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Peter "Peter (The Comic Book Guy)" (Market Umpton, England)

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The Dark Knight Rises (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
The Dark Knight Rises (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Price: £4.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rising to the occasion, 14 Dec. 2012
It is impossible to argue that Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise has not been a monumental force in changing how superheroes are viewed in the modern age. It can equally be argued the Dark Knight Rises is not a true superhero film but rather a social commentary on American fears of terrorism and civic disorder destroying American ideals. Indeed if we view the character of Batman in this film, he is no longer a faceless man behind a mask, but rather he is known to be Bruce Wayne. The Dark Knight Rises is not a film about a superhero defeating homicidal madmen, but rather a man who has been broken and beaten, who has to rebuild his life and rise above his great challenge; this could symbolically reflect how American society had to rebuild itself after the 9/11 attacks. Against this contextual backdrop The Dark Knight Rises should be a study of how one man can defeat a power beyond his own abilities; but like Nolan's other works the overall message gets lost. The Dark Knight Rises therefore presents an interesting depiction of 21st century America, which unfortunately requires the viewer to observe from a distance and it makes the whole picture rather alien.
The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne; however the 8 years between this film and the Dark Knight have not been good to him as Bruce has become a cripple and he is now a recluse in his rebuilt empty mansion. To make matters worse Wayne Enterprises is sliding towards bankruptcy and Gotham still blames Batman for the murder of Harvey Dent. Also Batman's long-time ally, Jim Gordon (Played by the very talented Gary Oldman) is being forced to retire due to the fact that Gotham City is now finally at peace. Enter Bane, played by Tom Hardy dressed in a rather fetching sheep-skin jacket; he decides to bring chaos to Gotham and he will let no one get in his way. Bane is a fearsome foe and his physical power and powerful body language make him one of the most threatening villains to ever appear in a superhero film. Just like Heath Ledger's Joker, Bane steals the show and Batman takes a side seat whilst the villains tear up Gotham. In the months leading up to the film's release, there was a lot of criticism that Bane's voice was too hard to understand, but after some audio adjustments he now sounds just fine.
Other supporting characters include Catwoman played by Anne Hathaway, unfortunately compared to Bane, her character is rather poorly used and Catwoman simply becomes a device for Nolan to discuss the complexities of morality instead of actually contributing to the overall story. The experienced and slightly corrupt (he lies about how Dent died) Commissioner Gordon spends most of the film in hospital and simply serves as a contrast to the inexperienced Detective Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is finding it hard to find a place within the police department. Other cast members include the mysterious Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) who suddenly becomes an important character in the last 30 minutes, which I feel leaves little room for her character to fully grow. Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) return to help Bruce; interestingly Alfred encourages Bruce to retire from crime fighting for good, whilst Lucius actually seems to approve of his return. Finally in true Nolan tradition there is a cameo from Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) and Ra al Ghul (Liam Neeson). The Dark Knight Rises also draws characters from the Batman comics, but I believe this is a mistake because they appear as one dimensional extras who are only included to apparently appeal to diehard Batman fans; for example Holly Robinson, who is an ally of Catwoman in the comics, appears in two scenes and then completely disappears from the film. By including so many characters Nolan seems to find it hard to control the pacing and importance they have in regards to the story; therefore the film's total length could have been cut down from the long winded 165 minute mark, if these lesser characters were excluded.
Nolan has a strong directorial control of how his films look and the cinematography employed creates a beautifully gritty depiction of Gotham City. The costume design for Bane and Catwoman is spectacular and they suit the realistic contemporary world that Nolan has created. The Dark Knight Rises feels closer structurally and artistically with Batman Begins and contains several flashbacks linked to the original film; this is a good thing considering I felt the first Batman film was the best in representing Batman's psychology make-up and his own personal demons he has to overcome. As mentioned previously, the film is close to three hours long and is paced at a rapid speed, which sometimes leaves the audience confused and it is not clear what is always going on. This problem is not helped by the several major plot holes that the film contains and I did actually wonder if I had missed something, especially during a critical moment where a serious anatomical problem is fixed by simple hitting the body part that has been misplaced. This is the greatest sticking point for me in this film; I could forgive it for its other issues outlined if the plot holes were not so grave in destroying the realist world that Nolan has created.
The Dark Knight Rises is not a bad film, it's guaranteed to be a commercial and critical successful even though its major plot holes, pacing issues and extensive cast list prevents the film from being a solid masterpiece. Tom Hardy steals the show as Bane and the set pieces are the most exciting and well executed in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Nolan is in my honest opinion a good director stylistically, but his scripts and pacing sometimes feel rushed and his films suffer due to this fact; this is apparent especially in his latest work.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 16, 2012 5:05 PM GMT

Hitman Absolution (PS3)
Hitman Absolution (PS3)
Offered by Frostfall Games S.à r.l
Price: £7.19

6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Agent 47's Pants Fall Down!, 21 Nov. 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Six years is a long time for any game series to have a hiatus. Some series like Tomb Raider have attempted to redefine itself by changing nearly all the original core elements and the Assassin's Creed series has had so many releases in such a short amount of time, any changes in each game are insignificant. Therefore is Hitman Absolution completely different from the PS2 games or does it repeat the same format with updated graphics/gameplay.

The story follows 47's attempts to fulfil the dying wishes of his ex-controller Diana, by keeping a girl called Victoria safe from the Agency and other forces trying to hunt her down. Io Interactive has therefore tried to bring 47 forward from the emotionless killer to a more complex and a dimensional being; this is not the first time that 47 has shown personal warmth to people; remember the priest in Hitman 2. Instead of playing through missions where the Agency assigns contracts for the player to complete, in Absolution, 47 has become a rogue agent and therefore only assassinates people who present a problem to him. Therein lies the main problem; most of the game becomes a rather linear affair with 47 going from point a to b and not actual assassinating a target. Also this game relies too much on action; e.g. escaping a burning building or starting a fight in a saloon just so you can speak to the bar keeper or competing in a shooting competition!

Therefore should you play the new installment of Hitman? Well yes; I admit I have only so far highlighted the negatives. The game plays very well in the sense that you truly feel that you are controlling 47 and when you do kill a target the same sense of joy of completing the mission is evident. Also Blake Dexter, the main antagonist of the game, is both funny and menacing at the same time; it's just a shame his supporting goons are witless fools. The only gripe I have with the gameplay mechanics concerns the problem of disguises; when you take a cop's uniform, dispose of his body and then walk around the level you need to make sure that you have enough instinct or the other police will recognise you as an imposter. The disguise system is a major burden in this game, especially in the later levels when you can't walk a metre before you are found out and shot in the face. Also it is not always clear why you have been discovered when you have used instinct to blend in or why you are trespassing when you are wearing the correct disguise.

Hitman Absolution is a very good starting place for new gamers thinking of playing the series; however to seasoned assassins I think Io have moved away from the core gameplay element of assassinating targets in hostile locations. With 20 missions (although some take literally 5 minutes to complete), contracts mode and 200+ of challenges to overcome you definitely get value for your money. It's just a shame that Hitman has moved away from its roots and now offers a sometimes unsatisfactory gaming experience.


+ 20 missions, contracts mode and challenges.
+ Smooth textures, great controls.
+ Blake Dexter is the best villain to date.

- Missions are no longer based on assassinating targets.
- Dodgy A.I and poor disguising mechanics.
- Some linear levels force you to take a guns blazing approach.
- Very steep difficulty curve in later levels.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 21, 2012 7:05 PM GMT

Batman and Robin: Batman Must Die! (Deluxe Edition) (Batman & Robin)
Batman and Robin: Batman Must Die! (Deluxe Edition) (Batman & Robin)
by Grant Morrison
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fitting Climax for Grant Morrison's Epic, 14 Nov. 2011
Before beginning the review, I think its safe to say you will either love or hate the work of Grant Morrison. Personally I am a fan of his gritty and somewhat convoluted storytelling, however I suggest you read his work about three times before all the pieces of the puzzle will fit together. Therefore, if this is your first Grant Morrison book, it may seem confusing and to be honest I still don't fully understand the storyline after re-reading all his work many times. However the merits of his work are that you are put on a non-stop rollercoaster (to use the tired old metaphor) which takes so many twists and turns its hard not to become pulled into the bizarre and freaky world that Grant Morrison has created. The artwork is well suited to the general tone of the story which has Prof Pyg hung upside down on a barb wire torture rack and the 99 fiends promising to 'maim' the heroes. This type of storytelling is generations away from the polite 60's/70's Batman where the Joker has tricks and characters like Scarecrow give Batman a slight headache. This collection includes the stories:

Batman and Robin Must Die - Main story arch
Part 1 - The Garden of Death = Where the Joker re-inacts a famous Batman event, which previously was linked to Jason Todd
Part 2 - The Triumph of Death = Where Batman is attacked by Comissioner Gordon
Part 3 - The Knight, Death and the Devil = Where the Black Glove is defeated, kind of.

Black Mass = Simply the best single issue Grant Morrison has written!!!!
Batman - The Return = A one shot which introduces Batman Leviathan which is a series currently being released in the States; although its strongly recommened you order its back issues if you enjoyed this series.

Therefore in conclusion in my opinion this is the best Batman and Robin collection that Grant Morrison has written, containing the greatest issue he has ever written. Although I admit this review has been extremely biased, I do advise you consider buying this book simply for the thrill of the conclusion and if your interested in the follow up, Batman Leviathan.

Batman Leviathan = Issues 1-8 (first 4 will appear in the forthcoming book Vol 1)
Batman: The Leviathan Strikes! = Coming soon in December in US, one shot issue
Batman: Leviathan Strikes = 12 part series coming next year, which Grant Morrison claims will conclude his run on the Batman series.

Thanks for reading.

Batman and Robin: Batman vs Robin (Batman & Robin)
Batman and Robin: Batman vs Robin (Batman & Robin)
by Grant Morrison
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Batman and Robin - The Second Volume, 12 Feb. 2011
Before I begin actually reviewing this product, to fully understand the events that happen in the six issues contained in this collection, it is advisable that you pick up Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn (Batman & Robin)and Batman R.I.P. to understand the back-story that Grant Morrison has established. Ok, so what makes this a 5 star book? Well firstly it helps to explain the events which are happening in Batman: the Return of Bruce Wayne and also it builds up to the grand finale contained in the final volume of Batman and Robin (yet to be released). Also the art work contained within is draw droppingly beautiful and flawless; plus the dialogue and page layout is both practical and clear. So... what makes this a Deluxe Edition? Well at the end of the 6 comics contained wherein, there are several original sketches, cover variants and information about what inspired Grant Morrison to create his weird and wonderful characters. Now the Contents themselves:

pt 1 - Pearly and the Pit
pt 2 - Batman VS Batman
pt 3 - Broken

The weaker of the two story arcs, Blackest Knight reveals the truth behind the body of Bruce Wayne which is locked beneath Wayne Manor and also shows to what extent Dick is willing to risk his own life to bring back his mentor from the dead. This story includes several familiar faces including Knight and Squire, Batwoman and Talia Al Ghul. Although personally not my favourite story arc, it holds well together and is entertaining from start to finish; also it has many examples of British humour.

pt 1 - The Haunting of Wayne Manor
pt 2 - Boneyard
pt 3 - Mexican Train

Finally all the pieces of the jigsaw come together and events are set in motion which can not be stopped, the two heroes are at their weakest when they should be united and at their strongest. I don't really want to spoil the plot, so I will just say the cover price is worth it just so you can read this story, which is a mesmerising, and a spellbound quest into the very heart of the secrets of the Wayne Manor and the whole Bat family. Expect to see the return of the Anti-Christ (metaphorically) and a dangerous foe who likes bananas?!

Thanks for reading :)

Doctor Who -- The Complete Series 5 [DVD]
Doctor Who -- The Complete Series 5 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matthew Smith
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £29.49

18 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This Series needs a Doctor, 28 Aug. 2010
So after last year's pointless and weak specials, we are finally presented with a full series of poor episodes. Allow me elaborate on why this series has been a disappointment:

1. The Eleventh Hour - This episode was the best in the series because it allowed Matt Smith to begin building the character of the Doctor. Also this episode like the 'The Christmas Invasion, with olde David Tennant', shows the Doctor selecting his character's costume and of course getting rid of his past incarnations rags.

2. The Beast Below - The problem with this episode was the Smilers, who were not menacing enough. They should been like the Gas mask people in the 'The Empty Child' (of course they wouldn't say mommy, but instead they could say Bad Boy. Actually that sounds fruity, forget that idea). Anyway this episode lacked enemies of true menace and Amy saved the day. Therefore what is the point of the Doctor, if his companion is more intelligent than he is.

3. The Victory of the Daleks - This episode had Fat Daleks who had been drinking too many bottles of food colouring and again the Daleks were un-menacing. And Again AMY saved the day! Also Winston Churchill was stereotypically portrayed as the cigar biting, two finger saluting war leader. Also, SPITFIRES in space!

4/5. Flesh and Stone/Other One - The Weeping Angels returned to pour dirt into Amy's eye; lucky her! The first part worked well, but the second part stretched the relatively thin plot too far. Also the crack in the wall was revealed far too early, in my opinion the Doctor should of only discovered the crack in the series finale. I just hope also River Song does not keep appearing as a desperate attempt to provide a comic relationship with the Doctor.

6. Vampires in Venice - This was a simple filler story which was boring beyond imagination; however it gave Rory an opportunity to join the Tardis crew. The main problem of this episode was again the plot was thin and dull. Also the episode did not really explain why the mother killed herself.

7. Amy's Choice - A surprisingly enjoyable episode that delved into the Doctor's damaged psyche. Also this episode was engaging and fast paced. The only niggle I had with it was the fact Rory died for the first of a million times. Also the monsters hiding in OAP's was just silly.

8/9. Hungry Earth/Cold Blood - This was the worst episode of the entire series, as the lizard people were as entertaining as an all day can opening festival. This episode was highly predictable, from the start we all knew that the lizard woman was going to be killed; also I have still not figured out why the BBC loves Wales so much, the country features in nearly ever single series (Cardiff this, Cardiff that).

10. Vincent and the Doctor - An historically inaccurate episode that failed to actually interest me; and the invisible monster was awful. They might as well used the killer rabbit from Monty Python's Holy Grail as the monster in this episode, it would of been more interesting. The biggest problem this episode presented was it tried to change history with Amy's name appearing on the Sunflowers!

11. The Lodger - I actually missed this episode.......moving on

12/13. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang - And the series ends with a story which rounds up the entire.. er series. This episode was long winded, the plot was un-engaging, the script/dialogue was scrappy and Matt Smith's doctor reminds me of Tommy Cooper too much (he even wore a fez in the last episode). Also the Big Bang episode seemed to be making it up as it progressed as guess what folks; the Doctor can now cross his own timeline which has been impossible for every other Doctor.

So all in all, a poor series which hopefully will be improved on by next years Doctor Who. There are moments of genius in the stories but they are to few and to far apart. By the way if you are thinking about giving this review a unhelpful rating then..... Did you know that the Christmas Special is inspired by the Christmas Carol and will see the Doctor encountering his past/present/future. If you have made it to the conclusion of this review than thanks for reading and comments will always be answered.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 13, 2011 1:05 AM GMT

Daredevil By Frank Miller & Klaus Janson Volume 1 TPB: v. 1 (Graphic Novel Pb)
Daredevil By Frank Miller & Klaus Janson Volume 1 TPB: v. 1 (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Frank Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.06

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Legend Begins..., 28 July 2010
Way back in 1979 Frank Miller was given the chance to work for Marvel comics, orginally as an artist and then later as a writer. Miller's first major work was with Daredevil, which he continued with for 4 years. This volume has some flaws, which makes it a three star comic book. Firstly the first dozen stories that are written by Roger McKenzie are mediocre at best. Issues 158 to 167 are mostly flat, with Daredevil fighting villians from other Marvel stories; like Dr Octopus and the Hulk for example. Also these earlier stories are mostly limited to linear plot narrative and unimaginative fight scenes. However by the time Miller takes over as writer, the stories are more unique and they explore the darker side of crime. Also Frank Miller introduces Elektra and his stories also see the return of the Kingpin. Therefore this volume includes :

The Spectacular Spiderman 27 - 28 (worth a miss, zzz)
Daredevil 158 to 172 (Best plots are 159 - 161 Bullseye returns and 169 - 172)


Dorian Gray [DVD]
Dorian Gray [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Barnes
Price: £3.99

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Keep Away Dorian Gray, 19 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Dorian Gray [DVD] (DVD)
Oscar Wilde's great novel has finally been brought to life in an adaptation which makes a good effort of re-telling the original tale of eternal youth and beauty. Firstly the pro's, this film has cast the right actor to play Dorian, although he should be BLONDE!(he was in the novel). Also it was a good idea to show the other characters age, whilst Dorian does not. Finally the setting and the atmosphere of the film feels right. Now, the con's. The film is to sexed up to appeal to modern audiences, the homosexuality of Dorian Gray is to blunt, it is slightly suggested that Dorian is gay in the novel. Sir Henry Wotton is played by the wrong actor, Colin Firth (who seems too of been cast to add a big name to the film), who belts out words like 'pleasures!', and 'Lets raise some hell'. In the novel however he is more subtle and witty and elegant, he is a good linguist. So all in all, Dorian Gray is a good attempt to adapt Oscar Wilde`s Gothic Tale, however it has lost some of its charm and subtlety in the transition from book to film.

The Godfather
The Godfather
by Mario Puzo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crime Really Does Pay, 18 Jan. 2010
This review is from: The Godfather (Paperback)
Lets forget the Godfather Trilogy. This novel is a stand alone story which was never made into a film and you have found it in a book store. The Godfather should be read by all fans of the Godfather Trilogy, but the novel should be treated as a completely different story. The novel explores more of the world that surrounds the Corleone Family, dealing with the problems of the individual characters, with aren't addressed in the `film', which doesn't exist. We get to learn about each character in depth, which adds a great deal more admiration for the heroes and disgust for the villains like Sollozo. Puzo was one of the greatest writers of the 20th century and this novel, which isn't my favourite due to the background of Vito Corleone and the whole side story of Apollonia in Sicily, should be praised as a good alternative of the film trilogy.

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron (PSP)
Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron (PSP)
Offered by GameExplorers
Price: £10.98

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Star Wars Gets a Bit Dull, 26 Nov. 2009
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Renegade Squadron follows the story of a small group of soldiers who against impossible odds contribute to destroying the Galactic Empire. The game contains 7 news planets, which apart from having impossible to say names, have never been mentioned in the Star Wars Saga before. Also each map feels constricted and a little bit dull to be honest. The customisation process, which allows you to change weapons and body parts is very restricting, as there are only 12 different body parts in the entire game. Also the story missions are just daft, with one mission seeing you destroy a Sith Academy. So in conclusion its a star wars game where you can fly Tie-Fighters and steer AT-AT's but to be honest save your money for Elite Squadron.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (PSP)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (PSP)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £10.89

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is it a mistake to visit Vice City Twice?, 23 Nov. 2009
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
The main appeal for the Grand Theft auto series was the huge fully explorable cities which you could spend hours searching and days looking in every nook and cranny. Still after 10 years of GTA is the magic still there? Vice City Stories follows the story of Vic Vance a soldier who quickly gets thrown out the army for hiding drugs under his mattress and decides to start a life of crime. The gameplay is quite similar to the other games in the series with every car being drivable and in this instalment even planes! While GTA Liberty City Stories had motorbikes and different gangs, Vice City Stories allows players to swim and use aircraft. However I don't think this game offers anything new, all the missions seem repetitive and overdone, the appeal of eluding the police in chases and assassinating a renegade gang member is no longer fun. The game series is no longer fresh, but is seemingly following a set number of points. You should only play this if it i your first visit to Vice City.

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