Hey everybody! Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Normally, I would have posted on Friday, but unfortunately I was marooned on a desert island and only recently have returned so please enjoy this special edition Monday ANTiFangirl! Yay!
So technically summer does not begin until June 21st but summer’s movie season begins Memorial Day weekend. So here are a couple of films I have seen so far this summer that may be worth checking out.
I’ll start with X-Men: Days of Future Past which opened May 23rd. The film brings back Bryan Singer, who directed the first two X-Men films, and then abandoned the series to let Brett Ratner of Rush Hour fame take over for the third and abysmal X-Men: The Last Stand. I really enjoyed X-Men: First Class directed by Matthew Vaughn, which came out in theaters two years earlier during the summer of Marvel with Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.
I liked Days of Future Past. I thought it was entertaining, the mutants looked cool, the story was okay, and the cast was amazing. However, after leaving the theater I couldn’t help but feel like I had missed seeing the movie that came in between First Class and Days of Future Past.
During present day, the world is facing a dark armageddon because Raven aka “Mystique” murders for the first time during the Nixon Administration which leads the Sentinels, once created to hunt down only mutants, are now adapting to be better faster robots out to kill everybody. So Kitty Pryde who has never shown that she was capable of producing any type of time travel power before in both film and comics, apparently is capable of putting someone back in their body before something catastrophic happens. And if that sounds confusing, it’s because it’s a little bit confusing. The Professor, who died in X-Men: The Last Stand is alive, with no explanation, and he informs the remaining mutants, that they need to send someone back into the past so they can rewrite the future. Wolverine is the only real option so he goes back to his younger body in order to find the Professor and explain to him what’s going on. He also explains that to do this they also need Magneto, which leads to a great scene where Quicksilver, Xavier, and Wolverine go to the Pentagon to unlock Magneto, who is serving time for supposedly assassinating J.F. Kennedy. I mean they can’t apparently kill Magneto, even though they’ve killed all of these other mutants.
Now, in the past couple of years Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Raven in the film, has been nominated twice for an Oscar and won one of them, and has also risen to great fame as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games franchise. So, yeah, I get that maybe they would want to put the spotlight on her character even though her character had very little to do in the original films, wherein Hugh Jackman’s impersonation of Wolverine being impersonated by Mystique was a better Mystique than Rebecca Romjin who may have had five lines in all three movies. In Days of Future Past, Raven is looking to kill Bolivar Trask as revenge for him being a part of the killing of several mutants, most of which were in First Class. So more than half the cast of First Class dies off screen, and Jennifer Lawrence can shoot out a tear, but damn I did not care as much as she did.
I just couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that the movie before this movie had come and gone and I had missed it. I missed Magneto’s war, or apparently his tumultuous relationship with Raven, or any of the other mutants. Magneto as the new leader of the mutants while the Professor just goes into a deep drinking depression about his lost legs had the possibility of being a great script. To have the whole film focus around Magneto wanting to save J.F. Kennedy and then having him fail on an epic level where it gets most of the team killed would have made Days of Future Past make a bit more sense emotionally and plot wise.
Matthew Vaughn’s First Class had some more style and definitely more heart while Days of Future Past just felt like a glorified way for Bryan Singer to say, “hey guys, remember when I left to do Superman Returns, well I’m back now and I’m going to reboot my own franchise, because this franchise belongs to me.” The good thing is maybe he’ll go back and we’ll actually get the Phoenix movie we all wanted before the cast becomes too old, while Matthew Vaughn can take back over the younger X-Men series. Then again Singer might just leave again so he can go make a Bizarro movie or even better a Lobo film.
Another movie I saw so far this summer was a surprisingly entertaining film in Edge of Tomorrow. The movie stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt as they attempt to save the world from squid-like aliens called Mimics. The last film I saw Tom Cruise in was the very predictable and all over the place Oblivion which had a Mass Effect and Portal look to it, but also came with every single science fiction cliche imaginable; cloning, aliens, robots, desert people, time travel, space travel, amnesia. So seeing Tom Cruise in another science fiction film, especially one that seemed confusing and a bit too serious was not something I was interested in, but regardless I went.
The film was a very fun surprise and Tom Cruise shines in it. Cruise portrays Major William Cage, whose main job is to sell the war in order to get more recruits to fight against the ever growing and seemingly unbeatable enemy. The number one sales pitch is a mechanical suit that appears to be very Warhammer influenced. Emily Blunt’s Rita Vrataski manages to wear the suit and kill hundreds of these creatures naming her in the media as “the Angel of Verdon” and having her be the poster girl for mech-suits and the war.
Cruise’s Cage becomes the reluctant hero when he is thrown into combat. A battle occurs on a beach and during combat Cage is infected with the blood of the enemy and killed which causes him to awaken a day earlier before the battle happens. He has memories of the previous day and at first doesn’t believe what’s happening until the battle occurs again. He dies again, and then again reawakens the previous day with his memory still intact. He attempts to save as many lives as he can but continues to die just so he can reawaken the previous day until he meets Emily Blunt’s character on the beach and attempts to explain to her what happens. She believes him and tells him to find her when he reawakens. Once Cage reintroduces himself to Rita, she explains to him what’s happening. Rita, apparently was also infected with the alien blood and has been repeating the day for a while, but experienced a blood transfusion when she was mortally wounded and the power went away. She begins to train Cage in combat and how to use his gift.
The film is actually pretty funny, and Cruise shines in that comical goofy way, while also looking bad ass. It’s one of the better films I’ve seen from him in a long time. Emily Blunt also is incredible and her character is smart, focused, and tough, one of the better female protagonists I’ve seen so far in films of 2014. The movie is well paced and very entertaining and I definitely recommend checking it out this summer.
My third and final film of the summer so far is How to Train Your Dragon 2 which came out over the weekend. The Dreamworks animated film is a much anticipated sequel to How to Train Your Dragon which came out in 2010. The original film was a bit overlooked due to coming out the same year as the Oscar-winning Toy Story 3 but made almost a half million dollars in the box office. The film was touching and absolutely beautiful.
Given that it has only been out for a few days I won’t spoil too much from the film, but like it’s predecessor it has extraordinary heart and a beautiful landscape as well as fun and touching characters. Of course the spotlight is definitely on the dragons, who are so fun, incredibly adorable, and well constructed that just their mannerisms make you understand their individual characters.
Thanks for Reading! And have a great week!