Putting the Hurt on: How Telltale broke Batman

Telltale games are no more.

Telltale was originally formed in 2004 by former disgruntled LucasArts employees to revive the flagging adventure genre. Over the next few years Telltale earned a reputation as the gold standard for excellent writing in computer games (excellence in how they treated their employees, not so much). But I don’t want to talk about how Telltale made great games or how they ground their employees into a fine snortable powder.  I want to talk about Batman, because I will never not find a way to talk about Batman, which you should keep in mind if you ever ask me to give a eulogy.

Telltale’s modus operandi was to take licenced properties (which is very common in the computer games industry) and to do genuinely interesting and original things with them (which, in the computer game industry, is as rare as catching a unicorn using a swear word). So when it was announced that Telltale were doing a Batman game? People. Were. Pumped.

Having been gifted a Nintendo Switch by my family last birthday I’ve finally played through both Batman games and I have feelings people. I have feelings that need to be expressed. So from here on in, spoilers abound.

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Inside Out (2015)

This review was requested by patron Amelia Mellor. If you’d like me to review a movie, please consider supporting my Patreon.

Ha.

Ha ha.

Okay. Okay. I see. Alright.

Okay. Yup. Yup. Uh huh. Okay.

Sorry. My bad. I see I haven’t been clear enough on this topic. So let me be frank.

STOP ASKING ME TO REVIEW PIXAR MOVIES. STOP IT. JUST CUT THAT OUT.

You want to know what I think about Inside Out? It’s PERFECT, okay?! IT’S GODDAMN FICKETY FUCKETY FLAWLESS! IT’S A FRICKIN’ GOAT! IT’S THE BEST POSSIBLE VERSION OF ITSELF. THERE IS LITERALLY NOT ONE SINGLE THING I CAN THINK OF THAT WOULD IMPROVE IT.

So what (excuse me) but what the FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY ABOUT IT? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CRACK WISE? YOU’VE HANDED ME THE CEILING OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL AND SAID “HERE, MAKE WITH THE FUNNY”. I CAN’T MAKE WITH THE FUNNY BECAUSE IT’S ONE OF THE GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANITY AND I HAVE A SOUL, YOU MOUTH BREATHING HEATHENS!

“Oh for the the love of…I ask you to review one of the worst movies ever and you piss and moan, I ask you to review one of the greatest movies ever and you piss and moan…”

“Try visiting the MIDDLE GROUND it’s pleasant and spacious!”

Ohhhhhhhh oy vey oyvey okay.

Inside Out. It’s the Pixar movie of Pixar movies. It makes other Pixar movies look like Dreamworks movies and Dreamworks movies look like pimply butts. It slays all that come before and after it. It’s so good, such a triumph of writing, design, animation and performance that honestly it’s a little intimidating and hard to love. It’s never going to be one of those movies that I just have on in the background because when I’m doing housework I usually prefer something that’s not going to break me emotionally like an egg.

I never used to cry at movies. Not really. I distinctly remember crying at the end of Michael Collins and that being a big, shocking thing. And that was a special case, because he’s like the George Washington of this thing and he was a real guy who really died (spoiler). But crying at movies just because they were sad? No. Not a thing.

That all changed with the arrival of somebody.

“Daddy, I can’t find my shoes.”

“We’re mice honey, we don’t wear shoes.”

“Minnie Mouse wears shoes.”

“Minnie Mouse has notions. Don’t you pay her any mind.”

Becoming a dad did something to me, people. Messed with my brain chemistry like a mad scientist juggling beakers and cackling. Now, when I watch a movie I cry if someone stubs their toe (unless its Adam Sandler, because my empathy can only stretch so far).

“Ha ha! Fatherhood turned you into a wussy!”

“You cried at that documentary about Pangea.”

“He…*choke* he had it all and he just fell apart I’m sorry I can’t do this…”

Researching this movie I learned that writer Pete Docter based it on observing changes in his daughter’s emotions when she reached eleven. I mean, I learned it, but I already knew it. This movie is so perfectly observed that it could only be drawn from real life.

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Ugh, of all the Patreons in all the world…

Damn it damn it damn it.

We got a new Patron and you’re probably thinking “ooooh smameann, he seems nice.”

Well he’s not nice! He’s the opposite of nice! For you see, he is none other than my third-from-the-top arch-enemy, the Unscrupulous Mouse!

“What? I just want to support you!”

“I’m on to you villain!”

“Good, good. The plan proceeds on schedule.”

“Your asides are going to the front again.”

“DAMNATION.”

“You will suffer more pain than any other man can endure. But you will have your revenge.”

Like Unshaved Mouse? Please consider supporting my Patreon.

Wolverine. Logan. The Savage X-Man. The Adamantium Atavus. Ol Canuckle-head. The little hairy butthole.

Wolverine did not have the most auspicious start in comics, and you definitely wouldn’t have pegged him as destined to become (for a time at least) The Most Popular Superhero in all of Comics. Some superheroes arrive fully formed, some take a lot of work. Wolverine was originally introduced as a fairly bland and one-note adversary for the Incredible Hulk. From there he migrated to the new multinational X-Men team launched by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum and nobody really gave two shits about him. But, through a combination of refinement and luck, Wolverine eventually came to be the most popular character in Marvel’s stable. How did that happen? Timing. Wolverine was perfectly placed to ride the pop culture currents of not one, not two, but THREE decades.

During his time in the X-Men Wolverine’s character evolved into “Clint Eastwood but Superhero”.

“Do you feel lucky, bub?”

This allowed him to tap into the gritty anti-hero craze of the seventies.  Then, Frank Miller established that Wolverine had spent time in Japan and had trained as a ninja, allowing him to benefit from the martial arts craze of the eighties. And by the time the nineties rolled around, Wolverine was so popular that he had basically kickstarted the Dark Age of comics which of course allowed him to remain front and centre for another ten years.

Since 9/11, comics have swung back to wanting more morally pure superheroes like Captain America and Superman, and with Marvel heavily de-emphasising the X-Men in favour of the Inhumans…

LOVE US DAMN YOU!!

…the character is definitely less of a big deal than he once was. Make no mistake though, for a time, Logan was EVERYWHERE. They were organising events around him just so he could appear in every single book. He was like a lucky talisman to boost sales. He was the Crying Purple Gorilla of the Modern Age of Comics.

And I am pretty much totally sick of him.

Look, it’s not the character’s fault. He came by his popularity honestly. He’s got a killer design, a great power-set, a really intriguing backstory and some all time classic stories under his belt. But I was there at the height of Wolverine-mania and I have no desire to go back, especially when so many stories about him are just watching how much one man can be an asshole to the entire world and get away with it.

This is no longer fun.

And there is no excuse for a one-note take on Wolverine, who is honestly one of the more complex and layered heroes in comics. Like I say, this is a great character when done right. But he’s been done wrong. Oh baby. He been done wrong.

We do not speak of baboon- face Wolverine

One Wolverine story that most decidedly does not suck or have baboon faces is Origin, which is weird because everyone (including the writers) expected it to be a disaster. Wolverine was virtually unique among the major superheroes in that he didn’t have an origin story (the closest he had was Weapon X, another classic tale that showed how Logan got his Adamantium skeleton while still revealing nothing about who he was or where he came from). And that mystery was an essential part of his appeal. But when the first X-Men movie was in the works, Marvel realised that Fox would probably end up giving Wolverine an origin, and it would probably suck, so they might as well create their own and hope that it sucked a little less.

“The day the wolverines ate my family, I vowed to defeat them by becoming one of them.”

The result was Origin, a slow-burning, beautifully illustrated mystery set in 19th century Canada that did the seemingly impossible job of giving Wolverine an origin that was surprising and memorable while being appropriate for the character. So job done, right? Marvel had given Wolverine his origin, and it was excellent, and there was no way Hollywood could mess it up, right?

This is a device known as a rhetorical question.

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Finals baby!

“THE BLOG AWARDS WOULDN’T KNOW A GOOD BLOG IF IT MUGGED THEM AND STOLE THEIR WALLET!”

“THEY ARE CRAVEN HACKS AND FOOLS! WHO ARE THEY TO SAY WHICH BLOG IS BEST?! WHO MADE THEM ARBITERS OF OUR CRAFT?! WE MUST RISE UP, MY BLOGGING BRETHREN, AND OVERTHROW THIS TYRANNICAL CANCER ON OUR HOBBY!”

“Mouse! Mouse! You’re a finalist!”

“Oh my God let me fellate you!”

“What?”

“Nothing. Thank you so much you have no idea how bad I needed this!”

“What’s that you were saying…”

“LAA LALAAA LAAA I’M A FINALIST I’M A FINALIST I’M LOUDLY SINGING THE FINALIST SONG!”

“Hmm. Catchy.”

Huge thanks to the Blog Awards Ireland and all of you. You’re the reason I do this, and I can never thank you enough. Congrats to all the other finalists, deepest commiserations to those who didn’t make the final list (dudes, I been there, I know it hurts like a mother). And now, time to see what delightfully Mexican-esque animal has been chosen for my new badge.

Oh ha fucking ha.

New Patron and the Blog Awards

Hi everyone, please join me in saying a big hello to our new patron:

Dylan Lessel, the secret identity of Shrinking Man, an obscure Silver Age DC hero who was rocketed to prominence in the late eighties by a dark, deconstructionist mini-series written by Alan Moore.

In other news, you may have noticed my new buddy on the right there:

“BAHIA!”

Yup, Unshaved Mouse has been shortlisted for Best Film and TV Blog (Personal Category) for the Blog Awards Ireland 2018. The other blogs with whom I am locked in a vicious elevator knife-fight are:

Bone-Idle.ie

Films and Faith

Luwd Media

Reel Time Flicks

Scannain.com

The Sundae

They’re all fantastic blogs and I feel humbled to be included in their company. Go check them out.

And then come back because they will never love you like I do.

Disney(ish) Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse: The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea

(Like Unshaved Mouse? Please consider supporting my Patreon.)

Some movies belong to a genre, others define a genre.

For example, if someone ever asked you “What’s Film Noir?” you could do no better than to plonk them in front of The Maltese Falcon and say “That.”

That movie perfectly encapsulates everything that we associate with the genre; the moody black and white photography, the moral ambiguity, cynical gumshoes, treacherous dames, shifty foreigners and all the fedoras in the world. We might argue over whether it’s the best Film Noir, but it’s definitely the most Film Noir.

It’s like, how much more noir could it be? And the answer is none. None more noir.

Which brings me nicely, like the old blogging pro I am, to Return to the Sea, which I feel confident in calling The Maltese Falcon of Disney Sequels.

“Well, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Yeah, don’t.”

I haven’t seen all the DTV sequels but I’ve seen enough.

I’ve seen enough like George C Scott saw enough in Hardcore.

But, fair is fair, they have occasionally been able to surprise me. Some of the very best, I’ll even concede, are slightly better than the very worst of the official canon. But Return to the Sea will not surprise you. If you picture the platonic ideal of “Disney Sequel”, this is it. This is exactly what you imagined. A palpable lack of effort leaches into every cel of this misbegotten thing. Mulan 2, whatever its crimes against its heroine, has a loopy, unpredictable “what is it going to do next?!” chutzpah that I have to admit I kind of enjoyed. But Return to the Sea provides the kind of soul crushing tedium that can only be provided by watching a movie you’ve already seen but worse in every respect.

Scalpels at the ready folks. Let’s make some sushi.

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A message for patrons

He everyone, first of all we have two new patrons to welcome:

Victor Nilsson: achieved fame in the late sixties/early seventies as a laid-back folk singer whose gentle, pastoral ballads masked his trenchant critique of the hippy lifestyle with such songs as “Free Love is Great, Until You Get Clap”, “Brother, how will you get a mortgage?” and “Your reflexive critique of the war in Vietnam is poorly thought out and reductive, man.”

Lance is the original leader of the Elite Four and a master of Dragon Type Pokémon.

Many thanks to both of these gentlemen.

Now, that that’s out of the way there is just something I needed to be sure that everyone is cool with. If you’ve signed up as a patron for $5 you can request one review every six months, whereas $10 patrons get to request a review every month. I repeat, you can request a review every month. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to get a review the same month you request one, it means you can add a review to the queue every month. Two reviews a month is still my limit in terms of output unless someone wants to sign up as a patron and match my current salary (please don’t do that, my reviews are not that good) and I’ll still be doing the regular series reviews as well as finishing off the last of the reviews from people who donated to help Mauricio. What I’m trying to say is, it will probably be a long time before I get to your specific review. Sorry, I’m just one rodent. Starting from the review after next I’m going to try to keep to the following schedule.

1)      Regular series review (X-Men/Marvel/Disney Canon if they ever get around to releasing another  one)

2)      Patron review

3)      Mauricio review

And repeat until the end of time. Once the Mauricio reviews are done that will free up an extra slot and I’ll be able to focus more on Patron reviews. Sorry if there was any confusion. If you feel that’s not what you signed up for, please feel free to amend your pledge or cancel it altogether, I won’t be offended.  Anyway, thanks again for your support and your patience.

A shout out to all you Patrons

Huge thanks to all of you new patrons who’ve decided to entrust me with your hard earned cash. I promise that the money will go to a worthy cause and certainly not towards building a mind-control ray that will make all human beings docile and amenable to being ridden around by rodents as our personal very tall horses.

But who are these patrons, you ask? Well, I’ve listed them below with an interesting fact about each one. If you would like to get your own interesting fact and support the blog, you know what to do.

A. Vartianen is a trickster God in Polynesian mythology.

Alex Hu discovered Wales.

Allison can’t fly, but can glide from roof to roof.

Amelia Mellor is the only person to ever win seven Nobel prizes for literature in the same year.

Anna Bale invented the hammock. Also, she’s my darling mother.

Aonghus Collins knows the difference between “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” and jam.

Ben Harding walked five hundred miles, and said “Sod it. No one’s door is worth this.”

Charlotte Hassel has a cameo in every Marvel movie, plus Spawn (she was Spawn).

Christian Kavanagh has blood that can bring Tribbles back to life.

Donnacha Mallen sailed the seven seas, but has never sailed their own heart.

Who knows what secrets lurk in the hearts of men? ED knows.

Eli Berg-Maas has never lost a game of Cards Against Humanity, because they keep the “David Bowie flying in on a tiger made of lightning” card up their sleeve.

Erin Barber shot the sheriff. Also shot the deputy.

Fabrisse ter Brugghe obeyed their duty to her heart, and plunged China into war.

Ian Rowe has his own brand of wine. It’s excellent, and is deservedly building a following.

J* smells like a cool autumn day.

Lupin the 8th? Oh fuck yeah.

Katherine Stokke was deemed “Too hot” for “hot or not” and was banned for life.

Mathom has worked as a body double for every US president for the last thirty years.

Michael Petrocelli likes his women like he likes his South American democracies; strong, independent and fully paid up members of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

PurrElise floats like a butterfly, stings like a letter from your ex that makes you realise that it’s finally over.

Thanks again guys

Mouse