Category Archives: Opinion Articles

Any article I write that isn’t a review. Sometimes more personal than not.

‘Batman & Robin’: Cinematic Gold

In honor of April Fools Day, here is a sarcastic, positive review of “Batman & Robin”, one of the worst (but, hilarious) films ever made. Please don’t take anything in here seriously. If you’ve never seen the film, it’s really, really bad… But without further adieu…

220px-Batman_&_robin_posterForget Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale: Joel Schumacher and George Clooney are the masterminds behind the greatest Batman movie of all-time.

Released back in 1997, “Batman & Robin” remains not only the best film about Bruce Wayne’s alter ego, but quite simply one of the greatest superhero films ever made (right up with “Green Lantern” and “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”). Directed by Joel Schumacher, B&R is a continuation of the original Batman franchise. George Clooney is the 3rd actor to put on the tights, after Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer both (I can only assume) realized they weren’t good enough for the role. Chris O’Donnell returns as Robin, while Alicia Silverstone portrays the character everyone was asking for, Batgirl. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman play Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy, our villains.

Right from the opening scene of “Batman & Robin”, you know this will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen in a Batman film. The very first shots are close up on the crotches, butts and nipples of Batman and Robin. Now, the first three films were alright, but let’s be honest: there was a serious lacking of overly detailed rubber butts.

Then we get one of the greatest exchanges in maybe the history of ever. After the Batmobile appears, Robin says, “I want a car. Chicks dig the car”, and Batman quickly responds, “this is why Superman works alone”. This line is important because, on top of being hysterical, it means we are in a world where Superman exists. So we should get excited for the inevitable crossover.

Of course, a superhero film is only as good as its villains, and B&R has one that would put Heath Ledger’s Joker to shame. Schwarzenegger portrays a scientist gone mad, and it works because I always thought he was wasting his muscular physique in those action films. Speaking strictly in hilarious puns like, “what killed the dinosaurs? The ice age!” and “allow me to break the ice” (get it? Cuz he’s Mr. FREEZE), this is one cool character (ha! I made one myself!).

His plan is brilliant, too. He wants to steal diamonds to fuel a freeze ray to freeze Gotham City and hold it hostage so he can afford to save his dying wife. “Why couldn’t he just sell the diamonds to save his wife?” you may ask. The film never tells us; it makes us think, only adding to the brilliant depth of it all.

The action in the previous Batman films was alright, but they made attempts to stick to something resembling the rules of physics. But not “Batman & Robin”, oh no! It has Robin climb rocket ships that are way past the livable atmosphere, as well as the crime-fighting duo sliding down a dinosaur’s tail ala Fred Flinstone.

I’m sure by this point you’re itching to see “Batman & Robin”, so I’ll end the review here. All you need to know is it’s a fun, masterfully written portrayal of Batman, and I’m so glad that it was the last adaption that Bob Kane, the man who created Batman, ever lived to see.

Critics Rating: 10/10

NOTE: Please don’t watch “Batman & Robin”. Like, ever. This part is not a joke. It’s really, really awful.

Reaction to Spider-Man/Marvel Announcement

In the late hours of Monday night, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios announced a deal that will allow Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Universe, while Sony will still produce his individual films.

This sent fanboys around the internet into a frenzy of happiness.

Basically, this is long overdue, and while it is fantastic and exciting news (one could say the news is…amazing [high fives self]), it does make me think of a few things.

First things first, this is likely the signal of the end of the Andrew Garfield-led “Amazing Spider-Man” franchise. When we last saw his Spidey, he was swinging a manhole cover at Paul Giamatti’s Rhino and the screen cut to black. If that ending was frustrating and ambiguous back in May 2014, imagine how it is now conceived as the end of a franchise.



I’m going to assume that Rhino killed Spider-Man and that is why we didn’t see the actual battle, and why there will be no 3rd film. It is the only thing that will make that ending make even a little bit of sense moving forward.

In 10 years, who will care about these two movies, much less even remember them? Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy already has cemented its place in cinematic history. Not only is it one of the best superhero series of all-time, if not movie trilogies, period, but it harkened the beginning of superhero films as we know them today. “Spider-Man 2” remains arguably the best superhero film ever made.

What about “The Amazing Spider-Man” 1 and 2? By December of last year most everyone had forgotten ASM2 was even a thing. There was just so much it got wrong and so little it did right. I personally marked it as one of my biggest disappointments of 2014.

The franchise itself isn’t *bad*, but it is just two “meh” films that seemed to ask fives questions for every one answer it gave.

Speaking of, assuming this is the end of the franchise, there are so many questions, plot holes and storylines left untouched.

What ever happened to Uncle Ben’s killer? (this is really a question you could ask after the first film, seeing as Peter gives up searching about halfway through)

So, is Peter’s dad alive, or is that deleted scene showing him having survived the plane crash just going to be an acknowledge misstep?

What is Oscorp’s evil plan? (not even the writers know this one)

We’re never going to know the answers to any of these questions, and honestly I don’t think we will care.



The other thing that the Spider-Man/Marvel deal means is the subsequent recasting of Peter Parker. Andrew Garfield, who voiced his distain with the second film and has been publically scapegoated by Sony for it, is out.

Sony is sticking with their 2017 release date for the new Spider-Man standalone film. However whoever is cast in the role will likely make his first appearance in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War”, where we will see Cap and Iron Man face off (there’s a whole post-Avengers story-arc involving Spider-Man that comic book fans know a lot more about than I do). So this recasting has to be done relatively quickly, as that film begins shooting in April.

Whoever is chosen, I hope and pray that their standalone film is not another origins story. Like, seriously. If the five years between “Spider-Man 3” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” seemed too short, just imagine how only three years between ASM2 and whatever the title of this new Spider-Man is would feel. If I see Uncle Ben get shot one more time, I’m going to lose it, and not because I got the feels (you try watching the scene from “Spider-Man” and tell me it isn’t beautifully done).

One could argue that they are rebooting Batman only four years since his last film (2012’s “Dark Knight Rises” to 2016’s “Batman V Superman”), but BvS isn’t (hopefully/assumingly) going to feature an origin story.

We know the hero, and we know that some father figure got killed in front of him so he has a sense of purpose driving him. We don’t need to spend half a film beating the audience over the head with these facts.

Andrew Garfield is going to be fine. He’s currently working on a Martin Scorsese project and is only 31 years old (you know, because 31-year-olds can pass for high schoolers all the time, right, Sony?). I doubt that not making another passable Spider-Man film is going to derail his career.

I also doubt there are many people crying that this series is done. It was a fun enough ride while it lasted, but by 2025, when Marvel is actually beginning to enter the reboot-phase and films from the 1990’s are started to get remade, no one is going to remember “The Amazing Spider-Man” even happened. It will be the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question, and you’ll be like, “oh yeah, those were a thing”.

I’m excited to see Spider-Man sharing a screen with Iron Man and Captain America, and I’m also cautiously excited to see what a rebooted franchise could mean. Let’s just hope they get the villains right this time.

‘Assassin’s Creed Unity’ Beautiful but Flawed

AcunityImagine you have the recipe for an amazing cake. You’ve made cakes before and they turned out pretty good. But this time, you put the cake in the oven and then take it out way before it’s done. You coat it with frosting and dash on some sprinkles so it looks pretty, but in the end it should have stayed in the oven for longer.

That’s pretty much “Assassin’s Creed Unity”.

“Unity” is the first release of the yearly franchise to come out exclusively on the new-gen consoles. Seeing as last year’s “Black Flag” was arguably one of the best in the series (which now totals eight games including “Unity” and the old-gen only “Rogue”) and having the ability to harness all that the new hardware is capable of, “Unity” could have, and should have, been fantastic. Instead it is a pretty good game that is beautiful to look at, but often frustrating to play.

Let’s start with the campaign. Set in the midst of the French Revolution, you play as Arno Dorian. Like pretty much every other Assassin in the series, Arno joins the Assassin Brotherhood because his father figure is murdered and the Assassins take him in. Arno is a pretty fun character; he is sarcastic and witty, and at the same time charming. There were a few lines he has throughout the story that actually made me laugh. All the historical characters you meet along the way, including Napoleon and Robespierre, are as fun and interesting as usual.

The campaign itself is pretty standard AC stuff. In true “Forrest Gump” style, you are almost always in the right place at the right time to experience a major historical event (oh, how convenient Arno gets imprisoned just a few weeks before the Storming of the Bastille!). However, unlike previous games, the Revolution setting takes a backseat to Arno’s quest for revenge and his (borderline creepy) romance with his adoptive sister. I wasn’t a fan of this as the whole reason we play Assassin’s Creed games is to visit in another time period, not watch the life of a single person who lived during it.

“Unity” is more customizable and less hand-holding that any other AC game, and it really works. On top of simply buying better weapons or outfits, you can now mix and match what you’re going to run around the streets of Paris in, and every outfit gives your different abilities and skills.

Main assassination missions are now a sandbox; the game simply gives you the target and that’s it. By doing various side tasks (such as stealing keys or starting a riot) you change what kind of opportunities you have to make the kill. I loved this aspect, and it increases the game’s replay value.


The combat system has changed from the previous two installments, and is now similar to that of ACII and Brotherhood, with the addition of a parry button. For the most part, this works. In previous AC games, no matter how many enemies surrounded you, you knew you were going to win because you could just wait to counter them all. In “Unity” the parrying system makes it more difficult to take on big crowds because you actually have to time your button mashing.

Online has changed and no longer has team deathmatch or player-versus-player modes. Instead you do missions, which is sometimes fun, at other times annoying; it’s pretty much “GTA V” online just set in Paris and with less team-killing. You carry over all the weapons and skills from the campaign, so you rely on your teammates to accomplish different things. Trouble occurs when one player in the game doesn’t have a mic, or no one in you group has a skill needed to complete an objective. The game doesn’t alert you prior as to what skills are needed, so in one instance I played through 20 minutes of a mission only having to end up quitting because no one in my game had the proper lockpick skill. Still, many of the missions are fun and a change of pace from single player.

The biggest problem with “Unity” is nothing to do with the gameplay or story, but with its design. Never before have I seen a game go from beautiful and life-like in one frame to nausea-inducing and glitchy in the next. I’m going to be honest: I have no idea how this game got greenlit for release. There were countless times I fell through the map, couldn’t make my way through the crowds of people, or saw a man on a roof shining the shoe of a guy who was on the street sitting in a chair that wasn’t there. One time I hit a guard with my pitchfork and he flew a hundred feet. Now I’m not an expert, but I don’t think any human possesses that much upper body strength.

“Assassin’s Creed Unity” is arguably among the weakest of the franchise, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a blast while playing it. It is for the most part a gorgeous game, with stunning recreations of real world events and structures, like the Notre Dame Cathedral. The game’s biggest flaw is that they forced the release of a product that never should have seen the light of day in its current state. The glitches and drops in frame rate really can get annoying, and at times directly affect your enjoyment of the game. “Unity” is in no way a bad game, and at times it is a great game in both scale and execution, but it is a bit of a letdown considering its historical setting and new generation capabilities.