Logan (2017)

Director: James Mangold

Writer: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green (Screenplay) John Romita Sr, Roy Thomas, Len Wein, Herb Trimpe, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost (Characters)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Richard E Grant

 

Plot: In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Rawest, Grittiest Superhero Movie Ever

 

Story: Logan starts in the near future, 2029 to be exact where mutants are nearly all but extinct. Logan, Wolverine or this time James Howlett (Jackman) is an aging man drive a limo for hire, he is saving enough money to get a sunseeker so himself and an also age weary Professor Charles Xavier (Stewart) can sail off into the sunset.

With Charles suffering from strokes which cause his power to become out of control, Logan knows the time is short but for the moment the money is shorter. When Logan is forced into defending himself we can see the effects or any battle on his body, no longer instantly healing, but this attack draws the attention of Pierce (Holbrook) and his soldiers but also nurse Gabriela (Rodriguez) who needs Logan’s help. When Logan finds, himself helping he learns of a new experiment on mutants and with his genetics creating Laura (Keen). Laura along with other children have all been enhanced but when the experiment is closed they must fend for themselves.

Logan finds himself in the middle of a battle he will struggle to fight this time as himself and Charles travel cross country to a new location that could be the new safe haven for mutants.

 

Thoughts on Logan

 

Characters/PerformanceLogan is a character we have known and loved for nearly 17, we have seen him through origins, beginning and cameos but now we get to see him near the end of his life. This version of Logan is battered, beaten and not long for this world, making him a version of a comic book character that we have never yet seen. Profession Charles Xavier is also very old in fact sick in this outing, he can’t control his powers like he once used to, making him a risk for everybody he meets. He still dreams of finding and protecting more mutants which is what draws him to saving Laura, but he is also filled with a guilt he just doesn’t understand. Laura is a great look at the new breed of mutants who is deadly in a fight without understanding how the world works, I would like to see the next chapter of this characters development. Pierce who is the primary villain of the piece is interesting to start with but through the film does slowly turn into a generic mercenary character. Dr Rice is filling the William Striker role well, being the one that wants control over the mutants with Caliban at times I feel we could have learnt more about this character.

When you look at the performances Hugh Jackman gives one of his, if not his best performance as Logan here, with Patrick Stewart easily being able to be considered an outside bet for an Oscar nomination. Dafne Keen is great for what is the first role I have ever seen her in. even though I feel the character does fall into the background of the final story I did also think Boyd Holbrook does an excellent job too.

StoryWhen you look at superhero movies we often find ourselves stuck in the middle of too many characters, too many subplots and too many over the top storyline action sequences, but much like Deadpool last year we get a simplified story here. The idea that two aging mutants in a world without any known mutants must travel cross country to save this young mutant’s life while being chased down by ruthless henchman works for this movie. The story is easy to follow, you don’t have to know the previous films and you will get the emotional impact of each moment of this film.

Action/Drama/Sci-FiThe action sequences are all raw based fights which are saved for few and far between but this helps the impact of these moments. Going into the future once more gets to see how the final chapters of these character’s lives could unfold but still leaving the door open for the time between.

SettingsThe settings all feel like they could be a western and you can tell this movie borrows heavily from the classic western ‘Shane’. I liked how this wasn’t about a big destruction sequence followed by another like many other films in this genre.

Special EffectsThe special effects are brilliant to show the brutality of the fight sequences with how the Wolverine movie could be bloody throughout.

Final ThoughtsI think this could easily be one of the best superhero movies of all time, but the one moment I didn’t enjoy was the fact the film did get the keys of the kingdom and felt like they did just swear for the reason to be able too.

 

Overall: This is a must watch for the superhero movie fans out there.

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Franchise Weekend – Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

madDirector: George Miller, George Ogilvie

Writer: Terry Hayes, George Miller (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Adam Cockburn, Tina Turner, Frank Thring, Angelo Rossitto

 

Plot: After being exiled from the most advanced town in post-apocalyptic Australia, a drifter travels with a group of abandoned children to rebel against the town’s queen.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Finish

 

Story: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome starts as Max (Gibson) is rob in the wasteland when he heads after the person responsible he ends up in Bartertown making a deal for 24 hours of his life to search for his belongings.

The leader of the town is Aunty Entity (Turner) recruits Max to eliminate The Blaster from the pig power factory to keep her reign over the people. This means Max challenges The Master Blaster to a one on one fight in the Thunderdome with the winner getting the freedom and Max getting his belongings back.

When Max backs out of the deal he finds himself facing the wheel that will decide his fate in bartertown. After being exiled Max sets out on a revenge mission to get his stuff and bring down the home of the thunderdome once and for all.

 

Thoughts on Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

 

StoryThis is the third story of the Mad Max saga and this time around we dive deeper into the dystopian world where we meet different pockets of survivors that Max must interact with to make a better future for the right ones but like before he wants to keep to himself and go about hi business only getting involved when he is affected by the choices. This story feels bigger but this is also part of the downfall in this one because it was the simple story that made the last one so great.

Action/ThrillerThe action feels different but does lack the use of vehicles this time around and feels like it is in the post-apocalyptic world we are sold on. This also doesn’t feel as edge of your seat anymore because of the number of characters involved.

Characters/PerformanceMax continues to be the character that fights for the right things but also the one who wants to be isolated from the others. The villain continues to be over the top with Tina Turner taking this role well but otherwise this also feels like a step back from the last outing in the series.

SettingsThe settings are created to make us fully believe we are in the post-apocalyptic wasteland with both main settings coming off bigger and much more settled that last time which is one of the highlights of this film.

Special EffectsThis outing doesn’t have as many special effects with well-planned stunts that all come off.

Final ThoughtsThis feels like a step back in the franchise even if it still keeps the basic idea together for the mad world this works very well indeed.

 

Overall: Tidy conclusion to the saga but easily the weakest of the three.

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Franchise Weekend – Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior (1981)

roadDirector: George Miller

Writer: Terry Hayes, George Miller, Brian Hannant (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michal Preston, Max Phipps Vernon Wells, Kjell Nilsson, Virginia Hey, William Zappa

 

Plot: In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big, Better and Bloodier

 

Story: Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior starts by showing us the dystopian world Max (Gibson) roams and just how destructive it has become with oil running low. Max is now deadlier than ever taking zero prisoners when it comes to fighting on the road.

When Max meets, the wasteland guy The Gyro Captain (Spence) he learns about an endless supply of gas which keep Max supplied for years but there is one problem it is controlled by warriors who are under threat from The Humengus (Nilsson) and his bloody thirsty gang that want the gas for themselves.

Max reluctant helps the warriors defend the gas from the gang in what is a battle in the middle of the desert for the most valuable resource in the new world gas.

 

Thoughts on Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior

 

StoryThe story picks up where the last one finished with the character of Max now ready to rule the wasteland, the first film introduced us to Max this one unleashes him to be the bad ass action character we need and the story shows just how he is willing to work for the greater good when need be. This also enters into the time when stories were simple and this one shows just how simple story telling can be something the audience of the Fury Road chapter learnt in 2015.

Action/ThrillerThe action is bigger with the chases being riskier and edge of your seat throughout but this time when it comes to the genres it makes everything very clear that this a post-apocalyptic world we are now in. The film uses the genres to improve this film to the next level.

Characters/PerformanceMad Max is the strong silent type not having many lines in the whole film and this works for Gibson who continues to shine in the role, this time we get some comic relief to lighten the higher end action going on. The villains on the other side feel like a much bigger threat and wildly over the top so much so that not one but two of the references whether it be the nickname of image became huge through the World Wrestling Federation.

SettingsThe settings are again very simple but effective as nearly the whole movie is set on battle to protect the gas supply, this continues the trend this film set by making sure the story is big but simple.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the special effects everything is all perfectly placed stunt work to make sure the chase or battle scenes come off to their full effect.

Final ThoughtsThis is the improvement the fans wanted from the original, everything is bigger, bloodier and just overall way more entertaining.

 

Overall: How all action films should improve themselves.

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Franchise Weekend – Mad Max (1979)

maDirector: George Miller

Writer: James McCausland, George Miller (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Roger Ward, Lisa Aldenhoven

 

Plot: In a self-destructing world, a vengeful Australian policeman sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic

 

Story: Mad Max starts in the near future from now which would be the past for us watching I guess as we have police of this world chasing down criminal in their flashy yellow pursuit vehicles. We see how hapless the two first pursuit vehicles and motorcycle were but the criminals had no idea the Max (Gibson) was waiting for them.

When Max learns the people, who supporting the man he killed are after him he just laughs it off like nothing but the gang led by Toecutter (Keays-Byrne) comes for revenge by causing trouble causing Max to respond but when the case is thrown out Max’s partner flips but the pursuit team get can do what you want on the streets from their sergeant.

When the gang make things, personal Max becomes Mad Max and goes on a bloody mission of vengeance against the whole biker gang leaving bodies in his path.

 

Thoughts on Mad Max

 

StoryThe story behind Mad Max comes off as a simple revenge story as we follow a police officer who loses everything he has to a gang of criminals and goes on his own mission to kill them all. This work on so many levels because we are introduced to one of the icons of action cinema. I do think a lot of the scenes are shot to feel like a bloody version of Batman which adds light hearted comedy to what is going on.

Action/ThrillerThe action going on through this film are all over the top car chases with explosive consequences on each one, we are told this is in the future but it just doesn’t feel like the dystopian world it is advertised to be in the later chapters. The car chases do keep you on the edge of your seat throughout though.

Characters/PerformanceMel Gibson becomes the overnight sensation with his performance and this character becomes one of the popular action heroes of cinema. When it comes from the rest of the cast we don’t get too much special going on with the villain being slightly out there but never a true threat and the rest of the performances being good enough for the film.

SettingsThe Australian outback is perfect for the setting for this film as we get to see the open roads for the chase scenes and they show how they can go on for miles with no safety.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all great for the budget behind the film making everything work for the world created by the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is the beginning of the film franchise following the adventures of Mad Max but this film is actually a very slow build to meet him for the origin story because his quest for vengeance doesn’t start till well over the hour mark and is over within the hour and half run time. I did find this disappointing but great for what it is.

 

Overall: Never dated, never dull often misleading though.

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Ghostbusters (2016)

ghsotbusterDirector: Paul Feig

Writer: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig (Screenplay) Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Charles Dance, Michael Kenneth Williams, Neil Casey, Ed Begley Jr

 

Plot: Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard to Get Through

 

Story: Ghostbusters starts as we meet Erin Gilbert (Wiig) a professor who in her early career wrote a book with her friend Abby Yates (McCarthy) about the hunt for ghosts which brings Ed Mulgrave (Begley Jr) to investigate the Aldridge mansion. With Erin about to get her dream career she must go back to Abby to see her about their book where she meets Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon) who has been working with Abby.

When the three see an actual ghost, they start to work together to start their own ghost hunting business with new heartthrob receptionist Kevin (Hemsworth). When subway worker Patty Tolan (Jones) witnesses a ghost in the subway she joins the newly formed Ghostbusters to save the city of New York from a ghost invasion.

Ghostbusters is a film that was instantly disliked by most people because the original is considered a true classic and no one wanted a remake, reboot or sequel. Now going into this I was going to ignore that judgement but as I dislike most comedies this was always going to be had to enjoy. I must start with the fact I simply just do NOT find Melissa McCarthy funny at all, Kristen Wiig is solid in this role but I did find Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth to be good for laughs.

The story is all too like the original with the disgraced ghostbusters having to redeem themselves by the end. While I love the setting of New York I feel the film doesn’t use it enough and the special effects just don’t hit the marks I would expect from a film of that budget. I am not going to say this is because of the female leading cast because I do think it could have worked if the characters weren’t all looking for laughs and then mixing everything too many pop culture references that will be out dated within a few years.

 

Overall: This is unnecessary reboot/remake/sequel which ever they want to call it that plays for the laughs instead of the fantasy element of the idea.

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