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Movie Review X-Men: Days of Future Past

May 27, 2014 1 comment

Movie Review X-Men: Days of Future Past

Wolverine and the X-men in their best outing yet.

 

X Men movie poster

Past and Future clash to Fix the first class

 

Wolverine meets the X-men and his claws go far…

 

            Time travel, time travel, time travel.

 

            Time travel: a writer’s ultimate crutch and vehicle to place characters (and actors) from different eras on the same screen. It’s always been a risky gamble that I have yet to see pay off- in a way that’s truly worthy of the writing reach. Ask the Star Trek franchise about it- Picard and Kirk, Spock and um…Spock.

 

X-Games      

So what we have here is a bleak future for the Earth as the human vs mutant war draws to a close with the extinction of anything with funky genes. Hugh Jackman’s popular Wolverine is sent back in time to unite Professor X and Magneto in order to change a pivotal event that leads mankind on a course for conflict and carnage. It’s a simple plot that neatly side steps the early reboot misstep of X-Men: First Class (2011). We get to keep the best parts of Class – James MCAvoy as young Xavier/Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Erik/Magneto…and we get to dump the weak parts like…the first class.

 

I hope you really liked The Wolverine (2013)

 

This movie should really be called “Wolverine and the X-Men: Days of Future Past”. It’s mostly Wolverine getting the spotlight along with the younger masterminds. The rest of the X-men become side characters whose roles are sliding dangerously close to cameo status. But that’s not too bewildering since the rine has had the most development and all that solo success. It’s uncanny (see what I did there?) that writers Simon Kindberg, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn did not elect to split the screen time a bit more equally between the future war (with sentinels buzzing about) and the 70s, where Wolverine is working, trying to set things right. It’s the same effect of seeing glimpses of the future in the Terminator series. Everyone wants to see more from the warfront. And honesty, you could have several confrontations that build momentum as the other X-men (in the future) hold the line until Wolverine finishes his mission. You’ll see what I mean.

 

The Blue Star

The beautiful blue Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is back in full hue and remains the object of everyone’s desire. Although it’s a little hard to swallow that she’d be so hell bent on following a course of disaster -even as EVERYONE tells her what she’s doing… is going to have grave consequences, literally. As it is, she’s a delight to see and has the best fight choreography and costume special effects work.

 

X-men Dyas Future Past fan Poster

Fan-made fantastic artwork

So is it rated-X?

Yes, this is a good movie. There are moments of humor, twists, turns and a shock or two. And that’s not easy to pull off when you are dealing with time travel because you know- no matter how bad things get, one tick of the clock sets everything right. We are also dealing with the weirdness of the superheroes having weight based on their comic and cartoon history, starring in a movie that replaces most of that supporting back story. I’m still waiting for a large set piece. Out of all the movies, you’d figure Future Past would provide the perfect opportunity to show wide-scale action that could easily match and surpass anything the Avengers tossed our way. I mean that was a New York City battle. This is supposed to be a WAR. That disappointment aside, Future Past holds its place as the best X-Men movie, even with the heavy dose of Wolverine.

 

After Effects X

Stick around for the post credits clip. I don’t consider these spoilers as you pretty much have to already know to enjoy them. That character teased under the hood is Apocalypse and he is a very powerful adversary in the X-Men comics. Here’s the WIKI page about him for those that want to know more.

 

And…and….

I feel X-Men: Days of Future Past does well to tie up a good number of loose ends and fixes and few snags- even though it leaves a few knots in its time-line swimming plot. Hopefully we get what we are promised and the X-men get a future that’s more balanced and action packed. Now, if we can just figure out how to keep all these actors around.

I’m not a movie critic, I’m just critiquing a movie.

Movie Review: The Wolverine (2013)

July 28, 2013 1 comment

Movie Review: The Wolverine (2013)

Armed with Claws and Cause The Wolverine does not disappoint

The Wolverine Poster

The moral of an immortal mutant

Every superhero has a storyline or era that most readers agree is the best period in their history. For Spiderman, it’s the Kraven series and anything involving Venom. Daredevil has the Elektra and Bullseye saga. For the X-Men’s most feral member [besides Beast], it might be his time in Japan and his battles with the ninja. The trailer shows Wolverine going head to head and a glimpse of a giant metal samurai. The story looks to be centered on Wolverine losing his healing abilities and living life as a regular mortal. That would normally be enough to sell us, but there’s that lingering taste left over from his first outing; X-Men Origins Wolverine (2009). So can we finally get the Wolverine movie we’ve been waiting for? In a simple word, yes.

He has lived several lives. He may die for one in Japan.

He has lived many lives. He may die for one in Japan.

Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the cigar-smoking, bub talking, and quick healing loose cannon. After the X-Men’s Last Stand, Logan has retired to the wilderness to deal with his personal demons [and mostly] the loss of his deepest love- Jean Grey. It’s here that he is found by the Yashida Clan and brought to Japan in order to have an old debt repaid. A Japanese officer, saved by Logan near the end of World War II, has offered Wolverine the chance to end his life as an immortal.

James Mangold [3:10 To Yuma (2007)] directs a nicely paced action adventure that adds humanity by exploring the mortality of a central character that has the attitude of truly being invincible. That acerbic swagger has always been the trademark of Wolverine- even in the first X-Men (2000) movie when he tells Cyclops “You’re a dick” as the X-Men leader is unsure if wolverine is really Wolverine. Wolverine goes on to steal his bike and almost steals his girl…Jean. Well, that’s the residual that resides in Logan. It’s that bit of unfinished business that gives Logan his dimension and gives us a reason to care beyond the fight scenes. Newcomer Tao Okamoto is perfectly cast as the granddaughter of corporate tycoon Yashida and becomes the love interest and central focal point. She becomes the thing worth fighting for. She becomes the reason to live and to love again. It’s a chemistry that works and we are given a worthy addition to the current crop of superhero movies.
Speaking of additions, I can’t forget to mention the work of Rila Fukushima as the ass-kicking sidekick Yukio. She flips in the trailer and fortunately, she’s been fully fleshed out in the film. She adds a fair amount of flair and flash and I hope we find her in Logan’s future.

The Wolverine early scene

His actions will echo for generations.

But, The Wolverine is not without its bumps. I find them to be mostly minor and not too much of a distraction. Every so often we have a small dip in CGI quality [That damn Coca-cola bear] and a little inconsistency with some of the characterizations and repeated action shots [You’ll see a few things a little too often]. The surprises, twists and turns keep Wolverine fresh and The Wolverine has re-energized the brand. And, the after-credits teaser may have just re-energized the X-Men franchise. Put the Origins movie on your shelf to fill out your Marvel collection, but set a special place for The Wolverine when it finally comes to DVD. See it now, own it then.