X-Men Review

There are people in the world called “mutants” who posses the x-gene, granting them superhuman powers. Two groups of mutants, one led by Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and one led by Magneto (Ian McKellen) are at odds with how to use their powers and co-exist with the humans around them.

ReviewX-Men movie poster
Let’s go back in time a little bit to the year 2000. In 2000, Batman’s film run in the 1990s had come to a halt after the Joel Schumacher films were not received well and Superman hadn’t been seen on the big screen since the late 1980s. As for Marvel comic characters, only a handful attempts in the 80s and 90s had been made to bring them to film, including Howard the Duck, the Punisher, Captain America, and Blade, with Blade being the most recent and most successful try two years prior. Enter X-Men. X-Men redefined what the superhero genre could do. X-Men showed that a superhero film could be filled both with action and character development. X-Men kicked off the superhero film boom that we are still experiencing today.

To start, X-Men boasts some impressive and spot-on casting. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Professor X and Magento respectively are just the tip of the iceberg. Their chemistry is fantastic as the once-friends-but-now-enemies. Both actors are acting powerhouses and gave validity to a genre that many saw as niche. Famke Janssen, James Marsden, and Halle Berry all do good in their roles but they aren’t given much to do in this film.

Fox was not naive to who the star of the X-Men franchise is. Everyone knows that Wolverine is hands-down the most popular X character. When casting Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine, they probably had no idea how defining he would become in the role. Here, though, we only see glimpses of what is yet to come. Jackman does great in the role but he hasn’t quite come into it yet. However, he looks spot on like the Logan from the comics. His entrance is exciting and Jackman’s performance leaves you eager to see him return again as the amnesiac mutant.

Besides Wolverine, only a handful of characters share the screen with him. They are Cyclops (Marsden), Jean Grey (Janssen), and Storm (Berry) on the X-Men and Toad (Ray Park), Sabertooth (Tyler Mane) and Mystique (Rebecca Romjin) in Magneto’s Brotherhood of mutants. The Brotherhood mutants don’t get much development since their purpose is to serve as antagonists. On the X-Men side, they get more development but since they all share screen time pretty evenly, it’s not enough. It is just enough, however, to get a feel for the characters and understand the dynamic and relationships between them.

When a film tries to balance as many characters as X-Men has, it can become convoluted. This film prevents that by keeping the plot simple. The X-Men are trying to stop Magneto. That’s it. There’s no major twists or reveals. It’s a good versus evil plot that is traditional but not unexpected from a movie based on comic book characters. There is another plot about mutant registration that is barely explored. It’s touched on but if developed a little better, this film could have had a great philosophical angle to it as well.

A hero is only as good as its villain. This movie’s simplicity also allows Magneto to stand out as a character that wants to do things far beyond typical bad guy reasons. He cares about his fellow mutants. Experiencing the holocaust, he has little faith in humans the way Professor X does. Magneto and Professor X are less adversaries and more two people approaching the same problem from two different ideological point of views. While Magneto may be a more campy villain this time around, he’s far from one-dimensional.

I thought X-Men was GOOD 🙂 Excellent casting all around and a simple plot are by far this film’s strong points. This movie might not be the best superhero movie out there but it displayed what the superhero genre could be, setting the stage for the genre’s popularity to really explode.

Favorite Quote
Wolverine: [After putting on his uniform] You actually go outside in these things?
Cyclops: What would you prefer? Yellow spandex?


Cast & Crew
Bryan Singer – Director / Story
Tom Desanto – Story
David Hayter – Screenplay
Michael Kamen – Composer

Hugh Jackman – Logan / Wolverine
Patrick Stewart – Professor Charles Xavier
Famke Janssen – Jean Grey
James Marsden – Scott Summers / Cyclops
Halle Berry – Ororo Munroe / Storm
Anna Paquin – Rogue
Ian McKellen – Eric Lensherr / Magneto
Tyler Mane – Sabretooth
Ray Park – Toad
Rebecca Romijn – Mystique
Bruce Davison – Senator Kelly

Logan Review

Logan movie posterSynopsis
In 2029, mutant-kind is on the brink of extinction.  An aged Logan (Hugh Jackman) is hiding in Mexico with Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Caliban (Stephen Merchant).  When a woman finds Logan and asks for his help to transport her daughter, Laura (Dafne Keen), to a supposed mutant haven known as Eden, Logan and Charles set out for the US-Canada border while protecting Laura from Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his band of Reavers.

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X-Men is one of those castings that was perfect.  Over the years, he has put his heart and soul into the role and has come to embody the character. It’s one of those actor/role combinations that I can’t imagine any other way.  Now, after 17 years and nine films, Jackman retracts the claws for good and hangs up the cowl, but not before giving the best performance of the character yet.

The X-Men movies have all fallen victim to having too many characters to juggle.  Some have adapted and made it work well (X-2: X-Men United), others have not (X-Men: Apocalypse). Even the other Wolverine movies have felt bloating with the amount of support characters they have tried to include.  Logan, on the other hand, keeps the focus very much on Logan, Charles, and Laura. There is a reason it is called “Logan” and not something like Wolverine 3.  The character moments are what drive the story forward.  The little interactions between Logan and Charles, who has become somewhat of a father-figure to Logan, and Logan and Laura, who in essence has become his daughter, feel intimate and authentic.  There are other characters as well but they are antagonists whose purpose is to move the story forward.

Logan is the most mature and darkest of not just any X-Man movie but superhero movies in general.  I don’t just mean “mature” with the violence but how it approaches the characters as well.  As I mentioned before, this story is all about Logan, Charles, and Laura as a bizarre, mutant family.  Most superhero movies tell a story around the characters’ superpowers. This movie, on the other hand, tell a story about characters who happen to have superpowers.  This makes it unlike any superhero that has come before.

After the success of Deadpool, Fox decided to go with an R-rating for Logan, which is something the character has been missing all these years. Wolverine has always been an aggressive, violent character and his cinematic version has always felt to me that he has been held back by the PG-13 rating.  Now, the character can really let loose.  Logan takes full advantage of the R-rating, showing even that an aged Logan is something to be feared.  This film would not have worked if it was restrained by a lower rating.  Laura is a younger, more rough-around-the-edges Wolverine, whose pure savageness needed to be unfiltered.

This film is a lot longer than it feels.  With a runtime of over two and a half hours, it just flew by.  I felt invested in the characters and the story.  It had its action moments and its character moments. It was never moving too fast nor did it ever feel like it was dragging.  There was a perfect balance between the loud action sequences and the quieter character moments.

I thought Logan was GREAT 😀 You’d be hard pressed to find someone who has come to embody a character the way Hugh Jackman has become Wolverine.  As a farewell performance for the character, Jackman gives the best performance of the character to date.  A tight familial dynamic between Logan, Charles, and Laura and intense and exciting action scenes make Logan not just good Wolverine movie but a great movie in general.


Cast & Crew
James Mangold – Director / Story / Screenplay
Scott Frank – Screenplay
Michael Green – Screenplay
Marco Beltrami – Composer

Hugh Jackman – Logan
Patrick Stewart – Charles Xavier
Dafne Keen – Laura Keen
Boyd Holbrook – Donald Pierce
Stephen Merchant – Caliban
Elizabeth Rodriguez – Gabriela
Richard E. Grant – Dr. Zander Rice
Eriq La Salle – Will Munson
Elise Neal – Kathryn Munson
Quincy Fouse – Nate Munson

X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer

Synopsis: The X-Men must travel back in time to change a major historical event that could globally impact on man and mutant kind alike.

So if the mid-credits scene in The Wolverine didn’t get you excited for the next X-Men movie, then hopefully this trailer does the trick.  We get a solid look at most of the cast, including new mutants Bishop, Sunspot, Warpath, and Blink, as well as Bolivar Trask, the antagonist and creator of the mutant-hunting Sentinels.  The future mutants have much darker costumes than in the trilogy, cementing the bleakness they are trying to prevent.  Not much is shown from the First Class cast outside of young Professor X, young Magneto, Mystique, and Beast.  Maybe they are trying to save the reveal for the final trailer, but there wasn’t anything of Evan Peters as Quicksilver, who was probably the character I was most interested to see.

Needless to say, the cast is huge.  Returning from the X-Men Trilogy is Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, and Daniel Cudmore. Most of the core cast from X-Men: First Class is returning, including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, and Lucas Till.  New to the series is Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask, Booboo Stewart as Warpath, Omar Sy as Bishop, Bingbing Fan as Blink, Adan Canto as Sunspot, and Josh Melman as a young(er) William Stryker.  X-Men: Days of Future Past is directed by Bryan Singer (who also directed X-Men and X2) and hits theaters May 23, 2014.