action, adventure, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

June 17th, 2018 Movie – Yeti (a.k.a. Yeti: Curse Of The Snow Demon)

yeti

So I got a little bit ahead of myself a few weeks ago when I said that I had reached the end of the Maneater series. To be honest, I forgot all about this movie because I wasn’t too impressed with this particular entry. This is kind of a let down because I do enjoy a good, or in most cases bad, bigfoot movie. The only reason I have this movie is just because I can be a rather annoying completionist at times and wanted to be sure to own all of the movies in the Maneater series. Well, might as well kick off the letter Y with today’s movie, Yeti.

The plot: In the Himalayas in 1972, a Sherpa guides two explorers to a cave in the mountains, where they believe they might find evidence that Yetis really exist. Entering the cave, they encounter a Yeti and the younger explorer runs in fear while the older one attempts to shoot the yeti, only to discover his gun has frozen over due to the cold. Choosing to run himself, the explorer finds himself at a dead end, where the remains of other victims are seen and as he turns to try to run, the yeti catches up to him and kills him. In the present day, a college football team is flying back to the U.S. after visiting Japan and as they fly over the Himilayas, they encounter a storm and end up crashing on one of the mountains. As the survivors (Peyton Elway, Sarah, Ravin, Kyra, Ashley, Dennis, Garcia, Andrew, and Rice) all help each other out of the plane and try to figure out the next move, Peyton finds their coach still alive but badly injured in the plane. Ravin wants to try and hike down the mountain, feeling that there has to be a village nearby but Peyton overrules him, stating that coach can’t move and they can’t leave him. Peyton and Kyra head to the cockpit to check on the pilots and find one of them barely alive. They ask him about an S.O.S. or a spare radio and he tells them that there is one in the tail section of the plane. Heading back to the group, Peyton tells them about the spare radio and Garcia and Andrew volunteer to go looking for it. While they go, Peyton and the others work on moving the bodies out of the plane and trying to find items they can use so they don’t freeze or starve to death, unaware that a yeti is watching them, having been drawn to the crash site by the smell of blood. Meanwhile, Fury and Sheppard, two rescue workers stationed on the mountain, get word on the crash and try to figure out where they should start searching for survivors. Back at the crash site, Peyton and the others find some matches and manage to get a fire built while Sarah found three energy bars, unaware that Ravin had found some chocolate bars and hidden the in the plane. Meanwhile, Andrew and Garcia reach the tail section of the plane and find the radio but Garcia gets no response when he tries to use it. Deciding to try and find shelter, they notice a blood trail and, thinking someone had survived and might need help, they follow it into a nearby cave. After searching for a bit, they find a dismembered leg and try to leave just as a yeti appears behind them. Garcia manages to get away through a crack in the cave but Andrew is stuck and ends up being killed by the yeti. Back at the plane, The survivors make a barrier to try and keep the snow and cold out of the plane and Peyton goes to talk to the coach, who tells him to look after the others before he dies from his injuries. As everyone is going to sleep, Sarah sees the yeti dragging off one of the bodies but when she tries to tell everyone else, they think she might have imagined it. The next day, Sheppard and Fury are dropped off on the mountain and Sheppard tells the helicopter to check the location every day, even if they don’t hear from them, then they head off to look for the plane wreckage. In the cave, Garcia attempts to climb out with the radio strapped to his leg but as he nears the top, he loses his grip on the loose rocks and falls back down to the ground, injuring his leg. At the plane, Sarah is still trying to convince everyone that she saw something and Peyton says that to be safe, they shouldn’t go anywhere on their own. Ravin argues with Peyton over their just sitting there, thinking they should try to leave, but Peyton says that if a rescue comes, they will be coming there first so they should wait. Sarah finds a flare gun and Ravin want to use it to set the fuselage on fire, arguing that it will attract help sooner, but everyone shoots the idea down, as it is the only thing keeping them warm at night and Peyton says they should hold onto the flares for now. As they sit by the fire and argue about the lack of food, Ravin suggests eating some of the dead but Peyton and Sarah shoot that idea down, saying that they will try to catch some of the smaller animals that are probably in the area. Meanwhile, Garcia manages to climb out of the cave and starts heading back to the others but notices that the yeti is following him and stumbles down the mountain trying to get away. Elsewhere, Sheppard and Fury spot the wreckage and fire and estimate it will take them 3 days to get there but the next day, they notice large tracks in the snow heading towards the plane and realize something else is out there with them. Back at the plane, Peyton and Sarah manage to kill a rabbit and after cooking it over the fire, the portion it out to everyone but Ravin still feels like they should cook some of the dead bodies in order to survive and tries to convince Rice the next day to go along with him. When Peyton and Sarah return empty handed trying to capture an animal, Ravin heads out to cut up one of the bodies to cook. When he heads towards Kyra’s brother, she yells at him to stop and Peyton starts fighting with him until Rice separates them. As some of the others argue that it might be the only way to ensure they stay alive, Sarah notices that another body is missing. As the day passes, and they are almost out of matches, Peyton reluctantly agrees to cut up one of the bodies, promising not to touch Kyra’s brother, and tells everyone to stay there, saying they don’t need to see who he cuts up. After returning to the fire with some chunks of meat, Ravin offers up a tray to cook the meat on but Kyra refuses to eat any of it. That night, Kyra chooses to burn the rest of the bodies so they can’t eat any of them and Ravin gets upset but Peyton agrees she probably did the right thing and says that in the morning they will head down off the mountain. As they get some rest in the plane, they hear something moving outside and Ravin grabs the flare gun and shoots at whatever tries to get into the plane only to find out he shot Garcia in the face. Noticing that Garcia had used one of Andrew’s arms to brace his broken leg, they realize Sarah was right and something was out there with them and all head back into the plane. The yeti returns to the site and, finding the bodies all burned, begins attacking the plane, attempting to roll the fuselage off the cliff. Sheppard and Fury see the attack from their camp site and quickly break down their tents so they can head out to help the kids. Peyton leads everyone off the plane before it goes over the edge but Ashley and Dennis end up getting killed by the yeti. Peyton has Kyra fill a glove with some alcohol and he throws it at the yeti, telling Ravin to shoot it but the yeti quickly rolls in the snow to put out the fire, then grabs Sarah and heads off. Peyton wants to go after them but Rice and Ravin stop him, convincing him to wait until morning. In the morning, Peyton and Kyra want to go find Sarah but Rice and Ravin think better of the idea, not wanting to risk their own lifes when she is probably dead. Suddenly, Sheppard and Fury show up and tell them they are their to lead them to an extraction site but when Peyton and Kyra refuse to leave without checking to see if Sarah is still alive, Rice, emboldened by the rescue, agrees to go with them and Sheppard and Fury agree to help, much to Ravin’s displeasure. When the group reach the cave, Peyton comes up with a plan to build a ditch at the entrance to the cave and line it with stakes, then cover it up, hoping the creatures will fall in it. Peyton and Sheppard then head inside the cave and find Sarah in between two sleeping yetis. Sarah quietly slip out from between them but Sheppard’s radio goes off, waking the yetis. They quickly make it out of there and head to the entrance, jumping over the trap and as the yetis exit the cave, Fury shoots at them, knocking them into the ditch and on the spikes. The shots cause an avalanche and they all quickly take shelter from the rushing snow, then the kids all start celebrating the fact that they survived. Heading back to the wreckage, they say their goodbyes to their dead friends then head down towards the extraction point with Sheppard and Fury, unaware that one of the yetis had survived the trap and is digging it’s way out of the snow. The group make camp for the night and continue towards the extraction point in the morning but Ravin asks for a break so he can use the restroom, secretly going to eat one of the chocolate bars he hid. As he is eating the candy, he sees the yeti approaching and runs back to warn the others. As they all run for the extraction point, Ravin splits off from the rest of the group to try and save himself but ends up being attacked by the yeti. Fury attempts to save him but ends up shooting Ravin by accident, then ends up being killed by the yeti. Sheppard goes to get the radio from Fury’s bag, then fires at the yeti, seemingly killing it but the yeti gets back up and attacks him. Sheppard throws the radio to Peyton and tells him to get the others out of there, just before the yeti rips his arm off and beats him to death with it. Peyton, Sarah, Rice, and Kyra find themselves trapped on the cliff as the rescue chopper approaches and as the yeti gets closer, Peyton tackles it off the cliff. Sarah and the others race over and see that Peyton survived the fall by grabbing onto a branch but the yeti had grabbed onto his leg to keep from falling. Sarah and the others try to pull him to safety but when they can’t, they tie a chain to a pole Sarah used as a spear, then she throws it at the yeti, then they tie the other end of the chain to a rock and push it off the cliff, causing the yeti to be yanked free from Peyton and fall to the ground below. They quickly manage to pull Peyton up and he and Sarah kiss as the chopper lands to rescue them. Back at the wreckage, Garcia is shown to still be alive and as he crawls from the wrecked plane, he sees the hand of the other yeti poking out of the snow close by.

Ok, after giving it another chance I guess this isn’t that bad of a movie, but it is still not my favorite movie in the group. The acting was ok, with Carly Pope (Sarah), Peter DeLuise (Sheppard) and Marc Menard (Peyton) doing good jobs in their roles. I honestly had to laugh at Peyton’s name, Peyton Elway, as I thought the idea of naming the lead character , who happens to be the teams quarterback, after two of the top quarterbacks in NFL history was pretty funny. The story was a pretty basic survival story, taking a cue from the Donner party as well as the story of the Uruguayan rugby team that got stuck in the Andes to add some more drama to it instead of making it just a typical monster movie. That aspect of the movie actually got a little more compelling and it really helped make Adam O’Byrne (Ravin) appear even more despicable of a character. The special effects with the yeti were honestly pretty weak and kind of a disappointment. I mean, this is the 14th movie in the series and yet a lot of the scenes with the yeti looked terrible and too fake. I think that was honestly the most disappointing aspect of the movie. It had some good intentions but it didn’t quite live up to expectations, at least not mine.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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action, comic book, drama, movie, movie review, sci-fi, Uncategorized

June 15th, 2018 Movie – Logan

logan

Every story has it’s end, and for Hugh Jackman, his time playing Wolverine was fast approaching. Yes, the man Hugh Jackman had announced that the 3rd solo Wolverine movie was going to be his last one, though apparently he has since said that he would be willing to reprise the role if he was in the Avengers or a Deadpool crossover. Anyways, when I first the plot of this movie, I was immediately intrigued because I liked the “Old Man Logan” story line and thought that using some aspects of that for the movie would be pretty neat. Then I saw the trailers and I was even more intrigued when it was revealed that X-23 was going to be a main character as well, as I always thought it was funny that she, much like Harley Quinn, made her way into the comics after first debuting in a cartoon. So when this hit theaters, I decided to go to an early Sunday morning showing and I was not disappointed with today’s movie, Logan.

The plot: In the year 2029, an aging and weakened Wolverine, slowly dying from the adamantium in his bones poisoning his body, is resting in the limo that he drives when a gang attempts to steal his tires. When he confronts them, they shoot him and continue trying to steal the tires but he gets back up and tries again to talk them out of it. When they attack him, he is forced to defend himself, trying his best to avoid damaging his car but when it is accidentally shot, he becomes enraged and begins killing them. After slowly healing and changing his clothes, Logan begins carrying around passengers in the El Paso area. The next day, he encounters a woman in the cemetery where he is working who recognizes him and begs for his help but he tells her to leave him alone and she angrily gets in her car and drives off, with a young girl in the back of the car staring back at him as they pass. After finishing for the day, he heads to the hospital to buy some medicine off of an orderly but when he gets back into his car, he finds a man named Pierce inside. Pierce recognizes Logan and says he is looking for a woman named Gabriela but Logan tells him he doesn’t know any Gabriela. Pierce leaves him his card before leaving and when he learns that Pierce works for Alkali-Transigen, then he gets pissed. As Logan heads across the border into Mexico, he makes a call to someone about a boat he is trying to buy, urgent to get it now, but the seller raises the price when he senses Logan’s urgency. Returning to the junk yard that he lives in, Logan is greeted by Caliban, who tells him that Xavier has had a rough night and claims to be communicating with someone. Logan dismisses what Caliban said and heads into the tank where Xavier is kept, as he is suffering from a brain disease that causes him to have dangerous seizures. As Logan tries to give him his medicine, Xavier has another seizure, paralyzing Caliban in the other room and Logan is forced to struggle to inject Xavier with the medicine. When the seizure stops, Xavier speaks with Logan and chastises him for forcing him to live in the tank like he does. After getting some rest, Logan prepares to go to work and receives a fare at a motel, only to find that it is Gabriela. Gabriela pleads with him to take her and the little girl, Laura, to North Dakota, offering him $20k now and $30K when they get there, saying they have to be there by Friday in order to make their window and cross into Canada. Logan reluctantly decides to take the job and heads back to Mexico to tell Xavier and Caliban he will be gone for a few days but when he returns to the motel, he finds Gabriela dead and Laura missing. When he returns to the junk yard, Caliban discovers Laura’s bag and ball in the trunk of the limo and questions Logan about it, just as Pierce arrives. Pierce questions Logan about Laura’s whereabouts only to be knocked out by Laura, who had stowed away in Logan’s trunk. As Xavier comes out and speaks with Laura, then invites her inside to eat, Logan tells Caliban to take Pierce and dump him out in the ravine but when Caliban goes to do that, he finds Pierce has regained consciousness and his back up has arrived. Back in the junk yard, Logan is getting ready to leave with Xavier when Pierce and his men return and hold restrain Logan while Pierce sends some men to find Laura. As they wait outside, they hear screams and gunshots coming from within the building and Laura soon walks out, carrying one of the men’s head. As she approaches Pierce and the other men, Logan is shocked to see two claws extending from her hands and she attacks and kills two men, then leads the others away. As the men chase her, she manages to attack and kill some more of them but they finally capture her until Logan helps her. Seeing some men going after Xavier in the limo, Logan goes to kill them, then he gets in the limo and drives off, picking up Laura on the way. They manage to break out of the junk yard and lose their pursuers by cutting across a passing train, forcing Pierce and his men to wait until it passes to try to follow them but Pierce tortures Caliban to force him to tell him where they are. Pulling over at a gas station, Logan and Xavier watch some video that Gabriela took with her phone and learn that Laura, along with several other children, were created by Transigen to be used as mutant soldiers and Laura happened to have been created from Logan’s DNA, making him her father in a manner of speaking. When the children hit puberty, they started to rebel against Transigen’s wishes so Transigen decided to make a new weapon and dispose of the children but Gabriela and several other nurses decided to rescue as many as they could and help them get to Eden, a supposed safe haven for mutants in Canada. Charles says that they should help Laura, mentioning that she is just like Logan when he first came to the X-Men, but Logan doesn’t really want to get involved and would rather try to just disappear. Deciding to rest in Oklahoma City, Logan, Xavier, and Laura check into a casino and Logan heads out to get them a new car but as he gets rid of the limo, he discovers that Charles had hidden one of his pills in order to fool Logan into thinking he took it. As he waits for the new car to get tires put on it, he reads some of the comics Laura had brought with her and discovers that Eden was mentioned in the comic and he believes it is just a myth. Returning to the hotel, he finds Pierce’s men outside and he makes his way past them just as everyone suddenly freezes as Xavier has another seizure. Making his way towards the room, Logan sees Pierce’s men frozen in the attempt to capture Xavier and Laura and he kills them in their frozen state while Laura grabs Xavier’s medicine and hands it to Logan to give to him. They make their way out of the hotel as everyone else is still recovering from the event and leave. As they keep travelling, Logan chastises Xavier for not taking his medicine and as they argue, they are almost run off the road by a self driving truck. Seeing a truck carrying a trailer of horses also run off the road and Xavier convinces Logan to help the family, the Munsons, recapture the horses and get there truck out of the ditch and Kathryn Munson offers them dinner for their help, which Xavier accepts. Meanwhile, Dr. Zander Rice, the head of Transigen, meets up with Pierce and after chastising him for his failure in recapturing Laura, he goes to Caliban and begins talking to him to try and convince him to help them locate Laura. At the family’s house, Logan, Xavier, and Laura enjoy the meal and go to leave but Will Munson says the nearest hotel is 2 hours away and offers to put them up for the night. Suddenly, Kathryn says the water is shut off and Will goes to deal with the problem, saying it is some locals that are trying to run them off their land and Logan offers to help him. When they get there, they fix the problem only to be confronted by the major farm’s new owner, who argues with Will about the agreement Will had with the previous owner no longer being good. When he threatens Will, Logan intercedes and runs them off. Back at the house, Laura is sleeping and Xavier tells Logan to let her sleep but as the figure approaches Xavier, it is revealed to be a clone of Logan. The clone, X-24, stabs Xavier in the chest and Laura attacks him but he knocks her out and places her in restraints. The Munson’s son tries to stop 24 but he is stabbed as is Kathryn when she tries to shoot him. Will and Logan return and hear the commotion and Will is stabbed  in the chest and Logan sees 24 carrying Laura away and races upstairs to check on Xavier. In their truck, Rice and Pierce watch 24 bringing Laura back to them when he is confronted by the farmer and his men and when they shoot him, he begins attacking them. Meanwhile, Logan carries Xavier to their truck and tries to keep him alive but he ends up passing away. Rice goes out to try and get 24 to stop and bring Laura back to them only for Logan to attack 24 and try to rescue Laura. 24 is able to overpower Logan and moves to kill him when Will, who was still alive, drives his truck into 24, pinning him to a nearby tractor, then shoots him repeatedly before finally dying. Pierce goes to help get Laura but Caliban, having grabbed some grenades when nobody was looking, pulls the pins and drops them, sacrificing himself to try and stop them. Logan grabs Laura and drives off and they stop to bury Xavier by a lake but when Logan tries to start the truck again, it dies and he takes out his rage and frustration on the truck before collapsing to the ground. When he comes too, he finds himself in a doctor’s office, with the doctor saying that Laura had flagged down a motorist for help. The doctor wants Logan to check into a hospital to get treatment, saying something inside him is poisoning him, but Logan says for his own good, forget he saw them and they leave. Laura leads Logan to a jeep that she had acquired while he was passed out and as he thanks her for saving him, she says “de nada”, speaking to Logan for the first time. This causes an argument between her and Logan as she wants him to take her to North Dakota and he starts to refuse but finally relents. Logan drives as far as he can but as he starts to fall asleep at the wheel, Laura forces him to pull over and tells him to rest. When Logan wakes up, he finds that Laura had continued driving and reached a lokout station in the mountains. Logan passes out again and the kids that are there help bring him inside and treat his injuries, giving him some medicine that will help him heal if given in small doses. When Logan recovers enough to get out of bed, he tells Rictor, the kid’s leader, that they should leave before Transigen catches them and Rictor tells him that they will be leaving before dawn. He offers Logan the rest of the money he was promised but Logan refuses it, then argues with Laura again on his actions. The next morning, Logan wakes up to find the kids have all left but as he looks around the lookout station, he sees a bunch of drones flying towards the mountain border and sees some jeeps heading in that direction. Logan grabs the medicine and races towards the woods, injecting himself along the way with the medicine, which super charges his healing factor. As Transigen’s soldiers work on capturing the kids, Logan starts killing some of them, managing to rescue Laura but she notes that the medicine is wearing off as his wounds are not healing. The two sneak up to where Pierce and his remaining men are holding the captured kids and Logan tells Laura to wait for his signal to save her friends. He then approaches and Rice and Pierce move towards him, where it is revealed that Rice is the son of the doctor that helped Stryker put the adamantium into him. Pierce also tells Logan that Rice is the one that released the virus which prevented more mutants from being born, effectively wiping them out, and Logan ends up shooting Rice and injuring Pierce. Laura kills the guards, with some of the children using their powers to help but Pierce lets 24 loose to deal with Logan. As the two men fight, Laura moves to help Logan when he is overpowered and Pierce shoots Logan in the leg with a harpoon to restrain him but the kids all use their powers to kill Pierce. Logan gets free and goes to help Laura only for Rictor to use his powers to drop a truck onto 24. Logan tells Laura and the children to get out of their but 24 recovers and stabs Logan, then impales him onto a log. Laura grabs an adamantium bullet that Logan had kept, when he had contemplated killing himself, and uses it to kill 24. She then works on cutting off the branch and Logan tells her not to grow up to be a weapon like she was created to be before he dies. Laura cries out over his death, calling him daddy as she hugs him, and the kids bury him by a lake, much like Xavier was buried, and as they head to the border, Laura turns the cross they made onto it’s side to form an X, marking Logan’s passing as the last X-Man.

Logan met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Hugh Jackman makes the most of his final outing as Wolverine with a gritty, nuanced performance in a violent but surprisingly thoughtful superhero action film that defies genre conventions.” In the UK, the first wide release showing of this film was at the unusual time of 10:23 p.m., rather than the usual midnight showing for a major release. This is a reference to the film including the character of X-23, as X is the Roman numeral for 10. The movie was a box office hit, earning $619 million off of a $127 million budget and served as a great send off for Hugh Jackman’s final movie in this role.

This was a great movie and honestly one of the best ones in the franchise. The acting was great, with Hugh Jackman putting in an incredible performance as Logan, while Patrick Stewart was equally good as Xavier, with the dynamic between them making for some pretty funny scenes in the otherwise pretty dramatic movie. Dafne Keen was also great in her role as Laura, especially her interaction with Logan, while Boyd Holbrook and Richard E. Grant were good as Pierce and Rice respectively. The story was great, and while I knew that they couldn’t really do a full version of “Old Man Logan” due to the majority of the characters being licensed to other studios, they story they did create was very well written. Since no mutants had been born in 25 years in this movie, this seems like it is in a completely different universe from any of the other movies, though Xavier mentioning the fight on Liberty Island means it at least has some relevance to the original movie. One thing I did like was the odd family dynamic that came about during the movie, especially with Logan being forced into the father/caretaker role, which is something that he is obviously not used to doing or comfortable with. The special effects were pretty good and I liked some of the ways they used the effects to showcase Logan’s deteriorating condition, such as when one of his claws doesn’t fully extend when he is fighting the thugs. Definitely a great movie to watch and a worthy finale to the Wolverine story.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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June 14th, 2018 Movie – X-Men: Apocalypse

x-men apocalypse

Ever since the end of Days Of Future Past, I was curious what they were going to do with this movie. Then the trailers came out and I have to say that I was…..thoroughly unimpressed. Seriously, there was nothing really that compelled me to want to see this movie, and I have always been a fan of the X-Men. I mean, next to Magneto, Apocalypse is arguably the X-Men’s most dangerous villain so you would think that they would go all out for this but every commercial I saw left me feeling “meh”. So I opted out of seeing this in theaters and decided to just pick it up on video when it came out. Let’s see if that was a smart choice as I watch today’s movie, X-Men: Apocalypse.

The plot: in 3600 BC in the Nile Valley of Egypt, En Sabah Nur, the worlds first mutant, is entering a pyramid and performing a ritual where he transfers his powers and consciousness into the body of another mutant, one who has accelerated healing, to himself. As the sunlight activates the advanced technology in the pyramid, some of his guards betray him, unleashing giant stone blocks to take out the pyramid’s support columns while inside, some more guards seal the chamber and attempt to kill him. En Sabah Nur’s elite guard, the Four Horsemen, use their powers to protect him but they are all killed as the pyramid collapses and En Sabah Nur is buried underneath the rubble. In 1983 Ohio, Scott Summers is in class when his eyes start bothering him and he asks to be excused. Heading into the bathroom, he notices his eyes starting to glow red but quickly hide when another student comes in looking for him, thinking Scott was winking at his girlfriend. As the bully tries to get into the bathroom stall to beat up Scott, Scott’s eyes suddenly emit a powerful concussive blast, knocking the door off it’s hinges and sending the bully into the wall. In East Berlin, Mystique enters an underground arena where she sees a winged mutant called Angel fighting Nightcrawler, a blue-skinned teleporter with a demonic appearance. Seeing that the cage they are in is electrified, and armed guards are there to ensure they fight, Mystique takes out one of the guards and shorts out the power to the cage, allowing them to escape, then helps Nightcrawler get away from there, who realizes that she is the hero who saved the president. In Poland, Magneto, living under a false name, is working at a steel mill and returns home to his wife Magda and daughter Nina, who apparently has the mutant ability allowing her to communicate with animals. Scott’s parents contact his older brother Alex, who takes Scott to Xavier’s school. When they arrive, Scott accidentally bumps into Jean Grey, a telepath and telekinetic student, who chastises him for his clumsiness. Alex introduces Scott to Hank and Professor Xavier and they head outside to test his powers, with Xavier gladly enrolling Scott into the school so he can better control them. In Cairo, CIA agent Moira Mactaggert is following a cult that worships En Sabah Nur, but as she heads down into the area where the pyramid was buried, sunlight hits the top of the pyramid, reactivating the ancient technology and reawakening En Sabah Nur. As the cult continues praying, Apocalypse uses his powers to free himself, causing an earthquake that is felt worldwide. In Poland, the earthquake causes a vat of molten metal to fall towards a worker and Magneto instinctively uses his powers to save the man, but then grows worried that some of the other workers might have seen him. In New York, Xavier sends the other students back to bed before heading into Jean’s room, to help her deal with the visions she saw. Afterwards, Hank tells Xavier that his instruments detected an earthquake originating in Cairo and he believes Jean was merely reacting to it so Xavier uses Cerebro to investigate and discovers Moira in Cairo. When he learns that she is returning to Langley to make her report, he decides to head there to talk with her. In Poland, Magneto is making plans to leave with his family when he finds Nina being held by some cops. Magneto agrees to go with them so long as they spare his family but as they move to arrest him, Nina’s powers run wild and some birds begin attacking the cops. One of the cops accidentally lets go of the arrow in his bow, which kills both Nina and Magda and an enraged and grieving Magneto kills all of the cops before raging at the heavens. In Cairo, En Sabah Nur is wandering the streets and encounters a young Ororo Monroe, who uses her powers to help the gang of street kids she leads steal food to survive. In Langley, Xavier and Alex go to see Moira, with Xavier explaining to Alex beforehand about how he wiped all memory of them from her mind, and is surprised to find that she has a son. Mystique and Nightcrawler go to see Caliban, a mutant that can track other mutants, and she asks him to get Nightcrawler papers so he can get out of the country but when Caliban tells her about Magneto, she decides to take Nightcrawler with him to see Xavier. Meanwhile, Storm takes En Sabah Nur to her gang’s hideout, where he uses the TV to learn more about the modern world. Feeling betrayed at how the “weak” have taken over the world, he decides to cleanse the world and uses his powers to augment Storm’s abilities. They then teleport to Caliban’s shop, wanting to use Caliban to help them find more mutants. Caliban’s bodyguard Psylocke moves to stop them but when En Sabah Nur augments her own abilities, she decides to join them and tells them that she knows where to find the mutants they seek. Heading to an abandoned warehouse in Germany, they find Angel still recovering from his damaged wing and Psylocke says he is no longer useful but En Sabah Nur uses his powers to alter Angel’s wings, repairing the damaged one and making them both metallic with the ability to shoot razor sharp feathers from them. Back in New York, Hank makes some special glasses to hold back Scott’s eye blasts and Scott becomes enamored with Jean Grey when he finally sees her. Later, Hank is surprised to see Mystique there and she tells him that she is there to get Xaviers help in finding Magneto, believing him to be in trouble. Meanwhile Jubilee, a student at the school, is showing Nightcrawler around when they encounter Scott and Jean, and Scott suggests that they ditch the school and head to the mall. In Poland, Magneto enters the factory and intends to kill the workers there when En Sabah Nur, Storm, Psylocke, and Angel appear. En Sabah Nur kills all the men and tells Magneto and tells him to come with him. En Sabah Nur takes him to Auschwitz and helps him learn more about his powers and tells him that with his help, they can destroy what the humans built and then build a better world. In D.C., Peter Maximoff is watching a news report about Magneto and when his mother questions him about it, he admits that he is going to go after him. Xavier, Alex, and Moira return to the mansion and Xavier is surprised to see Mystique there. Asking the others to give them a moment, Xavier and Mystique talk for a bit, arguing about what they feel is best for the students there. Mystique tells him about Magneto and Xavier heads down to Cerebro with Alex, Hank, Mystique, and Moira and makes contact with Magneto. Xavier speaks with Magneto, trying to convince him to let him help him, but Magneto says that he tried Xavier’s way and it failed him so he has found a new path. En Sabah Nur, sensing what is happening, manages to take over the connection and uses Xavier and Cerebro to launch every nuclear missile in the world up into space. Xavier tells Alex to destroy Cerebro in order to break the connection but the backlash knocks Xavier unconscious. En Sabah Nur and his group appear in the mansion and kidnap Xavier and Alex tries to stop them but unknowingly causes an explosion that destroys the mansion. Peter arrives at the mansion just before it is destroyed and manages to use his speed to save everyone there except for Alex, who was the closest to the blast. Scott, Jean, Nightcrawler, and Jubilee return to the mansion and when he doesn’t see Alex around, he heads to the rubble to search before dropping to his knees to grieve, with Jean and Nightcrawler joining him. Suddenly, a military helicopter appears and the troops, led by Colonel William Stryker, knock out all of the people on the ground, then take Mystique, Hank, Peter, and Moira captive. Jean uses her powers to prevent the soldiers from seeing her, Scott, and Nightcrawler, then Nightcrawler teleports them onto the helicopter as it prepares to fly away. Stryker takes them to his base and questions them about Xavier’s location and Moira tells him that it wasn’t Xavier but someone more powerful. In Egypt, Xavier regains consciousness and finds En Sabah Nur waiting for him, wanting to use his powers to contact everyone on Earth. Boosting Xavier’s powers, En Sabah Nur uses Xavier to deliver a message to everyone but Xavier fights back, telling those with power to protect those without, while subtly contacting Jean and telling her where he is. Jean and the others are discovered and they manage to get away and find themselves in a test room, where one of Stryker’s experiments is being held. When the soldiers enter, Jean telekinetically opens the cage and releases Wolverine, who has been reduced to an almost mindless animal, and he begins slaughtering the soldiers. Seeing Wolverine running wild and killing all of his men, Stryker decides to abandon the base and leave. Jean and the others catch up to Wolverine just as he is about to leave and Jean approaches him, using her powers to restore a part of his humanity and he stares at them before running off into the woods. Scott rescues the others and when Jean says she knows where Xavier is, they grab Stryker’s plane and fly off. In Cairo, En Sabah Nur uses his powers to bring his pyramid back to the surface of the city, then instructs Magneto to use his powers to destroy everything that mankind built. He then has Angel take Xavier inside the pyramid, where En Sabah Nur plans on transferring his consciousness into Xavier’s body so he can gain his powers. The X-Men arrive and Mystique and Peter, who told them that Magneto is his father, go to try and stop Magneto while the others grab Xavier. Angel, Storm, and Psylocke work on stopping them as the transfer process begins but Nightcrawler manages to trap Angel and then make it inside the pyramid to rescue Xavier. Teleporting him back to the plane, Nightcrawler grabs the others and teleports them onto the plane so they can leave but Angel breaks free from his trap and grabs Psylocke to stop them. Psylocke lands on the plane and cuts a hole in it so Angel can get inside but Nightcrawler is able to teleport everyone to safety as Jean puts the plane into a dive so that it crashes, killing Angel. Nightcrawler is rendered unconscious by the effort and the others try to tend to him and Xavier. En Sabah Nur, realizing what happened, calls out to Xavier and moves towards him but Peter and Mystique try to stop him. En Sabah Nur easily beats them and then mocks Xavier, saying he should sacrifice his own life for theirs. Suddenly, Magneto attacks En Sabah Nur, trying to stop him from reaching Xavier and Scott joins the fight while Beast works to rescue Mystique and Peter. Realizing he and En Sabah Nur are still connected, Xavier attacks En Sabah Nur in his mind but En Sabah Nur is able to get the upper hand. Xavier calls out for Jean’s help and she faces off with En Sabah Nur, both in Xavier’s mind and in the real world and together, with Magneto, Scott, and Storm (who turned against En Sabah Nur when she saw her idol Mystique fighting him) are able to kill him. Jean, Scott, and Beast head back to check on Xavier who turns to Moira and restores her memories of their time together, apologizing for taking them from her, while Storm and Magneto nod to each other and approach them, while Psylocke heads off on her own. Some time later, Magneto and Jean are rebuilding the mansion as the students all watch. Storm approaches Peter and asks if he is going to tell Magneto that he is his son and Peter says one day but for now he is going to stick around the school and Storm says she will as well. Magneto and Xavier talk some more and discuss their differing views on humanity’s acceptance of mutants before Magneto leaves while Xavier watches as Mystique and Beast train Scott, Nightcrawler, Peter, Storm, and Jean into becoming the newest X-Men. Meanwhile, at Stryker’s abandoned base, some men in black suits are busy cleaning up the bodies, as well as taking the data and blood samples that were left behind, all under the guise of The Essex Corporation.

X-Men: Apocalypse met with mixed to negative reviews from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Overloaded action and a cliched villain take the focus away from otherwise strong performers and resonant themes, making X-Men: Apocalypse a middling chapter of the venerable superhero franchise.”  Apocalypse’s four horsemen, Storm , Psylocke , Angel, and Magneto, had all been his horsemen in other media. Angel and Psylocke would both become Horsemen in the comics (coincidentally, they would both end up becoming Death), while Magneto and Storm would become Horsemen in the animated show X-Men: Evolution. While the film has Apocalypse in the title, the titular villain is never actually referred to by that name in the movie, as everyone always calls him En Sabah Nur. Despite the bad reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $543.9 million off of a $178 million budget and a 4th movie is scheduled to be released in 2019.

Well, I didn’t hate it but I can’t say that I was too impressed with it either. Visual effects aside, this was kind of an average movie. The acting was ok, with the returning actors doing a good job in their roles. I did like the struggle Jennifer Lawrence showed Mystique waging, as she had unknowingly became a role model for several mutants but she didn’t feel like she deserved to be one. I liked Alexandra Shipp, Sophie Turner, and Tye Sheridan as Storm, Jean, and Scott respectively and thought Kodi Smit-McPhee’s portrayal as Nightcrawler was pretty good but I was disappointed with Oscar Isaac’s portrayal of Apocalypse. The story honestly felt too long and didn’t really do a great job in keeping you really invested in the movie. There were some good spots here and there but it really felt like it just kind of plodded along hoping to pick up enough steam to make it worthwhile. One aspect that kind of got glossed over, and I haven’t checked out the deleted scenes to see if it might have been addressed there, but I thought it was funny that Mystique showed up in Germany and rescued Nightcrawler but didn’t care if Angel got away or not. In the comics, Nightcrawler is the son of Mystique and Azazel and in this time line, it has been 19 years since Mystique first left with Magneto and his Brotherhood, which included Azazel. So it is entirely possible that he is her son and she had heard from Caliban that he was captured and gone there explicitly to rescue him, just choosing not to tell him of their relationship. One thing I thought was a bit much was the Peter/Quicksilver’s appearance at the mansion and his rescuing of the students and everyone there. It honestly felt like it was simply a time killer and didn’t really serve any real purpose to help move things along. One thing this movie didn’t really skimp on was the special effects and they were well done but special effects can’t make a movie great if the story doesn’t pull it’s weight. It’s a decent movie but definitely not the best in the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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June 13th, 2018 Movie – X-Men: Days Of Future Past

x-men days of future past

Another pivotal story line gets turned into a movie. Now there was a lot of hype about this movie when it first was announced. I mean, there was a lot of excitement about the Sentinels finally appearing in the movies, as well as tying in the original trilogy of movies to the new series. Personally, I was highly interested in this movie but did have my concerns. I mean, this is another one of the big plot lines in the comics and we all know how bad the last one turned out. Still, I heard the Bryan Singer had returned to direct so I was hoping that he could recapture the magic from the first two movies and makes this one successful as well. Now let’s see how good of a job they did with today’s movie, X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

The plot: In the year 2023, the world has fallen under the control of the Sentinels, robotic mutant hunters who have killed thousands of mutants as well as humans who are shown to carry the mutant gene, preventing more mutants from being born. In Moscow, 3 Sentinels attack the hideout of some of the remaining X-Men; Bishop, Blink, Colossus, Iceman, Kitty Pride, Sunspot, and Warpath. While Colossus, Blink, Iceman, Sunspot, and Warpath attempt to hold off the Sentinels, and are killed in the process, Kitty Pride and Bishop head to a safe room and Kitty starts using her powers to send Bishop’s consciousness back in time a few days to his younger self, thus warning the group and allowing them to move before the Sentinels are able to find them. Professor Xavier, Magneto, Storm, and Wolverine meet up with the group in China and hearing about Kitty’s new ability, Xavier and Magneto believe their plan will work. They explain to the group that the Sentinels were developed by Boliver Trask in the 70’s, who had begun experimenting on mutants back then. Mystique had found out about his experiments and killed Trask in 1973 but she was captured and experimented on herself, leading the scientists to discover the ability in her DNA to adapt, which was used to give the Sentinels the ability to adapt and counter any mutant ability they come across. Xavier wants to send his consciousness back in time to stop the assassination but Kitty says that the best she could do is a month before the mind, even one as powerful as Xavier’s would snap. Wolverine suggests he goes, thinking his healing factor would allow his mind to repair itself as fast as it snaps and Xavier and Magneto reluctantly agree that it is their best choice. As Wolverine prepares for the trip, Xavier tells him to head to his mansion and convince him to help stop Mystique, telling Wolverine that he didn’t have his powers back then. Magneto says he will also need his younger self’s help but says his location is “complicated”. Kitty tells Wolverine that they with them focusing on this attempt, they won’t be able to leave again when the Sentinels find them, then begins the process. In 1973, Trask is talking in front of a D.O.D. panel about his Sentinel program, warning that the mutants could attack them anytime, even in their own homes, but the panel refuses his funding. In Saigon, as the U.S. prepares to close down their base, 4 mutant soldiers, including Alex Summers (Havok) are being prepared to be sent to Trask Industries by Major William Stryker but Mystique, disguised as an army colonel, rescues them. Helping them get on a plane that is leaving, Alex asks if she is coming with them but she tells him that her war isn’t over. Meanwhile, Wolverine wakes up in his younger self and heads to Xavier’s mansion only to find the school has been shut down and the mansion and grounds are in a state of disrepair. When he knocks on the door, a human Hank McCoy answers the door and Wolverine forces his way in to look for Xavier, forcing Hank to transform to try and throw him out. Xavier shows up and Wolverine is shocked to see that Xavier is walking. Wolverine tells him that he is from the future and why he is there and Xavier doesn’t believe him at first but reluctantly agrees to help in order to help bring Raven (Mystique) home. When Wolverine says that they need Magneto’s help, Hank and Xavier laugh and explain that he is being held in a special prison underneath the Pentagon, as he is the one to kill Kennedy. Xavier says that they can’t get him out as it would just be the three of them but Wolverine says he knows a guy that would be a young man back then that would be able to help. Meanwhile, Mystique, disguised as Trask, heads up to Trask’s office and discovers his secret file room, where she discovers the Sentinel’s plans as well as his reports on mutants and their autopsy reports, including autopsy reports on Azazel and Angel. Xavier, Hank, and Wolverine arrive at the Maximoff house and ask to speak with Peter, a speedster, and convince him to help them break Magneto out of the Pentagon. Hank, Wolverine, and Xavier go on the Pentagon Tour, then Xavier and Wolverine break away from the group while Hank uses a device to jam the security cameras. Peter disguises himself as a guard and sneaks down to Magneto’s cell and uses his powers to shatter the glass in his cell. He then braces Magneto’s neck so he doesn’t get whiplash, then races him past the guards back to the elevator. Xavier and Wolverine meet them in the kitchen and when the guards show up to stop them, Peter uses his speed to save them all. Thanking Peter for his help, Xavier, Hank, Wolverine, and Magneto head to Paris to locate Mystique and during the flight, Xavier and Magneto argue, accusing each other of abandoning the other, but later they appear to reconcile. The next day, Mystique disguises herself as a Vietnamese general and heads to a secret meeting that Trask has with the Vietnamese and Soviets, attempting to sell his technology to them. When his technology detects a mutant in the group and outs her, Mystique takes out the guards, including Stryker, but before she can kill Trask, Stryker recovers and uses a taser to stop her. Wolverine and the others arrive and rescue Mystique but after looking at the plans for the Sentinels, Magneto decides that their best course to stop the Sentinels is to kill Mystique. As Hank and Xavier try to stop him, Wolverine notices Stryker and suddenly starts having flashbacks to the Weapon X program, causing him to lash out in the future and wound Kitty. Magneto manages to wound Mystique and follows her in an attempt to kill her but Hank transforms into Beast and stops him, allowing Mystique to get away before Magneto is able to restrain Beast and get away himself. In the future, Kitty is able to regain control of Wolverine, causing him to calm down and remember why he is there in the past. After getting her injuries treated, Mystique locates Magneto and threatens to kill him for trying to kill her but he tells her about Wolverine’s message and how she is the downfall of the mutant race. He tells her that they have her blood now so they are still in danger but Mystique feels that she can still stop this if she kills Trask and leaves. In Washington D.C., President Nixon asks his cabinet about the Mystique and Magneto, wondering if they have any sort of defense against them and Trask, who was in attendance, tells him about his Sentinel program. He tells Nixon that he has 8 prototypes ready to launch and Nixon says he wants them at the White House for a demonstration to assure the public that they are safe. Xavier, Hank, and Wolverine return to the mansion and Xavier’s powers start returning but Wolverine convinces him to stop using the drug to suppress them, so that they can use Cerebro to find Mystique. Xavier tries but is unable to handle hearing all of the thoughts from everyone around the world, causing a power surge to black out the mansion. Xavier says this is hopeless and tells Wolverine that they sent the wrong man and Wolverine agrees with him, saying they meant to send him (Xavier) but he wouldn’t have been able to survive the trip. Wolverine convinces Xavier to look into his mind to see his future, and Xavier ends up speaking with his future self, helping to boost Xavier’s confidence so he can try again. Xavier manages to locate Mystique and tries to convince her to stop but she refuses to budge from her plan to kill Trask. When he tells Wolverine and Hank that she is heading to D.C., Hank shows them a news report about Nixon unveiling the Sentinels at the White House and how they have samples of Mystique’s blood and Xavier fears that if she kills Trask at that event, the future will be set in stone. Meanwhile, Magneto heads after the train carrying the Sentinels to D.C. and using some rails from the train tracks, infuses the Sentinels with metal so that he can control them. Xavier, Hank, and Wolverine fly to D.C. and during the flight, Wolverine tells Xavier that he saw the good that was in the future and asks him to find the X-Men. They arrive at D.C. and head to the White House, where Xavier is able to locate Mystique, disguised as a Secret Service agent, and stops her from moving, then has Hank and Wolverine go to try and get her. Meanwhile, Magneto appears and lifts the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium from it’s foundation and as he approaches the White House with it, takes control of the Sentinels and makes them start attacking the crowd. The attack causes Xavier to lose his focus and Mystique continues after Trask, making her way to the secret bunker Trask and Nixon have taken shelter in. In the future, the Sentinels have located the X-Men and sent a fleet after them and Storm and Magneto work to try and stem the tide. The appear to destroy them all, but several Sentinels survived and kill Storm while Magneto, injured by some debris from the Blackbird’s destruction, uses the remaining debris to barricade the entrance just as Blink uses a portal to send him inside. Back in the past, Wolverine and Hank, transforming into Beast, go to attack Magneto but he turns one of the Sentinels on them. Beast attacks the Sentinel and Wolverine goes after Magneto but he uses some metal rebar to attack Wolverine, forcing it throughout his body, then tosses him into the Potomac. In the bunker, Trasks alarm reveals a mutant in the area and Mystique is captured before she can kill Trask but the bunker is suddenly ripped from the ground by Magneto and opened up. Turning the TV camera to face them, Magneto addresses the world and tells any mutants that wish to join him against the humans to do so. Hank is overpowered by the Sentinel so he uses the drugs to turn him back to human, causing the Sentinel to attack Magneto but he easily destroys it. Nixon leaves the bunker to face Magneto but as Trask and the others look in confusion, it is revealed that Nixon is still in the bunker. Magneto prepares to kill Nixon when Nixon, who is actually Mystique in disguise, shoots him with a plastic gun and bullet, hitting him in the neck and then using the distraction to knock him out. She then points the gun at Trask but Xavier freezes everyone to try and convince her not to kill Trask, saying that all people have seen right now is her saving the President’s life. Mystique reluctantly lowers the gun and in the future, the Sentinels finish killing the X-Men and are preparing to kill Xavier, Magneto, Kitty, and Wolverine when they all suddenly disappear. Mystique walks away, grabbing Magneto’s helmet as she does and Xavier uses his powers to take control of Magneto and lift the debris that is on him and as Hank helps him up, Xavier and Magneto speak briefly before Magneto flies off. Logan wakes up in a new future and is surprised to see everyone alive, including Jean and Scott, and the school thriving. He goes to speak to Xavier and when he comments on not remembering anything after 1973, as his memory of history is different, Xavier recognizes him as the Logan from the past and welcomes his friend, saying that they have a lot to catch up on while back in the past, Logan is rescued by Mystique, disguised as Stryker, while a newspaper shows the Sentinel project is scrapped and Trask is arrested for attempting to sell military hardware to the Soviets. Meanwhile, in the distant past, a crowd of Egyptians chant out “En Sabah Nur” as a figure telekinetically moves stones to form a pyramid, while 4 horsemen watch from a nearby hilltop.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “X-Men: Days of Future Past combines the best elements of the series to produce a satisfyingly fast-paced outing that ranks among the franchise’s finest installments.” The filmmakers chose to bast the story on the “Days Of Future Past” story line in order to try and correct some continuity errors that occurred with the prequel movies. The movie was a box office smash, earning $747.9 million off of a $205 million budget, making it the second highest grossing movie in the franchise behind Deadpool, and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects, making it the first film in the series to receive a nomination.

Aside from a few personal issues I have, this was a great movie. The acting was good, with all of the returning characters doing good jobs reprising their roles. I thought that Peter Dinklage did a great job as Trask and I also liked the surprise returns of Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, and Kelsey Grammer as Jean, Cyclops, Rogue, and Beast respectively. The story was good, capturing the basic premise of the original comic story but making some necessary changes due to characters not being introduced or already killed off. See, in the comics, Kitty is the one to go back in time to stop the assassination of Senator Kelly by Mystique, being sent there by the future daughter of Cyclops and Jean, Rachel Summers. This is one of the rare times where I was actually able to shut down fan boy me and enjoy the movie for the most part and not constantly think in my head “that’s not how it happened.” One of the issues I did have with the movie though was them using Kitty to send people back in time.  See, Kitty’s power was the ability to phase herself, and anyone she is touching, in order to make them intangible. She doesn’t have the power to send people’s minds to the past and they never really explained how she was able to do it. I would have liked it better if it was Emma or Xavier that was constantly doing it. I did like how they tried to tie in the old movies with the new one and essentially set it up as that they occurred in a “now” alternate timeline. The other thing I didn’t like was the end, as I thought the set up for the next movie was honestly a little too blunt. The special effects were pretty good and did a great job in accenting a lot of the action during the movie. All things considered, this is still a great movie and a lot of fun to watch.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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June 12th, 2018 Movie – The Wolverine

the wolverine

So with the X-Men franchise getting some new life in it, Fox decided to attempt to make a second Wolverine spin off movie. Unlike the last movie however, this movie took place after the events of The Last Stand, and had a somewhat darker story line to it. To be honest, that is what a lot of people hoped the first solo movie would be like, as Wolverine is a rather dark and somewhat of an anti-hero character. Personally, I wanted to see it because it was touching on Logan’s time in Japan, which did have an integral part in the development of his character. So I decided to take a chance and headed to the theaters one Sunday morning to give today’s movie, The Wolverine, a shot and I have to admit that I wasn’t disappointed.

The plot: In 1945, Logan is being held prisoner in a Japanese military prison when the base sounds an alarm and starts evacuating personnel as a B-29 approaches the nearby city. As he looks out through his isolation cell, he notices one of the officers, Ichiro Yashida, freeing the other prisoners, then notices Logan watching him. He approaches the cell and frees it, then tells Logan to leave but Logan, knowing what that plane is carrying, says there is no out running it and that he is safer down there with him. Yashida’s commanding officer calls out to him and Yashida joins them, watching as they commit seppuku just before the bomb drops. As Yashida watches the explosion occur, he starts to commit seppuku himself but Logan stops him and tells him to run back to the isolation cell, then shields Yashida from the blast with some debris. After the fire passes, Yashida watches as Logan heals himself, then tells Yashida to wait, as it is not safe outside yet. In the present day, Logan is living as a hermit up in the mountains in the Yukon, plagued by visions of Jean Grey, whom he was forced to kill. When he heads into town to get some more batteries for his radio, he notices a group of hunters preparing to head out into the woods. That night, he hears some screams and gunshots coming from the woods and when he goes to investigate, finds a campsite trashed with several of the hunters dead. Following the bear’s tracks, he soon locates the bear dying from a poisoned arrow and is forced to put it out of it’s misery. Logan heads into town, where the survivor is telling everyone about the attack and he jabs the arrow he removed from the bear into the man’s hand. Logan tells him that because he didn’t track down the bear to finish the job, the poison drove it mad and caused it to attack and kill his friends. The man attacks Logan and he moves to use his claws on him but he is stopped by a young Japanese girl named Yukio, who tells him not to worry about them, saying they will die soon anyways, then has him leave with her. Inside her car, she tells him that Yashida sent her to find him to deliver a sword to him and ask that he come to Japan so he can say his goodbyes in person, as Yashida is dying. Logan argues with Yukio at first but reluctantly agrees to go to Japan to say his goodbyes. On the plane there, he speaks briefly with Yukio about her saying that the men would die soon, saying her being specific about it is quite a gift, and asks if he will die on this plane and she cryptically says no, not on this plane. When they arrive at Yashida’s house, Yukio explains that the Yashida’s have had trouble with the Yakuza, hence the armed guards, and then leads Logan inside. As they approach Yahsida’s room, they see his granddaughter Mariko inside and when she leaves upset, Yukio tries to ask what is wrong but Mariko tells her it is nothing, then says that Logan can’t see Yashida like that. After forcing Logan to get a bath and shave, Yukio brings him in to see Yashida, who dismisses his oncologist Dr. Green so he can speak privately with Logan. Yahsida tells Logan that he can remove Logan’s immortality so that he can die like a normal man, and in the process use it to restore his own life, but Logan refuses the offer, telling Yashida he doesn’t want what he has. That night, Logan has another dream about Jean and as they kiss, he finds himself suddenly kissing Dr. Green, who slips something inside him during the kiss. When he pushes her away but finds no sign of her, he dismisses it as a dream, just as the house becomes ablaze with activity as Yashida dies. The next day, Yukio brings Logan to the funeral and he notices Dr. Green seeming to give him a lot of attention, as well as a man sitting on a nearby rooftop. Yukio introduces Logan to Shingen, Yashida’s son, and Logan offers his respects to him. As the funeral commences, Logan feels something is off and tries to warn Mariko, as Yashida had asked him to protect her but she dismisses his warnings, only for the priests, who are Yakuza in disguise, to begin attacking the funeral and attempt to kidnap Mariko. Logan is shot and discovers that his healing factor is not working properly but he continues to fight the Yakuza and manages to escape with Mariko, with Harada (the man on the roof) helping them escape by shooting some of the pursuing Yakuza with his bow. After ditching the pursuers, Mariko tries to leave Logan and get on a train but he follows her, arguing that where she is heading would be the first place they will check. As Logan heads to the bathroom to try and tend to his injuries, he encounters some more Yakuza and ends up fighting them, ending up on the roof of the train during part of the fight. After getting rid of them, Logan returns to Mariko and tells her they need to get off the train and ends up checking into a love hotel to hide. As Logan finally passes out from his injuries, Mariko has a veterinary student, who is the hotel owner’s grandson, come in and treat him. Meanwhile, Dr. Green, also known as Viper, meets up with Harada and Viper chastises Harada for not finding Logan, telling him that he is mortal now and easy to capture. When Logan regains consciousness, Mariko leads him to Yashida’s family house in Nagasaki and Logan sees a picture of Mariko with Harada and asks her about him as well as her fiance Noburo. The next day, after Logan helps the village remove a fallen tree from the road, Logan finds himself at the spot where he and Yashida first met and he recalls their leaving the cell and Yashida offering his sword as thanks to Logan, who asked him to keep it for him until he returned for it. Mariko and Logan end up getting closer and the end up kissing and sharing a bed together. The next morning, Logan wakes up to find Mariko missing and he heads outside to find her being kidnapped by some men. Logan tries to stop them, getting shot in the leg in the process, but he is unable to stop them from driving off. Approaching one of the men that he wounded, he begins to question him, using his claws to stab the man to force him to answer. Yukio, who had a dream of Logan’s death the night before arrives and when Logan approaches he tells her to take her to see Noburo. When they arrive at his penthouse, Yukio tells Logan about her dream and tells her she is going with him as his bodyguard. When they enter the room, they find Noburo with two prostitutes and quickly tell the girls to leave, then Logan proceeds to question Noburo on Mariko’s disappearance. Noburo tells them that Yashida’s company was almost ruined in Yashida’s quest to prolong his life, as well as his obsession with Logan. Shingen tried to cover up the debt from the stock holders but Yashida left the company to Mariko instead of her, so the only way to get control of the company was to have Mariko killed. At the Yashida house, Mariko and Shingen are arguing when Shingen’s men are all killed by ninjas from the Black Clan. They ninjas grab Mariko, who fights with them at first until Harada appears and says everything is ok. Viper then approaches Shingen, who is shocked to learn she is behind this, and she uses her power to poison a pen and stab Shingen with it. When Logan and Yukio arrive, they find a note saying to “come get her” and Yukio tells Logan where the building is they are holding her. While in Yashida’s room, Logan uses his x-ray machine to examine his body and discovers a robotic parasite attached to his heart and realizes that that is what is supressing his healing factor. Yukio tries to stop him, saying she saw him die holding his own heart but Logan tells her they don’t stand a chance in rescuing Mariko unless he can get his powers back, then slices open his chest and starts reaching inside. Shingen, who had survived the poison, enters the room and moves to attack Logan but Yukio stops him and begins fighting him just as Logan succeeds in removing the parasite, but flatlines shortly afterwards. As Yuriko continues fighting, Logan’s wounds begin to heal and he regains consciousness in time to stop Shingen from killing Yukio. Logan and Shingen begin fighting and Logan initially spares him, thinking that his trying to kill his own daughter was punishment enough but when Shingen tries to attack Logan from behind, Logan is forced to kill him. Logan heads out to Yashida’s mountain facility and is confronted by Harada and the Black Clan. Harada tries talking to Logan at first but when Logan refuses to back down, he attacks him and with the ninjas continuously tying him down with arrows, manages to knock him out with some poisoned arrows. When Logan comes too, he is restrained in a chair and Viper taunts him into revealing his claws, allowing her to quickly restrain his wrist so they can’t retract. Viper looks towards a giant Silver Samurai, which suddenly starts moving and pulls out an adamantium sword, which begins to glow red hot. As Mariko watches from above, she begs Harada to let her go to Logan but Harada says to trust him and kisses her but she stabs him in the leg, then heads to Logan. The Silver Samurai moves to slice off Logan’s claws but Mariko gets in the way so the samurai ends up destroying his restraints instead. Logan tries to escape with Mariko but the Silver Samurai attacks them so he tells her to run while he fends off the samurai, but gets the claws on one hand cut off. Viper tries to stop Mariko but Harada shoots her with an arrow, then goes to stop the samurai, but ends up being stabbed through the chest. Logan grabs one of the samurai’s swords and uses it to cut off it’s head, then continue attacking it. Yukio shows up and encounters Viper and the two begin fighting and Yukio manages to kill her by tying a cable around her neck and hanging her. Logan and the samurai tumble down the complex and almost fall off the mountain but Logan manages to stop himself. As Logan starts to pull himself up, the samurai cuts off the claws on his other hand, then grabs both of Logan’s hands, securing them in it’s gauntlets. Drills in the samurai’s gauntlets begin drilling into the openings where the claws were and start draining Wolverine’s life out of him and Logan sees that Yashida is still alive and the one in the samurai armor. Yashida’s youth and health are restored and he prepares to kill Logan but he is stabbed in the head with one of Logan’s severed claws by Mariko. Logan recovers and, regenerating his bone claws, stabs Yashida and throws him down the mountain, killing him. The next day, Logan prepares to leave Japan and Mariko kisses him and asks him to stay but he tells her he has been hiding too long and has to go back. Yukio goes with him, planning continuing as Logan’s bodyguard as they depart to places unknown. Two years later, Logan is returning to the US when he encounters Magneto in the airport. Magneto tells Logan that dark times are ahead and he needs Logan’s help. When Logan asks why he should trust Magneto, he notices that everyone around them has stopped and he turns to find Xavier approaching, shocking Logan as he believed Xavier was dead, and Xavier motions to Magneto and tells Logan they have to talk.

The Wolverine met with mixed to positive reviews from the critics, holding a 69% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is “Although its final act succumbs to the usual cartoonish antics, The Wolverine is one superhero movie that manages to stay true to the comics while keeping casual viewers entertained.” The samurai sword that Yashida attempts to give Wolverine after he saved his life has 6 kanji characters engraved on it. The characters, which read “Never Died, Never Aged, Never Destroyed” is a fitting description for Wolverine. The movie was a success at the box office, earning $414.8 million off of a $120 million budget and was followed up by the final movie in what would become known as the Wolverine trilogy.

This is the Wolverine movie that most people were looking for and I rather enjoyed it. The acting was pretty good, with Hugh Jackman doing a great job as Logan and showing the guilt he has been struggling with since killing Jean. I also liked Tao Okamoto (Mariko), Hiroyuki Sanada (Shingen), and Rila Fukushima (Yukio) but thought that Svetlana Khodchenkova was terrible as Viper. I think part of my dislike for her is that the couldn’t use the real Viper character, as she has too many Hydra ties (which would cause problems with Disney and the MCU), so they decided to completely rewrite her to be a mutant with snakelike and poison abilities. The story was good on a lot of levels. I loved how they brought up Logan’s guilt and his isolating himself as punishment for killing the woman he loved but then gave him some form of redemption by introducing Mariko and allowing him to get close to her. I also liked the plot about Wolverine losing his healing factor for a while, and his trying to come to grips with the fact that he might actually die now. I will say that I was a little skeptical on the whole “heated adamantium blade being able to cut Wolverine’s claws” bit but it made for a neat fight scene so I will allow it. As for Viper, I can deal with her surviving Harada’s poison arrow, as she has an immunity to toxins, but that part when she sheds her skin like a snake was just too stupid. The special effects were pretty good and I really liked the fight scene on the roof of the train, and the scene with Logan racing through the village and being shot continuously with the roped arrows. It’s a good movie and a great segue from the main X-Men movies.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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June 11th, 2018 Movie – X-Men: First Class

xmen first class

A new decade, a new set of movies. Somewhat similar to the Star Wars franchise, this new set of movies decided to try and serve as a prequel to the original trilogy of films. Now I was honestly a little skeptical about this because prequels can be a little tricky, as they try to explain how things we already know come to be. The problem is, if people aren’t completely careful and don’t pay attention, then you make things worse by making things more confusing. Still, I was curious how they would handle this and decided to dial down my skepticism as I watched today’s movie, X-Men: First Class.

The plot: In a Nazi concentration camp in 1944 Poland, young Erik Lehnsherr is separated from his parents and as he tries to get to them, his powers begin to manifest as he starts bending the metal gate until a guard knocks him out. Nazi scientist Klaus Schmidt witnesses the feat and has Erik brought to his office. Speaking to Erik about how genes are the future of mankind, he asks Erik to move a coin on his desk. When Erik can’t, he has Eric’s mother brought into the room, then threatens to shoot her if Erik doesn’t move the coin. Klaus counts to 3 and when Erik is unable to move the coin, he proceeds to shoot her. Enraged at the loss, Erik’s powers go out of control, killing the two guards and trashing the objects in the lab next door, all to Klaus’s delight. Meanwhile, in Westchester County, New York, a young Charles Xavier is woken up by a noise coming from the kitchen in his family’s mansion. When he goes to check it out, he finds his mother there but quickly realizes it is an imposter. Speaking to the intruder telepathically, the intruder reveals herself to be a young shape changing mutant named Raven and Xavier, happy to finally meet another mutant like himself, invites her to stay with him, which Raven accepts. Years later, Xavier is graduating from Oxford University and Raven, now his adopted sister, has accompanied him there but she has started feeling uncomfortable always having to hide who she really is. Meanwhile, Erik is trying to track down Schmidt and after heading to a bank known to secretly deal in Nazi gold, he is able to learn that Schmidt is in Argentina, then warns the banker not to warn anyone he is coming. In Las Vegas, CIA Agent Moria MacTaggert and her partner are staking out the Hellfire Club when they notice U.S. Army Colonel Hendry entering the building. Disguising herself as one of the prostitutes being let inside, Moria finds a hidden entrance to the club’s offices. Inside the office, Hendry is meeting with Schmidt, who now goes by Sebastian Shaw, and his associates Emma Frost and Riptide. Shaw is telling Hendry that he wants the U.S. to deploy nuclear weapons to Turkey but Hendry refuses, as it would escalate tensions with Russia and possibly start a nuclear war. When Hendry refuses to do so, Shaw has Riptide produce a small cyclone and use it to attack Hendry, slamming him into a wall. Moria, who had discovered some Russian files in Shaw’s desk, hears the commotion and watches as Emma changes into a diamond form after telepathically threatening Hendry, then Shaw summons Azazel, a red skinned teleporter, to take Hendry out of there. Moria makes her way out of the club and tries to tell her boss what she saw but her boss says that Hendry is in the war room advocating for missiles to be deployed in Turkey and dismisses her. Meanwhile, Erik heads to Argentina and when he arrives at a bar and orders a drink, he notices a picture of Shaw with two men on a boat. The two men happen to be sitting at the bar and when Erik learns that they are former Nazis, he kills them, then heads after Shaw. In D.C., Hendry boards Shaw’s yacht and when Shaw threatens to have him killed, Hendry produces a grenade and threatens to pull the pin. Shaw takes the Grenade from him and pulls the pin, then absorbs the blast from the explosion, revealing that he is also a mutant, then kills Hendry by touching him, transferring the force of the explosion to him. At Oxford, Moria approaches Xavier after his graduation and asks him about his thesis, in which he talks about mutants. Scanning her mind, Xavier sees her memories of Emma and Azazel and he agrees to help her. Moria takes Xavier and Raven with her to CIA headquaters but when the CIA director thinks what Xavier is saying is crazy talk, Xavier and Raven both reveal their gifts, shocking everyone. The CIA director thinks they are spies and wants them taken out of the building and one of the officers says he has an off site facility they can use and as they are leaving, Xavier telepathically contacts Moria and tells her to meet them at the parking garage. Erik travels to D.C. and confronts Shaw, who recognizes Erik, but Emma psychically stops Erik’s attack and knocks him into the water. Suddenly, the Coast Guard show up and Emma senses Xavier on board and uses her powers to block their thoughts from his. Riptide uses his powers to blow away the small boarding craft approaching the ship but when Erik uses his powers to use the anchor to destroy the ship, Shaw, Emma, and Riptide quickly head down to the lower decks, which house a secret submarine. As Shaw and the other’s escape, Erik uses his powers to try and stop them but the sub is too big and he ends up being dragged underwater until Xavier dives in and telepathically convinces him to stop. The CIA officer takes Moria, Xavier, Raven, and Erik to his facility, where he introduces them to Hank McCoy and Xavier unintentionally reveals to the officer that Hank is a mutant, whose gift is a genius IQ and prehensile feet. Later that night, Hank and Raven are talking, having bonded over the fact that their mutations are both physical, and Hank asks Raven for a sample of her blood, thinking he might be able to fashion a cure from it. Meanwhile, Erik steals the CIA files on Shaw and goes to leave but is confronted by Xavier, who tries to convince him to stay but tells Erik he won’t use his powers to do so. The next day, Erik agrees to stay but says that any mutants they discover should be approached by himself and Xavier, not CIA suits, and Xavier agrees, much to the CIA officer’s disapproval. Hank has turned a radar tower into a transmitter and hooked it up to a computer so that using Xavier’s telepathy, he can locate mutants and the computer will print out their location. Calling the device Cerebro, Hank activates it and Xavier begins locating mutants all across the world. Using the device, Eric and Xavier approach Angel Salvadore, Armando Munoz, Alex Summers, and Sean Cassidy, who agree to go with them, but the 5th mutant they approach, Logan, tells them to “Go fuck yourself.” Meanwhile, Shaw tells to head to Russia and when she asks about the other telepath, he tells her that the Russians made him a helmet that can block telepathy and has her try to read his mind when he is wearing it and she says she can’t. Later, Emma tells him that she can feel the other telepath’s range has expanded and he is recruiting other mutants and Shaw tells her to go to Russia and he will deal with the telepath. Back at the CIA Division X facility, Raven and Hank are talking with the new recruits and Raven says they should come up with code names. Raven decides to call herself Mystique, Sean calls himself Banshee, Armando calls himself Darwin, and they decide to call Alex Havoc after witnessing his powers, while Angel simply decides to use her stripper name of Angel. At CIA Headquarters, the director tells Moria that she was right about Shaw going to meet with the Russians and agrees to let her take the mutants with them, though one of his officers, Agent Stryker, protests using them. When Moria meets with Erik and Xavier to tell them, Erik is unsure if the other mutants are ready to take on Shaw and after seeing the mess they made of the room, Xavier reluctantly agrees. Moria, Xavier, and Erik go with a CIA team to Russia, where they see Emma meeting with the Russian general instead of Shaw. Moria wants to fall back, as their mission was to capture Shaw, but Erik says that Emma is Shaw’s right hand woman and she would know where he is and what his plans are. Eric uses his powers to subdue the guards and he heads inside, followed by Xavier, where they find Emma psychically tricking the general into thinking they are fooling around. Xavier uses his powers to render the general unconscious but Emma shifts into her diamond form to prevent him from reading her mind. Erik uses his powers to trap Emma against the bedframe, then coils part of it around her throat and starts constricting it until her throat cracks, then releases it as Emma quickly changes to human. Xavier is then able to read her mind and learns that Shaw plans to start a nuclear war so that more mutants will be born, with himself as their leader. Xavier says they are taking Emma to the CIA, as they will want to question her further, but Emma says that they have bigger problems to worry about. At Division X, Shaw, Azazel, and Riptide attack the facility looking for the mutants. After killing all of the humans, Shaw approaches the mutants and offers the a chance to join him. Angel takes him up on his offer, as she didn’t like being looked at like a freak by the CIA agents. Darwin also appears to join but as he approaches Angel, he grabs her and yells out for Havoc to attack while he uses his powers to defend himself and Angel. Shaw absorbs Havoc’s attack and then uses the energy to kill Darwin, making him explode, while he leaves with Angel, Azazel, and Riptide. Some time later, Shaw appears in Russia and meets with the general and tells him to send missiles to Cuba, knowing it will provoke a response from the United States. Meanwhile, Xavier, Erik, and Moria return to the facility and Xavier wants to send everyone home but they all refuse, as they want to avenge Darwin’s death. After talking with Erik, Xavier agrees to this provided they begin training and learn how to better use their powers and they all agree, and Xavier takes them back to his and Raven’s mansion to use as their new training ground. As the tensions between the two countries continue to rise, Xavier works on helping the others with their abilities. Banshee learns how to use his sonic scream to fly and Havoc, thanks to a suit from Hank, is able to fully control his powers. Xavier tries to help Erik with his powers by having him more a nearby radar dish so it’s pointing at them and helps him realize that anger isn’t the only thing that powers his abilities by reminding him of the memories of his mother that he had long forgotten. When the President makes his remarks about the rising Missile crisis in Cuba, Erik says that Shaw will be in Cuba, as he will want to make sure that the war he has been planning starts. That night, Hank goes to Raven’s room and shows her the cure he made from her blood cells, saying that they can finally be normal, but Raven tells him that they are normal as they are and shouldn’t have to hide who they are but Hank sadly walks away. Raven goes to Eric’s room and attempts to seduce him and when he tells her he wants to see the real Raven, she changes and he kisses her. Meanwhile, Hank injects himself with his cure but instead of making him human, it increases his stalled mutation, causing him to begin growing fur. The next day, Xavier and the others enter Hank’s lab to find it trashed but no sign of him anywhere. They don the uniforms he fashioned for them and head to the hangar where his supersonic jet, the Blackbird, is kept and Hank meets them there, revealing himself to have mutated into a more leonine, beast form with blue fur. Hank, dubbed Beast by Havoc, pilots the jet to Cuba, where the opposing fleets are watching as the Russian ship carrying the missiles continues towards Cuba. As the ship nears the embargo line, Xavier uses his powers to learn that Azazel has killed the crew and set the ship towards the line. He then takes control of a soviet sailor and has him fire on the ship, destroying it and preventing a war from starting. Shaw realizes what has happened and, donning his helmet, makes plans to absorb the energy from the sub’s reactor to turn himself into a weapon. Realizing that Shaw must be in his sub, Banshee uses his powers to dive into the water and act as a sonar system, allowing Xavier to locate the sub. Magneto then uses his powers to lift the sub out of the water and move it towards a nearby island. Riptide emerges on deck and uses his powers to attack the plane, causing Erik to lose control and crash the sub, just as the plane is damaged and crashes as well. As Xavier checks on everyone, he and Moira realize that Shaw is draining power from his reactor and they have to stop him. Erik, Beast, and Havoc see Angel, Azazel, and Riptide waiting to stop them and Havoc attacks first, slamming Riptide into the sub. Azazel teleports behind them and attacks Havoc but Beast grabs Azazel and they teleport away, eventually landing on a U.S. ship. Magneto rips open the sub, knocking Riptide unconscious with the falling debris, and Xavier uses his powers to guide him towards where a void exists that Shaw must be in. Meanwhile, Hank and Azazel continue fighting, teleporting off the ship, while Havoc is about to be arrested by the sailors when Angel attacks them all, damaging Havoc’s suit in the process. Suddenly, Banshee reappears from underwater and attacks Angel, then rescues Havoc from the sailors. Angel attacks them, damaging Banshee’s suit and causing them to crash onto the beach but as she goes to finish them off, Angel fires at her and damages her wings, bringing her down as well. Meanwhile, Beast and Azazel continues to fight each other, eventually moving back to the beach and when Azazel is about to kill Beast, Mystique, disguised as Shaw, distracts him long enough for Beast to knock him out. On the sub, Erik powers down the reactor and Shaw opens the chamber and begins talking with Erik. When Erik attempts to attack him, Shaw easily rebuffs the attack, then slams Erik into the wall, cracking it open and allowing Xavier to uses his powers to see inside. As Erik and Shaw continue to fight, Erik tricks Shaw and manages to remove his helmet, allowing Xavier to take control of Shaw’s body and stop him. Erik then dons Shaw’s helmet and approaches Shaw, telling him he agrees with what he said about mutants being the future but he is still going to kill him for killing his mother. Erik then takes the coin that Shaw asked him to move, which he kept all these years, and uses his powers to push it through Shaw’s head. Erik then leaves the sub, moving Shaw’s body before him, and tells everyone to stop fighting, as the real enemy is out there, pointing to the U.S. and Russian fleets, which have both received orders to fire on the beach. As the missiles and rockets head towards them, Erik takes control of them and uses his powers to send them back. Xavier tries to stop him but Erik is able to fight him off and pin him to the ground. When Moria tries to shoot Erik, he deflects the bullets but one of them hits a rising Xavier in the back. Concerned for his friend, Erik lets the missiles and rockets crash to the sea or explode harmlessly as he quickly removes the bullet from Xavier. He then attacks Moria, saying she did this but Xavier tells him that he did it, causing Erik to release her. Erik then speaks to the other mutants and asks them to join him and Mystique does, stopping to say goodbye to Xavier and asking Moria to take care of him. Angel, Azazel, and Riptide join as well and when the others refuse, Azazel teleports them out of there. Beast, Banshee, and Havoc rush to Xavier’s side and Xavier tells them that he can’t feel his legs. Some time later, Moria is pushing Xavier in his wheelchair as he is talking about turning his mansion into a school for mutants to learn how to control their abilities but when they share a kiss, he uses his powers to wipe her memory, as he doesn’t want to have her report this to her superiors. As Moria is giving her report and explaining the memory gaps, an explosion is heard at CIA headquarters. Inside their secret prison, Erik, now going by Magneto, frees Emma and invites her to join his new Brotherhood, which she accepts.

X-Men: First Class met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With a strong script, stylish direction, and powerful performances from its well-rounded cast, X-Men: First Class is a welcome return to form for the franchise.” While they were adversaries in the movie (though they later joined Magneto at the movie’s end), in the comics, Azazel and Mystique were lovers, with the result of their union being the X-Man Nightcrawler. The movie was a box office success, earning $353.6 million off of a $160 million budget and would go on to spawn two more prequels, with a third movie coming out next year.

So I will say that this is a pretty good movie all around, though fanboy me did have some problems with some of the things in it. I thought that James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender both did great jobs as Xavier and Magneto respectively. I also liked Nicholas Hoult as a young beast but was kind of “meh” on Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique and Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw. The story was pretty interesting and I liked the initial set up for them such as how the X-Men initially worked with the government but after the government turned on them in fear, Xavier felt it best to sever the ties and keep them a secret. I also liked how they try to set up some things for the future, such as having Stryker’s father being one of the CIA special agents that didn’t trust Xavier and the others from the start and wanted them destroyed, setting up how that would carry over to his son’s work. One slight problem with continuity that they had was in regards to Shaw’s helmet, which Magneto would later come to possess. In the first movie, Xavier didn’t know what was allowing Magneto to hide his thoughts from him, with the helmet was somewhat pivotal in the second movie as well. But in this movie, he did learn of the helmet and would have known later on why he was unable to read Magneto’s mind. It’s minor, true, but an annoying bit of a continuity error. The other thing I didn’t like was their dealing with the powers of Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw. With Emma, they made her powers more like the current comics version, where she had a secondary mutation giving her the diamond skin, which was annoying to me but not really necessary as they could have simply left her as just a telepath and made her more of a foil for Xavier in trying to keep the X-Men from stopping Shaw’s plans. With Shaw, they seemed to have more fun in changing his powers. In the comics, he did absorb the kinetic energy of anything that strikes him, which does allow him to survive explosions and what not, but that trick he did with Darwin was honestly some Hollywood BS in my opinion and simply a way to kill off Darwin. On that note, the special effects were pretty good and I loved the setting of everything being during the cold war in 1962, as this was right at the time the silver age of comics was getting started, though a full year before the X-Men first appeared. Still, my annoyances aside, this was an entertaining movie and a good way to bring some new life to the franchise after The Last Stand.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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June 10th, 2018 Movie – X-Men Origins: Wolverine

xmen origins wolverine

After X-Men: The Last Stand left theaters, Fox decided to make some spin-offs of the series by exploring the back stories of two characters; Wolverine and Magneto. When I first heard about this, I thought that this was a great idea, as both characters have a lot of interesting histories that can make for some pretty good movies. With Wolverine being the first movie, I was curious how they were going to handle it as he has had several origin stories all ret-conned into one giant mess of a life story. So when it hit theaters, I happened to be on reduced hours at work, which made for the perfect opportunity to catch an early showing one day. So let’s see how Fox did with today’s movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

The plot: In the Canadian Northwest Territories in 1845, young James Howlett is lying sick in his bed, with Victor Creed, the son of the Howlett’s groundskeeper Thomas Logan, keeping him company. As his father John Howlett comes in to check on him, they hear a commotion coming from downstairs as Thomas enters the house and starts yelling out for John’s wife Elizabeth. John heads down to confront him, followed by Victor, and as James listens to the escalating argument, he suddenly hears a shot and his mother crying out. James rushes out of his room and discovers his father dying from a gun shot wound and as Thomas tries to explain things to James, he suddenly begins growing bone claws from the back of his hands. Enraged at his father’s death, James rushes forward and impales Thomas with his claws but Thomas explains that he, not John, was James’ father before he dies from his wounds. As Elizabeth stares in horror at her son, James runs out of the house, followed by Victor, who explains that they are brothers and they have to stick together and protect each other, then start running as they see a posse out looking for them. Victor and James, head south to the United States, where they end up fighting in the major wars of the country, from the Civil War, to World War I and World War II. During the Vietnam War, Victor ends up killing a superior officer when he tries to stop Victor from raping a woman and as James goes to defend Victor from some of the other soldiers, they both end up being charged with his murder and ordered to be executed by firing squad but due to their healing factors, they both survive and are then placed in a cell. Inside their cell, they are approached by Major William Stryker, who offers them a place on his team, which is filled with other mutants like themselves, and they both agree. After joining Team X for a couple of years James, now going by Logan, and Victor go on a mission with Stryker and their teammates Agent Zero, Fred Dukes, Wade Wilson, John Wraith, and Chris Bradley to Lagos, Nigeria. When they get there, they attack a crime lord in his complex, and Stryker asks him where he obtained a strange meteorite. The crime lord tells them and they head to a remote village, where Stryker has Wade ask the tribal leader about the meteorite. When the leader says it is sacred to their village, Stryker has Victor kill the man and Logan attempts to stop Zero and Victor from killing more people. Victor asks Logan what he is doing but Logan says he didn’t sign up for this and walks away from the group, with Victor yelling at him to come back. 6 years later, Victor pays a visit to Bradley, who is working at a Carnival in Ohio, and when Bradley says he thought it would be Wade that would come see him, Victor tells him that Wade is gone, then proceeds to kill him. Meanwhile, Logan is working as a lumberjack up in the Canadian Rockies and is in a relationship with a woman named Kayla Silverfox. As Logan is at work one day, he receives a visit from Stryker and Zero, who inform him of Bradley and Wade’s death. When Logan asks if anyone else is dead, Stryker says Victor is safe as far as he knows and he asks Logan to help find whoever is killing their old team but Logan refuses and drives off. Logan picks up Silverfox from her school and tells her about Styrker approaching him but he tells her that he refused to have anything to do with him. The next day, Silverfox is on her way to work when she encounters Victor, who scratches up her car as he approaches her. Meanwhile, Logan finds a dead wolverine at his work site and when he notices the scratches on a nearby tree, he realizes that Victor is there. He races off to find Silverfox, eventually finding her car, but is too late as she is already dead. Logan tracks Victor down to a nearby bar and the two begin fighting but Victor easily beats Logan, crushing him underneath some logs before throwing him into a truck and snapping the claws on his left hand, causing Logan to pass out. When Logan comes too, he finds Stryker waiting for him at the hospital and he argues with him about not telling him that Victor was the killer. Stryker says that after Logan left, Victor started getting too out of control and when Stryker sidelined him, he went rogue. Stryker tells Logan that he can give him the tools necessary to kill Victor, but says that it will cause him unbearable pain, but Logan agrees to do it so long as he is able to get his revenge. Stryker takes Logan to a secret base at Alkali Lake and asks Logan if he remembers the African mission. When Logan acknowledges him, Stryker tells him he found the meteorite, which he was able to use to create a metal compound called adamantium that is virtually indestructable, and he plans on infusing Logan’s skeleton with it. Stryker goes to hand Logan his dog tags back but Logan says he wants new ones with his name listed as Wolverine, after a story that Silverfox told him the night before she died. Stryker has the bonding process started and when it is finished, Logan’s vital signs are flatlined and everyone believes he died when his heart suddenly starts back up. As Logan’s vital signs stabalize, Stryker and everyone cheer their success and Zero asks if Stryker wants Logan taken to The Island but Stryker says no, as they have his DNA they can use for the bonding process and he orders Logan’s memory to be erased. Logan hears the conversation and he breaks out of the tank, then escapes the facility and Stryker orders Zero to hunt him down. Logan ends up at the farm of an elderly couple, Travis and Heather Hudson, and they take him in for the night, giving him some of their son’s old clothes to wear. The next morning, Logan is talking with Travis and Heather in the barn when Zero kills them from his sniper’s position on a far off hill. He then orders a helicopter to destroy the barn in the hopes that it will kill Logan but he rides out on Travis’ motorcycle before it explodes. Zero has the helicopter pick him up and they pursue Logan, joined by two Humvees, but Logan uses his new adamantium claws to destroy the vehicles and crash the helicopter. Stryker tries contacting Zero, who is injured but still alive, but Logan gets on the radio and tells Stryker that he is coming after him when he finishes with Victor, then heads off, using his claws to create a spark and set the fuel on fire to blow up the helicopter and kill Zero. Back at the base, Stryker is given a pistol with adamantium bullets, saying it is the only thing that can stop Logan now. He is then told that the mutant he was looking for has been found and he sends Victor out to get him. Logan heads to Las Vegas, where Wraith is living and running a boxing gym and when he talks about where Stryker might be, Wraith says that Fred might no but warns Logan not to comment about his weight. When Logan sees Fred, he is shocked at his size and attempts to ask him where Victor is but Fred, mistakenly thinking Logan called him “Blob” knocks him out of the ring. Wraith tells Logan to try sparring with Fred to let him work out his anger and get him to talking and Logan does so for a while but gets tired and uses his reinforced skeleton to knock Fred out. When Fred comes too, Logan threatens him with his claws and Fred tells him that Victor and Stryker were working together, hunting and capturing mutants as Stryker was trying to find a way to combine their powers. Logan realizes he was set up to undergo the bonding and asks Fred where the Island is and Fred says he doesn’t know but a prisoner named Remy LeBeau (Gambit) had escaped from there and he would know where it is. Logan heads to New Orleans, accompanied by Wraith, and they find Gambit playing poker at a club. As Logan goes to talk to him, Wraith heads to the back to cover the exit and sees Victor in the alley. When Wraith confronts him, Victor comments about killing Fred and Wraith starts fighting Victor but Victor knows Wraith’s patterns and moves his hand right where he is going to teleport, grabbing a hold of Wraith’s spine and severing it. Meanwhile, Logan asks Gambit about the Island but this causes Gambit to use his powers to attack him, knocking him through the wall of the club. Logan lands in the alley, where he sees Victor standing over Wraith’s body, and as Gambit follows him outside, Logan quickly knocks him down, then faces off against Victor. The two start fighting but this time, Logan gets the upper hand and is prepared to kill him when Gambit breaks them up, allowing Victor to escape. Gambit starts fighting with Logan but Logan beats him and tells him he is going to take him to the Island so that he can kill Victor, Stryker, and everyone else in the place. At the Island, Stryker looks at the frozen body of his son as General Munson examines Stryker’s pet project, Deadpool. Munson says that he is shutting Stryker down, as his issues with his own son have made him to close to this, so Stryker kills him. Gambit flies Logan to The Island, which happens to be Three Mile Island, as Stryker uses the nuclear reactors as cover to keep people from poking around. Logan makes his way into the facility and confronts Stryker, who is finishing his operation on Deadpool, but is shocked to find Silverfox there. Stryker explains that Silverfox was keeping tabs on Logan for him, as he was holding her sister captive on the Island. Logan feels like he was betrayed by Silverfox and just walks out of there and afterwards, Silverfox begs Stryker to release her sister but he says he can’t do that yet, as they still need to examine her mutation. Victor shows up, upset that Stryker allowed Logan to leave and demands he give him the adamantium but Stryker tells him that he wouldn’t survive the process. Silverfox tells Victor that Stryker is just using them but Victor, upset at what is going on, grabs her by the throat and prepares to kill her. Logan hears her screams and runs back into the lab and begins fighting Victor, beating him again but Silverfox stops him from killing him, then asks for his help in freeing her sister. As Logan and Silverfox make their way to the prison area, Stryker tells his assistant to activate Weapon XI. After freeing the captive mutants, Logan and Silverfox start to lead them outside only to encounter Deadpool, who has adamantium blades extend from his hands to counter Logan’s claws. Logan tells Silverfox to get the kids out of there, then confronts Deadpool, whom he recognizes as Wade but with his mouth sewn shut. As the two begin fighting, Silverfox tries to lead the kids out of there but they come under fire from Stryker’s guards. Silverfox’s sister, Emma is able to shield them with her power and Scott Summers uses his powers to take out the guards. Silverfox tells Emma to lead the kids out of there but says she has to stay behind and as Emma reluctantly leaves her, Silverfox is shown to have been hit by one of the bullets. Meanwhile, Logan and Deadpool’s fight has made it’s way to the top of a reactor tower and just as Deadpool is about to kill him, Victor shows up and saves Logan. The two brothers work together and finally manage to kill Deadpool, with Wolverine slicing off his head, and afterwards, Logan tells Victor it doesn’t change anything between them and Victor heads off. Gambit shows back up, rescuing Logan from some of the falling debris from the reactor tower and they start to leave when Logan hears Silverfox and tells Gambit to go help the kids get off the island. As Logan reaches Silverfox and picks her up, Stryker begins shooting Logan with the adamantium bullets, with the last two hitting him in the head. Before he can reload the gun to finish him off, Silverfox grabs his ankle and uses her powers to force Stryker to start walking until his feet bleed. As the kids make their way out of the lab, Scott begins hearing a voice in his head telling him where to go and they emerge from the lab to find Professor Xavier, who had been guiding Scott telepathically, to him. Xavier tells them that they are safe and offers to take them to his school and they board his plane and leave, just as Gambit arrives and watches them go. Logan recovers from being shot just as Gambit returns but he has no memory of who he is or what he was doing there. Gambit convinces Logan that he is a friend and says they have to leave but as they do, Logan sees Silverfox’s body and stops to stare at her, then tells Gambit to leave as he will find his own way and the two men separate as the authorities start to arrive. On a road in the middle of nowhere, Stryker is continuing to walk as Silverfox told him when he is stopped by some military police, who tell him he is wanted for questioning over Munson’s death. At the rubble of the reactor tower, Deadpool’s blades are shown to be retracting back into his hands as they reach for his head, just as his eyes open and he whispers “Shhhh” to the audience.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine met with negative reviews from the critics, holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though Hugh Jackman gives his all, he can’t help X-Men Origins: Wolverine overcome a cliche-ridden script and familiar narrative.” Hugh Jackman recommended Liev Schreiber to play the role of Sabertooth, citing his having the necessary competitive streak for the role. During filming, that competitive nature came to play as the two would dare each other to perform more and more of their own stunts. Despite the negative reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $373.1 million off of a $150 million budget and would lead to two more Wolverine spin-off movies; The Wolverine and Logan, while the plans for a Magneto origins movie would be cancelled and worked into the prequel movie X-Men: First Class.

While not as disappointing as The Last Stand, this was still a bit of a disappointment. The acting was ok, with Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber doing good jobs as Wolverine and Sabertooth respectively. Ryan Reynolds was absolutely the best choice for Wade Wilson (I will get into the “Deadpool” travesty in a sec) and I thought that Will I. Am was good as Wraith but I was honestly a little “meh” towards everyone else. The story was pretty interesting, showing a few elements from the “Origins” mini-series while mainly focusing on Wolverines time in Team X, the black ops team he was in as part of the Weapon X program. trying to explain the memory loss in the process. The special effects were pretty good and did add some flash to the movie but there was some time where they felt unnecessary, especially during some of the fight scenes. Of course, the thing that pissed every fan of the X-Men universe off is what happened with Wade Wilson at the end of the movie. As much as everyone loved it when Reynolds showed up as Wade Wilson, when Wilson’s character reappeared as Deadpool, with a hodgepodge of mutant abilities, built in adamantium swords, and his mouth sewn shut, unhappy was a very mild way of putting their reaction. Everyone I knew was cursing and lambasting the producers and directors for practically ruining one of the best characters to come out in recent years. Thank god it got fixed later on when they essentially decided to just completely do away with everything from this movie in context with the rest of the X-Men universe. It has some fun moments to it but this was a bit of a let down of a movie.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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