Brian Singer make a welcome return to the X-Men franchise with a film that units the original X-Men trilogy with X-Men: First Class and the Wolverine spin off films. This film that units these films so that they are all set in one universe. It also try to fix a number of continuity errors in the franchise.
X-Men: Days of Future Past starts in the near future in which both mutants and most of the human race have decimated by the deadly killing machines known as The Sentinels. In this apoplectic world Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) have put their difference a side and battling to save what left of mutants and humans. But they are losing the war, so have gathered the last remains of the X-Men for a last-ditch attempt to stop the Sentinel war from ever happing and change their present so it is no longer the nightmare they are living.
Based on the X-Men story of the same name, Brian Singer has had to make some changes so that it will fit with the film franchise and unit them. In the original story it is Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) mind that goes back in time into her own body to make the change. However this would not work here as the past setting is 1970’s, in which she would be -20 years old.
To solve this problem Singer has picked Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to go back as he is ageless.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is by far the most ambitious film in the franchise to date. But not just with story but also sorting all the notorious continuity errors of the other films.
This make X-Men: Days of Future Past a soft reboot of the franchise. With this in mind Brian Singer has gone out and delivered the best movie to date. It also show that the X-Men franchise is best served when it is in Singer hands.
X-Men: Days of Future past is an entraining film from start to finished, all the Character get to grow a little weather it is in the future or the past. Once again James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are excellent as the young Charles Xavier & Erik Lehnsherr respectively. Re-joining them from X-Men: First Class is Nicholas Hoult as Beast and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Also along for the ride from the original trilogy are Halle Berry as Strom. Her role was cut down due to her pregnancy, Shawn Ashmore as Ice Man, Daniel Cudmore as Colossus. Of course there are a few more actor from the original trilogy that appear in the film but they are just cameo and I won’t spoil who they are if you have not seen the film.
With the exception of X-Men: First Class, every X-Men film has been pretty much the Wolverine show, this not surprising given that Wolverine has to be one of the most popular Mutants from the X-Men line of comics. It is refreshing to see that in this film he has taken on the role of the team player and is the bridge between the future and the past. It is also fun to see that he has become the mentor to the man that will later become his mentor.
X-Men: Days of Future Past, has some great action scene, but the one stand out moment is with Quicksliver (Evan Peters), when he helps break out Erik Lehnsherr from prison. The scene was filmed with a high speed camera then played at normal speed to given the sense of speed that this Character move at. Both the future and past have different look with the future being dark, while Singer has captured 70’s with bright colour to show the difference between the two. The Sentinels of the 70’s look right at home and have a retro yet futuristic look for the period look to them. While the ones of the future look similar to the Destroyer from Thor, but a pick more menacing.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best X-Men film to date and while it sort out most of the continuity errors, it does not manage to fix them all, and even creates one or two. But they are easy to overlook. In my mind Singer has been the best thing to happen to the X-Men franchise and it should not really leave his hands as a producer or director. (He did not serve as producer on X-Men: The Last Stand and is an uncredited producer on X-Men Origins: Wolverine.) Like Marvel Studios, Fox has started to add post credit scene to their Marvel films so keep and open for one that will lead into X-Men: Apocalypse.
I give this film 4.5 out of 5.
Logan: So, you always were an asshole.
Age of Ultron brings Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) Phase 2 to a close, even though Ant-Man is the official last film. But that is a standalone film and the events of Phase 2 will not affect what will happen in Ant-Man.
Age of Ultron is set roughly a year after the events of Captain America: The Winter Solider, S.H.E.I.L.D is gone and the world thinks Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is dead. Over the last year the Avengers have banned back together to bring Hydra down for good and reclaim Loki sceptre.
Unknown to them Agent Coulson has found its location and given the information to Maria Hill (Cobbie Smulders) who then forwards the information to the Avengers. (This event does not happen in the film but in the TV show Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D season two episode “The Dirty Half Dozen.”) This brings us to the action pack opening of Age of Ultron.
From the get go Whedon, does not disappoints, with lot of action and humour. We get introduced to two Enhanced Humans that was briefly scene in the post credit scene from Captain America: The Winter Solider and also a closure to the Hydra storyline started in that film. (Though I will not be surprised if we see more of Hydra in later episodes of Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.)
With the help of Dr Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) attempts to build an A.I that will help save the world from extra terrestrial threats, using his Iron Legion. This is where the creation of Ultron (James Spader) happens. From this point on the Avengers go after Ultron to stop him at any cost.
The film has lots of drama with a budding romance between Banner and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson.) and we get to see Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) personal life away from the Avengers.
This gives Renner a lot more to work with this time around instead of being a mind-wash drone like he was in the first film. Spader is excellent as Ultron and brings a lot of comedy to the role which you not expect for someone trying to wipe out all life on Earth. Ultron has been flesh out better than past villains in the MCU, which is a good thing as so far all they have seem to be is just progress the story along.
We finally get to see Paul Bettany on Screen as Vision and the roll really suit him. But it also looks to be the last we hear him as J.A.V.R.I.S.
Newcomers Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) fit in well. It a shame we don’t get their real heritage, being the children of Magneto. But this is down to the rights issue that Marvel has with FOX, who currently own the film rights. So don’t expect any mutants appearing in the MCU.
As for the rest of the main cast, this is their forth time or more playing their roles. So they all know what they are doing.
Age of Ultron is a dark film; one of the reasons for this is that Joss Whedon has states that The Godfather Part 2 was inspiration for the film. But Whedon does not go to dark making sure to lighten some of the darker moments with comedy that we come to expect from him. While some of these did make me laugh, there where not as many laugh out load moment as there was in The Avengers.
The action is fast and you are able to follow what is going on screen, and there is lot going on screen with the hundreds of Ultron drones.
Age of Ultron has the most effects in a Marvel film to date, and it stunning. It looks like Marvels did not waste a penny in this area. One the highlights form the CGI. Is Iron Man fight with the Hulk in the Hulkbuster suit. This fight bring everything fans have wanted to see when these two go up angst each other on the big screen.
As with Marvel other films there are lots of hidden Easter eggs for fans of the comics with find and quite a few references to up coming films in Phase 3.
Joss Whedon has been very busy since he wrapped up work on the Avengers, with kick-off Marvels TV show Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D (which is part of the MCU) and working behind the scene of Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Solider. So that they will set up events that will lead into Age of Ultron. With all of this he has managed to pull it off again and deliver a very enjoyable film. After I watched it I thought the film was missing something and I could not put my finger on what it could be. But now that I had a few days to think about it, I would put it down to the fact that even though he has brought so many elements together it’s no longer new like it was with the first film. Add to it the hype that was been created it all adds up.
As I have stated, Whedon has delivered once again. After five years working at Marvel he has earned a well deserved break. (Joss Whedon dose have the option to come back to the MCU and do another film.) For Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, they have some very large shoes to fill, as they are currently set to direct Captain America: Civil War and then start work on bring everything together for Avengers: Infinity War Part One & Two, which could also include a fair few of the Marvel TV shows that are part of the MCU.
I give Avengers: Age of Ultron a 4.5 out of 5.
Tony Stark: What’s the vibranium for?
Ultron: I’m glad you asked that, because I wanted to take this time to explain my evil plan… [blasts Stark]
X-Men, Origins: Wolverine, is a painfully bad film this is due to the fact that the film maker of that film buggered up Wolverine back story and we don’t even need to mention what they did to Deadpool. Luckily Deadpool has got his own film coming out early 2016 Staring Ryan Reynolds. Check out the test footage/ trailer found on youtube to get an idea of what it will be like.
Given how bad X-Men, Origins: Wolverine was it looked unlikely that everyone’s little runt of a mutant would get another standalone film. But thanks to his popularity and Jackman’s portrait of him. 20th Century Fox has given us The Wolverine.
The film takes place sometime after X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan has returned to Canada and living in the wildness, only venturing into town to pick up supplies when he needs them.
Logan, is tormented by survivor’s guilt and is haunted by recurring visions of his deceased love Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). Unknown to Logan he has been tracked down by Yukio (Rila Fukushima). She informs Logan that her employer Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi) has requested that he see Logan one last time before he dies. (Logan saved Yashida in the Second World War when the A Bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.) Logan is convinced and heads off to Japan to see Yashida. On his death bed Yashida offers to take Logan healing factor so that Logan will be mortal and Yashida can live.
The first ¾ of the film is very much in the style of a film Noir, this gives the film a totally different feel to X-Men, Origins: Wolverine. While the film is not action packed it does have some great action in it and you can see the influence of Chris Claremont-Frank Miller Japan Saga from Wolverine own comic. However the final act of the film is the biggest let down, going from a film Noir style to your typical Superhero flick, we also get to see Sliver Samurai, but like Deadpool, it is not the one fan’s love from the comics which is a great shame. The Character of Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) is not really need in the film and is only there for a major plot point that could have been done another way.
Hugh Jackman is at his best as Logan/ Wolverine and really buffed himself up for the role; furthermore, this film offers the most captivating portrayal of the character put on the big screen yet.
The Wolverine feel like it should a 15 rated film (R Rated) but has been toned down for a PG-13 rating. There is still plenty of blood from Logan slashing up the Yakuza and Ninja’s, but none of the gore. It’s also shows a little of Japans underworld, but the story really does not have a moment to go into depth with it.
What little action scene that are in the film are entertaining especially the fight on top of a Bullet Train hurtling through Tokyo.
The Wolverine is an entertaining film and this is what a Wolverine standalone film should be.
It just a shame that the final act of the film lets it down, but at least it does not even come close to the awfulness of X-Men, Origins: Wolverine climax. It’s because of this I am giving The Wolverine a 4 of 5.
Be sure to stick around after the end credit sequence for a scene film by Brain Singer that will lead to his return to the X-Men Franchise with X-Men: Days of Futures Past.
Shingen: What kind of monster are you?
Logan: The Wolverine!
Marvel Studio like to make big gambles, the first was going it on their own and making their own film, with Iron Man. Paramount pictures only distributed the film and did the marketing. The Incredible Hulk film rights are with Universal studios, which is why that film was distributed by them. But Marvel must have some agreement to user the Character in their own films and why The Incredible Hulk (2008) is part of Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Marvel next big gamble was to release two films with characters that are little know or without much appeal outside of the United States, to set up a Cinematic Universe that would lead into The Avengers and bring Phase 1 to a close.
At this stage it is no doubt that Marvel’s gambles have paid off in a big way with the MCU now one of the most profitable film franchise of all time. (As of writing this The Avengers is still the world third highest grossing film.)
With Phase 2 already on its way to leading into The Avengers: age of Ultron, Marvel is at it again with another major gamble, this time with Guardians of the Galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a little known comic set around a band of criminals and mercenaries, led by the half human half alien Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord. (Chris Pratt) So it was a big surprise that Marvel would go down this road.
The film opens up to us seeing Quill being abducted from Earth moments after his mother’s death in the mid 1980’s. We then see Quill twenty years later, he is on his own on an alien planet. Going through an ancient city long dead, in a scene lovingly modeled on the opening sequence from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Quill enters a build to retrieve a mysteriously powerful silver orb and, instead of a rousing John Williams fanfare, the soundtrack erupts with Native American rockers Redbone singing “Come and Get Your Love.” This sets the tone of the film music.
It’s not long after this we are off to the planet Xander, home of the Nova Corps. This planet will play a major role in the film, we also get to meet rest of the Guardians expect for Drax (Dave Bautista) on this planet but it not long until he joins up with the rest of the team.
James Gunn has done a stunning job with writing and directing and bring a great cast together.
Prat is superb as Quill and the role seems to really suit him, he can go from playing someone that is just costing along life nor really giving a care to serious in moments. It’s not surprising that Quill was the inspiration for Han Solo. Gunn has stated that Prat had to lose weight for the role, but given his audition he was prepared to give him the role even if he did not lose the weight.
Zoe Saldana, is quickly becoming the go to girl for Sci-fi and that not a bad thing. She plays Gamora the cold hearted assassin with style.
Bradley Cooper voices Rocket Raccoon. Though Rocket is CGI, he steels most of the scene that he is in.
Vin Diesel voice Groot and was recorded saying “I am Groot” over a Thousand times. Diesel also recorded the line in different languages so that his own voice would be used instead of getting some in to record the line for that country.
Michael Rooker plays Yondu Udonta, he is the man that kidnaps Quill has a young boy, but he also raises him as his own. In the original Comic, Yondu was a leading member of the Guardians.
Glen Close plays the leader of Xander people and is head of the Nova Crops.
Guardians of the Galaxy gives the MCU wider scope outside the boundaries of Earth and Asguard.
It shows that there is a bigger universe out there full of wonder with many potentials stories and a lot of history to explore in future films.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a light hearted film with lot of comedy thrown in with the action. You would not think that a film set in an alien worlds/ space with a 70’s and early 80’s soundtrack would work, but it does and just adds to the fun ride.
The villain Ronan (Lee Pace) looks to have been flesh out a bit more than some of the villains in other MCU films. We also get bit more of Thanos which was hinted at the end of The Avengers.
While Guardians of the Galaxy is part of the MCU, it does not really belong in Phase 2 as it is not connected to The Avengers: Age of Ultron, except for a post credit scene from Thor: The Dark World which helped set this film up, at this point it more of a standalone film.
Guardians of the Galaxy is more of a set up for the third phase in the MCU, particularly Avengers: Infinity War – Part I (2018) and Avengers: Infinity War – Part II (2019).
Has Marvels biggest gamble to date paid off? Yes and Marvel keeps going from straighten to straighten with their films. This also shows with it line up of future films with them going to more characters that are unknown outside of your typical comic book reader. (Ant-Man, Which ends Phase 2, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Marvel Girl.)
I give Guardians of the Galaxy a 5 out of 5.
All I can say now is roll on May 1st for Avenger: Age of Ultron.
Rocket Raccoon: We’re the fricking Guardians of the Galaxy!
Captain America: The First Avenger, was an okay film but really did not site to well with the other Marvel films, but this was to be expected as it was an origins story tell where Captain America came from and setting him up for The Avengers movie that came out afterword’s.
Captain America: The Winter Solider is different and one of the best films that Marvel has put out to date. However Captain America: The Winter Solider is different to the other Marvel Cinematic Universe films. (MCU) reason for this is that Captain America: The Winter Solider, dose not try to be a superhero film first. In fact it more like a 70’s cold war thriller with superheroes thrown in.
The story is set three years after the events of the Avenger and Steve Rodgers is still trying to get uses to living in the modern world. He has settled into life as a soldier working for the security agency S.H.I.E.L.D. – though he’s also something of a celebrity and a curiosity. He doesn’t have a secret identity. He doesn’t need one. He’s always Captain America, in or out of the costume.
Everything changes for Steve and he starts to question the things he has been told, as event around him change and people reveal their true intent.
As I have said before Captain America: The Winter Solider is a different film to the other MCU films with it cold war thriller type story but also introduce new characters with their own origins story. Lucky these character don’t need a whole film to tell these stories and they are done without too much fuss. While these characters could hold a film on their own.
Chris Evans, is still perfectly cast as Steve Rogers/ Captain America, he really get to shine here, it a shame that he wants to step away from acting to take on a more directing career, but I am hoping that Marvel and Disney will talk him round to keep playing the character as long as he can.
Scarlett Johansson is back playing Black Widow, here she has larger role to play with in the story. It also refreshing to see that there is no sexual tension between her and any of the other characters. It more of a strong female role, the sort you would see Joss Whedon write.
Samuel L Jackson is back as Nick Fury. Jackson has had more to do here that any of the other MCU films he has been in to date and it really is time Marvel gives him is own standalone films, which no doubt fans will want to see.
Anthony Mackie play Sam Wilson a Veteran that helps Cap and Black Widow, he used the flight name of Falcon.
From the start the film is action pack and the pace does not slow down with lots of twist and turn. The Winter Solider has everything you expect from a cold war thriller, twists, betrayal, resurrection and redemption. Doing this sort of story marvel has taken a big gamble, as this not the sort of story you would expect from a superhero film. But it has paid off and really work for a Captain America film. Captain America: The Winter Soldier sets up quite a few changes for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which further speaks to Marvel’s confidence in what they creating with their MCU.
The biggest changes to the MCU is most notable in Marvels Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D after the mid season break of season 1 and continues with season 2. However it effects on the big screen is still yet to be seen, but not doubt we will see something with Avenger: age of Ulton later this year.
If there was any doubt that Marvel can create a Universe on the big screen as well as the small screen, even after Phase 1 ending with The Avengers. Captain America: The Winter Solider has proven Marvel knows what it doing.
With a stellar cast with some big names and some not so well know
Marvel is now ready to taken an even bigger gamble with the third Captain America film as it will be doing the Civil War arc, which effect the whole Marvel Universe in the comics. It should be a fun ride, which will be even better that Marvel has now come to an agreement with Sony to use Spider-Man in their films. (Spider-Man will be making his first appearance in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War in cameo form.)
Captain America: The Winter Solider has to be one of Marvel best films to date and there is not much more you can do to improve it. I give this film a full 5 out of 5.
Steve Rogers: Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?
It has been over six months since my last film review and with Avenger: Age of Altron just around the corner I thought this would be good place to jump off and get back into do it.
Thor: The Dark World, is the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe phase 2 and set after the events of the Avengers. It tells the story of an ancient evil coming back to turn the universe into darkness.
The film operate on a larger scale than the original with more comedy and drama than its predecessor. With a script written by Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely; you can see the influence of Joss Whedon all over it, but this could be because Whedon has been doing the final pass on all script of Phase 2, leading into his second Avenger film. Though this does not hurt the film in any way.
All the main cast return except for Clark Gregg who played the ill-fated Agent Phil Coulson.
(Though if you have seen season 1 of Marvel: Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D, you will know what happened to him after the Avengers.) Joining the cast is the talents British actor Christopher Eccleston as Malekith, lead of the Dark Elfs.
Tom Hiddleston is outstand as always and steals every scene he is in. it just a shame that we don’t get to see more of him as Loki. Hiddleston gets to play with some very heavy drama scene but we also get to see his comedy side with a blink and you miss him cameo from Chris Evans as Captain America.
Chris Hemsworth still proves his is the right choice for the role of Thor. However his character really does not get a chance to grow except for the scene he is in with Loki.
Thor: The Dark World is a fun movie and it shows that Marvel really know what they are doing when it come to their characters and universe that they are setting up on the silver screen. That is not to say that the film does not have any issues there are some, but nothing that take away from the story.
The only major issue I have with the film is with the main villain of Malekith, he is not really flesh out and comes across very one dimensional, which is a great shame given how good of an actor that Christopher Eccleston is. But then at it hart Thor: The Dark World is not about the big bad villain but two brothers putting their difference aside and even coming respecting each other is some way.
I give Thor: The Dark World a 4 out of 5.
Odin: Some believe that before the universe, there was nothing. They’re wrong. There was darkness… and it has survived.
Olympus Has Fallen follows former Secret Service operative Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) who is tasked with a sudden return to active duty. When a hostile force takes over the White House and lays ruin to Washington D.C.
Banning runs headlong into the fray, slipping inside the ravaged White House (codename: Olympus) before the terrorists cut-off outgoing communications.
Out-manned and out-gunned, Banning coordinates with Speaker, and acting President, Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) along with Secret Service head (Angela Bassett). Banning quietly moving through the war-torn White House on a mission to free President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) as well as discover the terrorist group’s true motivations.
Olympus Has Fallen, has a staler cast, however they play typical stereotypes, which is not a bad thing, but it would have been nicer to have a bit more depth to them.
Butler plays Banning straight and there is not much chesses except for the patriotism, but that is to be expected from a film of this type.
The set up for film is quick and to the point leading straight into the main story and has the action rammed right up with in the first 15 minutes.
Having a C-130 Hercules flying straight up to the White House is explained with something that is close to reality. This leads to some decent CGI of the Hercules being shot down and crashing into the US national monument.
You would normally expect this sort of story to be more fantasy, than based in reality, however the writes have thought it out and given scenarios that could happen. Though given the White House is one the most protected places in the world, it is a very long shot that this could happen.
With this in mind Olympus Has Fallen stand out better than White House Down, which has a similar storyline (my review for that will be along soon.) but is more of fantasy film.
Don’t expect anything thought provoking as this is your typical pop corn summer action movie.
I give Olympus Has Fallen 4 out of 5.
Mike Banning “Newsflash asshole – I don’t work for you.”