Posts Tagged ‘X-Men’

X-Men: Dark Phoenix teaser. UPDATE!

Posted: September 28, 2018 in Movies
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UPDATE: Last night FOX announced they have moved the release of Dark Phoenix. The film has been pushed back from its early 2019 release date and will now come out in early June 2019. There is a specific date but seeing as this is the third date shift for the film it feels pointless repeating it. So yea for now the film is set to release early June. Maybe. We’ll see. Maybe there is stuff going on behind the scenes we do not know about it. Personal stuff etc. Understandable. But if it’s just a case of they don’t know what to do with this film then…that’s a bit crap in it?

So here it is, after release date delays and in the midst of re-shoots, the first look at X-Men: Dark Phoenix has arrived. This latest movie in the hit franchise, which is almost twenty years old (!), will be the second attempt at bringing the much loved classic Phoenix comic arc to the big screen.

In the comics Jean looses control of her powers after becoming the host to a cosmic being known as the Phoenix. What follows is a epic tragedy that goes from the streets of New York City up into outer space as Jean is put on trail by alien lifeforms for crimes against the cosmos. A film version of said events would be epic and the stuff of dreams for X-Men fans. Simon Kinberg’s movie does not look to be that movie.

Here’s the issues I have here. This looks like a remake of The Last Stand but with a smaller budget. In the comic Jean/The Phoenix is consuming stars in space. In this trailer she’s causing crashes and controlling helicopters. All, by the looks of things, in the Midwest. It’s hardly the space opera I was hoping for. Also with The Last Stand comparisons – Jean goes to Magneto, Magneto and Charles argue over her and it looks like there’s going to be a shock death when there doesn’t need to be. Frankly I just dont feel like Kinberg is, nor was ever, the right fit for this series.

Check out the teaser. This film is supposed to be about Jean and Scott. They hardly speak. It’s once more the Mystique, Charles and Magneto show. Sure Jessica Chastain is here and her character is a mystery but I think that’s working against the film. Who is she? She looks like Emma Frost but I guess that would make too much sense because Kinberg has stated she’s not Emma Frost. Nor is she another key player from the Phoenix arc but instead a big mystery. I’m rolling my eyes in case you’re wondering.

I always root for films and I want this movie to be great. I’d never root aginst it and maybe this teaser trailer was just a bit too restrained for its own good and the film does have all the good stuff bust based on Kinberg’s track record and how little his scripts serve characters beyond Charles, Mystique and Magneto I doubt it. This prequel series has a fantastic cast. It would be great to see the material they work with meet them all as an ensemble.

Hoping for the best come Feburary 5th 2018 when the film hits UK screens. I hope this movie proves me wrong and really delivers.

 

Generation X (2017) VOL 1 & 2

Posted: June 30, 2018 in Comics
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Ah 90’s MARVEL. Everything was bigger and bolder. I came of comic book age in the mid 1990s and it was awesome. I have never looked back. By chance, just as I was getting into my comic book groove, Marvel was getting ready to launch their hot new team book, a spin off from the main X-Men titles, Generation X. Basically this was the 90’s version of the New Mutants. The comic centred on Jubiliee and boasted a whole host of brand new mutant characters such as Chamber, Husk, M, and Penance. Not to mention a terrifying villian in the form of Emplate. You got Emma Frost and Banshee running the team with art from Chris Bachalo and fun writing from Scott Lobdell. The comic was fun and it was very much of the decade that it debuted in. Last year Marvel relaunched Generation X for a brand new generation and the results are outstanding.

Generation X (2017) is written by Christina Strain and features awesome art from a variety of talented artists. I was not familair with Strain’s work before this book and I’m happy to say she has crafted a tale that not only honours its source but pushes long time fan fave characters forwards in their growth and introduces (just like the original book did) a new bunch of X-Kids for readers to fall in love with. I’m gonna go and just get this out of the way right now. Ready? Okay. This is MUCH better than the original Gen X. And I mean no disprespect with that statement. It just is and I’d reckon that even Lobdell and Bachalo would agree Strain and her fellow creators have crafted one hell of a book here. This book is X-Men as its strongest. It’s fun, it’s colourful, it has strong characters, great writing and deals with a variety of themes that relate to real world issues young people all over the wolrd are going through. Simply put this book is vital and long may it last.

The new blood – Bling!, Kid Omega, Nature Girl, Eye-Boy, Hindsight and Morph – may have code names that are a bit too on the nose but rest assured they have the depth of character and complex interactions to add weight to their existance. First loves, jealousy, loners, looking different, acting out, single parenthood and sexuality are all focal points and never in a way that talks down to the reader. These kids look and act real. Where’s as the original Generation X could have stepped off the set of Beverly Hills 90210 these new kids look like your everyday teenager just trying to get by. At first I was a little big gutted this team was missing its diva but then it hit me HE was present all along. Kid Omega AKA Quentin Quire, who made his debut in Gran Morrison’s fantastic New X-Men, more than gives Emma Frost and M. a run for their money when it comes to attitude and sass!

For long time fans of Generation X fear not! The old team is still a core part of this series and are present and accounted for. Right away, depsite a focus on what’s new, this comic reminds constant reader of its roots and how they will never be forgotten. Jubiliee, Chamber and Husk have taken on more mentor like roles but neither has lost what made them likeable to start with and get just as much love as the new characters. Then we have M. The original Gen X diva who gets a great arc. It’ll be interesting to see if any other old faces pop up in future issues. Honestly there’s no rush either, I’d rather classic team members are featured organically and have strong arcs.

So far I am two volumes in into the new Generation X, which would be around 12 issues. Hopefully it continues its seemingly effortless balancing act of highlighting what’s new while showing how some things, thankfully, never change. They just get better. Right now has never been a better time to be an X-Men fan. For the haters who celebrated the notion Marvel had abandoned their mutants last years relaunch shows that was never the case. They were simply taking their time to make sure the X-Men’s return was everything the fans could hope for.

 

Generation X (pilot/TV movie)

Posted: April 25, 2018 in Movies
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In 1996 FOX was riding the wave of X-Men on the small screen thanks to it’s massively popular cartoon series. The cartoon, which is awesome, was my gateway into the world of not only the X-Men but comics in general. I leaped into comics just in time to get excited about the launch of Generation X, created by writer Scott Lobdell and artist Chris Bachalo, the series was to be the latest comic spin-off from the main X-Men titles. Think New Mutants but for the 90’s. I got into Generation X big time and had tons of issues. The series fosued on popular X-Men character Jubilee who joins a new class of mutants at the Xavier Institue with both Banshee and villain turned hero Emma Frost as thier co-headmasters.

FOX saw an oppertunity with the Generation X property to test the waters with a live action version of Marvel’s mutants. This TV movie, from Jack Sholder, the director of The Hidden and Eric Blakeney, one of the writers behind 21 Jump Street (the show) , was to act as a pilot. It didn’t work. Which is a pitty because had this come out post 2010 I think the show would have got a series order. Faults and all.

Generation X is quite faithful to it’s comic roots. Jubilee, Banshee, Emma Frost, Mondo, Skin and M made the cut from the comics. Sadly, due to serious budget woes, popular characters such as Chamber, Husk, Penance and Synch got cut, replaced by two new characters Buff and Refrax. For established fans of the comic that must have been a blow. I know I was slightly gutted those characters weren’t included. Chamber is a boss, he has this fire that grows from his mouth and has to keep it covered at all times, unless he’s kicking someone’s arse. Husk sheds her skin (!) and Penance was this awesomely odd mutant. Her whole body was razor sharp. It made sense then that Skin (his skin stretches) and Jubilee, along with her firework looking light powers, would lead this pilot in displays of power budget wise.

After a prologue that sets up the threat the film focuses on Jubilee and Skin as they discover their mutant abilities. Faced with a choice of a government placement camp or the Xavier School the two teens agree to go to enrol at Xavier’s school so they can learn to better use their mutant abilities. At the school they get to meet their class mates, get into fights with one another and the locales and must learn to work as a team in order to bring down the pilots big bad Russel Tresh, an over the top but good Matt Frewer, who is a mad scientist mixed with a dose of Freddy Krueger.

I know I’m delluded when it comes to 90’s nostalgia but in hindsight this pilot works more than it doesn’t. The cast is good. Finola Hughes is probably the best live action Emma Frost/The White Queen we’ve had to date. Better than any of the other live action attempts. She’s shockingly good. Annoyingly Jubilee isn’t Chinese-American. The actress, Heather McComb, is caucasian but she does a solid job of bringing Jubilee to life. The director has stated the casting sheet that went out didn’t specify Jubilee’s race. To lay the blame for that at the actress wouldn’t be right and she does good. Obviously I would have liked to have seen a more racially accurate Jubilee though and clearly that sort of careless casting wouldn’t fly today.

The rest of the cast do good work.

It’s the look and feel of the film that I liked. The previous year Batman Forever had made big bucks at theatres, with it’s crazy colourful sets and over the top celebration of it’s comic roots and Generation X, whether this is for you or not, follows suit. Contrasting with those comics asthetics is more adult themes and in some scenes this pilot gets quite dark. Jubilee drops the F bomb TWICE and I gasped each time! Haha. The special effects aren’t that bad either. Remeber this was a TV show in 1996. Be kind. Sure the dreamcapse showdown showed off the low budget but it got the point across and added to how weird it all is.

I think I’m clued up enough to wade through what had potential and what was outright shite. Generation X had potential and I still reckon had this come out now the show would have went to series in the blink of an eye. Yeah…this pilot is rocky. Some of it is a bit TOO weird but had it been given room to breath and develop I think it would have been a great ride. Parts of it deal with racisim, abandonment and body issues. Stuff teens could relate to and WAY more compelling than any of the romance of the week stuff the current CW shows are full of.

Imagine watching an episode of this back to back with the X-Files back in good old ’96. That would have been a cool TV night. Sadly comics weren’t as mainstream as they are now back then.

If you read Generation X back in the day check this out. I honestly don’t think you’ll find it as bad as some people make out. It’s no Legion. I’m not trying to say it’s great but it had a fun foundation to build upon. Or, if you don’t like it, like a lot of fans don’t, I guess you can say FOX learned a lesson on how not to do mutants in live action and the pilot was a lucky mistake. Either way this is worth a look in the history of the X-Men on screen.

 

New Mutants teaser trailer!

Posted: October 13, 2017 in Comics, Movies
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I have to give credit to FOX. They now seem to understand what it is they have access to in regards to the X-Men. Last year we got Deadpool and Logan. Two spin-off’s set inside the X-Men movie universe and each of them was gloriously it’s own beast. Rated R and violent as hell. Next out of the gate is The New Mutants and, like Deadpool and Logan, this looks to be another unique take on mutation.

The film is directed by Josh Boone (The Fault in our Stars) and is a horror/sci-fi movie. Comic fans will know the title because it is one of a long list of comic books set in the same universe as the X-Men.

Boone has said he wants the film to feel like a horror movie and not a traditional superhero flick. Well sir, I say, mission accomplished! This looks boldly brilliant. I don’t know if the film is rated R or not but going off that teaser trailer this looks like a straight up slasher movie with a science fiction edge.

The New Mutants follows several young mutants who find themselves trapped inside an experimental facility. Chances are they are not at that place voluntarily. Will they get out alive? We’ll find out April 13th 2018!

 

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It’s been a long time coming for comic book fans but we now – finally – have Cable on his way to big screen. This past few weeks has been great for X-Men fans, with shooting kicking off on New Mutants, X-Men: Dark Phoenix and Deadpool 2. Following on the heels of the Domino reveal several days ago we now have a first look at Josh Brolin as Cable. Cable is the time traveling mutant, who got his big breakout during the early 90’s X-Men and X-Force comics and would go on to gain a massive fan following.

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He looks great.

Deadpool 2 will hit screens next summer.

Domino dominates Deadpool 2!

Posted: August 2, 2017 in Comics, Movies
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Last week (again I’m great with the breaking news aren’t I? Haha) Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds revealed the FIRST look at actress Zazie Beetz (Atlanta) as the mutant Domino. Of course X-Men fans will know her as time traveller Cable’s partner in crime and often time member of X-Force. Domino uses her abilities to manipulate events around her to her favour, which must come in handy in those life and death situations as she kicks a tremendous amount of arse! I haven’t seen Atlanta (yet) but I hear it’s great and I think Beetz looks great as Domino.

My fear for the sequel is it goes bigger than the first flick and ends up a bloated mess and honestly I can’t wait to be proven wrong on that assumption. What I would love is to see another action packed and lean adventure clocking in at just 95 minutes or so but the film is not being made just for me so here’s hoping whatever the end result is it’s a winner.

Deadpool 2 is directed by David Leitch (John Wick) and sees the return of Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Leslie Uggams and pretty much everyone else who survived the first movie. Josh Brolin and Beetz join the series as newcomers Cable and Domino.

You can catch Deadpool 2 next summer.

X-Men: The Last Stand

Posted: June 23, 2017 in Movies
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For a lot of X-Men fans The Last Stand is not what they’d call one of the better entries in the series. X-Men and X2 director Bryan Singer decided not to return to direct (instead opting to direct Superman Returns) and the film had a messy pre-production. At one point X-Man: First Class’s Matthew Vaughn was set to direct until Fox hired Rush Hour’s Brett Ratner. The hold up in filming also meant several key players from both X-Men and X2 had other work commitments or simply got lost in the rush to get the film made, which is most visible in the reduced roles of Cyclops (James Marsden), Mystique (Rebecca Romijin) and Rogue (Anna Paquin). I can’t say that X-Men: The Last Stand is a great or even solid entry into the franchise. It definitely has issues but I stop short at calling the film bad. It’s okay. I think the hurt mostly comes from what the film promised -The Dark Phoenix – and the questionable execution this classic comic arc was given on screen.

The plot(s) in The Last Stand are like two whole movies worth crammed into one hour and forty odd minutes running time. You get the Dark Phoenix stuff, which is in of itself a pure event laden arc and then you also got this parallel plot focusing on Worthington Labs who have created a ‘cure’ for mutation and all of the moral arguments that go along with that. Do mutants need a cure? Will it be weaponised? How will Magneto (Ian McKellen) and his Brotherhood react? Then factor in Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). She’s now the Dark Phoenix, a being of limitless power. The possibilities endless, only in the case of The Last Stand she’s simply used as weapon/tool by Magneto to combat the cure and the threat of humanity. The busy plot and the directions it goes in serving neither the cure angle or the Phoenix as a whole and it’s a shame.

There are parts of The Last Stand that I do enjoy. The most memorable being the films score by John Powell. Some of the music cues are brilliant, from the Phoenix theme through to the opening titles of the film. The idea of the cure is great as are the different points of view on it and how those become radicalised once the ‘cure’ is used as a weapon at one point in the film. Rogue for example has a genuine reason for the cure as she can’t even touch her boyfriend. That was an interesting angle, sadly because the film is SO packed it doesn’t get the room it needs to breath as a plot thread. Famke Janssen really gets to show off her acting chops as Jean/Phoenix, she’s great in the role, sadly I feel she should have been THE focus of the film and instead she’s relegated to more of a henchwoman role as the film rushes towards it’s conclusion. Her showdown with Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is a great scene. The addition of Beast (Kelsey Grammer), one of the original X-Men, is boss and I think Grammer nailed the role. The action scenes are cool, the film has a pace that is too quick for it’s own good so it’s never boring and there’s some cool new/expanded additions to the X-Men on screen such as Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut and Ellen Page as Kitty Pride.

I never felt the change in directors was what hurt The Last Stand upon release, you can’t blame Brett Ratner. If anything Ratner was very respectful of Singer’s vision and went as far as to give the third entry in the series a similar visual tone. If anything I feel the script was the issue. I just don’t feel like they’d quite nailed it and to be honest Fox should have probably delayed the film and focused on writing a stronger screenplay.

There are parts of The Last Stand that do work it just never comes together as a whole. Thankfully Fox announced last week that long time series writer Simon Kinberg will be directing the latest installment in the franchise, the sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse titled…wait for it – X-Men: Dark Phoenix!! Here’s hoping lessons were learned from Last Stand and Dark Phoenix really knocks it out of the park.

X2: X-Men United

Posted: May 31, 2017 in Comics, Movies
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I saw X2 while I was away at college. Walking out of the cinema me and my buddy turned to one another with the biggest grins. We’d just seen one of the best comic book movies to date in 2003. X2 does everything bigger and better than the first film. The plot is more ambitious, the action much more accomplished and the world is expanded with several new character introductions and expansion for those we already know. Bryan Singer, no doubt about it, knocked his X-Men sequel out of the park and it’s still to this day a fantastic X-Men movie.

The plot of X2 sees the government grow more fearful of mutants after the events of the first film. Col. Stryker (Brian Cox) , a black op’s like agent with ties to Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) uses that fear as an excuse to enforce his own deadly plan to get back at Professor X and mutantkind for his own personal reasons. Stryker sees mutants at best as tools to be used and at worse as deadly threats that must be wiped out. Meanwhile Magneto (Ian McKellen)remains in custody for his extremist actions from the first film but it isn’t long before he once more sets out to fight for the rights of mutants whatever the cost. The writers on X2 do a great job of carving out a strong narrative that not only has to serve many, many characters but expand the scope of the X-Men on screen and it’s a credit to them that they achieve it with X2.

Bryan Singer shows off way more confidence this time around. The opening of the movie features one of the genre’s most celebrated sequences that is still praised today as the teleporter Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) carries out an assassination attempt on the U.S. president. Stryker’s assault on the Xavier Institute is a total blast, you get to see Wolverine let loose, several fan fave mutant cameos  and a variety of cool displays of mutant abilities as the students and staff attempt to hold off the soldiers. One of the best parts of the whole film is a knock out brawl between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu), a character those familiar with the comics will know and their showdown is flat out brutal.  Composer John Ottman delivers a thumping score throughout the whole movie which is simply terrific.

As I said the roster of characters old and new is massive so forgive me for not mentioning everyone save to say all of the actors are great in their roles. Personally I loved that Mystique (Rebecca Romijin) got way more to do. Her character is used really well. Jackman, Stewart, Cox and Mckellen are fantastic as usual. Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey gets her own subplot throughout with major payoff at the end that comic fans will eat up. Nightcrawler and Deathstrike are good but it’s Aaron Stanford as fire manipulator Pyro who makes the biggest impression and his arc is very interesting. Sadly the always good James Marsden gets sent to the bench for most of the film and it’s a shame as he’s a good Cyclops but with a roster this large someone had to suffer.  Halle Berry’s Storm is also given a lot more to do this time out.

X2 has been cited as one of the best comic book movies of all time and I think it can still lay claim to that. It’s easy to forget in this MCU/DCEU age how hard it is to juggle ambition, scope and stakes while attempting to stay true to the source and while the X-Men movies may not always knock it out of the park they manage to do just that when the right care and attention is put into their making and that’s certainly the case with X2. The closing of the movie promised a thrilling third outing for Marvel’s mutants but sadly that would not exactly go as planned. That’s a tale best saved for another time though.

I always said (didn’t I always say? Haha) the BEST home for live action X-Men adaptations is not the cinema screen but is in fact the small screen. X-Men (like it or not) is as much a soap-opera as it is a super hero tale. It’s episodic by nature so I am all for giving this brand new series, that is set within the X-Men universe, a shot. It’s from Bryan Singer and the creator of Burn Notice, which I haven’t seen but I’ve heard it’s decent. Hopefully The Gifted does the X-Men universe justice.

Logan (No Spoilers)

Posted: March 6, 2017 in Movies
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Logan is unlike any X-Men movie you have seen to date. It’s violent as all hell. Seriously guys I am talking limbs getting torn off here amongst other things. It’s blood shed central and it’s a promise made good from director James Mangold and star Hugh Jackman. As his final outing as the character Jackman had told fans he wanted to go out on his terms and Fox were willing (thanks to Deadpool’s success) to let him and Mangold make the down and gritty Wolverine movie they always wanted to.

The film takes place in the not too distant future and finds Logan and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) in a less than ideal situation. Right away director Mangold (who also worked on the film’s story) shows us these characters as we have never seen them before. They are down, the cards are stacked against them and in many ways the world has moved on from not only the X-Men but mutants. When a young girl named Laura(Dafne Keen) enters their lives Logan and Professor X embark on a road trip/western style journey on which they must stay one step ahead of the deadly Reavers (cyborg mercs) who are after Laura!

There are quite a few plot points the trailers for Logan smartly declined to show ahead of the films release and for that reason I won’t be going any further into the films plot. What I will say is that if this is indeed the final outing for Logan and Professor X then it’s a fitting farewell that will surely go on to be noted as one of the best examples of the comic book genre on film. This is coming from a big X-Men fan who hasn’t always been the biggest fan of the mutants on film, which can be hit and miss at times, but damn if Logan isn’t a total home run.

The journey aspect of the film helps keep the pace strong in how there’s this constant need for our characters to keep moving forward. As I said above the action, which compared to previous X-Men movies is pretty low key, is terrific in it’s ferocity. It’s a shame it took the success of Deadpool to really allow Wolverine to let loose like this but it’s better late than never.

The film has a great cast with Jackman and Stewart giving it their all. Newcomer Dafne Keen makes one hell of a debut as Laura, this young actress shows brilliant range in what must have been a tricky role to cast. The threat comes in the form of The Reavers, led by Boyd Holbrook’s Pierce and Richard E. Grant’s misguided scientist Dr Rice. Both actors do thier job well, presenting more grounded threats than what Logan and co. have faced before yet the Reavers are no less deadly. Elsewere the film has an impressive supporting cast with Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Stephen Merchant putting in good work.

X-Men fans are in for a punch to the face with Logan. It’s a film that dares to go out and do it’s own thing and not worry about catering to expectations except it’s own. Mangold and Jackman got the story locked that they wanted to tell and man did they commit from the opening all the way until the credits. I look forward to owning this movie.