Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan

Author/Reviewer/Blogger

Reynard City Issue 24 Review

 

 

Reynard City is an online comic that I’ve followed quite closely (where I can) for the last few years. Described as being “mad as a box of frogs. And it is all the better for it.”, Reynard City is somewhere between a Saturday Morning Cartoon show and a superhero comic, featuring three kick ass foxes – Hyper Rob, Ak Girl and Supervixen. It has its fair share of craziness and insane stories – but I have been quite impressed at the darker themes it covers and the way it delves into the psychology of the main characters. Not only that, but each issue has different artists at the helm (some better than others if I’m being honest), meaning that you almost get a different story each time.

 

The Rise of Balloon Boy was originally put across as a Kickstarter project, which I was only too happy to sponsor. And I’m glad I did because the end result was an enjoyable – if heartbreaking – read. I’ll keep spoilers to a minimum for the sake of this review, simply because I’d have to go into great detail about what has gone before – and that would take too long. However, I should just warn you that the odd spoiler may appear here and there.

 

So, after the Perfect Platinum story arc, the team are trying to get their lives back on track. But the sinister Mega Fox (who is one of the most badass and evil villains ever) has a plan that will strike at AK Girl – by turning her lover into a machine known as Balloon Boy! It is the classic “lover/best friend gets turned into monster” storyline that we’ve seen in a few cartoons and comics (Harvey Dent springs to mind here) but it definitely works well here. And the ending is pretty heartbreaking to say the least.

 

The art is really nicely drawn and has a real cartoony feel to it. And aside from the Lovers Torn Asunder storyline, we also delve a little deeper into AK Girl’s psyche and learn a bit more about her unstable powers. My only minor criticism with the story, which I’ve found with a few Reynard City comics is that sometimes the story moves a little TOO fast for my liking. It tends to jump from one scene to the next and leaves me wondering what’s happening. But that’s not to say that the story isn’t enjoyable in its own right. Plus this story has an interesting twist at the end, somewhat similar to the post credit scene of Marvel’s The Avengers. It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here.

 

And not only that – but yours truly gets a cameo in this comic! I appear at the end in the crowd, which is pretty nice!

 

This is a good story overall, a little bit depressing at times, but sets it up nicely for another possible trauma that AK Girl and the others may have to deal with. You can read this online, as well as the other Reynard City comics at:

 

REYNARD CITY

 

Check this series out if you get a chance! It’s a run read and something a little fresher than other comics out there. I recommend this series highly. :D

 

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Author Interview and Giveaway: David Berger

Well... I FINALLY managed to thaw out after that somewhat unprovoked attack by Elsa and Zarracka on my last post. It's amazing what a hot soup and a cuppa tea will do!

 

I still can't believe they froze me! All because I didn't include Elsa in the Top Five Awesomely Kickass Heroines! Oh, and the way that Elsa looked at me when I said Let It Go wasn't my favourite song! I mean, seriously? Geez, this Elsa is really far up her own...

 

Elsa: Ahem!

 

 

 

 

Er... moving on!

 

Today on my blog we have another wonderful author to chat to! After getting to talk to him via Twitter, I invited him for a little chat today - and I hope you guys will join me in welcoming him! Please give a big hand to - Mr David Berger!

 

 

David, thank you so much for agreeing to the interview. So, what inspired you to get into writing?

 

I was first inspired to be a writer when I was a child, when my sister and I would write stories about the Smurfs. They were the “in” thing back then, so she and I would come up with pretty intriguing stuff, from my recollection. I wish I’d kept some of those stories, come to think of it, but this was before computers (1970s). Now, serious writing began when I was in high school and wanted to tell stories, largely influenced by my love of Greek mythology and fantasy novels. I wrote story after story of epic adventure tales, using heroes (and heroines) from Greek myths in new situations.

 

 

Who are your favourite authors?

 

I tend to like fantasy and science fiction writers the most, and in no particular order, I’d say J. R. R. Tolkien, David Eddings, Marian Zimmer Bradley, S. P. Somtow, Frank Herbert, Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony, and I can’t forget Neil Gaiman.

 

 

Anyone who mentions Tolkien is ok with me! :D So, being a writer, I have to ask - which, in your opinion is more important – story or characters?

 

Characters. And I say that after having written two novels, largely because it’s the conversations I have with my characters that drive the plot. I usually have an idea of how I want a story to go, but sometimes the characters don’t want to do what I want… they truly do have a sentience all their own. Character backstory usually drives the plot forward. As a reader, I get tangled in a good tale, but if the characters don’t fit the story or if they’re too universally simple, I lose interest. The development of character for me is paramount.

 

 

I tend to agree with you there. So what do you look for in a good story?

 

After appealing characters, I look for nuances throughout the plot that snag my interest. Hidden gems, if you will. If I smirk as I’m reading because the author has put in a subtle reference to something—like mythology or an allusion to another book, for example—I’m hooked. Or, if the subtleties of a character’s persona catch my interest, I feel like the author created layers for me to find. Sometimes, just implying that something exists, like magic, without actually stating it directly is enough for me to keep reading.

 

 

What’s the best advice you can give to inspiring authors?

 

First, write and read as much as you can. The more you read, the better a writer you become over time. And, subsequently, the more you write, the better you appreciate what you read. If you’re writing fantasy, then you should read as many diverse works in fantasy as you can find. Second, and certainly this should go without saying, have professional editors look over your work before you publish. Nothing takes the reader out of a great story than a poorly edited novel.

 

 

Good advice! Now about your current work, what is the title of it?

 

My most recently released novel is the second in the Task Force: Gaea series: Memory’s Curse, the sequel to Finding Balance. My soon to be released (soon, as in late 2014/early 2015) is The Liar’s Prophecy.

 

 

 
 
 

Can you tell us a little about it?

 

Memory’s Curse follows right where Finding Balance leaves off, with the four members of the U.N. Task Force: Gaea having to find and vanquish an ancient primordial being known only as The Nebulous One who is hunting the Olympian gods. However, the gods have all vanished except for Apollo. In the process of locating this evil entity, the team members—Aegis, Aether, Zodiak, and Talon—find themselves battling against powerful memories that may prevent them from successfully completing the mission. And, this novel draws on some Lovecraftian ideas, so The Nebulous One’s power is quite formidable as well.

 

 

Oooh! You mentioned Lovecraft - that gets two thumbs up from me! Have you worked/are you working on anything else?

 

I contributed two short stories to an LGBTQ anthology called New Years to Christmas: 15 Queer Holiday Tales. One story, “The Hanukkah Gift,” tells how two gay, Jewish men, Aaron and Jason, meet, and “Father’s Day” continues their relationship and involves some of their families. They’re foundational stories with a little bit of romance that I would like to build into a novel someday.

 

 

Cool. Do you have any favourite characters in the story?

 

Hard question! But, in the Task Force: Gaea series, one of my favorites is Brandon, also known by his codename: Zodiak. He wears an ancient amulet that allows him to channel power from each of the zodiac signs, and with some, he can physically transform into them, like the centaur archer for Sagittarius. His story goes through some interesting turns in both novels, and his connection to the earth, Gaea, figures prominently in both. Another favorite is Dr. Aleta Halston, codename: Talon. She was genetically fused with a white eagle and can sprout wings at whim. Her tool (not really a weapon) is a silver javelin that allows her to channel Zeus’ lightning. Her sarcastic humor takes people off guard a bit, and because of that, she can seem a bit harsh. But, I really like her.

 

 

Now I ask this to EVERY author I interview, but if your book was turned into a film/TV series, who would you get to play the characters?

 

Interestingly enough, I was approached by 490 Entertainment out in L.A. to turn my first novel into film. Currently, they have my film treatment, and I should be hearing back soon about how they're going to proceed. Now, my wish list? Well, Dan Fairmont, aka Aegis, would be played by someone like Joe Manganiello, although he should be early 30s. For Brandon Jeffries, aka Zodiak, I’d easily say Channing Tatum. For Aleta Halston, aka Talon, I would go with Ayisha Issa, who played a priestess in Immortals. For Sarah Jacobs, aka Aether, I would go with Emma Watson.

 

 

Oh wow! That's awesome! :D Well best of luck for that! So, so you have any other hobbies other than writing?

 

I’m an avid reader, comic book fan (Wonder Woman is my favorite), graphic designer, and I’m a fitness and running nut.

 

 

Wonder Woman is awesome! Are you a summer or winter person?

 

As a teacher, I’m going to say summer person, but having grown up in New York, I’ll say winter. I love the cooler weather much more. I’d rather bundle up than be sweating.

 

 

Night owl or morning person?

 

Oh, night owl, easily. I can tell those birds how it gets done, too. I’m much more creative at the wee hours.

 

 

Do you have a favourite food/drink?

 

Sushi is my favourite food, by far. I would live off it if I could.

 

 

Now, this is one of the most important questions I have ever asked. Who would win in a fight between a zombie ninja dragon and a cyborg unicorn with advanced weaponry? XD

 

I’m going to go with cyborg unicorn with advanced weaponry, partly because I’m not a fan of zombies, but I also think a cyborg has more capabilities, especially with that horn. You just never know what it can become.

 

 

Now you said that you were an avid comic book fan earlier - so I think you'll like this next one! You're a superhero - which powers would you like? Oh and here is a picture of Wonder Woman since you mentioned her. You're welcome!

 

 

 

 

Superstrength or superspeed?

 

Hmm. I’ve been a comic fan my whole life, so I’d have to say super-strength. Once I’ve gotten somewhere quickly, what else would I do? I know it works for the Flash, but I think muscle over motion for me.

 

 

Fair enough. Flight or teleportation?

 

Something about the power of flight is alluring to me. I’d like to see where I’m going, I suppose. I’ve always had those dreams where I can fly, and the idea of soaring above the clouds seems more like freedom from restraint to me, something I wish I had more often.

 

 

This one I'm sure fans of Superman will appreciate. Gale-force breath or freeze breath?

 

Gale-force breath, definitely. Once you’ve frozen you’re adversary, where’s the fun in that? I’d like to play with my foe a little before I use my super-strength to knock him across the globe.

 

 

Remind me never to tick you off! XD Heat vision or telekinesis?

 

Telekinesis! Moving objects with the mind has much more potential than heat vision. Besides, I could move fire, so I’d be able to get the best of both.

 

 

Very true! Worked for Dark Phoenix I suppose. Ok, finally, Invincibility or accelerated healing factor?

 

The true hero in me says healing factor so I can feel my own mortality a bit and keep me honest, but part of me wants to say invincibility. Nah, healing factor for sure. Best to psych out my foe and let him think he’s gotten the best of me, then I can surprise him when I’ve healed.

 

 

Well thank you so much to David for taking part in this fun little interview! Hopefully you guys enjoyed it and you can find links to follow David on his Smashwords page:

 

SMASHWORD PAGE

 

Not only that, but David is kindly offering a special code for BOTH of his books through Smashwords, so if you want to check them out - all this week they are available! All you have to do is click on the links below and use the corresponding code to get them!

 

 

Task Force: Gaea - Finding Balance: Use code TQ58D on checkout

 

Task Force: Gaea - Memory's Curse: Use code EW39X on checkout

 

 

Thanks David for taking part! Another author interview/giveaway next week!

 

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Disclaimer: Once again, all images above are copyright of their respective owners. I claim no ownership on any of them.

First Impressions: Arrow

WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS!
 

 

 

So I decided to bring back an idea that I used to do on an old blog of mine, whereby I give my impressions on a brand new series (or returning series) I've seen and see what I think about it. Last night I saw the opening episode of the superhero series Arrow, created by the makers of Smallvile and based on the character of Green Arrow.

 

I have to be honest, the Green Arrow is kind a superhero that passed me by over the years and so I know very little about him - other than he's a Robin Hood type hero that's also a part (or has been part) of the Justice League. So it's a refreshing change checking out a superhero that I have little knowledge about.

 

The opening episode details our hero Oliver Queen (the Green Arrow), having been shipwrecked on an island for five years. During that time he had been training himself and learning the art of archery. Why? Because his dad (who was on the boat with him when it was destroyed in the storm) admitted to being involved in some dodgy dealings and made his son promise to make up for his mistakes. So Queen has been training himself to peak physical condition and marksmanship so that when he is rescued (and he is by a passing fisher boat), he can return to Starling City to kick butt and save it from the baddies that are dragging it under!

 

If the familiar set up reminds you too much of Batman, you'll be forgiven for that. Indeed, the original character of Green Arrow was originally written as a counterpart to Batman, although these days with much more Left-Wing political beliefs. Indeed, they are both very similar - both are rich and both use technology and their own physical strength to fight the baddies. The one main difference I've noticed is that Batman tends not to kill his enemies, whereas Green Arrow seems to have little hesitation killing or maiming his enemies - which I'm not too fond of, but that's just me.

 

On returning to Starling City, Queen has to catch up with his life as much as possible, and learning that things have moved on. His mother has remarried, his sister, nicknamed Speedy (who was Green Arrow's apprentice) is now a party going drug addict (a reference to the comics when the original Speedy was addicted to Heroin), and his old girlfriend Dinah "Laurel" Lance (the alter ego of Black Canary in the comics, but it's not currently clear whether she has her powers in this TV show) has never forgiven Oliver for sleeping with her sister - who was on the ship with him when it died. So, it seems that Oliver Queen has a lot of catching up to do - but right now he's more concerned with making the criminal underworld pay.

 

Another great supporting character is Detective Quentin Lance (played by British actor Paul Blackthorne of 24 and The Dresden Files). He is the father of Dinah and blames Oliver Queen for the death of his daughter. He could be considered the antagonist of the series as he's determined to find out who this "hooded archer" is.

 

I was half expecting this episode to go through the usual "hero origin" story and go through all the slog of the hero learning to use his powe and go into great depth as to why he became a hero - but in actual fact the first episode pretty much went past all that and went straight into the action. It gave a brief introduction into the character of Queen, his backstory and his motivation - not to mention the shock of returning to his old life and seeing how much has moved on - and then left the last 30 minutes or so to have some pretty decent action. Overall, I thought the pace was spot on. The story was pretty tight and has plenty of room for expansion throughout the series - plus there was a twist at the end that did grab my attention. The characters were well done and I could believe that they were real. I'm interested to see how the Oliver/Speedy storyline pans out as I think that could make for some pretty cool stories - maybe how her drug additiction could effect her.

 

The action was pretty cool as well and the fight sequences were well correographed. My only real problems with this episode is that it suffered a little bit with what I called "Chris Nolan Batman Syndrome", in that it tried to be a little too dark and mature to keep it in line with those films. The problem with that is that sometimes, the dialogue was too cheesy and hammy in places so this kinda ruined the dark edge. Nevertheless, the action scenes more than make up for it.

 

On the whole, I think this has a lot of potential and hopefully can only get better. Not only that, but I've heard that other characters from the DC universe will be making appearences in this series. In fact, at the beginning, I noticed there was a referrence to the long standing enemy of the Teen Titans, Slade Wilson, AKA Deathstroke the Terminator. Could HE be making an appearence? That would be awesome if so!

 

WOULD I RECOMMEND? Definately! Arrow I think has come out at the right time, seeing as the superhero genre is gradually gaining strength and seems to be more popular now than ever before. Even if you don't know the comics, there is still plenty in here that would keep you interested. This is one series I will keep an eye on closely and hopefully, it will only get better as it goes on!

 

 

Pandragon

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My Review of The Dark Knight Rises

 

And so, one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year (and possibly this decade) reaches our screen. It has been five years since The Dark Knight left us astounded and awestruck by its powerful drama and dark atmosphere – everything a Batman story should have. Many wondered if Chris Nolan could replicate the same power with the next Batman film and have been holding their breath for a long time for this moment.

 

I’m not going to mention anything about the recent tragedy in Colorado regarding this film, as I’m sure we don’t need to be reminded of it. Instead, I’m just gonna talk about my feelings about this film. I must admit I did have some trepidation about the movie at first, given that the third films in trilogy movies – superhero ones especially – are usually the weakest. Spider-man 3 for instance was an overly convoluted mess of a story and X-Men The Last Stand was little more than a popcorn movie that substituted too much action for story. And those are just a few examples. I prayed that I would be wrong on this one as I do love the new Batman movies of late.

 

Thankfully, as with Avengers, I was not left disappointed. To quote what I said once I left the cinema “There are no levels of awesomeness to describe how awesome this film is!” And I mean it. Even at the end of the film, everyone in the cinema gave a standing ovation and cheer (although I think that was just because we needed to get some feelings back in our backside. It IS a long film after all). And it is well deserved! This movie is excellent and a worthy successor to The Dark Knight.

 

First thing I liked was the way that the story tied into themes that were carried over from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. This made it feel like a continuation of the story rather than a completely different story, which was great. I really don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but let’s just say that the League of Shadows make a return in this one – and boy do they make a return!

 

Christian Bale gives his best performance yet as Batman/Bruce Wayne, a man that has been broken both physically and mentally. Some of his performances even bring up shades of Mickey Rouke’s The Wrestler. This is a man that is trying to escape from his past, but is forever haunted by it. In the end, he has no choice but to don the Batman suit again – except this time may be his last. There is a real sense of desperation in Bruce’s character and I will admit, there were plenty of times when I thought, “How the hell will he get out of this one?” Sadly, Michael Caine’s Alfred kinda gets pushed to the back in this one and you do miss him. But he has some great moments in the film, including a very tearful scene at the end.

 

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (never officially referred to as Catwoman in the film, but we all know she is) is possibly the most exciting of the new characters to watch. She’s feisty, sexy, kick ass and very likeable – but at the same time vulnerable and Bruce kinda shows her a different side to life. In many ways they help each other. If Hathaway doesn’t get some kind of award for her performance then heads will roll. I think that she could have even had a film of her own and it will still be awesome. She’s a great female lead and I think everyone will like her. The other supporting character to mention is Blake, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In many ways a young Bruce Wayne, Blake follows the ethics and ideals that Batman stood for and becomes a valiant fighter in the battle to save Gotham. In fact, once you discover his real name, fans of Batman will no doubt get a chuckle.

 

Now onto the villain, which is one of the things I was looking forward to – the overpowering monster that is Bane. One of the things I hated about the film Batman and Robin was how they screwed this character up. In the comics, Bane was one of the first villains to overpower Batman and even cripple him, and yet in that film they made him a stupid thug. Thankfully, Nolan treats Bane with the respect he deserves. Bane is an overpowering force, able to challenge Batman physically – but he also has brains as well as brawns and brings Gotham to his knees. Tom Hardy plays the role and he does a great job, making Bane a seemingly unstoppable force and a seemingly impossible challenge to overcome. Couple of things I didn’t like – I didn’t like the idea that they removed his “venom” powers (a chemical that gives him superhuman strength) and his voice was a little bit muffled at times. In fact, he sounded a little too much like Sean Connery for my liking. But as a villain, he was still threatening – and I LOVED the little tribute to Knightfall where Bane lifted Batman above his head and broke his back.

 

Much like The Dark Knight, the tone of the film will probably split movie-goers down the middle. Like the previous film, The Dark Knight Rises is extremely dark and even depressing in places. At least in The Dark Knight, we had the Joker to add in some comedy (albeit dark comedy), but there aren’t many laughs in this film. The ending especially is one of those “get the hankies ready” moments and even during the film it feels quite sad. The middle act especially brought out images of a dictatorship government taking over and oppressing the people. But for a Batman film, it was perfect. Batman the character has always been about darkness and struggling to overcome that very darkness that threatened to consume Bruce Wayne’s soul. Only through struggling through darkness can we appreciate the light – that has always been the theme of Batman and will continue to be so for years to come.

 

So to sum up, is this film good? No. Is this film excellent? No? Is this film awesome? Hell yes! It’s one of those few films that deserves all the hype it got. It not only continues the story of Batman, but completes in a way that feels satisfying and natural. Is it the best of the Chris Nolan’s Batmans? You’ll just have to decide that for yourself. Batman shows that superhero stories can have real drama and don’t always have to be over the top and cheesy. And with a viral trailer of The Man of Steel (produced by Chris Nolan and directed by Zach Snyder) now doing the rounds across the internet, maybe DC are stepping their game up to show that Marvel aren’t necessarily the leader when it comes to the superhero genre anymore.

 

 

Regards

Pandragon

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Top Five Underrated Superhero Movies

 

It seems that this summer is the summer of superhero movies! We’ve already had The Avengers (awesome film) and The Amazing Spider-Man (haven’t seen yet) – and with Batman: The Dark Knight Rises out in a matter of days (which I HOPE will be awesome), it seems the movie studios are feeding us the cream of the crop in superhero films!

 

Superhero movies had a bit of a bad reputation in the old days. If you look at the previous list of films based on superheroes (The Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Elecktra, Superman Returns, Wolverine and even that DREADFUL Catwoman film to name a few), they just didn’t come out the way the filmmakers intended. Whether it be that the casting was wrong, the story was dull, or the filmmakers just butchered the source material to make it something completely unlike the comic it was based on, superhero films rarely seemed to get it right.

 

Fortunately, since the release of Iron Man and The Dark Knight, it does seem that superhero films are making a bit of a comeback and film makers are learning to show respect for the source material it was based on. But even before this, not ALL superhero movies were terrible. In fact, today I look at the top five underrated superhero movies that are actually enjoyable to watch. These are the superhero movies that I actually had some fun watching and would easily watch them again (for the most part).

 

Ok, so let’s set the ground rules for this one. Firstly, I am NOT including any of the latest Marvel films that make up the Avengers storyline – nor am I including any of the Chris Nolan Batman films. Simply because all those movies already kick ass. Also, this is purely based on films I’ve seen – so I may miss a few out. And finally, this is all just my own personal opinion.

 

So here they are – in no particular order.

 

 

 

1. Hellboy

 

This is one of those films that everyone raved about when it first came out, but no one seems to talk about it anymore. It’s a shame because this film, and its sequel The Golden Army, are actually decent films.

 

I never actually read a lot of Hellboy comics before this film, but after seeing it I actually did read it a little more. And you know what, they’re pretty good. The storyline is very basic – a demon child raised to fight mythological creatures, but it actually works.

 

I love the character of Hellboy in the film – he has a great sense of humour that makes for some very funny scenes. And that is one of the reasons that I like about this movie – unlike other superhero films at the time (that tried to fill their plots with drama and angst), Hellboy wasn’t afraid to have a little fun and didn’t always take itself seriously. It knew how silly it’s plot was and didn’t try to overdo the drama.

 

Also, the monster design and costumes are just awesome! Guillermo Del Toro did a fantastic job bringing the world of Hellboy to life and his monster designs actually feel original and lavish. Ron Pearlman is excellent as Hellboy, capturing both the human and monster aspects of the character. And his one liners are just brilliantly delivered!

 

All in all, as long as you don’t take the plot TOO seriously and just sit back and enjoy the ride – this is a great film and one worth seeing.

 

 

 

2. Spawn

 

Seeing as this film is kinda reviled amongst Spawn fans, I might get some raised eyebrows for this one. But in truth, I do actually like this movie. It takes some liberties with the source material and adds in a little bit more humour than the comic does – but I think that actually works in the films favour.

 

Spawn is the best selling independent comic character (at least back then), created by ex-Marvel artist Todd Macfarlane. It told the story of an soldier that was betrayed by his own people and killed. Sent to hell, he made a deal with the Malebolgia and became a hellspawn for his dark army so that he could see his wife and child. But when he returns, his wife has remarried. Angry, Spawn decides to take revenge and uses his power to protect the innocent. Since his beginnings, he has fought everything from scantily clad angels to cyborg mafia types – even killing god and becoming the new King of Heaven at one point!

 

The film Spawn pretty much follows Spawn from his humble beginnings, becoming a hellspawn and then trying to avenge his death. During this, he is hassled by a monster called the Violator (appearing as the Clown), played brilliant by John Leguizamo. Spawn is also guided by a former hellspawn named Cogliostro, played by veteran Scottish actor Nicol Williamson in his last film role. For those who don’t know, Nicol Williamson was an immensely talented actor that was once described by playwright John Osborne as “the greatest living actor since Marlon Brando”, but he didn’t seem to do anything after the Spawn movie. I recently discovered that he died in December 2011 of throat cancer – which is sad.

 

Anyway, one of the things that fans of the comic don’t like is that this film has a much lighter tone and tends to take some liberties with the source material. But if I’m being honest, I always found the comic a little TOO dark sometimes, so I actually don’t have a problem with the film being a little lighter. The Clown does bring in a lot of cheesy humour to the role that I kinda like. Also, in fairness to the filmmakers, they do actually keep close to the original costume designs of the characters. Spawn’s costume looks awesome and even the Clown looks pretty good. Some of the special effects are a little questionable (this was 1996 remember), but for the most part they’re decent enough.

 

Ok, so maybe it isn’t one of the best adaptations of a comic, but in actual fact it’s really not the worse film ever made. It has more than a few issues and problems – but if you don’t know the comics or just want a movie that you can turn your brain off and enjoy, you might want to check this one out.

 

 

 

3. Kick-Ass

 

Kick-Ass asks the question that everyone else has wondered. Why don’t we all try to be superheroes? Answer – because we’d get the living crapped beaten out of us! The story follows a young boy who decides that he wants to be a costumed fighter (who wouldn’t?) But after getting the living crap kicked out of him and ending up in hospital, he has many nerve endings destroyed and replaced by metal limbs – meaning that his pain receptors are dulled. Continuing on his (rather pointless) quest to be a hero, he quickly becomes famous through Youtube and Myspace (seriously does anyone actually use Myspace anymore?). The other heroes in this story are Big Daddy and Hit Girl, a Father-Daughter combination out to take out a big mafia boss in a revenge story.

 

The movie garnered some controversy for Hit Girl (only 10 or 11 years old, but an expert martial artist) saying the C word at one point in the film. What I found kinda funny is that THIS would be the one that upsets people – yet no one batted an eyelid when she went around shooting people up. Many thought that this was gonna be like a teen movie when it first came out – but actually it is one of the bloodiest superhero films I’ve seen in a while! It doesn’t hold back on the violence and, in many ways, is actually one of the more realistic superhero movies – although it gets ridiculous near the end.

 

However I DO have some problems with this film. Firstly, a lot of the characters lack any kind of humanity (even the heroes) and seem to go around killing people without any care or remorse for their actions. I also though the Big Daddy revenge plot had a major plot hole in it that didn’t really justify his actions for revenge – nor his reasons for including his daughter in his revenge scheme, although I did like the dynamics between Big Daddy and Hit Girl.

 

For those thinking about becoming a superhero after seeing your idols on the big screen, you might wanna check this out first. Kick-Ass raises a lot of moral questions and could be debated about for years to come, but it is a film that you should check out at least once.

 

 

 

4. Watchmen

 

If you had to ask me which is my favourite superhero film of all time, I’d say Watchmen. Purely because it is one of the most faithful adaptations of any comic – pretty much following the story word by word!

 

Watchmen, written by the legendary Alan Moore (one of my favourite and most influential writer for me) is considered by many to be the greatest comic book of all time. At a time when superheroes were portrayed as clean cut heroes, Watchmen portrayed superheroes as realistic characters with incredibly complex personalities and amoral values. Set in an alternative timeline where Richard Nixon is still president, the comic (and the film) chronicles humanities struggles with an upcoming nuclear war with Russia. Over the course of the 12 issue comic, the threat of nuclear war is constantly foreshadowed, with images representing a ticking clock (the Doomsday Clock) being a recurring theme of the plot. Meanwhile, a former superhero (Rorschach) investigates the death of a former hero – which leads him to a much bigger conspiracy that could affect the world. All these add up to a very dark story that is mysterious in nature, yet highly entertaining to read. It also has one of the bleakest and ambiguous endings of any comic.

 

Many said that Watchmen, as a comic, was unfilmable. Even Alan Moore himself said he didn’t think his comic could be filmed. But Zach Snyder did a fantastic job in my opinion. He captured the look and feel of the comic almost perfectly and followed the story as much as possible. Watching this film made you absolutely believe that you were watching the comic come to life. Sure, they cut out and change bits here and there, but that was to be expected. Some complained that the film has a much more upbeat feel than the comic, and many were upset by the slight change in the films ending. Myself, I don’t have a problem with the changes made – it still feels faithful to the comic.

 

Acting wise, these were kind hit or miss. Jackie Earle Haley was amazing as Rorschach and I actually believed him to be the character in seconds. Jeffery Dean Morgan was equally as good as the Comedian, Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl and Billy Crudup as the emotionally detached Doctor Manhattan were also great. But I gotta be honest, the roles of Silk Spectre and Ozymandias (played by Malin Akerman and Matthew Goode respectably) were a disappointment. Silk Spectre was just too plastic and dull and Matthew Goode just lacked the psychotic feel that Ozymandias had in the comic.

 

But overall, this film stays VERY true to the comic and for that I’m thankful. This was one of those films that HAD to be done right, due to Watchmen being so iconic. And I think that they did it justice. To this day, I still feel that this is one of the most faithful adaptation of the original source material.

 

 

 

5. Batman: The 60’s Movie

 

“Wait!” I hear you cry. “You weren’t going to mention Batman.” Well, actually, I said I wasn’t going to include Chris Nolan’s Batman. I never said anything about the OTHER Batman movies!

 

There have been so many adaptations of Batman over the years that for some, it’s hard to pick a favourite. And don’t get me wrong, I love Chris Nolan’s Batman films as much as I love Tim Burton’s Batman films. But, if you were to ask me what my FAVOURITE Batman film of all time was – hands down, it will be the 60’s Batman!

 

I don’t care that this series completely butchered the dark feel of Batman – I LOVED this series as a kid and still do today. I love the campy, over the top feel, the cheesy acting, the fact that Batman and Robin always have the right gadget to help them out (and they all seemed to be labelled as well) and that they can solve anything in just a matter of seconds with just the smallest of clues (seriously, even McGuyver would blush at the way they solve some things). I even love Caesar Romero’s portrayal of the Joker and the fact that they had to put makeup over his moustache as he refused to shave it! All in all, I just love this series and it makes me laugh every time I see it today.

 

This film for me was a real treat when I first saw it. It was one of the first time where Batman had to go up against not one, but FOUR of his villains! For a fan of the series, this was a big thing for me! Sure the plot is utterly ridiculous and over the top, but I still love it. It also has one of my favourite scenes of all time. Batman finds a bomb about to explode and, not wanting to endanger any innocents, sets out to dispose of it. But finding nowhere to get rid of the bomb without hurting civilians (and ducks), Batman turns to the camera, frustrated and says.

 

“Somedays you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”

 

I LOVE the way that he says that line like it’s an everyday problem. And yet he says it with such verve that it makes it sound both ridiculous and badass at the same time! It’s kinda like that line in Snakes on a Plane where Samuel L Jackson says “I’ve had it with this mother***ing snakes on this mother****ing plane.” It’s such a terrible line, but Samuel L Jackson still somehow makes it sound badass.

 

So yeah, many hardcore fans of Batman will probably hate me for saying this is my favourite over the other Batman films – but I can’t deny how much I love this movie. It’s a part of my childhood, and most importantly it’s FUN to watch!

 

 

So those are my picks. Agree or disagree? Please feel free to comment below with your views/feedback.

 

Until next time!

 

 

Regards

Pandragon

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