A freshman season of a superhero tv show that isn’t horrible? That could never happen, right? Wrong. The Gifted made its way in for 13 episodes of really compelling story telling. This is tied in to the already existing X-Men movies, but does a great job of distancing itself.
I do have to clarify the timeline a little. This story takes place as Blink and Thunderbird first meet, but in the new timeline established at the end of Days of Future Past. Confused yet? I’m not done. If you recall, Blink and Warbird (Thunderbird’s brother) were characters in DOFP, so this is a really great way to connect the films to the show. Let’s add in that it seems to take place before Logan, but after the (SPOILER ALERT) X-Men and Brotherhood are apparently killed off by Xavier’s out of control powers referenced in the Logan movie.
So the show plays out with an underground network of mutants trying to survive in a world that hates them. They don’t know what happened to the X-Men or Brotherhood, but it no longer matters. Sentinel Services is on their backs. The organization is tied to Trask industries, but they have acknowledged that the giant robot sentinels were an issue in the past (Days of Future Past), and have moved to smaller robotic drones and hound mutants (brainwashed mutants) to help them.
Comic characters Pulse, Dreamer, Trader, Fenris, and Evangeline Whedon play small roles, while a brand new character Eclipse takes center stage as one of the co-leaders of the mutant underground.
The season plays out a little slow at times, but builds as it goes, and doesn’t make the mistake of harboring on one story line or cliffhangers for too long. It does have a theme throughout the season, which seems to be resolved at the end. (More Spoilers) Polaris seems to be following in her father’s footsteps (Magneto) and joining the Hellfire Club with the Stepford Cuckoos. The remaining mutants are homeless with nowhere to go. Presumably they will take refuge in the sewers and become the Morlocks of comic fame, but that is something for season 2 to tackle. And I’m hoping Dr. Campbell is not dead (He’s Ahab in the comics, so I’m sure he’ll be back in some form.)
What we have is a great X-Men B-list of mutants and humans who are surrounded by decent story telling. The great part of the show, however, is the Strucker family. Not only is their back story very deeply rooted in the source material, but they are characters you care about. All four of them really steal the show along with Agent Turner of the Sentinel Services. They are believable (at least their situations) and solid all around. The comic book connections are just icing on an already good cake.
I can’t wait to see what season 2 brings, as it looks to be more related to the comic books, but until then this was a good breath of fresh air for the superhero genre on TV. I give The Gifted first season, 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings. What did you think? Where do you think it will go from here? Chime in with your comments below.
Dafne 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.
Review of: Sleepwalker # 3 Aug
Publisher: Marvel Comics in 1991
Article by: Rick Pipito
I chose this issue of Sleepwalker because it was my first introduction to the character back in the nineties. I feel he is one of the most underrated characters in the comic book universes. Reading this issue once again, years later, it has resparked my interest in seeking out more stories involving the Sleepwalker. There are SPOILERS AHEAD, so if you don’t want to know, then skip down to the last paragraph for my rating.
The story begins with Rick Sheridan, filming a college horror film. Rick is struggling to keep awake, because he knows that by falling asleep, he will let the Sleepwalker loose. The panels here are one of the reasons why as a younger boy I got into comics. A female actress, who just so happens to be Rick’s girlfriend, is dressed in almost nothing. She is glad for the wrap on the scene because she claims she is freezing, and it shows. The artist has her nipples drawn so far protruding, it is enough to spark any young boy’s fantasies.
I digress. Anyway, it turns out Rick has screwed up the camera work. As they are viewing the film, he is suddenly approached by the Sleepwalker as he comes out of the viewing screen. Sheridan fell asleep afterall. As he begins to freak out, the creature reassures him that he means no harm. To do so, he goes into an explanation of his origin. Yes, this is an origin story, so there isn’t a whole lot more than establishing the character in this issue, but it is done well.
Sleepwalker explains that in order for this explanation to work, Rick has to realize that this is all in his mind at the moment. If for one second, he believes that what he is seeing is any more than a dream, then it will become real… and dangerous. A few frames are shown of the memories of Sheridan’s past first. He forgets about it being a dream, and suddenly they are sucked into a vortex of sorts, but he is able to reground reality once again by forcing himself to think it.
Next we are introduced to the Mindscape. It is a dimension that links unconscious minds together. Sleepwalker is from a race that has a sole purpose of preventing evil creatures and other races from entering the vulnerable unconscious of an innocent. He goes on to explain one being that has constantly escaped banishment. The nemesis, Cobweb, is this being. Once introduced, Rick has a hard time grasping the reality/dream factor once again, and it places him and Sleepwalker under the attack of Cobweb.
It turns out that the reason Sleepwalker is trapped in Rick Sheridan’s mind is because Cobweb had tricked him into a trap there. As Sleepwalker is being beaten around by the enemy, Rick decides to use his dream to call in backup. The reinforcements are none other than dream versions of X-Factor, X-Men, Avengers and Fantastic Four members. He had the power to do so, but Rick’s quick thinking didn’t realize that he would have no control over these versions. The heroes begin attacking Sleepwalker because they believe that HE is the monster that Rick wants to get rid of.
Finally, he is able to force his mind into realizing it IS a dream, and all goes back to normal. Sleepwalker explains that he tried to get back to the mindscape, but he can’t find a way. He makes a deal with Rick that when Rick sleeps, Sleepwalker will continue to protect innocent from threats. This time however, he will do it by walking in physical reality instead of the mind. They shake hands, and part ways with Rick waking in class again.
This story, though semi-predictable at times, was different than the standard comic. The antagonist was really just the hero’s mind. For a refreshing story, I give this a 6 out of 10, and hope to be able to review more of the Sleepwalker’s adventures in the future.