Monday, March 27, 2017

Life: Like Alien, But With Less Balls And Creativity

Back in 1979, a science-fiction film scared the bejesus out of audiences and presented something frightening and new. This was the story of a group of astronauts exploring space until "something" has climbed aboard. It starts out small, then grows to something gigantic, picking off crew members one by one as they try to figure out how to stop it, as well as survive. The movie was so frightening, it's "poster slogan" is still remembered to this day. It also spawned several direct sequels (and can be considered one of the few sequels better than its predecessor) as well as spin-offs.  You may recall this movie called Alien. It's a spectacular film that defined a genre and launched several respectable directors to Hall-of-Fame status. And while it has also spawned some serious misfires when it comes to film, it has also led to the creation of Life. A script that not only honors the ideas of Alien, it pretty much straight-up copies it entirely. And while there are decent moments within the film... the movie winds up being pretty life... less.

Much like Alien did, nearly 40 years ago... Life tells the story of a crew who manned a Mars mission who brings aboard a new sign of life outside of our world. They grow this alien in a lab until it becomes big enough, strong enough, and smart enough to start killing everyone on board. There's the leader (Rebecca Ferguson), the pilot (Jake Gyllenhaal), the wise-cracking tech guy (Ryan Reynolds), and a few other people who are given very little backstory or characterization. In fact, the person who gets the most backstory is an Asian pilot whose wife just gave birth to a new little girl back on Earth and then he's given very little more to do for the rest of the film. Ryan Reynolds brings his same schtick of being a wiseass, tough guy. But, there's nothing else below the surface. The strangest part is Gyllenhaal. He's essentially the lead of the film, but doesn't get hardly any screen time until shit starts to go haywire, and the only thing we know about him when it is hitting the proverbial fan... is that we recognize him as actor Jake Gyllenhaal and he might have PTSD from being up in space so damn long. Anyway, the alien gets loose and becomes more resourceful, outsmarting the crew left and right and picking them off in order to save itself.

There are definitely moments of high tension. Just because we've seen this movie before (seriously... if you've seen Alien, you've seen Life) doesn't mean that there's a lack of tension. The fear of the unknown is very much present in the film and when they're trying to get around the ship avoiding getting killed by this alien... it can get pretty tense. And this is where the film works. Where if falters, is when that tension breaks. Life lacks any balls whatsoever. One facet of the sci-fi genre that is rarely seen these days is the R-rated sci-fi film. Science Fiction is a niche genre, and by limiting the audience to 17 and up is always a risk, so it's rare when you find one rated R. The last R rated sci-fi movie we got was essentially District 9 way back in 2009. R-rated sci-fi is great because the filmmakers aren't limited by a rating system to go balls to the wall. Sci-fi can be a pretty dark genre, so giving the filmmakers free reign on violence is something that can definitely elevate a movie-- especially one dealing with a creepy-ass alien murdering astronauts.

But, Life doesn't do this. Most of the deaths happen offscreen. The ones that happen onscreen are, for lack of a better term, boring. If you've decided to write an R-rated Alien rip-off, at least have the balls to up the ante a little bit. The first Alien works because it's all about the unseen threat on the ship and the suspense leading up to the final battle. Aliens works because it goes balls-out with the action and the violence and the alien gore. Life doesn't do either of these. We continuously see the alien, but realize there's a threat. Then, when it attacks... it's just kind of a a letdown due to the underwhelming nature of the scene. That's how Life feels... just very underwhelming. It's got a great cast and a proven writer and director, but apparently putting all of these people together in a flawed movie... what you get is an all-encompassing 'meh'.

I'll give the movie this... it has a great ending. The ending almost makes up for the rest of the film by giving you some sort of sign that there was once a great idea floating around. The movie honestly could've spawned from the writer envisioning the ending first. It's such a cool end of the movie that if you came up with that first, and then wrote a story around that... it could give a little bit of insight as to why the rest of the film comes up short. But, obviously, the last ten minutes of a two hour film doesn't necessarily justify the lack of balls and creativity on display for the rest of the movie. This movie lacks such vision and creativity, the film's title is even stolen from a previous film:
Seriously?? Remember this movie???

Life is a perfect example of a don't-waste-your-money on seeing it in theaters. It's always going to appeal to most people due to the popularity of the story and the cast, but it's going to let down a good majority of you looking for a balls-out, scary and well-told R-rated story of the discovery of a malicious alien life. Do yourself a favor and go watch Alien and Aliens again and get ready for Alien: Covenant later on this year (which we can only hope is better than Prometheus)


Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Belko Experiment: The Purge Meets Office Space

I'm quite happy for James Gunn's success.  Though I'm sure he's not yet a household name, he's been a writer/director that I've been fond of for quite awhile. He penned the script for the Dawn of the Dead remake, he wrote and directed a great, underrated 'monster' movie, Slither, he followed that up with the very little seen, but also underrated Super, until he found major blockbuster success with Guardians of the Galaxy. He's definitely got a unique voice and he turned what could've been just another generic comic book adaptation/Star Wars knock off film and gave it the ole' James Gunn 'umph' and turned it into something rare and rejuvenating. The Belko Experiment is a script he wrote several years before Guardians, but had a difficult time finding funding. Finally, with his recent success, he was able to find a production company and director to take the script and make it real. I don't exactly know how I feel about the film because it does have bits and pieces of Gunn's voice, but after watching the film the only thing that comes to mind is-- how much better would it have been had Gunn been the one to direct it?

Deep in the boonies of Colombia lies a giant office building. Inside are people of all races and creeds working their normal nine to five boring jobs. A voice comes over the intercom telling the workers that in the next half hour, they need to kill two people or four will be murdered.  Thinking its a joke, minor panic ensues, but no one really takes the threat seriously.  When four employee's heads explode and giant metallic barriers block every window and exit... that's when people start to lose their shit. The voice returns saying that in the next two hours thirty employees must be murdered or sixty will be executed. This is where the sociological experiment begins. People form factions. There's the "good guys" who look to work together to find a way out of the situation. And there's the "bad guys" (like the CEO and the office creep) who want to find a way to kill thirty people before they're killed themselves. And thus the terror and action and murder and blood and plot begins.

While I really like the idea of The Belko Experiment, I have a really big issue with the execution of said ideas. What the film looked like was a Purge-esque romp of over-the-top violence and gore surrounding some huge conspiracy of an outside organization using human beings for some sociology experiment. What should've followed is a slew of ingenius and creative and exaggerated death scenes and kills. What, unfortunately, occurs is a very realistic (sorta) portrayal of the events of the film. Instead of watching buckets and buckets of blood splattered by outrageous and excessive means is a true to life depiction of if people in an office were forced to kill each other. And it became too real. What I mean by that is-- I'm a horror aficionado. Blood and gore never really get to me because 99% of the time I'm aware that I'm watching a horror movie and what I'm witnessing is fake. The best horror is devoid of blood and emphasizes thrills and suspense. On the other side of that coin is the excessively bloody and gory horror that use the gore as the main factor of fear-- the shock value replaces the scary (these are films like Hostel and Hatchet and Saw). I thought The Belko Experiment was going to fall into that latter category.

What made the movie feel so "real" and what made me so uncomfortable is that the kills weren't exaggerated and over-the-top. They were real. Lining up people against the wall, people with true fear in their eyes, and shooting them in the back of the head one-by-one is fucking awful to witness. Watching these people chased around screaming in an office building by those with guns only really makes you feel as you would if you were watching footage of a real-life mass shooting-- fucking terrible. And because most of the movie was devoid of these "overkills" and lacked that James Gunn 'voice'... it felt all too real, which made the movie less scary, and more... just... sick. I haven't seen a movie like this where I couldn't really justify sitting there and watching a bunch of innocent people just gunned down for no reason all for the sole purpose of entertainment.

So, I wonder... how would the movie been different had Gunn taken the helm? The script was his and has less of his voice than any of his other movies, but it was his baby. Director Greg McLean (Wolf Creek) took what should've been a very Battle Royale/The Purge/The Raid-esque movie and made it just a little bit too close to reality. For one, the sound effects of the gunshots and blood and murders are more detailed than most horror films, which added to the realism.  And normally, realism isn't a negative thing to say about a film... but for some strange reason... this time, it is. One of the biggest causes of this, too, is the lack of creativity with the kills. I've learned that in horror and action movies, you specifically pick your setting to reflect your action sequences. These people are locked in a mundane office setting. They should be using everything normal office workers use on a daily basis as murder weapons. They should be killing people with staplers, and broken coffee mugs, and cubicle boards, and computer monitors. Instead, they unlock a safe full of guns for the security guards and most of the kills are demented office employees in white t-shirts and ties shooting other innocent office employees in white t-shirts and ties.

It really did strike a chord in me and this doesn't happen often. I went to the movie to witness people murdering other people in a locked-down office building, but never did I think I would leave with a sour taste in my mouth because the movie felt too real and just disgusting. I feel like an old man who accidentally walked into the wrong theater and I'm telling my other older friends about how filthy and depraved the youth have gotten in their film choices. There's horror for entertainment and then there's just being a murder-voyeur. The Belko Experiment felt more like a snuff film than a horror film.

And maybe I've just recently become to sensitive, because I do like the idea of the movie. I liked some of the characters and set-ups that (kinda) pay off, there's just a huge chunk in the middle that I can't justify for any reason. So, this is a very difficult film to grade. It's not a 'bad' movie... it's just something I don't think I could really ever watch again.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Beauty And The Beast: Tale As Old As Stockholm Syndrome

Back in the day... whether it be when Disney first started making cartoons... or the 90s when they had a run of "princess" films that were a hit... Disney was really into either adapting old princess stories, or making them up. Either way, this was Disney's M.O. at the time. Thank goodness they've got their own line of original cartoons now, along with their partnership with Pixar. Because if it wasn't for that... Disney would look like some seriously idea-less people. Get this-- they've started taking their cartoons and making them kinda live action. I say kinda because there's always some large scale CGI happening in there that makes you wonder-- what the hell is the point? Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Pete's Dragon have all been decent in their own right... but there's no goddamn point for it. You made a "live action" Jungle Book where the only thing "live action" about it is the kid. Now, you've made a "live action" Beauty and the Beast where 75% of the movie is still animated! I guess the point is money and Beauty and the Beast will make a ton of it. It's not undeserving. It's a decent adaptation. But, just not one that was necessary at all.

Beauty and the Beast actually means something special to me. It was the first movie I ever remember watching in theaters. The wolves, or 'woofs', as I called them stood out to me as being terrifying. But, it's my favorite Disney cartoon. It's a staple movie of my entire childhood. And I was in the play in high school (let's not talk about that one, though). So, I'm probably a little bit more critical of the newest version that most. The plot is still very much the same. A douchebag prince who judges an old lady based on her outer appearance is cursed by a witch to be a hideous beast unless he finds true love. (Somehow along the way an entire castle of servants is condemned along with him... oops). Flash forward a few years, and we meet Belle (Emma Watson) a brainy, bookworm, beauty sought after by the vain and vapid Gaston (Luke Evans). Out on a journey, Belle's father (Kevin Kline) accidentally stumbles upon the Beast's castle and claimed as a prisoner. Belle goes to rescue him and winds up taking his place. Along the way, she winds up falling for her captor... and happily ever after... whatever. Thinking too hard about the plot really does lessen the message that beauty is on the inside.

There is a lot of good in this film. It's gorgeously shot and most of the actors do a fantastic job representing their cartoon counter-parts. Ian McClellan, especially as Cogsworth and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts shine. The songs are, once again, wonderful and the voices of the cast are (mostly) worthy. Emma Watson is probably the weakest of the bunch, but her singing voice is still above average. (What's weird too is Luke Evans probably has the strongest voice... who knew?) There's all the old, classic songs and even a few new ones that actually aren't that bad. I think after another listen, I might not be as harsh and judgemental as I was when they first appear (another new song... what are they thinking!?!?!... okay this isn't terrible...). And it is really cool to see an updated version of a movie I loved as a child. It's nice to see a few of the characters expanded and some extra humor injected into a movie I already adore. But there were some moments that really got under my skin...

First, the Beast. I keep reading conflicting reports that it was a human body with a CGI face. Then I read that it's all CGI based on motion-capture. Either way, there were a lot of moments that the Beast looked fake as hell. It really took me out of the moment. There were moments where the Beast looked real and everything was impressive and kosher. But, those moments where he looked like a villain from a 1997 Spawn movie really detracts from everything else happening on screen. Then, there's the added plot elements that don't work at all. For some reason, Maurice is no longer an inventor, but an artist, totally taking away the "crazy old Maurice" aspect from the original. Then, there's a big sub-plot about Belle's mother that gets really, really dark. I believe making this movie was completely unnecessary, but adding that story-line was TRULY unnecessary. It doesn't provide any extra character depth to the story, it just expands an already bloated run time.

Finally, what really got to me was the fact that they tried to desperately recreate the entirety of the original movie. There are shot-for-shot remade sequences, and lines, and moments, and all of that is great, but there was hardly any added creativity. Then, when you finally get conditioned that it's going to be exactly the same, you start to expect it and that ends up making you compare it to the original. It starts to weaken Emma Watson's singing voice. It starts to take away laughs when jokes (like moths flying out of the wardrobe) don't fly as well as the original. Some scenes feel rushed and highly edited... but it's only because it tries... for about 80% of the time... to be an exact remake. And it's a bit jarring. Also, Gaston's death in this one tries to be cool, but it's such a bitch death.  Look at the Disney cartoon, man... dude fucking STABS the Beast. With a knife! You can't get soft 16 years later.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. The actors, the songs, the performances, the set pieces, the costumes, the humor, the general atmosphere, and the fact that I'm watching "live action" Beauty and the Beast in a theater. The grievances I have with the film are just annoyances. They're probably a bit more evident to me because I grew up loving the movie more than a movie. It actually means a lot more to me than just entertainment. So, anyone who even just enjoys the original, will probably be blown away with this rendition. I'm sure after watching it again, I won't be as picky. Either way, can we stop remaking cartoons and get back to making original content that unoriginal Hollywood writers and execs can turn into live action movies twenty years from now??

P.S.-- I know everyone has already commented about the "gay thing" involved with Beauty and the Beast. I love that it's already blown up into a huge controversy. If nothing had been mentioned the entire TWO SECONDS of "gay stuff" wouldn't have even mattered and it's sooooo not that big a deal. I'd be more concerned about the innocent white girl falling in love with an actual water buffalo she only finds out is human AFTER she confesses her love to him.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Kong: Skull Island: More Fun Than A Barrel Of Monkeys

Remember that feeling you had as a kid (or an adult?) when you first watched Jurassic Park? How much fun it was... how cool the effects were... how badass raptors and the t-rex was... how funny Jeff Goldblum was... how it meshed the terrifying with the hilarious and was almost the perfect 'monster' movie? You didn't sit around discussing the lack of character development with Dr. Alan Grant or that we didn't get a character arc from Timmy. You had a blast watching it because it was one of those near-perfect movies that entertains the living hell out of you and makes you forget about your terrible life for two solid hours. This is what Kong: Skull Island accomplishes almost as well. No, I'm not going to blaspheme and say that it is as good as Jurassic Park, but it's damn close... and definitely just as fun. In a time when unnecessary sequels run the theater I can say with certainty that this movie never had to be made. However, it has been made... it is a a shit-load of fun... and it's unbelievably entertaining.

Kong: Skull Island takes place in the 70s, just at the end of the Vietnam War. A scientist (John Goodman) has discovered satellite photos for an uncharted island. He wants to go on a fact-finding mission. So, he enlists the help of an expert tracker (Tom Hiddleston), a war photographer (Brie Larson), and a military escort led by a maniacal general (Samuel L. Jackson). Upon entering the island, bombs are dropped and used as seismometers to be able to "see" underground. This pisses off Kong... king of the island. He shows up and smashes each helicopter to bits. This sets in motion two separate groups' motives-- group one needs to get to the north side of the island in three days to wait for rescue. Group two-- the group led by Sam J'-- wants to kill Kong for killing all the soldiers. Group one meets a man (John C. Reilly), who's been stranded on the island for nearly three decades. He informs them that Kong is not the evil on the island, but these malicious lizard-looking creatures called "Skullcrawlers". And, thus, a race for survival begins.

Everything about this movie is fun. The characters aren't all walking around super-serious-face all the time. They actually have personalities, and whatdayaknow, chemistry. The island is full of mysterious and visually stimulating creatures. There's giant spiders, log monsters, huge carnivorous birds, giant octopi, and a big goddamn monkey. There's thrills and laughter (John C. Reilly's character is about as funny as I've ever seen him in a film... yes, even those with Will Ferrell). The best types of monster movies are the ones that can scare the crap out of you, while also making you laugh so hard you pee just a little bit. I recently watched Tremors again, and thought about how that movie did everything right. Kong: Skull Island is very reminiscent of the feel of Tremors. There's action and intrigue and a very, very well-placed F-bomb that had me rolling even minutes after it was dropped. (Normally, if a film is PG-13 with Sam Jackson, I hope they let him drop it... but this is one situation where he didn't and it one-upped anything he could've done.)

Peter Jackson's King Kong did have a lot of good moments to it. I guess it's aged pretty badly because you rarely hear it talked about positively anymore, but I actually remember really liking it. Yes, it was bloated, and an hour too long, and a bit full of itself... but the stuff on the island really was the most intriguing part. So, to focus the film on the island was actually a very genius move. The other bit of smarts this film has going for it, is that it isn't trying to tell you the same story again. We have seen many iterations of King Kong and we all understand the story. It's like when every Batman movie shows you Bruce Wayne's parents getting shot... WE GET IT. So, not giving us this story again was a great choice by the filmmakers. That way we don't have to wait a while to see Kong. He just shows up and starts smashing shit. It's great. Then, we get all the monsters on the island that both attack Kong (and we get to watch him rip them limb from limb) and humans (so we get to watch them either creatively killed... or work together to figure out a way to kill these big bastards). Literally everything about this movie is entertaining.

Finally, the movie is about as diverse as it can get. There's a female lead. An African-American lead. A couple of white guys. A bunch of Asians getting to play scientists and island people. There's a female Asian scientist (whoa!). This movie is populated with many different characters from many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds all working together. Every seems like they're having a good time too. Hiddleston works great as the Alan Grant-type, tough but tender, leader of the group. Brie Larson is perfectly cast as the photographer who avoids damsel-in-distress tropes and actually uses her brains AND brawn throughout the film. John Goodman is fantastic in everything, so I don't even have to mention him. John C. Reilly steals every single scene he's in... and even a few that he's not. And it's been awhile since we've seen villain Samuel L. Jackson... crazy Sam J... and it's a welcome return to the screen.

The reason you're probably very hesitant to see this movie is because you've seen King Kong several times before. You know the story and you have a pretty accurate idea of what you're going to be watching. What makes this film rise above the suckery is that it isn't trying to be your classic Kong movie... it's trying to be a B-movie with monsters and mayhem and action and humor. It's not trying to be philosophically challenging... it's trying to entertain the shit out of you for two hours so you feel like it's worthy of your money. It's not trying to bog you down by insignificant details like character background (of which there is a limited amount, but in a movie like this, who cares?) or superfluous love stories (there are none, thank God). It's cheesy, it's loud, it's slimy, and it's so much fun I want to go watch it again. I knew it was going to be decent based on the final trailer released, but I still walked away very much surprised at how much I enjoyed sitting in the theater and watching this movie.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

To The Man Who Taught Me To Love Movies

I don't ever do this because I hate it. I understand that people grieve differently and some people need to put everything out in the open and some people are just looking for attention. I don't like to put any of my personal business on blast for you Facebook-ers to give me a "I'm so sorry" comment for my own validation. That's why over the years, I haven't done a "This is the X anniversary of the death of Y". I don't need to. I don't need to showcase it on the Internet. But, for some reason, I am today.

Today is March 9th, 2017.  On this day, twelve years ago, my father passed away at the age of 42 from cancer. Most of you know this... the ones who don't... I appreciate your private/silent condolences, but there is no reason to say anything further on the matter.

Obviously, this was a significant moment in my life. This is a moment when everything I ever knew for my 17 years of life changed.  And it wasn't just my life.  It was my sister's 15 years of life.  It was my mother's near 20 years of marriage and everyone my father ever knew who was touched by his kindness. There are seriously an infinite amount of things I do and will forever remember about my father. But, other than baseball, the biggest thing that keeps us connected are the movies.

As a kid, I was always into movies. I'd act them out in my backyard with plastic guns or in my pool imagining I'm in a mountain climbing movie and the harness I'm attached to are really six or seven old little league stretchy belts I'd connected together. I grew up loving movies so much that I still am on a mission to make writing them my career (that's a different post). But, I don't think I'd have such a fondness for films if it wasn't for my father.

My dad wasn't a third of the movie buff that I am, but the movies that he truly loved... he TRULY loved them. Much like music, or a song, when randomly heard, can send you back to a truly memorable time... there are movies that I instantly relate only to my father. Most of these are movies I would constantly watch with him, but some are just movies he loved to watch... that the rest of us didn't so much care for (Seriously, dad... Seabiscuit???)

I polled my mother and my sister, without telling them about this post asking them to give me movies that they relate ONLY to my father. There are movies (like The Mummy or The Long Kiss Goodnight) that I relate to my dad, but I also relate to my mom and sister.  I'm talking movies that even a single mention of it makes us think of my father. So, for this day, here is a list of some movies that my dad loved, that even after twelve years, one (or all) of us still attribute to my dad.

Lethal Weapon
Die Hard (I can always hear him quoting it)
Christmas Vacation (How hard he laughed at the sledding scene)
Ruthless People (How hard he laughed at the whole movie)
Beauty and the Beast (He took me to see it at the Pantages)
Speed (The first time he saw it was on a plane w/out sound, and he still loved it)
Bull Durham
Dirty Dancing (He watched it with me all the time when I was pregnant with you... he liked it... not that much)
Eight Men Out
The Sixth Sense
Crimson Tide
The Fugitive
Men in Black

Catch Me if you Can
The Shawshank Redemption
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Liar Liar (Quoted ALL
The Mask  the TIME)
The Prince of Egypt (Organized a church "field trip" to see it)
Lethal Weapon (Never even watched with him, but remembers how much he loved it)
The Rookie
Most Harrison Ford movies

Major Payne (The movie him and I would watch all the time, just the two of us, when I was young).
Lethal Weapon (Our favorite Christmas movie to watch together... well maybe 2nd favorite)
The Shawshank Redemption (He showed this to me first, now it is my favorite movie as well)
Happy Gilmore (Like Major Payne, this was our guy's movie together)
For Love of the Game
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (Showed it to me when I was young, even when mom said no)
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Pirates of the Caribbean
Groundhog Day (His love for Bill Murray became my love for Bill Murray)
A Christmas Story (Our actual first favorite Christmas movie to watch together)
Liar Liar (Took me to see it in theaters, we couldn't breathe we laughed so hard)
October Sky
Ocean's Eleven
The Emporer's Club
Raiders of the Lost Ark (He knew how to educate me on the classics)
Most Kevin Costner movies (He even admitted Costner was a terrible actor, but loved the movies)
And, ugh, Seabiscuit

However, my father was not without his flaws. He gave me my love for movies and he was my movie buddy when everyone else was sick of hearing me ask, "you guys wanna watch a movie tonight?" But, there was one movie that he absolutely HATED. He repeatedly told me I was nuts for liking this movie. Years and years later, I actually made him sit down and watch it with me again because the movie is such a classic that I convinced him he missed the joke the first time.  He watched it again and he still hated it.

The movie... Dumb & Dumber

I guess there's no accounting for taste. Miss ya, pop. I'm gonna watch Major Payne right now.

Logan: A Fitting Finale For A Flawed Hero

I don't actually have a lot to say about Logan. I can sit here and discuss how OVER "superhero" movies I am and how damaging they've been to original scripts that are being written all over. But, I've said all that already and if we continue to get movies like Logan, then can we really bitch and argue we're not seeing anything "new" because we're now getting a fresh spin on the old and it's working? I'm not going to really discuss anything about the movie because I don't want to give anything away. The trailers themselves give away too damn much and the movie is too beautiful to have spoiled for you.  I'm not going to give a history on the X-Men movies and how inconsistent they've been, especially when it comes to the Wolverine spinoffs. Because that's nothing more than a gigantic preface for me to say... but it's all led to one powerful, glorious, darkly wonderful film. Logan is the perfect ending for Hugh Jackman's character (who he has now officially retired), and one of the best Marvel films ever made.

I'm so happy that Fox listened to Jackman and Director James Mangold's idea of turning the final Wolverine movie into an R-rated, bloody, profane, DARK film that strays away from the bright colors and CGI of the other X-Men films. Wolverine has always been a pretty consistent character throughout.  He's a curmudgeon, consistently struggling with the internal conflict he's had going on for centuries and can't get past. He's a bastard for nearly 3/4ths of all of his movies until he has the moment of vulnerability and we see that he's actually a hero.  There is no difference here. Logan, the man, is still a bastard... and now a full-fledged drunk. It's 20+ years into the future, mutants are gone, and Logan is drinking himself to death while caring for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart). Their paths cross with Laura, a nearly mute mutant with abilities not too different from Logan's. She's being chased by a militant corporation and Wolvering and Prof X decide to fight to keep her safe. That's all you get from me.

I'm also very thankful that they went with the hard R rating because Wolverine doesn't deserve to be watered down. He's an angry, brute force of a character with a potty mouth and razor-sharp knives that shoot out of his hands.  The fact that for seven previous movies, he's fought bloodless fights makes no sense. And let me tell you... they make up for all of it with Logan. It's very violent and bloody, but not gratuitously (most of the time). It's not a happy movie in the slightest, and hardly any side character is spared. A lot of death and destruction has befallen Logan's long life, and there's no difference here. The only change here is that he's older, weaker, and ready for it all to be over. It's little Laura who is the catalyst to bring a little bit of humanity back to Logan's life. (Sorry for the abundance of unintentional alliteration.)

I can't talk much about Logan because everything I feel about the movie has, in some way, to do with the spoilers of the movie. I think the movie was fantastic, I think the ending was great, and I think Fox deserves a lot of credit for showing a significant amount of balls with this movie. It's already looking like their "gamble" is going to pay off and this is the movie that Wolvering deserves. It's not a superhero movie in the slightest... it's an updated bloody, spaghetti western with very flawed, human characters. It's not bogged down by CGI effects and nothing even flies through the air in this film. It's a very realistic, hands-on, personal film that will shake you to your core. You're not watching The Avengers here.  Hell, you're not watching any "superhero" movie I've ever seen here. You're watching a very smart director paired with a very smart actor take one last look at an iconic character, spin something completely new (and, again, very very dark) to give him one last ride before the character is inevitably cast by someone else and given another eight movies.

Logan is badass. It won't short you on thrills, kills, and buckets of blood. It's a fitting finale for a flawed hero.