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Review: Logan

loganDafne Keen.  Remember that name, because she’s a talented young actress in a movie filled with every aspect of the emotional spectrum.  I’m going to review Logan in my typical breakdown, so if you don’t want spoilers, then skip down to the final paragraph for my rating.  Otherwise, stick around for my character break down and feel free to share your thoughts on the film.

James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine – Hugh Jackman gave us what we wanted.  He may not have always had the best material with which to work, but the man cared about what he did.  His portrayal of the character in this movie is the best out of them all.  The dynamic of his healing factor being practically gone made him very vulnerable.  Combine that with his care free attitude, and you’ve got a grumpy old man who is being poisoned by his own adamantium.  I must say that I’m happy he perished in the end.  I don’t want to see anyone take up the mantle of wolverine for a very long time after this (UNLESS it’s X-23).  We will get to that in a moment.

Professor Charles Xavier – As with Hugh, Patrick Stewart always shined in his role as the psychic mutant, but in this movie we are given another shift in the standard.  He’s got borderline alzheimers, and needs caring for.  I love that they addressed this disease in a mutant.  Imagine if in real life, one had his abilities and had no idea what they were doing with them.  There was a brief mention that he was the one responsible for the X-Men dying.  I’d have loved to have gotten a little more explanation on that, but I think it would have been unnecessary in the long run.  I was surprised he died the way that he did, which is a good thing.  It happened at a moment that was him confessing his own guilt.  What a perfect way to go (not in the manner that he died, but the fact that he’d gotten it all off his chest.

Zander Rice – Although a small role, it suited its purpose.  This was more about the characters, than the actual story, so he didn’t need to be doing more than he was.  We got his back story, and a nice tie in to the original weapon X program that his father ran.  In a way they respected all of the previous movies to an extent, despite the timeline being reset.  It shows that some of those original events may have happened the same or slightly different.

Donald Pierce and the Reavers – I was really hoping for Omega Red, a return of Lady Deathstrike, or Sabertooth as the villain.  When I heard the reavers were the antagonists, I shook my head and thought it was going to be a failure.  I am SO glad I was wrong.  They managed to make decent villains that matched the tone of this film in a way that was akin to Mad Max.  It worked really well.

Caliban – I loved Stephen Merchant in this role.  I don’t know why they recast him since Apocalypse, but he looked very similar, and for anyone not paying attention I’m sure they didn’t notice.  He played the part better than his predecessor, but I wish we’d have gotten a mention of his younger years in that way.  We were also presented with Zander Rice saying to gather the body, when Caliban sacrificed himself.  It set up 2 possible scenarios.  1) Caliban could be cloned and come back as a more deformed version (like in the comics) or 2) in the original Days of Future past storyline (in the comics) they used mutant hound trackers to locate the mutants.  This would make sense, as the anti-mutant sentiment was strong in this film.

Laura/X-23 – Remember that name I mentioned, Dafne Keen?  Well she played this part so well, that I think we can have a very VERY good version of wolverine from here on out.  In the comics, she’s the current Wolverine after the death of her father.  They’ve set it up, so I think she’d be perfect in all future incarnations.  I’d love to see her as part of the X-Force movie.  She did an outstanding job with her rage, caring, and rebellious nature, but when she was crying, “Daddy,” at the end I lost it.  I never cry in movies, and I could feel the tears trickling.  Excellent job, little lady.

Rictor and the New Mutants – Who were the new mutants?  Who knows, but the presence of Rictor could mean an X-Factor reference or set up.  While I’ve no real care for these characters in the comics, it’s nice to have this sort of nod in the movies, and despite James Mangold constantly saying this is a stand alone movie, the references to the greater universe seem to be abundant.  The use of the children here wasn’t overwhelming, but a decent nod to what’s possibly to come.  Could they be X-Factor like I said, or maybe recruits for Cable, or even a set up to what eventually could be an X-Men 2099?  Like I said, these don’t need to be all made into movies, but it’s fun for continuity and discussion sake.

X-24 – Here’s what I feel was a low point at first, but then my mind changed.  Hugh Jackman is basically younger here and more primal.  He’s even got a haircut and style to match what Sabretooth had in the first Wolverine movie.  Why then wasn’t Sabretooth used?  We never got a final showdown between the two.  It would have worked just as well as X-24.  Hell he could even have gotten his wish and become X-24 with Adamantium skeleton.  (Remember that is what he wanted originally).  So I complain about this, but then think to my childhood and how there was once a character named “Albert.”  Albert was a robot created by the Reavers that looked like Wolverine.  His storyline also involved a little girl that Logan had to take care of.  Okay, it got way more complicated than that, but I feel like this is not a coincidence.  I believe they used this angle to replace the elements they couldn’t use from the original Old Man Logan storyline.

Enough rambling from me.  Here are my final thoughts for potential on what this movie COULD mean for the X universe.  Here’s my speculation:  GAMBIT is in the works.  Where he falls into this all remains to be seen, but he could be a good element to X-Force since Archangel was killed off in Apocalypse.  Now that Wolverine is dead, perhaps the film could see this lineup: Cable, Deadpool, Domino, X-23, and Gambit… NEW MUTANTS is in the works as well.  Maybe this will center around the new team of kids, but who would lead them?  Again, there’s no telling, but if James McAvoy’s run ends then we could see Cyclops, Jean, and Storm leading the new team.  I realize there is a time problem here, but when hasn’t there been in these movies, and with Cable involved this is all possible.

In conclusion: Logan was a film made for comic book fans, and movie goers.  It reminded me of an old western with comic elements.  It was a roller coaster of emotion that didn’t disappoint.  There will be bigger nerds than me complaining about certain little things, but who cares?  This was the best interpretation of Wolverine yet.  Stewart and Jackman played the roles better than they ever have, and Keen showed talent rare for even veteran actors.  She’s a natural.  I’ll give the movie 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think?  How would you rate it?  Comment below.

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Review – Captain America: Civil War

Captain-America-Civil-War-25Wow.  That’s really what I can say.  While I don’t think this is the best Marvel movie to date it rounds out the best trilogy in film in my opinion.  There is not much that I can find wrong with the movie, and anything that would be considered “bad” is really nitpicking by someone who doesn’t enjoy movies.

Do I even need to say that it easily makes one forget that Batman vs Superman DOJ came out last month?  It does.  After watching this I almost forgot entirely about that movie, and it was one I also enjoyed.  As usual I’ll break it down by characters and it will be filled with spoilers, so if you want my honest rating without that scroll down to the last paragraph, otherwise let the spoilers begin.

Steve Rogers/Captain America/(Nomad?) – Yes I included Nomad as one of his identities because he basically gave up the shield, and even said in his letter to Tony that he’d always been a “wanderer.”  Chris Evans shined once again.  I’m glad the rumors were false about his death like in the comics, because despite me really liking the characters who could/would take over the Cap mantle, I don’t really want to see anyone but him in that role.  #TeamCap is there for a reason.  My only problem is his line to Tony about “Bucky was my friend.”  The most logical response was Tony’s “So was I.”  Cap was wrong in his delivery here, but in the heat of the moment we often don’t let our brain think about what we are saying before saying it.  To me it still comes off as a big screw you to Iron man who has been there more for Cap recently than Bucky was regardless of history.

Tony Stark/Ironman – Like Chris Evans in his role, Robert Downey Jr is superb as Stark.  He has motivation and good reasoning for his side of the argument. #Teamironman might not be all that just in their haste to sign the accords that Tony believes need to happen, but he honestly feels guilt for the lives lost, whereas the opposing faction shows little of this.  I am happy that RDJ delivered the line about “I don’t want to give up.”  It further cements that Marvel most likely won’t recast this role anytime soon, nor should they.  Here’s for hoping Ironman 4 comes along with a proper Mandarin.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow – Scarlett Johansson has gone beyond her obvious attractiveness and really showed audiences that more of this character is in demand.  Her fight scenes were breathtaking.  In fact, every scene with Black Widow shined as much as the main two characters.  From the fights to her switching sides as you would expect her to she kicked ass all the way!

Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier – Sebastian Stan is on par with the Winter Soldier.  While the last movie showed him slowly realizing what had been done to him, Civil War focuses on him dealing with it all.  He’s a tortured soul, but shows little remorse when it comes to what happened to Stark’s parents.  There is little in the way of an apology, which I felt would have at least shown his morals shining through.

Sam Wilson/Falcon & Redwing – I never liked Redwing’s “mental connection” with Falcon in the comics, so the interpretation in this movie made sense.  Falcon has become one of my favorite Avengers to watch on the screen as I feel Anthony Mackie loves the role.  The use of his wings as shields also foreshadowed what could happen as him being a future Captain America.  Even if he doesn’t I liked that they did this because it pays homage to the comics.

James “Rhodey” Rodes/War Machine – Again I’m reminded why Don Cheadle was the perfect replacement for Terrence Howard.  While Howard seemed arrogant and boring in the role, Cheadle has always showed character.  I liked his take on how many missions he’d flown, and that this was his first real crash.  Despite his injury he affirmed he’s not giving up anytime soon because he believes in the cause.  It shows that no matter what he fights for what he believes in.

Clint Barton/Hawkeye – Okay Clint, I have a serious problem with your placement here, but not because I didn’t think you were awesome.  On the contrary, this movie needed Hawekeye.  His entrance was unexpected and I loved the role he played, even if a small one.  My problem is he doesn’t seem to care much about his family.  At one point he even admitted that he needed to get away.  Well, now he’s on the run from the authorities, so what good did that do?  Marvel either needs to make him a full time Avenger or a family man.  One doesn’t really work with the other, and even Tony alluded to that with his relationship with Pepper.

T’Challa/Black Panther – Newcomer Chad Boseman was a total badass.  We even got a brief origin story with the mantle being passed to him once T’Chaka was killed.  While they didn’t say T’Chaka had been running around in Wakanda as the Black Panther they didn’t need to.  His son T’Challa was the focus.  My question is how long he will be able to hide the refugee Avengers and still stay allied with the main group.  Talk about playing both sides in the end.  His reasoning is decent, but it was really unclear where he stood in the end.  I’m now more eager to see his solo outing.

Vision – Not much can be said except that I hope Paul Bettany continues on in this role for many years.  Every scene with him was fun to watch even when not in combat, and I loved that we got a glimpse of what he feels for Wanda.  He also mentioned that he didn’t know exactly what the Mind Gem was in his forehead.  It seemed to fascinate and frighten him.  He operates on logic which made sense that he was on team Ironman, even if the logic was flawed by the lack of details on the rushed government program.

Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch – Just how old is she supposed to be?  Cap almost belittles her by calling her a kid all the time, yet she’s proven to be a complete asset to the team.  Yes, she made a few mistakes along the way, and some of those caused death.  She’s forced to struggle with this ability that goes beyond anyone’s in the current Marvel movie Universe.  I really think she will be one of the people who will pose a threat to Thanos as no one can really compare at this point.  I’m glad we aren’t going to get the classic spandex costume she wore in the comics, because this goth version sits perfectly in a modern day world.

Scott Lang/Antman/Giantman – Poor Scott turns his life around and becomes a hero, gets his criminal history expunged, and now is on the run again.  Seeing him as an Avenger and back as Antman was fun enough, but his decision to grow into Giantman made it that much more enjoyable.  That whole scene I could watch over and over again, and I couldn’t help but laugh when he fell over asking if anyone had any orange slices.  I could imagine the toll on his metabolism would happen in real life, so it was smart to thrown the one liner in there.

Sharon Carter/Agent 13 – I still find it weird that Cap dates his ex girlfriend’s great neice, but who cares.  haha.  Glad we finally got to see her kick some ass briefly in the Winter Soldier fight scene.

Peter Parker/Spiderman – Tom Holland is my new favorite Spidey.  I never really enjoyed Garfield’s portrayal, and while I liked Tobey Maguire in the first two movies, he got too whiney for me.  This Peter Parker was easily the highlight of the movie.  I’m glad Marvel got him back.  From his wisecracks to his personality it’s spot on.  We even got his spider light at the end, which is something I never thought I’d see.  Oh, and anyone complaining about Tony Stark making him the costume that has eyes that move, well they obviously didn’t pay attention.  Parker addressed this when meeting Stark the first time about his senses being on overload.  It’s a new twist, but one that is warranted.  While he unmasked in the comics, I’m glad the Russo’s decided to eliminate that part of the story.  It takes away the risk factor of being a hero, and would sincerely hinder any future solo outing for webhead especially.  Another bonus is that Aunt May is now eye candy in the form of Marissa Tomei.

Brock Rumlow/Crossbones – I was shocked at his fate, but killing him off was a good thing.  No longer will Marvel have to hear fan theories about him killing Captain America.  His role was small, but smart.  I hate to see him not used again, but am glad to see him go if that makes sense.  He served his purpose already in both movies, and it would get redundant really fast.

General Ross – Hooray we finally get Thunderbolt back.  It’s only been how many years since Incredible Hulk?  My only surprise is that it took him this long to get involved.  Yes he mentions he had a heart attack, but that doesn’t seem like something that would keep him down for the better part of a decade.  It makes one wonder what he’d been doing in all that time.

Baron Helmut Zemo – Quite possibly the best and worst marvel villain to date.  He manipulated the heroes into nearly killing one another.  That gives him the best title.  But then he tries to kill himself.  Bad move Russo’s.  It didn’t fit in with his motive.  And then we see him in the cell at the end and he’s back to being a clear thinking villain.  All they had to do was eliminate the two second pulling of the trigger and had him aim it at Black panther instead.  It would have made a little more sense to the character to me.  I do hope we see him again, even if he pops up in Agents of SHIELD.

Overall the movie was spectacular.  The impact on the Marvel Movie universe is both minimal and large.  It won’t really affect any of the solo outings coming up.  Doctor Strange, Spiderman Homecoming, and Thor Ragnarok probably won’t need to reference the events if at all.  Even Black Panther’s solo outing won’t really be an issue.  What WILL be affected is Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and the next Avengers movie.  Time will tell what is decided, but I can’t wait for more.  I give it a full 5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins for being one of the best comic book movies to date.  What were your thoughts?  Were you team Cap or Ironman?

 

 


Review: Ant-man

Ant-Man-71I’m a bit late on this one as I’d seen it weeks ago, but got tied up with multiple projects.  I’ll post some spoilers in here, so if you just want the basic review, scroll down to the final paragraph.

At first I’ll admit (much like I did with Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy) that I wondered how they were going to make a movie from a background character and make it work.  I have always loved the character of Ant-Man, but to stand alone in a feature film was another whole story.  I had faith in Marvel, and was pleasantly surprised with one major problem in story writing.  Here’s my breakdown:

Scott Lang / Ant-Man II: Paul Rudd did an amazing job.  He was a criminal with a purpose.  He stole in order to pay child support so he could see his daughter.  Sure this seems like something a derelict would do, and does, but in this case you could actually see Lang cares immensely for his little girl.  She’s his world.  Once he is unexpectedly in this micro sized world of Ant-Man it takes a lot for him to become a hero.  I like his struggles and lightheartedness despite the serious situation.  It was also set up for him to become Giant-man later down the line because of the fact that he was able to make it to the feared micro-verse and come back.  Supposedly there was an easter egg hidden in the microscopic world, but there was so much to take in I missed it.  The visuals were absolutely stunning.

Hope Van Dyne / Wasp II: Evangeline Lilly played the part well, and I echo her words in the mid credits scene “It’s about time.”  This is in reference to her becoming the Wasp, much like her mother before her but in an updated suit.  I have no problem that this skips over the whole original Wasp for the most part.  It makes sense in this movie universe.

Paxton, Luis, Kurt & Dave:  The Paxton character made sense and was a welcome part, but Luis and Dave seemed a bit too goofy for me.  Sure I know it was supposed to be (and IS) humorous, but I couldn’t take them seriously… especially Luis.  Kurt also bothered me because his accent seemed off.  They were fun supporting characters, but short of Paxton I could have done without the others.  They DO work in the lightheartedness of it all however, so its less a complaint than it is an observation.

Sam Wilson / Falcon: Anthony Mackie’s surprise appearance in the film tied it in perfectly to the rest of what has happened so far.  The fight between Falcon and Ant-Man was epic and a great tease to letting the fans want to see more hero vs hero… He not only setup Civil War in that way, but with Bucky and Captain America at the end it all fell in nicely.  Mackie’s character was the perfect choice to take the role here.

Hank Pym / Ant-Man I: Michael Douglas said a while back that he wanted to be in a Marvel movie.  I’ll admit at first that I was skeptical of him being Hank Pym.  Not because of his acting, but because that meant the Ant-Man I grew up with was going to be much older.  They appeased me however by doing some flashbacks.  We saw Peggy Carter and Howard Stark in the beginning of the film, and even Pym working along side a costumed Wasp I / Janet Van Dyne.  The passing of the torch was played well, and the reason for Janet’s absence was well written.

Darren Cross / Yellowjacket: I thought originally Yellowjacket would be the villain way back when this movie was still in development, but I figured it’d have been Scott Lang in the role with Hank Pym defeating him and making him realize the err in his ways.  While I enjoyed the way the character looked in suit and the epic final battle between him and Lang, I was really disappointed.  Here we got another repeat villain.  A bald mad scientist who is trying to take over a corporation by his own means, and becomes the villain.  We saw this in Ironman 1 & 2 practically.  We see it in countless other superhero films as well, so why did they go this route?  To me it felt lazy.  Were the effects and both Ant-Man incarnations not in it, this would have ruined the movie for me.  Darren Cross was too predictable and unoriginal for me.

Stan Lee: Probably the briefest cameo he’s ever had, but still fun to see his face.  This was for me one of his worst cameos though.  This is not a complaint at all.  I’m just stating that it wasn’t the best use of such an icon.

All in all Ant-Man was a fun ride.  Aside from the villain it felt like a fresh and original movie that still fit in with the rest of the Marvel Universe.  I can’t wait to see him link up again as an Avenger in Captain America 3.  Scott Lang is the new Tony Stark as far as wit and personality, and it’ll be good to see the onscreen interaction among them all.  Marvel does it again!  7 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins for a fun and visually stimulating time.


Review: Avengers Age Of Ultron

Avengers_Age_of_UltronReview season is just about upon us for TV shows, so I figured I’d kick it off with a review of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.  If you haven’t seen it, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating… unless you want to be spoiled.  Yes, there will be spoilers mentioned.  You’ve been warned. 🙂

Let’s start with Robert Downey Jr as (Ironman) Tony Stark and Chris Evans as (Captain America) Steve Rogers.  If you can’t see Civil War coming out of this, then you missed a lot.  Tony and Steve don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but Stark’s actions in this movie put them on separate paths toward a common goal.  RDJ was once again perfect as Stark.  In the comics it was Antman who had created Ultron, but they changed it for the movie.  Having Stark create Ultron made a lot of sense here.  It was done well overall and it brought out the character flaws this team had.  Tony had already created the  Iron Legion robo police force and his reasons for wanting to go further were justified.  Steve is still trying to adjust to modern times, so being left in the dark about such a bold move was not something he felt was wise.  The dynamic here was less about Ultron and the threat than it was about setting up Cap 3.

Chris Hemsworth shined as Thor.  More focus was put on the true power that he wields, specifically Mjolnir.  Thor’s confidence is almost a cockiness in his abilities and if Captain America almost lifting the hammer wasn’t bothersome enough to THor’s ego, then certainly Vision’s actions were.  Heimdall‘s brief cameo fit well and I like how they set up what looks to be Thor 3: Ragnarok.  Thor’s role here was to inform about the power of the infinity stones and the role they play in the universe.

Hulk (Bruce Banner) took more of a back seat for me in this movie.  Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal was spot on, and though the Hulk shined we got to see more of the struggle Banner has coping with his alter ego.  He accepts it less and fears it more than in the last movie.  So much so that he is solely responsible for helping Ironman develop the Hulkbuster (veronica) armor.  The presence of both Banner and Hulk were equally important this time, but I feel as though he was bullied a bit by Tony.  I was a little caught off guard by the sexual tension between him and Natasha, but I’m glad that they strayed from that.  Who knows where he ended up in the end.  Fury mentioned the craft MIGHT have crashed into the ocean, but you can’t help but wonder if it was all a setup for another Hulk movie (Planet Hulk).  I hope not as I don’t particularly like that story.

Scarlett Johansson has proven my initial thoughts on her in the role to be completely false.  I love her as Black Widow (Natasha Romanov), though I do have one issue.  Whedon could have corrected the lack of RUssian accent in the flashback to her ballet days, but he chose to ignore it.  I was pleased that we got a little more of her background though and everything that was hinted at in her prior appearances.  Her crush on Banner was strange to me, but then again I was blown away that her relationship with Clint was less intimate than I’d rightfully assumed.

Jeremy Renner really took the lead in this movie. Hawkeye (Clint Barton) was finally called his codename and it was fun how it was done and the reasoning.  I was blown away by the reveal of his family but it was a welcome change.  There needed to be someone with some kind of personal life and he being the choice made sense.  While Cap was the leader and Tony the funding of the team, Hawkeye was the glue that held them together.

War Machine (James Rhodes) and Falcon (Sam Wilson), played by Don Cheadle and Anthony Mackie cameoed in important minor roles that by the ending you realize will become much more in the next installment.

Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) and Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) were perfect.  Aaron Taylor Johnson was a much better Quicksilver than the already likeable one that was in X-Men DOFP.  My only regrets are that he had to die because of the dual studios usage of the character.  In a battle like this however there are bound to be casualties, so I’m fine with the choice.  Elizabeth Olsen was both sexy and creepy in her role, and I’m happy with the portrayal of her powers.  The slight modification worked well and the hint at the twins’ past can be touched upon more if Marvel ever ended up with rights to X-men.  The twins beginning as antagonists and becoming heroes was everything I wanted to see with them.

Vision is both the evolution of JARVIS and the creation of Ultron.  His origin was similar to the comics and his presence and sleek look were a very welcome addition.  He was to this movie as Hulk was to the last, and earned his place quickly.  Although his solar gem atop his head was changed to the mind gem, the origin and use of that which was once in Loki’s scepter placed well.  It was a primary reason why he became so powerful and heroic.  As part machine with organic matter in him, he is able to wield it without being corrupted by temptation or control.  They even gave a nod to the romance that will be eventual between him and Scarlet Witch.

Samuel L Jackson is always great to see as Nick Fury, and with him and Maria Hill back on the scene with SHIELD it will be interesting to see where this takes the agents of shield series.

Finally, on to the villains…

Baron Von Strucker while having a minor role was a good starting point for the film.  Why not have a minor subplot with HYDRA before kicking into another threat?  I’ve welcomed this with the Spiderman movies and any characters that have a huge rogues gallery.

Ulyses S. Klau played by Andy Serkis had a story element that will directly lead in to Black Panther.  They mentioned Wakanda, he had his arm torn off, and he’d stolen vibranium.  It is an excellent lead in that didn’t feel forced.

Ultron was easily the highlight of this film.  James Spader gave off the vibe that this robot was like a child with a god complex.  Designed to eliminate threats, the cliched “robot thinks it knows better by eliminating the human race” felt fresh here because of Ultron’s personality.  There were hints of logic, and Tony’s personality that made him unique in many ways.  So much so that it almost felt like Tony Stark was the villain at times.

Thanos had only a brief scene.  While it was not anywhere near one of the better credits scenes, it was something that laid ground for the next installment.

What else is there to say?  From the plot to the set ups of the next few movies and where the characters go personally, there is a lot packed in to 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Stan Lee‘s cameo was my favorite of them all, and that says something right there.  People have complained that Age of Ultron is not as good as the first Avengers movie, but it’s an unfair assessment.  These movies are entirely different from one another.  I feel that this tied up a lot of loose ends and opened the movie universe up to so much more potential.  In my opinion it exceeded Avengers 1 in many ways while not surpassing it in others.  It isn’t a perfect comic book movie, but it is damn close.  I give it 9.5 sCrypt Coffins out of 10.

If you have anything to add, please comment below.


Review: The Wolverine

The-Wolverine-wallpaperJust to state where I stand with the X-Men movies, I’ll say that I’ve been entertained thoroughly, but am well aware of the issues and flaws they have made.  X-Men 3 the last stand was bad because of the errors made, but in the end none of it mattered because Cyclops was never shown as killed, Jean is the Phoenix and has come back before, Xavier transferred his mind to another body that looked just like him, and the mutants that had lost their powers all got them back.  With X-men Origins Wolverine, we got a whole mess of things, and while I enjoyed the story, I felt they crammed way too much in, destroyed what we knew of Deadpool, and had terrible fake plastic claws with too much ridiculous CGI.  The other 3 movies I loved (particularly X-2 and First Class, the prior being my favorite).

So where does The Wolverine come in?  Let me tell you, I was really skeptical going in.  Origins left a bad taste in my mouth, and let’s face it the trailers for The Wolverine had me upset.  I didn’t want to see a completely CG looking bullet train fight, and With Silver Samurai being a robot?!?!?  WTF?!?!  Thankfully, I was wrong on BOTH of these accounts.  Warning there are major spoilers ahead, so if you want my rating skip to the last paragraph.

First with the negative:

1) VIPER:  Why?  Why? Why?  There was no need (I mean ABSOLUTELY NO NEED) to make her a mutant.  It served no purpose.  She would have been just as deadly as a toxin making biochemist, as she was made here.  Her powers were pointless, and other than the green outfit, she didn’t resemble her comic counterpart in looks.

2) Explaining the tapping of the healing factor.  Silver Samurai drilled into Logan’s bone to steal his healing, but it isn’t explained how that works or how it just reversed once those drills were removed.

3) Wait, there was no #3… Yes I said it.  If I had to pick something, I’d just say that I wish the 12 minutes of extra footage that would have made this movie a bloody rated R, would have been there, but I guess I’ll be okay with waiting for the DVD to see this.

My brother did point out that he did not like the CGI bear in the beginning, but I honestly didn’t have a problem with it because at times, it looked really cool, and I’m a more forgiving person when it comes to that.

And on to the positive:

1) Silver Samurai:  Although he was altered slightly from the comics (in this case, being an adamantium suit of armor, I LOVED what they did.  Yashida (the elderly one) was still this character, and I enjoyed that he used his technology to work with Adamantium, so much so that he was able to create a superheated lightsaber type sword to cut through the nearly indestructable metal.

2) Japan and the Japanese story ark:  Sure, they altered some things (Yukio was never a mutant in the comics), but what they changed served a purpose.  Yukio having a minor ability actually needed to be in this movie otherwise it wouldn’t have flowed as well, and certain things wouldn’t have worked (I.E. Yashida still being alive, and wolverine cutting out his own heart).

3) No healing factor:  This, along with the constant emotional drama he had going on, made Logan an extremely deadly weapon.  He killed.  He killed a lot.  He was very violent, and you got to see his berzerker rage kick in through most of the action sequences.  My spine tingles thinking of how awesome the fights were.

4) Shingen, Mariko, and the Yashida Jr.:  Okay, I’m getting lazy on the third one’s first name, but his part was so small it was only to serve a purpose.  The three of them seemed to be taken right from the pages of the comics.  Mariko was beautiful.  She looked almost exactly like certain artwork done of her in the past, and she was a good companion for Logan.

5) Jean Grey:  Yes, she’s back, only in his dreams…. or is she?  I’m wondering if a part of the dark phoenix transferred itself to Logan’s mind when he killed her in X3.  It seemed so much more than a dream at points, but helped to progress the story.  Also, her part was much larger than the simple cameo I thought she’d have.  Plus, I’ll never have a problem seeing Famke Jansen on screen.  Especially when her cleavage is so prominently shown.

6) Bone Claws: I have no problem at all with where this story left us.  He still has an adamantium skeleton, and is deadly regardless of whether his claws are metal or not.  I actually like that they did this because of it making him a little more human.  Besides, he did get his healing factor back, so why not give him a slight disadvantage?

7) The mid credits Scene:  Magneto and Xavier showing up with Trask industries plastered all over the screen?  Wolverine acknowledging that he wants to know how it is possible (referring to the results of X3), and Xavier telling him that famous line from X1?  Magneto as an ally?  This perfectly set up and led into X-Men Days of Future Past.

So where do we go from here?  Well, we know DOFP is coming.  We know they’ve announced an X-Force movie with Apocalypse as a villain.  My dream lineup for this would be (Cable, Deadpool, Archangel, Domino, and Cyclops).  They could fix the rest of the problems people have with the X films and assist in the reboot of the franchise alongside DOFP with this.  (Sinister taking Cyclops right before the moment of his “Death” in X-3.  Angel being taken by apocalypse.)  Downside is that using Psylocke wouldn’t be smart because she was already in X-3.  All that speculation and wishful thinking aside, where do we go with Wolverine?  Should it end here?  It would be a good last solo outing, but can they do more?  They left it open.  I’d like to see a movie that takes place between this and DOFP.  He and Yukio go to Canada and meet the Alpha Flight.  Together they take on Omega Red.  Sabretooth returns, and they address the lack of communication between the two in X1.  This time, he wants to kill Logan’s new friends (just like the team in Origins), and in the end Yukio stays with Alpha Flight.  It is the ONLY what I think they can go to top this movie or be on par with it, and I’d welcome it.

My analysis?  The Wolverine had great performances all around.  The story was solid.  It was a love story with PLENTY OF WOLVERINE RAGE ACTION.  And I think it made up for any mistakes made in the past, though like I mentioned, it is not perfect.  It Does however now kick X-2 into second place, and The Wolverine is now my favorite of the X-Films (even though it doesn’t feel like an X-film at all.)  I’m giving it an 8 out of 10, only for the reason that Viper still leaves a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended).  Kudos to Hugh Jackman, Fox, and all involved.  What did you think?


Review: Ironman Rise Of The Technovore

IronMan-Rise-of-TechnovoreI love when a good story comes to fruition in some amazing animation.  While Ironman Rise of the Technovore had out of this world animation, it’s story could have been better thought out.  Don’t get me wrong.  The plot for the movie was a decent one.  I just feel that the writers could have had better execution with it.  I will keep this pretty much spoiler free, but I will mention a few minor things that are spoilerish.

It was almost as if they wanted to fit as many characters into this story as they could.  The Punisher, though always a welcome addition to any marvel story in my mind, felt out of place here.  He was forced into the story, and to an extent, I feel that Hawkeye and Black Widow were as well.  SHIELD also felt like the underdog here.  I’m not buying that in their hunt for Ironman, that Tony Stark was able to best them.  Nope.  Not with their own tech and savy, but hell who am I to judge?  I did love seeing Frank Castle and Tony Stark team up, but still not thinking it worked well.  While those characters were over used here, I think War Machine should have been used more.  He is basically another Ironman, so I don’t see why he was used the way he was.

Okay, now that I got the bad out of the way, lets talk about the good.  Animation, voice acting and Sound was outstanding!  They were perfect.  The Technovore villain was a great villain whom with I was unfamiliar.  Wait, now we’re about to go negative again.  Correction… he COULD have been a great villain.  The moment he arrived on screen, I thought “Wow, this guy is going to do some serious damage.”  Well he DID do some serious damage, but by the time it got to that point I had mostly lost interest.  The story dragged, and I felt myself nodding in and out of it.  I even found it hard to make notes for a review.

On a scale of 1-10 I give it a 5, and if it weren’t for the animation a few saving factors, then it would have been less than that.   Maybe I’m being a little too hard on it.  I don’t think it was a BAD movie.  I just think that it was poorly executed.  Tell me what you think.


Review: Oz The Great And Powerful and Predictions for a sequel

Oz-The-Great-and-Powerful-poster-3Sam Raimi and Disney’s latest outing has come in with mixed reviews.  So how was it really?  First off let me say this.  I am a TRUE Oz fan.  I have read all fifteen original L. Frank Baum books, as well as a handful of short spinoffs that were considered continuity.  I own Skottie Young’s graphic novel interpretations, as well as the original special edition of MGM’s Wizard of Oz, and the sequel Return to Oz by Disney.  I consider myself an expert on the world as far as a fan can be.

Though I wish that the original 1939 movie had stuck closer to the book (ala the silver shoes being ruby slippers, and origins of tinman etc) I don’t think that that movie should EVER be redone.  Judy Garland IS Dorothy, and while I’d welcome sequels and prequels I just don’t think anything should be done with that movie.  It is TOO classic.  So all of that aside, where does Oz the Great and Powerful come in.  I will say this… I’m giving it a 9 out of 10 flying monkeys.  That’s right, As an Oz fan, this really pleased me well, (as well as my wife and 2 year old boy, and 4 year old girl who sat through the whole thing without issue).  There’s my rating.  Now I will get into some of the MINOR SPOILERS.  I won’t reveal too many, but if you don’t want to know, then come back after you’ve watched.

The story begins with credits and music by Danny Elfman.  The man knows how to make a theme song, and while this one won’t stick as well as his Batman 1989 theme, it still gives you this fantastical feel that immediately brings you into the movie.  I saw this film in standard format, but I wish I’d have seen it in 3D.  I may still go back to do that, because I felt immersed in the world of Oz nevertheless.  I could tell that the 3D was done properly, and from what I’ve heard it was amazing.

Then, in tribute to the original 1939 film, Oz the Great and Powerful opens in a square format black and white setting of 1905 Kansas.  This story is a prequel to that classic movie and Baum’s first book.  It really does well explaining the back story of how the Wizard got there, as well as the origin of a few other characters.  James Franco, while I find is either hit or miss in his acting, did a great job as Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs (or to make it short, he just goes by Oscar Diggs).  I was glad to hear why he was called Oz.  The novels do mention his full name, and Franco recited the nine names as if they were his own.  Oz is a circus magician who is egotistical, pompous and a womanizer.  He is a selfish man who will eventually have to make choices and find the good within him.

Zack Braff as his assistant and Finley the Monkey was one of the highlights of the movie as well.  The circus shows Oz’s act, and him escaping from the wrath of a strongman.  You’ll see why, I just don’t want to give away everything.  There are a few hidden Easter Eggs lying around.  You’ll notice that the name of the circus is Baum Brother’s circus.  A tribute to the author and creator of this fantastic world.  Zach Braff’s character was referred to by Oz as a baggage carrying monkey (which he portrays in Oz).  Glinda has a counterpart in Kansas, and a crippled girl is recreated in Oz as the China doll princess.  This all of course is in tribute to the 1939 film, where real characters end up in Oz being something else or having similar dopplegangers.

Once Oz makes it to the Land of Oz, the black and white as well as the square format, expand into a beautiful world of color and widescreen.  You really feel as if you are in the Land of Oz during the whole story.  Immediately we are introduced to Theodora the good.  From anyone who is familiar with Oz lore, Theodora eventually becomes the Wicked Witch of the West.  The cool thing is that you find out why, and actually see her transformation from the stunning Mila Kunis into the hideous witch in this movie.  Is she the main villain?  no, but she is definitely a perfect and welcome addition.  Her tranformation from sweet Theodora into the Wicked Witch is truly frightening and amazing.  They even address the whole water being harmful thing.

A few things I noticed that I didn’t like.  1) there are parts of the CG world that seem a little too cartoony, but I’m sure they look better in 3D.  regardless, they are stunning visuals.  Most of the visuals blend well though.  2) Mila Kunis as the witch of the west was not as wicked seeming as Margaret Hamilton’s 1939 version, but keep in mind that this story is probably a good 30 to 40 years before that movie.  The reason I say this is the age of the characters.  Oz, Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda are much younger looking in this movie, and it shows sort of how much time is between the two.  Mila’s voice in parts was spot on, but not as convincing in others.

Evanora on the other hand (Played by Rachel Weisz) was truly evil.  She is the Wicked Witch of the East (you know, the one who gets splattered by Dorothy’s house in Wizard of Oz.)  She is manipulative and cunning in her ways.  A brief cameo by the Cowardly Lion made me tingle with excitement, as well as a pre-origin to the scarecrow.

As I mentioned earlier Finley the monkey was a great character, but the China doll princess was touching to say the least.  Her animation was flawless, and you really cared for the character.  She was a welcome addition, and so was China country, which was a major focus in a few of the Oz novels.  How Oz comes to find the good within himself, as well as Glinda’s use of her bubble transporting, and the final battle to defeat the witches was really great.  I was on the edge of my seat.

Michelle Williams as Glinda the good was very believable.  She seemed like a true force for good, and to see her actually face off in a magic battle with Evanora was a perfect ending.  Other mentions are the munchkins with their musical number, as well as the people of Oz.  They were perfect recreations from the books, and needed in this story.

As emotional as the ending to the Wizard of Oz made me when I originally saw it, the emotions are cued in here as well.  Oz giving the main characters “gifts” and how it is done, is touching.

It was announced the other day that Disney had greenlit a sequel based on how projections would be.  I will own this movie on DVD, and highly recommend to any fan of books or the films, to go see it in the theater as well.  So what could they do in a sequel?  I think it would still be another prequel to Wizard of Oz.  Here are my reasonings.  Much seems to still happen between the end of this movie and the beginning of the original.  There are decades in between.  So what could happen in the sequel/prequel?  Here are my predictions/suggestions:

1) Evanora is in her true witch form now, but she hadn’t had the Ruby (silver) slippers.  How did she get them, and what did she do with them to be a threat to Oz.  Where in the East did she settle?  2) Theodora is now in charge of the Winkies, and in control of the Flying Monkeys.  How did she get them out of the Poppy field?  Did she build her wicked castle in the West?  What did she do in those years between?  3) China Country in the books was a major setting.  How did it get rebuilt?  4) Showing the origin of the Tin Man, and how he rusted.  I actually believe that if a sequel was made, he’d be the central character as a human.  In the books, a witch (assumingly the witch of the East Evanora) was jealous of his love for a Munchkin.  She enchanted his axe which ended up cutting off all of his human parts, which ended up being replaced in tin by the tinkerers (who were introduced in this movie).  Oz doesn’t need to even be in a sequel, as the story of Tinman could be the focus.

If Disney needs ideas, they should contact me. haha.  Or Skottie Young, whose interpretations of the books in graphic novel form are flawless.  Not to mention that he is doing these comics for Marvel, which Disney owns, so he’s already in the family.  Bottom line is:  Ignore those who are critical because they have no idea what they are talking about.

One other point to mention.  There is an animated sequel to the Wizard of Oz coming out later this year called “Dorothy of Oz”.  I can’t wait to see what they bring in, but I can’t imagine it will capture the classic feel that this one has.


Review: The Amazing Spiderman

Last week I posted my review of the previous Spiderman Trilogy.  Now I bring my thoughts about the reboot.  First off, there will be some spoiler material, so please scroll down to the last paragraph if you just want my rating.  Here is the breakdown.

The casting was outstanding.  Not once did I feel that any of these actors didn’t do their jobs.  My only concern was the role of Peter Parker.  I think Andrew Garfield played the part well, but I’m not sure if I totally buy him as Parker.  He’s a bit over the top with cockiness.  Emma Stone would have made a perfect Mary Jane Watson in a future movie, but her portrayal of Gwenn Stacey was perfect.  All of the other actors (and I don’t need to list the names) I can say were just well done for casting.  Aunt May could have been a little older, but I like where they are going with Sally Field in that role.

The Plot.  This is where the movie fails in my opinion.  Was the plot good?  Yes, in fact it was great.  It was even better than the first Tobey Maguire Spiderman movie.  So why does this fail?  Well, it WAS the first Tobey Maguire movie.  We really didn’t need the origin story again.  The villain was scripted out in almost the same way, and the new elements that they included seemed to be shadowed by the “Damn, I already saw this movie” feeling.  IF Spiderman hadn’t been done before, then this movie would have been great!  They should have made it a sequel, not a reboot.  Here’s to hoping they correct that mistake in the future.

Visual effects were amazing.  I didn’t get to see it in 3D, but I could see where parts of the film would have been cool in that format.  The web swinging and action felt more natural than the previous trilogy.  I would have liked it to be a little less dark and more daytime, but I can’t complain about how it looked otherwise, because that was the directors call.

Continuity with the comics.  I don’t know much about the Ultimate Spiderman comics, as I was a huge fan of the original growing up.  That being said, I am familiar with certain aspects.   Web shooters being in this movie were a fanboy’s dream come true.  How and where he was bitten by the spider, eh… I can get past that.  After all it is someone else’s interpretation.  Most of the elements were done in the same way.  The only REAL problem I had with the continuity was the Lizard’s look.  I don’t mind the way he looked, but wish that by the third time he injected himself, some kind of snout would have formed.  In fact, my wife turned to me mid movie and said, “If he is a lizard, they should have given him a snout.”  Okay, my wife never knew what the Lizard looked like in the comics, but she knows her animals.  Therefore, common sense would tell anyone that the decision might have been slightly subpar.

Direction and use of characters:  Marc Webb really did bring the Amazing into the title.  As I said earlier, this would have been the best spiderman movie to date IF IF IF it hadn’t been done already.  I wanted to see a new story.  All I got was a new villain and a too cocky peter parker.  I DO love that we didn’t get a repeat villain though, and I hope it remains this way.  The addition of the mid credits scene was cool too.  My thoughts on who that was?  Well Webb announced who it wasn’t, so I will narrow it down to two villains who could appear and disappear like that.  Villain for TASM2 will be either Electro or Mysterio based on that scene.

Acting as I said was superb, and worked on every level.  My criticism of Andrew Garfield wasn’t on his acting ability.  He just had to work with the script he was given.  His emotional scenes felt real, he looked as though he was in pain, and you really felt for him in his time of struggles.

The music was perfect for the picking too.  The only scene where music didn’t feel right to me was when he was skating through the halls of his school.  Even that wasn’t too out of place.

The audience could relate to what the protagonists had to endure emotionally, and there was enough in there to set up other stories.  I really want to see what happened to Richard and Mary Parker in this version.  I hope they don’t forget that either.  When I was a kid, I remember when he found out his parents were alive.  It was an emotional roller coaster, and I think they could play this out well for the next endeavor and the following one.  The genetics stuff and hints at Norman Osborn, really make me think that he wasn’t “sick” as they said.  I think he is building an army to do his bidding.  Perhaps there are six of them and quite sinister at that… (sorry, always wanted to see that on the screen).  I could see it now.  The Amazing Spiderman vs. The Sinister Six.

All in all, I have to give this movie two ratings.  The first rating is what the movie is worth in my book.  For that I give it a 9 out of 10.  My second rating is because it was the same stuff seen on a different day.  and for that I give it a 7 out of 10.  Just as a reference, the original Tobey Maguire Spiderman movie was given my 8 of 10 rating, so I guess this incarnation tied for that spot.  I think we are in for a good ride to come, and can’t wait until the next chapter.


Avengers Week Final Post: The Movie Review – spoiler free!

Unlike my other movie reviews, I will keep this one spoiler free and as least wordy as possible.  My wife and I went to see Marvel’s The Avengers yesterday.  Comic book movies aside, we both agree that this movie is perhaps the best movie overall that we have ever seen.  Not much stands up to it.  Nothing was wrong with it.  I tried to find flaws, but that didn’t happen.  I only wish it was a little longer.  Especially with that mid credits scene!!!!!!  Yes, make sure you stay through mid credits and all the way to the end of credits as well.  It is worth the wait.

So what now?  I mean the hype for me is gone.  Yes, I’d love to see it again, but what am I supposed to look forward to?  The Dark Knight Rises had an impressive trailer and I’m dying to see that one as well, but I really can’t see another movie getting me as hyped as this one did.  Sure, all the other Avengers related movies coming out (Ironman 3, Thor 2, Antman, Captain America 2) will probably get another end credits scene that will relate to the Avengers’ mid one, but until those, I’m going to be eagerly waiting.

Here’s to hoping that The Man Of Steel, TDKR, TASM and Judge Dredd will fill those voids in the meantime.  I give the Avengers 10 out of 10 stars.  It is a must see for any comic book movie fan, and any blockbuster movie fan as well.  Word of advice however, it builds the experience if you have seen the movies before it.  Of course you could see it alone and enjoy, but the crescendo of films leading up to it is what makes this even more special.  Those films if you aren’t aware are: Ironman, The Incredible Hulk, Ironman 2, Thor, and Captain America The First Avenger.  They will also teach you a lesson… always wait until the end of the credits.  You will be missing out if you don’t.