Logan, review

When Hugh Jackman first pitched the idea of Wolverine to his wife, her reaction to a character who can heal and has metal claws wasn’t exactly the most positive. Essentially she thought the character was ridiculous and wouldn’t be particularly successful. At that point neither he or his wife or anyone else would have thought that this would be his most iconic character ever. He’s played Wolverine for 17 years, with the first X-Men film being released in 2000 to huge success. It’s with his final outing as the adamantium clawed animal that he’s made the best X-Men film that there has ever been.

He and James Mangold (director) have teamed up again to create a different look at the comic book genre. Jackman stars as Wolverine in Logan, a film which has a title that’s thought to be a first for a superhero movie: naming it after the main character’s first name. I can’t see us getting a Spider-Man or Batman film being name Peter or Bruce any time soon. With just the name, it felt more personally connected to the title character. It’s who he was before he ever became the Wolverine. The story takes place in 2029, Logan is driving a limousine to make enough money for himself, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Caliban (Stephen Merchant) who are all living by the border. Charles is suffering from seizures in the world’s most powerful brain, which is what Logan is treating with black market medication. Caliban is a mutant GPS tracking system in that he can locate any mutant wherever they are. During an encounter with a mother and her young daughter Laura (aka X23, played by Dafne Keen) Logan is dragged into a situation which leads to Caliban being taken hostage, the mother being killed and he, Charles and the girl going on the run together. They are being hunted down by Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) and his team which includes Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), a man who appears to know an awful lot about mutants.

Whilst the villains are never fully fleshed out, this ultimately doesn’t matter as it’s about Logan who is worn out, beaten down, weary, he’s drinking a lot more, a shell of the man he used to be. He is no longer healing as quickly as he used to, his claws have become rusty and difficult to use, he is prone to injury a lot easier now. Logan is an old man. He’s got a look as if the weight of the world has come down on him a few times and that there’s not shaking it off. Getting into altercations with those who have special abilities and even those who do not is a tough challenge which he can barely take on. In the opening sequence, which immediately earns it’s 15 rated certificate, he initially struggles to take on a few guys trying to steal from him. He’s shot a few times when finally his rage kicks in and he’s back to his ass kicking former self, with a few swear words thrown in. From here the violence gets ramped up throughout the film but it never feels over the top or unnecessary, it’s what the film needs to be. Wolverine has always been a brutal character so it’s nice to see him get his claws dirty!

Jackman has repeatedly said that this is his final film as Wolverine which he wanted to be the perfect end. On his ninth time around, you could almost forgive him for phoning it in, but this is far from what he does. He has never been better, the raw and visceral performance on display is that of someone who has been through too much to bear. Logan is a man who has been wounded by life time and time again, it’s something you can see in his eyes, the way he shuffles around and at times can hardly even move. Both the emotional and physical side to Jackman’s performance is astonishingly good, how anyone can pull this off after doing it for so many years is just staggering to comprehend. On his seventh time around, Stewart has the perfect balance between sweet old man and going almost senile with his occasional rambling speeches. He brings a heartbreaking performance to someone who has the most powerful brain in the world and can no longer control it, he’s become the dangerous weapon Logan once was, but worse. The trio is completed with Keen, the kick ass young girl Laura with claws in her hands and feet. She’s a feral and precocious character, who’s as vicious as she is angry. Her natural portrayal of a girl who is lost and has no sense of who she is comes across as the most real and genuine performances you would have seen in a long time.

Mangold has created a world which is a very grounded portrayal of superheroes who are struggling to deal with the normality of life. When we see that Logan is looking after an ailing Charles in a few everyday situations it’s in these moments that you realise it’s different to all of the glamorised version we’re use to seeing. The director’s choice of having the western and family themes running throughout, and it being more about its protagonist than the typical good vs. evil story, means that it’s Wolverine as you’ve never seen him. 

Dealing with friends becoming family, ageing, not getting what you want in life and having to deal with things as they come at you, no matter what they are. Hugh Jackman has never been better in anything and it’s such a compliment to the respect he has for Wolverine that not only did he take a pay cut this time, he (politely) refused to do this film in any other way. Pushing it forward with Mangold was a stroke of genius, as they clearly wanted to end it on an emotional high. Jackman’s honest performance feels like the perfect way to say goodbye to his most beloved character.

5 out of 5.

Keep. It. Reel. 

My problems with X-Men: Apocalypse

Before we get started ****SPOILERS HEAD****

A few friends went to see X-Men: Apocalypse this week which prompted me to post this. I don’t know if you’ll agree with all (or any) of my views but this is what I interpreted from what I have called, out of the initial trilogy and prequel trilogy, the fifth worst X-Men film.

The word apocalypse conjures up thoughts of wide-spread death, chaos, panic and devastating destruction. It is something to be feared, something to dread. This is pretty much the exact opposite feeling I had whilst watching X-Men: Apocalypse. For something with such a ballsy title, I really thought more would happen and I thought it would feel like a real threat to human life especially when it comes to the primary antagonist.

xmen apo

An apocalyptic event which feels lacking in its apocalyptic ways means the villain himself suffers. When you have a bad guy whose primary purpose is world destruction, you’d expect a little more. You’d expect a lot more. The way he’s depicted in the trailers would make you think he’d be more threatening and so more powerful. He has his four horsemen and proceeds to give them all an “upgrade” on their existing powers however it’s very minor when you really look at it. For example, in both First Class and Days of Future Past, Fassbender’s Magneto moves a satellite and lifts a stadium with the greatest of ease. So for him to lift bridges,  destroy buildings and decimate landmarks, it shouldn’t be that hard. But Apocalypse tries his hardest to make you believe that he’s given him the powers of a God. No he hasn’t. He really hasn’t done that for Magneto or ANY of the others. Their powers are a tiny upgrades of what they had before, that’s it. Frankly, it was pretty disappointing. Just to quote something from one of the trailers: Beast: It’s all of us against a god and the most powerful beings on earth. No it’s not. It’s all of you mutants against a few other mutants. This is nothing new. This battle is no greater than any others you’ve faced.

Speaking of unthinkable power, what did he do with the nuclear weapons? Was his point to get rid of them? I can see how removing the most powerful weapon on Earth can be symbolic to Apocalypse proving he doesn’t need man made things to be all conquering, but wouldn’t you just launch these at your targets? Would this not be a good way to get rid of all the humans? Cleanse the earth as you say. No? Well, you should have, it would have made things easier for you.

xmen destory

Magneto’s character has moved on the most. He has a family and a job. He became the thing that he despised, human. However bringing him back in to the mix was all too simple. What do they do? They ruin his job and kill his family. Then very quickly after Apocalypse and his posse appear, Magneto asks a brief question (the hilariously delivered “Who the fuck are you?”)  and he’s a bad guy. It’s an easy in for Magneto and it’s yet another reason he’s got to hate humans. Yet another reason and opportunity for James McAvoy to tell his friend Eric that he’s wrong and there’s good in the humans. Boring.

I hate to say it and I will get a lot of stick for this but, McAvoy wasn’t great. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good actor, but only when he’s got something to sink his teeth into. With the previous film, he was distraught, almost alone and a complete mess when we meet him. This is something he really excelled at, he was more believable. In this, all he did was try to, once again, convince Magneto that he has good within him (as well as those humans!), he sees hope and not to tar everyone with the same brush. It’s an argument we’ve seen being done before in previous X-Men films, in much better ways, it was even performed better by the actors in question in First Class and Days of Future Past.

Just a quick one on the ending. Why is Mystique training the X-Men at the end? She is on Magneto’s side. We know this from the first trilogy and yes they are linked, this is part of the same universe. They should be together in their fight against the humans, as they were through the original trilogy.

And don’t get me started on this image:

xmen

Strengths:

Quicksilver’s slow-motion sequence was brilliantly done. Arguably better than what we saw in Days of Future Past. There are those who have taken offence that it was light-hearted despite the fact that people are being rescued, there is an explosion and that Havoc comes to his unfortunate end. That’s the wrong view entirely! It’s supposed to be fun. That’s the type of character he is a lot of the time and frankly we need something this good in the film.

The Phoenix. All I will say is that this iconic character is done considerably better than in X-Men: The Last Stand.

Michael Fassbender’s performance is something that you can always count on. Always. He conveys anger, pain and fear all in his eyes. When he speaks during the scene where he declares himself Magneto at his former workplace, he shows us an intensity that no one can match. Truly one of the greatest actors ever, it’s worth watching just for him.

Overall I’d say that this is a three star film at best, I think the critics have been fair with what they’ve pointed out. I went with a few friends who loved it and fair enough Bryan Singer is a talented director, there’s no questioning that, however maybe this time his ambitions got the better of him.

Keep. It. Reel.

Superbowl 50: TV spots and trailers

It’s that time of year again, where two teams have battled it out in America to become…something. I have no idea what the Superbowl is, why it’s watched by so many fans and how huge this bowl must be, I’m guessing you could have a pretty large amount of cereal for your morning breakfast with it. What I do know is that companies and studios spend millions of dollars on short adverts due to the volume of people watching around the globe. It’s reported that a 30 second advert or TV spot can cost around $4,000,000 to show during the breaks. It’s a massive money maker when this time of the year rolls around.

What I most look forward to are the TV spots and the trailers shown, normally with something new mixed with what we’ve already seen in a 2 minute trailer. Most of what has been released now is pretty standard stuff, a few new shots and scenes here and there. But the two big ones are the Jungle Book and Bourne. For The Jungle Book it’s the second trailer, but this time with talking animals and one thing I particularly love is that the child actor playing Mowgli’s real first name is Neel!

With the new Bourne movie, simply titled Jason Bourne, we haven’t seen any footage before and it’s come as a real shock to me! It’s gritty, brutal and it tells you nothing, just the it looks like Bourne is far from living a normal life. I’m very excited for Matt Damon’s return to the franchise which is truly one of the best and overlooked trilogies out there.

Have a look at the rest, all of which I’ve put below. Enjoy!

Keep. It. Reel.

Dead romantic

The marketing for Deadpool has very much been in keeping with the personality of the character: rude, cheeky, cocky, filthy humour and basically giving zero fucks. However they’ve taken a bit of a new turn with a few new posters.

image

image

image

Are we going to see some real romance from the merc with a mouth? Will this be a touching portrait of a man trying to get back the woman he loves? Probably not. However the posters are yet another great way to take the piss out of more movies. The movie is released around Valentines day, so these are pretty appropriate for that time of the year. This is a different kind of superhero movie, he’s an anti-hero and he’s certainly anti-romantic. Looking forward to the release of this, coming to cinemas on the 12th February.

Keep. It. Reel.

A super year for super heroes!

We will never forget the unfortunate and lacklustre comic book films that have come out in recent years including Green Hornet (2011), Green Lantern (2011) and the terrible Superman Returns (2006) but what some may forget is that the studios would never have made these without the aide of Spiderman and X-Men who released their first films 2000 and 2002. They were both huge hits at the box office and comic book fan united and wanted more. Who knew what they’d get some years later is the studios scraping the barrel for film. Even the reboot of Superman films was badly executed. It did to the Superman series what Batman & Robin did to the Batman collective.

But now we find ourselves in 2012, the year of three huge superhero movies, one of which is the concluding chapter in what has already been a brilliant trilogy. Another is a reboot which the fans are more excited about than the original. The final film has already become one of the greatest successes at the box office and This year sees three highly anticipated films released including The Avengers, The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises, with the latter arguably being the most popular release this year.

The Avengers

The Avengers has been in the making since Ironman of 2008, where Nick Fury makes an appearance after the credits and visits Tony Stark to tell him about the Avengers initiative. Since then, in The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America, small hints and clues have been dropped using Nick Fury and the ever brilliant Agent Coulson to start the rumours of The Avengers. A film with more superheroes than you will ever see in one film, unless DC get their finger out and make The Justice League. It’s clear to see why this is a huge release for 2012.

Whilst enjoying The Avengers, please take a minute for poor Spidey  who is not one of The Avengers, despite the fact that they all come from comic super power Marvel. However don’t feel THAT bad for him, after just 5 years since Spiderman 3, he’s been given a reboot. This is no ordinary reboot however, this is one that the fans wanted, the one that gets more to the root of who Peter Parker really is and what happened to his parents. We will also see the character Gwen Stacey introduced, who is a refreshing change from Mary Jane. Andrew Garfield takes up the role of Peter Parker / Spiderman and looks as if he is more suited to this than Tobey Maguire, who I never felt fit the part in the way that he should have! I’m sure I can expect some backlash from that comment!

Now we come the The Dark Knight Rises. The legend that will end this year is the legend we’ve been waiting for 4 years to return. Four years after we saw Batman take the fall from Harvey Dents crimes, he returns. But what he returns to we will have to wait and see. From the three trailers, what we do know is that Bane is his new enemy and he’s causing havoc and devastation in Gotham. What has happened to Batman, we don’t know but chances are when it comes to both brains and brawn, The Dark Knight has finally met his match. This is the third and final Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale Batman flick that we will see. After breaking the the billion dollar barrier at the box office, The Dark Knight has set the bar incredibly high, but knowing what Nolan can do, chances are he’ll Rise above it!

Man of Steel

So a great year for some great some films, and there will be more to come. The Amazing Spiderman 2 has already been announced as as The Avengers 2 and 3. Without a doubt, this will be a super year. And for those of you worried about Superman, fret not dear friend! Take a look above, this is the first images from The Man of Steel, pencilled in for a release in 2013, with Christopher Nolan’s creative input as Executive Producer, working with Zack Snyder as Director, this should have you looking forward to another super year for superheroes.