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I’m going to warn you right away, I’m biased. Going into this project, this was my pick for the best X-Men movie. And I don’t think I’m alone. This movie has a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, only surpassed by Logan. It was the first X-Men movie ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, and even though that was for visual effects, this is the seventh movie in the franchise. Usually when a franchise hits number seven it’s not even released in theaters. Be happy if it gets included in some nebulous “Complete Collection.”

If you want a reason why I consider this my favorite, here’s a good question. How many major franchise releases basically come out and admit they majorly fucked up? Make no mistake, that’s exactly why they made this movie. Time travel and retcons are a staple of comic books, but for X-Men stories the Fox movies are more or less straightforward. Sure, they can’t decide how many Emma Frosts they have, but compare those to the absolute insanity of the comics. Go ahead and dive into Jean Grey’s resurrections and stop whenever you feel a tension headache coming on. The next person you meet in an X-Men comic could be the character’s father and first born child.

So make no mistake, this movie exists because Origins was shit and First Class got all the good attention. That’s what happens when you cast Michael Fassbender in your movies, though. Shit, I sat through Snowman for him and they didn’t even film all of that movie.

If there’s a failure I can think of concerning this movie, it’s that this is it. They reset the time line, left the door open for a bunch of great films…only to do what? The Deadpool movies were great and Logan was the perfect send off for a character that had come to define the movies as a whole, but Apocalypse was forgettable and Dark Phoenix is memorable for how much money it lost, while New Mutants is notable for a three year wait only to be released during a global pandemic. You may or may not have heard about it, depending on your news sources. Of the six movies released after this one, only two involve the X-Men as a team.

Ok, you know it’s not a Fox X-Men movie if there’s not something problematic to discuss. This movie isn’t an exception, although the big problem with this movie is it just highlights something that has been there all along, namely that these movies are terrible with their female characters. Days of Future Past, the comic story, features Kitty Pryde as a main character in the narrative and it’s also one of her defining narratives. She’s been a main character in the X-Men since her debut, over thirty years old at the time of the film. X3 used her as a femme fatale character to drive a wedge between Rogue and Bobby, something that shows a gross and fundamental misunderstanding of the character’s role in comics. And it’s not just Kitty, either. Storm, Jean Grey, Psylocke, and Rogue are all featured prominently in these movies and somehow all misused. Did you know Psylocke is supposed to be in X3? No, and why should you? She’s never referred to as such and has three lines.

Look, Wolverine is a wildly popular character. He’s a flagship character for the entire Marvel line, of course he was going to have a starring role. Not only that, but they lucked out again by getting Hugh Jackman, a man whose muscles ripple with his own charisma. But through all of these movies it feels like they focused on him at the detriment of everyone else. Maybe that’s why the main X-Men movies feel so lost after this. His appearance in Apocalypse is a repeat of something we’ve seen in three other movies, except for a new, more comics accurate hat.

Despite all that, if I had to pick a top X-Men movie, I think this one would be it. DOFP to me has always felt like one that delivered the feel of an X-Men comic book the best, Quicksilver’s scene in this is one of the best of the whole series. Seeing the original cast and younger cast in the same movie is a fun thrill, and accurate considering that the X-Men treat time the same way some people treat speed limits, only acknowledging them when put under scrutiny.

One final note, there are two versions of this movie. The theatrical version, and then a separate cut which restores scenes of Rogue. I’m going to watch both, but I’ll only be doing movie notes for the theatrical version.

Budget: 200 Million(estimated, a lot of studios are refusing to release definite numbers on their large properties.)

First Weekend: 90 Million

USA Gross: 233 Million

Movie notes will be up soon. It is spooky season, and so it has been dictated that I must base my personality around that until November.

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Peter: Hi Logan!

Logan: F-ck…

Peter: Logan?

Logan, heavily breathing: Kid I’m busy.

Peter: *looks over Logan’s shoulder*

Peter: Ew Logan! What is that?!

Logan, looking at Peter: I AM TRYING TO DRAW CHARLES. WHAT DID YOU THINK I WAS DOING?

Peter: aNYTHING BUT CHARLES????!

Erik, walking by: Please, I beg of you Peter, rephrase what you just said.

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Charles: Your team has nothing against my own team and their powers.

Tony: Try me.

Charles: I am sure the term, my, Peter used was the term “Hoe”

Tony: You do realise… You do realise I can just… Kick you down the stairs, yes?

Charles: Excuse me, hoe. My bald ass head can control your mind.

Tony:

Tony: bRUCE-

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How do you forget about a movie with a giant samurai robot that doubles as cancer treatment? How is this not considered a highlight of the whole series?

Ok, I’ll be honest with you. That is a pretty ridiculous end for a movie that has spent it’s previous two hours being more or less grounded in reality. Yes, this is a comic book movie, but it’s still one that spends close to a third of its running time on a slow-blossoming romance between two of its main characters. Said slow-blossoming romance also takes place while Wolverine is…well, not Wolverine. Almost all of this movie features Logan without one of his defining powers, going in and out of consciousness and hallucinating his OTHER dead romantic interest. Before the big Silver Samurai fight, all the other battles are Logan against regular humans. Sure, the train fight plays with reality and physics but compared to Wolverine jumping a motorcycle into a helicopter this might as well be based on a true story.

This grounded approach means the movie depends more on the script and story than previous X-Men movies. It leads to what is the most introspective X-Men movie we’ve seen from Fox, and while there’s been absolutely no competition for that title, at least up to this point, it’s still nice to see. Watching this movie makes it plainly obvious why Mangold was brought back for Logan. This movie is about as stunning a reversal from Origins without having Jodorowsky direct. Which would be phenomenal, but this world isn’t beautiful enough to have a ten-hour movie involving Wolverine nude and on various psychedelics screaming at religious iconography.

That would be awesome…

Look, Marvel, hire Jodorowsky to direct something. But hurry up, because dude is pushing ninety. Unless psychedelics are somehow the secret to eternal life, which looking at the guy’s work ethic might be the case.

Moving on…

Let’s all gush about Yukio for a second, because she’s just goddamn great. Yukio steals almost every scene she’s in. Her character is reminiscent of the mentor relationship Logan shared with Kitty Pryde and later Jubilee. It’s the type of relationship the very first X-Men movie tried to set up with Rogue and never bothered to follow through on, to the detriment of both characters (but mostly, almost entirely Rogue). Better still, Yukio is set up as the type of character that actually exists before and after the movie. You could easily write an entire movie about the complex dynamics hinted at between Yukio and Mariko. I can think of no better proof of how good a character she is then that Fox clearly had no idea what to do with her.

I’ve talked about Origins a lot, but I have yet to mention the other movie this follows up. Well, I’m not going to do it by name because, frankly, the hurt is still there. But as far as a sequel to that dumpster fire of toxic masculinity and studio incompetence, plus the choking miasma of however much Aqua Velva Brett Ratner must splash on daily…Forgot where I was going with that.

How much of X3′s budget was spent on cheap cologne? I don’t need an exact number, just a general estimate.

Oh yea, The Wolverine as a follow-up to X3. It’s great. Famke Jannsen’s last turn as Jean Grey is fucking great. It’s shocking what an actor can do when you give them actual lines. She’s there as a figment of Logan’ subconscious guilt and makes more of an impression than she ever did as the Phoenix. Honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the screentime was more or less equal.

This movie has a lot going for it. As the first X-Men movie to take place entirely in another country, I was expecting it to step in it culturally. Surprisingly, it doesn’t. They kinda gloss over the war crimes committed by Japan, but at least Wolverine doesn’t get all mopey over a dead nazi in this one. Other than that, this movie is overall pretty respectful. I’m not going to call it entirely accurate, but this is also a movie that hinges on tiny robots destroying how you heal so maybe don’t consult it before a big trip to Japan, but as an action movie it’s fine. No, this movie is two pretty trouble free hours.

*checks runtime* 2:18.

Huh.

Oh, Viper just said being a lesbian makes her a better villain.

…Goddamnit. You guys got so close.

The actual line is “Immune to the poison of Man,” and this is problematic for two reasons, so let’s discuss the more obvious one first. Being something other than white, cis, and straight doesn’t make you evil! This was a gross trope in the eighties, and in 2013 it’s deliberately ignorant. It adds nothing to her or the larger story. Up until this point, she wasn’t the most three-dimensional villain, but that was fine. We didn’t need a detailed backstory, she poisoned people and was against Wolverine. That’s plenty in this movie.

That brings me to the second reason. It’s a cheap way to claim LGBT representation without actually bothering to put in any work. Look, everyone here has watched multiple episodes of Law & Order when they were sick right?

Just, follow me for a second.

There was a character called Serena Sotherlyn, and on her very last episode, as she’s fired, she asks “Is this because I’m a lesbian?” It’s one of her last lines before she leaves the show, and she’s given absolutely no indication before this point in regards to her sexuality. If you look it up, people will point out lines or actions they say are clues to her sexuality but it’s a lot of hindsight. There was never a statement until her very last scene.

Ok, enough talking about Law & Order. Somewhere in there is the point I’m trying to make, and the point is none of this is representation, it’s just lazy pandering. And as far as I can tell, it didn’t pay off for them. I had to watch the movie twice before I even picked up on the line. But it’s like a mislaid tile or a stray hair you missed while shaving; once you see it it’s all you see.

And that’s a shame, because one line shouldn’t detract from a whole movie. I’m not saying it does, but it sticks out so much because of the utter lack of necessity in the line. We don’t gain any insight into the character and the movie doesn’t gain anything from the line. Hell, she’s dead five minutes later, she could be telling us her weekend plans for all it affects the plot. She might as well tell Wolverine she forgot to get pickles from the grocery store, then Yukio breaks her neck as she’s heading to the A&P(still open in 2013), but Yukio would’ve had some super badass line because she’s the best.

Rila Fukushima deserves another shot, Hollywood. Please listen to this amateur tumblr blogger. Maybe you’re lost on your way to some sonic fanfics or something, I don’t know.

Apart from that one line, I don’t have a reason not to recommend this movie. There’s great action, romance, the friends we made along the way. This one deserves to be remembered.

P.S. I’ll discuss that midcredits scene during my premovie thoughts for Days of Future Past. It wasn’t directed by or planned for by Mangold, so I’m going to consider it part of the next one. So there.

Up Next: Time to reset the X-Men, so Fox can make new, even worse mistakes.

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