull-in-a-china-shop style “saving” of Metropolis.

Uhh… Yeah, anyway, that’s what’s going through my mind already, and we’re seeing some more cool shit:

02 BvS Supes

So Superman is being treated in this photo like a messiah, which I guess would make sense. This is also a very cool
thematic element to explore in the film: Superman, as an all-powerful being, may be hated by many for his whole-
sale destruction of the largest city in the world; but he would also be worshipped by people who see him as a god.
He may be loved by them, but my guess is it’s more of a fear-based worship. They are trying to appease the super-
powered being that destroyed their lives, and are begging him to stop his smiting and be merciful.

03 BvS Russian Rocket

Another awesome picture with yet another layer of awesome implications for the story. This is clearly a Russian
rocket, there is a fair amount of damage around, and Superman doesn’t look too happy. all this would seem to add up
to the hint of international unease in the wake of the reveal of a god who has clearly chosen America as his home
country. Hopefully this means the movie will be exploring not just America’s reaction to superman, but the whole

04 BvS Supermans Army

I honestly don’t know what to make of this. Everyone keeps referring to these soldiers as “Superman’s Army”. I’m
still not sure. I mean, obviously they’re wearing his insignia on their shoulders and are bowing to him, but I just
get the feeling there’s a lot more to it than that. But then again, maybe there is going to be a hint of the
Injustice storyline amongst the Dark Knight Returns inspired story. Maybe Superman blames himself for the damage he
caused and is traumatised by the death of Zod and the deaths of the whole city’s worth of people from the first
movie and takes over law enforcement agencies to enforce peace at the same level as the humans. That way, his
powers only need to be used in emergencies but he would still be in control of law, order, and peace. Maybe I’m
just thinking too much about it.

05 BvS Reaching For Superman

Here we get another shot of Superman being treated like a god. But again, there could be more to it than that.
Those hands reaching out to him seem more urgent than someone just expressing their faith and devotion to a god-
like being. They seem like they are reaching for immediate help. And Superman is not moving. Maybe Clark is having
trouble maintaining his “truth, justice, and the American way!” attitude. Maybe he has actually gone full-blown
evil dictator and has become detached from the humans who worship him. Maybe his army from the previous shot are
actually being used for more nefarious purposes than mere “peace-keeping”. Maybe the people who worship him are
more of a cult than a band of supporters, and they are aggressively pro-Superman, even going so far as to agree
with his methods of fighting Zod?

A very common theme throughout the comics that feature both Batman and Superman is that Batman is aware of
Superman’s ludicrous amount of power. Batman knows that Superman could destroy the world at any moment, for any
reason, and the only reason he doesn’t is because he feels like being a hero. Superman has, at several points in
his 77 year history, gone evil. His most recent venture into not-so-good-doing has been the story I mentioned
earlier, Injustice: Gods Among Us.

In this story Superman is tricked by the Joker into accidentally murdering a whole bunch of people, including Lois
Lane, and then basically goes insane and becomes an evil dictator in order to prevent any similar situation
happening. He begins to accept that killing some people can save the lives of many more, and starts to get more and
more comfortable with using lethal force to get rid of criminals. He creates an army of soldiers that enforce his
will on the world, soldiers that look like this:

06 Regime Soldiers

So there are a fair few similarities that you can see. Unfortunately that photo doesn’t show the symbol on the
Regime Soldier’s shoulders, but instead of wearing Superman’s symbol, they were the “Regime” symbol, which is
essentially just Superman’s Regime logo. So it’s kind of the same thing, really. This is very good news to me
personally because two of the best Batman V Superman moments in the comics are The Dark Knight Returns by Frank
Miller and Injustice: Gods Among Us. I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention, but those two seem to have a
pretty damn strong influence on this film. Very, VERY cool.

07 BvS Cark Supes Statue

Now we’re zooming in properly on the statue, and as a rhythmic soundtrack beats solidly, a bunch of floodlights are
activated in time with the music to reveal:

08 BvS False God

This is yet another hint that there is a lot of unhappiness with Superman. I have to admit, before I sat down to
write this article, I really hadn’t thought too much about exactly why there were so many references to people
being against Superman. I assumed it was all obviously about the Man of Steel fiasco. But I’m actually super keen
now because as I’ve mentioned already, it’s becoming clear that there may be a lot more happening. I think that
this False God label might have to do with the fact that Superman has embrace his worshippers and is trying to take
control of the world as a god. It fits with the tone of this trailer, and is a great theme to explore in a
superhero movie.

I’m kind of hoping the movie actually opens with Superman already being in power. Then Bruce Wayne can come out of
retirement as Batman to try to bring him down and restore the world to human control. Bring in the heavy themes and
shit right from the start. Yes. And speaking of Bruce Wayne:

09 BvS Bruce Wayne

Whoo! Oh boy. I gotta say, Ben Affleck gets way more shit than he deserves. The guy is a phenomenal actor, an
insanely talented director, and is just going to be fantastic in this film. I was initially a little disappointed
when I heard about him being cast; but it wasn’t because I don’t like him, it was because I was really rooting for
Josh Brolin. I’d heard that they were looking for an older Batman for the movie and I thought Brolin would be a
great choice. It didn’t take me long to get over that though, and once I thought about it, I absolutely supported
the choice of Ben Affleck. He looks great a Bruce Wayne AND Batman, he’s older but still in great shape, and he can
play dark, brooding characters as well as clueless, charming playboys. He’s really gonna nail it guys.

10 BvS Batsuit

Holy fuck I love this suit. I really, really love this Batsuit. This is the closest a live action film has ever
come to portraying a comic accurate Batsuit. Grey fabric with dark grey/blue, leather-like cowl and cape. A nice
big bat symbol on the chest. A bronze/dull gold belt.

One thing I’m super keen on with this batsuit, just to go on a slight tangent; The cowl looks like the classic
comic book cowl in that it’s a solid piece and even looks to be joined to the cape directly. This is awesome.
Previous live action versions of the cowl when done like this made it impossible for the actor to turn their head.
This one, however, has been made by some truly genius costume makers, and will allow Ben Affleck to move relatively
normally. In an interview, costume designer Michael Wilkinson said: “It’s a very important thing to Zack (Snyder)
that the Batsuit would be comfortable and very flexible, but then would be able to perform in a very natural and
forceful way. So a lot of incredible engineering went into the development of the new cowl.”

That is the greatest news we could have hoped for. These guys didn’t redesign the batsuit to look more modern just
to be able to get away with him turning his head like Nolan did in The Dark Knight, they stuck with the original
comic book design, and fucking engineered the shit out of it so that he would be able to move like Batman and still
look like Batman. YES!

11 BvS Ruins

I like this picture a lot. There is so much potential packed into it. This looks like it is the site of Zod’s death
from Man of Steel, with Batman taking a look around, seeing the destructive power of Superman firsthand. I also
really love the question mark graffiti. Even if the Riddler doesn’t show up (which I think it’s likely he won’t;
the movie’s already got a full enough cast and enough of a story to deal with) it’s a cool nod to a wider universe.
This also shows that Batman is definitely going to be upset by Superman’s unchecked power. Either that, or Batman
is investigating Zod’s death and potentially trying to find a weakness of Kryptonians to exploit in his inevitable
battle with Superman. I would assume that after that battle with Zod, there would have been quite a struggle for
Zod’s remains for that very purpose. The American Government, Lex Luthor, and Batman at the very least would have
all been gunning for the Kryptonian’s corpse for the research possibilities it would provide. An early rumour had
it that Luthor found Zod’s body and used it to create a weapon to take down Superman. That weapon varies depending
on whose theory you subscribe to, but the most common suggestions were either a mech suit or a genetically
engineered super soldier with Kryptonian DNA. Either way, that sounds pretty badass, but I for one am hoping Batman
at least got some kind of material for his own research, as he would definitely need something to give him an
advantage when it comes to fighting Superman head on.

Either way, I’m pretty damn keen to see this scene in context and find out more about it.

12 BvS Batwing

Oh yeah, it’s Batman vehicle time!

13 BvS Attack

Batwing attack!

14 BvS Batmobile



I love the Batmobile design in this film, it’s a great looking vehicle. For anyone who hasn’t already seen it,
here’s a slightly clearer view of it:

15 BvS Batsuit and Batmobile

Look at that thing. Hell yeah. That’s also a great look at the batsuit itself. Very awesome.

Anyway, I don’t really have much to say about the vehicles other than they look amazing and I can’t wait to see
them in action!

16 BvS Batman

Here’s another great look at the batsuit. I don’t know about you, but to me this looks like he’s in contact with
Superman, as he’s looking up and stepping out of the shadows. But it’s interesting if that is the case because he’s
not wearing the armoured suit that would presumably let him fight Superman. Which means this might be more of a
first encounter scenario, or just a by chance meeting of the two heroes. Either way, it will be very interesting
and awesome to see a confrontation between the two with Batman in his normal Batsuit instead of his crazy armour.
I’m really hoping there’ll be a scene reminiscent of the first conversation between Batman and Superman in the
animated DC film Justice League: War.

The animated movie is sort of an alternate take on the forming of the Justice League in the New 52 universe. In the
scene I’m talking about, Superman and Batman know of one another by reputation only, and Batman especially is still
a mystery to most of the world. They meet, and a short fight ensues. Batman holds his own surprisingly well, but it
is clear that Superman will win if the fight continues much longer. But Batman is awesomeness personified, and
shocks Superman into ending the battle by revealing to Superman that he is fully aware of his secret identity.

Justice League War

So I’m hoping for something like that, because it would just be awesome to show the audience that Superman’s
ridiculously weak “disguise” really doesn’t fool Batman for a second. It would also be a great way for the film to
showcase an aspect of Batman’s personality very rarely portrayed in live action: his skills as a detective.

17 BvS Rifle

Now this is interesting. Those of you who looked closely enough can see that Batman is holding a rifle in this
scene, clearly breaking his “no guns” policy. Now, obviously any fan of the comics would know that there is one
scene where Batman does in fact use a rifle in the comics, and it is of course in the Dark Knight Returns graphic

TDKR Rifle

Now, in this scene Batman is actually using the rifle as a long-range grappling hook launcher, as he was
intercepting a joint attack on two separate but close buildings and needed to be able to get from one building to
the next very quickly to stop both attacks. The fact that this film is obviously very heavily influenced by The
Dark Knight Returns, coupled with the fact that Batman is standing on a rooftop in this picture, means that we’re
going to be getting a very similar scene, though I would have to assume the circumstances surrounding the scene
would be quite different. Should play out as quite a fun scene to watch though.

And here, we have another amazing reveal and another great reference to The Dark Knight Returns:

18 BvS Armoured Batsuit

Holy crap. That thing is beautiful. It’s so close to the comic book armour!

Here’s a close up for comparison:

TDKR Armour Close Up


I just cannot wait to see this scene. It’s scenes like this that make comic book movies the coolest ever.

Then we get this awesome little face off bit:

19 BvS Face Off 01

20 BvS Face Off 02

21 BvS Face Off 03

Along with the stunningly badass line from Batman:

“Tell me, do you bleed? … You will.”

Umm… Yes please. I want to go to there.

That is seriously going to just be the greatest moment in DC movie history. I don’t even care who wins the battle at this point, I am just so damn excited for this movie!

(P.S. I actually do care #TeamBatman)

Rant: The Suicide Squad Photo, And What It Means For DC Movies

David Ayer just released this photo of the Suicide Squad (sans the Joker):

01 Suicide-Squad-Cast-Photo

And it raises one very important question:

Has David Ayer actually ever read a DC comic book before?

This article is exploring that question, and one more, equally important one, just as a bonus:

Is David Ayer the right director for a DC movie?

(Spoiler alert: the answer to both is no.)

Now. Let’s start with a look at Ayer himself.
Ayer was born in Champaign, Illinois, on January 18, 1968, and grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, and Bethesda,
Maryland, where he was kicked out of his house by his parents as a teenager. Ayer then lived with his cousin in Los
Angeles, California, where his experiences in South Central Los Angeles became the inspiration for many of his
films. Ayer then enlisted in the United States Navy as a submariner.

Most of Ayer’s films (Training Day, Dark Blue, S.W.A.T., Harsh Times, Street Kings, End of Watch and Sabotage) are
gritty, violent films based in LA and exploring crime, corruption, morality and the effects of violence on the
human mind. While his films are really good, there’s no denying he has a very specific comfort zone as a director
and has really only stepped outside of it for three of his ten films, and two of those are war films and the other
is the first Fast and Furious movie (which also deals with crime in LA, albeit in the form of street racing). The
two war films (U-571 and Fury) explore the exact same themes as his other films, just present them in a different
setting. So we essentially have a director who has made the same movie 10 times, with characters like these:

02 Harsh Times 03 Alonzo_Harris 04 sabotage 05 Street Kings

Not that that’s a problem, and I have nothing against people who look like that, it’s just now you can see that he
really doesn’t ever step out of that tone and visual style. So when he got a huge DC gig, instead of using it as a
chance to show the world his versatility as a director and his ability to work off of existing characters with
decades of history, he shows us that he has no versatility, and he doesn’t care about DC that much. All David
Ayer’s characters have that street criminal kinda look about them, and they all have a similar tone and explore the
same themes. So while Zack Snyder is making Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman and Justice League, which all look
like actual DC stories, David Ayer is fucking around with the characters and creating his own stupid street gang
thug versions of classic characters just because that’s what he’s more comfortable working with. He’s telling us
“I’m definitely keen for the payday and fame that come with making a DC movie, but I don’t want to grow or evolve
in any way as a director and/or artist, so instead of getting a really great Suicide Squad movie, you’ll be getting
another Training Day/Dark Blue/S.W.A.T./Harsh Times/Street Kings/End of Watch/Sabotage movie but with DC
characters. And because I’m REALLY stubborn, I’m even going to make the DC characters you know and love look
exactly like they came from any of my other movies.”

“And for the real DC fans, here’s an extra fuck you, because… Fuck you.” – David Ayer

I just really feel like he’s not the right person to make a comic book movie. He said in an interview that he loves
DC, but it’s painfully obvious that he either doesn’t know anything about the characters or just doesn’t care about
completely changing everything.

One more huge tick in the “cons” column is that this movie does officially tie in with the other DC movies, which
means that fans can’t just be like “well, it was a one-off, it doesn’t matter” because these characters are now a part
of the whole DC cinematic universe and that means if they show up in any of the other movies, they’ll look like
this again.

What’s scariest about this is that the official Joker photo (which I already ranted about here) would actually
fit in with this crowd. This is not a good thing, but the new look for “the Joker” does make sense when you see the
kinds of characters Ayer loves to explore.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the actual characters we see in the photo and compare them to the comics. I’m not
going to be doing too much commenting on the Suicide Squad’s comic book history, because to be honest they are
constantly changing and in terms of which members they’re picked, accuracy to the comics isn’t really hugely
important. I’m really just talking about the visual design of the characters themselves.

Let’s go from left to right:
1:) Slipknot (yes, that’s really a character’s name)

07 Slipknot Comics

So Slipknot, other than having *the world’s most boring Wikipedia entry out of any superhero ever* (link to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slipknot_%28comics%29), is a character who is famous for designing “durable ropes”.
Yeah, that’s it. His “powers and abilities” section reads:

“Mastery of ropes, assassin training, use of unbreakable ropes.”

His is the kind of instantly forgettable character that dies in the first scene; just to bring home to the audience
the fact that the explosive collars the Suicide Squad are forced to wear do in fact explode.
2:) Captain Boomerang (yes, that’s really a character’s name as well)

08 Boomerang_mercer

Captain Boomerang is a really hit-and-miss character. On one hand, it’s pretty cool to see an Australian character
in comics and finally being portrayed in live action. On the other hand, he’s a horrible character. When he’s not
too busy being horribly racist, sexist, or just spouting ridiculous Australian slang, he spends his time coming up with truly laughable super-villain plots.

He’s either portrayed with an incredibly over-the-top Australian accent which borders on it’s own kind of racist,
or is just white-washed into an American accented character. Also, in the Suicide Squad photo, I don’t see a single
boomerang. Although to be fair, he has shown true supervillain style with that boot made out of duct tape. And some
3:) Enchantress

09 Enchantress

This is the least revealing Enchantress outfit I could find other than the Suicide Squad picture. So I’m of two
minds regarding her design in this photo. In the “cons” column, you’ve got the fact that she looks like a gross
gypsy mixed with the girl from The Ring. In the “pros” column, you’ve got the fact that she’s not showing most of
her body just because. Steering away from her ridiculously revealing comic-book costume is a good thing, but this
is a whole other thing. I think they’ve gone way too far in the other direction. She also just looks dirty, like a
goth-obsessed teen that hasn’t had a shower in a year.

It’ll be really interesting (and hopefully really cool) to see her use some actual magic in the film though, as
comic movies so far have avoided any reference to actual magic and have tried to explain every existing superpower
with science. So that could be fun.
4:) Rick Flagg

10 Rick Flagg

I just don’t care about Rick Flagg. Maybe he’s had some baddass moments, I honestly don’t know. He’s a
soldier/mercenary type, good with guns and whatever. I mean, he doesn’t even have a “super” name. That’s how boring
he is. At least Slipknot has a cool sounding name. This guy has no gimmick or theme, he is just a normal soldier.
He has ONE distinguishing feature in the comics, and that’s his ridiculously bright yellow turtleneck sweater. They
took that out of the Suicide Squad movie, thankfully, so now he’s just gone back to being a superhumanly
forgettable soldier. Look at that guy. Not even a fucking eye patch. At least Nick Fury had an eye patch.
5:) Harley Quinn

11 Harley Quinn

You know who Harley Quinn is. Everyone knows who Harley Quinn is. Oh, except David Ayer, apparently. Don’t get me
wrong, Margot Robbie is just an amazing choice. She will be really great in the role, and I was super keen when I
heard she was playing Harley. Very cool. But this outfit… Far out, Ayer. What are you doing? This is not Harley
Quinn. This is a teen at a drug-heavy music festival who just happens to be a fan of Harley Quinn. She looks like a
cosplayer trying way too hard to push the sex appeal of the character. Like, WAY too hard. Those aren’t even pants;
When most of your “shorts” are obscured by your belt, you’re not wearing shorts. I know that Harley Quinn quite
often wears skimpy clothing, but this is ridiculous. Of the clothing she IS wearing, there’s barely a hint of the
comic book character we all know and love. Seriously, out of all the characters in this film, Harley was the one
that I was most excited to see finally portrayed in a DC live action movie.

I’m just hoping her performance as an actor isn’t affected by her ridiculous costume.
6:) Deadshot

12 Deadshot - Comics

NOW we’re talking! Finally! So that’s the comic book Deadshot, and compared with this:

13 Deadshot - Suicide Squad

You can see a huge resemblance. We can tell we’re actually looking at the same character this time! I guess one out
of nine isn’t too bad for someone who obviously has no idea what they’re doing. Bravo, Ayer.

But even with this one, I have a bit of concern. This costume looks quite… Well, home-made. I mean, it looks
good, don’t get me wrong, but it looks like a well done cosplay instead of a professional costume design. I’m just
glad Ayer was paying enough attention to put some wrist-mounted guns on his costume, that’s awesome. I guess
Deadshot is one character David Ayer actually likes enough to want to get right.

One thing I’m concerned about is Will Smith. Don’t get me wrong, he’s awesome, it’s just that even when he’s in
full on action movies, his delivery is tinged with comedy. It’s like no matter which character he plays, there’s
always a bit of himself he can’t totally get away from, the part that always acts like a goof. His voice is also
quite high pitched usually, so unless he gets those things under control and really takes this seriously, be
prepared for a Deadshot who says things like “… Oh, HELL no!” and “I make this look good!”
7:) Killer Croc

Pictured: A Killer Fucking Croc. Pay attention, Ayer.

Pictured: A Killer Fucking Croc. Pay attention, Ayer.


What the actual fuck is this? A gargoyle? The Thing from Fantastic Four in black and white? One of the not so well
known bad guys from the Power Rangers? Come on!

… I actually don’t even know what to say about this one. Killer Croc, even when done badly, is a giant monster
that destroys shit and lives in the sewers of Gotham, being all scary and shit. At his best he is an absolute
nightmare, a hellspawn brought forth from the depths of Gotham itself, rampaging and getting all up in Batman’s
business; sort of like if Bane dressed up as Godzilla.

This looks like Mickey Rourke got that Greyscale disease from Game of Thrones.

Maybe she got bitten by a radioactive David Ayer?

Maybe she got bitten by a radioactive David Ayer?

You may not be a huge DC comic book fan. You may not have heard much about Killer Croc. If that’s the case, let me
tell you a bit about the character. Firstly, he’s supposed to be 11 fucking feet tall. Sure, he’s the tallest one
in that group photo, but unless they’re all fucking giants, he’s nowhere near what he’s supposed to be. Also, and
this might be a minor point, but you know us pedantic comic book fans; His name his Killer CROC, not Killer Rock
Monster or Killer Gargoyle. Why doesn’t he resemble a crocodile? Also, another minor point, but Killer Croc was
never in the Suicide Squad. What is he doing here? Why would he be involved with this? I mean, I guess you can sort
of justify any major criminal being in the Squad because if their crimes are bad enough Amanda Waller can sweep in
and conscript them to work for her for a reduced sentence. So it’s not like the Squad is limited by specific
eligibility criteria or anything, it’s just that it seems weird for Croc to be part of the team.

8:) El Diablo

16 El_Diablo

El Diablo is one of those characters that I feel like was created in 30 seconds and never evolved beyond the
initial sketches and two dimensional character background. There have been three different El Diablo’s in DC
comics, and all of them have been just as boring as each other. To Ayer’s credit though, he definitely picked the
least boring version in Chato Santana, who’s tattoos in the comics do actually resemble the ones in the Suicide
Squad picture. With this character, Ayer is showing his strengths again. And by “strengths”, I mean inflexibility.
This character fits in so well with Ayer’s other characters that I’m surprised he hasn’t already shown up in Harsh
Times or something. He is actually just a street criminal gang member type dude who somehow is deemed interesting
enough to join the Suicide Squad.

The Chato Santana version of El Diablo has pyrokinesis though, so that’s pretty cool.

9:) Katana

17 Katana

So Katana is an interesting one, and at the very least they got her mask right. I think this could be a great
character to have in the Squad, and other than Deadshot (minus the inevitable Will Smithisms) Katana is the
character I am most excited to see. Since Ayer has just completely and utterly dropped the ball with Joker and
Harley, all we have left is to hope that some of the less well known characters get some awesome scenes. Katana is
incredibly skilled in the comics, having trained with Samurai and martial arts masters all her life, and even
training with Batman at one point as an adult. So her character, if done well, will be very cool. I also can’t help
but see her as Rila Fukushima, since I love the CW version of Green Arrow, but I’m keen to see a new portrayal of
the character, especially one that actually wears her Katana costume. Her picture in the Suicide Squad photo also
reminds me of Devon Aoki’s portrayal of Miho in Sin City which is funny because Aoki was originally cast to play
Katana in the CW’s Arrow. Just a weird little coincidence.

Anyway, I actually love Katana’s costume in this photo, and I’m very keen to see her interact with the rest of the
Squad and to see her show off some skills in action scenes.

10:) Belle Reve

18 Belle_Reve

While not actually a character, I wanted to include the background in this list anyway as it’s an important
inclusion in the photo. I love this photo just for having the “Welcome to Belle Reve” sign in the background. It’s
definitely a nice touch, and shows an uncharacteristic and until now unseen attention to detail from Ayer. For
those who don’t know, Belle Reve is most commonly portrayed as a prison for metahuman criminals, but has also been
used as a base of operations for the Squad. This is pretty cool. It might also be where the Joker is being kept
prisoner, although my bet is that the Squad will visit Arkham instead at some point in the film.

NOW, there are a few other details I’m pretty keen on. Firstly, and probably most obviously for anyone who knows
me, the Batman cameo:

19 Batman in Suicide Squad

So that is very clearly Batman on the set of Suicide Squad. There are also rumours flying around about Jared Leto
showing up in BvS, which would be very cool. Either way, I am incredibly excited to see Ben Affleck’s Batman
interact with Jared Leto’s Joker. Even though Ayer’s version of the Joker is the most ridiculously inaccurate
portrayal since ever, his performance as an actor will be amazing, and it will be worth it just to see these two
face off. It will also be cool to see the Joker in Arkham, as this has never been done in live action before. The
scenes between Batman and a straight-jacketed, incarcerated Joker in the comics have become iconic and occur
frequently throughout, and it would be amazing to see with Affleck and Leto.

One thing I’m not too keen on is origin stories. I’m quite concerned that there are so many characters, let alone
unknown characters, in one movie. This essentially means that we’re most likely going to get a few origin stories
within this film, if not at least some expository dialogue explaining how some of the characters got started with
the Squad and spelling out their motivations to the audience. This is kind of a non-comedic DC version of the
Guardians of the Galaxy gambit that Marvel put to the world: a group of fairly unknown characters in an ensemble
film tenuously connected to the rest of the universe but going through their own unrelated adventures. The only
problem here is that Guardians of the Galaxy worked because of its comedy and its willingness to be silly and not
take itself too seriously. Suicide Squad is not going to be funny (unless it’s so bad that you have to laugh). It’s
going to be a large group of mostly unexplained characters working for a relatively unknown agency and I feel like
that’s a big ask for a director who has only ever made LA based street crime movies. I mean, essentially, the tone
matches up, but everything about this kind of production is going to put Ayer way out of his depth.

I think the casting mostly is great, and I think the actors will do a great job with what they’ve been given, but
if the greatest actor in the world was given a horrible script, there’s not much they can do to make it great. I’m
just really hoping that either:

A) these photos are a prank to try to gain publicity;

B) Ayer is secretly a genius and huge DC fan who has hidden all of his directorial skill until now; or

C) The actors just really, really fucking nail their performances so much that it cancels out everything else about
the movie.

I just want to make one more point before I post this. One thing I’ve been hearing from people who inexplicably
like this new look is that it fits in with the “real world” look of the DC cinematic universe. Now, that’s cool and
everything, and I guess this does look a little more “realistic” than the comics would, but my question is: Why?

Why do these movies need to be “realistic”? Nolan already did that. It’s done. Move on. I know Nolan’s Dark Knight
trilogy inspired Man of Steel and therefore the rest of the new DC movies, but everyone involved was very clear
right from the start that Nolan’s movies were stand alone and not meant to be a part of a wider DC universe. No
part of Superman is realistic. There is absolutely no aspect of his character that would ever occur in real life. I
like the idea of seeing how the real world would REACT to a fictional alien superhero, but this is going too far.

DC is just not set in the real world. Marvel at least uses New York and real place names, but DC has always been
all about the fake places. Gotham, Metropolis, Bludhaven, Central City, Star City… It’s just always been clear
that these stories are taking place in a completely fictional place. The other thing is that these are comic book
stories. Superhero stories. I am just so sick of seeing comic book movies adopt this “but what if it was in the
real world?” kind of attitude. The whole point of comic books is that fantastic, amazing, completely unrealistic
things can happen and because it’s a comic book, you can’t say shit about it. No one cares that Batman wouldn’t
actually be able to fit every gadget in the world in his utility belt or that the Suicide Squad essentially breaks
every law and is in breach of basic human rights. It’s a fucking comic book. People wear ridiculous, colourful,
spandex outfits and can somehow shoot the wings off a fly from a hundred yards without even looking. Superheroes
can move faster than the speed of light and throw continents at each other and create alternate universes.

The bottom line is, these stories are not MEANT to be realistic. This insistence on merging superheroes with the
real world is going to result in movies like this, where it doesn’t even look like a superhero movie any more and
the iconic characters we used to love will eventually turn into plain, trench coat-wearing, stubbled white guys who
all look like John McClane or fucking Ryan Gosling or some shit; What made them superheroes in the first place will
be white-washed until the character names have no meaning any more. And the worst part is there’s just no reason for
it. It would actually work as a proper, colourful, violent comic book movie. There is a reason Comic books are so
popular in the first place, and Hollywood (or, more accurately, DC) seems to be completely ignoring that.

I love that David Ayer wants to make a movie about a top secret government agency where the world’s worst criminals
are given high risk, classified jobs to reduce their sentences and are forced to wear explosive devices that go off
if they disobey or desert the team. That sounds awesome, and he will do a great job making that film, but there was
no reason to make it a Suicide Squad film. David Ayer does not make superhero movies, and this will be no
exception. It will be called Suicide Squad, and it will have characters who share the names of DC characters, but
it will not be THE Suicide Squad.

Now, despite all my negativity, I will be happy to call myself an idiot and apologise to David Ayer if he pulls
this off. It will be worth it to be completely wrong if it means we all get to watch a great Suicide Squad movie.

So please, David Ayer, PLEASE: Prove me wrong.