Category Archives: Books

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

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Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

Batman has not been seen for ten years and new breed of criminal ravages Gotham City, forcing 55-year-old Bruce Wayne back into the cape and cowl. But, does he still have what it takes to fight crime in a new era? 

With long time ally commissioner James Gordon retiring, the Gotham authorities want the returning Batman arrested.  Not to mention old foes wanting a reunion and the fact that the Feds want the Man of Tomorrow to put a stop to him once and for all.

With Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about some old Superman and Batman films and graphic novels. I’ve already reviewed Man of Steel HERE if you want to check that out. However, today is all about Batman, kinda.

You see The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller actually features Batman verses Superman as one of it’s main plot lines. The movie is rumoured to be not too heavily influenced by this piece of work, but hopefully it at least learnt some lesson from it because it’s really good. I recently read the graphic novel itself however I’ve also watched the two part animated adaptions as well. I loved them both, though I think I actually prefer the animated versions a little bit more.

The thing to take note of in this storyline is Bruce Waynes age, he’s 55 years old now. His body isn’t what it use to be, he’s carrying a lot of emotional baggage. Guilt, frustrations etc. Sound familiar to the Batman V Superman sub plot? Good. It should.

This graphic novel is why I’m looking forward to this movie, because I’ve seen this clash done right. I know how well it can be done and I’m optimistic that Ben Affleck’s Batman will capture at least some of the spirit of this one. I’m also concerned that the movie is trying to do too much at once, so that it won’t have time to flesh out the characters enough. That remains to be seen, but currently it looks a lot like Spider-Man 3. Too much crammed into one movie.

The animated version is broken up into two separate films. The first half focuses on Harvey Dent and the Mutant Leader, while the second is all about The Joker and Superman. This decision allows for the movies to be paced correctly, slowly feeding you the plot rather than shoving it all down your throat so it can get to the conclusion.

In a way you could consider the plot line of The Dark Knight returns to be somewhat of a retirement tour. Four big enemies to best before his body calls time on his war against crime. The big difference between this plot and the up coming movie however is that in this universe, Batman and Superman are already friends having fought side by side and against each other in the past. In Batman V Superman, it’s the first time they lock up. So that will be very interesting to see.

I’m hopeful for Batman V Superman, but if it turns out to be a stinker. Watch or read these instead. I highly recommend indulging in either version of this story available to you. Check them out!

Verdict: Thumbs Up

One Man and His Bike

One Man and His Bike is the journal of Mike Carter a man going through a self-described midlife crisis desperate for change. He did just that, but instead of by a new sports car and crashing it straight into a bush. Mike set off on an epic 5,000 mile ride 11745460around the British coastline. His book doesn’t just tell you about wide variety of characters he met or the places he visited but the fantastic spirit of the nation that according to the media is broken and going down the toilet.

Where do I start with this book? It’s a great read, funny and interesting. The people he meets and the stories they tell him are incredible. The descriptions of the scenery and places he visits makes them come to life and you often feel like you’re sitting there with him. Enjoy the sights or feeling his red faced embarrassments when he says something daft.

Sometimes you get frustrated that Mike doesn’t stay in a place longer or chat to someone for another ten or so minutes but that’s the nature of the beast when you have 5,000 miles to get through!

This by the way is all praise coming not from a super keen cyclist who gets up in the early hours of Sunday more, puts on some skin tight lycra and a silly looking hat every week. I’m just a regular guy who I enjoys a casual cycle on a lovely summers day around a reservoir. Heck I even cycle to work when it’s not chucking it down! What I’m saying is that this book will appeal to everyone. The mode of transport while a part of the book isn’t the whole of the book. It’s about the journey and what happens that make this book so interesting.

I highly recommend it!