We start back in 1944, where the original X-Men Film began. Erik's powers of magnetism have been discovered by the Nazis - so they hand him over to the sinister Kevin Bacon ( Friday The Thirteenth ) for development as a weapon.
By 1962, Erik looks like Michael Fassbender ( Jonah Hex ). He is on a roaring rampage of revenge, after Mr Bacon - Who is now playing both ends against the middle in the Cold War.
Elsewhere, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy - Wanted ) teams up with CIA Agents Moira McTaggart ( Rose Byrne ) and Oliver Platt ( Three Musketeers ) to recruit a team of Mutant superheroes. This leads on to an amazing cameo by Wolverine (Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables ).
The climax is the centre of the Cuban missile crisis. And the ending lays the foundations for the first film. The backstory to the series gets fleshed out, Magneto and Professor X's friendship and falling out.
However, after Vietnam they do not have much left. They are threatened with court-martial, until Colonel Stryker comes after them. He is recruiting troops for a special unit. Special troops, with special skills -
The story is a bit predictable, since we know how it will all end, but it is about the journey as much as anything.
Hugh Jackman is dependable as always as the title character, while Liev Schreiber ( Scream ) does his duty as Sabretooth. Wolverine’s love interest, who looks like Olivia Munn & Moon Bloodgood , is actually Lynn Collins . She is a new face on the scene, making herself known through work in TV shows like True Blood . She is certainly someone to watch out for in the future.
Wolverine (Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables ) and the others go on the run. Along with Jean Grey ( Famke Janssen ) and Storm ( Halle Berry ) are a bunch of wanabees, including Iceman (Shawn Ashmore, twin brother of Jimmy Olsen in Smallville ).
Brian Singer creates a scene where a teenage mutant comes out to his parents. All the usual cliches are played out, using mutancy as a metaphor for homosexuality.
The story is simple enough, and is in many ways a mish-mash of the first two films. A medical treatment has been developed which can permanently remove mutant abilities. The mutants are horrified by this - Mystique was bullied as a child for having blue skin, but now she is so spiteful she revels in being inhuman. And when the US Government forces use the cure in dart-guns for self-defence purposes, there is even more of an outcry. Would it be better if they used lethal rounds instead?
Magneto (Ian McKellen - Lord of the Rings ) and his ever-swelling Brotherhood decide to destroy the cure. His new recruits include Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones - Swordfish ). Jean Grey ( Famke Janssen ) is back, but different ...
Storm ends up as the new leader of the X-Men. Yes, Halle Berry actually gets something to do! Prior to this her oscar-winning talents were sidelined, and the only Superhero movie she had a decent-sized role in was Catwoman !
In the present day, Logan is haunted by memories of Jean Grey ( Famke Janssen ). He has quit his teaching job in Xavier's school, abandoned the students who needed his guidance, and resumed his life as a hobo in the mountains of Canada. A Japanese woman summons him to see the Japanese officer, who is now a mega-rich technology billionaire.
The Jap is dying. His last wish is for Logan to protect his grandaughter. This will not be an easy task. Yakuza boss Will Yun Lee ( Die Another Day ) is lurking around. Logan and the grandaughter go on the run together.
Normally, Logan is an indestructible killing machine. However, in Japan he loses many of his advantages. Much like the hero of Highlander , the only practical way to kill him is decapitation. This may render him virtually impervious to bullets, but Japan has strict gun control and a culture of sword-play that makes decapitation a much greater threat than usual. Yes, he can easily take out an entire SWAT team single-handed but he cannot hope to engage a Ninja gang with such ease.
Worse, Logan discovers that an evil mutant has surpressed his healing powers. In other words, he is now a vulnerable character rather than a two-dimensional Marty Stu.
This is a Twenty-First Century superhero movie. No fancy spandex costumes or codenames. The villains are not trying to destroy the world, or even to merely conquer it. The hero's motivations are also more down-to-earth. If all this sounds familiar, it is because many of these aspects were continued in the critically-acclaimed sequel Logan .
In all fairness, unlike the sequel this still retains its fair share of action-movie set-pieces battles. However, it is certainly better (and more successful) than the previous Wolverine stand-alone. There is an after-credits sequence that features a couple of old characters, and leads on to Days Of Future Past .
Wolverine must convince young Xavier (James McAvoy - Wanted ) to help him break young Magneto (Michael Fassbender - Haywire ) out of a well-guarded (and thus labour-intensive) cell under the Pentagon. Quicksilver (Evan Peters - American Horror Story ) gets called in to help out, resulting in an amazing scene that is one of this series' most impressive.
Dinklage must have spent the Sixties mapping the human genome, because he has a handheld device that can detect the mutant DNA of anyone standing nearby him.
It is the height of the Cold War. Instead of worrying about the KGB and Warsaw Pact, CIA Agent Moira McTaggart ( Rose Byrne ) spies on a religious cult in Egypt. She accidentally revives Apocalypse, an ancient mutant whose main power is that he can amplify others' powers. Soon Psylocke ( Olivia Munn ) makes her first appearance, seduced by the power that Apocalypse offers her. Another recruit is Storm, still in her late teens.
Magneto (Michael Fassbender - Haywire ) has been off the grid for a decade, despite being the world's most wanted man. He fled back across the Iron Curtain, to his original home in Poland, and does manual labour in an iron foundry. However, despite blending in with a wife and daughter (like Dr Zhivago), things predictably go bad for him. He goes back to his old ways, starting trouble and blaming everyone else. This makes him a perfect recruit for the four footsoldiers of Apocalypse.
Mystique ( Jennifer Lawrence ) teams up with her estranged foster-brother Xavier (James McAvoy - Wanted ). He has a new team of pupils at the school, including Jean Grey ( Sophie Turner ). Quicksilver (Evan Peters - American Horror Story ) also pops up, just in time to use his powers in an eye-catching way that is reminiscent of (yet inferior to) the one in his previous appearance.
There is also a subplot involving Colonel Stryker. This adds nothing to the main storyline, but is important crowd-pleasing filler for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it allows for the essential cameo by Wolverine (Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables ). Again, like Quicksilver this is nowhere near as good as his cameo in a previous movie - in his case, X-Men: First Class . The second thing about this subplot is that it is referenced in the post-credits sequence, which will apparently be important in future spin-off movies.
The main story comes to a climax in Egypt. Cairo is scene to destruction that makes 9/11 pale in comparison. Seriously, the destruction of NYC in Avengers Assemble or Metropolis in Man of Steel just pales in comparison. And the damage is not limited to Egypt, it is global. The first half of Apocalypse's plan is to use Magneto's power to destroy everything on Earth that includes ferrous metal. Since this means pretty much all technology, it will reduce the human race to the Bronze Age. The other half of the plan is to take over Xavier's body. The down side is, he will sacrifice a healthy, fast-healing mutant body for that of a middle-aged man paralysed from the waist down. However, Apocalypse seems to absorb the powers of his host body. He might be able to take the fast-healing power with him, but he will definitely be able to use Xavier's power and mind-control everyone who survives the catastrophic transition back to Bronze Age society.
Apocalypse may have incapacitated the two main players, Magneto and Xavier, but a handful of students are still around. This leads on to a massive battle between superpowered warriors. As always, this ends up as style over substance. Unfortunately this means the film is a bit of a let-down, especially compared to the films set in 1961 and 1973. It just seems a bit flimsy, script-wise.
This is where things get a bit complicated. This movie is set within the X-Men Franchise universe, although there is a disused SHIELD helicarrier prominently displayed towards the end. However, although the character of Deadpool (as played by Ryan Reynolds) previously appeared in Wolverine: Origins that character was converted by Stryker in the 1970s. This new Deadpool is a character of the modern era. This may well be a side-effect of what Mystique ( Jennifer Lawrence ) did in the post-credits sequence of X-Men: Days of Future Past .
Wade goes to get a superpower transformation courtesy of Francis (Ed Skrein - Game of Thrones ) and his henchperson, Angel Dust ( Gina Carano ). However, it turns out that they are not the nice guys they pretended to be. They do not like Wade's constant wise-cracking, so they MUST be eeevil!
Wade gets Wolverine's mutant healing factor, and the skill to use a pair of 1980s-style ninja swords. However, he is disfigured by the transformation process. Like the protagonist of Dark Man he decides he cannot go back to the loving arms of his girlfriend. No, he decides to go on a kill-crazy rampage. Luckily this is a city without a police department! Seriously, it is worse than Gotham . At least the GCPD has Batman to do their job for them - the local population in this movie have to rely on off-duty X-men dropping by when they are bored. Every criminal in the movie - the teenage stalker, the bar full of thugs, the smugglers and supervillains, the car-jackering revenge-seeking spree-killer of a hero ... all go about their business entirely unimpeded by any form of police authority. The only thing that slows them down is when they bump into someone tougher than they are.
Much is talked of the so called women in refridgerators trope, which is in reality a misinterpretation of the Sacrificial Lamb trope. However, this movie comes close to embracing a genuinely bad storyline idea - writing out the love interest who was the main plot point of the original story. An example would be Hicks - and especially Newt - being disposed of in Alien 3 . However, in this particular case the love interest still plays a key role in the protagonist's story.
Colossus takes the suicidal Deadpool under his wing, in a weird bromance. Teenage Negasonic Warhead ( Brianna Hildebrand ) is busy with her new girlfriend, while the other X-Men hide and pretend not to know Deadpool. Eventually Deadpool goes on a trial run as a trainee X-Man. Naturally, all does not go well.
The team is called out to an incident at a boarding school run by a creepy headmaster (Eddie Marsan - Hancock ). The kids are orphaned mutants, which means that this school is the equivalent of Professor X's school. Unfortunately it is the evil version, with security guards instead of benevolent teachers. Despite this, it is appartently a government-authorised school and the staff have the equivalent of law enforcement status.
Deadpool reluctantly starts to bond with the stroppy kid, like in Hunt For The Wilderpeople. The bad news is that they end up as cell-mates in a super-max prison called The Icebox. Unlike the similarly-named place in Agents of SHIELD , this is actually set in the frozen north. Not unlike Stryker's secret base in the earlier X-Men movies.
Cable (Josh Brolin – Guardians of the Galaxy ), a super-soldier from a post-apocalyptic future, travels back in time to kill the boy. This involves blasting his way into a prison. Lots of guards and inmates get killed as a result of his interference, which probably does some damage to the timeline.
Deadpool sets up his own team of super-powered mercenaries - Bedlam (Terry Crews - Expendables ), the Vanisher (Brad Pitt - Mr & Mrs Smith ) and Domino ( Zazie Beets ). In an effort to parody the Social Justice agenda, he calls the X-Men sexist and gives his group a gender-neutral name - X-Force.
There is a lot of this kind of joking - Deadpool calls people out for political incorrectness, but in a humourous way that indicates he thinks it is all a joke. Perhaps Social Justice extremists do not understand irony, and think that he is sincerely one of them. That is the only explanation for the fact they have not yet lambasted this film.
The climax is an unlikely band of heroes trying to stop a couple of rogue mutants from murdering humans. Deadpool's approach, predictably, is to massacre the humans first. Seriously, this movie has a massive body-count in terms of law enforcement personnel. No wonder that mutants are despised in the X-Men universe.
An evil MegaCorp run by mad scientist Richard E. Grant ( Hudson Hawk ) has been illegally cloning mutants to create an army of superpowered children. Unfortunately the kids are reluctant to fight or kill - except for the training staff and security guards, of course. The result was a breakout, like in Dark Angel . Now Wolverine and Xavier must get a young girl to a mythical place codenamed Eden, the equivalent of Sanctuary in Logan's Run .
This is not a futuristic western, despite what the trailer depicts. Nor is it a superhero movie - Wolverine may have superpowers, but he fights conventional humans and the stakes are much lower than world domination. It is more like a road movie, more like Midnight Special than anything else. The theme, which hangs over the entire film, is death ... and rebirth.
Gotham's mobsters, led by Eric Roberts ( Dr Who TV Movie ), are sick of Batman and new DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart - Paycheck ) cracking down on their operations. The crooks are desperate enough to make a deal with The Joker (Heath Ledger - A Knight's Tale ), a psychopathic genius who shows himself capable of matching Batman at every step. Unfortunately the Joker has an agenda of his own ...
Bruce Wayne is beset on all sides. The Joker is on a kill-crazy rampage, and Harvey Dent is seducing Bruce's lost love Rachel ( Maggie Gyllenhall ). Everything is in place for three hours of mayhem and violence ...
All in all, an unmissable film!
Masked Mercenary-cum-Warlord Bane (Tom Hardy - Star Trek: Nemesis ) and his army of gun-toting henchmen move into Gotham's sewers, with a mysterious plan.
Cat-burglar Selina Kyle ( Anne Hathaway ) does the cliched one last job to buy her way out of a life of crime.
The only gaping hole in this film is the complete (and deliberate) lack of reference to the Joker. If anything, this in itself acts as a memorial to him.
This film could also have been called The Cat, the Bane and the Daggett.
A teenage comic-book fan wonders why nobody ever becoms a super-hero in real life. Nobody bothers pointing out the distinction between Super- and Costumed heroes, but that is the least of his problems. He buys a costume and sets himself up as a hero, with the nom-de-guerre Kick-Ass.
Unfortunately Kick-Ass walks into a secret war between rent-a-villain Dimico (Mark Strong - Sherlock Holmes ) and murderous vigilantes Hit-girl ( Chloe Moretz ) and Big Daddy (Nic Cage - Family Man, Ghost Rider ).
Dimico's son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse - Role Models ) decides to take Kick-Ass and the others down, by posing as a superhero himself!
Hit-girl trains Kick-Ass, but will not patrol with him. Instead he joins another group of heroes led by Jim Carey ( The Mask ). The other heroes include Lindy Booth , who is hidden behind a mask and some cleavage.
The former Hit-Girl ( Chloe Moretz ) has problems fitting in at school. Luckily, she has a sick-stick from Minority Report . However, the actress covered the same ground in the recent remake of Carrie .
All in all, this is actually quite a disappointing follow-up to an impressive original film.
Luckily, Hancock saves a PR Guru who then offers his services for free. Hancock tries to turn his life around, and become a real hero.
Of all superhero movies, the one this most resembles is Unbreakable . It is a drama about the hero coming to terms with his powers. There is a sub-plot about his criminal enemies, but there is no super villain.
Director Paul McGuigan , veteran of grimy gangster flicks like Gangster No. 1, delivers a gritty little thriller with a good cast and some down-to-earth superhero stuff.
There are a few plot holes, however. The MIBs only send their two top men to Hong Kong - naturally, an army would attract the attention of Red China. But the Chinese government is not even mentioned. The only other interested party is a local small-time gangster!
The title character (Gabriel Macht - The Others ) is a superhero who prowls the city at night, clad in trenchcoat and face-mask. The Spirit's arch-enemy is super-villain The Octopus (Samuel L Jackson - Sphere ). Their powers include superhuman strength and healing.
The Octopus, his sidekick ( Scarlett Johanson ) and their army of idiotic hench-clones (Louis Lombardi from 24) are after a mysterious locked box. A femme fatale named San Serif ( Eva Mendes ) is also after the box. And as always in this kind of thing, by incredible coincidence she was once the Spirit's love interest!
Despite its Film Noir look, it is set in the modern day - the characters use mobile phones, for example. There is a lot more story and characterisation than in Sin City , the nearest comparison, so this effort pretty much wins hands down.
The Director took a deliberate decision to make this as shocking as the comic. He deliberately put in extra sex and violence, pushing the censorship rating up to an "18".
The story is simple. It is 1985, President Nixon is in the White House (on his fifth term) and superheroes are real (but retired). One of the costumed vigilantes gets murdered, and his former colleagues must hunt down the killer. There is a conspiracy, a supervillain ... all again a backdrop of impending nuclear war.