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The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313: Special Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Edition

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Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to an extra special celebratory episode of ‘The Week In Geek’ where we share our favourite Comic Book, Video Game, and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And ‘Great Hera’ do we have some awesome Amazonian articles to share with you, in our ongoing celebration of the Themysciran Titan’s 75th anniversary.

Wonder Women Join Forces At The United Nations…

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Wonder Women

‘By the labyrinthian lair of the mighty Minotaur’ was Friday 21 of October an awesome day in the annals of Comic-Book history, not only did we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the world’s foremost female Superhero, but also, awesome Amazons; Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot came together to tag team the United Nations and accept the award for ‘Honorary Ambassador For The Empowerment Of Women And Girls’ on behalf of the Princess of Themyscira.

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Amazons Lynda Carter And Gal Gadot Join Forces At The United Nations Building

‘The campaign is about women and girls everywhere, who are wonder women in their own right, and the men and boys who support their struggle for gender equality, bringing about a positive change in their homes, workplace, communities, countries, and the world at large.’ 

Also present at the monumental meeting were: Diane Nelson – President of DC Entertainment, Patty Jenkins – Film Director of the upcoming 2017 Wonder Woman movie, and Christie Marston – Granddaughter of Wonder Woman’s creator William Moulton Marston.

Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special…

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Seven and a half decades of arse-kicking Amazon awesomeness will come together in collective Comic-Book form on October 26 when DC Comics release the ‘Wonder Woman Anniversary Special’. An illustrious 80 page issue celebrating the phenomenal Themysciran Princess, that brings together a cadre of classic creators including; Gail Simone, Brian Azzarello, Adam Hughes, Jill Thompson, Jim Lee, Karl Kerschl, plus many, many more.

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Astounding Artwork By Karl Kerschl

So grab your Golden Lasso of Truth, hop into your Invisible Plane, and zoom on down to your local comic book emporium this Wednesday to ask… nay demand your copy of this titanic tome, and indulge in it’s Eleusinian Mysteries!

Zack Snyder Unveils New Wonder Woman Image From Justice League Movie…

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By The Fires Of Tartarus, This Is Awesome!

Director Zack Snyder unleashed a brand new image of the Astonishing Amazon in celebration of her 75 years of heroic heraldry from his upcoming 2017 Justice League movie. The image was shown last Friday in her honour at the United Nations celebrations. Justice League debuts at cinemas on November 17 2017, and also stars Ben Affleck as The Batman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Henry Cavill as Superman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg.

‘By the horns of Amalthea’ why not join us next time friends for more Week in Geek.

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Willem Dafoe Joins The Justice League

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Legendary actor Willem Dafoe has joined the cast of Zack Snyder’s upcoming cinematic version of DC Comic’s iconic Justice League. The film began production in the UK last week and has a release date of November 2017.

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Academy award winner Dafoe has a long and celebrated career in acting, a versatile and emotional performer who is able to run the gamut of different roles beautifully. This of course won’t be the first comic Book adaptation that he has been involved with, he played the arch nemesis of Marvel’s Spiderman – The Green Goblin in the Sam Raimi directed 2002 movie of the same name. Though confirmed as a cast member for the League movie, all Warner Bros have so far revealed about his role is that he’ll be one of ‘the good guys’… intriguing.

More news as we hear it fellow Leaguers…

Seven Years Of The Watchmen

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“Rorschach’s journal – April 6, 2016. Seven years ago I starred in one of the greatest cinematic triumphs of all time. In it the streets were extended gutters, and the gutters were full of critics, and when the drains finally scabbed over, the fans looked up and shouted save us, and Zack Snyder whispered “Yes”.

Seven years ago today, the greatest piece of comic book fiction ever wrought was finally released on film by visual auteur Zack Snyder. His triumphant cinematic reworking of the supposedly unfilmable comic series from the eighties was hailed by the fans as a masterpiece of modern dystopian Superhero cinema, but received tepid reviews from critics (Mmmm, now this seems familiar).

(Warning: Spoilers ahoy)

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Who watches the Watchmen?  Ozymandias does…

The Watchmen limited comic series was released by DC Comics in 1986, it was a collaborative effort of three superstar British comic book creators, Writer Alan Moore, Artist Dave Gibbons and Artist/Colourist John Higgins. Moore originally posited to DC that he wanted to use their acquired Charlton Comics characters as the basis for the story, but DC’s managing editor of the time Dick Giordano, persuaded Moore to create new characters instead, as the usage of DC’s now integrated (into the DC universe) Charlton heroes would have rendered them almost unusable in future timelines because of the direction they would have taken as a result of Moore’s suggested storyline. 

Alan Moore is widely regarded as the greatest comic book author of all time, apart from Watchmen, Moore also introduced us to V for Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but it is Watchmen that propelled Moore to the rank of numero uno in the highly competitive comic book market.

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Protagonist Rorschach narrates the story throughout with regular diary entries and monologues

Alan Moore’s writing usually takes a dark and dystopian route through pre-existing tropes, subverting and twisting characters to fit into his alternate timelines. Watchmen is a satirical look at superheroes, that reflects the era it was written, be it through the politics of the time (80’s Britain was a particularly political hot-bed) or emerging trends and people’s apprehension of the future.

Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985, and follows masked vigilante Rorschach as he and other retired members of the Superteam – Crimebusters, investigate the murder of one of their former colleagues – The Comedian. In Moore’s universe, costumed heroes first appeared in the 1940’s, and were a collection of former Police officers and disgruntled citizens who ‘masked up’ to take down an increasing number of criminals who had taken to wearing costumes to disguise themselves from recognition.

In the early eighties with the world on the brink of a nuclear holocaust, and with an outcry by the general populace against masked vigilantes, costumed heroes were outlawed, and most faded into retirement or (in the case of the Comedian and Dr Manhattan) went to work covertly for the Government. Rorschach though continued to fight crime unsanctioned, wanted by the Police he refused to abandon his principles and castigated his former team-mates for their cowardice in the face of the costumed vigilante ban.

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After the murder of The Comedian, Rorschach manages to convince former team-mates, Nite-Owl II and Silk Spectre II to come out of retirement and help investigate what he believes is a conspiracy to kill members of the Crimebusters. Moore’s take on Superheroes is not for the faint of heart, it is a mature and sometimes shocking take on a popular medium, set in a totalitarian, regressive society consumed with fear and anxiety.

Unto this premise comes visual mastermind director Zack Snyder, riding high on his successful conversion of Frank Miller’s “300” graphic novel, he set his sights on DC’s Watchmen, and in 2009 presented us with perfection in comic book to film form. His film mirrored its source material beautifully, condensing the story somewhat, but still supplying every nuance and important depth of plot that the original comic series conveyed. His choice of actors were astonishingly close to their fictional selves, especially the casting of Jackie Earle-Haley as titular protagonist Rorschach. This film has ultimately become the cornerstone of Zack Snyder’s career, only recently equalled (in our humble opinion) by his take on DC’s Trinity in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, which shares many similarities to Watchmen in both tone and visual style.

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Seven years on and Watchmen is now more highly regarded amongst its former critics, still loved by the fans and is one of the first ‘R’ rated (18 rated here in the UK) Superhero movies, long before characters like Deadpool were ever conceived for the big screen. Snyder’s film is visually enthralling, deep and concise in its portrayal of the original classic series, as much a must watch now as it ever was, not only one of the greatest comic book movies of all time… but literally one of the greatest movies of all time! 

watchmen emoWho Watches The Watchmen?… You Should!

 

Batman v Superman: It’s Time To Stop The Hate

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And it’s amazing to me that the hate continues, in fact it can be said that a lot of the negativity comes from people who haven’t even seen the movie. I mean let’s be honest how can you really make an informed opinion on anything if the only reference you have is ‘Somebody else’s opinion’ Yes Batman v Superman is a divisive film, yes it does remake the Superhero movie in a new and completely different direction (more Watchmen than Avengers) but that’s exactly what this genre of film fiction needs. It needs the creativity and diversion from the norm, it presents the viewer with a film that doesn’t conform to what has gone before. This is an intelligent and realistic approach to how man would react to a godlike being amongst them, its former saviour, The Batman, though often seen as superhuman is for all intense and purpose, just a man, flawed and emotionally culpable. And with the coming of a Superman, he feels powerless and frustrated.

If what you want from a comic-book movie is just action, jokes and a light hearted tale then that’s great, there are plenty of Marvel movies out there that are tailored just for you, and I applaud that take on the Superhero theme, it is a staple of its genre. But if you’re looking for something a lot deeper, with a more mature and less linear approach, then Batman v Superman is what you’re looking for.

The movie explores many themes, from religious context to conspiracy theories, its depth is what really divides the critics, the true comic book fan understands  what Snyder has achieved with this movie, but that also does not cut it off from the casual fan, every detail needed to enjoy a rollicking good movie is here, and it is FUN, contrary to the critics… fun does not necessarily mean light hearted, I mean, horror movies are fun, right?… why else would you watch them if you weren’t being entertained. Batman v Superman is a very important film in this genre, the most important… because it does things differently and that’s what keeps things fresh and exciting. If you haven’t seen the film yet, I implore that you do, it is a fantastically rendered dystopian look at Superheroes, ripped straight out of the greatest and most inventive decade of comics (the 1980’s.)

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DC and Marvel are different beasts, each with their own take on the staple Superhero, and their movies reflect this beautifully, do not allow yourself to be swayed from watching an amazingly intense take on modern mythology.This post was once again written to help counterbalance the ridiculous amount of negativity that still abounds in media, the box office takings have proven that no matter what some random internet critic says, ultimately it’s the fans who decide if something is worthy of success, and in the case of Batman v Superman that success has been assured.

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice Review

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God vs Man, Day vs Night… Fan vs Critic

Fearing the actions of an almost godlike alien super being, Gotham’s guardian, The Batman decides to take action against what he perceives as a threat to Mankind. But whilst the planet’s two greatest saviours battle it out amongst themselves, an even greater threat emerges that may ultimately cause the extinction of all life as we know it.

Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Holly Hunter. Written by: Chris Terrio and David S.Goyer. Directed by: Zack Snyder.

Take my hand dear reader, as I transport you back to a time when a wide eyed six year old child first discovered a character who would ultimately have a major impact in his life. It is the late seventies and a young boy is given an issue of Detective Comics #466 by his Mum as a gift. This was his first ever foray not just into the wonderful world of The Batman, but comic books themselves, and after devouring the issue a half dozen times in a row, he would go on to be one of the staunchest supporters of DC Comics and would conclusively tailor his life around these characters not just at home but also in the workplace.

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Dreams can come true folks!

The young boy I refer to is obviously yours truly, and it didn’t stop with the Caped Crusader, at nine I discovered the other character who would go on to be a life long obsession, the amazing Amazon, Wonder Woman. Since that time all those years ago, the one thing that I have longed to see were my favourite heroes united together on the silver screen, and finally that young lad’s dream has been fulfilled, with Zack Snyder’s astonishing adaptation of DC Comic’s original Trinity. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman finally stand united on the big screen for the first time… and it’s awe inspiring!

bvs 11This will be a mostly spoiler free zone, so don’t fret if you haven’t yet managed to watch the film. There are minor details that have to be written about in the course of the review but none of them will spoil your enjoyment of the film.

Before we start with our review, let’s quickly address the response of the ‘professional’ critics, who have been generally unfavourable in their opinions. I refer you to a piece we wrote about this earlier in the week (right here).

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Stand aside Christian Bale, Ben Affleck IS the Batman!

Let’s begin with the character that most people are (let’s be honest) going to see the movie for… The Batman, and there just aren’t enough superlatives we can commit for Ben Affleck’s truly astounding performance as not just the Dark Knight, but also his alter ego Bruce Wayne. Affleck’s rendition of the World’s most popular Superhero is peerless, effortlessly eclipsing previous versions of the character with an emotional and staggering portrayal of an older, conflicted crimefighter, on the edge of losing himself to the very darkness that he has spent his adult life fighting against.

This IS The Batman, ripped straight out of the comic books themselves, brutal, calculating and unforgiving, yet also calm, collected and compassionate to those who deserve it. Affleck’s Batman is world weary after twenty years spent tangling with criminals and lowlifes, and ultimately feeling powerless as age encroaches, and a new breed of super powered hero slowly appear on the horizon. Distrustful of such immense power, Batman decides that, for the safety of human kind, he should rein in these heroes before another tragedy like the calamitous Metropolis incident two years earlier happens again. Not only does Affleck play the Batman to the Nth degree, his depiction of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne is also fantastic, contrasting the two sides of the same coin superbly. Credit where credit is due folks, this is a career defining performance from Mr Affleck.

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Henry Cavill produces another solid performance as the Man of Steel

Henry Cavill once again steps into the red cape and boots of Superman, following on from his promising performance in the 2013 Batman v Superman prequel – Man of Steel. Haunted by the demons of his recent past, after the traumatic events just two years previous when he had to use lethal force to stop a rampaging General Zod from completely destroying the city and people that he has sworn to protect. Held up on a pedestal by many and seen as a godlike saviour, there are those though who still blame him for the catastrophic loss of life in Metropolis and feel he needs to be held accountable for his actions.

Cavill’s Superman is that of a grounded and humble saviour, cognisant of the damage wrought by his defence of Metropolis, and anguished over his inability to halt the vast loss of life brought on by his Kryptonian kin. Continuing his crusade to protect the people of his adopted planet, he eventually casts his gaze across the bay to the festering city of Gotham and it’s ruthless protector Batman, believing him to be as amoral as the criminals he hunts and vowing to put an end to his actions.

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The amazing Amazon is superbly brought to life by Gal Gadot’s outstanding performance

Rounding out our terrific trinity is Gal Gadot’s impressive entrance as Wonder Woman, stepping onto the big screen for the first time, this is a stand-out and crowd pleasing performance that kicks open the door for her solo performance in the 2017 dated Wonder Woman movie. Gal perfectly embodies the strength, beauty and compassion of the World’s premier female Superhero, easily holding her own alongside the two main leads. Though her role in the film is rather minor in comparison to the other characters, her performance is intensely memorable and she ultimately saves the day towards the end of the film. 

Finally seeing Wonder Woman on the silver screen kicking all kinds of arse is rewarding enough, but nothing can prepare you for how well implemented she is into the story itself, at first an almost shadowy figure glimpsed at a socialite party by a beguiled yet wary Bruce Wayne, before shedding her Diana Prince alter ego to embrace her warrior’s way as she goes toe to toe with the film’s big bad, Doomsday in the breathtaking climax. 

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Alfred is played by Jeremy Irons and puts in a memorable performance as Bruce Wayne’s long time confidante and friend

Alongside the big three is a talented and capable cast of extras that help flesh out the world, especially notable is the performance by Jeremy Irons as Bruce Wayne’s guardian and confidante Alfred Pennyworth. Irons is a consummate professional, and his portrayal of Alfred is taken almost completely from the comic book and animated versions of the character. The dry sense of humour, constant quipping and chastising of Bruce are all present, as good as the other versions of Alfred have been in previous films, Jeremy Irons nails the absolute core of the character beautifully.

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Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor has been divisive amongst the fans, but I loved his alternate take on the mad genius sociopath

This brings us to the main villain of the piece, Superman’s arch enemy Lex Luthor, played effervescently by Jesse Eisenberg. A divisive choice amongst fans, Eisenberg’s Luthor is a million miles from previous versions of the enigmatic criminal genius. This is a younger, crazier Luthor, though he still manages to retain all the characteristics that make up DC’s iconic Supervillain, a power hungry, psychopathic narcissist. No longer the centre of attention in Metropolis since Superman appeared, he uses his vast intellect and fortune to engineer the fight between Batman and Superman, so he can continue uninterrupted with his deadly scheme for ultimate knowledge and power.

Reprising their roles from Man of Steel are, Laurence Fishburne as the Daily Planet’s Perry White, Amy Adams as star reporter and Superman’s love interest Lois Lane, and Diane Lane as Martha Kent. Plus Kevin Costner makes a small cameo appearance as Jonathan Kent, Clark’s erstwhile adopted father.

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The main event: Batman & Superman throwdown!

The main event of the film comes at about the half way point, as our two leads finally face off on a rain sodden rooftop in Gotham City. This is an epic showdown lifted straight out of the comics, especially Frank Miller’s ground-breaking ‘Dark Knight Returns’. The build up to this fracas really hypes up viewer expectation and the ultimate confrontation is brutal, inventive and exciting, you will not be disappointed by their brawl, it more than delivers on the hype.

Of course this is just one of many action sequences in the film, others include an amazing chase sequence involving the new Batmobile and a heart pumping warehouse scene where Batman faces off against an almost impossible amount of Russian mercenaries, which may very well be my favourite movie fight sequence of all time. This scene showcases Batman’s skill and ferocity better than any previous movie, finally we have a version of the character worthy of the Batman legend.

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Haunted by past demons, and unsure of his immediate future, Bruce Wayne soldiers on… even though it may ultimately mean his demise!

Once again Zack Snyder delivers the goods with yet another outstanding comic book interpretation, following hot on the heels of his popular adaptations of 300 and Watchmen, Snyder is a comic fan, and it shows. He always successfully manages to encapsulate everything that is important about the chosen characters, every small nuance, every minute detail, cramming in as much lore as he can. His films are a delight to fans of the source material, but are epic and action packed enough to also appeal to the non comic fans.

Batman v Superman is the greatest comic book movie of all time, and I don’t say that lightly. A spectacular love letter to the DC Universe, I never actually thought a Superhero film would ever come along to topple the mighty Watchmen from its lofty perch, but this film has done just that. Ignore the critics, you will be kicking yourself if you allow some random internet review deny you from seeing this astounding film on the big screen. Big, brash and beautiful, Batman v Superman is a modern classic.

Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Anguished Bat Souls Out Of 5

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of The Critics…

 

 

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Well it’s finally here, after close to three years of (indescribably torturous) waiting, Batman v Superman finally releases, to rapturous applause from the fans (currently sitting at 8.0 0n IMDB) but (surprise, surprise) hated on by many movie critics.

Now then, before we start on this (ever so slight) rant, let’s get some perspective on the matter. 1. It does not matter what other people think, all that really matters is what YOU think, if you find the movie enjoyable then… awesome. 2. A critic is literally just giving their opinion, in the great scheme of things their opinion does not affect your ability to love something, and in no way are critics right (or wrong) in their opinion… it is still just that, their opinion.

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DC Comics invented the female Superhero, Wonder Woman’s inclusion in Batman v Superman is extremely important to the genre because not only is she able to match the male heroes, she can easily surpass them. Gal Gadot’s almost flawless appearance as the Amazing Amazon will help propel the industry to create more movies with strong female leads, which is fantastic and long overdue. Diversity is a good thing folks, so hurrah for DC and Zack Snyder… but are the critics applauding this? no, because… DC!

Ok, let’s get this out of the way right now… yes I am a DC fanatic, and no I don’t read Marvel comics (well that’s not completely true, I do actually occasionally buy ‘The Punisher’) but I don’t hate Marvel, I just grew up loving DC’s characters and worlds and never personally found Marvel’s heroes and villains anywhere near as engaging (apart from the aforementioned Frank Castle, of course) But I do not actively bash others for their love of something, I have no right to do that… to each their own is my mantra friends.

Now then, with all that said, I have noticed over the past few years since the mountainous onslaught of cinematic comic-book adaptations, an inherent bias in the reviewing industry. There are now several websites that I avoid because of their actively transparent anti DC and Zack Snyder bias (allow me to clarify this point, this does not include any WordPressers, I am talking about corporate websites) of course, they have every right to bash, criticise and hate on something as much as they want (and I dutifully uphold that right) but I also have the right to not visit, read or subject myself to their opinions.

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Movie critics are actively bashing Batman v Superman for being “too dark and gritty!” but applauded the (awesome) Dark Knight trilogy for the same thing!…  Mmmmm!?

Right now you may be thinking – “but, ArcaneHalloween, are you not a critic yourself seeing as you run a comic-book review website” and it’s a logical thought. The thing is though, I never, ever, review things I don’t love, Precinct1313 is dedicated to the appreciation of DC Comics and Cult movies not criticising, disparaging or belittling other people’s passions in life. In fact it’s thanks to the diversity of one person to another that we have so many distinct choices open to us when it comes to comic books, movies, music, et al…

The majority of featured reviews on aggregate websites such as – Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes have been almost uniformly scathing. And once again I do reserve their right to their opinion, but it seems that a lot of the critics either don’t seem to understand what makes a great comic-book or character adaptation, or have not really put a great deal of time and effort into maybe doing some research on the subject matter at hand before giving their opinion. “Too dark and gritty” is a common theme amongst many of these negative reviews, there is a reason for this Mr Critic, the comic-book storylines this particular movie are based upon are just that… Dark and Gritty (see here for details on that one friends) The same reviewers actively applauded Christopher Nolan for doing exactly this with his Dark Knight Trilogy.

It is definitely the case that a lot of critics went in with the preconceived notion of disliking the movie, based upon the trailers (which were mostly fantastic) plus a lack of inherent knowledge of the comics and the history of the main characters, and a dislike of its director’s previous films. One review in particular called out the film because, and I quote “Since when did Batman and Superman ever fight each other anyway, what a ridiculous premise they made up for this movie” I once again refer them to this piece here. Research reaps rewards Mr Critic.

One of the better reviews of the movie is ComicBookMovie.Com, which you can read right here a well informed non biased view of the film at hand, a great read.

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Don’t be sad Bats, we still love ya!

“It’s not like the Marvel movies” is another favourite, and thank Zeus for that, not because I think the Marvel movies are bad, but because (as mentioned earlier) diversity is a good thing… variety is the spice of life folks.

And don’t get me started on the whole “Zack Snyder is untalented” nonsense, I refer you to this line… ‘Those who can, do… those who can’t, criticise.’  Snyder is a wonderful film maker, a visual auteur who loves the medium he works in, and this shines through in his fantastic movies. Remember this is the man who gave us the tremendous “300” and the (supposedly unfilmable) masterpiece that is “Watchmen” I guarantee, you sit any film critic down in a director’s chair and they would be bewildered by the amount of skill that is needed to create a movie, or craft a world through which millions of people will be breathlessly transported and lost to for two plus hours of their lives. Making movies is not easy Mr Critic, please stop trivialising it.

Now please understand I am not denigrating critics for their opinion on films or even saying they’re wrong, they have every right to them, but so do I and the millions of fans who just want to enjoy their chosen piece of fantasy mayhem. I think that since the inception of internet media, a lot more people put way too much in stock in what some random online critic says about a movie rather than just taking the time to judge it for themselves.

Critics criticise it’s what they do. Ignore the backlash, head to the cinema and judge the film on it’s own merits, and I guarantee you will have one hell of a good time for the two and a half hour run time, I mean who doesn’t want to see the two biggest Superheroes of all time throwdown in an intense battle royale! batman

Please feel free to agree or disagree about this in the comments, I would love to hear your reactions on not just this post, but also the film itself. 

Batman v Superman: Grudge Match

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In just two short weeks the greatest cinematic Superhero event ever will take place, when the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel square up for a royal rumble that will shake the very foundations of the DC Universe. Comic’s two most iconic characters will go head to head in a grudge match that, even though this will be their first live action brawl, has been enacted throughout the decades in both comic book and animated forms.

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Though, usually touted as friends and allies, no other comic book duo has fought as many times as Bats and Supes over the decades. They are literally opposite ends of the Superhero spectrum; one is a vengeance driven manhunter, bringing his own brand of justice to a corrupt and dystopian city. dark and brooding, driven on by the tragic deaths of his parents, Batman has given his life over to his mission.

The other is a virtual god, a being from another planet who arrived on Earth as a child after his home was catastrophically destroyed. Brought up in the farm belt of the USA, Kal El uses his almost limitless power to help his adopted kin, fundamentally a force of good and a symbol of hope amongst his many supporters. Batman and Superman literally are Night and Day, completely antithetical and divergent in both motivation and execution of their chosen lifestyles.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice director – Zack Snyder has drawn heavily from these past confrontations for his upcoming blockbuster movie, but the one story that has had the most influence on the film (and the character of Batman himself) is Frank Miller’s classic, genre defying eighties series ‘The Dark Knight Returns’

Dark Knight is Frank Miller‘s opus, and almost single handedly responsible for a dramatic and significant change in the way Superheroes are portrayed. Taking the well loved character and plunging him even deeper into his own psychosis and despair, allowing him to really embrace the darkness that was brought on by the devastating loss of his parents, and use it to deliver a whirlwind of brutal justice on the many corrupting forces that prey on Gothamites on a daily basis. Miller’s Batman is a schizophrenic and driven crime-fighter, an unequivocal force of nature that does not suffer fools gladly, and will allow absolutely nothing and no-one to stand in the way of his war on crime.

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Ben Affleck’s armoured Bat-suit is heavily inspired by Frank Miller’s original design

The Dark Knight Returns shows us a future Gotham City where crime runs rampant, and its one true protector who used to hold back the tide of criminality and lawlessness has long since retired as age and injuries slowly caught up with him. Bruce Wayne now holds back his raging inner demons through the use of alcohol and death defying stunts (when we first see the aged Bruce, he is crashing his race car over a finish line with suicidal abandon.) Unable to cope without his alter ego, and feeling powerless in the face of an encroaching enemy that is seeping into his beloved city and gradually altering its substructure into that of complete anarchy and transgression.

Superheroes have long since been outlawed, and the only one still active is the Government sponsored Superman, who covertly works for the President and keeps the peace with as little media exposure as possible. Brought back from his almost catatonic state, after the demons raging inside him can no longer be contained, Bruce Wayne gives himself over to the one true personality that has always been dominant in his life since that one fateful night… The Batman. Waging a war on crime like never before with unstinting and remorseless abandon, yet his age and a decade of inactivity might make this last heroic struggle, his final denouement.

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With Batman rampaging his way through the underbelly of Gotham City and dividing opinion amongst the Police and citizens, Superman is despatched by the President to put a stop to his vigilante actions… and thus ensues the paradigmatic battle between the two titans, that is reflected heavily in the many trailers for the forthcoming movie.

Director Zack Snyder is a huge comic book fan, especially of the darker and more mature style of story-telling, just witness his previous movie incarnations – the utterly astounding recreation of Alan Moore’s ‘Watchmen’ (still our fave comic to film adaptation) and Frank Miller’s ‘300’. The influence of Miller’s Dark Knight is tangible, and there really could be no better material for him to draw upon for this colossal showdown.

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The many, many instances of Batman v Superman throughout the years

Of course lest we forget, there will be one tempering influence in the film who has also acted as a mediator to the feuding heroes in comics and animation over the years. She is also the character who has soundly beaten both Bats and Supes in one on one combat on several occassions. So before either hero gets too overconfident and supercilious in their own powers and skills, they should really factor in that comic-book’s first lady, Wonder Woman can kick both their arses without even breaking a sweat… just saying!

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New52 Wonder Woman Gives Supes A Lesson In How To Kick Arse The Amazon Way!

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Batman Always Wins… Unless He’s Fighting Diana, Of Course!

The titanic twosome will be knocking heads when ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ hits the cinemas on March 25. Best prepare your utility belts and red capes in readiness for what will incontestably be the ‘Greatest Comic Book Movie Ever!’

“Great Hera”… Full Size Wonder Woman Statue Is Amazing!

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Hot Toys Amazing Gal Gadot Statue Is Wondy-ful!

The amazing Hong Kong based production company ‘Hot Toys’ who specialise in building lifelike one sixth scale collectable figures of comic book and film characters have outdone themselves with full size figures of Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman and the Batmobile from the incoming blockbuster ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ movie, and they are incredible!

These full scale figures are unbelievably detailed and uncanny in their realistic representation of the three main stars from the upcoming Superhero movie. The armoured Batman figure stands at an impressive seven feet in height, the film accurate figure has light up eyes and base and an astonishing attention to even the minutest detail.

ht full size Bats

The Wonder Woman and Superman figures also are an impressive sight to behold, but if you’re thinking of investing in one of these stunning sculptures (let alone the complete trinity) you may need a rather hefty bank loan, as each individual figure weighs in at about £5,000 ($7,000.)

ht ww supe - Edited

 Hot Toys will begin selling these astounding effigies in extremely limited numbers from May. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits the big screen on March 25.

Batman v Superman: Prequel Comic Chapter 1 – Batman

BvS 1.1

In preparation for the biggest showdown in comic book history, Warner Bros have released five prequel comics to the March 25 dated Batman v Superman movie. The comics primarily focus upon – Batman, Superman, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and Senator Finch, and disclose some interesting revelations in the run up to the highly anticipated gladiatorial bout between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel. Below you will find in its entirety, Chapter 1: Batman. 

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BvS 3

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The above images are courtesy of ComicBookMovie.com, where you can find the other four chapters of the prequel comics. Written by: Christos Gage. Art by: Joe Bennet.

A Sneak Peek Inside The New Batcave

batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-logo

New images have appeared today that takes fans on a short tour of Ben Affleck’s Batcave from the upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” movie, the rather low res images give us an exclusive glimpse of the Caped Crusader’s base of operations, hidden deep beneath Wayne Manor. 

Bruce Wayne and loyal butler Alfred.

Bruce Wayne and loyal butler Alfred

Loyal manservant Alfred Pennyworth also appears in the above pic, played by English actor Jeremy Irons, whose version of the classic character will apparently be a lot more hands on than previous live action variants, bringing him more in line with the comic-book version.

batvsupebatcave

Where’s the giant penny and T-Rex then?

The pictures come courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, Ben Affleck also had this to say on his version of the Dark Knight:

“Batman represents human beings, mortal men, in a world of Flashes, Aquamen and Supermen, there really needs to be that guy. It’s interesting that he became the leader of the Justice League in the books, I’m not sure how that will play out here, but his humanity is an asset.”

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“Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” will be released on 25 March 2016, directed by Zack Snyder and is the foundation block for DC Comics’ extended universe of interconnected movies that began with 2013’s “Man Of Steel.”

Pictures and interview excerpt courtesy of ‘Entertainment weekly’

Rorschach Returns?

Copyright: DC Comics

Who Watches The Watchmen? Hopefully We Do!

To an interminably die-hard Watchmen fan like myself, there can be no greater news than the live action return of Alan Moore’s fabled comic characters, and you know what, it’s looking like we are one step closer to seeing just that. Zack Snyder, director of the fantastic 2009 film adaptation of Moore’s groundbreaking graphic novel, has approached studio HBO with the (really rather marvellous) idea of a weekly Watchmen television series.  

As to what form the series may take, it’s rather early to predict at this time, but considering we have already been treated to the original 80’s tale, the series would more than likely take inspiration from the 2012 comic prequel series “Before Watchmen.”  These consisted of eight separate mini-series each following one of the main characters from the Watchmen and served as a forerunner to the original Moore series. Of course it could go the other way and create a wholly original story involving our volatile team of heroes, whatever form the show may take however, it is still exciting news. More Rorschach?… oh hell yes!

Watchmen Copyright: DC Comics

New Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice Trailer Released At SDCC

Just released at this years San Diego Comic-Con is the second trailer for Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice movie that brings together for the first time DC’s iconic Superhero Trinity, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. This spectacular new trailer takes you deeper inside the aftermath of the black zero event in Man Of Steel, and includes sequences involving the awesome Amazon Wonder Woman and Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor. Enjoy…

Batman v Superman: The Showdown

Copyright: DC Comics, Warner Bros

It Is On!!

Entertainment Weekly’s exclusive coverage of Zack Snyder’s forthcoming movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” included not only some fantastic film stills but also some intriguing morsels of info regarding this potentially epic Superhero movie.

Ben Affleck shared some interesting facts about the confrontation between DC’s two biggest characters.  “One of the things I like about Man Of Steel was Zack’s idea of showing accountability and the consequences of violence and seeing there are real people in those buildings, in fact one of those buildings was Bruce Wayne’s, so he knew people who died during that black zero event”

Batman has become more pessimistic and world weary when we catch up with him in the new film, at this point of his career he is an old hand at the crime-fighting game, though his outlook is definitely bleak and angry. Affleck mentioned that “He’s on the verge of being swallowed up by the anger and the rage that we see haunt this character in his other manifestations, but this version is further down the line and has become more embittered and cynical.”

Trinity

Trinity: Affleck, Gadot, and Cavill

Plus Director Zack Snyder had a few words about Wonder Woman’s part in the film saying “She plays a super important part in the movie, she is basically the gateway drug to the rest of the Justice League.”

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice will be released in March 2016, and we can’t wait!!

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman Copyright: DC Comics.

Pictures Copyright: Entertainment Weekly.

300: Rise Of An Empire – 2014 Review

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(Warner Bros, 2014)

Greek general Themistocles rallies his meagre Athenian forces to stem the tide of the encroaching Persian army, led by God-King Xerxes and the vengeful Artemisia, commander of the Persian navy.

Cast: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, Jack O’Connell. Director: Noam Murro. Writers: Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad (screenplay), Frank Miller (Graphic Novel “Xerxes”)

300: Rise Of An Empire, the sequel to Zack Snyder’s 2006 film “300” is an interesting beast, the events in this notable follow up take place before, during and after the events of the original film. In fact the storyline is so dramatically and cleverly interwoven, that it almost feels like it’s a chapter of the original film that was removed for time constraints. What helps propel this image is its amazing visual presence that mirrors its forebear in both, gloriously vivid comic-book inspired violence and overtly stylised graphic continuity, and also echoes masterfully, writer/artist Frank Miller’s original graphic novel “Xerxes”.

Xerxes

Xerxes

The film opens at the legendary Battle of Marathon, which in continuity of the film franchise takes place ten years before the events of the original film. This battle is the catalyst of the upcoming war between the varying Greek city-states and the combined forces of the Persian army, with the heavily outnumbered Athenian shock troops taking the fight directly to the newly disembarked Persian soldiers, catching them off guard and securing an early victory for the Greeks.

During this engagement, Greek hero Themistocles, looses an arrow that will not only set the stage for Prince Xerxes transformation into the tyrannical God-King, but also his eventual march to gain ascendancy over the varying city-states of Greece. 

Themistocles at the Battle of Marathon

Themistocles at the Battle of Marathon

This opening battle sequence sets the precedence and tone for the rest of the film, but where Rise differs from its forebear is in its use of epic naval battles. With the heavily outnumbered but highly skilled and ingenious Athenian fleet, led by General Themistocles, meeting head on, the massive and overwhelming Persian armada controlled by the beautiful but malefic Artemisia, played wonderfully by actress Eva Green. Stunning and deadly, Artemisia takes centre stage as the protagonist of the film, and also the real power behind the throne held by Xerxes.

Epic sea battles abound

Epic sea battles abound

Themistocles is portrayed by Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton, and though he ultimately is not as memorable as Gerard Butler’s outstanding role as Leonidas in the original film, he still puts in an impassioned and engaging turn as the celebrated Athenian hero. Returning cast members include, Lena Headey, as Leonidas’ grieving widow Queen Gorgo, David Wenham as Spartan elite Dilios, and of course Rodrigo Santoro reprising his spectacular performance as the imposing God-King Xerxes.

Also returning to the franchise is original 300 director Zack Snyder, who shares credit with Kurt Johnstad for both the original screenplay, and as lead producer. Plus writer/artist, Frank Miller returns as executive producer and advisor.

Artemisia and her bodyguard of Immortals

Artemisia and her bodyguard of Immortals

Jam packed with amazing visuals, kinetic action sequences and ridiculously over the top, blood and gore, Rise of an Empire may not quite match its big brother in originality or acting splendour, what it does though is provide the viewer with a fantastically well produced sequel that is in equal measures, engaging, violent and epic in scale.

Special mention must go to the fantastic end credits, that mix the striking visual style of Frank Miller’s original graphic novel and a rousing end piece that is an almost perfect fusion of Black Sabbath’s War-Pig, and the films own main theme tune.

Spectacular end credits mimic artist Frank Miller's visual style perfectly

Spectacular end credits mimic artist Frank Miller’s visual style

Though not critically lauded, the film has a strong and fervent fan base (myself included) that are vocal in their defence of the underrated movie. Its initial opening weekend was successful, with the film regaining almost half of its original budget, and has gone on to surpass this via dvd and blue-ray sales. If you’re a fan of the original 300 but have been hesitant in watching this for fear of it being a poor sequel, dive on in, the film is highly recommended. Sublime visuals, good acting and hyper stylised, gloriously bloody battle sequences make for a fun popcorn movie that is infinitely rewatchable.

Precinct1313 Rating: 4 Hoplite Soldiers Out Of 5

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice – Official Trailer

(DC Comics, Warner Brothers)

(DC Comics, Warner Brothers)

After the much anticipated trailer for Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman vs Superman film was leaked (via a badly filmed smart phone video) early on Friday, Warner Brothers brought forward their premier and officially released it on Friday evening. So here it is for your delectation my comic loving cohorts, and marvel at just how close some of the sequences are to Frank Miller’s excellent 80’s mini-series The Dark Knight Returns. Enjoy…