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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.

Sep 282016
 
Many pop culture villains are straightforward with their evil plots. Then there are ones that use a more creative approach to either terrorize the innocent or force the hero(s) to alter their tactics when challenged. Here are some of my most favorite interesting villains who stand out in that unique manner.
Cheapo
#10) Cheapo from Stripperella: Of all the villains on this series, he is the most unusual because he’s very cheap as a crime lord. Cheapo’s resourcefulness is based on how he plans everything the cheapest way possible. However, it affects his common sense. So much so that his own henchmen appear to be smarter then him. Seriously, what criminal mastermind prefers copper to gold?
Floatzart
#9) Floatzart from Ghostbusters (1986 version): This ghostly maestro uses music to subdue his victims, whether it’s to conduct ghosts with his baton or play his float flute that’s made from a long bone. Very little is known about Floatzart since he was only in a few episodes and, like the other evil ghosts, his background from when he was alive is not revealed. I do like his style though. He is one of few musical villains that aren’t annoying.
#8) Leaky Faucet from Power Rangers Zeo: Many of the monsters on Power Rangers normally don’t stand out too often because they’re only featured once before getting destroyed, twice if they’re lucky to be brought back. In this version, Leaky Faucet is different than most. He can liquefy at will and easily sneak into water pipes in order to spread his toxins. For a machine monster, that’s quite impressive.
#7) Dr. Bad Vibes from C.O.P.S. the Animated Series: He’s a brilliant scientist that invents high tech gadgets for the Big Boss. Along with his robot companion Buzz Bomb, Dr. Bad Vibes commits crimes with unusual inventions from a circus train that can bash through buildings to speed suits that make criminals run really fast. I still can’t get over the fact that he has his brain under glass and never takes off his wild shades. I wonder why that is.
#6) Ty-Lee from Avatar: The Last Air Bender: There are many benders, but this cheerful acrobatic girl has the skill to chi block a bender’s power using pressure points. This makes Ty-Lee a very dangerous opponent along side her friends Mai and Azula. It just goes to show that Ty-Lee may be beautiful, but looks can be deceiving.
#5) Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons: Bob Terwilliger used to be Krusty the Clown’s sidekick until he was put in prison for framing Krusty for armed robbery. On each of Bob’s return appearances, he seeks revenge on Bart while coming up with crazy but ingenious plans like running for Mayor of Springfield and abolishing television, yet it’s always Bart and Lisa who defeat Bob and put him back in prison. Aside from Bob’s dangerous persona, he always ends up in funny situations. That always makes me look forward to Bob’s next appearance, since he’s only a reoccurring villain.
 
#4) Mystique from X-Men franchise: If there’s one mutant power that makes a villain tough to beat, it’s the ability to shape shift. Mystique is a unique mutant with smooth fighting abilities, but what really makes her interesting is that she can turn into anyone. If she turns into another mutant, she can use their powers against her opponents. It’s very difficult to see through Mystique when she takes another form. This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “Master of Disguise”.
#3) Live Wire from Superman franchise: She was once a radio personality named Leslie Willis. After getting struck by lightning, she became a super villain with the power to control anything electrical. Not only are her powers smooth, Live Wire can easily travel through electrical wires anywhere. What I like most about Live Wire is her witty personality. She always has something funny to say while fighting her enemies, next to Harley Quinn of course.
#2) Baxter Stockman from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise: Once again, the most creative villain is the deranged scientific genius. Stockman isn’t really a much of a fighter on his own, but he can be a very tricky adversary. Whether he’s leading an army of mousers, wearing advanced battle armor, or fighting as a mutant fly, Stockman’s skills always give him an edge that even some of the strongest villains don’t have.
 
#1) The Riddler from Batman franchise: Batman has faced a huge number of creative villains, but none come as close as Edward Nygma a.k.a. the Riddler. Using his brilliant mind, he comes up with brainteasers that are so advanced that they often have a double meaning. Somehow, Batman is always able to figure them out. After he does, it’s so interesting to see the different angles from the advanced riddles. I’m not sure how the Riddler comes up with those so efficiently, but it’s so cool how he can make a game out of a crime caper apart from the Joker.
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 062012
 

I had never seen a motion comic before until I saw Astonishing X-Men – Gifted (Marvel Knights). It’s so amazing how it was all put together with comic book images brought to life as the story unfolds.

In this feature, Professor Xavier is on sabbatical and had left Cyclops in charge along with Emma Frost, a former villain who can read and control minds. The rest of the X-Men team consists of Beast, Wolverine, and Kitty Pride, who is a mutant that can walk though walls.

As much as the X-Men want to continue as a superhero team, there’s plenty of friction between them. With Jean Grey dead, Cyclops now sleeps with Emma. Kitty doesn’t trust Emma because she remembers when Emma was a villain and what she’s capable of. And of course, Wolverine is still just Wolverine.

Cyclops relates the X-Men team with the Avengers and the Fantastic 4. He comes to the conclusion that the reason nobody hates those superhero groups is because they wear superhero costumes. So Cyclops suggests new outfits like Wolverine’s yellow spandex, Cyclops’s blue tights, and Beast’s new shorts.

The main villain the X-Men face in this adventure is an alien named Ord, who has a blade weapon that can slice through anything. After rescuing a group of innocent people from Ord, the press still doesn’t see the X-Men as heroes even with the new outfits. Despite the results, the X-Men still use the superhero costumes on their missions.

Meanwhile, geneticist Dr. Rao has developed a cure to make mutants normal. After she goes public about it, the X-Men have a difficult time trying to figure out if Dr. Rao should use it. However, Beast is actually interested and decides to analyze a sample from Dr. Rao to see if it really works.

After Beast finishes analyzing the cure, he discovers that it’s not only real, it was actually experimented on the bodies of dead mutants. The X-Men decide to go back to the lab, but only for re-con, despite that Wolverine would rather destroy the place. You know Wolverine, he’s the type that would rather shoot first and ask questions later.

While searching the building, Kitty discovers an underground complex. She explores on her own and finds Colossus. Kitty eventually brings him back up after getting some rest. It will take every ounce of energy she has to do so.

Now that the X-Men know too much, Ord takes off with all of Dr. Rao’s research in his spaceship, but not if Wolverine has anything to say about it.

This is an excellent six-chapter motion comic, which was written by Joss Whedon. In a future post, I’ll be talking about the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 motion comic, also written by Joss Whedon.

Nov 192011
 

The X-Men have had plenty of video game titles. Other than the old X-Men Arcade Game, the title I remember best is X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse for the Super NES, where the X-Men must go to the island of Genosha to rescue captured mutants from the evil entity Apocalypse.

You can choose between five X-Men heroes. They include Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, Gambit, and Psylocke. First each character must get through his or her own level before moving on in this game. It at least gives the player an opportunity to see what each mutant can do.

Cyclops has powerful optic lasers and the boss he faces is a train he must blast without getting shot by machinegun fire above. The gunfire is constant which makes it difficult at times.

Beast is both strong and agile because he can smoothly walk on ceilings, which leaves me to think that Beast is a sneaky mutant. He must battle three Sentinels to get through this level and boy are they tough.

Wolverine has his sharp claws that can slice up enemies and can also be used to climb walls, which is both smooth and nifty, since he can also wall jump just as easily. The boss is a large Sentinel, which is actually easier than the other Sentinel bosses are.

Gambit is one of my favorites. He is skilled with a bo staff and can throw energy charged playing cards to take out enemies. Don’t worry, he has an unlimited supply and can throw them any which way. The boss in this stage is a helicopter. First Gambit must take out the four lasers and beat up the pilot, who is surprisingly easy, if the other enemies inside the helicopter don’t kill you first.

Then there’s Psylocke who has energy powered fists, speed in her strut, and amazing martial arts skill. Since she’s never been in any of the X-Men cartoons or movies, it’s difficult to picture Psylocke as a relatable character like the others. At one point I thought she was like Jean Grey, but Jean doesn’t have that fighting style. The Sentinel boss Psylocke fights is tough because it requires timing with every hit.

Those five stages are just the beginning. The rest of the game gets tougher, but now you have all five X-Men to risk getting through it.

This is a good game with plenty of challenge and excitement. I couldn’t help but notice that some of the special moves the mutants have are similar to the controls from Street Fighter 2.