Game of Thrones - 7 years of Awesome...

…and one year that was fine, I guess

Spoiler free and just one member of Empire Ink’s opinion

Game of Thrones came to an end and it ended, not with bang but with a whimper. After what was 6 seasons of truly wonderful TV and one season of wonderful but rushed TV, season 8 was both rushed and neglected adequately tie up a lot of the story threads or attempt to explain some character’s motivations.

Kirsten and I enjoyed it a little more than the rest of the studio. If you want to hear a fun rant, ask Alex, Laura Jane, or Kyle what they thought of it. Personally, I was really enjoying it for the first 5 episodes of the season. I don’t fully understand why people think that anything in those 5 episodes was out of character. There were some really engaging moments in episodes 1, 2 and 4 that I genuinely loved. The big action set pieces in episodes 3 and 5 had me on the edge of my seat. I had faith that the final episode was going to elaborate on what was skimmed over in the previous episodes… I was wrong. The final episode was the most rushed of the entire series and left me, like most, with a bitter taste in my mouth.

The internet is littered with memes and videos explaining why it was so awful (most of it hyperbolic) but ultimately, it still remains one of the best television series of all time, even if the ending didn’t live up to the massive expectations that was levied towards it.

-Baz

Avengers: Endgame...

…or How This Grown Man was a Giddy Child for 3 hours

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It’s been 11 years and 22 films in the making. The hype machine has been running overtime here at Empire Ink. Anyone that has been tattooed by us over the last few months has no doubt heard us debate and theorise over the most eagerly awaited film since The Force Awakens.

Avengers: Endgame is finally here and, like always, the Empire Ink team booked seats to the midnight screening. As usual, we went to our local Cineworld and decided to go for the Infinity War/Endgame double bill.

Infinity War was great to see on the big screen again. After it finished, an hour passed, it was midnight, and the screen was still blank. 10 minutes later, we were informed that they were having issues with the projector. 30 minutes later, and we were updated that they were working on it. At 1am we were told that it wasn’t going to happen. To say that we (and the other 340 people in the cinema) were disappointed is a massive understatement.

So, after a few hours sleep, we tried again. At 7am we drove to the Vue in Livingston to catch the 8am screening. This time (thankfully) we got to see the film… and what a film it was.

It was everything we could have possibly imagined. There’s very little I can say for fear of spoiling even the slightest element for anyone. It really is an experience that people should go into knowing as little as possible.
It made me cry with sadness, cry with laughter, and (mostly) cry with giddy joy. It may have been the lack of sleep or the emotional trauma of having the previous night’s screening ripped away from us but Laura Jane, and myself were tear soaked messes by the end of the 3 hour and 5 minute run time. Me being the macho, bearded man I am, did my best to hide the various tears but it was futile.

If you’ve ever opened a big cross-over comicbook and marveled at the big splash pages then you understand a fraction of what this film delivered. Is it perfect? Pretty close. Did any of the minor imperfections diminish our enjoyment? Not at all.

Going by the box office numbers, everyone has seen it. If you haven’t but like the franchise, what the bloody hell are you playing at?*

If you would like to get yourself a sweet Avengers tattoo, contact the studio here.
-Baz

*Kyle has, at the time of typing this, still not seen it and is stopping us from being able to talk about it in the studio.

April 2019 is probably the best month for geeks, ever.

April is shaping up to be a bloody good month if you’re a bit of a geek. Between comicbook movies, great TV, and a couple of sweet lookin’ video games, this nerd ain’t getting a girlfriend any time soon.

Movies

Comicbook movies are as big a part of the Empire Ink team’s life as tattoos are. Apart from the obvious big release, there’s another couple of comicbook movies out this month.

Shazam

Shazam came out last weekend. Alex, Laura, Kirsten, our guest artist Edgar, and myself all went and saw it last Saturday night. Whilst the film received mixed to negative reviews from most of our group, I personally loved it. It’s great to see DC embracing the sillier side of comics and moving away from the murderous moapy pricks that have been ruining their films. I’d personally say it’s DC’s best film yet (fans of the Dark Knight Trilogy, come at me).

Hellboy

A new Hellboy film was released yesterday and it’s not faring well with the critics. General audiences have been a bit more forgiving so I’ve not lost all hope. Hellboy’s previous two films starring the fantastic Ron Perlman were great and I’d like this one to be entertaining too. Apparently this one is a bit more gory as it’s moved away from the fantasy element and embraces the horror side of the comic. I won’t be racing in opening weekend to see this one but I’ll definitely check it out soon.

Avenger: Endgame

There’s a little known series of comicbook films called the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s seen a bit of success but in case you’ve not heard, there was a film last year called Avengers: Infinity War that ended with a bit of a cliff hanger.

As you’ve likely not seen a Marvel film, here’s a comprehensive recap of the story so far

On April 25th, the follow up film, Avengers: Endgame is coming out. We at Empire Ink like to support these small independent films so we bought our tickets for opening night. It’s strange that the screening is at Midnight.

TV Shows

I was gonna add the new Twilight Zone series to this list but since it’s been out for over a week and I’ve made no effort to watch it yet, I’ll leave it off. There is another couple of shows that I’m well on board for starting with…

The Tick Season 2

The Tick was pretty big in the 90s. I was a massive fan of the wonderfully quirky Tick cartoon and the great live action series starring Joe Swanson himself, Patrick Warburton. When I heard that Prime Video were releasing a new Tick series starring Peter Serafinowicz, I was over the moon.

The first season was pretty good. It took itself a little too seriously for such a silly franchise but still had a few fun moments. It suffered from what I call the Dark Knight effect. That’s where you take a comicbook property and try and twist what makes it good by adding too many real world elements (if you haven’t noticed, I’m not a fan of the Nolan Batman films).

I’m a couple of episodes into the new season that was released last week and I’m pleased to say that it has (literally) shed its Dark Knight elements. Starting with the Tick’s costume which lost it’s armored look and is more in line with the original. It’s also started adding some other silly heroes so I have high hopes for this one.

Game Of Thrones Season 8

Almost as hotly anticipated as Avengers: Endgame. Game of Thrones is loved by everyone in the studio (except for Ross). If you watch the show then you’re already hyped for this. We’re running a Game of Thrones season 8 deadpool in the studio. Everyone has put £20 on the outcome of the season predicting who will live, who will die (or get White Wakered) and who will win the Throne. It all kicks off tomorrow night so we’ve been watching Season 7 in the studio today. Can’t bloody wait!

Video Games

If all this TV and films isn’t enough to gobble up your free time, there’s a couple of awesome looking video games to sink your teeth into.

Mortal Kombat 11

In the 90s I would have pumped thousands of Aussie dollars into Mortal Kombat machines. Now I buy every incarnation of the game as it’s released on home consoles. I love a MK game and MK 11 is looking prettier and more brutal than ever. I’m itching to get my hands on this one and look forward to decapitating some of my mates online.
Check out this bloody cinematic set to the only good techno song

Days Gone

Playstation has really excelled with its exclusive this generation. Days Gone looks to be no exception. I’m always keen to sink my teeth into a good zombie game but this one looks next level. If the story and gameplay is half as good as it looks, it’ll be a great filler while we wait for The Last of Us 2.

-Baz

Captain Marvel

Marvel make some bloody good films, don’t they? After what feels like forever (due to being treated to 4 in under a year then waiting 8 months for the next one) the 21st film in the MCU film series is finally here. As we do with all of the Marvel films, the Empire Ink team went for a midnight jaunt to the cinema to see the first screening.

So was it any good? Absolutely it was. I’d rather not give away any spoilers so I’ll be as vague as possible. I’ll limit specifics to things seen in the trailers.

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I really liked Brie Larson as the titular Captain Marvel. She was strong, engaging, and charming; a perfect fit with the other heroes in the Universe. Her journey to become the hero we’ll see in next month’s Avengers: End Game made for one of the better origin films in the MCU. Larson’s chemistry with Sam Jackson’s Fury was fantastic. I hope we get to see them reunited in future films.

Speaking of Nick Fury, it was a lot of fun seeing him as the green, bi-ocular field agent after his many appearances as the hardened, cycloptic Director of SHIELD. Whilst Captain Marvel wasn’t as comedy heavy as some of the more recent MCU films, some of the funniest lines were given to Fury.

Disney really have perfected their de-aging CGI. At first it was a little off-putting because I know what Sam Jackson now looks like and we’ve never seen it for prolonged periods of time before. Once I settled into it, I believed that what we were seeing was a Die Hard 3 era Samuel L. Jackson. The de-aging on Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson was a little less convincing, possibly because the studio had less footage of Gregg from that time period to work from.

Ben Mendelsohn is also great as the MCU’s first Skrull, Talos. The Skrulls have always been a comic favourite and it’s great to see them join the cinematic universe. Like Jackson, Talos had some very funny moments. Also, as an Australian, I like the idea that the Skrulls have an Aussie accent. Wait… maybe I’m a Skrull sleeper agent and just don’t know it yet.

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I can’t continue without talking about Goose. Goose is a cat, a cat that everyone is going to love as much as Rocket Racoon and Baby Groot before him. No this cat doesn’t talk but there are a lot of cute, endearing, and hilarious moments featuring Goose. I really hope that we see more of him in future instalments.

Captain Marvel is mostly set in 1995 and, as someone that was 19 during that year, I had a nostalgic love for all the moments that poked fun at the time period. The soundtrack was lifted straight from the early 90s and brought me back to high school. One thing that may annoy younger viewers, the film is also paced similar to a film from that era. It doesn’t move at the breakneck pace of most modern blockbusters so if you’re not used to that, it may seem a little slow at points.

Lastly, Stan Lee’s cameo may be my favourite one yet. It’s a wonderful nod to time period that will delight anyone that picks up on the reference.

Alex is dying to do a big, 2 day Captain Marvel piece to fill his cancellation for next week and is offering a hefty discount to anyone that gets it done. Contact the studio here if you would like to capitalise on this great deal.

-Baz

Avengers Assemble!

Edit Updated available designs - 8/3/19

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Alex (like all of us here at Empire Ink) loves an MCU film. We always go to the midnight screenings of the Marvel releases. He also loves doing an MCU based tattoo. Over the years he’s done most of the main MCU characters (not Hawkeye though)… BUT HE WANTS TO DO MORE!

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He’s started doing Avengers portraits that have the A logo unique to each character. So far he’s done Thor and Hulk. Doctor Strange, Captain America, and Bucky are all on the way . That leaves quite a lot of Avengers to go:

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  • Iron Man - taken

  • Spider-Man - taken

  • Captain Marvel

  • Vision

  • Black Panther - Taken

  • Scarlet Witch

  • Black Widow

  • War Machine

  • Falcon

  • Hawkeye

  • Ant Man

  • Wasp

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If you’d like to get one of these amazing pieces, go here and make a booking.

2019 Films that the Empire Ink team are buzzin' about

We here at Empire Ink love movies. We constantly talk and theorise about upcoming films, we discuss films we love, and also argue a bit about the 8th Episode in a certain sci-fi franchise set in a galaxy far, far away.

As such, we’re hyped about some of the films 2019 is going to treat us to.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part -February 8th
2014’s The LEGO Movie was a pleasant surprise. It had a lot of heart, a great message for both children and adults alike. It also featured cameos from dozens of the characters we love. Also, one of the easiest ways to annoy Laura Jane, is to play the Everything is Awesome! song.

Here’s hoping that this new one captures some of the magic of the first. With Chris Pratt pulling double duties, what’s not to love?

Alita Battle Angel -February 14th
This one hasn’t had a big marketing push but I do like the look of the film. In this, the final year of 20th Century Fox not being owned by Disney, they seem to be phoning a few things in. It’s also faced the same white washing criticism that last year’s Ghost in the Shell suffered.

That said, it’s being directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by Steven Spielberg so it has the potential to be great.

Captain Marvel -March 8th

This one is the first one we’ll be going to a midnight screening for. It’s Marvel so I don’t really need to say anymore but it’s the first female led MCU film, it’s expanding the galactic side of the franchise, and it’s going to lead into our most anticipated film of the year, Avengers: End Game

Shazam! -April 5th

Sandwiched between 2 big Marvel releases, we’re getting DC’s first entry of the year. Shazam! looks like a bit of fun. High on the box office success of Aquaman, Warner Bros/DC will have high hopes for this one. DC has shaken off a lot of the stink of Zack Snyder’s “dark and gritty” beginnings and it seems to be pleasing audiences a lot more. Here’s hoping this one continues the trend.

Hellboy -April 12th

Hellboy is a great character and, as much as Ron Perlman will be missed in the titular role, this reboot is looking pretty good. Fans of the original were always going to moan when Perlman was recast but David Harbour fits the role nicely. It has a more grounded and comic accurate feel than the Del Toro films and hopefully that works in the film’s favour.

Avengers: End Game -April 26th

This film will make all of the money. ‘Nuff said.
Fun fact: Captain America is 50% less handsome without his beard. Thanos snapped away half of Cap’s rugged good looks

Alex is doing a new Avengers series of tattoos featuring the “A” logo. If you’d like to claim one of the remaining characters, let us know here.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu -May 10th
Being an old bastard, I have to admit I have no nostalgia for Pokemon. I know enough to get by and Ryan Reynolds is usually entertaining so, if the reviews are halfway decent, I’ll check this one out… otherwise I can wait until it hits Netflix

I have no doubt that someone is going to request a realistic Pokemon tattoo off the back of this film. If you wanna be first, you can make a booking here.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum -May 17th

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The first 2 John Wick films were a fun ride and I don’t see why this one wouldn’t be also fun. The action sequences are some of the best commited to film. Alex had a lot of fun doing this John Wick tattoo last year and is a big fan of the series.

On a related note, season 2 of The Punisher has some greatest fight scenes you’ll find in a TV series. It’s out now and bloody great.

I really wanna see a crossover that has John Wick Vs The Punisher. Two hours of the pair of them battling it out and getting progressively more bloodied as they chip away at one another.

Brightburn -May 24th

This is James Gunn’s first film after being unfairly binned by Disney. They were meant to announce it the Comic Con weekend that all the Tweet drama happened but Sony held off a few months.

Basically it’s a Superman origin/horror film. This looks like the 1% scenario that Batfleck warned us about. I’ve loved everything else that James Gunn has made in the past so this could be a hoot.

Godzilla: King of Monsters - May 31st
Rounding out the month of May is the sequel to 2014’s Godzilla. The first film was great and this one is going to lead into the Godzilla/King Kong crossover. Who doesn’t love big monsters fighting one another?

Toy Story 4 -June 21st

In June we’re getting a new X-Men film but I’m so over the X-Men films at this point that I’d happily skip this one and wait for the new and improved MCU X-Men.

That’s why the most exciting film in June is Toy Story 4. The first 3 are timeless classics and Pixar have a great track record. If you haven’t cried in at least one Toy Story film, you’re a heartless bastard.

Spider-Man: Far From Home -July 5th
Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size, Catches thieves just like flies
Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man

Hydro-Man, Molten-Man, Sand-Man, and Mysterio. Spider-Man films in the past have suffered from villian overload in the past but I have faith that Marvel will handle this in a way that makes sense. No, I’m not a Marvel shill but if Disney do want to pay me to say good things about their films, I’ll be their bitch .

Joker -October 4th

We were all pretty disappointed with Jared Leto’s Joker so it will be interesting to see how they handle this new 80’s version. Sure, Jack Nicholson was a great 80’s Joker but whatever.

Star Wars - Episode IX - Abrams Strikes Back - December 20th

Contrary to what I said in the opening sentence, we don’t talk about The Last Jedi as it’s too divisive. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here because no matter what they do, half of Star Wars’ toxic fan base is gonna be pissed off.

There’s a few others like the new Terminator film and (allegedly) a Masters of the Universe film but so little is known, it’s hard to be hyped for it. -Baz

Red Dead Redemption II

…Or how my real life ended when I became a virtual cowboy

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Red Dead Redemption II (or RDR2 if you want to confuse dyslexic Star Wars fans) came out 2 weeks ago with the promise of a huge map and horse scrotal shrinkage… and boy did it deliver (well, if my horse wasn’t female it would have).

Alex, Laura, Ross, Kirsten, and myself have all become hermits as we’ve feasted our eyeballs on the vast and beautiful “American” landscape that 100s of Rockstar employees spent many months of 100 hour work weeks to produce (it doesn’t work on Kyle’s SNES though). You can certainly see where all of that time and effort has gone. Although slightly buggy at times, the game is as enormous and detailed as you would expect from the minds behind the Grand Theft Auto games.

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Apart from the aforementioned retractable equine baw bags, the game is packed full of small details that make for a more immersive experience. The entire world they’ve created reacts to how you play the game.
-Stay fit, health, and clean, people are nicer to you.
-Treat your horse well, it treats you well.
-Look after your camp, they look after you
-Do good deeds, get discounts in shops… and so on

On the flipside, if you behave like a dickhead, the game becomes a lot harder for you.

If you were to power through the story, you could probably finish it in around 50 hours but there is a ridiculous amount of side quests, random encounters, and activities that you could put in 200 hours and still not finish the game.

Almost everyone I’ve talked to in the last couple of weeks are playing this game and, if the most recent episode of South Park is anything to go by, it’s clear that the creators would have rather been playing Red Dead Redemption II than making the episode.

-Baz

FK Irons

Last month, at the London Tattoo Convention, Alex Rattay was invited to join the FK Irons Pro Team.

FK Irons are makers of wonderful tattoo machines and grips so it’s a great honour to be part of the team.

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Kirsten was already using the above beast; the FK Irons Xion. Ross had a wee shot of it and bought one the next day. Laura is planning on getting one soon too.

Alex uses a combo of the Xion and the FK Irons Halo2 (pictured below).

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All of these machines are practically silent so, instead of the buzzing of machines, in Empire Ink you can better hear our rubbish banter

Dumb Stuff in Comicbook Movies: Vol 2.

Last time I wrote about how DC have been fucking up their characters on film since the 1970s (Man of Steel wasn’t the first film to get Superman all wrong).

This time around I’m going to have a moan about a trope that has thankfully died out but was over used and bloody stupid while it lasted…

Flamin’ Superhero Logos

For the best part of 20 years, shittier comic book movie directors have soiled their pants over the idea of having the hero intimidate their foes with a version of their logo that’s on fire.

My earliest memory of this trope was in The Crow (1994). Now I’m gonna give this one a pass. It was a solid comic book film in a decade littered with shite comic flicks like Judge Dredd, Steel, Batman and Robin, Barb Wire, Spawn, and Dick Tracy. It was the first to do it and it also works in the context of the film.

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On a related note, there was a sequel starring a chubby, tired lookin’, goth John Connor in the titular role. If there was a burning bird in that one, I’d be less forgiving. Look at this straight to DVD bullshit!

No Wonder the T-800 lowered himself into the lava; he’s seen the future and it would seem that there’s a worse fate than surviving a Robopocalypse.

The next film to employ the fire intimidation tactic was The Mask of Zorro (1998). Was that film any good? Who cares! It’s not based on a comic so let’s move on!

Daredevil (2003)

Before pulling on a big black rubber suit and murdering a bunch of people whose mothers were (presumably) not called Martha, Ben Affleck pulled on a crimson leather suit and murdered people as Daredevil.

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After throwing a man onto train tracks and “watching” as the C-Train turns him into two half men, Daredevil takes the time to perfectly recreate his DD brand in lighter fluid on the subway platform. Sure he’d just killed a man, traumatized a train driver and ruined the day of a few train carriages worth of passengers, but branding is important. Did he light it himself? Nope! The silly bastard relied on the fact that Ben Urlich would know to throw his cigarette on precisely that spot for dramatic effect.

How did that DD logo survive a few dozen cops, several paramedics, and at least one reporter stomping all over it? How did Ben know to throw his ciggy at that bit of the platform? How did he throw it in such way that it ignited the fluid? Maybe Urlich was also exposed to radioactive chemicals and has heightened senses too.

The Punisher (2004)

The Punisher is known for murdering baddies in grandiose ways. He likes to make a statement to strike fear into the hearts of evil doers. That said, who the hell is this for? Was there a passing helicopter that he really wanted to send a message to?

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Frank Castle spent weeks planning John Travolta’s demise and part of that planning was to ruin a carpark full of innocent people’s cars so he could have his burning skull. Sure he needed to protect the world from the dangers of Scientology but this is just overkill.

Fantastic Four (2005)

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Fine… you get a pass because you have a fire guy on the team. NEXT!

Ghost RiderSpirit of Vengeance (2011)

No, we didn’t get a flamin’ GR logo but I just wanted to include this Gif of Ghost Rider pissing fire.

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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

I have many problems with this film. Not only does it retroactively ruin the first 2 films with its shitty plot holes, it has a flamin’ Bat logo 8 years after the shittier Marvel films had stopped doing it.

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Here we have Batman, returning to Batmanning after quitting due to a sore knee (those 6 months of Batmanning the first time around were tough).

He returns to Gotham, its police force in the sewer, nuclear bomb being paraded around, villains getting their Purge on, back still healing, and his knee still fucked. Before doing anything to help Gotham, he climbs up a bridge and paints a bat logo in petrol on the bloody thing. Not the best use of your time and energy, Bruce. Surely you have a spare Batsignal mothballed somewhere in Gotham.

Maybe watching The Mask of Zorro right before watching Thomas and Martha (Why did you say that name!?) were killed didn’t just inspire his vigilantly ways, maybe he really liked that scene with the big burning “Z”.


Hopefully we’ve seen the last of this nonsense but if writing this pointless rant has taught me anything, it’s that Empire Ink needs a fire logo to instill fear into the hearts of Evil Doers…

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If you would like a tattoo of a superhero, superhero logo, or anything else, click here to make a booking.

Dumb Stuff in Comicbook Movies: Vol 1.

We at Empire Ink love comic book movies. Thankfully we live in an age where we get multiple comicbook movies every year. They aren't all great but even if 10% of them are good each year, it's still more good comic films than we used to get... and we watch them all! We gush over the good ones and rant about the dumb ones.

The dumb stuff has always been there though, it's not a new thing.  It's the silly shite I'm going to focus on in this blog but, good or bad, if you want a portrait of a comic character, you can book here and we'd be more than happy to tattoo it for you.

Part 1: Giving Unnecessary Powers to the most Powerful Character

Christopher Reeve’s Superman

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Superman is very powerful (probably too powerful). He has super speed, super strength, can fly, has freeze breath, and X-Ray and heat vision. That said, when written well, he's a bloody great character. You can write scenarios that put him in a tight spot but, using his aforementioned abilities, he saves the day.

The Christopher Reeve version of Superman does not do this. Yes, those films hold a special spot in the hearts of the older comicbook movie fans but that doesn't mean they’re good. Here’s a few of the dumb powers (that don’t exist in the comic) that they gave this God like hero:

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Superman II has a fight scene towards the end during which, Superman peels a layer off of the S shield on his chest. He then throws it, it grows large enough to wrap up a 6’ 6” man before vaporising.
This confuses the shit out of me. How many cellophane S’s does he have? Why didn’t he use it before or ever again? Where did it go? Why didn’t he just freeze the big prick with his icy breath?

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Take a look at this stupid bullshit? Who came up with this? Who greenlit this? Why did nobody tell them how bloody ridiculous this is? So many questions that we’ll never get answers to.

Magic Wall Building Eyes

So what can Supes’ eyes do? Burn things, see through things, and (according to Superman IV) build bloody walls. What?! Why?!

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If this selfish dickhead has had this power all along, why is the Kent farm such a shithole? Come on Clark, get your shit together, mate. Your Mum lives in a scabby wooden house and you could easily whip her up a brick one with a passing glance.

Roofie Flavoured Kisses.

So here we are back at Superman II and, after telling Lois his secret identity, Clark returns things to the status quo by giving her a snog that wipes her memory of the film’s events.

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How the hell does this shit work? Is it the longer the kiss, the more memory he wipes out? What did Lois think she’d been doing for the last few months? What other unsuspecting woman has he given the Men in Black treatment to?

I think that Superman III should have ended with Superman slipping his tongue down Richard Prior’s throat for 10 minutes and hereby making him forget all of his computer hacking skills. Threat neutralised, no more dumb plots about wiping out coffee crops and tar infused kryptonite.

-Baz