Tag Archives: x-men

Movie Review – Logan


logge-my-mogge

James Mangold’s Logan, the third Wolverine solo film in the X-Men series, seems to take place after the events of Days of Future Past. Yes, so did X-Men: Apocalypse, but this one more specifically takes place after the altered version of DOFP‘s future storyline – the one with the “old” cast – where everything’s fine again, all the characters who died didn’t actually die, the Sentinels never attacked, and so on. Sadly, I’m told that this will be the final movie to ever feature the old X-Men and that it’s Young Xavier and company from here on out. As for this being Hugh Jackman‘s final time as Logan/Wolverine, I believe he deserves the break after 17 years of the same thing.

The movie is loosely based on the 2008 Wolverine storyline Old Man Logan by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted). That comic book storyline took place in a world where supervillains actually defeated superheroes and split the United States up into territories ruled by different villains. Wolverine, now old, retired and lived with his family. When his family died, Wolverine came out of retirement and destroyed everyone who got in his way.

In a Children of Men-esque near future where mutant kind is going extinct, he hides with an infirm Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) on a remote farm, providing medicine for the aging professor so as to prevent seizures that, seeing as they’re happening to the world’s most powerful telepath, are significantly more dangerous than regular seizures. The two are kept safe by Caliban (Stephen Merchant), a mutant-tracker who may or may not be the same Caliban who runs the mutant trafficking business in X-Men: Apocalypse.

The acting in this movie is just spectacular. Patrick Stewart steals the show as Charles Xavier. He has played this role many times before but playing the character as a dementia-ridden old man who has a tragedy that his own brain has hidden from him makes for a fascinating character study. Seriously, this is Stewart’s defining moment as Charles Xavier and might be one of the best acting moments in any comic book movie.

screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-17-02-24-e1488676234955

The standout is, of course, newcomer Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney. I’ve seen some reactionary chat along the lines of “Will Logan be the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture!?!?” (no), but if Keen got a surprise nod in the acting categories, it genuinely wouldn’t seem like such a terrible shout on first viewing (though it’s obviously too early to say).

What holds Logan back from being the “masterpiece” many are prematurely claiming it to be is the fact that the quality dips noticeably as the film goes on. For a start, like all superhero films clocking in at two hours and twenty minutes, it’s twenty minutes too long. The “rest and recuperation” section drags, as does its neighbouring, all-too-standard sacrificial lamb sequence.

screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-16-58-19-e1488676266402

All in all, I’d recommend Logan to any high-octane film fan. X-Men and Marvel fans I’m sure will be all over it regardless, but if an X-Men virgin and regular critic of the genre such as myself can enjoy its hard-hitting set pieces, interesting character development, and freshly dark tone, then that can only be a good sign.

Rating – 4 out of 5

Sovereign Seven: “12th Night”


logan-trailer-breakdown-23-700x292

Chris Claremont is most popularly known for his extensive association with the X-Men franchise of comic books published by Marvel.  However, his works vary from genre to genre throughout the decades.  In the 90s, after his 17 year run on Uncanny X-Men unfortunately came to an end, Claremont was involved in a project called Sovereign Seven, a title published by DC Comics that ran for 36 issues between 1995 and 1998.

sovereign-seven-9-pg-2-3

Sovereign Seven was primarily written for the ones who were still fans of classic comic books, books with 80s vibes. Although it was set within the DC universe, and featured guest appearances by numerous established characters, but the main cast was copyrighted to Claremont.  This series had its own sub-continuity, and the characters had guest appearances in other DC comic books like such as Mister Miracle and Genesis.

sovereign-seven-9-pg-22

One of the best aspects of Claremont’s work on the X-Men titles was that his characters were so diverse and colourful that they almost felt real and part of the world we are living in.  He took that to this aspect to the next level in Sovereign Seven, as his cast members each came from different worlds, different dimensions.

United to fight the insidious threat of “The Rapture,” these seven rulers & aristocrats found refuge on Earth.  Their new home was the Crossroads Coffee Bar, an inn & restaurant located in rural New England run by the enigmatic sisters Violet and Pansy.  The seven exiles had to learn about one another, as well as their new home world.  They also had to adjust from being heads of state & monarchs to assisting the two sisters with the much more mundane tasks of the day-to-day running of the inn. Religion is one of the important aspects of his writing. The book takes time to observe the faith of every world and its culture. Religion and faith adds more colours to a character, just imagine Daredevil without his Catholicism.

sovereign-seven-9-pg-16

Sovereign Seven was an enjoyable title.  Claremont told some interesting stories working with several very talented artistic collaborators.  He did excellent work developing a unique cast of characters. For anyone who is looking forward to read a more rugged and classic title, this is a must read.

 

5 Good and 5 Bad Things about X-Men: Apocalypse


https://i0.wp.com/cdn1-www.comingsoon.net/assets/uploads/2016/04/xmenapocalypseimax-1.jpg

The latest entry to the never ending Saga of X-Men Franchise failed to make the same impact like its predecessors. There was hardly any buzz during the release or any impact after. I got to catch up the movie a lot later. It might be one of those underrated movies that you end up watching after renting home video and realize it could have been a lot better in the theaters.

Here is what I liked and disliked about the movies

The Good

  1. Apocalypse’s story – This movie seems to have done judgment with Apocalypse’s backstory. His arc is fairly dealt with and he comes out at a formidable villain with his own agenda to cleanse the Earth and give a fresh start. He is not presented as one of those sympathetic villains with a tragic backstory that a lot of movies are going with. He is evil, pure evil.
  2. Introducing Xavier’s institute – Xavier’s institute is introduced as if it has come straight out of the comic books. Cyclops is recruited and as he enters the compounds of the institute he goes through the same experience that Wolverine went through in the first X-Men movie.
  3. Meeting Weapon X – When Wolverine comes on the screen, for the first time he seems to have come out of the pages of the comics. He is feral, vicious and in the most animalistic way you can imagine him. The way he cuts and slashes through the armed guards and goes on this rage mode is something that I was dying to see for a long time now.https://i2.wp.com/www.cosmicbooknews.com/sites/default/files/x-men-apocalypse-hugh-jackman.jpg
  4. Justice to Phoenix – If Wolverine was well dealt with then we also got glimpses of phoenix when Jean Gray gets in the battle with Apocalypse. We see her in Phoenix mode of which I can hope that is done justice to in some future installment.https://i1.wp.com/static.srcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/X-Men-Apocalypse-Jean-Grey-as-Phoenix.jpg
  5. Quicksilver – The X-Men universe Quicksilver is seriously OP. He saves an entire school in a few seconds. What other franchise can think about doing the same with their speedsters?

The Bad

  1. No impact on status quo – X-Men: Apocalypse makes no impact on the status quo of the X-Universe. The school is destroyed and repaired again. Magneto becomes good and then leaves, the world is almost destroyed and then the movie pretends that nothing happened. Think about other cinematic universes, Superman is dead, The Avengers are disbanded, we know the impact these events are going to make. Fox faces a problem of no actual paradigm shift in their universe.
  2. Underused Jubilee, Psylocke and Angel – Why was Jubilee present on the promo material when they used her just for a shot? We didn’t even get to know if she was alive or dead after the mansion exploded. Same with Angel, he is criminally underused. His arc is written just to serve as a member of the Four Horsemen otherwise he serves no other purpose. I hope Psylocke gets a better role in X-Force movie.

https://i2.wp.com/www.comingsoon.net/assets/uploads/2016/04/psylockeXA.jpg

  1. So much Mystique – Mystique holds the same status in the X-Universe that was once held by Wolverine. Without any character development she clings as the center plot point of most of the story. Her presence is simply irritating and feels forced upon the audience.
  2. Cringy Second Half – While the first half is the strongest point of the movie , it becomes dull and forced in the second half. Evil villain and his evil plan, mass destruction and good guys win. As predictable as it can be.
  3. Timeline still confusing – The X-Timeline still leaves us with many loopholes. If Wolverine was captured by Mystique masquerading has Trask then how did the actual Trask got hold of him? What happened to Sabertooth and rest of Wolverine’s crew? What timeline do Deadpool, Colossus and Negasonic exist? Can’t they simply hit the reboot button and start afresh?

The only reason Apocalypse failed to make an impact despite being a good movie was that people have stopped caring about the franchise at all. It needs a shift in the status quo or some collaboration like Sony did with Spider-Man. The world is changing, we all know that the mutants exist in ‘everything gets right by the end of the movie’ and no one is interested in knowing that.

Movie Review – Deadpool


captainamerica-comic-hydrarecruit-700x367

I went to watch this movie with expecting a slapstick comedy with superheroes. The promotion was impressive but given Ryan Reynold’s two previous ventures into comic-book movies I was a little less hopeful.

Deadpool is a satire on comic book movies. As a comic book character that breaks 4th walls, he is the parody of everything superhero. Deadpool is the brilliance of Marvel comics and shows their balls to take jabs on their work. The movie might have been directed by Tim Miller but the truth is that Deadpool belongs to only and only Ryan Reynolds. As the movie is concerned, Deadpool breaks all the rules of Superhero and adopts only those jokes and gags that draw out the most amount of ‘WTF’s from the crowd, and in doing so, gives us one of the most faithful comic-book adaptations to date.

captainamerica-hailhydra-comic-700x854

Deliciously meta and embracing the irresponsible, and goofy persona of its superhero (as well as the actor who portrays him), Deadpool is the kind of superhero that no matter who tries to make it with another character, you are not going to get as faithful as this one. It was a unique creation when it came to Marvel Comics in 1991, and succeeds in gleefully shocking cinema audiences in 2016.

Created by Rob Liefield and Fabian Nicieza as a parody of DC Comics’ Deathstroke, Deadpool is Wade Wilson, expert swordsman and mercenary who came out the other end of cancer with a regenerative mutation. He is armed with the Wikipedia of pop culture references and is the one who never plays by the rules. In Tim Miller’s cinematic take, Wade (Ryan Reynolds) falls in twisted love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) – a match made in heaven. Wade hangs out at an assassin’s bar run by Weasel (T J Miller), the closest thing he has to a friend. Then one fine day, when cancer comes a-knocking at his door, so does a mysterious man with the promise of curing his ailment in exchange for being part of a superhuman experiment. We all know what happens next.

CaptainAmericaSteveRogers_Cov1-720x1093

As a movie it follows  a plot which is pretty straight-forward, but what makes Deadpool  magical is how it gets the beat of that narrative. A large part of this is owed to Ryan Reynolds, himself born to play the Regenerating Degenerate, who has almost single-handedly resurrected the character from Origins: Wolverine hell, marking it as his own to play with. The movie has everything to offend you. The dick jokes, the fourth-wall-breaking, and the delightful references – he’s got it all down to the dot, and we’re along for the ride, which is as entertaining as it can be. This is an incredibly self-aware film, perhaps even the most self-aware one there is, landing meta punches right from the opening credits and not letting up till the protagonist shoos you out of your seats in the post-credits scene. Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds could not have asked for better timing with this film, as 2016 cements the superhero genre in the future of cinema for years to come. Deadpool manages to pick on the obvious trends that plague the genre today, from clichéd hero landings to franchises that birth confusing timelines. Are the villains pretty generic? Yes. Does the plot hit all the usual beats of a superhero film? Yes. But it doesn’t matter, since it’s how Deadpool reacts to each of these things that make this film a masterpiece.

The R Rating of the movie was a risk but it turned out to be the biggest blessing. Being a character notorious for his unmatched ability to creep out the likes of Wolverine and Spider-Man, the red-clad prankster cannot be done justice without crossing the lines. However, the R-rating isn’t here to simply service the crass humour, but to stay true to Deadpool’s other character essence – his gleeful bloodlust, showcased to the maximum in the highway sequence toward the beginning of the film. Above and beyond his regenerative mutation, what makes this wise-cracking antihero a force to be reckoned with is his way with guns and swords, coupled with a conscience that is the polar opposite of Batman. Deadpool makes full use of the faculties of its protagonist and delivers to us meaty, excellently directed action scenes that blend gore and comedy so well that it’s impossible to take your eyes off the screen.
deadpool5

You’ll also no doubt have heard that Deadpool has become the biggest grossing R-rated film (that’s the US equivalent of our ’18’ certificate, though curiously Deadpool only has a ’15’ rating here) ever released, and was shot on a budget of approximately $58million, about a quarter of the budget for the last X-Men film, Days of Future Past, opening up some interesting possibilities on a series of lower-budget comic-book movies – something which must be tempting for studios.

Ryan Reynolds’ acting persona can be a bit marmite, but he embraces that here with enthusiasm and sufficient self-depreciation that ought to win over even his most harshest of critics. Reynolds’ turn makes the film, his personality barely concealed by the leather suit and deeply infectious. His campy stylings throw his enemies and warm viewers; they also hint at a sexual ambiguity present in the character. Deadpool is on record as having a fluid sexuality, something that sets the character out further as part of the alternative counter-culture, though this film does tend towards heteronormative relationships.

Ed Skrein makes for an engaging foil, even if he is the latest in a long line of British bad guys in American movies. There’s a sparkle to his playoffs with Reynolds which reminds us of the childlike quality of many cinematic squabbles.

The female members of the cast remain somewhat underused – Morena Baccarin makes for a feisty love interest, but Brianna Hildebrand (Teenage Negasonic Warhead) and Gina Carano (villainous Angel Dust) are powerhouses, but effectively mute making them little more than tools. Considering recent conversations about female characters in sci-fi and fantasy (eg. the Star Wars: The Force Awakens debacle) one would have expected better – particularly as there’s a clever moment of concealment during a fight with Angel. The writers clearly know what’s going on, but while they call it out, they’ve yet to redress it.

Ultimately though, Deadpool is a rich text, and the most interesting comic adaptation in years, rewarding multiple viewings, which has buoyed the coffers of the studio. Deadpool 2 is eagerly awaited, but has much to live up to.

 

 

Blu Ray Review – Fan4stic (Fantastic Four)


fantastic-four-film-header

How would one dare to review a movie called Fan4stic after watching it in theaters? How could have one ever dared watch this movie in theater? It is simply beyond my comprehension.

It took me 30 minutes to finish one and a half hour movie. Fantastic Four Reboot is not bad if you watch it thinking that you are watching a documentary called ‘what not to do when making a superhero movie.’ This movie is a in your face parody of what could have been a billion dollar hit if the same was made in the 90s.

It really takes a man’s job to cast a team of actors who are best in the industry, Kate Mara who had just returned from her brilliant stint on House of Cards, Michael B. Jordan who went ahead and gave a brilliant performance in Creed and Miles Teller to name a few. I never had a problem with a black Human Torch. The problem was this is not the Human Torch I was looking forward to. Such cheap CGI!! The entire movie seems to have been shot in a studio and no matter what part you skip the story still remains the same.

fftvspot-142157

Every superhero movie these days is divided in three parts, the part where they get powers, the part where they learn to deal with and the part where they win the conflict within. Fantastic Four reboot is one streamlined movie with no such conflict or storyline. It just starts and ends. The actions scenes are very bland and the climatic fight scene is just The Thing pushing Victor Doomashev back in the particle reactor.

In short Fan4stic is a movie with bad script, bad storytelling and bad example on how to make a comic book movie. Only if Fox had not been so much egoistic and have let the franchise slip to Marvel we could have been the luckiest nerds in the history.

Top 10 Superhero Teams


57569-avengers_400
We all know that there’s a lot of Superhero Super Teams formed in the whole comic universe, but ever wonder which one is arguably the strongest? Better? The answer to that is no, no one is better than the rest of them, there all doing the same thing over and over again, they are just simply saving the world from terror , but it is up to you to rank them as your own.

Superhero Teams have been an incredibly large part of the superhero genre. Since of the inception of the first superhero team, The Justice League of America, comic fans have loved the interaction of their favorite heroes fighting evil. The following list based on fans pick for the top ten superhero teams. Each of the groups below takes into account the different incarnations and variations of those said teams, such as the Ultimate line of comics.

Here is a list of the TOP 10 superhero teams that was voted by fans in my opinion
1 – X-MEN
simone-bianchi-astonishing-x-men-28-jan-21-2009
The X-Men came about at a time of great strife and have long mirrored many of society’s issues about fearing those that are different then the rest of us. The X-Men take the top of the list due to many reasons. They have long been one of the most popular comics in history and have spawned a mountain of, “X-Titles.” Multiple cartoons, TV series, and now movies have made The X-Men a juggernaut in the world of comics.
2 –Justice League of America (JLA)
Justice_League_(Earth-16)
The Justice League of America is comprised of the top superheroes of the DC universe. With a roster full of A-list powerhouses, the JLA is arguably the toughest superhero team in existence. The JLA has been a huge part of the DC universe and has been widely popular since its inception.
3 – Fantastic Four
Fantastic_Four_Vol_1_525_Textless
The Fantastic Four is the first of the superhero teams to bring about a real humanness to the genre. With real world problems surfacing in the comic, this first, “family” of superheroes has been an incredible force in comics. Movies, cartoons, and more make the FF not number four, but three.
4 – Avengers
the-avengers
The Avengers assemble in position number four. There have been many different incarnations of the Avengers, such as the West Coast and Great Lakes avengers. With the latest comics The Ultimates and the New Avengers, The Avengers have rocketed to new heights. A movie is in the works based on The Ultimates and when it does, The Avengers will be knocking on the doors of numbers one through three.
5 – Teen Titans
large
The Teen Titans have had a rocky past, but presently, they are enjoying great success. A hugely popular cartoon has made the Teen Titans a smash hit with younger audiences and the comic has had an impressive run on the charts and with comic book fans.

6 – Guardians of The Galaxy

gotg3-1364326933

Guardians of the Galaxy has gone through a number of changes and is one of the most amazing teams of dysfunctional characters in comics. The current series lead by Star Lord is an amazing team with foul mouthed Rocket Raccoon, kind Groot, feared assasin Gamora and deadly Drax. Guardians of the galaxy has been part of some of the most popular cosmic adventures and has a cult following among Marvel fans.

7 – Justice Society of America (JSA)
jerry-ordweay-earth-2-jsa
The Justice Society of America has recently seen a rebirth into the world of comics. With a group of superheroes thought of as has beens and second stringers, the JSA have quickly shown that it has what it takes in the world of comics. We can also thank the JSA for being the first superhero team comic book. The success that JSA had early on spurred on the other comic companies to follow suit. Thanks JSA.
8 –  League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
the_league_of_extraordinary_gentlemen_fox
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen broke the boundaries of what is a “superhero team.” Comprised of some of the most popular characters in literature. The series was brought to us by superstar writer Alan Moore. Although they haven’t been around a long time and the book has been plagued with issues between Moore and DC, it is still a great comic book team.
9 –  The Defenders
Defenders_(Earth-12131)_001
The power cosmic, magic, brute strength and more make up this team equivalent to the superhero odd couple. The Defenders have a great history behind them and the latest incarnation of this superhero team has been widely accepted by fans. The Defenders are a rising star in the world of superhero teams.
10 – The Authority
79048-53964-the-new-authority
The Authority are one of the few superhero teams not from the big two, (Marvel and DC) but Wildstorm Publishing company, to make it onto the list. Although their might may have waned in recent years, The Authority is still ranked high on the list for how it has pushed the boundaries of comic books. The Authority is ultra violent, politically charged, and boasted the first openly gay couple. These items make The Authority controversial, talked about, and one of the top superhero teams of all time.
 

Review: Avengers – Age of Ultron


Avengers 2

The most awaited sequel to mega blockbuster of 2012, Age of Ultron hit the theaters last week in theaters worldwide. Creating a sequel to a blockbuster as beloved and successful as The Avengers is something big for anyone to live upto. One of the reasons the film became such a massive hit because of the novelty of seeing these characters on screen for the first time ever on the big screen; something that was long thought to be impossible. After massive success of the first movie, the sequel would have to shake things up. Age of Ultron feels like writer/director Joss Whedon is constantly trying to outdo himself. For the most part, he is succeeds. The film is more ambitious, emotional, funnier, and darker than its predecessor. However, it’s also less coherent and streamlined. In an attempt to juggle so many characters and subplots, the film loses that magic of simplicity that made the first film so appealing.  Despite those misgivings, the film manages to still be a fun and engaging superhero epic that serves to kick off the summer movie season and serves as a proper farewell to Whedon from Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Ultron-2

For me Age of Ultron is a massive success but it fails to pull off everything with the grace and synergy. The movie is on a different scale unlike Avengers was. The movie is a massive balancing act, pulling in about a dozen important characters and trying to give them all something to do while also telling a cohesive, succinct narrative. The movie is a juggling act that Joss Whedon tries to maintain fairly well. While I was fairly satisfied while walking out of the theater the feeling was not as great as the first movie and there is where the problem is.

Most of the reviews are made comparing it with the first movie when they should not. Most of the reviews have complained about new characters, if there was a sequel without new characters there would still be complains. The movie outdoes the expectations that fans had after the announcement.

serkis

Age of Ultron proves to be a massive entertainer from the beginning. It opens with an exciting, and an entertaining action sequence that reintroduces all of the characters and the dynamic they share as a team. The opening is right on point in nearly all aspects, and creates a sense of high energy and pacing that is never really lost. While there are slower moments in the movie (such as a mid-movie sequence at the Barton farm) the sense of energy is never halted because there’s always something happening that propels the story forward. Unlike with the opening act of the first Avengers film, which tended to lull in some segments as the team was pulled together, Age of Ultron quickly establishes an excellent sense of narrative pacing, and this is arguably one of the film’s greatest strengths.

avenger-2-ultron-s-origin-and-which-sides-quicksilver-and-scarlet-witch-side

The movie shows a great pacing apart from action sequences. Joss Whedon and his team does their best to manage their time amongst the numerous threads that the plot weaves along with the way characters connect with each other. As a writer, Whedon manages to find a great way of doing this, incorporating minor details from previous Phase Two films to show that, yes, they were relevant, while also keeping the focus where it needs to be: the matters at hand, how the team operates, and how the characters evolve because of the ordeals they undergo.

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Trailer-1-Hawkeye-in-Snow-620x370

If The Avengers was about assembly, Avengers: Age of Ultron is about disassembly. The former played on their conflicting personalities while the latter plays on their fears and insecurities. Though Ultron may be the main antagonist of the picture, it’s our heroes who have themselves to fear. How can these people save the world when they can’t even save themselves? The internal struggle of these characters is trying to overcome their mistakes and pain. That is what raises the stakes in this film. The entire world is jeopardy, but it’s also a battle for the Avengers to save their souls.

The film is loaded with terrific action sequences. The Hulk vs Hulkbuster scene is everything you hoped it would be and more. Though there is a lot to take in from the set pieces, they never feel exhausting or overwhelming, despite it being clear Whedon is always trying to top what he accomplish in the first film. Though admittedly, it’s hard to feel sense of danger when you know these characters are going to be back for their individual movies including more Avengers sequels. As usual, each character gets their shining moment. The principal cast has grown into these roles to the point where they could pull them off in their sleep. A most notable improvement is Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who after being relegated to Loki’s henchman for most of the first film, gets an integral and dynamic role among the team. Not to mention that he gets some of the best lines in the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if he emerged as fan-favorite after all is said and done.

13cf3087-c2a5-4528-8ce3-2c00ac149a81

New additions to the cast vary. Thankfully, Ultron works for the most part and is miles ahead of just about all of the villains in Marvel films so far (which isn’t that hard when you look at how these villains were written). He’s surprisingly more snarky than people would expect an angry, maniacal robot to be. But that imbues the character with a personality that is sorely lacking from the rogue gallery in MCU. Joss Whedon admitted that the initial cut of the film was much longer. It comes out clear at many places as origin story for Quicksilver and Wanda comes out in a very rushed manner. Their origin is touched upon but in a very rushed manner. The Maximoff twins begin to work as characters as the film progresses, but there were missed opportunities to get audiences behind them early on. The breakout character of the film is hands down the Vision (Paul Bettany). While I won’t spoil his origin here, the film will leave you wanting to see more of especially since he does a fantastic job of making an impact in his first appearance.

The movie works and proves that Marvel Cinematic Universe is not going anywhere. Age of Ultron succeeds in teasing future movies with its supporting cast. The movie is entertaining but at the same time worries me about execution of future Marvel movies. It sets up Civil War, Wakanda and most importantly Infinity War and suffers with the same problem that Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man 2 suffered but on a very small scale. The summer has started with a bang and Marvel is going to rule.

Rating 8.5/10