Sick Sense Reviews

5 Reasons You Should Be Watching Gotham

Gotham

Billed as the story of Jim Gordon before Batman, the Gotham TV show has seemingly struggled to gain the buzz of the other DC TV outings such as The Flash, Arrow and Supergirl. As a massive fan of the show I’m going to give you 5 reasons why I consider Gotham to be better than every other DC show around. By the end of this hopefully you’ll all want to p-p-p-p-pick up a Penguin too…

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1 – The Casting

I watch a lot of TV shows, I mean A LOT, and I can’t think of one with better casting than Gotham. Cockney kickass Sean Pertwee as Alfred? Perfect. Adorable yet amazingly self-assured David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne/Baby Batman, spot on. The villains too, a major part of the Batman universe and relatively easy to mess up (yes, I’m looking at you Batman Forever) have been note perfect to date.

Of course I can’t conclude this section without mentioning another key section of characters so often effed up in superhero shows but knocking it out of the park in Gotham – the strong female characters. Yes, finally we have some! From Bruce’s catty sweetheart Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) through the S & M stylings of Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) to Jim Gordon’s psychotic ex Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) and not forgetting the unkillable (nearly) Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), the girls of Gotham are NOT to be messed with. Well, not unless you like having your body parts removed one by one that is. Bravo ladies.

 

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2 – The Tone

The tone of shows and films set in Gotham over the years has varied somewhat drastically (understatement of the decade). You have the wonderfully camp sixties Batman, the gothic gloom of Burton’s films and the more realistic (Chicago-looking) tone of Nolan’s film versions and the….well… Lego tone of Lego Batman. Our Gotham has sensibly toned down the gothic a little (Arkham Asylum notwithstanding) but kept some of the glorious lunacy of the sixties. It’s difficult not to when you have villains with names like The Riddler, Dr Strange (no, not THAT one) and The Scarecrow running around murdering people.

On the whole though I’d say that the show gets the balance between the darkness and light just about right. There’s a lot of humour which keeps the show from going all Snyder on us. Phew.

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3 – The Deaths

There are A LOT of deaths in Gotham. The mortality rate must be through the roof. We’ve had shootings, stabbings, disembowellings, defenestration (look it up), poisoning and, my personal favourite courtesy of Penguin, death by rocket launcher. Of course this is Gotham though, so death isn’t always permanent. It seems to be mainly the villains who get reanimated, much to everyone’s relief in Season 2 when ‘the guy everyone assumed was going to turn into The Joker’, Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) was unduly offed by one of my favourite characters – Theo Galavan. “No!” We all shouted (or I did anyway) until we realised that Hugo Strange was keeping the best villains on ice for later use. Hoorah!

Anyways, it goes without saying that Gotham is not always for the faint-hearted. There’s blood, creeps and good old fashioned murder in pretty much every episode. I love it.

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4 – The Penguin

I had to pick my favourite villain for this bit and, although given a close run by Edward Nygma aka The Riddler (the absolutely spectacular Cory Michael Smith), there was only ever one baddie that was going to get a whole section to himself. It had to be the one and only Oswald Cobblepot otherwise known as The Penguin and played to perfection by Robin Lord Taylor. If this show wasn’t called Gotham and it wasn’t about baby Batman and Jim Gordon, it could easily have been called ‘The Rise and Fall, and Rise Again and Another Fall of Oswald Cobblepot”. OK, so it’s not as snappy a title but it’s pretty accurate.

Penguin has been in the show since the beginning and, despite the numerous murders and atrocious acts Batman’s future nemesis has committed he’s still managed to remain a sympathetic character. It’s a testament to Robin Lord Taylor’s performance that this version of Penguin has become my favourite. It’s no mean feat to out-penguin Danny Devito. An honourable mention should also go to Gotham’s hairstylist. Is it just me or does Penguin’s hair reinvent itself every time he does? Loving the season 4 spikes by the way.

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5 – The Batman

OK, so I can’t rave on about a show about the evolution of Batman without talking about the (not quite) caped crusader. It’s taken a while (3 whole seasons) and a lot of ‘on the job’ learning (including clones, beatings, broken hearts and batcave discoveries) but our little Bruce Wayne is finally ready to take his first steps into crime fighting at the start of Season 4.

OK, so his mask is a little off (by which I mean crap) and his cape wafting technique needs a little work but he has the ninja skills, the refusal to kill people (Snyder take notes here) and the glowery pouting of The Batman down pat. He’s also gathered that an important part of fighting crime is standing on the edge of tall buildings looking pensive. So what’s missing? Well it’s the Bruce Wayne persona that needs a little work. He’s too bloody nice to people. Bless him. I suspect that will come in time and I, for one, look forward to seeing this in Season 5 (hint hint FOX).

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New hair, don’t care

 

So there you have it, five reasons you should be watching this underrated show. So what are you still doing here? UK people, Season 3 is finally available on Netflix so get watching.*

 

*  I wanted to include a ‘same bat-time’ reference here, but I ran out of brain.

 

Zoe Butcher

@thezoverlord 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

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Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Bradley Cooper, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan and (sort of) Vin Diesel
Vomit incidence: Minor but unnecessary

The Guardians, on the run after Rocket nicks a few batteries from an uppity gold-painted race of narcissists, are thrown a curveball with the appearance of Quill’s father, who just happens to be a living planet. Because of course he is.

Not quite as universally adored as the first Guardians movie, this outing still proved highly entertaining with a surprising emotional punch. Newcomers to the franchise, Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha) and Kurt Russell (Ego, who else?) more than hold their own against the returning cast but for me the stand out performance comes from the ever-fabulous Michael Rooker as Yondu, Quill’s de facto dad. He also gets the best action sequence – that fin/arrow combo is nifty!

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Grumpy blue asshat vs grumpy furry asshat

One of the elements not quite hitting the mark was the soundtrack, a big part of the first film’s success, the awesome mix on volume 2 falls a bit flat. With the exception of ELO’s fabulous Mr Blue Sky over the film’s opening sequence, the other songs didn’t really stand out. I’m a big 80s music fan and I think the selection here let the movie down a little.

Much was made in the lead up to the release (and in the merchandising) of Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). He is cute as a little wooden button, but a tad overused. One of his scenes in particular seems to go on forever. OK guys, we get it, he’s cute with a temper and some sort of mental impairment. Move on.

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Yes, he’s adorable, we get it.

It also happens to be the aforementioned tree toddler who provides the movie’s main vomit moment. Apparently warping too much makes him airsick. Great. An honourable mention should also go to the long running (and arguably unnecessary/vaguely sexist) Drax joke about how ugly Mantis is. He doesn’t puke but he does gag a lot.

I might sound a bit negative in this review but I really did enjoy the movie, even more so second time around. The casting was impeccable, the emotional element worked well but the first film was so refreshing and fun that the sequel really needed to up the ante a bit more and take a few risks. Kurt Russell turning up in a giant egg just wasn’t enough.

I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!

 

Film Score: 7/10

NB OCD: 3/10 – even Baby Groot’s vomit is almost cute 

 

 

 

 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Deadpool (2016)

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Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein
Vomit Incidence: Minor but irritating

A wisecracking mercenary with terminal cancer undergoes torturous experimental treatment at the hands of a sadistic British villain and emerges as a disfigured superhuman on a revenge mission with a truckload of nob gags for good measure.

I saw this movie in the cinema for Valentine’s Day and I loved it. After the first godawful outing for Marvel’s ‘Merc with a Mouth’ (where they stitched up said mouth so he couldn’t speak – go figure) Ryan Reynolds finally got to bring his pet mutant to the masses and he did not disappoint. Despite being rated ‘R’  in the US and 15 in the UK, the film deservedly took the box office by storm and spawned the currently filming sequel.

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This is what happens every time someone says ‘Green Lantern’

The film’s budget might not have stretched to the full line-up of lycra-clad X-Men to assist Mr Pool, but they managed to pick two interesting mutants to add to the mix. Colossus (finally done right) the hulking metal man with delicate sensitivities (more on those in a moment) and the girl with the best superhero name ever: Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Brought along to rein in Deadpool’s antics (good luck with that) the two end up helping him in his quest to bring down the man who tortured him, Ajax aka Francis (the magnificent Ed Skrein).

Although the car attack sequence and the obligatory end battle bring some well-crafted action to the film, it’s the humour that lifts it consistently above your average superhero fare. Although not for everyone (lots of swearing, violence and a year-long sex scene apparently don’t appeal to all movie goers), I laughed out loud more times during the opening credits than I have during any film in the past ten years. Fourth wall breaks, Hugh Jackman gags and even jibes at the star, Deadpool has ’em all.

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Mean comment

However, this film does come with a warning for emetophobes. For some reason it was decided that a good way to demonstrate Colossus’ soft side / get some more laughs was to SPOILER ALERT have him throw up after Deadpool shoots Francis in the head at the end of the final battle. Oh Pool, and we were so enjoying the movie up until that point, despite our OCD being triggered by you hiding a ring up your butt at the beginning. Gah. Needless to say I didn’t laugh at Colossus. I just crossed my arms and freaked out quietly in my seat.

Superhero Landing.

 

Film Score: 9/10

NB OCD: 4/10 for unnecessary puking and hiding stuff up bottoms

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – 28 Days Later (2002)

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Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston
Vomit Incidence: Multiple, zombie-related

Jim awakes from a coma to discover that well-meaning animal activists have unleashed a rage virus which has zombified the majority of the UK. Things do not get better for Jim from there.

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Life in post-Brexit Britain was going well…

Zombie films had died a bit of an undeath before the release of this cracking UK film from Danny Boyle. Rather than the shambling, brain chompers of old, this lot are strong, fast and very cross indeed (they are British zombies after all). The speed and strength add an extra level of terror for poor old Jim as he attempts to locate fellow survivors in the post-apocalyptic UK.

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Must be the UK, it’s raining.

If the rage-filled undead weren’t enough to contend with, not all of the survivors Jim meets are entirely friendly and/or sane. Particular mention in this regard goes to Christopher Eccleston’s mildly unhinged army Major. With a captive zombie and a desire to ‘repopulate’ the UK, he’s even more dangerous than the blood-spewing corpses wandering around.

Yup, blood spewing again. It seems gone are the good old days when zombies would chomp on someone to infect them, now they have to projectile-vomit blood all over them. Thanks guys, just what we needed. So if you’re an emetophobe like me you probably want to close your eyes/ears every time a zombie hoves into view. Which is a lot, so you may miss the majority of the film. Don’t blame me, blame Alex Garland, he wrote the damn thing.

Film Score: 9/10 (point docked for not using the post-apocalyptic scenes shot in my previous hometown of Croydon)

NB OCD: 7/10 for blood-spewing and also that scene with Christopher Eccleston and the rotten egg. Put me off eggs for years.