Monthly Archives: May 2014

80’s Song Wednesday

Since 1983 is not only responsible for my own birth, but this song as well, I like to think that it was playing somewhere in the hospital as I came into this world. It would explain a lot. May I present Rio by Duran Duran.

 

X-Men: Days of Future Past

The X-Men are back and in the future facing a threat that has them and their fellow mutants on the brink of extinction as well as humanity. Having tried every means to stop this threat, they are left with only one option. They need to send someone back in time to stop the event that lead to this outcome before it ever happens and give them all a better future that they can not only fight for but live in. Wolverine becomes the obvious volunteer due to his mutant ability. Not only does he have the task of stopping the event, but he has to help Charles Xavier find the man that Charles once was and become the man that Wolverine knows. Oh, Wolverine also has to convince both Xavier and Magneto to play nice, so that they can both help Wolverine fix the future. That shouldn’t be too hard.

I wouldn’t be the first to admit that I had reservations for this movie as the release date began to creep closer and closer. Fox’s record hasn’t been exactly solid since X-Men: Last Stand. The third installment fell victim to entirely way too much going on. The movie would have probably been pretty decent if they had focused on either the mutant cure plot or the Phoenix plot separately. Unfortunately, just like Spider-Man 3, there were too many faces thrown at the audience without a whole lot of reasoning of why they were there except to fill seats of eager fans to see them. If this was the purpose, Fox, you could have at least stayed decently true to the character, *coughs* Psylocke *coughs*. Why have them in there at all if you are going to butcher them? The Phoenix storyline was clearly the B storyline, but took up most of the movie to explain and make believable, while the A storyline quickly went from the humans are utilizing the cure as a weapon to war at factory to save all mutant kind.

So that movie left a bad taste in the mouths of fans, and it was believed that a new X-Men movie would never happen. We were only to look forward to some Wolverine movies maybe. Then along came X-Men: First Class. It actually took me awhile to fully appreciate this movie. I was very excited to see a new X-Men movie and knew the concept would be very interesting. I just had too many issues with continuity littered all over the film. I’m not even talking about in comparison to the comics. I expect that. This film did not entirely fit into the established timeline of film franchise. After watching it a few more times, I accepted it as a reboot in a way and its own timeline. I became very okay with the concept and thoroughly enjoyed it as well as some of the fantastic acting they managed to snag for the film. Michael Fassbender is inspiring as Magneto.

Then Fox announced that not only were they going to do another Wolverine movie, but they were going to take on one of the biggest storylines in the X-Men comic history, and pull the cast from the original movies and First Class to make it. Now Fox was going to merge the two worlds. The not so awesome reception of the third X-Men movie and either two Wolverine movies was proof enough that Fox had the high probability of screwing this bad boy up.

I am thankful to report that the movie was actually pretty good. As much as it was fantastic seeing Ian McKellon and Patrick Stewart acting as our favorite professor and villain, there is just this amazing quality that James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender bring to Professor X and Magneto that is just a true joy to witness. It was awesome seeing some old faces and new ones and having them blend together as a whole. I saw that some other fan blog reported this film being the apology for the third X-Men movie, and I’m going to have to agree. It was really fun and engaging, until the end where it got slightly iffy.

The end left us with a lot to think about, because we are shown with the ending that the past definitely changed…a lot. I wasn’t looking to be baby fed the missing fifty years, but a couple of things would have at least established whether or not key points were changed, especially when we as the audience were given certain tidbits. If this was to be the last ever X-Men franchise movie to ever be made concerning this film universe, I would have no problem with how it ended. We would then simply be given the happy ending with no need to explain, because there won’t be another movie. Unfortunately, since it has already been announced that more will be made, I have a problem. My biggest is with the effect that this film has on Wolverine’s origin story and what has made him his character. They don’t tell us whether Logan continues his years in the same manner before. It wouldn’t have necessarily been too much of an issue, if they hadn’t chosen to end the film with the scene that they did.

I still had a great time and fully recommend the movie if you are only a fan of the movies or a fan of the comics as well. It is a still a fun ride. I really only had these issues, because I am a fan of the comics and am a firm believer in continuity. If you are not, you will probably not have too many problems. The nice part about them choosing not to answer those questions that the ending left is that they still can. I just hope that they make sense and they are careful.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

When the initial reboot happened, I was pretty leery. I enjoyed the first franchise a lot, and pretended that the third of that series didn’t exist. I’m not the only one. I went in expecting something not quite up to par with what Marvel Studios was doing and was pleasantly surprised. This was a more character driven film with phenomenal acting. The best part is that we had a real Spider-Man this time. He was a smart ass that joked and laughed and didn’t know when to shutup, something Tobey MaGuire’s Spider-Man didn’t exactly fully grasp. I still love the first movies, and separate them as I do with the original Batman movies from the recent reboot.

I was pretty excited to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2, because I enjoyed the first one so much. I was a bit nervous when the previews started to come out and they revealed that not only would Spider-Man be up against the villain Electro, but two of his other big foes as well. I got nervous at this, because as much as we all try to forget Spider-Man 3, we all remember why it didn’t work. There was too much going on. I feared that the new Spider-Man movie would fall to the same fate, and for something that started out so well, that would have been a travesty.

I am happy to say that even with the proposed villain adventure we were getting from the previews, it was still a great movie. It was fun. It had the character drive that I loved from the first film, but it did have some issues, pacing being the major one. They was a lot going on in this movie, and they tended to present some aspects of the story as much bigger issues than they actually turned out to be, and the flip side of the coin is some big issues didn’t get enough focus. Being a comic book fan and knowing Spider-Man’s history, I saw a major part of the ending coming in the first ten minutes. That is to be expected. My problem with that is this plot aspect became repeatedly thrown at the audience throughout the entire movie through common and obvious foreshadowing tropes, that anyone coming in new to the Spider-Man world could have figured out in 20 minutes if they were quick or an hour if they needed more time to process.

There were other issues that I had that were probably small. Some dialogue, especially where poor Paul Giamatti was concerned was atrocious, so bad in comparison to the rest of the dialogue that it actually pulled me out of the moment of the movie. That is never a good thing. There were a few technical aspects that I really had to swallow down my pills of suspension of disbelief in order to move on. One dramatic scene was really hard. I think it had to do with the fact that my father is a retired airplane mechanic, so planes have always been in my life. I think they were going for dramatic effect, but my brother and I had to take a moment to look at each other and ask “Why the hell didn’t one just pull up and the other go down?” I guess they wanted that dramatic moment of to be memorable, and I know I’m being picky.

The other slight issue I had came from my comic book fandom, and it was with Electro. Yes, he has the ability to manipulate electricity and acts as a walking conductor himself, but the film version has Electro materializing and dematerializing at a whim as well as being able to turn himself into an a electrical current and being able to travel through anything that has one. I don’t remember those new abilities from the comics. I remember those abilities from a DC Comics character named Livewire, but definitely not from Electro. I know, I know. I’m being picky.

So what did I like. I like how they paced out the villains. That was blessing as well as a relief. The interactions of the proposed villains made sense. The focus was Electro and how he was sadly and easily manipulated. Maybe easy is not the best word. The character was on the cliff of crazy as it was, but sadly that was society’s influence. It didn’t take a whole lot for him and his misguided anger to put him in the situation that he ended up in. The other villains were used as a set up for a future movies and a constant thorn in Spider-Man’s side whether or not another film makes it out there, which I hear there will be.

I also just truly enjoyed Peter Parker’s character. His constant internal struggles of doing what is right for everyone as opposed to doing what is right by himself is a character quality that I love about him. He can joke and be funny, but he is also intelligent and loving and caring. He has had to go through so much at such a young age that people forget this. Other heroes make jabs and get annoyed by his constant blabbing and joking in the comic books, but they always forget what he’s been through. The fact that he can joke is remarkable and shows what a truly amazing character he is. It is no wonder why he is Stan Lee’s favorite.

I wholeheartedly recommend this movie, even with all of the trash I just talked about it. In the end, Spider-Man fans have seen worse and know what bad looks like. There are always bad parts of the best movies and in this case, it is easy enough to overlook. I think knowing them ahead of time will make it a little easier to look beyond.

The Love and Hilarity of New Girl

Almost through its third season, New Girl has easily become one of my all-time favorite shows on television. The humor is smart, random, and crude at times, but most importantly it is fantastic. It is one of those shows you don’t have to watch everything episode in order to understand the series. You can literally jump in at any time and have just as much fun.

I have heard it compared with the television show Friends, which I can see similarities with, but I feel that Friends was a much more structure show. While New Girl does have an ensemble of characters that have their own quirks, the show can easily focus on just one character and take them out of the group. Friends relied on the fact that these people were friends. I think the only storylines on that show that broke away were always concerning Ross, who was kind of the lone wolf due to him not living in one of the two featured apartments in the beginning seasons when the show was establishing.

The tile of New Girl can be a bit misleading to what the show actually is, and honestly the only thing that I have a problem with. When the show was originally advertised, it looked like it was going to be this quirky comedy about this girl named Jess played by Zooey Deschanel. It frankly looked girly. I was going to check it out because I am a big fan of Zooey Deschanel, and honestly that was the only reason I did. What the show turned out to be was about the everyday lives and shenanigans of the people that live in this one apartment that the Jess character just moved into. Jess moves in with three guys, Nick, Schmidt, Coach, at the time, and Winston. The guys get as much focus as Jess does, and all of their personalities vary. This is one of my brother’s favorite shows as well, because of the focus they put on the other characters.

Jess, played by Zooey Deschanel, brings in this naïve and sweet quality to the group. While she can think of things that seem juvenile, she brings in this heart and love to the group that the boys clearly needed. She does bring some mother aspects in as well, but she is not these men’s mother. She has truly been accepted by the boys and is officially one of their roommates, but now one of their close friends as well.

Nick, played by Jake Johnson, is the lost man that works in a bar and doesn’t really know what he wants in life. While on one hand he knows he needs to figure it out, he just doesn’t want to do it now. I have come to my own conclusions as to why his character is like this especially after seeing some episodes that focus on his family. His personal quirks usually focus on his lack of motivation, cheapness, or what the group has called his “old man” tendencies.

Schmidt, played by Max Greenfield, is that friend that everyone has that says the most atrocious and completely unacceptable things, because he truly doesn’t fully understand the meaning behind what he is saying. He is just saying it because he thinks it will make him socially acceptable. His whole focus is about what will make him socially acceptable. That is the reason no one hates him. He may have to be educated on why he can’t say things, but he is still a true friend that loves you and will do anything for you. The show has always made it clear as to why the Schmidt character acts the way he does, so you as the audience also will also overlook these faults.

Winston, played by Lamorne Morris, first comes off as the normal and level friend in this apartment, but Winston is the one that will just take something way too far which is his hilarious quirk. His character kind of replaced Coach’s in the second episode. Honestly Coach’s character made such an impression in the first episode that you as the audience were constantly a little weary of Winston when he first showed up, but he makes a good play and becomes just as favorable as everyone else.

Coach, played by Damon Wayans Jr., was originally in the pilot episode, but I believe since another pilot Damon Wayans Jr. worked on got picked up before New Girl, they had to work around the loss of his character by adding Winston. I like that they never replaced his character, because he was very memorable in the first episode. Since Damon Wayans Jr’s other show recently ended, he has come back to New Girl this season and has moved back into the apartment. His return has been a very welcomed edition. He is very sensitive and caring, but doesn’t like to show it, choosing overly masculine routes instead, which brings in the hilarity.

This show has become my weekly cleanser. If I have had a tough or rough week, I know that a half an hour of this show will have me rolling. That is really a precious commodity for me. I want to move into this apartment with these people, because I love this show so much. They remind me of my friends and the random things we do or get into. It is a great show about people my age that don’t really know what they are truly supposed to be doing, but feel the pressure of having some kind of answer and proof to support that answer. Honestly, it would heaven to work on this show, and who knows maybe I will someday. Definitely check this show out if you haven’t. Currently, Netflix users can access the first two seasons.