Meaningless Mutterings

Monday, May 26, 2014

Days of Future Continuity Errors

Let's not waste any time getting into this. Like most comic fans, I was both excited and trepidatious when I heard that Fox's next X-Men movie was Days of Future Past. I loved this story arc in both the comics and the cartoon. Anyone who's read those issues will tell you that the cartoon took some liberties with the story line. Keeping that in mind, it should be no surprise that the movie took some liberties as well. I'm not going to go into the actual plot - go see the damn movie! After watching the entire movie (post-credit scene included) my head hurt, and there was so much that I wanted to express that I feel the need to get it all out there into the ether that is the internet. First off....Who needs continuity? Easy....we all do! Mostly us elitist, nit-picky, comic fans need it. Nothing pleases us more than to spot even the tiniest of errors in plot and storytelling. The problem with Hollywood is that after so many movies, with different writers and directors, a franchise starts to forget the groundwork that started with the first movie. For this blog, I'll assume we are all familiar with the events of X-Men, X2, X-Men 3: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, and X-men: First Class. Look at that list - 6 movies! That's a lot of history to keep track of when building movie 7, especially when movie 7 is acting as a bridge between two separate time lines(keep that part in mind, it will come into play later). So, let's look at the movies in chronological order (not release date) X-Men: First Class takes place in the 60s with the climax being the Bay of Pigs. Here we see how Professor X and Magneto meet, become friends and eventually enemies. Not a bad telling as far as prequel/reboots go. Yes, I said reboot. This movie felt like it was meant to reboot the franchise after the devastating end of X-Men 3. This gives us some of our principle characters of the X-Men franchise, as well as some other characters that we may or may not see again. X-Men Origins: Wolverine takes place primarily in the late 70s. This is where Wolverine volunteers for the Weapon X project, gets his adamantium, and loses his memory. The key takeaway here is that he chose the join the program. He and Victor Creed joined together (after a shooting squad incident)and were recruited by William Stryker. This movie basically ends with Logan having no memory and sets us up for where the franchise really began... X-Men. Late 90s, early 2000. This is the basic story most of us know - The X-men against The Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants. Not a lot here to take note of, as it does not come up in the new movie. X2 is the movie the first showed us William Stryker and the Weapon X Project. Stryker plans on using his mutant son (whom he's experimented on) and Charles Xaiver's telepathic abilities to kill all the mutants in the world. Of course, Magneto tries to turn that around into killing all humans. I mainly want to focus on Stryker right now. Here is where (in the big reveal near the end) he informs Wolverine that they worked together and that joining the program was a choice Logan made willingly. X-Men 3: The Last Stand has been decried as a horrible movie, but for the most part I enjoyed it. This is mainly a new spin on the Dark Phoenix Saga (without the spaceships) The big shocker, and the part that I think pissed everyone off was the supposed demise of the Professor at the hands of one of his students. Jean basically disintegrates Xaiver right in front of Magneto. Of course, we assume Scott met a similar fate since we've not seen him since he left earlier to find Jean, but that's neither here not there (I had a great theory for this, but I doubt that's the way they'll go now). One thing that comes into play in the next movie is that to defeat the Dark Phoenix and save everyone Wolverine has to kill Jean. It should also be noted that the central plot point here revolves around a cure for mutation that is being forced on the mutants of the world. Of course, that's how they defeat Magneto - injecting him with the cure and leaving him without his powers....until right before the credits where he starts to shake a metal chess piece just by pointing at it. I did want to comment on that end scene. That, I feel, was the saddest part of the movie. Despite their opposing view points, Xaiver and Magneto were friends. It is a classic image, the two of them playing chess against one another. In the comics, and movies, that is a perfect metaphor for their relationship. So, seeing Eric sitting alone at a chess board without his oldest friend kind of tugs at the heart strings. IF you stayed for the post credit scene there, you know Xaiver transferred his consciousness into a body on Muir Island that is in the care of Moira MacTaggart. The Wolverine, a better attempt at a solo movie for what is the most popular X-Men character. This is some time after X3. Wolverine is still haunted by the ghost of Jean and the fact that he killed her. He ends up in Japan to pay back a debt from something he did back in WW II. He saved the life of a young Japanese man that is now a huge captain of industry. Fans familiar with the Frank Miller/Chris Claremont mini-series are already familiar with the broad strokes of this story. I enjoyed this one. There was more action, more of Wolverine actually doing what he does best (killing people) and more development of Wolverine as a lost warrior just searching for honor, redemption, and purpose. Here he gets his claws (adamantium and all) cut off by some giant heated sword, but the bone part grows back. So, he is left with an adamantium skeleton, but bone claws. It makes sense that the claws would grow back and heal because bone is organic matter, and Wolverine has a healing factor. It also makes sense that the metal would not because while it is bonded to the bone it is not organic and is not part of his actual body. We also have to consider laws of physics and matter. There was only so much adamantium attached to his skeleton to begin with, part of that was cut off. No new amount of metal was added, so the existing adamantium would not be able to just miraculously increase to cover the new bone once the claws were fully healed. The end of this shows Wolverine walking through an airport. Everyone freezes. Xaiver (not dead and looking like himself, what the body a doppelganger?) and Magneto appear asking for Wolverine's help. Keep in mind this is a modern, non-futuristic airport. Now on to the movie (and point of this blog) that this ties into... Days of Future Past. Set in the near future (2023) and 1973. First error...the date. It is 2023 but they stopped Wolverine in the airport sometime around 2013 maybe? I guess they could have needed his help with something else that took ten years. It was great to see the whole gang again, and some new faces. Colossus is back, so is Iceman and Shadowcat. Rogue. Oh...Storm is back, but really, who cares? I was more excited to see Bishop and Blink in this movie. Both looked badass, and the fight scenes with Blink opening portals were pretty cool. I was bummed to see that Iceman and Kitty were together, and not Kitty and Colossus, that would have been a nice nod to the comics. And since I'm talking about Kitty Pryde, they kept her phasing power that she displayed in X-Men 3, but added some other thing where she can send people's minds back in time to their younger bodies. WTF? Where did this come from? If they would have explained it as an extension of her phasing ability I might have bought it, but as it stands it is a forced plot device. They are in a room with the most powerful telepath on the planet, why not have him send Wolverine's mind back in time. (Did you think that there would be and X-Men movie where Wolverine didn't steal the show?) They send Wolverine back to 1973, where he wakes up in bed with some woman he was supposed to be protecting. From what I remember of Origins, he and Creed were in Vietnam sometime around this period. There is a lot going on in this movie with intertwining, but like I said - go watch it. We see William Stryker again, this time assisting Trask with the Sentinel project. This at least explains how Stryker got into experimenting on mutants, but not how he was so much younger in 1973 than he appears to be just a few short years later in Origins. I'm going to go ahead and jump to where Stryker pulls Wolverine's body out of the Potomac and from there takes him into Weapon X (or so it is intimated). What happened the part about being a volunteer? In a nice one off comment, Trask asks how Stryker's son is doing, so at least they remembered that part. They explained what happened to the other cast members of First Class (all but Emma really) Remember that cure? Apparently Beast created something similar to help hide his mutation, that somehow also helps Xavier walk. Not sure how changing his DNA cured paralysis, but who needs a reasonable explanation? Without spoiling too much, the movie closes on a future that looks normal and not so dark. The school is there, filled with kids. It was pretty awesome seeing Kelsey Grammer come back and do a Beast cameo. Also the big reveal that Jean and Scott are there and alive. Wolverine still remembers the other time line where Jean was dead and so was the Professor, but that is not the time line we are in now. So, they changed the future for what seems like the better. The post credit scene is the best part, and I feel like only a handful of people in the theater got it because was subtle. The image of a young mutant in ancient Egypt that is levitating the blocks to build the pyramids. Everyone around him is chanting: En Sabah Nur. Comic geeks know that is the real name of Apocalypse. They've already announced the next X-Men movie for 2016 will be X-Men: Apocalypse - an adaptation of the Age of Apocalypse storyline. I hope we get to see Cable in there, as well as Gambit the King of Thieves. If First Class was a reboot, Days of Future Past rebooted the reboot. Events were changed from 1973 forward, and it would seem that mutants were allowed to live among us a bit more openly (of course, I'm just guessing since a mutant saved Nixon on live TV) With the future changed, how much of the other movies in the franchise happened? None of them! This movie starts up a whole new timeline in which X-Men, X2, X3, and both Wolverine movies did not happen, or they did not happen in the exact same way. This gives Fox some more freedom to create new stories without having to worry about tie ins from the other movies (did that stop them before, though?) It obviously negated everything from The Last Stand and The Wolverine. My feeling is that Apocalypse will close out the franchise. After that, Fox should just let Marvel have it back and we can be just that much closer to a unified Marvel Cinematic Universe. Have you seen Days of Future Past? What continuity errors did you spot? --- Last Quote: Take Me Home Tonight Todays's Quote: "Are you gonna pick that shit up?"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Back in the Saddle?

Yeah, I doubt I'll update this as regular as I'd like, thus the question mark. My new schedule is a little chaotic, some days I work close to 16 hours. It's not that I've not watched some cool movies, it's just that I haven't had time to review them as well as I'd like. Let me give you a quick summary of movies I've seen lately, and a little blurb.

Captain America - Decent movie, but I liked Thor better. Probably because I dislike the character of Cap, not necessarily the acting, writing, or anything like that. It is a good set up for the Avengers, but that is all it really is. The ending and defeat of Red Skull is anti-climactic at best (read that as let down). The best part is the Avenger's teaser in the post credit slot. If you've watched the others (Iron Man, Thor, Hulk) watch this one, you don't want any plot holes.

Scream 4 - I loved the first three movies, even if they killed Jamie Kennedy. Wes Craven is a genius. The fourth installment was a faithful followup with enough tongue-in-cheek horror movie humor (multiple sequels, reboots, and all the staples of Hollywood today). There are some plot twists, and obvious red herrings. Unfortunately I figured out the killer (killers?) early on. Entertaining though.

Priest - Post-apocalyptic Vampire movie starring Paul Bettany. I'm sold. It was dark, gritty, and awesome visually. The plot is more than predictable, and that is the only bad thing I can say about it. If you are expecting Citizen Kane, you'll be disappointed it. If you want an action flick in a grisly Mad Max like world - then you should watch this.

Your Highness - I expected this to be stupid, and it was. But I liked it anyway. Being a table top RPG nerd, this reminded me of every D&D game my friends and I ever played.

Take me Home Tonight: Loved it! This is a great throwback to the 80s movies of John Hughes. Typical story of unrequited love, a party, lies to impress a girl, and the consequences. As where some movies would make fun of being an 80s movie, this one pays tribute to the 80s flicks I grew up loving (and still love today). The fashion is there, and the music is awesome! OH and a goth Michelle Trachtenberg

Stay tuned for more.

Last Quote: Paper Man

Today's Quote: "We're all trying to be something that were not. But tonight all of that changes. Tonight, I'm not afraid. Tonight, I got one thing to say to all that bullshit. Fuck it. "

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekend Update

Some of you may have noticed my absence lately. Life has been throwing me curve ball after curve ball and my head has been spinning as a result. It is now to a point where I can gather my thoughts and write something down again. I’m not saying it has been all bad, but it feels like the negative outweighs the positive lately. I don’t want to get into too much personal crap (I know, you are thinking that is what the Internet is all about). I’ll just say that my life has taken a turn I did not predict, and never would have. Don’t worry thought – I will pick myself up and keep moving forward because that is all I can do.

Speaking of moving forward I’ll mention a few of the better changes (I hope they are for the better). Next Saturday marks the end of my time at Target. That’s right! After almost six years I am changing jobs. Mostly due to the personal crap I do not want to get into, I had to reevaluate a few things and decided that I needed to find a better paying job so I could pay bills and eat. With that new job comes another step – moving into an apartment in the Evansville area. I am excited and nervous about this, but that will pass.

Anyone who knows me will attest to how well I handle change – I don’t. I like my routine and the comfort of that. Setting out into a new job, a new apartment, a new life – all within the span of about a week – sets my anxiety level up a little too high. I’m going to miss all of the friends I made at Target these past six years, but at least I will be living closer and will be more able to go hang out more often. Maybe we can organize a “crazy movie/tv show night.”

Moving forward is one thing. I can do that with my head down as I just barrel through the day. Moving on is a bit harder. I think that is a process that will vary with each individual. I’m just not sure what my process will be, or how long it will take. I am very grateful for all of my friends that have been there to let me vent, kept me distracted, and above all – kept me laughing.

Enough of that! The other positive thing – the one I am the most excited about – is that my book Valley Falls is completed and published. It has been selling fairly well, although it could stand to sell better. Reviews have been positive and those I have talked to really enjoyed it. That warms my heart. So, if you have read it – tell all of your friends to buy it and read it too, and then spread the word. If you haven’t read it – then you need to. It is available on and in eBook formats for the Kindle and the Nook.

Buy it here!

Last Quote: Thor

Today’s Quote: “No, literally... Tell me what you want me to say! Because, frankly, at this point I got nothing.”

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Son of Odin

If you are new to reading anything by me, I’ll be perfectly honest: I’m a comic book fan. That being said, I tend to have a love/hate relationship with comic book inspired movies (as most fans do). Over the past few years I’ve noticed that Marvel has become a movie powerhouse while DC can only manage to keep one franchise alive (Batman). Marvel is creating franchises that crossover and meld together in one unified universe. I love that. I just wish they could get the X-Men and Spiderman back so they could do a major crossover event. Now, while Marvel Films is a powerhouse, the journey has not been easy (how many Hulk reboots do we need?) What solidified their place in the summer blockbuster slot (in my opinion) was the first Iron Man. Favreau created a realistic, tech-based world that was true to the comics, and he followed it up with a solid sequel (that’s almost unheard of!)

Looming on the horizon is The Avengers, but first we have to introduce Captain America and Thor. Here is where I get a little critical. In the comics, Thor is the god of thunder. The reality of the Marvel Universe acknowledges the existence of the Asgardian pantheon of gods, as well as the Greek gods. How are we going to have a crossover into the realistic, science-based world of Tony Stark? So, to say I was skeptical would be an understatement. Let’s be honest, Thor has the potential to completely wreck everything Marvel has been doing with films thus far.

It’s a good thing that Kenneth Branagh had a hell of a vision for this film, and pulled it off beautifully. Thor has all the elements of an epic fantasy as well as the comic book moments (being hit by the same car more than once? Getting tasered? Funny stuff.) The scenes on Asgard and in Jotunheim are visually stunning and stylistic. I think they add to the movie and create a real sense of fantasy contrasted with the “reality” of Earth. Even the explanation of the Asgardians fits in with a tech-based world (although now we have to accept that aliens exist). There is, of course, the requisite setting up for the movie of the century (The Avengers) with some S.H.E.I.L.D. involvement, Nick Fury cameo, and a great cameo from Hawkeye, there is even a mention of Tony Stark. I have no complaints as far as performance goes, Hemsworth was a great Thor. What is Natalie Portman not great in? Anthony Hopkins? Absolutley no complaints there.

My only complaint is that if felt like it should have been two separate movies. The opening, which sets up the back-story and explains why Thor is on Earth, should have been a movie by itself. After his banishment, things felt a little rushed. Thor was sent to our planet to learn humility. This should not be as easily learned as it is in the movie. Ideally, everything after his banishment should have been a separate movie. Then the pacing could have been better and we might have a better feel for a few of the other characters. Why does Jane fall in love with Thor, aside from his obvious physique? Of course there is a romantic interest for Thor here, and we know it’s going to be Natalie Portman, but that shouldn’t mean the relationship should not have some development to it. Do we, the audience, have to do all the work filling in the blanks here?

Don’t let my lofty expectations throw you. The movie is fun, looks brilliant, and has enough cringe worthy moments in battle, and laughable moments to ease the tension to make a perfect Summer movie. I saw it in 3D, which took some adjusting, but I thought it looked really good. It added depth to a lot of the scenes. If that is not your thing, go see it on a regular screen, but whatever you do STAY FOR THE CREDITS. This is now part of the formula for most movies. The easter egg at the end of the credit sequence is partly what we pay for now (and it had better be way cooler than that damn dog from Pirates of the Caribbean). What are you waiting for? Go. Now.


Last Quote: Red State

Today’s Quote: “You better call it Coulson, cause I'm starting to root for this guy.”

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Seeing Red

I don’t often review movie’s I’ve seen in a theater – mainly because I hardly go to a theater anymore. There aren’t many movies I care to see on a big screen while sitting crowded in a tiny chair with a lot of inconsiderate douche-nozzles (that’s right Mr/Mrs I-have-to-text/tweet/talk-on-cell-phone-at-all-times, I’m talking about you). I prefer to wait until DVD where I can watch them at home where the only annoying jackass talking through it will be me.

Cut to yesterday at Clowe’s Memorial Hall at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana at around 8:00. There I was crammed into a tiny damn seat in a room with no air circulation (this is a larger problem when there is a lot of body mass in a room, and I mean a lot of people.) preparing to watch Red State, the newest movie from my favorite writer/director, Kevin Smith.

Familiar with his work? Throw all of those notions the hell out the window because Red State in vastly different from anything he has ever done. First off, it is a horror movie. I agree with this classification while others online bicker about it. True, there is no real hero, or slasher, or definitive victory but it is still unsettling, uncomfortable, and down right terrifying.

Horror purists my decry this film and demand it be put into some lame category like “psychological thriller” or some such B.S. They look for the typical and the cliché when it comes to “real horror movies.” What they fail to realize is that in Red State the conventional aspects of horror movies have been turned on their head, and in some cases shot in the face. Let’s run down the list of what a horror movie should include: Sex crazed teens (check), creepy family of psychopaths (check) – everything else is just variation on that. Without spoiling the movie, because I do NOT want to do that, here is what is different about the flick.

First, there is no clear cut hero. Usually when you watch a horror movie (especially lately) you can pick out who will live and who will die within the first 10 minutes, maybe less. Forget all that nonsense. Second, there is no music telling you what is going to happen. No score in the background at all. That makes for one unsettling 90 minutes. Music cues tell us when to relax and when to tense up for a scare. None of that either.
Lastly, the movie allows the audience to form multiple opinions on characters. One second a character is deplorable, the next somewhat likeable, and so on. People are like that. We constantly have to assess our impressions of people we meet. Someone that we might click with at first may eventually become the bane of our existence. So, the characters are realistic in that way.

The ending I loved. It might not set well with others, but remember this is Kevin Smith. What the ending does is changes the focus from one character to another, thereby showing how insignificant that other character really was / is.

I’m going to stop now before me inadvertently spoil something. If you want spoilers, you can find them all over the internet, but not here. Instead go see the movie when it hits theaters in October.

Last Quote: Easy A

Today's Quote: "I fear God. You better believe I fear God."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Not a typical teen movie

I have a list of movie’s I’d like to review; I just never get around to them. I fully intended on writing about Machete, but another movie came along that I enjoyed so much, that I just had to share it.

What movie is this that could make me scratch the plans to talk about a movie that is right up my alley? You’ll be shocked when I say that this movie is not full of gratuitous nudity, gore, absurd death scenes, and gallons of CGI blood.

Easy A is that movie.

Wait! Don’t run away yet! I promise this is worth it.

When I first saw trailers for this flick I was intrigued because it is obviously a modern twist of Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. They put it right there in the open – look at the title. Most of us remember having to read that in high school (some of us had to read it AGAIN in college) and who can forget the awful adaptation starring Demi Moore? So, my love of classic literature commanded that I watch this one.

On the surface it is just another teen movie focusing on high school drama and gossip. Where it differs from other teen movies of late is that this movie is smart. Emma Stone is a convincing wallflower of a girl (Olive) who wants nothing more than to skate through four years of torture unnoticed. Like all of us, she does fantasize about being the focus of attention, but she never really wants it. Then, the spotlight of the entire school is on her due to one lie leading to another lie that then spreads around school. Soon, she’s the school slut and the target of a laughable group of religious students.

Here is where the character wins me over. She embraces the gossip and decides to give them something to talk about. She embroiders large red “A”s on a new wardrobe consisting of provocative, lowcut tops. In typical teen movie fashion, things spiral out of her control and she longs to be the unknown she once was.

Blah blah blah, right? Wrong. I said this was a smart movie didn’t I? Here is where it shows it. The movie has no pretense of being anything more than it is. The writers were not above even mentioning this fact. Olive does this via her narration with witty segment titles that summarize what is going to happen. How many classic books have chapter titles the do that very thing? I’ve lost count. She lists movies that depict high school life falsely, and pines about how she wises they were true. They are all John Hughes films!

Here is a movie that is obviously following in the footsteps of Hughes and they make sure to point it out, complete with clips. Of course, the major punch line is at the end when all of those scenes are combined. I won’t go into too much detail but it involves a boom box (sort of), a lawnmower, and throwing a fist in the air (Judd Nelson did it before those Jersey Shore douches and their fist pumping shit).

All the while, the movie whips a little message at you. Just beneath the sarcasm, cynicism, angst, innuendo, and humor is some truth. Kids gossip. About anything. All the time. That aspect of the movie reminded me more of “Much Ado About Nothing”. Shakespeare and Hawthorne in one movie? Awesome in my book. This was the most enjoyable teen movie I’ve seen in a long time (going back to Can’t Hardly Wait and American Pie.) Hit it up on Netflix, Redbox, Blockbuster, or wherever you get movies and watch this one!


Last Quote: A Team

Today’s Quote: “We've had nine classes together since Kindergarten... ten if you count Religion of Other Cultures, which you didn't because you called it science fiction and refused to go.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


What child of the 80s is unfamiliar with the A-Team? Not a one, I hope. Mr. T was an ever-present character throughout my childhood what with cartoons, toys, movie appearances, tv shows, etc… When I first heard of an A-Team movie I was skeptical. Would they try to make it a serious movie (that didn’t work for Miami Vice) or go over-the-top with campiness (like, say, Starsky and Hutch). The entire fate of this film rested with that small decision. Thankfully the writers found some middle ground that made the movie entertaining and enjoyable. The nostalgia factor didn’t hurt either.

First thing people will notice is the cast. Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper are two big names in movies. Neeson is always a draw and (I believe) can nail any performance. Cooper is more of a draw now they he was probably five years ago (thank you Hangover). These two carry the movie.

Supporting them is Sharlto Copley (District 9) as Howling Mad Murdoch, and Quinton Jackson as B.A. Murdoch is utterly insane and adds enough levity to the movie to keep people in stitches. Jackson (in my not-so-humble opinion) was dead on as B.A., Mohawk and all.

Like any remake the writers updated the story to today’s world and political climate. Instead of Vietnam, the war is in Iraq. The story is pretty much the back story of how this team of war heroes were disgraced, discharged, framed, and arrested. While those of us who watched the show remember them being a “guns for hire” team that helped people, there is none of that in the movie. Instead it focuses on Hannibal’s plans to clear their names and get reinstated in the army.

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so I’ll stop now. One cool thing they did was end the movie with the opening sequence and voice over from the original show. Do they plan a sequel? I hope so!

Don’t expect a great movie that will leave your brain hurting, this isn’t Inception. A-Team is just a good bit of mindless fun full of explosions and plot twists. Give it a chance, you might be surprised.

Last Quote: Scott Pilgrim vs the World

Today's Quote: "I believe that no matter how random things may appear, there's still a plan. "