Archives for posts with tag: Wolverine

Grade B –

It is the 1980s.  The uneasy peace between mutants and humans will be threatened when a powerful mutant named “Apocalypse” (played by Oscar Isaac) is freed from his prison.  Having the power to amplify the powers of other mutants, Apocalypse recruits and empowers four mutants to protect him (the four horsemen of the Apocalypse — yeah, I know, it’s kind of corny) as he implements his plan to destroy humans and create a new world for mutants.  Standing in the way of Isaac’s nightmarish dream are James McAvoy (who plays mutant Professor X) and his mutant students called X-Men.  It will take all their combined efforts — and maybe a bit of outside help — to defeat Isaac and his four minions.

My most memorable, movie moment of “X-Men: Apocalypse” is **SPOILER ALERT** the sequence that had mutant Quicksilver save all the X-Men in the Westchester mansion from an enormous explosion.  This outstanding display of Quicksilver’s powers makes one wonder how he could not destroy Isaac and his four horsemen by himself.  I find this to be a huge shenanigan that forced me to take a lot of points away from this movie.

Although “X-Men: Apocalypse” is one of the better X-Men movies (the sheer number of mutants going toe to toe is a comic book lover’s dream), it suffers from two huge plot holes (one already mentioned in the previous paragraph).  The second plot hole is this: why doesn’t Isaac just make a general call for any disgruntled mutants to join him from the beginning?  Take over a tv station and make his offer to the world.  With so many mutants being abused throughout the planet, Isaac would have amassed an army of hundreds, if not thousands, of mutants; and he would have been unstoppable.  So why didn’t the movie have this take place?  Probably because the writers were like “Uhhh…we’re not going to deal with that, and hope no one notices.”  Well, we noticed.

— M

The best X-Men movie I’ve seen: “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

The future of mutants and the humans who help them fight to attain their freedom and equality is very dark.  Under the guidance of a scientist played by Peter Dinklage, robots called Sentinels have the ability to adapt to mutant powers they encounter, thereby allowing the Sentinels to be very effective in killing mutants.  The only hope the few remaining mutants have is to send the consciousness of Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman) to his body decades in the past in order to alter an event that is crucial to how the future of mutants plays out.

Jackman’s mission is almost an impossible one.  For starters, his future body is under threat of being killed by Sentinels.  If his future body is killed, his consciousness will leave his past body; and if that happens before he accomplishes his mission, his chance to alter the future is over.  Second, the “past” X-Men that Jackman encounters is a broken group.   James McAvoy (playing a young, professor X) is suffering from depression, anxiety, and is addicted to a drug that allows him to walk but takes away his mutant powers; Michael Fassbender (playing a young Magneto, and whose help Jackman needs) is in a non-metallic prison;  Jennifer Lawrence (who plays Mystique) is out there somewhere, about to commit the act that will solidify the nightmare future of all mutants, and neither McAvoy nor Fassbender knows where she is.  Third, many of the X-Men from “First Class” have been captured and experimented on and killed by the U.S. government, so Jackman won’t get any help from these corpses.  Last, Jackman’s past body is pre-adamantium, so his bones are regular bones that can break.  That last part leads us to…

One of my most memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Jackman’s future consciousness wakes up to his past body and gets into a beef with a couple of big gangsters.  Jackman unleashes his claws, only to see that they are not the razor-sharp, virtually indestructible, adamantium claws he’s used to seeing.  Oops.  Ever carry a weapon on a regular basis, and then trouble happens and you reach for that weapon and realize that you forgot to bring it with you?  Yeah, I know how Jackman felt in this scene.

My most memorable, movie moment of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is the first battle scene at the opening of the movie.  It’s set in the future, the Sentinels have found a few X-Men, and the mutants put up a vicious fight to stay alive as the robots absorb the mutant powers and use it against their targets.  No longer are mutants at the top of the food chain.  They are now flyweights fighting heavyweights, and a knockout is imminent.

Director Bryan Singer (who failed at the screenwriting level of “X-Men”) and the screenwriters of this movie did an amazing job of raising the stakes from the previous X-Men movies and giving the mutants a worthy enemy; and by doing so they have given the audience a movie worthy of our time and money.

–M

The war between the mutants and the humans peaks when the humans discover a mutant boy with the power to turn any mutant into a normal human.  Having synthesized a “cure” for mutation through experimentation with the mutant boy, the humans go after Ian McKellen (Magneto) and his growing Brotherhood of Mutants who have stepped up their attacks against the humans.  As always, Patrick Stewart (Professor X) and his X-Men stand in the way of McKellen’s efforts to end the lives of all humans.

While we see a new crop of Stewart’s students becoming full fledged members of the X-Men, all is not well at the mansion.  Famke Janssen, who plays mutant Jean Grey, is thought to be dead; and some of her students and X-Men teammates are still grieving over the loss, especially Hugh Jackman (Wolverine).  But apparently Janssen had survived, and the near death experience has brought out the repressed personality called Phoenix which has become the most powerful mutant on Earth.  Naturally, the X-Men want her back because they love Janssen.  Naturally, McKellen wants her to join the Brotherhood so he can have a nearly unstoppable force in his war against the humans.   Which group does Janssen choose?  It doesn’t really matter, as Janssen’s mind is so unstable and her power is so great that the entire world is in danger of being destroyed by her.

In this 3rd movie of the series, gone is director Bryan Singer, replaced by Brett Ratner.  Since there are many talents involved in a Hollywood movie, I’m not going to say “X-Men: The Last Stand” is better than the previous 2 movies just because of the director change, but “…The Last Stand” is better then the previous 2 X-Men movies.  The stakes are higher, there are more mutants, more fighting, the pace is faster, and there is more drama.   And Storm (played by Halle Berry) shows more of her power, and looks scary when she does it, which is a far cry from the weakling  she was made out to be in the first movie.   I’m sad to say that this movie is rated PG-13, so there’s not much gore and blood when people die.  It’s a sanitized way of showing what should be gruesome deaths, and gruesome deaths is what I want to see when Wolverine takes the claws out and cuts through the flesh of his enemies.  (sigh) Maybe one day someone will have the balls to make a rated R X-Men movie.

One of my memorable, movie moments of this third part of the X-Men movies is the scene when we see Stewart (Prof. X) walking.  It’s a scene that takes place about 20 years in the past.  So, that would mean the scene takes place in the 1980s.  Big problem here.  In the movie “X-Men: First Class,” Professor X become paralyzed at the end, and that movie takes place in the early 1960s.  What’s up with that?

Another memorable, movie moment of “…The Last Stand” is the scene when a boy mutant named Angel is cutting off his wings with scissors and knives, leaving bloody stumps on his back, and the beautiful, white feathers of his wings on the floor.  He does this because he doesn’t want to be a freak, he just wants to be normal.   When I saw this scene, I imagined all the boys and girls out there who are not considered “normal,” and who suffer daily because we still live in a world where intolerance of people’s differences is a “normal” thing.  Oh, and for those who consider Angel a funny, gay looking mutant who looks like he should be in a gay pride parade in the Village: in the comics, he is transformed by a bad character into a very mean looking, powerful mutant whose wings are now made of metal, and the feathers can fly off like razor blades to kill his enemies; and he’s got beef with Jackman.  We’ll see if this plays out in the future X-Men movies.

My most memorable, movie moment of “X-Men: The Last Stand” is the scene when McKellen gives a passionate speech to mutants as to why they should fight humans.  McKellen’s character was sent to a Nazi, concentration camp as a boy, and his speech is clearly based on his experiences during those frightening times.  A time of people denying what the government was doing, hoping for the best; and then in the middle of the night, the attacks begin, ending in the murder of millions who were considered different and/or unwanted.

Always keep your eyes open, people.   Yes, the world does overwhelm sometimes, and it’s so easy to plunge ourselves into mindless entertainment to decrease the stress levels.  But once in a while, stick your head out of the sand, and watch closely what is happening around you.  And the more powerful someone is, the less he should be trusted.

M

 

Patrick Stewart (Professor X) and his X-Men — led by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine — are back in “X2,”  where the stakes are raised when a government agent has used a mutant to attack the White House in order for the president of the U.S. to approve of harsher methods to reign in the freedoms of mutants.   With that “false flag” operation bearing fruit, the U.S. military sends in troops to Stewart’s mansion to remove, question, detain, and possibly torture and kill the mutants who live there; and to use Stewart’s very powerful computer called Cerebro to kill every mutant on the planet.

We are treated to a very suspenseful and infuriating sequence where the military tranquilizes every child mutant they see, while Jackman — the only adult mutant at the mansion — goes into berserker mode as he stabs, cuts and slices the soldiers to give the children time to escape.  Unfortunately, the slicing and dicing isn’t gruesome or bloody, thanks to the PG-13 rating.  All X-Men movies should be rated R, damn the kids!  Anyway…we see a few future X-Men using their powers to get away from the enemy, such as Colossus, a large mutant who can turn his body into steel; and his transformation into his metal body is one of my most memorable, movie moment of “X2.”  It was a shot that lasted only a couple of seconds, but for an X-Men fan, it was a very nice surprise to see one of the more favorite characters of the X-Men world.

With the mansion completely taken over by the U.S. military, Jackman and a few other mutants are on the run, trying to find the other X-Men who are on various missions.  Eventually the X-Men, with the help of Ian McKellen (mutant Magneto), locate a secret, underground, military base that the mutant children have been taken to.  The X-Men and “evil” mutants unite in order to storm the base and rescue the children.  But McKellen has an ulterior motive for joining the X-Men, one that will destroy all humans and bring a quick end to the mutant/human war.

“X-2” is one of those rare, second movie in a series that is better than its predecessor.   Not much better, but better.  The story is more interesting, and the pacing is faster.  Of course, I still feel that this movie doesn’t do justice to the X-Men of the comics; but I found myself more entertained with this second movie than I was with the first.

Oh, I almost forgot.  My most memorable, movie moment of “X2″…that would be the scene when McKellen escapes his plastic and glass prison.   SPOILER ALERT here.  McKellen senses one of the guards has too much iron in his blood, so he extracts the iron through the man’s skin, producing thousands of tiny wounds that make the guard bleed out.  The microscopic iron float like a cloud in front of McKellen, who fashions them into 3 ball bearings that he uses to destroy his prison and kill the other guards.   That was a frightening and cool scene!

Which group of mutants would I join?  Stewart and his X-Men, or McKellen and his Brotherhood of Mutants?   None of the above.  Both groups have good and bad aspects to them, and rather than conform to any group’s ideals which I do not completely share, I’d rather be by myself.  Plus I don’t like taking orders, anyway.

M

The “X-Men” are mutants who live and/or work with another mutant named Charles Xavier, or Professor X (played by Patrick Stewart).  In this world, mutants are feared; and anything or anyone that people fear, they like to concentrate in one area where they can control and/or destroy them.   This story deals with issues such as prejudice, xenophobia, the struggle of being different from most people, and the right to be left alone and simply live one’s life.

On one end of the mutant spectrum, we have Stewart and his group of heroic mutants.  They band together for safety and spiritual and moral support, and try to educate regular humans on peaceful co-existence with mutants.  On the other end of the mutant spectrum is a powerful mutant named Magneto (played by Ian McKellen), who believes humans will never accept mutants; and that humans will continue to pass laws that will force the mutants into concentration camps where they will be destroyed.

As an X-Men and Wolverine fan for decades — I’ve read my share of those comic books — it’s surprising for me to write that in this movie, McKellen’s character is the most interesting one.   The reasoning behind McKellen’s actions (going to war with humans, and protecting his kind by any means necessary) are clear-cut and understandable.  In the first scene of the movie, which happens to be one of my most memorable, movie moments of “X-Men,” we see McKellen when he was a boy, being slowly marched into a Nazi, concentration camp with his parents.  When separated from his parents, McKellen’s powers emerge, forcing the iron and wooden gates to bend as he tries to get back to his mother and father.   A guard knocks him out, ending the boy’s attempt to reunite with his parents.   Fast forward into the movie’s present, and we see McKellen with a serial number tattooed on his forearm.   So, when McKellen realizes that the U.S. is moving ahead with the Mutant Registration Act, you just know what’s going on in his head: “never again.”

“X-Men” is a movie that could have been much, much better had it been given to a director who was a huge fan of The X-Men and Wolverine characters; but director Bryan Singer, as far as I remember, had been unaware of these characters until he was told of the movie adaptation that was being planned.   Singer did a great job dealing with the issue of people being afraid of others whom they know not much of, something that has been going on for thousands of years, and still going on today.  As for the X-Men characters…not such a good job.  I give him a C-, and I’m being kind here.

First, Rogue.   She was made much, much weaker than in the comics.  Rogue should be about as powerful as Superman, and yes, she can fly.  Now let’s go to Storm.  Again, she’s made much weaker than in the comics.  In “X-Men,” Storm is constantly getting her ass kicked before she finally uses her power to control weather and strike back.  Storm can create tornadoes and hurricanes and lightning, so why does she usually hang back to let other mutants do a job that she can easily handle?   As for Wolverine…first, when I found out that he was going to be played by an actor who is about a foot taller than the character — yes, Wolverine is short, about 5′ 4″, hence the name Wolverine, which is a small, ferocious animal — I flipped!  But over the years, Hugh Jackman has done a terrific job portraying him, so I let that go.  But…Singer has reduced Wolverine’s extremely violent/psychotic tendencies (probably due to the studio’s concerns for keeping the PG-13 rating) to the point where I look at his character in this movie as “Wolverine Light.”   Also, in “X-Men,” Wolverine is having a hard time fighting off the mutant Mystique.  Are you f@$%&ng kidding!   Mystique would’ve been mauled in a heartbeat.    Well, what do you expect from a non-fan director?

Well, let me calm down and tell you of my most memorable, movie moment of “X-Men.”  It’s the scene when Hugh Jackman (who plays Wolverine) comes into a room where fellow X-Man Cyclops is in.  Cyclops doesn’t know if it’s really Jackman, or a mutant pretending to be Jackman, so Cyclops is about to blast him with his eye.  Jackman tells Cyclops that it’s really him.  Cyclops says “prove it.”  Jackman says, “you’re a dick.”  Cyclops accepts that proof.  Ha ha!  Singer got one part of The X-Men correct: the animosity Cyclops and Wolverine have for each other.

I will end this piece by telling you people of an article I recently read about a filmmaker involved in “The Wolverine”, and how he was influenced by Roger Ebert’s take on the Wolverine character.  Ebert stated that he doesn’t care about Wolverine because how can you care about a character who cannot die and doesn’t feel pain.  What the hell?  Huh?  Wolverine does feel pain.   Even in “X-Men,” there’s a scene when Anna Paquin (who plays Rogue) asks Jackman if it hurts when his claws come out.  Jackman replies, “every time.”  Also, in the comics, Wolverine’s powers do not involve him being impervious to pain, so yeah, he does get hurt.  And he can die.  His healing factor can only do so much, and when it’s overwhelmed with injuries that are too great and fast, my favorite comic book character will die.

Soooo, Roger Ebert, if you were still alive, I’d slap you.  But I shall wait until I’m dead, then I’ll find you in the spirit world, and then I’ll slap you!   That’s right, Spartacus, I said it.

M

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