X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

dofpRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

The original X-Men cast return to the big screen as they are under the attack of Bolivar Trask’s (Peter Dinklage) Sentinel program. Casualties are high and rising, as the mutants aren’t the only species being attacked but also the humans who dare to help them. This leaves earth under brutal control of the worst of society, with the mutant killing machines at their disposal. The only way to save the world is to turn back time and prevent the very event which caused the genocide. This requires Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to be sent back to the 70s to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing Trask, an event which dictated the view of mutants around the globe.

I will say right off the bat that this is the best X-Men film to date. After multiple viewings my opinion does not change as it’s quite simply a great film. What it does is give us a true in depth exploration of these characters, not all of them, but a lot more than what previous X-Men films achieved to do. This meant Wolverine was able to take a seat back and give other characters a turn. I think Singer recognized that and for once the characters are given the respect they deserve. This film is filled with great character driven moments, and in my opinion they stand out much more than the action, which was also brilliant. This is completely down to Simon Kinberg’s screenplay, which gave us complex characters, encouraging us to think a little bit and allowing us to make our own opinions about these characters. A stand out moment would be a heated argument between Professor X and Magneto (young) as they are flying to find Mystique. It becomes clear that these are two people who have the mutants well being in mind, but their ideologies about how to go about protecting them are vastly different. For once Magneto isn’t portrayed as bad. We are able to understand his ideology and for a moment sympathize for him as he protests Professor X’s self-pity. These ideologies are further explored as Mystique is caught in between them, trying to pave her own path towards saving the mutants. Ultimately the writing really makes this a great film.

I was always a bit underwhelmed by how the characters powers were translated on screen, not all the time, but I felt this way more times than I should have. Days of Future past finally nails it as it feels more fluid and organic rather than confused and flat. I never liked Storm (Halle Berry) because I thought her powers were a bit lame, but after this film I finally understand her badassery. Right from the opening scene I knew that things were going to be different on the action side, and they were for the better. Like they say, one stick is easy to break, but a bunch of sticks are almost impossible to break. Much like their powers, they function better when they work as a team, and quite evidently it’s much more entertaining. It says a lot that Wolverine was probably one of the tamest characters throughout the whole film.

With the rise of this comic book movie phenomenon, it’s encouraging to see that the acting is not being compromised as this film has some of the best performances I’ve seen in a comic book film. If future films of this genre continue to go in this vein then I have a lot of money to save for the 20 odd comic book films which are going to be raiding our local cinemas in the coming years. Seeing this cast on screen is awe inducing right to the end. Making it even harder for me to hold in all my emotions as both Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy share an intense moment of screen time, which did not disappoint.

There is no denying that this film will make it onto peoples top 10 lists for comic book films. If not your best comic book films list, then your best comic book film moments list. The moment I’m referring to is the Quicksilver scene, which is hands down the best scene I’ve seen in awhile. It’s inventive, funny, badass and totally appropriate for the representation of his power. One thing is for sure, Aaron Taylor Johnson is gonna have to do something special to have one over on Evan Peters.

For a superhero film it felt somewhat down to earth, as if we were watching real people with genetic differences to us. The way they integrated real life events like the JFK assassination and the Vietnam war made the X-Men universe feel real which only enhances the feeling that this is more than just a comic book film but a film about these characters who are complex and interesting. Bryan Singer has genuinely saved the X-Men franchise by erasing all the continuity problems of past x-men films and giving the new cast a chance at a perfect trilogy without the burden of knowing Wolverin: Origins and X-Men: The Last Stand exist, the ending is the ultimate cherry on top to that.

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor the dark worldRoze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

Set after the attack on New York, Thor is busy restoring order within the Nine Realms whilst the Bifrost is being reconstructed. Having not seen Thor for two years, Jane Foster strives to find scientific anomalies which are similar to the time they found Thor in New Mexico. As a result of the convergence, a rare alignment of the Nine Realms, Foster is sucked into a portal which links these Realms together. She is teleported to a new world and gets infected by the Aether. A group of Dark elves awake once they feel the Aether’s release, the same dark elves who attempted to take over the Nine Realms using the same weapon.

There’s a moment during the film’s opening where we first see Thor appear, and that’s the moment where Chris Hemsworth truly feels like Thor. In the past two films he’s been in, he never really became anything more than an actor playing this character, but after this film it feels as if no one else could play this role but him. From that moment onward’s I felt pumped to be watching a Thor film.

This sequel is better than the first in many ways but it doesn’t feel as whole as it could have been. Firstly the improved CGI makes this film visually stunning as we get to see Asgard in more detail. It’s colourfully glossy which gives it that genuine comic book aesthetic. There’s a lot more emphasis on costume and set design. Thor’s costume looks polished and pristine, which no longer feels gimmicky. Asgard and the Nine Realms actually feel real now which reflects Jane Foster’s feelings as she follows Thor to Asgard for the first time.

It also feels a lot more like a Thor film, even though the Aether is a part of something Avengers related. The first film was an origin story but it was also as much an Avengers prequel. Thor: The Dark World has a much more interesting story driven by fantasy stories and fairy tale inspired characters. What I like about these Marvel films is that they all offer something different. Iron Man is pure comic book action, Captain America is a lot more political and Thor feels like Lord of The Rings in terms of the fantasy elements.

In terms of the film not feeling whole, I think what tarnished its potential is the fact that there’s too many characters which get such small screen time. Thor has an awesome group of warriors he fights with yet we hardly see them. I don’t know if the comics are the same way, if so fair enough, but I wanna see more of them. Maybe their teasing us for whats to come in the third Thor film, but there is definitely going to be some love triangle forming soon. It might have been hard incorporating it in this film but it was disappointing not seeing just a little bit of it. It’s going to be interesting to see how Sif and Jane Foster face off.

The theme that felt evident is inconsistency. When intended to be funny it was, but the jokes either come at inappropriate times (Thor getting on the tube) or don’t happen for long periods of time during more mellow scenes. Same goes for the tone, once scenes transition between Earth and Asgard there’s definitely a tonal change. Once at earth, the music is more comedic and light hearted which contrasts the dramatic orchestral music when in Asgard. It makes sense as it gives these locations different identities but the film was either funny at one point then dramatic in others.

The major highlight though is Loki, who Tom Hiddleston continues to play to perfection. It’s different seeing a villain stick around for once, and a villain that most people like, even if he is completely evil. Once Thor and Loki eventually team up, the film kicks into gear and it starts feeling like a Marvel film.

The Wolverine (2013)

the-wolverine-movie-hugh-jackman-hd-wallpaperRoze-Rating: 4 / 5

Post X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan has now left the X-Men team in order to avoid harming anyone he loves again. He resides in the wild like the animal he believes he is. Until a friend of the past, Master Yashida, requests to see him for a final goodbye and thank you for saving his life. Escorted back to Japan he realizes that the gratefulness of Yashida is replaced with a longing for Logan’s immortal qualities.

Kudos to Hugh Jackman for devoting his body and acting chops to continuously improve this character no matter the quality of the film. I think most people would agree that X-Men Origins: Wolverine was not up to par for an X-Men film with crappy special effects and a congested list of comic book characters. I try to forget the butchering of Deadpool at the end. Nevertheless the film was interesting as we got an insight of Logan’s beginnings; it would infuriate fanboys but interest less committed fans. That was Jackman’s fourth film as the Wolverine and he was an absolute beast in it, unlike the previous three where he was held back slightly. During an interview with Jackman, he expressed his desire to make the wolverine really look like an animal, he wanted him to be savage, untamed, have veins popping out of his arms. The Wolverine depicts the superhero exactly how Jackman has always wanted, finally seeing blood on those indestructible claws.

Following X-Men First Class I think Fox has finally taken the right direction with this franchise stepping up the quality of the films. Previous X-Men films were entertaining but lackluster in terms of really relishing the characters powers. Despite the long list of continuity problems I think they can be forgiven by most people, having enjoyed First Class and now The Wolverine. This film studies the Wolverine as the human that he is and less the mutant. We get a true sense of the extent of his “gifts” and the toll it takes on him as he wishes for death. He feels lost and distant as he tries to look for new meanings in his life. Still hung up over the death of Jean, he avoids human contact as everyone he loves eventually dies and he has to experience that endlessly. It definitely is more engaging in terms of character development.

As for the plot, I’m not familiar with the comics but it’s entertaining enough. We see Logan get involved in complicated family dynamics and in the process he finds a reason for his existence. There’s a sense of mystery about who’s bad? are their intentions right? and what that person’s role is? it’s entertaining but what diminishes a seemingly acceptable story line is the constant need to spoon feed it to the audience. I think most audiences would have been able to get the jist of the ending about half way through because of it. That being said there’s a satisfying amount of action to look past the somewhat predictable story line. Although there are still surprises to offer some thrills.

The action sequences are relentless and totally badass. Having watched the trailer I expected the bullet train sequence to be low in quality but I’m happy to be proved wrong as it was tastefully ridiculous but exciting nonetheless. The only negative would be that we don’t genuinely see any Adamantium to skin penetration. Probably to keep the parental ratings down but if we can see blood on those claws then ideally we’d want to see where it came from.

The Wolverine is a solid addition to the X-Men franchise and comic book genre, it isn’t bad nor is it great, what it does do is hit the spot for an entertaining marvel film. Expect some exceptional performances from a host of Japanese actors and once again another intense performances by the wolverine himself Hugh Jackman.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron-Man-3Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

(Spoilers)

The third installment of the Iron-Man series directed by Shane Black gives us a vulnerable Tony Stark post Avengers. Still hung up on the New York attacks not too long ago, Stark suffers from anxiety attacks and insomnia. His obsession with the Iron Man suits hits new heights as he restlessly tinkers left with an excess of suits. Creating fear in the eyes of the American public is newly established villain The Mandarin, who has bombed countless locations with the aim of exposing America’s corruption. His next bomb puts Happy Hogan former Stark bodyguard into hospital. Rashly giving away his home address to the media and ultimately The Mandarin, Stark may have just created new demons.

What I like about the Iron Man series so far is that in each film Tony Stark grows as a person. We see him develop as the films pass which ultimately keeps him interesting and engaging as a character. No doubt he is probably the most popular Avengers character so far just because he fails to get boring. In the first film we see him experience a traumatic kidnapping which opens his eyes to the business he’s in. It pushes him to change his moral values and his business ethics in order to prevent world violence. Creating the Iron Man helps him make up for years of bad business but also to protect him from the villains he has. Iron Man 2 exposes an over confident Stark, he feels immortal to danger and is ignorant to the thought of others greater than him. He’s invented an even bigger rock star persona which leads him to alcoholism. The pain beneath that hard exterior. Once realizing that there are people with special abilities just as powerful as Iron Man he is brought back down to reality. To become a respectable hero he must put others in front of himself, which is concluded in The Avengers film.

In this third installment Tony Stark is in the process of having a fresh start but first he must overcome his anxiety. The alien attack has affected Stark more than you would expect as living in a world which he once knew is now absolute. He learns that the suit doesn’t define him but he defines the suit. It takes a while but his revelation helps rid of the anxiety and tackle his demons head on. Shane Black freshens up the Iron Man series with a much more engaging sequel where Stark is glorified and not the suit. The action is better and so is the comedy.

I think the prospect of having The Mandarin in this film was a huge turn on for all the fan boys out there since he is one of Iron Man’s main enemies. He is also one of the more interesting ones. In the comics he gets hold of these alien rings which he spends most of his early years trying to master. He eventually figures them out and is able to use each ring for different things, for example ice blasts, fire blasts, mind manipulation, electromagnetic rays, disintegration beam, black light, etc. Cool things like that. From the trailer, personally I was freaking excited at the idea of this villain, and I had no knowledge of him at all. He had a menacing voice, genuine look to him and he was being played by Ben Kingsley. I’ll be honest I didn’t do too much research into the villain before going in which is why when we see that Ben Kingsley is actually just a decoy for Guy Pearce’s character I wasn’t too disappointed since for most of the film we just see him sit and talk. He looked cool but we don’t see him do anything impressive. Of course this wouldn’t have been a good thing for any fanboys. For me it was quite a shock but also hilarious. After researching his abilities I think it’s a villain wasted but it didn’t harm the film in any way.

Guy Pearce is always a joy to watch on screen, he’s especially slick, coy and menacing as Aldrich Killian. He is of course the demon Stark makes 13 odd years ago when he ditches him at the roof of a hotel. Killian reinvents himself into successful business man at AIM. He invests into a human regrowth program called Extremis which is anything but stable. As a villain, he’s nothing new, we’ve all seen these pompous, well dressed villains on the screen before, which is another reason why decoying The Mandarin was a miss. But then again he does breath fire.

The lead up to the big boss showdown was great, we see Tony use his wits and mechanical brain to save the day with little help from the suits. Of course they come in handy at the end. What I thought the past films lacked was a good Iron Man vs Villain showdown. This film had a great build up, some good sequences but at the end of the day Iron Man didn’t have the last punch. It just felt off and annoyed me a little that Pepper was the one that ultimately finished Killian off. I mean I can get over it but I just didn’t see the appeal and any reason for it. We go to Iron Man films to see Iron Man beat the shit out of the villains not Pepper. Also when Killian reveals him self as the Mandarin, we don’t really believe in it. It’s not the awesome reveal that I think it intended to be.

For an action film this is definitely a must watch. The sequences may not be anything groundbreaking but they definitely get out hearts racing. From the destructive attack on Tony’s home to the Airplane explosion. Definitely the best action film you will see this year. We get to see heaps of different suits that Stark has made during his anxiety period, their utilized in new ways and have new tech which makes for entertaining sequences when they are on the screen.

One thing that I wont forget from this film is its great theme tune. Past marvel films really lack a good theme song or one that fits. Once the credits hit the screen and that tune started playing, it really gave Iron Man films a comic book film identity.

Overall for a comic book film its incredibly solid and rewatchable having seen it four times now. It has purpose, clear character growth, logical action sequences and enough destruction for us to be pleased with. It’s a great addition to the Iron Man series and would be an exceptional last.

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

kick-ass-2-justice-foreverRoze-Rating: 4 / 5

Three years on following the success of Kick-Ass, we are reunited with superheroes Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz). Growing bored of living in the real world Dave Lizewski decides to suit up again and train with Hit-Girl hoping to become a legitimate superhero. Still mourning over the death of his gangster father, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) obsesses over the fantasy of killing Kick-Ass. After accidentally killing his mother D’Amico reinvents himself as the “Mother-Fucker” swearing to avenge his fathers death.

The first Kick-Ass was a huge success because it was such a new concept to the superhero genre. It’s a parody to how the like’s of Batman, Hawkeye and Black Widow would fair in the real world if they suddenly decided to get up and become a superhero. It was fresh, funny and stylish. The action was bad-ass and the violence shocking which made it a comic-book movie classic.

When I heard there was going to be a Kick-Ass two I was quite excited but was pretty sure it couldn’t improve on the first because all that freshness and shock value would be gone. That may have been the case but it indeed improved in some ways, compared to the first film.

I didn’t really enjoy the first half of the film as it seemed really out of place, it turned into this mean girls slash watchmen hybrid as we saw Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl go through their own journey’s; Hit-Girl to puberty and Kick-Ass to adulthood. It was entertaining but felt off as jokes were limited and not well executed. I felt comedic timing and editing probably had something to do with that as I was aware of the jokes but they didn’t come out as well as they could. For example a scene where The Motherfucker robs a store and an old man is told to get on the ground, he struggles as his arthritis kicks in forcing him to go down very slowly. I only noticed it second time round as the camera was panned back. Luckily the second half of the film did not disappoint as it was a lot funnier and provided loads of action.

The bar was set pretty high for action sequences after the first film which is why I was happy to see that the crunching punches and hits remained present. Overall the sequences were well choreographed and thought out as we were given some slick moves and executions to feast our eyes on. It was good that they really strived for original action sequences as it only pumps us up even more, although it was missing the stylish edge that made the first film ultimately pretty to look at. Little things that the camera did in first that it didn’t do in the second.

New additions to the cast meant new superheros and super villains, some of them were awesome and some felt like they shouldn’t be there. Jim Carrey plays Colonel Stars and Stripes, ex mafia con man who starts a superhero team in the name of Justice Forever. He may not be as funny as we hoped him to be but he sure plays the part well. As for the rest of the team we have Night Bitch (Lindy Booth), Battle Guy (Clarke Duke), Doctor Gravity (Donald Faison), Insect Man (Robert Emms) and two parents who are looking for their missing child. They make for entertaining additions to the cast except I didn’t see the need for the parents, they didn’t really offer anything comedically and seemed to get in the way. Overall the group of super villains were much more badass, but again they weren’t all utilized making some of them seem out of place.

Kick-Ass 2 may take awhile to get going but the last acts are worth waiting for as they are adrenaline filled scenes of epicness. Not as coherent as the first as it knew what it wanted to be, a violent parody to the superhero genre. Kick-Ass 2 takes on a more serious tone which continues on from the D’Amico vs Kick-Ass saga. Definitely worth the watch.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Trailer + Discussion)


I recently re-watched all the X-Men films and I couldn’t help but notice that there’s a shiz load of continuity problems. As I moved on to the next movie you find more and more confusing errors that kinda ruin the franchise a bit. For example we see Emma Frost in X-Men: First Class (60’s) and in Wolverine: X-Men Origins (Decades after First Class) which are set at different times yet the character is younger in Wolverine: X-Men Origins. Another confusing error would be how we see Charles Xavier walk during a flashback in X-Men: The Last Stand but then we see him get shot in the spine and him being paralyzed in First Class. Of course a common reasoning behind all these problems is that it happened in the comics where characters would lose and regain abilities or whatever, but I can’t help but think they kinda screwed up a bit too much here.

There’s no doubt that First Class was a pretty awesome film, it raised the bar to a whole new level for X-Men films. So why not just say it was a total reboot of the franchise. Some people might say it is but the opening sequence is from the very first X-Men film so I think it was definitely intended to be connected with the past three films. It’s not a bad idea but they screwed up already in X2 when we see a glimpse of Hank McCoy (AKA Beast) as a human then in The Last Stand he’s back to being a blue furry monster. It’s just confusing, you can’t get away with it in movies like you can in comics because people like to complain for the sake of complaining.

To be honest it’s not a huge problem for me because I quite liked X-Men and X2 and it’s quite easy to just accept that what went down in the previous trilogy has lead to Days of Future Past; which looks amazing from the trailer. I saw The Wolverine once it came out but went in completely unaware that it was also connected with the X-Men story line. So as you can imagine once the after credits scene started playing I literally jizzed in my pants. Like wow, probably the best after credits scene ever.

Anyways the trailer is pretty awesome, it looks like we’re going to see an intensely cynical young Charles Xavier who doesn’t look in the best of shapes. I’m not aware much of the story or comics but I do know Wolverine is going to be sent back in time to help prevent a war which will happen in the near future probably related to Bolivar Trask and the Sentinels (sorry, probably a “no shit” comment to comic book fans). So it’s going to be pretty awesome seeing the past and future Xavier’s and Magneto’s in one film as well as past characters like Storm, Iceman, Rogue, etc. It’s going to be huge in terms of characters since we have even newer mutants joining the cast. What I’m hoping for is an even more intense Wolverine, I totally respect Hugh Jackman’s crazy commitment and love for this character. He hasn’t stopped working to improve this character since the very first X-Men, which is why The Wolverine was so satisfying because we  see some of that savagery we’ve not seen before. Days of Future Past better be a thrilling ride.

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

the_avengers-wide

Roze-Rating: 5 / 5

Marvel sets the world alight with this ground breaking film which incorporate’s seven Marvel Comic heroes introduced from five previous films, illustrating their path into the S.H.I.E.L.D. Avengers initiative. The Avengers broke significant records during it’s release, namely the all-time domestic weekend record, taking an estimated $200.3 million, thankfully the financial success of the film did not go in vain.

To prepare myself for this well anticipated film, I spent some time getting a hold of the films leading up to it, and made sure it was in order, starting with “Ironman”, starring Robert Downey Jr. He fit into the role of Tony Stark so well that even during the film’s multiple premier’s, he exuded pure Tony Stark mannerism’s and style. The next film created quite a debate leading up to The Avengers. “The Incredible Hulk”, starring the experienced Ed Norton, who plays Bruce Banner with a likeable charm, resultantly winning the hearts of the Marvel fans. Of course, when the news got out that he had been replaced with Mark Ruffalo, this created quite a bit of negativity and doubt over the Bruce Banner character. He soon proved critics and pessimists wrong, taking a different direction with the character in the best way possible.  Ironman 2 sheds a lot more light on Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his intentions about introducing the S.H.I.E.L.D. initiative, which is why The Avengers film is present with us now. It also introduces Natasha Romanoff, known as Black Widow, who is played perfectly by Scarlett Johansson, showing the athleticism and no nonsense characteristics of her role. Following these films are Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans), which are generally Origin films, with exception to Thor, which introduces the space threat within the Marvel Universe, emphasizing the potential threats on earth.

The Avengers depicts the final stage of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Avenger initiative, which involves the process of assembling each character to triumph against Loki and his increasing army. Managing a cast of main characters, would prove to be a difficult task, but the thoroughness of the script, really finds the perfect balance between each characters screen time; leaving no room for an independent hero. That’s where the film flourishes, we are able to get to know each character that much more and how they all react in the presence of each other. It is normal for families to fall out every now and again, and this film really is about the ultimate group of heroes who have their differences uniting at a time of desperation to save the world. One particular scene, where they are all in the middle of battle back to back and the camera pans around them, really symbolizes that perfectly, and is sure to send shivers down your spine. Another great aspect of this film is the comedy it possesses. The moments which are intended to make you laugh will achieve that genuinely, but props must go to Robert Downey Jr. who uses his improv skills at it’s best. Finally, the action is great, filled with iconic comic moments, from the Hulk smash to the flawless archery skills of Hawkeye. There will be no let down towards that aspect of the film, and nor does the film on the whole. If you are looking to watch a film with masses of action, mixed with comedy, then this film will offer vast’s amount of fun, leaving you thinking of it for quite some time.

The best feature of Marvel film’s are the sneaky Easter eggs they subtly fit into the film, which only the hardcore fans are likely to find, but then they add the end credit addition for the less hardcore fans. This is where the fun continues, being able to anticipate future film plots, and debating with other fans, which is why the Marvel experience, is quite a special one to take part in.

Who do you guys think the villain during the end credits was? What impact do you reckon he will have on the future Marvel films? Which Marvel film are you looking forward to the most, Ironman 3, Thor: The Dark Wolrld, Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Ant-Man?