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Nov 232016
 

The X-Men movie franchise has gone in several directions over the years. X-men: Days Of Future Past is a direct sequel to X-men: First Class, but delves into the old movie versions as well.

It starts in the future where the X-Men are at war with the Sentinels. The only survivors are Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Storm (Halle Berry), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), and several others. They believe that the only way to stop this war is through time travel. Kitty Pryde sends Wolverine back to the year 1973, but only consciously.

It turns out that Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) caused the war when she killed Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) the creator of the Sentinels and got caught shortly afterwards. It’s up to Wolverine to stop Mystique, but he can’t do it alone.

Image result for x-men days of future past

He seeks help from young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Beast (Nicholas Hault), and young Magneto (Michael Fassbender). It takes a while for them to come around, but Wolverine was able to get them to come together, in his own way.

Also helping out is a new mutant named Quicksilver (Evan Peters). He’s fast like lightning, but has a cocky attitude. It especially shows when Quicksilver goes around the prison kitchen to draw the guards’ fire, which makes him a very helpful ally. What I don’t understand is why the song Time in a Bottle was playing in the background. It totally changed the mood of the scene.

However, things do not run smoothly. The war in the future gets worse and Wolverine’s attempt to change the past goes haywire, especially with time not on anyone’s side.

I liked this film. It combines the entire movie franchise together so well, but that doesn’t mean it’s ending anytime soon. Especially since there’s always a post credits scene that indicates something new is about to happen. It just leaves you wanting more, no matter where the franchise will branch out next.

Feb 112014
 

The X-Men have had many different adventures over the years. The newest movie installment X-Men: First Class shows how it all began. In the early 1960s, young telepath Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is an Oxford graduate and does a thesis on mutation, which makes him an expert in the field.

Charles has a saying about mutation, “Mutant and Proud”. His foster sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) disagrees with that notion because her mutation affects her looks, even though she’s a shape shifter.

Meanwhile, Eric Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), who is young Magneto, seeks revenge on Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who is a very powerful mutant that can absorb energy and redirect it. Shaw killed Erik’s mother years ago while forcing him to demonstrate his powers, which are triggered by anger and pain.

It turns out that Shaw is now leading an attempt to take over the world by installing nuclear missiles in Turkey and firing them toward Russia. Shaw’s associates helping him out are Emma Frost (January Jones) a telepath who can also take a crystal form, Azazel (Jason Flemyng) a teleporter, and Riptide (Alex Gonzalez) who can conjure up whirlwinds from his hands.

After CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) witnesses this plot, she warns her superiors, but they don’t believe her. MacTaggert even invites Charles and Raven to CIA headquarters. Charles demonstrates his power, but the CIA superiors still don’t believe that mutants are real until Raven shows her power as physical proof.

Later, a Man in Black (Oliver Platt) takes MacTaggert, Charles, and Raven to his facility, where they meet Dr. Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) a brilliant young mutant with monkey feet. Eventually, Erik joins the team, but in order to stop Shaw, they’ll need to recruit more mutants. Hank has just the device for that. It’s called Cerebro, which also becomes a valuable resource to the team later on.

Charles and Erik go in search for these other mutants, which also includes Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), who has a cameo. It’s hilarious how he bluntly turns them down.

The chosen mutants are Angel (Zoe Kravitz) a flyer that can spit acid, Banshee (Caleb Laundry Jones) an ultrasonic shrieker, Havok (Lucas Till) who can blast circular energy, and Darwin (Edi Gathegi) a mutant with the power to survive any element. As powerful as they are, these young mutants have much to learn before facing Shaw, especially after Shaw invades the CIA facility. Angel joins up with him and Darwin gets killed.

Charles decides to train the mutant team at a new location, which is actually the building used for the Mutant Academy. The mutants can control their powers, but use more challenging tactics to provide a new edge. Once that’s done, the team goes to stop Shaw and save the world in an exciting battle with secrets revealed about several of the characters.

This is a great X-Men prequel about Professor X and Magneto’s back-story. I couldn’t help but notice the jokes about Charles going bald someday. Do you suppose that could be from a later battle, or maybe it’s from other students driving him crazy.

Jan 222013
 

The animated feature Van Helsing – The London Assignment takes place before the events of the Van Helsing movie. In this story, monster hunter Van Helsing (voice of Hugh Jackman) chases down the murderous monster Mr. Hyde in London.

Mr. Hyde terrorizes young women and collects their souls. Then he can blend into the crowds as Dr. Jekyll. Unlike other versions of this character I have seen, this one can actually control his transformations very well.

The violence level on this cartoon is pretty gory. Not only does blood spill when Mr. Hyde kills a victim, the bodies also decay quickly into a grotesque state.

It turns out that Dr. Jekyll isn’t working alone. The souls Mr. Hyde collects are for Queen Victoria to keep her eternally young and healthy, merely because he loves her. Oddly, the queen is unaware of Jekyll’s corruption.

Both Van Helsing and Mr. Hyde are very smooth with their jumping skills. The chases usually take place on the rooftops. Even on a moving train, those two make it look so easy to keep up with one another while battling.

After Van Helsing crosses a fire pit of certain death, the stepping stones reveal themselves as zombie soldiers. They may be fireproof, but not waterproof. Holy waterproof, that is. Just throw some of it in the fire pit and “poof”. The zombies all get wiped out. Now that’s an interesting way to fight them.

Once Van Helsing finds the queen, he helps her see the truth, but not before Jekyll captures her and reveals himself as Mr. Hyde. Van Helsing catches up to him in a final showdown. However, Van Helsing doesn’t wish to kill Mr. Hyde for his soul could still be saved.

This was a good prelude to the Van Helsing movie. Unfortunately, there are no vampire women this time around, which I find a little disappointing. They’re my most favorite monsters in this franchise.

Sep 162011
 

I remember first hearing about the X-Men from the X-Men animated series (1992-1997). As much as I enjoy watching these assorted mutants in action, the story lines are still difficult for me to follow because the pacing is so different. That soon changed when I saw the first X-Men (Widescreen Edition) movie.

As it turns out, mutants live among the human race and are discriminated against just for being born differently. To help the mutants feel safe and learn to control their powers, Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) the powerful psychic runs a mutant academy, teaching them all they need to know for the good of mankind.

The faculty includes Cyclops (James Marsden) who has optic lasers, Storm (Halle Berry) who can control the weather, and Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) the telekinetic psychic.

The newest mutants to join the school are Rouge (Anna Paquin), a young girl who can absorb energy from living things just by touching them, and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). He has sharp claws and can heal easily, which makes him a strong fighter. But never kick him in the groin, or he will take it personally.

As helpful as the academy is for the mutant community, it’s not enough for the humans to accept them as equals. That’s why there are also mutants that have turned renegade, led by Magneto (Ian McKellen) a very powerful mutant who can control anything made of metal. It’s a shame since Magneto and Professor Xavier used to be friends.

One of the main humans who is against mutants is Senator Kelly (Bruce Davidson) who only believes that all mutants are dangerous. Magneto captures Kelly and uses him as a guinea pig for an experiment he plans to use on the human race. Now Kelly is a mutant, but an unstable one. At least he now sees the error of his ways.

In order for Magneto’s master plan to work, he sets out to capture a powerful mutant to help him. For awhile Professor Xavier believes that Wolverine is the one, but he was wrong. Rouge is the primary target and Magneto successfully captures her.

With Senator Kelly’s help, Professor Xavier discovers that Magneto’s plan is to turn all humans into mutants and use Rouge to power the machine. Now it’s up to Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, and Jean Grey to go stop him and rescue Rouge. Together they are the X-Men.

After arriving, the X-Men must fight their way to Magneto by getting past some tough foes. They include Toad (Ray Park) a frog-like mutant with a whip tongue, Sabretooth (Tyler Mane) a roaring beast, and Mystique (Rebecca Romjin) a smooth model-esque shape shifter who can also copy any voice at will.

The battle scenes are real smooth. After getting past those tough mutants, the X-Men go to confront Magneto, but end up captured. As Rouge powers the machine with absorbed power from Magneto, it seems hopeless, but not if Wolverine has anything to say about it.

I liked this movie, not only for its smooth action, but also the gags with Wolverine. As for his relationship with Cyclops, it’s more than just the love triangle with Jean Grey. Cyclops also annoys him, but Wolverine gets even by always taking his motorcycle without permission.

The X-Men have also been featured among other Marvel superheroes in the Comic Book Land area at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. Here are some photos of the characters.

 

Nov 172010
 

After the X-Men trilogy, Hugh Jackman reprises his role once again in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Single-Disc Edition). It’s entirely focused on Wolverine’s back-story. He and his brother Victor (Liev Schrieber) fought many wars together over the past century or so. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Victor was Sabretooth, who was described to have fingernails like a bag lady.

Wolverine’s claws are much different in this movie. They’re his hand bones, but just as sharp as his new metal claws. During a fight with Sabretooth, he breaks off Wolverine’s claws. It was as painful as breaking fingers. That was when Colonel Striker (Danny Huston) gives Wolverine the anomantium, which comes with new claws. Wolverine could’ve at least put some clothes on before he took off.

Wolverine’s old friend Fred Dukes (Kevin Durand) is the Blob. I remember this character from an X-Men arcade game years ago, where you could choose between six characters. They are Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, Night Crawler, and Dazzler. The Blob was the level two boss. During the battle, he would constantly repeat, “Nothing moves the Blob!” It was really neat. Too bad he wasn’t like that in this film.

Remy LeBeau (Taylor Kitsch) is Gambit. He can energize objects and use them like grenades. Usually he prefers to use playing cards. Gambit is also pretty good with a bo staff. Even a young Cyclops (Tim Pocock) makes an appearance along with a female version of Colossus. I didn’t catch her name.

This movie was a great prelude to the X-Men trilogy. I wonder why Wolverine doesn’t wear his yellow spandex like in the comic books? Maybe he will, one day. You never know.

At MegaCon 2010, I met a cosplay Wolverine in yellow spandex.