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Casual Saturdays: Why I Think Iron Man Is Better Than The Dark Knight August 23, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Other Random Stuff.
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A few days back, I posted this as a note on Facebook. It lead to a rather good discussion. The transcript is being posted here:

LOTRKing: Tired of justifying this on several occasions to several people, I’ve decided to put this here for all to see. Yes, I liked Iron Man better than The Dark Knight. I typed the following justification for the Iron Man vs. Dark Knight discussion board here on facebook:

Personally, I find it fairly easy to gauge which was a more enjoyable film to me. As several posters have stated, Dark Knight was surrounded by tons of hype and was about Batman, one of the most well known superheroes on the planet. Iron Man, however, was a lesser known superhero, and while people were expecting an enjoyable show, they weren’t expecting to be as blown away as everyone was. Add this to the fact that many kids (including my nephew) who had never even heard of Iron Man are now ranking him as one of, if not their top most, favorite superhero, and you can see which one was more of the “runaway hit.” On a personal level, I already read comics, and while both Iron Man and Batman are both interesting characters, I never before had the desire to read either of their comics. As soon as I saw Iron Man, I wanted more. Now, the new Invincible Iron Man is one of my favorite monthly comics. As entertaining as Dark Knight was, I still have no desire to actually start reading Batman comics. If a movie can get you that interested in a character, what does it say about the movie? Sure, Dark Knight was awesome, but it was largely because of the story line, I didn’t care too much about the characters. With Iron Man however, I think Tony Stark may have become of my favorite fictional characters of all time, and for a guy who loves reading books and watching movies as much as I do, that’s saying something.

Hopefully, this clears stuff up. Leave comments and/or arguments (of which I’m sure there will be many) below.

Tim: The concept behind Iron Man is one that you expect to be blown away, and from all the other hype about the movie that I heard from those who saw it, it didn’t blow me away like Dark Knight did. Two words: THE JOKER. You can’t compare any other villain to him. I don’t care much for Batman, he has no powers, only gadgets and limited martial arts, but the Joker made what I thought was gonna be another disappointment to the Batman movies an absolutely awesome flick. Granted, I haven’t seen the full of Iron Man, but at the same time, the Joker holds a special place in my heart, and that for me is enough. And are you really cheating on Marvel like that? I don’t read comics, I don’t have the time or energy, but a good movie is a good movie, and movies rarely reflect the book associated with it. That’s my opinion, the Joker rules and could totally pwn Iron Man.

p.s. Who else would like to see a movie just about the Joker?

LOTRKing: The Joker was certainly a an interesting character, but he was a disturbed, deranged. homicidal maniac. There are times when a villain is cool, and there are times when a villain is disturbing and scary. The Joker is certainly the latter. A good villain doesn’t think he is a villain, in his mind, he is doing what is right. The Joker just says “screw good, I wanna do evil for the fun of it!” While this lead to a darkly entertaining movie, I’ll take a noble villain over a blatantly evil one any day. Now, if you are tying to compare villains in movies, yes, The Joker was certainly a more interesting villain than Iron Monger, but Iron Man wasn’t about Iron Monger, it was about Iron Man, which is what made it so entertaining. Dark Knight, on the other hand, was more about the Joker than Batman. You say you want to see a movie about the Joker? You just got one. Jack Naper was the star of Dark Knight, not Bruce Wayne. So, while I don’t doubt Dark Knight’s high level of entertainment, (and it was certainly more artistic than Iron Man), I still found the greater level of entertainment to come from Iron Man.

Tim: That’s what makes him a great, possibly the greatest villain. Pure evil.

Shaun: You have some good points, Mr. Staples, [note: that’s me – LOTRKing] but I think that in order for the Joker’s character to justify his actions, he would have to be “blatantly Evil” instead of a Noble Villan.

Remember the talk Bruce had with Alfred when he wanted to quit? Alfred was talking (and a neat insight to HIS past as well) about when he was hunting thieves in the jungles of Burma. Remember the line “and some people just want to watch the world burn” kinda tied in the whole “Blatantly Evil” concept into understanding the Joker to some degree.
The Joker WAS more of a ‘traditional villan’ in more of a sense of his ego was more out of control than his actions. Think Al Capone. The Joker had to be the ‘best’, he had to one-up every other gang in his own twisted way, and throughout the entire movie he created power vacuumes and then filled them. I think his character is more believeable than most realize…

Evan: I definitely agree with you on Iron Man being a less known hero than Bat Man. You had to be burn around the right time to have any exposure to Iron Man at all. Iron Man definitely paved the way for the Dark Knight becaue Iron Man revived our faith in comic book movies.

Tim: i reread that, and noticed something. The Joker is doing what he thinks to be right, by creating anarchy. He loves chaos, and that, to him, is right. His law is that there is no law, and he dedicates himself to that cause. Just because he thinks outside the normal realms doesn’t mean he doesn’t do what he does for a cause. the trick is being able to empathize with him. The only flaw i found in the movie is that we know nothing of his background in it. i would love to see more of his back story.

Tommy: Ok good points all around but the simple matter of the fact is a man likes what he likes. Both movies in their own right raised the bar of the comic book movie forever. Batman gets the point for the movie aspect for the simple fact that not onlydid it set the new record for openning weekend sales but it also set a NEW standered for the ganera. It was not the carbin basied copy that Iron man was( by this I am refering to the same old story line that Good comic book movies have. You know hero has power(Such as spidermans bite giving him his powers, or in this case toney starks knowledge for wepons) and finds out something bad has come foruth from using this power(obvious). And than takes it upon himself to set things right and in doing so than incounters a villan which genraly is someone he already knows personaly in some way and has to defeat him.) Think about it that just Discribed Spiderman 1, The Incredible hulk(2008), Iorn man, and the fantastic four. Now i will give Iorn man the prize for best film visualy and in referancing to the later sequal. However Batman was not the typical movie. It was dark and scary and in all matters of the form not sutible for Children. But it also should us the intesity that the first batman (Batman begins) should us with a Realistic Forum of Batman.As for the villian, A villian in litterature is generally of a mission to prove, change, or in other terms disturb the balance of reality so that it benifits him. Which insadently describes Batman from Batman Begins. Which is why the Joker was in any sence of the word Perfect. The balance had already become disturbed in Gotham and he only wanted to push it Further( the unstopable force meets the unmoveable object). He is the ultimate villan because you don’t know what he going to do next. he has no visible weakness, he (as staited before) just wants to watch the world burn.

Tommy: Now for the BLOWING AWAY.
Iorn mans poularity was not as established as others did blow audencese away in the fact of , How come I didn’t know about this?
Ofwhich it is unfair to judge aganst the “blowing away” aspects of Batman because they were to different thigs. One established a Charecter while the other simply took things to a lvl we weren’t anticipating.
My Ending point being that as far as standereds go The Dark Knight not only pushed the envelope but it gave us a new view and stadistic view of a charecter that we all know.
While Iorn man did push the envelope as far a visualy, and givning us a look at the wise guy anti hero, alcholic, womanizer that is Toney Stark.
So in conclusion they Gave us the same things in different ways. It is up to the individual to decide who gets the prize.

Tim: ironically enough, batman disturbed the balance, the joker in such a sense is trying to push it back the other way. never thought about it that way. does that make him a little good, as far as social stability is concerned?

LOTRKing: As Tommy said, good points all around. In response to Tim: the Joker knew what he was doing was wrong, but he thought it was fun. He enjoyed playing with his “food,” this doesn’t mean he thought what he was doing was for the greater good. To Shaun: the Joker was certainly believable, many of his actions and statements reminded me of purely evil men such as Hitler and BTK. To Tommy: while the basic plot of Iron Man may have been somewhat generic it was still presented in a fresh way, and the characters (especially Tony) are what stole the show. The Dark Knight wasn’t one hundred percent original either. Villains making the heroes choose between two equally undesirable outcomes, and heroes making large sacrifices for the greater good are two elements that are used throughout the genre (not that they weren’t used extremely well here). Furthermore, you mentioned that Batman was already a well known character. This is true. But as I mentioned, Dark Knight didn’t make me want to go out and buy Batman comics ASAP like Iron Man did. Dark Knight had a great plot and was full of suspense and action. But Iron Man had much more entertaining characters. So as you mention, it really is a preference: which do you enjoy more from fiction, a great story, or great characters? For me, story is extremely important, but if you want me to love the piece, make me love the characters. As pulse-pounding and cinematic as Dark Knight was, I didn’t develop a “love” for any of the characters. It probably doesn’t help that Batman wasn’t even the main character, the Joker was, then probably followed by Harvey Dent. Batman comes in third. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the Dark Knight. But at the end of the day, Tony Stark, the star of Iron Man, is more awesome and likable than the Joker, the star of Dark Knight, and this is why Iron Man is 5 stars in my book, and Dark Knight is only 4.5.

All right dear readers, now it is your turn to join in on this discussion. Leave your agreements/disagreements below, and I’ll try to think of good responses. I’m also going to provide a link to this post on my Facebook, so if my friends want to continue this discussion, they can do it right here. Oh, and just for good measure: here is my Iron Man review, here is my Dark Knight review, and taking off the serious gloves (Why so serious?), here is a link to my post which jabbed some humor at both of them. Have fun!

-LOTRKing

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08/08/08 – The Day the World Will Lose the Game! August 8, 2008

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I lost the game! As declared by losethegame.com, 08/08/08 is the Day the World Will Lose the Game!

What is the game exactly? There are only three rules:

Rule 1: You are playing The Game.
Rule 2: Whenever you think about The Game, you lose.
Rule 3: Loss must be announced.

For variations and a brief history of the game, see my post from a while back.

Now that you’ve lost, tell all your friends! If you have facebook, you can join “I lost the game” group here, and you can become a part of Lose the Game Day 08/08/08 event here, as well as send invites to all your friends! (Or you could always just provide a link to my blog. 😉 )

On a managing note, there will be no review today because I’m out of stuff to review. Also, there will be no “Casual Saturday” tomorrow because I will be out of town. See you all on Monday!

I lost the game!

-LOTRKing

(Another) IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT July 26, 2008

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As it turns out, through a long story (which I will not relate) I am NOT moving at the end of this month, and may not be moving at all. As such, Casual Saturdays will return next week (when they were supposed to return anyway). As for linking to my WCBR reviews, I have decided to continue doing that. Why? Well, between this blog and WCBR I’ve found that all of my free time is being taken up by comics. Much as I love comics, I really need to use some of my free time for other things. That said, you’ll notice the new feature I’ve employed over the last week while linking to WCBR, namely “Quick Spoilers.” These are for those of you who read my reviews for opinions of content AND spoilers of the issue. Since WCBR does not allow spoilers, this will still enable you to read a review and find out the highlights of this issue. Also, keep in mind that I won’t be doing this for every issue I review, I’m going to try to go 50/50 between fresh reviews here and links to WCBR.

Thanks for your understanding. Also, if anyone has any questions or suggestions for improvements you want to see to this blog, please leave a comment below or email me: email.LOTRKing@gmail.com

-LOTRKing

Review of The Dark Knight (4.5 stars) July 17, 2008

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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Intense is the word for Dark Knight. Without a doubt, it was the most terrifying, suspenseful, and dark superhero movie that I have seen. While this is its greatest asset, it also serves as its flaw. Yes, we get tons of violence, tons of jump moments, tons of scenes keeping you on the edge of your seat, but this dip into the world of dark gives viewers very little chances to “come up for air” as it were. Maybe I just enjoy humor too much, but this entire movie had a rain cloud hovering, if not down pouring, for almost the full two-and-a-half hours, with not but a rare short ray of sunshine (and most of the humor was dark humor anyway). Despite this, it was still very satisfying to me as a general movie-goer, and as a comic book fan.

If you do not want SPOILERS, READ NO FURTHER. If you want my spoiler-less review, go here.

First off, I was worried that the Joker might be a little over-the-top cheesy. After all, he’s the Joker! But not only was Heath Ledger able to perfectly play his character, the Joker came off as believable. The entire persona was that of a crazed murderer, who was anything but funny, and definitely frightening. It’s only once in a very great while that you see someone acting in a role they were born to play (superhero examples include Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man), but that was exactly the case here. It is therefore very unfortunate that this was Ledger’s final role. I’m sure the Joker will be in the next Batman movie, like the Scarecrow was featured here, but no matter how good the replacement, I highly doubt they will be able to recreate the insanity that Ledger brought to the role.

Speaking of role changes, Maggie Gyllenhaal successfully replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. While the “torn-between-two-men” scenario displayed here is certainly not new, especially to superhero lore, it is told here in a believable way. Perhaps most tragic is Bruce’s belief that she will wait for Batman to “save Gotham” and then unite with him, when in reality she knows that he will never forsake the Batman persona, and therefore intends to marry Harvey Dent. While this movie had many shocking scenes, her death tops the list. Of course, the Joker’s trick which leads to her death further shows that despite his chaotic manner, there lies a true criminal mastermind underneath, one with the perfect brain for creating maximum emotional torture.

Yet the most surprisingly good character progression was that of Harvey Dent. Despite not knowing too much DC-lore, I knew that he was destined to become Two-Face. But as we got to meet his character, I felt more and more that he wasn’t going to be able to believably transfer from the unashamed do-gooder that he was to a merciless villain. I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. The death of his beloved Rachel, the severe disfigurement of his face, and the city-wide emotion of absolute-terror seemed more than enough to cause his already weakened mind to snap.

But what about Batman himself? This movie certainly decided to take the “symbol more than a person” route. As such, we mostly just see Batman reacting to situations, and going to any measures to stop the spread of evil. While this provides a lot of entertainment, we don’t get to see too much of the man behind the mask. And while I can appreciate the heroic and sacrificial themes of the movie, I really wish this movie would have been more about Bruce Wayne, and less about virtually everyone else. Indeed, Bruce himself seemed more like a supporting character rather than the main character. Still, despite minor complaints, this movie is certainly a must see.

-LOTRKing

Review of Hellboy II: The Golden Army (4.5 stars) July 11, 2008

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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The summer of great superhero movies continues with Hellboy 2, a film that either kept me laughing, contemplating, or sitting on the edge of my seat nearly throughout. Definitely better than the first (which I still enjoyed), Hellboy 2 is certainly a movie much more suited for the general public. Hellboy 1 had a much more low-to-medium-budget, almost independent movie feel, but this time around, they’ve pulled out all the stops, making this much more grand, but still maintaining the quirkiness of first film. What’s more, they pretty much tell you everything you need to know, so those who have not seen the first film will not be lost. In fact, I might even venture to say that those who flat out didn’t like Hellboy 1 may find themselves surprised by its sequel. With plenty of action, great characters, an engrossing plot, and the touch of Guillermo del Toro’s likable bizarreness, Hellboy 2 definitely ranks among the greats amongst the best of superhero movies, and stands apart for its enjoyable uniqueness.

Those who do not want SPOILERS, READ NO FURTHER. If you would like to read my spoiler-free review, please go here.

Echoing its predecessor, Hellboy 2 opens with a prologue in the past, telling of a war of man against elves and all other magical creatures, the stakes: the rights for dominion of the earth. When hope appears lost for the elves, they order the goblins to create war machines. This leads to the birth of the Golden Army, a mechanical multitude which cannot be stopped. As Golden Army wreaks utter destruction upon man, the king of the elves realizes the horror of what he has done, and calls for a truce between the two peoples. The king covenants to keep elfkind and magic folk within the forests if mankind will remain in the cities. The peaceful pact struck, the Golden Army is stored away deep within in earth, and the Crown of Bethmora, which allows the rightful owner to control the Army, is separated into three pieces. The king keeps two for himself, and gives one to man, hoping this separation will see continued peace and the permanent entombment of the Army. The prince, angered towards man and disagreeing with his father’s decision leaves his twin sister behind and goes into self-proclaimed exile, vowing that one day he would claim the crown and take earth for his kind.

When the story moves the present, the prince steals man’s piece at an auction, slaughtering all the customers. He later confronts and kills his father, taking the second piece. Luckily, his sister is able to escape, taking her piece along. As we move to the B.P.R.D., we see that Hellboy and Liz are having relationship problems (again). When the Bureau is called to investigate the auction massacre, we get the “horror” scene of the movie as the agents have to fight off a building full of “tooth fairies,” leading to the horrific deaths of various “redshirt” agents. Parents, if you take your children to this movie (probably not a good idea anyway), make sure they don’t see this scene, otherwise they’ll be afraid to put teeth under their pillow. (Though I suppose it would save you in quarters…) This scene also throws two wrenches into the movie. First, and perhaps most surprising, we learn that Liz is pregnant. This comes as a shock to her, and she initially decides to keep it from Hellboy. Second, the rather explosive ending of the battle leads to the public “outing” of the Bureau and Hellboy. This leads to some rather interesting plot points later on.

As the B.P.R.D. members investigate the mystery of the crown, they are joined by new member Ectoplasmic Man and also eventually find and house the princess. During much of the movie, we get some great character dynamics, whether it is quick-witted arguments between the more irascible characters, or the good times shared by this band of freaks, the viewers quickly learn that these people are definitely not two-dimensional. Perhaps the most amusing scene comes when Hellboy learns that Abe Sapien has fallen for the princess. Together they share some beers, advice, and singing. That’s right, Hellboy and Abe sing. (Keep in mind the beer preceding said song.) Having fun laughing at that (I know I did).

As the movie comes to its climax, Hellboy must enter into mortal battle with the prince for command of the Golden Army. Of course, Hellboy wins (it is a comic book movie after all), but not before a fast-moving and tense duel. Having defeated his opponent, Hellboy turns to return to his friends, only for the audience to see that the prince has pulled out a hidden dagger behind Hellboy. The princess, who has been magically linked to her twin brother since birth, stabs herself, killing both siblings in the process, but saving Hellboy. You can’t help but feel sorry for Abe Sapien here. But after the brief scene of grief, we see that Hellboy, Liz, and Abe all quit the B.P.R.D., with Hellboy and Liz wanting to move to the country to raise their baby. Here, Liz corrects Hellboy revealing the proper term to be “babies,” being pregnant with twins. If all this isn’t a big “to be continued” sign for Hellboy 3, I don’t know what is.

Whether it is the moral theme of true humanity, the spectacular action, or the amusing characterization, there is plenty to like in this film. If you want a deviation from the typical superhero film, this is the path to take. Hellboy 2 ranks with Iron Man and Cloverfield as my favorite movies of the year.

-LOTRKing

Casual Saturdays: To Return Next Month July 5, 2008

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As mentioned in this announcement, Casual Saturdays will return next month. Until then, here is a new announcement: seeing as I’ve dropped The Twelve (I’ll get the second TPB for 7-12), I’m picking up Astonishing X-Men. I hadn’t originally planned to pick up anything when dropping it, but after reading AXM 25, and being told that despite Uncanny’s lengthy history Astonishing is now the flagship X-title, and since I’m not a huge X-fan and probably should be given my rabidly devoted Marvelism, I’m picking it up. Expect a review of 25 either next week, or the week after. And just to throw in another link, here is a comic book industry “report card” to which I contributed.

-LOTRKing

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT July 2, 2008

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Semi-bad news friends! I’m moving! And seeing how much crap I’ve collected here over the years, it’ll take a while to pack it up. That said, I won’t have as much time to do blogging and reviewing as I do now. So, for the next month or so, I may regularly link to a review of mine on Weekly Comic Book Review instead of writing a fresh one here. As the days until the actual move grow closer, I will likely do this more often. In fact, if I pretty much agree with someone else’s review on WCBR, I just may link to that. I know this may be annoying for those of you who enjoy reading my spoilers (it saves you from having to buy the issue), but this is pretty much my only option. And besides, it’s only for a little over a month. Despite frequent linkage, I’ll still try my hardest to have a new post Mondays through Fridays (even if it is just a link). My goal is to have this site up and running at full capacity again by August 11th or sooner. Likewise, I am cancelling my “Casual Saturdays” column until then, but it too will return. For now I will continue “Flashback” on Mondays, but I may have to postpone those eventually.

This announcement takes effect immediately. I appreciate your guys’ patience during this stressful time for me, believe me I want it to be over just as much as you do already, and I’ve barely even started!

-LOTRKing

Review of Hancock (3 stars) July 1, 2008

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Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Hancock, while entertaining, could have been better. The acting was great, the effects were amazing, and the humor was usually funny. The movie’s main problem was that is was too short for the story. In more than one instance, the movie pretty much told you “this is how it is,” and just went on without explaining why. At 92 minutes, I’m sure most audience members would agree that they would have sat through 30 more minutes of the movie in order to understand several of the plot points better. Another major complaint is the overuse of vulgarity. With the f-bomb dropped twice in the first ten minutes of the movie (well, perhaps more like one and a half times, it’ll make sense when/if you see it), I figured that the language wouldn’t get any cleaner. True, those were the only times the “f-word” was used, but the use of “less harsh” curse words was fairly frequent. Still, despite these complaints there were several saving moments in the movie.

WARNING: If you do not want SPOILERS, READ NO FURTHER.

The movie opens with a high-speed police chase, before Hancock intervenes and causes massive unnecessary damage (he was drunk). The public reaction to this is that Hancock is a menace and should mind his own business. Later, Hancock saves corporation P.R. agent Ray Embrey from a train that is about to strike his car. While this also causes a massive amount of damage, Ray is grateful to have his life saved and invites Hancock over for dinner and offers to give him some P.R. advice to turn his public image around. At dinner, Hancock meets Ray’s son Aaron and Ray’s wife, Mary. (As a side note, it should be mentioned that Aaron is not Mary’s son, rather the son of Ray’s first wife, who died in childbirth.) Several meaningful glances between Hancock and Mary foreshadow that these two may have had a history. During this entire first act, there is humor, superheroic and non, sprinkled throughout.

Eventually, Hancock accepts Ray’s P.R. offer just as the city issues a warrant for Hancock’s arrest due to the damage he has caused. Ray, seeing this as the perfect opportunity, convinces Hancock to turn himself in so that the city will see how much crime rises with Hancock out of the way. While in jail, we see that Hancock’s character changes and becomes more sociable because of both Ray’s continuing tutelage and his experiences with other prisoners. Up until this point, the film had been mostly a comedy, but here it evolves to be more of a drama, a flavor that it will maintain until the end.

In time, Hancock is indeed asked to help against a bank robbery standoff, which he stops and finally becomes a publically recognized hero. Things seem to be going well until he develops unexplainable feelings for Ray’s wife, Mary. Just as they are about to kiss for the first time, the movie experiences its first major twist as it is revealed that Mary too has superpowers (this is revealed by her literally punching him out of the house) and Hancock isn’t as “alone” as he thought. Mary tries to avoid him after this, but Hancock continues to implore her for answers.

As she finally decides to “spill the beans,” the movie gets its second major twist as she reveals they are two immortal beings, given different names by different cultures, among them “gods” and “angels.” They are the last of their kind, because they are “created to be in pairs,” and when one grows close to their partner, they begin to lose aspects of their immortality, until they eventually become mortal. This is because the pairs are meant to “fall in love” and “live a normal life.” Over the centuries, Mary has tried to avoid Hancock because each of the “immortals” has a purpose, Hancock’s being to be a constant hero for humanity. Mary knows this, and has sacrificed a life with him to ensure that mankind has a protector. If any of this sounds somewhat vague, that is not my doing, this is as specific as the information gets in the movie. Ultimately, Ray finds out about Mary’s “condition,” as is extremely hurt.

Later, the villain who had masterminded the bank heist, now in prison, unites other prisoners who hate Hancock, and causes a jail break. As Hancock is stopping a different robbery, he is shot, and for the first time the bullets injure him. He is taken to the hospital, where Mary and Ray both arrive separately. The final pieces move into play as the villains arrive to attack Hancock, and Hancock, Mary and Ray all fight, with Hancock and Mary being severely injured (surprisingly, it is Ray who saves the day). As they both lose consciousness and appear to be on the verge of death, Hancock reawakes, and gets as far away as he can, as he does so, he heals, and is eventually able to fly away, while Mary also heals and regains consciousness.

One month later, we see that Ray and Mary have overcome their differences and accepted each other for what they were (not mention that Aaron loves his adoptive mother’s superpowers). While we see that Hancock has now become a superhero in NYC (the rest of the movie took place in LA), and has done something that should incredibly progress Ray’s struggling P.R. business. Hancock, while he may still have some of his quirkiness, is ready to overcome his past and help humanity.

As you can see, the movie really would have benefitted from a further explanation of who/what the “immortals” were. We don’t know anything about the others, we don’t learn what Mary’s purpose was, we don’t know who created them or why. This isn’t a Cloverfield-like experience where the clues are scattered throughout the movie and advertising, allowing the mindful viewer to puzzle it out on their own, this is a lazy move on the creators’ parts to not flesh out the back story. Still, as a superhero movie, this was quite enjoyable, and the humor for the most part was genuinely funny. The acting was also spot on. Waiting for rental would probably be the best value, but if you want to see it in the cinema, wait until it goes to the discount theatre, or at least catch a matinee showing. Don’t pay full evening price, because it is probably not worth it.

-LOTRKing

Casual Saturdays: I Lost the Game June 21, 2008

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WARNING: Today’s post will either cause extreme amusement or extreme annoyance; if you do not wish to risk being extremely annoyed, do not read today’s post.

Right, today I thought I’d take the time out of my life to make you waste some time in your life by teaching you what its players refer to as “The Game.” What is the game, you ask. The game is extremely simply simple, even a child could understand it, and has only three rules which must never be broken (or else you would then be dubbed a “cheater” and cause other players to distrust you in aspects of life beyond the game). The rules are:

1) You are playing the game.
2) Whenever you think about the game, you lose the game.
3) Loss must be announced.

The point of the game is to forget that it exists. There are several variations of the game, and variations of your own may be created, but the three core rules may never be changed. The most popular variation includes a “grace period” in which you cannot lose the game. For example, if I were to think about the game right now, and then say aloud “I lost the game,” I may have a grace period of ten minutes (or five or fifteen, I’ve even once heard of a group of people that played with thirty, but that is too long in my opinion) before I have to announce that I lost the game. This allows me ten minutes to get the game out of my head and stop thinking about it. Grace periods are often employed to prevent infinite losing, simply because if you think about the game and say “I lost the game,” you will likely think about the game again as you are saying it, and will then have to say it again, etc., etc. Another popular variation includes you being “safe” during the grace period if you hear a loss announced. For example, if you are in a room with seven other people who play the game, and one of them says “I lost the game,” rather than then having a chorus of six “I lost the game”s, the other six people would not have to say “I lost the game” unless another one thought about it at the end of the grace period.

No one knows exactly who invented the game, but it is often acknowledged that it originated somewhere at a British university. To give the Brits their proper respect, some believe that the game can only be won if the British Prime Minister announces on national television that he/she has lost the game. This would cause the winning of everyone in the world, but only for their regularly practiced grace period. There are others who say that whenever you are not thinking about the game (and therefore not losing) you are winning. I think this is rubbish. Just because you aren’t losing a game, doesn’t mean that you are winning (whoever thought that up has clearly never played Risk).

Of course, those who have read on this far may find this to being the silliest and most annoying crap they have ever heard. But think of the prank capabilities that come when others know the game. You could give them a glass of water in a paper cup with the words “the game” written on the inside bottom. You could send an email with the words “lose the game” embedded within. You could play a game of hangman in which the message is “lose the game.” Perhaps the most fun part of playing the game is figuring out how to make other people lose. Of course, performing any of these pranks requires you to announce that you lost the game before the person is around, and then accomplish the prank within the grace period.

Well, now that you know about the game, you must always abide by the three rules. You now know about the game, so you are therefore always playing it. Whenever you think about it, you will lose and must announce ASAP that you lost the game, failure to do so will make you a cheater and dishonest in the eyes of other players. But to ensure your enjoyment, teach your friends about the game, they will be eternally grateful! (Or angry, these emotions are sometimes hard to tell apart. 😉 ) Further information about the game can be found at losethegame.com

I lost the game! (Image how many times I had to say that aloud while typing this.)

-LOTRKing

Casual Saturdays: Reader Feedback Day! June 14, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Other Random Stuff.
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3 comments

This is an automatically posted message since I’m going to be out of town all day. Because of this, “Casual Saturdays” will return next week. But because you have been saved the time of reading a full length post, I want ALL of you, from first time readers to faithful readers, to take that time and tell me what you like and dislike about my blog. It can be two sentences if you want. I’ve been thinking of making changes around here (and I’ve already made a few as you can see), and if you want something to be spared from change or want something to be ensured change, now’s the time to speak up. This is operating on an honor code; I’m trusting you and asking ALL of you to give me advice. (That means YOU!)

As always, thanks for taking time to read my blog, you have no idea how humbling it is to know so many people actually care about what I have to say on a daily basis.

Leave your responses below.

-LOTRKing