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.

Spared or Spoiled Film Reviews: Dracula Untold

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

Dracula Untold (Universal Pictures)

Dracula-Untold-Poster-main

Directed by Gary Shore

Written by Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless  Based on Dracula by Bram Stoker (but not really)

Starring Luke EvansSarah GadonDominic CooperArt Parkinson & Charles Dance

Maybe it’s just me but stupid movies really piss me off. And Dracula Untold is a stupid movie. The characters do and say stupid things to stupid music for stupid reasons. Dracula Untold is the stupidest piece of crap I have seen in a long time. I tried to watch it without yelling at it, but I failed miserably. I screamed out “This is so stupid!” at about 15 minutes in and then I wouldn’t shut up about it for the rest of the way. Rant city. First of all, why do we need to try to make Dracula the good guy? What the hell, people? Stop with this. But anyway I watched this garbage. And here’s what happened. This is the hell it put me through. Dracula Untold should have remained untold.

Verdict: SPOILED

Dracula Untold

SPOILER ALERT

Dracula Untold starts out okay. Honestly it does. When you press play the movie starts as all movies do. And that’s pretty much it, because then there were some pictures and sounds and these were very painful. Vlad and his soldiers find an old vampire in a cave. They all die but Vlad escapes and goes back to his kingdom and tries to forget about it. But then the Turkish army want him to give them his son as a show of loyalty, like his father did to him when he was a boy. So he starts a war with an army that outnumbers his 1000:1 because he doesn’t want to. There are a couple Game of Thrones actors in Dracula Untold and one of the things I’ve learned from GoT is that with being royalty comes responsibility and sacrifice. To end a war, the king must do things he doesn’t want to. Often involving sons and daughters (marriages, hostages). But no, not our Vladdy.

Dracula and Son of Dracula

Then he goes back to the cave with the old vampire. It should have just killed him and ended the movie right there, but whatever, it turns him into a vampire instead. Vlad thinks it’s a good idea to turn himself into a monster and get EVERYBODY in the kingdom killed to save his son. But he comes back home with his new power and the Turks still destroy his army and his kingdom and kill his wife and take his son and in the end his decision was awful. Just fucking awful. Absolutely the wrong thing to do.

Charles Dance in Dracula UntoldIn Dracula Untold, Vlad has three days to defeat the Turks before he’s supposed to revert back to being human. That’s fine. Vampire rules change in almost every story. But if he drinks blood before then he remains a vampire forever. Okay whatever but he has a clock ticking. He can’t go out in the day. So his army goes off without him and he has to catch up to them after dusk. And even when he catches up, he spends the entire time playing with one of the boss bad guys instead of killing him quickly and saving his people. It’s really Stupid. He takes on a battalion alone but takes forever to kill one guy.

Wife of Dracula

He knocks this bad guy off a cliff or something and doesn’t make sure he’s dead, so of course the guy comes back. But that’s not it. After he fails miserably to save anyone and his son is gone and his wife is dying and all his people are slaughtered. The wife tells him to drink her blood so that he can turn into a vampire forever. For the revenge. And so he drinks, turns others into vampires to fight alongside him and goes to rescue his son from the big bad human dude. The other vampires try to kill his son after they finish off all the Turks, so he parts the dark clouds that he created… (oh yeah he makes cloud cover to attack in the daytime. Something that could have helped him before then but whatever). And the clouds part. The sun kills all of them and him. There are tents right next to them. All any of them had to do was step inside one. But instead they all burn. Tents everywhere. All over the place. This movie is so stupid.

Luke Evans in Dracula UntoldBut the movie is at its most stupid when, in the main boss battle, the big bad (remember. just a dude not a vampire or anything) puts silver coins on the ground to slow our boy Vladdy down and make him sick. He’s been flying around the whole damn movie and now all of a sudden he decides to walk. The bad guy nearly defeats him because of this silver and also because that’s how action films are supposed to work. But then just before he can plunge a stake through Vlad’s heart, in what I’m thinking the film-makers thought was a tension filled sequence, he flies up off the silver and kills the bad guy with the same wooden stake through his full plate mail. Yeah, all of sudden he can fly again. But not just that. Full… Plate… Mail… against a wooden stake. Yeah. This movie is stupid.

dracula-untold-mehmet

So the movie is over. Thank god. Vlad’s dead. His vampire cohorts are dead. The Turks are all dead. The only one to survive is the kid Vlad was trying to save the whole time, while he allowed his entire kingdom, his army and all his people to be destroyed in a senseless war. Yeah, that worked out pretty well for him. Well, at least it’s over. NOPE think again. Cut to the present day. Somehow Vladdy boy survived the sun. The fucking sun (no explanation). So he’s just at a farmer’s market in some other country. He sees a woman who looks just like his wife. They do their secret handshake or something and start flirting or whatever. I don’t remember. I was too busy yelling, cursing and trying not to vomit from all the stupidity. Oh, and here comes the original vampire from the cave. He’s there too for some reason. He’s healed up and out of his cave and walking around as well. Whatever. What-the-fucking-ever. Roll credits.

dracula-untold-luke-evans

Dracula Untold is a stupid stupid stupid stupid movie.

– Mel