This Took Longer Than It Should Have. I Apologize.
Maybe it has to do with the type of comics I grew up with.
Maybe it was the idea that heroes stood for more than themselves; heroes were a voice for people who couldn’t speak.
Maybe it was the escape it offered such that; whenever I was having a bad day, I could just reach for a comic – and like that, I’m gone away like so much magic dust. Maybe it is the realization that comics; like X-Men for instance, showed me a world where people were feared and hated just because they are different. A world freakishly like the one I live in.
Maybe it was the fact that I learnt the difference between a phrase and a clause; thanks to an Incredible Hulk comic.
Whatever the reason, I am a proud comic book lover.
Long before DC started to drop box office bombs with the frequency of a radio broadcast, I was discussing with a number of friends and wondering what it would be like when these guys came on to the screen. As a result, we/I watched EVERY on-screen adaptation of comic books, just to see if they lived up to the image the owners have consistently created in our/my head(s) for years.
Usually, there’s stuff to complain about. Very few movies have nailed it down – even the most ‘critically acclaimed’ of these movies get a whole lot wrong. And even judging them on their own merit; at worst they created a hot, fudgy mess (Dawn of Justice, any of the CW series), at best they create amazing stories (Netflix Daredevil, Batman Begins and so on).
Logan is one of the latter moments.
There was cause for concern; obviously. The first two Wolverine films were (even now I am shaking my head as I write this) just something to pass the time. I doubt I saw either of them more than twice, definitely not up to five time collectively. There just wasn’t anything to see – apart from a train roof fight sequence from the second one. Nothing.
Then Hugh Jackman teased this:
I wrote a piece then, talking about how I suspected they were going to adapt the Old Man Logan storyline from the comics, or at least come pretty close. The biggest issue with adapting that would be the fact that it was a universe-wide event; even though it happened in a Wolverine story, it affected multiple characters; characters 20th Century Fox do not have rights to. I really wanted to see how they would play that.
I mean considering what they did with Civil War…
I saw Logan twice before attempting to put anything down about it, and this was the first and only post I made concerning that film:
I will not be writing a review of Logan – simply because I don’t have anything new to bring to the conversation. I will, however be writing a treatise on why it’s one of the most important superhero films ever made.
There was only one scene that made me unable to control the waterworks from my eyes; even though there was a girl I was trying to impress present.
No, it wasn’t the fact that Logan was dying; anybody who’s watched more than five movies should have seen that coming. People like Wolverine don’t get to retire peacefully. Their deaths have to be as violent as their lives (you’d understand better if you’ve seen Shane or actually listened to that part in the hotel room scene).
He had to die.
What made me cry; what shook me to my fibre was when the not-so-little little girl said, “Daddy…”
Forget that she was built in a lab. Forget that she’s killed more people than you’ve had orgasms (wellllllllllll). Forget that she’s a violent, half-animal, I-can-talk-but-would-rather-stay-mute-cos-that’s-way-cooler, murdering mutant. In that moment, she was just a child about to lose her father.
And that, is the type of pain no healing factor, no matter how heightened, can heal.
One of the pieces I read after the second viewing said ‘Logan is the Batman Begins of the Marvel Universe’ and I agree completely. What both films have in common is that they brought superheroes to our level. ‘Begins and Logan were not ‘superhero’ films, they were films that had a couple of superheroes in them. In other words, the story/plot/progression wasn’t based on superpowers, these are stories that could happen to anyone; the characters just happened to be heroes.
Take away Christian Bale’s costume and gadgets. Remove Logan and Laura’s claws and healing factors. Would we still have stories? Yes; with minor adjustments. For example, in Logan, we wouldn’t have Reavers chasing Laura and the other kids because they were mutants, they might just be child-traffickers trying to catch some runaway kids some high-end clientele have paid for. Bruce Wayne could just have been some guy who wants to clean his city, a well-trained martial artist. The crime had a human face; Falcone, even the ‘super villain’ Scarecrow was just an insane doctor.
Ordinary people in extra-ordinary circumstances. Just like you and me.
Logan is a fitting end to Jackman’s run as Wolverine; he has never been better and I doubt he can ever be. Patrick Stewart was at his telepathic finest even with his mind ravaged by Alzheimer’s (see the irony?) and the new girl, Laura aka X-23 was just…
In all the many, many mortalities in all the X Men films, none of them hit me like the death of Logan. Not because he’s my favorite X Man (well, till they find a perfect Gambit) but because it was human. This was not a superhero, mutant, claw-popping, accelerated healing factor rocking guy dying; this was just an old man who happened to have lived too long.
In fact, I was kinda happy for Logan.
Finally, he’s going to rest. I mean, he has the burden of outliving EVERYONE he’s ever cared about. He’s lost his one excuse for sticking around; Professor Xavier, so his life pretty much had no purpose from then on. Finally, this lonely and grumpy old man will have peace.
But, he had a daughter.
Someone who knows she was built in a lab finds out she has some kind of tie to humanity; she has a father. A father who denies paternity – but a father nonetheless. And when, just when he’s finally accepted she’s a part of him –
They kill him.
Even now, putting down these words that have been hovering in my head for almost two months, my eyes still smart. Finally, an X Men movie I can not only enjoy; but relate to. Themes of friendship, responsibility, purpose, destiny keep going on, over and over.
And then, when you consider I have a little girl of mine…
As far as I’m concerned, Logan is a movie that belongs in the ‘How To Make A Superhero Movie’ corner of libraries, film schools – and whoever else archives stuff like that. Me?
I’m just thankful I’m alive to see stuff like this.
Now, who has some tissue?
How I Would Have Planned The DC Extended Universe.
I think it’s pretty much fair dinkum to say so far, the DC Cinematic/Extended Universe is barely batting averages. I mean, we could forgive the error that Man of Steel movie was – but since then, things have been pretty much downhill, with the critical failure Dawn of Justice is, the beautiful mess Suicide Squad is, and the obviously-rushed forthcoming Justice League movie intending to force us to root for characters we barely know or give a shit about.
Honestly, I don’t have a lot of hopes for Wonder Woman.
As far as I’m concerned, there’s a reason Marvel is doing so much better; they have fanboys at the helm of things. Jeph Loeb is executive producer. Joe Quesada is also pretty much high up there. How about Avi Arad, Stan Lee – and a number of others? When you put people who know their stuff in charge of stuff they have been working on for years, stuff they have grown to love, you can hardly go wrong.
Anyways, so here’s me in the DCU executive producer’s chair. In other words, if I began from Man of Steel, what would a DC Extended universe of my creation look like?
Check this out:
Man of Steel
I’m not particularly crazy about this one; there are a couple of things I would change (the ending, introduction of Lex Luthor/Bruce Wayne) but that’s fine. We can still make do.
A solo Batman movie would definitely be next. This would happen the same time as Man of Steel. Bats would hear about the arrival of an alien in Metropolis, but before he can investigate, Deathstroke arrives Gotham and is gunning for Batman. He leaves the alien issue and goes to battle the deadliest assassin he’s ever come across.
Tie In To Extended Universe: At the end, footage used as the excuse for the Batman vs Superman conflict will come into play here. Is Superman really out of control? What if he decides to take over the earth and blah blah blah – who’s to stop him? Superman takes objection to Bats M.O in Gotham. Battle lines are drawn. Luthor begins his plot to destroy Superman, and he gains an ally, somebody mysterious who points him to STARLABS. Cyborg cameo.
Pretty much a Captain America: The First Avenger rip-off, but that’s okay. Where do you think Civil War came from? This will remain pretty much as is; except that it takes place BEFORE Dawn of Justice.
Tie In To Extended Universe: Darkseid will be introduced here – as a shadowy, mystic entity who just noticed Earth and is wondering if it is ripe for conquering. Aquaman/Superman cameo.
Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice:
This will also remain pretty much as is; except for a much less convoluted plot, ridiculous elements and story-line, and a better defined bad guy. Doomsday is unleashed, he destroys half of Metropolis and kills Superman. Darkseid is revealed as Lex’s ally, he dispatches Steppenwolf on a mini-invasion of Earth.
The aftermath of a world without Superman. Amanda Waller recruits her squad – and in the process, falls prey to Joker who wants Harley back. We take away the Enchantress as the main villain (shudders) and make Joker the bad guy. He’s gotten his hands on some kind of weapon of mass destruction and he’s threatening to blow up an entire island, He has a gang of minions and the Royal Flush Gang at his beck and call. Will the Squad stop him or join him?
Tie In To Extended Universe: Batman and Flash cameos – just as in the original movie. Flash’s is a bit extended though, he’s in the beginning (extended sequence featuring the capture of Captain Boomerang – similar to the Batman/Deadshot sequence) and in the end (Batman AND Wonder Woman recruit him). Some strange activity is going on around Superman’s grave.
Green Lantern Corps I
The creation of the universe’s largest police force. Reckless pilot Hal Jordan and Vietnam vet John Stewart find employment with Danvers Flight Company. While on one of their test drives, the prototype fails and Jordan saves their lives with a dangerous maneuver. Suddenly, there’s a green flash of light and blah blah blah.
You know the story.
Tie In To Extended Universe: Darkseid’s activities have been stirring up some interplanetary energies and some Lanterns are sent to investigate. They engage with some straggling parademons – and then, John Stewart is dispatched to follow Steppenwolf’s forces. Meanwhile, Sinestro switches sides to Darkseid because of a promise of greater power. He’s the bad guy for this movie.
Justice League I
This will be the mashup to end all mashups. My Justice League will look pretty much like the one they have now – except I’ll have a Green Lantern, probably John Stewart in there as opposed to Cyborg. I know Snyder’s trying to remain true to the New 52 Justice League line-up – but let’s face it; Cyborg’s not much of a compelling character. He’s pretty much as useful as Hawkeye in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe – and that’s putting it highly. Cyborg was moved up from the original Teen-Titans roster, why that was done is beyond me. But anyways, This movie has the originals Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, John Stewart – and they are in a firefight. Steppenwolf’s forces have arrived and they are tearing the Earth apart. The Leaguers are in the fight of their lives. As they continue – a black-clad figure suddenly appears and turns the tide of the battle. It’s Superman back from the grave!
While the Justice League gathers around him – there’s a sudden flash of light.
Darkseid the conqueror has landed.
What do you think? Would you have done yours differently? Let us know in the comments!
It’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to split Marvel Movies in two – the action-comedy-family-friendly set (almost all of them) and the serious, thought-evoking set (the origin stories).
The ones in the second set are Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton’s) and Dr. Strange.
All these movies are similar in tone; less of the one-liners that make Marvel movies consistent family favorites, and more of the human, emotional and serious stuff.
The one being dissected today is Dr. Strange.
The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role; and Strange could not have been casted better (you would know what I mean if you’ve seen even just one episode of the British series Sherlock); Cumberbatch oozes arrogance in spades.
As usual, the movies takes several liberties with the story and character – but this is one the movie is actually better for it. The origin story for the most part remains the same; self-absorbed celebrity surgeon has an accident (who else noticed the War Machine/Avengers Mansion Easter eggs?), his hands are destroyed, they are salvaged but he can never hold a scalpel again. He expends his considerable fortune seeking remedies – and then he hears the tale of a crippled man who suddenly walked again. Strange seeks out the man and hears about a ‘man’ called The Ancient One somewhere in Kamar-Taj (don’t bother looking, it doesn’t exist (it was the Himalayas in the comic). He spends his last dollar travelling – and Mordo, devout follower of The Ancient one just happens to overhear Strange asking for Kamar-Taj.
Ignore the truth that half the happenings in the movie are fortunate coincidences, it does come together tightly. Tilda Swinton, the intriguing gender-less actress (see what I did there?) slays as the bald-domed headmaster Ancient One, kicking butt, punching Strange’s astral form out of his physical body and looking awesomely cool while at it. In the comics, Baron Mordo (known simply as Mordo in this movie; Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character) is the student who got kicked out for trying to kill The Ancient One and his ambition; in the movie that role is given to Kaecilius (played with chill panache by Mads Mikkelsen).
Apparently, there are several other dimensions, some good and peaceful, some malevolent and hungry. The Ancient One is the Sorcerer Supreme charged with choosing warriors and training them to protect earth from these other dimensions, so it is not a job to be taken lightly. The Ancient One is forced to reach a compromise with the Dark Dimension to stay alive long enough to find a successor.
Parallels between Stephen Strange and Tony Stark (as seen in the first Iron Man movie) struck me within minutes of the opening; both are rich irresponsible playboys, both are exceptional in their respective fields, both are involved in life-threatening accidents, both find redemption somewhere in the mountains. Stark becomes we-know-who, Strange becomes…well, Strange.
There’s a bit of the white-savior ridiculousness that tainted the new Tarzan movie; Strange masters techniques and spells that Mordo hasn’t quite been able to put his finger on for a while, and while maybe Strange is the ‘chosen one’, why not just endow him with everything ‘naturally’? Another question is; what happened to all the Ancient One’s students when things started to go down?
Another interesting twist; another one I give the brains at Marvel kudos for, is the introduction of another of the Infinity Stones; The Time Stone as the all-seeing Eye of Agamotto. That begins to show just how extensive the Infinity War intends to be.
I cannot wait.
I consider this another strong entry into the Marvel Cinematic – I have said that before, have I not? I encourage you to watch this, and stay in the cinema till the end of the credits.
Why would anyone in their right mind want to see a movie titled ‘Ant Man’?
I mean – he’s in that poster – but the only reason you see him is because he’s mostly a black smudge on white paper.
Therefore – he sorta stands out. Else..
But then – someone mentions he’s related to the Avengers.
Hmm. Things get interesting. But still – is that reason enough?
Marvel has been cutting quite the swathe as far as box office billings are concerned – raking in over five billion dollars collectively since they took the fate of their characters in their own hands and launched Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of Iron Man I in 2008. Since then, they have done eleven movies – Ant Man being their twelfth entry.
Featuring the usually type-cast Paul Rudd, Ant Man is a story about redemption and second chances. Even Michael Douglas’ character, Hank Pym, the original Ant Man cannot say it enough. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is an electrical genius and cat burglar who went to jail and missed out on most of his daughter’s life. Now he’s out – no job prospects and wanting to spend more time with his girl. But he’s missing child support payments.
Getting desperate, he finally allows his ex-con roommate sell him the idea of robbing a house whose owner has traveled for a week. He breaks in successfully, cracks the ‘golden egg’ safe – and then finds nothing inside it but what he thinks is a motorcycle suit.
One day, curiousity gets the better of him and he puts the suit on –
And then everything goes crazy.
The stunning thing about this movie is – like the typical Marvel movie – it’s a family film that isn’t campy in any way. It satisfies fans who are coming from a comic background of over twenty/thirty/forty/fifty years – and still embraces the new ones who only heard of The Avengers after Robert Downey Jr. did his ‘I Am Iron Man’ thing. The visuals are stunning, dialogue as usual smooth and plenty laughs – and yet, still has enough heart moments to put a tear or two in the most dry of eyes.
You should check out the smackdown Ant Man hands a certain Avenger…
Ant Man is not exactly refreshing – it features a lot of the Marvel gimmicks – stunning visuals, interesting characters, plenty laugh along moments – but it’s a solid entry into the catalogue. Catcg Ant Man at the Ozone Cinemas at the following times:
Fri-Thur: 11:15am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:45pm, 4:45pm, 6:00pm, 7:00pm, 8:20pm
Now again I wonder – who in their right mind would want to watch a movie titled Ant Man?