In terms of the presentation of this piece of work and the way it was written, I would ensure that APA guidelines on formatting and citations are followed – which would avoid the error of single spacing and the positioning of the header (which is simply missing from this piece). I would add a ‘Works Cited’ page as well, following APA guidelines. The use of colloquial language should be avoided, and this is similar to the informal use of the second person – you. In one sense, this writer needs to be more precise in his/her use of the conventions of writing for academic subjects. There are grammatical and spelling errors, and judicious use of a grammar and spell-check would have perhaps avoided most of these: they are detailed in Appendix D and they should be changed.
The Microsoft Grammar Check often alerts the writer to missing or redundant commas. There are too many unsupported statements which require citations (who exactly thought it “was a quality film”), and, of course, one should not make use of Wikipedia in an academic paper. An internet search would have brought up a huge range of reviews of the film, from which the writer would have been able to select appropriate ones to support some of his assertions. For example, the writer writes about the “positive reviews”, but does not cite any particular review: a well-chosen quotation would have made that point stronger. “Fairly unique” is incorrect usage: ‘unique’ is a class of word (like ‘dead’ or ‘priceless’) known as an absolute. Something cannot be “fairly unique” just as one cannot be ‘slightly dead’
As for the content of the review, it seems a little superficial, consisting at some points of a simple list of actors who appeared in both The Dark Knight and Batman Begins – this is merely descriptive, not analytical writing. The end of the second paragraph, specifically the last two lines, are hardly relevant to an academic review of the film. In the third paragraph we are given another long list of actors who “all excel in their roles” and “are given moments to showcase their acting abilities”. This would have been an excellent opportunity to examine, say, two actors and their roles and attempt to define why they excelled in their roles, or to attempt an analysis of one scene, one moment, which was especially memorable in the film because of the acting. Had this detailed analysis been attempted, the student would not have failed to make the word count for this assignment. I would explain more about what the writer means by the “negative connotations” that he/she claims the Batman franchise has had in the past – or cite an external source for such a view. The conclusion is especially weak and too personal. It is not a summary of the argument or a re-assertion of the author’s opinion. I was not convinced by this review that The Dark Knight really did “elevate the comic book film” or that it was “unique among comic book movies”: to make these claims convincing external sources need to be cited, along with more detailed description of particular scenes or moments from the film. To sum up: less asserted description – more detailed analysis.
Plagiarism is only intellectual theft when it is unacknowledged. Apart from not resorting to Wikipedia in the first place, the student could have avoided the plagiarism concerns of the faculty member by setting the quotation out according to APA guidelines. This is relatively easy to do, but students must be meticulous in crediting every idea or concept or group of words that they use or retrieve from any source, printed or online. What the student should have done with such a long quotation is to start a new paragraph, dispense with quotation marks and indent the new block paragraph another half an inch from the margin (as if it were the start of a new paragraph), but then the whole of the quotation should then be aligned on this new margin. Technically APA states that any quotation of more than forty words should be set out like this: this unacknowledged quotation from Wikipedia is over forty words long and, one might argue, by blocking it as a new paragraph (still using double spacing) it makes the aesthetic appearance of your work more appealing. Then the student should have cited the source in parenthesis after the final punctuation mark of the quotation – like this (Purdue Online Writing Lab. N.d.). Even paraphrasing the ideas or concepts of another writer or source should be properly cited.
Purdue Online Writing Lab. Retrieved from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/10/