The Alien Critic Reviews...
The Alien CriticReviews...

TAC Reviews...X-Men Cinematic Universe

 

In 2000 the first X-Men film was released and since then, the franchise has had its ups and downs, but it still going. The reboot is a reboot and not a reboot, in Days of Future Past clear links have been made between the original trilogy and the new films which have featured the cast of the original films as well as the cast of the new films.

 

Here I am going to review all the X-Men films, I will chart the highs and the lows, from the first X-Men film to the more recent Days of Future Past

 

By the way, all of the X-Men movies have got a little something at the end of or during the credits so make sure you stick around to watch those.

 

Apparently Deadpool is also part of this canon too so that movie will be attached to this movie series rather than a stand-alone film.

 

Below you will find reviews for:

 

X-Men

X-Men 2

X-Men: The Last Stand

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men: First Class

The Wolverine

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Deadpool

X-Men: Apocalypse

Logan

Deadpool 2

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

 

TAC Reviews...X-Men

Date Posted: 15/02/15

 

Set in the ‘not too distant future’ in a world where mutants exist (mostly in secret) and the majority of the human population demands that they are all registered so their unusual powers can become known and controlled. The X-Men use their powers to fight mutants like Magneto who believe that a war between mutants and humanity is an unavoidable outcome of rising tensions.

 

X-Men Poster

 

Remember when superhero movies were not a dime a dozen?? Well, back in 2000, they were not so carefully thought out, and were basically seen as adaptations of comic books that might bring in an audience but they were never going to make the big money – That was until X-Men hit our screens with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier.

 

So what is the gist…?

 

The film opens with a concentration camp and a child being ripped away from his parents, in his horror he reaches out for them and somehow manages to rip a metal gate apart through some unknown means. The child survives the holocaust and grows up to become Magneto (Ian McKellen). He believes that the signing of the new ‘Mutant Registration Act’ being pushed through by anti-mutant politician Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison) will ultimately lead to concentration camps and detention facilities the like of which he witnessed in the concentration camps which is something that he will not allow to happen. Magneto’s lifelong friend Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) has faith in humanity and believes that ultimately mutual trust is the only way forward for both mutants and humans.

 

At the same time a young girl named Rogue (Anna Paquin) kisses a boy and somehow manages to drain his life force. She runs away from home and runs into a cage fighter with metal claws named Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). The pair are later attacked by two mutants named Toad (Ray Park) and Sabertooth (Tyler Mane), and then rescued by the timely intervention of Storm (Halle Berry) and Cyclops (James Marsden). They are taken to the X-Mansion where they meet Professor Xavier who offers to help them both discover who they are and what their powers can do.

 

Meanwhile Magneto kidnaps Kelly and uses a machine to turn him into a mutant. Kelly is able to escape after his new mutant powers start to manifest, but the process proves to be unstable. Logan joins the X-Men in order to prevent Magneto from using the machine on the world leaders gathering in New York.

 

There had been a few attempts to create a decent superhero movie, The Shadow and The Phantom spring to mind, and so taking X-Men from the comic book to the big screen needed to be done carefully before it would bury the superhero genre forever. Fortunately, whilst it was not the best adaptations it was still enough to capture the imagination of audience and led to the revival of the genre and numerous adaptations of comic book heroes.

 

X-Men was the first film of the revival of the superhero genre. Bryan Singer directs an all star cast in a solid and action packed film which started the X-Men Franchise. The film will appeal to non-fans and fans alike. Hugh Jackman is perfectly cast as the gruff loner Wolverine, along with Patrick Stewart as Xavier and McKellen as Magneto.

 

Magneto’s motives stem from his experiences surviving the horror of the holocaust, and his differing opinions about humanity sets him at odds with his friend Charles Xavier. It is refreshing to see a relationship between one of the villains and one of the good guys in which they were friends. Yet both are completely sure of their allegiances meaning that they cannot find a mutually beneficial solution. 

 

X-Men was either going to lead to the revival of the superhero films or it was going to be the death of the genre. Due to Singer’s direction and the perfectly cast actors and actresses and the success of X-Men. The majority of the Marvel Comics have since received big screen adaptations with a mixture of successes (Spider-Man) and failures (Hulk). However, X-Men is a good film that benefits from the fine performances of its cast, and leaves the door open for a sequel.

 

I liked this film, it was not spectacular but it does enough to create a good story. Not an especially complicated story admittedly…in fact a girl I once met told me that she didn’t understand the story and I was able to summarise it with this sentence “There are good guys and bad guys, the bad guys are trying to turn the world leaders into mutants, the good guys are trying to stop them” so complex the plot is not. But it works. The film is pretty good fun and whilst it is unlikely to win any awards it is worth a watch and helped to pave the way for numerous comic book adaptations in the future.

 

At the time I remember enjoying the film more than I did during a recent viewing, so perhaps the current trend has tainted my opinion of the film. It is still enjoyable and I am still going to give it a Thumbs Up

 

 

7/10 - An excellent cast and a fine director that set the standard for future Marvel Comic film adaptations.

 

TAC Reviews...X-Men 2

Date Posted: 16/02/15

 

Set a few months after the end of the previous film X-Men 2 (X2) follows Wolverine returning to the X-Mansion after searching for answers at an abandoned military facility at Alkali Lake. Magneto lingers in a plastic prison and the President of the United States is almost killed in an assassination attempt by a teleporting mutant.

 

X-Men 2 Boxart

 

X-Men was the first of the decent superhero revival films, and the trailers for the sequel promised something better than the original. Now whilst the story was not especially complex, the cast were top notch and all fitted their characters like gloves. There could not have been anyone better suited to play Charles Xavier than Patrick Stewart, and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was also perfectly cast.

 

In the sequel the stakes are raised as the war between humans and mutants continues to brew…

 

X-Men 2 opens with a magnificently choreographed sequence of a large blue demon-like mutant appearing and disappearing as he takes down the President’s secret service agents one after another. He is poised to kill the President when he is shot and disappears. The X-Men suspect that Magneto (Ian McKellen) might have organised the attack from inside his jail cell, constructed of plastic to prevent him using his powers over metal. Xavier sends Storm and Jean (Halle Berry and Famke Janssen reprising their respective roles from the first film) after the mutant responsible for the assassination attempt. Xavier questions Magneto but he denies being responsible for the attack. He tells his friend that during his incarceration a government agent named William Stryker (Brian Cox) has used a form of mind control to force Magneto to tell him ‘everything’ including the location of Xavier’s Mansion.

 

Xavier is captured and a strike team move in on the mansion. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Pyro (Aaron Stanford) are able to aid most of the other mutants to escape, however, some are captured. Wolverine and the others are cut off from the escape tunnel and elude the strike team heading to Iceman’s home. His parents are unaware that their son is a mutant and are not exactly thrilled to discover what he is and the powers he possesses.

 

Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), Magneto’s most dedicated follower, injects a metal into a guard’s bloodstream that Magneto is able to rip from him (seeing it happen is one of the finest moments of the film) and escape.

 

As the film progresses the X-Men are forced to join with Magneto and Mystique’s Brotherhood of Mutants in order to defeat Stryker who wishes to eradicate all mutants.

 

Sequels can be made because the film makers want to wring a few more pennies from their audience, they are not interested in telling a story or adding anything to the universe, it is just about making money. Then there are the other kinds of sequels that have the time taken to make them superior to the original, the characters are more developed, the universe is expanded and fortunately X-Men 2 falls into the latter rather than the former category.

 

X-Men 2 has the advantage of many second films because it does not have to concern itself with establishing the world and the characters. The main cast and director Bryan Singer have all worked together on the previous film and are at home in the world of the X-Men. The plot is also a step up on X-Men and puts usual enemies together to fight a common foe that wishes to eradicate them all. Personally I always like this kind of formula when former enemies have to put their differences aside to fight a greater threat then the other side poses.

 

The two main new additions are Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), as the catholic teleporting mutant, and Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) a mutant with the same formidable powers of regeneration as Wolverine. Both characters are fine additions to an already excellent cast, with Cumming as a great addition to the team due to his powers of teleportation. The cast clearly enjoy their respective roles and apparently the entire female cast were present behind the scenes when Jackman filed the sequence in which Wolverine is running down a passageway naked.

 

Bryan Singer is a skilled director and knows how to get the film he wants from his highly skilled actors and actresses. Wolverine once again takes primarily the centre stage with his back story and relationship to Stryker are key factors in developing the story. Jean Grey is also further developed and those familiar with the comic will recognise the beginnings of the Dark Phoenix (non-fans will miss the reference but it is further developed in the third film).

 

X-Men 2 surpasses its predecessor and is able to effectively tamper with the established structure from the original film creating a superior sequel.

 

It should not come as any surprise that my Thumb is Up

 

 

9/10 - X-Men 2 shows how good a Marvel Comic adaptation can be with a great director and fantastic cast.

 

TAC Reviews...X-Men: The Last Stand

Date Posted: 16/02/15

 

A ‘cure’ for mutation has been discovered. There are those mutants in the world that believes that they would be better off if they were just normal people, and are literally lining up in the streets to be cured. Other mutants believe that there is nothing wrong with them and the so called ‘cure’ is an offence to who they are.

 

X-Men: The Last Stand Poster

 

X-Men led to a revival of the superhero genre, and X-Men 2 raised the bar with a superior storyline, the introduction of several new mutants, and the Brotherhood of Mutants having to fight with the X-Men against Stryker’s forces. Changes to the established formula from the original film I always like, but unfortunately the momentum from the previous films has sadly run out with this instalment.

 

So what is going on with the mutants this time around??

 

X-Men: The Last Stand begins 20 years ago when Xavier and Magneto (Patrick Steward and Ian McKellen returning to their roles) during a time when they are visiting a promising new student for Xavier’s school named Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). She is a very powerful telepath but lacks the necessary control her potentially dark powers require.

 

Back in the present (which is the not too distant future) Xavier is concerned by Scott aka Cyclops’s (James Marsden) overwhelming grief and heartbreak after the death of his beloved wife Jean at the end of X-Men 2. She has been gone for years and yet he simply cannot seem to get over her loss and move on with his life. Meanwhile Hank ‘Beast’ McCoy (Kelsey Grammer) learns that a ‘cure’ has been created using a mutant named Jimmy whose mutation is that he cancels out the mutations in others. So the mutants of the world can be cured like their mutations are nothing more than diseases that need to be eradicated. Of course, to some mutants who are afraid of their powers and what they can do like Rogue (Anna Paquin) struggles with whether to take the cure or not, and others like Magneto view the existence of a cure as an affront to everything that makes a mutant unique.

 

In his mind Scott hears a message from Jean and heads off to Alkali Lake, and discovers Jean lying on the shore. The pair kiss and her eyes suddenly burn with energy. Sensing something is wrong Xavier sends Wolverine and Storm (Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry) to the Lake but all they find is an unconscious Jean and Scott’s glasses with no other traces of him.

 

Magneto leads an assault on a transport truck that is holding prisoners Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), Multiple-Man (Eric Dane) and Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones). During the escape a guard attempts to fire a weapon at Magneto but Mystique throws herself into the path of the projectile. Before Magneto’s stunned eyes Mystique reverts to a human appearance, and they realise that the cure has been made into a weapon. Using the weapon as a symbol that humans are forcing the cure on mutants who don’t give up their powers willingly and Magneto uses it to unite likeminded mutants who hate the government for coming up with a cure and treating them like they are some kind of genetic mistake that can now be fixed.

 

Jean, having been consumed by Phoenix persona, escapes the X-Mansion and joins with Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants.

 

The X-Men are forced to fight once more as Magneto and the powerful Phoenix attack the facility in which Jimmy is being held in order to stop more of the cure being developed and used against them.

 

I think I am going to call this tread: Tired Trinity Syndrome and what I mean by that is it seems to be a rarity that any franchise can maintain its momentum, developing story, and keep its characters interesting into its third film. The Blade films followed this pattern, as did the Christopher Nolan Batman films, and so did the Beverly Hills Cop movies (to name but a few). I don’t know why but for some reason the second sequel doesn’t really seem to make the effort of the original two, perhaps this is because there is already a loyal fanbase so the filmmakers don’t feel like they need to invest as much energy in an established film series.

 

X-Men: The Last Stand was the first film to not be directed by Bryan Singer (who had left to direct Superman Returns and took X2 screenwriters Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty and composer / editor John Ottman with him). Brett Ratner takes over the helm of directing. The key cast members once again return, however, Nightcrawler is absent. His absence in the film is not explained during the film but was apparently due to actor Alan Cumming’s reluctance to endure the extensive make-up process to film what would essentially be a cameo role. His absence is explained in the movie-tie-in game which is set between the events of X-Men 2 and The Last Stand. The character of Scott played by James Marsden, appears but it is heavily implied that he is killed by Jean, although, this happens off screen so it is not confirmed either way. Marsden therefore also just basically has a cameo role as he does not appear in the film after his brief appearance at the beginning.

 

The Last Stand falls short of its predecessors in a couple of ways. Several of the main cast are killed off during the film but their deaths are given such little focus, and the rest of the characters move forward so easily, that their deaths seem to be largely pointless. We have seen these characters grow in two films and to unceremoniously kill them off is a real shame that carries almost no weight. The death of Jean Grey at the end of X-Men 2 was given far more weight than any death in this film. Previous cast members that were very important in the other films have been dropped into the background so they might as well not have appeared at all. Rogue (Anna Paquin) was so important in X-Men, yet here she is barely seen and when she is, she is struggling with her decision about whether or not to take the cure.

 

Wolverine once more takes centre stage and his desire to rescue Jean is one of the main focuses of the film.

 

Kelsey Grammer is good Beast, but like a lot of the other characters, he is just of there and really doesn’t make much of an impact.

 

When the final battle comes  it involves the Brotherhood taking up arms against the X-Men who are once again trying to protect Jimmy before Magneto and his followers can kill him to prevent more of the cure being developed. The sequence where Magneto rips the Golden Gate Bridge apart and uses it to move his followers to Alcatraz where the cure has been developed it impressive, but ultimately pointless because he could have simply put his followers in a boat and sailed to the island. The humans present are equipped with the plastic guns loaded with darts containing the cure but ultimately none of them can do much against the Brotherhood meaning the X-Men have to make the final stand (see why they called it “The Last Stand” – clever right??).

 

They build up the idea of Jean Grey being this all powerful mutant but she doesn’t really do much other than stand there whilst the majority of the final battle is happening, and when she does finally unleash her powers, Wolverine is forced to choose between trying to save the woman he loves and stopping the Phoenix from killing hundreds of innocent people. Sadly the audience won’t really care what happens as director Ratner does not take the time to engage his audience with the emotional turmoil of the characters.

 

Unfortunately X-Men: The Last Stand is nowhere near as good as its predecessors and is nothing more than an average film that fails to live up to the standard set by its own franchise.

 

Like the atrocious Alien3, X-Men: The Last Stand cannot hope to match up to the previous films that have come before it. Ultimately, whilst X-Men 2 did leave the possibility of further sequels open, the time and energy that was invested in those just hasn’t been done here. So whilst it is not as bad as some of the other films that have suffered from Tired Trinity Syndrome, it is still, overall a rather poor effort that can only be considered average.

 

Even though the film is at worst average I am still giving it a Thumbs Down, because it is just a very lazy effort and as a franchise with so many rich and interesting characters to choose from it is a real pity none of the filmmakers could be asked to make this a decent sequel.

 

 

6/10 - X-Men: The Last Stand leaves the door open for a potential sequel but it would be best if this franchise ends here.

 

TAC Reviews...X-Men Origins: Wolverine 

Date Posted: 16/02/15

 

Following on from the disappointment that was X-Men: The Last Stand it seemed the X-Men franchise was effectively dead in the water. But as Hollywood can never just let once popular franchises just die, so someone asked themselves, what was one of the most popular elements of X-Men and X-Men 2?? – Why Wolverine of course. So in 2009 Hugh Jackman once again reprised the role of the grizzled character in this prequel to reveal how he lost his memory and how he got is trademark metal skeleton and of course his claws.

 

X-Men Origin: Wolverine Poster

 

Ask yourself a question – How do you take a character with a mysterious back story, a back story that has only been hinted at up to this point and completely rob that character of the mystery that makes their unknown past so interesting?? The answer is you make a lazy prequel that takes one of the best characters in the Marvel Universe and drains away all of their mystique.

 

So, with a heavy sigh, let’s have a look…

 

In 1845 in Canada the young James Howlett witnesses his father being murdered by a groundskeeper named Thomas Logan, seeing his father die triggers a mutation in the boy and claws push through his skin and he kills Logan. With his dying breath Logan tells the boy that he is his real father and together the confused James runs into the night with his friend Victor Creed, the abused son of Thomas Logan who is therefore James’ brother.

 

Over the next century the two are inseparable and work as soldiers. Both have violent urges and being soldiers allows them to express those feelings in the American Civil War, both World Wars, as well as the Vietnam War. However during Vietnam, Victor (as an adult played by Liev Schreiber) kills his superior officer after his superior attempts to rape a woman. His actions are defended by his brother James (Hugh Jackman) and the pair are executed by a firing squad before both are simply imprisoned.

 

They are found by William Stryker (played by Brian Cox in X-Men 2 but here is much younger and is played by Danny Huston) who offers them the chance to join the Team X, a group of mutants, but due to the team’s disregard for life prompts James to leave much to his brother’s annoyance

 

Six years later James, using the name Logan, is happy with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins), then Victor re-enters his life and without provocation murders her just to get at him.

 

The rest of the film follows Logan as he sets off in revenge.

 

If you want to revive a franchise, why do it this way?? I mean the amount of comic books and cartoons that have featured the X-Men over the years surely means that there is a world of possibilities for other stories. I have no problem with focussing on a single character but as Wolverine was the main focus for the X-Men films why has he been given another film which focuses on him??

 

X-Men Origins: Wolverine basically tells the back story of how Wolverine came to have the indestructible metal adamantium grafted to his skeleton, his relationship to Sabertooth and how he came to lose his memory. Considering that we saw Sabertooth in X-Men but there was really no indication that the two had a prior relationship, now I know that Wolverine wouldn’t remember their past, but there surely would have been opportunities for Sabertooth to goad his opponent with snippets of his past?? Thus giving this film some context because it answers questions posed in X-Men. In addition, considering how much the character of Sabertooth survives in this film, why was he never seen again after being knocked off the Statue of Liberty in X-Men, he can regenerate like Wolverine, so how come that fall seems to have killed him??

 

The X-Men films focussed primary on Wolverine and so this origin story does just seem to be retreading old ground. Victor Creed and Sabertooth are the same. Tyler Mane played the part in X-Men and was apparently interested in returning but has been replaced by the less physically imposing Liev Schreiber. A young Scott Summers (who would be played by James Marsden and become Cyclops in the X-Men films) is one of several captured mutants that are being used to create the ultimate weapon. Although, conveniently he is blindfolded so even though he is rescued by Wolverine he hasn’t seen him which is why he doesn’t remember him when they meet in X-Men.

 

Other mutants Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) and Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) also appear.

 

Regrettably, Reynolds seems to only be there to establish his character in the Marvel Universe so he can have a spin-off. A spin-off that as of yet hasn’t happened, apparently though it is in the works. Gambit features more prominently but again his presence in Wolverine seems to only be so a future film can look more deeply into his character but as far as I am aware that is not actually going to happen now.

 

I don’t like prequels because characters that have not featured in later films generally just get killed off, and ones that have appeared in the original films you know are not going to die so the threat to them is significantly reduced.

 

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is an action packed film that gives the audience further insights into the past of gruff character of Wolverine. However, like a lot of prequels Wolverine doesn’t tell the audience anything they really needed to know. Hugh Jackman is obviously at home playing Wolverine, and honestly I think he suits the part well, but it takes away the mystery from a great character who’s origin should have remained shrouded in mystery.

 

This is yet another film that really didn’t need to be made as it adds nothing and if anything takes away from the established story. Wolverine loses his memory when he is shot in the head with adamantium bullets, so why weren’t there two bullet holes in his skull when his body was scanned in X-Men?? Why couldn’t his memory have been erased during the procedure that gave him the adamantium (as someone says at one point whilst the process is happening) but he wakes up and spends the rest of the film slowly losing his memory a piece at a time. Surely that would have carried far more weight than simply shooting him in the head and giving some half-hearted, yes his brain will heal but his memories won’t bullshit to explain how he lost his memory.

 

My Thumb is lingering in the Horizontal because ultimately whilst this film is entertaining enough, it is just unnecessary and seems to have been made mostly to establish spin-offs rather than be the revival of the X-Men franchise.

 

 

6/10 - Not as good as the first two X-Men films, it is a prequel that no one asked for, but it is at least an improvement on X-Men: The Last Stand

 

TAC Reviews...X-Men: First Class 

Date Posted: 16/02/15

 

Made in 2011 X-Men: First Class is a superhero film that takes place mainly in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It also looks into the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr and how they ended up on opposite sides with one forming the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants.

 

X-Men First Class Poster

 

Okay, now after the disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006 and the largely pointless X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009, the X-Men franchise was just refusing to die and was limping on and on with one poor film after another, as it tried desperately to keep things going. So when trailers for X-Men: First Class appeared I was understandably apprehensive, a trailer can make a crap film look good, believe it or not, before I had read the book of Twilight the film was already in cinemas, and the trailer actually made me want to go and see it, and read the book. That is how effective a decent trailer can be. But after the lacklustre second sequel, and the irrelevant prequel, I was not sure exactly where the film makers were going with this film…but more on that later…so what is going on…??

 

A young Erik Lensherr (Bill Milner) tears down a metal gate in a concentration camp (in a scene copied from the opening of X-Men) and brings himself to the attention of one of the camp’s employees Dr Schmidt (Kevin Bacon), who murders his mother in an attempt to get Erik to use his powers, it works and much to Schmidt’s delight Erik destroys the room in a fit of rage. Meanwhile a young Charles Xavier (Laurence Belcher) walks into his kitchen to find his mother there, he realises that it is not his mother but a blue mutant named Raven (Morgan Lilly), that possesses the ability to look like anyone she wishes and welcomes her into his home.

 

Years later Erik (Fassbender) is on the hunt for everyone responsible for his treatment in the concentration camps and more specifically Schmidt. Meanwhile Charles Xavier has finished his thesis into mutation and is approached by CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) who witnessed mutants plotting with a high up in the military. Xavier and his ‘sister’ Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) accompany her back to the CIA and realise that there are a lot more mutants than they ever realised.

 

During his hunt for Schmidt, Erik and Xavier cross paths and the resulting friendship sends them both down the path that will ultimately make them enemies. But first the audience gets to see them as friends and gives them an insight into how close they once were.

 

When this film came out I can honestly say I was not exactly sure what it was, whether it was supposed to be a reboot, or is it was a prequel. Some of the details don’t really gel which makes classifying it as either a reboot or a prequel quite difficult. It has been hinted in the previous X-Men films that Xavier and Erik has been friends for years, and it was only their political views that put them on opposite sides of the line. Indeed Erik refuses to allow any of his followers to go after and kill Xavier despite Pyro begging to let him in The Last Stand. In this film the two met and struck up a friendship but it very rapidly became obvious that whilst Xavier has faith in the goodness of humanity, Erik believes that sooner or later mutants will end up in concentration camps, the likes of which he witnessed in World War 2 so they quickly go their separate ways.

 

There are a lot of very good things about this film, for one it picks up from the very disappointing X-Men: Last Stand and breathes some new life into a franchise that seemed to have run out of steam. It is also the first X-Men film that does not centre around Wolverine and as a result the audience gain an insight into the relationship between Xavier and Erik, when they were both much younger men. In the 1960s mutants were not well known, they had no rights and were in hiding from a government that barely even knows that they exist.

 

The cast are all chosen well with Fassbender doing an excellent job as Erik, a man who believes that it is only through pain and anger that he can use his powers, it is not until Xavier shows him how that he begins to realise that rage doesn’t have to define him. Kevin Bacon is also surprisingly good as Schmidt (and Sebastian Shaw), a man working both sides against one another in order to eventually take over the world himself, a man at the head of his own band of mutants. I hadn’t seen Bacon do much for a while so I was surprised that he was here, but I enjoyed his portrayal of the film’s bad guy, and it gives Erik his motivation. As he puts it in one scene “I’m Frankenstein’s Monster and I’m looking for my creator”

 

Like, I said, it is a little unclear whether X-Men: First Class is meant to be a prequel to the trilogy or is an entirely new reboot which nullifies the X-Men Trilogy. In the former category there is a cameo from a certain mutant with a lot of facial hair that seems to suggest this film is a straight forward prequel to the trilogy, however, the audience also learns how Xavier was paralysed. But when Patrick Stewart was playing Xavier in both X-Men: Last Stand and in X-Men Origins: Wolverine he was seen being able to walk, so it begs the question, how was Xavier paralysed in the 60s and yet when he is older and bald (McAvoy has a full head of hair), being played by Patrick Stewart with Ian McKellen as Magneto, he is once again able to walk? Perhaps if there is a sequel that will be explained because at the moment it is a little unclear exactly what X-Men: First Class is supposed to be. Xavier and Erik’s relationship also seemed to go deeper than the brief glimpse that the audience is able to see during the film.

 

The continuity problems aside First Class is still an excellent superhero film with a magnificent cast doing an excellent job in the pre-not-too-distant future universe that the audience have seen in the X-Men Trilogy. There is certainly room for further sequels in which the relationship between Erik and Xavier could be further explained, and anyone who enjoys a good superhero film should look no further. Do not be put off by the disappointing X-Men: Last Stand and the prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine as any fan of any superhero franchise should give this film a watch.

 

I am happy to give X-Men: First Class a solid Thumbs Up because in all honesty it is on par with X-Men 2 and might even be better

 

 

8.5/10 - This is the X-Men film that we have been waiting for since X-Men 2, it is an excellent film that is only flawed by a few continuity issues (which could just be me being picky)

 

TAC Reviews...The Wolverine 

Date Posted: 16/02/15

 

Released in 2013 The Wolverine once again has Hugh Jackman stepping into the role of Wolverine. It follows on from the events of X-Men: The Last Stand and ignores the events of X-Men: First Class as it continues with the original trilogy’s storyline and shows what happens to Wolverine after he was forced to murder Jean Grey.

 

The Wolverine Poster

 

As you know I was not a fan of X-Men: The Last Stand and whilst admittedly X-Men Origins: Wolverine really took more away from the character than  added anything to it I found the film itself alright. However I was delighted when I watched X-Men: First Class and was so pleased with the direction that the film seemed to now be taking the audience with the fantastic story and great cast.

 

But before I start loudly voicing my opinions on this film…what is the story??

 

The film opens with a flashback in which the year is 1945 and Logan is in a Prisoner of War camp in Nagasaki, when the bomb drops he uses his phenomenal powers of regeneration to shield a fellow inmate, named Yashida,  from the nuclear blast ensuring that they both survive.

 

We then skip to the present day (the not-too-distant future present day) in which it is a year since the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman once again returning to hi most well-known role) is a hermit living in the woods trying to come to terms with murdering Jean Grey (Famke Janssen reprising the role). He is tracked down by associates of the now dying Yashida who offer him the chance of transferring his powers of regeneration to him [Yashida] thus rendering Wolverine human allowing him to grow old and die. As Wolverine has started to view his mutation as a curse because whilst he gets to continue living, he must endure the pain of watching everyone around him die, whilst he goes on and on…

 

He is tempted by the offer but ultimately refuses. Yashida, doesn’t take the news too well, and has another mutant put something inside Wolverine that renders his ability to regeneration useless…and the rest of the film follows Yashida as he attempt to steal Wolverine’s powers thus saving his own life whilst Wolverine is haunted by visions of Jean Grey.

 

The film itself is good enough, it is quite entertaining, but follows yet another chapter of Wolverine’s life. The rest of the X-Men are not present and a few new mutants are introduced. He is haunted by murdering the woman he loved, and has basically returned to the gruff loner that he was in comics (I don’t really read the comics so I am presenting that statement as fact when it is based on what other have told me). Anyway, I did find the film entertaining enough and the idea that someone has found a way of taking away Wolverine’s ability to heal is interesting, it isn’t followed through fully. I mean he still gets shot, a bunch of times, and whilst the wounds don’t heal, his skeleton is made of fucking adamantium. So none of the bullets can do much as they just bounce off that. Yes, if a bullet had gotten through a gap in his ribs or something then it could have been a little more tricky for him to deal with. Of course, none of the bullets fired at him really slow him down for more than a few seconds as he continues to kick ass. So why does it really matter that he cannot regenerate anymore??

 

I am also a little puzzled about why Wolverine his so hung up on Jean Grey’s death. Yes, I understand that he murdered her, but he did it because if he didn’t she could have potentially killed hundreds if not thousands of people. He literally had no other options. In addition he tells her that he loves her before stabbing her to death, but Jean Grey was married to, and loved Scott. Wolverine even admitted to Scott that ultimately she chose him [Scott] rather than being with him [Wolverine] so I am not sure why they keep going on about his overwhelming guilt. Jean Grey wouldn’t have wanted herself to be consumed by the Dark Phoenix persona and kill innocent people so would have wanted to die rather than be a mass murderer – so because Wolverine loved her, he knew what had to be done.

 

I’m sorry but just get over it already, and abandoning the rest of the X-Men so you can go and wallow in your own guilt can’t be healthy for anyone.

 

Towards the end (spoiler alert) Wolverine also has his trademark claws sliced off, so the most iconic thing about the character has been taken away. Yes, we know he has bone claws but they are just not as cool or as intimitating as his metal ones so why as one of the character's trademarks been taken?? What are they going to do next - shave off his sideburns??

 

It may be nitpicking but I spent most of the time wondering exactly where this film fits into the X-Men Cinematic Universe considering that X-Men: First Class seemed to have taken the franchise in a new direction. Continuity didn’t seem to matter because that film was doing something new which didn’t link it to the previous films, and yet, here we are with another movie in which Hugh Jackman shouts in rage as he slaughters his way through various bad guys.

 

I’m not saying that I don’t like the film, but what I am saying is, like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, why is this film here??

 

Continuity is all over the place with a mid-credits scene just adding more questions but considering it was well known that Day of Future Past was due for release in 2014 I was hoping some of these niggling continuity issues were going to be addressed

 

When people ask me what I think of this film, the best I can do is shrug and say “It was aright” and it was, it was alright, run of the mill, nothing special. I don’t know why we really needed to see this period of Wolverine’s life and why we focussed yet again on him when it might have been more interesting to see how Xavier’s School was continuing without Xavier and Scott, and with Storm in charge.

 

My Thumb therefore is Horizontal, this film is ok, but only above average.

 

 

6/10 – There are a couple of interesting ideas but aside from building hype for Days of Future Past in the mid-credits scene I didn’t see why yet another film is focussing on Wolverine and none of the other characters in the X-Men universe.

 

TAC Reviews...X-Men: Days of Future Past 

Date Posted: 16/02/15

 

After the teaser at the end of The Wolverine this film attempts to unite the two continuities, one that started with the original X-Men in 2000 and the X-Men: First Class film released in 2011. Cast members from both franchises appear leading to mixture of old a new faces with of course Hugh Jackman at the forefront as he once again takes up the role of Wolverine.

 

X-Men: Days of Future Past Poster

 

As I watched X-Men: Days of Future Past I did it scratching my head as I tried to make sense of the different plot treads and which bits from the past films were relevant to the proceedings here, and which ones seem to have been forgotten for the sake of convenience.

                                                  

Right, then, this is the plot as best I can figure it out…

 

In the further-future of the not-too-distant-future we are familiar with, it seems that mutants have been all but eradicated thanks to a new weapon called Sentinels. They are robots that are programmed to hunt down and destroy mutants. They cannot be beaten because they possess Mystique’s ability to mimic mutant powers, so whatever strengths to mutants use to fight them off they absorb and use against the mutant attacking them. Kitty (the girl who could walk through walls) also possesses the ability to transfer a person’s consciousness into their younger self and so they use this to stay one step ahead of the sentinels. It turns out that the sentinel programme was initially started when Mystique killed Bolivar Trask in 1973. The mutants, including Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen), decide that if they can send Wolverine’s mind back to the 1970s, he can unite with Xavier and Magneto of that time and if they prevent Mystique assassinating Trask they can stop the sentinel programme from ever starting…

 

Still with me??

 

So Wolverine is transferred into his younger-self and sets off to find the young Charles Xavier (played again my James McAvoy) who is basically a recluse having lost hope after the events of X-Men: First Class and uses a drug that gives him the ability to walk but also suppresses his telepathic powers. Wolverine manages to convince him of who he is and convinces him to reunite with Magneto (Michael Fassbender), unfortunately, that proves to be a little tricky because he is incarcerated in the prison beneath the Pentagon after he was accused of assassinating John. F Kennedy.

 

Fortunately they are able to break him out and they set off after Mystique, unfortunately, in the future the sentinels are closing in, and if Kitty breaks the connection then the Wolverine of the past will have no idea what is going on and will be unable to use the knowledge his future-self possess.

 

That’s all pretty straightforward stuff I think…

 

Now as you are aware, I was a fan of X-Men, X-Men 2 and X-Men: First Class, and not so bothered about the other editions to the franchise. The continuity issues I still find irritating but I’ll come onto that later.

 

Now Days of Future Past certainly hasn’t spared any expense on the cast, which boasts the likes of Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, and Patrick Stewart all appear with most of them returning to roles they have played on and off since the first film in 2000.

 

This is an impressive array of famous faces and as most of them are veterans at playing these characters they fit back into their roles seemingly effortlessly. The visual effects are top notch and the story is very good. A particular highlight for me is when James McAvoy’s Xavier is trying to determine if Wolverine is telling him the truth so Wolverine invites him to read his mind, and through him, Xavier is able to have a conversation with this older self. He asks why he has to suffer and why he feels so much pain and he is told my his much wiser older-self that is his greatest ability. It is not that he can read minds, or influence people, it is that he can share a person’s pain, he can make their pain less. The sequence is expertly shot with James McAvoy coming face to face with Patrick Stewart and is one of the most interesting ideas ever portrayed in any film.

 

Continuing the continuity of the X-Men: First Class film is also done exceptionally well and shows what has been happening to the young faces we saw just starting to come to grips with the idea of a world full of mutants.

 

But now I have come onto the issue of continuity, this film links characters young and old with films that are obviously all canon. So, if everything we have seen up to this point are all canon, then how come when Wolverine lost his adamantium claws at the end of The Wolverine and we clearly saw that he only has his bone claws now, how has he got his adamantium claws again?? How is Patrick Stewart’s Xavier alive when we saw him get killed by Jean Grey when she was consumed by the Dark Phoenix persona?? Now that one could be explained by the end credits scene after The Last Stand because we do hear his voice but surely he wouldn’t look like himself if he has transferred his consciousness into a new body that was not his own??

 

Time travel always screws with continuity, which is exactly the point of it, however, there are so many things that just don’t fit with the ideas or events we have witnessed in the films running up to this one. Apparently when Mystique was captured, or a sample of her blood retrieved, it was used as the basis to create the sentinels, but why has it taken decades to use that information?? If Trask was at the forefront then I don’t see why it took the governments of the world years to develop his research into a weapon. Also if they were able to use genetic material to give machines such a power then why haven’t they used it to benefit mankind?? The further-future witnessed here is a bleak and dark place with mutants in camps, and any humans who have sympathised with them also being shown to have been locked up.

 

By the way, you may be wondering why Anna Paquin’s name features so high in the credits when she essentially cameos, well apparently she was supposed to have a much larger role initially. She was going to be rescued from a prison so that she could take over from Kitty but it was decided her presence would take away the tension of the situation somewhat so she was effectively written out of the story.

 

I really enjoyed this film and the blending of the original cast and the new cast is a superbly executed idea. I am being picky about the continuity but that is only because I find things like that to be irritating, but it in no way stops me from enjoying the film and giving it a well deserved Thumbs Up

 

 

9/10 – Superb film that brings together some of the finest actors currently working today, and it is a treat to see them interacting with one another in this way.

 

TAC Reviews...Deadpool

Date Posted: 28/02/16

 

Released in 2016 with Ryan Reynolds once again taking on the role of a superhero or at least a Marvel comic book character the film takes a Marvel film to slightly more mature audience. It does tie in to the X-Men films as it is set in the same universe. The film was directed by Tim Miller, and also stars Morena Baccarin and Ed Skrein plus Stan Lee does his usual Marvel film cameo.

 

Deadpool Poster

 

I am not going to say yet again that I am a fan of Ryan Reynolds because every time I do a review of a film he’s is in I spend the majority of the review drooling over him so all I am going to say is…Ryan Reynolds big fan…right moving on.

 

My experience of the character of Deadpool has been from what I have heard from comic book fans, a few games and an episode of a Spider-Man cartoon. Apparently in the comics Deadpool is fully aware that he is a comic book character so his whole thing is breaking the fourth wall. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it basically is the term used to describe when a character references the fact that they know they are in a movie, game or TV show. Remember when Psycho Mantis read your memory card and moved your controller in Metal Gear Solid?? Fourth Wall break. Or when Wayne spoke directly to the camera in Wayne’s World?? Fourth Wall. Get the idea?? Excellent…so there may be some tentative links to the character in the comics but as I am only going on what I’ve heard I don’t know how the movie relates exactly to the comics.

 

So as this is the first Deadpool film it is naturally an origin story so how did Wade Williams transform into the Merc [mercenary] with the Mouth??

 

Read on and I’ll tell you…

 

The story is mainly told by Deadpool himself during flashbacks, but for the sake of making things a little easier, it will describe what happens in the continuity that it takes place rather than the order in which the film tells it.

 

Wade Williams (Reynolds, obviously) is a former Special Forces operative that now works as a mercenary in New York City, in a bar he frequents he meets escort Vanessa (Baccarin), and the two become romantically involved. A year later Wade proposes to her, and she accepts. A moment later Wade collapses, and he is informed that he has terminal cancer. Vanessa remains with him, saying they will fight his cancer together but Wade does not want her to watch him slowly die.

 

He is approached by a man who offers him the chance to join an experimental programme that will cure his cancer. Initially he is sceptical but decides that if it cures him then he and Vanessa can still be together so he leaves her behind and enters the programme. He meets Ajax and Angel Dust, both of whom have been through the programme themselves, and unlocked various powers within themselves. The pair use a serum that will unlock an individual’s mutation but only under severe trauma. Wade is basically tortured by Ajax (whose real name is Francis and Wade mocks him constantly about it) and finally his mutation is unlocked. Wade can heal any injury, this cures his cancer but leaves him disfigured as a side-effect. Wade learns from Francis that the programme is designed to unlock someone’s mutation but only so they can be condition to be slaves to be used by the highest bidder to do their bidding. Wade escapes and attacks Francis but Francis tells him that there is a cure for his disfigurement, Francis is able to get the upper hand whilst Wade is distracted, and is left for dead.

 

He survives the ordeal and tries to reunite with Vanessa but is too afraid to do so because of his appearance. He decides to track down Francis and get him to cure his disfigurement so he and Vanessa can be together again.

 

In my Green Lantern review I said that I think Reynolds is desperate to play a comic book character, but the characters that he has played Hannibal King in Blade Trinity and Hal Jordan in Green Lantern did not fit him as an actor. I have been watching Reynolds (on TV not in a weird stalker way) since he was in a sitcom called 2 Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, and he seems to have a very laid back, funny and charming personality. This comes across in interviews he has done. So he needed to play a comic book character that would allow his own personality to shine through in a way that suited the character. Hannibal King was funny in Blade Trinity but the film itself was pretty poor when you aren’t laughing anymore and Green Lantern was not a good casting for him. However…I think with Deadpool Reynolds has finally found the comic book character that fits him like a glove. It is obvious that Reynolds is having a blast playing the character, and everything he does, just works with the character of the Merc with the Mouth that ridicules Ajax…or Francis…mercilessly.

 

Morena Baccarin is insanely hot in this film, and she has no problem with showing off that amazing body of hers. As far as her character goes I like her, she and Wade are both messed up in their own ways, him as a former special forces soldier and her as an escort, but they find a way to make their relationship work. Wade proposing to her and her staying with him after he is diagnosed with cancer shows the audience that they are genuinely in love and not just screwing one another.

 

Ed Skrein is a decent enough bad guy, and his reactions whenever Wade calls him Francis is priceless. I am not exactly clear what his mutation is because he is very strong, and says that he doesn’t feel pain or anything else any longer. Thing is he is impaled at one point, and although he escapes he was stabbed through the chest. I am not doctor…although I have probed my share of people over the years…still I would think that even if you can’t feel pain being stabbed through the chest could still kill you even if you don’t feel it.

 

This is where I am going to try and link things to the comics…as far as I understand Wade was used in a programme called Weapon X (apologies if that is not right) which combined numerous powers from other mutants into him. Hence “Deadpool” as he is a combination of other mutants powers, including Wolverine’s ability to regenerate. The process drive Wade insane so he is completely unpredictable and it is not ever made especially clear which side of the line he is on…good or bad.

 

In the film the ability to regenerate is his own mutation and he maintains the same personality that he had before. His motivation for entering the programme and then tracking Francis down again so his disfigurement can be cured is all so he can be with Vanessa. As motivations go that is about as clichéd as you can get so the story is very tired and adds nothing new. We even have the bit when Vanessa is captured by the bad guys and he must rescue her…blah…blah…blah…

 

Like I said this film is part of the X-Men Universe but I am not sure exactly when it is supposed to take place, even Deadpool comments on the continuity as in this version Colossus is Russian not American. He is therefore not the same person we have seen in the previous X-Men films. Colossus is also trying to recruit Deadpool into the X-Men and indicates that this isn’t the first time Wade has been given the opportunity to join them but we don’t ever see him interacting with the X-Men. When exactly was he approached to join them?? Plus there is a great Fourth Wall break when Wade heads to the X-Mansion to get help to rescue Vanessa from Francis but I will not spoil it.

 

This film is a 15 and unlike the child friendly films of the past it takes full advantage of its rating. There is plenty of blood soaked action, admittedly it is played more for laughs but there is plenty of violence, and the in-jokes regarding Colossus not being familiar with seeing so much carnage is a great reference to the previous ratings of the other films. Plus as I said Baccarin has no issues with showing off her body is all its amazingly perfect glory…so there is a fair amount of sex and nudity too.

 

The story is a real negative but it is really just there to give Wade motivation to enter the programme but the thing is there are a hundred other ways that the film could have told his origin story. I am not sure about the continuity either. Now Reynolds played Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine so I am not sure if this is supposed to be the same character, but if it is then what was the thing that Wolverine fought at the end of that film, because apparently that was Deadpool. I have no idea what the canon is and like I said neither has Deadpool himself. Is this the same character as in X-Men Origins: Wolverine?? It seems unlikely and I have heard no one recognises that film as actually being canon anyway despite Hugh Jackman being in it.

 

Despite the weak story I really enjoyed this film and it is actually only the second film that my skin sack’s friend Gaz and I have ever been and seen together at the cinema and both liked (the other was Dredd). Reynolds has found the comic book character that suits him perfectly and I look forward to seeing other films about the Merc with the Mouth on his own or him popping up in any future X-Men films.

 

Deadpool is getting a solid Thumbs Up because it is a great film, everyone involved is clearly enjoying themselves and any film in which Baccarin takes her clothes off is always going to score high points from me.

 

 

8/10 – The weak story, Wade’s past familiarity with the X-Men and the way he gets his powers are all downsides to the film, however, those are just niggles when compared to everything else I have talked about. If you are a fan of Reynolds, check it out, if you are a fan of comic movies, check it out, if you want to see Morena Baccarin take her clothes off, check it out…you know what…just check it out because you won’t be disappointed

 

TAC Reviews...X-Men: Apocalypse

Date Posted: 30/05/16

 

The ninth film (if you take Deadpool into account which apparently we’re supposed to) in the X-Men franchise. This one takes place ten years after the events of Days of Future Past and sees the prequel cast returning to reprise their roles however this time there is no crossover with their older counterparts. Hugh Jackman appears but he has more of a cameo role than being key to the story as he was in the last film.

 

 

If you stuck around after the credits of Days of Future Past you’d have seen a mutant constructing the pyramids…if you didn’t stick around then there is SO much stuff that you have missed. Seriously with the exception of Incredible Hulk every single Marvel film of recent years has a bit after the credits, go back and watch past the credits, or just watch them on YouTube, or just don’t bother. Anyway, after mutants seemed to have entered a Golden Age following the events of Days of Future Past it appears that there is once again something unpleasant looming on the horizon, but this horizon starts in the past…

 

In Ancient Egypt a powerful mutant named En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) is preparing to transfer his consciousness into a body that can regenerate thus ensuring he will live forever, however during the process his followers betray and try to kill him calling him a false god. During the battle Nur’s four mutant followers are killed but one of them encases his sleeping form in a field that protects him as his pyramid collapses around him.

 

Jumping ahead to 1983 Alex Summers’ (Lucas Till) younger brother Scott (Tye Sheridan) suddenly gains the ability to shoot lasers out of his eyes. Alex takes him to Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) who allows him to enter his school and his friend Hank (Nicholas Hoult) is able to create a pair of glasses for him that will contain the beams so he can see again. Whilst at the mansion Scott meets Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and the two start to form an attraction.

 

Meanwhile Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is in East Berlin where she rescues Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) from a death match where Angel (Ben Hardy) is forced to fight other mutants to…well…the death. Magneto has abandoned his former life and lives in hiding under a different name, he has a wife and child, and works a job in a steel mill. On a day like any other a molten vat breaks free of its supports and he uses his powers to save a co-worker’s life, but this also reveals his identity and tragedy strikes him not long afterwards.

 

CIA agent Moria MacTaggart (Rose Byrne returning from First Class) is investigating a cult and accidently awakens Nur from his centuries long slumber. Venturing out into the modern world Nur discovers another mutant Ororo (Alexandra Shipp) and recruits her to join him, enhancing her powers. Believing that the world has lost its way Nur recruits other mutants Angel, and Psylocke, uses his own powers to enhance theirs then his path crosses with the vengeful and angry Magneto.

 

Xavier and his friends must once again unite together to stop Nur before he can bring about an Apocalypse that will wipe the world clean of humanity fortunately the X-Men receive a little help from Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and Mystique.

 

As you have no doubt gathered there is quite a lot going on in Apocalypse but despite that I found the film to be surprisingly boring because it is a very, very, very slow boil. After Days of Future Past in which Wolverine returned to his own time and saw the alternate future in which mutants and humans lived peacefully together after Mystique saved the President it seemed that mutants had been accepted into society. However, Apocalypse once again rehashes the old chestnut that “Mutants have it rough”. I get that is pretty much the only string to X-Men’s bow but it is getting stretched very thin by now…we saw a Golden Age for mutants at the end of Days of Future’s Past so why are we still going back to the whole: “Mutants are not part of society” idea??

 

The thing is that Days of Future Past has basically become the answer for any continuity issues or questions about the films…

 

Why was Colossus in Deadpool Russian not American??…Days of Future Past

 

Why are mutants still not accepted into society??…Days of Future Past

 

What is the point in this film because we saw all the key characters alive and well at the end of Days of Future Past??…Days of Future Past

 

For a film that has a lot going on, not a lot really happens, Mystique is recuing mutants and has become something of an icon for other mutants after seemingly saving the President from Magneto in 1973. But for some reason she is more interested in hiding then being a hero. As the one mutant that all other mutants look up to why does she spend so much time and effort hiding who she is??…Days of Future Past…right I forgot.

 

As a bad guy I think that Nur is also pretty lame, he is yet another hugely powerful enemy that is looking to take over the world. He talks about purging the world of humanity and from the ashes building a new world, but all he really does is talk, there is moment when Xavier is talking to Magneto through Cerebro, Nur connects with Xavier’s mind and through him actives every nuclear weapon on Earth. He launches every single one…I was staring at the screen waiting to see how our heroes were going to get out of this…however all Nur does is launch the weapons into space where they just float harmlessly away into the void

 

 

…Seriously Nur?!?!?!?!?!?!?

 

…You have launched every nuclear weapon on the planet and the best thing you can do is fire them into space. All you do is talk and talk and talk about wiping out humanity and from the ashes the strong will arise so why not use every nuclear weapon on Earth to do just that?? You have launched every nuclear weapon on the planet…game over man…game over. Drop them on the defenceless nations below and you have won…but no he just sends them into space and that’s it.

 

 

If I could access the launch codes of every nuclear weapon on Earth I'd fire them off and be here with my feet up when my people finally arrive after picking up the phone...so why doesn't Nur just blow up the world already??

 

Did Nur just think that using weapons of mass destruction to purge the world just wasn’t sporting or something??

 

Plus I am not exactly sure how Nur is able to transfer his consciousness and all of his powers into a new body, they do some bullshit with the sun and a ritual or something but it is not made clear how this feat is accomplished especially back in Ancient Egypt.

 

The cast all do a decent enough job and Evan Peters is easily the highlight as the scene stealing Quicksilver and he is the best thing on screen whenever he is on. The sequence in which he evacuates the X-Mansion to the tune Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics is an absolute joy to watch. Plus Hugh Jackman is given the opportunity to really go berserk when he is found during his Weapon X phase. The rest of the cast are obviously pretty comfortable in their roles by now but there is nothing as good as the amazing scene in Days of Future Past in which young Xavier and old Xavier talk to one another through Wolverine’s mind. Magneto has spent 10 years hiding under the radar but his family is killed and he returns to being the vengeful Magneto within minutes of reappearing on screen. Begs the question of why he even had a family if he was just going to try and destroy the world again anyway, plus his transition from enemy to ally is faster than Batman becoming Superman’s friend in Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice so it makes it a bit pointless. What have the makers of the ­X-Men films got against Xavier and Magneto being on the same side, they keep referring to one another as friends but we almost never get to see them together just having a beer and, you know, just being friends.

 

Quick question: Why does Xavier’s hair fall out when Nur attempts to enter his mind and body??…Days of Future Past…oh right…

 

One of the biggest disappointments in terms of potential was the sequence in which Xavier enters Nur’s mind. The two have a fight and Xavier seems to be using humanity’s pain (the pain he feels all the time) to weaken Nur which initially seems to be working yet very quickly Nur recovers and starts to kick the crap out of him. Xavier then begs Jean to unleash her power (the power of the Dark Phoenix) to destroy him, something she does, but why the hell doesn’t she just do that one her own??…Days of Future etcetera, etcetera…she literally waits until Xavier is almost dead before she enters Xavier’s mind and purges Nur from there before destroying him in the physical world too.

 

Fundamentally the biggest problem with this film is it takes too long to go anywhere, Nur just wanders around talking big but doing nothing much else, the X-Men naturally joining forces manage to defeat him with Nur’s followers also turning against him.

 

Following Days of Future Past was always going to be difficult and more importantly it did not need to be done. Days of Future Past was a great way to finish the franchise, the old cast and the new cast united to give audiences one kickass movie and now we have carried on when there was no need to do so. We had a happily ever after in which Xavier, Jean Grey and Scott Summers (Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen and James Marsden reprising their roles from X-Men: The Last Stand) were alive and well so why has this film series carried on going??…Days of…no, that answer doesn’t work…the X-Men franchise manage to resurrect itself after The Last Stand but now filmmakers seems determined to ruin things again.

 

There is already another Wolverine film in the works and another X-Men film is also being developed…where we go from here I don’t know…all in all I spent the majority of X-Men: Apocalypse just waiting for something to happen and the final battle was ultimately pretty disappointing. When your enemy has the opportunity to drop hundreds of nuclear weapons on the planet and he chooses not to you get the impression that he is not as committed to destroying the world as he claims to be.

 

Evan Peters is great as Quicksilver and whilst the rest of the cast are all good, the film itself is just dull and for a film about mutants with superhuman abilities and one that has lived for hundreds of years that is not a word you want associated with the film. My Thumb is Down, because this film had potential but this franchise seems to have run out of steam after its second wind…perhaps it is time to let this franchise die…but of course Hollywood won’t let that happen.

 

 

6.5/10 – Good cast and Quicksilver is great, the sequence in which he rescues everyone in the X-Mansion is awesome but that is an oasis of cool in a sea of dull story, a weak ass villain, and mutants once again being the downtrodden members of society.

 

TAC Reviews...Logan 

Date Posted: 12/03/17

 

This film marks both the end of the X-Men movies and Wolverine spin-offs but also the final time that Hugh Jackman will appear as the titular character. Having first appeared in X-Men 17 years ago, Jackman has appeared in one form or another in every X-Men film to date. Due to Jackman’s age (he turns 50 this year) it is not surprising that this is the last time we will see Wolverine because whilst the character doesn’t age, the actor does so there comes a time when the actor must let the character go. Unlike previous Wolverine films in which Patrick Stewart only cameos as Professor Charles Xavier, this time Stewart is a key cast member and this film will delve much deeper into the characters of both men than any film that has come before it.

 

Logan Poster

 

My usual short introduction got a little side tracked, as usually I just say things like the film was released in 2017 and features Hugh Jackman reprising the role as Logan aka Wolverine, with Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier with Stephen Merchant as Caliban and introducing Dafne Keen as Laura. Naturally a lot has changed for Logan since the events of Days of Future Past so allow me to bring you up to date.

 

The year is 2029 and Logan is working in Texas as a limo driver, he has aged considerably due to the fact that the adamantium that is fused to his skeleton is poisoning him (I’m honestly not sure of the adamantium was always toxic and his ability to regenerate has just always cured him of its toxicity or the adamantium has finally caused his healing factor to slow down which is now steadily poisoning him). Anyway, he is caring for Charles Xavier who is suffering from neurogenerative disease which is causing him to lose control of his telepathic powers. Logan is his caretaker and is struggling to keep Charles on medication to prevent him from having seizures which are potentially lethal to mutants around him and cause humans to freeze in place. The pair are aided by an albino mutant named Caliban. Logan is working on getting enough money to buy a boat so he and Charles can live out on the ocean where presumably Charles won’t be a danger to anyone around him any longer.

 

On a day like any other Logan is approached by a woman named Gabriela who wants Logan to take her and her daughter Laura to North Dakota, and will pay him enough money to get himself and Charles the boat Logan wants. Logan refuses but is then approached by Donald Pierce, the chief of security of a company called Alkali-Transigen, who wants Gabriela and her daughter. Logan kicks Pierce out of his limo and reluctantly Logan agrees to help Gabriela but when he goes to pick them up he finds Gabriela murdered and her daughter is nowhere to be seen.

 

Returning to his home across the Mexican border, Logan discovers Laura is hiding in the boot of the limo. Charles is excited at the prospect of a new mutant as no new mutants have been born in the past 25 years. Unfortunately Pierce follows Logan and attempts to take Laura into custody as Logan attempts to escape with Charles.

 

It turns out that Laura and Logan have far more in common than Logan first realised as she too has accelerated healing and has adamantium claws. She swiftly dispatches Pierce’s security detail but Pierce himself is left alive. Charles, Logan and Laura are forced to run as Pierce pursues them both and captures Caliban using him to track where Logan has gone. Faced with the prospect of his own mortality, his body not healing as it once did, and having to look after Charles, who’s powers are becomingly increasingly unpredictable, Logan must face the fact that maybe his time has finally come…

 

So, the thing that you have to understand going into this film is that the set-up is a bit confusing, now you know how Days of Future Past basically rewrote the original films’ canon, this film is taking place after the events of that timeline. At the end of Future Past it seemed that the actions of the mutants in the past had now created a Golden Age for all mutants, as Charles’ school for gifted youngsters was thriving, Jean Grey and Scott Summers were alive and well. Plus the X-Mansion was a safe haven for all mutants. It seemed that finally mutants had been accepted into society and perhaps there was a future in which humans and mutants could live together side-by-side. However, by the events of Logan all mutants with the acceptation of Charles, Caliban and Logan himself are all dead. How the other mutants disappeared is explained later on but I will talk about that in a bit. You’ll know when because I will drop a spoiler warning before I…well…spoil anything.

 

The majority of the film takes place during the road trip from Mexico to North Dakota and so we don’t see the X-Mansion, the jet or any of the locations that we are familiar with from previous films. It is not really explained what has happened to Charles’ home or why and how he and Logan ended up in Mexico. Plus it is never explained why they are struggling with money when surely if they had access to the jet they could have simply flown to some deserted island to live in peace. The point is that there are major gaps between the events of the final moments of Future Past and what is happening here.

 

There is a lot to like about this film and it has an American R-rating which means the film has a lot more violence, bad language and gore than any previous X-Men film, but this is a good thing. We get to see Logan slicing people into pieces with his claws, characters get decapitated, and blood splatters freely across the ground. I have heard that the success of Deadpool with its R-rating was the reason Logan got a more adult rating but apparently Jackman took a pay cut to ensure that his final outing got an R-rating. This film isn’t just an excuse to suddenly bloody everything up for the sake of it because Logan is quite a brutal character that has been a living weapon during his life. He struggles with his rage, his pain and his loyalty for people he cares about. We also see in this film the burden of always outliving the ones that you love, Logan has seen the people he cares most deeply about die around him when he can do nothing to save them.

 

One of the highlights of this film is Patrick Stewart. Similarly to Logan he is now free to swear and comes across as a crotchety old man, bitter with the world but is also struggling with the brain disease that he is now being affected by. By the way, if you get a chance watch Blunt Talk because that show sees Stewart as a drug taking, booze drinking, foul mouthed talk show host that is so much fun to see. Here he has a great chemistry with Jackman, and there are scenes in which the two are clearly having a ball bouncing off one another. There are some genuinely funny moments which reminded me more of a senile father and his weary son looking after him, however there are also touching moments in which we can see how deeply Logan and Charles care for one another. Both men have lost everything that they have spent so much time fighting to protect and both know that nothing will ever be the same as it was. Charles recognises the importance of Laura whilst Logan is naturally reluctant to allow anyone to get close to him because those he loves always die leaving him to carry on living.

 

Logan is a story about characters and the struggles that they have in a world in which the majority of their kind have died. Laura is an innocent in this new world and it is up to Charles Xavier and Logan to protect her from the people that want her dead.

 

As a villain Pierce is quite charismatic and hides his obvious sociopathic tendencies by being more soft spoken but he is utterly ruthless. He is prepared to kill or torture anyone to complete his mission. The thing is that during the film there are loads of chances to just kill Pierce. Logan knocks him out and instructs Caliban to drive him out into the desert and dump him, which leads to Caliban getting captured. Why did they not just kill him?? Plus Logan makes no attempt to rescue Caliban after he is captured, possibly because Pierce indicates he is dead, but if Logan had just killed him then Caliban wouldn’t have been captured. This happens more than once and more than once I found myself thinking “Just kill him already!!” but they don’t and Pierce continues being a thorn in the trios side for the entire film. Brit Richard E Grant also appears as the stereo-typical mad scientist type who wants to harness mutants and turn them into weapons…yeah real original guy…but he is only in the film at the end and lacks anything that makes him diabolical or especially interesting.

 

Right I should now drop this here…

 

 

Okay, so what happened to the other mutants is initially only implied and it seemed that Professor X may have been responsible for the deaths of mutants. His seizures cause huge pain to mutants around him, with prolonged effect being fatal and only Logan seems capable of resisting the effects of them. In a later scene Charles talks about the first decent night sleep he has had in years and that he doesn’t deserve to sleep soundly after what he has done. This suggested to me that perhaps he had one of these seizures and accidently killed every mutant in the world. We saw in X-Men 2 that using Cerebro he was able to see every mutant on the planet so my thinking was that perhaps he had a seizure when linked to Cerebro  and accidently killed all the world’s mutants. Personally I thought this would be an incredibly ballsy thing to do, to make the man who has been a mentor to so many mutants during his life the ultimate instrument of their destruction…but…this is not the case. Richard E Grant’s character was the one who hunted down and killed all the other mutants. So the Golden Age that we glimpsed at the end of Future Past in which mutants were accepted into society didn’t last as some mad scientist was able to hunt them down and kill them all, and not a single mutant or person in authority stopped him…what…the…fuck?????

 

I hate it when I have an idea that seems to be better than the one the filmmakers ran with and that is exactly what I think happened here. Charles Xavier lost control of his formidable powers and accidently killed all mutants, that would explain why Logan is trying to convince anyone he comes into contact with that Charles is dead because surely Xavier would also be a wanted fugitive for mass murder.

 

In this film mutants are being bred to be used as weapons and Laura is a female clone of Logan as his DNA (seen at the end of X-Men Apocalypse) was used to create her…yawn…this is not an original idea but Xavier killing every member of his own kind by accident, that would have been interesting.

 

The majority of the film sees Logan badly injured as his wounds don’t full heal, he is covered with scars and his adamantium claws don’t always fully emerge from his hand as if the mechanics within his own body are also starting to fail. There is a drug that can be used to enhance his healing powers and in the finale of the film he uses the drug to restore his powers but too much is fatal. I assumed that in the final scene of the film we would see Logan in all his former glory kicking serious ass before the drugs wore off and finally claimed his life. Unfortunately the effects of the drug quickly wear off so the final battle is Logan back as his old and creaky self rather than the drugged up badass that he could have been. This might have been a good thing though because using the drugs to make himself stronger to face his final opponent was starting to remind me of the end of Universal Soldier so I can understand why the miracle drug didn’t just restore him to full strength for the entirety of the final battle.

 

You have probably surmised by from the trailers, Jackman saying this is the last time he will portray Wolverine and everything that I have been talking about that Logan dies at the end of this film. Now when a character dies that have to have a death worthy of them and in this case Logan’s final battle is between himself and a clone of himself called the X-24. The fight is bloody, brutal and is seamless and two Hugh Jackman’s battle one another and I honestly cannot tell where the joins in the scene are. But what makes the scene particularly cool is the fact that Logan is overpowered by the X-24 and Laura leaps into the fray to protect her “father” and the two of them face off against the monster that Logan once was. It is a worthy death for the character and is not an ending in which you feel cheated because someone that has fought their whole life goes out like a chump like David Tennant’s Doctor did when he is killed by radiation poisoning.

 

Logan is a far more adult, character driven entry to the X-Men films and as there is no post-credits scene it is more than likely the end of the franchise. The films have had their ups and downs over the years and whilst I think the films should have finished after Days of Future Past this is not a bad way to end the series. Expect a brutal film not just in terms of violence but in terms of what happens to the characters that we have been watching on screen for 17 years. Logan gets a Thumbs Up because whilst it did have its flaws it was a great film and is the Wolverine film that fans have been wanting since the beginning of the X-Men franchise.

 

 

8/10 – This is the Wolverine film that fans have always wanted. Hugh Jackman carries the battle hardened and weary Logan perfectly one final time and Patrick Stewart adds both comedy and tragedy to the last time that we are going to step into the X-Men Cinematic Universe.

 

TAC Reviews...Deadpool 2

Date Posted: 26/05/18

 

Not surprisingly Deadpool 2 is the sequel to Deadpool and sees Ryan Reynolds returning to the comic book character that he actually suited rather than Green Lantern or Hannibal King in Blade Trinity. Morena Baccarin returns as Wade’s girlfriend Vanessa, Stefan Kapicic once again voices Colossus the CGI mutant from the first film, with Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead plus they are joined by Josh Brolin as Cable a time travelling mercenary.

 

Deadpool 2 Poster

 

It has to be said that Deadpool paved the way for the more violent final adventure for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in Logan, a fact that Deadpool is well aware of. The hack and slash style of the previous film returns here as we see what has happened to the merc-with-the-mouth since his previous adventure.

 

Set two years after the events of the first film Wade Wilson aka Deadpool is still working as a mercenary and kills various criminals. On the day of his anniversary with Vanessa he fails to kill on of his targets as he instead races home to see Vanessa. The man he fails to kill tracks him down that same night and despite trying to protect her, Vanessa is killed.

 

After a failed attempt to kill himself Wade is returned to Xavier’s Mansion by Colossus where he struggles to come to terms with what has happened. He is unable to die and Colossus convinces him that as one of the X-Men he might find a purpose in life once again.

 

Deadpool joins Colossus and Negasonic Teenage… (etc) as they head to the location of a young mutant that is having something of a meltdown. Using his ability to create a fire, Julian Dennison, is attacking the staff at his orphanage. Deadpool attempts to talk him down but realises that the young boy is being abused by the staff so kills one of them.

 

Both Deadpool and Julian are arrested and incarcerated in a prison that uses collars to suppress the mutations of its population. Resigned to allow the cancer that almost killed him before he unlocked his mutation to return, Wade awaits death in the jail, whilst Julian attempts to befriend him but Wade is uninterested.

 

Julian seeks to form a more powerful alliance with a fellow mutant and a time-traveller from the future arrives with the sole intention of making sure Julian doesn’t make it to his next birthday…

 

What can I really say about this film that won’t echo of everything I said in my review of the last one?

 

Basically this is another Deadpool, and as the first film was good, this one will also be good.

 

Makes sense, right??

 

The thing is that the first film was a much more violent comic book adaptation that took full advantage of his higher certificate rating. Then Logan did the same thing. One of the first pieces of spoken dialogue is Deadpool expressing his irritation that Logan followed in the footsteps of his [Deadpool’s] first film and raised the stakes by dieing at the end. The problem is that this sequel doesn’t ever really seem to rise over the fact that this is basically Deadpool Another One…which would have probably made a better title.

 

That isn’t to say that I disliked the film, far from it, but whilst the first was something new and original, this is just more of the same.

 

The scene in which Deadpool is trying to kill himself could have been much better and funnier, if we’d seen a montage of him continually trying to kill himself with Colossus arriving each time to put him back together and return him to the X-Men Mansion. This would have given him a greater level of despair because despite his best efforts he cannot die and be with the woman he loves. I remember Cole in Charmed trying to kill himself at one point because he had become too powerful to be vanquished and the sisters are trying to talk to him as he tries to decapitate himself with a guillotine, without success. That could have been done way bigger, and way bloodier here, but we don’t get to see it. One suicide attempt, Wade realises he cannot die, then that is really the end of him trying.

 

I am not really sure why Julian was arrested along with Deadpool, because yes he was violently acting out, but it was only because his supposed carers were the ones hurting him. Colossus and Negasonic (etc) were present but neither of them attempted to take Julian with them. At the time he hadn’t hurt anyone and they could have taken him with them, everyone in this world seems to know who the X-Men are so I have no clue why he was taken to jail with Wade.

 

On that point Wade’s mutation keeps him alive because without his ability to regenerate his cancer will return and kill him. In the prison he is sent to they put a collar on him to prevent his mutation from working, but without it he will die, so surely this is basically an execution. Logically any mutant that needs their mutation to survive would be contained in some other way rather than having the collar. If someone had mutated to the point where they could only breathe underwater, they wouldn’t be dumped in a normal prison cell because they would suffocate. Again if Wade had been separated from the other inmates and was left to rot because he is unable to die then that could have driven him insane. That is what this film lacks, yes it has the Forth Wall breaks, yes it has some absolutely hilarious moments with some awesome fighting sequences, but what it doesn’t have is an insane and unpredictable Deadpool. 

 

I like Reynolds as Deadpool but his motivations are too boring.

 

In the first film he wanted a cure for his disfigurement, in this film he rejects an impressionable child who has the capacity to go completely off the rails with a power to back it up. Naturally once he realises the error of his ways he spends the rest of the film trying to convince Julian that he doesn’t need to go down the path of hurting people.

 

The rest of the cast are all decent enough with the X-Force team bringing a fair amount of fun to the proceedings but this is nothing we haven’t seen before. Avengers and the X-Men films have seen numerous heroes teaming up, admittedly here there is a lot more violence but it is nothing we haven’t seen before. Watch enough martial arts films (which I have) and you see people getting sliced apart by swords, and various other weapons so there isn’t anything new on display.

 

There is however possibly my favourite cameo (or cameos) of all time during the film. I am not going to spoil it but it made me smile. Although this time around I didn’t see a cameo from Stan Lee, and I was surprised by how strange it seemed to have a Marvel film in which he didn’t pop up at some point.

 

Plus Cable has a device that he can use to time-travel, although he can only use it twice, he used it to come back, and intends to use it to move back to his own time…tell me, do you think that is what he uses it for? The post credits scene also opens a can of worms that pretty much undermines everything we have seen in the film anyway which annoyed me more than it should.

 

By no stretch of the imagination was Deadpool 2 bad, it was just another Deadpool film. I enjoyed it, but I liked the first one better. Everything that made the first film so much fun is still here unfortunately this film does nothing to add to what we have already seen.

 

Naturally Deadpool 2 isn’t going to be awarded with anything other than a Thumbs Up because it was still good, but I liked the first one better. Cable isn’t as good a villain as Francis, the story is uninteresting and sadly Deadpool 2 doesn’t push any of the boundaries established by the first film.

 

 

7/10 – The “legs” scene was one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time, but the film is let down by a weak story and not seeing Wade going completely off his rocker after Vanessa dies. He could have spent most of the film in a cocaine-haze but sadly we don’t get to see Deadpool as anymore on edge that we did in the original film.

 

TAC Reviews...X-Men: Dark Pheonix 

Date Posted: 16/06/19

 

The final film in the current X-Men series sees the usual assembled cast of the prequel/reboot films return once more. Honestly I was going to write a longer intro but it doesn't really need one, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are on hand as Charles Xavier and Magneto, and pretty much everyone else from Apocalypse has also returned. Jessica Christian is the only real addition to the cast this time playing a shape-shifting alien creature named...you know I don't think she has one so lets call her Beryl.

 

 

So first I think a little context is required. This is based on what I have heard so it may or may not be 100% accurate. Now Disney recently bought Marvel Studios and 20th Century Fox. 20th Century Fox owning the rights to the current series of X-Men movies. However, not surprisingly Disney wants all Marvel intellectual property to fall under their sphere of control. As a result they don't want other studios doing their own versions of Marvel characters and stories. This is why Netflix shows based on Marvel characters like Luke Cage have been cancelled and why it has only been recently that Spider-Man joined the MCU because it took time to wrestle a compromise from Sony who currently own the rights to the web-head. There have been rumours of the X-Men one day joining the MCU at some point further down the road. Dark Phoenix may have originally been conceived as a continuation of the story but it has actually become the film that draws a line under the X-Men in their current form. 

Right, now that is out of the way, let's crack on...

The film opens with a flashback in which the young Jean Grey loses control of her powers leading to her parents car crashing and both her parents being killed. The young girl is approached by Charles Xavier who offers to take her to his home and teach her how to control her powers so that no one gets hurt again. 

Cut forward to 1992 and a NASA shuttle being damaged in space by a massive interstellar storm and Charles Xavier getting the call from the President that the X-Men are needed to go and save the day. The X-Jet happens to have been given a new booster engine that Hank aka Beast designed to go faster around the world but Charles believes can be used to get them to space to rescue the astronauts. The jet is able to get into orbit and Nightcrawler and Quicksilver head over to the shuttle and grab the astronauts. Back on the jet one of the astronauts says that their commander is still on the shuttle. The storm is bearing down on them, but Charles advises them to return to save the last man. Jean (Sophie Turner reprising the role), and Nightcrawler return to the shuttle, Jean using her powers to hold the shuttle together as Nightcrawler locates the last man. The storm is about to hit the jet when Jean redirects it away from them and towards herself. Somehow she absorbs the storm's energy and is rescued by Nightcrawler, the jet then returns to Earth to the applause of X-Men fans.

Back on Earth Raven aka Mistique confronts Charles over his perceived reckless behaviour. Jean could have died and all because he was willing to put the X-Men in danger to rescue strangers. Charles counters her by arguing that all the goodwill that the mutants have is because of their willingness to prove that they can be useful to humanity and all it would take is one negative event to undo all the world they have done. Raven dismisses his arguments believing instead that the X-Men are about Charles' ego and he is enjoying being in the spotlight, on the cover of magazines and so on.

Meanwhile a woman, Beryl, leaves a dinner party to go and investigate why her dog is barking. She is killed or absorbed or taken over or imitated by an alien life form that promptly kills everyone at dinner.

Back at the X-Mansion Jean is examined by Hank, who cannot find anything wrong with her. Charles gives everyone the day off to party and  celebrate the successful rescue of the astronauts. Raven tries to convince Hank that it is time to leave the X-Men and make a life for themselves away from the world, but he believes that what they do with the X-Men and the school is bigger than just them so refuses to go.  It is during the party that Jean loses control of her powers and knocks everyone unconscious. After looking into Charles' mind Jean discovers that her father is still alive having survived the crash that killed her mother. Feeling betrayed by her mentor, Jean seeks out her father but discovers that he abandoned her following the crash as he was afraid of her and blamed her for the death of his wife.

Charles and the X-Men arrive to try and convince her to come back, but confused and angry, Jean lashes out at some police that arrive on the scene. The X-Men try to engage her but are swiftly defeated, one being badly injured and another is killed in the confusion. Jean, afraid of her powers, flees so she cannot hurt anyone else.

She seeks out Magnito who she believes may be able to help her control her powers. She has blood on her clothes, and refuses to tell him who's blood it belongs to. He offers her sanctuary but after she attacks a team of marines, he also tells her to leave. Beryl seeks to track her down, for unknown reasons, and once he learns who's blood was on Jean's clothing Magnito decides to kill her in revenge.

With Beryl trying to convince her to use her powers for her own ends, the X-Men splintering apart, and Magnito after her blood, Jean must decide whether to embrace the darkness growing within her or face the consequences of what she has done...

Now you might be thinking as you read this that Jean having some kind of dark power that she cannot control might sound oddly familiar, and you'd be right, because it was a plot point in X-Men The Last Stand. At the end of X-Men 2 Famke Janssen's Jean Grey sacrifices herself to save the other X-Men, but returns in X-Men The Last Stand and is mercy killed by Wolverine after she goes on a rampage that would consume the world. Thing is that The Last Stand wasn't very good, so if Dark Phoenix has a similar story told better wouldn't that give it a right to exist?? Yes, but unfortunately the film simulatiniously doesn't have the balls to go all the way with the concept or do much to make the story original. 

Remember at the beginning of Apocalypse when Magneto is living a quiet life away from the world with his wife and child, when people turn up, accidentally kill his family so he kills those responsible then joins Apocalypse only to have a change of heart at the end?? Well, in this film Magneto is living in a community of mutants, when Jean asks for his help, he refuses after she brings trouble to his doorstep. She has sought him out because she is afraid of her power and wants to know how he stopped killing, he makes this speech about vengeance not making you fell better, so gave up on that life. Then not twenty minutes later when he finds out who Jean killed, decides the most level headed thing to do is seek vengeance...

Er...Magneto, you do remember that you literally just told Jean that revenge is ultimately pointless right?? So why are you now swearing revenge?? Is it so you can get to walk around in the admittedly badass looking long coat and helmet for a while before your inevitable change of heart?? 

That is one of just so many bizarre writing choice and story elements.

The X-Jet has never been designed to go into space, but it is able to get there thanks to its booster, okay fine. How does it survive re-entry without burning up?? Why when they return to the shuttle to look for the final guy does Quicksilver tape a helmet onto Nightcrawler but doesn't put one on himself or Jean?? If the storm has already damaged the shuttle then why is it still approaching it by the time the X-Men arrive?? 

Literally everything in that previous paragraph happens in the first few minutes of the film. 

Remember the sequence in the last film when the mansion is blowing up in slow motion whilst Quicksilver saves everyone to the tune of Sweet Dreams?? Remember how that was one of the best things in that film?? Well, guess who is barely in this one. Yep, Quicksilver is badly wounded and pushed to the sideline to take no future part in the story. The question of whether Quicksilver would ever tell Magnito that he was his father, a question left over from the end of Apocalypse, is never addressed or even mentioned. 

I remember being disappointed that the mutants had mostly been wiped out by humanity in Logan which was set in the future timeline, because as he was going senile Charles Xavier might have killed them when he lost control of his powers, and only Logan was able to resist his power. If this film fitted into the canon of the original films and happened after Day of Future Past then it could have worked, Jean could have gone insane, killed all the mutants, and Logan once again was forced to kill her. Unfortunately in Dark Phoenix the status quo cannot really be changed because we already know that after the events of Days of Future Past a new future was created in which mutants had been accepted. Scott and Jean were alive and well (despite being killed in The Last Stand) as was Professor Xavier so tampering with the timeline had created a golden age for mutants which messed with the canon of the original films but still worked. Yet Dark Phoenix messes up the canon in a way that makes no sense.

 

 

The mutant that Jean accidentally kills is Raven, who is trying to calm her down, but Raven/Mystique is alive in the original films so how can she be dead?? Also Jean ascends into a God-like being at the end of the film and resides in space, so how and when does she come back to fit in with her appearance in Days of Future Past?? Plus with this film taking place in 1992 can someone explain why none of the characters who have been in the films since the original First Class which was set in the 1960s have aged?? Yes it is because the actors haven't but can someone explain how in the space of a little under a decade James McAvoy transitions into Patrick Stewart or Michael Fassbender into Ian McKellan?? Plus Xavier is pretty much exiled from the X-Men and his own home at the end of the film so again how does he wind up back there, once again in charge by the early 2000s when the original film series started. Yes I get that Days of Future Past changed the canon of the original films but don't forget when Wolverine returned to his original time we saw Scott Summers being played by his original actor James, Jean Grey being portrayed by Famke Janssen, Beast by Kelsey Grammer, as well as Ice Man, Rogue and of course Patrick Stewart as Xavier so we KNOW that the events of the reboot/prequel films is linked to the continuity of the first films even if some of the details have been changed. 

It is irritating because basically the X-Men series wrapped up with Days of Future Past, the original cast getting to share the film with their younger counterparts was great fun, yes it was a bit pretentious but it was never the less enjoyable. 

Since Days of Future Past the majority of the prequel characters don't seem to have story arcs instead more story holding patterns. It reminded me of those Saturday morning cartoons when the status quo is always resent at the end of every episode. Adversities are generally resolved and everything goes back to normal. Same old, same old, with the exception of the bizarre changes mentioned above. Either change everything or change nothing, flipping back and forth makes no sense.

Hank/Beast turns on Charles after it becomes apparent that he used his power to create mental blocks within Jean's mind to protect her from the abilities she cannot control. He does this without her knowledge. Hank, mourning Raven, accuses Charles of being wrong to put those blocks in place because now that they are breaking down Jean is unable to control herself. If he hadn't done that then she might be better able to manage her powers. A fair point. However, can a child fully understand what will happen if they push the bright red button on the side of a nuclear bomb?? Probably not. This idea was reused from The Last Stand. The barriers break down and Jean begins to be consumed by the darkness inside her, which fights back when Xavier tries to restore them leading to his death. I get that as she grew and matured Charles could have helped her by slowly taking down those walls at a rate in which she could cope with allowing her to not be overwhelmed by emotion or the power itself. However, on the other side of the coin, why take the chance she won't ever be in control of herself??

There is story line in a series of Stargate SG-1 regarding a child known as harsesis (don't worry this tangent will become relevant in a sec). The child is born from two Gou'ld and contains all the genetic knowledge that the Gou'ld had when it was conceived. Such children are dangerous because they are human and as a result the information within their minds could lead to the downfall of the Gou'ld as a race. The child is found and SG-1 and Co try to get him to give up the secrets of the Gou'ld. The child transfers the knowledge to Daniel Jackson who is consumed by it. Weapons are built designed to defend Earth from the Gou'ld but Daniel is also corrupted by the knowledge that he turns the weapons on anyone challenging him become as bad as the Gou'ld himself. It happens in a dream sequence but the final element of the story is that sometime the only way yo defeat the darkness is to deny it the battle.

If Charles and Jean had tried to control her powers but each time it had started to consume her and the barriers had been left there at her consent then fine. That way Charles would have been justified in keeping the barriers in place. Denying the Phoenix the battle because both he and Jean feared that she would lose out if she tried to use those abilities.  The energy cloud thing in space could simply be breaking those barriers leading to a multiple personality type deal between the Jean and the Phoenix persona.

It is just a contrived reason to have the X-Men turning on Charles. Raven even accuses him of being an ego manic and enjoys the celebrity lifestyle. I can't say I ever got that impression from him as he has spent his life fighting for mutant rights. Still, his reasons for helping humans are very contrived. Apparently he is concerned that if mutants aren't at the beck and call of humanity then they'll once again be hunted and imprisoned. In the story holding-pattern naturally this happens when Jean attacks Police for no reason and all mutants are declared as dangerous. Yes, because that is what happens isn't it?? You know when ONE person goes crazy with a gun or a knife everyone who owns a gun or a knife is rounded up and arrested.

In yet another bizarre plot point the arrested mutants are put on a train and collars are put round their necks which presumably stop them using their abilities. If such collars exist then why the hell did no one stick one around Jean's neck, neutralising her powers and eliminating any threat she posed??

By the way there are Aliens in X-Men now...remember how Thanos was introduced in Infinity War having never been seen previously...no sorry I'm remembering that wrong. Aliens have been part of the MCU since Thor, they are part of the canon, but Dark Phoenix just bungs them in as yet another contrived reason to confuse Jean about her allegiances.

You know if there wasn't so much bullshit the story could have been far simpler, and a line from the trailer wasn't used that would explain all of Jean's motivations in one sentence. The power feels good. In the moment she is not thinking rationally, all she is focussing on is how good it makes her feel, to abandon her concerns, her worries, her fears and just embrace what has been within her since the day she was born. The divide between doing what is right and what feels good could have been really interesting but it is executed in such a piss poor way that the majority of the time i was just bored.

Ironically the only time the film really came a live was a sequence on a train when all the mutants are using their powers to fight off the attacking aliens, and Jean is unconscious in the next carriage. The best bit of the film is when they take the focus off her and let us see what we want to see, badass mutants using their powers to kick, well, ass. It is cool, it is fun and it was basically the only thing that roused me from the boredom-educed coma the rest of the film had forced me into.

I will admit that it wasn't all bad, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are what I consider professional actors and they give their all regardless of what they are doing. They never give a bad performance even if they are in bad films. Sadly the rest of the cast don't have that kind of professionalism and mostly seem to just be going through the motions. Perhaps when news filtered to the set that this was the final film of the series because Disney wanted it to end, the majority of the cast decided there wasn't much point in trying too hard. None of them were ever going to get their own spin-offs or take centre stage so what was the point in bringing their A-game??

Sophie Turner spends half the film either crying or half smiling as her eyes glow, and Jean lashes out at the police and military for basically no reason. It is one contrived reason for conflict after another. Plus I have no idea how the blood got on her shirt, she uses a telekinetic wave to blast Raven away from her, Raven is impaled several feet away so how and when does the blood get on her clothes??? Plus it is clearly an accident so again why does everyone now want her dead?? Magneto has killed a bunch of people intentionally so why is everyone cool with him but not with her??

Basically I can summarise the film in four words: IT MAKES NO SENSE!!! Which for a film about mutants who's powers range from telepathy, teleportation, controlling metal and lasers shooting out of their eyes is a pretty impressive thing to do

There can be no denying that the X-Men films have had their peaks and troughs, it is a shame that they are ultimately ending in an unsatisfying trough. The series should have ended with Days of Future Past, if it had, it would have ended on a high. Unfortunately two unnecessary sequels were churned out that really had no reason to exist. Personally I will disregard Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix, choosing instead to believe that the series ended with the far better Days of Future Past

Considering the amount of holes i have picked in the film it should be obvious that this one was never going to get a Thumbs Up, and even leaving my Thumb Horizontal seems like awarding too much praise. The final entry in the current series ends on a whimper not a roar and forced my Thumb Down. 

 

 

4/10 - I found the film dull, and was picking one hole in it after another. If the film had energy it might have been enjoyable, if it had a decent story it might have been interesting, if the characters had any significant growth it might have been thought provoking. Sadly it was none of those things and ultimately was nothing more than a tangled mess of contrived story threads, which ultimately served to do nothing more than bore.

 

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© Chris Sharman