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Tag Archive: X-Men


Evan Peters QuickSilver Time in a Bottle X-Men Days of Futue Past

Review by C.J. Bunce

BOULEVARD DRIVE-IN — It’s hard to believe it has only been six years since Jon Favreau surprised the world, taking a typically underwhelming character like Tony Stark, casting Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man, and making the best modern superhero movie.  Although fanboy director Favreau made the Christmas classic Elf before Iron Man, who knew he was going to change how we evaluate the modern superhero film?  So it shouldn’t be surprising that a proven genre director like Bryan Singer, with titles under his belt like The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X-Men 2, X-men Origins: Wolverine, Superman Returns, and Valkyrie, has set the new standard in the summer blockbuster sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero sphere with his latest X-title, X-Men: Days of Future Past.  You don’t even need to be an X-Men or Marvel fan to realize what a triumph Singer has achieved.

The movie is gigantic from the opening set-up.  The giant mechanical Sentinels of the comic books take over Earth in the distant future, weeding out once and for all the small bands of survivors, creating a very Terminator-influenced opening.  Now see if you can spot a theme here.  A band of what you might call Tier 3 X-Men, led by Kitty Pryde (played by Oscar nominee Ellen Page), find a way to send something back into the past to save themselves from Sentinel strikes.  Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, Oscar nominee Ian McKellen’s Magneto and Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman’s Logan aka Wolverine take Pryde’s method to come up with a time travel plan that results in dual casts trying to save their world, one in 1973, the other in the future.  Storm, played by returning Oscar winner Halle Berry, tries to fend off the Sentinels to allow the time travel trick to work.

Magneto Fassbender

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Sentinels

Were I Joe Hollywood, that puppet master that controls the destiny of all things in Entertainmentland, who has infinite resources and influence and what he says goes, I’d put Bryan Singer forward as the next director of the next movie release for Star Trek, Star Wars, or any DC Comics property.  The guy behind the X-Men movies, Superman Returns, Valkyrie, House, M.D., and The Usual Suspects could make magic out of any mega-franchise.  And yes, I do believe his Superman Returns dances circles around last year’s feeble attempt at rebooting the Superman mythos.

Were I Bryan Singer, I’d use the new X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer as my business card, as page one of my portfolio for the new mega-franchise gig.  Unlike the earlier Days of Future Past trailers released, this new preview gives us a major glimpse of the scope of this new story, and some brilliantly designed sets and character interactions.  Not to mention more of that 1970s retro that moviemakers can’t seem to get enough of recently.  As a child of the 1970s, I am all for that (although it would be nice to see a real view of the decade at some point and not just what the 1970s looked like in New York City and Los Angeles over and over again).

1970s Days of Future Past

But it’s all really about bringing Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey back for a Phoenix movie, right?  Why else go to all this trouble to change “this” timeline?

You can definitely get the feel that this new time travel story could get the “fixing the past” concept right.  There’s not much better for a sci-fi aficionado than a killer time travel story, so here’s hoping Days of Future Past is as good as it looks.  Maybe even good enough to propel Singer into some other big franchises.

Here’s the latest trailer for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past:

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4 X-men of the futureFor Marvel Comics and X-Men fans, the next in the line of X-Men movies to hit the big screen looks to be an epic production, starring the stars of the first three X-Men and Wolverine movies and the younger stars of X-Men’s past in X-Men: First Class.  Not only does that mean Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry, and Ellen Page are back, but we get to meet new characters, too, including Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask, Omar Sy as Bishop, Booboo Stewart as Warpath, Bingbing Fan as Blink, and Adan Canto as Sunspot.

 

Check out this first full-length trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past:

We have a long wait for this one.  X-Men: Days of Future Past is scheduled for release in theaters May 23, 2014.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

2824589-13260-gamesrocks-superman

By Art Schmidt

I was having lunch with a friend the other day and we were talking about comic book movies and the slow transition of the formulas for the ones which have succeeded to television format. My friend was grumbling about the lack of costumed heroes on popular shows such as Arrow or the new Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I have to admit, I hadn’t really noticed the lack of costumes in those shows, loving the first season of Arrow despite very few folks with traditional comic book costumes, and enjoying the first couple of episodes of A.O.S. (can you acronym an acronym?).

But the more I thought about it, the more puzzled I was.  Why weren’t there more costumes in Arrow?  Certainly Deathstroke’s mask was a pivotal prop in the series, and the Dark Archer had a cool getup, but they weren’t costumes so much as work attire fitting the villain’s nature.  And of course A.O.S. is a show about normal people, super spies and highly-skilled to be sure, but not superheroes.  And certainly without costumes outside of May’s black leather suit, akin to Fury’s normal wardrobe and the attire seen by many personnel aboard the Heli-carrier in The Avengers.

Speaking of which, The Avengers is a perfect case in point.  The evolution of the superhero sans costume.  I’ll get back to that in a minute.

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The Wolverine poster

Basically ignoring the first standalone Wolverine film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the new film, simply titled The Wolverine, picks up after Logan/Wolverine’s life was shattered from the events of X-Men: The Last Stand.  Based in part on the Chris Claremont and Frank Miller run on the Wolverine comic book mini-series from back in 1982, we meet a girl from Japan named Yukio who takes Logan to Japan for her dying employer, who looks like he’d pass for one of those villains with strange medical maladies like Dr. No.  Logan evidently saved this man’s life and he wants to return the favor by helping to make Logan normal.  With a taste of mortality will Logan really give up his mutant powers?

Wolverine mini-series by Claremont and Miller

Marvel Studios has released two full-length trailers for The Wolverine, a better and longer international version and a shorter U.S. version that doesn’t give much of the story away.  Check out the international trailer for The Wolverine:

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Ray Park as Darth Maul

Kansas City’s Planet Comicon announced today that actor and stuntman Ray Park will be one of the headliners of this year’s event April 6-7, 2013 at the Kansas City Convention Center downtown at Bartle Hall.  In his short career as actor he has amassed some key, iconic roles across major franchises.  And because some of his roles are behind a mask or make-up you might not recognize him at first.  But when he moves and performs has trademark wushu spin you just know this Glasgow, Scotland-born second degree black belt martial artist is behind the performance.  He’s been a lead contender to play Iron Fist in a future Marvel Comics project and on March 28, 2013 he will reprise his role as Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  Let’s check out his major acting and stunt roles so far.

Ray Park in Mortal Kombat Annihilation Continue reading

JLA 1 cover by Finch courtesy of DC Entertainment

Review by C.J. Bunce

It was way back in August that we first previewed the very first images of the new Justice League of America here at borg.com.  DC Comics has had a big month with big changes–first we reviewed Jeff Lemire beginning a new Green Arrow story in the monthly series, then we were introduced last week to Tatsu, a new recruit in a new Justice League whose superhero name is that of her sword, Katana.  And if you’re not keeping up we chatted a few days ago about DC Comics’ two trade editions available for the plain ol’ Justice League of the New 52.  And that’s not even getting into the cancelled Justice League International monthly title and the awesome Justice League Dark we’ve raved about here earlier.

Today DC Comics put the America back in the Justice League.  Sure, the Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg)–the League with all the egos–will continue as a monthly series, but the rest of the original JLA superheroes we all know and love are back in their own separate league.  They may not be the World’s Finest but writer Geoff Johns and artist David Finch have launched a new story, “World’s Most Dangerous.”  And if Issue #1 is any indication I think we’re in for a better league with the new JLA.

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Earlier this season Hollywood Treasure, Syfy Channel’s “reality” series about auction house Profiles in History, featured the Dreier family collection of screenused props, costumes and nostalgic toys.   Back in June we reported that the auction house had announced the first part of the Dreier collection would hit the auction block July 28.  Chad Dreier and son Doug had amassed a broad collection of costumes and props after Chad’s company Ryland Homes was successfully turned into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. The collection itself covers a lot of bases of primarily movies from 2000 onward, with some key pieces from the 1970s and 1980s.  Saturday the first part of the collection resulted in a few good buys but mainly showed that the economy is doing fine for those with a lot of money.

So how did the lots that borg.com projected as key pieces fare?

First off was an exquisite original Chewbacca head/mask from the original Star Wars.  It had an auction estimate of $60,000 to $80,000 and I expected this would sell for at least triple that. Profiles called this “the finest screen-correct Chewbacca costume head from the Star Wars trilogy known to exist.”  So was I right?  The sale price including fees was $172,200.  Almost three times the estimate.  But this was an exception as most items in the auction sold in-line with auction estimates.

The Dreiers appeared to purchase everything they could get their hands on related to Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from 1971. Their collection includes Wilder’s key outfit and hat and a bunch of lesser known but recognizable props and production ephemera. Wilder’s hat was expected to fetch between $20,000 and $30,000 and the costume $60,000 to $80,000.    The hat sold for $33,825  and the costume for $73,800.  An Oompa Loompa costume carried an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.  Selling for $30,750, it showed how popular these characters still are today.

A Bob Keeshan costume from the 1960s had an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.  It sold for $36,900.

An easily identifiable jacket of the type worn by Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller carried an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.  It sold for $36,900.

The Dreiers were also fans of Christopher Reeve’s Superman from 1978.  One of the hero Reeves suits expected to sell between $60,000 to $80,000.  It sold for $79,850.  We featured the rarer costume worn by his father Jor-El, played by the great Marlon Brando, in our Comic-Con coverage here.

It had the same estimate as the Reeve suit, and sold similarly at $73,800.  Both fell in line with expectations.

The auction catalog cover featured an original set of cylon armor from Battlestar Galactica.  The suit carried an auction estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.  It sold for $46,125.

This outfit from the original series had an auction estimate of $12,000 to $15,000.  It sold for $17,220.

We also reported on this slick Wolverine costume in our Comic-Con coverage.  It had an estimate of $25,000 to $50,000 and sold for $49,200.

One sleeper item I noted was the original comic art for the Battlestar Galactica oversized comic book. With an estimate at only $2,000 to $3,000, I expected it to exceed $10,000.   Although it sold over its estimate, it didn’t make my prediction, selling at $4,305.

One other key piece sold at Profiles Saturday of note–a complete Star Trek: The Next Generation mannequin and costume of The Borg.  It was not ever for sale at auction before Profiles auctioned it in a recent auction of ex-Paley costumes, but was created by Michael Westmore’s actual production team for a museum collection once owned by The Paley Center.  It had an auction estimate of $8,000 to $12,000 and sold for just under $16,000.  I know of only three of these that are almost entirely complete and have heard a fourth example exists, but know of only one other complete from-head-to-toe version like this one.  These are the classic costumes of The Borg, not the later costumes that have deterioration problems and don’t look half as cool as these versions from “Best of Both Worlds” and “Descent”.  So it is awesome that one of these has surpassed prices for Star Trek captain uniforms, including, as in this auction, a Captain Picard costume worn by Patrick Stewart himself, which sold for $13,530.

Congratulations to the new owners of these great pieces of entertainment memorabilia!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

By C.J. Bunce

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Green Arrow, and in advance of watching the preview to the new CW Network series Arrow and seeing the actors on their panel, I gawked at the new Green Arrow suit at the DC Comics booth at the San Diego Comic-Con.  The nicely polished display cases made it difficult to get great photos because of reflections.  I tried with two cameras but ultimately perfect shots would have only been available after the crowd dispersed after hours.  But, for the benefit of any cosplayers, here is what I was able to get:

The Green Arrow suit was designed by Academy Award winning costume designer Colleen Atwood.  The costume features a great choice for the shade of green and a combination of both fine suedes and more rugged, practical fabrics.

Close-up detail on hood of new Arrow costume.

Detail of bow carvings and boot from Arrow suit.

Detail of arm darts on new Arrow suit.

Deathstroke villain mask from new Arrow series.

Also at the DC Comics booth were Watchmen costumes, presumably advertising DC Comics’ current summer series Before Watchmen.  They showcased two costumes, the Comedian, and Nite Owl’s polar suit.  Both of these were worn by the actors in the Watchmen movie:

Warner Brothers featured some new costumes from the coming Superman reboot movie, Man of Steel.  Here is the hero suit from the movie:

Far across the convention center, I spoke with Joe Maddalena about his TV series Hollywood Treasure, which I enjoy watching for all the various props and costumes and owners that unearth them.  He had several costumes and props on display, including Marlon Brando’s costume as Jor-El from the original Superman film and one of Johnny Depp’s suits from Edward Scissorhands:

Profiles in History also had some screen-worn Star Wars costumes on display, including this Snowtrooper helmet from The Empire Strikes Back and a Stormtrooper helmet and rifle from the original Star Wars.

The Snowtrooper helmet in particular illustrates how time is not always kind to materials used for productions, never intended to survive much beyond the studio shoot.

Profiles in History also showcased a nice Wolverine costume from the X-Men films, worn on-screen by Hugh Jackman:

The guys from The Prop Store in London had a great booth again this year, attended by staff from both their London and L.A. offices.  The focus piece at their booth was this classic spacesuit from the original Ridley Scott movie Alien:

Finally, across the aisle from the Alex Ross art display was the giant display of Iron Man suits from Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Avengers. 

All of this led up to the later reveal of the new Iron Man suit to be featured in Iron Man 3.

Definitely impressive displays this year of screen-used costumes–something there for everyone.

Now at Round 7 of the ongoing battle, Avengers vs. X-Men has caught up with the plot foreseen in Avengers vs. X-Men Issue #0 reviewed here 100 days ago.  When you think of a title like Avengers vs. X-Men, you think of panel after panel of the Hulk vs. Colossus, Iron Man vs. Emma Frost or Cyclops vs. Captain America and everyone else.  It’s what you’d expect for an event series like this, and for the most part it is what has been delivered.  But Avengers vs. X-Men Issue #0 was unexpected, a story about the return of the exiled Scarlet Witch and the coming of age of a mutant youngster named Hope, both characters whose paths are in a state of flux.  With Issue #7, AvX is now honing in on this initial focus again, raising questions like “How will Scarlet Witch fit back into the Marvel Universe?”  “Is Hope really the key to the fate of the Phoenix?”  “Is Jean Grey gone for good, or is this all leading up to some kind of return?”

If you haven’t been reading the series, a lot has happened, yet nothing substantial or Earth-shattering to alter any key characters for their own ongoing stories, except the death of Hawkeye (more on that later).  The strange, classical, fiery, mythical Phoenix slams into Earth from beyond the stars.  This Phoenix Force was supposedly destined for the girl Hope, who is being over-trained for her destiny at the Utopia coastal base by Cyclops’s Scott Summers, doing his best Jillian Michaels impersonation.  But you press a kid too far and what do you expect as a result?

The Avengers–including X-Man Wolverine–believe that they must take Hope into their protective custody, thinking that no one entity can be trusted to harness this Phoenix Force and use it for the good of mankind.  But Summers won’t hear of it.  More and more over the series it seems that his feelings for Jean Grey, killed by the Phoenix years before, are causing him to make poor decisions.  He is a poor leader.  His actions take all the superheroes farther away from a solution.  Ultimately Wolverine’s inside knowledge allows the Avengers to track down Hope.  The conflict ends with a face-off on the “blue side” of the Moon.

Iron Man Tony Stark builds powerful “Phoenix Killer” armor that is somehow both effective and a failure in the attempt to ward off the Phoenix Force.  Stark’s suit divides the force, and instead of it being absorbed by Hope, five X-Men take it on: Cyclops, Colossus, Magik, Prince Namor and Emma Frost.  Now armed with this strange new power, they’re determined to alter the world for the better–at least as they see it.  We’re left with Cyclops’s unsettling declaration, “No more Avengers!”  He believes the mutants will never be safe without their elimination.  And the pursuit continues.  The battle is the same as found in countless other stories, fiction and non-fiction–seemingly unlimited power in the possession of a single being or a handful of beings cannot be allowed to continue because it always ends badly.

The frustration that must be felt by readers is that all of these powerful beings, including geniuses like the Beast and Iron Man, cannot sit down and work out a plan.  Of course we don’t pull a Marvel Comic to read about mediation of disputes.  And so with Issue #7 battle after battle ensues on all parts of the globe.  A smoke and mirrors, cat and mouse global chase occurs, hiding Hope, hiding the Scarlet Witch.  This includes the Avengers using amulets that allow several people to pose as the Scarlet Witch, in turn causing the X-Men to be unable to find the real Wanda Maximoff.   There is also a scene where Hawkeye is fried by the power of the Phoenix and he is dead, and you finally think some stakes have been raised, then Cyclops brings him back to life and it was all a bit of a tease.  The story is choppy here–Tony Stark seems out of character, not the typical tough guy but a bit wimpy, including a scene where Black Panther slaps him.  It just seems out-of-place (but still a bit funny).  The Scarlet Witch’s presence saves the day again–the X-Men really fear her and so we see some real conflict as they back away from her, leaving an opening for Namor to move in to strike.

The various writers and artists at Marvel have put a lot into this series so far and it shows.  It’s hard for a reader to get his/her arms around all that’s happening with so many characters in each issue, yet various scenes work well and keep you hanging in there and coming back for more.  But there are a number of threads that will need to be tied up in the remaining issues and it continues to be interesting finding out where the story is heading.  Is there too much going on?  Yes.  Too many characters?  Yes, the opening pages show a roster of so many and most don’t have any real presence.  For all the action occurring, the story is moving pretty slowly forward, and you can only hope the payoff is not saved for the last issue as often happens with highly promoted mini-series.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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