There's only one major release in theaters this weekend and it's a new telling of the story of King Kong.
Kong: Skull Island takes place in 1973 just as the Vietnam war is ending and a couple of scientists have a crazy theory about a hidden island in the Pacific Ocean. They lead a survey expedition along with the help of the war-hardened Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard, played by Samuel L. Jackson, and his squadron of choppers. They reach the island, start dropping seismic bombs to map the area and of course, Kong shows up and tears their choppers to shreds, leaving them split into groups across the island. Preston wants revenge for his lost men while others in the group just want to leave the island alive. Of course, neither one of those options are easy because the island is as dangerous as it is beautiful. In addition to Samuel. L. Jackson, Kong: Skull Island also stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, Toby Kebbell, Corey Hawkins, and Jason Mitchell.
Kong Skull: Island had some really good trailers and based on that, I figured it would either be really good or really bad. Luckily, it's the former. It's very entertaining. It has a lot of jump scares. The cinematography looks like a war movie, it looks as it was shot on a battlefield in the 1970's. The visual effects were mostly convincing except for one scene involving poison gas and a samurai sword. Even the 3D for this movie was solid. It wasn't there just to be there. It brought you in to the environment of the film and is one of the better 3D movie I've seen a long time.
I definitely recommend this movie. I took my 13-year old son to see it and he loved it. There are some scary parts and some people do get eaten by monsters so be aware if you want to take your kids. Also, there's a really cool end credits scene that you'll want to stick around for.
Since there’s no other new releases this week and I didn’t write about it last week, I wanted to talk a little about Logan.
WARNING: You get about 4 paragraphs before I start talking about spoilers for Logan.
Last weekend, Hugh Jackman returned to the big screen as Wolverine/Logan in a major way with nearly 85 million dollars earned at the U.S. Box Office. Logan takes place in the year 2029 and mutants are nearly gone. Logan is an isolated man, whose healing powers have diminished. He's drinking away the days as a chauffeur while taking care of an ailing Professor Xavier whose mind is plagued by worsening seizures that can have devastating effects. Their attempts to hide from the world come to an end when a mysterious woman shows up with a young mutant who needs their help. It doesn't take long before Logan, Professor X, and the young girl are on the run from people who want to turn them into weapons. Logan must once again embrace the animal within to take on a villain from his past and fulfill his destiny as the Wolverine.
Logan is by far one of the best comic book movies I've seen and what's great about it is that it develops the characters so well. Hugh Jackman has played this character for 17 years and audiences really understand the character because he's been the same in the films. He's a Samurai, a deadly warrior with a high moral code and a strong sense of honor. This is a different path for Logan. Now he's struggling with mortality and he almost longs for death. To continue the Samurai comparison he is a Ronin, which is a warrior whose king or master is dead and seeking a purpose. To see that played out on film is truly wonderful and interesting.
There have been very few films, especially comic based films that have left me speechless at the end. Logan did that. It took me a couple of minutes to look away from the screen. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart deserve to have some talk come awards season next year.
Oh, a couple of things to know here: no end credits scene and Logan is rated “R” for brutal violence, language, and brief nudity. I wouldn't take a kid younger than 13, and even then I’m not sure I’d take mine.
I also want to add that I will NEVER get used to Patrick Stewart swearing in movies. As much as he is Professor Charles Xavier, he will always be Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Captain Picard would never use such foul language!
HERE’S WHERE THE SPOILERS START. I’LL GIVE YOU TO THE COUNT FO THREE TO DIVERT YOUR EYES.
Alright, so when Professor X is laying out his regrets for the way things have gone and his guilt over whatever happened at his school and suddenly you see Wolverine’s claws stab him. What were you feeling at that moment? I was speechless. It happened so quickly and easily. Of course, we learn that it wasn’t really Logan but rather the X-24 clone. Did you feel the loss more or worse because it happened so quickly and the scene moved on? It was also at that moment that Logan no longer had a reason to live and he began to show that he was dying. It was that emotional connection to Xavier that, like a Samurai Warrior, had given him purpose.
Now that he had no purpose he was free to die. If you start looking back, you can see that Xavier was trying to find a new purpose for Logan before he died. He must have known that with his worsening condition, he would eventually have to be killed to keep from becoming a “weapon of mass destruction”. That’s why he pushed Logan to help Lara, who was his clone and basically his daughter, and why they were at the farmhouse to begin with, he wanted Logan to experience what it was like to have a family because Logan was tormented by everything he had done and even by his own existence.
Did you really think that Logan was going to make it out of the movie alive? I didn’t but I started to believe when he took the last dose of that Serum. I believed that he might make it through and become the “Professor X” to the young mutants.
So, here we are.
Professor X is dead. Logan is dead. In comics, no one really stays dead and we’ve seen the X-Men franchise play with timelines to bring characters back to life before but this seems pretty definitive.
Both of these actors have been playing these characters for 17 years and both of them have said there’s only one way they’d want to come back to the roles and that is if they were part of an Avengers team up. James McAvoy is already doing a pretty good job of playing Charles Xavier in the “other” X-Men movies and those movies could easily introduce a different person to play Logan although they’d have to change a timeline again.
I sat and stared at that screen for a bulk of the end credits.
All signs point to having 2 different X-Men franchises going at the same time. One franchise that features the First Class line and an X-Force line that takes place after Logan and features X-23/Lara as a primary character. I don’t read the comics so I’ll leave it at that.
Speaking of the “other” X-Men movies, can we try and figure out where they fall in line with the original movies? Do we need to? People on the internet have spent a lot of time figuring it out while other scream about continuity issues. The continuity issues arise primarily because filmmakers can’t see the future. When “X-Men” was released in 2000, it was pretty clear they wanted to set up a franchise.
Remember when there was a plan to have origin films for not just Wolverine but also for Magneto and other characters? That’s why X-Men Origins: Wolverine is called “X-Men Origins”. In a way X-Men: First Class became a Magneto origin story. You could even make the argument that First Class, Days of Future Past, and Apocalypse are all Magneto origin stories. Truthfully, he’s the most interesting and well-written characters (besides Wolverine) of the whole bunch and the entire ‘First Class” line feels like an origin for the bigger franchise.
Either way, I'm sure we'll find a way to continue the franchise in an exciting way and in a few years, we'll have a new Wolverine.
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