‘Phil’s Quick Capsule Review’ (a nod to legendary comedian Bill Hicks who coined the phrase when he reviewed ‘Piece Of Shit’ movie Basic Instinct)… where a perfect 10 is rarer than a rain free British summer!
Written by Phil Hobden – UK based podcaster, writer and former filmmaker. Part of the All Things Film network…
Logan is a violent film. If you are expecting the standard PG-13 rated X-Men franchise cartoon action and happy endings then this may not be for you. Because what you have here is a full on R rated swear fest with some pretty hardcore claws through the face, arm ripping off, Wolverine action that comic book fans have been waiting for since the character first stepped onto the big screen.
A sequel of sorts to the whole X-Men universe but without ever needing to be propped up on the weight of the series mythology, Logan takes the ball that Deadpool threw out last year and runs with it. Deadpool showed that there was a huge market for a more mature comic book adapation and whilst that film added humour to pepper it’s violence, Logan just goes all in on the blood and guts. That’s not to say the film has no laughs. It does. But usually they are dark humoured and surrounded by limbs being severed.
Logan is the Unforgiven of superhero films, a latter day John Wayne western that tracks the broken hero of old on one last quest. It’s moody, it’s full of long drawn out moments and it’s unlike any comic book adaptation you have ever seen. And this is it’s major strength. It a world where these films are generic and cookie cutter, Logan takes the format and throws it away. Yeah it keeps elements of what we expect but for the most part the film remains grounded. It feels real. Turns out director Mangold, who delivered the almost good 2013 Wolverine film, when unshackled from the grasp of the studio can deliver the film we’ve all been waiting for.
As with most X-Men films it manages to both feel part of a wider universe but also manages to have no real connection of any actual continuity, a fact that long time X-Men fans have come to accept (Fox are like the anti-marvel in this regard). It goes without saying that Jackman, always a high point of the franchise, kills it here untethered from the family friendly films of old. He relishes every cuss word, every strike of his claw, every brutal kill. Patrick Stewart is also commanding in a role that feels like a very natural progression for the character he’s played alongside Jackman for many years. But it’s newcomer Dafne Keen who manages to steal the show as X-23. She’s completely believable in a role that sees here switch from cute kid to murderous rage filled killer.
It’s not all successful. I’m still not sold on Merchant’s casting who brings his usual one note performance here and the film could easily loose 15+ minutes as several of the action scenes, whilst fun, are repetitive. It may also been seen as a bit too bleak.
But… the film is good enough for these not to matter. This is a brave film in a genre that sometimes fails to take enough chances. It’s not afraid to give conclusions, to be brutal, to show the young X-23 in full on berserker mode.
Despite it’s few faults, the film does more than enough to warrant your attention. It’s good. Really good at times. It’s finally the Wolverine movie we’ve wanted for over 15 years.
Best Bit: Beserker.
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy
If You Liked this Try: The Unforgiven, The Searchers, Deadpool
Phil’s Quick look at what’s wetting his whistle for the upcoming year in films…
Well 2016 was a bit… odd. With most of the big films not quite hitting the mark, especially comic books films. 2017 looks like more of the same – big budget super heroes, franchises, remakes and sequels. Here’s the films I’m most looking forward to in 2017.
Most Excited: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Marvel continues to do solid work, with Doctor Strange being a highlight of 2016. Also Guardians was, simply put, bloody terrific. Oh and have you seen THAT trailer. Baby Groot? Atomic Bomb? Yup. Sold.
2. Star Wars Episode 8 Lucasfilm in the hands of Disney have given us two very good Star Wars films in the shape of The Force Awakens and Rogue One. With the original cast (mostly) returning, more promised on the origins of Kylo Ren and Rey as well as a full return to the movies of Luke Skywalker… Episode 8 should be pretty special.
3. War For The Planet Of The Apes Rise was great. Dawn even better. And now War. Based on THAT trailer and a synopsis which promises the final showdown between ape and man (which should lead to the end of the world/Charlton Heston) this could be one of the best films of the year.
4. John Wick Chapter 2 John Wick was old school, martial arts awesomeness. John Wick 2 promises a LOT more of the same. I have my seat booked.
5. T2: Trainspotting Trainspotting remains one of the best films of the 90’s and one of the best British films ever. Whether T2 follows the source material of Porno or not is still to be seen but either way with the cast returning and Boyle back behind the camera this should deliver a great film.
Bubbling Under: Baywatch (Excellent Trailer),Lego Batman (It’s Lego. Batman. Done), Spiderman: Homecoming (this could go either way to be honest but I’m hoping…), Silence (Scorsese. I’m in), Alien: Covenant (come on it HAS to be better than Prometheus!), The Dark Tower (could be the King adaptation we’ve always waited for), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Original was amazing, same team).
Stinker Of The Year: Transformers: The Last Knight The previous 3 Transformers films have each rated in AT LEAST the bottom 3 of year they were released (some even rock bottom). Looking at the trailer for the fifth (yes FIFTH!) Michael Bay Transformers film does little to convince me that this will be anything but an utter mess. It’s a bit like shooting fish in a barrel sure but come on there has to be ZERO chance of this being any good.
Also Dreading: Wonder Woman (The trailer is lacking, the film just doesn’t grab me), Blade Runner 2049 (Silly title, a sequel we just don’t need), Power Rangers (Urm not needed, not wanted), Logan (Want tone wrong but so far these films have just not worked), XXX: Return Of Xander Cage (Diesel is back. Nobody cares), Cars 3 (1 & 2 weren’t great) , The Mummy (Tom Cruise. A Mummy. I’ll pass).
So how did I do last year?
This is the time of the year when I look back at my picks of the good, the bad and the ugly from 2016 and see how close I was (or as it often is the case, how far!)…
For the best: I tipped Captain America Civil War, Creed, Finding Dory, Deadpool & London Has Fallen as my most anticipated of 2016. Somewhat of a mixed bag with Creed & Deadpool sitting close to my top 10 with Creed my film of the year for a few months near the start of 2016. Finding Dory was good but not good enough. London Has Fallen, well that ended up being one of the worst films of the year for me. As for Captain America Civil War? It promised a lot but fell short of the far superior Winter Solider from a few years back and Marvel’s very own Doctor Strange which was the best superhero film of the year.
As for the Stinkers? Point Break was terrible as expected and landed firmly in my bottom 5 for 2016. Batman Vs Superman was actually pretty fun (if flawed), The Hateful Eight overrated as I expected but there were worse films in 2016, Ghostbusters was forgettable, Warcraft was everything that’s wrong with game movie adaptations and the combination of sequels Divergent Allegiant & Independence Day Resurgence showed that both franchises have zero fun left in them and even less commercial appeal. Only Star Trek Beyond rose above the dross as a truly fun film (until the silly somewhat overblown ending).
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: X-Men Apocalypse is pretty much your typical modern Summer superhero sequel event film. A wealth of characters played by the hottest up and coming actors, a paper thin plot that makes almost no sense when laid out in the light of day, a pretty pointless bad guy that has some global domination plot and some (occasionally) good to (frequently) terrible CGI FX. But for the MOST part it’s fine right up until the final act where everything fall into a ball of CGI hokum. It passes the time but man at nearly two and a half hours long it does test the patience. Fun for fans, but it won’t convince any new people…
Best Bit: Quicksilver. Again.
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream
If You Liked this Try: X-Men First Class, X-Men 2, X-Men
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: This is a strange one. Whilst the film is undoubtedly excellently made and is now considered by most to be one of the two best X-Men films (with X2 no doubt) I left the cinema somewhat underwhelmed. Apart from a few strong sequences (notably the Quicksilver/ Magneto Rescue), the far more interesting future world is sacrificed for a 70’s set linear tale that offers little action but is heavy on the talking. And whilst it shouldn’t, the eve growing inconsistencies in the X-Men time line is starting to really grate. So overall competent but nothing we haven’t been, better, elsewhere.
Best Bit: Quicksilver
Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Rent
If You Liked this Try: X-Men Days Of Future Past, X-Men 2, The Avengers
Stinker Of The Year : Body Of Lies (3/10) In Brief: Body Of Lies biggest crime was that it was just painfully dull. A bad film that you could have maybe excused if it was a cheap DTV action thriller but the whole situation is compounded by the fact it was a Ridley Scott movie with a cast that included Leonardo DiCaprio. Avoid.
2. Fighting In Brief: Worst MMA film ever. DULL.
3. Watchmen In Brief: Over hyped, dull and sooooo loooong. Massive let down.
4. Transformers : Revenge Of The Fallen In Brief: So much money. Wasted. Oh at least you see Megan Fox in jeans. DULL!
5. Xmen Origins: Wolverine In Brief: Yawn.
Bubbling under: Twilight; The Day the Earth Stood Still; Max Payne; Pride & Glory; Bronson; Never Surrender; Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2