Tag Archives: marvel comics

Logan – Review

6 Mar

The X-Men series of movies seems to have been around forever. The beloved team of mutant heroes were shown onscreen in live action for the first time back in 2000, and there are a few of these actors that are still playing the same roles almost two decades later. In this case, I’m talking about Hugh Jackman as Wolverine/Logan and Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier/Professor X. Now, here in 2017, we’re seeing the departure of these two actors from their respective roles in the newest film of this series, Logan. What a movie to go out on. This isn’t just the best X-Men film to date, it may very well reign supreme as the best superhero film ever made.

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In the not so distant future, mutants are on the brink of extinction and have to go into hiding to avoid certain death squads and other forces that want them gone. One of these mutants is a much older Logan (Hugh Jackman) who is working as a limo driver to support his vices while also supporting a sickly Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). A chance encounter with a nurse ends with a little girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), being left with Logan and Charles who are tasked with transporting Laura to a safe haven for mutants. Laura is soon revealed as a mutant test subject known as X-23, who is on the run from the company’s head of security, Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), and his soldiers called the Reavers. Against Logan’s best wishes and attempts to rid himself of the responsibility, he takes both Laura and Charles out of their compound and begin their journey to the haven with Donald and his men hot on their tails.

There’s so much about this movie I want to dive right into that I have to force myself to stay focused. Let’s talk story first. I tried to keep my summary as vague as possible because there are so many layers and feelings that start to peel away as the movie goes on. It would be impossible to try and cover everything that is important in this movie because there isn’t one frame that is unnecessary. The story to Logan isn’t like any other X-Men movie, and it plays out like a very intense character drama as much as it is a graphically violent action film. The main reason this movie worked so well for me is because of how deep the story is and how it explored parts of these characters that were never seen before. The story is about Logan and Charles protecting X-23, but it’s also a story of family, regret, and severe, relentless pain. It’s can be a rough one at times, but I commend writer/director James Mangold and his co-writers for going there.

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The decision to make Logan rated R was a very smart move from 20th Century Fox, especially after the over the top success of Deadpool. This works great for the drama that I’ve already talked about as well as the action sequences. Let’s talk action, now. This is still a superhero movie, and a superhero movie completely devoid of action would be weird. Wolverine has always been viewed as an angry character prone to violent outbursts, and we’ve seen that in previous X-Men movies, but never like what I’ve just witnessed in Logan. This is Wolverine at his most unhinged. Limbs fly, heads roll, and the scenery is often times showered with pieces of whoever got in Logan’s way. What’s cool about it, also, is that it isn’t violence for the sake of violence. There’s a fair amount of action sequences that go heavy on the violence, but it has weight backing it up, and it never gets to a level that’s solely exploitive and gratuitous. It’s very well handled and was never anything less than exciting.

Finally, Logan has an excellent cast of characters and actors who play them to perfection. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have been playing these parts for years, so it’s pretty clear that they have their roles completely covered. Stewart gives a subtle and often sad performance here, where we see Professor X in ways that I’ve never thought I would. As for Hugh Jackman, this is simply his best performance. It’s controlled while also being ferocious, but the quieter and more contemplative scenes is where Jackman really shines by making Logan so vulnerable and appear so broken. There’s also some great newcomers to the series that are memorable. Dafne Keen, despite her relatively young age, is outstanding as X-23 and can really hold her own in terms of the ferociousness that is expected from the character. I also really enjoyed Boyd Holbrook’s portrayal of Donald Pierce, whose villainy oozed through every scene he was in. It’s exactly how I like my comic book bad guys.

I really wasn’t a fan of X-Men Origins or The Wolverine so I was really hoping that Logan was going to do the character right. Well, it sure does and it does even better than I could have hoped. It’s sad to see Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart bowing out of their roles, but this was the send off that they deserved. This is a powerful film that has some really heavy storytelling that will leave you teary eyed yet incredibly satisfied. This is the best written and executed entry of all the X-Men films and it brings something new and exciting to the superhero genre that can potentially change the game. I absolutely loved Logan.

Final Grade: A+

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Doctor Strange – Review

6 Nov

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown and expanded so much more than I ever expected since the days of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. After showcasing those more mainstream heroes, including Captain America and Thor, it was time for Marvel and Disney to add something new to the mix and bring in some lesser known heroes. Ant Man was the first to really go somewhere strange, and the inclusion of Black Panther in Civil War was just awesome. Now, with Doctor Strange, we’re going down a wormhole that I never expected to see in an MCU movie. This is probably the most unique film in the entire franchise, and is most definitely one of my new favorites. Who woulda thunk it?

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Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an accomplished, world renowned neurosurgeon who may operate on other people, but it only working for himself and his own inflated ego. After a devastating car accident leaves him with permanent nerve damage in his hands, Strange tries every medical technique he can find until he hears about this mystical clan in Kathmandu that helped a paraplegic walk again. Upon arriving at the secret training ground, Kamar-Taj, Strange is shown the secrets of multidimensional existence by the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), and is appointed a teacher, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Though reluctant at first, Strange becomes a star pupil and soon has to put everything he’s learned to the test when the treacherous magician Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelson) returns to unleash dark lord Dormammu and the Dark Dimension onto the earth.

I knew next to nothing about this character before going into this movie, so my expectations were a little weird. I was expecting something entertaining and disposable like Ant Man, but I got something so much more. This is more than just a comic book action film. While it works as an adaptation of a Marvel comic that builds on a universe that keeps on growing, it’s also a really impressive and mid bending fantasy. Listening to the characters talk about muliverses and mirror dimensions along with the lingering presence of the Dark Dimension and Dormammu just sounded so cool. It made even the extended scenes of dialogue feel just as exciting as the scenes with magic. The world that the screenwriters crafted with Doctor Strange is so fantastical, it’s impossible to complain at all about the lack of imagination put into superhero movies.

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So while the dialogue is all really cool, it wouldn’t be worth it if all the magic and special effects on display couldn’t match what they are all talking about. This is where Doctor Strange shines the brightest. This film has some of the best special effects I’ve seen all year. There was one point in the movie where Strange, Mordo, and Kaecilius are fighting and running through a city that is completely folding in on itself and coming apart like a kaleidoscope. Some of that scene was shown in the trailers, but it’s so much crazier than the trailers ever made it out to be. It was like Inception on steroids and LSD. The climax of the movie also plays out much differently than in most movies like this. It fits in very well with the rest of the movie and will certainly not disappoint.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as a Bostonian in Black Mass was a little awkward to say the least, so I was a bit concerned with how he’d handle the accent for Stephen Strange. My concerns were unwarranted since it’s clear he is the best choice for this character. He’s funny, arrogant, and sympathetic at the same time which makes this a fully realized character that is brought to life by a great performance by Cumberbatch. Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor also give very good performances, but I have to give an extra special shout out to Mads Mikkelson as Kaecilius. While his character didn’t have nearly as much screen time as I may have wanted, he stole every scene he was in and is one of the more memorable villains in the recent MCU.

 

Doctor Strange has so much imagination, action, fantasy, and humor crammed into it that it sometimes feel like it might burst from the awesomeness. The actors all do a splendid job with the roles and the special effects are going to make you feel like a kid on Christmas. This is definitely one of the better movies in the MCU, and while it may not be the best, it’s definitely one of my new favorites in the franchise.

Final Grade: A

Deadpool – Review

16 Feb

I’ve been dying to write this review for a long, long time. This is a movie that I’ve been so excited for since it was revealed that it was actually going to happen. We’ve come along way since that test footage was shown at Comic-Con. Now we have the feature length Deadpool. Deadpool is Marvel’s most beloved black sheep, so it’s no surprise that he’s getting this kind of treatment. There was a lot riding on this movie with all of the ridiculous advertising and the fact that Deadpool fans no exactly what they want, and I’m proud to say that Deadpool is the perfect movie for this character and also the most badass Marvel movie since Punisher: War Zone.

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Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is an ex-special forces operative who now makes a living selling his skills as a mercenary to the highest buyer. One night, Wade meets the person destined to be the love of his life, Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin), and the two spend many a happy night with one another. Things take a turn for the worst when Wade finds out he has cancer growing all over his body and turns to a man named Francis, aka Ajax (Ed Skrein) to undergo a highly experimental treatment that will cure his cancer and turn him superhuman. What Wade doesn’t know is how sadistic and controlling Francis is, and he is eventually horribly disfigured while also having his cancer cured and an ability to regenerate. After his betrayal at the hands of Francis, Wade assumes his new identity as Deadpool, whose mission is to find Francis and get his revenge no matter how many mutilated bodies he leaves along the way. If only he didn’t have to deal with Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand).

Deadpool is a hard movie to summarize because it’s a movie that has to be seen to believe. Anyone who has ever read a comic with Deadpool or played a game with Deadpool or have watched a cartoon with Deadpool knows that he is possibly the most unconventional comic book character ever created. This left screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and director Tim Miller a lot to work with. The possibilities to break the fourth wall, create chaos in Deadpool’s own psyche, and just have fun with complete anarchy were limitless. Luckily the film makers went all out and clearly had a blast with the material. Deadpool often times blasts into this anarchic blur of mayhem and doesn’t even let up when the end credits start to roll.

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I can’t say I was really worried that the humor and action in Deadpool weren’t going to be on par with everything else I’ve seen the character in, but there was a feeling in the pit of my stomach that caused me some concern. Luckily, I really had nothing to be concerned about. In terms of the humor, it’s vulgar and obnoxious, but also can be very smart and quick witted. Deadpool isn’t called the “merc with a mouth” for nothing, and Reynolds has plenty of great lines to spit, even if it means breaking the fourth wall and bringing meta humor to a much stranger level. As for the action, well, this certainly isn’t the next Captain America. It’s so gratifying to see people explode, get decapitated, smashed, mashed, mushed, and altogether obliterated in a Marvel movie. I couldn’t have been more pleased.

Casting Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool seems like the obvious choice, and that’s because he really was born to play this role. It’s great to finally see him get a chance to really play the character after his horrendous portrayal in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Just the way Reynolds moves and speaks makes him the perfect choice to play the character. The supporting cast all did really well too. Kapičić and Hildebrand had some funny scenes and got to show off their own powers while Skrein and Gina Carano played villains that are fun to hate. Finally, T.J. Miller had some great dialogue scenes with Reynolds and provided a lot of great comedic relief in some of the more serious scenes.

Deadpool isn’t the most complex or narratively reward superhero film you’ll ever see, but it is the perfect movie for the Merc with a Mouth. It’s full of great humor, explosive action, and spot on acting. There was so much riding on this movie’s success with all of the ridiculous advertising and the long wait for the movie to actually come out. It’s just so nice to see a beloved character given such a perfect treatment in a movie. I loved Deadpool and I can’t wait to see it again.