Thank You Hugh (Logan Review)

17 Years

Hugh Jackman has been playing Logan/Wolverine for 17 years, and by god, it was an amazing ride. It’s difficult enough for directors to find actors who are able to play a character well, but even less so to find an actor who fits so well into a role, that just watching it happen before your eyes feels like magic. You really can’t imagine these characters being played by someone else (Heath Ledger as the Joker, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, or almost everyone in the Harry Potter movies)

Logan is meant to be Jackman’s final performance as everyone’s favorite curmudgeon mutant, as well as Patrick Stewart’s final appearance as the wise telepathic Charles Xavier. Both actors are marvelous here as their old characters, but whom have gone through rough times over the course of more than a decade. Logan’s healing factor is receding, the adamantium that coats his skeleton is beginning to poison him and he’s now working as a chauffeur. All while having to take care of Professor Xavier who has seemingly gone senile and is losing control of his telepathic abilities. They are also accompanied by Calaban (played by Stephen Merchant), an albino mutant who’s ability is to track other mutants.

Their lives are uprooted by the appearance of Laura/X-23, a young mutant who resembles Logan and needs to be brought to a safe haven no one is even sure exists. She is played by 12-year old Dafne Keen, who is remarkable here. Equal parts bad ass, likable and adorable, Keen definitely holds her own while paired up with Jackman. The film turns into a road trip/ chase film as our heroes our pursued by the menacing Donald Pierce (played by Boyd Holbrook) with intentions to capture and kill Laura.

Perhaps, the most obvious thing I loved off the bat was, because of the film’s R rating, Logan is able to be his true visceral self. Bloody, foul mouthed and unleashed, this is probably the best portrayal of Wolverine ever shown on film. Despite that, this is also the most sympathetic we’ve seen of the character. Not just because of his weaker state, but because we see him take on more of a father figure to Laura and Professor Xavier.

Also noticeable is the complete change of tone compared to the previous films. While the rest of the X-men films felt more action packed and were prone to over-the-top moments, Logan goes for a more bleaker realistic look that emphasizes the gravity of our heroes’ situation. Whether in the middle of the desert or deep in the woods, there’s always a sort of desperate aesthetic that shadows the film, even during its warmer moments. It definitely makes this film stand out compared to the other films in the series

Without spoiling the ending, I will say that it is a fitting, if painful, send off for Logan and Hugh Jackman.The final battle is both satisfying and gripping, with all the players involved getting their time to shine. If you are even slightly susceptible to tears, you might wanna bring your handkerchief.

In all seriousness, even at his lesser films (*cough Origins: Wolverine) watching Jackman playing Wolverine for almost two decades was a joy to experience. We only get these occurrences once in a while and they rarely last as long as Jackman did with Logan. As the that old saying goes “All good things must come to an end”

Thank you Hugh

Rating 4.5/5

Fail-tastic Four (2015 Fantastic Four Review)

WARNING: Bad Puns ahead!
This is why I don’t trust trailers anymore! Like many, I was excited about the newest superhero reboot that is Fantastic Four or Fant4stic as it’s sometimes stylized. UNLIKE many, I actually enjoyed the 2005 Fantastic Four. (Yes, I watched again as a grown man, and I can’t help it. It’s goofy and stupid, but hell, till fun take on the superhero quadrio. Even the 2005 cast looked like they were having a fun time). But that’s The Thing (hehe, get it?)

This film feels kinda joyless and too much origin focused. Here’s the way I described to the theater usher who waited for my honest opinion of the film: It’s pretty much the movie equivalent of the Challenger take-off back in 1986. It starts off great and you get excited, then you spot some problems and think “Well, okay, I’m sure it’s just a misstep”, then you keep watching and you think “Oh come on. You can do better!”, then it keeps going and then you think “Oh God. No! No No No! No No!” and then finally it ends with a big “DAMMIT!! Damn it all!!” Boom! Crash and Burn a like a Human Torch (hehe)

Basically, my mind while watching the film

My biggest gripe with the film is that it could have been so great. The main problem everybody, and myself included, had was that it focused WAY too much on the origins of the team instead of them, you know?, being a team. The origin story takes up about 75% of the film, and by the time it ends, we’re faced with the antagonistic Dr. Doom and you think “Wait! They’re already gonna fight Doom? I thought there would be more!”

It’s basically a good movie that gets stretched (ha!) too long. Were this movie to be trimmed (or maybe chopped) some more it would be passable. Trank tries to make it his movie but you could almost tell where Fox ( the studio behind this film) got their dirty hands on it. Oh Fox, when will you ever learn?

If I had to say one good thing about the movie, it’s that cast were pretty good, but it could have used some more joy or depth into it. One of the fun Things (okay, I’ll stop) about the the team is Ben Grimm (The Thing) and Johnny Storm’s (Human Torch) witty banter with each other. The 2005 film does a great job showing that chemistry. This one….not so much. Maybe just one instance….at the END OF THE MOVIE!!!!

It is for these reasons that I will continue to side with 2005 Fantastic Four. At least with 2005, I wasnt mad that I spent 100 minutes with those characters

One more thing and probably the biggest crime of the movie: NO STAN LEE CAMEO!!!!!

The Ant-Man Cometh (Ant-Man Review)

Like most film geeks, I was disappointed when I heard that Edgar Wright, who directed Scott Pilgrim Vs the World and Shaun of the Dead and was going to direct this film, had left the project because of creative differences. I could have imagined how Wright would have taken on the film and how his style looks on a superhero film. *sighs A man can dream

But have no fear! Director Peyton Reed still manages to deliver a film that not only delivers actions and laughs, but also a new superhero for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that we want more of. Enter Ant-Man

Funny man Paul Rudd is a fine choice to play Scott Lang, an unlucky electrical engineer who gets jailed for pulling a Robin Hood and who is recently released from prison. He’s not starting off okay. Given his criminal record, he is unable to find work and pay for child support for his adorable daughter, who he cannot see since (SURPRISE) Scott’s ex-wife has remarried and they prevent him from seeing her. His only friends are his goofy posse of thieves: T.I. (yeah, the rapper) and David Dastmalchian are two of the three thieves who befriend Scott when he get out and they provide some well timed comic relief. Michael Pena is the stand out third member of the group, Luis. He kinda wears out his welcome but is still hilarious. I hope they come back for the next film

(Anyways, back to the story) A “job” brought up by Luis entices Scott to break his promise of a criminal-free life so he could use the winnings to see his daughter again. As chance would have it, these series of events would lead Scott to Hank Pym (played wonderfully by Michael Douglas), the original Ant-Man, a weary father and businessman with a heart. Along side with Hank’s kick-ass daughter Hope Pym (effectively portrayed by Evangiline Lilly), they conspire to steal a new more advanced Ant-Man like suit developed by Darren Cross (Corey Stoll’s also good here) who hopes to use it for war purposes.

Here’s the strange thing about this film: Though this it is part of the MCU, it doesn’t feel have the same feel and look that the other films before it had which I found refreshing and helps the film stand out. My biggest concern was that the film will play off more as a comedy film than a superhero film, but to my surprise it manages to balance out just fine. The actions scenes are engaging, the effects are top notch, the comedic moments hit the right notes and the sentimental moments are believable. I won’t say that this is the best film of the franchise, but it’s nowhere near the worst (looking at you Iron Man 3). It also leaves subtlety out the door with it’s references with the Avenger’s, but no harm done there.

I have to also give the film credit for making CGI ants lovable and awesome, which also had me worried that they would look silly (again and gladly, I was wrong).  Overall, Ant-Man is the funniest film of the MCU list, and in it’s own right, an exciting and stimulating change to the superhero films, given the recent trend of dark and gritty directions most films are taking now.

Oh! Pro-Tip! There are two credits scenes, but maybe you knew that already since it is a Marvel Film

One last thing: THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE!!!!

Rating: 9/10

Most Likely to Love: Team Marvel

Most Likely to Hate: Team DC (I’m being biased lol)