Amid all the chaos and bombardment of superhero movies in the theaters these days, it’s often difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Not so long ago if someone asked about your favorite superhero movie you’d probably name it without hesitation. These days? You probably will need to mull it over in light of so many quality films. Of the classic films I would have named Christopher Reeves’ Superman. Of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I once would have named the first Iron Man. Then after many Marvel lookalikes and too many dark Dark Knights, the three that rise to the top are Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Then Bryan Singer created another X-Men entry released this summer and I’m hedging again. X-Men: Apocalypse, still in theaters, is exactly the movie I dreamed of when I was a kid reading comic books.
How often do superhero movies, or any other drama, sci-fi, fantasy, or action franchise movie, threaten stakes as great as the end of the world? How many actually take you through an apocalypse? X-Men: Apocalypse delivers the rampage and destruction I read as a kid inside the pages of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars. I was never an X-Men fan before X-Men: Days of Future Past and Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men monthly series, so I haven’t followed the ins and outs of the team for decades to know whether the movies are “loyal” enough for diehard readers. But I do know what great superhero powers look like on the big screen, and as with X-Men: Days of Future Past, Evan Peters’ Quicksilver remains the best realized superhero on-screen.
As kids we debated over what power would allow you to triumph over your superhero peers, and Singer must have done the same thing and landed with the same answer. Speed. Despite giving us the best superhero TV series of the 1980s and today with its two looks at Barry Allen/The Flash, DC Entertainment has not yet shown us all a speedster could do. Will that happen in Justice League next year? Until then, X-Men: Apocalypse is worth a first or second look for Quicksilver’s big scene. And more.
Bryan Singer’s next X-Men movie keeps looking better and better. 20th Century Fox released this new poster for this summer’s superhero release, X-Men: Apocalypse, honing in on Oscar Isaac’s villain Apocalypse. He is watching over his henchmen in the form of Michael Fassbender returning as Magneto, and newcomers Olivia Munn as Psylocke, Ben Hardy as Archangel, and Alexandra Shipp as Storm.
Other actors old and new for the next mutant bash are James McAvoy as Professor X, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Nicholas Hoult as Beast), Evan Peters as Quicksilver (the best speedster to ever appear on film), Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler.
If you missed 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past reviewed here at borg.com, or the expanded Rogue Cut from last year reviewed here, grab yourself a copy and experience one of the best superhero films of all time. Here is an earlier image from the new film:
And here is the new poster from X-Men: Apocalypse:
Now in its second issue, Old Man Logan, Marvel’s newest X-Men monthly, tells a familiar story told previously by Mark Millar and Brian Bendis. But it’s a visually compelling jump-on point to a future world story of one of the Marvel universe’s most popular superheroes. Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s Wolverine: Old Man Logan first told the story of a disturbing dystopian Marvel future where the villains have won and Wolverine must take on the gang that is the last legacy of Bruce Banner’s Hulk.
Last year’s Secret Wars, written by Brian Bendis, re-introduced Logan aka Wolverine as an old man 50 years in the future. On the heels of the success of the now Academy Award-nominated, big screen return of the similar post-apocalypse Mad Max: Fury Road, there’s little doubt the story will be appealing to modern readers. Fans of Hugh Jackman’s take on Logan will also hear the same voice in this grizzeled and even more put-upon version of the character.
In Old Man Logan Issues #1 and #2, we learn Logan’s past is the same past we’ve seen before–overrun by villains and a world without Wolverine to protect it, Logan is a farmer with a wife and kids, whose life is destroyed when the Hulk Gang kills his family. But the twist is Logan finds himself back in future’s past, able to change the timeline and destroy all of those who one day will ruin his life. This Logan is an Old West wanderer and drifter, an update to Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name and Unforgiven.
We’re big fans of Bryan Singer movies, and have always been amazed at how well the Marvel X-Men translated into the films under his guidance. In fact last year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past ranks at the top of all the Marvel movies, including every Avengers film. If you missed it, check out our review of the original at borg.com here and the “Rogue Cut” here.
Although we are losing the older X-Men cast for next year’s latest entry in the X-Men “cinematic universe,” which was responsible for half the fun of X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse looks like it could be just as good in the first trailer just released.
Everyone looks great, from James McAvoy’s Professor X to Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, to Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique, Evan Peters’ Quicksilver, Nicholas Hoult’s Beast. And then there’s the new additions: Yes, that’s really Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and Ex Machina’s Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, and Olivia Munn as Psylocke.
Check out this epic trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse:
The Renaissance of movie and TV tie-in action figures arrived in 2013 with Funko’s classic Kenner-style ReAction figure line. Other companies focus on single licensed figures and getting the likenesses spot-on, but Funko’s diversification of lines meant everyone could find something that fit their personal niche at an affordable price point. A true throwback series, one of the overlooked features of the line is the incredible variety of no-names-taken, classic kick-ass heroines represented.
In fact you can find here the top of the world’s best, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners, genre heroines. Buy them for yourself, for your friends, or get your favorite as a totem to inspire you each day from your desktop. And where the early sculpts in Funko’s line admittedly looked nothing like the actresses that made the roles famous, the new lines have only improved. And nobody has better packaging designs than the ReAction line.
Who would you add to the Funko roster of heroines? Compare your list to our more than 85 suggestions for future kick-ass women action figures below.
First, check out this Baker’s Dozen of our favorites in the current Funko pantheon:
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.
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).
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:
For 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.
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.
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?
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: