christopher nolan

Interstellar – A Review


So it’s taken me rather a while to get around to seeing Interstellar.

I missed it when it was in the cinemas, mainly due to it being a stonking (Unnecessary? -Ed) 170 minutes long and simply being unable to find the time to spare to go and see it. But thanks to the wonders of home DVD, that has now been rectified.

When it came out I recall competing voices branding it either the triumph of modern science fiction cinema, or a waste of time. In my experience, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

But who knows? Maybe it is the best thing since 2001

Read on…

Heresy of the Week – Zack Snyder will ruin DC Comics

zack snyder

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

In their hour of need, DC Comics have turned to Zack Snyder to save them in their film war with arch-nemeses Marvel. This is, however, a mistake, and a simple look at Snyder’s films will reveal the true magnitude of this error.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week: Batman should be left to die

here lies batman

Having just emerged from an epic, gritty trilogy (courtesy of Christopher Nolan) the Dark Knight’s cowl should not be passed on the next the line of chisel-jawed actors, but rather the (film) franchise should be stowed away in some dusty Warner Brothers/DC Comics archive, and permitted to lie fallow for a while.

Ah, Batman. You’ve been on the big screen eight times, by my count, played by five different actors. Your franchise has been taken in all directions, from the camped-up gothic of Tim Burton’s films, to the gritty “realism” of Christopher Nolan’s rebooted trilogy, to…well, let’s not dwell on Batman and Robin.

And now Ben Affleck is going to get a go. Most of the internet seems to be up in arms over this, despite that it’s not really the end of the world. I’m not terribly bothered about Affleck per se, though the whole Batman vs Superman business seems a little questionable. (It does seems a somewhat odd casting decision, since Affleck was the lead in one of the worst not-Batman and Robin superhero films of recent times: Daredevil)

No, my contention is a little more controversial than Mr Affleck. Frankly, I’m not sure there should be any more Batman films with anyone wearing the cowl.

Read on…

Man of Steel – A Review

man of steel

I’ve never really loved Superman. I wouldn’t say he’s my least favourite superhero (probably Daredevil — whilst a blind man being able to see is certainly great for him, it doesn’t really qualify as a superpower), but he’s always seemed somewhat bland.

A large part of that is that over the decades his powers have been increased to such a state that he’s near-invincible, and for there even to be enough conflict for a story one of the numerous flavours of kryptonite has to be wheeled out. The 1978 Superman had him able to reverse the flow of time, for crying out loud!

But here we have a new, modern, shiny version. From the man who made a fair old hash of filming probably the best superhero comic ever writtenWatchmen, and with a trailer that contained enough lens flare to make JJ Abrams blush, does Man of Steel even stand a chance?

Read on…

The Dark Knight Rises – A Review

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

There is a part of me which wishes that The Dark Knight Rises had been bad, so that I give this review the witty (or not so) title “The Dark Knight Sinks”. And in that first sentence, I’ve revealed my thoughts about The Dark Knight Rises. Yes, it was good. It was very good.

And this is from someone who, honestly, did not think much of The Dark Knight. I went into the final instalment of the trilogy having heard others wax lyrical over its excellence — as they did with TDK — and was somewhat worried that it would follow its predecessor’s suite.

I will not include spoilers in this review (unlike some allegedly more reputable reviewers). But it will surprise no one that this film centres around the return and redemption of Bruce Wayne and Batman (is that a spoiler? That Bruce Wayne is Batman? If you haven’t figured that out yet, you’ve clearly not seen any of the previous films — or Batman media, ever). Anyway, Bane rolls up to carry on the good work of his centrepiece villains, trying to bring Gotham into chaos, whilst Batman grapples with what his role is, and Commissioner Gordon battles with his conscience over the cover-up of the murder of Two-Face/Harvey Dent (excellent name, by the way) at the end of TDK.

Tom Hardy, as Bane, is the star of this show. I am increasingly convinced that Hardy is one of the great actors of our generation. He has an ability to fall into a character which is a sad rarity. When he plays Bane, he is Bane. Similarly with all the other roles I have seen him play. And as Bane he is impressive. A wall of muscle, backed with nihilistic philosophy, he was exactly the right choice.

It wasn’t a perfect film. There were still a couple of problems with it:

  • Bane’s voice effect was pretty cool, but it was somewhat prohibitive at times. One of the problems that the trilogy has suffered was Christian Bale’s overdoing of the “Bat voice”, which makes it difficult to understand what he’s saying half of the time. Having Bane competing with Batman in the inaudibility stakes was probably not the best move.
  • There is something of a masterclass in how not to handle potentially explosive nuclear devices, towards the end. After going to great lengths to convince the audience of the danger, the clumsy treatment seems a little…unbelievable.

There are other niggles, but on the whole it’s very good. No one let the side down, acting-wise, and the story was excellent. There will be some discussion of the ending, but I thought it was done well. It could have been done differently, and the ending could have gone either way, but the important thing to me is that it was fitting.

I look forward to watching the trilogy as a whole, and looking on it in that way, and as a result I suspect I may feel more fondly towards the middle instalment. We all know that The Dark Knight Rises will clean up come awards season. I think the biggest — and most welcome — surprise, for me, is that it deserves to.