Thursday, May 26, 2016

X-Men: Apocalyptically Average

 X-men: Days of Future Past gave fans of the franchise hope that it was taking steps in the right direction. Fox has had control of this lucrative property for some time and have left comic fans angry at the way some of the characters have been portrayed. Brian Singer is once again in charge and after the last installment, things were looking up. I don't want to get off on the wrong foot. This is not a bad movie, but there are people who would like to see it fail. There are a group of fans that want to see Fox fail so that they do what Sony did with Spider-Man. Give control of the character back to Marvel.

 The X-men don't exist. They run a school for the gifted and after the events of 1973, are living a rather quiet existence. Mysitque (Jennifer Lawrence) is searching the world and saving mutants from persecution. When an old friend discovers the worlds first mutant and his extinction level plan unfolds, the mutants must stand against their greatest foe. Apocalypse.

    The titular villain is a comic fan favorite. He was the victim of several Power Ranger jokes, referenced by the photo above. He is a tough villain to do even with today's technology. He is not Ivan Ooze and Oscar Isaac does really well with him. He was very commanding and was fun to watch. I liked how his story began, but wasn't thrilled with the way it ended. He definitely looked better on screen than in the trailers.

  X-men: Apocalypse doesn't reset the table. It tries, but falls short on that front. It does a great job of connecting back to X-Men: First Class, but it is too much of the same thing. Let Magneto be the bad guy and stop trying to redeem him all of the time. Magneto is a great character, but they can't get beyond his bitterness and making him good in the end.

  The movie does change things up a bit. Sophie Turner is really good as a young Jean Grey, but it is tough to not see Sansa Stark from Game Of Thrones. The recast of Cyclops and Nightcrawler also works well. One has to assume that they have officially erased the events of X-Men and X2.  Andrea Shipp plays a good Storm, but her story is a bit too predictable. The problem with this whole movie is it's predictability. It suffers from, "been there done that." I will say for the people that groaned about the all black costumes, the work in the context of the film.

  The film does a great job of quietly erasing X-Men Origins: Wolverine. We see enough to figure out what happened after the end of the last movie when Stryker takes him. Hugh Jackman's cameo will be fun for comic fans. They got closer to Logan this time. The problem is that as much fun as it is to watch, it was just not needed. The whole segment was 30 minutes that could have been omitted. This movie's biggest flaw is waste.

  Civil War has a lot of characters and none of them are wasted. X-Men: Apocalypse wastes a lot of characters. Psylocke deserved better than she gets here. Jubilee was also a complete waste of time and I don't know what they were doing with Caliban. The biggest waste is unfortunately once again Angel. Warren Worthington is a great character. His origins are not touched on. He starts off looking cool, but gets left wasted as one of Apocalypse minions. This is another character that deserves so much better than he gets. Fox is notorious for dumping cool characters into these movies and under developing them. Days of Future Past being a little bit of an exception.

   Quicksilver again steals the show. He is the one character that Fox is doing better than Marvel. We get teased with the encounter we were hoping for, but it doesn't come to pass. The film doesn't need it. X-Men: Apocalypse is not bad. It is just not exceptional. It is entertaining enough, but it just doesn't get you fired up the way Days of Future Past did.  I feel like it tried to do too much. Singer seems to be trying to make up for too many of the franchise's mistakes in one film. It is visually cool and if you get a chance, see it in a theater with recliners and XD. It's a little too long and it certainly isn't something new, but it is far from a failure. I can even appreciate the shot it takes at X-Men: Last Stand. That one was so bad, it deserves all the negatives. In the end, it's no Civil War but is better than Batman V. Superman.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Captain America: Civil War ...How Comic Book Movies Should Be Made.

   Captain America: Civil War is the greatest comic book movie yet. It just simply is. It successfully ties in most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and makes Avengers: Age Of Ultron a better movie. These days, comic book movies come with a lot of hype. Batman V. Superman was fueled by it, but failed to live up to it. Civil War exceeds the hype. I am not here to bash DC/Warner Bros. Truth be told, Batman is my favorite comic character and fortunately the only DC seems to be able to get right. Part of the problem with the other superhero battle movie was that they still can't figure Superman out. Marvel doesn't make that mistake. They know exactly who Iron Man and Captain America are and how to present them on screen.

   The story is simple. Two men on the same side, but with different beliefs and the conflict because of them. Political pressure mounts to hold heroes accountable for their actions causing a rift between the Avengers. Loyalties are tested when a villain with a simple strategy divides the team from within.
It is a movie about Tony and Steve. They are both likable and both right from their own points of view. The reason they fight is easily understood and neither is really the bad guy, but it is fun to watch them go at it!

  This movie is filled with characters. They are weaved into the story in a way that makes sense to everyone. The Russo's have nailed the Falcon. He is ten times cooler here than in Winter Soldier. Speaking of Winter Soldier, his story is fleshed out more. We see what he was unwillingly involved in over his time being manipulated. You're left feeling for Steve and what he feels for his friend, but understanding the profound affect his actions have on Tony. Black Widow again shines and feels right at home with the boys. She is ready for a solo run. It was also good to see Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and War Machine given some time. We get to see signs of the comic romance between Vision and Wanda.

  Spider-Man is worth the wait! Seeing him fight with and against the Avengers is just awesome! The suit looks incredible and Tom Holland is going to be a solid Peter Parker. When will we learn to stop doubting Marvel and their casting choices? Spidey and Ant-man might be there for some comic relief , but they serve a purpose and really gel with the rest of the heroes. Their next solo outings are going to be fantastic! It was Black Panther that did it for me. This character is set up beautifully and Chadwick Bosman is amazing! His fights with Winter Soldier are some of the best in the film and I think people will want to see him again. 

   Make no mistake, there is a lot going on here. Lots of characters. Lots of set up. Lost of action. Lots of fun. The story is serious in tone, but the movie is still fun. The comic moments work well with in the tone of the film. The movie has heart. It has a sense of loss that you feel and an excitement for what is next. Marvel has their characters figured out. The pieces all fit together. The casting is beyond perfect. The Dark Knight Trilogy is good. The major  flaws of the third one keep it on this side of great. The Captain America Trilogy comes close to being the best comic book movie trilogy yet. When you see the movie, you will realize that this is fact and tough to dispute.
  The hype has been live up to. It has taken things to yet another level. Well done Chris Evans, Scarlet Johanson, RDJ, and the rest. Well done Marvel. Your move DC. Try and keep up.