Rant: The Jared Leto Joker Picture, And A Rant About The Joker In General


I’m going to just vent about this one.

I need to say, before anything else, that Jared Leto is a phenomenally talented actor, and regardless of what the character will end up looking like in the finished film, Leto will knock the actual performance out of the park. I’m not doubting his acting ability for a second, and as soon as I heard he was cast I was over the moon about it.

So, with that being said, try to keep in mind that I am in no way judging Leto or even the film itself in this article. I am purely looking at the visual design of the character in this one photo.

So, I am a huge Batman fan. I have always been a huge fan. I can literally not remember a time in my life when I didn’t love Batman. The Joker is an extension of that, but it’s more than that too, I am a huge JOKER fan. I love his character. I love his look, I love the way he talks and acts. I love how excessively, unapologetically insane he is. I love the Joker.

Pictured: NOT the Joker.

Pictured: NOT the Joker.

Now, I’m working with the assumption that this is a promo pic to drum up publicity for Suicide Squad, and to pay homage to a legendary character on his 75th anniversary. That being the case, I love this photo (except for the fucking grill), and I think it’s an awesome way to show appreciation for a 75 year old character while simultaneously grabbing the attention of fans and creating controversy. A great achievement, IF that was its purpose.

If, however, this is how the Joker will look in the film… Well, they got it wrong. Very, very wrong. And that’s what I want to rant about now. I’m going to treat the photo as if it is the version of the Joker that will appear in Suicide Squad, just for the purposes of this article.

Obviously reception has been all over the shop, with some people loving the new look and others (being correct) hating it. I think that some of the ideas presented in the photo are interesting and could lend themselves quite nicely to the character, but not exactly as they are shown. Other ideas are ridiculous and make no sense, no matter how you try to justify them. I’m going to go into detail now about how I feel about each aspect of the photo, starting with…

1): The Tattoos.

So, I think firstly that tattoos in general are not a terrible idea for this kind of character. They could work, if done very, very well. These tattoos are, however, too self-referential, too obvious, and too much. Seriously, even if the Joker was the type to get tattoos, this many is definitely out of character. Especially the fucking facial tattoos. Any person that needs to get “damaged” tattooed across their forehead does not need a label for their insanity to be obvious. Someone that fucked up will be noticed by everyone around them for what they are regardless of their choice of decorative ink. Also, the font is way too pretty and neat. The Joker has always been portrayed as almost ADHD in his inability to focus for too long, his constant changing personality, and his physical mannerisms. He moves a lot, he is jittery and cannot be contained. The idea of him sitting down long enough to get such a neat tattoo is ridiculous.

One thing I’ve heard a lot of people say about this in order to justify it is that the Joker is insane. They say that it’s “realistic” for an insane person to have “crazy” tattoos. That is the weakest justification I can possibly think of. Of course he’s insane, he’s always been insane, and he’s never had tattoos. Now, I’ll admit that at one point he did have tattoos in the comics, and that’s the second point of justification I’ve heard a lot of people hide behind. He was portrayed very briefly in ONE comic as having tattoos, and that was a non-canon appearance and was not too great to be honest. Also, the tattoo that the Joker was depicted as having in that comic was a dragon on his back. Dumb. By the way, this was the same comic wherein Batman utters the ridiculous line “What, are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you THINK I am? I’m the goddamn Batman.” So… Yeah, not the greatest example of a good DC comic and definitely not an accurate interpretation of any of the characters involved.

Pictured: ALSO not the Joker.

Pictured: ALSO not the Joker.

2): The “Grill”.

Fuck this. Fuck that stupid fucking “grill”. It’s so dumb. It looks so gross and fucking pathetic. I’m gonna go right ahead and have a go at the people defending it with this lousy justification:

“It makes sense because the Joker has had his teeth broken by Batman, they’ve been knocked out so many times by now that he’s just gone ahead and replaced them with metal, hurr duh durr-durr!”

I’m paraphrasing of course, but seriously? I mean, really?!

Yes, the Joker has had his teeth knocked in a fair few times in the comics, but so has EVERY FUCKING CHARACTER EVER. If it was such a huge issue, the Joker would have been drawn in the comics with a dumb gangsta-style grill too. But he wasn’t. You wanna know why? Because it looks dumb as hell. He is famous for his smile. The “Joker Grin” is an oft-used phrase throughout the comics for a reason. He uses toxic gas to kill his victims which force their still-dying bodies into forming rictus grins. His smile is what makes him the Joker. If he didn’t laugh and smile and make jokes, he would just be a random psycho. That’s what the picture of Leto looks like. Just some random wanna-be gangsta psycho Joker fan-boy.

I could accept the tattoos, I really could, if I really had to. But this fucking grill, I can’t even fathom why they chose this stupid fucking thing. Even if this is not what the character will look like in the movie (which is definitely the case, you’ll see, they’re just fucking with us), the grill makes no sense. Even just as a one-off, non-canon homage to the character, he has literally never had anything other than his trademark Joker grin to show off. This does not work and does not look good.

3): The Body.

Now, I don’t know if Jared Leto is putting on more muscle than what is shown in this picture, but I really like the body that he’s currently got. He’s slim, with a wiry sort of strength, he does have muscles but he’s not a tank of a man. That’s definitely the right direction. A bit more muscle would be fine, but I really hope he’s not gonna be crazy huge. I mean, I can’t imagine that happening, coz Jared Leto has never really been a big guy (except for Chapter 27, but that was pure fat and zero muscle, and that’s definitely not what’s happening here), but you never know I guess. It is definitely one of the more accurate bits of this photo though.

Haha, I surprised you, didn’t I? You thought this whole thing was gonna be negative! Well it mostly is, I’ll give you that, but some aspects of this photo are actually great, including…

4): The Hair.

YES. I love this hair. Leto properly dyed it, it’s a nice bright green and it’s neat and permanent-looking. That coupled with his incredibly pale skin give the impression that they’re going for the comic-accurate “bleached by chemicals” look. This is very, very good news. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight, but there were a lot of aspects to his version that veered wildly from the canon version of the Joker.

That’s not a problem, it’s just that I don’t see why Ledger’s version has come to be accepted as the “definitive” Joker that everyone turns to for comparison.

There are a lot of comic book versions of the Joker that employ this same hair style, and it looks great on Leto, and I’m really excited about that. Especially considering the tattoos and ridiculous metal teeth (seriously, really?!) probably won’t actually appear in the film, what’s left is a great interpretation of the Joker.

5): The Make-Up.

I actually really like the make-up too. Especially the eyes. The Ledger version had those panda bear style eyes and it looked great for his version, but the real Joker doesn’t have much (if any) make-up around his eyes. This photo shows a bit of eye make-up, but not a crazy amount, and it’s subtle enough that it accentuates his eyes without covering them in black. He also appears to have shaved his eyebrows off, which I think is a great touch. It looks creepy but in a good way, and is much better looking in live-action than green eyebrows.

The lipstick is a little dark for my taste, but that’s a pretty minor concern. At least it’s red, instead of black or some other such nonsense that it wouldn’t have been too surprising to see on this non-Joker Joker picture.

6): The Glove.

I love this, it’s a nice little nod to the classic purple suit, and it’s hopefully an indication that he will wear it at some point in the film. I know there’s been a leaked picture of the Joker in a white suit, and I do like that look in small doses, but I’m going to be really disappointed (as are a lot of fans I would assume) if his classic purple suit doesn’t make an appearance.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that all the arguments people are making to try to justify the photo are just that: attempted justification. And if you have to try that hard to justify something, it’s usually really not the greatest idea.

Now, I’ve listed everything I don’t like and everything I do like about this version of the Joker. So, just for comparison’s sake, so you can see where I’m coming from, here are a few of my personal favourite interpretations of the Joker, in no particular order:

1): Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.

Oh, sorry, I hope you weren't planning on sleeping ever again.

Oh, sorry, I hope you weren’t planning on sleeping ever again.

Holy fuck. Look at that. If you saw that guy walking towards you in a dark alley in Gotham, you would just straight up die of fear. FUCK. THAT.

Now, I’ll concede that this version is pretty far from the norm, but what they got right, they REALLY got right, right? I mean, wow. It’s fucking terrifying. Those eyes seem perpetually wide, with pin-prick sized pupils and horrifying red gore surrounding them. The mouth is inhumanly large, the grin is massive and manic. The hair is untamed, as crazy as he is.

This is from a comic called Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, obviously, and it is… An experience, to put it mildly. It is set inside the walls of Arkham and is written and drawn in a surreal, symbolic style and looks like a nightmare the reader is experiencing. The Joker is drawn perfectly in that sense; this is a surreal, horrifying version of the Joker stripped of all “real-world” influences. Even his dialogue is drawn beautifully, and perfectly suits the character. This is the first graphic novel that utilized the idea of each character having their own font, and the Joker’s is a messy, bright red scratched across the page with no borders or speech bubbles.

Definitely an amazing version of the Joker.

2): Batman R.I.P.

04 Batman R.I.P

Again, this version is obviously a little different to the “classic” version, but there are enough similarities that it really works in this particular story. I love this version because it’s a more physical, brutal version. He looks downright deadly, and has abandoned his normally neat(ish) appearance in favour of a clown/mad scientist hybrid, looking like he spends his mornings cutting corpses apart just because. His short, slicked back hair, muscly physique, minimal make-up and general shirtlessness are a very different visual take on the character but he looks just as insane and dangerous as his usual self. I could definitely see Jared Leto’s version coming pretty close to this, obviously taking away all the aforementioned stupidity in the first official photo.

In this story, the Joker is really gunning after Batman. In the previous issues somewhere he got shot by a Batman impersonator and is mighty pissed off about it, so this is one of the few versions of the Joker where he is genuinely trying to kill Batman instead of just trying to get his attention or pissing him off for fun.

3): Hush.

05 Hush

In this version, the Joker looks like his classic self again. What I like about this one is the over-sized mouth. It’s one thing that I feel is too commonly overlooked in the comics and by fans in particular, and something I feel won’t ever really be portrayed properly in live action. The Joker’s mouth is one of the things that sets him apart from normal people and makes him look like something other than human. It adds a scary, unsettling aspect to his image that is unique to the Joker. It makes his grin that much more menacing.

Hush is a stunning story, with an original bad guy and beautiful artwork. The Joker has a fairly minor role but it’s still quite powerful.

4): Killing Joke.

06 Killing Joke

OH YEAH. That picture right there is one of my absolute favourite comic book moments of all time. The creation of the Joker, the moment his former self is utterly broken beyond repair, and all his sanity and connection to reality shatters completely. It’s a beautiful and tragic moment, and this particular picture is perfect.

If you haven’t read the Killing Joke, read it right now. I won’t bother explaining the storyline because it is required reading for Batman fans and anyone who would bother reading this article. Seriously, read it right now.

Read it even if you HAVE read it before.

5): Arkham Origins.

07 Origins Joker 01

So Arkham Origins got a lot of shit from a bunch of people, and I still don’t understand why. True, it was made by a different company than the one who made Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, but that doesn’t intrinsically make it bad. It’s actually amazing, and it’s my favourite Arkham game to date without question. Visually, this game is perfect. The Origins batsuit is my favourite batsuit; the Origins Deathstroke is my favourite version of Deathstroke, and the Origins Joker is definitely one of the best versions of the Joker out there.

Also, in terms of story, I found this game showed a fantastic first reveal of the Joker. I won’t spoil it for people who haven’t played it, but it’s a really great scene, and it is one of the best scenes of the Joker I’ve ever seen.

So, there you go, that’s my rant about the official 75th anniversary Joker picture and about the Joker in general.

However it ends up going, I am incredibly excited to see Suicide Squad in 2016. And like I said at the beginning of

the article, Jared Leto will be an amazing Joker regardless of what he ends up looking like in the finished film.

Rant: The Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer #2


Ok, so the second Star Wars Ep 7 trailer…

Well, I’m going to preface this rant by saying that I am not following any production information, no set photos,
no rumours, no leaked details. I am sticking entirely to the officially released info like the trailer and whatever
comes directly from JJ Abrams himself.

Now… Where to begin?

I have gone through this before, but it definitely bears repeating because it’s just so damn true… Star Wars: The
Force Awakens has, just, the best team working on it you guys. Just the fucking BEST team in the world. This second
trailer, without a doubt, is the coolest thing I have seen on a TV screen since… Well, forever.

So, let’s run through it, shall we?

Firstly, I don’t know if it was purely anticipation, but even the title screen gave me goosebumps…

01 Lucasfilm Motherfucking Title Screen

Whoo, yes please. More of that.

We open similarly to the first trailer, but WAY more badass and OT style:

02 Crashed Motherfucking Star Destroyer

Oh man, the ideas this conjures up… The possibilities… What an amazing opening shot for the trailer! It just
emanates danger, hope for the rebellion, past battles paving the way for the completely changed galaxy we now live
in. Beautiful. Plus, we’re treated to the first bit of dialogue: “The force is strong in my family.”

YES. Luke Skywalker’s famous talk to Leia from Return of the Jedi, very very cool! This is an amazing way to join
the new movies to the OT as they follow on from Episode 6, and this is one of the pivotal scenes towards the end of
the film. Awesome.

And then, oh man… And then:

03 Darth Vader's Motherfucking Burnt Helmet


Seriously, I was completely speechless at this point. I was just gaping at the screen like a 2 year old tasting
candy for the first time. This is just the most powerful imagery they possibly could have created. Again, a strong
and meaningful connection to the original trilogy shown in a new and amazing way. We see more and more in this
trailer that the new Star Wars galaxy is it’s own rich setting, with a true weight to it, things are actually
following on from Return of the Jedi, we are witnessing the fallout of the original trilogy, not just a new story
set in the same world but that world continuing to grow and evolve. ARGH, I can’t stand how amazing this is!

And, of course, the next bit of Luke’s dialogue: “My father has it.”

This is interesting, they actually have not changed the present tense to past, despite the fact that everyone knows
Darth Vader’s demise occurred in the last movie. I’m thinking it’s just a flashback, and it doesn’t mean anything in
terms of Darth Vader being alive or anything. But seriously, that screenshot is insane. So much power, so much

04 R2-Motherfucking-D2


Don’t get me wrong, the soccerball droid is growing on me and I can’t wait to see it in action, but R2 is a whole
other level, guys. Seeing R2 is like seeing a beloved family member after ages of no contact. You just wanna give
the adorable little droid a hug! And that mechanical hand, holy hell yes! We have to assume this is Luke, but you
never know (considering the sheer amount of hand-cut-off-ness that occurs in the Star Wars universe) and I love
wondering. But then again, the next bit of well-known dialogue jumps in right as we see this shot: “I have it.”

So… Yeah, we just saw Luke… But is it just me, or did that figure have a somewhat youngish vibe? I don’t know
why, but I just get the feeling that it’s either not Luke or there are going to be some epic flashback scenes to
somewhere after Luke got his hand severed and before TFA. Or maybe I’m just straight up wrong. Y’know, it does
happen sometimes.


05 Anakin Skywalker's Motherfucking Lightsaber

“My sister has it.”

WOO! We see our favourite, original lightsaber, being handed to some unmistakably feminine hands just as Luke
mentions Leia… Fuck yeah! This is so damn cool, I feel like the passing of the baton onto the new cast of Star
Wars characters is both metaphorical AND literal with the inclusion of this saber. This means that the saber that
started with Anakin, and was passed by Kenobi onto Luke, is now going to be in the hands of a new generation of
Skywalker Jedi. Brilliant. It also might mean that Leia has by now started using the force properly like in the EU,
which is incredibly cool.

06 X-Wings Motherfucker

Oh yes, oh yes. If you’ve read my rant about the first teaser you already know how I feel about these new X-Wings.
But I’ll say it again: These things ROCK. They are beautiful, they are amazingly new but still look like they come
from the Star Wars universe. They make a great homage to the classic X-Wing look but with an awesome new visual
design and, I’m just gonna say it outright, these things are better looking than the classic X-Wings. I was talking
with a good friend of mine and he mentioned that he feels that way, he sounded a bit nervous when he said it so I
think he was expecting me to be all OT purist, and spit righteous anger at him for daring to admit anything is
better that the classic designs. But honestly, I agree with him. They are just beautiful machines.

I think it’s around this point that we hear some more amazing dialogue frrom Luke: “You have that power too.”

Amazing. As my aforementioned friend said in our long chat about the trailer, this sentence is incredibly powerful
for several reasons. Firstly, it means that there is definitely a younger Skywalker, and like I said, they will
most likely receive the beloved Skywalker family lightsaber in this movie. Secondly, the screen is blank when Luke
says this line, where every line before this corresponded with an image that could match perfectly with his
statement. The fact that this line is accompanied by a blank screen is a huge and amazing message from JJ Abrams:

YOU have that power, too. You, the audience member watching this trailer. You, who have watched Star Wars and
wished to be a young Skywalker thinking you are nothing and going nowhere, introduced to the force and the Jedi and
becoming one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy. Yes, you!

YOU have that power too.

Then, we get a shot of the new crew, the younglings joining the fray:

07 Rebels Y'all

Now, the three characters we saw in the first trailer are all together! That’s cool. Our new, ragtag group of
unlikely heroes has found each other and is… Running for their lives. I like this a lot, I really enjoy the fact
that this trailer really conveys a sense of danger and foreboding. It’s really well done, and it shows us that this
movie (and JJ) is ready to deal with heavier issues, like the aftermath of Episode 6 and how killing the evil
dictator doesn’t destroy all of the evil dictator’s followers. I’m loving this feeling of danger, and we get that
feeling ratcheted up about 15 notches with the next shot:

08 Sith Lord Y'all

WOW. Now we’ve gone from just seeing the back of a shadowy figure in a dark forest, to seeing this sith lord face
to face. I love the camera work here, the sudden zoom just as he turns his head to the audience. Great reveal, and
the lightsaber is definitely now accepted by me as being awesome. This shot is amazing.

09 Nazi Style Motherfucking Stormtrooper Army

Holy shit, what I said before about the Emperor being dead not affecting the rest of the Empire… Wow. They are
alive and well, and apparently going absolutely Nazi all up in this bitch. I mean, Stormtroopers were always a
fictional mirror of the nazi soldiers, right up to the name, but this is on a whole new level. We can see in the
distance a similar uniform to the Imperial Commanders from the OT, but I can’t really tell if he’s supposed to be
the leader or not… Maybe just in charge of the battalion we’re seeing? Or maybe the leader is just about to
arrive, a la Return of the Jedi where the Emperor arrives, greeted by a giant host of perfectly-lined-up
stormtroopers… But this time, it’s not the Emperor. I’m trying not to speculate on who it might be, because other
than the trailers, I’m really hoping to see this film with a blank slate, and no prior expectations or knowledge of
what’s about to happen. I want to feel the same way the audience would have felt seeing the Original Trilogy at the
cinema. In those days, there was no internet to ruin the story before it came out. There weren’t any way’s to
instantly broadcast a secret leak of plot details. It was all speculation, all guessing or just waiting. That’s
what I’m trying to emulate, that sense of not being able to know one way or the other what a movie will be until
you see it. Whoo, anyway, that was a bit of a digression, my bad. Onto the next scene!

10 Hangar Attack Motherfuckers

Oh man, I don’t know about anyone else but this immediately reminds me of the Battlefront 2 hangar battles that you
could join after flying a fighter from one command ship to the enemy’s and getting out to attack it from the
inside. Obviously Battlefront wasn’t this epic but it definitely put me in that mindframe, and I can’t wait to see
this scene play out. Very cool.

11 Motherfucking Star Destroyer Y'all

Again, another Star Destroyer, reminding us that though the Emperor himself is gone, he left behind a galaxy-wide
legacy of destructive power and loyal followers. Those are not a good mix when the leader holding them all together
is suddenly wiped from existence. This Star Destroyer makes me think of Grand Moffs and High Commanders taking
whatever chunk of the Imperial Army they had under their control as soon as they received word of the Emperor’s
death and using it to acheive their own ends. Obviously that is just my own interpretation, but I feel like there
would be just as much fighting between the fragments of the Empire’s semi-disbanded army than there would be
between the Empire and the Rebels. Fun to think about.

12 Shadow-Motherfucking-Trooper

Holy balls, this guy looks BADASS! That is some rad-looking armour, I am incredibly excited to see this character
in action. I’m left wondering though, is this just an elite version of the stormtroopers, or something much more
than that? Because other than the black colour and the cape, this armour is identical to the standard stormtrooper
armour seen so far. There’s no exotic weapon, no hint of any other abilities or info on rank. Obviously it’s
supposed to be a mystery, and they’ve done a damn good job of creating hype around a new character in my opinion.

13 Ball Droid

Now this shot is great, firstly because I am 100% certain that that ship is the Falcon, but also because this shows
an adorable personality for the new droid. Very cute, and of course lots of merchandising possibilities. That last
sentence came off a little cynical, but seriously, Star Wars makes most of its money from merchandising, and that
is an obscenely, brain-meltingly vast amount of money. It stands to reason that there will be about five thousand
toy versions of this adorable little droid; and no, before you say anything, that’s not a bad thing.

14 Teamwork Motherfuckers

Now we get some proper teamwork from the new crew, as brief as it may be, that shows that they are working together
and are on the same side. This may be obvious, and it may be a small point, but I think this shot is great and it
shows a bit of humanity in the trailer that doesn’t need to be inferred by the audience.

15 Flying Into A Wrecked Ship's Motherfucking Thrusters

Now THIS is awesome. Not only is there a battle at the site of a massive shipwreck, and not only is the Falcon
making another appearance, but seriously guys, THEY’RE FLYING INTO THE FUCKING ENGINES OF A WRECKED SHIP! How
fucking cool is that!? I love it that there’s actually no space-based battles in either trailer. All of the battles
are either in a planet’s atmosphere, or in an enclosed place like the hangar. I said this in the previous rant, but
I absolutely love this decision, as it lends even more danger to an already excessively dangerous activity.
Dogfights through the engine of a giant wrecked ship are just the fucking coolest. I can say that with certainty,
despite not having actually seen the full fight scene. This is going to be one of those amazing scenes where you
feel compelled to lean away from obstacles approaching the Falcon in a subconscious effort to help it along its way.
That’s great storytelling.

16 Badass TIE Pilot Yo

We also see what the new pilots look like, which I really like. I feel like JJ Abrams is giving the Imperial
soldiers a lot of screen time, which to me means that they are looking at these soldiers as human beings and not
just faceless embodiments of an evil Empire that can be gunned down like targets at a shooting range. I also think
that seeing John Boyega’s character in uniform could be a further exploration of what it means to be a
stormtrooper. I think and hope that JJ Abrams is going to be looking into morality a lot here. Morality has always
been a huge theme in Star Wars, but the previous movies were all very black-and-white, showing that the Empire is
evil and anyone who is with them is evil, period. This trailer (and the previous one), by showing a lot of “bad”
characters, and getting up close to the stormtroopers and showing things from their perspective, may hopefully be
allowing for the fact that just because you work for someone/something perceived as evil, it does not mean you are
yourself. I know that’s a lot to surmise from a few second-long shots of bad guys, but I’m very excited about this

AND THEN… Seriously, are you guys ready for this? Because I sure as hell wasn’t.

The screen goes dark and quiet, and we know most of the trailer is over, so we’re thinking maybe they’re just going
to do the fanfare and the Star Wars logo and then –



Oh my god…

17 Motherfucking Han and Motherfucking Chewie Bitches

“…We’re home.”



Seriously, holy shit you guys, this is just the fucking greatest thing to ever happen.


This is definitely, without a doubt, my favourite movie of all time. I don’t need to see the rest of it (but I
will, 6 or 7 times at least, in IMAX) to know that I love this movie more than anything. It’s going to be a REAL
Star Wars movie, guys. A real, proper, powerful, meaningful, life-changing experience.

18 The Force Awakens Motherfucker

I can not fucking wait.

Rant: The Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

01 title

Yes. YES.

Another Star Wars movie! The trailer came out recently (no idea why I felt the need to say that, everyone knows) and I’m super excited about it. I’m gonna rant for a while about the movie. It goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway because that’s what this site is for: This entire article is nothing but wild speculation and I am in no way trying to convince anyone that I know what the next movie will be about. Also, if I happen to be correct in any of my ramblings, it’s pure luck and I will be just as surprised as you.


On to the rant…

I’m gonna be completely honest here, my initial reaction was kind of all over the place. Firstly, the voice in the darkness. That was a big yes. Huge grin on my face. Then, the desert landscape, the camera lingering for a while. Check, another huge grin.

02 Desert


03 boyega

Then some dude literally pops up from below the camera like a muppet. His placement makes it look like he could be photoshopped into the image: there’s no sense of depth here, no sense of reality. This shot honestly made me feel like I had the wrong trailer; like there was already a parody trailer. Maybe I’ve just seen Spaceballs too many times. Or maybe I’ve been overexposed to dark, gritty movie trailers that are super quiet until all the explosions and bullets, so when a character shows up looking scared and there’s loud music but no explosions or bullets I get confused. Whatever the case, I felt a little deflated at this point of the trailer as it seemed a bit unintentionally comical.

Then we see this crazy little soccer ball droid zipping around:

04 Droid

And again, I’m feeling at this point like I’ve stumbled onto a parody trailer. Someone couldn’t be bothered animating an R2 unit so they stuck its head onto a soccer ball and kicked it along the desert. That was my initial reaction, anyway. After I’d watched the trailer another dozen times or so (you all did it too, admit it) I realised that I like this droid a lot. The head is obviously attached by magnets or a track or something, so it can swivel. The sphere design allows it to travel much faster than an R2 unit while still allowing for the Deus Ex Machina style overabundance of accessories. So, after a cooling down period, this is another check and another grin.

From here the trailer just got super amazing.

05 ridley

Old style, worn down speeder! This one looks industrial ish too, so it seems this young, fierce girl character works or lives on a farm or some similar setting, just like our young, fierce orphan character from the original trilogy… And our young, fierce orphan character from the prequel trilogy…

Cool. So good ol’ JJ is pretty keen on keeping tradition alive. This is a very good sign, he’s obviously going to stick very closely to the look and style of the older OH MY GOD LOOK AT THOSE STORMTROOPERS!

06 troopers


They look AMAZING!

They’re prepping for a jump out of a carrier! It’s dark, scary, military style action from the Stormtrooper’s perspective, something we’ve never seen before! Our glimpse of the first character shows that he’s wearing the unmistakable armour of the imperial army as well, so maybe it’s his perspective we’re seeing in that dropship. Does he start off as a soldier and see the error of his ways and the evil of the empire’s army? Does he wear the armour as a disguise to infiltrate their ranks? Why are there stormtroopers at all?

I get that killing the Emperor and his right hand man (oh, uh… spoilers?) doesn’t exactly destroy the whole empire, but where are they getting their orders from? Where are they getting all this shiny new gear? There’s obviously still fighting going on between the rebels and the empire (I really hope they’ve renamed themselves, as there’s no Emperor and I think they’ve been bumped up slightly from the term “rebels” to something with a bit more consequence), as we can clearly see from this classic X-Wing flying around –

08 x-wing


Oh my god. Oh my god you guys, this means there’s gonna be a full on dogfight IN A PLANET’S ATMOSPHERE!

Oh HELL yes, this is amazing!

I almost missed the fact that Oscar Isaac is piloting that thing. I’m still not sure how I feel about him being cast to be honest. He’s stuck in my head as the creepy, violent, rapey dude from Sucker Punch now, so I’m unable to picture him as one of the noble Rebel Alliance. I’m sure JJ knows what he’s doing though, so I’m gonna give that one a rest. At least he looks the part, with the awesome updated gear that the rebels have acquired and those FUCKING AMAZING NEW X-WINGS!

Oh man, look at them! The wings align side by side instead of resting on top of each other, I cannot wait until Lego release this one!

And then the screen goes black… And we’re treated with the most interesting part of the whole trailer…

09 sith02

Oh my god. I don’t know where to start with this one…

Psych, I totally know where to start, you know I’m totally starting with that fucking lightsaber. OK, so this one obviously boggled a lot of minds, and pissed off a lot of people. I felt the same when I first saw it. I still think it’s a little unnecessary, the “normal” lightsaber on its own looks amazing; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, am I right?

But after thinking about it for a while, I realised this is actually amazing. Everything about this shot is amazing. Firstly, the character is stumbling and walking away from the camera. Now, again, this is wild speculation, but if you take all the separate pieces and add them together you get something very interesting. Let me do the maths for you:

*Movie Title = The Force Awakens

*Character stumbling away from an isolated area

*Lightsaber looks like a VERY old weapon

That all adds up (in my mind) to the resurrection of an ancient Sith Lord!

SO: I’m betting on an ancient Sith lord being resurrected (possibly and most likely by someone else) in order to sway the balance of the galaxy back to the dark side again. The rebels must have gained a fair bit of traction in their ability to fight evil since the Emperor and Vader died, and I’m thinking someone’s getting desperate to win and calls on powers they can’t control or don’t fully understand.

Then it’s up to a few young heroes to find the legendary Jedi who defeated the Empire at the Battle of Yavin and seek his help and wisdom to fight this new threat.

Weird mini lightsaber cross-guards notwithstanding, the actual blade itself looks absolutely amazing. It looks like it’s made of red Force lightning focused into a blade, like it’s made of something older and more powerful than the modern lightsabers. It actually looks angry. It looks evil. And that sound!

Also a friend of mine made a good point regarding the design. He said that staves aren’t normally very useful in an actual fight. They’re normally used for practice to drill coordination and situational awareness. But despite that, Darth Maul took a practice weapon, something normally very impractical for actual battle, and turned it into an instrument of pure death. This sith lord is obviously (or maybe not obviously, but close enough) from a different era, a time where these weapons were more traditional, more decorative and elegant than just being blades to fight and defend with. This character will have taken a decorative, almost impractical weapon and used it so well that in his hands it becomes as lethal as any modern weapon. In this case it would make sense that he has such an old looking weapon.

And then of course, we get the Falcon! The full Star Wars fanfare blares from every speaker in the world and it goes through the familiar loop-de-loop but this time it’s really close to the desert and is fighting TIE fighters!

10 falcon03

That was the moment I really felt the impact of this trailer. Of course it was the very last shot, but still. Seeing the Falcon again is just the greatest. It’s like seeing an old friend randomly pop up on your TV in the middle of a talk show or the news or whatever. Beautiful.

I love it that all the shots of spaceships have been on the surface of a planet, or in atmosphere. Such an awesome change! It’s not something that was really “missing” from the originals, so it feels like an improvement on something that wasn’t lacking in the first place but in a good way.

The fact that the ships are all so close to the ground just gives it a much more small scale, personal feel, which in turn makes it feel like the stakes are actually higher. It feels more present, more raw, more dangerous. Maybe the rebels are fighting on their home ground, or maybe it’s a rescue mission… either way, at the speeds with which you’d normally pilot those ships, being that close to the ground means that one wrong manoeuvre and you’re a bunch of wrecked pieces spread across the desert.

I’m gonna digress for a bit: Lots of people are just perpetually spewing hate at anything added to the Star Wars universe as though adding more content is somehow actively destroying the original movies. They are automatically pessimistic and needlessly cynical when it comes to sequels or prequels or new stories or different actors or basically anything that isn’t one specific movie that wowed them when they were still a child. To those people I say: Don’t fucking watch it then. Stay away from it. Sit at home and put the original 1977 version on VHS on repeat, and never leave your house again. Unplug the internet because you don’t deserve it. No one wants constant unfiltered negativity exploding at them from their monitor every time they try to get excited about a new movie. No one is raping your childhood, that’s the most ridiculous concept I’ve ever heard. If you hate something that much stay away from it. That’s a very simple idea, and it’s incredibly easy to implement. If you hate the changes George Lucas is making with each re-re-release of the Star Wars original trilogy, STOP BUYING THEM. Watch the version that you DO like.

This movie is going to be great, and it’s going to be great for one reason: It is Star Wars. JJ Abrams is a huge fan of the original trilogy and he wants to make a movie that makes people feel the way he felt when he saw it in 1977. That’s all I need to hear to know that I’ll love it. Everything else is just a bonus, like the fact that Lawrence Kasdan contributed to the script, John Williams is writing the music, Han Luke and Leia are in it, The Falcon is coming back, practical effects are being used instead of CGI, the visual design looks amazing, etc. I don’t know about you, but to me that’s an impressive “pros” list, and I’m not seeing much in the “cons” category.

JJ has basically (so far) perfectly balanced the tone and feel of the original trilogy while bringing his own style and new, unique visual design to the table, and it looks like he’s pulling it off in a big way.

I guess what I’m saying is…


Rant: A “Perfect” Pokémon Video Game

So I think everyone who used to (or still does) play the Pokémon games on Gameboy has thought about this a fair bit, but I wanted to get my thoughts on it out there because I’ve been thinking about video games a lot lately and thinking about which games I’d love to see.

Ash and Pikachu

Firstly, I really think that a Pokémon game needs to come out on a next gen console. I think it should be animated like the latest Dragon Ball Z games have been, so that while it is really detailed and high definition, it still looks like the cartoon. I think that it should be a third person open world adventure, where the size and detail of the explorable world is comparable to games like Skyrim and GTA. I think the story (and the Pokémon themselves) could be exactly the same as the originals, Pokémon Red and Blue.

Also, I think the battles between Pokémon should be in real time, controlled by the player. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I think it would work perfectly in so many ways:


*In the games, you’ve got 4 moves that each Pokémon can learn at a time. In battles, these moves could each be assigned to one of the main coloured buttons on the controller: X, Y, A and B for Xbox or Square, Circle, Triangle and Cross for Playstation.

*The battle itself would not be completely open world, but a decent ring (with invisible border) around the Pokémon, with the main character standing just outside it, would work well I think. That way the battle would be more of a 3D thing, but still directly facing each other. Also, because you’d have the ability to move left and right, it would feel like the Pokémon are circling each other constantly, which would make it feel more real and dangerous while still showing the fight from the exact same angle the originals displayed during battles.

Pokemon Battle

*When you’re wandering in forests or other areas where wild Pokémon might show up, instead of randomly pausing and closing the screen to go into a different screen for a battle, the Pokémon could leap out from a hiding place and chase the player. You can either run or fight, just like in the originals, but to run you literally need to outrun the Pokémon. Each wild Pokémon would only chase you a short distance, as they are territorial and won’t bother you once you’re outside their “home”.  In the originals, if you were unable to run away the game would just straight up tell you that you were stuck, because fuck effort. In this game, the Pokémon would actually physically catch you, and you could have one of those real time reflex based mini games where you have to press a button as soon as it shows up on the screen to throw a Poke ball to be able to fight, otherwise the main character would lose some health or something.

This scene would be so much more confusing and hilarious.

This scene would be so much more confusing and hilarious.


*To change Pokémon during a battle, you could use the direction pad on the left of the controller, with each Pokémon you have assigned to a direction. In the originals, you could carry six Pokémon at a time, and in this game you could too, having a system where you hold down the left bumper to bring up the Pokémon menu. The d-pad can be used in this menu to select a Pokémon, or you can save four to the d-pad as a quick select option to minimize the necessity for paused menus mid-battle.

*For items, you could hold down the right bumper for the inventory menu. This could be where you choose the type of Poke Ball you have ready to throw, and health potions, etc.

*The trigger controls would be used for throwing a Poke Ball and for using items. Left for a Poke Ball, right for items is how I would have it, but either way. The main character would be in the sidelines of the battle, ready to throw items and Poke Balls and the like to his/her Pokémon.

*The select button could be the Pokedex menu, so as soon as you see a new Pokémon you can hit select and you’ll get the description and all that stuff.


You can see how easy this would be, and it would make for a pretty intuitive control system. I personally think the gameplay would be amazing, and I think it would just be so much more immersive to have battles done in real time and to have wild Pokémon jump out at you in real time and all that.


I think having a customizable character would be awesome as well, like most of the other open world RPG games that are out there today. You could choose your own name in the originals, why not take it further and design your own character?

Yeah, you heard me. It’s spelled A-S-S.

Yeah, you heard me. It’s spelled A-S-S.


I am aware that the latest Pokémon games offer some of the gameplay options I’ve mentioned, but to be honest I haven’t actually played them. It’s pretty awesome that the Pokémon games are starting to move in that direction though, and while X and Y are close, hopefully relatively soon we’ll have a game more like the one I’m talking about. I don’t have anything against handheld systems, but I wouldn’t consider any Pokémon game to be “the perfect” game until it’s made on a console. They’re just so much more powerful and they’re much better equipped for real time battles and expansive, detailed worlds.

This, but with Pokémon.

This, but with Pokémon.

I think it would also be cool if you could have a Pokémon walking around with you, and the more you spent time with them the harder they would fight for you, like for every in game hour you spent walking them around outside their Poke Ball, they would get a small percentage boost to their strength or to their HP or something.

... And the more heartbroken they’ll be when you trade them for a better one.

… And the more heartbroken they’ll be when you trade them for a better one.

It’s probably just me, but I would prefer the game to be single player offline. Having said that though, a Pokémon MMO of this scale and gameplay type would be amazing to see, and the real time battling would be very interesting to say the least. It would also make trading Pokémon very fun and interesting, if only to see it happen in real time with the players and Pokémon rendered in awesome 3D graphics.

Something like this, I guess?

Something like this, I guess?

Nintendo had the story perfect; they had the concept of immensely powerful fighting monsters that you can carry around in your pocket perfect. They had the design of said monsters perfect. For a handheld device, they had an open world and a levelling up system that was perfect. Now they just need to transition that into today’s consoles, with today’s graphic capabilities and massive scale, and a real time battle system instead of turn based, and they’ll have the perfect Pokémon video game.

And when/if they do, I’ll be So Keen For It!


Rant: A Superman Video Game

So I’ve been planning on buying a PS4 lately, and that got me thinking about video games. Then I re watched Man of Steel the other day, and that got me thinking about Superman video games; or rather the lack thereof.

Here’s what I mean:

There have been 11 video games with “Superman” in the title so far, with the last one (Superman Returns) coming out in 2006. That game was really not well received by anyone. To put that in perspective, there have been 35 video games with “Batman” in the title so far, with 9 coming out in the last 5 years.

I think that the main reason for that is the same reason that most Superman movies aren’t very well received either: He is just so powerful that no one can relate to him as a character; also he’s either all powerful or as weak as a baby whenever Kryptonite is introduced. I thought about this for a while, and I realised that this is not a weakness in storytelling, and it doesn’t guarantee a bad story; the writers just need to play to that dynamic from the opposite side. A perfect example of this is Man Of Steel.

So the movie got a lot of crap due to Superman literally levelling half of Metropolis on his first day on the job. I don’t think that the movie deserved that much of a negative response. In fact, I think that’s the perfect way to show a Superman who’s never used his powers before battling other super powered characters who are actively seeking to destroy mankind. The whole point was that he wasn’t the Superman we all know and love from the comics; he was brand new to the whole “superhero” game.

You see, Superman IS too powerful. THAT is his challenge. That’s his most difficult obstacle to overcome; at any moment, if he’s not in complete control of his powers, he could literally destroy the planet in seconds. That’s a pretty fucking difficult problem to face every day.

Next time you open a door, or rest your hand on a surface, imagine that door or surface exploding with the force of a hand grenade. Now imagine having to treat every single person and object in the world as though it was made out of crepe paper and craft glue, every second of every day. When that’s the case, you don’t even need a super villain threatening the world to face an incredible challenge.

So, my thought was, why not make that the focus of a Superman story? It could work really well in a video game I reckon.

Firstly, give Superman ALL of his powers, without holding anything back. When you play as Superman, you can fly through buildings as though they’re not even there; you can use your heat vision to melt someone’s handgun from the other side of the city; you can pick up a 747 and throw it like a tennis ball. You have to reign in your powers. If you land without slowing down or without being gentle enough, you’ll punch a massive crater into the city. If you catch a falling person, you have to be in control of your grip so you don’t crush them accidentally. I’m not sure how this would translate into actual gameplay, but there’d have to be some system wherein you can “focus” or disable specific powers instantly to avoid doing damage. Something like that.

Secondly, put it on the scale that a Superman story demands. Superman takes care of the entire planet, so make the game space cover a city in every country; and include the ability to fly into space and look down at the planet.

Thirdly, include a “punishment” system similar to GTA, but on a planet-wide scale. So if you start destroying shit, the humans will rise against you.

Then, it’s just a matter of figuring out the story. I think that something relatively similar to Man Of Steel, but hold off on the Kryptonians invading until right at the end. So the game would revolve around Superman’s first appearance, revealing himself to the world and trying to prove his worth as earth’s saviour. So you would start small, stopping muggings and saving people from natural disasters; catching falling planes and such. If you fail to save people, the population’s opinion of you will get worse but they won’t actively do anything against you. If you lose control of your powers and destroy something, people will become disgruntled very quickly and try to bring you down.

The challenges you face will be occurring all over the planet. You can move incredibly quickly obviously, so you’d be able to cover most if not all of them as long as you’re on the ball. Then the game would gradually introduce more iconic challenges for you to face: Zod shows up to do his thing, Lex Luthor starts getting all up in your business, and so on.

There’s also an obvious “tutorial” level; you can start the game at the fortress of solitude and be guided through the use of your powers by Jor El. When you’re ready, you can fly straight out of there and into the action. You can skip it at any time since Supes can fly there literally any moment and have a chat with his old man whenever he wants; so there could be ongoing challenges in there too, mini games and such.

Then maybe they could also bring in the whole “Clark Kent” side of things. You have to spend a certain amount of time as Clark or your workmates at the Daily Planet will grow frustrated with you or maybe even suspicious that you’re not around whenever Superman is.

So yeah, this was a relatively short rant, but I just think it’s such an unexplored part of his character, and yet it’s the only way to make his character work in a story without either being invincible or beaten easily by Kryptonite. The movies always make reference to his need to reign in his strength, but it’s normally in the form of really brief comic relief and that’s it. I think Man of Steel actually nailed it, and hopefully in the next movie he’ll have gained enough control over his powers to avoid levelling a city in his battle with Batman.

Keep in mind this is just the game I would love to play, although now that I’ve written it all down, it seems like the technology for this kind of game on this kind of scale is quite a while away. Alternatively, or at least in the meantime, I’d accept a game where this happens:

It doesn't even matter who wins the actual fight; if this game is made, everybody wins.

It doesn’t even matter who wins the actual fight; if this game is made, everybody wins.

Upcoming TV Show: Gotham

We are living in an amazing era. As nerds, this is our time in the sun, and what a glorious time it is. There are so many things to look forward to: movies, games, TV shows, comics. Some of them may not be the greatest, some of them are surprisingly great, and some of them we may not be too keen on for some reason or another.


I’ll admit, for quite a while the upcoming TV show Gotham was in that last category for me. When it was first announced, all I could think was “so… It’s basically Batman… Without Batman in it?” and I just left it at that. But fairly recently, a 21 minute preview was released, and I couldn’t help but watch it out of sheer curiosity.

Then something magical happened. With every second of that preview, I was more and more convinced that Gotham is going to be an absolutely amazing addition to the world of Batman.

Firstly, here is the preview I watched on one of my favourite websites, batman-news.

Oh my god.

My favourite thing about that preview (other than fucking ALL of it) is that every member of the cast and crew, literally every single person involved, is as passionate as humanly possible about this project. You can hear it in every word they say. Even the kid who plays young Bruce Wayne, David Mazouz, is way, way into it.

My other favourite thing about it is fucking ALL of it. Seriously, I’ve watched that video a whole bunch of times and it gives me goosebumps every time.

One of the most amazing parts about this is that the crew are working on creating the most amazing vision of Gotham City I’ve ever seen in live action. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the visual design of both Tim Burton’s and Christopher Nolan’s Gotham, but this TV series is just gonna be stunning. It’s going to be very similar to what the Rocksteady team are doing with Arkham Knight, and I touched on that in my article on that game.

Gotham is going to be a complex, bustling, dangerous place. It will be slightly out of time, with old cars and new gadgets. It will be dirty and corrupt. But mostly, it will be dark.

The story of Gotham will start exactly at the point where every other Batman movie skips over: just after Bruce Wayne’s parents have been murdered. Sure, we’ve seen this scene roughly 4,000 times, but in this case, we’ll stay right there, right with a young Bruce Wayne as he’s left as an orphan. A young(ish) Jim Gordon promises Bruce that he’ll find the man responsible, and we’re off!

One of the biggest parts of Gotham will undoubtedly be Gordon himself. I love the casting of Ben McKenzie as the iconic Jim Gordon; I think he has the perfect balance of integrity, idealism, and action hero. He has also voiced Batman previously (in the amazing animated adaptation of Batman: Year One), so he’s got some experience with the world of Gotham. I love that he’s a rookie in this case, as he’ll be in his prime, both physically and in terms of his clear cut sense of right and wrong. There hasn’t been a Batman yet to challenge his adherence to “by the book” justice and Gotham hasn’t seeped into his soul, gradually grinding the black and white of his idealistic world into a vague, muddy grey. It’ll be awesome to see a Gordon with all the vigour and tenacity of a young detective, and I think McKenzie will do an amazing job.


The series will also cover the origin stories of several of the Batman Rogues Gallery, most notably The Riddler, Catwoman, The Joker and The Penguin.

Oh boy, this is gonna be interesting to see. I’m a little worried about this aspect of the show, as it’ll have to be done perfectly to be pulled off. But given the dedication of the cast and crew, and the amazing quality that’s been seen so far in the preview, I don’t think it’ll be an issue.

The Riddler is going to be an absolute pleasure to watch. From what I’ve heard, he starts off as a tech consultant for the Gotham City Police Department.


This is an incredibly interesting place for the character to start, and I like where they could be going with it. I’m imagining/hoping they’ll keep the character’s backstory relatively untouched: The abusive father who punished him for “constantly lying”; the compulsive need to leave clues as a show of intelligence and to prove he’s being truthful; the disdain for people with a lower intellect than his own; the complex, almost-impossible-to-solve crimes. Hell yes.


I’m really intrigued that in this story The Penguin starts as a low level thug. The casting is absolutely spot on in this case (although I think it is with most if not all of the characters on the show to be honest); you can see the intelligence, the hunger for power, and the scheming going on behind those bright, slightly insane eyes.


I’m not so happy that he’s skinny, but to be honest that kind of works too, as he would only have been fat in the comics after quite a few years of indulging in the finer things once he’s already reached the top of the Gotham underworld.


One interesting thing that they showed a quick shot of in the preview is Catwoman being present when Bruce’s parents were murdered. This is quite odd, and I’m assuming that’ll be important later on as there’s no other reason to just randomly shove her into that part of the story. Hmm. Weird.

Camren Bicondova who plays Selina Kyle was pictured on her Catwoman costume on the set of the 'Gotham' Tv series in Downtown, Manhattan, New York City




One thing they’ve said fairly recently about the show is that in each episode, there will be a small clue as to who the Joker is.


That’s such a great idea!

My hope is that they’ll still leave the actual backstory fairly vague, to keep with the original tone of the character: mysterious and absolutely fucking insane.

Joker Multiple Choice Quote

One thing I’m not sure about is the balance between showing the characters going through their origins, and showing them the way we recognise them. It’s something I heard a lot of people complain about when Batman Begins came out, saying things like “we didn’t even see Batman until like an hour into the movie, wah wah wah”. I’m just very worried that the team behind the series will be pressured by an impatient audience who can’t be bothered waiting a few seasons to see the Riddler turn bad or the Penguin finally run Gotham. The whole point of the show is that these characters are young. This is their origin, just like Batman Begins; if they just got straight into all the crazy Batman action, it would’ve been called “Batman Continues”, and if this show wanted its bad guys already established they wouldn’t be super young and Bruce Wayne would already be Batman.

So yeah, I’m really hoping they keep a slow, steady pace to the origin stories and actually start with a strong foundation on which they could build a truly complex ensemble of characters. It’s what Gotham deserves.

I’m also a bit curious as to how much of a role young Bruce Wayne will have, and how much forshadowing we’ll see of the man he’s to become. It’s pretty obvious he’ll be heavily featured in the pilot, as the footage in the preview clearly shows that the show will start with the murder of the Waynes and set up a potential friendship between Gordon and Bruce. But from there, will it maintain and explore that connection between the rookie cop and the grieving orphan? How much screen time will be given to this relationship when there is so much more to explore?

There are a LOT of bad guys in Gotham, and if all of them are given their own backstory, this show is gonna get very complex, very fast. I personally view this as a really, really awesome opportunity. I’m thinking if they play their cards right, they could end up with an intense, interweaving story featuring dozens of main characters and their struggle for power, as well as the stories of each of them becoming who they’re really meant to be. Sound familiar? Yeah, I’m saying I think a great tone and style for Gotham would be a very similar formula to a little show called Game of Thrones.

Minus all the death (hopefully).

Minus all the death (hopefully).

There are just too many characters with too much to explore for the creators to set this out as a standard show. They need to take their time, give each character a decent amount of screen time per episode, and really focus on quality storytelling rather than catering to impatient fans.

To be honest, I think they’re gonna nail it. I have complete faith in this team after seeing the awesome preview posted earlier. The creators are just way too invested to let this show be ruined.

Another thing I’m interested in (so many questions, I WANNA WATCH IT NOW) is to see what sort of tone they take with the action and believability. What I mean is, Nolan’s whole pitch for his Batman trilogy was that he wanted it to be grounded in reality as much as possible. Tim Burton just set Batman in Tim Burton’s insane imagination. The cartoon shows have always been a lot more free with the suspension of disbelief thing. But with Gotham, it kinda looks like an amalgamation of all of those, it’s dark and looks like a cop drama set in the real world, but it’s also got characters like Poison Ivy and Mr Freeze in it, and there’s literally no way to set them in a world that has anything to do with real life.

... Or in a world that has anything to do with good movies.

… Or in a world that has anything to do with good movies.

So it’ll be really interesting to see how much the show takes from the comics, and how much it takes from real life. Another amazing thing they could explore (depending on how long they plan to keep the show going) is having Bruce Wayne grow up with the show, have him age in real time so that we can see him get closer to the Bruce Wayne we know. Or maybe recast him every couple of seasons as a little bit older. Then the show could split so that we’re still in Gotham with the rise in crime and Gordon’s struggles with the city, but we’re also travelling the world with Bruce as he trains to become the world’s greatest detective.

But I’m getting WAY ahead of myself there. Anyway, Gotham will come out in less than a week, so that’s incredibly exciting!

I didn’t set this article out as a pros/cons type deal, so I’m not really basing this on anything “official”, but I’m just gonna go ahead and do my ratings thing anyway, because I feel like it.

So, Gotham gets a 5/5: SO KEEN FOR IT! (as if it was gonna be anything less)

Thanks for reading, leave a comment to let me know what you think Gotham will be like!

Rant: My Theory On The Joker’s Identity In The Dark Knight

It’s time for a rant about Batman.

OK, so I’ve been thinking this over for a while now and I’ve finally come up with enough evidence and clues to support my theory on the Joker’s identity in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the character as a complete mystery, and he’s much more scary when you have no idea why he’s doing what he’s doing, or where he came from. But I just couldn’t get this idea out of my head, and I’d like to share it just in case people enjoy thinking about it as much as I do.

I’m not sure where to start so I’ll just state the theory first (because I’m terrible at foreshadowing) and then provide my supporting evidence/clues.

In Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”, the identity of the Joker is none other than Dick Grayson.

Try to spot the difference.

Try to spot the difference.

Let me explain:

Those of you familiar with the comics should know how Dick Grayson was first introduced. He was a young performer in a family of acrobats called The Flying Graysons, part of Haly’s Circus. The story goes that Haly’s Circus had ties to the criminal underworld, and when they arrived in Gotham a mob boss called Anthony Zucco confronted the ringmaster, demanding protection money as well as the use of the circus’ trucks and equipment to transport drugs. The ringmaster refuses, and in retaliation the mob sabotage the trapeze equipment of the Flying Graysons, Haly’s most popular act, causing Dick’s parents to fall to their deaths. Bruce Wayne happened to be in the audience, and takes young Dick Grayson under his (bat) wing, and under his care Dick Grayson becomes Robin The Boy Wonder.

Now, parts of my theory are completely the product of my imagination, but I like to think that even those parts aren’t so farfetched as to detract from the theory itself. Other parts of my theory are speculative obviously, and are possibly more opinion-based than pure fact. But other than that, I’ve spent a while on this theory and I’m incredibly happy with it, the more I think about it the more I’m convinced it makes sense. So, I’ll make my case now.

There was a book released as an in-universe reference for the Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy, called the Dark Knight Manual.

The Dark Knight Manual

It took me a while to notice because as a Batman fan I was mostly preoccupied with the Waynetech blueprints and schematics for Batman’s gadgets and vehicles. Also, the book came out around the same time as the final film, so I was less focused on The Joker at that time. But when I finally did get around to looking through his case file, I noticed something very interesting:

Joker Identity

That’s the majority of the foundation for my theory right there. The “Haley Brothers Circus” was in Gotham for a short period of time leading up to the events of The Dark Knight. If you use a little imagination, you can extrapolate that Dick Grayson origin story from before, and (only changing a few minor details), you can get a really good idea of how Dick Grayson fits into this world:

Dick was a young performer in a family of acrobats called The Flying Graysons, part of The Haley Brothers Circus. The Circus had ties to Sal Maroni, and when they arrived in Gotham, Maroni confronted the ringmaster, demanding protection money as well as the use of the circus’ trucks and equipment to transport drugs. The ringmaster refuses, and in retaliation Maroni sends a hit man to sabotage the trapeze equipment of the Flying Graysons, the Haley Brothers’ most popular act, causing Dick’s parents to fall to their deaths. In this version, Bruce Wayne was nowhere to be found, and Dick Grayson is left alone after witnessing his parent’s murder.

A couple things I’d like to make particular note of:

*Dick Grayson in this version is older (around the age he would’ve been when he became Nightwing in the comics), as the transition from grieving orphan to deranged killer is pretty short.

*I’m adding a few bits I completely made up from now on, but it makes sense in a weird sort of way.

Now, onto the next bit of the story:

Here’s where it deviates from the comic book origin story (obviously). Now, since Dick Grayson is much older in this version out of necessity, I like to think that he was the same kind of man that he would have been (as Robin/Nightwing) under Batman’s guidance. This means he would’ve taken a more active role in the events leading up to his parent’s deaths.

What I had in mind is that basically Dick actively helps with the running of the circus, being a huge part of the most popular act and being an intelligent, driven young man. So Dick was present when Sal Maroni threatened the ringmaster, and (being new to Gotham) decided to go to the police. Maroni knew this and sent a hit man to take care of Dick and send a message to the circus employees that it’s not OK to defy the mob in Gotham. The police in Gotham predictably did absolutely nothing to help Dick. Basically, this hit man intercepts Dick Grayson on his way back from the police and captures him. Now, Maroni wanted the Graysons destroyed well and truly, and gives this hit man leave to use some creativity. Unfortunately for Dick Grayson, this man was very, very creative. He had sabotaged the trapezes that the Graysons used ahead of time, and also set up cameras in the circus. He had tied Dick to a chair facing a set of monitors linked with the cameras. He then made Dick Grayson watch as his parents fell to their deaths. After that, the hit man cut a Glasgow Smile into Dick Graysons face, so that he would be forever laughing at his parent’s deaths, whether he wanted to or not. Before the hit man could finish his job, Dick fought furiously, and managed to escape from the chair and kill the hit man who killed his parents. But it wasn’t enough. The hit man was a monster, but Sal Maroni ordered the deaths of the Graysons, and the Gotham Police Department did nothing to prevent it.

So, irreversibly scarred both psychologically and physically, Dick Grayson dresses as a clown to remind the people he’s going after of the circus that created him, and starts to view life as a sick joke full of chaos and anarchy as a way to distance himself from the damage done to him. He targets the mob and the heads of justice in Gotham, and sets out to prove (mostly to himself, but also to Batman) that anyone else would’ve done the same had they been in his position.

Dick Grayson – from young go-getter, to part of the Flying Graysons, to broken, psychotic killer clown

Dick Grayson – from young go-getter, to part of the Flying Graysons, to broken, psychotic killer clown

Also worth mentioning is this little throwaway comment on the Joker’s MO:

Joker MO

“The Joker’s go-to tactic involved putting his enemies’ loved ones in peril.”

That’s a nice little parallel to what I’m proposing is the Joker’s backstory, right? Since a part of his motivation is trying to prove that “madness is like gravity, all it needs is a little push”, I think he’s trying to inflict upon his targets the same trauma he went through himself to show that if anyone else had’ve been in his shoes they would’ve turned out the same way.

A few more things that I feel add up in the movie:

*A travelling circus performer would be very difficult to identify. This would explain why the GCPD couldn’t find any trace of the Joker’s name or any aliases.

*The Joker’s apparent death wish in the scene where he’s egging Batman on: “Hit me. C’mon, hit me, I want you to do it… HIT ME!”, while this is a bit morbid, it sort of works that after losing everything and after causing a lot of damage to the mob and the justice system in Gotham, he has nothing left to live for.

*There’s a scene in the interrogation room where the Joker says “who did you leave him with, hmm? Your people? Assuming of course they are still your people, and not… Maroni’s.” The emphasis the Joker puts on Maroni’s name shows his distaste for the man, which links nicely to Maroni being the one who caused all the trouble for the Haley Brothers Circus.

*”I don’t wanna kill you! What would I do without you?” – To me, purely in the context of this theory, this could be the Joker saying that he knows Batman will bring the mob down and actually enforce justice, which is his ultimate goal (in a much more selfish and amoral way). This is a bit weak but I think it kinda works.

*Another line from the interrogation room: “you COMPLETE me.” He puts a LOT of emphasis on that one. Batman and Robin, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, for a very long time in the comics, inseperable. You could say they COMPLETE each other…


Now, for those of you thinking “Dick Grayson could never go THAT bad, you’re totally bullshitting everyone here!”, I’d really like to point out it actually TOTALLY FUCKING HAPPENED IN THE COMICS.

Also he looks like this, because Frank Miller never wants you to sleep soundly again.

Also he looks like this, because Frank Miller never wants you to sleep soundly again.

In Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Series (has the same name, weird right?), Dick Grayson becomes the second Joker after a massive falling out between him and Batman. It’s incredibly important that you know that Nolan’s series of films was heavily influenced by Batman: Year One AND The Dark Knight Returns, two of the graphic novels in Frank Miller’s series. So obviously Nolan knew about this interesting little twist.

Also, there are several references throughout the movies to other characters that Nolan couldn’t give proper screen time to:

*A certain Wayne Enterprises employee who figures out Batman’s real identity, and is referred to as “Mister Reese”, aka Mysteries (kinda like how The Riddler is called E. Nygma, aka Enigma)

*Victor Zsasz has a small role in Batman Begins, you can see the “tally marks” on his neck

*The obvious and painfully unnecessary “my legal first name is Robin” scene in TDKR

*Blake’s throwaway line about “Giant Alligators” in the sewers of Gotham, a fun little joking reference to Killer Croc

*Lucius Fox says “what brings you out of Cryo-Sleep, Mr Wayne?” – a possible (albeit weak) reference to Mr Freeze

* Roland Daggett of Daggett industries has a minor role (although he was renamed John Daggett) – Daggett industries is the company responsible for the creation of Clayface

*Henri Ducard is actually a separate character in the comics, one of the experts who trains a younger Bruce Wayne while he’s travelling the world before becoming Batman

*Barsad, Bane’s right-hand-man, is a sniper and heavy arms expert. He is always shown wearing a bulletproof vest which has large bullets on it and a red scarf – a possible reference to DeadShot (although Deadshot’s real name is Floyd Lawton)


So you can see there are a lot of examples of Nolan making subtle references to characters within Batman’s world. My theory may be a little wordy, but it would make sense that Nolan would want to reference such a huge character, and the fact that the Haley Brothers Circus is specifically mentioned (albeit in a tie-in book rather than the actual films) is a huge tip off to me since the only time Haly’s Circus shows up in the comics is during Dick Grayson’s origin story.

Another reason I feel this story fits in with the movie (and the whole trilogy) is that a running theme throughout The Dark Knight is heroes turning into villains, as perfectly summed up by Harvey Dent (who goes through a similar trauma and emerges a villain also): “you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”. I also think it’s a wonderfully tragic reason for Batman to have no idea who the Joker really is: He wasn’t present at the circus the night it happened, and was not aware of what Dick Grayson was going through. In the comics, when Joker was finally given a backstory, Batman was directly involved; but I like that in this case, The Joker was created from a distinct lack of Batman. Again, it’s just amazingly tragic that Batman could have turned him into a hero despite Dick going through the exact same horrible trauma, if he’d only been there.


So there you go, that’s my take on the Joker’s origin in the Nolanverse.

Thanks for reading, let me know what you think in the comments section!

Cosplay Work Log: Mandalorian Armour

Work Log #1


OK, so this is my first proper cosplay, and while it’s going better than I expected, it’s also really scary. So I’m going to be posting work logs whenever I make progress, starting with this one.

Now, I got a bit excited when I first started actually working on this because it was going so much better than I thought it could, so I sort of just smashed out a bunch of it without taking any photos. So you’ll be seeing the progress from here on, not from the very start, but it’s still a lot of fun and I’ve still got a fair bit to go.

OK, we’ll start with my actual plan:

Dharruk Jho-Dahn Final 2

So my plan here is sort of a halfway point between Boba Fett and Jango Fett. I’m going for the “light armour” category here, which is the style Boba wears, so without all the extra bits of armour that Jango has. I’m also keen on the half cape that Boba wears, so I’m incorporating that too. Jango comes in with the colour scheme and the “clean” look. A lot of people prefer Boba’s “been in every battle in the galaxy” look, but I actually like the super clean look, because it just makes more sense to me. If a bounty hunter was anything like a real life soldier or mercenary, they would need all their equipment to work as well as possible, which means maintaining and cleaning their armour/weapons/gear at all times. Also, it’s kind of like Batman in that a hunter who charges as much as Jango and Boba charge can afford to have their gear remade whenever they need it. Now those of you who know anything about Mandalorian armour are probably thinking “wait a second, Mandalorian iron is actually incredibly difficult to come by, so they definitely wouldn’t be able to just churn out sets of armour whenever they need it!”. But, if you look into it, you’ll find out that both Jango and Boba actually had their armour made out of durasteel. Also, in the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy, Boba actually does have a spare set of armour in a hidden stash of gear on Tatooine after crawling out of the Sarlacc Pit, so he obviously has the means and ability to acquire extra sets of his armour.


So my point is I love the clean look that Jango has in episode 2, and so my design is basically Boba’s outfit but with Jango’s simple, clean design and a similar colour scheme.


For this suit I bought:

*A navy blue flight suit (Hard Yakka Coveralls)

*A light grey faux leather sheet, cut into a vest shape

*A boatload of sintra, cut into the shape of the armour

*A Jango style belt, bought from eBay

*A bunch of black fabric for the half cape

*A pair of black work boots

*A helmet and jetpack from the amazing NMEProps.com

*A visor from t-visor.com

*PVC piping for the gauntlets

*Black gloves

*Black thigh holsters from Thinkgeek

*A pair of resin cast DC-17s from the amazing THGProps on Etsy

I’ve got a bunch of tools and such too:

*dremel power tool

*heat gun for the sintra


*Heaps of spray paint

*Heaps of Velcro

*Heaps of super glue

*elastic for the knee plates and stuff

I think that’s everything…

So, onto some progress photos!


So I’ve cut and shaped the sintra, sanded and washed the armour for painting, and I’ve done the majority of the painting.

A couple layers of primer and silver:


Black paint on the back to avoid flashing white plastic when I move/if the plates shift:


and then black on the front of the armour:


That’s where I’m up to now, so pretty soon I’ll be adding velcro to the back of the black plates and onto the vest and flight suit, and the next time I post a work log, I should be able to actually wear most of it!

Very cool.

I’ve also got some ideas for the inside of the helmet, to make it look as technologically functional as possible while maintaining vision and comfort.

So those will be in the next work log, I don’t want to go into too much depth because I’m not sure exactly how it’ll all go together…

Anyway, I’m so keen for this, thanks for reading!

Upcoming Video Game: Arkham Knight

Oh yeah.


Arkham Knight is just gonna be the greatest damn Batman game anyone has ever made. I’m sure no one’s on the other side of this argument, but I’d like to make my point anyway, because I’m so freakin’ excited I can barely think straight. Seriously, I preordered the Limited edition AND the Batmobile edition because I was past the point of thinking clearly as soon as I saw it was available.

1) The Batsuit:



This is the definition of badass.

This is the definition of badass.

Look at that. Seriously, just take a few minutes and look at it. That is a Batsuit. That’s how you make a Batsuit correctly. It’s just full on, high tech, scary looking bat armour. HELL YES. There’s even a bit in one of the trailers where you can see it’s articulated, in a shot that’s awesomely similar to the first Iron Man movie, when the camera pans up and you see all the litte bits of the Iron Man suit adjusting and just generally being awesome and high tech.

Here’s Iron Man’s suit doing it’s thing, just for comparison’s sake.

Here’s a quote from Wikipedia (yeah, I’m good at research):

“Batman’s armor was redesigned to match that of the Batmobile to make them appear visually similar—featuring the same shapes and material textures—and appear functionally compatible with the high-speed methods in which the character enters and exits the vehicle.”

Check out the trailer.


They literally designed his suit to look like a tank! That’s so fucking awesome I can’t stand it.



Well, I love the comics more than life itself, so I’ve always loved the fact that Batman is so tough he doesn’t even wear armour in the comics, it’s just a fabric suit. Obviously that depends entirely on which comic you read, but I’ve always loved the fabric suit look.


Having said that, they’ve already done that look in Arkham City (and rocked it), and it makes sense that in this world Batman would need to step up his level of protection, just like the Batsuit evolving throughout the history of the comics themselves. So it’s not really a con I suppose, I just really wanted to show more pictures of Batman.


2) The Batmobile:



You know where I’m going with this. Seriously though, look at that. Doesn’t it make you wish you were a billionaire just so you could buy one of those bad boys? I would honestly spend the same amount of money on this game if Batman was physically incapable of getting out of the damn thing, because fucking LOOK AT IT!


It’s a tank! It looks like it could drive right through Superman without taking a scratch. It looks like it could win a fist fight with Chuck Norris. It looks like it could blow up the Death Star without eve- yeah I’m getting overexcited, sorry about that. But seriously though, it just looks amazing. Sleek but solid, modern but incredibly unbreakable, and like I said before, designed in conjuction with the Batsuit itself so there’s consistency and a real feeling of compatibility; It finally looks like Batman’s gadgets were designed to go hand in hand.


… Nope. I got nothin’.

3) Gotham City:


“To redesign Gotham City, the designers attempted to build on the previous games’ Gothic architecture while making a more believable and dense city. Alongside minor elements like neon lights, billboard advertising, and American-style cars, the team developed ideas for shops that could be found in the city, while retaining a grimy, dystopian theme. Describing the design, Hego said: “every kind of element we’ve added in there… makes the entire experience feel a little out of time. You couldn’t pinpoint whether it’s twenty years ago, now or in ten years time.” “We want to make sure the world is rich and full of interesting things to do,” Hill said. “We’re not trying to create the biggest open-world game ever. We are trying to create a really rich, vibrant, dense open world.””

YES. I love everything about this.

This is a similar take on the city that the new DC show Gotham is exploring also (but I’ll get to that in another post), and it’s perfect. Read that paragraph again, and just picture Gotham: bustling, dangerous, alive. There are perpetual sirens in the distance, and if not they’re much closer. You can’t turn to the police, you can’t trust your employer, on any given day you’re fairly likely to be mugged or worse. The city is not huge, but incredibly dense; more than one city packed into the space of half of one, always in motion and always coiled ready to spring, like a viper made of stone, cement, and steel. It’s old but full of new things; any single item can be placed fairly accurately into the decade it came from, but together it creates a world without a real chronological timeline. I’m probably going to go on a really similar rant about the Gotham TV show, so hopefully I don’t repeat myself, but it’s just so exciting to see that people are really honing their creative design for Gotham recently.

It’s just getting better and better.





While I love the idea of focusing on quality rather than quantity, there’s a small part of me that wants to explore a Gotham as vast as it’s evil reputation.

… It’s a very small part though.

4) The Story:

Now, we don’t know heaps about this, but there has been enough details laid down to give us a decent synopsis:

“One year after the death of the Joker during the events of Arkham City. Batman is struggling to come to terms with the absence of his nemesis and the uncomfortable feeling that the pair shared a bond deeper than either could admit. Without the Joker’s chaotic presence, Gotham’s citizens have never felt safer, and crime in the city has dramatically declined. However, this gives Batman’s enemies, including Penguin, Two-Face, and Harley Quinn, a chance to unite with the singular goal of killing Batman. On Halloween night, Scarecrow threatens the city with his newly created strain of fear toxin and bombs planted throughout Gotham, forcing the evacuation of the city’s six million civilians. Only criminals remain in the city, leaving Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham City Police outnumbered. Anticipating a new threat, Batman continues to develop crime-fighting technology, and maintains a vigil over the city.”



I dunno about you, but that hit me hard. The comics have touched on this topic before, and sometimes briefly explored it, but this sounds like Batman’s relationship with Joker is gonna be a pretty big part of it.

Exploring what the nature of their bond was is something that could be done incredibly well, and it’s something that’s really unique and new to this story, since the Joker never really “dies” in the comics and they only really explore it enough to fill the gap in time until the Joker’s back again. I am incredibly interested in seeing how Batman would react to the death of someone who was such a massive part of his life for so long, even if it was as an enemy.

I also like the idea of there being a lull in crime. One year of no crime isn’t much, but could it be enough for the Dark Knight to grow a little complacent? I’m thinking of that Bane quote from The Dark Knight Rises: “Peace has cost you your strength… Victory has defeated you!”


It’s purely speculation, obviously, but it could be fun to see Batman emotionally hung up on the death of The Joker and ignoring training for a while due to there being no more crime. This would also be the perfect spot for a deadly villain to swoop in Bane style and attack Batman at his lowest point…

That's how you swoop like a badass.

That’s how you swoop like a badass.

Also, Halloween night? Scarecrow’s new strain of fear toxin? Batman developing new technology? Yes, Yes, Yes.


One thing that’s starting to feel a little formulaic, especially considering the technical abilities of the new consoles, is the fact that in all of these games there’s always a reason for the actual citizens of Gotham to disappear and leave it to the criminals and professional crime fighters.

In Arkham Asylum it made perfect sense, because why would there be normal civilians in the asylum anyway? and in Arkham City it worked really well with the plot because the whole point was they cut off that part of the city, so that worked really well. With Arkham Origins, I didn’t really see the point beyond making combat simpler and maybe technical limitations.

But we should have no problem doing that with the PS4 and Xbox One. I really hope that the game opens during that period of peace, so that there are civilians wandering the streets, with maybe a mugging here and there. It would be really interesting to play as Batman through a Gotham City the way it normally is, instead of halfway through an insane crisis that caused the evacuation of everyone you can’t punch in the face.

I think it would make the game a lot more challenging, and more importantly a lot more like the real Gotham, if you had to fight the bad guys while protecting innocents, and if the criminals were in the minority and you had to hunt them down and actually put some detective skills to use to find them.

5) Gameplay:


“Batman can use some gadgets while flying, such as batarangs or the line-launcher. The player can fly Batman throughout the city using his cape, with gliding now allowing for longer sustained flights, steeper dives and higher climbs. The grapnel gun can now be used to instantly switch directions during a glide, as well as being fired twice while in the air to chain grapneling moves together. There is also a new batarang sensor that can be thrown out to gain intel on the surrounding area.”

They didn’t really need to change much from the other Arkham games, atl east in my opinion, but it looks like what few changes were made are going to be amazing. Throwing batarangs while in midair? HELL YES! I’m picturing one of those classic action movies where they jump while shooting in slow motion.

It's sad that the only example I could find was from a movie poking fun at the action movies I was talking about.

It’s sad that the only example I could find was from a movie poking fun at the action movies I was talking about.

That, but with Batman. Yeah, I’ll give you a moment to let your heart rate go down. Also, having a recon batarang is such an amazing and amazingly simple idea that I’m amazed I’ve never seen it in the comics before. Chuck it at a wall, and use the in built camera to scope out the street beyond what you can see. Throw it on a massive arc over a few buildings, then when you catch it, watch the recorded video footage to see enemy locations and points of strategic value. Or better yet, take a page out of some of the newer warfare based games on the new consoles and control the batarang while it flies using an exterior device like your smart phone, hover over the area like a drone and mark enemies and hostages, or mark points of cover to automatically interact with straight from behind a wall.

These are all just guesses obviously, but anything even remotely similar would be amazing, and would definitely be the kind of tech Batman would utilise in his epic war on crime.


To be honest, there’s not much I don’t like about the existing gameplay of the Arkham series, I find it really intuitive and user friendly enough that you can actually watch the action as you’re playing, which is perfect for a game as visually engaging as the Arkham series. And hopefully this instalment will take the game further than previously thought possible, which to be honest is basically a guarantee.


I’m incredibly glad Rocksteady is taking charge once again, although I absolutely loved the work Warner Bros. Games Montreal did with Arkham Origins. I’m also incredibly excited that I don’t know what to expect from the eponymous villain, beyond the amazing sequence from one of the trailers with the “NO MORE BATMAN!” line followed by a gunshot.



Anyway, considering all of that, my rating for this game has got to be: