RELEASED: June 21st 2019 DIRECTED BY: Lars Klevberg WRITTEN BY: Tyler Burton Smith PRODUCED BY: David Katzenberg & Seth Grahame-Smith MUSIC BY: Bear McCreary STARRING: Gabriel Bateman, Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry, David Lewis, Carlease Burke & Mark Hamill
Full disclosure, I’ve never watched any of the Child’s Play/Chucky movies before this one. But I feel like this was a bad place to start, because this is a very weird film.
Child’s Play follows Andy, a young kid (played by Gabriel Bateman) living with his young mother, Karen (Aubrey Plaza), whose birthday is coming up soon. Low on money, Karen manages to acquire a faulty ‘Buddi’ toy doll from her workplace, which names itself Chucky, and becomes more and more violent and possessive as their relationship develops.
RELEASED: May 23rd 2014 DIRECTED BY: Bryan Singer WRITTEN BY: Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn PRODUCED BY: Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner & Hutch Parker MUSIC BY: John Ottman STARRING: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Halle Berry, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Adan Canto, Booboo Stewart, Peter Dinklage, Josh Helman, Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen
I remember when Days of Future Past first came out, I didn’t think it was as strong as everyone else seemed to. I saw it while visiting the United States, and while I did enjoy it, I’m not sure I’ve actually watched it since.
However, watching it again with X-Men and X2 fairly fresh in my mind has made the film much stronger. From the opening titles really hammering down how this is just as much a sequel to the original films as well as First Class, this film, while not without its faults and timeline blunders, is a very well executed movie.
RELEASED: July 26th 2013 DIRECTED BY: James Mangold WRITTEN BY: Mark Bomback & Scott Frank PRODUCED BY: Lauren Shuler Donner & Hutch Parker MUSIC BY: Marco Beltrami STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Hiroyuki Sanada, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Haruhiko Yamanouchi & Famke Janssen
In a radical departure from X-Men Origins, Logan returns in The Wolverine, plucking us out of the past escapades of First Class and returning us to the present timeline.
The film sees Logan, now a destitute hermit, struggling to deal with the deaths of Jean Grey and everyone else he loves. However, he is pulled out of his wallowing by a young woman called Yukio, who summons him to Japan to say his goodbyes to Yashida, a Japanese soldier he saved in World War II. However, Logan soon becomes embroiled in a plot involving the future of Yashida’s family, as his powers mysteriously start to fail him.
It’s clear when watching this film and those around it, that Fox were desperately trying to wipe Origins out of audiences minds. As far as I can tell, there’s only one reference to that film in this one, and it’s so subtle that you could miss it if you weren’t paying attention. In spite of that, however, it’s one of the few X-Men films post Last Stand that actually adheres to continuity. The only thing that comes close to breaking it is the mid-credits scene, but that can be explained away by paying close attention the film it references (again, The Last Stand).
We’re done with the older series of films, and now we’re onto the new, as today’s review takes us back to the current focus of X-Men films, the ‘First Class’.
RELEASED: June 1st 2011 DIRECTED BY: Matthew Vaughn WRITTEN BY: Matthew Vaughn, Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Sheldon Turner & Bryan Singer PRODUCED BY: Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg & Gregory Goodman MUSIC BY: Henry Jackman STARRING: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Oliver Platt, Jason Flemyng, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi, Caleb Landry Jones, Zoë Kravitz, Álex Gonzalez & Kevin Bacon
For the longest time, I’ve thought of First Class as my favourite X-Men film (and yes, that’s including Logan and Deadpool). As I go through and rewatch them all, I’m not entirely sure that’s the case anymore, but it’s still definitely up there.
First Class follows Charles Xavier in his younger years, as he becomes a Professor and is recruited by Moira MacTaggert of the CIA to investigate the mutant society known as the Hellfire Club. Their leader, Sebastian Shaw, is planning an extinction-level event that will place mutants at the forefront of society, and the only way for Charles and Moira to stop him is to assemble the first class of X-Men – the Nazi-hunting Magneto, the shape-changing Mystique, the genius inventor Beast, the survivalist Darwin, the explosive Havok, the goofball Banshee and the exotic Angel Salvadore.
We’ve looked at the first X-Men trilogy, but before we get to Dark Phoenix, we’ve still got a few prequels to go, starting with Origins.
RELEASED: May 1st 2009 DIRECTED BY: Gavin Hood WRITTEN BY: David Benioff & Skip Woods PRODUCED BY: Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter, John Palermo & Hugh Jackman MUSIC BY: Harry Gregson Williams STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins, Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool, Will.i.am, Kevin Durand, Dominic Monaghan, Daniel Henney, Tim Pocock, Tahyna Tozzi & Patrick Stewart
Unfortunately for 20th Century Fox, the first time they tried to venture away from the main series of X-Men films and provide some backstory to their characters also resulted in the worst film of the lot (that includes Dark Phoenix, in case you’re wondering – I’ll do a ranking later).
Dark Phoenix is out today, and who would have thought that ten years on it would end up being the worse adaptation of the ‘Dark Phoenix Saga’. But I’m getting ahead of myself; we’ve still got a few films to get through before we analyse why that is exactly, but for now, let’s take a look at Fox’s first attempt in the much maligned The Last Stand.
RELEASED: July 14th 2000 DIRECTED BY: Brett Ratner WRITTEN BY: Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn PRODUCED BY: Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter & Avi Arad MUSIC BY: John Powell STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Kelsey Grammar, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, Ben Foster, Daniel Cudmore, Aaron Stanford, Vinnie Jones, Dania Ramirez, Eric Dane & Patrick Stewart
After the heights of X2, The Last Stand sees the franchise handed over to director Brett Ratner, and sees the introduction of franchise stalwart Simon Kinberg. The result is a film that is often regarded as one of (if not the) worst X-Men films.
After mankind develops a so-called ‘cure’ for mutation, the X-Men find themselves split about how to move forward. Meanwhile, Magneto begins forming a mutant army to strike back at the U.S. Government for their effrontery, and may find a powerful ally in the recently resurrected Jean Grey, who seeks to unleash her true potential as the Phoenix.
I don’t know whether its because I’ve now seen what I consider to be a worst adaptation of this same story, nostalgia, or if it’s actually not awful, but I don’t think this film is as horrible as everyone says it is.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a good film. But there’s fun to be had with it.
Continuing our run-through of the X-Men film series, today’s review is of X2, or X-Men 2, or X2: X-Men United. Whatever you want to call it. The second film in the X-Men franchise from 2003.
RELEASED: May 2nd 2003 DIRECTED BY: Bryan Singer WRITTEN BY: Zak Penn, David Hayter, Dan Harris, Michael Dougherty & Bryan Singer PRODUCED BY: Lauren Shuler Donner & Ralph Winter MUSIC BY: John Ottman STARRING: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Rebecca Romijin-Stamos, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Brian Cox, Kelly Hu & Alan Cumming
After the defeat of Magneto in the first movie, X2 returns audiences to Charles Xavier’s school for Gifted Youngsters, where the X-Men find themselves under attack by mysterious men with a link to Wolverine’s past. With race-tensions at an all-time high, the X-Men must stop Magneto and Col. William Stryker and their plans to wipe out humans and mutants, respectively.
It’s strange to think about now, but at this point in the X-Men franchise, the future still seemed promising. X-Men was an enjoyable film with an interesting visual style, if a bit lacking in character development. X2 greatly improves things on that front, and while central X-Men like James Marsden’s Cyclops still get the short end of the stick in that regard, other characters, like Wolverine, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Iceman and to lesser extents Storm, Jean Grey and Mystique, finally get their time to truly shine. You come to really appreciate these characters as characters beyond their abilities to display cool looking superpowers.