X-MEN: AND HISTORY REWRITES ITSELF…

Yes, I know, I’m a week late but I’ve finally seen X Men: Days Of Future Past

And before I give my view on it, I have but one word for what I saw: AMAZING!

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(***SPOILERS AHEAD, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET, YOU HAVE BEEN FOREWARNED. DO NOT READ ON UNLESS YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN THE MOVIE OR YOU DON’T CARE IF THE PLOT OF A FILM/SERIES IS RUINED FOR YOU***)

First off, the performances from every single actor or actress in this movie was on point. Every one of them who have ever been in one of the films from the X-Men franchise brought their “A” game.

And before I get to the original and current cast, I first have to give props to the newcomers. The new cast that played the future X-Men did well. And as per usual, Peter Dinklage pulls out another terrific performance.

To the regulars…

James McAvoy as young Xavier did really well, pulling off Charles’ transition from being a broken and isolated man to rediscovering the path he needs to take to become the Patrick Stewart incarnation of Xavier we all know and love.

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In terms of Magneto, once again, the Fassbender portrayal of the character is a lot more cooler than Sir Ian McKellen’s one, but that’s only because the older Erik Lensherr is more in tune with his abilities and wiser. Young Erik is still so full of rage, so when he uses his powers he does it in an aggressive manner, whereas older Erik is well resided in the place between peace and tranquility.

Jennifer Lawrence’s incarnation of Mystique is one that fans will love because she is a lot more like her comic book version than she was in the original films.

In the earlier portrayal by Rebecca Romijn, Mystique was definitely cold and calculated and yes she was pretty cool, but she was so robotic because she didn’t have a lot of dialogue. Everything she did was through action, so audiences could hardly empathize with her.

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But this edition of Mystique takes what was great about the previous display of the character and adds the emotion to her. This time, Mystique is part of the film’s soul. Like Charles, she has lost her way, but like Erik, she is filled internally with a lot of conflict.

There was a lot of emotion…

The events that took place between First Class and Days Of Future Past, which include historical events like the Vietnam war hit everyone hard, as losses were suffered from all sides.

As Hank mentioned, most of the students and teachers from the Xavier Institute were drafted in, and one by one they died, and it broke Charles.

It was sad to hear that some of the characters that, even though they were not incredibly relevant, from First Class, met tragic fates including Emma, Angel and Banshee.

Erik, Raven, Hank and even Alex have all been broken like Charles. What’s more is how they have all decided to take different approaches to get over the losses.

It’s no wonder why we find young Charles a damaged man to the point that he tells Logan that everyone dies some day.

And the film didn’t just deal with the emotional state of the characters, but also about their relationships with each other. About trying to repair what was broken or about characters trying to find their way. Especially the Young Charles/Erik/Mystique element.

The scene on the plane ride to Paris in which Erik and Charles argue about who abandoned who summed up a very delicate relationship.

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It’s clear that they both still care for each other, and it’s why Charles selfishly rages at Erik that he abandoned him and took Raven away. Taking away the things that mattered most to him. But Erik is not just angry about Charles’ abandonment but also at the fact that him abandoning Erik cost the lives of so many allies they hold dear.

Hugh Jackman as always, kills it as Wolverine. Even if people don’t like Logan’s stand out films, you can’t help go see it because of Jackman. The character is already the most popular of the X-Men, and Jackman’s portrayal of him keeps that favouritism in place.

Even though I don’t like the fact that Wolverine is always central to the plot of the Singer films, in Days Of Future Past I was glad he was the central character thread that kept both the timelines together. I felt Logan’s pain and impatience when he was trying to convince young Charles that he was telling the truth.

Especially when he grabs Charles and tells him that he has come a long way and has lost a lot of good friends who were good people. And what’s more he tells Charles that if he doesn’t listen to him he too will suffer the same losses and they hurt just as worse.

The scene with Logan that really got me was when he tells young Charles on the plane to Washington that even though when he saw tragic memories, there were also good ones and begs Charles to promise him that he find the X-Men. To find Storm, Jean, Scott.

I keep saying that the film is filled with emotion because that’s as best how I can describe it. Yes, the matters at hand and the action are important, but they weren’t the factors that stood out to me. It was the emotions that kept me locked into the film.

Alongside Wolverine, young Charles and Mystique were essentially the heart of the film, keeping it emotionally engaging. Even Hank, who you can see was still quite saddened by Raven’s departure added more to the tender serving.

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In fact, a lot of the characters brought so much emotional energy, but it’s the first three just mentioned that really stick out.

Heck, even that one scene that we saw Alex Summers in tugged at the heartstrings, especially when he gets onto the plane and asks a disguised Raven if she was coming home. I would have liked to have seen his character have a full stay in this movie and have a lot to do.

Will he make a possible appearance in Apocalypse? It would be interesting to see how they tackle his relation to young Scott. It’ll probably be like the Magneto/Quicksilver elevator scene.

It was also touching to see that the film wasn’t just about Charles finding hope again, but it reached out to audience members to tell them that no matter how dark things get, there’s always a bright side and that we have to keep hoping.

I think what a lot of the fans will take from this film is what happens at the end, and I’m not just talking post credits…

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The creation of the sentinel programme happened at the same time as the original trilogy, so while the films were taking place sentinels were being built and modified to be more adaptable in combat against mutants.

By putting an end to the Sentinel programme it means the X-Men aren’t going to meet the fate they end up in at the start of the film.

And with it comes changes to the current timeline.

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Logan didn’t join Charles’ team until the first film (I was going to say he didn’t meet Charles until the first film, but we all remember that scene from First Class). But by meeting him in 1973 that means (and this is me making an assumption), he will be a part of Charles’ X-team for the next installment, which was hinted at when after the events in the 70’s Hank asks Charles of Logan’s fate and when Logan meets Charles in his office in the new timeline, Charles tells him he’s got a lot of catching up to do from 1973.

It would only make sense…

Not to mention when Logan wakes up, all the beloved characters from the original movie reach a happier fate, and what’s more, like Logan, we feel such joy and relief and happiness when we find that both Jean and Scott (yes that Scott as in Scott Summers as in Cyclops), is still alive.

You’re not just happy to see that they’re alive but you’re happy to see that with all the pain and loss that Wolverine suffered, he’s finally got a peaceful and happier resolution to his story.

With Scott and Jean alive again, it now means X-Force is gonna be a go, because there’s no X-Force without Cable, and Cable is the son of Scott and (a clone of) Jean Grey. If they don’t exist, neither does he.

Up next, for those who didn’t see the post credits scene is Apocalypse. Rumour has it that it’ll be set in the 80’s and young Scott will be in the team, as well as Quicksilver. If that be the case I will be incredibly excited, especially on the Cyclops front.

My reason for this huge bias towards the Summers kid is that if you have a general knowledge of the X-Men comics, you’d know how vital and important of a character he is to the series.

And I’d say that that’s my only beef with Singer’s franchise. No one sees how important Scott is to the X-Men. When you think of some of the most important and iconic stories in the comics, from the Dark Phoenix saga to Age of Apocalypse, Scott is in some way connected to them.

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Scott is connected to Age of Apocalypse. How? Because his future child is fighting for survival in that timeline.

Scott is connected to the Dark Phoenix Saga. How? Simply because he and Jean are the love of each other’s lives and Jean being overcome with the Phoenix Force puts a strain on their marriage.

Not to mention, in recent events (Avengers Vs X-Men), Scott is at the centre of the story as he comes to understanding what Jean went through and kills Charles at his own hand.

The transition made by Scott from Charles’ prodigal son to having Magneto as a close ally is one that determines the fate of the entire X-team and it’s one of those issues that I feel should be brought to the fray.

Also, with the timeline changing, it now gives Singer the chance an attempt to make a Dark Phoenix movie, an opportunity tragically missed by The Last Stand.

It was clear that at the end of X2: X-Men United, Singer had plans to make a Phoenix movie, so changing the X-universe would probably allow him to make the Dark phoenix movie he probably planned since 2003.

There were so many things about this movie that I loved, from the story, to the action, to the characters and to the actors that played them. This film demonstrated why Bryan Singer was the right man to direct the X-Men films.

It’s as if the last few films in the X-Men franchise (with the exception of First Class) didn’t take place and that he picked up where he left off from the second film.

This film is like a hail to his return but also a sentimental last goodbye to the original cast.

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I believe Days Of Future Past is a film in the franchise that would rank highly amongst fans. For me, it’s the best one, and I loved the original movie from 14 years ago.

It’s very rare for me to say that the newest installment of a highly established franchise is the best addition.

5/5

 

MAN OF STEEL. AND MAN OF STEEL 2’S OFFICIAL TITLE.

Greetings all!

So, this week, the sequel to 2013’s Man Of Steel, got it’s official title (and I’ll give my reactions to that towards the end of this week’s post…promise…).

But following my opinion piece last week on the sequel, I thought I’d share my opinions on Superman’s latest reboot. I expressed my views on the franchise’s future, so why not speak about it’s current state? Right?

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Where to start…

Let’s start with the positives and what I liked about the film.

First of all, I feel that the film achieved what it set out to do. Which was to make Superman relatable, even though it was done in the similar vain to Batman Begins (you know, Bruce and Clark both left home because of some traumatic event and wandered around the world moving from place to place looking for some purpose to their lives).

I’ve always felt that between Batman and Superman, Clark was the more relatable.

Hear me out for a second…

Superman, powers aside, had a pretty normal upbringing. He went to high school, had his first crush, the usual. Even him hitting puberty was touched upon through him discovering his abilities. Like the X-Men, Clark has always been and felt like an outsider. Because of who he is, what he can do, he has never been able to fit in.

All of us know what it’s like to feel isolated and alone, being left out just because of who you are. And like most of us, Superman is trying to find his place in life. Who he’s supposed to be. What he’s supposed to do.

And that’s something Zack Snyder’s film beautifully touched upon.

In the Donner series, you could touch upon the idea that Superman was isolated and an outsider, but because it was done in a subtle manner, audiences failed to see that subtext. What Man Of Steel  did was that it brought those issues to the fray, making it plainly obvious for the audience to see.

Another brilliant thing about Snyder’s take on Superman was the cast. Henry Cavill, I feel, pulled through a memorable performance as the main character. One of my closest friends said he thought Cavill was the worst Superman on screen, but I strongly disagree.

I think the problem with Cavill was, like Brandon Routh’s incarnation, he was given very few lines of dialogue. It seemed at times that Cavill was just there to pose and look the part. Cavill did not speak until the scene where Clark is working at the bar. Lois had more to say than Clark.

And on that note, Adams did well as Miss Lane. She wouldn’t have been my first pick, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but her portrayal worked well for the film.

Of the cast I would say the weak point came from it’s main villain Zod. Yes, Michael Shannon gave a terrific performance. He did his best with the character. The problem was, Zod was incredibly repetitive. There wasn’t a single moment where Zod didn’t say something about “his people”.

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Yes, I get it, on Krypton, most of it’s population has been genetically engineered to serve a purpose, but in Zod’s case it came off as slightly one dimensional. There was not much personality to the character. He’s like the one guy at an office whose entire life is his job and has chosen to abandon any form of social interaction.

But like I said, Shannon did a good job…

Superman has always been an iconic character, and Man Of Steel encapsulated the iconic imagery of the character wonderfully. Nearly every scene with Clark/Superman was incredibly iconic, from the scene where he’s unconscious in the ocean, to him flying over the earth, to the scene where he floats out of Zod’s ship to save Lois.

When I first saw the scene in the trailer where Superman is walking in the arctic, wearing his costume with his cape blowing in the wind, I was filled with so much excitement and high expectations for the film.

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But there was one part that let me down…

My overall criticism of the film, the part I disliked the most would be Clark’s fight against Zod towards the end of the film. No, I’m not one of those fans who’s gonna bitch about Superman killing Zod. I didn’t have a problem with it. My problem was the fight itself. Not just the amount of destruction it caused, but also the choreography of it.

Superman’s fight in Smallville, though destructive, was a lot better. That’s how a fight between three Kryptonians on Earth should be.

It should be destructive, but it should be dirty. It should be gritty. It should have some realism. It shouldn’t be over the top. And that’s what the Zod fight was like.

Particularly when Zod grabs Superman’s cloak and spins him then lets go. It looked incredibly cartoonish and everytime I watch that scene on Blu-Ray I either skip it, go get a snack or turn the film off entirely.

This is Superman. Instead it looked like a fight scene from DragonBall Z.

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I’m not saying I have a problem with DBZ, and I don’t mean this in a bad way, but Superman and Goku are two different class of characters. Superman is a classy character who has been around for 75 years and that fight isn’t the character’s style. It felt like the fight was an imitation of DBZ and that was my problem.

And of course, the carnage…

Yes, I did have a problem with carnage. Why? Every person who is a Superman fan would want to see at least Doomsday or Brainiac brought to life. And those villains were rumoured to be considered for the sequel.

That’s incredibly worrying considering that, if a fight between Superman and Zod can nearly wipe out a city, then what happens if the Man of Steel goes up the universe’s ultimate killing machine, does that mean the whole of Earth gets brought to it’s knees during the fight?

What’s more is Superman is supposed to be saving people. Even at the cost of his own life.

During a fight, Clark would rather rescue someone from a collapsing skyscraper and taking a blow to the ribs than let innocent people die. He instead, is causing the mayhem and destruction. That, above all, is the worrying problem about the fight between Zod and Superman.

3.5/5

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If possible, watch this video by Max Landis, writer of the 2012 film Chronicle. Landis, in my opinion, is brilliant in what he says. I’m a fan of his and as someone who writes, I admire his work and look up to him.

He expresses his opinions on Man Of Steel which are reasonable and should be noted by anyone who loves Superman or hasn’t made their mind up on Snyder’s film. The guy knows what he’s talking about and I hope one day he gets a shot at writing a Superman (or any other comic book hero) based movie.

Video below:

And finally, onto the sequel and it’s title, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I don’t have much to say to be honest. You can express your fears about the production of a film but at this point; there is no point. What’s done is done. We just have to see what how it turns out.

Yes, I am a little annoyed that a film that is supposed to be part of a Superman franchise is now being shared with a fan boy favourite (Batman) and is serving up as a Justice League foundation, but bitching about it won’t change anything.

All I’ll say is that I no longer see it as a Man Of Steel sequel.

So, what did you think of Man Of Steel? Do you agree with my post? Or with Max Landis?

Also, what do you make of the title of the “sequel”, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice?

Comments please!!