Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Power Rangers: It's Confusion Time!

  The Power Rangers have been morphing and fighting giant monsters since the early 90's. Different themes, different casts, and different villians. The most popular incarnation was still the original. Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Zack, and Trini get the big screen reboot. The Power Rangers have seen the big screen before, but with far less flair and attitude. My problem is the fact that I cannot seem to love or hate this.

 Five misguided teenagers stumble across and alien ship buried beneath their small town of Angel Grove. They discover new powers and learn of an old enemy. Under the guidance of the mythical Zordon, they must find away to unleash the power they have inside before the world as we know it is destroyed.

 The good thing, well mostly good thing, is that everything gets an update. The ranger costumes, Rita, the tone, and overall look. The biggest flaw is that we spend so much time getting to know the cast that we really never get to know the cast. The story tries to be darker and that is fine, but it fails to give us any real emotional connection to anyone in the cast. They put the burden of leadership on Jason (Dacre Montgomery) which doesn't work because anyone who knows the original show, knows that he was a space holder for Tommy. Zack (Ludi Lin) gets a bit of a darker back story, but it gets slightly washed over. Billy (RJ Cyler) is the ranger that seems to connect the most. He is by far the most likeable. Kimberly (Naomi Scott) never really gets clearly defined. She is more that the damsel in distress, but we never see the real depth of her character. Trini (Becky G) is the character that bothered me the most. I feel like she was made gay just for the sake of being gay. I understand what the attempt was, but it is unnecessary and fails to really work.

 Rita ( Elizabeth Banks) gets a much cooler back story, but is really lame when it comes to villains. She has moments of true evil, but her time on screen feels rushed. I think part of the reason is spending too much times failing to develop the ranger's stories. Rita feels like and after thought most of the time despite Bank's best efforts to have fun with the role.

 Alpha 5 is one of the most loved yet annoying characters of the series. Bill Hader gives him a voice and the update is a really good one. He is far less annoying and is anything but the "Jar Jar Binks," of the movie.

 Zordon (Bryan Crantson) is given a much greater back story than the original series gave him. It was darker than expected, but fit the tone of the reboot. I like the effects that they used on him in the ship and making him flawed worked well.

 The update that I liked the least was Goldar. He is very far removed from what fans of the 90's incarnation will remember. If  I had to pick one big flaw of the film, it would be this one. I am not sure that this movie's version of Goldar is any better than Ivan Ooze.

 The Zords are cooler, the story is adequate, the rangers look better, and the movie is not bad. I would be lying if I said I hated the film. I did have fun with it at times and while it is not the greatest, I expected much worse. Tommy Oliver fans will be happy with the mid credit scene. We don't get Bulk and Skull, hip hop kido, or Lord Zedd. We do get a Jason David Frank and Amy Jo Johnson cameo and a film that resembles the franchise that millions loved. I guess it was almost morphin time!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Logan: One Epic Last Time

   Seventeen years. Hugh Jackman has brought one of the comic book universe's most popular characters to life. Seventeen years is a long time to play any character. He is a little too tall by the comic's definition, but Hugh is Logan. In every sense of the character. He has been brilliant in things like X2 and X-Men : Days of Future Past. He has shined despite terrible scripts with X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: The Last Stand. He has gotten closer to the version of the character fans wanted with The Wolverine and now we get Hugh #onelasttime. Let me start by saying it is Wolverine like we have always wanted to see. Gritty, violent, raw, and near perfect.

   A lot of time has passed when we meet Logan. Mutants are gone. He spends his days hiding in the desert with Professor X and Caliban. He spends his nights working as a limo driver saving money to buy a boat. He spends both being a drunk and as you can tell by the trailers, he isn't healing very well anymore. A mysterious woman who is on the run with a girl enter his life and he and Xavier are brought back into the world they were hiding from. She is a science experiment gone rogue and being pursued by a cybernetically enhanced army called the reavers.

   Everything in this movie works. It is a little bit Old Man Logan and something else all together. The world is perfect. It is the future and it is a bleak one, but not completely devastated like we saw in Days of Future Past. We get every possible form of Logan you could want to see. He is completely broken, but still ferocious. Right from jump. Fans, myself included, wanted Hugh in the suit. We do get it. In the form of toys and comic books. There are so many great things in this movie that you won't miss it. We get nods to the previous X-Men films, The Wolverine, and it even acknowledged Origins. It also introduces us to X-23.

    Dafne Keen is solid. She does so well and barely speaks a word. She holds her own with Hugh whether it's combat, conversation, or conveying emotion. If you are not familiar, she is essentially Wolverine's daughter. She is cloned from his DNA, but her powers differ slightly. She does have her father's personality.

   Charles Xavier is also one of the best parts of Logan. He is his moral compass and in many ways his father. It is tough to see this broken version of Professor X. His power has become a threat to everyone. He isn't the Charles that we are used to, but it might just be Patrick Stewart's finest version of the character. It is raw, emotional, funny, and at times heartbreaking. It fits perfectly with the world James Mangold has created.

  Logan does what most superhero movies seem to be afraid to do. It takes it's time. It develops the characters to the point that you care about what happens to them. It tells you a very raw gritty story with great characters on both sides of the coin. I really liked Boyd Holbrook's Pierce. It is going to be tough when we see someone else play Wolverine. Hugh Jackman is so good in this. He nails the berserker and the broken man. It is a great end to this version of Logan's story. Deadpool being the R-rated success that it was paved the way for this. The violence, language, and above all else the performances make Logan the epic finale that it is. Thank you Patrick, James, and more than anyone else, Hugh. Seventeen years. It was a hell of a ride and a nearly perfect one last time.