Batman: Arkham City Review

I just finished playing this game and I wanted to give some impressions. Well, first and foremost, it is fucking incredibly epically amazing and I love the shit out of it. Okay, we have that out of the way.

The hype was definitely huge for this game, especially after following the excellent Batman: Arkham Asylum, which quickly became the definitive Batman game and gave us an experience in gameplay as the universally popular hero that has gone unmatched and thoroughly topped any and all Batman video games that preceded it. Arkham City manages to top it. I can’t express my joy for that.

As with most successful sequels, it brings us elements that we already loved from the original, improves upon what needed improvement, kept what worked just fine, and added on more in terms of story and characters. Arkham City is much more gigantic in its scale: the story, the environments, the gadgets, the fighting moves, the villains, the overall experience is all bigger and better. I have completed the story mode and I’m only at 38% completion. I’ve barely scratched the surface with the side missions, I haven’t touched a single bonus challenge, and I have yet to play as Catwoman. There’s still shitloads more to explore. I have a feeling I will lose plenty more hours than I already have to this game. It’s so detailed in all respects, something as minute as listening in on small-talk between the thugs has great value to it. They complain about their bosses, about the weather, share stories, I recall one goon going off on a story about how his mother murdered her entire graduating class on prom night. I mean, wow.

The story to Batman: Arkham Asylum, though exciting, was fairly straight forward: The Joker has taken over the asylum and it’s up to Batman to stop him. Arkham City has much more villainy to encounter and an evil plot that is infinitely more threatening and goes deeper than you could possibly imagine. The way it weaves its epic plot together involving villains such as The Joker, Hugo Strange, Rhas Al Guhl, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, The Penguin, and (believe me) tons more is nothing short of masterful. It’s not just great fan service to match up against your favourite villains, it is truly put together in such a way that feels completely justified for the story, full of twists and turns and surprises along the way. Any future Batman-screenwriters should take note. This is how it’s fucking done.

Batman: Arkham City isn’t just an amazing and exciting gaming experience, but it is a uniquely great Batman adventure period. I think in the last 10 years or so video games have gotten so good that they can be respected on the same levels as other media such as comic books, novels, books, television, and movies. With that in mind I think Batman: Arkham City is a classic Batman Story. Bravo.









From the guy that brought you that video with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s greatest one-liners and countless other compilation videos, it’s Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit, quite possibly the greatest compilation of anything ever in the history of everything.

Movie Review: The Expendables (2010)

THE EXPENDABLES is an action masterpiece. It’s up there with the big boys. It’s an instant classic. Really. It has all the ingredients for such a film, including the macho moralities of camaraderie, loyalty, betrayal, and unflinching badassness in the face of danger. I was expecting to have fun with the movie, but it thoroughly impressed me a lot more than I thought it would. It features its well-known cast of action stars, but it’s not content simply with that. This is a movie with something to prove. This is a movie that doesn’t take the audience for saps. It’s wise enough to know that the novelty of having such a cast could only get it so far, and the characters are well fleshed out. At least, as well fleshed out as a film of this kind can allow. There’s a sense that these characters have a real history and truly occupy the world of this film. This isn’t some weekend fun pet project for these actors. This is serious business.

I really appreciated how The Expendables wasn’t some silly 80’s throwback. It’s very much a modern action film, but it’s on Stallone’s own terms. There’s the shaky cam and snappy editing, but you won’t find an overabundance of CGI, or slow motion, or bullet-time, or any crap like that. The action scenes are fairly practical, aside from some digital blood splatter and green screen, and you can actually believe that the action really is taking place, with real stunts and real explosions. It’s not wall-to-wall scenes with underwhelming visual effects. It’s refreshingly coherent action, and it really is awesome. The plot is fairly simple as well. It doesn’t throw an overly complicated story at you, with ridiculous twist and ridiculous twist; most of the time when you see a movie like that, it’s really just covering up for the fact that it’s shit. The Expendables has enough confidence in its story and its characters to not pull the rug from underneath you with any contrived gimmicks. What you see is what you get. You might just say that this movie is the answer to everything that’s wrong with action these days. Stallone is a fun action actor, but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t have a certain understated gifted eye for filmmaking to boot.

The cast is great and everyone has their own little moments, but the two actors who occupy the screen most are Stallone and Jason Statham. They make for a pretty great team. They have the kind of buddy stuff that you’d expect like the clever banter back and forth, and some good-natured rivalry. Eric Roberts plays the villain, and he is deliciously slimy in the role. And, yes, they were even able to fit in one of those little “we’re not so different” speeches. There’s also some fun, not-kept-so-secret-seeing-as-how-they’re-in-every-fucking-advertisement-for-the-movie cameos by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. That was great to see, and provided the biggest laughs of the movie.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot: Mickey Rourke is in it, as well. He really makes the most out of a small role, and nearly steals the show halfway through the movie when he delivers a surprisingly moving monologue about being haunted by a young woman’s suicide. It was one of the stand-out moments of the film. Now, just stop and think to yourself: how many action movies would bother to completely stop dead in its tracks amidst the action to provide a scene like that, with a genuine, sincere purpose, too?

Watch this right now

Galactic Empire State of Mind

I can’t embed the video, so follow the link, bitches!