Tag: marvel comics

***2014 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-banner

The Avengers and everything related to that movie started a whole new level of franchise building. Two Iron Man movies and one a piece from Thor and Captain America, all culminating in the big team up. Then more solo outings from these characters, another upcoming Avengers get together and god knows how many more to come. The DC universe is having a crack with the Batman and Superman team up that will inevitably lead to a Justice League movie. But back at the turn of the century, it was a simpler time. A simpler time when Bryan Singer made X-Men.


Before Sam Raimi’s hugely successful Spiderman series, X-Men was kind of a smaller scale test, to see if super hero movies would catch on. They did, and now, after a reboot, Singer’s early oughts X-Men world is back to collide with the rebooted world of X-Men: First Class, with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Sound complicated and convoluted? Wait til you see the movie.

It’s sometime in the not too distant future and things aren’t going so well. Like most movie futures, things are on the dystopian side, and a handful of mutants are left to fight the Sentinels, all powerful robots that can adapt to any mutant’s power and use it against them. Left fighting the good fight are Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), Bobby Drake (Shawn Ashmore), and a few characters new to the series. They’re soon teaming up with Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), to have a red hot crack at a dicey, last ditch, time travel mission to make sure none of this ever happens.

In a string of incomprehensible exposition, we learn that Kitty Pride will send Wolverine’s consciousness back into his 1970s body, where he will stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Dr Boliver Trask (Peter Dinlkage), the man responsible for designing the Sentinels of the future. You see, it’s this one little bullet to Trask’s head that sparks the shitty future of the movie’s opening scenes.

But Wolverine can’t do it alone, he needs the help of 1970’s Professor X (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Hank “Beast” McCoy (Nicholas Holt). The only problem is, Xavier is a strung out junkie, Magneto’s in prison for bending the magic bullet that killed JFK, and Hank is still doing his best to deny his powers. So now Wolverine has to convince everyone’s he’s really from the future and make two arch enemies work as allies.

That, plus the introduction Quicksilver (Evan Peters). I’ve never understood the appeal of super heroes whose power is running fast. It has always just seemed lame. But I’ll be buggered if X-Men: Days of Future Past doesn’t make it the coolest power on display in the entire movie. Thenext Avengers movie will be doing well if they can use the same character (different actor) half as well.

This is better than your average super hero movie. It’s waaaay better than something like The Amazing Spiderman 2, and finds its own voice, in no way aping the success of every Avengers related movie. One of the biggest differences is the lack of final battle carnage. Sure, there’s a big fight to end it all on, and plenty of cars and buildings get destroyed, but it’s nowhere near the oppressive level of The Avengers, or what I hear audiences were subjected to in Man of Steel. It’s weird to say for a big, action movie, but it kind of keeps things a little more intimate, and it’s all the better for it.

I love that this movie organically merges the two worlds of X-Men movies. When First Class came out a few years ago, I assumed it was a complete reboot. I thought McAvoy’s Professor X was as connected to the Patrick Stewart’s version as Christian Bale’s gravelly voice is connected to George Clooney’s plastic nipples. There’s no way this connection could have been planned when they were making First Class, but the merge comes off as completely natural.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Directed By – Bryan Singer
Written By – Simon Kinberg

MOVIE REVIEW | Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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“Filthy? She has no idea. If we had a blacklight, it’d look like a Jackson Pollock painting.”

Spider-Man, the X-Men, the assorted heroes who make up the Avengers… All of Marvels stable of well known characters have their own franchises ticking away, bringing in huge box office on the regular. So now, Marvel has had to dig a little deeper, and resort to characters your average, non-comic book reader wouldn’t have ever heard of. Which is why we now have Guardians of the Galaxy.


A young boy runs out of a hospital after the death of his mother and is abducted by aliens. That young boy grows up to be Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord (Chris Pratt), a Han Solo style space thief, smuggler and scoundrel. His theft of a mysterious orb gets the attention of bounty hunter Gamora (Zoe Saldana). As well as fellow space thief, smuggler and scoundrels, Rocket, a machine gun toting, walking, talking, genetically modified racoon voiced by Bradley Cooper, and his walking tree companion Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-banner

The Avengers and everything related to that movie started a whole new level of franchise building. Two Iron Man movies and one a piece from Thor and Captain America, all culminating in the big team up. Then more solo outings from these characters, another upcoming Avengers get together and god knows how many more to come. The DC universe is having a crack with the Batman and Superman team up that will inevitably lead to a Justice League movie. But back at the turn of the century, it was a simpler time. A simpler time when Bryan Singer made X-Men.


Before Sam Raimi’s hugely successful Spiderman series, X-Men was kind of a smaller scale test, to see if super hero movies would catch on. They did, and now, after a reboot, Singer’s early oughts X-Men world is back to collide with the rebooted world of X-Men: First Class, with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Sound complicated and convoluted? Wait til you see the movie.

It’s sometime in the not too distant future and things aren’t going so well. Like most movie futures, things are on the dystopian side, and a handful of mutants are left to fight the Sentinels, all powerful robots that can adapt to any mutant’s power and use it against them. Left fighting the good fight are Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), Bobby Drake (Shawn Ashmore), and a few characters new to the series. They’re soon teaming up with Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), to have a red hot crack at a dicey, last ditch, time travel mission to make sure none of this ever happens.

In a string of incomprehensible exposition, we learn that Kitty Pride will send Wolverine’s consciousness back into his 1970s body, where he will stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Dr Boliver Trask (Peter Dinlkage), the man responsible for designing the Sentinels of the future. You see, it’s this one little bullet to Trask’s head that sparks the shitty future of the movie’s opening scenes.

But Wolverine can’t do it alone, he needs the help of 1970’s Professor X (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Hank “Beast” McCoy (Nicholas Holt). The only problem is, Xavier is a strung out junkie, Magneto’s in prison for bending the magic bullet that killed JFK, and Hank is still doing his best to deny his powers. So now Wolverine has to convince everyone’s he’s really from the future and make two arch enemies work as allies.

That, plus the introduction Quicksilver (Evan Peters). I’ve never understood the appeal of super heroes whose power is running fast. It has always just seemed lame. But I’ll be buggered if X-Men: Days of Future Past doesn’t make it the coolest power on display in the entire movie. Thenext Avengers movie will be doing well if they can use the same character (different actor) half as well.

This is better than your average super hero movie. It’s waaaay better than something like The Amazing Spiderman 2, and finds its own voice, in no way aping the success of every Avengers related movie. One of the biggest differences is the lack of final battle carnage. Sure, there’s a big fight to end it all on, and plenty of cars and buildings get destroyed, but it’s nowhere near the oppressive level of The Avengers, or what I hear audiences were subjected to in Man of Steel. It’s weird to say for a big, action movie, but it kind of keeps things a little more intimate, and it’s all the better for it.

I love that this movie organically merges the two worlds of X-Men movies. When First Class came out a few years ago, I assumed it was a complete reboot. I thought McAvoy’s Professor X was as connected to the Patrick Stewart’s version as Christian Bale’s gravelly voice is connected to George Clooney’s plastic nipples. There’s no way this connection could have been planned when they were making First Class, but the merge comes off as completely natural.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Directed By – Bryan Singer
Written By – Simon Kinberg

MOVIE REVIEW | The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

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Sam Raimi’s third Spider-Man movie cops a lot of shit.  It was panned by critics and nerds when it came out for being over stuffed and under developed.  While it’s by far the worst of Raimi’s series, it’s not the terrible movie nerds would have you believe it to be.  Its existence also means there’s a clear blueprint of how not to make a Spider-Man movie.  Don’t fill it with too many bad guys, don’t make Peter Parker a bit of a dick, don’t rely only on effects and big fight scenes hoping no one will notice the paper thin story.  Which is what makes The Amazing Spider-Man 2 so aggravating and disappointing.


Peter Parker’s got it all figured out.  He’s about to graduate high school, he has his hot dream girl (Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey) and he’s pretty good at super heroing as the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.  Then his missus gives him the ass, his mate Harry Osbrone (Dane Gehaan) goes a bit nuts and a couple of villains show up with Paul Giamatrti as Rino and Jamie Foxx as Electro (who looks like the cheesy cousin of Batman and Robin’s Mr Freeze).

There’s also the niggling annoyance of the mystery surrounding Peter’s long lost parents.  I had no interest in that whole plot in the first Amazing Spider-Man and I have even less interest in it this time around.  Actually, I’d be hard pressed to find a single character in this movie who is even the slightest bit interesting.  And at almost two and half hours, that’s a long time to not be entertained.  The only good thing in this movie is Paul Giamatti.  He’s obviously having a great time hamming it up and is great fun to watch in the few scarce minutes he’s on screen.

Every review for this movie and its predecessor always mentions the supposed chemistry between Garfield and Stone because they’re shaboinking in real life.  I don’t remember being too blown away by it in the first one, and in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it’s downright awkward.  Garfield and Stone are both good actors and have proven that in other movies, so I have to blame the screen writing.  The fact that four people get a screenwriting credit just proves the assumption that too many writers on a blockbuster should always be seen as a warning sign.

The dodgy writing is highlighted in the movie’s second most important relationship, the friendship between Peter Parker and Harry Osborne.  They meet up again after not seeing each other for a while and it’s supposed to be this big reunion between two friends who drifted apart.  Instead, it looks like two actors who never met before filming the scene.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t just bad, it’s bad and boring.  And it really suffers by coming out so close on the heels of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Where that movie took a character I had zero interest in and found room for action, a few good gags, and made me actually interested in the characters, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 takes a character I’m big fan of and made me just not give a shit.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Directed By – Marc Webb
Written By – Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, James Vanderbilt

 

MOVIE REVIEW | Iron Man 3 (2013)

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A soldier going through serious P.T.S.D…  Now that’s an interesting jumping off point for a super hero blockbuster that will probably make more money from kids buying action figures than it will from tickets sold at the box office.  It’s also something that makes Iron Man 3 stand out a little from the overly saturated super hero crowd.   Director and co-writer Shane Black had a tough job on his hands…  Take over an established, crazy successful franchise and try to keep his one, single character entertaining and interesting after we’ve all seen the awesome team up fun of The Avengers.

The movie opens in the early 90s with Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark and Jon Favreau as his bodyguard Happy.  This is Tony Stark back in his cool days, pounding booze and bangin’ broads, like any rich playboy should.   He also rudely dismisses a scientist played by Guy Pearce.  But that’s OK, I’m sure his revolutionary theories will amount to nothing and his anger and jealousy towards Stark won’t manifest as a crazy revenge plot.  Oh snap, I was wrong.  That’s exactly what happens.

Cut to the present day and Tony Stark is obsessively tinkering in his work shop building new and improved Iron Man suits.  We learn pretty quickly this is all a coping mechanism as he tries to distract himself from the horrible things he saw in New York in the Avengers climax, and the dark thoughts about what might be next.  He’s eventually snapped out of his funk by the prospect of throwing down with new global terrorist on the block, the Mandarin, played by an awesome Ben Kinglsey who chews the scenery gloriously every second he’s on screen.  Don Cheadle is in his own Iron Man suit, rebranded as the Iron Patriot after a red, white and blue paint job and shows up just enough to add to the movie in fun ways without ever overstaying his welcome.

Through a series of events, Tony Stark spends a lot of this movie out of the Iron Man suit.  That’s not a bad thing.  If he’s not in the suit, it means we’re not constantly being hammered with crazy fight scenes and mass destruction.  By resisting wall to wall action, it makes the few set pieces hit that much harder when they do occur,  like the squadron of Iron Men that appear in the movie’s big climax.  Even though I’d seen it in the trailers, the site of a couple of dozen Iron Men all flying to Tony Stark’s side for the last big battle still gave me a bit of a charge.

Shane Black’s screenplay brings plenty of great Shane Blackness to this world and helps give this character a new and interesting perspective.  He knows how to write dry sarcasm better than anyone and Downey knows exactly how it should be delivered.  I wouldn’t say this is the best Iron Man movie, but it’s more fresh and entertaining than anything you’d expect this deep into a franchise.  And it’s definitely better than Iron Man 2.

Iron Man 3
Directed By – Shane Black
Written By – Shane Black, Drew Pearce