Blog Archives

…prove cape-able

This Friday a new band of heroes (with a few familiar faces) will hit the big screen as “Justice League” debuts. While fans prepare themselves for the return of Wonder Woman (and Batman and Superman…but mostly Wonder Woman) this Amazonian champion is proving both on and off screen that it really is true — not all heroes wear capes.

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…Show Your Claws

Official SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen “Logan,” proceed with caution.

“Logan,” the final film in the Wolverine trilogy, has been a long time coming. Nearly two decades after his first appearance in 2000’s “X-Men,” Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has appeared in nine X-Men films to date. There have been highs and lows, with the first two Wolverine films unfortunately falling into the latter category.

Throughout all the films the human and the animal side of this beloved X-Men character have been in constant conflict. On one side, there’s Logan who’s haunted by his past and struggles with his role as hero or antihero. On the other, there’s Wolverine who acts on pure instinct and seems unaware of the body count that’s piling up around him.

With “Logan,” director James Mangold shows us a Wolverine who is finally facing his own demons. Slowly poisoned by the Adamantium used to enhance his powers, he faces his own mortality. Read the rest of this entry

…find method in the madness

15590692_10154747020132488_2201604669235057392_oThis What to Watch Wednesday, we return to what is (at least on the surface) familiar setting for film and television fans—the Marvel Universe.

I know many out there are probably shaking their heads at “yet another superhero story.” And I can’t say I blame you. It does seem we are likely fast approaching over-saturation in this particular genre. But I implore you to bear with me just for a moment.

It’s true, reimagining the superhero is nothing new. This current wave is nearly entirely riding on the power of the b-list stories (apologies Iron Man, but it’s true). So, the surface-level concept here is nothing new. At first glance, you may not even recognize the universe of “Legion.”  Read the rest of this entry

…Scratch The Surface

wolverineIt’s hard to put a finger on what doesn’t work in “The Wolverine.”

Director James Mangold’s film has everything going for it.

It has a great setting—Japan.  It’s the birthplace of Karate, so you know that’s going to lead to some pretty awesome fight sequences (and it does).

And, of course, It has a great title character.  Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), may not be the most polished of the X-Men, but what he lacks in smoothness he makes up for with claws, brute strength and a bit of a loner complex.

Where it loses me is the sub subject matter.  The mutants of Marvel are some of my favorite.  Their conflict with the “normal” humans makes for some compelling story telling.  This conflict and the bigger picture is lost in “The Wolverine.”

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…Go First Class

The summer of Marvel Comics on the silver screen continued last week with the opening of “X-Men: First Class,” and the Crusade was there to check it out for you. 

In this latest, prequel installment of the X-Men series, director Matthew Vaughn creates a familiar but different mutant universe.

While not a relaunch in the same vein as “Batman Begins,” it manages to offer something fresh while not abandoning the feel of the previous films.

“X-Men: First Class” delves further into the pasts of the future X-Men.  The majority of the story takes place in the 1960s, right at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

Erik Lehnsherr/ Magento (Michael Fassbender) is on a path of revenge, searching for Sebastian Shaw  (Kevin Bacon), the man who murdered his mother.  He finds his path detoured by a young professor, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), and Charles’ foster sister, Raven/ Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).

The trio is recruited by the CIA to hunt down Sebastian Shaw, and his accomplices, the Hellfire Club (January Jones, Jason Flemyng, and Álex González).

Charles and Erik set out on recruiting mutants to help them fight the good fight.  They end up with a team including Alex Summers/ Havok (Lucas Till), Sean Cassidy/ Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Angel Salvadore (Zoë Kravitz), Armando Muñoz/ Darwin (Edi Gathegi) and Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy/ Beast (Nicholas Hoult).

Well, you can imagine what happens next (and you’ll have to, because I do not ruin movie endings).

The quick-witted humor and charm of the original trilogy is still there.  When “outed” as a mutant by the well-meaning, young Charles Xavier, Dr. Hank McCoy defends himself stating, “You didn’t ask, I didn’t tell.”  There’s nothing worse than a comic-based action movie that takes itself too seriously.

In “X-Men: First Class” the “meet and greet” relaunch of the popular series, not only are audiences being introduced to some new characters, but some familiar ones are reintroduced.

Without a doubt,  this young, new cast is a large part of what makes this film work. 

Taking on the big X behind the X-Men is no small task, and James McAvoy takes on the role with ease.  McAvoy’s Charles Xavier is not simply Professor X with hair and functioning legs.  He is given a base from which to evolve into the Professor X which we all know and love.  McAvoy’s Charles Xavier is young, sensitive and a little cocky at times.  He even attempts to pick up coeds with lines about his thesis on genetic mutation.  Not exactly Patrick Stewart’s Professor X.

Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto is pretty much everything you could want in a future supervillain.  Intelligent, charming, very easy on the eyes and just a bit scary.  Magneto is one of the most sympathetic villains in the Marvel Universe, and Fassbender makes it even harder not to like the guy.

Jennifer Lawrence as Raven / Mystique is definitely a strong addition to this young cast.  Her initial insecurity and  lack of self-acceptance are a far cry from Rebecca Romijn’s confident, uber-sexual Mystique.  However, throughout the film you can catch glimpses of who this young woman will become (quite literally at times).

With its timeless message about fear of the unknown, and the danger of villainizing those who are different, this latest X-Men installment lives up to and in some ways surpasses the expectations set by its predecessors.

Plus, you don’t have to watch all the other films to understand what’s going on.  One of the great things about prequels.  Although, it wouldn’t hurt (just a suggestion).

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…just for fun: