Since When Did You Become the Physical Type?!


So, while watching Bane break Batman in their epic fight in The Dark Knight Rises, my mind wandered away from Tom Hardy’s manliness to this thought….

What are my 5 favorite showdowns? Mano a mano battles for the fate of mankind. The Universe. Chicks. Whatever. There has to be a reason. The hero is out for justice or redemption. The villain is out for vengeance or to break the emotional will of the hero so that he (or she) may stand over their fallen foe triumphant, after monologuing  first (even during the fight!) of course. As a man, there doesn’t really need to be a reason cause we like to watch good fights. We’re primal like that. However, when there is meaning and emotion behind the conflict, it makes my nerd parts tingle with brilliant joy and geekery. When something is on the fucking line, then the battle becomes epic.

I limited this to five and also to just what has been portrayed in movies. If I opened this up to TV shows, comics, and sports, I’d be here all night.

Sooo…..

5. Rob Roy MacGregor vs. Archibald Cunningham. (Rob Roy)

This had all the elements of what I’m talking about. Rob Roy was fighting a superior opponent in terms of speed, form, and knowledge. He should, by all rights, have lost this battle, but he had something on his side that cannot be quantified. Will. He wanted vengeance against Archibald for his land being taken, his good name being destroyed, and most importantly, his wife being raped. Rob Roy wanted to kill this guy so bad he could taste the rage in his mouth. Archibald was basically an erect dick with legs he was such a tool. Rob Roy took advantage of the opening Archibald gave him by being a showboating douche-bag and opened his chest like a ripe watermelon. Besides being one of the best sword fights ever put to film, it was the classic culmination to the hero’s journey.

4. Achilles vs. Hector of Troy. (Troy)

So, legend has it that Achilles was a near invulnerable bad ass motherfucker who couldn’t be touched on the battlefield. He most certainly wasn’t invincible….just really fucking good. He was the Michael Jordan/Bruce Lee of Trojan warriors. Hector was no slouch and was a great fighter in his own right. Problem was……motherfucker wasn’t Achilles. Achilles came for vengeance against Hector killing Achilles’ cousin Patricles. Hector had no idea until he struck the fatal blow that he wasn’t fighting Achilles, but Achilles didn’t give a fuck. Didn’t. Give. A. Fuck. He wanted Hector’s life. No, he wanted his soul. He took his body, desecrated it, and dragged it behind his chariot back to the Trojan’s camp in one of the biggest “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on’s” in history. The fact that this fight was an actual historical event makes it even more awesome. Well, not for Hector.

3. Batman vs. Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)

This one had it all. Brutality, ferocity, vengeance, power, and even monologuing. The fear that I saw in Batman’s eyes the moment he realized that Alfred was right was like getting that special gift at Christmas. He could not beat this beast of a man. This intelligent, ruthless wall of brutal efficiency was going to not just physically best Batman, HE WAS GOING TO BREAK HIM emotionally. Bane WAAAAANTED it more than Batman did. Every hero needs to take a beating such as this in order to become better, otherwise they don’t learn and just continue being total self-righteous dickbags. This was a test of just what was inside of Batman. His guts. How much want-to did he have? Could he rise from being humiliated in every way possible and come back? We of course all know the answer now. He’s the God Damned Batman! I love that there was no music. Just the sound of Bane and Batman BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF EACH OTHER. The stark lighting. The location. It all screamed “WHUPPIN!” Bane was so calm and Batman was so harried and fighting with desperation. The differences between the two was beautiful. The comic version of this was certainly more cat and mouse with Bane toying with Batman and after months of setup, pouncing on him and ending Batman’s world as he knew it. And damn, look at Bane’s shoulders when he climbed down that chain!!!! I’m not gay, but…..

2. Optimus Prime vs. Megatron (Transformers: The Movie)

Optimus. Motherfucking. Prime. Megatron. Millions of years of hatred. One final fight. I really don’t need to say more, do I? All us geeks understand this one on a level deeper than our own consciousness. I was 11 when I saw this at the movies and I was blown away. I still am. This fight wasn’t just about Optimus vs Megatron. It was incorruptible lawful good versus unrepentant and irredeemable chaotic evil. This fight was for Cybertron. For Earth. For Transformer and humankind alike. Optimus went in to this fight without fear for his life. He knew what he had to do. No matter the cost.

And Hot Rod had to go and fuck it all up. Fuck that cunt. Turns out Optimus’ death was just a ploy to sell new Transformer toys, but Hasbro underestimated the level at which Optimus Prime and what he stood for resonated with my generation. They had to admit their mistake and bring him back for fear of destroying the Transformers brand altogether. He was our father. He was our friend. He was our leader. He lead with a soft heart, a stern attitude, and unwavering loyalty to his people and his beliefs. That’s why he’s still the shit today 26 years later. Thank you Peter Cullen for making such an indelible character.

1. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader. (Empire Strikes Back)

There is nothing made or that can ever be made that will ever displace this conflict from my number one spot in my mind and most importantly, my heart. My level of connection to, affinity for, and attachment to the original Star Wars trilogy and this movie in particular cannot be diminished or broken, no matter how many shitty prequels or potentially shitty sequels they make. I first experienced this ultimate battle between good and evil when I was 4 1/2 years old, sitting between my mother and father in the movie theater, my mouth agape and my eyes falling out of my face when the scourge of the galaxy Darth Vader admitted to a battered and beaten Luke Skywalker that he was his father. What a dick move! Luke had rushed away from Yoda to face off against an opponent with 20 years of Jedi AND Sith training in Darth Vader. He realistically had no chance of winning, yet he went anyway for his friends. I admire that and I’d like to think I would do the same for my loved ones. Luke exhibited a total lack of emotional control just like his father (and just like me more than I like to admit), but there are two things he did exhibit that his father did not. That would be compassion and sacrifice. Anakin never showed the courage to let go and give for the greater good. It was always about how much power could he gather to protect what he wanted or thought was his. Luke was all about how much he could give of himself to protect what was EVERYONE’S, which was freedom and free will.

I imagine this fight matters so much to me because it was one of the last movies I remember seeing with my entire family. Just a short three years later, my father left my mother when she needed him the most and our family when his two young children desired to bathe in their father’s love. As a grown man now I understand what my dad was going through being a Vietnam veteran and most likely suffering from PTSD and trying to deal with a sick wife and two small kids, but as a child I thought it was my fault. I thought if I could have just been a better kid, he would have stayed. I struggled with it for years. Who’s to say that my parent’s relationship wouldn’t have still gone sour had he stayed? My dear mother died in 2003, mere months after we saw ‘Attack of the Clones’ where Yoda (her favorite) whupped that ass. My father and I reconciled in his final years as much as you can expect before he died in 2009.  I see and feel a lot of parallels between Luke’s experience with who he thought his father was and who his father really was. Darth Vader wasn’t so much a villain as a man who made choices that had dire consequences and trapped him within a prison of his own making. One that he felt he could never escape from and that maybe he wasn’t worthy of escaping from for what he’d done. Every time I watch this fight I am reminded that we are both villain and hero. We choose which.

So, that’s my list. Hope you enjoyed and sorry for getting all deep there at the end. 🙂

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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!