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.

10 Best Fights in Captain America: Civil War (SPOILERS)

This post is full of spoilers.

MASSIVE FUCKING SPOILERS!!!

Captain America Civil War

“Run away! He’s gonna spoil the movie for us.”

I saw Captain America: Civil War on Friday. Yes. Yes. It is an amazing movie. Just like Winter Soldier, it’s more than just a comic book movie. It’s political intrigue and espionage. Very well-written and directed. Though it can be said that the entire movie is just a set-up for one incredibly cool battle sequence. But that’s alright with me. There is an epic battle in an airport that’s worth the price of admission. So many good match-ups in that sequence alone. Amazing.

One more time…

SPOILER ALERT!!!

Team Iron Man

Team Iron Man

Civil War is almost as good as that first Avengers movie (almost) and it too has some amazing match-ups. Some of the best superhero on superhero fight scenes since the original. I loved it. I loved every minute of it.

Team Captain America

Team Captain America

Here is my top ten list of my favorite fights in Civil War. Some fights are shorter than others but all have something about the match-up that I thought was cool. Pay attention. There’ll be a test later. It represents half of your grade.

Captain America: Civil War (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Captain-America-Civil-War-Divided-We-Fall-Poster

Directed by Anthony Russo & Joe Russo

Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely  Based on Captain America by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

Starring Chris EvansRobert Downey Jr.Scarlett JohanssonSebastian StanAnthony MackieDon CheadleJeremy RennerChadwick BosemanPaul BettanyElizabeth OlsenPaul RuddEmily VanCampTom HollandFrank GrilloWilliam Hurt & Daniel Brühl

Civil War

“What do we do, Cap?”

“We fight.”

Kevin Hart

To the list…

10. Captain America vs. Brock/Crossbones

Crossbones vs Captain America

This is one of the first fights in Civil War. It’s everyone’s favorite Hydra bad guy Brock and he’s back looking a little worse for wear. He has some technological enhancements and he gives Cap a good fight in the opening sequence. Before getting blowed up good.

9. Black Widow & Sharon Carter vs. Winter Soldier

Black Widow vs Bucky's Scrote

These two women kick serious ass but this fight is brutal. Bucky is in full Winter Soldier mode, killing people right and left. Sharon and Natasha try to take him down.

Sharon Carter vs The Winter Soldier

They try to. These girls are not in his weight class. But it is one of the better choreographed fights. I like that the first thing Natasha does is punch him in the nuts. And Sharon gets to show off her fighting skills in this movie.

8. Spiderman vs. The Falcon

This is one of the funnier fights. Spiderman is definitely the comic relief on the Iron Man side. We know Spidey. He will talk a bad guy’s ear off while kicking his ass. Spiderman kicks ass all over the place, talking shit the entire time. But in this battle Falcon finally tells him to shut the hell up.

7. Giant Man vs Team Iron Man

Giant-Man

Massive spoiler. Ant-man becomes Giant Man in that airport fight. It’s awesome. Changes the battle dynamic immensely and helps Cap and Bucky get away. This one was cool because Giant Man was one of the original avengers. Also if they do an Ant-man sequel, it will be interesting to know that he has this one in his back pocket. I also liked that Spiderman uses The Empire Strikes Back as a reference for how to beat him.

6. Black Panther vs. Captain America

Cap vs Panther

One of the coolest new characters is Black Panther. He brings the martial arts action and, in my opinion, kicks Captain America’s ass in a few small fights throughout the movie. I can’t wait to see what they do with the character in his own movie.

5. Ant-man vs Iron Man

Ant-Man

Ant-man shrinks down to a size small enough to get inside Iron Mans suit, Hawkeye fires him through the air and he starts pulling Iron Man apart from the inside. Only Tony’s new AI F.R.I.D.A.Y. saves him with the internal fire suppression system. Otherwise he was about to get undressed by the little guy.

4. Black Widow vs. Hawkeye (Broken up by Scarlet Witch)

This is a fun fight because they’re great friends and the entire time they’re chatting and it’s funny because they’re pulling their punches until Scarlet Witch just ends it for them because they weren’t really fighting. They were just sparring. Go fight other people.

3. Scarlet Witch vs. Vision

Scarlet Witch vs Vision

Speaking of Scarlet Witch we see again in this movie how she’s the strongest and in some ways the weakest Avenger. Wanda takes Vision down brutally. Also they hint at the future romance between them. It’s very cute. Making the way she brutally kicks his ass even more heart-breaking. She forces him first to his knees and then through the floor and through the ground and just buries him in a hole like a mile deep. The only way it could have been more crushing is if he were in the middle of telling her how much he loved her when she did it.

2. Spiderman vs. Captain America

Spiderman vs Captain America

Seriously Spiderman has some of the best fights. He takes on both Cap and Bucky and not only holds his own but kicks ass. I say “kick ass” a lot in this post because that’s basically all that happens in Civil War. A lot of kicking ass. I like that Iron Man sends Spidey to fight Cap. Not because they’re about equal strength but because Cap doesn’t know him and Captain America’s biggest strength is his tactical mind. So Tony sends a complete unknown after him and he kicks Cap’s ass… for a while.

1. Iron Man vs Captain America & Bucky

Final Battle

After all the cool fights, the best fight by far is the climactic battle with Iron Man fighting Captain America and Bucky. This is the coolest because Cap and Bucky are fighting together like they’ve known each other for decades. Oh that’s right they have. And neither one could take Iron Man alone. And for most of the movie the fights aren’t as brutal as they could be because everyone is a good guy and no one is trying to kill anybody…

Final Battle 2

Except for in the last fight where the gloves come off. And they are trying to beat the shit out of each other. This is the epic battle the movie builds to and it does not disappoint.

Captain-America-Civil-War

Some Random Thoughts:

Steve is so old school, he had to wait for Peggy Carter to die before making moves on her niece Sharon. That was considerate.

I have never liked the fact that Spiderman made his own suit. I’m more okay with him making his on web slingers. It’s much more believable that Stark Industries whipped a cool costume up for him. After the credits they show off some of the cool tech they included for the Spiderman movie. Can’t wait. Tom Holland is great as a young Spidey.

No one was more disappointed than I when Black Widow didn’t throw down with King T’challa’s gorgeous female body-guard. I would have paid extra for that one.

Bucky vs Iron Man or Bucky's Arm vs an Arc Reactor

The trailer leads us to believe that Bucky disables War Machine and that’s why Tony is going after him with deceptive editing. It’s Tony’s arc reactor that he tries to rip out (before Tony blows his fucking arm away) and it’s Vision who destroys War Machine’s reactor by accident because he’s worried about Wanda. I hate when trailers are creatively edited so that it changes the plot of the movie.

War Machine down

Tony was willing to use his arc reactor on Bucky but wasn’t willing to use it on Steve. In my opinion that’s the only reason he loses that final fight. He blasted Thor with it in the first movie. He hit Bucky with it and it disintegrated his arm. Had he used it on Cap when Cap was on top of him… fight over. Of course it may have killed him.

I thought Batman v. Superman was bad before but now that I can compare it to Civil War, it is pure crap. DC movies suck ass… honestly.

Captain America

“Language.”

So in conclusion, Captain America : Civil War is a great movie. With some great fights and a good story. I’m still #TeamIronMan though. Just sign the damn accords Cap. What the hell, man.

Now here comes the new quiz.

Talk to you guys later.

– Mel

X-Men: Apocalypse Trailer

I loved the original X-Men series up until the point when Bryan Singer handed the reins to that creepy dude (Ratner Ratface Something). And I really enjoyed the reboot although I liked the first movie, X-Men: First Class, directed by Matthew Vaughn, a lot better than X-Men :Days of Future Past, directed by Singer.

This one sees Bryan Singer back in the director’s chair.

It’s not that great of a trailer. And frankly it doesn’t have enough Olivia Munn for my liking. But can you truly ever have enough Olivia Munn? Maybe not.

And I think the last shot is pretty fucking cheesy.

But I’m still excited.

Not the best trailer, but it’s early. And the Memorial Day release is always a good sign. Usually a sign they think they have a hit. (I think the last two were Spring releases)

It’s good to see Quicksilver back though. (At least the X-Men’s Quicksilver or Fox’s Quicksilver, if not the Avenger’s Quicksilver or Disney’s Quicksilver or Marvel’s but aren’t they both Marvel’s… anyway one of them had to die… there can be only one)

It’s an early trailer. Nothing spectacular. Cheesy reveal at the end. Not enough Munn.

Still looking forward to seeing these characters again. Great casting. New Storm. New Jean Grey. Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse. Olivia… (okay yes I have a big crush on Olivia Munn dating back to AOTS. I was there from the beginning. Don’t judge me)

X-Men Apocalypse

X-Men was my favorite comic growing up. So I’m always excited for a new film.

Bring it.

-Mel

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: Ant-Man

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

Ant-Man (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Ant-ManPoster

Directed by Peyton Reed

Written by Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish  Based on Ant-Man by Stan LeeLarry Lieber & Jack Kirby

Starring Paul RuddEvangeline LillyCorey StollBobby CannavaleMichael PeñaTip “T.I.” HarrisWood HarrisJudy GreerDavid Dastmalchian & Michael Douglas

This is a good movie. Funny, exciting, very funny, lots of heart, lots of superhero action. I really enjoyed Ant-Man a lot. It plays more like a heart-strings pulling comedy than a superhero action film. But if you go into it knowing that you’re seeing a comedy-adventure and not an action-adventure, you won’t be disappointed. But I think it needed just a little more salt because it was a bit too bland for me. But still I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Verdict: SPARED

For every bad thing Mel says about the movie I'm gonna kick you ass.

“For every bad thing Mel says about Ant-Man, I’m gonna kick you ass.” “Wait… what?”

I had a few complaints (Sorry Paul). Actually I had a lot of complaints. Most of them had to deal with continuity. Stupid questions like “Why’s the kid on the bed now?” “How did they get in the tank?” “Why is he back in the bathroom?” Stupid stuff that most people won’t notice or care about. But I do. And some complaints about the movie’s physics. But honestly, it’s a movie about a guy who can shrink down to the size of an ant while maintaining his density but not his weight. You can forgive a few lapses in logic and physical continuity. A few things grow. A few things shrink. A few things happen because the plot demands them to happen. Don’t think too much about the science (or continuity) and you’ll have a good time. You’ll see gaping holes large enough to drive a TANK through (heh heh) but you’ll still have a good time. It’s a good movie.

Ant-Man-7

“Nice. Keep saying good things so she doesn’t kick my ass. I’ll be hiding in the suit.”

And I loved the cast. I absolutely loved Paul Rudd in this. He is the perfect Ant-Man. He was fantastic because he wasn’t too much Paul Rudd and yet he was the right amount of Paul Rudd. If you know what I mean.

YellowJacket

“I’ll kick your ass in the suit little man.” “Okay… I’m getting out of the suit.”

Also Michael Douglas is amazing as Hank Pym (the first Ant-Man) as is Ant-Man’s best friend and celly from prison, Michael Peña. Who plays the movie’s comic relief (and is very very funny). I’m just not the biggest fan of Evangeline Lilly. She can’t act.

Not the biggest fan?

“Not the biggest… FAN… of Evan-geline… LILLY? Thinks… I can’t… ACT.”

Hold on. I believe Evangeline Lilly is one of the most beautiful women on the planet. Like top three. Like top five at least. Gorgeous. Stunning. Like stunningly beautiful. But her acting is not… quite… the best (NOT IN THE FACE). And her hair in this is horrible. Really bad. And I get why her hair is like that. You get it by the end. But it just looks bad on her. However, she doesn’t ruin it for me. She doesn’t ruin the movie. Truly the only acting bug I found, that annoyed me, was the guy with the bad Russian accent. I mean really. What is this Boris and Natasha shit? But of course, Ant-Man is not about the performances.

ant-man suit

“It’s about the suit, right? Am I right? The suit. I’m right, right? The suit? Tell me it’s the suit.”

Ant-man is about the spectacular special effects. The fight scenes where he shrinks and grows and jumps around punching guys and dodging bullets and flying through the air… Amazing. The fight scenes are the best thing about this movie. And it’s a superhero movie so that’s what you want. Also what you want from a superhero movie (these days) are cameos from other heroes and Ant-Man has some good ones from TV and other Marvel films. The best one they gave away in the new TV spot but I’m not going to give it away here. (stick around for the after credits scenes though. It gets even better)

Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly from Ant-Man

“He said it gets better after the credits.” “I know. I just like kicking your ass.”

So what do we got? The story is good. The acting is good. The special effects are good. the fight choreography is good. And there are some pretty cool cameos. So it should be a pretty spectacular movie. Right? It is NOT a spectacular movie. Because it is badly directed. This is the perfect example of everyone doing their job well (which granted is also a sign of good directing) but the movie lacking that certain something. (Jenna: “Qua?” Thank you Jenna [I didn’t even have to tell her to say it]) It’s just a little bland. Like a chef using all your favorite ingredients but forgetting to season. Music choices, editing, pacing? It’s hard to put your finger on it but Ant-Man is a good movie that’s a little bland.

“Dude. You’re gonna get me killed here.”

However, having said that, I really liked the movie and after a couple of months of bad movies in the theater and on home video, it’s good to at last see something decent and fun and funny. It’s very funny. And this is Peyton Reed’s first action movie. Let alone his first major blockbuster. So he is forgiven for not knowing how to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. And the fight scenes are awesome. Truly truly awesome.

Evangeline Lilly Ant-Man

“Yes. But what’s wrong with my hair? Let’s get back to that. So I can kick Paul’s ass some more.”

Ant-Man is a really good movie considering Evangeline Lilly’s bad hair (oof) and the director’s lack of experience with action movies (pow). It’s good. It’s good. It’s just not spectacular. And for Summer releases, you want spectacular.

– Mel