Superman Stats

Saturday, 31 May 2014

X-Men Days of Future Past Review: On Time Travel and Mutants

Rorschach Reviews

X-Men: Days of Future Past

With the movie already released, it's time to look at one of the most iconic comics that the film is partially based on.

Days of Future Past is considered one of the greatest achievements in comics history and is my personal favorite X-Comic thanks to its time travel premise and one of my favorite X-Men being front and center of it; Kitty Pryde. 

Contrary to what the movie would have you know, this two part story saw Kitty Pryde sent back in the past from 2013 to her own younger body to save the X-Men, Mutant kind and the present and the future.

Like with the released film it involves the team of X-Men stopping an assassination carried out by Mystique and by doing so abolishing the rising Sentinel program.  She is hell bent alongside her Brotherhood, on assassinating Senator Kelly, who wishes to up the ante on the Sentinel Program that has been dormant for a while.

However the collection doesn't only feature the two part story. It is in fact more of a conclusion to John Byrne's acclaimed work alongside Chris Claremont.

As I've detailed before, Claremont came into the book after it was revived thank to Giant Size X-Men (review here). He and Byrne worked together extensively on the Dark Phoenix Saga that featured the debut of Kitty Pryde.

Ironically while this is the end of their run together (the best era of Claremont's lengthy work on the X-Men), it is a new beginning. Post the Giant Size issue, a new team took the original X-Men place but amongst them original member Cyclops remained. Here with Phoenix/Jean's death he leaves and Kitty enters.

*Although yes Angel returns, he isn't as characterized as his team mates; the new X-Men*

Kitty comes to the team in a way that mirrors Jean's arrival to the mansion years ago during the first issue of X-Men, when the other four originals (Cyclops, Angel, Iceman, Beast) had been already established.

The paperback isn't lengthy though, it runs from issue 138-143 and features X-Men Annual 4 as well.

So let's head on to the review.

The beginning of this book as mentioned is an epilogue to The Dark Phoenix Saga and a movement towards new beginnings for the X-Men. If you’re a casual reader, the book is a great pick up because in the issue titled 'Elegy', the X-Men stand at Jean's funeral and Scott reminisces with detail about their past adventures that led them to this place.

It's an issue that lets writer Claremont to revel in his area of expertise; lots and lots of dialogue, mostly exposition. It's a fun history albeit for a regular reader, basically meaningless. The issue is that with Scott iterating the story, you should be able to feel his pain. It’s a difficult task for a writer to capture that voice on paper but Claremont is known to do it well, yet here the amount of dialogue overpowers what Scott feels.

At the end it feels like just a catch up issue which is sad, considering Marvel and Claremont should have used this issue to force catching up readers hands to pick up the epic Dark Phoenix Saga (which I suggest you do).

The end however is very touching when Claremont fully grasps Scott's pain and his embarrassment at facing Jean's parents. Not only does Xavier express how proud he is off Scott, but Scott himself notes that he cannot becomes his reserved self but owes it to Jean to live fully.

You'd think the meat and potatoes would then begin, but sadly Marvel's schedule moved towards a X-Men annual.

The fun thing is; it features Dr. Strange. The annoying thing; it's an aspect of Nightcrawler's story I could care less for, considering how creepy it is.

One of the tings I really hate that you notice outside the first exposition necessary issue, is that Claremont's style of dialogue just doesn't work anymore. He tends to explain the actions on page, it's a habit that was prevalent during the early rise of super hero comics.

This is something that will definitely feel outdated and annoying for inexperienced readers, and gives the sense that writers either didn't follow the action well enough or didn't trust the artist to convey the message across.

I never really liked any issue where the X-Men took on mystical ideas, it just doesn’t fit unless the mutant in question is Magik. Then that creepy ending, the woman who took Nighcrawler to the other realm is revealed to be his long lost step sister who had been posing as his girlfriend for years. That is just weird on a whole other level.

Although the last bit where Wolverine acknowledges Kitty is fun, knowing their now mentor/student bond.

The iconic cover has been parodied multiple times and the dialogue has become a statement heard by every new mutant that joins the X-Men

The next issue, issue 139 is the real start of the book and kind of encapsulates the idea of the whole trade; its lead protagonist is Kitty. There's a reason I really love Claremont's run, he gives each character space to grow yet for a reader focuses in on one character as a lead for a short period of time. Prior to Phoenix it was Scott, during the story it transitioned from him to Jean and now Kitty.

Of course with only a handful of issues you'd expect that there wouldn't be much development for the X-Men characters let alone Kitty, considering the big two part event. Yet that's one of the great things about Claremont's style of writing, a lot of dialogue he uses establishes the world that encompasses each individual.

With Kitty, he begins to establish her personal relation to each member of the team. DOFP is the ground for exploring a lot of Kitty and Wolverine's relation and builds a base that later comics would explore about Wolverine playing mentor to her. It's something that would go on to define his character as well, when he would train Rogue, Jubilee and more.

With Nightcrawler, you get to see Kitty's apprehensive behavior towards the blue mutant. His appearance of course being the issue, it's a way for the young mutant to learn Xavier's motives. Kitty has to accept not only herself but her fellow mutants to understand the idea of peaceful cohabitance between Mutants and Humans.

With Storm, you get to also once again see Storm in a new light. This is a character who realizes her responsibilities as an X-Men leader and is burdened with all the identities she has had in her life but most of all the one she hasn't. Storm never really felt her childhood and she vows to protect Kitty's amidst the weird adventures they have. 

Kitty Pryde and Peter Rasputin would have an X-Romance that would last for years. It ended last year. 

Finally the seeds are also sown for Kitty's admiration and infatuation with Peter Rasputin, which would eventually blossom into a romance between Kitty and Colossus.

Yet Claremont as mentioned never forgets this is a team book. If you want to know why fans get pissed when the movies are all about Wolverine, then this book and run is a prime example of that. Even amidst his own story (below), there is profound development for a multitude of characters including not just the X-Men but his former team mates Alpha Flight.

The next two issues are a Wolverine centric story, and develop from Claremont's previous stories which saw Wolverine take on his former Canadian team mates of Alpha Flight.  The issues here are much better than before, because Claremont tries and succeeds in humanizing this one note beast we've seen.

Behind the cowl faced feisty mutant is a heart, a code and above all else history, something that goes on to become a theme for Wolverine. It also adds more dimensions to his and Nightcrawler's relationship. 

Wolverine and Nightcrawler share a deep friendship, that shows how well Claremont writes team dynamics

The next two issues are basically what you buy the book for; the iconic Days of Future Past story and my favorite X-Men story ever.

Both issues have some of the most iconic covers in comic history, the first depicts the oft parodied poster cover that tells you the extent to which the future is bleak. The second depicts Wolverine being blitz to shreds by a Sentinel. 

The legendary John Byrne Days of Future Past Covers for issue 141 and 142

The story itself begins in the then future 2013, where the Sentinels rule and have a divided class of humanity and mutanity. All that doesn't matter, since everyone in the USA is in an apocalyptic nightmare of a world and the Sentinels prepare to strike against the world now. This prompts the remaining X-Men (Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, Kate Pryde) along with Magneto, Frankiln Richards (son of Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman) and Rachael Grey to devise a plan, using Rachael's control of the astral plane they will send Kate's conscious into her younger body in 1980.

Here she will be tasked to convince the X-Men to stop Mystique and her brotherhood from assassinating Presidential candidate Robert Kelly and mutant experts Charles Xavier (their Professor) and Moira McTaggert.

What's really great about this issue once again, is that at its core it gets to the theme that defines the X-Men and their plight. The rise of the Sentinel and even their machinations with the timeline here show you, that humanities bigotry against mutants wont really stop by one simple act of kindness that Kitty does by saving Kelly.

In a way it highlights how flawed and unchanged Xavier's dream will remain, but does so such that his X-Men come off better heroes for fighting for something and someone who will never understand them and their kind. It makes the X-Men that much more iconic in the readers eyes, knowing that these are heroes constantly striving to do better for a world that hates them unlike other super heroes.

Claremont balances things really good. Not just the two timelines but multiple characters. He places Kitty once again as the POV character, here we see a bubbly young girl and the broken woman she would become. It's poignant and disheartening, especially when she says her goodbye to Colossus in the future knowing that her actions in the past might alter their relationship.

An opening scene establishes how grim the future is. One such powerful moment is when Kitty walks across the Mutant concentration camp and witnesses the long line of graves of her fallen comrades.

Claremont is untouchable in setting such scenes of evocative drama, these powerful moments are never short in the story.

Take for example the above striking panel depicting Wolverine's death and his teammates falling in the future, it is preceded by panels which highlight Wolverine's strength, limits and his bestial nature in the 1980 timeline. He then rushes onto a sentinel which is reminiscent of an earlier panel that saw Wolverine strike down the murderous robot, here however he is burned to the bone and disintegrated.

The way Byrne scratches out the body and the colors depict bones and blood is chilling.

He also gets a lot of mileage out of the other characters, most notably past and future Storm, past and future Wolverine, future Colossus and Nightcrawler.

Past Storm struggles in the role of leader as this major mission takes it all out of her, yet she also holds her ground against Wolverine when he threatens to be like the mutant that the world sees him as. In the future, she notes how chaotic she has become like Wolverine. Such that she has lost a piece of herself as the darkness in the world threatens to suffocate her.

Colossus fears for Kitty in the past and iterates his selfishness to see them together no matter what the consequences, while he also reminisces about his past innocent and kind self being hardened by the death of his children and friends.

Wolverine grows angrier about the fight and decides to take out each and every one in a violent manner, showing that he still has a lot to learn as a team player.

While Nightcrawler's past with Mystique is hinted towards.

But still at the core this is Kitty's mission and she does save the day, but at the cost of a much darker future. I like how Claremont leaves it ambiguous on both fronts. One piece of dialogue questions whether the dark future will remain as a parallel universe or will truly be wiped out, with no panel noting what happens. Such that this question remains unanswered unless you read further X-Men books.

The second is the final page that sees Kelly teaming with mutant villain Sebastian Shaw, unbeknownst to him that Shaw is one.  They decide to work with the president and his man Henry Peter Gyrich to continue the Sentinel program in secret and keep tabs on the Mutant 'situation'. It's like humanity can't even sink any lower.

With the themes, tones, situation and characters in place then Claremont has a quick pace on his hands and the action embodies this. Fights are furious and some of the best action is depicted in his run.

This is an iconic story for every which reason I have listed. Not to forget of course that it builds a mythos of X-Men and is a pre-cursor to all their time warped adventures such as Age of Apocalypse and Age of X. Basically DOFP brought the heady scientific themes that are nature for X-Men adventures, to light.

The last issue then is a breather but is also very vital to the ongoing plot that covers the trade. It's the first time an X-Men issue would have the adjective Uncanny and it is the first solo Kitty Pryde adventure that proves she has not only the powers, but the resources to be called an X-Man.

Kitty faces a demon alone in the X-Mansion on Christmas Eve.

It's an issue that lets Byrne run wild, his final issue. It presents dazzling panels of action as Kitty takes down the monster and wrecks the mansion in the process. Dialogue is one of Claremont's key components and strengths, and it shows.

A thrilling epilogue to the writer and artists work together and a satisfactory end to the collection.

Onto the artwork.

There's a reason that in his more than a decades worth of work on X-Men, his two most iconic stories are drawn by John Byrne.  Byrne along with Dave Cockrum artistically revitalized the X-Men and he carries this sincerely forward from The Dark Phoenix Saga.

He depicts the action in a fluid and discernible manner whilst capturing the pace that the narrative sets. His figure drawing of the characters is wonderful and the sketchiness of Wolverine to the clean look for Kitty differentiates the background and age of his characters. A special mention to his work on the Sentinels, making them looking emotionless yet fearsome. Terry Austin's inking compliments Byrne's work and enhances it well. The re-coloring is also great.

Comic wise overall, the book takes time to pick up but its worth the wait, for the Days of Future Past story is simply mesmerizing.

Now onto the trade itself. I have the soft cover, there's no hard cover. Though I'm not sure if it's available anymore, but there is a graphic novel special that simply collects the DOFP story and nothing else. Then there's also the phone book size Essential X-Men, where the stories are collected in black and white.

Finally a recently released Uncanny X-Men Omnibus vol.2 collects this whole trade and the Dark Phoenix Saga for your enjoyment. It is complimented by the first volume, that presents Claremont's earlier work building up to the Dark Phoenix.

I have the Omnibus Vol.1 and Dark Phoenix Saga TPB as well as this trade. This trade itself is a bit annoying, the glue binding creates a deep gutter and a lot of panels get lost inside. This prevents you from reading as comfortable as possible and may cause some to rip pages if your not careful.

The extras in the book as with any trade are simple. It is the cover art for Classic X-Men issues that reprinted these stories earlier. It's fun to see the new style covers, but I wish there was more such as copied scripts or even Byrne's sketch book.

Overall this is a great book, even though it only picks up in its latter half. The price is 20 US Dollars, which is a tad bit expensive for just seven stories. I would say though that DOFP is worth half the price alone.

Plus the problem of Claremonts terrific writing, is that you cannot miss even filler issues because he imbues them with so much character and development that you can lose yourself with any one of these layered and deep X-Men.

If I were grading this, I would possibly give it an 8.9 with Days contributing to a lot of the score. 

'Nuff Said Bub 

Aneesh Raikundalia

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Reel Reviews: X-Men Days of Future Past

Magneto's Movies

Reel Reviews X-Men-Days of Future Past

Release Date: 23rd May 2014

Director: Bryan Singer

Cast: Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine, Jeniffer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique, James McAvoy as Charles Xavier/Professor X, Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr/Magneto, Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy/Beast, Peter Dinklage as Boliviar Trask, Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe/Storm, Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat, Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake/Iceman, Daniel Cudmore as Peter Rasputin/Colossus, Anna Paquin as Rogue, Omar Sy as Bishop, Evan Peters as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver, Josh Helman as Major William Stryker, Fan Bingbing as Blink, Booboo Stewart as Warpath, Lucas Till as Alex Summers/Havok, Evan Jonigkeit as Toad, Mark Camacho as President Nixon, Kelsey Grammer as Beast with Famke Jansen as Jean Grey and James Marsden as Scott Summers

Genre: Comic Book

Score: 9.6/10 (w/out vfx 9.6)

Pros: -Blending the fun and comedic brilliance of The Avengers and the gritty drama and stakes of The Dark Knight Trilogy with the pathos that define X-Men, comes possibly one of the greatest if not best super hero film of all time
           -The film handles its information with necessary exposition and gets the pacing moving briskly
           -The plot provides the opportunity for some fun world hopping, the writer weaves in historical elements with dexterity and balances the different tones and themes with a masterful hand
           -There's five different well developed character arc, with one whole thematic concept at its core; Magneto and Charles battle for Mystique's soul and towards it the larger goal to save the future. This truly feels like a Mutant if not X-Men film as Wolverine becomes a supporting player and passes the torch onwards
           -Singer is on form as he masterfully handles a massive cast and balances between the tones of the film as well as the different timelines. He's a director who clearly understands the themes that are prevalent within the X-Verse. He also resets the canon of the film as best as he can giving us two movie ripe continuities.
           -Never is the drama bogged down by the action, which is mind blowing and freaking epic. From the fights scenes to the set pieces, nothing seems cliché e.g. large scale destruction. Features an incredible scene with Quicksilver
           -An all star cast that never falters for one moment. James McAvoy is marvelous especially when confronted in the emotional moments. Hugh Jackman is Wolverine, plain and simple.  Fassbender takes his Magneto to a darker route and presents a the character with an exciting edge. In the final moments McKellen and Stewart remind you why they're so revered as thespians. Lawrence rounds out the leads with a sinister intensity and deep vulnerability
           -The score is majestic bringing out the tense nature of the action and the haunting aspect of the future. A killer soundtrack accompanies it, enjoying the influence of the 70's
           -It's money well spent by Fox as this is the best visual effects they have gotten on celluloid

Cons: -It's play with the concept of time is loose and without ramifications
           -Even with the heavy exposition, sometimes the film can get confusing for a disengaged audience and one that hasn't focused on prior franchise films
           -The human element of villainy is undercooked and Trask's motives don't make sense or resonate. Yet Singer is smart to keep his involvement short 

Best Scene: Quicksilver breaking Magneto out from prison, hilariously effective and when Young Professor X confronts his older version in the future

Best Performance: James McAvoy as Charles Xavier/Professor X

Best Dialogue: 'Logan, I was a very different man. Lead me, guide me, be patient with me'-Old Charles Xavier
                         'Patience isn't my strongest suit'-Wolverine, good old Wolverine never forgets to be snarky in a dire situation

Coolest Comic Book Reference: Quicksilver quips that his mother knew someone who control magnetism, a clear nod that Magneto might just be his father like in the comics
                                                     Young Xavier uses his powers to see the future and meets his older self, this has to be done by the two Xavier's meeting in the astral plane. A place in the comics where telepathic mutants can communicate 

Like with previous X-Men films, DOFP is far from a faithful and perfect adaptation of its far superior comic book counterpart. Yet the film was bound to be a magnum opus simply thanks to its massive brilliant cast and Bryan Singer's return to the director's chair.

*Do Note, I will not comment on Singer's current predicament and allegations towards him, I am reviewing the film as a movie and the efforts he put in as a director, dividing both the professional and personal aspects of his life*

When things were looking down after Batman and Robin, it was Marvel that ushered in the Comic Book Movie renaissance with Blade. Then a grizzled clawed Mutant came along and the X-Men franchise was born, but so was the CBM Mania. As such it's terrific to know that the films that began this box office dominance we see today, is the film that could possibly be the best comic book movie of all times. I mean it holds a freaking 94% on Rotten Tomatoes at this point.

So to go into details, here's why the X-Men are the best comic and are dominating this summer and possibly more summers to come whether it be Past, Present or Future...(bad joke)

Monday, 19 May 2014

Reel Reviews: X-Reviews

Magneto's Movies

Reel Reviews



With the latest X-Men film coming soon, I remembered I would have to fulfill the promise I made last year of reviewing every X-Men feature. Sadly I don't have much time on my hands or I'm just plain lazy, so what I decided was that I would put up a feature for short reviews of the previous four X-Men movies and even Origins. (The Wolverine was already reviewed here). 

This gives me a chance to group out a feature I had planned. As it's the 75th anniversary of Marvel beyond the Marvel Studios films, every other set of Marvel films will get short reviews grouped by the characters.  Then I will take all of those an be able to rank the top ten Marvel films whether they're from Marvel Studios, Fox, Sony or anywhere else

So the first thing I thought to start with is the X-Men. (I know Amazing Spider-Man 2 will come first, but I'll make a full Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2 review later). 

So here are all the X-Men movie short reviews.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Short Review: Godzilla (2014)

Magneto's Movies

Short Review Godzilla

Release Date: 16th May 2014

Director: Gareth Edwards

Cast: Aaron Taylor Johnson as Lieutenant Ford Brody, Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody, Elizabeth Olsen as Elle Brody, Carson Bolde as Sam Brody, David Strathairn as Admiral William Stenz with Sally Hawkins as Dr Vivienne Graham and Juliette Binoche as Sandra 'Sandy' Brody

Genre: Sci-Fi/Monster/Thriller

Score: 8.8/10 (w/out vfx 8.6)

Pros:-The film's pay off is magnificent, a third act fight is the highlight of the film and is alone worth the price of the ticket         

          -Opening act establishes a taut and tense tone that proceeds for most of the film, it keeps itself in a very melancholy and brooding manner yet balances it with some well timed humor and cheesiness. Writers and director revel in the B-Movie aspect as homage to the originals. The two tone effect is perfectly blended

          -The human aspect of the film in terms of the arcs for the secondary characters is handled with great insight. Both Cranston's and Watanabe's characters have compelling arcs that divulge in the themes of the film

          -Most themes are interestingly executed specifically the idea of man vs. nature and father/son dynamics

          -Edwards and his cinematographer have a beautiful visual aesthetic that keeps in touch with the mood of the film. The color palette used especially during the action also allows for a stunning realization on screen

          -As a director his efforts shine through, you can see the reverence that Edwards has for the original Japanese films which is convincing for the viewers to be engaged. His Spielberg influence are also a sight to see and make his efforts likeable

          -Camera angles utilized, never forget the human aspect of the film by capturing the action in a tense environment with crammed shots and worms eye views. Yet at the same time the action is magnificently choreographed and gloriously captured

          -Bryan Cranston gives a stirring performance, he and Binoche share a scene of stark emotion that you wish they had focused the feature on his character. Watanabe like with his director seems to share the adoration for the concept, he shows this by effectively bringing life to his similar character. Olsen is particularly good during the emotionally heavy bits.    

          -The score is hauntingly beautiful, it adds to and matches the emotion of each moment on screen

          -VFX team does a wonderful job in bringing its monsters to life especially Godzilla, who look menacing like never before


Cons:-A typical blockbuster film that is full of script issues such as plot holes and instances of no logic

           -With the human moments being necessary, it's sad that the film decides to spend time on a lead protagonists whose character is very bland and one that the script with all its effort cannot make us care about. Much of the film especially the second act languishes under his shadow

           -A lot of the other characters are basically stock and stereotypical

           -The narrative pacing is an oddity, it takes a nosedive at a lot of points although there's something else to really blame for that…

           -…that is the genius decision to hide the monster for much off the film, but Edwards does it one too many times. It makes the finale effective yet you cannot help but feel cheated by the title of the film and spending so little time with Godzilla

           -At the center of the film is Aaron Taylor Johnson's Ford, yet he matches his bland character with an equally bland performance. There's no real sense of emotion to a lot of the heavy scenes that expect him to carry the film forward and his scenes with the monsters clearly highlight the actor's inexperience in acting alongside green screen.

Best Scene: The first instance of when Godzilla's tail lights up, powering him up to deliver a glorious fire breath

Best Performance: Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody 

Best Dialogue: 'The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in their control and not the other way around. Let them fight.'-Dr. Ichiro Serizawa

Feeling a bit lazy, so here's a short review for Godzilla. 

An awesome movie that wasn't as expected, but turned out to be a genuine surprise. 


Aneesh Raikundalia

Tintin's Top Ten: Things We Want In Arrow Season 3

Tintin's Top Ten

Things We Want in Arrow Season 3

Arrow's second season began and ended with a massive bang. The show based on DC comics Green Arrow and airing on the CW Network, has been a great success and has become the foundation for superheroes to take over TV like they have the Silver Screens. 

This Fall it will air its third season alongside a plethora of superhero TV shows. Most notably The Flash, which is its spin-off, but even then it's Arrow that is the most anticipated, having built itself a growing fan base.

The Creators Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg left a lot of teases not just in the finale but through the season of things to come. Season 3 is highly anticipated and here's a few things I'd like to see...

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Happy Mother's Day: Meet the greatest Non-existent yet Always Present Mom on Celluloid

The Most Iconic Mom on Film

And Why She Actually Doesn't Exist

Okay so this is a confusing title, but there's a reason to it...I didn't want to reveal the character I was talking about. 

So can you guess who it is that is the Non-Existent yet Always Present Mother on film?

Anyone? Anyone? No one? Well then the answer is...

Norma Bates! 

Of course it is, she's non existent since Norman killed her years ago, but she's always present because of Norman's split personality disorder. Thus giving birth to one of the biggest twists in cinematic history and is the cornerstone of an iconic film from an iconic film maker Alfred Hitchcock. 

Ironic how the most legendary mother on screen is actually no there and to begin with was a bad one at that. 

So to the all the Mothers in the world even the Psycho one's but especially my loving Mother who I adore beyond anything else, we love you and...  


For My Mother, From Her Son

Aneesh Raikundalia

Sunday, 4 May 2014

May The 4th Be With You: Examining the Star Wars 7 Cast

Celebrating Star Wars Day!

Days before the most auspicious day for Star Wars fans, we were greeted with the announcement of the main cast for the latest Star Wars film set to be directed by JJ Abrams.;h=581

A roundtable of the main cast for Star Wars Episode VII

The heads at Disney also confirmed that the Expanded Universe of comics built since the Star Wars films are no more canon and therefore will not form the basis of adaptation for the new set of trilogies. 

Since Episode 7 was announced, casting rumors have flown left, right and center to the extent that mostly everyone big or making it big in Hollywood has been attached with the project. Ath the end of the day, here is your main cast. Hamill

You May Know Him From: Luke Skywalker in The Original Star Wars Trilogy, Joker in Batman The Animated Series
Hamill is set to reprise his role as the hero from the classic films, here possibly much wiser and older. I could see him playing a sort of Obi Wan Kenobi type of role to a young up and coming Jedi. There's not note on whether he will be a father to any young Jedi. Depending on how the Republic was rebuilt after the Empire take down, he could still be in a pivotal political role. Suggestion; Why not have him be a man who failed to bring order to the Republic once the Empire went down, it would make the politics of the world much more intriguing and real. Ford

You May Know Him From: Han Solo in The Original Star Wars Trilogy, Indiana Jones in the Indiana Jones Franchise
The man everyone wanted to see reprise his role, Han Solo is back baby and he's ready to shoot first...bad joke. Anyways, cast pictures saw him sitting next to Carrie Fisher and a new female actor; could that be his daughter in the film? Han is hard to pin point after the end of the Empire. He obviously ends up with Leia, but doing what? Trying to be A Jedi master or a man of politics? With Han I just don't see it. Harrison Ford has noted that Han has a vital role in the upcoming trilogy not just the first movie, so we'll have to wait and watch.,0,214,317_AL_.jpgCarrie Fisher

You May Know Her From: Leia Skywalker in The Original Star Wars Trilogy
Fisher will be playing Leia once again, the obvious role I could see her in is a Senator or some form of higher political role depending on the structure of the universe post the Empire defeat. Hopefully Leia does get a well defined arc through the film, though I most likely can see her as just a political figure for an extended cameo or so. Fisher's portrayal of Lei is mostly memorable for the one moments of her in the gold bikini but also going bad ass and killing Jabba the Hutt, so it would be fun to see her help beat some baddies again in some fashion. Mayhew

You May Know Him From: Chewbacca in The Original Star Wars Trilogy
Another member of the original cast. The big question here being; Is Mayhew going to full reprise his role or only voice? Chewbacca is most likely to be CGI and as such who will provide the motion capture performance for the lovable wookie? 

Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker

You May Know Them From: C3PO and R2D2 in The Original Star Wars Trilogy

Can you really separate the duo? The major connect between both the franchises and basically a part of every film. Once again, much of the role might be in mo-cap with certain parts filmed with the robotics or whatever. It will be fun to see the banter between the two characters specifically the beeeepps of R2.,0,214,317_AL_.jpgAdam Driver

You May Know Him From: Adam Sackler in Girls

While many actors were being rumored for roles, it was only Driver (prior to the cast photo reveal) who was being confirmed for his role as a villain. Driver is most likely set to portray the main villain of the film and take on whoever plays hero in the new trilogy. Driver is a bundle of talent with some great comic timing, so it will be interesting to see him in a much more intense role than before. Boyega

You May Know Him From: Attack The Block

Boyega is unanimously considered the best part of Joe Cornish's sci-fi Attack the Block. A promising young talent, Boyega will be able to make an impact with such a visible franchise. He's listed right below the original cast on Wikipedia and while I know that might not mean much, this could possibly hint to him being the leading man/hero for the franchise. How about making him a hero against Driver's villain and setting Boyega's path towards an eventual fall into the dark side. It would be an interesting character arc reminiscent of Anakin's original fall to becoming Darth Vader. Gleeson

You May Know Him From: Bill Weasley in Harry Potter franchise

The immensely talented Domhnall Gleeson is making small but powerful impacts in Indie films, his performance in last years About Time was beautiful where as Frank looks enticing. Gleeson physically embodies a scrawny/lanky underdog sort of look that actually fits the kind of hero Mark Hamill's Luke was. As such it would be an interesting aspect for him to be an opposite leading man to the physically similar Adam Driver. This way he could also most likely fit into the role of Luke's son or something.,0,214,317_AL_.jpgDaisy Ridley

You May Know Her From: -

Relative unknown Daisy Ridley is the only other female actor in the cast, which says a whole lot about Hollywood. Still this would mean that she most likely rounds out the lead hero roles which will most likely be a trio (as they usually are). As soon as that cast photo came out, the sitting arrangement caused speculation that maybe Daisy Ridley is set to play daughter to Han and Leia. If so then the character could be portrayed with similarity to Jaina Solo (the daughter of Han and Leia) from the now non-canon Expanded Universe. What if then Driver plays a version of her twin brother Jacen? Issac

You May Know Him From: Inside Llewyn Davis

Since the release of last years critically acclaimed yet underrated Coen feature Inside Llewyn Davis, Oscar Issac has become a wanted leading man. Of the four new cast members I've signified as most likely leads, Issac is five years older to the eldest (Gleeson and Driver). As such I don't necessarily think he will be a leading protagonist unless in a sort of Han Solo cum Obi Wan Kenobi type of role. Issac is a marvelous performer and he might also possibly be playing a villain. He's got the chops for both and the biggest reason beyond the original cast, that has me excited for this film. Serkis

You May Know Him From: Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong in King Kong, Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I listed those roles down to make a point, Serkis is the master of motion capture. So with a film obviously going to feature a plethora of major alien characters, it isn't hard to see that Serkis has been cast to portray most likely an alien Sith Lord like Darth Maul. He could also likely be portraying an alien friend as long as it isn't Jar Jar Binks, but it might just be a Yoda type sage character. But with the hero count being big, it isn't hard to see that Serkis is going to be a villain. The most confirmed thing about his casting is that we're going to get another iconic motion capture showing from the understated actor. Von Sydow

You May Know Him From: Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon, Blofeld in 007 Never Say Never Again

A veteran actor mostly known state side for his portrayal of villains. If that doesn't indicate his role then let me explain. Sydow is a guaranteed lock as a villain for the feature, most likely portraying a Sith Lord and master to Adam Driver's younger central villain. It could be possible that Sydow portrays one that is initially killed by Driver resorting to a mere extended cameo role, or one that manipulates Driver's character but for a twist gets killed by Driver and then Driver himself chooses the path of villainy rather than being forced to it like Anakin. 

So that's the cast...Enjoy and...

May the Force be With You,

Darth Aneeshius               

Friday, 2 May 2014

Reel Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man 2...Electric Boogaloo

Magneto's Movies

Reel Reviews The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Release Date:  2nd May 2014

Director: Marc Webb

Cast: Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin, Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro, Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich, Colm Feore as Donald Menken, Felicity Jones as Felicia Hardy, BJ Novak as Alistair Smythe, Dennis Leary as Captain George Stacy, Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn, Scott Campbell as Richard Parker, Embeth Davidtz as Mary Parker, Martin Czokas as Dr. Ashley Kafka, Michael Masee as Gustav Fiers with Sally Field as May Parker and Martin Sheen as Ben Parker

Genre: Comic Book

Score: 7.7/10 (w/out vfx; 8)

Pros:-As a whole, the film perfectly captures the essence of Spider-Man from the classic storytelling to the themes and above all else it's most heart breaking moment that changed the industry as a whole
          -Writers weave a detailed arc for Peter Parker, providing another step for his alter ego to understand heroism and the sacrifices it takes. Like with the comics, his relationships are also understood at a core level. Gwen also gets a lot of layers added to her character moving more from a damsel in distress to a vital partner grounding Peter
          -The development of Spider-Man's scientific origin is handled well and adds a new dimension for the film while keeping in line with a lot from different versions of the comics
          -More than the writing it's Mark Webb who deserves applause. His execution of the smaller human moments especially the romantic ones shows a matured director who understands depth in character and plot. He also improves in the big set piece moments
          -The action while little is spectacular even making slow motion look good and utilizes the POV camera tricks well
          -Andrew Garfield one ups his performance from the previous film, he gleefully embodies the aspect of Spider-Man and defines the angst yet hope that Peter represents. Watch him in scenes regarding his father and the climax with Gwen
          -Emma Stone ones again lights up the screen with her charming screen presence and mastery of comic timing. She boils down the iconography of the character which is desperately needed
          -The stalwart however is Dane DeHaan. He is simply mind blowing as Harry Osborn, and not even the amount of screen time can stop him from stealing the show. Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon is great at times
          -At the heart of the film is the love story and as such the chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone is dynamic and makes each and every scene of there's till the finale worth watching. Garfield also shares a great rapport with DeHaan and Sally Field.
          -Hans Zimmer makes a score that fits the mood and theme to Spider-Man making it inspiring as well as romantic and sometimes dark

Cons:-The writing as a whole isn't so great, dialogues are rife with exposition and in order to focus on the world building aspects the film becomes distracting and over long
           -At times there are noticeably jarring tonal changes from the light hearted to the very grim
           -The villains are woefully underdeveloped. Harry's change to Goblin is too quickly brought up. Once again a franchise building problem
           -Indirect of the origin change, the film short changes the role of Uncle Ben being a bit disappointing   
           -Certain scenes go overboard performance wise. Foxx as Electro is a bit too hammy from time to time while Marton Csokas and sadly Paul Giamatti are woefully over the top threatening to drag the future movies down
           -While the action is set up right, the camera work at time makes the experience nauseating especially taking into account the post production 3D. With it the VFX is woefully defined and cartoonish

Best Scene: The final depiction of Gwen's death is the most heart breaking moment on screen

Best Dialogue: I can't particularly remember but when Mr. Fiers asks Harry about the team, Harry says 'Make it small' implying the Six for the Sinister team

Best Performance: Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin

Coolest Comic Book Reference: Anything to do with the Sinister Six and in a way Gwen's death as well

Amazing Spider-Man 2 hit theaters to a worldwide success but critical backlash. There are many problems with both Spider-Man franchises and I enjoy both although not Spider-Man 3 (though it has its moments). The second installment returns with the promise to look to the future in terms of Spider-Man and more such as the upcoming Sinister Six and Venom films. 

So head on down to enjoy my review but remember Spoiler Alert!