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X-men

Legion – Chapter 4 – What is Real Edition

So, things are moving a long a bit.  We get a little bit of background and insight to the supporting cast, since David is trapped in his mind still. What’s not clear, is if the others are quite free from his mind yet.  I admit, I’m extrapolating a bit from what I’ve read about Legion in the comics, but the TV/ Movie stuff doesn’t always match that stuff.

It’s kind of a shame that this is separate from the MCU, since there are mentions of the Astraea plain, like Doctor Strange traverses.  The idea of being trapped in the mind of David also isn’t all that different from what’s going on with The Framework over on Agents of SHIELD, at least in basic concept.

Anyway, Sydney, Kerry and Ptonomy all head out into the world to investigate David’s past.  Including meeting with this old girlfriend and doctor.  There’s still some glimpses in the world of things that may not be real, which suggests they are still in his mind.  There is also the angle of David being Schizophrenic, and being multiple people, an angle from the comics, I’m not entirely sure that everyone involved here is not just David, or a projection of David’s.  There’s a bit of a suggestion of this idea with Cary/Kerry, who apparently share a body, though Kerry can leave at times to take care of the dirty work, which we get to see a bit of when Division shows up to capture the little investigation crew.

Syd rescues them by swapping with The Eye, before David shows up to rescue them.  Which goes a bit south because no one else knows that Syd and the Eye have swapped until it’s too late.

Generally, this episode was a much better change of pace from last week’s kind of snooze fest.

Review – Movie – The Wolverine

I’m feeling a little lost on the logic behind the X-Men movies, just a bit.  I mean there’s the original X-men trilogy, then there’s the new timeline X-men, then there’s these Wolverine movies sprinkled in.  The Wolverine definitely takes place after X-men 3, since there’s these little flashes of Famke Janssen as Jean Grey and references to X-men 3.  What it doesn’t really reference at all is Origins: Wolverine, which is sort of the actual predecessor film.  Actually aside from the few almost unneeded references to X3, The Wolverine feels really isolated from the rest of the X-men universe.  The setting, all of the other mutants, the villain, it all feels like it exists in a vacuum.

This kind of hurts this movie quite a bit.  It’s an interesting setting and story, but there’s this little back of the mind nag that says “Where is everyone else?”  There’s no Sabertooth, though technically he died in X1, something that could have been explained away.  I mention Sabertooth because he would have been the obvious thread to tie this film a bit to Origins: Wolverine, since he was such a centerpiece of that movie’s plot and character development.    Still, there’s also not really any mention of Xavier’s school, or Storm or Rogue or anyone Wolverine has been fighting with for years.  Instead we get a little opening bit involving Wolverine getting pissy at some hunters for poisoning a bear.  This all felt like a wasted chance to tie this into the bigger picture better.  It would have been expensive to drop cameos from everyone in the X-men universe but dropping in a couple of the lesser know (cheaper) actors for a bit at the beginning at the school then having Yukio pick him up from there would have worked much better.

Instead we get hunters and a story in a vacuum despite having all these little bits happening around it.

Aside from that issue, what about the film itself.  There’s definitely a different tone to these single character movies than the larger X-men films, The focus is Wolverine, all the way, he’s always present and the whole plot revolves around his burdens and life and what makes him tick.  Most of the film takes place in Japan, as Logan is invited by an old friend who is on his death bed, wishing to thank Logan for saving his life many years ago during WW2.  There’s a lot of fish out of water element to this story, as the rough and tumble Wolverine navigates through the orderly Japanese landscape.

There’s a lager plot at work however, and Wolverine gets a bit of a taste for life without his healing ability, which makes things complicated during his battles.  The fight sequences are probably the best part of this film, and they are numerous.  There’s definitely a very Asian cinema style creeping into things here, and not just because of the setting.  The camera work and choreography of the fights are all much more stylistic in nature.  Wolverine’s feral fighting style definitely shows it’s difference from the much more fluid martial arts methods employed by his opponents.  It’s a nice chance of pace in these films really and is handles pretty nicely given the different fighting techniques.

Really the entire movie kind of feels like an excuse to get Wolverine to fight Ninjas.

There’s also the romance sub plot.  It seems a bit relevant to mention the plotline of this movie is lifted a bit from a comic plot line, though it involved a few more other X-men, a lot of the surrounding characters are there.  Mariko in the comics is one of Wolverine’s sometimes love interests.  In fact the comic some of the events of this film are inspired from draw involved the X-men gathering for a wedding between the two.  In this movie however, their romance feels, and is, really rushed, especially considering the climax amounts to Wolverine staging a rescue of his captured love.  Considering he didn’t even want to come to Japan originally and only planned to stay for a day originally, it seems a little out there that he essentially is willing to run somewhat recklessly into this rescue attempt.

This is compounded more by the really pointless Jean Grey scenes spliced in randomly.

Which also brings up another dodgy bit on the plot side, it’s never really shown well what connects Logan and Yashida Wolverine is just sort of in Japan during Hiroshima, for unclear reasons, saves this one random Japanese soldier from a nuclear blast, for which he is clearly grateful, and then as near as the story tells us, they have not seen each other since.  Its understandable Yashida would want to thank Logan one last time before his death, it’s not super clear why Logan should or would care.  Not to mention that part of Logan’s character is that he can’t really remember anything from his past, which presumably would include that time he saved some random Japanese guy.  I mean he didn’t seem to remember his actual blood brother during the first X-men movie, one whom he fought along side during WW2 if the Origins opening is to be believed, but hey, random Japanese business guy.

So yeah, there’s a lot of off points on the plot, and the film feels like it is completely disconnected from the X-men universe, aside from the one thread that feels like a random after thought.  I will give it a good point though, the effects are much better than Origins: Wolverine.  The action is also really great with a good Asian style going on with things.  One thing I will also add, there could be some redemption with the upcoming Logan film, if it bothers to reference anything in this film.  Part of the plot involved taking Logan’s power away and transferring it to another, now we get Logan, with Old Wolverine, maybe he has aged as a side effect of what happened during this film?  I’m not sure if they are organized enough on these movies to make the pieces feel like part of the same puzzle unfortunately.

Legion – Chapter 2 – Finding Yourself Inside Your Lost Head

Just a side note, these episodes don’t have subtitles or names beyond “Chapter X”, I just add that for fun.  Sort of how I add little descriptor bits instead of episode names to my Agents of SHIELD recaps.

This second Episode of Legion was certainly less trippy than the first, though there was, ironically, some actual tripping at one point, briefly.  Things pick up essentially right after David was rescued at the end of the last episode, most of the episode involves David going on a mind trip through the powers of a Mutant, Ptonomy, who can work on people’s Memories to try to find the source of his Schizophrenia.  Melanie, the leader of whatever this group is called, is working to convince David that he isn’t crazy, the crazy is just a side effect of his Psychic powers.

Most of the episode is a trip down memory lane, there’s a bit involving him and his friend Lenny selling a stove for drugs, and some brief bits where David is talking to his shrink about why his girlfriend left him and some scenes involving a very young David being read a story called “The World’s Angriest Boy in the World” which seems to be about a father killing some kid’s mother.  We don’t actually get to see the father however, he is shrouded in shadow.  There is a spoiler here from the comics, but I’ll skip it for now, and it may not be in the show anyway.

The underlying plot though is that David has memories he is keeping hidden from the others, and unlocking them may be the key to figuring out his problems.  I’m also not convinced of who is real and who is not either.  Lenny shows up in a memory and “died” in the first episode, but she may still just be part of his Schizophrenia.  Syd Barret, David’s girlfriend may or may not be real either.  She is hanging around in this episode a lot, but always int he background or off to the side, it’s very… Fight Club… in it’s presentation.

There is also a bit at the end where David’s sister comes to the Asylum looking for him, but they claim he has never been there, and then Division 3 show up and take her into custody, which sets up David wanting to rescue her after seeing a vision of her in danger.

It’ll be interesting to see where things go next to be sure.

Legion – Chapter 1 – Professor Xavier’s Asylum for Insane Youngsters

Wowzers.  What a crazy show this is.  It’s kind of part of the “gimmick” here I suppose, given the main character is a paranoid schizophrenic.  Oh, and he’s also a Mutant, as in, X-men mutants.

Legion is the latest Marvel property television series, based on the comic book of the same name.  It shows on FX, on Wednesday night.  It is not, however, part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s part of Fox’s X-men universe, which includes all of the X-men and Wolverine Movies, and Deadpool.  There’s not really any direct references going on here however, nor are there likely to be any, though there may be a few little Easter eggs here and there.  It is the first television series set in this universe though last I checked there are two more coming, one called Hellfire and another unnamed X-men TV series.

I want to do little reviews on this series similar to the Agents of SHIELD recaps I’ve been doing, though I don’t intend to go into that much depth here.  Honestly, I’m not sure I could.  There’s just soooo much packed into this thing, especially within the first episode.

Legion is not your traditional super hero show, or even your traditional super hero.  Legion, at least in the comics, refers to the main character David, a schizophrenic Mutant Psychic.  The crazy part is explored, in depth, in this initial episode, and presented in a very interesting way.  Much of the episode, especially early on, is essentially a series of layers flashbacks and memories and flat out delusions.  Things jump constantly between locations and conversations and people in a frankly, confusing manner.  As things roll along though, things clear up a bit, and the plot starts to sharpen out into at least some level of presentable direction and explanation of what’s going on.

Though, it’s hard to really believe what’s going on, or what’s real and what’s not.  I’m inclined to believe most of the later bits that take place in the more modern era is real.  Most of the little bits with David as a child are also likely real, though memories of reality.  The questionable bits are what’s in between.  Everything at the Clockwork Asylum, and frankly, everyone he meets at the Asylum.

Reading up on Legion a bit from the comics on Wikipedia, he basically has multiple personalities that all manifest different powers.  There is also a bit about taking on personality and powers of others he touches, sort of a crazy, less messy version of Rogue crossed with Professor X.  There’s actually a potential spoiler regarding Professor X there as well that may or may not get addressed in the show.

Basically what I’m thinking, is the little bit at the end of the episode, with the dramatic escape involving half a dozen mutants, may just be David, at his peak, using all of his powers at once.

The episode started off kind of really strange and slow but by the end everything wrapped up in a good enough way that I’ll probably stick with it.  It’s only 8 episodes in the end anyway.

Review – Movie – Xmen Origins: Wolverine

You know what’s quickly starting to become a ridiculously overplayed part of the X-Men Cinematic Universe?  The origin story of Wolverine.  I mean, ok, I get that he is a big part of the X-Men universe, and he’s been in every X-men movie so far except for Deadpool.  His origin was sort of touched on in X-men 1, X-men 2 went into much more detail as they return to Alkali Lake, Wolverine Origins gives us the details and events actually surrounding one origin of the event, Days of Future’s Past touches on it a bit with Stryker, we see it again, sort of, in Apocalypse.

How many times do we need to see this?  It’s honestly not even super interesting.  Maybe the upcoming Logan movie can give us a retelling of it with X-23 instead!  It’s also kind of fishy and questionable about how much this film is still considered “canon”.  Probably not a lot other than maybe the general idea.  Obviously the events of the Adamantium infusion are different, since they show up in a different film which occurs later.  Probably the most glaring part of out of canon is the Deadpool movie, which gives Deadpool a proper origin.  The Deadpool film does make some reference to Wade Wilson’s time doing wetworks ops though, depicted in the early part of this film, and Ryan Reynolds plays Deadpool in both films.

Speaking of Deadpool, the biggest travesty of this film, is the butchering of Deadpool.  I mean, ok, I “get” reimagining characters for the big screen.  Not every character will be identical to their comic counter part, some may be quite different.  There is a difference though between reimagining, and more or less name slapping a popular name on a nobody that has nothing to do with the character.  Not to get too many spoilers here, but the creepy shirtless mute with Wolverine Claw style swords that shows up in this movie, isn’t Deadpool, in any way shape or form.

The other big offender here is the special effects, in particular, just how god awful they get throughout the film, especially later with Wolverine’s Adamantium claws.  Considering this is like 90% of the identity of this character, the CGI is incredibly poorly done.  The lighting is all off, and often they don’t properly match his arms and hands properly, especially during movement.

There is some pretty decent Wolverine action in this film, and a lot of interesting appearances by other mutants such as The Blog, and Gambit.  Gambit’s almost wasted however.  He shows up kind of randomly when he does pop up and despite dropping Wolverine off to his final confrontation, he doesn’t actually participate in the battle.

There is also a subplot involving Sabertooth and Wolverine being brothers at odds.  As in literal blood related brothers.  The opening montage shows them working together through several wars, and eventually during a special operation involving Deadpool, a skinny Blob and some other mutants, they have a falling out as Sabertooth starts to get too violent for Wolverine to handle.  This whole plot point is honestly, a little awkward.  Wolverine and Sabertooth have always had a confrontational sort of two sides of the same coin relationship, but they were never brothers.  It’s a little bit of a weird change that doesn’t really serve a huge purpose.  The implication before this revelation was they simply lived in the same household, one a servant family to the other, this kinship would have served just fine as a catalyst for their later adventures, especially coupled with their shared “problem” of being mutants.

Generally speaking, there are just soooo many flaws in this movie, both large and small, that really kind of ruin it.  If you pretend Deadpool is just some sort of unnamed Super mutant and can forget about how ugly Wolverine’s claws look during many scenes, its not an awful movie, but at this point it’s also pretty much non-canon to the Xmen universe, so it’s probably not really worth bothering with.

Tuesday Trailer – Logan

I admit I’m a little over obsessed with the MCU, but they have been doing something really interesting really well for a while now.  They aren’t quite the only ones who have actually managed to properly create a “Cinematic Universe” but they are close.  Fox’s X-men has done a pretty decent job of making a connected series of movies as well, including doing a reboot that ties in with the old movies even.

Logan here is part of that series, though I’m not entirely sure where it falls in the whole timeline.  It looks to be kind of post apocalyptic future, and Logan mentions there are no more mutants in his voice over.  It also features the return of Patrick Stewart as Professor X, which is a nice little bonus.  This kind of suggests it’s in the future, beyond X-men 3 and possibly Days of Future’s Past.  The current mainline X-men movies are running along in the 80s, though Deadpool seems to be set in the modern world.  Also, you know, Old Man Logan, though there is likely a plot reason for why that’s the case.

Aside from Xavier and Logan, there seems to be a few other mutants still in this world.  Logan in the trailer is hanging around with a mysterious young girl, one who is “much like him” according to the voice over.  There also seems to be some claws on claws.  Basically, it seems very likely that this is none other than X-23, who is basically Wolverine in young girl form, not literally, but in spirit.  While this is pretty cool, if this movie is set int he distant future, it’s kind of disappointing since it means she won’t be showing up later in the main movies, at least not without more time travel shenanigans.

There are also some rumors that Deadpool will show up in this film, though he doesn’t appear in the trailer anywhere and frankly, I kind of hope not, since I feel like he’s ruin the tone and steal the show so to speak.  I feel like it’s more likely that Gambit will make an appearance, given his history with Wolverine and because he’s getting his own film eventually.  Of course, there are timeline problems with this as well.

Review – Marvel Legends – Juggernaut Wave – Rogue

I’ve always really liked Rogue as a character.  She’s generally fun, she has an interesting power with interesting positives and negatives, her overall design is nice as well.  It probably helps that in the old cartoon series she was always paired with Gambit, whom I also really like as far as X-men go.  The point is, I am kind of biased towards Rogue, especially this particular design, which in general is one of her more popular designs.

Unfortunately, there has only been one other figure of this design in this size, back in the Toybiz line, and it is god awful.  Ok, the basic figure isn’t that bad, the face sculpt is god awful.  She looks like a 90 year old woman pretending to be Rogue or something.  She has been much overdue for an update.

This update certainly does a good job.  I kind of miss the cloth goods jacked of the old figure but the face sculpt this time around is a lot better to be sure.

She even has appropriate accessories to replicate her power, she comes with an ungloved hand.  In case you’re not familiar, Rogue absorbs other character’s powers through physical contact, so having an ungloved hand allow her be able to touch other figures, so to speak.  Her design even allows for the wrist bit of the glove to be removed, which is a nice touch.

My only real complaint is the usual hit or miss derpy eye look that is a problem across the board on Hasbro’s female figures.  I don’t even understand why this tends to lean towards females vs males.  Otherwise it’s a welcome update to a popular design for a popular character.

 

 

 

Review – Marvel Legends – Juggernaut Wave – Cable

It’s not every day we get a mother/son combo in a wave of Marvel Legends but here we are with Cable and Jean Grey.  Ok, technically Cable’s mother is a clone of Jean Grey but that’s just the way the kooky storylines of the X-men work.  I mean Cable really looks like he’s probably older than jean anyway, which he probably is since he comes from the future.  The reality is, Cable likely exists in this wave to accompany Deadpool, since Cable and Deadpool are partners from time to time.

It’s kind of a shame he’s not a better Cable, especially with how few X-men waves we get, he’s unlikely to get a better release anytime soon.  I mean he’s not awful, but he could be better.  For starters, his weird robot vest thing.  It’s not really his most iconic look for starters.  This wouldn’t be as much of an issue except that it also looks ridiculous, especially in the shoulders.  I imagine the idea is to make him look bulked out, but it makes his shoulders just look weird and disproportionate.

His weapons also leave a bit to be desired.  Cable was originally created by comic artist Rob Liefeld, who is mostly known for belts and pouches, and making everything very XTREEM huge.  Being from the future, Cable uses some funky huge guns, but both of his weapons are a bit finicky and don’t really look very natural when being held.  Part of this may be due to the funky armor shoulder effect mentioned above.

Otherwise the sculpt is solid though.  The head and armored arm both work well and look nice.  Cable is also sufficiently large compared to a lot of Marvel Legends figures, as he should be.    His upper torso weight and bulk make him a bit tricky to pose however, which also is part of the issue with his guns.

Like I said, Cable isn’t a bad figure, he just could be better.  Particularly in his weird torso area.