LOGAN: The Death of the Comic Book Movie (The Birth of the Comic Book Genre)

This is not a review, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants of Gods, X-Men, Destiny, Time, Love, Storm, Rogue, Beauty… Comic Books.

Logan: The Death of a the Comic Book Movie (The Birth of the Comic Book Genre)

…Or this is just me rambling on about movies and comic books as usual.

Logan (20th Century Fox)

Directed by James Mangold

Written by Scott Frank, James Mangold & Michael Green

Starring Hugh JackmanPatrick StewartRichard E. GrantBoyd HolbrookStephen Merchant & Dafne Keen

“I get the feeling this review is gonna hurt, kid. The kind of pain that doesn’t heal. You know what I mean?” “Of course I do. I’m extraordinarily wise for a lab experiment… oh yeah and I can drive.”

Make no mistake, people. Logan is not a good film. It’s not a good superhero film or a good western. Even as it tries to compare its own shit writing to the classic western Shane (SACRILEGE!!!), it is not a good movie, period. But what it is, what Logan turns out to be, is the latest in a welcome trend. A regular movie that just happens to star a comic book superhero. Not a superhero movie. Not a comic book movie. There are comic books in the movie. Wolverine waves them around from time to time, if that helps to put the character in context. But that’s about it. And it does not.

“You see, in this reality they made us into comic book superheroes for their kids but still hunted us down like dogs… because that makes total sense.”

Wolverine, everyone’s favorite X-Man, has had three solo movies. The first and the third have been complete bullshit. The second, however, is one of my favorite comic book movies of all-time. The second Wolverine is an homage to his stand alone title. It is a perfect replica. The pacing. The cinematography. This is The Wolverine. This is the comic that I collected from issue ONE. I say this all the time and I will say it here again. “If you do not respect the source material do not take on the job of bringing it to the screen.” But I was about to tell you what this awful movie Logan means for the industry.

“Awful? Well that’s just harsh. Play that Johnny Cash song again. I think I’m gonna cry.””

The first sci-fi genre was a straight space adventure. Trip To The Moon. The second was The vampire Film. Nosferatu. Since those two, we’ve had tons of space adventures and tons of takes on the vampire. These are tried and true genres that once every decade somebody tries to reinvent and breathe new life into. But also there are other types of movies that aren’t as flexible. They come and go from era to era. They disappear and have resurgences. Like the western or the gladiator movie. These are just types of movies not genres. (in this context anyway. Because words can be tricky)

“I will kill you all with my Star Wars Prequel Yoda-like, physics defying, aerial acrobatics because I am a cartoon character in a serious movie!!! ARRRGH!!!”

In the past, the superhero movie was a type. (type vs genre) It was a costumed adventure. Fight the bad guy. Save the girl. Save the world. Period. End of story. There were a few comedy bits thrown in but mostly it was the superhero’s tale. But these types of movies are coming to an end. Their time has passed. Logan is not a comic book movie. It just happens to star a character from a comic book. And that is awesome. (Even while the movie Logan is not that awesome).

“Say my movie is bad one more time. I dare you… Bub.” *snikt

Logan is not a western either, by the way. I read that somewhere. I disagree whole-heartedly. It thinks it’s a western, but it’s not. If anything it’s a post-apocalyptic survival story like Mad Max: Fury Road. But instead of a global apocalypse, Logan is about the mutant apocalypse. The chase to hunt down the last mutants. At the start of this movie all but three mutants are dead. Professor X, Callaban and Wolverine. By the end of this movie… no spoilers but everywhere you look people are saying this is the last Wolverine movie. This is the last Wolverine movie. So you figure it out. And don’t talk to me about the kids. They were made in a lab (*see note). So not a natural mutation. Logan, the end of the Wolverine franchise, is some dark stuff.

*note: Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton was added in a lab but his mutation, his healing factor (Deadpool has the same thing but that too is from a lab) and Wolverine’s heightened senses (smell mostly) are a natural mutation. Of course the movie Logan all but ignores his sense of smell. It’s almost like the writers never read the comic books… but anyway. What was I saying? Oh yes.

“Wolverine, would you please tell Mel to stay on topic.” “He doesn’t listen to me, Professor.”

The comic book superhero is officially a film genre and not a type of movie now. And I know I’m not using the right words but bear with me. Because the word genre can fit for both of these categories of things and it gets confusing. The way I’m differentiating here is in the ways they can be presented. Some film types are the same no matter what. Different plot. Different characters. But you know the beats. Romantic Comedy. You get the gist. International Spy Thriller. You know what you’re going to get. Gladiator films changed from Roman to Martial Arts but they generally stayed the same. The Comic Book Movie was just like that not too long ago. Dark or Light. Marvel or DC. Nolan’s Batman, Donner’s Superman, Whedon’s Avengers and Raimi’s Spiderman are all the same fucking films. Like the western. It was a box. You could throw whatever superhero you wanted into it and the beats would always be generally the same. I’m not saying they are all the same quality because they are not. And there’s nothing wrong with opening up a box, knowing what you’re going to get and still being pleasantly surprised. It’s hard to like movies unless you’re okay with that.

“Wait… Are you the vampire, Callaban? And does that make me the Zombie? I don’t get it.”

But then you have the full on classic genre that’s not beholding to any style. Vampires. Are probably the best example. There are no rules. You can have a space opera with vampires. You can have a rom com with vampires or a western. Most recently Zombies have become the go to for putting them wherever the fuck you want. If you made a section of vampire movies it would make no sense. There would actually be more types of movies than you could shake a stick at under the vampire genre. Comic book superheroes are now officially crossing into that zone. And I’m psyched. The R rated comic book film with no crime to fight, no world to save… fuck yeah.

“Did somebody call for a super-villain? That isn’t really super or necessarily a villain. Just a misguided corporate stooge who blindly follows orders. Did somebody call for a misguided corporate stooge who blindly follows orders?”

And again I’m talking Sherlock Holmes in space type shit. Not just some detective. I’m talking about recognizable comic book superheroes in all kinds of movie boxes. Not just some generic superhero they made up that’s supposed to remind us of stuff from the comics, but the name-brand heroes from the comics. It’s time for a Batman movie where he never puts on the cape. Just a detective story or a revenge tale. One of my favorite aspects of The Hulk movie (still my favorite comic book adaptation) is the romance between Liv Tyler and Ed Norton. And that’s what the Hulk was for me when I was a kid, a romance. Stop trying to make him into a superhero. He’s not a superhero. He’s a monster in love. Spider-man as a teen drama would be nice. Sure he’s still the spider-man but that’s not the movie. The movie is about a kid trying to finish high school. Stop it with the super-villains. Enough already. We get it.

“Logan, do you remember that Star Trek episode where Captain Picard has a full life and grows old in a simulated tribute to an alien species?” “No I didn’t watch that nerd crap.” “I wish that was what this was. Because this movie is depressing as fuck.”

So anyway, what Logan represents to me is the death of the comic book movie. We saw the beginnings in Winter Soldier… that’s more of a spy thriller than comic book. And Deadpool… an R rated fourth wall comedy, a parody of itself. The comic book movie as movie type, is burning itself out. There will still be tons made, because you know how it takes Hollywood a couple of decades before they get the point, but we’re already getting tired of them. Bring on the comic book heroes in regular movies. These are great classic characters. They don’t have to fight The Riddler every week. That’s just their job. It doesn’t have to also be the movie plot.

“Here Lies The Superhero Movie Genre… I mean Movie Type… May It Rest In Peace… I mean Pieces. – Hugh Jackman.”

So Logan, this mediocre, unbelievably corny and poorly written take on The Wolverine, really wasn’t that great of a movie from where I was sitting (seat L10 right behind the wheelchair section because, you know, leg room ftw). Even though Hugh Jackman is great as Wolverine, here he reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger coming back to play the Terminator one last time… nostalgic. And to tell the truth, I didn’t see Wolverine in Logan at all. I saw the actor who plays Wolverine and a character with claws who references the comic books like that’s enough. That’s not enough.

“Daddy?” “Yes Laura… wait. Did you just call me daddy? Damn, maybe Mel is right. This is some corny ass shit.” “I have to go to the bathroom.” “Hold it. We’re almost there.” “AARRRRGH!!” “Really? Again with the screaming?”

But what I also saw, in the theater, and on the screen, is what it means for comic book movies going forward… a whole new set of rules. The possibilities are endless. Creativity run amok. And that shit was better than the movie. That shit was beautiful.

– Mel

The Comic Book Movie is dead.

Long Live the Comic Book Genre.

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Captain America: Civil War Trailer

Aw yeah.

Honestly this whole thing hurts my heart. Captain America and Iron Man fighting is sad.

Can’t we all just get along.

But then again…

Fuck yeah!

The last fight in the trailer where Bucky and Cap hold their own against Iron Man is sick.

This trailer has everything. Scarlet Witch flying. Black Panther being all Black Panther-y. Falcon kicking ass. And lots of cool dialogue between Cap and Tony. But what it doesn’t have… Vision, Hulk, Ant-Man… Spiderman.

Captain America Civil War

I hope it’s better than Winter Soldier. I’m not saying Winter Soldier was bad. Winter Soldier was amazing. I’m just hoping this is better.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Film Reviews: Avengers- Age of Ultron

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Avengers Age of Ultron Poster

Written & Directed by Joss Whedon  Based on The Avengers by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Starring Robert Downey, Jr.Chris HemsworthMark RuffaloChris EvansScarlett JohanssonJeremy RennerDon CheadleAaron Taylor-JohnsonElizabeth OlsenPaul BettanyCobie SmuldersAnthony MackieHayley AtwellIdris ElbaStellan SkarsgårdJames Spader & Samuel L. Jackson

What’s that sound I hear coming from the movie screen? It’s the sound of Joss Whedon trying to be funny and failing miserably. Avengers: Age of Ultron is ruined by three awesomely fantastic things. Three things I so hate to blame for this failure. But I must. I must. Those things are: The Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, The Guardians of the Galaxy movie and how much money it made & James Spader… well more accurately, James Spader’s mouth. I did not enjoy myself at the new Avengers movie… and this, my friends, is why my heart was broken.

Verdict: SPOILED

Avengers in Action

All the excitement of a Saturday morning cartoon.

SPOILER ALERT

Avengers: Age of Ultron is the opposite of the Avengers first movie. Where that movie was set up by the many solo movies of its heroes, this Avengers movie seems to exist only to set-up the next movies in each of those franchises. If the Marvel Cinematic Universe were a musical, Avengers: Age of Ultron would be a book number. Designed purely to advance the plot… not a showstopper. Whatever corporate shill who came up with the idea to make a movie that’s sole reason for existing is to set-up the plots for other movies needs to be fired.

Quicksilver and Scarlet-Witch

“We are, how you say, disposable and unnecessary, dah?”

Avengers: Age of Ultron is not Guardians of the Galaxy and Joss Whedon is not James Gunn. Nearly every intentionally funny line in Ultron is groan-inducing. The comedy is awful and not organic to the story but seemingly shoehorned in to make the movie “funny” you know like Guardians of the Galaxy (said some executive in some boardroom). That “funny” feeling I got in my stomach was me wanting to vomit every time another character pointed out that Captain America doesn’t like bad language. How is that funny? Avengers: Age of Ultron is not Guardians of the Galaxy and Joss Whedon is not James Gunn. Some one said, Let’s create a preposterously contrived romance between the green character and the pretty one you know like in Guardians of the Galaxy. Maybe it wasn’t because of the romance in Guardians. Maybe instead it was an homage to this very funny, very x-rated Avengers porn GIF with Hulk and Black Widow.

WARNING: Hardcore porn GIF featuring Hulk and Black Widow. Do not click if you do not want to see porn.

Hulk and Black Widow Hardcore Porn GIF

Captain America

“Captain America doesn’t appreciate your smut, junior. Wash your mouth out with soap.”

Question. Why are the robot’s lips moving? What the hell is that? Talk about your uncanny valley. Could that be any more creepy looking? Nope. I love James Spader. And I realize his disembodied voice on the soundtrack like so much Bane from Dark Knight Rises would have been disconcerting… I suppose, but the animated lips on the metal man were just the perfect amount of What The Fuck to take me right out of the film.

The Vision

“I’m here to help.”

So what DID I like? Vision. Vision was cool as shit. What didn’t I like? The Russian emo twins. And Elizabeth Olsen pulling the “heart” out of a robot and asking it what it felt like. No. No. A thousand times no. What did I like? The serious tone of the movie even while they tried to shove jokes into it later. What didn’t I like? Nearly every action sequence in the film, the use of slow-motion and every single time Cap and Thor did some cutesy maneuver with the shield and the hammer (after the first time they did one). What did I like? The Jeremy Renner side story that was an obvious attempt to make him the anti-American Sniper. What didn’t I like? The stupid cliché of Hawkeye going back for the kid and Quicksilver dying while trying to save them both after the two not liking each other and I expected more from Joss Whedon and the whole thing felt like corporate meddling and now I feel like they’re gonna screw up Star Wars and I’m sick to my stomach because I know Joss is better than what I just watched. Grrr Argh!

Ultron

“Stop looking at my mouth.”

So in conclusion, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a money grab designed to set-up future movies like as if the entire film was one of those after-credits scenes. It is rarely funny but too frequently tries to be. The fight scenes are overly cute and use slow-motion to hide the fact that it ain’t that exciting. The twins are way too moody. The plot and dialogue are way too cliché. The romance between Hulk and Black Widow is pointless and the robots mouth moves showing emotion like a cartoon character from a Disney movie… oh right… oops.

Hulkbuster Armor

Nice try on the Hulkbuster armor. Too bad that battle wasn’t the climax of a Hulk movie.

But we’ll always have Vision… Vision is bad-ass. My favorite part was when he looks over at Thor and has cape envy. Vision needs his own film. That’s one hot android.

“I do not have this cape envy of which you speak.”

The Vision is definitely bad-ass. And he almost saves the film… Almost.

– Mel

P.S. They showed the trailer for Ant-Man and it looks amazing. Ah-May-Zing

Photos from Around the Block: Ultron Edition

Saw the Avengers today (more on that later).

Here are some photos from Midtown Manhattan in the Spring that I took after seeing the new Avengers movie.

Avengers

I took my camera with me and took some pictures when I took a walk in midtown near my favorite theater. It took nearly 2 hours to get 50 shots. But the light took my breath away.

Red window

The red window.

Globes

The globes are on. All but one.

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Midtown side streets.

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We bikes.

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Red bricks and trees.

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Dublin House Birds.

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Blue windows.

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Griffins and white flowers

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Hey Joe

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You looking at me?

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Who the fuck you think you looking at?

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The view from Lincoln Square.

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White flowers in bloom.

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White flowers like snow..

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Lion heads overhead.

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72nd O’clock

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Hats half off watches full price.

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Jet Airplane – Water tower

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Flowers and the streets of New York.

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And that’s my ride…

Until next time.

– Mel

Avengers: Age of Ultron (Teaser Trailer)

NIce. We got an Avengers trailer to watch over and over and over and over and…

I’m a little speechless here.

I don’t know what to think of this. It looks a lot darker than the first one. And that kind of scares me. But I trust in Joss. If he thinks we have to go dark, then… fine… we go dark. However I can’t help but think that the darker tone (in the trailer at least) is a direct reaction to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and its ultra- light tone.

This is usually the point where I say I can’t wait. May 2015? (I know what someone’s getting for his birthday) But I CAN wait for this one. I’m a little scared of this one. There is a lot expected from it. And also there’s that old sophomore jinx to consider. Take your time, May 2015. Take your time.

– Mel

Thor 2: The Dark World Trailer

Looks cool.

Looks interesting.

I really liked the first one.

Natalie Portman‘s back.

Sounds like Anthony Hopkins is back.

New Director.

Alan Taylor does mostly TV but some really good TV (Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Rome, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire)

Early (no pressure) November release.

Can’t wait…

– Mel