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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I Know What I Like: Billy Joel and the Thirtysomethings

Bioshock background poster or MRA ad? You Make the call!

I've never had any particular affection for Billy Joel up until a few months ago.  I can't say I ever hated him; the guy who wrote and sang Piano Man, My Life and Just The Way You Are* is not somebody I can ever really hate. But I've never really given the man any real consideration until I started hearing Movin' Out on my way to work on one of three oldies stations that come clear in a commute from Menomonee Falls to Delafield. I still can't say I'm a huge Joel fan, but I can say that I plan on getting one of his albums one day (either 52nd Street or a Greatest hits album). 

In my brief time paying attention to Joel's career, I've found myself flabbergasted by the man's ability to function as a musical drifter; wandering to whichever style he desires for a song. And that's just a fancy way of sayin' I was surprised as hell to find out he was the guy who wrote and sang The Longest Time.

No, really. I'd always assumed this was the one and only hit of a long forgotten Doo Wop group, not a nostalgic tribute to a childhood favorite genre. Just goes to show you how much passion he has for it. Kudos, Mr. Joel.

* Though, let's be honest with ourselves, Barry White sung it better.

P.S. I cannot in leave this post without making some commentary on the video. As such, here are some brief bullet points:

  • Does the school seriously expect one old janitor to clean up that friggin' mess? Man, the administrators of this high school are cheap bastards.
  • Billy Joel in a bad wig, cheap suit and and huge glasses is just funny to me and I don't know why.
  • I wonder if all these guys decided to reform their Doo Wop group just to cheer Joel up.
  • The one in the black suit looks like a made man in the Mob.
  • '84 Billy Joel looks about as teen-aged as Sean Connery looks Japanese.

He looks like a Romulan without the pointy ears
  • Are none of the rooms in this school locked?
  • I wonder what these guys explained their morphing back to their teenage selves  to their wives, bosses, friends and children. Hell, getting pulled over by the cops will probably get their driver's licenses cut up as fake IDs.
  • That was kind of a weak double take, my dear Janitor. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Know What I Like: Do the Hump

If history teaches us anything (other than never make bread unaffordable and society will always try to redress its wrongs) Is that eras will, after the fact or during their height, be given n identity in the popular consciousness. From my very limited observation, it seemed that the current trend of giving these identities to decades is a twentieth century trend, seeming carried over to our new millennium. This is not a new observation ( Bob "Moviebob"Chipman opined on this in his "The 90's Didn't Suck" video) , but it's not without merit that we see decades defined by certain aspects (in the United States, anyway). Just off the top of my head we have:

  • Turn of the Century/ new developments in life an technology (1900s)
  • A distant and forgotten conflict (1910s/ WWI)
  • A grand old party for those who could afford e (The Roaring 20's) 
  • Poverty and rising global tension (1930s/ The Great Depression) 
  • War and beginning of the Nuclear Age (1940s/WWII)
  • Attempts to establish normalcy among rising tensions between gender, racial and youth (1950s)
  • Revolution and Rebellion (1960s)
  • The Revolution caving in on itself and Cynical Disillusionment (1970s)
  • Excess and trying to revise the prior two decades as long dark nights while simultaneously only paying lip service or outright ignoring the problems of the day (1980s) 
  • War on Terror, paranoia and the destruction of  (2000s)
  • Social Media and a new butting of heads between the old order and those who've had enough of it (2010s as of right now) 
Today's subject is the decade I left out of that little list: the decade I was born, the often derided 1990s. While most of the above list were defined by external forces, the Decade that Clinton Ruled (and the Elder Bush Drooled) was defined by a lot of factors that made up the decade that came to be seen as remanded arts of the 70s (social tensions remaining unresolved) and 80s  (excess and pastel colors) instead of "Oh dear God, we haven't really come that far, have we?"

While the 90s brought us an (in my eyes, at least) an increase in the celebrity gossip culture, 24 hour news cycle and inward looking paranoia (In what other decade prior would The X-Files be considered a major thing and not some kitsch TV show to be laughed of?) we're going to talk about classic hip hop. More specifically, how a group who once modeled themselves after the Black Panthers and once included Tupac Shakur in its ranks  into this...
So that's what a black Groucho Marx would look like...

...and released this classic onto the world.

Stop whatcha doin'
'cause I'm about to ruin 
The image and the style that ya used to

You damn sure did. Humpty Hump.

Now I don't know much about Digital Underground (my research on them only consisted of browsing through Wikipedia and looking up The Humpty Dance on Songfacts) I do have some personal history with this particular song. See, as a black kid growing in the not-all-that mean suburbs of Menomonee Falls, WI, my parents kept their car radios tuned exclusively to one or two stations. One of the was 103.7 KISS FM (the mainstream pop music station) and Jammin' 98.3 (R&B, old school Hip Hop, general "black" music station). While I can't say I despise either station, I can say that my formative years gave me my fill of both. While I do still listen to KISS FM every now and then, I've never felt the need to go back to Jammin' 98.3 ever since I got my driver's licence (mostly for fear of hearing Alicia Keys' Fallin' again). But I remember that nearly every time the station was on late at night and the Old School Basement Party would start, I'd hope to hear this song or the remix of I Got Five On It.

My younger self could never really pinpoint why he liked The Humpty Dance, but since I'm a wiser (well, relatively wiser) 25 year old man, I can explain my affection for this song a bit more clearly than his "because it's really good song." And the answer is quite simple: it's about being unafraid to be completley silly. I mean look at Shock G as Humpty; the man looks like he's about to perform stand-up as the dorky uncle of Steve Urkel. And the Humpty dance itself is basically a just getting on the dance floor and making an ass of yourself. That's what makes this song so endearing to me, because as the Burger King bathroom freak says

[But] Sometimes I get ridiculous

And more people should get as ridiculous as you, Humpty Hump. And have you talent. And really funky beats. And spectacularly good flow.

Can we just get a Digital Underground reunion?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I Know What I Like: Finding Baker Street

Have you ever had a song that you only knew of through an opening riff? It's a really fine riff, making you wonder what the songs actual title is, but there's a problem: there's no wiki for naming the famous opening instrumentals of songs. So you go around, asking whoever you can (coworkers, family, bands you meet at an important function but you can't remember what because it was seven years ago and the whole thing wasn't that great) but no one knows either. So you go along, knowing that you'll probably never figure out the mystery of what riff goes with what song...

...until you catch a lucky break. 

The first time that happened to me (that I can remember, anyway) was while watching UrinatingTree (aka Fat Mann Judgeth aka I have no idea what his real name is and I don't care to look it up) review of the Batman Forever beat 'em up. It was the point where the reviewer looked at Robin's use of  staff, saying "oh no" or something to that effect and starting....the riff.

The riff, after I heard it, was instantly familiar. I tried to remember where I heard it but it never really came to me. I even asked an actual sax player and even he wasn't sure. He had only remembered it being played on The Simpsons at one point. So I, thinking I may never figure it out, put it in the back of my mind and figured I'd never really find out what it was.

Then I watched Brad Jones' web mini-series The Hooker with a Heart of Gold in late 2010. It was during a flashback with Dr. Rogen (Brian Lewis) leaving a bar drunk and meeting Steele (Jones). The scene begins with what was the perfect setup; the riff swelling as Rogen was downing a beer. I listed as carefully as I could just in the hope I'd hear a lyric. And I did:

Winding your way down Baker Street,
Light in your head and dead on your feet
Well, another crazy day,
You'll drink the night away
And forget about everything....

And as I sat down, Goggled the lyrics and and found out it was the song Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty. (Special mention has to Raphael Ravenscroft for the excellent opening sax solo. Yeah, I know he says it's flat I thinks it's and the song wouldn't work as well as it does without it.) It's a damn fine song to be sure; a memorable sax solo leading into a tale of complete depression and ennui on the part of the narrator. It is, for lack of a better word, a universal story; a tale applicable to electricians and struggling actresses/waitresses and office drones alike. To quote the unreliable narrator of Fight Club "This is your life and its ending on minute at a time." But it never the less ends on a note of hope:

And when you wake up, it's a new morning
The sun is shining, it's a new morning
And you're going, you're going home

This honestly make Baker Street, to me (and my limited understanding of the time period it was made) a quintessential song of the 70's.  And also one of the less dated of 70's songs I've heard. So thank you Gerry Rafferty. A Raphael Ravenscroft, thank you for making probably the most memorable saxophone solo I've ever heard.

P.S. Just as a brief aside, I haven't listened to any of Rafferty's work outside of Baker Street, but I can say that the cover of the album Baker Street was on, 1978's City to City...
Now THIS is bigger than Jesus...
...deserves to be airbrushed on someone's panel van.

(Yes, this IS a mercenary ploy to give this blog post a cover image; why do you ask?)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I Know What I Like: Of 80's Hair and Great Old Ones

"I don't know art, but I know what I like."

The quote above (source unknown at the time of this writing) has been with me  (and you too most likely, dear reader) in various forms since I could understand the English language. The most memorable usage of this, to me, was in The Simpsons episode "Brush With Greatness", when Burns uses the words " I'm no art critic, but I know what I hate... and I don't hate this." to describe Marge's nude painting of him. It's the best tool of compliment for an fool outside of the know; "No, I have no real understanding  of the time period or artistic movement this work is inspired by or went on to inspire. All I know is that, like Emil getting his hands on that huge gun in the riot scene in Robocop, I like it."

Now, this little series isn't going to be concerned with yer fancy pretty pictures in them places that old geezers, high society types and little kids on field trips go. No, we're going to be focusing on music. Now granted, I don't know much about music, but I know even less about art, so let's jump right into making myself look like a complete jackass, alright?

Our inaugural pick for this endeavor is the single Obsession by the collection of 80's hairdos and Blue Steele looks known to mortal men as Animotion. I only found out about the song (and the band's existence) by much smarter man than I Andrew Weiss of the blog Armagideon Time. This is our inaugural song for two reasons

  1. It's a pretty good song that should get a little love
  2. The title of this site is One Man's Obsession(s). It just fit too perfectly, even if  the song's more about a stalker-ish fixation on a potential lover than anything to do with tokusatsu, giant robots, anime, cartoons, comics or superheroes.
If you want a more informed write-up about this song, just go read Andrew's post on the subject.

Just so this post isn't exclusively about ripping other people off, we're going to have a co-inaugural song! Specifically The Thing That Should Not Be, the third track on Metallica's Master Of Puppets album. While I haven't listened to the entire album yet ( I keep skipping over the instrumental piece Orion) I can safely say the song is one of my favorites from the album, along with Battery, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), and Disposable Heroes. ( The title track, while not at all bad, doesn't really do anything for me.) 

I got the album for my birthday this year, along with cheap Polo shirts or work, socks, a best of album of The Rolling Stones (specifically Jump Back). I listened to Master Of  Puppets the album (save for Orion) at least twice before I track three dropped these lyrics in the third verse:

"Not dead which eternal lie,
Stranger eons death may die"

This actually got me to start paying attention to the lyrics of the song and found that The Thing That Should Not Be was a six minute and thirty six second tribute to the Cthulhu mythos. It's a pleasant surprise to say the least that I'd find something like that in a song by Metallica, though that's mostly because I'd never imagine that a major band would have a Cthulhu tribute song at all. The track itself is pretty damn good. It's one of the slower songs...well, relatively slower, I should say. Compared to the rest of the album, which consists mostly of heavy riffing and making the listener feel like they're going at a thousand miles per hour, The Thing builds dread and apprehension while also singing the praises to that which lies deep and should never wake, lest mankind see the end of its days. It a truly chilling song, and if anybody knows of a good AMV with this song, please direct me to it immediately.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Quick Chin-Wag About Gundam Build Fighters

This is all Rhamy Payne's fault*. Had he never written that post on this series.... hell, had he not started blogging at all, maybe things wouldn't,I must stop this. No time to dwell on what could have been. It's all in the past now. There's nothing to do now but give in.

Let me say that while Rhamy (alias Voltech44) is the cause of this, but that is not entirely true. My fascination with the Gundam franchise goes back years and years. I'd never gotten into any of the shows and had only seen a few episodes of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series and fist episodes of both The 08th MS Team and Mobile Fighter G Gundam. It's been brewing in me for a while, this new obsession. All it needed was a starting point. My soul was fertile soil; seed planted and ready to bloom. Rhamy provided the rainwater and this series, this Gundam Build Fighters, was the sun that let my inner Gundam freak bloom....

....Alright, enough of this pretentious bullcrap. Let's get down to brass tacks.

At its heart, Gundam Build Fighters (hereon to be abbreviated GBF) is a love letter to the Gundam franchise and, more importantly, to the kids from one to ninety two who have kept the franchise alive for thirty six years and counting. "Come on in and sit a spell," this series seems to tell its viewers, "and don't you worry about obsessing over cartoons or loving toys when you're well past childhood. You're among your fellow freaks." I went into the series with a bit of trepidation, I'll admit. How couldn't I? This was because, paradoxically, that GBF revolved around at least three things I love: toys, giant robots and giant robot on giant robot violence. Combining those three in what amounts to a Pokemon/YuGiOH!/Beyblade/[Insert Competition/Collectible Based Anime Here] show just sounded like it would form an ungodly mess. But smack me down and call me Amuro, because this show works exceedingly well. Better than any show that's on big commercial for its franchise has any right to be, anyway. 

There's a very simple reason why GBF works as well as it does. It has nothing to do with your personal knowledge of Gundam; I basically went into the series as a neophyte with only the barest information on the Gundam franchise's history. It has nothing to do with the fight scenes or the various ways the creators can think of having people compete with plastic toys (though that is fun in its own right; the baseball battle in episode 13 alone is proof of that) . It's not even the characters, though they too are all distinctive in their own way and, for the most part, likable enough for you to follow for 25 episodes. What truly makes GBF work is just one simple concept: Love. Not love in any romantic or familial sense, but a love of a hobby. Sure, said hobby seems to have enveloped and distorted GBF's Earth into a Gundam obsessed mad world where grown men can use toys as a basis to pick up chicks.... and where real estate strong arming is decided by playing with toys...and where a 14 year old kid can take an extended leave of absence from school in order to better battle with toys...and where old masters run schools for Gunpla building, but that's not important right now. What is important is that the show, it's characters and its Earth straight up love Gundam. And it's a kind of love that's actually quite refreshing to see. Then again I send a significant amount of my free time on THE INTERNET, where snarky disaffection, misanthropy and a desire to tun everything into or relate it back to a meme reign supreme, so maybe this kind of affection is more copious out there for those of you who have real lives. 

That the makers of this series have nothing but affection for this franchise is not in dispute. Hell, they dragged voice actor Masashi Hirose to basically play Ramba Ral again, so you know these guys love and respect the franchise they work on. But it's not a blind love, thankfully. They know that there are just certain people who take all this waaaaaay too seriously for their own good. You know the types; those bastards who'd want to win at any cost. Or who'll treat a game like its and actual war. Or use stupid looking agony helmets on teenage girls with powerful mutant abilities so they'll play a game better. (Okay, that last bit is exclusive GBF's world. At least, I hope it is.) The series looks at those types of fools and tells them, quite pointedly, to get their heads out of their asses. "It's just game/hobby, dude. You should really just relax." For that I salute you, GBF. 

Now I'm gonna come back and talk about this show again soon. A little over nine hundred words are just too little to get into just how good Gundam Build Fighters really is. So in brief summation, I demand that you, your friends and whatever family members you think will be most receptive to watching subtitled Japanese cartoons sit down and watch Gundam Build Fighters. Here's where you can find it. No, it's not spoken in the English language (hence the subs), but if you've maade it this far you've already proven you can read and have at least some amount of patience. Trust me, you need this in your life even if you don't know it yet. Also, Sunrise, Bandai, whosoever is listening: this thing needs a dub yesterday. 

* Rhamy, man, I love ya, but I did not need another thing to obsess. I've got at least 25 piling up on me already.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Parallax Post Mortem: What Went Wrong With Hal's Turn to the Darkside

Look on my shoulder pads, ye Mighty, and despair!
Parallax was the driving force behind Zero Hour: A Crisis in Time. This alone is enough, in many circles, to condemn him into the unhallowed halls of what  Andrew Weiss calls Nobody's Favorites. But since I've never read the story (my desire to read through 90's event comics is equivalent to my desire to dump my body in a pool filled with sulfuric acid) I cannot truly comment on how crappy said story is. I can , though, look at the whole of Parallax and what went wrong.

My qualifications for this task are scant, I admit. I was between three and four years of age when the major stuff went down and I didn't even discover that my town had a comic book store for another decade or so. Like so many who came to know and love this most ludicrous and beloved medium of funnybooks after the first Spider-Man movie came out, all I have the firsthand accounts of those either orbiting near the swampland that was the early to mid '90's comics industry or those who were up to the necks in the horror show built on poorly realized pseudo-grit, aping the X-Men and following the artistic styling Rob Liefeld. I am a fan of the Green Lantern franchise (dragged in at the moment of transition men call Green Lantern: Rebirth), and as such I've absorbed all I could about the history of the main characters and the Corps itself. Also, I'm not entirely sure if the major point I wish to bring up about where Parallax went wrong has been stated before, so if it has, feel free to inform me.

Now let us look at the beginning. Well, the early '90's anyway, where Hal Jordan and company were going into decline in popularity and desperate creative choices. John Stewart would find himself crippled for a brief time and dumped into the Darkstars stable for awhile. Guy Grardner would lose his ring, rob Sinestro of his and then somehow discover his retcon "true background as a member of the Vuldarians and...whatever.And Hal Jordan, premier Green Lantern of sector 2814 and child of the Space Age found himself stuck in world more interested in scowling and guns than his brand of All-American superheroism. So, using the Death of Superman mega story as a jumping off point, DC decided to shake things up for the franchise.

It started off okay. Green Lantern #48 (cover dated January 1994) began with Hal in the ruins of Coast City, trying desperately to resurrect the place through sheer willpower. Though it he confronts his issues with his father, talks to his mother one last time, and brings and idealized version of his hometown to life. Then the Guardians show up to admonish him, somehow not noticing the man's grief and anguish. Any creature with even half a brain would immediately order Hal to take an extended leave of absence to deal with such a tragedy, but the Guardians of the Universe have never been ones to be written intelligently. So Hal, grief stricken and mad, goes forth to maim several fellow Lanterns, kill a resurrected Sinestro, murder Kilowog and destroy the Guardians. He takes the power of the Central Power Battery, and becomes Parallax.

Hal's tenure as  a villain was defined by grief, madness and anger. I other words, Hal had become like damn near everyone else running around in tights at the time, just on the chaotic evil alignment. His name made no sense (just look up what the word parallax means to see why) and as a grand universe shaking threat, Hal's most lasting affect was the full scale reboot of the Legion of Superheroes. But Hal's attempts at editing the past like so many Wikipedia entries and murderous rampages weren't the most damning of the whole enterprise. It was the fact that Hal took the entire Green Lantern Corps with him.

That, I think was the real breaking point no one could admit to at the time. Hal was the star of the show so he got the most attention, but the rest of the Corps, that lovely collection of freaky alien beings championing the cause of justice throughout the cosmos was no more. People like Katma Tui, Kilowog, Salaak, Arisia Ch'p and even Rot Lon  Fan? Either gone, dead or pushed to the background even further than they were. There would be only one Green Lantern for quite a while. And the DC Universe just felt smaller. Todd Alcott, a far better writer that I'll probably ever be, once pointed out that Green Lantern was a job, and one that any sentient creature with the right amount of willpower could have. But after the three part "Emerald Twilight" story arc,Green Lantern was just a guy.

Now don't get me wrong, Kyle's a fine character and like the guy quite a bit. Hell, I love most of the people who've ever slipped on the most powerful weapon in the (DC) universe. I'm just trying to point out the fact that DC thought it would be the best idea to take away one of the major factors that made made the Green Lantern franchise unique in the crowded world of superhero comics. And this is no justification for the existence of H.E.A.T, either. Their legacy (minuscule as it is) is a footnote in within a footnote; a bunch of angry fools tilting at windmills whose proximity to the resurrection of Hal and the Corps do not in fact mean much in the grand scheme of things (I've always suspected that Hal's return owed more to desperation for new readers than trying to placate aging fanboys).

Hal as Parallax lasted all the way up to the event Final Night, where he sacrificed himself to save the Earth in an eleventh hour moment to try and gain some redemption. Hal would float around as The Spectre until 2004, when DC decided to just let Geoff Johns bring Hal back as Green Lantern and bring back everybody and everything that the Corps once was. And yes, Parallax was retconned into and evil space bug representing fear itself. Honestly, that the best possible situation for him. Now he gets to be a cosmic horror of grand proportions instead of a bad heel turn that never really caught on with the comics reading public.

But the resurrection of the Corps is what was most needed. Now Green Lantern isn't just a guy or a group of guys. It's whoever or whatever the creators want it to be.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Why Son of Batman Sucks

 "It's the script, not the kid".

Let me regale you with a personal story. When I was writing this up, I was sure I knew the big problem was.  "It's Damian. My god is this kid annoying." Sure, I had other points I needed to make, but the fact was my main problem was Damian, the titular son of the Dark Knight.

Then I kept thinking about it. Saw all the various flaws the film had until they all started piling up like a twenty car accident on the I-45. I kept thinking about it and realized that it wasn't just Damian. Just saying that would be the easy target; "It's the kid", and go onto a long diatribe against the kid. I came to understand that it would be unfair to burden the badness of a single movie on one character because he acts like a petulant little brat. This was a script problem, for both Damian and the rest of the cast as a whole.

Before we wade our feet into a quagmire of crap, let's focus on the good. Almost all the voice actors are game for the material they're given, save for Morena Baccarin's wandering accent as Talia and Stuart Allen struggling with some of the lines. * The action is all pretty damn good, if a little over the top (i.e. supposedly non-superhuman people blocking bullets with swords, Damian surviving getting kicked into a stone pillar, Batman tossing a bunch of Man-Bats like they're nothing, ect). Hell, the over the top bits like the Gorilla-Bat attacking Batman really prevent the film from being completely onerous. And special mention should go to David McCallum (NCIS's Ducky) as Alfred, giving the man the exact amount of dry wit and authority for the character.

*Author's note: Let's get one thing straight: no blame for Damian Wayne's character is being thrown at (nor should it be thrown at) Stuart Allen. He did the best he could with what he had and what he had was a bratty character and a really weak script. The kid's obviously got potential (the fact that Warner Bros. hired this kid over just getting a voice actor who specializes in kids is proof of that). So let's not make this into a Jake Lloyd situation where a kid gets his bullied and blamed for what boils down to bad writing.

And now for the crap! First off, can I just say the inciting incident of the whole story ( Deathstroke's invasion and attempted coup of the League of Assassins) makes no damn sense? Slade does scream "I was your right hand!" at Ra's in their duel and we do get some exposition from Talia when she meets up with Bats to reveal their son, but otherwise we get very little for a motivation. Hell, we aren't even shown why his banished from the League! Also, why is Slade even associated with the League when in any other media he's his own guy with his own plans. The only explanation I can see is that they needed a bay guy for Batman and Damian( our eventual Robin) to fight and Deathstroke was the only name villain they could think up that fit the whole ninja angle (even though Deathstroke has never been a major part of Batman's rogues gallery).

Also, why did anyone feel the need to adapt the "Talia drugs and essentially date rapes Batman" plot point? There was no need to, guys. Just say Bruce and Talia got hot 'n heavy one night and nine months later: Bam! Son of Batman! You didn't need to go down Creepy Ave. And you definitely didn't need to have Bats say it "wasn't all bad".

Those two points above are just small section of the iceberg that is the script for the film. Everyone seems to have taken a level in asshole or dumbass in the script. Worst recipient is Dick Grayson, Nightwing in the film, who goes from probably the most well adjusted of the Bat Family (save for maybe Barbara Gordon) to an arrogant jerk for no other reason than to bicker with Damian like he was his big brother and not a grown ass man. Damian comes off generally less like a capable kid who could hold his own in a fight to near Gary Stu level of characters traits. He's not only a world-class ninja, but also a master swordsman, computer hacker skilled enough to hack the Batcomputer and a master sleuth. That's just too much, especially for a character just you introduced. And Bruce, let me give you some advice: when you see a child with extreme skill with a sword and murderous intent, you should see that as a sign to give him emotional support and some damn therapy, not as a potential crime-fighter you idiot!

The biggest example of characters becoming over the top assholes can be found with the Dark Knight himself. As he's interrogating Killer Croc to figure out what the hell he was doing stealing mutagens or something, Croc's basically falling apart due to some form of super-steroid/mutagen he was taking to get stronger. Batman, upon seeing this, deduces that the best way to get info out of Croc is to rip off the tail Croc's grown to get info. Yeah, I know that Croc does not have a tail and it probably would fall off given time, but the fact remains BATMAN RIPPED OFF SOMEONE'S LIMB TO GET INFORMATION!!! Even if you want to give Bats some leeway with how he gets info out of people, that's torture! And he doesn't even blink about it! Even the grim n' gritty Christopher Nolan Batman had to take a step back and wonder "My god, what have I done?" after crippling Sal Maroni by dropping him of fa two story roof. I mean Jesus, there are lines that Batman will not cross, and he just strolls across one without so much as an acknowledgement of what happened. Not even Jim Gordon acknowledges it, and he was in the room! I'm pretty sure Gordon wouldn't approve of that crap happening on his watch.

That last bit, Croc's torture, is what ultimately kills the movie for me. With that, the whole rest of the picture came into a focus as an excuse for action scenes instead of telling a decent story. I can't call this "NOT a Batman film" but I can call it a bad Batman film. Let's hope for better in the futu...

Wait, they made a sequel? Son of a bitch.