I Hate Loving You, Batman.


While I procrastinate and make a decision on whether I should buy some adult underoos, I thought it would be nice to give some other suckers fine upstanding friends of mine an opportunity to guest blog here. So without further ado and before the mental imagery of me in underoos sinks in too deep, I give you Mark Castillo’s wonderful take on his love/hate affair with The Dark Knight Rises….

Shhhhh, the bad man didn’t mean to hurt you.

 

 

Do witty status updates make for interesting blogging? I doubt it, but I invite you to be the judge. What follows is a Batman fan’s rant about the The Dark Knight Rises:

 

            The Darkness fell on me during the summer of 1997. I was promised an all star spectacle of a Batman movie, one that would include the Man that broke the Bat. God, what was I thinking? You know that feeling you get when you’re about to make a bad decision? You know when you see that hot chick dancing by herself at the bar making eyes at you? You know the one that screams that something’s not right, but you go over and talk to her because she’s the only one making eye contact with you (geeks, this rarely happens so I had to take every chance to be with the female species! Well back in the day…lol.). Yeah my gut was screaming at me, but curiosity and a misplaced infatuation with Alicia Silverstone over rode my better judgement.

May we always remember the pain, so we never go back.

 

            Geeks, nerds, fellow weirdos, you know what followed. It was one of the worst movies of that year, if not that decade. Clooney was terrible, Ahhh-nuld was super hammy and way overpaid, Uma was her normal un-sexy self playing a character that is supposed to ooze sexuality (chemically induced or not), and that guy that was supposed to be Bane, why would any writer take such a perfect character and reduce him….to that? Batm….no I shan’t even refer to it by name, because it hurts so much. That shitty movie killed my favorite comic movie franchise for eight long, dark years. Making me feel like I had awoken the morning after meeting a crazy hot chick, only to discover I was in a tub of ice and one kidney was missing.

This is less traumatic than that Joel Cuntpuncher movie.

 

            Then there was hope, in ’05 Batman was reborn into the world and given a spin that only a great visionary could give him. I was happy, but depressed, because there was no way the Nolans could top that movie. Boy was I wrong, but I digress, this geek’s rant could go on for pages singing the praises of Batman Begins and the Dark Knight. That’s not why I’m sitting here clicking keys on the work laptop pretending to be working on emails. I have a problem, and it bugs me because it has caused a rift in my geek nature. TDKR is that hot crazy chick all over again, because I love and hate The Dark Knight Rises.

 

            The comic geek in me hates this movie. How in the blue hell do you go from being a recluse and sitting around the mansion sulking for eight years, and just jump back into being the most bad ass super hero on the planet? I mean there was no conditioning or training montage, so what the heck? One little high tech knee brace and you’re back in the game? “I think not!” says my inner geek. Yes, “He’s the God Damn Batman”, but the hook to Nolan’s Batman was that he was supposed to be more realistic, more grounded. That’s why he showed us all the details of becoming Batman in Begins. So that is and isn’t a valid argument here.  Bruce Wayne just jumps back into being the Batman the way you or I would just go out for a walk in summer air. That just seems unrealistic.

TRAINING MONTAGE?! I’M THE GOD DAMNED…oh, you get it.

 

            Fine, so at its core it is supposed to be a comic book movie. You’re supposed to be able to allow some fantastic elements. So let’s fast forward past some of the movie, and get to the pit. Bruce is beaten and broken, and Bane just decides to take a couple of days to put him in the same hell hole he came from. Sigh….fine. So of course there just happens to be a bad ass chiropractor in jail with him, and patches up Mr. Wayne. *Grumble*. Sure, push ups and anger really gets one back in shape in what is supposed to be the passage of several months. I disliked the Dark Knight Rises for most of the same reasons that my best friend hated the movie. Conveniently leaving the cops alive, “Robin” John Blake just figuring out who Batman is, the list could go on and on. However, all of this in my mind was easily forgivable because of something my wife said.

 

            The casting of Marion Collard screamed Talia, I knew that she would betray Batman, but my wife was caught off guard. “That was an awesome twist! Did you have any idea that she was the daughter, the child that escaped the prison!?”, she said as we left. “Well yeah, from the second she was cast…”, I muttered nonchalantly. “Wow, too bad you couldn’t have seen that through my eyes.”, she said and then I thought, “Yes, that is too bad..”

Re-enactment of actual events.

 

            So then instead of letting my inner geek rant, I stopped and thought about what I loved. Bane was finally done justice and made into the master tactician and awesome villain that he is supposed to be. Sure his accent wasn’t quite right, but hey, when he squared off against Batman in the sewers, it was great. It was the brutal, heart stopping fight I had read over and over again. Taunting and toying with the man that had once thought himself the master of martial arts with no equal. He didn’t just beat Batman, he literally broke him. Nolan brought this to life beautifully on screen, so much so that I almost crushed my wife’s hand at the climax of the fight.  When Batman is at his best, he entertains, and enthralls. I felt the boyhood satisfaction of seeing the Batman effortlessly take down thug after thug all with what I assume is the normal Bat-scowl that I’ve come to emulate when trying to intimidate my children at bedtime. Gordon dealing with the weight of the secret he knows, Alfred trying to stop Bruce from getting himself killed, and of course Mr. Freeman playing Lucius Fox just the way I’ve come to know and love.  These were all the things that I liked and loved. What made the movie more than just good, but great.

Come at me, bro.

 

            The final conflict seemed busy, but then again, realistically I’m sure that an urban war would be much the same way, and when all was said and done I was entertained and enthralled for the last act of the movie, unrealistic parts and plot holes included. However, it is in that last act that I felt the most betrayed, because it was here that Nolan ended his saga, and with one mighty fusion driven blast the Batman became the everlasting symbol of truth and justice that Gotham needed and deserved.  With one final act of heroism the Batman saves the day, at least until the cafe scene, anyway. There we see what we can argue is either Alfred seeing what he wants to believe or what he is actually seeing. Either way, it is something that a Batman fan would consider a slap in the face. Bruce is sitting there with Selena supposedly having escaped the blast by completing the missing autopilot programming and somehow escaping the blast radius. Yes, it makes for movie happy ending material, but when you’ve read the comics like I have, you just can’t accept a version of Batman that is okay with not being Batman any more. I mean, in the comics the guy practically if not actually refers to himself as Batman in his inner monologues. So really, Christopher Nolan, really? That’s how you bring your awesome saga to an end!? It’s, it’s…realistic. Despite the glaring plot hole of how he could have escaped it works. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t give me indigestion, but it works. No matter how much I would want to be the Batman until I’m dead. Realistically I know that not even the most capable man is able to support being the Batman for more than a few years, a decade at most. So even though I hate the ending, it makes sense.

My Bat-401k portfolio is looking good.

 

            So there you have it folks, I love and hate this movie. What more can I say? Was it the best of three movies? No, but that’s my opinion, and definitely not what my first blog entry is supposed to be about.  My night with TDKR left me feeling whole and strangely satisfied the next day, and sure maybe my wallet was gone, but hey, the ride was worth it.

 

Ladies and gents, Mr. Castillo was the first guy I ever met that knew as much as I claimed to know about comics and nerd properties. We spent many an insufferable workday at Hell, I mean QVC, ranting about Star Wars, comics, chicks, and why our boss at the time had the grip strength of Robocop. So when I say he knows his shit, I mean it. Hope you enjoyed this! Up next, my new friend Kimberly Hall shares with us her take on what geek love is and how it differs from the regular person variety. As always, please visit us at The Geekvengers or Geekvengers.com and share with your brethren if you are so inclined!

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I Got Sucker Punched Alright!


The title of this blog isn’t a good thing. As you might have guessed, this is going to be a review of ‘Sucker Punch’. Really, not so much a review as a scathing rant on one of the most terrible movies I have seen in the past 5 years.

 

10 minutes into the movie I felt like this guy.

 

 

Without being too spoilerish, the movie is about a girl named…shit, it doesn’t really matter what her name is because they never really say. She is called Babydoll and she’s real sad n’ stuff. Her mother dies and the all too stereotypical ‘evil stepfather of death’ takes her mom’s money and has Babydoll committed to an insane asylum. She of course is framed and what not. She is taken away to this terrible place; part crazy house and somehow…all go-go dance club.

 

Yes, you read that right. Babydoll is sent to the worst titty bar in the universe. There weren’t even any titties!!!! So she longs to escape and be free of course because it’s terrible and tragic, dammit. You would never really know because Emily Browning’s (the actress playing Babydoll and I use actress loosely) expression never changes even when she is fighting 40 foot stone samurai with mini-guns. I’ll get to that in a minute. Babydoll is sold by her evil stepfather to an equally clichéd and evil orderly who makes her…dance. Before that she meets the other cookie cutter one-dimensional girls. Sweet Pea, Blondie (who has black hair?), Rocket, and for the love of God the rest doesn’t matter. They’re scantily clad throughout the movie and I suppose you are to be turned on, but the setting is so completely un-sexy and un-erotic that any kind of boner would have made you a saint because it would have been a miracle.

 

I don't think even these could have saved this turdnugget.

 

 

At this point I was already lost. Zack Snyder gives no link or connection to why this god damned mental house is also a fucking burlesque club. Seriously, it just…switches. It was like being in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest then turning a corner and you’re in Showgirls. No explanation or warning whatsoever. Did I mention this is PG-13 and there isn’t a lick of nudity? Might have helped. The movie hints that terrible things are happening to these girls but besides being locked up and having to dance for their supper, I didn’t feel like they were ever really in danger. So the girls are under the supervision of a Dr. Vera Gorski, played by the super hot Carla Gugino. She is given nothing to do in this movie other than look hot and talk in a terrible polish accent. I really kept expecting Rocky and Bullwinkle to show up so she could yell, “Curses you Muse and Skwirl!!”.

 

These might have been better villains. More believable anyway.

 

 

Dr. Hot-with-bad-accent is trying to teach these girls to escape through their own minds. If your mind is somewhere else, then the horrific realities of your situation can’t hurt you. I guess that’s what was happening. We are supposed to believe that the go-go show is all occurring in Babydoll’s head so she can cope with what is actually going on, but I don’t know one person who would imagine a strip joint where you jiggle for giblets as a mental escape while you are being oppressed, bludgeoned, and held against your will. Maybe that’s just me.

 

Here you are free!!! Now dance, bitch!

 

 

I know what you are saying..”So when do we get to the awesome action scenes?!” I’ll tell you. After Babydoll and her new buddies make what is probably the dumbest and simplest escape plan in the existence of ever, she dances and POW…the action sequences start. DANCES. Yes, her dancing is so god damned awesome that it mesmerizes men and allows the girls to act out the parts of the plan. Each action set piece is imagined inside her head while she is dancing and in reality the other girls are off stealing the shit they need to run away. Through the course of this movie Babydoll and the other ‘goils’ fight giant stone samurai, Huns, zombie Nazis, Orcs, a Dragon, and robots. In that order. To do this they use a mech, a WWII bomber, a Huey chopper, and a hell of a ton of out-of-place weapons. None of which even existed in any of the imaginary eras in which they were fighting. At least in The Matrix the imaginary land they were in had rules that you had to adhere to. Yes, maybe I’m being a stickler, but I kind of like my action to have some structure.

 

AND NO GOD DAMNED SPOONS!!!!!

 

 

Now I know you’re saying, “Mindless action that makes no sense is awesome!” I say no it isn’t when it is also pointless. Battle Los Angeles had mindless action but there was a reason for it. It was tangible. Babydoll was daydreaming while she was sitting on Daddy War Boner’s lap. The fact that each action piece started with Scott Glenn dropping in and laying down stupid Yoda-isms like “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything!’ just makes it worse. He is supposed to be her subconscious directing her what to do and how to do it. If my subconscious did this I’d have to kick it in the taint and tell it to shut the fuck up. Each sequence felt as if I was playing the worst video game ever with a broken controller and I couldn’t skip the cut-scenes. So the girls are all in Babydoll’s imagination and they fight like empowered women!! These women are supposed to be empowered? I honestly think this movie was trying to make women feel bad-ass and strong. None of them had any depth. They were throwaway characters and they were used as such. I couldn’t feel anything for these girls because I don’t really think I was supposed to. They weren’t even given names.

 

They are actually much more life-like in this poster than the movie.

 

 

I loved Zack Snyder’s previous efforts like 300, Watchmen, and Dawn of the Dead. You’ll notice those are all properties created and written by people with far better story-telling abilities than Mr. Snyder. He can direct a movie, but by ODIN’S RAVEN he cannot write one. You know how when you let a 4-year-old kid decide what they want to eat for dinner and they say “Pancakes, sammitches, candy, cereal, hot dogs, and chocolate milk!!!”? This movie was just like that. Zack couldn’t decide what he wanted to put into this movie so he put EVERYTHING in it. That is never a good thing. Structure, storytelling, and coherence help, they REALLY DO. After watching this 2 hour mess I realize Mr. Snyder needs to work on these aspects. God help The Man of Steel.

Yes, Superman, it can get worse.


 

The commercials for the movie give snippets from reviews saying,  “IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!”, and it will. You’ll spend the next two hours trying to put your brain back together after this abomination stomps through it. “KILL BILL MEETS INCEPTION!!” I’ve seen also. Whoever wrote that probably has not seen Sucker Punch. The only way this movie is like Kill Bill or Inception is that they all use film and actors. Save your 10 bucks and watch those instead.

 

 

Mind. Blown.

 

 

The Action Movie Handbook


We all love a good action movie don’t we? I know I do! Gosh, ‘splosions, gunplay, and painful villain death is a cornerstone in what I look for in my cinematic entertainment! I also enjoy gratuitous nudity and potty humor, but that’s for another blog. Now, we all know that sometimes belief has to be suspended for the sake of a good movie. Realism and accuracy just get in the way. We all love a good cliche, right? Hot damn we do! So here is a list of the standard shit you will probably find in any action flick.

 

1. Never, ever, ever assist the hero in his quest to defeat the evil overlord, villain, or terrorist. Horrible things WILL happen to you….such as a painful death. You are the sidekick. The comic relief. Do not help. You will die. Embarassingly so. Remember Bucky Barnes? Robin? (1)

When you dress like this on purpose, you are asking for death.

 

2. Under no circumstances  should you go on a mission in which all of the important people on your ship or vessel or base are also going on. Especially if your last name is Johnson, Jackson, Smith, James, Johnston, or any variation thereof or you are wearing a ‘red-shirt’ or anything on your person is also red. Also, if you are ‘short’on your enlisted time in, have just had a baby, got married, are a virgin, or are going to start a business when you get ‘back to the world’, stay away. You will die. Again, embarassingly so. (2)

 

3. Always park your car out front of your desired destination. There will always be an empty spot no matter what time of day it is.

 

Never trust a black man in a cape.

4. Never let strange mechanics fix your ship/car/boat. Be extra wary if said mechanics work for an ‘old friend’ whom with you go ‘way back’. They are going to sabotage your shit, take your woman and your pet/co-pilot, your droids, freeze you in something, then hand you over to the bad guy; who in turn will turn you over to another bad guy, usually his boss.

 

5. Never make a deal with the villain. He will alter it. A lot.

Seriously, what'd I say about black dudes wearing capes?! Are you listening?!

 

"There's three minutes on the timer. We've got time Chuck. You wanna get some ice cream?"

6. Do not ever cut the green wire until there is less than 10 seconds on the bomb clock. Anytime before that and the bomb will explode, killing everyone in the building except you. You have to stay alive so that you may feel the guilt and anguish, fall into a drunken stupor, get kicked off the ‘force’, and redeem yourself by catching the evil bastard that got you in the first place. (3)

 

7. If you have a choice between taking the long way around or jumping an impossibly wide chasm with your ‘way too cool and heavy to be jumping’ car…choose the jump. Be sure to scream or whoop something unintelligible while you are airborne. Also, fire all your weapons out the window while doing it. This also works when you have to take out the enemies’ plane, boat, helicopter, or evil lair.  Just jump your car right into that shit!

Car-1, Chopper-0

 

8. If your father has a dispute with an evil landowner/overlord/mob boss or is the lead cop/soldier hunting down a terrorist, your entire family will be killed for your father’s big ass mouth. You will, of course, be the only survivor and will be taken by said landowner/overlord/mob boss/terrorist, trained in the ways of evil, grow up to be the potential second in command at which time you will exact your long gestating revenge by killing the evil landowner/overlord/mob boss/terrorist. (4)

 

9. The hero needs a catchphrase or stupid one-liner. Yippee Ki Yay motherfucker, Get away from her you bitch, if it bleeds we can kill it, I’m your worst nightmare, there is no spoon, etc. Without a good tagline you are naked and incomplete. (5)

"It bled, so I killed it. Wait, what do you mean it was a puppy?"

 

10. Please try to avoid making out with your significant other, partner, fellow squad member while in the ‘shit’, your parked car staking out the bad guy, during a war, on a boat, or while you are supposed to be on patrol. You will die. Either from a crazed assassin, a crazed terrorist, a sniper’s bullet, a car bomb, or a crazed terrorist assassin with a sniper rifle and a bomb.

 

11. Contrary to popular belief, ugly people do not actually exist. Especially in action movies. The action hero must be a chiseled hunk of exceptional man meat with a large dick and a hair trigger. Otherwise he cannot possibly save the universe and score chicks.

Chicks dig the whip.

 

12. The hero is immune to all explosions including those of the nuclear variety. Grenade? No biggie. C-4? Small stuff. Land mine? Pfft. Thermonuclear detonation? Motherfucker, please!!!  Walking away in slow motion while not looking back at an explosion you caused is also a requirement.

"Come on, I can do this...just be casual....don't look back man...just keep strolling."

 

The most prestigious graduate of the Action Hero School of Unlimited Ammo.

13. Reloading is for pussies. An unlimited clip is an absolute necessity. Otherwise the villain escapes because you had to get more bullets. What kind of hero are you?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whew, this one stings a bit! Lemme walk it off for a minute.

14. Every wound the hero receives is a flesh wound. The hero could be shot 12 twelve times and each one misses a major artery, organ, or bone. However if you are the partner, subordinate, or sidekick…a splinter in your big toe would be fatal.

 

15. If you are the villain, YOU MUST MONOLOGUE. Telling the hero your entire plan for world domination or theft of large amounts of money/bombs/women/weapons can only lead to glorious gun play shenanigans. Also, it helps to tell the hero that you killed his family/partner/dog/pet ferret. (6)

 

16. Inevitably, the awesome 30 foot sentient robot that happens to transform into a 40 ton semi truck will require the help of a douche-bag teenager to stop his evil nemesis. Because the millions of years it took them to destroy their world with their intergalactic bitch fight can be resolved in 2 hours by a stupid kid and his vapid, large breasted girlfriend.

Two of these three are robots in disguise. The other one is a Transformer.

 

17. If at any point in time one of your friends utters, “I have a bad feeling about this.”,…….RUN.

"Bad feeling?! What tipped you off?!"

 

 

(1) Sidekick Syndrome is the leading cause of death among young, impressionable post-teen wannabes.

(2) This is a common phenomenon known as “Red-Shirt” syndrome. You wearing a red shirt? Then you are expendable, jackass. If you aren’t named Kirk, Spock, Chekov, Sulu, Uhura, Bones, Scott, Ripley, Rambo or Bauer then you are fucked royal.

(3) Jack Traven understands this. See Speed for a prime example.

(4) Examples of this include Conan the Barbarian, any Jean Claude Van Damme movie, many Kung-Fu chop-sockys, and most westerns.

(5) Known as The Schwarzenegger Principle.

(6) This is known as the Hans Gruber Syndrome. All villains suffer from this affliction apparently.

Just How Much Do We Control?


I was feeling in a particularly nerd mood today so I decided I was going to go out and pick up season 1 of the Walking Dead on blu ray. While driving home with the window down, enjoying the now sprung spring weather here in Texas, I spontaneously decided that I wanted to see a movie. The choice was between Hall Pass and The Adjustment Bureau. I could either laugh heartily at grown men getting a week off from marriage and try to score chicks but then realize they really love their wives after 2 hours of titties and strange or I could see Matt Damon run around New York City and try to score some strange from Emily Blunt. I chose the latter. Hey, the Adjustment Bureau was from a Philip K. Dick short story. I like Dick…the writer. Isn’t everything from a Dick short? Dick Short….*snort* That’s my new porn name by the way. This is also a kind of review of the movie so if you haven’t seen it, it’s best you don’t really continue to read this. Just stare at the pictures or something.

Even as a fat ass, his life is better than yours.

Anywhoooooooo, the whole story was focused on a man striving to reach greatness; to fill a hole within himself that seemed bottomless. Well, he meets a woman, she’s hot, he’s horny and all sad and shit, and they hit it off. His hole is filled by the desire to fill all of hers. Unfortunately, before he can do that, man loses girl, finds out world is really run by men dressed like extras from Mad Men, has his mind blown, then immediately goes back to thinking about Emily Blunt’s tight body. Really, what hetero man wouldn’t? Come on, she’s British hot. All pale and accented. Everything she says sounds like she wants to hump you mercilessly and with immediacy.

She’s a merciless humper. Damn you John Krasinski.

Where was I? Uh, right….the movie at its core is about choices and how much we really control through the course of our lives. Matt’s character in the movie, David something-or-other, has a run in with the titular organization in the movie. Yes, you guessed it, The Adjustment Bureau. They do just what it sounds like they do. They tweak things in your life to keep your destiny on what seems like a preset path. Steer you towards meeting someone, steer you away, having you get hit by a bus; you never know.  This had me thinking the whole time about how much of our lives do we really control. All David wanted to do was hook up with Emily’s character, Elise, cause his balls kept telling him “Do It.” I guess he loved her too and some shit. The dudes in silly hats didn’t want it to happen because the plan said it wasn’t supposed to. What heinous organization would ever want you to stay away from Emily Blunt?! Bastards.

Bastards I say.

The agents with the Bureau aren’t ever explicity outed as aliens or angels, but there is a spiritual flavor to the whole affair. You get the feeling that the whole thing is run by God or something like it. It tastes of that, but not in a preachy way. It’s explained that these otherworldly agents and the “chairman” tried to give us free will, but when they did, we went and shit all over it and proceeded to club each other over the head and bomb each other with reckless abandon. So they jumped in and took away our free will. So David does what every man who is being cock blocked does. He ignores the consequences and tries to score anyway. Cause, you know, it’s love at first boner.

Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce are cock blocking you.

This made me think- Do we really control our life and the path we take through it? Did I meet a woman and fall in love,  lose my job, then my health, then her, and end up on disability because a higher being has a plan for me? Does that make it better than it just being a series of shitty events? Is there some guy in a silly hat with a book going, “Ahhh, Marselles, yeah he’s supposed to be broke and disabled n’ shit. Let’s just tweeeeeeeak this here and that there annnnnnnnnnd…voila! Poverty with a side of disability!”? I have no idea, but I can picture it. Maybe we aren’t really driving the life car. Maybe God just lets us play with the radio and roll down the windows once in a while but we’re just passengers along for the ride for our own good. This also had me thinking, “What does the “chairman” tell those unfortunate souls whose lives PURPOSELY were planned to not amount to shit? “Well, you see Steve, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is your path was pretty simple…slow kid in school, drug habit by 15, janitor by 19, babydaddy by 20, wife leaves you for a woman by 23, you lose your testicles in a freak door accident at 26, annnnnnnnnd homicidal rampage through a KFC by 30. The good news is you did that all and died in a hail of gunfire at 27 waaaaaay ahead of schedule!! Also, you kept one nut so there’s that.”.

Look how pretty Steve! Sooooooo, we have a spot for you downstairs…

See how hard it is to sell that? Imagine if you were to find out that you had no control over what becomes of you? What would be the point of life? You’d just walk through it like a zombie and not give a shit. Would that change things? I’d like to think that life is like a ‘choose your own adventure’ book. The beginning and the end are the same, but you have the power to control some parts in the middle. Probably best you just not know I suppose.

“Look, I don’t mind you touching the radio, but no Justin Bieber shit.”