Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) Review

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) movie posterSynopsis
After Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) breaks up with the Joker, crime boss Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) hunts her down. To protect Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a young pick-pocket whom Sionis is also after, Quinn enlists the help from several heroes.

Review
One of the few bright spots from Suicide Squad, DC’s attempt to create their own Guardians of the Galaxy, was Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Hearing Robbie’s Quinn was getting her own film made me excited and I was eager to see it. That finally happened with the lengthily named Bird of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Robbie proves that Harley don’t need no man to carry her own movie.

First off, the title is misleading. The actual Birds of Prey are more of an afterthought; Quinn is front and center. This film is just as scattered and off-the-wall as Quinn. Quinn is telling the story and continuously bounces back-and-forth between the present and flashbacks. At times this can be disorienting but that’s the point. The story is from Quinn’s point-of-view and she can be scatterbrained at times and the story telling reflects that. As for Robbie, there’s no actress that comes to mind who would fit the part as well as Robbie does. She is equal parts funny, athletic, crazy, and witty. Robbie has become synonymous with Harley Quinn, like Robert Downey Jr. with Tony Stark or Hugh Jackman with Wolverine.

As for the rest of the film, it does it’s best to keep up with the hectic Quinn. The ladies of the titular Birds of Prey are all well cast. One highlight in particular is Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the Huntress. Her awkwardness is a great contrast to Quinn’s eccentric-ness. On the other side of our main character (I don’t really want to call Quinn a hero or an anti-hero because, quite frankly, she isn’t either of those) is Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask, played by Owen McGregor. McGregor plays the character as over-the-top, constantly with an infectious smile on his face.

Since Birds of Prey is rated R, it goes all in on the violence and there is cursing galore. I’m so glad to see that studios aren’t afraid to give comic book movies a higher rating anymore. While not always necessary, it does allow the filmmakers more freedoms and it’s almost required to properly translate certain characters to the big screen (see Deadpool and Logan for examples). While I do believe this film could have gotten by with a PG-13 rating, the action was exciting and full of energy. I also found myself constantly laughing. Between Quinn’s antics and Sionis’ entitled rich boy attitude, there weren’t many scenes that weren’t full of laughs.

As entertaining as this film can be, it’s not without flaws. The jumping around makes for a very disjointed story. Quinn completely takes over the story and the Birds of Prey themselves only receive just as much characterization as needed for the story even though each of them have enough history to fill their own films. They pop up here and there, coming together in the final scenes. Sionis is not well developed. Again, we hear reason’s why he is the bad guy but not much beyond that. And there is a lot of exposition, so I hope you like hearing about rather than seeing the characters.

I thought Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) was GOOD πŸ™‚ Margot Robbie has come to embody Harley Quinn and carries the movie on her back. The pace can be a bit jarring and chaotic but when it’s told from Quinn’s point-of-view what would you expect? The action, when it happens, is colorful and outrageous, and there is plenty of humor to go with Quinn’s clown motif. In typical comic book movie fashion, the villain only exists to give the main character an adversary and isn’t developed very much. The good news, though, is Ewan McGregor plays the part phenomenally. It’s too bad this movie wasn’t marketed well because there is a lot to like and deserves a better box office performance than what is has received.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Cathy Yan – Director
Christina Hodson – Writer
Daniel Pemberton – Composer

Margot Robbie – Harley Quinn
Rosie Perez – Renee Montoya
Jurnee Smollett-Bell – Dinah Lance / Black Canary
Mary Elizabeth Winstead – Helena Bertinelli / The Huntress
Ella Jay Basco – Cassandra Cain
Ewan McGregor – Roman Sionis / Black Mask
Chris Messina – Victor Zsasz
Steven Williams – Captain Patrick Erickson
Ali Wong – Ellen Yee

My Fave Five X-Men Films

Hello, friends!

As you may have noticed, I have been going through an X-Men film phase of late. With the end of Fox’s era of X-Men films, I decided to go back and watch the entire franchise, reviewing the films I had yet to review on the site along the way. Kicking off with 2000s X-Men and concluding with next year’s New Mutants, and consisting of three spin-off series, the franchise has had its ups and downs over its nearly twenty-year run. Recently, I created the definitive viewing order for all twelve of the currently released X-Men movies. But now, it’s time to look at which movies I liked most in the franchise. Here are my fave five X-Men films.

X-Men: Days of Future Past movie poster5) X-Men: Days of Future Past

I can hear you saying “What? Days of Future Past is only number 5??” Yes, but that’s nothing against the film. Days of Future Past is a magnificent film. However, it lacks the heart that most of the other films on this list has. But it does have an abundance of everything else: action, excitement, character development, and Wolverine. This is great to bring all the major characters from the core X-Men films up to that point together and gave the series the much needed reboot it needed (even if the continuity continued to make no sense afterwards). It deserves all of the praise that it has received but it is not the best film in the franchise in my opinion.

Logan movie poster4) Logan

Over the last twenty years, the superhero genre has exploded and, dare I say, has become saturated. With the genre becoming congested, new entries need to do something different. Logan did just that. Rather than go the traditional superhero route, James Mangold and company told a western / noir film that happened to feature superheroes. The result was one of the best character studies in the genre. With the success of Deadpool the year prior, Fox elected to make this film R-rated, which enabled Mangold to give us the unleashed Wolverine we have been waiting for since he hit the screens in 2000. Over the years, Hugh Jackman came to embody the character of James Howlett, aka Wolverine, aka Logan, and Logan was the perfect farewell to the character, a sobering film filled with emotion and weight, yet brimming with hope and optimism.

X-Men: First Class movie poster3) X-Men: First Class

After the conclusion of the X-Men trilogy with X-Men: The Last Stand, spin-off films for Wolverine, Charles Xavier, and Magneto began being talked about. Wolverine’s spin-off became X-Men Origins: Wolverine whereas Xavier’s and Magneto’s became X-Men: First Class. Set in the midst of the cold war between the United states and Russia, First Class shows how the X-Men came to be, breathing a breath of fresh air into the franchise after the critical flop that was The Last Stand. First Class centered around the idea that the X-Men are family, way more than X-Men or X2: X-Men United did. It might not be the flashiest or most exciting entry of the franchise but if offers some of the best character-driven moments of it.

X2: X-Men United movie poster2) X2: X-Men United

For the longest time, X2: X-Men United was the benchmark the series needed to follow to create a great X-Men movie. It was clear since X-Men that Wolverine would play a prominent role in Fox’s X-Men franchise.Β X2 puts Wolverine front and center, making his unknown history the focus of the story. But where this film excels is that even though the main plot line focuses on Wolverine, the movie isn’t about him, not entirely anyway. Plenty of time is spent with the younger mutants, showing how the Xavier’s and Magneto’s conflict and general discrimination affects them. The heart in this film has never been captured since (First Class came close). And for that reason, X2 has continued to rank so high for me.

Deadpool movie poster1) Deadpool

While I’ve talked a lot about heart and emotions so far, Deadpool doesn’t have the same emotional impact as the other films on this list, it was the first to be different. Despite an abominable version of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds never gave up on the character of Deadpool. Thankfully his perseverance paid off and we all won because of it. Like Jackman and Wolverine, Reynolds uniquely epitomized Deadpool. Deadpool is one of my favorite comic book characters so to see him brought to the big screen so perfectly and accuratly brought me great satisfaction. This continues to be a film I can watch over and over again and the jokes never get old or any less funny.


And there you have it! Next year will see the release of New Mutants, the final X-Men film before Marvel Studios brings the characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It’s doubtful that New Mutants will find its way onto my top five given the caliber of the films on it but who knows, maybe I’ll be surprised!

What are some of your favorite X-Men films? Are you looking forward to a reboot of the characters when the appear in the MCU?

Until next time, cheers!

The Definitive X-Men Watch Order

Hello, friends!

With the release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Fox’s time with the X-Men franchise has ended, for better or for worse. While it will probably be several years still until Marvel Studios brings their take of the merry mutants to the big screen, I thought now was a good time to revisit the series that could arguably be considered the starting point of the superhero movie era we find ourselves in now.

Fox’s X-Men have certainly seen their share of highs and lows over the years. Having a franchise consisting of a dozen films from a variety of creative teams is bound to do that; they can’t all be winners. Nevertheless, between the main entries and spin-offs, I do feel the X-Men franchise has managed to bat 500. But that is an article for another day. Today is for a list agnostic of quality.

Consistency between films in the X-Men franchise have never been a priority to Fox. For the most part, the studio allowed the creative teams behind the films to use whatever characters they want and only loosely connect the entries to each other. This has caused many continuity errors that resulted in Bryan Singer and team to have Wolverine go back in time to create a new timeline to start over. Even then, the films continuously contradicted each other. However, if you don’t concern yourself with the finer details and not be as picky when it comes to the cohesion between films (like I was for a while), each film becomes much more enjoyable.

As I said, Fox created a dozen films in this franchise: seven main entries, three Wolverine films, and two Deadpool films. You could watch them in release order but I think there is a better way. Having gone through all of the films again, I think I have come up with the definitive watch order that provides the best flow from entry to entry. Logan, however, is particular among the other movies on this list in that I feel it can be slotted in several different places and still work with the films around it. I will talk about that when the time comes.

Now, onto the list!

X-Men

I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain why this is where you should start. My review.

X2: X-Men United

X2: X-Men United movie poster

Direct sequel to X-Men. My review.

Side note: I will admit I don’t exactly understand where the title comes from since the team spends most of the film separated…

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie poster

X-Men Origins: Wolverine could be watched after The Last Stand (for release order) or before X-Men (for chronological order) but I think it works better after X2: X-Men United. Wolverine’s history with Col. Stryker and how he comes to have his adamantium skeleton is a focal point in X2, so it is fresh in your mind when watching this. Also, we see how this timeline’s Scott Summers meets Professor Xavier, which is a great little bonus given how unceremoniously he is eliminated in The Last Stand. Sorry, spoiler. My review.

X-Men: The Last Stand

X-Men: The Last Stand movie poster

Now that you’ve seen Wolverine’s past, it’s time to jump to the present and finish the first X-Men trilogy. My review.

The Wolverine

The Wolverine movie poster

By watching X-Men Origins: Wolverine before The Last Stand, it let’s you jump right into post-The Last Stand Wolverine rather than going back in history then jumping forward again. The post-credits scene ofΒ The Wolverine ties into Days of Future Past which is not the next film in the watch order so it give you a little bit of a tease of what’s to come in the franchise. My review.

X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class movie poster

First film in the series with the new cast, focusing on Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, and Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto. Also the first core X-Men film released after The Last Stand. My review.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past movie poster

Direct sequel to The Last Stand, The Wolverine, and First Class. Reboots the timeline. My review.

X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse movie poster

Direct sequel to Days of Future Past. My review.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

X-Men: Dark Phoenix movie poster

Direct sequel to Apocalypse and the last of the core X-Men films. Honestly, this is an optional viewing in my opinion. With the Disney takeover of Fox, Dark Phoenix became a shell of the movie it was supposed to be. It doesn’t add anything to the characters (except maybe that Professor X did some questionable things in his past which was taken directly from the comics) and Apocalypse‘s final scene is also a fantastic point to end the core series on. But if you want to be a completionist, give this a watch. My review.

Deadpool

Deadpool movie poster

Takes place in the new timeline and in the “modern day” compared to the 80s and 90s settings of Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix respectively. My review.

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 movie poster

Direct sequel to Deadpool. My review.

Logan

Logan movie poster

Logan is unique in that it can slotted after any movie Days of Future Past and onward. My review.

Depending on where you slot it, it has a different purpose:

  • After Days of Future Past: Concludes Wolverine’s story. Then you get a fun cameo in Apocalypse with the Apocalypse post-credit scene acting as a call-back to explain how Laura was able to be cloned from Wolverine’s DNA.
  • After Apocalypse: Logan becomes the last appearance of Wolverine on the list. The Apocalypse post-credit scene then becomes a direct lead in to Logan. Also this is where it was theatrically released compared to Apocalypse.
  • After Dark Phoenix: Groups the R-rated films on list together. Watching after Dark Phoenix gives the Apocalypse post-credit scene a movie break the same way the The Wolverine post-credit scene has First Class as a buffer before Days of Future Past. And it also finishes the stories of all the characters that have headlined a film to this point.
  • After Deadpool: Theatrical release order. Prevents the literal first scene of Deadpool 2 from spoiling the ending of Logan.
  • After Deadpool 2: Logan is chronologically the last film in the franchise so watching it after Deadpool 2 keeps the series in order as possible. However, this is also the gloomiest of all the films so you’d be ending on a emotionally somber note. But at the same time, it is one of the best in the franchise so you would be ending on a qualitative high note. Decisions, decisions…

And there you have it my the definitive X-Men watch order! Do you agree? Would you change anything? What’s your X-Men watch order?

Until next time, cheers!

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie posterSynopsis
Logan (Hugh Jackman) was born a mutant with bone claws, enhanced senses, and an incredible healing factor. When the love of his life is taken from him, he sets out on a quest for revenge.

Review
After the X-Men trilogy concluded, there was no doubt that Hugh Jackman’s was the fan favorite character. With X-Men: The Last Stand providing a definitive end to the team’s story, the next place to go is in the past. Throughout the X-Men trilogy, we’ve seen who Wolverine is under his adamantium skeleton, and even glimpsed into his past (particularly in X2: X-Men United) but it is finally time to see how he came to be the character we were introduced to in X-Men.

As I’ve said in just about every review of previous X-Men movies, Jackman absolutely nails the character of Wolverine. He has come to embody the character perfectly. At this point, it is difficult to see anyone besides Jackman as the titular mutant. In the fourth time in the role, he has the character completely figured out. Jackman’s Wolverine is caring, ferocious, and everywhere in between. But you know all that already; I’m just repeating myself at this point.

Sabretooth gets his second chance on screen, this time portrayed by Liev Shreiber. In the comics, Sabretooth is one of Wolverine’s most consistent foes, so it felt natural that he would be prominent in a film like this. However, his origins and connection to Wolverine was altered in a way that made their relationship more interesting than simple adversaries, which would be more akin to their comic book relationship. Schreiber was more than up to the task of matching Jackman’s presence. Every time they were on screen together, there was a weight to their conversations and actions that not many actors besides Schreiber would have been able to pull off opposite of Jackman.

Another perfectly cast part is Ryan Reynolds as Wad Wilson. Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, is known as the β€œMerc with a mouth” in the comics and Reynolds captures that aspect of the character precisely. The only downside is this greatness is very brief. X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘s treatment of Deadpool is one of the most shameful things about this film. His depiction in last act of the film is a disgrace against the character. It’s utterly terrible and deserves all the ridicule is has received.

A few casting choices is about all the good I have to say about this movie. I think what disappoints me most about this film is that despite all the action throughout and chemistry between Jackman and Schreiber, it’s not that exciting. There were cool moments for sure but outside of a handful, nothing really sticks out, even after having seen this movie several times by this point. Wolverine can be hyperaggressive and violent when on solo adventures and the same can be said for the characters who are involved in the Weapon Plus program. These characters are a black-ops hit squad and I feel the PG-13 rating wasn’t able to accurately bring this facet of the characters to the screen. A movie about mercenaries shouldn’t be timid to show violence.

I thought X-Men Origins: Wolverine was OK 😐 Despite exceptional performances from Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, and Ryan Reynolds, the script really held this movie back from reaching its full potential. It was lackluster, uninteresting, and didn’t truly let Wolverine do what he does best.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Gavin Hood – Director
David Benioff – Screenplay
Skip Woods – Screenplay
Harry Gregson-Williams – Composer

Hugh Jackman – Logan / Wolverine
Liev Schreiber – Victor Creed
Danny Huston – Stryker
Will.i.am – John Wraith
Kevin Durand – Fred Dukes
Dominic Monaghan – Chris Bradley
Daniel Henney – Agent Zero
Ryan Reynolds – Wade Wilson
Lynn Collins – Kayla Silverfox
Taylor Kitsch – Remy LeBeau
Tim Pocock – Scott Summers

X-Men: The Last Stand Review

X-Men: The Last Stand movie posterSynopsis
When a β€œcure” for the mutant gene is developed, the mutant population must decide their fate. Meanwhile, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) is becoming more powerful and Magneto (Ian McKellen) hopes to use her powers in the fight against the humans and their cure. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his X-Men must stop Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants before they create an all out war between the humans and the mutants.

Review
It was bound to happen. After the success of the first two X-Men movies, the studio couldn’t help themselves and stepped in and meddled in the story and development of X-Men: The Last Stand. It’s certainly not the first time it has happened in Hollywood and it was far from the last, even in the X-Men franchise. It’s hard to say how X-Men: The Last Stand would have turned out without Fox’s interference but it couldn’t have been worse than what was created in the end.

As with many sequels, this film tries to do too much. Writers Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn set out to tell the story of β€œThe Dark Phoenix Saga”, written by Chris Claremont and one of the most beloved storylines in X-Men comics history. Anyone familiar with the source material will tell you how emotional and grandiose that story is. This movie doesn’t even begin to capture the impactfulness of the comic. This particular story for some reason becomes the B-plot of the film. How can such an iconic story be regulated to the background? That’s just criminal.

One of the strengths of using the X-Men, and more largely, mutants, is it offers many opportunities to tell philosophical stories while still being exciting. X2: X-Men United did this beautifully. The mutant cure plot, based on Joss Whedon’s β€œGifted” storyline, was a perfect chance to do the same thing with different themes. However, this is not fully explored because this movie had to balance so many other aspects. Plus it introduces a ton of new characters, not unexpected given the X-Men universe’s large roster of characters. Combine this with the Gifted and Dark Phoenix Saga plots, and you just have a mess. There is just so much going on that it becomes extremely clustered and nothing gets the attention or development it deserves.

This paragraph contains spoilers. Besides introducing a plethora of the characters, it also kills off several main characters. First up is Cyclops (James Marsden). Given Marsden’s availability due to his casting in Superman Returns (the film Bryan Singer declined directing this film to direct instead), he was killed off early and, more tragically, off screen. A fan favorite character such as that does not deserve the kind of end this movie gave him. Besides Cyclops, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) also bit the dust (literally). I am still upset about Professor X being killed off. However, the reason for his death actually serves a good story purpose and has an emotional impact, so I’m not bothered by it as much.

Many blockbusters try to maximize their run time and don’t fully grasp when it becomes too much. As a result, they end up becoming too long. X-Men: The Last Stand doesn’t have that problem; it actually has a relatively moderate run time. However, this is one of the few cases where I wish the film would have been longer. As I said before, it tried to cram two stories worthy of their own films and include many new characters, and yet, among all that, ended up focusing largely on the action. If this film wanted to incorporate as much as it did, it needed more time to flesh everything out more. I appreciate the writers and directors not wanted this movie to overstay its welcome but that conservative attitude ended up hurting the film more than helping it.

I thought X-Men: The Last Stand was OK 😐 Like many sequels, it attempts to fill its runtime as much as possible. As a result, it halfheartedly tells two stories rather than tell one great story. In what would become a trend in many successful superhero franchises, studio interference created a rushed and sub-par movie that failed to keep the momentum set by its predecessors.

Trivia
Budgeted at $210 million, this was, at the time, the most expensive movie ever made. (Via IMDb)

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Brett Ratner – Director
Simon Kinberg – Writer
Zak Penn – Writer
John Powell – Composer

Hugh Jackman – Logan / Wolverine
Patrick Steward – Charles Xavier / Professor X
Halle Barry – Ororo Munroe / Storm
Famke Janssen – Jean Grey / Phoenix
Anna Paquin – Marie / Rogue
Shawn Ashmore – Bobby Drake / Iceman
Ellen Page – Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat
Daniel Cudmore – Peter Rasputin / Colossus
Kelsey Grammer – Dr. Henry ‘Hank’ McCoy / Beast
James Marsden – Scott Summers / Cyclops
Ben Foster – Warren Worthington III / Angel
Ian McKellen – Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Rebecca Romijn – Raven Darkholme / Mystique
Aaron Stanford – John Allerdyce / Pyro
Vinnie Jones – Cain Marko / Juggernaugt
Dania Ramirez – Callisto
Eric Dane – Multiple Man
Michael Murphy – Warren Worthington II
Josef Sommer – The President
Bill Duke – Trask
Shohreh Aghdashloo – Dr. Kavita Rao
Cameron Bright – Jimmy / Leech

X2: X-Men United Review

X2: X-Men UnitedSynopsis
When William Stryker (Brian Cox), the man responsible for giving Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) his adamantium skeleton, arrives at the mansion to steal Cerebro, the X-Men must find out why he wants Cerebro and stop him.

Review
Like Spider-Man, my first exposure to the X-Men was the animated cartoon series of the 90s. It featured many classic X-Men characters, including Wolverine. Even though he was part of a team, Wolverine still received episodes focused on him. His mysterious past and complex personality is ripe for storytelling possibilities. X2: X-Men United takes a similar approach. While this is an ensemble movie, much of the story’s focus is on Wolverine and his past. When your movie has someone like Hugh Jackman who completely embodies your franchise’s most popular character, why not take advantage of it?

In X-Men, Jackman did well as Wolverine. However, we only get a peek of what he could do in the role. This time, he fully gets into the character, truly feeling like he is Wolverine. After leaving Xavier’s mansion at the end of the last film searching for answers about his past, he returns at the start of this film and it feels like he just went to the grocery store. He slides back in with the rest of the characters, and even acts as a guardian for the younger mutants, with ease. Whether it is the ferocity of Wolverine’s aggressiveness or the protective nature he displays, Jackman completely and effortlessly pulls it off.

The main cast from the last entry returns: James Marsden, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Rebecca Romijn. Shawn Ashmore also returns and receives a much larger role this time around, even becoming the emotional pulse for the non-Wolverine parts of the story. Between Ashmore, Paquin, and new addition Aaron Stanford, X2 provides a great look at the next generation of mutants in the ideological struggle between Professor Xavier’s X-Men and Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants. Each of these three younger stars each do wonderful bringing across their characters’ outlook to life.

However, of the new cast members, hands-down the best addition is Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler. Cumming’s Nightcrawler brings a balance to the team. His strong religious beliefs and outsider’s perspective adds another ideological wrinkle to the story. Cumming himself fits in with the rest of the cast, providing a good blend of awkward humor and emotion.

While X2 is very much a Wolverine-centered film, it doesn’t shove the other characters to the side; they still receive plenty of their own development. The love triangle between Cyclops, Jean, and Wolverine comes to a head. Jean is certainly coming into her own character and we see glances of her hidden potential and Storm is moving into more of a leadership role on the team. One of the best side-stories of the film is actually when it focuses on the three younger X-Men: Rogue (Paquin), Iceman (Ashmore), and Pyro (Stanford). Their story offers a narrative for being different when everyone expects you to be β€œnormal,” a very relatable experience for many.

But of course, the focal point of the story is Wolverine’s past in the Weapon Plus program and how he came to have adamantium bonded to his skeleton. The story, loosely based on the graphic novel X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, which is actually not centered around Wolverine, introduces us to William Stryker, the man responsible for giving Wolverine his adamantium skeleton. We’ve seen two sides of Wolverine: a violent, animalistic side and a softer, caring side. Outside of his interactions with Rogue, we didn’t see him with the younger X-Men in the previous film. In this film, even though he is violent and has a violent past, as we see through Stryker, Wolverine is willing to be a protector and mentor to the younger generation of mutants. Not only was his backstory expanded upon in this movie but so was his character, experiencing the most growth of any of the adult X-Men.

Nightcrawler is one of my favorite X-Men characters. The opening scene showed exactly how powerful he can be if he didn’t have his morals. What’s more, after the opening, which does a great job of starting off strong and capturing your attention, this film never feels dull. Throughout the entirety of the film, I always felt engaged. Even during the quieter moments, there was something worth paying attention to or something interesting worth concentrating on. Many superhero films stumble when they aren’t focused on the action but this superhero film does not land in that pitfall.

I thought X2: X-Men United was GREAT πŸ˜€ Much like Spider-Man 2, with the characters’ origins out of the way, this sequel is free to jump right into the story without needing much exposition. Almost every character experiences some sort of growth and the film remains exhilarating the whole way through. Back in the early days of the superhero genre boom, before it really blew up, the second entries were apparently the entries of note.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Bryan Singer – Director / Story
David Hayter – Story / Screenplay
Zak Penn – Story
Michael Dougherty – Screenplay
Dan Harris – Screenplay
John Ottman – 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
Shawn Ashmore – Bobby Drake / Iceman
Alan Cumming – Curt Wagner / Nightcrawler
Aaron Stanford – John Allerdyce / Pyro
Ian McKellen – Eric Lensherr / Magneto
Rebecca Romijn – Mystique
Brian Cox – William Stryker
Kelly Hu – Yuriko Oyama / Lady Deathstrike
Cotter Smith – President McKenna
Bruce Davison – Senator Kelly