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Logan (Film)

Logan is the tenth instalment of the X-Men film franchise and marks Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal of Wolverine. He’s played the iconic character for seventeen years. That’s a long fucking time. I saw X-Men in the theaters when I was fifteen, just after my freshman year of high school. I went to college, I moved around a bit, worked a few jobs, and now I’m thirty-one with a couple of kids and a mortgage. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was there for all of that. Ok, I don’t have kids or a mortgage, but I could if I didn’t live in San Francisco.

Hollywood has gone crazy with remakes and sequels and reboots and prequels. On the big screen alone I have seen three Spider-Mans, three Supermans, three Punishers, five Batmans, but there has only been one Wolverine. Logan is the perfect way to say goodbye to him. 

I realize that I haven’t actually talked about the movie yet. By now I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s good. It is good. I hear lots of comparisons to Deadpool because they are both R-rated and do justice to their comic book counterparts. I think it’s a better film than that Deadpool. It has more heart, more weight, more to say. It’s a more complex movie for a more complex character. Deadpool is great. Logan is better. X2 was easily my favorite X-Men movie… now it just might be Logan. That’s a bold statement. 

Props to Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, and especially to Dafne Keen as Laura/X-23. I’m not a fan of child actors, but Keen’s performance was on par with Jackman and Stewart. Anything less would have derailed the film. James Mangold directed one hell of a film. I wouldn’t be surprised if it won a couple of Oscars. It’s a legitimate film. Check it out, it’s the end of an era and it deserves to be recognized.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Wolverine (film)

Hugh Jackman returns to his iconic role as Logan/Wolverine in 2013’s The Wolverine. It’s directed by James Mangold, the same guy who wrote and directed Walk the Line. He knows how to make a dramatic, Oscar-worthy film. Too bad this is supposed to be an action flick and his directing style drags the film down. It’s a sequel of sorts to X-Men: The Last Stand and you get to see how Logan is handling the death of Jean Grey. The answer is not well. He’s living in the woods, keeps to himself, and dreams about Jean every night. He’s lost his way and has become a broken soldier. All this changes when a mutant precog named Yukio tracks Logan down and brings him to Japan.

It turns out Logan was summoned there by a guy named Yashida, a former Japanese soldier that Logan saved during World War II. Yashida is now the dying CEO of a huge company and he wants to pay his life debt to Logan before he succumbs to cancer. Yashida offers to transfer Logan’s healing abilities into his own body to alleviate him of the curse of immortality. Logan refuses and Yashida passes away. A few days later a few members of the Yakuza try to kidnap Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko, at the funeral. Logan must protect Mariko and find out who tried to kidnap her and why. Only Logan must do it without his trademark healing abilities, which have mysteriously stopped working at that point.

It turns into your stereotypical chase/whodunit movie at that point. It’s like The Bourne Identity. A guy with superior fighting skills and a pretty girl on the run and hiding out from bad guys, they’re trying to solve a mystery and falling for each other at the same time. There’s a lot of unnecessarily sappy dialog and the dramatic scenes slow down the pace to a crawl. The film gets boring. And a film about mutants, particularly the most badass mutant, should never be boring. Having Logan lose his healing powers was a big mistake. It’s so pointless to have a superhero lose his powers. It doesn’t add any tension. You know that he’s going to get them back eventually.

The action scenes are decent, but I expected them to be a lot better. It doesn’t seem like an X-Men movie. There needs to be more spectacle. The best action sequence was the fight on top of the bullet train. The climactic battle was a bit of a let down as well. All in all this is an adequate action film, but a disappointing superhero film. It’s just kind of meh.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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X-Men (film)

Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) directs the big screen adaptation of the X-Men. In the not too distant future, mutants with superpowers have been popping up more and more. People fear what they don’t understand, and people fear mutants, causing US Senator Robert Kelly to attempt to pass the Mutant Registration Act. Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants decides to wage war on mankind, and nothing can stop him… Except for Charles Xavier’s X-Men.

The movie begins with a young Eric Lehnsherr being separated from his parents in a concentration camp. He tries to get back to his parents, but the guards won’t let him. Desperately he reaches for them, and the gates start to bend and twist towards him, until the guards knock him out. This is a real quick scene and it’s a great introduction to the world of the X-Men. Right off the bat, you know that this world is both real and familiar, but also fantastic and different. You’re introduced to a mutant using his powers right away, and it also establishes Eric Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto as a sympathetic villain. No matter how diabolical he gets, you understand his reasons perfectly.

Senator Robert Kelly (Bruce Davison) is advocating the Mutant Registration Act, which would force mutants to identify themselves. Magneto (Ian McKellen) doesn’t want to go along with this, and he’s going to do something about it. His Brotherhood of Mutants wage war on humanity. The Brotherhood consists of the shape shifter Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), Toad (Ray Park), and Sabretooth (Tyler Mane).

Magneto’s old friend Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) leads the X-Men, another team of mutants who are determined to stop the Brotherhood. The X-Men members are the telepathic/telekinetic Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), the cycloptic Cyclops (James Marsden), and the weather-controlling Storm (Halle Berry).

Meanwhile, a young mutant named Marie a.k.a. Rogue (Anna Paquin) accidently almost kills her boyfriend just by touching him and runs away. She meets a hairy, angry cage fighter named Wolverine and decides to get in the car with him. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue get attacked by Sabretooth and get rescued by Cyclops and Storm and they take them to the X Mansion. They chill there for a while, and they learn about how good Xavier is, and how misguided Magneto is. There’s bonding moments and character developing and a mutant montage.

Magneto is moving along with his plan, and he kidnaps Senator Kelly and turns him into a mutant. And he reveals his plan to turn a bunch of diplomats and world leaders into mutants at some summit for something. But Senator Kelly escapes and goes to the X-Men for help. He dies from complication of being turned into a mutant, but Magneto doesn’t know that, so he doesn’t know that he would just kill everyone if he goes through with his plan.

The next step in Magneto’s plan is kidnapping Rogue. Magneto will use Rogue to power the mutant conversion machine, the stress of which will kill her. So the X-Men have to step up and save Rogue and stop Magneto from killing diplomats and world leaders at that summit thing. And I don’t want to spoil the ending, but they do.

It has a pretty decent cast. It was Hugh Jackman’s breakout role. Patrick Stewart is perfect for Xavier. Ian McKellen is formidable as Magneto. Rebecca Romijn was a sexy blue chick way before Avatar. Halle Berry looks pretty but her Storm sucked in this one, she didn’t do anything. She had a stupid accent too.

This is a good flick. Not only did it launch the X-Men movie franchise, but it gave Hollywood the green light to start churning out comic book movies. I know they changed a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. But the movies are their own thing. They acknowledge the comics. They make references to them. There are some differences with characters between the film version and the comic version. But that is ok. Bryan Singer made an awesome movie. It’s fun. It’s rewatchable. It’s a summer blockbuster popcorn movie.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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