Wednesday, December 20, 2017


(Movie Review)

Why I Saw This Movie
I've been a fan of these X-Men movies all along.  See my reviews of X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, and X-Men: 3.  (X-Men 1 and X-Men 2 came out before I started this blog.)
Plus, I think we can all agree that the previews for this movie just looked really cool. I knew I would be seeing this movie sooner or later.

Currently, I'm living and working in Vietnam, which makes it hard to find an uncensored cut of this movie.
It turns out communist regimes are remarkably similar to the religious right back in America.  They really hate all the sex and violence in Hollywood moves, and the Vietnamese censors are not shy about editing that stuff right out.
A co-worker of mine went to see this movie and the theater in Saigon, and was outraged to find the entire climax of the movie had just been brutally cut out of the movie.

I ended up seeing it on cable TV last night (Fox Movies Asia--W).  I'm fairly sure it was somewhat censored.  (The version I saw did not quite match up with all the descriptions of graphic violence I've been reading about online).  But at least there were no glaring gaps.

Because I never saw the unedited version of this movie, feel free to discount my opinion accordingly.

The Review  ***SPOILERS***
The coolest thing about this movie is that it exists in the first place.
You remember when the trailers for this thing first started coming out?  And we were all like: "Oh, wow! They're actually doing this!"
An X-men movie made with the aesthetic of No Country for Old Men !  And with a hard "R" rating!  How did the studios ever let this happen?!

Although the movie is marketed as a Wolverine movie, I'm counting it as the 7th X-men movie in my mind.  It co-stars Patrick Stewart, and he does such a wonderful job in this movie that I think the movie is as much Professor Xavier's movie as it is Logan's.
The X-men continuity gets more and more tortured with each movie, but with a little bit of creative thinking you could easily position this as X-men 7.  It's a possible, albeit a very dark, future for the X-men universe.  Logan and Professor Xavier still survive, and the movie hints (strongly) that the other X-men were killed off by one of Professor Xavier's seizures.
It's amazing that a movie like this ever got made at all, and that's the most wonderful thing about it.

But... I feel like all there was to know about the new gritty tone and direction of this movie, I already got from the trailers.
Once you get your mind around the general concept, seeing the actual movie didn't quite blow me away as much as I thought it would.
After all, when it comes down to it, this is just another stupid super-hero movie.

I remember the moment when I was watching this movie, and I realized it wasn't going to be some deep plot, but that it was just going to be about how the good mutant fights the bad mutant again.  And then I thought to myself, "Well, of course it is.  For all its new gritty aesthetic, this is still just another superhero movie."
The more fool I for expecting anything different.
I've gotten into the bad habit lately of watching a lot of dumb superhero action movies, and then complaining that they're dumb superhero action movies.  I really should just stop watching them, or stop complaining.

...and yet...and yet, there are some moments of brilliance in this movie.
Most movies don't address the problems of aging (even though it's a non-negotiable part of the human experience).  But this movie at times took a very hard look at the problems of elder care for Professor Xavier.  At one time he was the most brilliant mind in the world, now he is just a feeble old man who can't go to the bathroom by himself.  And he's loosing control of his most valuable asset, his brain.  And everyone knows that this isn't going to get any better as time goes on.

I also thought the movie briefly flirted with a developing an allegory for the human search for meaning in life.  It didn't develop this fully, but hints of it where there.
The entire story is about a journey to a place called "Eden".  Laura (X-23) believes in it because she read it out of a book.
Logan knows that the book is just a story created by writers, and so doesn't think that Eden exists, and thinks the whole journey is a waste of time
Professor Xavier tells Logan that it doesn't matter whether or not the place exists in reality, because "it's real to her."

Other Notes
* Stephan Merchant was really good as "Caliban".  The fact that he was almost unrecognizable under the make-up just increased the fun.  The whole time I was watching this movie, I was like, "Who is that actor?  I know I've seen him in something before."  (I've long been a fan of Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais's collaborations).

* It's tempting to classify this movie as a post-apocalyptic future movie.  But one reviewer I read somewhere pointed out that there was nothing explicitly post-apocalyptic at all.  Rather the movie just looked post apocalyptic because all of the scenes took place in the desolateness of the American West.  It is actually a "Western".  (And I guess to drive home this point, the movie keeps emphasizing comparisons to Shane).

7 out of 10 stars.  (Border-line 8.  There are some moments of brilliance in this film.)

Video Review
Video Review HERE and embedded below:

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky, Best Speech In 2017

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