adventure, fantasy, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: June 30th, 2014 Movie – The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe

the lion the witch and the wardrobe

Well, here we are folks. This is the end of the “Flashback Reviews”. This means that I only have a couple more movie reviews to do and then I will be taking a break. But that is a ways off so lets get into this movie. Now I am an avid reader and I have mentioned that “The Lord Of The Rings” is my favorite series to read. As I am always open to suggestions for new books to read, my friend Paul had introduced me to several other series I might like, such as “The Pyrdain Chronicles”, “The Shannara Series”, and “The Chronicles Of Narnia”. Now any one of those would make for a great movie and, after the success of Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Disney decided to do exactly that. Now Disney had tried doing the Pyrdain Chronicles in animated form back in the 80’s with The Black Cauldron, which didn’t quite work out. This time, they decided to try their hand at The Chronicles Of Narnia, but in a live action format. I will admit, my interest was definitely piqued and I was curious to see if Disney could do to The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe as Peter Jackson did with The Lord Of The Rings.

The plot: During the Blitz of World War II, the Pevensie children (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) are running to their family’s bomb shelter with their mom. When Edmund races back into the house to grab a picture of their dad, Peter follows him to drag him back to the shelter, then admonishes him for being selfish and not doing what he is told. The next day, their mother sends them to Professor Digory Kirke’s house in the country, though Edmund is resentful about being forced to evacuate their home. After taking the train out of the city, the eventually reach the station they are supposed to be going to but find nobody there and they start to worry. Eventually, a woman driving a horse and buggy pulls up and when Peter asks if she is Mrs. Macready, she confirms it and they get in the cart. After driving to the professor’s home, Mrs. Macready tells them that Professor Kirke is not accustomed to dealing with children and tells them the rules they must follow. As the children try to think of something fun to do, Lucy suggests a game of hide and seek and pleads with Peter, who suddenly begins counting. Lucy, Edmund, and Susan all go and hide and as Lucy tries to find a spot, she enters a room and finds a large wardrobe covered by a sheet. Hearing Peter still counting, Lucy climbs into the wardrobe but as she backs up into the coats, she suddenly finds herself in a snow covered forest. Amazed at what she is seeing, Lucy wanders around the forest, eventually finding a lamppost in the middle of it. Hearing something moving around in the woods, Lucy screams when she sees a faun carrying an umbrella and some present approaching the lamppost, startling the faun into dropping his gifts. As Lucy goes to pick up his packages and hand them to him, the faun asks if she is a “Daughter of Eve” (human), and when Lucy says yes, he introduces himself as Mr. Tumnus and welcomes her to Narnia. Mr. Tumnus then invites her to have tea at his house and as they talk over tea, Mr. Tumnus plays her a song on his flute, which causes images to form in the fire that puts Lucy to sleep. As Mr. Tumnus finishes playing, he glances at the images in the fire when they suddenly change into a lion’s face, which roars and all of the flames are quickly snuffed out. Lucy wakes up and finds Mr. Tumnus crying and he tells her that the White Witch has cursed Narnia with an endless winter and she gave orders that if anyone finds a human, they are to bring them to her at once, which is why he had kidnapped her. When Lucy haltingly states that she thought they were friends, Mr. Tumnus decides he can’t go through with it and takes her back to the lamppost, telling her that he is glad to have met her. Lucy makes her way back to the wardrobe, thinking everyone will be worried, but discovers that almost no time has passed since she first entered Narnia. Lucy tries to tell her siblings about Narnia but Susan and Peter don’t believe her while Edmund teases her, causing Peter to scold him. That night, Lucy sneaks back into the room with the wardrobe, not realizing that Edmund sees her and follows after her. When Edmund enters Narnia, he calls out to Lucy as he wanders around and eventually encounters the White Witch, who drives up on her sleigh. The White Witch’s driver, Ginarrbrik, attacks Edmund and moves to kill him for disrespecting the White Witch but she stops him and begins to question Edmund. Edmund tells her that he has 3 siblings and Lucy had been here before and met Tumnus. Seeing Edmund shiver, the White Witch invites him to sit in her sleigh with her, using her magic to give him Turkish Delight and a drink. She then tells Edmund that she would like to meet the rest of his family, telling him she can make him king and they could be his servants and Edmund agrees to bring them to her. The White Witch leaves and Edmund encounters Lucy, who is excited to find him there and tells him that Mr. Tumnus is ok, as the White Witch doesn’t know she was there. Lucy and Edmund return and Lucy goes to wake Peter and tell him that Narnia is real and Edmund was there too but Edmund lies and says he was simply playing along with her. Lucy runs off crying and runs into Professor Kirke, and she quickly hugs him. When Mrs. Macready appears, Professor Kirke sends Lucy with her to try and console her, while he speaks with Peter and Susan. Peter and Susan explain what has upset Lucy and Kirke seems to believe Lucy did go to Narnia and is surprised that they don’t believe her. Later that day, the kids are outside, with Peter and Edmund playing cricket when Edmund hits the ball, breaking a stained glass window and knocking over a suit of armor. Hearing Mrs. Macready coming, the children go to hid and end up in the room with the wardrobe, where Edmund quickly says they should get inside. Once inside, they all find themselves in Narnia and Peter apologizes to Lucy for not believing her, then realizes Edmund had lied and tells him to apologize to Lucy. Edmund says they should explore the area, intending to bring them to the White Witch’s castle, but Peter says that Lucy should decide what they should do and she wants to introduce them to Mr. Tumnus. They head off to Mr. Tumnus’ house only find the door broken in and when they look inside, they find a notice that Mr. Tumnus was charged with treason and imprisoned on orders of the “Queen” (the White Witch). As they decide what they should do, they hear someone say “psst” outside and are confronted by a beaver, who hands Lucy the handkerchief she had given Mr. Tumnus. The beaver says that this isn’t a safe place to talk and motions for them to follow him. Lucy and Peter start to follow but Susan is hesitant to do so, as a talking beaver defies logic, while Edmund agrees with her, as he is still trying to get them to the White Witch. Peter says the beaver knows Mr. Tumnus and they head off, with the beaver leading them to his home atop a currently frozen lake. The beaver’s wife greets them and invites them inside, where the beavers tell the children about Aslan and the prophesy. Hearing that the 4 of them are supposed to lead an army to defeat the White Witch, Susan says they are mistaken and Peter agrees with them. but when they go to leave, they find that Edmund isn’t there and the beaver asks if he has ever been to Narnia before. Peter, Susan, Lucy, and the beaver race off and see Edmund entering the White Witch’s castle and Peter moves to go after him but beaver stops him. Beaver explains that Edmund is bait so that the White Witch can capture and kill all of them and tells them that Aslan is the only one who can help them and Peter tells him to take them to him. Inside the White Witch’s castle, Edmund moves through the courtyard and sees dozens of statues littering the ground. Suddenly, Edmund is knocked down by a wolf, who demands to know who he is, and Edmund tells him and the wolf lets him up and escorts him to the White Witch. When the White Witch arrives, she is upset with Edmund for not bringing his siblings with him but when he tells her where they are, she has Ginarrbrik escort him to get some more Turkish Delight while she sends her wolves after Peter and the others. Back at the Beaver’s home, Mrs. Beaver is packing some supplies for them to escape, with Beaver telling her to hurry, when the wolves appear at the home and begin breaking in. When the wolves finally get inside the dam, they find it empty but soon uncover a secret tunnel. Inside the tunnel, Peter, Susan, Lucy, and the beavers make it outside only to encounter a fox, who quickly tells them where to hide, then tells the wolves they went North, though he is injured during their questioning. After the wolves leave, the fox tells them that Aslan has told him to gather an army to fight the White Witch but Peter and the others are still reluctant to fight. Inside the White Witch’s castle, Edmund finds him self shackled in the dungeon, with Mr. Tumnus in the cell next to him. When the White Witch enters and tells him his siblings weren’t at the dam, she goes to kill him but Edmund tells him the beavers said something about Aslan. The White Witch asks where Aslan is and Mr. Tumnus tries to interject, keeping Edmund from saying anything, but the White Witch silences him, then asks Edmund where Aslan is and he tells her that he doesn’t know. The White Witch orders her guard to take Mr. Tumnus outside, where she turns him to stone, and Edmund reluctantly tells her. Meanwhile, Peter and the others are walking to where Aslan is waiting at the Stone Table when they see a sleigh rapidly approaching them. Thinking it is the White Witch, the quickly hide only to discover that it isn’t the White Witch but Santa Claus, who says that since they have arrived, the White Witch’s powers have diminished and Christmas is able to come once again. Santa gives the children some weapons as gifts, as well as a healing elixer for Lucy and a horn that can always summon help for Susan. Santa heads off, telling them that winter will soon be over and Peter realizes that the ice will be melting. The come to a frozen waterfall and see some of the ice already breaking apart. Hearing the wolves approaching, they quickly make their way out on the ice, with Beaver heading out first to test it but he is soon captured by one of the wolves. The leader of the wolves threatens to kill him unless Peter surrenders but when he notices more of the waterfall defrosting, he tells Susan and Lucy to hold onto him, then jams his sword into the ice at his feet, just as the waterfall fully defrosts and sends the ice flow flowing down river. The wolves are washed down stream while the beavers help Peter, Susan, and Lucy reach the shore, where they notice the trees are starting to bloom. Back at the waterfall, the White Witch stares in disbelief at the flowing water, just as the wolves return with the fox. The fox apologizes to Edmund and the White Witch goes to kill him unless he tells her where Aslan is. When he refuses, Edmund tells her in the hopes she will spare the fox but she uses her scepter to turn him to stone. At the Stone Table, Peter, Susan, and Lucy make their way through the camp of the assembled army and are brought before Aslan, a large lion, who greets them but asks where there brother is. Peter tells them that Edmund is a prisoner of the White Witch and Beaver admits that he betrayed them. Aslan tells Peter, Susan, and Lucy that he will do what he can to save Edmund, then speaks with Peter alone about the prophecy. Susan and Lucy are playing in a nearby creek when the wolf leader and another wolf confront them. Susan blows her horn before climbing a tree with Lucy and Peter runs off to help them. Peter confronts the wolf leader, while Aslan holds the other wolf down, and Peter ends up killing the wolf leader. Asland lets the other wolf go and as it runs off, he tells some of his men to follow it as it will lead them to Edmund. That night, the White Witch is getting her own forces ready for war when the wolf returns, and Aslan’s troops make a quick raid into the camp to rescue Edmund. The next morning, Peter wakes up and sees Aslan talking with Edmund and as Susan and Lucy join him, Aslan and Edmund walk over to them, with Aslan saying what’s done is done and shouldn’t be brought up again. The family is reunited and Peter wants to send Lucy and Susan back to the wardrobe where it is safe while he stays behind and Edmund chooses to stay too, as he has seen what the White Witch will do to Narnia and wants to make amends for his part in helping her. When Lucy and Susan say they will stay and help, the children begin practicing with their weapons until Beaver shows up and says that the White Witch is coming to speak with Aslan. Peter and the others race back to camp just as the White Witch and her entourage arrive. The White Witch tells Aslan that since Edmund is a traitor, the ancient laws say that he belongs to her and should be sacrificed. Aslan tells the White Witch he will speak with her alone and they enter his tent. Some time later, they exit and Aslan says that the White Witch has renounced her claim on Edmund, which brings a cheer from the crowd, but the White Witch asks Aslan how can she know he will keep his promise, to which Aslan roars at her and she quickly leaves. That night, Aslan leaves camp and Lucy and Susan notice and follow him. Aslan hears them and asks why they aren’t in bed but allows them to walk with him for a ways, until he reaches a spot and tells them that he must go alone the rest of the way, saying it must be done. Susan and Lucy follow and see that Aslan is going to the White Witch’s camp, where she orders her soldiers to bind him and shave his mane. Aslan is then dragged to the Stone Table that the White Witch is standing on and to Susan and Lucy’s horror, she stabs him and kills him, as her minions cheer. The White Witch tells her general to prepare the soldiers for battle and after they leave, Susan and Lucy make their way to Aslan’s body. The girls cry over him and Lucy wants to use her elixer but Susan says it is too late. They notice some mice chewing away the bindings and the girls remove them but continue to sit there with Aslan’s body. Susan finally says that they have to leave and warn Peter about what happened before it is too late and Lucy says they can use the trees. Peter receives the news and confirms it with Edmund and Oreius, a centaur who is second in command of the army. Edmund tells Peter that he will have to lead the army and after saying Aslan and him both believe in him, Peter gets ready. As the White Witch’s army advance on them, Peter uses his flying units to drop boulders on them, mimicking the bombings from the blitz back home. The White Witch sends her own flying units to attack them, while her archers fire on them, and Peter leads a charge with his own army to take the battle to hers. Back at the Stone Table, Lucy and Susan awaken and go to help Peter in the battle when they hear the Stone Table break and Aslan has returned to life. Aslan explains to them that if an innocent man willingly takes the place of a traitor, then the table will break and death will be turned back. Lucy says that they have to help Peter and Edmund and Aslan says they will, then tells them to climb on his back. They ride to the White Witch’s castle and Aslan begins restoring all of the creatures that the White Witch turned to stone back to flesh and blood, starting with Mr. Tumnus. Back on the battle field, Peter orders his troops to fall back and when they continue to get overrun, Peter yells at Edmund to find Lucy and Susan and get them back home. Beaver starts dragging Edmund away but Edmund sees the White Witch approaching Peter from behind and he quickly goes to help, destroying her scepter but getting stabbed by the White Withc in return. Peter begins to attack the White Witch, who starts to overpower him but they are surprised when Aslan and the restored creatures appear to turn the tide of battle, with Aslan killing the White Witch. Lucy and Susan race to Peter and when they ask about Edmund, they race over to him and Lucy uses her elixer to heal him, then begins healing all of the wounded creatures. Some time later, Aslan escorts Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy to the throne room in Cair Paravel, where they are each crowned and given reign of the 4 corners of Narnia. After the ceremony, Aslan leaves the city and as Lucy watches him leave, Mr. Tumnis tells her that Aslan will come back one day. 15 years later, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy (all adults now) are hunting a stag in the woods when they come across the lamppost and make their way back to the wardrobe. As they all pile out, they find it is still the same day that they had first entered the wardrobe and Professor Kirke asks them what they were all doing there. Some time later, Lucy tries to use the wardrobe to get back to Narnia but Professor Kirke tells her that she won’t be able to get back there that way. When Lucy asks him if she will ever get back, he says that he is sure she will but she will just have to keep her eyes open and as they walk away, the wardrobe door glows and cracks open, as Aslan can be heard roaring behind the door.

The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe met with positive results from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With first-rate special effects and compelling storytelling, this adaptation stays faithful to its source material and will please moviegoers of all ages.” Georgie Henley’s (Lucy) reactions to the snow covered world of Narnia were genuine, as she was blindfolded and carried into the set so her wide eyed, delighted reaction was authentic. The same can be said for her reaction when she first sees Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy), as she had not seen McAvoy in his costume before so her scream was that of pure surprise. Plot similarities between J.R.R. Tolkiens’s “The Lord Of The Rings” and C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles Of Narnia” is no coincidence. The two authors were close friends and part of a literary discussion group called The Inklings. The movie was a box office success, earning $745 million off of a $180 million budget and spawned 2 sequels, with a fourth movie announced to begin filming.

It has been way too long since I have read this series (I should rectify that) but as far as the movie goes, I thought it was pretty good. The acting was good, with William Mosely (Peter), Anna Popplewell (Susan), Skander Keynes (Edmund), and Georgie Henley (Lucy) doing a great job in their roles. I thought that Liam Neeson did a good job voicing Aslan but was kind of “meh” regarding Tilda Swinton (the White Witch). The story was good and while I don’t recall how closely it followed the book, I think they did a good job with it while keeping many of the important aspects intact. The special effects were incredible while the location scenery and set designs only added to them, especially during the final battle. A great movie to watch and one that will hopefully inspire you to read, or re-read, the books.

Rating: 4 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 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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