X-Men: Days of Future Past features the biggest ensemble of mutants put together on film to date as both the original cast and the newer cast from X-Men: First Class join together to fight a war for the survival of both human and mutant kind across two time periods. When the future war between mutant/mankind and the treacherous sentinels near its darkest hour the small but steadfast group of X-Men still alive –Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Storm (Halle Berry), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Magneto (Ian McKellen) – meet up with former students Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and their compatriots to form one last ditch effort to save all their lives. Wolverine is sent back in time to join the then rival Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) together to stop the events that lead to the mass destruction to come.
The star studded cast also brings backs Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique and introduces Peter Dinklage as the man responsible for the sentinels, Bolivar Trask. Director Bryan Singer manages to coordinate all of this chaos into a complex yet balanced story that features the entire mutant cast getting enough exposure that they are not wasted while still feature the few that audiences really want to see. The film also packs some effective twists and some memorable cameos from other mutants that will delight audiences. The script ingeniously leaves room for multiple follow ups involving either cast and manages to reset the entire mutant universe in one shot.
The follow up to director Mark Webb’s reboot to the Spider-Man franchise slings itself into North American theaters this week after already amassing a hearty amount of box office cash overseas. In this outing of the masked web slinger, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) has settled into the life of a hero, with all the trappings of fame and glory that can cloud anyone’s judgement included, and despite the warning from the final moments of the first film, is still spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But soon new villains emerge to challenge Peter, the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx) and his old friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan),and they all have seem to connect to Peter’s past and the ominous conglomerate known as Oscorp.
This outing of “The Amazing Spider-Man” is definitely a step up from the previous Mark Webb incarnation, the effects work is crisper and the ‘go pro video’ style incorporate d into the web slinging does a lot to make it feel more realistic, but the film suffers from an overstuffed script that was clearly influenced by the studio. Garfield is still very solid in the role of Peter and Emma Stone is perfect as Gwen, while DeHaan is a very welcome addition as the deluded and angry Harry. Jamie Foxx suffers through his turn as Electro though as the script and design of the effects does him no favors. Electro sports a poorly conceived look that never comes across as menacing, more like a goofy lower budget version of the Watchmen’s Dr Manhattan, and as Electro disappears from the film for long stretches he is not missed.
After the cataclysmic events in New York that occurred in “The Avengers” we find Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), living a relatively quiet life in Washington, D.C. Cap is still working with Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and S.H.I.E.L.D. but is quickly becoming very disillusioned at the politics behind doing so. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes a central figure in unravelling a web of lies, deceit and intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk that leaves the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) as the only S.H.E.I.L.D. ally he can trust. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow must enlist the help of a new hero, the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to help take down a menacing force that is much grander in scope than even Cap could have predicted.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is easily one of the best films that the current Marvel universe has produced. With ramifications and repercussions that will play out over many Marvel movies to come, Winter Soldier features a brilliant script that incorporates many nods towards the comic crowd while remaining easily accessible to regular audiences as well. The film takes a more espionage/thriller slant this time around, but with some extremely successful and impressive fight sequences, think “Manchurian Candidate” meets “The Raid”. This time around Cap’s fighting style has emerged as a fusion of MMA and Parkour that is highly effective and dangerous looking at the same time. This is a particularly more lethal looking Captain America this time around, which is reflective of Cap living in the modern world and perhaps hanging/working around Black Widow more often.
Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” continues the big-screen adventures of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of “Thor” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos. But an ancient race, the Dark Elves, led by the vengeful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. To defeat an enemy that even Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor sets upon his most dangerous and personal journey yet, forced into an alliance with his treacherous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to save not only his people and those he loves, but our universe itself.
On the heels of last year’s mega smash hit “The Avengers” Marvel Studios and Disney, in partnership with Paramount Pictures, brings us the newest installment of one of the Avenger’s key players, Iron Man 3. With this film, Robert Downey Jr. fulfills his Tony Stark contract quota and has fuelled speculation that he may be done donning the iron suit for good. Whether this is the case or not, it would be hard to argue that he has not left the character in a far better place than he started with it.
Iron Man 3
Written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black
Directed by Shane Black