Last time in Part 2 we tackled all three Wolverine movies and Deadpool, this time we’re taking a look at the new (and far better) X-Men trilogy – First Class, Days of Future Past and Apocalypse!
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Michael Fassbender (Magneto / Erik Lensherr), James McAvoy (Charles Xavier / Prof X), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven / Mystique), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw), Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), Nicholas Hoult (Hank McCoy / Beast), January Jones (Emma Frost), Lucas Till (Alex Summers / Havok), Oliver Platt (CIA agent), Zoë Kravitz (Angel Salvadore),Caleb Landry Jones (Banshee), Jason Flemyng (Azazel), Edi Gathegi (‘Darwin’), Rade Serbedzija (Soviet General), Michael Ironside (US Navy Captain), Don Creech (Stryker Sr.), and Hugh Jackman (Wolverine cameo).
Plot: Realizing that they should have hired Matthew Vaughn for X-Men 3 like he wanted, and that there was nowhere to go with the franchise after Brett “that smell on my thumbs is my ass!” Ratner ‘Batman-and-Robin’d-it’, Fox reboots the franchise with re-casted characters. Magneto hunts for Sebastian Shaw, a mutant that was in charge of the concentration camp he grew up in, while Charles Xavier works with agent Moira Mactaggert and the CIA to gather a team of young mutants. They must team up to stop Shaw from starting World War 3 while learning how to use their powers and accept themselves.
Erik Smash: Following the unbelievably terrible X-Men: The Last Stand and even worse X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox finally gets it right with director Matthew Vaughn! “X-Men: First Class” is a back-to-basics prequel / reboot that tells the story of how the X-Men were first formed by a young Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto!
Oh boy… well we survived the nightmare that was X3, but we’re not quite out of the woods just yet. After the initial X-Men trilogy (see Part One) started strong before crashing and burning, the studio decided to make a solo Wolverine spin-off, which sounded better on paper than in execution. This time, Erik Smash and I are going to rip into the X-Men spin-offs, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel, because against all odds Fox somehow managed to really turn things around with the release of “Deadpool” and “Logan” – proving to Hollywood that some characters work better with an R rating.
But first up…
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Directed by: Gavin Hood
Starring: Hugh Jackman (Logan / The Wolverine / James Howlett), Liev Schreiber (Victor Creed / Sabretooth), Danny Huston (William Stryker), Lynn Collins (Silverfox), Ryan Reynolds (Wade Wilson / “Deadpool”), Kevin Durand (Fred Dukes / The Blob), Will.I.Am (Wraith), Daniel Henney (Agent Zero), Taylor Kitsch (Remy LeBeau / Gambit), Tim Pocock (young Scott Summers / Cyclops), and Sir Patrick Stewart (Prof X cameo).
Plot: We finally get to see Wolverine’s history played out on the big screen, and it’s… it’s just awful. When the stars of the film don’t hide their disdain for it (both Jackman and Reynolds) and it is immediately ignored and forgotten by the rest of the franchise, you know you can sleep well as a director. And by sleep well I mean you should be horribly, horribly ashamed. Sigh…
The X-Men have had a lot of members over the years. A LOT. Especially when you consider all of the spin-off teams, like the New Mutants, X-Factor, X-Force, and Excalibur. There have to be around 100, maybe more. But if you aren’t overly versed in X-Men history, how are you to know your Josephs from your Rogues? Your Skins from your Storms? Well, I’ll help you out a bit and give you the 25 best members of the X-Men and their ancillary teams.
So remember how the Punisher got attacked by a bunch of guys in prison, and had his face cut up by Jigsaw? And remember how he escaped from prison and found an off-the-books doctor to fix his face, but asked that they change his appearance so that he could remain under the radar?
And remember that the doctor decided the best bet was to somehow make him a black man?
Yeah, the doctor performs an experimental surgery that somehow changes his skin color and facial structure so he looks like an African American. He teams up with Luke Cage, who has no idea he’s the Punisher, and they beat the bad guys. Then Frank goes back to being white.
So Maximum Carnage is drawing to what promises to be an epic conclusion. Spider-Man and his numerous allies have been run ragged fighting Carnage and his band of murdering psychopaths for days, and the final confrontation is drawing to a close. How are the good guys possibly going to stop this maniac from continuing to slaughter the citizens of New York? Will Firestar use her flame powers to kill Carnage? Will Cloak and Dagger do something awesome to get back at the bad guys for what they’ve been through? Will Captain America or Iron Fist or Deathlok pull something out of their hat at the last second? Or will Venom or Spider-Man overwhelm Carnage with the pure rage and frustrations they’ve been under?
Nope. Love ray.
…What the fuck?
The heroes get a gun that was designed at Rand Industries that literally overwhelms the hatred the bad guys feel with love and compassion. It drives them crazy and makes them see the horror they’ve caused. They feel bad and surrender (except Carnage, but it hits him right in the feels, too). I can’t make this up. I would never make something so stupid up.
There was a long period of time where the only super hero movies we had were the Christopher Reeve Superman films, which (as we discussed HERE), had their considerable ups and downs (mostly downs), and the Batman franchise(which we discussed HERE, HERE, and HERE), but this was before the excellent Christopher Nolan reboot, so it was also mostly bad.
Then the late 90’s hit and Marvel (with New Line Cinema) had a surprise hit on their hands with Blade, and all of a sudden it felt like there might be a chance we’d get some more. That’s when Fox dropped a bombshell and announced they were going to finally, FINALLY, release a live action X-Men film!
Fifteen years later, and the franchise has had its ups and downs (notice a trend?), but found its footing again with X-Men: First Class and Days of Future Past. Now, with X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool, and a third Wolverine film looming, the franchise appears to be in as good a shape as it has ever been.
The Walking Dead is a phenomenon. The AMC television show is a juggernaut, and seemingly gets better and better as it goes on. The comic book has been around for more than ten years (!!) and shows no signs of slowing down. There are video games, mobile apps, and merchandise, merchandise, merchandise as far as the eye can see.
Why is it so universally beloved? It’s not the zombies, although they are always awesome. It’s the characters. Whether the originals from the comic, or their counterparts on the tv show, or the new characters created for said tv show or any of the video games, the Walking Dead delivers interesting, relatable characters you love to love and hate.