Browse Category: Superhero

RECAP: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange (2016): Scott Derrickson

After trying out more famous actors (Robert Downey, Jr.) and more famous characters (Hulk, Thor, Captain America), Marvel moved into left field, throwing lesser-knowns into (hopefully) major franchises (Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy) and less-statured characters (Ant-Man).

That was a big hit. Of course, Doctor Strange was already on the table, but surely the success of Guardians helped executives breathe sighs of relief. Casting the most recognizable actor face of genius, or face of acting genius, no, guy who plays geniuses, Benedict Cumberbatch, eased tensions as well.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The world’s greatest surgeon permanently injures his hands, and then he becomes the world’s greatest wizard. Continue Reading

RECAP: Logan

Logan (2017): James Mangold

Playing Wolverine for the seventh and final time (in a feature role), Hugh Jackman wanted to end his career as most folks’ favorite mutant with a slash. Can Wolverine go out any other way?

Joining Jackman, and also for the last time, is Sir Patrick Stewart as Xavier. These two actor/character combinations began life on film in the previous century, before 9/11, GMO plants, and Donald Trump. In other words, a world ago.

Wow, they delivered a great movie.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: In the future the X-Men have disbanded, leaving Wolverine (just “Logan” now, thanks) to care for a dying Xavier and help a new mutant.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Wolverine

The Wolverine (2013): James Mangold

Fox released this gem of a mutant saga in a year full of Thor, Iron Man, and Superman. News was circulating of a team-up of the original X-Men and the new cast, released a year later.

For a character who loves to be lost, his film got lost. The Wolverine is the least X-Men-like X-Men film, and its gross proved it, earning only $133 million at the domestic box office, good for dead last in the mutant series.

And that’s a shame, because this is possibly the franchise’s best movie. It’s certainly a unique one, a film devoid of world-beating stakes and the mutant game of Mexican standoff.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Wolverine, eager to be rid of the world, returns to Japan to meet an old friend…or so he thought, Dun dun DUUUUNN! Continue Reading

RECAP: Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad (2016): David Ayer

On the heels of Superman’s death in Batman v Superman, Warner Brothers gave us a team-up movie featuring lesser known DC characters.

Suicide Squad introduces a team of baddies locked away in a black site prison. Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, El Diablo, and more are introduced to the film audience.

Fearing these to not be enough of a cinematic draw, Warner threw in appearances of Batman and Joker to anchor this puppy. The film also adapted a Neon Demon color scheme that appears in the opening and closing credits and whenever Joker is around.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Some real bad ladies and dudes join to fight for America against a badder lady and dude.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Deadpool

Deadpool (2016): Some Overpaid Tool (OK, Tim Miller)

That’s what the credits called Tim Miller, birth name of the man who directed Fox’s most recent mutant extravaganza.

You might remember Deadpool as a villain in the origin story of Wolverine from the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Well, you remember correctly.

Fox brought him back, divested him of Wolverine’s association (at least visually) and added a whole heap of humor. The result? The all-time February opening weekend record.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A funny guy learns that he’s a mutant and hunts the guy who proved it to him. Continue Reading

RECAP: Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four (2015): Josh Trank

When does 1+1+1+1=53? When Fantastic Four finishes 53rd at the US box office in its year of release.

Fox released a reboot of the mildly successful duology featuring, yes, that Chris Evans. In casting Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, and Kate Mara, the studio captured some of Hollywood’s hottest young talent.

They tossed in the director, Josh Trank, of an off-beat superhero success, Chronicle, to make an un-Marvel superhero movie.

They made an un-Marvel superhero movie. Turns out the public wasn’t interested.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Four fantastic folks fight for friendship while single slithery scientist teleports terrain to new planet. Continue Reading

RECAP: X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class (2011): Matthew Vaughn

Following the less-than-stellar success of X-Men: The Last Stand (not to mention its ultimate title), Fox decided to reboot the entire X-Men franchise. Sort of.

They recast all the characters, but made a prequel set in the 1960s, a film that would show the origins of the primary mutants. The old actors playing Magneto and Professor X would be recast with Hollywood’s hottest young actors.

The movie was a box office mediocrity. The lowest grossing of the mutant ensemble movies, it might be the franchise’s best entry. When you hear critics and fans berating Hollywood because they want to see better movies with original ideas, remind them of the box office problems that befell X-Men: First Class.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Mutants assemble for the first time, battling each other under the guise of the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Continue Reading

RECAP: X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016): Bryan Singer

The ageless first class of X-Men actors advance to the 1980s in X-Men: Apocalypse. Mutants have many powers, but did you know they can age not a day in 20 years?

Consider that Sophie Turner, who plays Jean Grey, is 20. The events of First Class took place 20 years before Apocalypse shows up. So she was a wee baby when Xavier lost his walking ability and Magneto first donned his helmet.

These folks haven’t aged in the 20 years of this series. I can suspend the disbelief, because I like what the producers have striven for in setting the mutants in older times. Still, the idea seems to wane in public consciousness. This third film of the prequel series’ theatrical earnings will fall much behind Days of Future Past when it closes its theatrical run.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The first, and most powerful, mutant tries to destroy the world right after he forms an awesome band of backup mutants.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War (2016): Anthony and Joe Russo

The 2014 sequel titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a taut political thriller that dealt with espionage and double agents. Were it not for a guy in a blue spandex suit, we might have forgotten we were watching a Marvel movie.

For Cap’s third solo turn, Marvel decided to cast Robert Downey, Jr. on the same level. The studio used a major plot line from the comics and maxed out the emotional stakes for the world’s greatest team of heroes (Justice League be damned).

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Captain America refuses to sign away his do-gooding powers and suffers the consequences.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Ant-Man

Ant-Man (2015): Peyton Reed

Before sneaking into theaters between and Avengers flick and a Civil War flick, Marvel’s Ant-Man was troubled. Its first director backed out. Then another, but he left his work on the script. Finally, the movie endured a phase shift, when Marvel moved it from Phase Three to Phase Two, which has got to be the most 21st century thing anyone has written about a movie.

Ant-Man was always going to be Marvel’s weak link in the phases. Turns out that the movie made a less-than-ant-sized box office, banking $180 million in the US. That puts it near the bottom of the list for Marvel, ahead of the debut of Captain America and practically tied with Thor’s. Those guys are mainline Avengers.

Ant-Man draws on Marvel’s expanded universe you’ve heard much about by now, leaning on other characters seen and unseen far more than any other character introduction movie yet seen.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A reformed thief returns to crime for one last gig, and his most important, in a shrinking suit.  Continue Reading

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