Spin Master “The Batman” Figures

The Bat and the Cat…..

On my local toy shelves, Spin Master has been in a bit of a rut. The pegs are littered with multiple Batman figures from the company’s last few lines and a few Robin and Batgirl figures as well. The only new figures added to the pegs have been from The Batman film. That collection itself is pretty limited, with a few different Batman, Catwoman, and Penguin figures and a couple of playsets (one which features Lt. Gordon, who I hope to get one day). Those figures don’t seem to be moving that well. It’s probably because the film is a lot darker than most of the shows and toys that interest Spin Master’s target audience. With that said, The Batman figures have started hitting clearance shelves and I’m swooping in to grab as many of them as I can. This particular line didn’t really interest me (except for Gordon and the Batcave) so I never pulled the trigger on a full price purchase. Now with prices dropping, my interest in the line has increased.

Oddly enough the Catwoman figure that I picked up was on clearance for five bucks but the Batman figure was still full price. The Penguin figures were on clearance for seven dollars. I’m not sure why Catwoman was cheaper, but I’ll take it. I decided against buying a Penguin figure because it looks exactly like the one that I received in my Batcave set awhile back. I didn’t see any point in buying a duplicate.

Neither figure looks very much like their live action counterpart from the film. Both of them come with three accessories. Catwoman comes with a knife, her signature whip, and a pair of claws that look ridiculous when placed on her hands. Batman comes with a chest plate, a Batarang, and a red, oversized grappling gun. Both figures also come with a mystery card that reveals “evidence” for play. I actually like the cards but don’t see kids getting much mileage out of them.

The figures feature the standard POA for all of Spin Master’s four-inch line. Batman’s cape was creased and looked as if it was about to come off of his shoulders. Both figures do look really nice on my Batcave stairway, though, and I’m ultimately very fond of both of them. I might go ahead and snag the Wingsuit Batman if the price goes down soon, as that’s the only other figure in this line besides Gordon that I’m interested in collecting.

While these figures are definitely not on the same level as Spin Master’s standard Batman and DC lines (those figures are so much fun), they are worth checking out for purchase. The Penguin and Lt. Gordon figures pretty much look like two average citizens, but that actually makes them cooler in my book.

Thanks for checking out my review. Let me know what you think about these figures in the comments section and be sure to share any of my posts that you enjoy. I would really appreciate the support!

Spin Master Batman Batcave

“Oh, you’re everything they say you are, aren’t ya???”

I really enjoyed The Batman. I recently reviewed it on my blog and loved almost everything about it. I was recently offered the chance to review one of the Spin Master toys based upon the film and decided to give it a shot. In all honesty I haven’t collected any Spin Master toys from the film because I’m much more interested in the McFarlane Toys figures that are being produced. Spin Master’s line is geared toward children and I love the company for that fact, but this film’s toys need to be grittier and more adult in my opinion. With that being said, here’s my review for Spin Master’s The Batman “Batman Batcave.”

This is definitely the biggest play set that I’ve ever personally reviewed from Spin Master. It comes with quite a few pieces. There’s the Batcave stairwell that must be assembled (two sets of stairs and the walkway snap together), a multi-screen computer desk, a work bench with places to store the included cowl and chest plate, the Batcycle, a red grappling gun, two Batarangs, a suitcase that opens, cash that can be stored in the suitcase, the Penguin’s umbrella with a blade that can be hidden in the handle, and two figures, an unmasked Batman and the Penguin. There’s also a parking stand for the Batcycle. I plan on using it in the future to display pretty much all of my Spin Master stuff as I review it.

The walkway features a trapdoor that opens whenever you apply just a little bit of pressure to it. There’s also a detachable rail that you can toss figures through but it’s locked in place rather tightly. I don’t see kids getting much use out of the rail but they’ll probably enjoy the trapdoor. The computer desk features monitors that have stickers on them. The stickers on the one that I received were bubbled up a bit and I had to smooth them out a bit. Once I did this, the desk looked great. I love the work bench. There are tools, Batarangs, and a pair of Batman’s gloves molded into the desktop and a place to store the cowl and chest plate. The cowl slides onto a molded head and the chest plate snaps into place on a molded chest. They look great on the desk. The grappling gun and extra Batarangs look fine enough, but the grappling gun looks nothing like the one from the film and that Batarangs fit poorly in Batman’s hands. Penguin’s suitcase and umbrella fit his hands better than than Batman’s accessories and, at least in my opinion, look better as well.

The Batcycle looks cool and is very similar to the one featured in the film. It’s a slick looking bike and it look great on its stand. It features a kickstand that prevents it from falling on its side. The best thing about this bike to me is the fact that Batman can actually sit on it without any difficulties or awkward posing. This is one of the first Spin Master vehicles that I’ve found that actually fits their action figures properly.

The two action figures that come with this set are pretty good. The likeness of Robert Pattinson as Batman/Bruce Wayne is okay, especially for a Spin Master figure, but the figure’s cape sits loosely on its back and looks very cheap. The cowl that comes with the set can be placed on Batman’s head, but the back of the cowl is completely open and looks oversized on the figure. I recommend purchasing another cowled Batman figure if you want that look and keep this one unmasked. The Penguin figure doesn’t look much like Colin Farrell in the film. The figure features a much gentler looking face without all of the scarring that Farrell’s version of the character features in the film. Despite this fact, I love this figure. There’ssomething about him that screams “Businessman who just had a bad day” and I love it. Both of the figures feature the standard eleven points of articulation expected to come with Spin Master figures.

I’m sure that kids will get a kick out of playing with the Batcycle, the workbench, and the computer desk as well as both figures. The stairs and walkway aren’t as impressive, but they make for a darn nice display. I think that collectors will appreciate both of the figures and the Batcycle. I also believe that they’ll love using one or all of the pieces for display. Overall, a decent set with just a few minor issues.

Thanks for checking out this review. Let me know what you think about this set in the comments.

It’s The Little Things

The D'arda Sisters and DDK!

Over many years…

Well, I didn’t get to attend CyPhaCon like I hoped thanks to the fact that real life once again swooped in at the last second and dealt me a vicious blow that kept me from much of anything over the weekend.  With that in mind, I figured that I would give all of you a glimpse into my world.  I’m literally throwing this together at my office, so don’t expect any amazing photos.

Here goes….

Collector……Hoarder……Stockpiling Fool…..Call me what you will, but I like to collect things.  I’ve collected many things over the years and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.  Many of my things are stored away, rarely seeing daylight.  Other things, particular mini figures and a few bobbleheads, are displayed either on my shelf at home or at my office.  My office usually features my current addiction, but a few things have managed to stay put over the years that refuse to go into storage.

I have an Ozzy Osbourne bobblehead that has been in my office since I first acquired it (which was roughly at the height of “The Osbournes” fame in the early 00’s).  He has rarely been dusted or even paid much attention to since I placed him on my desk, but every once in awhile I take a look at him and smile.

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My office also features a number of recent Batman and/or DC Comics themed acquisitions such as a classic 1989 Batmobile and the recent 2016 BvS Batmobile.  I also have a ton of mini figures such as the DC Comics’ Lil Bombshells, Funko Pint Size Heroes, Mighty Meeples, and a whole host of other mini figs.

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I’m a sucker for mini figures, but I also like larger figures such as the Star Wars 6″ Black Series figures, standard sized action figures, and the 6″ DC figure line as well.  I also enjoy collecting books, music, and just about anything else I can get my hands on, as the following photos show.

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I’m also a collector of photographs and autographs.  I have binders that I keep all of my autographed photos in and even more binders that include photos that I’ve taken with both celebs and friends over the years.  One great tradition that has been going on since 2011 has been me getting a group shot with the members of Orion’s Envy.  I’ve befriended these wonderful ladies over the years and I probably have more pictures with them than I do with some of my family members!  It’s always fun to see them at conventions.

Below are a few of my photos with friends and celebs, as well as a few autographed pictures, and a special collection of most (but not all) of my photos with Orion’s Envy (and a couple with the Just Us League as well).

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As you might have noticed, my weight has greatly fluctuated over the years.  I’m constantly working on that.  In fact, if you read some of my earliest posts, I actually talk about my weight issues.

So, no CyPhaCon for me over the weekend, but hopefully you’ll accept this glimpse into my collection as an apology.  As always, thank you for reading.  I hope to see some of you out on the trail or at a convention very soon!

I’m Back, Baby!

Somewhere Deep In The Marshes Of Louisiana

It has been a rather long time since I last posted anything.  Reasons range from being very busy to just not having anything to write about.  However, a lot has gone down since I last penned anything here and I figured that I owed it to my reader(s) to at least make an effort to summarize what’s been up in recent weeks.

!!!!WARNING!!!! POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!!!  IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE LATEST SEASONS OF GOTHAM, THE FLASH, OR THE WALKING DEAD, STOP NOW!!!

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For starters, Gotham heated up big time this season!  When this show premiered last season, I suffered through the first few episodes (and Fish Mooney) but the series got much better as it progressed.  The Penguin won over viewers in the first season and, in my opinion, kept the show afloat until it finally hit its stride toward the end of season one.

Season Two started with a bang and we got to see a few new faces enter the fray.  Firefly made her debut this season (Yep, he’s a she in the television show) and outside of Jerome (Cameron Monaghan), Michelle Veintimilla’s portrayal of Bridgit Pike was one of the most interesting characters to join the show.  Gotham has a way of making the viewer feel sorry for the villains every now and then (heck, Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin gets cheers from me at times), and Firefly definitely had my sympathy.

Other characters weren’t so likeable.  For instance, everyone that is and/or was a part of the Galavan clan.  Theo Galavan (James Frain) managed to rise to power in Gotham City, and gave Jim Gordon a ton of trouble.  Tabitha traded blows with Alfred, and Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind) attempted to bluff Bruce Wayne, which made Bruce up his own game against villainy in Gotham City.

The season was brutal, bloody, and more fun than a bag of monkeys.  Cory Michael Smith let us watch as his Edward Nygma fought a losing internal battle with The Riddler and we also got to see him team up with Penguin.  Poor Barbara became even battier than she was last season, and this guy showed up in the mid-season finale…..

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Yep, that’s Mr. Freeze, and while the villains heated things up this season on Gotham, it looks like the back end of the season is going to be put on ice!

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The Flash‘s sophomore season took things up a notch.  It had a slightly darker tone than the first season, and expanded on the rifts in time that Barry opened up last season in order to right the wrongs of his past.  Zoom (Tony Todd) made his appearance in the series, bringing with him a varied lot of Barry’s villains including King Shark, Sand Demon, Doctor Light, and Tar Pit.  The Jay Garrick version of The Flash (Teddy Sears) showed up and sparked up a relationship with Caitlin Snow, the Arrow gang popped in to help battle Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) and a few other guests popped up as well.

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A few familiar faces returned, including Captain Cold, the Trickster, and Weather Wizard.  The sent off the mid-season finale with a bang, and it was great seeing them work together against Barry.

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Shantel VanSanten brought love to the show in the guise of Patty Spivot, a character that has it in for Weather Wizard and has the hots for Barry.  A surprise guest popped up at the end of the mid-season finale as well, but I won’t give his name out just yet.

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The Walking Dead managed to drag just a few days (or hours) into an entire half-season this fall, giving us character specific episodes that focused on a small group or individual.  Rick, Daryl, Glenn,  Morgan, Abraham, and Sasha were all given lengthy treatments (especially Morgan), and we got to see how each one of these characters has developed since the beginning.

Tara (Alanna Masterson) really won me over this season, as she seems to have found her place in the group and even flipped off the Rick-tatorship in one episode!

The Alexandria Safe Zone had to deal with a massive herd of walkers, remnants of The Wolves, and internal fighting.  Carl manned up to an adversary as well.

Daryl had to survive on his own, as did Sasha and Abraham when things headed south while they were leading the herd away from Alexandria.  Glenn spent the entire season in flux, with viewers not knowing if he was alive or dead.  Fan theories set the web on fire, but the resolution was both excellently played out and a happy ending as well.

After surviving so much turmoil, the mid-season finale mentioned a new enemy by name:  Negan.  Things are definitely going to get worse!

Finally, I’d like to say that I have only managed to watch thirty minutes of Supergirl.  It’s not because I don’t want to see the show, but it came on against Gotham, and the little bit that I did see did not impress me that much.

However, the introduction of Martian Manhunter has definitely grabbed my attention.  I hope to play catch up with it soon.

I’ve been very busy as of late with personal matters, and I hope that you’ll forgive me for having such a long spell between posts.  However, I am thankful for all of you that read my blog and I hope that you continue to do so in the future.

Thanks for reading.  I plan to make at least one more post before the end of the year.

Louisiana Comic Con 2015 (Lafayette Edition)

Lafayette, LA

For a city that has been growing rapidly over the past few years, Lafayette has yet to attract a solid pop culture convention.  Sure, there have been a few fan-run conventions, but they seem to be primarily focused on anime (LouisiAnime is a prime example).  While there’s nothing wrong with having an anime-centric convention, it would be nice to have an event that takes in all aspects of geekdom, from horror to science fiction and everything in between.

On the weekend of October 17th, AVC Conventions changed all of that for the Lafayette area.  Louisiana Comic Con (which took place earlier this year in Bossier City, LA, had its first event in Lafayette and, at least in my opinion, it was a major success.  The event was attended by a solid amount of fans, nerds, geeks, and collectors.  There was a long line waiting to enter the convention and there was also a long line for day-of-event ticket sales.

Foot traffic grew with each hour of the event on Saturday, and Sunday had a very nice crowd as well.  The venue was sized right for the convention and there was a decent mix of vendors, comic artists, and celebrities.  A few guest cosplayers were also on hand.

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A highlight for me was getting to meet Lew Temple (Axel from The Walking Dead) and Donald Fullilove (Mayor Goldie Wilson from Back to the Future).  The Walking Dead cast members have consistently been some of the friendliest celebrities that I’ve ever met, and Lew Temple did not disappoint.  I talked to him about his character’s death in TWD and his character’s death in The Lone Ranger.  I told him that he was becoming another Sean Bean and he quickly told me that he was actually killed in a film by Sean Bean (whose character later died in the same film)!  It was fun moment that bled over into talking about Carol from TWD with the people in line behind me.

Meeting Donald Fullilove was my primary goal at this convention.  Mayor Wilson (particularly 1950’s diner employee Goldie Wilson) has always been one of my favorite characters from the Back to the Future franchise. Fullilove was extremely cordial, and was taken aback by my “very Louisiana, very French” last name.  He was a very cool guy and I’m glad that I got to meet him.

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I also got to hang out with some of my friends from the Lafayette area as well as the lovely lady’s of Orion’s Envy.  The Just Us League showed up on Sunday (with the Discount Dark Knight trying to keep them in line).  On Saturday evening I attended the convention after party at City Bar.  There was an artist’s Draw Off with an auction of their work immediately after they finished working on it.

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For a first year event, there was a large amount of cosplayers in attendance.  Their level of skill ranged from novice to pro and everybody seemed to be having fun getting dressed up as their favorite characters.  My favorite cosplays for the weekend were Chef from South Park and Penguin from Batman Returns.  Sooner or later I’m going to create a decent costume and show it off at an event.

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AVC has already confirmed that they will be returning to Lafayette next year.  I’m happy to hear that.  Why?  For starters, there’s a quick drop off in conventions close to my home after Space City Comic Con in August.  Also, I don’t always get to go to CoastCon in Biloxi in March due to work and distance.  I’ve given up on Wizard World events for the most part because they are both expensive and not as fun as they used to be.  CyphaCon and Bayoucon are excellent local events in April and June, respectively.  With Louisiana Comic Con guaranteeing a return next year and Southern Geek Fest opening its doors for the first time next April, I now have five conventions to look forward to next year.  CyphaCon and Southern Geek Fest have already announced a few guests, and I’m sure that Space City and Bayoucon aren’t too far from making guest announcements on their respective websites and social media pages.

So, Louisiana Comic Con is my last convention for the year and that makes me both happy and sad.  I’m happy because the event was fun, but sad that there are no more conventions in my area until next year.  I do plan on attending a few nerdy events to end the year (including Halloween Comic Fest at Paper Heroes and local comic shops all over the country on Saturday, October 31st), but LCC is definitely a nice way for me to end my convention season.

I’ll be writing posts about any and every other nerdy event I attend this year and will most likely write a review of that little Disney/Lucasfilms project that’s coming up in December as well.  I’m also hoping to snag an interview with a cosplayer or two before the end of the year and plan on featuring more of them next year.

As always, thank you very much for reading my post.  Feel free to comment or share photos from any events that you’ve attended in the comments section and don’t hesitate to throw suggestions about things you’d like for me to blog about as well.

Oh…..My……Grodd!!!!

The World of Television

Tonight’s episode of The Flash proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is the only show that you should be watching on Tuesday night!  Spoilers begin NOW, so don’t read another word if you haven’t watched tonight’s episode of The Flash OR last night’s episode of Gotham.

This week’s episode of The Flash picked up right where last week’s episode ended.  We see Barry and Caitlin making a mad dash from the nuclear explosion that was Firestorm.  Once the mushroom cloud clears out, Barry and Caitlin return to find not only Ronnie Raymond, but Dr. Martin Stein as well.  The two successfully separated from one another and except for a bit of a fever, they seem perfectly fine….until they start feeling each other’s sensations, begin to act like each other (including a humorous scene in which Stein gets Barry to fetch him a pizza), and realize that they are no longer as individual as they once believed.

As featured last week, Clancy Brown’s General Eiling is still after Firestorm (and the Flash), and actively seeks out Dr. Harrison Wells in an attempt to force Wells to give up one or both halves of Firestorm.  Wells does just that, drugging Stein and allowing Eiling to walk into S.T.A.R. Labs and take Stein to an abandoned military base for “testing.”

When this happens, Ronnie uses his mental connection with Stein in order to decipher the doctor’s location.  Once Ronnie and the gang figure out the location of the old base, Ronnie and Barry make a mad dash to save Stein.  The only catch is that if Ronnie and Stein get too close to one another, they run the risk of fusing together again.  In order to prevent that, Cisco gives Ronnie the tachyon device that was used in last week’s episode to separate them again if needed (and if possible).

Eiling is ready for them, though, and immediately attacks the Flash with an exploding corrosive.  In order to stop it from burning him to death, the Flash does what he does best:  Run.  In the meantime, Ronnie and Dr. Stein fuse together to form Firestorm once again and prove to be more than a match for Eiling.

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In the end, Ronnie and Stein decide to go on the run in order to stay a step ahead of Eiling.  That may or may not be necessary, though, if the end of the program is any indication!

Before addressing the end of the show, though, let’s take a look at a couple of things going on in the background while the focus was planted squarely on Firestorm.  First of all, Iris is starting to dig deep into the S.T.A.R. Labs incident and is beginning to find answers as to what really happened on that fateful night that Barry became the Scarlet Speedster.  I’m sure this story will develop more as the series progresses.  Barry, who really took a step back on this episode for other characters to take the spotlight, learns that he is present at his mother’s murder in both his young form and in a future adult form.  He talks about time travel with Dr. Stein and we all got the hint that sooner or later, the Flash is going to be traveling a whole lot faster!

Now, that ending…..THAT……ENDING!!!!  We were teased a bit a couple of weeks ago by Gorilla Grodd (and even got a very faint glimpse of him), but tonight we got to see him in a bit more of his glory, as Reverse Flash (or Professor Zoom, whatever he goes by) delivers General Eiling to Grodd.  When Reverse Flash first drops Eiling into the sewer, Eiling asks him who he is.  Reverse Flash pulls off his mask, revealing himself as Dr. Wells (no big surprise there), and then we hear growling in the background.  Wells tells Eiling that he “protects his own” and Grodd grabs Eiling, pulling him into the darkness!  It was awesome, and I cannot wait to see where the story goes from here!

The episode as a whole was brilliant.  I really enjoyed the fact that this episode was about Firestorm and not so much about the Flash.  I also loved how the tachyon device looked eerily like Firestorm’s costume from the comics.  I hope they build on that look for the character, as it’s a great look.  The cast was solid as usual and I see nothing but excellence ahead with this show!  I can’t wait for the next episode.

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Gotham was new on Monday night and, yes, all of the talk was about the Joker making his highly anticipated appearance.  Many people felt that the character shouldn’t be explored since his origins in the comics and in other media is so out of balance.  There’s no one true accepted origin story for the character, so the show can take his origin in any direction, but the brief intro that we got on Monday night was excellent.

In the episode, Detective Gordon, along with his date for the evening, Dr. Thompkins (Morena Baccarin), are attending Haly’s Circus and enjoying performances of the Flying Graysons (hint, hint).  When the Graysons finish their performance, a fight breaks out between them and a group of clowns.  Gordon goes into cop mode, ends the fight, and soon uncovers a murder.  The murdered person is a snake dancer named Lila Valeska, and she has a son named Jerome, who Gordon brings in for questioning.

During the initial investigation, Thompkins uncovers a family feud between the Graysons and the family of clowns.  She tells this to Gordon and as the episode continues, proves multiple times that she has excellent investigation and deduction skills.  Thompkins has definitely developed with each episode she appears in, and I hope the writers keep up the development.

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A blind fortune teller arrives at GCPD and gives Gordon a cryptic clue to the true identity of Lila’s murderer.  Gordon quickly deduces that the real murderer is Jerome, and also finds out that the fortune teller is Jerome’s father.  Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) has a shift in both mood and speech, phasing from scared and upset teenager to psychotic and murderous villain and back again.  His description of his mother and his reasoning for murdering her were classic Joker-speak, and it was excellent.  Monaghan may or may not eventually become the Joker, but he has definitely laid the groundwork for the character’s eventual turn into the greatest of Batman’s villains.

Also going on while the episode played out was Bruce Wayne’s first meeting with Wayne Enterprises’ board members.  The meeting was quick and to the point, and young Bruce showed the much older board just how serious he was about the company, going so far as to remove any and all of them if necessary.  It was a gutsy move, and David Mazouz pulled off an excellent performance.  We also got to see Penguin’s shaky management skills at work at his newly acquired club.  Victor Zsasz shows up with an “experienced employee” that he personally rehabilitated for Penguin:  Butch, Fish’s former right hand man.  Oh, and we totally saw Dick Grayson’s future parents become a couple as well!

Sadly, the two poorest performers in the show were, once again, Jada Pinkett Smith and Erin Richards.  Richards fumbled through her role as Barbara as she took advice from Cat and Ivy on how to get Gordon back into her loving arms.  Her performance was lukewarm and the whole story was forgettable.  I seriously hope that something is done to remedy the poor development of this character.

Smith’s Fish somehow became the leader of the group of prisoners she is a part of in her storyline.  I’m sorry, folks, but Smith is wretched in this role.  Her attempt at being a strong and fearless leader is forced, overacted, and flat out terrible.  She needs to go, and soon!  Of all of the characters on this show, she is the poorest in both writing and acting.

So, while the episode as a whole was very good, the Fish and Barbara debacle weighed the overall quality of the show down.  It has to get better, Gotham, because you can only rest your success on the shoulders of the Penguin and the excellent acting of some of the cast for so long.

Oh, and the best line of the night belonged to Donal Logue’s Harvey Bullock:  “You smell like lady soap!”

That’s all for now, citizens.  Thanks for reading!!!!!

Gotham Gets Scary!!!

Gotham City

!!SPOILER ALERT!!  Read at your own risk!  If you didn’t watch Gotham last night, you don’t want to read this post!!!  Stop reading now!

Last night’s episode of Gotham gave us a deeper look at one of my personal favorite villains of Batman:  the Scarecrow.  I’ve always felt that if the character were done right in either a film or in a live action television show, Scarecrow could become one of the scariest villains that Batman ever faced.  While his appearance in Batman Begins and briefly in Christopher Nolan’s two films that followed was well received by myself and others, I felt that the Scarecrow could have done so much more if his character was allowed to be fleshed out a bit more.

Gotham appears to be doing just that as last week’s episode and last night’s episode have shown to viewers of the series.  Last week we caught a glimpse of a young Jonathan Crane and his sadistic father’s search for a “cure for fear” by stealing the adrenal glands of people at their most fearful moments.  By preying on phobics, Crane’s father would literally use people’s greatest fears against them in order to force their body to produce maximum amounts of the “fear chemical” (it was named in the show but I don’t recall what it was AND I’m too lazy to google it) in their adrenal glands and then cut those glands out of their bodies.  From a fear of drowning to a fear of pigs, Dr. Crane scared the bejeezus out of people in that episode and continued doing that in last night’s episode as well.

Last night we also got to see the reason for Crane’s attempt to cure fear in both himself and in his son.  As Gordon and Bullock attempt to catch him, they uncover the fact that Gerald Crane couldn’t (or wouldn’t) save his wife from burning to death in their home and then lied about what really happened to her.  Once Crane cured himself, he began “treating” his son, Jonathan.  The show climaxed with a shoot-out between Gordon, Bullock, and Gerald Crane.  Prior to the shoot out and his eventual death, Dr. Crane pumped Jonathan full of his cure and sent the kid into a spasmatic fit.  The episode ended with Jonathan in a hospital room reliving his greatest fear over and over.  What was that fear?  A scarecrow, of course!

The element of fear was cranked up big time in this episode, and there were moments of true horror scattered throughout as well.  I LOVED this and I hope that they continue with it as the series continues.

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While the Crane arc developed over the course of the evening, we also got to catch up with Fish Mooney.  We find Fish as a captive of someone (I’m thinking it might be the Dollmaker, but I could be wrong) and she and a whole lot of other kidnapped people are being held in what appears to be an underground chamber.  She befriends one of the other prisoners and soon decides to establish herself as the leader of the group in a very violent way.  Overacting ensues, and one of the other prisoners arrives back from somewhere with her eyes torn out.  Oh, yeah!

However, it wasn’t Jada Pinkett Smith’s overacting that was the highlight of the evening, it was the first meeting of two of Batman’s most iconic villains on the show.  The man who will eventually become the Riddler, Edward Nygma, had his first meeting with Penguin at GCPD.  The encounter was brief, humorous, and simply wonderful.  Nygma annoyed Penguin (which is saying a lot considering Penguin’s current “snitch” rep) and Penguin rebuffed him quickly by telling him that if he knows who he is then he knows that he’s “Standing too close.”  It was quick and great, and I can’t wait to see more encounters between villains as the show progresses.

Also of note was Penguin’s slow rise to power under both Falcone and Maroni.  An uneasy truce was called between the two mobsters, but Maroni swore that he would get revenge on Penguin for double-crossing him as soon as Falcone passed away.  Penguin has gotten out of tighter spots before (as seen last week), so I have no worries about him making it out of this one alive.

We were also given a little more insight into Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth’s relationship.  Sean Pertwee has proven to be the best actor in this series so far (even though there are many brilliant performances) as he has managed to make Alfred one of the most interesting characters in the show.  Fans of the comics know that Alfred is SO MUCH MORE than just Bruce Wayne’s butler, and I’m glad to see Gotham give him his due.

Overall, last night’s episode was excellent.  The writing, direction, and acting (except for Smith) seems to get better with each episode.  Gotham has managed to take us back into the history of Batman and build (or rebuild) core characters from the beginning.  You would think that the general public’s familiarity with some of these characters (especially Bruce Wayne, Penguin, Riddler, and Gordon) would make the show boring since we all basically know how things are going to turn out, but the writers have managed to revise characters or give them different origin stories to keep things interesting.  It’s excellent.

At the end of the episode there was a teaser that hinted at the Joker.  Fans of the comics know that there have been many origin stories for the character over the years, but none of them have ever taken hold as gospel truth.  Heck, even the Joker has said he isn’t sure who he is or where he came from at times.  It’s the chaos of the character that makes the Joker so great, so I wonder just how the show will play out his origin (if they will play it out at all)!

Stay tuned, true believers, and thanks for reading!

Gotham Gets Better

Gotham City

*****SPOILERS AHEAD***** If you haven’t watched the last couple of episodes of Gotham, stop reading……NOW!

I’ve watched every episode of Gotham this year and I must admit that is has quickly become one of my favorite programs.  Alongside The FlashGotham is a rare program that I actually look forward to each week.  The lighthearted humor and overall style of The Flash is, well, flashy, and it fits that character perfectly.  It’s also very refreshing to see a comic book adaptation that isn’t too gritty or realistic (although the introduction of Captain Cold might inject a little grit into The Flash soon enough).  With that said, Gotham plays up its dark setting and grim outlook perfectly, allowing just enough silly psychosis to bleed through in characters like Penguin and Victor Zsasz.

Last week’s episode, which revealed to GCPD that Oswald Cobblepot truly was still alive and kicking and making his way in the criminal underground, ended with a bang, and last night’s episode picked up where that one left off.  The story offered up even more twists and turns than last week’s episode, and key characters, namely Harvey Bullock and the Penguin, showed their true colors.  Bullock came off looking sort of like the hero he was before he was corrupted by GCPD.  The Penguin on the other hand, showed that he had even more twists to his character than was already expected.

It was nice to not have Jada Pinkett-Smith stink up the screen last week, and thankfully we didnt have to suffer through too much Fish Mooney this week either.  Her screen time was brief, and her interaction with Marconi and the Penguin was one of the funniest parts of the program.  I cannot wait to see what the Penguin has in store for her in the future!

The whole cast (yep, even Smith) did very solid jobs for the most part.  The standouts were Robin Lord Taylor as the Penguin, Sean Pertwee as Alfred (who’s getting more and more development as this show goes along), Donal Logue (Bullock) and Anthony Carrigan as Victor Zsasz.  I hope Zsasz gets more screen time in the future, and hopefully he’ll still be around if and when Bruce Wayne finally dons the cape and cowl.

The only problems that I’ve run into with the series so far are the overacting of Smith, the high rate of introductions of some of Batman’s greatest enemies, and the sometimes weak and wonky writing.  The writing is getting better, though, and while many of Batman’s best enemies have been introduced and/or hinted at, only Penguin is getting fleshed out at a decent clip.  Plus, considering the fact that the Penguin is a crime boss in the comic world of Batman, I can see his character being around for a very, very long time.  It’s characters like Zsasz, though, that have me worried.

Jim Gordon will most likely end up putting a bullet or two or three into Zsasz at some point.  I just hope that he goes to Arkham and not to the grave.

Smith doesn’t have much longer on the show in my opinion, as I firmly believe that Penguin will finish her off soon.

The bottom line about the show in my opinion is this:  Gotham gets better with each episode.  It’s finding its legs and starting to move along at an excellent pace.  Let’s hope that the writers don’t ink themselves into a corner where there are too many villains and not enough cops to keep them in check until the Dark Knight Detective arrives.

The Sun Is Going Down On “Gotham”

Gotham City

FOX has a hit on its hands…..at least in my opinion, with the wonderful series called Gotham.  It follows a young and well-intentioned James Gordon, freshly dubbed Detective Gordon, as he and his senior partner, Harvey Bullock, tackle crime in the very crime-ridden town of Gotham City.  This story takes place before Batman is Batman, before Poison Ivy is Poison Ivy, and at the dawn of characters like Catwoman and Penguin.

For those of you who have not seen any of the episodes of this program so far, you might want to stop reading NOW.

The series begins with Bruce Wayne witnessing the murder of his parents for some pearls and money.  All of this is seen through the eyes of young Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova).  We then see Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie) getting teamed up with Bullock (the always enjoyable Donal Logue) despite the latter’s multiple angry requests for such a pairing to not occur.  They are attempting to find out who murdered Bruce Wayne’s parents.    On the surface, it looks like a random hold-up that ends with the death of innocents, but there is something deeper and darker just under the surface.

As the dynamic duo attempt to solve the crime, Gordon finds out very quickly that Bullock isn’t necessarily the cleanest of cops.  Using criminal sources and less-than-proper interrogation methods, Bullock gets answers, but not the ones he is looking for.  Eventually the services of Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) are called upon and we get our first glimpse of Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), also known as the Penguin.  Mooney provides a quick and easy frame job to make the city of Gotham rest a bit.  She sets up the future Poison Ivy’s father for the murder, and he in turn is murdered for his troubles.

Mooney then gets caught up in a scandal herself, and recommends Bullock to make Gordon murder Cobblepot to prove his worth.  This leads into the second episode of the season which finds homeless and street kids going missing.  Gordon and Bullock are on the case once again and we get a deeper look at not only the development of Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), but also Selina Kyle.  Hints of another villain, the Dollmaker, are also tossed about, and we get a second but brief look at Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), who will eventually become the Riddler.

I like this series.  It has a very solid cast, especially Taylor as the Penguin, Mazouz as Bruce, and Bicondova as Selina.  Logue hams it up a bit, but not so much that it’s unbelievable.  If there’s one weak link in the whole series, I’d have to say it’s Pinkett Smith.  She is either intentionally over-acting to bluff her constituents OR she’s just doing a poor job.  Hopefully she’s just portraying a character that is scared to lose power and is attempting to look overly secure and/or tough.

Taylor has stolen the show as far as I’m concerned.  He hasn’t had nearly as much screen time as most of the other primary players, but he’s brilliant in each moment he does have.  Hopefully we will see Penguin rise to power soon.

The newest episode hits tonight, and I’m finally looking forward to Monday night television again.  Sadly I am missing The Big Bang Theory (although I’m watching it on CBS’ website a week later), but Gotham is just a cool program.  I can’t wait to see the rest of the characters get fleshed out more.  If the program is a success, I’m guessing that Batman will eventually make an appearance.

Kudos, FOX, for an excellent program.  Now just don’t go all Firefly on it and cancel it before the first season is complete!