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Perhaps no 21st century film franchise has been as utterly uneven as the “X-Men” universe.

The first movie – “X-Men” – came out back in 2000, nearly a decade before the MCU hit the scene with “Iron Man.” By all rights, the X-Men should have been the cinematic blockbuster team well before the Avengers even showed up.

Instead, we’ve watched as the franchise has been yanked all over the map in terms of quality. The heights of the early films were undermined by 2006’s unfortunate “Last Stand” and the nigh-unwatchable 2009 standalone “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” The ship was righted thanks to the timeline-altering reboot that began with “First Class” in 2011, a good Wolverine movie (“The Wolverine”) and a capital-G Great one (“Logan”) and the introduction of Deadpool.

Alas, “Dark Phoenix” doesn’t rise to that level. Or the level below it. Or the level below that one. The truth is that one could argue that this latest installment – the last before the characters pass from 20th Century Fox into the control of the Disney machine – represents the nadir of the franchise.

It’s the second effort by the franchise to tell perhaps the most important arc in the history of the X-Men – and the second failure. This is an iconic storyline, not just for the X-Men, but for all of comicdom. And yet it is peppered with sloppy storytelling, disinterested characterizations and unclear decision-making (both on camera and behind it).

Despite extremely low expectations, “Dark Phoenix” still managed to disappoint me.

Published in Movies
Tuesday, 22 May 2018 15:00

More meta mayhem – ‘Deadpool 2’

Superheroes are big business at the box office. The biggest cinematic successes of the past few years have involved CGI explosions and spandex. Hell, 2018 alone has seen “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” taking their places atop various all-time lists.

And yet … there’s more than one path to victory.

We got a glimpse of one such path with 2016’s “Deadpool,” the hard-R Ryan Reynolds passion project that brought the unorthodox and profane titular character to the big screen in all of his fourth wall-breaking metatextual glory. The critical and commercial acclaim with which it was met ensured that we’d see another installment.

“Deadpool 2” is … more. More of the self-awareness. More of the snark. More winking jokes and nods. More curse words. Just … more. It is broad and crude and unapologetic. And while it’s maybe a little messier and unfocused than its predecessor, it also opens up and shows some unexpected heart – albeit in Deadpool’s specific and very peculiar way.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 22:26

It's a proper sendoff in 'Logan'

Wolverine film transcends its superhero genre

Published in Movies
Friday, 27 May 2016 21:16

X-Men: Apocalypse' a bit X-cessive

Latest X-movie uneven, but still entertaining

The X-Men have had a bumpy ride on the big screen. The first 'X-Men' was a huge part in kickstarting the renaissance of now-ubiquitous superhero movies. However, the franchise took a nosedive with its third installment, necessitating a reboot with 2011's excellent 'Days of Future Past' and 2014's solid follow-up 'Days of Future Past.'

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 11 May 2016 14:23

Weekly Time Waster (05-11-2016)

Retro X: Arcade'

Published in Time Waster Weekly
Monday, 26 May 2014 13:28

X-Men' offers uncanny excellence

'Days of Future Pas' an outstanding superhero offering

The superhero has reigned supreme at the box office for a few years now. The studios that are churning out these spandex-clad CGI spectacles are looking to recoup nine-figure investments; they need as many people as possible to see their movies. So of course, they must seek out ways to broaden the appeal of their films as much as possible.

Published in Buzz
Thursday, 01 August 2013 10:13

Second time's the charm The Wolverine'

Character's second solo outing far outshines the first

Wolverine has been one of the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe for decades now, his brooding nature and willful violence coalescing into an antihero that fans have embraced. 

So it only makes sense that he would be the one character from the 'X-Men' franchise that warranted his own film. And now, with the release of 'The Wolverine,' he actually gets his second solo outing. After the misfire that was the 2009 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine,' it's nice to see the character get a shot at critical and commercial redemption.

Published in Movies

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