The Marvel of Computer Games by Arran Denieffe Nov16

The Marvel of Computer Games by Arran Denieffe...

The marvels of today’s world are technological. Technology is responsible for the state of the world, good or bad, present and future and that in itself is something to marvel at. One of the things I truly love and consider a marvel are video games. They are, in my view, more than mere entertainment. Take the graphics for a start. As technology advances so do graphics and so games become increasingly realistic, testing the boundary between the virtual and the real. “Uncharted 4 – A Thief’s End” looks incredibly, as long as you have an equally incredible TV. But realism isn’t the only thing a game needs to be deemed a classic. Old games like “Doom,” “Final Fantasy” and “The Legend of Zelda” are amongst a multitude of games still beloved by the gaming community despite their old pixel graphics. Even some of the infamous “RPG maker” like “Mad Father” and “Corpse Party” games have attained cult status. The fact that games with inferior graphics can still be fantastic is something to be admired. Another aspect of video games that I love is artstyle and how much variety there can be. Games can be realistic looking but they can be cartoonish, hand-drawn, anime, pixelated and so on. One recent example of a game with a gorgeous artstyle would be “Cuphead.” Despite its funny name, I would say it is one of the most stand out games this year.It is done in the old, cartoonish style like the very first Mickey Mouse animations. The game is made with such love and respect for the artstyle it even has old-school sound effects as well. This game has quite the nostalgic factor to it though I may be too young to fully appreciate it! “Obami” is another...

Mario and Rabbids’ Kingdom Battle Review by Max Keegan Nov16

Mario and Rabbids’ Kingdom Battle Review by Max Keegan...

Mario, like I said before, is one of the most recognisable gaming icons of all time. The Rabbids? Not so much. They’re often hated for their annoying humour and stealing Rayman’s spotlight. Personally, I’m actually a fan of the Rabbids, with Rabbids Go Home being an amazing adventure game and their TV show being pretty funny too. So Nintendo and Ubisoft decided to mix these two together into… a tactics game? It’s better than it sounds. The story is that a Rabbid is fusing everything with Rabbids thanks to stealing a merging headset from an inventor. Her robot companion Beep-O ends up in the Mushroom Kingdom and it’s up to Mario and Co. and some Rabbids dressed up like them to save the kingdom and defeat Bowser Jr. The game is very funny and the characters are likeable. The gameplay is like X-COM, but with Rabbids and Mario. There are eight playable characters and you can equip them with blasters, sentries, shotguns and grenade ducks. Don’t ask. Each hero has different abilities: Mario can attack even when it’s not his turn with Hero Sight; and Rabbid Mario can lure enemies in closer with Magnet Dance. The game is fun to play and all of the characters have great weapons and abilities. Every world has a mid-boss and a boss. Phantom is my favourite boss, especially with his song. It’s always satisfying to win a level. However, there are some flaws. The game can get pretty difficult, with the Spooky Ziggies’ ability to stop you from attacking and the escort missions and getting to point B missions can take forever. While I’m not done with the game, Mario + Rabbids’ Kingdom Battle is a great game. With its good humour and gameplay, I’m proud to...

Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall...

The full title of this wonderfully informative and sympathetically written jewel is Prisoners of Geography: Ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics. Tim Marshall has a list of credentials the length of his driveway: his blog, for instance, Foreign Matters, won the Orwell Prize in 2010. I like Tim Marshall because he writes like a genuine teacher; he wants you to get it and so used simple language and clear reasoning. In fewer than thirty pages he explains why Vladimir Putin appears to many Europeans to be aggressive, war-like, a sabre-rattler, a Cold Warrior as it were and why such an impression might be said to be simplistic. It’s mostly about geography with a generous smattering of history. Marshall reminds us that geopolitics haven’t gone away, even in this, our 21st century. Russia, he won’t let us forget, is “vastest.” However, it’s mostly snow. The Western end is where all the action is it seems. Some of the story I already knew. The end of the Second World War saw Russia occupy most of what Germany had taken during the war but soon enough NATO put paid to any especially grandiose designs The Bear had on Europe. Even its answering military fraternity, The Warsaw Pact, broke apart and most of it members joined NATO.  Putin laments the subsequent break-up of the USSR and blames Gorbachev for weakening Russia. Russia has genuine national security concerns in Ukraine because of the behaviour of NATO and the EU. But while no power would ever consider invading Russia unless it deemed it utterly necessary due to all that size and snow, there are several ways to skin a bear. The EU, for instance, is actively trying to decrease its reliance on Russian gas...

FNAF World Review by Max Keegan Jan11

FNAF World Review by Max Keegan...

Five Nights at Freddy’s is a horror franchise which I have yet to play. It has been quite successful, yielding a book, merchandise, an attraction at Fright Dome and even a movie in the works. Eventually, Scott, the creator, decided to make an RPG. I was excited since the concept seemed amazing and I love the Mario & Luigi RPG series. Then I played the game: it was disappointing to say the least. FNAF World is an RPG where you walk around the world, fighting enemies and stopping the glitches from happening in the world of the game. First, I should say that it gets a B+ on graphics and concept and a C on Story. Unfortunately, it gets a D- on everything else. I’m not saying this to complain about the creator since he seems nice; it’s just that the game is not good. The battle system is annoying, since it isn’t even turn-based and you can’t predict when the enemies are going to attack twice before you can. You start off with Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, Foxy and their Toy counterparts. You unlock more characters by fighting them at random. Sometimes, the enemies can take forever to kill and kill half my team which for me is stressful. If you want to flee you need to hold ‘R’ on your keyboard – if it decides to work properly. And not being able to dodge enemy attacks, except with ‘Neon Wall’, isn’t bad in Paper Mario: Colour Splash. You need to find buttons to open gates to get to the final boss, but when I played it one of the buttons in the game was in an area I hadn’t explored yet. It also gets an award for being the first game to make...

Dishonoured 2 by Jakub Zancewicz Dec12

Dishonoured 2 by Jakub Zancewicz...

Dishonored 2 is a stealth genre video game made by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was released on the 11th of November 2016 on ps4 Xbox 1 and PC. Gameplay Dishonored 2 has many great attributes. A single mission can be played in a multitude of ways. Do you want to be seen by every guard in the city, running in with your sword and pistol, eliminating everyone in your way? or maybe you’d prefer to sneak around not making a sound and escaping the guard patrols’ attentin?. Don’t worry if you have to move somewhere where guards are looking around; you can get rid of them by using a Tyvian choke hold which is just a fancy way of saying that you can choke your enemies to put them to sleep. Finally, the best part of the gameplay – the exploration and arsenal. As a stealthy assassin you possess many useful gadgets to aid you in your missions. Your sword is your primary weapon. You have a pistol but only use it when you are in a critical situation or else all the enemies will descend upon you. Your crossbow fires many types of darts from the weak and regular crossbow bolt to the powerful and dangerous incendiary dart that burns enemies. If you are trying not to kill your opponents you can use a sleep dart. Dishonored 2 is unique in that the protagonist has special powers that helps him in difficult situations. There are two characters to choose from when playing Dishonoured 2 and each of them has a different set of abilities and powers. Emily Kaldwin has a more passive set of powers, meaning that her abilities are non-harmful but that doesn’t mean she isn’t dangerous. Corvo...

Afterword to the First Year Flash Fiction Competition by Cian Morey...

There once was a man called William Cuthbert Faulkner, whose writing was almost as deep and meaningful as his moustache. He was a man who liked to say things as they were, with no frilly bits thrown in to make it sound more interesting. He just smoked a pipe to give himself some much-needed gravitas instead. Faulkner dealt in the simple facts of life. This was one of them: “If a story is in you, it has got to come out.” Now, Faulkner lived way back in the first half of the 20th century when things like meaningful moustaches and pipe-smoking were commonplace. Some might claim that he would be thoroughly out of place today. But his writing is relevant even now, and Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh’s first Flash Fiction Competition for 1st Years has proven that. When we launched this competition, we knew that there was a story in each and every 1st Year, even if they didn’t know it themselves. Our job, on behalf of the moustachioed Faulkner, was to find away to “get it to come out”. And to our delight, the response to the competition was overwhelming. We received over two dozen excellent submissions in total, all of an exceptionally high quality, across a wonderfully wide range of themes and genres from clowns to inept house burglars, from malicious Weetabix to stranded children. It was a joy and a privilege to read them all, and a great challenge to decide on the three best. In the end, though, the decision was finally made. The three prize-winning stories are available to read on this very website. But it wouldn’t be right to just leave the competition with such an abrupt end as that. At CloudofThink, we encourage both writing and learning. The great thing...

Super Mario Galaxy 2 by Max Keegan Oct05

Super Mario Galaxy 2 by Max Keegan...

Mario is the best-selling video game franchise ever. There may be a few unpopular Mario games (cough cough Hotel Mario, cough cough) but nevertheless, Mario is the king of video games. The Wii game – Super Mario Galaxy – received enough critical acclaim for Nintendo to make a sequel. Its plot isn’t as good as the original. The story begins with Peach telling Mario to come to the castle for a cake during the Star Festival. Along the way Mario finds a Luma who goes into his hat. However, when Mario gets there, Bowser has arrived. He traps some Toads, causes chaos, kidnaps the princess and flies away. Some other Lumas send Mario to another galaxy where he gets a Power Star. He ends up getting a Starship shaped like his head and goes off to get Grand Stars, stop Bowser and save the princess yet again. The gameplay is incredibly fun and addictive. Mario can jump and stomp on enemies; players can make him perform a spin attack by shaking the remote. The game uses the Nunchuck to move Mario around. Mario also has some power-ups like the Fire Flower, the Cloud Mushroom, the Rock Mushroom, the Rainbow Star and the Bee Mushroom. Yoshi appears in the game and can eat enemies, pull things with his tongue and flutter jump; he even has his own set of power-ups. In every galaxy you can choose a mission to get a Power Star. There are some mini-bosses guarding the Stars occasionally. You need Power Stars to unlock gates to get to the Grand Star which unlocks the next world. To get the Grand Star, you must fight either Bowser Jr or Bowser himself. Despite these virtues, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is imperfect. The Dash Berry...

Ratchet & Clank Review by Max Keegan Sep06

Ratchet & Clank Review by Max Keegan...

Ratchet & Clank is a very successful video game series and one of my personal favourites. It’s so successful that it’s been made into a movie directed by Rainmaker Entertainment that, unfortunately, received unfavourable reviews as a movie that kids will enjoy but adults will not. Rainmaker lost $10 million on the movie and blamed Disney. I however think it’s great and I’ll explain why in a spoiler free review.   The story is about a Lombax named Ratchet, a mechanic who dreams of becoming a Galactic Ranger. He meets a Sentry-War Bot defect named Clank. They join the Rangers and have to stop Chairman Drek and his chief scientist Dr Nefarious from destroying planets using a weapon known as the Deplanetiser. Some people say it’s very much like A New Hope from Star Wars.   The jokes in the movie are really good and very well put together, the first few moments are no exception. The action is also very good to watch with the War Bots fighting the Galactic Rangers. The characters are all likeable and the villains are very fun to watch. There’s also a very good plot twist that I wouldn’t have seen coming if I hadn’t played the game on which the movie is based. However the movie’s not perfect. Sometimes the action can be a bit weak and they don’t show of a lot of weapons like in the games.   In the end, The Ratchet & Clank Movie is in my opinion, a great movie. It is rated G, but PG would be more appropriate in my view. Nevertheless, it gets an 8 out of 10 with the title of...

The French Revolution by Christopher Hibbert...

Recent events in France ensure that that country remains an important focal point  for anyone interested in world affairs.  Many of us perhaps fall into the trap of believing that terrorism is a recent phenomenon; it certainly isn’t. The French themselves have been masters of it, in France itself, in Africa (Algeria is a notable example) and elsewhere. The tragic and brutal slaying of innocent people in the streets of Paris and in France’s other cities and towns has precedent. Those of us familiar with the French Revolution from school may know that the guillotine was used to kill the king and later his wife. The names Robespierre and Napoleon ring bells. However, we may not know a whole lot more besides. Christopher Hibbert’s highly readable and detailed account of the Revolution is a real eye-opener. His treatment of the subject is thorough without being exhaustive or overly dense. He is particularly strong on the personalities involved, Mirabeau and Danton being two of my favourites. It all starts with the king. King Louis XVI strikes one as a man unsuited to the throne. He was smallish, with poor posture and reputedly impotent. He liked to read and was disciplined enough to teach himself English. But he liked to eat and his wife, Marie Antoinette, felt the need to deny him access to pastry. She, for her part, was Austrian and rumours abounded of her sexual exploits and infidelity. It was eight years before she bore her husband their first child. In the late eighteenth century, about 26,000,000 people lived in France, the vast majority of them in the countryside, working in agriculture. Poverty was widespread; Hibbert quotes two English travellers’ observations of “terribly ragged” children and peasants with the appearance of “ravenous scarecrows.” Taxes...

“Why be Happy when You can be Normal?” by Jeanette Winterson...

This is an extraordinary autobiography. It feels like a novel because of the vivid and persistent way she presents her mother to whom she only refers as “Mrs Winterson.” The latter is impossibly mad and cruel and just plain weird. And yet you believe that this is Jeanette’s mother or at least her adoptive mother. Her biological mother was “a little red thing from out of the Lancashire looms…from the village of Blakely where Queen Victoria had her wedding dress made.” One can hardly imagine the writer would have been worse off had she not been adopted; sure, her real mother was just 17 years old and probably living in penury but at least she might have been loved. Mrs Winterson, if one wished to be compassionate, could be said to have been capable, to a modest degree and in a very odd fashion, of loving Jeanette but she certainly failed miserably to understand her. One instance of this abject incompetence relates to book-reading: “It never occured to [my mother] that I fell into the books – that I put myself inside for safe-keeping.” This failing is especially significant when we read that her mother burned all her books. And this is just an example of how Mrs Winterson failed as a mother even back in the 60s when things were not as touchy-feely and PC as now. While “there were plenty of kids who didn’t get fed properly” there must have been few enough who were locked in the “coal-hole” or outside on the front door step all night. There isn’t time here to offer a definite inventory of Mrs Winterson’s parental transgressions; suffice to say that neither Jeanette nor her father believed for a moment that Mrs Winterson would be happy in...

A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr May10

A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr...

“A Month in the Country” recounts the time our hero Tom Birkin spent restoring a mural in an old church in Oxgodby. He’s a veteran of The Great War and hasn’t come away from it unscathed. The work excites him and seems to be just what he needs perhaps to recover from the war but also to satisfy his innate need for solitude. Having learnt the trade from Joe Watterson who’d told him, “It’s a profession, my boy,” one that would allow him to “starve without competition.” Birkin lands a job from Reverend J.G. Keach by whose wife Birkin is enchanted. The Reverend doesn’t attempt to conceal his contempt, if not for Birkin then for his work. The money could be better spent elsewhere. Nonetheless the job opens up a world of sorts for Birkin not least because of the attentions of some compassionate and welcoming locals such as the teenaged girl Kathy Ellerbeck. Oxgodby is beautifully bucolic and Carr gives it due regard in the language. There’s something very English about both Carr’s and Birkin’s love of the countryside and it seems especially poignant in light of what Englishmen suffered just a couple of years before in France. Some of the description is idyllic: “Why the place was a latter-day Eden!” More of it is gothic: “the hair rose on my neck and I turned with utmost reluctance, really afraid of what I might see…[the cat] had a fluttering song-thrush clamped in its bloody jaws and glared through the window, malevolently eyeing each of us in turn.” More than once does nature (in the form of tree branches) encroach on civilisation by pressing against windows. Objects are imbued with a strange sadness; the dysfunction in relationships is obliquely adverted to; the war is...

“The Finkler Question” by Cian Morey Apr26

“The Finkler Question” by Cian Morey...

In my opinion, this should most certainly have won the Booker Prize. As it most certainly did. That’s not to say everyone should most certainly read it. Nota bene – in my opinion. “The Finkler Question” is quite simply a book about what it means to be Jewish in modern London. It follows Julian Treslove – morbid, hopelessly idealistic and powerfully miserable pseudo-widower who spends his days mourning for the lost love he never achieved in the first place – as he sets out on a subconscious quest, in the aftermath of a strangely philosophical mugging, to find a side to himself that he never knew he might have had. Influenced along the way by his two friends Libor Sevcik and Samuel Finkler, and his own gilded notions of a mysterious culture, Treslove turns his world upside down to strive to become someone and something else – regardless of whether or not there was a good reason for having his world the right way up. Alright, let’s get the bad bits over with. Firstly, this is a niche book. An extremely niche book. Howard Jacobson writes for a very specific audience. That is, Howard Jacobson writes almost exclusively for Jews; well, for those who are interested in Jews and Jewish culture. I, for example, am not a Jew. I’m barely a Christian. Nevertheless, I am fortunate in that I am one of the few non-Jewish people who would enjoy this book. But I can understand perfectly well why the vast majority of people would not. The book doesn’t make much of an effort to be accessible to all. Prior knowledge is needed going into this or else a hell of a lot of time; concentration and perhaps extra research is needed in the middle...

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell...

It seems the whole world reads Malcolm Gladwell. It’s usually middle-aged men with a social conscience or season tickets and a taste for socially responsible and head-noddingly approvable views on politics who read him but they’ll always highly rate his work. But he is very readable, accessible and informative. Much of what he does here in “The Tipping Point” is predicated on anecdote. He starts almost every argument with an account of a social phenomenon such as the ride of Paul Revere on the eve of the American Revolutionary War or the fall in crime figures in New York in the early 90s. He meets a lot of people along the way and it can be difficult to keep up with all the personalities. What comes to the surface very clearly is that people are different and perform different roles in every social phenomenon there is. Gladwell characterises individuals as “Connectors,” “Salesmen” and other categories and demonstrates how “word-of-mouth epidemics” are dependent on many types of people. What much of the book comes down to is simply how things happen and who makes them happen in the precise way that they do. There is a lot in this of course and it is an ambitious task. Once the reader accepts some basic tenets of his approach, the book becomes much easier to navigate, chief among them being that little things can make big things happen and quite suddenly. There is a lot of history in the book, much social commentary and a lot of interviews with interesting people.  The research is impressive, the organisation of the information is very efficiently done indeed and the idea is always kept in focus. There is much to be learned here not just about the idea of The...

“Open” by Andre Agassi...

From Las Vegas, Nevada, Andre Agassi grew up hating tennis. His father obsessed about it. He watched American soldiers play it in Iran as a child and served as a ball boy. He later boxed and never backed down from a fight, once knocking a fellow motorist out cold in a violent act of road rage. He also pointed a handgun at a driver, reaching across the young Andre with it and laughing afterwards, warning his son not to tell his mother. Andre’s father Mike forced Andre to eat, drink, and sleep tennis, even improvising a machine called the Dragon to spit tennis balls at him from on high forcing him to hit harder and earlier. Anyone who plays tennis knows about that horrible bounce that attacks your neck and makes you curse your feet. Mike’s plan was for Andre to hit 2,500 balls in a day which equates to nearly a million in a year. It was all about the tennis. Andre once tried to play soccer; his father appeared on the sideline in a rage and threw Andre’s gear at the coach. He was never allowed play soccer again. It was tennis, tennis, tennis! Andre Agassi hates tennis. People think he means he hates tennis today. But Agassi repeatedly insists: I hate tennis. The obvious question is, Why play it then? The reason is he can do nothing else because he was never allowed do anything else, like soccer. He knows nothing else. But it wasn’t his choice. His opinion never mattered. His father would have become enraged had Andre ever refused to play. Then came the rebellion. He wore a mohawk at tennis school and ran away at least once. Nick Bollettieri, his tennis mentor and nemesis for a time, tries...

Whiplash by Cian Morey Aug17

Whiplash by Cian Morey...

There are no two words in the English language more harmful than “good job”.  I did not expect much from this movie. A film billed as something along the lines of “an ambitious young jazz drummer’s quest to be the best in his elite music conservatory” did not sound like my sort of thing. I suspected that it would be boring, packed with music in which I had no interest, and played out by a cast led by two actors I had never heard of before. I thought nothing of it. How wrong I was. Oh my God. Whiplash is one of the most intense movies I have ever seen. It is a thrilling drama centred on the relationship of a passionately determined student and his ruthless and abusive teacher, who is prepared to push his pupils beyond the brink of their ability and even the brink of their sanity. Their brutal collisions drive the aspiring drummer to a point of such extreme obsession that his whole life begins to unravel by his own hand. The story is a fascinating analysis of the darker side of dedication and tenacity, and the shocking extremes that people could go to in order to achieve fame. At one point, the main character, Andrew Neiman, says, “I’d rather die broke and drunk at 34 and have people at a dinner table somewhere talk about it than die rich and sober at 90 and have no one remember me.” His relentless pursuit of greatness is spurred on by his teacher, yes – but it is ultimately Andrew himself who brings his life crashing down around him. By the time I reached the end of this film, I could not identify any real protagonist. The best aspects of this movie,...

Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist and Irish Socialist Republican by Graham Harrington...

Seán Byers’ book caught my eye in Eason in Cork City. It was quite appropriate that a book dealing with the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland would be selling in one of the city’s main bookshops as not too long ago, 2 Maoist bookstores were burned down in the city for selling seditious literature. This ossification within Irish society’s view of Communism further illustrates the challenges the book’s subject and his party faced. Murray was born in the Glens of Antrim, into a rural Catholic background. Joining Sinn Féin in 1917, Murray would have a life-long dalliance with Irish republicanism, with a tenure in the IRA spanning the War for Independence and the Civil War. Embracing James Connolly’s maxim “The cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour”, Murray joined the Communist Party of Great Britain while in London in 1924. For recognition of his talents, he was selected to attend the International Lenin School for intense study. The resulting “Bolshevisation” would lead to Murray’s life-long affinity with the Soviet Union. Murray and his newly-found Revolutionary Workers Party (later Groups) faced severe problems in Ireland. The Catholic Church was in firm control of the state and society. It had no tolerance for atheist Communism. Murray and his comrades faced heckling, abuse, intimidation and violence. Its paper was refused publication in several instances. Murray himself was stabbed at a demonstration. In 1933, Murray formed the new Communist Party of Ireland. In March 1933, Connolly House, its headquarters, was besieged and burned down, Murray and others narrowly avoiding serious injury or worse. The Comintern had a tight reign on the CPs of Europe, Ireland included, and expected them to obey their diktats on...

All My Sons Jun11

All My Sons

Arthur Miller took two-and-a-half years to write “All My Sons.” Its creation straddled the end of the Second World War and the inspiration came from his mother-in-law. In the original story a woman informed on her father who had defrauded the military. Miller made the daughter a son, Chris Keller. The story tells of Joe Keller, an armaments producer, who knowingly supplies faulty engine parts to the American Air Force during the war that results in the deaths of twenty-one pilots. Joe allows his neighbour, friend and colleague Steve Deever to take the blame. Deever is disgraced and neither of his children, neither Ann nor George, will acknowledge him. Kate and Joe Keller’s son Larry is missing, presumed dead. It’s been three years, yet his mother refuses to accept the truth; but her reasons are more than mere motherly love. The arrival in town of Larry’s love interest Ann leads to a crisis that threatens to destroy the Kellers. George Deever, her brother, has recently visited his father in prison and objects to plans for Chris and Ann to marry. Miller’s story is an agonising tale about how people will deny the truth in order to survive. It explores the ugly, exploitative practices of industrialists and how family is used as an excuse for criminality. Everybody, it seems, shares in the blame, though to different extents. The example of “All My Sons” may well represent myriad other cases of people’s contempt for the soldiers fighting and dying for vague ideals in far-flung regions, out of sight of the means of production and the day-to-day consumerism of American society. Chris Keller says “there was no meaning in [the war] here; the whole thing to them was a kind of a – bus accident.” He returns to...

THE PROBLEM WITH “AGE OF ULTRON”; or, How Not To Please Everyone – by Cian Morey Jun06

THE PROBLEM WITH “AGE OF ULTRON”; or, How Not To Please Everyone – by Cian Morey...

I have my reasons for rarely watching superhero movies, particularly Marvel superhero movies. The majority of them, in my opinion, are simply money-spinners tossed out into the cinemas year after year to reel in easy wealth and perhaps to try to convince the Academy to devise a new Oscar for “Most Explosions in a Feature Film.” I have found that they often lack significant character development and forgo emotionally powerful or thought-provoking plots in favour of collapsing half of America’s skyscrapers in extensive climactic battle scenes that drag on for over half an hour. But that’s fine. Superhero movies don’t need character development or fascinating plots. There are enough people out there who are perfectly happy to watch two hours of explosions and loud noises to supply Marvel and company with more money than they could ever need. Marvel, therefore, should stick to doing what they do best. They should focus on creating the most exciting, explosive romps in the history of cinema. They don’t need to worry about those who would prefer some interesting characters or intriguing plotting; after all, those people are far from their biggest source of income. But nothing, I am afraid, annoys me more than when a half-hearted attempt is made at satisfying both parties. Avengers: Age of Ultron had a spectacular premise (and yes, from here on there are spoilers). Tony Stark, obsessed with protecting the world following the alien invasion in the previous movie, creates the perfect global defence program, an artificial intelligence by the name of Ultron. However, Ultron sees from plentiful records of war and so on that the greatest threat to the world is, in fact, the human race itself, and, having been programmed to eradicate the greatest threats to world, sets off to...