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X-Men Universe

The Gifted – S01E03 – eXodus

Man, this show is just killing it next to The Inhumans. I think a lot of it is that everyone gets to use their powers. The Inhumans have what, guy who can’t talk, bald chick with magic hair, guy who calculates with a concussion, and guy who stomps. The little opening bit of this week’s The Gifted between Polaris and Eclipse was just so great.

The opening was this little flashback moment between these two, talking about when they first discovered they were mutants. Eclipse was talking about how he doesn’t like having to hide and his powers and Polaris talks about how she loves it. She also shows off how she can fly due to her magnetism ability and steel toed boots. She really subtley shows just how much she is like another Magnet powered mutant that any X-men fan should know. They also have this little moment where they accidentally create a mini Aurora, due to the interaction of her magnetism and his light. It’s cute, it really shows off the characters and their relationship and it worked really well as a scene.

We get a glimpse of the Redhead’s (Dreamer) power. Thunderbird wants to train Blink on how to use her powers with little luck and Dreamer suggests she could implant some memories that could help her focus better.

The Struckers sneak off to meet with a layer friend of Kate’s. She wants to try to fight back using legal means, but the Mutant Underground doesn’t want anything to do with it, too risky because they will probably just get betrayed. The MU wants to storm the jail and free Polaris and Reed.

Meanwhile, Reed is being set up by Sentinel Services to “escape” and get back into the Mutant Underground. He meets up with the bartender from before when he met with Eclipse as a way into the MU. He seems to be having some second thoughts when Agent Turner mentions treating the Underground like any terrorist organization. These second thoughts are amplified when he meets a mother and child also taking a trip tot he Underground with the Bartender. It culminates with him confessing to wearing a tracker and leaping out of the moving van.

Meanwhile, Polaris tests her limits by tearing the door off of her jail cell, despite the shock collar she is wearing to suppress her powers. It kind of feels like maybe she should find a way to rip the collar itself off.

The neighborhood discovers the Struckers are hiding out with Kate’s friend (apparently a brother or brother in law) and they come to storm the house and take the kids. Thunderbird and Aurora help them escape in a truck with the locals in pursuit. Dreamer, against Thunderbird’s wishes, implants memories in Blink to encourage her to be able to use her powers to help the others escape. Specifically a memory that was once Dreamer and Thunderbird, not Blink instead. Basically, telling Blink she and Thunderbird are lovers, so she can focus on saving him.

I have to say, this show is really shaping up to be pretty good. I think a lot has to do with the special effects, something a super hero show really needs. Even Agents of SHIELD sometimes feels like it could do a bit more with the super powers at times, take Ghost Rider for example, he was cool, but he showed up hardly at all and for very short periods of time when he did. Granted, this show has nothing to that level yet and I get that the effects are “expensive” especially for TV, but it’s really a necessary evil when dealing with super powers.

The Gifted – S01E02 – rX

The second episode of Fox’s The Gifted picks up right where the last left off.  Our band of mutants has just returned to base via Blink’s portal and Reed Strucker is being interrogated by Sentinel Services.  Polaris is still in prison.

There is a brief flashback moment of the Struckers in the past bowling, a mutant girl is being taunted by some other kids and accidentally released a blast of wind on the bullies.  Reed suggests that the girl has committed a serious crime and that the girl and her father should leave.  It’s kind of a nice little moment to show how Reed, despite his job at the time being kind of anti-mutant, he still cares.  I also kind of wonder how long until they reveal that he already knew about his kids carrying the X-gene, or even that he himself is some kind of mutant.

The base crew is mostly tasked with stabilizing Blink, who, after over exerting herself during last episode’s escape, us kind of out of hit, having some kind of seizures and creating random portals.  Kate Strucker and Eclipse head to a hospital to try to get the medication hey need.  There is a pretty nice throw back moment where they use the bullet wound Eclipse received in the first episode as an excuse to get into the ER.  It seems there are also mutant friendly hospitals, since the doctor doesn’t have a problem with Eclipse and his glowing light blood.

Meanwhile Polaris tries to befriend a mutant who looks like a girl version of Caliban from the movies.  She also get attacked by some other inmates and thrown in solitary.  Why is it in TV and movies the person being attacked ends up being the one thrown in solitary confinement?

Blink continues to have issues with her powers, she keeps opening a portal to the same point which is increasingly being filled with cops and SWAT.  Lauren Strucker is able to use her force fields to close the portals each time but it becomes more and more difficult.  Eventually she is unable to stop the portals, Andy steps in and sends a psychic pulse to stop the cops but he also knocks Blink in the process which causes complete chaos and portals all over.  Kate and Eclipse return during the chaos and are able to administer the medication to stop Blink from destroying the place.

The interrogation efforts of Reed Strucker don’t really go very well for Sentinel Services.  They don’t really have anything major to charge him with and Strucker makes it clear he just wants his family safe.  He is also offered a deal, to save his family in exchange for the Mutant Underground, though we don’t get to hear the outcome of the deal.

Things close up with some scientists looking into some historical news involving Mutant siblings and having interest in the Strucker children.  Some sort of vague set up for a future plot.

Overall not a bad episode, though there isn’t a super clear direction yet on where things are headed int he long term.

On one last note, at one point there is mention of the Mutant Liberation Front.  This isn’t super notable at this point other than the Mutant Liberation Front is to X-Force as The Brotherhood of Mutants is to the X-men, so to speak.  X-Force isn’t a thing yet int he X-men Movieverse yet, but Deadpool 2 is going to feature Cable and Domino, who, along with Deadpool, are all members of X-Force.   Chances are, there will be something there, eventually, though possibly as some future stand alone X-Force film.

The Gifted – S01E01

The FX show Legion was Fox’s first foray with the TV world with it’s X-men franchise.  There was rumors for a bit of a show called Hellfire that would be set in the 60s or 70s or something and center around the Hellfire Club, seen in X-men First Class.  Something like that, whatever it was, that show never came to fruition.  Legion had a short but pretty good run, though being on FX it was allowed a lot more liberty with it’s plot than a show on broadcast network television.  The Gifted lands on Fox, in prime time.  It centers on the lives of a bunch of lesser known mutants in a time without the X-men.  They call themselves the Mutant Underground.

So touching a bit on continuity and the X-men.  The movies have never been super coherent with their connections, and there’s the whole split timeline thing which complicates everything further.  The X-men and the Brotherhood of Mutants are both mentioned, but both are mentioned as being gone, disappeared.  There is mention about a time in the past where mutants were fighting each other, these days they all seem to just be living underground in hiding.  The film Logan made mention of one possible explanation for why the X-men have vanished, though it’s never really stated in the show, it’s not super important, I suppose but it helps explain them away.

Instead we get a bunch of random other mutants, some more famous than others, but none particularly notable in any real meaningful way.  The show starts off with the Mutant Underground rescuing Blink from some police.  Blink, is the only character that’s been in any of the movies (in any notable way), she was in the future sequences of Days of Future’s Past.  She makes little portals.  She is rescued by Thunderbird, a strong Native American mutant who seems to also posses some enhanced sight and hearing for tracking people.  Way to play up stereotypes there I suppose.  With that power set he sort of gets to fill the Wolverine role I suppose, without all the metal claws and angst.    There is a new Mutant for the show named Eclipse, he has the power to control light.  Finally in this initial batch is Polaris.

Polaris is probably the most notable character from the show.  Some possible mild spoilers here, think, spoilers like David’s parent in Legion level spoilers.  in the comics, Polaris is one of Magneto’s three children, the other two being Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.  Her powers seem to manifest on the show with electrical control, but she essentially has the same basic power set as her father.  Now, will this ever come up on the show?  Maybe, vaguely, probably not.  Legion gave only the briefest of nods to David’s father very late in the game, literally so fast you could blink and miss it.

Polaris is taken captive during the rescue of Blink by the police.

The other half of this show centers on the Strucker family.  The father is the leader of a group who tracks down and captures mutants, meanwhile his son discovers he has mutant powers, which prompts his daughter to reveal she also has abilities, though she has been hiding it for a bit.  Her power seems to be creating little force fields, his power isn’t quite known, he has no real control over it and it seems to just cause the world around him to go crazy, so it’s probably some kind of telekinesis.

There is some vague theory going around that these two are a re-imagining of Fenris, a pair of mutant twins in the comics who were the children of Baron Von Strucker who is the leader of Hydra.  There’s a few issues with this theory, though they could be a very heavy re-imagining.  Firstly, Marvel, by which I mean, the MCU, pretty much owns Hydra.  I’m kind of surprised that the show was even allowed to use the name Strucker, but I suppose you probably can’t trademark a name like that.  In Age of Ultron, the slot of Strucker’s twin “miracles” was basically given to Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.  They weren’t Strucker’s kids, but they are twins, and had been experimented on by Hydra.  Also, for what it’s worth, Mr Strucker here really really doesn’t seem like he’s secretly leading a decades old secret Nazi Cult hell bent on controlling the world.

After being exposed the Strucker family seeks out The Mutant underground for help, they meed up but are ambushed by Sentinel Services.  You might remember Sentinels also from Days of Future’s Past.  In the movie they were giant humanoid robots, and their creation was central tot he plot of that film.  It seems in this timeline, though they aren’t using giant robots, they are still in service hunting Mutants only now they use smaller drone sized robots of various types.  After some tense running, everyone except the father, Reed Strucker, escape through a portal created by Blink.

So, any good?  Yeah, it was pretty good.  The special effects were well done, the characters were all pretty decent.  The basic run and hide plot is a little overdone but that can be forgiven, not everything needs to be ground breaking.  I look forward to next week.

 

Legion – Chapter 8 – Facing Your Demons

What a crazy trippy trip it’s been, but alas, it’s come to an end.  Actually the show got less weird as it went along, which was kind of nice because I had serious doubt going into things.  There doesn’t seem like there was a lot of wasted potential though, for as much filler there was in the series.  Like Ptonomy, who started off kind of important and interesting but did nothing and served no purpose during the latter half of the series.  Also, is every one’s mutant power some sort of psychic ability?  That feels a little boring.  Then there was the squandered The Eye character who didn’t really do much besides act menacing.

I’m a little torn on the climactic series finale here.  We got the return of the Interrogator from the first episode, assumed dead, though he didn’t really do much aside from hang around in an interrogation room.  He did get a nice little story to flesh him out a bit and provide motivation for Division, basically, humans scared of mutants, whom they see as gods.   The hero is the villain in another person’s story, and visa versa.   He seems like he’s willing to work with our heroes some, which will probably come up more during the second season.  I also particularly loved the moment at the start where David effortlessly dealt with the Division soldiers and poor Clark realizes he is completely out matched.

Then there is the resolution of The Shadow King sub plot, or at least as far as David is concerned.  We see Syd use her powers again, to extract Farouk from David, unfortunately Farouk takes control of Syd then jumps into Kerry.  Farouk uses Kerry’s physical prowess to dispatch the rest of our heroes before a brief psychic showdown with David.

The end result sets up the next season, during the encounter the Shadow King is ejected from Kerry and into Oliver.  In the ensuing chaos, Oliver and Farouk escape in a fancy sports car.

There’s also a goofy “mid credits” scene where David gets taken away in what everyone is calling a Pokeball, which is the best description for it really.  The ball is probably sent by Division, there was a brief moment when Division mentioned deploying.. something, unclear.

This episode was a nice wrap up to the current arc, and a good set up for the future.  I think what will be real interesting is to see how the characters evolve in Season 2.  Particularly David.  It’s still not clear if his Schizophrenia was part of Farouk or if he really is Schizophrenic.    At this point it does seem as thought hey aren’t quite following the angle from the comics of absorbed souls or whatever,

Speaking of the comics, and this could be a spoiler, but there wasn’t a Patrick Stewart cameo like I’d hoped.  I feel like they could have managed to get him for a brief scene if they wanted to.  Maybe they are saving that for Season 2.

Legion – Chapter 7 – Everything Coming Together…

So, some of my worry has started to get answered here.  We’re getting a lot of direct answers to a lot of questions, which is good because there is only one episode left for the season.  I’m not saying there won’t be a twist, but things are feeling pretty solid.  I’m starting to feel pretty confident about what is real and what is all in David’s head.

So, anyway, we have a name now for our demon parasite, in The Shadow King, Faruk.  Most of the episode follows the exploits of everyone trying to escape from the prison that The Shadow King has created for them, including David himself.  I’m kind of curious, maybe I’m forgetting something, but it’s not clear where Ptonomy is most of this episode.  He wakes up at the end with everyone else but he doesn’t show up at all in the Asylum, not that I noticed.

I’m still not sure how The Eye or Oliver fit in either.  The Eye bites it though, rather unceremoniously, so we may never get answers.  Oliver seems to have escaped with the others, but I’m not sure how he got trapped there in the first place.

Probably the most exciting bit, right near the beginning, we get a glimpse and a hint, of the wheelchair, the one used by David’s real father.

Review – Movie – Logan (2017)

The latest and supposedly last outing for Wolverine, or at least, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Logan is one of the better comic book movies we’ve had for sure, though not totally flawless.  Most of my complaints with this movie however stem more from how sloppy Fox has been with the X-men universe continuity, and not so much with the film itself.  Much like the previous Wolverine movie, The Wolverine, this film pretty much exists in a vacuum from the other movies in the series.  There’s a vague underlying theme about how awful Logan’s existence is because, while he never dies, everything he cares about eventually does.  There’s also a brief mention of “The Statue of Liberty” which is a throwback to the original X-men when Hugh Jackman took up the role, but it felt more like an Easter egg than a plot point.

It also brings up the question of “Where does this fall in continuity”.  Is it the old time line or the new timeline?  If he mentioned the Statue of Liberty from the first X-men, that would imply this is old timeline, except there are a few little nods to the new timeline, like the return of the mutant Caliban seen briefly in X-men Apocalypse.   Or the point about how there haven’t been any new mutants in something like 25 years, which seems contradictory to X-men 3, which showed us some future where there were clearly some young mutants in the school.

Nitpicky continuity stuff aside, the movie starts off a little rough but ends up on a pretty good note overall.  It’s also worth noting that this movie, like Deadpool, is definitely rated R.  Where Deadpool was more R rated for it’s crude sexual jokes, Wolverine gets it’s rating for language, a lot of gory violence, and one moment of very, very brief, non sexual nudity.  I only bring this up really because it’s worth noting in case anyone wants to take their 9 year old to the film and because it kind of felt a little unnecessary.  I hate to sound like some sort of grump over language, but given the history of the X-men franchise and the character, adding in a bunch of “fucks” almost makes some of the characters seem out of character and all of the extra goriness on the claw slashing didn’t really add a lot to the plot.

It all also felt a bit out of place as the movie progressed and more and more of Laura and her backstory, the young girl tagging along with Wolverine, became the focus of the film.  It’s like hey, here’s a bunch of kids going completely psycho in the movie violent way possible because “Edgy cool”.

The whole film also does a pretty effective job of being a bit of an emotional roller coaster, as everyone around poor Logan seems to get harmed or killed by the people following them.  Not to mention Logan himself, who is not anywhere near peak form as the poisoning in his body from his Adamantium skeleton is finally getting the best of him.  He’s feeling a lot of pain, his claws don’t always work, and he isn’t quite healing as well as he used to.  It certainly helps give some urgency to the character.  The regular X-men movies usually managed to write off Wolverine when Magneto was around, since Wolverine can’t do anything to Magneto, The Wolverine had Logan under the influence of some poison that suppressed his abilities, I guess something needs to be done to make a guy who can’t be harmed interesting (see also The Hulk).

The core of the movie is about the interaction between Logan, Laura and Xavier as they run from a band of pretty bland bad guys.  They are involved in Laura’s past, but they are essentially just an extension, spin off or figure version of Alkali and Stryker’s band, that same old repeating thread.  There is also Weapon 24, who is the main baddie for Wolverine to battle.  It’s not super clear what makes this guy so special other than “He’s like Wolverine only extra feral” and ultimately is pretty much a throw away nobody who only exists as someone who can stand toe to toe with Wolverine and not get killed in 1 claw swipe.

Laura manages to be an interesting character, despite being mute for much of the film.  The aged Charles Xavier is also incredibly likable in this movie, though his purpose and point isn’t super clear to the big picture.  He’s basically become a super powered senile old mutant, he has some mysterious vaguely explained crisis from the past, and serves as a father figure to Logan who in turn serves as a father figure to Laura, which makes a fun dynamic, but also felt like there were some pieces missing to help explain, at the very least, why Logan hadn’t just put him out of his misery already.  I mean I get that they are old friends, but he really feels like he is suffering with no possible recovery, if Logan really cared he could have saved both of them a lot of trouble a long time ago by giving him a quiet quick send off.  I know that sounds cruel but in the context of the film world presented, it honestly isn’t.

But alas, now I’m getting off on a tangent, and running a bit long.  Logan really is a good film, it’s definitely the best of the Wolverine trilogy, though I’m not sure that it’s quite the best X-men film.  It’s also a nice send off to Wolverine while also serving as an origin story for X-23, Wolverine’s replacement.

Legion – Chapter 6 – The Mind Rots from the Inside

Things are actually finally coming together a bit.  Which is good because we only have two episodes left after this one.  Legion has been renewed for a second season however, which is good news, I suppose, though I kind of wonder where they could really go next.  This entire season seems to be all about, I dunno, freeing, saving David from his demons, I suppose.

And what a demon.  Demons?  That’s not super clear.  Aubrey Plaza as Lenny though was really great this episode.  There was also a bit of a brief glimpse that she is the fat ugly guy haunting David’s mind as well.  More specifically, being a parasite on David’s mind.  It’s still not clear on some of the other glimpses or characters.  Who is The Worlds Angriest Boy in the World who keeps popping up.  Is The Eye real and how does he fit into all of this?  Who is the diver, really, and why is Cary wearing his suit at the end?

Speaking of Cary, and Kerry, they got quite a bit of real development this round as well.  Cary went off and met with the mysterious diver and poor Kerry is being stalked by The Eye around the asylum.  Then there is Melanie, who didn’t do a lot in this episode but seems to have discovered the truth by breaking out tot he real world, though the question is, how can she save them from being shot?  I half expected her to just stand there and take the bullets thus saving David and Syd.

I feel like a broken record but I’m still not entirely convinced anything is real.  It’s essentially a battle between the good personalities of David’s mind and the evil ones, for control of the whole.

Also Lenny brought up David’s real dad again, though no reveal on who it was.  She did mentions something about “Playing the saint while giving up his son,” which really kind of does imply a particular character from the larger X-men universe.

Legion – Chapter 5 – Who is Behind the Face

So, I’m just going to run a bit here, with some mentions of the comic, or at least the comic as I under stand it from researching the background of Legion.  So, as I under stand it, Legion, David, whatever, in the comics, his core mutant power, is that he sort of absorbs the souls of dead mutants, for lack of an better description.  These other mutants become a part of his mind and personality, and they manifest, powers and all, sort of as needed.  This gives the projection of Schizophrenia, though it’s not really quite the same thing.  He also may or may not actually have psychic power, though for all intents and purposes, does.  I say may not, because the psychic power may just be the manifestation of an absorbed personality.

So if there is some angle along those lines going on here, this is part of why I question the reality of anything in this entire series.  It’s entirely possible that every character we’ve seen, including the ones in Division 3, are some manifestation of David’s many absorbed personalities, these people not realizing that they are in his mind, and not in the real world.  This would also explain the schizoid pace of the show.

The inner conflict presented in the show, is for control of the mind of Legion.  There are players outside the realm of “The good guys” like the big fat dude, Lenny and The Eye.  It’s possible that David, is a psychic mutant, but he is also simply new to the mind world.

I’m probably way off base here though.

Anyway, Kerry recovers from being shot and David heads out to rescue his sister, we don’t see it, but he obliterated Division’s army with no problem.  Everyone ends up at David’s childhood home where things start to get crazy and Lenny shows up as sort of the personification/projection of the evil of David’s mind.  Everyone ends up back in the asylum together as a set up for the next episode.  Things feel like they are moving along but there still isn’t a clear direction for the show unfortunately, which is probably the point.

Oh and David’s sister admits he is adopted, which will probably lead to the revelation of the true identity of his parents, we’ll just have to see if they follow the comics here or not.  I feel like there actually could be a fun cameo at some point if they do.