LOGAN, VIOLENT. SAD. BEAUTIFUL.

 Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, one last time in  Logan . He looks tired.

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, one last time in Logan. He looks tired.

The X-Men franchise has been one of the most perplexing properties of the last 18 or so years in genre film making. They have attracted talent and made stars. They have alienated fanbases and confused audiences. They have rebooted, soft rebooted and botched continuity. You would think a studio like FOX could understand the value of a cohesive and balanced franchise, especially in a post Marvel Cinematic Universe world. But alas, the X-MEN film franchise is a “never know what you're going to get” every time you sit down in the theatre. Through all of that one thing has remained constant and at the forefront throughout, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. 

In 2000 nobody had heard his name before. Jackman was a stage actor in Australia, who stepped into the role of a lifetime due to scheduling conflicts with Doughy Scott who was initially cast as Logan. Destiny extended her hand to Jackman, and here we are 17 years later saying goodbye to him in the role he defined.

Logan is a film that not only wraps up this iteration of the Canadian X-Man, but also the portrayal of Dr. Charles Xavier by Sir Patrick Stewart. If Jackman was the one we never knew we were going to get, Stewart was the one we always wanted. His name was always the only one on the list when it came to the father of the X-Men. Though it could have been any actor with a follicle challenged hairline, I believe it has more to do with his capability than his physical appearance. Stewart is Professor Charles Xavier. 

Just as X-Men gave us Hugh Jackman, Logan has given us Dafne Keen. The young miss Keen was absolutely brilliant as Laura. Forget the fighting and choreography. Just her stares will cut you in half. Her dialogue is minimal in the film, but she steals every scene she is in and I really hope to see her again in the role. To see an actor so fresh in her career bring in a performance like she did is impressive. I hope the best for her in her future endeavors and film roles. 

Logan opens up with our hero in a bit of trouble with local gangbangers. He is making money as a limo driver. While taking a much deeded nap, he is interrupted by the aforementioned troublemakers. He is reluctant and offers warning. Then he does what we have been waiting for 17 years. He opens the bad guys up. Literally. Logan does not pull any punches with the violence. It puts claws on the ends and lets the blood flow and appendages fall. This film is violent. Though not gratuitous, it is necessary and almost impossible to stop if you think it was too much. Logan is a freight train when he gets moving, and you do not want to be in his way. This is so satisfying but at the same time, it feels almost like it is too late in this incarnation of the character. 

I am not quite sure if it is a shame that we never got what we wanted in earlier X-Men films. Would we be numb by now? Or is this our poetic justice for Wolverine on film? I remember being disappointed by 2013s The Wolverine where our hero is stopped in his tracks by a multitude of ninja. I was waiting for him to unleash on them. I wanted to see the "berserker mode" Wolverine fans have clamored for, only to be disappointed in his defeat. The audience and fans have finally earned what we have waited to see. 

Back to the story, Logan is obtaining medicine needed to help keep the ailing professor from going into mental breakdowns that cause his sickened mind to send uncontrollable convulsions to people within an undetermined radius. These breakdowns have killed X-men and others in the past and he needs to be treated to keep another occurrence from happening. At one point in the film, one of these attacks take down a good portion of a city. Charles is held in a modified and makeshift chamber on the outskirts of a desert hideaway. There, Logan is assisted by the mutant Caliban, who can track other mutants. This time he is portrayed by Stephen Merchant, who is quite fantastic to be honest. I liked the dynamic between him Logan and Charles very much. The film does a good job establishing their past and current living situation really well. You can almost tell the stories yourself, which is a good thing. Through altercation, Caliban is captured and Logan, Charles and their new friend Laura hit the road.

Logan is pursued throughout the movie by Boyd Holbrook's Pierce, who wants Professor X’s brain out of the way and Laura. Pierce is evil enough and you want Logan to one up him, he just does not have any gravitas and he will not be making your top 10 lists of villains anytime soon. He does serve his purpose well in the plot though. This is Logan’s story, but a stronger villain could have been more satisfying. They try to give an emotional connection with Richard E. Grant's Zander Rice, but it was like using tape where we needed a steel chain. 

I won’t write too much of the plot and some of the reveals, though you can see some of them coming a mile away.  At one point Logan, Charles and Laura meet up with a family and you get to see some great moments between Logan and Charles. There is a scene here that is absolutely beautiful and I feel they ruined a perfect send off with the introduction of a plot device that just had no pay off. Then they did it again later on. Again without giving anything away, I think that the film could have avoided this and had a more satisfying villain with Pierce. 

As Logan, Charles and Laura travel to the mutant safe haven Eden, there is some backstory revealed on who Laura is and what she means to Logan. We learn that there also X-Men comics that exist and Logan is not particularly fond of them. They romanticize the very things he has encountered, and the film makes a very meta commentary on why they don’t go the comic book route on costumes and some choices that have been made in past films. Namely continuity and character choices. 

It is no secret that this is Hugh Jackman’s last outing as Wolverine. I think he has been fantastic in the role, in every film. Even when it has been a weak X-Men film he has been a great Wolverine. His goodbye in this film is appropriate and beautiful. There is a point at the end where I was not sure if something would happen. When it actually did, I found it more poignant than I initially thought. It has been done before in films. Most recently in last years X-men Age of Apocalypse. But here it marked the end better than words.  A character does something and I think it is brought on by their worldview of who Wolverine is. He was a hero, but most importantly he represented them. He was an X-Men.

In closing, Logan is a great film.  It is satisfying and makes your mourn that this is the last one for now. Probably the best of the Wolverine/ X-men films we have received since 2000. My issues are minor, and that just may be my expectations over quality. James Mangold has given us a definitive Wolverine tale. It feels like a modern western. It has gorgeous tones and natural grit. When you leave the theater, you may catching yourself dusting off your pants.

When the inevitable happens and the powers that be will recast. Wolverine is too hot a commodity to never return. I suggest he sits out for a good 5 years. 

For a few reasons. 

Let us miss him. 

Let us want him back so much that we don’t care that it is not Jackman returning. Then give us something different. This is the most human take on the character we have seen. It would be good to see the tiger striped costume wearing version of the character. Maybe somebody who takes the backseat a little bit more. 

In my dreams, it would be amazing if the next time he appears he can be apart of the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not sure that is possible in my lifetime, but I think Wolverine deserves to be with his 9 panel brethren one day. Wolverine transcends the X-Men. He grew up there, but he is bigger than them as a whole. Hence, why he is at the center of every film. 

 GOTTA GO

 

BATMAN IS AWESOME!

 Batman squaring off against his greatest enemy...Superman?

Batman squaring off against his greatest enemy...Superman?

There are a lot of genre movies I am looking forward to in 2017.

Wonder Woman.
Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2. 
Spider-Man: Homecoming. 
Thor: Ragnarok. 
Justice League.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  

But there is one guy who makes movies that I am always super pumped on. And that guy is Batman. But this time it is Lego Batman and I could not be happier. 

2016 was a rough year for Batman. Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice certainly made a lot of money (we now live in a world where 872.7 million is dismal) but not enough to make the people at Warner Bros. as happy as they thought there going to be. Plus critics pretty much smashed it. In the end, it was not met with the open arms that everybody who was apart of creating it had hoped. Then came Suicide Squad 5 months later. Same story, little bit more of a win financially considering it was filled with C and maybe D grade characters. But it still had an overall negative cloud surrounding it. And our boy Batman was in that too. Barely. 

Now with all the negative press surrounding his solo outing in 2018 (maybe) we needed a bit of a pick me up. Or shall I say brick me up. ZING.

The Lego Batman Movie is dream for any Batman fan. We live in a time where you can view Batman through a lens of humor. Not in a way that is mockingly (1997's Batman & Robin) but with love all over it. And this film loves Batman. The evidence is all over the place. I couldn't even count how many Batmobile homages were in the Batcave, but I know they were all there. And that is what matters. 

Everything you love about Batman is celebrated here. Every film is represented in some form. The Batman Returns Penguin, Billy Dee Williams' Two-Face (my only complaint is he was not in it more!)  Little throw away lines people may not get are there ("Let's get nuts!") Repeat viewings are going to be necessary to get all of it. There is so much to digest on the screen. 

The plot revolves around the idea that Batman is awesome. Everybody in Gotham thinks so, and he does as well. But when he is alone, all he does is watch sappy romantic comedies. That is the best part of the Lego version of the Dark Knight. He is a love-able self absorbed jerk, and It is so much fun to watch. His password to the Batcave? Ironman Sucks. Imagine this being the real thought process behind your favorite iteration of Batman. You know the next time you view The Dark Knight you will imagine Christian Bale self monologuing in the Tumbler about how cool his life is. At least you will now. Thank me later friends. I love this concept and the team behind the Lego films have a really fun voice in the world they are creating. 

In the midst of dealing with his ego, Batman also has to deal with the Joker coming to terms with Batman's rejection of his arch enemy status. Batman see's even Superman as much more his adversary. Batman can't even seem to bring himself to tell the Joker he hates him. Which breaks the Joker's heart. So the Joker plans a scheme to trick Batman into putting him into a very powerful position. All while Batman adjusts to adopting young Dick Grayson. But he forgot about that, again he was too busy being self absorbed.

Returning to the role of Batman from the brilliant The Lego Movie is Will Arnett. He is now part of the cinematic Batman pantheon. His Batman voice is perfect. I almost want a live action version of him as Batman, because why not? I mean if Affleck walks...jk. But really, his Batman is a joy to watch and I hope they make more of these with him.

Michael Cera becomes a Lego as Robin/Dick Grayson. "Most of the kids call me Dick." This was the one character I was leery of. I like the character of Robin and I felt that this portrayal of him would set back the years of legitimate character building he has had in print. But his part serves the story well. And he really is funny. Plus an Arrested Development reunion is a good thing!

Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon was great as well. Not whiney or squeaky, Rosario's Bab's is ready to take over the role of Commissioner from her dad as he enters retirement. And she is ready! She even went to Harvard For Police! Batman is in love with her, but she wants to team up with Batman, not date him.  Rosario has so much geek cred. From DC animated movies, to her job as Claire Temple on the Marvel-ous competions Daredevil, she is busy living that comic convention circuit life.

The Joker was portrayed by Zach Galifianakis in a much more subdued way as he has been in previous incarnations, which actually works well in the film. His craziness is normal to him. He really is not over the top in any of the scenes I can remember. It was nice to not have somebody doing a Mark Hamill impression in this one. 

Rounding out the cast is Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth, who has the british charm needed for that role. And making their 3rd appearance in a film is Siri as 'Puter. She nailed it. Quick side note, all Lego brick people use iphones. Funny product placement. 

Chris McKay did a fantastic job with this film. His background in Robot Chicken prepared him well for this project. The Lego platform works with his voice and to be honest is a really good comedic outlet for film. If you really pay attention, there are some deep cuts there. He took advantage of the absurdity of the universe to make you laugh and was able to make your heart swell too I would love to see McKay tackle another DC property in the future that requires humor and heart. I hope he can do that...quickly. 

The Lego Batman Movie
is a great follow up to 2014s The Lego Movie. It does not have as much heart as it's predcessor, but it does leave you with some feelings. This dad may have shed a Lego shaped tear toward the end of the film. The Lego universe is starting to build into something fun for WB. The next film is The Lego Ninjago Movie based on another popular Lego brand, and that trailer seemed to have the same humor and fun you are now getting from that brand. 

The Lego Batman Movie is the Batman movie we need and deserve right now. You can tell that this was a labor of love. We all laugh at Batman because we love him. And now, hopefully Batman can learn to love back. 

GOTTA GO

BVS: CONFLICT

 Superman lifting heavy things.

Superman lifting heavy things.

I have been anxiously waiting to see new footage from Warner Bros. upcoming 2016 release, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice (now BVS) for months. The only real look I have seen is the leaked footage from Comic Con 2014. Which was awesome. A nice inspired piece from the classic Batman story, The Dark Knight Returns.  My anticipation has been building obviously. At that time it was about 2 years to release. 

So fast forward to this week. We are a few weeks under a year to release. The first official teaser was leaked out by cellphone. So I watched, I have no shame. Of course the quality was awful and muddy. Even so, I was able to get a feel of what was being set up for the film. My first impression was, "this is freaking dark."  To be fair this is in the same day that the 2nd Star Wars teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released. That thing was packed with wonder and hopefulness and ends with a glimpse of two old friends you thought you would never see again.

But it is a different film. Do I wish that BVS had that same hopefulness? Yeah. But break that down. It's BATMAN VERSUS SUPERMAN. Not Batman and Superman get a taco. Maybe it needs to be dark. The problem is we live in a post Avengers world, where colors are a bit brighter and fun is a part of the viewing experience.  WB has been a bit more serious in their comic book fare, which is fine.  But it can be a bit depressing. I loved 2013's Man of Steel. But that film is divisive.  I liked the set up it had. What do we do when somebody has all of this power? Who questions that? 

I think the answer is Batman. In this new universe of films, Batman has been doing his Bat-thing for awhile. He obviously is a bit intrigued by this guy who smashed Zod into one of his satellites (look it up fanboy) and he probably has questions. I do not want to speculate about plot. I have ideas, but i do not want to spoil anything on accident.  I like the idea of these two super guys coming to blows, physically and ideally. They want to do good, they just have different ideas on who to make that happen. 

But forget all of that. Watch the teaser again.


Still, "this is freaking dark". Batman tends to be though. But I think you can go less shadows, not no shadows, just a bit more adventure. The Nolan films already dragged us through tortured Batman. Maybe head another direction. Where is Robin? More Caped Crusader, less Dark Knight.

Let's talk about one thing that stuck out to me.  Superman seems sad. The one guys who always seems to be filled with hope and smiles. There is this shot where his face looks like, "i just want to help." Imagine wanting to just do good. To help others, and everybody has an opinion. He probably never thought that once he put on his suit and became a symbol that he would be judged so harshly as he is in the opening voice overs in the teaser. They put him on a pedestal and then knocked him down. The shot where "false god" is spray painted onto a statue of Superman hurt. He never asked for that. They placed that on him. 

That story interests me. You know in the end Batman and Superman become pals... hopefully. That is where the Dawn of Justice part comes in. With Wonder Woman and Aquaman guaranteed to be a part of this in some capacity, we know that the Justice League of America forms in one way or another. 

But still..."this is freaking dark". 

I want to take my kids to see a Batman movie. Even a Superman movie. I brought my then 4 year old to watch Man of Steel and there was not much he could watch or even want to see. I liked it, but it would be great if WB can have something the kids can see too. 

My son can only really watch 1995 Batman Forever and 1997 Batman & Robin (which is funny now). That hurts me man. Thank God for Batman: The Animated Series.

I would hope that there is a bit more hope and brightness to the film. This is just a teaser.  Maybe it is all intentional. Get some of the Batman fans interested in what is happening. It was pretty Bat-heavy. There is an epic story here to be told. The first time ever that Batman and Superman are on film together. That is historical. I showed my mom the teaser and her response was, "ooh they are in a movie together? That looks awesome!" 

Yes it does mom. 

 

So is this film going to be a Gotta Go or a Never Go? What do you think?

 

 

Welcome to the Friendly Neighborhood!

Spider-Man is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. To that we GOTTA GO!

To the casual movie fan this may not mean a thing. But to US. To the midnight movie warriors across this world, this is what we have long hungered for. To finally see Spider-Man where he belongs. In his home, with his super buddies! 

Imagine Spidey swinging by an Avengers battle in New York City and lending a hand! I am sure it may have crossed your mind a few times. So now it is happening, and it seems like its been talked about a lot in the background. For a while in fact. No matter where you land on the "Sony Hacks", information that has leaked gave merit to the thought that SONY and Marvel have been chatting.

Let's be honest, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a turd of a film. It looked pretty. It was a convoluted mess of a plot. It moved you to places so fast you wondered how a character had a deep connection to another. There were bright spots. I actually loved the Rhino spots. That is the one part I wish most comic book movies would do. Throw a minor baddie in there to help establish the world. And you have to admit that web swinging and slinging looked fantastic. Andrew Garfield was on point as Spidey (his Peter Parker on the other hand...)

So SONY is in trouble. There is a bad taste in the mouths of fans and movie goers. SONY wants desperately to build a Spider-Man themed universe on film to compete with Marvel and the upcoming DCU at WB,  but it has no legs to stand on. The character is worth millions (billions?) in merchandising but his film careers sliding. So bring in Mighty Marvel Studios (and Disney?) It is such a no brainer to have them helm the ship.

Marvel wants Spidey back. But do they need him? Probably not. But SONY needs Marvels help. This is the smartest thing they can do. This is free money having Spider-Man join up to where he rightfully belongs.  SONY and Marvel have a no money exchanging hands deal that lets Spider-Man show up in a MCU film in 2016. Then Marvel gets to produce the next Spider-Man film at SONY. Chances are Spidey shows up in Captain America: Civil War and not Dr. Strange. Though Spideys presence could help sell a Strange film, but Marvel does not know how to not have a hit. Guardians of the Galaxy anyone? Lets see how Ant-Man fares... 

What this does mean is Spider-Man gets another reboot in his less than 15 year movie career. Do we redo the origin yet again? I think we all get it. Which is kind of a shame, because I am sure Marvel has a way they would have loved to have done it. Maybe they can revisit it down the line. I say just do it in the opening credits with some Spidey voice over,

"Hi! I am Spider-Man! You all know me right? Bit by a radioactive spider? Check. With great power comes great responsibility? Check. Spin webs any size? Every day yo! 

Also, I am not a menace. Despite what this guy says...


::shoots web at J. Jonah Jameson face on billboard::

Anyway back to fighting one of my many adversaries. This one is called the Shocker. Though he looks like a big fan of waffles."

Boom. First scene done. Or something like that. 

So what are your thoughts? Care? Do not care? Already thought it was all connected?

Leave us a comment.