One Last Time, Bub-Logan Review

logan

After 17 years, Hugh Jackman’s run on an iconic role finally comes to an end. In the pop culture consciousness, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is up there with the likes of the original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and the late, great Carrie Fisher in being so attached to their roles. And what a sendoff to give our favourite grumpy Canadian, too.
The aptly-titled Logan is just that, a deeply personal story about Logan and his struggles coming to terms with what he’s done in the past and dealing with the demons it summoned that plague him even now. Taking place in a not-so-far future where mutantkind is all but eliminated, Logan, now a limo driver reluctantly takes care of a senile Professor X with the help of Caliban. But when a girl with suspiciously similar powers to him, Logan is forced to go on the run with them to evade the forces who mean to do them harm.
600px-logan_106

Pierce and the Reavers, about to drop the hottest album of 2024

As befitting a last outing, Hugh Jackman gave it his all as Logan. Time hasn’t been kind to this old dog, and he’s more jaded, more cynical, and more world-weary than before, so much so you just can’t help but feel bad for him. Patrick Stewart, regretfully also in his last outing as Professor Xavier, is nothing like the Xavier we’ve grown to know and love throughout the years. This Professor X is senile, a bit loopy, and is more like that cheeky old grandpa who refuses to take his medicine and messes with his caretakers all the time. But still, shades of the old Xavier is there somewhere, buried in regret and a whole lotta meds. The showstealer, and arguably the emotional heart of this movie, though, is newcomer Dafne Keen’s Laura, also known as X-23. Despite not speaking for most of the movie, her expression and movements are all that it takes, not to mention that she clicks right into the dynamic between Xavier and Logan as the ‘child’ of the trio.
mv5bmtc2njg4njy2ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwmdk1otqymdi-_v1_

The years haven’t been kind

The R-rating of this movie is well-earned. For the first (and sadly last) time, we finally get to see what those claws are capable of doing, in full bloody glory. Slicing up limbs, going through faces and everything in between, it’s all fair game. Which lends well to its intense fight scenes, some of the most brutal and most violent in the X-movies. Despite the abundance of violence, this story is very much an emotional one, ‘family’ being the word of the day. Three people, broken in their own ways, managing to find a way to function together even through the hardest of situations. Logan has equal parts of laughs, tears, and heartwarming moments that all hit really, really well.
logan-movie-shots-with-hugh-jackman

I’d warn him about putting someone’s eye out, but I think that’s what he’s going for

Logan isn’t a superhero movie. It’s not about people in spandex trying to save the world. Instead, it’s a story of Logan, as the title implies, and how he embraces his ‘family’, dysfunctional as they are. And in that, a movie that I dare say is the best X-movie is born. Logan is the perfect sendoff for a truly iconic character.
Advertisements

The (Not-So) New Mutants-X-Men Apocalypse Review (Non-spoiler)

462-film-page-large

Fox continues their good run to wash the bad taste of last year’s abysmal (and I’m using this term generously) F4ntastic from our collective minds with X-Men Apocalypse, the third installment in the ‘McAvoy Timeline’ of X-Movies. Taking one of mutantkind’s toughest enemies and bringing back their most iconic X-Men for a new generation, Bryan Singer seems to have found a recipe for success here.
X-Men Apocalypse’s plot, while very straightforward and just a mite bit predictable, does what it needs to do. This movie’s strength lies in the characters and how they play off of one another.
The cast is where this movie shines. McAvoy and Fassbender still continues to shine in their roles as Charles and Erik, of course, but I’m giving the strongest performances here to the new blood and (hopefully) our X-Men moving forward. Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), and Kurt Wagner (Kodi Smit-McPhee) all show great chemistry together along with the sadly underused Jubilee (Lana Condor) as believeable teenagers being pulled from their daily lives to fight an apocalyptic threat. X-Mainstays Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), Alex Summers (Lucas Till), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), and Peter (need to learn not to always say Pietro) Maximoff (Evan Peters) with the returning Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) all turn out great performances. Our surprise guest, who I’ll just refer to ‘X’ for some of you who haven’t seen the more recent trailers, also appeared shortly but quite memorably.
On the bad guy side, we have of course, our Apoecalypse, Oscar Isaac, who does a good job with what he’s given playing card-carrying evil villain En Sabah Nur who thankfully doesn’t look like Ivan Ooze anymore. Despite limited screentime and lines, the other Three Horsemen Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), and Angel (Ben Hardy) had their moments, though they could’ve posed a bigger threat to our heroes.
While Peter did try to steal the show again this time, it was Nightcrawler that caught my eye the most this time around. This Kurt is much more awkward and he managed to score some of the funniest moments in the movie, and he turns out to be one of the best things about the movie.
Visually, Apocalypse (the movie) is a treat. From the opening credits, we’re treated with a dope-ass opening taking us through history and kudos to the good people working on that because that is one of the best opening credits in an X-Movie so far. Then there’s the creative ways people get killed. Burned to ash, crushed, melted, being psionically compacted, you name it. I was both cringing and fanboying at the creativity of some of these kills most of the time. The final sequence of the movie was also quite a sight to behold, with fights happening every which way and everyone’s powers being shown in full force.
Those of you eagle-eyed fans of the comics and fans of eighties culture in general, you’re also in for a treat. Nods to the comics and snippets of the eighties are strewn about everywhere in the movie. Some classic characters might also make a passing appearance here and there. Fans of the old X-Men vs Street Fighter game might also find something oddly familiar in the movie. Easter egg hunters will have a field day with this one.
Be sure to stay around for the stinger. I have two witnesses who can attest to the fact that I screamed LOUD by the time that ended.
Bottom line, X-Men Apocalypse, while nothing groundbreaking, is all fun, without the time travel and alternate timelines fuss that seems to have a lot of people’s knickers in a twist. All the excitement, none of the confusion.

The Good, The Funny, and The Butt-Fuck Ugly (A Deadpool Movie Non-Spoiler Review)

It’s surreal. If you told me there would be a proper Deadpool movie that is completely comic-faithful and is actually good, I’d probably laugh your ass out of the room. But it happened, and as of this writing, I’ve watched it three times. I enjoyed every single second of it.

After years of languishing in development hell and flip-flopping announcements, we finally get a Wade Wilson worthy of the big screen. No, the steaming pile of mutant shit that was Barakapool doesn’t count. At its core, Deadpool is a pure fun romp filled wall-to-wall with action and gags at every turn.

We all know the Regeneratin’ Degenerate is one of /the/ hottest character in comics these days, thanks in no small part to his popularity in Internet memes. The movie seems to know and embrace the fact as well, feeling closest to the Daniel Way incarnation of the character, filled to the brim with dick jokes and immature humor.

Not unlike Way’s run in the comics, Tim Miller’s Deadpool sometimes feel like it emphasizes style over substance. While there are flashes of depth and emotion in the movie, it’s overshadowed by the metric fuckton of jokes coming at you relentlessly. Not that I mind. I mean, did buy a ticket to see a Deadpool movie for the heartwrenching drama of a tragic clown using humor to hide his inner pain? Of course not. I came for the jokes, and boy, did I get my money’s worth.

Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson is the clear highlight of the movie. The work he’s put in to get this movie made and the passion he has for the character is second to none, and it shows. Deadpool is endlessly quotable and side-splittingly funny. Morena Baccarin as Vanessa has her funny moments at times, and at least manages to not become the screaming damsel in distress. Ed Skrein’s Ajax is menacing enough as a villain, but it’s pretty obvious that the star of this show is Deadpool. He did have his moments, though. Gina Carano’s Angel Dust is the typical strong, silent, henchman-who-happens-to-be-a-woman, who also has her moments, namely one great extended fight sequence near the end. Stefan Kapicic’s Colossus is the most we’ve seen of any Colossus in the X-Franchise, and certainly the funniest, best-looking, and most Russian. Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, cool-ass name aside, manages to be a high point in almost every scene she’s in with her inexhaustible snark. Wade’s ‘inner circle’, so to speak, with T.J. Miller as Weasel and Leslie Uggams as Blind Al are the perfect foils for Wade. Their banter and interplay are easily some of the movie’s best moments.

The action is where this movie also shines. While some of the scenes were slightly lessened in impact by the stupid-ass censorship over here, they still manage to look awesome as hell. No PG-13 regular gunplay and bloodless sword fighting here. No, sir. You’ll see limbs chopped off, people turned into mulch, heads kicked around like footballs, bullet holes actually being holes, and a host of other gruesome fates befalling unfortunate mooks. Prepare for balls-to-the-wall action.

Easter eggs, where do I even start? This movie is LOADED with references. Tiny nods that would go over the heads of not-diehard comic fans, pop culture references that will probably show your age if you get it, to silly in-jokes about the movie and its surrounding production, there’s everything. Seriously, blink and you’ll miss it. Even on the third viewing, I still feel like I’m missing something.

As a fan, Deadpool was even more than I expected. From the get-go, their marketing campaign caught my eye and set the tone for the movie to come. It delivered what I expected, and then some. Given who got this movie made, you can even say this is a movie by fans, for the fans. It’s almost all fanservice.

Plot-wise, however, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. It’s pretty much the almost played-out quest for revenge plot we’ve seen in countless action movies. But show of hands, who here watched it for the plot? Yeah, I thought so. It’s the jokes that put butts in seats, and that’s what kept my butt glued on that seat. Granted, some of these jokes are very topical and might fall flat when viewed 5-10 years later, but let’s just live in the present for now.

Bottom line, Deadpool is fun. If you like fun, watch it.

 

Not-So-Fantastic Four? – A Fantastic Four (2015) Review [POSSIBLE SPOILERS]

As you may have seen the past few weeks, I’ve been having….doubts about Fox’s reboot of the Fantastic Four Franchise. Having watched it, I have….rather mixed feelings about it.

This much-maligned reboot has had quite the uphill battle since the get-go, amidst claims that this movie won’t be ‘like the comics’, set photos of Doom looking….less than convincing surfacing on the ‘net, and even a little (good-natured) rib at the cast in a Punisher comic. This, coupled with the movie being savaged by the critics on release (9% on Rottentomatoes as of this writing), made me lower my expectations quite a bit.

For better or worse, it’s change. Most likely the latter.

Directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle), this movie tells the story of Reed Richards (Whiplash’s Miles Teller), Ben Grimm (Snowpiercer’s Jamie Bell), Susan Storm (House of Card’s Kate Mara), and Johnny Storm (Chronicle’s Michael B. Jordan), the titular Fantastic Four, in a revamped origin story of how Marvel’s First Family gained their powers, and their confrontation against Victor von Doom (Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ Toby Kebbell). Unlike Tim Story’s 2005 outing with the team, Trank opts for a more hard sci-fi approach, involving almost body-horror transformations and interdimensional travel.

For the most part, this concept works well, and the scene where they first discover their powers was rather impressive. The depiction of the powers in proper fight situations was also well-executed. Not exactly on par with most superhero movies these days, but it did what it set out to do. One thing I do have to give them is that despite complaints of him looking bad in the promotional pics, Ben Grimm’s rocky form looks great in motion.

   As seen in th–Wait, we don’t see this in the movie. More on that later.

From an acting standpoint, most of the cast’s performance was good. Michael B. Jordan’s Johnny Storm is the brash, hotheaded (pun intended, probably), and childish at times Johnny Storm we’ve all grown to know and love. Kate Mara’s Sue Storm is smart and a little bit snarky, save the obvious inconsistent wig issues. Jamie Bell’s Ben Grimm is the loyal friend he is in the comics, though he lacks the boisterous quality of the Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing from the comics and his signature Brooklyn accent. Miles Teller’s Reed Richards is awkward, though he has some moments of suspiciously confident comebacks.

Victor von Doom (not Domashev, thank god), as portrayed by Toby Kebbell, initially has the ever-present jealousy of Richards that’s been a core of Doom’s character and the ego to back it up. Seeing all that thrown out into the Negative Zone and trampled by the Annihilation Wave is saddening, really. These major contentions with Doom became my biggest turn-off from the movie.

Doom basically became a cackling madman covered in a suit that makes him look like a metallic version of that failed Jesus restoration painting. The Scanners-style loosely-defined telekinetic powers may be cool, but that doesn’t really help with what his character’s become. If I know Doom, he’d want to use Planet Zero (aka Not!Negative Zone) to somehow rule the world and usher in a new world order under Doom, not destroy it and leave only him as the only person alive. I’ve spoken at length in the past how I can tolerate changes as long as the core of character stays intact. But this time? Both the look and the personality of Doom has been mangled almost beyond recognition. Never have I thought a villain only showing up in the last 20-ish minutes of the movie could be a blessing. If any of you has seen that Doom clip making its way around the Internet, that’s almost half of his scenes.

Toldja, he looks like Monkey Jesus.

The doomed Doom portrayal aside, for a movie that’s about /the/ superhero family, it’s sorely lacking in family. For those who came in expecting to see the always-entertaining joshing and prank wars between Johnny and Ben, prepare to be disappointed (although they do have a little moment in the end that I hope can escalate, if they do decide to make a sequel). The interactions between Reed, Ben, and Johnny are well-written and acted great, but what’s sorely lacking is any interaction between Ben and Sue. They barely even share screens until the very last scene of the film. For a team that prides itself in being a family, it’s something I can’t quite let slide.

While I understand the direction this film is going and how it almost avoids the comic lore like it’s the plague, there are some points that I felt needed to be changed. The fan-favorite battlecries of “It’s clobberin’ time!” and “FLAME ON!” are basically treated like an afterthought here. “It’s clobberin’ time!” was implied to be something Ben’s brother shouts before physically assaulting Ben (only a slap to the head on-screen, but their mother’s reaction drove the point home that it happened often, and maybe even worse than what was seen). Seeing him use the same phrase before, well….clobberin’ Doom is a bit uncomfortable knowing the fact. Thankfully, “FLAME ON!” didn’t have any bad overtones attached to it, but it does feel underwhelming, having Johnny not scream it at the top of his lungs as would befit him. Not a big gripe from me, though.

Being well aware of Trank’s complaints against Fox tampering with the final product, I’m not going to point any fingers, but I will say that there are some important scenes left out that might be better off making it into the movie. Remember that scene in the trailer where Ben drops off a plane and supposedly goes to fight terrorists? (Seen in this trailer, at around 1:21)

Yeah, it’s nowhere to be found in the movie. Instead, we get to see him rip up tanks….from a recorded footage on a TV! With only one big action set piece in the movie and it being the climax, this scene showing what the Thing can do up-close would’ve been a great set piece somewhere in the middle of the movie.

That flying car crack made by the teacher at the start?

It’s no four cars welded into one, but we have to start somewhere.

Yes, there was probably supposed to be a Fantasticar in the movie. It might be a little bit silly, but if the Avengers have a Quinjet and the X-Men has their Blackbird, why not give them a Fantasticar? We do get Sue’s force field powers instead, that supposedly only holds when she holds her breath….a plot point quickly forgotten in the final scene where she yells and yet the force field still keeps up.

There are several more missing scenes from the trailer like Ben playing baseball and an actual, proper conversation between Reed and Doomified Doom, which certainly leaves us wondering how would the movie would be better with those scenes left in. With Trank blasting Fox for tampering with his movie, a director’s cut might be too much to ask. Which leaves us wondering what could have been.

Yes, these guys actually /talked/ at length. At least before it ended up on the cutting room floor.

If you dig deep under the weak villain, severe lack of action scenes for a superhero movie, and the lack of a ‘family’ vibe despite the movie’s insistence, you can somewhat find good acting, portrayal of superpowers that, while nothing too flashy, does the job, and a concept that in better hands may turn out to be a good movie. But as it stands, this isn’t quite that movie. Is it as bad as the critics say? Not quite, though I can’t say it’s good. Can this be improved? Very much so.

This movie has potential, but unlike Reed, it just can’t stretch and get its full potential to shine in fans’ eyes like Johnny on Supernova. Instead, it dropped like Ben out of a plane and will probably be as invisible as Sue in the discussion of good superhero movies.

Bottom line, if you’re expecting a Fantastic Four movie, try not to have too many expectations. If you’re not a hardcore comics fan or a casual coming into this movie blind, you might have more things to enjoy than I did.

A little palate cleanser for all you brave souls who made it all the way through this writing. The /proper/ Fantastic Four.

Yes, I DID Just Cream My Pants – Deadpool (FINALLY) Official Trailer Reaction

So if you’ve been anywhere on the Internet the past hour or so, just about everyone and their dogs are talking Deadpool, and for good reason. THE NEW TRAILER’S OUT!

Done watchin’? Good. Because that shit is AWESOME.

Yes, it’s the SDCC version, or even, SDCC trailer-lite. Some notable footage missing, like that gold Negasonic Teenage Warhead scene and cameos by [REDACTED], but saving those gags from the ones who haven’t seen SDCC’s potato-trailer is a good idea anyways.

The whole thing looks MILES better in glorious, glorious HD, and I must’ve looped the thing about four, five times by now. That aside, there’s not much to say since what I needed to say was said in my previous reaction article here. But hey, it looks good!

Also, if you’re one of those boring people or is at work, here’s a watered-down green band version, for your (not-quite-complete) viewing enjoyment. A lot of things cut and redubbed, but all things considered, it’s not /that/ bad. I am honestly going to flip if we get the watered-down version in theaters here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go change my pants.