17 Years of Logan 

By now, you’ve surely seen the trailer for Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine. A serious, Western looking affair, set in the desert, backed with Johnny Cash’s glorious, stripped down cover of Hurt.  17 years ago when the first X Men hit cinemas, nobody would have expected this. Hell, nobody would have expected a largely unknown Australian to become a film star and still be playing the ol’ canucklehead.

I’ve had a life long relationship with the X-Men. The comics, animated series, the films, everything. Their whole ethos of a team of outsiders sticking together and defending even those who hate and fear them. It’s applicable to everyone who’s been an outcast whether because of race, gender, sexuality, whatever. It’s not only ok to be different, it’s a good thing. Which is why (for the most part) this is a  film series that works. Despite a few clunkers, some shoddy special effects and bad acting, we’ve had 17 years of solid X Men movies. Even the bad ones are still watchable. Everybody has something to relate to, keeping them relevant and commercially successful. 
Most of the franchise’s success is arguably down to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. 

The X-Men cast is a brilliant ensemble, each film has multiple plot threads, but it’s mostly the Wolverine show. He even got three solo spin off films and making cameos the two films he’s not supposed to be in! Either the folks behind these films think we deserve extra Hugh or they have no faith in a film without him. I’m fine with it for the most part, but I do feel other actors and characters have missed out. Think about James Marsden as Cyclops, leader of the X Men in comics, animation and film, he was dealt short shrift, The Last Stand particularly going the extra mile to screw him over. Let’s not even consider the shenanigans that poor old Taylor Kitsch’s Gambit got! A small role, in a poor entry in the franchise, eventually erased from the time line, ironically, by Wolverine in a better film. 

Logan, the film, is apparently the last time out for Jackman. His 17 year stint is unrivalled in its consistency and it’s length. Turning in a great performance every time, he has owned the role and brought his own humour and sensibilities to something already iconic. Japanese samurai, World War II soldier, mutant vigilante, mindless beast, amnesiac drifter, friend, heartbroken lover. Every box checked, every time staying true to Wolverine. It’s a huge achievement especially when you look at other superhero movies, when some actors can’t even differentiate between their two identities. 

I’ll be sad to see Hugh hang up his claws, especially seeing as Logan looks so poignant an ending for our hero. With regular films out since I was 15 years old, the cinema will never be the same. 

Looking to the future, surely someone will take over. There’s been tons of different Batmen, Supermen and Spider-Men Yet only one Logan. 

My personal choice would be Scott Eastwood. Or maybe Tom Hardy. Ideally I’d prefer an unknown just like Jackman was. I just think they need to either do it sooner rather than later.

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The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Directed by: Chris McKay 

Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill 

As someone with a life long love of Batman,  I’m probably not the person to give an unbiased review of The Lego Batman Movie. I’m sure I’d be expected to either love it unreservedly or despise it for making fun of the greatest superhero of all time and not being grim or gritty or dark. 

Well, it’s the first one. I absolutely LOVED it. From the opening voice over, to well, the concluding voice-over,  The Lego Batman Movie is a winner. 

Will Arnett’s return as Batman is better than his appearance in The Lego Movie and he really gets to shine here. Michael Cera’s Robin is pure joy, the perfect foil to our über Dark Knight. Their makeshift family is forced together by Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, playing a more traditional version of everybody’s favourite butler.

The whole cast, in fact, is really good and well suited. Zach Galifianakis as the Joker works well, not as maniacal as Mark  Hamill but not as terrible as Jared Leto. Sorry, too soon? Jenny Slate is good as Harley, but doesn’t get enough to do. I think almost every Batman villain gets a scene or two, sadly leaving us wanting more from some characters, especially Billy Dee Williams, who finally gets to play Two-Face after being short changed by Tim Burton.  I also loved the return of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as the bickering Green Lantern and Superman from The Lego Movie. 

The story is kind of heavy for a kid’s film. Batman, rejecting the Joker’s assertion of them being each other’s greatest enemy, spends the movie soul searching and learning to have friends as well as accidentally adopting an orphan called Dick Grayson. Of course, the movie is not drab or gritty as this makes it seem, no matter  what Lego Batman himself may claim.

What I liked most about TLBM is the sheer attention to the character’s history. Every Batman film gets mentioned, some obscure comic characters show up ( Hello Condiment King) and some seriously well thought out easter eggs. The actual “You Complete Me” scene from Jerry Maguire, famously copied by Heath Ledger’s Joker, is shown, followed by Batman laughing hysterically at it. Pure gold. I didn’t expect to see Tom Cruise in a Lego film. Plus, Batman’s new song, the follow up to “Darkness, No Parents” is one of the catchiest things I’ve heard in ages. 
Family friendly, yet stocked with enough grown up jokes to make the parents laugh, TLBM is first and foremost a comedy  Making fun of the source material, yet totally showing love for every iteration of Batman, especially the 1966 Series, Lego Batman walks the line for its entire running time, in fact I can’t decide whether it’s a genius Batman spoof or the most true to the character Batman film ever made. Possibly both at the same time. 

For Fans Of :

The Lego Movie

The Dark Knight 

SpaceBalls 

21 Jump Street