Friday, September 26, 2014

Gotham is about Batman??

So like a lot of you I watched the series premiere of Gotham this week. I was really excited for this show. One thing network television is lacking is any kind of police procedural show. I'm sick of these meth cooking, serial killing, zombie fighting fantasy shows. I want real life cop drama. And this show delivered. Rookie cop gets corrupt partner, has to investigate murder of rich people, there's framing, and chases and mob bosses. Perfect. So imagine my disappointment when I learn from the internets that this show is actually about Batman? Whoa, I did not get that.  Not only is the newly minted orphan in the show supposed to be Batman, but apparently a number of his villains make an appearance? Mind blown! Now, I've never been the brightest knife in the shed so the nuanced writing in FOX programming usually goes right over my   head. So I am sitting down in front of the show again to try to catch these expertly hidden Easter eggs that the internet claims exist.

Spoilers ahead, by the way.

Ok. So a girl is running across the roof looking rather pleased with herself. I'm guessing she's someone? No hints yet though. Oh no she fell! Oh she's not dead. She stole milk. I think that's a clue. Milk is white...calcium...nope still nothing.
That guy is chasing her. She's fast! Like a small mammal... Look at her jump to freedom! Now she's feeding a cat. Hey there is almost no milk in that carton! Did she seriously steal a near empty carton of milk? Was that woman aware that she bought empty milk? And why would she give cow's milk to a cat? Doesn't she know that'll give it diarrhea? Unless she hates cats! Wait, small fast mammal that can jump, hates cats and partial to the color white? I figured out who she's supposed to be, The White Rabbit!
Cause when I read the Lewis Carrol classic, I thought "Man, that white rabbit sounds so sexy!"
Well that makes sense. Oops here come the Waynes. Such a dramatic and unexpected scene that has in no way been done to death. Good thing I've never watched
Batman: The Movie 
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Batman Begins
Batman:Year One
The Dark Knight Returns
Gotham Knight
or played Arkham Origin or read any Batman comic ever. 

The Wayne parents and Uncle Ben exist in some hellish purgatory where their death is doomed to be constantly reenacted for all eternity.

But that scream! Is he supposed to sound like a bat? That scream is terrible. Bruce, come on, man.

And we find ourselves at Gotham precint. There's a stand off that is handled perfectly by Gordon. Where's his mustache? He's tricksy with those pills. He has been established as a bad ass who tries to avoid excessive violence. Donal Logue is fantastic in everything he does and this show is no different. Bullock is instantly likable and loathable (is that a word?) at the same time. 

Jim Gordon meets Bruce Wayne. It's a nice scene where Gordon shares his past to relate. 

Wait, Bruce said the killer was wearing a black mask!

I'm sure he's wearing nice shoes too!
Alfred is chippy! 
Montoya and Allen!

Ok now here's another person that must be a comic character. Ed Nygma, the forensics expert. This guy is a real puzzle. See this is where the genius of the writing really shows. They know that this is a tough character to figure out, so they keep making references to riddles. They're taunting us to try to solve the mystery. So many riddles... but there was one key clue. Bullock says "Just tell me Ed,  I want riddles I'll read the funny pages." Funny pages!! Jokes!! He's the Joker!! 

Fish Mooney. What self respecting woman would want the nickname "Fish"? Well I guess Jada Palpatine Pinkett Smith hasn't been self respecting since she set her 7 year old daughter up to be a sex symbol / pop star. The guy holding her umbrella is ugly.

Wait, she just called Gordon a "Tall drink of milk"! I just now remembered that cats like milk, and I don't think that fact has any relevance to events earlier in the show. She must be Catwoman! She certainly looks the part!

I heard that movie was amazing
They called Oswald "Penguin". I'm sure it doesn't mean anything. He hates the name so there's no way he would become a crime lord named The Penguin. He's probably Bane. Makes sense if you think about it.

Gordon's girlfriend is hot. Barbara? Soon to be Barbara Gordon? Is she Batgirl? 

Oh there's a little redhead girl. Is she Batgirl? Her name is Ivy Pepper. Now, this is a genius switcharoo by the writers. You immediately think of Poison Ivy, the redheaded eco-villain. But in the comics, Poison Ivy's real name is Pamela Isely. Yes, Pamela Isely is a little on the nose, but not nearly as much as Ivy Pepper. The writers of this show are too smart and subtle to name the future Poison Ivy Ivy Pepper. Maybe the folks at AMC would, but not FOX. Oh she's surrounded by plants... but that couldn't mean... fuck it. I give up. She's Poison Ivy.

Chase. Fight. Shoot. Case Solved! So what are we going to do for another 30 minutes?

Penguin? More like rat! What would a penguin have against a fish?

Why is the White Rabbit hopping around the funeral?

"Renee, long time." They know each other... how? How dare she tell her that shit about Gordon! 
"Does he know you?"
"Like I know you?"
My lesbian sense is tingling!

I'm surprised she wasn't wearing this hat during this scene.
-Jim, my ex girlfriend told be you're crooked. Are you? 
-Good enough for me! Our relationship is clearly built on trust and honesty.

Something is "fishy" about that frame-job. Better ask Catwoman. Oh snap! 

Gordon's in trouble. I wonder if he'll die. Bullock to the rescue. It's official, I like Bullock. 

A stand up comedian telling jokes. But the Joker is already the forensic scientist. I bet he's Bane...

Whoops! Nice try Bullock, join your partner.
It was you, rat-penguin. I didn't tell you to stop rubbing my feet. Why would you tell her you'd open a vein for her? Bane doesn't like watching Fish beat the shit out of Penguin.

Fish has her ways, and they are to have a huge executioner guy in a meat locker slaughter you on camera. No, that's gotta be Bane! He's big and wears a mask. I know for a fact that's Bane! He's going to make a snuff film with two cops? Great plan, Fish!

Bane got shot. The comedian can be Bane again.

Falcone is interesting. Something tells me Gordon's father's death might not have been an accident.

Penguin is so fucked. Gordon is definitely going to kill... oh, clever.

So Bruce is on the roof again? Does this not worry anyone? Yes Alfred, cuss and yell at him. A 10 year old just watched his parents brutally murdered, maybe he should talk to someone? Surely there are psychologists in the area. How about...
Dr. Jonathan Crane?
Dr. Harleen Quinzel?
Dr. Hugo Strange?
Dr. Amadeus Arkham?
Dr. Krazee Stabenstein?

Wow. Note to self, never seek help from who went to Gotham's Psychology College (Psycollege?). They all go nuts.

How did White Rabbit get all the way out to Wayne manor? Did she hop?

That's a bad Penguin! I'm sure that guy would have just given you his sandwich.

So this show has promise, but they definitely did not need to shoe horn all the characters in. There were like three Banes. I will keep watching for Bullock and Penguin. 

This show has been compared to Smallville. Well it already seems to sharing its major flaw. At the end of Smallville, there was absolutely no way Clark could operate as Superman without everyone who ever met him (especially Luthor) recognizing him. This seems like it might be an issue here. Almost every word out of Bruce's mouth foreshadows him being Batman. Even if Gordon never sees Bruce after this episode, when Batman finally does show up he should be able to at least have a suspicion. (Though in the comics and cartoons it's implied that Gordon always really knew  Batman's identity he just didn't want to "know"). 

I'll give it a few more episodes. Once they hit ten Banes though, I'm out.

I'm back?

It has been well over two years since I've posted on this blog. I could make excuses like I finished grad school, got a job, my wife had a baby, I got a new job, I moved...
What was I saying? Oh yeah, I won't make excuses for not writing anything on here. I was really into this for a while, and then I wasn't. My life is full of projects I got excited about and then just kind of forgot like writing a book, creating a mobile app, raising my daughter, writing comic-book reviews, painting my deck... But I'm back into this again, maybe. It's the fall of 2014 and I've got something to say. Well not right now, I need to clean the house and mow the lawn. Also I have these bar chairs I've been meaning to reupholster. But soon?

Be patient

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I've never been a huge fan of Marvel's Thor. This is interesting because I have always been very interested in Norse Mythology, particularly modern takes on it. Neil Gaiman's American Gods remains one of my favorite books of all time. I've never had much use for the comics versions though. I never really liked mixing Gods with superheroes. Having a God on your team leaves too much room for "deus ex machina" endings, pun intended. The only incarnation of Thor in the comics that I really liked was the Ultimate version, because it was pretty ambiguous as to whether he was in fact a God or just some nut who got his hands on a fancy hammer. I was hoping they would play that angle for the movie, but they didn't (not really). So I went to this movie not out of love of the character, but more of a slavish devotion to comic adaptations. Also, other reasons...
I was told there would be snakes.

So, cutting to the chase, did I like the movie? Considering it was the one I had the lowest expectations for, I was pleasantly surprised. You could tell that Kenneth Branagh did not write this off as a campy comics story for kids and phone it in (cough-Fantastic Four-cough) but actually crafted a good story. This was a fun movie. If you don't know the plot, go look up a better written review. Basically, Thor get's banished to Earth until he learns to be less arrogant, falls in love with pretty girl, has to fight his evil brother. Along the way he tangles with S.H.I.E.L.D. and learns a little humility along the way. The special effects were for the most part top notch, though there were a few shoddy parts. Asgard looked cool but sometimes it reminded me of a Saturday morning cartoon. Maybe it was the rainbow bridge, it seemed like something right out of Gem or something. Also, I prefer my Asgardians to look a bit more medieval than gold trimmed.
Seriously, that eye patch is just silly.

These are personal peeves, however, and you might not even notice them. Overall, it was a great looking movie with an enjoyable story. I particularly appreciated the little cameo by one of Thor's fellow future Avengers. I'm guessing it was thrown in a little late to promote next year's movie, but I'm not complaining. The clip after the credits was also a nice little tie in (at least I hope).

The acting was pretty solid, which was expected. Let's go down the list. Chris Hemsworth pulled it off as the title character. Thor's transformation from arrogant prince to selfless hero was believable and fun to watch. Natalie Portman did her job and fell in love as planned. The fantastic Stellan Skarsgard, the only actual Scandinavian, provided the exposition while Kat Dennings provided the jokes. Tom Hiddleston's Loki was probably the best character, despite his motivations being a bit murky at times. He was obviously torn between his ambitions and his love for his family, and he was constantly duplicitous (until the end when he went completely off the rails, for some reason). Anthony Hopkins could have played his role of Odin in his sleep, and luckily, he was awake (for the parts he was supposed to be, anyway). Rene Russo was wasted as Frigga, as she didn't have many lines. Maybe she wanted it that way though. Also wasted was the great Ray Stevenson as Volstagg. It's understandable that not every character could have that much screen time, but I just wanted more of the Warriors Three. They all played their parts fine, though, and Jaimie Alexander made one wonder exactly why Thor was so easily wooed by some mortal girl when Lady Sif is waiting at home.
But where's the snake?

As I mentioned before, I had low expectations for this movie going into it, which were met and exceeded. It was a fun popcorn flick, a good way to start the summer. It wasn't perfect, but at least it wasn't campy. I give it a B+.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pawn of Prophecy

Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad, #1)Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another story where a young boy is thrust into a world he doesn't understand. Although the protagonist remains pretty ignorant throughout the story, the answers to many questions are revealed to the reader. There are plenty left unanswered though, which makes me eager to read the next book. I liked the world that was created and the supporting cast seemed fresh and unique even though it was comprised of common archetypes (Old Sorcerer and Sorceress, Brawler, Thief, and simple Blacksmith). A great start to a series.

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