THOUGHTS ON…”GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY”

 Greetings all!!!

So let’s just get this clear and out of the way: never EVER doubt Marvel Studios. Like I said in my comic-con round up, time and time again Marvel have proved me wrong, and with Guardians of the Galaxy nothing has changed.

Yes this is a review for Guardians of the Galaxy.

I know I know. It’s been out for a while. And I actually saw it the first day it came out, but busy schedule etc…you get the picture…

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(***SPOILERS AHEAD, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET, YOU HAVE BEEN FOREWARNED. DO NOT READ ON UNLESS YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN THE MOVIE OR YOU DON’T CARE IF THE PLOT OF A FILM/SERIES IS RUINED FOR YOU***)

So, Guardians of the Galaxy tells the story of how a group of intergalactic misfits that band together to save the universe from certain annihilation. The premise is that simple and there’s nothing wrong with that.

One of the first positives you can take from Guardians is that it knows what kind of film it is, and it doesn’t have to take itself so seriously and that’s what makes it work. From the moment at the beginning when Peter Quill is dancing in the temple you know you’re in for a fun ride.

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And the chemistry between the characters is a great thing, but even on their own these characters are terrific. It’s still really difficult for me to pick out my favourite character, because they all had their moments, whether funny or emotional.

Seriously if someone had a gun to my head and asked me to pick my favourite, in my head I’ll be thinking; “He’s cool, I like him…but he did that cool thing, I like him also…but then she’s also pretty cool because she also did that really cool thing…”

Even though Gamorra is the typical whiny female character within the film (Seriously, it’s not fair comic book movies, apart from Black Widow, all your female characters tend to be very annoying and whiny all the time, you need to fix that shit), she is the moral compass of the team, so that’s why even she is a welcome addition.

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However, Karen Gillan as Nebula is soooo awesome. The cold and calculating nature of the character was so well portrayed that I found myself thinking halfway through the film that I’d rather see Gillan as Gamorra rather than Zoe Saldana. But then again, if Gillan wasn’t Nebula, would she be as badass as she was in the movie?

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Tough call…

Put I think a lot of credit is due to the other actors, especially Chris Pratt as Peter Quill. He plays the role with such confidence that even when he has that awkwardly goofy moment where he dances in front of Ronan you feel that it’s sort of a second nature to the character. Pratt was a perfect casting.

Also, I know a few close friends of mine had their doubts as Bradley Cooper as Rocket. Boy were they wrong. I don’t think I need to go on further about that portrayal, because it sure as hell speaks for itself…

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With the good comes the bad…

My two biggest gripes with Guardians came at first with the climactic showdown at the end. I felt it kind of dragged out with Ronan for a big too long.

Even when that was ending, the whole hand holding thing didn’t work for me. It just seemed out of character for the these characters, but I think depending on how you look at it, it’s just a matter of preference.

My next problem came in the film’s villain.

Now, I love Lee Pace. I think he’s a brilliant actor. I would argue to the bitter end as to how he is the standout performer in Halt & Catch Fire.

guardians-of-the-galaxy_ronan-the-accuserHowever, in GOTG, I can feel that he wasn’t allowed enough time to really get relaxed and into the role, and it was as if he was directed to be over the top. But the problem was that he was too over the top for me, and what sucked most for him was most of the character development time had to go to the main cast.

Overall though, Guardians was the most fun I’ve had in a comic book film for a while. A great set of characters and some really hilarious moment. All I’ll say is prosthetic leg. If you’ve seen the film you’ll know what I’m talking about…

Ooooh and massive spoiler alert. How badass does Thanos look? Incredibly. I can’t wait for Avengers 3. Yeah, I’m not even focusing on Age of Ultron anymore, that’s how awesome he looked.

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To round off this week’s post, I wanna say a massive thank you to everyone reading my posts out there. I now have reached 226 views. Massive, massive thanks. It’s keeping me going and it’s incredibly encouraging so thanks.

It looks like the entry I wrote about my verdict on the Man Of Steel vs Superman Returns debate really made some waves. I got like 96 views in 5 days. All for that article.

I think that’s impressive right?

So, did you see Guardians Of The Galaxy? What did you think about it?

With all the comic book movies already released this year, which was your favourite and how would you rank them? For me it goes;

1. X-Men: Days of Future Past

2. Guardians of the Galaxy

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

4. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Also, what was your favourite comic book movie action sequence movie? You can make a list as much as 10, but I decided to pick one from each of the four Marvel movies. Again for me it goes: the Quicksilver White House showdown in DOFP, followed by Electro and Spider-Man’s first showdown in Times Square, Falcon versus the SHIELD jet fighters in Cap2 and finally the prison escape scene in GOTG.

Seeing as how my Singer vs Snyder Superman movie debate proved quite popular, would you like to see another stand off debate about superhero movies?

I don’t even know why I’m asking, I’ll probably go and do it anyway. I’m really interested in the whole, who played Spider-Man better debate, so look out for that one soon.

Thanks once again and I’ll see you on the next post!!!

“SUPERMAN RETURNS” VS “MAN OF STEEL” – VERDICT

Greetings all!!!

So, for a while, I’ve had this debate going on in my head and with my friends. The topic? Which was the better Superman movie? Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel? Or Bryan Singer’s 2006 film Superman Returns?

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The majority of people I know and the majority of film audiences preferred Man Of Steel, which is understandable, but I feel that Superman Returns is completely shat on for no absolute reason.

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If anything, I personally preferred Superman Returns. Especially after watching it again a few days ago.

And yes, while I preferred Singer’s film, I’m not gonna absolutely shit on Snyder’s picture based on bias or some sort of loyalty. As I said in my review, I did like Man Of Steel but I had some problems with it.

Also, I’m not going to be inhumanly supportive of Superman Returns and be worryingly blind to it’s faults.

One of the big areas that always comes up in this debate is who made the better Superman. Now, I am a big fan of both these portrayals.

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Brandon Routh played the dual roles of both Clark and Superman really well. Along with Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman, Routh’s incarnation is without a doubt the most under appreciated superhero portrayal. He portrayed the character with the grace and respect that is deserving of a character of such magnitude.

The way he delivered his lines as Clark and Superman had you believe that they really were two very different people being portrayed by two different actors.

As Clark he bumbled and spoke very softly, but as Superman he spoke with great confidence and authority. And I always love that scene when he speaks to Lois on the roof of the Daily Planet as Superman. This is where Routh really shines as Superman.

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Henry Cavill was also great. I was first skeptical when he was chosen for the role, but when you see Cavill out of the context of the film, when he is going about his everyday, you can’t help but only see him as Superman because he seems to have a lot in common with the character in terms of personality.

From what I’ve read, Cavill is a very nice and approachable and generous guy when it comes to the fans, so it does seem like there is a lot of that character in him. The scene I loved from Cavill was a very small and quick scene, but spoke so man volumes.

It’s when he tries to hitchhike a ride from a passing van after the confrontation in the bar he worked in. You could see the pain and internal anger felt by Clark, almost as if Cavill has, at some point in his life, been through that sort of angst. You believe that scene at the bar affected the actor more than the character.

But an interesting point I will make, whereas I can see Brandon Routh portraying both Singer’s and Snyder’s incarnation, I don’t think I could picture Cavill as Singer’s Superman. Does that mean Routh was better? You decide…

In terms of the films themselves, I can admit Singer’s film had it’s faults. Superman Returns wasn’t perfect, but it was the film that made me fall in love with the character of Superman, because Returns was the first Superman film I ever saw. I was 14 when it came out.

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Returns blew me away because all the cool things about Superman I ever wanted to see in a Superman movie was shown in the movie. Like the scene where he’s been shot at by a machine gun and the bullets are bouncing off his chest, or the scene where he caught the falling globe on top of the Daily Planet building, or especially the scene where he is saving the falling jumbo jet.

The scene where Superman is saving the damaged plane is by far, for me, the coolest scene I’ve ever seen in a comic book movie. And that’s saying something. It was such a well filmed, breath taking, edge of your seat scene. And the special effects were superb.

I’d happily take that jumbo jet scene over Superman vs Zod any day.

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I’m not claiming to be the number one Superman fan ever. I haven’t read every single issue that ever existed in the characters history. Hell, I’ve never even read the iconic Death and Return of Superman storyline.

But from the stuff I’ve learned about the character over the years, Superman Returns keeps more to the character than Man Of Steel does, especially in the action scenes.

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Think about it. In Man Of Steel, how many people did Superman try to save or even saved? Just a couple of soldiers…and Lois Lane…on several occassions. Most of the time, Superman was defending himself from taking a beating from nearly everyone who wanted to kick his ass.

But in Superman Returns, you can see Superman is trying to save everyone as much as he possibly can. Even putting personal issues to one side, particularly in the scene where he is heading away from Metropolis to save Lois.

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He has to make the choice as to whether he had to save the people of the city or save Lois. And in the end, in his true fashion, he goes to save the people, the innocent bystanders of Lex’s ever existing plan.

And it’s also the themes that both the films present to the table. Whilst Man Of Steel is a refreshing take on Kal-El’s origins, it tries too hard quite a lot of the time. It asks the questions: “Can you imagine how the world would react if they found out that someone like this was living among us?” 

It is trying to tackle a very realistic approach to Superman. How would the world react to an alien that has been living amongst us? But you never get the answer to that in the film. You don’t get that sense of awe and wonder. That theme is dismissed quite early.

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Man Of Steel also tries too hard to be iconic, to mean something. It asks so many other questions, like: “What if a child aspired to be something more than society intended?”

That is all well and good but it made no difference to the plot. And you can see the imagery used is deliberately set up to make Superman seem Christ like, but it seems at times more of a hindrance, as if you’re thinking, “Okay, we get it. Superman is symbolic. But can we just get on with the story?”

There is also such a huge emphasis on everything that is said and everything that happens regarding Clark’s parents. The film takes itself far too seriously that the thing that makes Superman such a lovable character seems missing.

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On the other hand Superman Returns tackles more mature themes regarding the character, moreover, it poses an interesting question. “What would happen if Superman came back to a world that no longer needed him? A world that moved on from him?” It’s a film that deals with loss, with moving on and with change.

It deals with Superman getting used to the change happening around him. That in a world in which he was once it’s beloved saviour, that world now needs him no more. What’s even more heart breaking is that the whole “the world doesn’t need Superman campaign” is being spear headed by the woman he loves most. His anchor to the Earth, Lois Lane.

Throughout the movie, Superman has to acclimatise to the world that is changing around him. Even though eventually the world does see that it still needs him, it’s a world that is so different to the one he left behind.

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And the scene where Superman goes to see Lois on top of the Daily Planet, is an emotionally moving scene. Why? Because Superman and Lois want to rekindle what has been lost.

Lois has been hurt by Superman, because she still loves him, and it is out of that love that she feel so much pain and hurt and anger that makes her decide to write the article Why The World Doesn’t Need Superman.

Superman is hurt that she wrote the article. That Lois has settled down and moved on. That she doesn’t depend on him like she used to. And for a fleeting moment, when they come back from their flight, they are about to kiss, and we get a glimpse of what was, and what could have been.

But Lois can’t forgive Superman, and she’ll never forgive herself for betraying Richard, her fiancé like that. Because in the end, Lois has truly moved on. She loves Richard, probably more than she realises. And that’s why she stops herself.

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Imagine it like this, we all have our exes. But there’s always that one that has such a huge impact on your life, that even seeing them has a profound effect on you. That when they enter and leave your life it’s like a tidal wave or a car crash of emotion.

The one the might have been. The one you still care a great deal about. But that person is the one that can still hurt you without being in a romantic relationship with you. The person who will always somehow find a way to let you down.

But the two of you have moved on and have to move on, because it’s for the better and you have someone else in your life who has a better hold on your life and is a better pillar of support in your life than your what-could-have-been.

And that’s what we have with the Superman, Lois and Richard triangle. Superman is Lois’ what could have been. But when Superman left for five years, he let Lois down. She felt like he had abandoned her.

And that’s where Richard comes in. He is always there for Lois. He is her constant and is with her even through the raising of her child. What’s more, Richard’s love for Lois is strongly demonstrated throughout the film. When Superman is in hospital she lets her go see him, even though he fears that there is a lot of history between Lois and Superman. But that demonstrates that he trusts her.

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But the scene that stands out with Richard is when he finds Lois and Jason on the plane. It’s basically telling us that Richard loves Lois so much he is willing to move heaven and Earth to save her, that he flies through hell on Earth to find her.

It’s themes like that, that made Superman Returns brilliant. Even Lex Luthor can’t seem to move on and get accustomed to change. Even he is angered by Superman’s departure. So when he stabs Superman, you can see that there is still some resentment towards Superman, but it’s resentment that transcends more than an age old rivalry.

But like I said earlier, Superman Returns did have it’s many flaws. And those flaws in my opinion, was about two characters. Lex Luthor and Jason White.

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Luthor’s master plan, while inventive, wasn’t the character I’ve come to know in the comics. Don’t get me wrong, Kevin Spacey is, without a doubt a great Lex Luthor, but what stops his incarnation being the greatest were his motives.

The Lex Luthor I know from the comics and come to understand is that it seems that all the actions he takes are done in order to preserve human progression. And he sees Superman as someone who gets in the way of that. He sees Superman as a threat. It’s the world’s most powerful man against one of the universe’s most powerful beings.

He wants to be the one who leads mankind to greatness. He doesn’t want that job taken from him by an outsider. An alien. And if people think I’m wrong, think again. If Luthor really wanted to bring mankind to it’s knees, he wouldn’t on several occasions, suit up to work alongside the Justice League to save the world.

But in Returns, Lex Luthor wants to commit mass genocide in order to turn a profit. That’s not Lex Luthor.

Jason White was another minor flaw but could be seen in both a positive or negative way. I don’t mind that he’s Lois’ kid, I just don’t like that Superman is the father. I feel that in order to have Lois completely absolved of Superman, she needs everything about him completely deleted from her life. Having Jason as Superman’s son changes all that.

But then, like I said, people might see that as a positivity, that Jason is the reason for Superman to always be around in Lois’ life.

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A lot of people tend to complain that Superman Returns “sucked” because it lacked action. That they wanted to see Superman punch something. So in that sense Man Of Steel succeeded where Returns failed. But then people complained that they wanted to see more of the heart in Man Of Steel and that there was too much action.

Which I guess brings me to the point that I guess it seems that it’s never going to be easy making a Superman movie, because which ever approach you take to the character, not everyone is going to be happy. But I’ll say this:

For those who mindlessly shit on Returns, watch it again and get back to me. I think the problem was Returns seemed more of a romance. I guess that’s how you should look at it.

But I think if Returns wasn’t a Superman movie. If it was about a completely different, made up character, and it was marketed as a romantic film with touches of the superhero element, it might have been better received.

But the fact that it’s got that big S attached to it, puts it under pressure and high levels of expectation, so maybe SInger’s approach may have been wrong. I can’t believe I’ve said that about Bryan Singer of all people.

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I also think that people are saying Returns is terrible because it seems like the right thing to say now. Hell, I read Empire magazine’s 5 star review of Returns but as the years went by they slowly tore that film a new one.

Man Of Steel I think was the Superman film people wanted to see, but it lacked the depth and heart that would put it in the same category as The Dark Knight and make it a masterpiece.

But to it’s credit, what made Snyder’s film great was, like I said in my review, that it brought forward themes about Superman no one considered before. That, like most of us, we are still looking for our place in the world, for a sense of purpose and belonging. And that like Clark in Man Of Steel, we all, at some point in our lives, know what it’s like to be an outsider.

At the end of the day, what I’m really saying is Man Of Steel is a likable movie. And it had so much potential. But right now it seems unpolished to me. Still rough around the edges. I feel it needed something more to give it more punch, or something taken away.

Whereas Singer’s Returns was much more tidy, much more polished, much more of a complete picture. It was an elegant picture that hit at the core of the character and hit at the hearts of audiences. How can you not cheer along with the crowd after Superman saves the plane from crashing into the baseball stadium?

So, what do you think? Do you agree? Or do you think this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever posted? And who do you think made the better Superman? In fact, list your top five Superman portrayals if you please. For me, based on the incarnations I’ve seen, from 1 to 5: Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, Henry Cavill, Tom Welling then Dean Cain.

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*Sighs* What could have been…

Comment below and I’ll see you on the next post!!!

THOUGHTS ON…SAN DIEGO COMIC CON 2014 REVEALS

Greetings all!!

Sooooo…another year brings with it another comic con. And boy wasn’t there some stuff to talk about.

Unfortunately I wasn’t one of those lucky few who got to go to Comic-Con but from what got revealed to those who didn’t go there was quite a lot to talk about.

Now where do I start?

Let’s start with the big one and get it out the way. I am of course talking Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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While I have on countless ocassions voiced my concerns about the film and constantly mentioned that I am a massive Superman fan, I feel that this film, of all the films including Avengers 2, was the film most people wanted some sort of insight into just to get us excited just a wee bit.

This was arguably the biggest talking point and my pick for comic-con 2014. Everyone wants to know what’s happening with this film and what it’s going to look like.

And so this happened:

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Seeing these guys next to each other finally made it sink in. This is actually happening. Arguably two of the biggest characters in comic book history were coming together for the first time on the big screen.

I’m not dissing Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron panel. I’m not one of those fans that is so blinded by my love for one company that I see it as infinitely better than the other company. That’s not the case. But with Age of Ultron, Marvel has proven itself time and time again that they can and have been able to handle the big comic book movies so there was no need for concern.

With Dawn of Justice there are so many concerns, so I probably bet that it was the film on most people’s minds and we all wanted to know what was happening. Something to let us know that things will be okay at least.

And that’s what the fans got.

FB_20140724_22_15_39_Saved_PictureIt happened.

Like a nuclear bomb, Zack Snyder dropped some footage for those lucky bastards at San Diego to see.

To be fair I wasn’t expecting any footage. So when I heard that Snyder had unleashed that footage on Hall H I immediately checked for reactions online. And eventually, some kind, but incredibly sneaky person posted the teaser online, and yes I watched it.

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All I can say is this…

Say what you will about Zack Snyder, the man knows how to make a trailer. The man knows how to attract fan attention.

We see Batman in full Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns armour. That’s right armour. Glowing white eyes and all, lighting the Bat-signal to a stormy Gotham skyline, only to find Superman floating threateningly above him, eyes glowing red. As one website aptly described it, it was the stare downs of all stare downs.

Even though the leak wasn’t at a great resolution, you saw enough of it to get seriously pumped for the movie. I still have my doubts, and still wondering with worried angst as to why Batman is dressed to kicked Superman’s ass but I am nonetheless excited.

Be it a cautious anticipation, Zack Snyder you have my interest…

What’s more, like a hidden bonus that you unlock in a lengthy game, Snyder revealed our first look at Wonder Woman. I’m not going to be one of those people who will bitch about how Gal Gadot looks too skinny or why the costume is dark or looks like Xena because as I said before, Gal Gadot is a smart and refreshing choice. All my concern is why she’s even in the movie in the first place.

FB_20140726_19_09_59_Saved_PictureOnly time will tell…

I also get the feeling that when Snyder is ready to let that Comic-Con teaser be released on the internet, we might get a synopsis with it.

So here’s to hoping…

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Like I said about Age of Ultron, in terms of everything regarding the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’m not that worried.They have consistently proved themselves in the past, time and time again that they know how to bring their creations to the big screen.

Seriously, everytime I doubted Marvel I was proven wrong.

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When Avengers was on the horizon, I was worried. I was concerned. Did they prove me wrong? Well…we wouldn’t be here now would we? The same goes for Thor 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

All I can say in regards to Marvel is I want the trailers now. Considering Age of Ultron (especially) is out next year, I would like to see something about it. The same goes for Ant-Man.

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Speaking of seeing something…

I was disappointed that we didn’t get any updates or footage for the Fantastic Four reboot. I love the Fantastic Four as much as the X-Men and more than the Avengers, so I was really keen to see something about it. But again, time will tell…

Other big news that caught my eye was without a doubt The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies.

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I’m not gonna lie to you. I’m not the biggest LOTR fan. I’m not gonna shit on them, but I prefer the Harry Potter series to LOTR. But saying that I loved The Hobbit series, especially The Desolation of Smaug. So any news about TBOTFA will definitely catch my interest.

As far as I’m concerned, of all the things that broke out at San Diego Comic-Con this year, the news I was most concerned with was Dawn Of Justice. And though I still have my doubts, the footage has definitely refocused my interest.

However, I won’t put my faith 100% in it. I did that with Man Of Steel and that didn’t entirely turn out to be the Superman movie I wanted…

So, Comic-Con 2014, what did you make of anything that came out of it? Was there any other projects you were interested or worried about? Did you go? Were you there? What was it like?

Comment below and I’ll see you on the next post!!!

THOUGHTS ON…”DESTINY: BETA”

Greetings all!!

How you guys been? It’s been a while right?

Apoogies, there was just nothing really interesting to report last week, but now with Comic-Con done and out the way and the Destiny Beta open and closed I got some stuff to talk about.

So let’s go…

First off, I’m gonna talk about the Destiny Beta, which I did play through out it’s entirety when it launched.

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And what would I say about it?

It’s awesome. It’s fun. I enjoyed it. Usually I’m not one of those gamers that goes ape shit for a first person shooter because that genre of games bore me. I’d happily take a third person shooter like GTA:V over Call of Duty any day of the week.

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Admittedly I do enjoy Crysis every now and then but my relationship with first person shooters are like my relationship with my barber. I didn’t come to have a deep meaningful experience, I just came to get things done.

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In terms of gameplay it’s your standard FPS. However, it’s pretty cool that you can collect a huge variety of weapons and equip them at any point and carry on with your mission. You can switch from machine gun to sniper rifle at any moment of your choosing and that’s pretty nice.

I also like the Sparrow, which is like hover bike that you summon when you have to travel great distances to get to the next checkpoint. I liked it so much that there were so many times that I just got my Sparrow out for no reason and went for a ride.

Not a euphemism…

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But the thing with Destiny was that I was interested in the story it had to tell. Not only was it intriguing, but after the beta I wanted to see where the game goes next, and what upgrades it has to offer my character.

And seriously, the character design is pretty badass. For anyone who has an interest in the game, you already know the three character types you’re getting. Hunter, Warlock and Titan.

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I think it’s safe to say most people played as a Warlock. I did, and most of the time when I went to The Tower, most of the other people I ran into were Warlocks, even if they didn’t chose to be human.

But speaking of character design…

One of the things I loved about this game as well is the fact that my character kept changing and evolving to be better equipped as I leveled up. It gave the game momentum and kept me interested.

Seriously, my character went from this…

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…then to this…

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…and by the time I got to the end of the demo I ended up like this…

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It was insanely awesome. I bet by the time I get to like Level 19 I’m gonna end up looking like a futuristic version of a character from Game of Thrones or one of the Kryptonian soldiers from Man Of Steel.

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Another thing is I’m not a fan of online multiplayer because I know there’s gonna be someone who wants to challenge you or get in the way of your progress or just genuinely be a dick to you. Call me anti-social or whatever I don’t care…

But beta makes you play with other people online. And the developers probably knew that’s some people were gonna dick around, which is why it gives you points for assisting another online player when they are trying to kill one of the Fallen.

I actually can say I had a good experience with other players online. They didn’t try to get in the way and just got on with their own stuff, and helped me out at times of need.

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Plus you get to dance with other people online. Wait…did I say dance? Yes. I said dance.

You can hilariously dance with other players, or wave to them or point at them or sit with them. There were several occasions where I got groups of people to start dancing in the Tower for absolutely no reason.

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I’d say my only beef with the game at this point is the ghost. You know, that floating robot voiced by Peter Dinklage? Yeah. I’d say apart from decrypting files and opening doors and providing light and guiding you to the next checkpoint they are pretty useless when it comes to combat.

If you’re gonna have something like that following your character majority of the time surely it would do something other than tell you that you can’t re-spawn in a certain area. It should help you out during a shootout by firing at the Fallen as well to make things less intense.

But then again we wouldn’t want to make things too easy now would we?

Dick…

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Oooh, and before I forget, another problem I had? What happened to the pause option? Honestly, everytime I pressed the Options button like any rational person would to pause the game, I kept noticing that my character was still getting shot at and eventually killed…

…like…what the hell?

FYI, People do have things to do Bungie while they’re playing your game, a pause option would’ve been nice.

Yeah that does sound super bitchy…my bad…

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Overall though, my experience with Destiny was good. Although it is your standard first-person shooter, I am genuinely looking forward to when the full game is released so that I can make my Warlock more badass. So expect a review of from me once I’ve got and completed it.

FB_20140728_01_59_27_Saved_PictureSo what did you think of the Destiny Beta? Did you enjoy it? Did it put you off or has it quashed all your doubts over the full game?

I’d like to also take a moment to thank you to everyone who’s been reading my posts. I checked my view count the other day and I reached 109 views! So thanks to everyone out there that made that happen!

As always, comment below and I’ll see you on the next post!

THOUGHTS ON…”UNDER THE SKIN”

Greetings all!!!

So it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. Unfortunately I had a lot going on, but this time I am good to go and I’m back in the game.

And where to begin?

A film review. And what a film to start on.

Under The Skin.

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What struck me as fascinating in regards to Under The Skin was the themes that the film carried. The more you look back on Glazer’s masterpiece of a picture the more themes you begin to understand and realise about it. The key theme that everyone tends to pick up on is the ways of being human and moreover, the perceptions of humans from the perspective of an outsider, an alien.

Johansson’s alien is struck by how odd humans are in some instances and is mystified by why we do the things we do.

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The scene on the beach where Johansson watches the man trying to save those people for drowning while she just stands there and does nothing reminded me of Keanu Reeves in The Day The Earth Stood Still, where he stands there eating a sandwich watching a man die of a heart attack. They don’t understand why there is so much panic because they just don’t understand the situation. It’s why she leaves the infant alone on the beach when the infant cries for help. In fact the alien on the motorcycle does the same thing.

And it’s why she always questions every single companion that ends up taking a lift from her.

The title of the film is incredibly fitting because like I said, it deals with human perception and questions it. The most tender moment and example of this comes from the scene where the Johansson alien picks up the hooded man and his face is unveiled.

The film is well thought out because we don’t know any of the character’s names. This is so vital because now, if you had to discuss the film, you’d have to name the characters by their description and that’s what makes the film smart. We find out a bit about the hooded man. The fact that he has nice hands. Or that he doesn’t trust or like people in general. Or the fact that he has never been with a woman.

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With all that the film asks us how we would name the gentleman or describe him. It is left to us as the audience how to describe him given all that information. Most people would describe him as the man with a facial deformity, and that’s what the film is challenging us as the audience on.

The fact that we as humans are not perceiving what is underneath but in fact what is right in front of us and in plain view. Most of Johansson’s victims are seduced by her because of her beauty and that’s why the ending is so fitting and so well crafted. It deals with the irrationalities of human beings.

The man who wanted to rape Johansson was so persistent because of her beauty but once we saw what was underneath, what Johansson’s true form was he reacted by burning her to death.

That moment in the film becomes pivotal because it changes Johansson’s character.

What adds to making every scene so memorable in Glazer’s film is the terrific performance of Scarlett Johansson.  She is able to play the alien so well you can’t help but empathise with her, to understand the world from her point of view. Her character is not used to the ways of humans, and therefore unlike humans she doesn’t prejudge the people around her.

That’s why the scene where she is picks up the hooded gentleman is such a stand out scene. As she doesn’t understand the way humans judge each other based on what’s on the outside she isn’t deterred by the man’s appearance. And neither was Johansson in that scene.

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In all honesty, I reckon a lot of actresses, even the most talented ones might feel a bit nervous or uncomfortable with having to work with an actor suffering from that condition. What I’m trying to say is that even though the actress will try to appear unfazed by the gentleman’s appearance, you will still be able to tell in the scene that they are a little bit deterred.

However, Johansson doesn’t seem fazed by the hooded gentleman’s appearance and it makes the alien more real. It also reflects when on a Hollywood A lister like Johansson, that she is an absolute professional that isn’t fazed by the situation and isn’t being prejudice to the person in the situation.

As I was writing my review for Watch_Dogs I listened to the soundtrack on YouTube and I found another reason as to why this film had remained so strongly etched into my memory.

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It was so eerie, and it had a sort of jittery effect. It really did sound like it was crawling on your skin. It was one of those times where the film’s sound track is just important as the film itself.

The stand out song for me is the aptly named Love. It played in the scene where Johansson was trying to have sex with the stranger who was kind to her on the bus.

The song has such a strangely tender quality to it that it worked so well with the scene it was used in. It’s a track that has a reminiscent quality to it because it deals with first love, and it plays when Johansson’s character is possibly experiencing that for the first time. The song and the scene is able to expose and draw on the intimate corners of the human experience in regards to love and passion.

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The other tracks too like Creation and Death both stand out. Creation has a sinister quality that gains more and more momentum as the seconds go by. Whilst Death has a slow and dreary sound to it that as I listened to it I was reminded immediately of the scene involving the nude man who had his insides sucked out of him and his skin was just dancing in the blue liquid like satin or silk.

I think what I also loved about Under The Skin as well is it’s use of CGI. Or should I rather say, it’s lack of use of it. The fact that it didn’t rely heavily on CGI, gave the film such an organic look than when it did use special effects, it was for good reason and worked well especially in the closing scene when we see Johansson’s alien form.

Speaking of organic…

I read online that apparently certain parts of the film were shot with hidden cameras, and that added more to the unbelievably realistic look to the film. You could see that the people that Johansson walked past in the city were real people, not extras, therefore a lot of the film doesn’t look entirely simulated.

And that’s cool…

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Overall, Under The Skin is among one of the finest films I’ve seen all year. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, some may see as a very artsy, experimental piece of film, but that’s what makes it a lovable film. Like I see for any movie, you can only form your own judgement if you actually take time out and watch the film. If you like it, you like.

5/5

So, Under The Skin, what did you make of it? Do you like it? Or don’t see the point to it?

Comment below and I’ll see you on the next post.

 

WATCH_DOGS: ANYONE CAN HACK IT (YES FINALLY. MY REVIEW)

Greetings all!!

I know I know. Where was last week’s post?

Unfortunately, last week’s post got delayed because my laptop crashed and I had to go get it repaired. I would’ve posted through the mobile app…but it’s useless…

So apologies for a late post but now everything is sorted, let’s do this!

So…

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As promised, on my first impressions post for Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs, I said I would give my final review of the overall game once I’ve completed it.

And lo and behold I have completed it…

So, if I had to sum up the game in one to three words?

It’s good.

That’s it.

That’s all it is.

It’s just a good game. It’s not superb. It doesn’t stand out in anyway.

The game is your standard third person shooter. The only difference is that it’s traded some limitations for others.

And yes I’m talking about hacking.

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In my first impressions I compared it to Grand Theft Auto V quite a lot and it applies here also. With GTAV, you couldn’t hack into stuff even though there was a hacking mission (you know the redirecting traffic segment), but you could do stuff like shoot out of your car or your motorbike or fly a plane.

In Watch_Dogs yeah you can drive a car or a boat, but when you’re being shot at by pursuing enemies you really can’t do that back. Then again you can hack the living daylights out of everything on the road so that makes up for it.

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Besides, the game deals in a scale that takes you from either vigilante to anarchist so if he is shooting back it goes against the character being a vigilante.

But then you still have to kill people to get through certain missions…

I don’t know…

But that’s one of the things I mentioned about trading one limitation for another. It’s cool that in Watch_Dogs you can control stuff like bridges or hop on trains and delay them. On GTAV there were trains but you couldn’t get on them. They either acted as a road block or ended up killing you.

But then in GTAV you can engage into hand to hand combat, but Watch_Dogs‘ only form of combat are the takedowns you can perform during a shootout. I guess in Watch_Dogs most of the time you need to rely on stealth so it kind of makes sense.

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But as I moaned about in my first impressions post, I hated the driving in this game. It frustrated me so bad I found myself throwing verbal insults at my television screen and hurling my controller halfway across the room.

It’s so stiff and and the turning is a nightmare. I’ve repeatedly danced between the lines of vigilante and anarchist on several occasions thanks to the driving. And it got to the point where I didn’t care about the meter anymore. I completed the game as an anarchist.

But because the driving is so flawed it’s deterred me from doing the fixer contract side missions as they heavily rely on driving. If you’re going to have segments that require driving then you’ve got to get the mechanics right. And I’ve had plenty of practise with the driving on this game and I’m still not able to avoid a collision.

Although admittedly I have been overly critical of the game, I do admit that I enjoyed it in parts and had fun with it.

As I played more of the side missions I began to enjoy the game a lot more. The best ones in my opinion are the criminal convoys and the gang hideouts. It’s just that everytime you complete one you wanna do the next one and eventually they run out and you’re left with no much left to do so eventually you have to do the fixer contracts.

The digital trips are pretty awesome too. Though my favourite one is the Psychedellic one. I expected Spider Tank to be my most favoured, but there was something about Psychedellic that was oddly likeable. And it is annoyingly addictive. It’s uncanny. I don’t know why that is.

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Madness is probably my joint second most favourite, but I wasn’t a big fan of Alone though. While it is quite refreshing to see the city being empty it is quite a slow and slightly bland digital trip.

Photo(1)The shootouts in the game are a well worked feature, especially due to the fact that you can plan three or four moves ahead when you take a look at what is ahead of you on CCTV. The cover system as well adds to making the shootouts bearable, as, like aiming your weapon, you can aim to where you want to next take cover.

The main draw of the game, hacking was also another fantastic integration, but I do feel that it is slightly limited. I say this in the sense that when you hack into a bridge you can only make the bridge open or close. Your choices for what you want certain pieces of tech to do is at a minimal quantity.

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But overall I would say that Watch_Dogs is a disappointingly average game. There is no wow factor to it whatsoever. What makes it more frustrating is that you know that there is so much potential to it and hopefully, if a sequel is made, the developers will utilise that potential and make it a great game.

3.5/5

So what did you think about Watch_Dogs? Did you love it, hate it, or like me, was incredibly disappointed by it?

Comment below and I’ll see you on the next post!!!

E3 2014: MY TOP PICKS

Greetings all!!!

So, for a while I couldn’t think of anything to talk about because…not much interesting happened this week.

I did see Edge of Tomorrow, but there was no point in reviewing a film that has been out for a while, because everyone has probably already seen it. I wasn’t going to talk about the World Cup either because I don’t blog about sports.

But then in a conversation I had with my friend who was sent a code to try out the Destiny Alpha on PS4, I remembered..,

E3 HAPPENED!

So I’ll talk about the games I saw and picked the ones that peeked my interest…

Assassin’s Creed Unity

I’m not a die hard fan of the Assassin’s Creed games. Yes, I do have fun with them, but no, I have never actually completed them. In my opinion, Assassin’s Creed games are always a lot of hard work and require an enormous amount of patience.

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I was playing Black Flag on my PS4 the other night and I had to make a long ass journey by ship to my next destination, which left me sitting there thinking: “Why am I sitting through simulated sailing for the past 10 minutes when I could be doing something else?”

But maybe because Black Flag wanted you to be fully engrossed in the pirate experience.

I don’t know…

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But what makes me excited for this new installment is that it’s the first in the series made specifically for next gen and just because there’s no other game coming out on next-gen for a while to look forward aside Destiny.

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The time and the setting, which is Paris during the French Revolution, adds to it’s appeal. I also loved that, as demonstrated in the single player trailer, everything is seamless. You can go into a random building without having to load it up.

It’s the little things…

Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat on the next gen platform…Need I say more?

This installment of the series is everything the Mortal Kombat series should be. Energetic, fun and brutal. And it looks like there’s exactly what it’s doing.

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What’s more is that it seems that some of the mechanics from Injustice: Gods Amongst Us have been incorporated into this game. You can grab objects from your surroundings and use them as a weapon.

There’s not a lot I need to say about this one, because the trailer and the gameplay speaks for itself.

The Order 1886

It was great to see more footage for The Order 1886, but for some reason I’m still on the fence with it.

It looks absolutely amazing. There’s no doubt about that. However I am not completely sold on it. I’ll probably wait for a hands on first impression before I decide to buy.

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Maybe it’s because of the premise of the game, or the fact that this is the start of a possible gaming franchise. Because it’s a stand alone release and hasn’t had a previous installment to establish that it’s worth getting I can’t put my faith entirely into The Order 1886.

Okay, yes, the guys who developed this game developed the God Of War PSP games but that’s not enough to go on.

Like I said let’s see what happens…

Tom Clancy’s The Division

This game has continued to impress me everytime new footage is released. It looks visually stunning. The gameplay looks superb.

I just can’t wait to get it for my PS4 and see it on my TV in all it’s glory.

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My only fear would be that it’s focused mainly on the multiplayer campaign, but I’d love it if it had a great single player campaign because it looks promising enough to warrant a playable story.

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Like Mortal Kombat X, the footage speaks for itself. Yes, I did mention that with The Order 1886, it wasn’t an established franchise yet, but considering The Division is being developed by Ubisoft, I have little to worry about.

No Man’s Sky

I didn’t know what to expect when the trailer for this game was about to play during E3.

Then it played…

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…and boy oh boy. I was surprisingly impressed.

I wasn’t expecting it to be impressive and I wasn’t expecting to be so interested in it. Because I’m not an “indie gamer”. I don’t play indie games. I play the big mainstream blockbuster releases, the games everyone has been hyping up for months.

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But this game, as an indie game, heck, as any type of game, looks impressive. And the scope of it sounds incredible. The fact that no two players will start in the same place and you can travel to anywhere and it’s infinite in quantity really excites me. And it seems so immersive.

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I can forgive it for being released in December next year. That much promise needs more developing time. So I can wait, and I have a feeling the wait will be worth it…

Batman: Arkham Knight

From the moment this trailer began actually showing the gameplay my jaw hit the floor.

THIS is the game that really impressed me at E3. It’s the Arkham games, so I expected no less. But it looks so amazing. From the gliding to driving the Batmobile.

And the Batmobile…

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It looks like a hell of a lot of fun to drive. I was slightly skeptical when it was announced that the Batmobile was a playable mechanic in the game, but this trailer ended those doubts.

The city of Gotham has never looked so beautiful, so real. At first, I was annoyed it got delayed, but after seeing this, all I can think is:

“If it looks this good now, how is it going to look when it’s finishing touches are done?”

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And I think we all know the answer to that…

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Also worth mentioning:

The really two big games also worth mentioning and I will gladly let them take my money would be Uncharted 4 and Rise of The Tomb Raider.

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Unfortunately, neither of these games exhibited any sort of gameplay footage but luckily their predecessor’s speak for themselves. The Uncharted series has always been a stand out, and if they carry on how they have done previously, like the Arkham games it should work out quite nicely.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it…

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The same applies to Rise of the Tomb Raider. With the first one I was skeptical with playing it, but when I did get round to it, my mind was blown. It was one of the best games of 2013. It didn’t get the credit it deserved to be honest. But I have high expectations now for Rise of the Tomb Raider.

The last game worth mentioning, yes, I know it’s been out for nearly a year and I’ve already played it on PS3, but Grand Theft Auto V for PS4 is one for some reason I look forward to.

GTA5_mediumIt’s probably because I’m carrying the same logic I have with Assassin’s Creed Unity. Nothing big and new is coming out for a while so I’ll gladly give my money to GTAV. I’m sure a lot of people with a PS4 will be doing the same for The Last of Us.

So, what did you think of E3 2014? What were your top picks?

Comments please and I’ll see you on the next post!!!

 

THOUGHTS ON…HALT & CATCH FIRE

Greetings all!!!

Now, I usually won’t or don’t talk about television on my blog unless I have an opinion of an important piece of programming. And yes, I’m a few days late, but before it’s next episode I’d like to talk about Halt And Catch Fire. 

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If I could best sum up Halt And Catch Fire to a friend it would be Mad Men meets The Social Network and filmed like Breaking Bad.

The three main members of the cast Lee Pace, Scott McNairy and Mackenzie Davis all do a terrific job with their roles and that’s something that has to be commended.

Pace’s Joe Macmillan is like a cross between Don Draper and Andrew Garfield’s take on Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network with a touch of Frank Underwood from House of Cards.

rs_560x415-140516090912-1024.Halt-And-Catch-Fire.jl.051614Like Draper and Saverin, Macmillan is the business head of the group, pushing them forward and doing most of the negotiating. And like Frank, Joe is always planning something, thinking one step ahead of everybody else.

At least that is what I’m gathering from just this first episode.

Like anyone else who has watched the episode, you may feel slightly more drawn to the straight laced MacMillan than the other two characters.

But it’s not in a bad reflection of them.

It’s because the history of the character is shrouded in a lot of mystery and we haven’t seen him at his lowest yet. It’ll be interesting to see who he really is when we get there.

Lee Pace portrays the character with such enigmatic grace that you can’t help but be intrigued and drawn to him.

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Hell even on the Breaking Bad part, the character of Gordon Clark draws some parallels to Walter White. Both are brilliant in their field. Both are not content with how their lives have turned out. Both want to reach their true potential.

Not to mention, he has to make the choice of balancing being a committed family man or being devoted to his work. That’ll be choice I see Gordon having to make on a regular basis. And it’ll be something that could make or break him.

Scott McNairy does great portraying a man discontented with his current situation so well it feels like McNairy has experienced that situation before and has drawn from that experience.

Going back to the point I made about how MacMillan was the character most would be drawn to the most, another reason why I say this is because everything we need to see about Gordon, we’ve seen. And the same applies to Mackenzie Davis’ Cameron Howe.

You already have the character of Cameron figured out.

She’s about to finish college. She’s too smart to be amongst her peers. She doesn’t act the way society her wants to. What’s more is that Cameron is always cheating the arcade machine and when she turns up to her first day at Cardiff Electric she isn’t dressed like every other woman working there.

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She’s the wild card of the three and every group, especially for a series like this, needs one to add to the drama. She’s essentially a female mix of Jesse Pinkman and Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (I keep referring to the film because I obviously don’t know Zuckerberg so I wouldn’t know if that’s how he really is in real life).

The fact that Gordon is skeptical about working with Cameron and is slightly dismissive of her reminds me of the Walt/Jesse dynamic. When they started working together Walt was always so impatient with Jesse because he looked down on Jesse and believed he didn’t need him.

And for all we know, further on the same will apply to the Cameron/Gordon aspect, or they’ll actually find common ground. Luckily Joe’s the glue that will hold them together.

Gordon and Cameron are there because Joe dragged them into this, so in order to get somewhere they have to both put their faith in Joe, in each other and work together.

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But overall the dynamic between the cast looks like it’s one that will work because you can sense that the chemistry is there, and they bounce off each other in the final scene of the episode.

A lot of people probably know the history of the computing industry and there are others that don’t. What’s more is that everyone knows how computers have ended up today. We don’t just have computers, but now our phones act as a mobile personal computer, we have tablets, the internet, mobile internet.

But I like films or TV shows that show us the beginnings of something that revolutionised human society. Especially when it’s done right.

For example, The Social Network. We all knew how and where Facebook has ended up. But watching it’s birth and early beginnings was intriguing. Not to mention the other underlying matters surrounding it’s spawn.

We had Zuckerberg who is being taken to court because he was being accused of stealing the idea of Facebook from somebody else. He’s being sued by his best friend for diluting shares that were rightfully his.

All of those ingredients added to Facebook’s origins made the story compelling and it’s what we have with Halt And Catch Fire.

We have three characters, Joe MacMillan, Cameron Howe and Gordon Clark who might be on the brink of something revolutionary.

When something as successful or revolutionary like Facebook exists, you are bound to have rivals. Or there are those who will want a piece of your pie. Not to mention there will always be tension at some point within the team.

My money’s on Gordon Clark to cause the tension.

Everyone will expect it to be Cameron, but I’d go for Gordon because not only have we seen him at the beginning of the episode in trouble for getting into a drunk fight, but he had to tell his wife that he was drinking Dr Pepper instead of beer. I also see that if the three are successful with their machine, Gordon’s ego is the one that will increase tenfold.

Not only is he back in the field he belongs at and is good at it, but when he ends up with that much success it will go to his head.

And If anything I bet Cameron will be the one to change sides. Because she can’t be controlled or manipulated, not even by Joe. But then Joe might be the anchor that keeps her coming back.

Who knows?

But that’s not to say that MacMillan is going to be the outright level headed member of the team. For all we know, the more about Joe and his past that gets revealed may change our perspective on him.

What I also really love is because of the era it’s set it in, it’s gonna have a great soundtrack. People tend to think of the silly, camp side of the 80’s, but it was a decade that brought a lot to arts and culture.

I wasn’t born in the 80’s. I was born in the 90’s. But when I look back on the 80’s I become interested in it because with it came the uprise of punk, neo-pop, neo-punk and electronic music. That area in itself fascinates me about an era I was never a part of.

I’d say my biggest problem with it is that, like a lot of TV shows or films that deal with a groundbreaking moment in any particular field, be it IT or music, the situation at hand is always over dramatised.

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It’s always the whole “Our time is now” thing in which there is so much emphasis on making every moment count. That everything they do now is of the utmost importance and nothing else in the world absolutely matters.

Especially when Joe says stuff to Gordon like “Everyone thinks computers are the thing. But what people don’t realise is that computers are the thing that get us to the thing”.

I’m sure in reality not everyone will have that gung-ho spirit to their work. A lot of the time when people make important landmarks in their fields it’s not because they are forcing themselves to redefine their field but in some cases it happens to be a successful accident.

But I guess maybe that’s a point Halt And Catch Fire is trying to make. Gordon’s article was just seen as a thesis or just an article, but Joe was smart enough to realise that Gordon mapped the future in computing and hence the emphasis on the “Our time is now thing”.

It’s been a while since I watched the first ever episode of a television show and genuinely got excited for it’s future. The first episode of Breaking Bad didn’t excite me that much. And neither did the first ever episode of Game Of Thrones.

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I really loved the scene at the end of this episode when Joe, Gordon and Cameron are all looking into Cardiff Electric’s office as IBM’s army of lawyers come marching in one by one to Bonobo’s track Cirrus.

What I liked especially with this scene is when Gordon asks a question on everyone’s mind; “What are you trying to prove with all this?”

And that’s why I really can’t wait for the next episode, to see what Joe is up to.

It’s interesting to see where they take the show. I’m fascinated by it, and even if you weren’t as impressed as I was by the opening episode, you can”t help but admit that it does show a lot of promise.

So I’m urging you guys to give this series a watch and stick with it.

4.5/5

X-MEN: AND HISTORY REWRITES ITSELF…

Yes, I know, I’m a week late but I’ve finally seen X Men: Days Of Future Past

And before I give my view on it, I have but one word for what I saw: AMAZING!

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(***SPOILERS AHEAD, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET, YOU HAVE BEEN FOREWARNED. DO NOT READ ON UNLESS YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN THE MOVIE OR YOU DON’T CARE IF THE PLOT OF A FILM/SERIES IS RUINED FOR YOU***)

First off, the performances from every single actor or actress in this movie was on point. Every one of them who have ever been in one of the films from the X-Men franchise brought their “A” game.

And before I get to the original and current cast, I first have to give props to the newcomers. The new cast that played the future X-Men did well. And as per usual, Peter Dinklage pulls out another terrific performance.

To the regulars…

James McAvoy as young Xavier did really well, pulling off Charles’ transition from being a broken and isolated man to rediscovering the path he needs to take to become the Patrick Stewart incarnation of Xavier we all know and love.

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In terms of Magneto, once again, the Fassbender portrayal of the character is a lot more cooler than Sir Ian McKellen’s one, but that’s only because the older Erik Lensherr is more in tune with his abilities and wiser. Young Erik is still so full of rage, so when he uses his powers he does it in an aggressive manner, whereas older Erik is well resided in the place between peace and tranquility.

Jennifer Lawrence’s incarnation of Mystique is one that fans will love because she is a lot more like her comic book version than she was in the original films.

In the earlier portrayal by Rebecca Romijn, Mystique was definitely cold and calculated and yes she was pretty cool, but she was so robotic because she didn’t have a lot of dialogue. Everything she did was through action, so audiences could hardly empathize with her.

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But this edition of Mystique takes what was great about the previous display of the character and adds the emotion to her. This time, Mystique is part of the film’s soul. Like Charles, she has lost her way, but like Erik, she is filled internally with a lot of conflict.

There was a lot of emotion…

The events that took place between First Class and Days Of Future Past, which include historical events like the Vietnam war hit everyone hard, as losses were suffered from all sides.

As Hank mentioned, most of the students and teachers from the Xavier Institute were drafted in, and one by one they died, and it broke Charles.

It was sad to hear that some of the characters that, even though they were not incredibly relevant, from First Class, met tragic fates including Emma, Angel and Banshee.

Erik, Raven, Hank and even Alex have all been broken like Charles. What’s more is how they have all decided to take different approaches to get over the losses.

It’s no wonder why we find young Charles a damaged man to the point that he tells Logan that everyone dies some day.

And the film didn’t just deal with the emotional state of the characters, but also about their relationships with each other. About trying to repair what was broken or about characters trying to find their way. Especially the Young Charles/Erik/Mystique element.

The scene on the plane ride to Paris in which Erik and Charles argue about who abandoned who summed up a very delicate relationship.

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It’s clear that they both still care for each other, and it’s why Charles selfishly rages at Erik that he abandoned him and took Raven away. Taking away the things that mattered most to him. But Erik is not just angry about Charles’ abandonment but also at the fact that him abandoning Erik cost the lives of so many allies they hold dear.

Hugh Jackman as always, kills it as Wolverine. Even if people don’t like Logan’s stand out films, you can’t help go see it because of Jackman. The character is already the most popular of the X-Men, and Jackman’s portrayal of him keeps that favouritism in place.

Even though I don’t like the fact that Wolverine is always central to the plot of the Singer films, in Days Of Future Past I was glad he was the central character thread that kept both the timelines together. I felt Logan’s pain and impatience when he was trying to convince young Charles that he was telling the truth.

Especially when he grabs Charles and tells him that he has come a long way and has lost a lot of good friends who were good people. And what’s more he tells Charles that if he doesn’t listen to him he too will suffer the same losses and they hurt just as worse.

The scene with Logan that really got me was when he tells young Charles on the plane to Washington that even though when he saw tragic memories, there were also good ones and begs Charles to promise him that he find the X-Men. To find Storm, Jean, Scott.

I keep saying that the film is filled with emotion because that’s as best how I can describe it. Yes, the matters at hand and the action are important, but they weren’t the factors that stood out to me. It was the emotions that kept me locked into the film.

Alongside Wolverine, young Charles and Mystique were essentially the heart of the film, keeping it emotionally engaging. Even Hank, who you can see was still quite saddened by Raven’s departure added more to the tender serving.

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In fact, a lot of the characters brought so much emotional energy, but it’s the first three just mentioned that really stick out.

Heck, even that one scene that we saw Alex Summers in tugged at the heartstrings, especially when he gets onto the plane and asks a disguised Raven if she was coming home. I would have liked to have seen his character have a full stay in this movie and have a lot to do.

Will he make a possible appearance in Apocalypse? It would be interesting to see how they tackle his relation to young Scott. It’ll probably be like the Magneto/Quicksilver elevator scene.

It was also touching to see that the film wasn’t just about Charles finding hope again, but it reached out to audience members to tell them that no matter how dark things get, there’s always a bright side and that we have to keep hoping.

I think what a lot of the fans will take from this film is what happens at the end, and I’m not just talking post credits…

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The creation of the sentinel programme happened at the same time as the original trilogy, so while the films were taking place sentinels were being built and modified to be more adaptable in combat against mutants.

By putting an end to the Sentinel programme it means the X-Men aren’t going to meet the fate they end up in at the start of the film.

And with it comes changes to the current timeline.

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Logan didn’t join Charles’ team until the first film (I was going to say he didn’t meet Charles until the first film, but we all remember that scene from First Class). But by meeting him in 1973 that means (and this is me making an assumption), he will be a part of Charles’ X-team for the next installment, which was hinted at when after the events in the 70’s Hank asks Charles of Logan’s fate and when Logan meets Charles in his office in the new timeline, Charles tells him he’s got a lot of catching up to do from 1973.

It would only make sense…

Not to mention when Logan wakes up, all the beloved characters from the original movie reach a happier fate, and what’s more, like Logan, we feel such joy and relief and happiness when we find that both Jean and Scott (yes that Scott as in Scott Summers as in Cyclops), is still alive.

You’re not just happy to see that they’re alive but you’re happy to see that with all the pain and loss that Wolverine suffered, he’s finally got a peaceful and happier resolution to his story.

With Scott and Jean alive again, it now means X-Force is gonna be a go, because there’s no X-Force without Cable, and Cable is the son of Scott and (a clone of) Jean Grey. If they don’t exist, neither does he.

Up next, for those who didn’t see the post credits scene is Apocalypse. Rumour has it that it’ll be set in the 80’s and young Scott will be in the team, as well as Quicksilver. If that be the case I will be incredibly excited, especially on the Cyclops front.

My reason for this huge bias towards the Summers kid is that if you have a general knowledge of the X-Men comics, you’d know how vital and important of a character he is to the series.

And I’d say that that’s my only beef with Singer’s franchise. No one sees how important Scott is to the X-Men. When you think of some of the most important and iconic stories in the comics, from the Dark Phoenix saga to Age of Apocalypse, Scott is in some way connected to them.

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Scott is connected to Age of Apocalypse. How? Because his future child is fighting for survival in that timeline.

Scott is connected to the Dark Phoenix Saga. How? Simply because he and Jean are the love of each other’s lives and Jean being overcome with the Phoenix Force puts a strain on their marriage.

Not to mention, in recent events (Avengers Vs X-Men), Scott is at the centre of the story as he comes to understanding what Jean went through and kills Charles at his own hand.

The transition made by Scott from Charles’ prodigal son to having Magneto as a close ally is one that determines the fate of the entire X-team and it’s one of those issues that I feel should be brought to the fray.

Also, with the timeline changing, it now gives Singer the chance an attempt to make a Dark Phoenix movie, an opportunity tragically missed by The Last Stand.

It was clear that at the end of X2: X-Men United, Singer had plans to make a Phoenix movie, so changing the X-universe would probably allow him to make the Dark phoenix movie he probably planned since 2003.

There were so many things about this movie that I loved, from the story, to the action, to the characters and to the actors that played them. This film demonstrated why Bryan Singer was the right man to direct the X-Men films.

It’s as if the last few films in the X-Men franchise (with the exception of First Class) didn’t take place and that he picked up where he left off from the second film.

This film is like a hail to his return but also a sentimental last goodbye to the original cast.

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I believe Days Of Future Past is a film in the franchise that would rank highly amongst fans. For me, it’s the best one, and I loved the original movie from 14 years ago.

It’s very rare for me to say that the newest installment of a highly established franchise is the best addition.

5/5

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: WATCH_DOGS – IS HACKING REALLY OUR WEAPON?

Greetings all!!!

This Tuesday just gone saw the release of UbiSoft’s much anticipated open-world piece Watch_Dogs, which I pre-ordered on Amazon and got on release day for PS4.

GID01476For anyone out there who hasn’t made their mind up about the game fear not, as hopefully my first impressions will influence your decision to buy it or not.

Be not afraid folks. It’s not a bad game. However, I’m not overly impressed considering the hype surrounding it, but I’ll get to the negatives later.

What I will say though is that it’s a grower, not a shower.

It gets compared to Grand Theft Auto V a lot and while GTA sucks you in and blows you away slightly from the start, with Watch_Dogs it takes time for you to really get into the game, the story and it’s characters.

watch_dogs_ss9_99866Without meaning to spoil the story, you really don’t get sucked into the story until you have to stop this one guy who’s going to point you out to the police.

But that’s just my opinion.

Anyone else who is playing the game or has played it will probably have their own opinion.

The story itself has been interesting so far. I can’t really say I’m totally hooked on it.

understand the writers of this game didn’t want to go down the conventional route of a man seeking revenge for the death of a loved one. While most stories in this scenario are about a man losing his child or wife to a hit that was placed on his head, Watch_Dogs, tries to be different and not make it so conventional by going for Aiden Pearce’s young niece.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but some may feel it’s a little impersonal because that kid wasn’t his child (even though she still counts as family), but from another perspective, if it had been his kid, then most people playing the game might just feel that they are playing a typical revenge story and there’s nothing really different about Watch_Dogs‘ story that makes it stand out.

So on the story front it’s debatable but like most gamers, I’m in it for the gameplay.

And guys, the gameplay does not disappoint.

Some may feel slightly let down because the hacking part wasn’t as complicated as they were expecting, but I like the idea that it’s simple. Believe me, if I was being chased by the police, the last thing I’d want to do is work out some complicated algorithm just to change a set of traffic lights.

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It makes getting into vehicles so much easier as well. In GTA, when you were trying to escape the police and needed to break into a car to do so, the character would take his time, look around, break the window, hop into the car, mess with the car’s wiring and then start the car.

In Watch_Dogs, one tap of the triangle button and you are set and good to go. When you escape the police, there’s a feeling of personal triumph when you speed ahead of them because you’ve caused an accident by changing the traffic lights or when you use the road block for them to drive straight into.

Another aspect that so many were looking forward to was the digital trips. In particular, the Spider Tank.

I can confirm…Spider Tank is so much fun.

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There a lot of things to love about Spider Tank. Mayhem? Check. Challenging? Check. Fun? Definite check.

Those were the things I loved on Spider Tank. Even moving with Spider Tank or jumping around with it makes a freaky sound that you just can’t help but like it.

I haven’t tried the other digital trips yet because I wanted to try Spider Tank so bad. And I made a good call. In fact, Ubisoft made a good call by putting that into the game.

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However…with all good things comes the bad. And I had some problems with the game.

Major problems.

My biggest gripe with the game comes mainly from one aspect: and that’s the driving.

From the trailers to the screenshots of the game, one would expect smooth, fluid driving mechanics. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen with this game.

To reiterate: It’s still not a bad game.

My reason for being annoyed at the driving at the game is how clunky it was. It was virtually impossible to drive a car in this game without hitting someone or something once.

ipXqbltlV7mW0There have been some many times on so many missions where the rigidness of the driving mechanics have affected my progress, meaning I’ve had to go back to my last check point and start that mission all over again and that annoys the hell out of me.

I’m not saying that the game is a disaster because the driving is horrendous.

But when you make an open world game, the driving has to be smooth, because in open world games, people like to drive, and when it’s not smooth it bogs the game down.

Yes, driving isn’t necessarily a huge negative factor to when it comes to open world games, but when I compare Watch_Dogs to Grand Theft Auto V like most people do, it’s that factor that makes me pick GTA ahead of Ubisoft’s product.

Because the driving was easy and fluid on GTA, I got so excited playing it, as it didn’t seem like extra effort and extra work when you’re going through the main campaign.

EDG243.h_watch.boxoutBut on Watch_Dogs it’s the complete opposite.

Not only do you have to take down someone who’s going to rat you out to the police on the highway, but you have to be concerned about how much speed you can actually apply to your car so you don’t hit anyone or anything and damage your car.

On this game you want to be recognised by it’s citizens as a hero, but with the driving I’ve gone from citizen to anarchist in a short amount of time. At the rate I’ve been playing this game I’ve just decided that I don’t care anymore, as long as I can make some progress in it.

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At least when it comes to driving a motorcycle it is a lot, no, a hell lot easier than using a car. The braking problems do apply to motorcycles but at least the movement is more agile and less work.

And what’s annoying is the fact that there isn’t a frequent number of times or places where you could get a motorcycle.

What probably annoys me most about driving on Watch_Dogs is the fact that when you’re driving, it just looks absolutely stunning. Especially when you have to drive through the tunnel or on the freeway. It just looks so beautiful but it’s wasted on these shoddy mechanics.

And the way the game looks brings me to my other gripe. I’m playing this on PS4, so I’m expecting it to look amazing.

Unfortunately, I have to bring GTA up again, because, especially in the day time scenes, their resolutions look similar. However, Watch_Dogs looks best and shines most on next-gen when it comes to scenes in the rain or during the night.

The scenes at night when it’s raining stand out the most to me because of the level of detail that went into it.

1400449424It’s the smallest things like when a puddle is formed and you can see the little droplets of rain causing ripples in that puddle, or when you use a sniper rifle and if you’ve activated focus, the rain no longer turns into lines or streams of water but they appear as drops on your scope.

That’s pretty cool.

Admittedly, when I saw the first glimpse of gameplay for this game that was unleashed upon the internet, I was skeptical about getting Watch_Dogs, but the more that was showed, the more interested I got.

Overall, my impressions of the game have been mixed to positive. Like I said at the start, the more I play it, the more I like it. It takes time to grow on your affections, so don’t go rushing in expecting to be amazed from the off.

So what are your first impressions of Watch_Dogs? Do you agree with me? Or do you absolutely disagree? Do you think it’s a great game or terrible game?

Comments below please and see you on the next post!

(I’ll have a rating for the game attached to my official review of it – once I’ve completed it that is.)