REVIEW: LOGAN NOIR

CAST

Hugh Jackman (Real Steel)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Richard E. Grant (Bram Stokers Dracula)
Boyd Holbrook (The Host)
Stephen Merchant (Movie 43)
Dafne Keen (The Refugees)
Elizabeth Rodriguez (Side Effects)
Eriq La Salle (Coming To America)
Elise Neal (Scream 2)

logan_noir2In 2029, alienated mutants are on the brink of extinction, with no new mutants having been born in 25 years. James “Logan” Howlett, formerly known as Wolverine, works as a limo driver in El Paso, Texas. His healing factor has faltered and, as a result, his body has aged, he can no longer heal at an accelerated rate and his adamantium skeleton is slowly poisoning him. Logan lives with mutant tracker Caliban in an abandoned smelting plant in Northern Mexico, where they care for former Professor Charles Xavier, who is suffering from an unknown brain disease which causes him to lose control of his telepathic abilities to destructive effect via seizures. Logan is approached by Gabriela Lopez, a former nurse from a biotechnological corporation, Alkali-Transigen, who asks him to escort her and an 11-year-old girl, Laura, to a place in North Dakota called “Eden”.logan-noir3Logan reluctantly accepts the job, but shortly discovers Gabriela murdered. At his hideout, Logan is confronted by Gabriela’s killer, Transigen’s cybernetically-enhanced chief of security, Donald Pierce, who is looking for Laura. Logan, Charles and Laura, who stowed away inside Logan’s limo, narrowly escape from Pierce and his enforcers, the Reavers, but Caliban is captured and forced to use his mutant-tracking abilities to locate them. Logan and Charles learn from a video on Gabriela’s cellphone that Laura is one of several mutant children that Transigen, under the guise of a cancer research project, was secretly breeding from DNA samples of several mutants in the early 2020’s. As the “X-23” project they were to be used as weapons, but proved difficult to control, and upon completion of the “X-24” project, the children were deemed obsolete and were to be euthanized. Gabriela and several other nurses helped many children escape from the Transigen compound, becoming separated from the others when smuggling Laura, who was created from Logan’s DNA, into the United States.logannoir_n95nThey take refuge at a hotel in Oklahoma City, where Logan discovers that Eden is actually from an X-Men comic book in Laura’s possession. The Reavers catch up with them, but Charles regains control long enough to telepathically freeze everyone in the hotel, allowing Logan to kill the attackers before injecting Charles with a suppressant and escaping. While on the highway, they help farmer Will Munson and his family after a traffic incident. The Munsons invite them over for dinner and they accept under the guise of being a trigenerational family. Meanwhile, Dr. Zander Rice, the surgical head of Transigen, arrives to aid Pierce and the Reavers. Realizing Caliban is withholding the whereabouts of his friends, Rice convinces him that no harm will come to Logan and Charles if they recover Laura. When the water pipe supplying the Munson house springs a leak, Logan and Will leave to fix it. Along the way, Logan learns the Munsons live near a major corporate farm that creates genetically-engineered corn for the purpose of being used in drinking products, and are stalled from returning home by a confrontation with the corporation’s enforcers.Logan-Noir-standingLater that night, Charles expresses his guilt to a man he believes is Logan of a telepathic seizure he had in Westchester, where he inadvertently injured several civilians and killed most of the X-Men. The man is revealed to be X-24, a feral clone of Logan with mindless rage and a highly developed healing factor. X-24 mortally wounds Charles, captures Laura, and murders most of the Munson family when they attempt to stop him. When Logan and Will Munson return, X-24 stabs Will and heads over to deliver Laura to Rice, but Logan attempts to save Charles instead. Before he can reach Rice, X-24 is distracted by a group of farmers from the corporate farm, who mistake him for Logan due to an earlier confrontation, and he murders them all. Despite Logan’s attempts to save him, Charles Xavier dies from his wounds as Logan repeatedly assures him that he was not his attacker. Enraged by Charles’ death, Logan engages X-24 but is no match for his younger clone. Will, struggling to stay alive, manages to incapacitate X-24 by impaling him into farm equipment using his truck, but dies from his injuries moments later. Caliban sacrifices himself by setting off two grenades to destroy the Transigen van in which he is being held captive, killing and injuring several Reavers and giving Logan and Laura a chance to escape with Charles’ body.logan-photo-trailer-nb-987843-largeAfter burying Charles, Logan passes out from rage and exhaustion. He wakes up in a clinic to which Laura had driven him, where a doctor urges him to rest and get treatment for his deteriorating condition. Logan refuses and wants to abandon the trip. Laura convinces him to complete it, and, two days later, they arrive at the location of “Eden”, where they discover it is run by Rictor and the other Transigen test subjects that managed to escape. One night, Laura asks Logan about an adamantium bullet she found in his possession. Logan reveals that he has kept it since his escape from Weapon X as a reminder of his past but now was planning to use it to commit suicide to end his suffering, as he believes it is the adamantium in his body that is killing him. Logan learns that the children plan to journey to Canada, where they will be safe, and decides to part ways with them, to Laura’s dismay. However, when the children are intercepted and captured by the Reavers, in order to save them, Logan takes an overdose of a serum given to him by Rictor that temporarily increases his physical abilities and restores his healing factor. Logan violently slaughters most of the Reavers and rescues Laura, but soon the serum wears off, greatly reducing his physical strength and mutant abilities. Locating the rest of the children, Logan and Laura split up, with Logan approaching Pierce, who has Rictor at gunpoint. Rice introduces himself to Logan and mentions his father who had been slain by Logan during his escape from Weapon X, and reveals that the destruction of mutantkind is due to a virus created by Transigen that has been dispersed in food products. Before he can continue, Logan shoots Rice dead and attacks Pierce, who saves himself by releasing a regenerated X-24, who engages Logan. With their guards distracted, the children wipe out the remaining Reavers before overwhelming and killing Pierce with their powers.logan_noir2Logan and Laura fight X-24 to no avail, but Rictor manages to use his terrakinetic powers to flip a truck onto X-24. Logan tells the children to run as X-24 claws his way out from under the truck and brutally attacks Logan again. With Logan severely beaten, X-24 drags him to a fallen tree trunk, impales him on a large branch, and resumes attacking with his claws until he is shot dead with Logan’s Adamantium bullet by Laura, who had returned to help him. Severely wounded far beyond the limits of his weakened abilities to heal, Logan tells Laura to leave with her friends and to not be the weapon she was made to be. When Laura addresses Logan as her father, Logan finally acknowledges what it feels like to be loved before dying peacefully in her arms. Laura and the other children mourn Logan’s death and hold a small burial for him. Once the other children leave, Laura turns the cross on Logan’s grave to its side to create an “X”, honoring Logan as the last X-Man before tearfully walking away, joining her friends as they continue their journey towards the Canadian border and her father’s homeland.logannoir_n95nIn the lead up to filming and casting announcements for Logan, director James Mangold released hauntingly beautiful black-and-white photos of the cast and locations. Obviously, the film was going to be released in color, but it got him wondering what the film would look like in black-and-white. Thankfully, someone over at Fox was open minded to Mangold’s desire to regrade the color of the film to black-and-white – and they also had the forethought to include this new version dubbed Logan Noir as a bonus feature with the home video release – and not a later release to double dip fans for. logan-noir-800x445For Logan, taking out the color with this properly rendered grayscale simply strips the film down to its emotional core. While the original color presentation was beautiful and director James Mangold and his cinematographer John Mathieson did a terrific job of capturing the sun-drenched vistas of a classic western like Shane and Rio Bravo, Logan Noir somehow feels more complete. As if taking a page from such westerns as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and High Noon, the black-and-white photography of Logan Noir feels more in tune with the heavy thematic dealings of true heroism and inevitable mortality.  Thankfully, Logan Noir is included with every home entertainment release —  Blu-ray in HD, and Digital HD. It’s a complete package deal, so even if you’re not as taken with Logan Noir as I was, you get to choose which version is right for you.

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REVIEW: LOGAN

CAST

Hugh Jackman (Real Steel)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Richard E. Grant (Bram Stokers Dracula)
Boyd Holbrook (The Host)
Stephen Merchant (Movie 43)
Dafne Keen (The Refugees)
Elizabeth Rodriguez (Side Effects)
Eriq La Salle (Coming To America)
Elise Neal (Scream 2)

In the year 2029, mutants are on the brink of extinction, with no new mutants having been born in 25 years. James “Logan” Howlett, formerly known as Wolverine, spends his days working as a chauffeur and hustling for prescription drugs in Texas. He has aged greatly because the adamantium fused to his bones has started poisoning him and impeding his healing factor. Logan lives with mutant tracker Caliban in an abandoned smelting plant across the border in Mexico, where they care for Professor Charles Xavier, who is suffering from a neurodegenerative disease which causes him to lose control of his telepathic abilities to devastating effect. One day, Logan is approached by Gabriela, a nurse for biotechnology corporation Alkali-Transigen, who wants him to escort her and an 11-year-old girl named Laura to a place in North Dakota called “Eden”. Donald Pierce, Transigen’s cybernetically-enhanced chief of security, tracks down Logan and requests that he help him find Laura, but Logan refuses.
After reluctantly accepting the job from Gabriela, Logan discovers that she has been murdered. He, Xavier, and Laura narrowly escape from Pierce and his cybernetically-enhanced enforcers, the Reavers, but Caliban is captured and forced to use his powers to track them. Logan and Xavier learn through a video on Gabriela’s phone that Transigen was breeding mutant children using DNA samples from several mutants for the “X-23” project, but found that the children were difficult to control as they grew up. Upon completion of the “X-24” project, the children were deemed obsolete and were to be terminated. Gabriela helped several children escape from the Transigen compound before smuggling Laura, who is revealed to be Logan’s biological daughter, across the border.While staying in Oklahoma City, Logan finds Eden referenced in one of Laura’s X-Men comics and concludes that it is purely fictional. The Reavers catch up with them, but Xavier suffers another seizure and telepathically freezes everyone in the hotel, allowing Logan to kill the attackers before injecting Xavier with a suppressant and escaping. While on the highway, the trio helps a family, the Munsons, round up their horses after a traffic incident. The Munsons invite them over for dinner, and they accept under the guise of being a trigenerational family. When a nearby pipe springs a leak, Logan and the Munson father, Will, leave the house to fix it.

While Logan is gone, Xavier recalls a telepathic seizure he had in Westchester, where he inadvertently killed several civilians and X-Men. He expresses his guilt to a person he thinks is Logan, but which is actually X-24, a feral clone of Logan without own healing factor, which proceeds to stab Xavier through the chest before slaughtering the Munson family. Logan returns to find X-24 carrying a shackled Laura out of the house and a critically injured Xavier. Xavier succumbs to his wound and Caliban sets off two grenades to destroy the Transigen van in which he is being held captive, sacrificing himself in the process. While Logan and X-24 are fighting each other, Will appears and impales X-24 on a combine harvester with his truck. He attempts to shoot Logan before keeling over dead, allowing Logan and Laura to escape.
After burying Xavier, Logan passes out from exhaustion. He wakes up in a clinic that Laura had driven him to, but refuses treatment for his adamantium poisoning and leaves the facility. He wants to abandon the trip to Eden, but Laura convinces him to complete it. Meanwhile, X-24 is given a serum to aid in his regeneration by his creator Dr. Zander Rice, the head of Transigen.
Logan and Laura arrive at Eden, a safe haven run by Rictor and the other Transigen test subjects that managed to escape. Rictor gives Logan small doses of the mutant serum to help him heal. Logan learns that the children plan to make a journey across the forest to the Canadian border, where there are people willing to help them. Fearful that his presence may endanger their safety, Logan plans to part ways with them. However, this changes when the children are ambushed by the Reavers in the forest. Logan takes an overdose of the serum to restore his healing factor and begins slaughtering the Reavers in a berserker rage, but the serum’s effects quickly wear off. Dr. Rice, who confirms that Logan killed his father during Logan’s escape from the Weapon X program at Alkali Lake, reveals that the destruction of mutantkind is due to a virus created by Transigen, whose intent is to control the mutant population and create their own weaponized version. Logan shoots and kills Rice before Pierce releases a regenerated X-24, who engages Logan. The children wipe out the remaining Reavers before overwhelming Pierce with their powers.
Logan and Laura fight X-24, with Rictor using his seismic powers to help them. However, X-24 impales Logan on the branches of a fallen tree. While X-24 is trying to finish Logan, Laura shoots X-24 with an adamantium bullet, killing him. Fatally wounded, Logan tells Laura not to be the weapon she was made to be before dying in her arms. Laura and the other children mourn his death and hold a somber burial. Laura tearfully adjusts the cross on his grave to form an “X” before continuing with the rest of the mutants on their journey across the border in search of a new beginning.Every scene in this film feels necessary from the character development to the humor and action nothing is forced everything comes off natural which is a breath of fresh air and I was very pleased with it, I believe that this movie will be very well received by fans as it treats its characters with such care and embarks on an emotional and satisfying conclusion to Hugh Jackmans Wolverine.

REVIEW: WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN

MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Steven Blum (Marvel Anime)
Susan Dalian (Ultimate Avengers 2)
Jennifer Hale (Biker Mouse From Mars)
Danielle Judovits  (The Batman)
Tom Kane (Spider-Man: TAS)
Yuri Lowenthal (Bleach)
Nolan North (Young Justice)
Liam O’Brien (Sailor Moon Crystal)
Roger Craig Smith (Batman Unlimited)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Kieren van den Blink (Anywhere but Here)
Kari Wahlgren (Last Exile)
Jim Ward (Wall-E)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Charlie Adler (Transformers)
Tamara Bernier Evans (As You Like It)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
A.J. Buckley (Happy Feet)
Corey Burton (Jutsice LEague Unlimited)
Grey DeLisle (Megas XLR)
Alex Désert (The Flash)
Richard Doyle (Ben 10)
Chris Edgerly (Dr. Dolittle 3)
Crispin Freeman (Hellsing)
Kate Higgins (Eureka Seven)
Mark Hildreth (V)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Gabriel Mann (Dominion)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)

The story begins with Rogue and Wolverine having an argument about him leaving. When Wolverine goes to Charles and Jean Grey get headaches. An explosion occurs, and Charles and Jean disappear. The resulting trauma caused the X-Men team to disband and go their separate ways, leaving Xavier’s once highly revered league of mutant peace preservers out of commission. Due to the loss of the Professor, Jean, and severe damage to the mansion, many of the X-Men have withered in their faith towards the stability of their former team and have since detached themselves from their former community. Some examples include Cyclops’ subsequent isolation resulting from Jean’s disappearance, Storm’s relocation back to her home continent of Africa, and Iceman’s move back into his parents’ home in the quiet suburbs.
One year later, the MRD (short for the Mutant Response Division), a government-supported organization created for the detainment and subsequent registration of existing mutants, begins capturing mutants from all over the country in response to the countless human protesters determined to protect the safety of humankind. This course of action causes Wolverine and Beast to ally and resolve to bring the once defunct X-Men team back together again. Meanwhile, Rogue is in the street and attacked by the Brotherhood of Mutants. They trick her into joining them, and she later smiles devilishly as she enters their base, appearing to have switched allegiance to become an evil mutant. Thanks to the generosity, wealth, and resourcefulness of Angel, the slowly reforming X-Men team begins to see a promising return to its former glory with the rejoining of junior members Iceman, Shadowcat and Forge along with the reconstruction of the previously demolished Xavier Institute. Unfortunately, without the necessary capabilities of a competent telepath to operate Cerebro, the possibility of locating some of the more globally scattered X-Men members along with the missing Charles Xavier and Jean seems all but a pipe dream.
Fortunately, this problem does not last for very long when Emma Frost, the beautiful former Headmistress of a now inactive mutant school of her own in Massachusetts, makes a surprising appearance on the doorstep of the Mansion with an interesting proposal: membership with the X-Men in exchange for utilizing her telepathy to pinpoint the missing Xavier’s whereabouts. Upon the team’s – and particularly Wolverine’s – reluctant acceptance of the offer, Emma’s efforts prove successful as she is able to locate a comatose Charles on the shores of Genosha in the care of Magneto. After their arrival on Genosha and a short confrontation with the Master of Magnetism himself, Magneto eventually permits the X-Men to take his old friend’s body back to the sanctity of the Mansion where he is certain that Xavier will be placed in proper care. Upon their return, Xavier telepathically contacts the X-Men twenty years from the present in an alternate dystopian future and informs Wolverine that he is to lead and reunite the X-Men if they wish to successfully prevent the inevitable war that will cause the world to fall under the domination of Master Mold and the Sentinels.
Throughout the course of the entire season, Emma’s role as the X-Men’s primary acting telepath enables the team to relocate the rest of the other members in the hopes of reforming once again and assisting in Xavier’s cause. While some were met with initial hesitancy such as with Nightcrawler, others such as Storm were more than willing to accept the offer once Xavier’s vision had been put into perspective. The X-Men overcome many hardships and obstacles along the way upon achieving their ultimate goal of relocating Jean and finally revealing the truth surrounding the mystery of the Mansion’s cause for explosion along with Xavier and Jean’s subsequent disappearances. Meanwhile, Magneto welcomes new mutants to Genosha, amongst whom is Nightcrawler. Magneto claims that Kenosha is a safe and secure area for mutants, rather than a threat. At first Nightcrawler believes this, but upon closer inspection Genosha is exposed as a method used by Magneto to use mutant’s powers. Nightcrawler escapes, but is captured by Mystique when he arrives back at the mansion.

Next, Wolverine had some sights of the past and with the help of Emma, he went to unveil the truth of his sightings. In the course, he met a lone mutant girl, and a past friend Sabretooth and finally unleash the truth of his past to a certain extent. In next, Cyclops has sad past about Jean, and he always thought that she is still alive. So, with the help of Emma, he went along Mister Sinister. The heavy fight between X-Men and Mister Sinister finished without the actual goal. Wolverine takes an oath from Cyclops to be in the X-Men and not to search for Jean. In the last scenes, Jean wakes up in a hospital after months in a coma.
It is later revealed in the three-part first season finale “Foresight” that the previously assumed attack on the Mansion was not from the efforts of a third party, but rather from the result of Jean who unwittingly releases the immense and highly destructive strength and power of the Phoenix Force, that originally lay dormant deep within her subconscious, in an attempt to halt an oncoming telepathic attack led by Emma (who was secretly working as a double agent for the Inner Circle and the Stepford Cuckoos). Along with Sebastian Shaw, Selene, Harry Leland, and Donald Pierce, it was the Inner Circle’s utmost duty to not only obtain the power of the Phoenix Force by abducting Jean from the protection of Xavier and the Mansion, but to also obliterate the ancient being’s existence before it could fully mature and consequently bring forth unparalleled destruction onto the world as it had done numerous times in the past throughout Earth’s history. However, in a move that was completely unknown to Emma at the time, the rest of the Inner Circle members all shared an entirely different and more sinister vision than Frost had initially believed: to control and manipulate the power of the Phoenix Force and have it cater to their own hidden agenda.Upon realizing the error of her ways, Emma betrays the Inner Circle and attempts to redeem herself in the eyes of the X-Men by not only rescuing Jean but, by also following through with her original plan of destroying the cosmic entity before it could mature. Unfortunately, her actions result in her apparent death. Rogue apologizes to Wolverine, and finally rejoins the X-Men for good. The now fully reformed X-Men are praised for their actions by Professor Xavier, but are warned of a new danger approaching: the Age of Apocalypse.Wolverine and the X-Men was a quite underrated animated series, which certainly deserved much more success than it got. I mean, this series at least deserved to have another season, but sadly it was cancelled too soon, despite having a high level of quality, good animation.

REVIEW: X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – SEASON 1-5

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CAST

Cedric Smith (Mutant X)
Norm Spencer (Rescue Heroes)
Catherine Disher (The Good Witch)
Cathal J. Dodd (Goosebumps)
Iona Morris (Robotech)
Alison Sealy-Smith (This Is Wonderland)
Chris Potter (The Waiting Game)
Tony Daniels (Yin Yang Yo!)
Alyson Court (Elvis Meets Nixon)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

John Colicos (Battlestar Galactica)
Jeremy Ratchford (Cold Case)
Lawrence Bayne (Highlander: TAS)
Barry Flatman (Odyssey 5)
Richard Epcar (Power Rangers)
David Hemblen (Earth: Final Conflict)
Don Francks (La Femme Nikita)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Len Carlson (Swamp Thing: TAS)
Susan Roman (The Racoons)
Dennis Akiyama (Pxiels)
Nigel Bennett (Andromeda)
Maurice Dean Wint (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Series)

 

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I recently watched through the entire 90’s x-men Animated Series for the first time. So does the show hold up for someone who didn’t watch it when it first aired? Is it still a good show? Overall, the show is really good. It was also revolutionary as it was one of the first animated TV shows to have a continuing storyline throughout the first few seasons.

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Rather than creating exclusively new story lines, the show based most of its episodes on well known events from the comics. Stuff like the ultra-famous dark phoenix saga all the way to a modified version of Days of Future Past that included the time traveling mutant Bishop. Most of the episodes changed details here and there to keep thing simple, but the basic premise remains the same.

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The animation is a mixed bag. On the one hand, still shots look very good for a 90s cartoon. Both characters and environments are finely detailed and even facial expressions are usually well done. On the other hand, it doesn’t look too good in motion. The frame-rate is often choppy and at times characters in the background are just standing still. There are occasional continuity errors as well, like characters swapping outfits between shots (the episode titled “Nightcrawler” comes to mind).

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Characters are generally portrayed well in the TV show. The main team consists of Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Beast, Storm, Gambit, Rogue, and Jubilee. Professor X, Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast and Gambit are all portrayed well in the show. I found some of their voice actors were a little off-putting at first, but as I watched they grew on me. Rogue probably has the best voice acting of the bunch.

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I wasn’t quite as fond with the portrayal of Storm or Jubilee however. Storm was alright, but having her constantly talk about what she was commanding the weather to do is annoying at times. Does she have to verbally command the wind every time she blasts enemies with it? I get that she’s a bit of a showoff and that’s part of her charm, but still.

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The show has a great spotlight of different villains as well. It features everyone from mega villains like Magneto, Mr. Sinister, and Apocalypse to smaller villains like Vertigo, the Juggernaut, and even the Brood. The show even mentions the Juggernaut’s relationship to Xavier (they’re step brothers). Mr. Sinister in particular is very well portrayed in the series, and we even get an origins episode in season five (heavily modified of course).

If you have any interest in the X-men and want to try out the comics, this is a decent show for finding out some of the franchises back-story. It’s rarely as good as the original stories it’s based on, but it’s easier to find and for the most part, it’s an easy watch.