Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) review

Rating: 6/10

Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg

Directed by: Zack Snyder

Written by: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer


In short: 

A film which I knew I had to see, but one which did not particularly stand out in any way. Ben Affleck was convincingly sad as Bruce Wayne, and Henry Cavill was his usual Superman. Jesse Eisenberg’s Luthor was dark and unstable- a highlight in a film which tries to achieve too much.


The full story:

Ever since I heard about this film I knew that I would have to see it. However, I was not excited about its release in the slightest. The first Superman film starring Henry Cavill was disappointingly underwhelming, culminating in a pointless fist-fight between two immortal combatants. In fact, I went to watch this most recent DC Comics offering purely out of curiosity. I wanted to see if Ben Affleck could make a convincing Batman, and how the story would unfold around the creation of the Justice League, in what is essentially just the first film attempting to set up a franchise to rival Marvel’s Avengers. In addition I have always been a fan of Zach Snyder and Jesse Eisenberg, and would pay to watch any film in which they are involved.


My first observation when watching the film was “Wow, Ben Affleck is really sad”. This was probably somewhat influenced by the viral video of the interview with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill talking about the negative reception the film has had to date (if you don’t know what I am referring too, you need to see it). But it worked perfectly when portraying Bruce Wayne/ Batman. In truth, Wayne is sad. He walks the line between hero and villain, always staying in the shadows, the perfect opposite to Superman. Ben Affleck also bulked up for the role, and this is clearly visible in one training scene- credit where credit is due, the man prepared for the role. Personally, I liked him more than Christian Bale in the role, although I know many would disagree. Batman’s deep voice is much more believable and menacing in the film, unlike Bale’s comical attempt. It is also well explained, showing Batman’s voice changer built into his suit. Jeremy Irons fit the Alred role well, but one cannot help but miss Sir Michael Cane’s portrayal.

I cannot say much about Henry Cavill’s Superman. The performance was the same as in the other films in which he has played the role, and I feel it suits him well, however there is nothing exciting or standout about the performance.


Jesse Eisenberg is convincingly crazy in his role as Lex Luthor, and I feel he will be a great villain for the two titans (and the rest of the Justice League) going forward. For me, this was the highlight of the film. Maybe this is because I am a huge fan of the truly insane villains in the comic book series (with the Joker being my favourite, whether expertly portrayed by Heith Ledger in the Dark Knight, or voiced by Mark Hamill in the cartoons and games), as I feel they create an unpredictability which is welcome in super hero films.

Gal Gadot was a pleasant surprise in a film which lacked these. Not only is she incredibly easy on the eyes, but also made a convincing powerful woman (later turning out to be Wonder Woman). I am looking forward to seeing more of her character in the later films, and she (alongside Jesse Eisenberg) will probably be my reason for seeing any of the future films in the franchise.


Overall I feel that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice attempts to achieve too much- much more than would be comfortable for a single feature film. After two and a half hours of watching Superman destroy the city of Gotham, I was ready to stop watching. Luckily the film had some interesting characters and moments, and these are what persuaded me to give it a 6/10 rather than something worse. If you are a fan of the franchise, you will need to watch this film, and you may even enjoy yourself. Otherwise, give it a miss.


Rocket League Game Review

Rating: 9/10

Developer: Psyonix
Publisher: Psyonix
Genre: Sports, Arcade, Team-Based
Release Date: Summer 2015

Rocket League is a fast-paced game involving two teams. The objective is to use your vehicle to collide with a giant ball and score a goal in the opponents’ net. Yes, many people thought it sounded crazy too when they first heard of this amazing game by Psyonix. I however, thought it sounded awesome… And I was right. The standard format of the game sees two teams of three cars face off in a completely enclosed arena, with the objective of putting the giant ball through the opponents’ net via a series of collisions, jumps, and occasionally even flying. This game, like many greats before it, is incredibly simple to pick up but fiendishly difficult to master. The controls allow you to move your car backwards and forwards (as to be expected with any driving game), but there is also the added bonus of being able to perform a jump or double jump, as well as boost, which can be collected by driving over shiny golden baubles placed strategically around the map. A single game lasts only 5 minutes (unless it is a tie, in which case there is unlimited sudden death overtime!) so does not require a massive time commitment, and is perfect for short breaks. There is also the added option of thousands of customization options via unlocks and several DLCs (downloadable content), including various car bodies, toppers, boost, wheels, paint, and other aesthetic options which do not alter the game play. The only difference between these, Psyonix informs us, is that different car shapes have slightly different hit points and physics. In terms of speed, all cars are the same.


These parameters leave us with a game which is incredibly addictive and infuriating at the same time. Scoring a goal rewards users with a massive force blast, sending players flying through the air away from the goal in a most satisfying manner. Having spend 99 hours playing Rocket League at the time of writing, I can honestly say that I am hooked. There is nothing quite as satisfying as scoring an impressive aerial goal, or connecting with your teammate on a crucial pass off the wall for an assist, and taking home the win. On the other end of the spectrum, there is nothing more frustrating than playing clearly inferior opponents and still losing the game due to dumb luck off a bounce after a collision, or through being matched with inept teammates. Either way, I would highly recommend this game, and the only thing which lowers its rating is the occasional glimpse of dodgy game physics, and the often unreliable game servers.

No two Rocket League games are alike, so if you want fast-paced, arcade style team action, this game is for you. If not, I suggest you try it anyway, I guarantee that you will love it!


Deadpool (2016) Review

Rating: 7/10

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller
Directed by: Tim Miller
Written by:  Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick

In short: 
Deadpool is a highly entertaining film, though most certainly not one for the kids. Ryan Reynolds is convincingly funny in his role as Wade Wilson, although in my opinion Morena Baccarin was simply eye-candy, and I was not convinced of their romantic bond. The unique styling and consistent breaking of the 4th wall to address viewers made Deadpool stand out from the seemingly never-ending stream of superhero movies.

The full story:
To be brutally honest I had never heard of Deadpool as a super hero before the film. I was never into comic books, and was too obsessed with the Spiderman and X-Men cartoons as a child. However, from the very beginning, he seemed like an entertaining character, and one that would most certainly make for a good film. Ryan Reynolds is no new comer to super hero films, having previously starred in the awful Green Lantern (2011) and briefly in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) as the character of Deadpool. He suited the character perfectly, and his one-liners and jokes often provoked genuine, laugh-out-loud kind of laughter. My issue with Deadpool as a film is that unlike other series (The Avengers comes to mind) it does not tie him in with other superheroes. We see only two X-Men: Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead- both by no means X-Men A-listers (although I did always love Colossus due to his Russian origin). This is somewhat a disappointment, as I would have loved the character of Deadpool to meet and make fun of some more of the famous super heroes and mutants of the academy.  However we do get to meet Dopinder (played by Karan Soni)- Deadpool’s often employed taxi driver, paid only through “crisp high fives” and often dangerous advice. He provides an added element of entertainment throughout the film, and is a crucial side character along with Blind Al (played by Leslie Uggams), Wade Wilson’s blind elderly roommate. These unusual characters provided a different platform for some of Deadpool’s more obscure jokes, and made the whole experience of the film a lot more enjoyable.

Overall, I would recommend Deadpool for those looking for some entertainment through super hero style ass-kicking and mature jokes, however it was not one of my favourite super hero movies.

You can find more information about Deadpool the film here, and more about the comic book character here and even more here.

Cast Away (2000) Review

Rating: 9/10

Starring: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Paul Sanchez, Wilson the Volleyball
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Written by: William Broyles Jr.

In short:
Amazing film. Brilliant acting from Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt. Truly moving moments coupled with great cinematography. One of the most believable and well-shot airplane crash scenes in film history, and plenty of shouts of “Wilson!” throughout.

The full story:
I had wanted to see Cast Away for a long time. It has been on my ‘to watch’ list for a number of years now, so I was certainly excited when I finally decided to dedicate the time to encounter Cast Away for the first time. The things that I already knew around the film came from internet culture- the basic storyline, the great use of product placement (mainly FedEx and Wilson), and of course the iconic character of Wilson. We have all seen the amazing memes created online, and the shouts of “Wilson!” which have been appropriated for many situations, with often-hilarious consequences. I came in to the film with extremely high expectations, having read many a positive review online as well as hearing great things about it from my friends. Let me tell you that I was certainly not disappointed. Cast Away delivered for me on all fronts- great acting (nothing less is to be expected of the legend that is Tom Hanks), gripping scenes, touching moments, and a great ending. One of the most fascinating aspects of this film for me was the portrayal of humanity when stranded in a futile situation. Hanks of course plays his character brilliantly, but I also feel that there is some great writing in presenting how an average human male would cope with the extreme situation of being stranded on a desert island with seemingly no hope of escape.
I won’t ruin too much for all of you who are reading this and have not yet had the pleasure of watching Cast Away, but my recommendation is to schedule it for your next movie evening, if you haven’t already.