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: EVOLUTION – SEASON 1-4

Image result for x-men evolution logo

CAST (VOICES)

David Kaye (Happy Gilmore)
Kirby Morrow (Ninja Turtles: Next Mutation)
Venus Terzo (Arrow)
Brad Swaile (Zoids)
Maggie Blue O’Hara (My Little Pony Tales)
Neil Dneis (Stargate SG.1)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)
Kirsten Williamson (Juno)
Meghan Black (Elf)
Michael Kopsa (Apollo 18)


RECURRING / NORABLE GUEST CAST

Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Christopher Judge (Stargate SG.1)
Alessandro Juliani(Smallville)
Michael Adamthwaite (BLack Xmas)
Megan Leitch (IT)
Mark Hildreth (V)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)

UntitledThe first season introduces the core characters and lays the foundations for future story lines. Professor X, Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm and Jean Grey make up the original X-Men. As the season develops, the ranks of the X-Men are bolstered by the appearance of Nightcrawler in the first episode,[2] Shadowcat in the second, Spyke in the fifth, and Rogue (who originally joins the Brotherhood in the fourth episode) in the third. In the later episodes of this season, Nightcrawler discovers the identity of his birth mother, Wolverine finds answers to his past, Rogue switches sides to join the X-Men and Xavier’s half-brother, Juggernaut, is released from his prison.UntitledConfrontations are typically with the Brotherhood, who vie for new recruits with the X-Men over the course of the season. Toad is the first to be introduced, followed by Avalanche, Blob and Quicksilver. The Brotherhood, led by Mystique, are in fact being directed by a higher power, the identity of whom was “revealed” in the two-part season finale as being Magneto. After Cyclops discovers that his brother Alex actually survived the plane crash that killed their parents, they are both taken by Magneto into his “sanctuary” on Asteroid M. Magneto captures several X-Men and Brotherhood members in an attempt to amplify their mutant abilities and remove their emotions. The Brotherhood and X-Men show up leaving Magneto, Sabretooth and Mystique trapped on the asteroid. Asteroid M is destroyed by Scott and Alex Summers, but not before two metal spheres fly from the exploding asteroid.

UntitledThe second season sees the addition of several new mutants, including Beast, who becomes a teacher at the Xavier Institute and an X-Man, as well as a version of the New Mutants: Boom Boom, Sunspot, Iceman, Wolfsbane, Magma, Multiple, Jubilee, Berzerker, and Cannonball. During the course of the season, it is revealed that the villains who supposedly perished on Asteroid M are actually alive. Sabretooth continues his pursuit of Wolverine, while Magneto continues to work his own agenda. Mystique poses as Risty Wilde, a high school student at Bayville High who befriends Rogue and breaks into the mansion to steal Xavier’s Cerebro files. Using the files, she recovers Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, Magneto’s daughter and Quicksilver’s sister. The mentally unstable mutant joins the Brotherhood upon Mystique’s return, allowing them to defeat the X-Men in a battle at the Bayville Mall. Before the finale, a pivotal episode aired featuring the telepath Mesmero opening one of three doors that would unleash a mutant known as Apocalypse.

UntitledIn the season finale, Xavier rigorously trains his X-Men to face Magneto, pairing them with the Brotherhood. Cyclops, furious with having to work with his former adversaries, leaves the team. The mansion is later set to self-destruct with Cyclops and several students still inside. Magneto, meanwhile, recruits Sabretooth, Gambit, Pyro and Colossus as his Acolytes to fight the X-Men/Brotherhood team. At the same time, Wolverine is captured by Bolivar Trask to use as a test subject for the anti-mutant weapon, the Sentinel. Magneto continues to manipulate events by unleashing the Sentinel onto the city, forcing the X-Men to use their powers in public. Wanda tracks down Magneto and attacks him while he is trying to deal with the Sentinel that is targeting him. The Sentinel is damaged and apparently crushes Magneto as it falls. When the mutants who have not been captured by the Sentinel return to the remains of the mansion, Cyclops and the students emerge from the explosion with minor injuries. Scott throws Xavier from his wheelchair and blames him for blowing up the mansion. Everyone is shocked as Xavier calmly stands up, transforming into Mystique.

In seasons three and four, the show notably begins to take a much more serious tone. After the battle with the Sentinel, the mutants are no longer a secret and public reaction is one of hostility. The show is brought into more traditional X-Men lore, dealing with themes of prejudice, public misconception, and larger threats. As the season progresses, the real Xavier is found, Mystique is defeated, the mansion is rebuilt, and the X-Men allowed back into Bayville High. Wanda continues to search for Magneto, who she discovers was saved by Quicksilver at the last second, until Magneto uses the telepathic mutant Mastermind to change her childhood memories. Scott and Jean develop a stronger and closer romantic relationship (particularly after Mystique kidnaps Scott and brings him to Mexico), and Spyke leaves the X-Men when his mutant ability becomes uncontrollable, deciding to live with the sewer-dwelling mutants known as the Morlocks.

 

As part of the series arc, Rogue loses control of her powers, leading to her hospitalization. During this time, she learns that she is in fact Mystique’s adoptive daughter. Mystique, through the visions of the mutant Destiny, foresaw that the fate of Rogue and herself lay in the hands of an ancient mutant that would be resurrected. Apocalypse emerges in the season’s final episodes. Mesmero manipulates Magneto into opening the second door, and uses Mystique and a hypnotized Rogue to open the last, turning Mystique to stone in the process. Now released, Apocalypse easily defeats the combined strength of the X-Men, Magneto, the Acolytes, and the Brotherhood before escaping

The final season contained only for nine episodes. In the season premiere, Apocalypse apparently kills Magneto while Rogue murders Mystique by pushing her petrified figure off a cliff, leaving Nightcrawler without closure. The Brotherhood become temporary do-gooders, Wolverine’s teenage girl clone X-23 returns, Spyke and the Morlocks rise to the surface, Shadowcat discovers a mutant ghost who is found in an underground cave, Rogue is kidnapped by Gambit and taken to Louisiana to help free his father, and Xavier travels to Scotland in order to confront his son David. The character Leech is also introduced as a young boy named “Dorian Leach”.

In the finale, Apocalypse defeats Xavier and Storm, transforming them, along with Magneto and Mystique, into his Four Horsemen. Apocalypse instructs his Horsemen to protect his three domes and his ‘base of operations’, which will turn the majority of the world population into mutants. In the final battle, the Horsemen are returned to normal and Apocalypse is sent through time. Rogue and Nightcrawler refuse the excuses of their mother, Shadowcat and Avalanche find love once again, Magneto is reunited with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, Storm and Spyke are also reunited, and Xavier sees his students reunited as the X-Men.

 

X-Men: Evolution may not hold a candle to the 90s series, but on its own merits it is decent. I can see why people dislike it as even on its own terms it does have glaring flaws, but I do think it should be judged on its own rather than being compared all the time. Okay, Season 1 wasn’t brilliant, there was a lot of cheesy dialogue, slow and melodramatic story lines, not enough Wolverine, a great character, and too much of Spike, one like Kitty that annoys me to no end, plus Rogue seems bland to me in this series. However, Season 2 onward was much stronger, the pacing is much crisper, the action scenes are exciting, the writing was a little more intelligent.

REVIEW: HULK VS

 

CAST (VOICES)

Fred Tatasciore (9)
Matthew Wolf (The Fault of Our Stars)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)
Grey Griffin (The Replacements)
Kari Wahlgren (Rick and Morty)
Bryce Johnson (The SKulls 3)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)

Hulk vs. completely lives up to its title. There are no long, tedious origin stories. Neither half of this double feature is bogged down by any meandering, who-really-cares filler subplots, clunky romances, or triple-underlined moral messages. These two mini-movies chuck viewers straight into the action and never let up until the end credits roll. Marvel and Lionsgate haven’t watered it down to play to the lunchbox crowd either; these battles against Thor and Wolverine are intense and unflinchingly violent.As a nod to the comics that first introduced Wolverine to the world, he and the Hulk square off in — where else? — the desolate Canadian wilderness. The Hulk has been carving a path of destruction throughout the Great White North, and Department H drops Wolverine in to stop the beast dead in his tracks. The two are fairly evenly matched: Wolverine’s healing factor can take all of the abuse the Hulk can dish out — flinging him what looks like miles away, smashing his hairy little body into the ground over and over again with a three-ton rock — and although those adamantium claws sink deep into the jade giant’s hide, all it really seems to do is piss the Hulk off even more. Just as the tide starts to turn in this brutal, bloody brawl, the Hulk’s back is peppered with a stream of oversized tranquilizer darts. The Weapon X program sees the Hulk as the ultimate weapon in its arsenal, and as the sleeping giant is being prepped for a mindwipe, Wolverine escapes and slices through the small army of seasoned killers that stand in his way.Barely breaking the half hour mark minus credits, the core of the story is lean and uncluttered, and the whole thing is devastatingly brutal wall-to-wall action. Hulk vs. Wolverine draws deeply from imagery from the comics, from that iconic McFarlane cover of the Hulk reflected in Wolverine’s gleaming claws to entire pages of Barry Windsor-Smith’s Weapon X origin translated verbatim. The movie doesn’t take any undue liberties with its characters or their powers; I really do get the sense that this was written, directed, and animated by lifelong comic fans making the sort of movie they’d want to watch instead of just trying to cast a wide net and disinterestedly hit the studio’s numbers. A movie about Wolverine recaptured by Weapon X can’t be saddled with a PG rating, and this is so hyperviolent and sopping with blood that I’m really not sure how it managed to just score a PG-13. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s more brutal and unflinchingly graphic than a lot of slasher flicks I’ve seen. I love the skewed, stylized character designs, and from Wolverine’s half-growled dialogue to the Hulk’s thunderous roar, the voice acting is absolutely perfect. I don’t want to spoil the reveal of who all is part of Weapon X’s superpowered black ops team — the surprise is a huge part of the fun — but I have to give

The title Hulk vs. Thor doesn’t really convey the scale of the second half of this double feature. The Hulk isn’t just pitted against the Norse god of thunder; he singlehandedly takes on the entirety of Asgard: the Warriors 3, legions of valkyries, frost giants, Odin’s ravens, Hel itself, and virtually every last iconic character from the pages of the comics. The movie is set in the waning hours of the Odinsleep: the annual slumber of Asgard’s greatest protector that leaves the realm most exposed to assault from its enemies. Every plot, scheme, and army to have ever been unleashed during the Odinsleep has been handily defeated over the years, but the warriors of Asgard have never been pitted against a force as unstoppable — the embodiment of rage — as the Hulk. An embittered Enchantress uses her dark sorcery to bring the Hulk under Loki’s thrall, and the god of mischief pulls the beast’s strings to effortlessly pummel his brother Thor to within inches of death: no small feat for an immortal god. The Hulk’s thundering rage proves too difficult for Loki to control for long, though, and with his ferocity fully unleashed as never before, he’s not going to stop until the entirety of Asgard lays in ruin.It’s as if the writers behind Hulk vs. Thor couldn’t figure out what Asgardian lore to mine from the hundreds of issues of the comic, so they opted to throw in everything. Virtually every recognizable character and iconic image from the greatest of the Nine Worlds is featured here at some point. Its story is more involved than Hulk vs. Wolverine and is given a few extra minutes to breathe, but the action never lets up here either. Dark magicks rend Bruce Banner from the Hulk, removing the lone spark of humanity keeping the beast’s colossal rage in check, and his path of destruction is unreal, even threatening to topple Hel itself. The imagery isn’t nearly as graphic as Hulk vs. Wolverine, but there’s still an enormous amount of carnage, and the sight of Thor’s arm being shattered or the god of thunder laying limp and lifeless after being punched clean through a mountain is still remarkably intense. I have to admit to not being quite as dazzled by Hulk vs. Thor as I was with the first half of this double feature; dialogue like “You are no troll, monster!” doesn’t sound quite as effortless, the voice acting is perfectly fine but more straightforwardly proper and British, and the celebratory ending seems a little forced. Still, its ability to draw so deeply from some four hundred issues of Thor ought to astonish even casual fans of the comic, the scope of the movie is truly epic, and the torment and anguish inflicted on Bruce Banner pack about as much of a wallop as a roundhouse from the Hulk.Hulk vs. is the first of Marvel’s direct-to-DVD animation to really feel as if it’s targeted squarely at  fanboys. There’s no filler or tedious origin stories here: both halves of this double feature dive headfirst into the action.

REVIEW: THE SUPER HERO SQUAD SHOW – SEASON 1-2

CAST (VOICES)

Charlie Adler (Wall-e)
Alimi Ballard (Sabrina: TTW)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and the X-Men)
Dave Boat (Ultimate Spider-Man)
Jim Cummings (Darkwing Duck)
Grey DeLisle (The Fairly Oddparents)
Mikey Kelley (Gravity Falls)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Travis Willingham (Dragon Ball Z)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
John Barrowman (Arrow)
A.J. Buckley (Disturbing Behavior)
Ty Burrell (Muppets Most Wanted)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Taye Diggs (Private Practice)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Suisan Eisenberg (Justice League)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Nika Futterman (Futurama)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Tricia Helfer (Powers)
Cheryl Hines (The Ugly Truth)
Josh Keaton (Justice League: Gods and Monsters)
Wayne Knight (3rd rock from The Sun)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Phil LaMar (Free Enterprise)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
James Marsters (Smallville)
Jennifer Morrison (Urban Legends 2)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Ray Stevenson (Divergent)
Fred Stoller (Little Man)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Michelle Trachtenberg (17 again)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Jim Ward (Danny Phantom)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)

When I saw a preview of The Super Hero Squad Show back in February of 2009, I thought it looked pretty interesting, but certainly aimed at the kiddies, and as it aired on Cartoon Network, I never saw an episode. In fact, I forgot all about it, and when I got my hands on this disc, I thought it was an animated take on the old Fisher-Price Marvel kiddie figures. So I had no expectations coming in. Well, my only expectation being that it would be bad. So it was with a good deal of shock that I found it to be a pretty entertaining action-comedy series, if you don’t mind the cheese-level of many of the jokes.

The Super Hero Squad (sort of a loose version of the Avengers) is made up of an assortment of Marvel heroes, including Iron Man (as the leader), Captain America (who provides aid on a regular basis), Wolverine (adding the X-Men’s popularity,) The Hulk, Thor, a spacey surfer-dude version of the Silver Surfer, and Falcon (obviously added to bring some diversity.) Joining them is the mostly unknown Reptil (a dinosaur-powered bit player from the Avengers comics) who is both a young guy and Hispanic, helping fill out the P.C. scorecard a bit more and give younger viewers a stand-in.  They go up against Doctor Doom and his legion of bad guys (and ineffective henchmen), as he searches for the Infinity fractals, shards of the Infinity Sword (which seems connected to the Infinity Gems of the Infinity Gauntlet. Infinity.)


Though the storylines are pretty solid and offer big action-packed battles, the bulk of the show is comedy, with the character’s out-sized personalities carrying the jokes, be it Thor’s overwhelming concern about his appearance or Captain America being stuck in the ’40s. Maybe I don’t give kids a lot of credit, but I can see a large portion of these gags flying over their heads, which will make the show far more enjoyable for adults than one would have expected. There was more than one joke that got a genuine laugh out of me, though many of them rely on bodily functions or pratfalls for the punchline. The wordplay and character-generated jokes are much more entertaining and fun, especially Thor’s Asgardian versions of modern language, the Silver Surfer’s alien view of Earth life, and anything involving the always-ridiculous floating head known as M.O.D.O.K. (voiced hilariously by Tom Kenny.) One joke about the Hulk swallowing a yo-yo is technically genius. The only thing about the show that doesn’t really work is Reptil, who feels like the Poochie of the show, coming off as a bone tossed to kids, with his dino-focused power, youthful role and extreme behavior.


This version of the Marvel Universe smartly keeps the same look for its characters, giving long-time Marvel fans an in for the series, but presents them in a super-deformed style (squat bodies, large heads and feet, four fingers) that’s kid-cartoon friendly and which easily separates it from any other version of the Universe you’ve ever seen. That way, there are no issues with continuity or previous incarnations, and the show can be enjoyed on its own merits (allowing them to do something like make Dr. Strange a complete lunatic.) That’s a good thing, because the show is loaded to the gills with fan-service goodies, like the episode titles (which reference famous comic titles) and title cards which replicate memorable cover art. The show also pulls characters from the depths of the Marvel roster, like Screaming Mimi and the Melter, and having silly cartoon fun with them. Taken simply as a silly, almost What The–?! treatment of the characters, it’s well worth a look for comic-book fans out of grade school.

On a non-story note, the theme song, provided by Parry Gripp of Nerf Herder, is an energetic blast, while the voice cast for this series has to be one of the best for a non-prime time animated series, with tons of veterans of the cartoon industry, like Kenny, Tara Strong, Jess Harnell, Grey DeLisle, Cree Summer and Charlie Adler, along with plenty of genre stars, including Robert Englund, Tricia Helfer, Jennifer Morrison and Adrian Pasdar. It’s rare to see a show like this pull this kind of voice cast.

the overall plot of the cycle will feature the villain Thanos seeking the six stones of the Infinity Gauntlet, a powerful cosmic weapon. Opposing him will be the titular Super Hero Squad, which is made up of goofball takes on Iron Man, Thor, Falcon, Wolverine, Hulk, Ms. Marvel, original character Reptil, Scarlet Witch, and sometimes Captain America. While the first two shows focus specifically on the Thanos plot, other episodes detour into one-off excursions. For instance, “World War Witch!” takes the heroes back in time to when Cap was fighting the Red Skull alongside the Invaders in WWII, while “Support Your Local Sky-Father!” pits Olympus vs. Asgard, and it features the Marvel Universe rendition of Hercules.