A Look Back at my X-Men: X-Men Evolution Season 4

I would be incredibly interested in the production history of this series, and this season specifically. The season feels like the team somehow knew it would both be it’s last but were unaware of the limited episode count. The season ends climactically enough, and we’ll get to that, but also sets up ideas that it doesn’t pay off (in the season), again, we’ll get to it.

So much of this season feels consistent with season three. The character dynamics most of all. The New Mutants still do not get a whole lot of development outside of a single trait, and because of the limited count not every character in the main X-team gets a character arc to round out where they started. Kitty is the worst for this. Her biggest development is who she ended up with, and that she made a friend with someone else. I don’t think her arc was around that, but fine.

Jean and Scott also don’t get a whole lot. The most is retconning the fact they graduated, I think. They’re seen at school once or twice, but not in class. We see Duncan outside of school once and is still wearing his jersey, but that makes sense for someone who peaked in high school, but it’s still not clear. The two do, however, start to act as mentors for the New Mutants. They don’t do a whole lot with it, but it works.

Spyke’s arc is better explained. Last season he left the team because he was beginning to look like a freak. That didn’t make sense because Kurt was on the team. This helps fix it by better explaining how he is a protector for the mutants without protection. It’s still not clear why the mutants he’s with cannot go to Xavier’s mansion, but that was always a question until the Krakoa stuff. His episode is also low key the most important in the season.

Kurt arguably gets the least but is teamed up with de facto protagonist Rouge. It’s honestly hard to say if she is the protagonist. As I’ll get to later, the season doesn’t have a singular focus outside of the villain plot so she is not the focus, however, she does get the lion’s share of character development, and also the best of the development. She goes from hating Mystique, and constantly being used, to learning to be useful and not used, to taking that to the ultimate conclusion of saving the world. This does pay off well with Mystique by having both her and Kurt call her out for still not caring about them no matter what she says. It’s good stuff.

Most of the development for the X-Men works in a vacuum, unfortunately that short episode count and inability to use it correctly ends up forcing all the development into b-plots. The a-plots for most of those stories also set up a lot of threads that don’t go anywhere. Principal Kelly finally puts his plan into action by running for mayor and trying to remove the mutants, but that’s in its infancy. Xavier finds out he has a son and accidentally lets loose a monster, and X-23 is finally freed (I guess that’s more of a conclusion, but feels open-ended). That is on top of building the threat of Apocalypse.

It seems strange to have the big bad be Apocalypse. Not bad, but for the time, weird. Out of the many series and ideas X-Men media use he always seems to be the least explorered. The most recent, and worst, is the live action X-Men version. This is better than that. For one, this feels incredibly climactic, and like a true fight for the X-Men and company. They also beat him in an interesting, if kind of easy, way. It’s fun that Magnetos’s big plan in the first season was to increase mutant power, and in this season he gets that boosted power but doesn’t get to enjoy it. The rise of Apocalypse to the public and that the choas that ensues is interesting for mutant relations, but nothing is done. The X-Men save the world but the world doesn’t know. I think the season is hurt by not having a stated theme like the first three. Each one builds on the last. Season one was all about living a normal life, two was about coming out, three was about building relationships and the issues that will entail, four is about a giant blue mutant who has a plan no one knows for most of the season but is just bad. Jumping to acceptance by the public would be too much for sure, so I’m glad they didn’t go that route. I think it works in practice, but is weaker for it.

What I have been dancing around however is the big reveal speech at the end. Once everything is back to normal, Charles, having read Apocalypse’s mind, is able to give the writers the ability to have their cake and eat it to. In this speech Xavier pays off all the ideas as visions he sees. He sees the rise of humans being against them, and Dark Phoenix, and a grownup team that signifies how the X-Men will always be ready to stand for his ideals. This makes every thing I said about something not paying off a lie. It is paid off, and paid off in the season, but not fleshed out in the way past seasons were. That writing trick is very interesting and doesn’t feel as cheap as it should. It plays as hopeful even as we know they’ll struggle through hardship. I mean it wouldn’t be the X-Men if they didn’t.

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

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Looking back at my X-Men: X-Men Evolution Season 1

Jonathan Hickmans whole revolution of the X-Line has gotten me back into X-Men since, despite it being one of my favorite series, is only one of my favorite series in concept. I love the idea of a half teen drama/half super hero drama and social commentary. The problem is that there were never runs liked enough or current enough for me to latch onto. I’m finally finishing my Brian Michael Bendis grade collection to read that. But that was not my X-Men. Neither were the movies or the 90s show.

No. My X-Men was the 2000s era reboot of the series with an actual Canadian as Wolverine, and Miroku from Inu Yasha voices Cyclops, and new character Spike that everyone forgets exists. That’s right, X-Men Evolution. And thanks to Disney + (one of the two good things it has done. No Mandalorian isn’t one of them. That show sucks) it’s finally available to watch online. All 4 seasons.

This first season is a mostly episodic character episodes in the first half. Those episodes establish the hometown the X-Men live in, Bayville, where they attend the local high school by day, and train to master their mutant powers or find new recruits by night. During the first episodes they encounter new mutants Quake, the Blob, Rouge, Spyke, and Quicksilver. However, unbeknownst to most of the team they must also deal with Mystique, who poses as the Principal of Bayville, and her silent partner Magneto as they try to recruit the mutants for their own goals. The back half of the season focuses on individual skirmishes between the mutants, and building more of Wolverine’s backstory. All of this comes to a head in the two part season finale where Magneto shows his true plans for mutant kind.

The seasons pacing is really interesting in how it relates to the fact the x-men go to a high school and live with Xavier, Ororoa (yeah, this show does the same as the movies and just calls her Storm which is always weird), and Logan in their mansion like it’s a boarding house or something. The clearly delineated lives gives the show more of a classic Marvel feel where the drama is both separated and important because many fights come from high school drama taken too far. For a early 2000s kids action show made pre-Avatar it feels all very character driven when it comes to the fights.

It also feels very Marvel comic in the ways it does overarching drama and pacing. Though each episode has its own plot to it there are arcs and threads that run through all of them. The biggest ones being Wolverine’s history with Sabertooth, Rouge’s loyalties, Kurt and Mystique’s relationship, and the building conflict to Magneto. These all have their moments to shine in episodes and give it light serialized elements, but none too overbearing.

The best examples are Rouge and Wolverine’s plotlines. Each has a few episodes dedicated to them but has that conflict always act as a b-story to another episode with its own mini-arc until it comes to a head in one episode. For Rouge it is her will she-won’t she with joining the X-Men. She has many episodes where she sees them do good but is pulled back until she finds out the truth. Similarly Wolverine constantly battles with Sabertooth for unknown reasons until the Weapon X program is revealed and is taken down in the same episode.

Both arcs, with their slow build and decisive execution make it feel naturally paced. This pace goes for the whole season. Everything feels isolated until it comes together with the two parter finale, just like more classic comics. Mostly one off issues with some stuff in the background, and rare but heavy two part stories.

As great as that is, none of it would mean anything if the characters weren’t great, and they are for the most part. The first thing that stands out is how great both the civilian and team suits are for the X-Men. Sure, the shirt tucked into boxers that are sticking out of the pants is a weird look for the guys, but the girls all have a real nostalgic look that feels very 2000s in the best way. Jean’s crop top and giant cargo pants with flip flops is so much that era that I love it. In addition the team outfits are my favorite versions of those outfits. They all have a solid, unified look but with enough flare to seperste them. I could see it being too much leather if it was live action, but as a cartoon it feels very natural looking. Out of the designs though Wolverine in his orange and black look stands out the best.

But these characters are more than their looks. Each of the main team have distinct personalities that all work well. Scott and Jean feel like very honest portrayal that people know. It helps Jean is actually caring and not held up with all the Phoenix nonsense for once. Nightcrawler is a good comedic relief character. Kitty, a preppy but super smart valley girl feels like the inspiration for or got the inspiration from Brian Michael Bendis and his Ultimate Spider-Man run. Spyke is a brand new character that was never used outside of this and feels very 2000s cool. A skater/thriller seeker with spikes is a good concept and helps bring energy to the group.

Finally, Rouge shouldn’t work. She does, but shouldn’t. She is an amalgamation of the emo movie and southern belle Tv versions. She dresses and looks like a goth, but has a nice southern accent. It’s a strange combination but the portrayal of a cynical goth who also happens to be from Mississippi feels really fresh. She also has the best designs (for obvious reasons).

Where the show does fail is in the animation and sometimes writing. The writing can be very on the nose and written to children teaching lessons in a way that, as an adult, can be groaning to sit through. The animation meanwhile feels very stiff. The use of more realist models for the characters gives their movements a stiffness that more cartoony ones wouldn’t have. This also leads to very bare rooms, or rooms where the space is not well used as a background. It’s more noticeable now as shows are upscaled and makes it harder to watch. Especially some early CGI work and after effects.

In the end, what makes this show feel special is it’s modern mix of using classic X-Men stories and lore to build a new status quo that should not work. The X-Men and Brotherhood going to school, playing nice by day, and fighting at night feels too TV. Too easy, but as the story grows it shows why doing that way works. It allows mutants to exist and show what they can be like in normal society. It gives both team natural rivalry and animosity to build normal high school stories around but taken to a mutant level. In the end it works and has a satisfying ending for one season. However next season may hold something more in store.

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

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I’m Selling Stuff!

This is a wierd post, huh? Not something I usually do at all.

Anyway…

My eBay Link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013

I am moving and in that process am trying to sell some of my media to clear space. This is not a cry for help or financial support (but it won’t hurt) because I am fine in that regard. Instead this is just a signal boost to see if anyone would like what I am selling.

Included in the link/ what I am selling:

Collections/runs of comics in single issues (I still bought the trade for many of these so don’t ask why I did both because I have no answer).

A few manga collections

Card sets (Keyforge and CAH)

That is it for now. More stuff will be posted once I determine what all I want to sell, and how it want to sell it (I mean I just have so, so, so, so – seriously a lot- of Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards and a healthy portion of Magic TG cards). On top of that will be movie collections, TV series and more.

Here is the link again: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013. I want to repeat that this is not for financial support, and if you don’t want to buy anything I won’t like you any less.

Also: if you do want to buy something and contact me saying that you are a reader of the blog I will give you a discount on any of the stuff you order!

(And because it’s tradition)

If you enjoyed this: like, comment, and follow us here, and on Facebook & Twitter at Tower City Media! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel, Tower City Media and Submit to the suggestion box: TowerCityMedia@gmail.com!j

Fant4stic (2015) Review

I am still probably the only person in the world that likes this movie, well at least the first half. With Josh Trank making a comeback with his latest film “Capone”, I thought it only right to review his other films too. Trank is a guy I’m sure we all know because of the controversy around this film. There are a lot of he said/she said stories that came out of the production and while I’m not one that’s going to sit here and pick sides, I will just say that I am a big fan of Trank and his work on Chronicle and what I feel like was really good in this movie. This review will be posted after I have seen Capone which I haven’t yet, so I will not be making any comparisons between the two. This is simply how I felt after watching it again for the first time in several years to see if I still felt the same about it.

As I said in my opening line, I am probably the only person in the world that likes this movie. When I say that though, it really isn’t the movie as a whole rather that it’s just the first half of the film that absolutely love. This film is really a tale of two directors or two visions at the halfway point. I don’t know all of the specifics, but it is very clear that there were reshoots done and no really focus or story going into the second half of the film once our characters all get their powers.

That second half is an absolute train wreck that I can’t defend even with how much I really do like this movie. It’s a shame that something did happen to split this movie as much as it did, but the first half I will go back to as being very awesome. I know it’s not for everyone and not your typical “Fantastic 4” story, but it’s a super power origin story with horror elements that feels perfect. Does it work really well as a Fantastic 4 story? I don’t really know and honestly I don’t really care. What I loved most about the first half is how different this movie is than most of your other ones coming out.

Sure it’s trying to do the whole be darker thing that a lot of super hero movies tried to do after The Dark Knight, but it was also different. It felt more in line with Trank’s work on Chronicle where it feels more realistic with how the characters react in the circumstances. What made Chronicle so good was that it looked at the main characters as a group of guys in high school and how they would actually act if they had super powers. We could relate to them easily because we all likely would have done the same thing.

He keeps with this line of focus in Fantastic 4 because it shows how we all would likely react in the horror like circumstances. He could have easily taken it a more subtle approach and made it all happy go lucky like the original Fantastic Four films, but I love that he wanted to do something different and give us some horror elements to it. Because of that, we get some truly terrifying moments when our characters are gaining their powers. It really works because it puts in perspective how real having powers could be rather than everything going as smooth as it always does in these super hero films.

I will hype up the first half of the film all day long because it feels like true Josh Trank style very much in the vein of Chronicle and what I was expecting. It is of course after that when the editing becomes choppy and the story loses all focus and any point of story with the only highlight being Victor Von Doom. That does also bring me to one thing that Trank is very good at. Casting.

It’s funny to look back at Chronicle now because it had Dane Dehaan and Michael B Jordan before they got big and now you realize how awesome it is that they were in such a small movie before. One of the true highlights of this movie is of course the casting. The most controversial one being Michael B Jordan as Johnny Storm which isn’t fair because he’s an absolute perfect casting for the character despite all of the haters out there. It’s only rounded out perfectly with Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, and Toby Kebbel. I could probably sit here and hype up how much I love all of these actors, but I would really just like to highlight Teller and Kebbel as Reed and Victor.

Miles is a guy that I have loved mostly after seeing Whiplash, but I loved his casting as Reed and he pulls it off very well, the best casting though other than Michael B Jordan is Kebbel. He is an actors that I will watch in anything he is ever in. He as the chops in this sort of presence that makes him the perfect kind of villain. In this case he’s awesome and when he comes back and starts exploding people’s heads is awesome too, but it all falls apart because there just isn’t a story after he comes back.

That’s the biggest problem with this movie, that it seems someone came through and completely gutted the second half of this movie to make it run so off the tracks that you would be better off watching a real train wreck. There is just no story or focus after they get their powers and the movie suffers because of that. As I said earlier, I’m not going to pick sides, but let me just say this. It is very clear that the first half is directly in the vein of Josh Tanks style while the second half is as if he was painting a picture and someone cut off all of his fingers.

It’s just an absolute shame because this movie had so much potential under his direction and I feel like it shows early on. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like we will ever see the movie that he envisioned, sorry Trank Cut supporters out there. I’m with you, but it will never happen. The only thing we can hope for is that moving forward hopefully he won’t have any issues putting forth his vision in a project of his. And it sounds like Capone is a good example of him having a great time working and truly giving us his vision. Except that it should’ve kept Fonzo as the title.

Look, I can’t recommend this movie for anyone to watch because overall it’s not a good movie and I know that. This is easily one of the top guilty pleasures for me and I am probably the only person in the world that actually likes it, but hey if you want to watch it then give it a shot. If you have seen this movie and you have your own comments or questions then be sure to comment below or send an email to TowerCityMedia@gmail.com and be sure to follow us @TowerCityMedia

What’s the McElroy Marvel Book Like?

The McElroy Brothers are giant podcast stars. Their two biggest shows My Brother, My Brother, and Me, and The Adventure Zone show their range of comedy and storytelling. The latter in fact is being adapted into a New York Time Best Selling graphic novel series. That makes it almost fitting, and incredibly odd to have them tapped to do a spin-off mini series for Marvel’s latest event War of the Realm (maybe it’s For the Realm).

Despite owning War of the Realm I haven’t read it. I am aware that the book is about the Asgardians attacking earth in some big battle that’s been building since Jason Aaron got onto Thor. I am so detached from that series I am not sure if people even like that one (or the last Infinity story for that matter). Still, the McElroys hopping on this story’s spin off is all the stranger because it doesn’t seem that big. In fact that is too fitting in retrospect.

Anyway,

The series Journey Into Mystery (heh, reference) follows Balder, Thor’s brother, as he must protect his new sister Laussa from Malekth. To do this he teams up with alternate versions of well known characters like Miles Morales Spider-Man, Kate Bishop Hawkeye, Locket the Deathlock 2.0, a failed Sorcer Supreme candidate, Wonderman’s twin brother, and Thori the talking God Dog. Together they must keep Laussa safe from former Avenger turned foe, Ares. All the while the babysitter’s club endures road trip hijinks along the way.

In order to talk about what this series does it’s good to look back at what the McElroys are known for the best, Balance, their first Adventure Zone campaign. Spanning 69 (nice) episodes it follows Tres Horny Boys, three bumbling adventurers trying to acquire 7 different items and meeting eclectic characters along the way. Though the general plot is different they share two main features, this and Adventure Zone, heart and using comedy to develop characters. This book does the same.

Each hero, and villain has their own sense of humor and quips they would make. It could be read as too jokey and have characters be out of character. I usually land on if the character works in the series, and isn’t totally ruined (like murdering people or be a total buffoon) I let it pass.

However, the real heart of what the McElroys do on the book is show the untapped potential of overlooked characters, and how everyone is human, even the aliens and gods. The biggest examples are the Skrull RV park, Henchmen Convention, and reveal of why Ares is after the team. Each reveal and execution highlight what is missed when you only deal with the major threats, and how those smaller groups are just trying to survive in the world as world ending threats come and go.

This similar sentiment goes for the Babysitters. The book shows how with any goal, and teamwork a God, dog God, the twin of a famous hero, a failed sorcerer, and three legacy mantle heroes can form a team to stand up to anyone. Misfits can stand up to anyone.

Now, as positive as this all is not every marvel book should be like this. Nor should the McElroys take over as the heads of the Marvel Universe. Their brand of storytelling, though popular with their own characters, may not be what mainstream conics fans want with their favorite heroes, even if they like the McElroys. They are the alternative to big events and self serious stories. They should have at least one monthly title (though as busy as they are that might be harder to do than anyone could think) to show off that alternative. If not, then maybe they got more people to enjoy their narrative tapestry Mx

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Marvel needs to stop being so formulaic

It’s time for Marvel to branch out and stop being so formulaic with its movies. Despite taking risk with relatively unknown characters, their stories and vision need an upgrade. Thank the Doctor Strange news for sparking this.

I am as big a fan as anyone else of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but even I will admit that the movies tend to be a bit formulaic. The MCU has proven to be the most profitable movie franchise in cinematic history and has claim to having the highest grossing movie of all time with Avengers: Endgame. Even with its success, it’s safe to say that it doesn’t make itself diverse enough from some other comic book films like Logan or Joker. In fairness, it’s hard to change up what you’re doing when it’s working so well, but it may be time to change things up a bit. 

Avengers: Endgame marked the end of an era for the MCU and a new beginning going forward with new characters and eventually a new overarching supervillain like Thanos. It is very clear that following Black Widow, they will be introducing some interesting and new heroes with The Eternals and Shang Chi while also continuing their known properties like Thor, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange. All of this makes sense and will likely continue the success that they’ve had so far, but there’s more they can do. 

Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy seemed to be the least formulaic prior to Infinity War and Endgame and showed how good the movies can be when you allow the director to have more opportunity to do their own thing with their own style. I’m here to say though that Captain Marvel proves that the studio does not like to take too much risk when introducing a new standalone movie. It actually ended up being the least forgettable big blockbuster movie of the year for me and by no reason other than it just feels bland. 

The movie comes off as being the same type of story that we got with Iron Man or Ant-Man and doesn’t really try to do much more than establish this new character. It’s a good movie, but it doesn’t distinguish itself by taking any chances. It’s hard to say that it was a bad idea because of how successful it went on to be, but honestly the MCU at this point is almost an automatic box office draw for the audience. The movies are averaging around a billion dollars at the box office each and that’s because of the audience support for the franchise. 

I’m here to say that it’s time to push the limits of what they have done before in order to give us movies that will truly stand on their own and stand the test of time. All of this stems directly from the recent news announced by director Scott Derrickson that he will be leaving the Doctor Strange sequel over creative differences. Normally I would be ok with this because the studio knows best for what they’re trying to do and if the director and studio can’t agree then it’s probably best to step away from each other. This instance feels a little different when you take into account the conflicting reports of the film prior to his announcement. 

If you aren’t familiar with any of the recent news then I’ll break it down and the simplest way. It was reported that the movie would lean heavily on horror and be a true horror movie, but then another report stated that the movie would not be going in that direction and would not be a horror film but would have some horror elements. Both of these reports seem to come from two different parties, one being Scott Derrickson (not directly of course) and one being the studio. I believe that it is this one point that caused the split between the two and eventually making Scott leave the project. 

It’s unfortunate because while also very formulaic, the first Doctor Strange movie was very unique and had a great visual style that you could tell came straight from Scott’s vision. It’s one of the few MCU movies that distinguishes itself from the others despite its familiar plot. Scott also comes from a horror background so leaning into horror more would make sense with his experience. If we also take into account that the movie is called Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, then we could assume that it’s going to be a crazy trip of a movie that could very likely have some interesting horror elements. 

Again, I don’t know the details of what transpired and whether or not Scott’s vision was ultimately worse than what Marvel wanted to do, but it’s unfortunate to lose a guy that already had a great vision with the first film. All of this leads to my biggest problem with the MCU. The fact that they won’t branch too far out of what they always do for every film. They do allow the directors a lot of free reign when it comes to their vision and how they go about directing the movie, but they all feel so similar and not diverse enough. 

You already have a loyal audience that is going to go see your movies no matter what. I know that risking going too far out may cause you to lose some of your audience, but here’s my argument. As proven by Joker and Logan, you can change the stories you tell with the characters you have that are already established and still continue the success. The only downside is that you risk the movie not being as well received by the audience. 

Really it’s a tough situation they find themselves in if they’ve ever considered it. I think the biggest question is how long can the MCU be sustainable with their formulaic approach that they have. Of course it’s been over 10 years now and it’s worked incredibly well so far, but I feel that at some point the audience won’t necessarily get tired of their movies, but rather be looking for something that feels different.  You can still tell the stories you want to tell and still allow it to be something unique and distinguished. 

Would allowing Doctor Strange to lean heavily into horror really be that big of an issue? I don’t know the details, but I would assume the problem wasn’t with the overall story of Doctor Strange 2 but with the actual vision and direction of it. Horror movies have proven to be big hits even as PG-13 movies and have given us what we want out of horror. Keeping with that rating, you can do a lot with bringing in the horror genre, but I suppose the question is whether or not they would lose their established audience by giving something they’re not expecting. 

Of course, you may scare some kids if it truly is a horror film, but I still feel that if the movie is great because of this approach then it won’t matter because the audience will still come. I think now is a better time than any to give themselves a chance to branch out and take a little risk. Now I don’t know what we’ll be getting with their new titles Eternals and Shang Chi, and I could be proven wrong when they’re released if they distinguish themselves. I may be wrong entirely when Doctor Strange 2 releases and ends up being amazing despite feeling formulaic, but I think Marvel needs to take a minute and really consider allowing a little bit of risk with the success they’re having.

When I talk about risk I’m talking about the actual stories and direction because honestly can anyone argue against the fact that they’re one of the riskiest studios out there? Guardians of the Galaxy, Eternals, Shang Chi….Nobody outside of the comic world knows who these characters are and it’s risky to drop that amount of money on them, but I think they need to allow themselves to give us something a little bit different. Something that will make us go “wow, I never thought they could do a movie like this”. 

Look, I know that this is sure to have some debate and there are plenty of arguments to be made, but this is how I feel and I may be wrong. I think that their Disney+ projects have a lot of potential of being something different and I think that they will push their limits eventually, but I want movies that standout and won’t be forgotten about after a year. I think it would be wise to balance both their formulaic approach and their distinguished different approach to test the waters and see if it can work. There have been other movies that have proved it can work, but I think they need to test it with their own universe. 

Maybe they’ll give it a shot, maybe they won’t. Either way I just want great memorable movies that we can have serious discussions about long after their release. And I hope they were right in separating from Scott Derrickson. 

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The New Mutants Is Back!!

Despite the long delayed and assumed scrapping of the project, Disney has brought back the project for theatrical release with its first new trailer. After Fox seemed to be unsure of what to do with the film having tried to take it in several different directions with reshoots or discussions of reshoots, it was thought that the film would be shelved never to be released. It wasn’t until the sale of the Fox properties to Disney that we started to wonder whether or not they would move forward with its release. Turns out it ended up being a movie that they felt confident in releasing to some extent. 

It was one of the biggest questions going into the acquisition of the Fox properties by Disney and it wasn’t until recently that we were told a new trailer would be dropping with the confirmed release being this year. Fox at a time wasn’t confident in the project and reports were saying that they wanted to do extensive reshoots to turn into a less horror like movie. 

I’m not going to go into all of the controversy or he said she said crap of what they were wanting to do or what they did as far as reshoots go, but with the original first trailer we saw that we would be getting a straight up horror movie in the X-Men universe. Josh Boone who directed it, very much wanted to keep in this direction and it seems with this new trailer that Disney has agreed and we’re getting his vision.

Right off the bat we get the Fox logo rather than a Disney logo or just a Marvel logo so it does seem safe to say that they have no intentions of merging this into their Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now it does make me wonder what will happen if it’s successful and warrants a sequel but that would be something to analyze further on in the future. I would say though that aside from the word mutant, there really aren’t any references to either the X-Men or the MCU so they could be leaving the door open for all possibilities. 

The thing that struck me the most was the keeping of the original direction with this being a straight up horror movie. It feels very refreshing and original because we haven’t really had anything of this nature before, at least not to this scale. It’s very much a horror house type concept where it brings together these kids who all have abilities that are being I guess taken care of and tested. It’s not till they realize that they’re in a bad place before they decide to try and leave this sparking the plot. The main doctor woman states that the place is to bring out their worst fears and what we see is each character going through several horror like events or possibly visions in trying to escape. 

It’s ultimately a clever angle to take the superhero genre and will definitely separate itself from the likes of other superhero films. It’s a wonder why Fox was so hesitant in releasing it and whether the film is actually bad or not. Hopefully if there were any issues, they were rectified under the new management. I’m also hoping that the only issue was that they were scared that it was too much in the horror genre. That could be why Disney is electing to use the Fox logo rather than their own. 

I also really like the introductions of the characters and their powers. It gives us a chance to meet them and see what they can do while also giving us origins that are for sure to make the spine tingle in an unusual fashion. I think the best example of this is when we get the introduction of Anya Taylor-Joy’s character Magik. She talks about how she killed like sixteen men and she almost seems proud of it. It’s terrifying to see the small moment of how scary her performance is going to be. 

I also noticed that the visuals of their powers looks much better in this trailer than it did in the first. Now the first trailer was a long time ago so I can’t exactly remember how much of their powers we actually got to see, but it definitely shows how much sharper the effects look. It appears that Disney really put forth the money to finish the visuals and I applaud them for that because it looks awesome. 

It’s a testament to the director and Disney to embrace what this movie is. These are all kids who reacted in what seems to be a realistic manner after finding out they have powers. It’s impressive really that despite all of the issues, this movie still found a way to come out and to come out with a statement. Sure there is the actual release of the movie at hand that could determine whether or not it was a good idea to go through with releasing it, but as I remember the first trailer for the most part was liked by most and this one looks to be another great showing of how good this movie could be. 

I was aware that there was a chance it could be released so I never covered this in my top ten anticipated of 2020 list, but I am definitely more excited about this movie than I thought I would be. Here’s to hoping that we get a movie that proves to be better than we expected and hopefully hits every mark and becomes a successful hit for the studio. There’s a lot to like here and we should be excited for a superhero movie that takes this sort of risk diving into the horror genre. 

The Best to Worst of 2019!

The last year of the teens is over, and we welcome the new Roaring Twenties (can we get that going again, sans the crippling economic depression I hope). That means another year in the movies has also ended, and it has been a massive year for cinema, so let’s recap my ranking of all the movies I saw this year.

If a movie is not on the list then I didn’t see it. 1917 I will see, but due to it being so late and not wanting to sit on this list for no reason it will not be on this list or the 2020 list (though it could I guess. More will be discussed in the review proper.)

The One That Doesn’t Count: I “saw” Aladdin 2019 in bits and pieces while watching and playing with my niece. It was constantly on in the background (she’s four, so of course) and I probably saw all of it. I just did not devote my time or attention enough to really give it a ranking. From what I saw it had a real good energy, vibrant color pallet, and okay acting. Will Smith was fine, Naomi Scott was good, everyone else did their job.

The Bad: Not going to have a good time.

46. Ma: This probably isn’t “the worst” movie I saw this year. I was just having none of its garbage. Just imagine making a stalker movie where you know everything about the stalker, sympathize with the stalker, and the stalker’s big revenge is sowing someone’s lips together as their big show of fear. It’s not scary, predictable, boring, and totally inconsistent.

45. Dark Phoenix: This probably is the worst movie I saw this year. Fox Studio and Simon Kinsberg’s big goodbye to the X-Men and Mutants is to do the Dark Phoenix Saga again, but badly, again. It’s cheap, it’s poorly acted. Both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender and phoning it in on a rotary phone. The rest of the cast is just wooden and flat. Then on top of that they decide the action climax to be in cheap CG train cars, and legit end the whole universe by copying Dark Knight Rises of all things.

44. Cats: Just barely losing to Dark Phoenix. It is the worst way to make the film. The cat designs were bad, the songs, music, choreography, and vocals were all weak, and Ian McKellan drank water out of a bowl like a cat even as he looked like human was the worst. It also feels like it was Tim Hooper’s vision. I don’t know if that’s better or worst, but he stayed committed to his film crime.

43. Isn’t It Romantic: A rom-com that tries to deconstruct romantic comedies by being both not romantic and not funny. Its concept of a girl who doesn’t like rom-com films ending up in one is neat for a hot second until you realize all of its jokes and criticism are shallow, and the big revelation of the film was done better of the four seasons and 62 episodes of the actually romantic and comedic musical series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (you should all watch).

42. The Great Hack: This Netflix documentary had everything going in its favor. It had a good premise, good production values, and a good hook only to completely squander it to nothing by the end. It presumably follows how the company Cambridge Analytica won the election for Donald Trump by abusing Facebook. Only it quickly becomes unfocused, over uses its graphics, and just generally loses the plot. I already hate Facebook. It’s not telling me anything I didn’t already agree with and I somehow came away against what the movie stood for.

41. Hellboy: Rebooting Hellboy as a scary R-rated affair is a great idea. It is too bad that they wasted it by trying to make it both a new origin, and a sequel to the last movies. David Harbour was strong casting choice and did well enough, but the script and supporting cast does not support him on his journey.

40. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile: I feel bad for Zac Effron. He’s a good actor who can never get to be in a good movie. This continue that pattern. Zac Effron was a great Ted Bundy. He was at both times charming, believable, intimidating, and scary he just never got a chance to shine and make the movie his own. He was bogged down by the most boring retelling of the Ted Bundy story.

39. Secret Life of Pets 2: It’s fine enough children’s movie fair. Some good jokes and bits, but mostly totally forgettable. It did not thoroughly waste it’s potential like EWSEV and Hellboy. There were zero expectations and it met the concrete.

37. Velvet Buzzsaw: The last of the bad movies. It has a good concept for a horror film, art becomes the murder weapon and attacks the people of the art world. It fails by having all the characters be either too weird, or stiffly acted to be relatable and care about. It does have some inventive kills.

The Ehh: Probably not going to have a good time, but it might hit you.

36. The Kitchen: A female empowerment crime movie about the relatives of mafiosos taking over the family to make an actual difference is neat. It just does not all come together by the end. It does not make clear how their better than the men before them, and its finale is obvious and not executed well.

35. 6 Underground: Michael Bay releases a beautiful fever dream that you probably will not remember except for a few really out there and funny on purpose scenes. Michael Bay was close to something, he just needs to clean his style up.

34. Joker: We live in a society, just not the one Joker wants to say we live in. It is a beautifully shot and well acted film that has nothing new to say, and gives those who want to actively hate and hurt others an easy mantra to repeat and make them feel smart and clever. The fact people see others hurting each other for no reason and call it cinema is evidence enough. It was not “society” that failed Arthur Flick it was the government, mental health professionals, and his mother.

33. Batman: Hush (ugh I hate the double colon): This is the animated film adaption of the commercial darling Batman: Hush by Joeph Loeb and Jim Lee. It’s hard to break it to you now, but that story is very pretty and has tons of iconic looks and panels, but the story is pants. This film has none of the style the comic did. They make the story better by actually making it a Riddler story, but so much of it needs reworking to even make sense. This does make Arthur Flick look like an interesting Joker.

32. Murder Mystery: If you haven’t been able to tell murder mysteries are an important genre (to me, I mean my first post was about a comic murder mystery). This one is not bad. It’s not great, it is a classic Adam Sandler movie after all. But it works well enough, and the mystery holds up. What holds it back is how annoying many of the characters are, and how contrived the not murder plot stuff is.

31. Good Boys: It’s funny enough. It makes a lot of old, wrote gross-out humor funny by having middle schoolers do it. It’s themes of growing up is okay (not as good as another movie on this list), and it shines in terms of openness. If the youth of America really are this courteous about kissing parties that’s okay. That’s valid.

The Decent: Going to have a fine enough time, but not remember you watched it.

30. LEGO Movie Part 2: You forgot this movie came out this year. It was a big letdown compared to the greatness of the original. They had no real great ideas other than what growing up is like, and how to work with others. Bucking the idea of being “edgy” to be cool is a good idea. It just has too much live action that does not work, and time travel somehow…

28/29Fyre Festival: The Biggest Party that Never Was & Fyre Fraud: Two documentaries about the Fyre Festival scandal in the same year, and came out so close together is weird. The only thing that would have been weirder is if based on a true story drama came out too. They’re both interesting for different reasons. Fyre Festivals: the one with the long name does a good job of showing where everything went in the micro while Fyre Fraud showed the macro impact of the marketing on the attendees. These were also the base for this section. They are really watchable and entertaining, but not great in any way. (Side note: I’m going to a big musical festival in May, should I be worried?)

27. Zombieland: Double Tap (curse you double colons, you strike again!): Another sequel to a great film that is weaker than the original. This one has more style and some more interesting ideas than you’d think, but still is not as satisfying as it could be.

26. Triple Frontier: This is a real dad movie. Old ragged soldiers on a mission that goes wrong. A good setup that starts to drag itself out until the third act where it picks up again and goes to some interesting places.

25. Justice League vs The Fatal 5: This is about as weird as two Fyre fest documentaries coming out in the same year. This is a sequel to the perfect (it is perfect considering where the DCEU went) DCAU. It follows some members of the justice league go head to head against some Legion of Superhero villains. It is made for no one, but is made so well that it’s hard to ignore. If you want a DCAU sequel but not bring back the fan favorite characters like Hawkgirl, Jon Stewart, or Martian Manhunter (you knew Kevin Conroy would return) it misses the point. It introduces Miss Martian to this universe and isn’t as good as Young Justice, and Jessica Cruz – Green Lantern which is actually cool and interesting. It also focuses a lot on the legion characters that come. It should be appreciated that they’re trying to tell a story. This just doesn’t feel like one that should be told when there has been such a giant gap. It’s a long episode of the show, but not a great one of those.

24. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…: Quinten Tarantino is a true auteur in all the good ways, but in all the bad ways as well. This is one of his worst films. He seems to just want to play in his favorite spaces and tell an okay story with a fun ending over some of his more plot a theme driven works.

23. Ad Astra: Brad Pitt getting lost in space is fun. This is a very mellow, contemplative piece. That is valid and necessary. It is beautifully shot and presented with some strong social commentary, but with an ending that does not totally come together.

22. Captain Marvel: This is probably one of the most forgettable MCU films, and weakest stand alone MCU film in a long time (that’s not cause it has a girl who does punching on men it it). It does not feel necessary to tell. It is cool seeing a young Fury get to where he ends up. Brie Larson does a fine job of making her a new spunky star. It just has to balance a lot and doesn’t do enough to sell me on why we needed to see this story. If you are introducing us to a new hero they should know who they are (amnesia is not a character arc).

The Good: You’ll enjoy yourself and have a good time, but they could be better.

21. Terminator Dark Fate: This was a big surprise! It is a great action film. It’s got some fun, inventive fight scenes, is important to the T2 story and builds on that in interesting ways. The new characters are good enough (I’d say we will see in a sequel, but that won’t happen). The biggest issue is how the new Skynet (it’s got some generic name I can’t remember) just creates copies of the terminator machine designs and has the same idea to stop th eventual human resistance.

20. Bombshell: A great film about woman coming together to stop men who abuse their power. It’s pointed, its sharp, its unfocused, and doesn’t use its time well, but even with that it is still something that can move you.

19. Jojo Rabbit: A kid and his zanny imaginary friend Adolf Hitler… (Hey Taika real talk, Nazi’s are coming back, are you sure about this….). Boy was he sure about it. There should have been no fear when the guy who decided to make a Thor movie about immigration would have a hard take on Nazism. What was most surprising was how much of a substantial movie it was. He knows how to get across real human drama, make you care for these characters, and also be hysterically funny. Sam Rockwell as a disgraced commander is both touching and hilarious. Someone finally realized how to utilize Rebel Wilson well, and prove that Scarlett Johansson can act and be incredibly endearing.

18. The Boy Who Would Be King: Is it possible to be surprised at the beginning of the year, cause this movie did it. This is one of the best adaptations of the Arthurian legend with really good kid actors, a strong newcomer Angus Imrie as young Merlin, and an amazing ending that any kid in the target demographic would love (arming up a whole school of kids to fight evil, what 10 year old wouldn’t want to do that?). It also has much to say on the impact of the stories we tell our children.

17. John Wick 3: John Wick as a series is well made, acted, has an interesting world of assassins, but just is not that impressive, except for it being completely original. The attack dog-shootout is a really impressive and an instantly iconic action scene. This is probably the best one, but the ending is just a big gun fight. It’s not easy to film, sure, but have you seen The Raid 2? This is no, The Raid 2. Every action movie of this kind, realistic but heightened in some way needs to be compared to the brutal, incredibly choreographed, and well edited The Raid 2.

16. Jumanji: The Next Level: Not as good as its predecessor, but barley. It’s full of great jokes, lines, has a really strong sense of adventure, and genuinely great characters to empathize with. If the sequel to this is as good it’ll be one of the best trilogies ever made.

The Best: The Must-See movies this year.

15. Marriage Story: If you don’t want to watch a zanny Nazi comedy film (I don’t blame you) you should watch this great drama to prove that Scarlett Johansson is a fantastic actor (I am hype for Black Widow!). Everyone brings their A-game to this production (Is Adam Driver this good in Girls?), and would say is the best Netflix Original Film (I did not see The Irishman). It’s detailed, brings up amazing questions about the divorce system we have, shows everyone involved as real people with strengths and weaknesses, and even has a fairly satisfying ending.

14. Dr. Sleep: The Shining by Stanley Kubrick is not good. It’s slow, plotting, dull, pretentious, and not scary. This movie is none of those. It is terrifying, the acting is stellar, all the characters are well rounded, the story is gripping (if a little slow at first because the point of where it is all going is unclear), and most of all it feels necessary for this to be happening to Danny. It fills out the world. In every way The Shining zigged down this zaggs up.

13. Promare: This was a Fathom release of the anime studio Trigger’s theatrical debut. If you watched Gurren Lagaan, or KIll la Kill and liked it you will love this. It is one of the best looking animated films ever. It follows a group of firefighters who literally fight fires with guns because the fire is demonic, sure, very anime (wait, there is an anime/manga from the creator of Souls Eater. I’m definitely doing something on that). The action, art and character design is stellar, its plot is predictable but absolutely bananas in the details (yeah the villain is super obvious, but wow none of the details are).

12. Detective Pikachu: Pokemon is a phenomenon. They’ve had dozens of films in Japan. There was always talk about doing one in America. There was always doubt it would happen, and even more doubt it would be any good. Boy, it’s real real good. It steals from Who Framed Roger Rabbit (but if you steal, steal from the best) to introduce us to this completely original city, with a great story (and a sequel to Pokemon: The First Movie somehow). Justice Smith is a good lead, Ryan Reynolds shines as Pikachu, and the effects never lag, look out of place, or compromise the incredible creatures on display. If there are any flaws (and there are) the love interest is not great, and the villain is obvious even if the plan is not.

11. Batman vs The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: There needs to be a dozen more of these films. The creators love both properties. The turtles play well off the Bat-family, the villain plot is standard but gives amazing fights. Snake Joker is just so cool. Batman is so earnest it hurts This is just so much fun, has such a good energy, and everyone should watch it (Also Rachel Bloom as Batgirl is amazing).

10. Toy Story 4: An unnecessary sequel with some worrying trailers laid way to a strong conclusion and actual ending for Woody and Buzz. It’s biggest strength is kicking the formula of Toy Story 2 and 3 (open on action scene, check in on Andy, a toy got misplaced and needs saving leading to them getting into the hands of people who shouldn’t get them, a toy has to rescue the others, Buzz gets a sort of reset, a warm and open fatherly figure that is the villain. Which one did I just describe?) in order to move our characters forward, present a new and interesting aspect to the Toy Story universe in the idea of lost toys finding homes, and that not every toy means the same thing to the same child. Not as good an ending as Toy Story 3, but substantial and strong.

9. Ready or Not: This is this year’s Overlord. Did you see Overlord? You should see Overlord. Similarly to this movie it takes a schlocky premise and turn it into a fully realized story. In this movie’s case it asks what would happen if modern rich people tried to reenact The Most Dangerous Game against the best movie protagonist in 2019 (Samar Weaving as Grace). Everyone brings their a-game to this production, and it shows all over. Scary, funny, dramatic, and charming in all the right ways.

8. Spider – Man: Far From Home: A good sequel for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man after Homecoming, and good epilogue to the Infinity Saga. Peter really comes into his own as he grows and deals with the impact of the new world. It’s funny, dramatic, dynamic, action packed, and a really Mysterio story!

7. Avengers Endgame: The end of an era for so many. A love letter to the fans who have been around since Iron Man, a bloated necessity, and the best ending battle scene of all time. It may not love comics as much as it loves the universe it built, and it works ( worst Karen Gillan performance of the year, she’s still the best in Jumanji).

6. Star Wars IX: Rise of Skywalker: This is immediately the best of the Skywalker saga. It feels like an extension of all the previous films, and an actual adventure with so much new stuff that it is a lot. It does stumble hard in places, but with so much going on it is easy to move past it.

5. Godzilla: King of Monsters: Have you seen this movie. You need too. It bucks all the complaints the previous film had to be a total monster movie smackdown only the biggest and best CGI and love of Godzilla can do. Second best Godzilla film ever (Shin Godzilla beats all).

4. Shazam!: Easily the best DCEU movie? Hard to say. But it loves the source material, loves the characters, is about heroism and family in great ways. Got a great reveal at the end. Easily one of the best Christmas movies of all time!

3. Knives Out: It’s already been established the love of a good murder mystery in here, and in my content in general. This one sells it all. It has great, well developed (if a little thin) characters, good twists and turns, engaging mystery narrative, beautifully shot, and is just overall a strong film.It does not utilize all of its characters to the fullest, but for the story it’s telling it is just killer (ha! Pun).

2. Alita: Battle Angel: I described this as the best (actual) movie this year. It is a film completely in love with everything in this world. It is well developed, with an interesting history, visually stunning world, district and strong characters, heartbreaking drama, and also completely silly. It is close to perfection. It falls with a weak love interest and not incredible ending, but everything to get there is magnificent.

1. Dragon Ball Super – Brolly: Everyone loves Dragon Ball. This movie loves Dragon Ball more than anything else. Since the first new movie, Battle of the Gods, a couple years ago the world is back on fire for it. Both of the previous films were good, but they were building to this (I have not watched Super. I’ll wait till the SEASON box sets come out so I can watch it in English). It is a great character arc for both Goku and Brolly as they deal with the changing world after the end of Super and explore that as they battle each other. It also ties into Ressurection F and make it feel like a sequel in so many ways. Its beautiful, action filled, hysterical, and the perfect end and strong beginning to whatever is to come.