Friday, October 21, 2016

The Wolverine

The Wolverine is the far more successful second attempt into giving Wolverine his own solo film. Of course besting its predecessor is no accomplishment at all. The whole film though is a more than acceptable solo venture. There is absolutely nothing special about it. The action scenes are good. Jackman is good, the supporting cast is fine for the most part, the plot is fine, the villain are well they're a little underwhelming. Nevertheless the film pulls through to be entirely adequate  no more no less.

X-Men: First Class

X-Men first class was set to be a rejuvenation of the franchise after the failures of  X-Men Origins Wolverine and X-Men The Last Stand, though initially is was suppose to be specifically be a Magneto origin story, that set up can be clearly seen. Those scenes are actually the strongest of the film, where director Matthew Vaughn seems most comfortable in terms of the intensity. Michael Fassbender is a worthy young Magneto, and those scenes are indeed thrilling to the point that one would imagine they could have just made the Magneto story. You certainly have the villain in Kevin Bacon baconing it up in a good way, and there is an interesting dynamic between two men of similar minds coming into conflict. The film though desires to set up the team. James McAvoy actually does a very good job of crafting his own Professor X, and actually sets up the arc he'd go on for the future sequels. The only problem is the only other X-Men who even sort of work are Beast and Mystique who both have limited roles, but they serve their purpose. Everyone else is more of just there for their power. Luckily Vaughn's style utilizes the 60's setting well and makes for an entertaining film even when they characters are not. Although even on that note the action is a little flimsy at times, almost as though Vaughn is bit lost when he can't have heads explode. The film is technically a little messy but it successfully was the injection of energy the series desperately needed.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins took the most popular character from the series and finally just gave him his own movie. What a waste. It is interesting to look at this film against X-Men; the Last Stand. Both films seem directed by men who did not care, though perhaps for different reasons. Where Brett Ratner was perhaps just doing his job in a way of just getting the product out without concern, Gavin Hood seems downright uncomfortable in the genre itself. There is such a lack of confidence with anything that you might connect with an action film. The special effects seem surprisingly lackluster, as though there was an unawareness of how to use them properly. There's not a decent action scene in the film. The visual are often cringe inducing whether that is the abysmal rendition of Deadpool, or the way they have Sabretooth run on all fours like a dog. All these mistakes seem of someone who just was never right for the project. Of course as problematic as Hood's direction is it is not helped by the terrible screenplay. It tries covering too much ground for Wolverine while failing to really bring any further depth to the character. The film introduces several new characters and not a single one is given any substance. Now I will say the film actually tries to do some justice to Sabretooth by casting Liev Schreiber, but the writing and direction still hinders any attempts by the talented actor. Jackman does come to play, but again everything about this film is so sloppy in terms of the direction or underwritten it doesn't matter.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

X-Men: The Last Stand

X-Men: The Last Stand took the noticeable improvements of X-2 over the original, and immediately set fire to them. The film is curiosity as you see what appears to be a director without passion for the material in anyway make a film anyways. Bree Ratner treats the previously established character more of a series of action figures for him to bash together. Any developments are dropped and instead we get a two dimensional showdown between good and evil. This is a film the trudges along without a care in the world. Characters are killed without care, or their character's assassinated without a reason. New characters are introduced and it is basically up to the actors for any development. For example we are introduced to Angel, played by the best American actor of his age group Ben Foster, who is there just to fulfill one requirement of a later action scene. There is no purpose to his plot. That is the case of most plots which are underdeveloped. The Dark Phoenix subplot is ridiculous reducing the character into a one note villain who glitters away her foes for no real reason. There technically could be a conflict for Wolverine, who probably got the least harmed by appearing in this film, but that is wasted by the fact that Phoenix barely plays into the central plot involving Magneto. She's often just there to the side for no real reason. Now as basically a series of sequences to bash action figures together the film even falls short. The action is most often clunky, with awkward special effects, as the fight sequences look ridiculously staged. Although there are technically a few okay elements, a few of the performances, the film is a waste and so disposable that the series itself did not mind erasing it from existence.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

X-2: X-Men United

X-2 is the far more successful followup to the original x-men, making use of what that earlier film setup and smartly dismissing its lesser qualities. Technically it keeps the characters that did not quite work in the original film, but it reduces them in the right way actually. That is it still uses them for something, but limits the use in an effective fashion. The film shines most by embracing Wolverine even more, and though it does not go full blown comic book it disregards that pseudo apologetic tone found in the first film. The funny thing is it has a bit more fun with the concept, particularly in the character of Nightcrawler, even though it removes the needless winking to the audience. It instead finds its more humorous moments within character moments. The film though still by and large has a technically a darker tone, though never too dark. In it's effective exploring not only the potentially dangerous qualities of the mutants, but also the equally dangerous human reaction. The film thrives with its far better use of villains. Magento comes to life much more this time around by having him mostly a supporting anti-hero with a few well placed moments of true villainy. It's main villain in Brian Cox's Stryker, is a proper scene stealer, as per usual for Cox, but it goes a bit further through the relationship developed between the man and Wolverine. Just about everything is a fine improvement over the original. The action is superior, the characters are better realized, and the story if far more engaging almost throughout. I say almost because the one weakness the film does have is in its final scenes where it unfortunately sets up the third film. More on that later.

Friday, September 23, 2016


X-Men is the timid first entry of the new millennium into the superhero genre. I say timid in that it is most resistant to accept its comic book background. It's costuming far more influenced by The Matrix from the previous year than the comics that birthed it, with the script often mocking the comic whether for its use of costumes or code names. This goes beyond simply style though and actually simplifies certain characters. The film is resistant to back stories, only really featuring the pivotal one between Magneto and Professor X, and just the thinnest of romantic connection between Jean Grey and Cyclops. No one really exists beyond when we first see them. For example Sabretooth is made just a one note goon, and his relationship with Wolverine is non-existent to the point that Wolverine even scoffs at the name. The film for the most part wastes the potential of the comic limiting the story even further into a particularly uninteresting plot about Magneto trying to use a changing machine against a group of world leaders. The action is not of anything of note, though not terrible, but I'd say the most memorable moment in the final climax is the terrible line about toads and lightning. The film makes mostly mistakes, focusing so much on Rogue, under developing the supporting characters, using a derivative style, and using such an uninspired plot. But hey it successfully introduced Wolverine, and in turn Hugh Jackman.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Wizard of Oz

 The Wizard of Oz  must  be noted as a true classic. That is simply a fact simple as that. It has successfully remained a mainstay in culture from its release in 39 to now. It does not even have the complications involved with say a Gone With the Wind, due to being primarily set in a fantasy land, and its true message being that there is "no place like home". Now there is much to admire about this film. The whole cast is engaging giving appropriately stylized performances that fit the tone well set by Victor Fleming's direction, or perhaps Mervyn LeRoy's producing but I digress. The production design is some of the most memorable and iconic that has ever graced the screen. Think of any setting in the film and you can instantly recall it. Then there is the makeup which is impressive to this day, as it realizing each character in such lively detail. Then there are all the songs, not a single forgettable one. So what don't like, nothing. This film's earned its place. It's a wonderful film, and there is never a question in my mind why it is regarded as an all time classic. I'll admit I don't love it as much as some, if not many, but nevertheless I can't deny its greatness.