So the fearless filmic leader of the X-team, Wolver-Hugh, has a big release coming out December 3rd (actually out digitally as of November 19th), in THE WOLVERINE: Unleashed Extended Version.
You guessed it; Unleashed is the special edition Blu-Ray with even more violent, claw-gutting action.
By that same token, by that same idea, your lovely Cleric decided to take it upon himself to quickly review all the X-films in this latest edition of The Church Basement. Xavier’s Institute ain’t got nothing on this church and our learnings. Anyway, onto the film reviews, and here we go babies!!!!
This movie has not aged all that well. There are still some amazing things in this movie, some great acting (I’m looking at you Hugh, P-Stew and I-Mac), and even some fairly decent special effects still. One thing before we move on: there has to be a special alternate reality somewhere in which Dougray “Ever After” Scott played Wolverine and there was never another X-movie after this. Man. Can you imagine if the bad guy from MI2 had been Wolvie? Stinks like cheese is what it does.
I remember sneaking into and buying tickets to see Reindeer Games just to see this trailer. That was a different time. A VERY different time. Either way, now Reindeer Games is playing Batman? Crazy right?
Back to the review of X-2000, it’s okay. A solid okay. Hugh Jackman is an absolute revelation (yeah I said it) as Wolverine and built a very respectable career off this film. Good for him. His introduction to the film still feels perfect. Then Sabretooth comes in and goofs off and Cyclops and Storm knock him away with wind and lasers and we’re off! A lot of chit-chatting, a lot of exposition, and minimal action take the day and leave us wanting a helluva lot more from our next X-film. The costumes are still a bit awful, Rogue is still a whiny baby, and the Bond villain weapon is just stupid. Oh well.
X2: X-Men United and it feels so good (2003)
The one everyone calls The Empire Strikes Back for the X-flicks and for other super-hero films and is it that? Kinda, yeah. Does it hold up?
Compared to X1: The Beginning, X2 is way better. Bigger budget. More mutants. Nightcrawler flip-kicking the shiz out of secret service bros in the White House. Colossus and more randos just filling the outer edges of the film and making it much fuller and better. Hugh beefs up, drinks Dr. Pepper instead of beer (and then drinks beer for breakfast in another scene before he about skewers a cat), and goes apeshit on some of Original Hannibal Lecter’s army. IT’S AWESOME. Just completely awesome. Though he should have killed way more people. He should have run down the street at full speed, claws out, just chopping dudes in half. But alas…
X2 has great stuff from Brian Cox as well as Nightcumming and more mutants than you can shake a stick at, as overall it feels like a better film. A more successful film. A director and cast taking a victory lap and just kicking ass and taking names. Could it have been better? Yeah some of the plot and some of the allegories and allusions are heavy-handed (some even moreso than X1) but overall you let it go and watch Wolver-Hugh slice and dice mofos like it’s his job.
X3: The Last Stand or The Movie Everyone Blames on Brett Ratner (2006)
X-Men Thrice is Thrice the Cast, Thrice the Action (kinda), Thrice the tension (kinda), Thrice the Jackman. They didn’t clone him or anything, he’s just in about every damn scene in the movie and if you’re sick of Hugh by this point, then you’ll be sick of this movie pretty damn quick.
Is it any good? Again, hasn’t aged that well overall. The special effects in this seem a wee bit worse than the first two films, honestly. It feels rushed. It feels like the whole production took two weeks to film, edit, special effect, and then hit theaters. I know it was a quick turnaround and I remember liking it when it came out (mostly because Superman Returns was such a damn borefest that I spent the whole summer arguing which was the better film and I still say X3 wins with a fatality against Stalkerman Returns).
Ratner did what he did best: He farted out an okay flick that has some fun parts and some wicked stupid scenes and some real heavy-handed allegory (just like the two previous films). In a way, this is Return of the Jedi with the COUNTLESS mutants as ewoks that just completely are useless and throw rocks at mofos that should be shooting them in the faces.
A random voiceover role from R. Lee Ermey and Ben Foster as Angel are under-used, as are P-Stew and I-Mac and Famke and Marsden and so many others, Hugh Jackman comes out smelling almost like roses because he gives it his all. That’s about all I can say. Oh, and it made worthless one of my favorite characters in Madrox the Multiple Man. Oh well.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine but other mutants as well (2009)
This has a solid movie on top of a shit movie. Hugh and Liev Schreiber are great together. Team X has moments of greatness. I love Danny Huston in most things, but seriously, this movie is great until he gets the adamantium. Then it all goes to shit.
Gambit is useless. Maverick is useless. Wraith and Blob and Bolt and Deadpool are completely wasted in this film. Even with Ryan Reynolds nailing Wade Wilson’s personality, their version of the Merc with the Mouth is still such a bungled opportunity.. that it just about ruins the whole movie.
This was a movie that was tailor-made for Hugh Jackman to go beast mode. He does. The rest of the movie is Rambo III with more colorful characters just filling it to the breaking point. Ugh. Wasted opportunities and I can’t wait until they actually show the Weapon X the right way, but someday we’ll see Sabretooth, Deadpool and Gambit in good films.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
Not even the slightest bit First Class. Hokey, poorly acted, bad special effects, rushed music, just a ton of wasted opportunities that make me a LOT upset.
Too many people talk about this like it’s the best X-film but it’s not even close. It’s boring. Michael Fassbender is great. He is a great Magneto and his Nazi-hunting scenes ALMOST make this movie bearable.
But…if you open a film with an exact replica scene from another movie in the same series of films and then change a huge portion of the continuity, it makes me physically angry.
January Jones is awful. Kevin Bacon is pure ham (punny!). Ripcord is a joke that doesn’t even speak (Azazel barely speaks either). Beast looks like a kitty cat. They make the two black characters a cabbie and a stripper and then kill one and make the other a bad guy (even though the one they kill CAN’T BE KILLED BECAUSE HIS POWER IS TO FUCKING ADAPT AND EVOLVE FROM EVERYTHING!!!!!!). They ruined Banshee by making him a punk asshole kid (and I actually liked him in this shitstorm but dammit if it shouldn’t have been Ewan McGregor).
James McAvoy is okay as a very different Xavier. But this film suffers from a lot of the same problems as X1 and Origins: SO MUCH EXPOSITION. This is this person, this is their powers, this is why they’re called what they’re called, and blahblahblahblahblah. It’s annoying.
Hugh has a quick cameo that is perfect and makes me wish they’d just stopped the film there. Call it X-Men: Missed Opportunities and you’ve got yourself a movie here.
Stay tuned next week for a word from our leader Mr. Moody regarding the most recent film adventures of Wolver-Hugh…UNLEASHED!