The MPAA sucks. And since the MPAA sucks, we can’t get a mainstream action movie nowadays that has any blood or swearing. Which is why all the blood and swearing were edited out of The Wolverine when it was released theatrically, and we had to wait for the blu-ray release for the originally intended unrated cut. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s a much better movie. Not only is it so insanely satisfying to finally see blood splatters when Wolverine stabs people, but there’s actually several additional sequences and extended action scenes. Most notably, there’s a scene near the end of the movie when Logan is driving towards the final boss fight on his motorcycle, and he gets stopped in an empty snow covered village and has to fight a bunch of ninjas. In the theatrical version, the scene is super short, and kind of feels weird and out of place. Wolverine just walks in, sees all the guys with arrows, starts running, and then almost immediately gets shot with so many arrows that he falls down and passes out. In the unrated scene, there’s about a huge crazy battle that last about ten minutes, the centrepiece of which is Wolverine riding on top of a thrasher while ninja after ninja gets sucked into the blades and sprayed out as mist. It’s a really awesome scene, and maybe the highlight of the whole movie. There’s also a scene early on where Wolverine stabs a guy in the chest, and you see the claws come out through his back. That was kind of out of nowhere, but I felt it deserves mentioning. Anyway, if you were as lukewarm on The Wolverine as I was, this cut will do a much better job of satisfying your taste for awesome Wolverine action. It’s really a shame that the censorship laws are what they are, because Wolverine is really a character that works well with this kind of violence and swearing, and I suspect that the same is true for a lot of superheroes. The new Netflix Daredevil show promises some bloody violence, and hopefully they’ll have the balls to make Deadpool R-rated. Hopefully this will show people that the superhero genre doesn’t necessarily have to bow to the PG13 rating, and hopefully we won’t have to wait for more unrated blu ray editions to see some more bloody stabbin’ action from ol’ Logan.
Overall Rating: Violence Makes Everything Better/10
Hey, Sony, if you’re looking for a great plot for the new Spider-Man movie coming out in 2017 that ties into the MCU, you guys should do Kraven’s Last Hunt. Since we both know you guys have never read a Spider-Man comic, let me explain the story; Kraven the Hunter defeats Spider-Man, drugs him, and buries him alive. Then he puts on Spidey’s costume and goes out to kill a super villain called Vermin to prove that he’s better than Spider-Man. Eventually we see Spidey burst out of the ground just like in Kill Bill Vol. 2. The thing’s told mainly from Kraven’s perspective and it’s all about how he sees Spider-Man as this force of nature that’s ruining his life. Since Spider-Man stories are always from Peter’s perspective, and the series so heavily focuses on the relatability of the character, it’s an interesting deconstruction to see how Spider-Man is viewed through his enemies eyes. And it has a really dark ending, wherein Kraven finally realizes that Spider-Man is just a normal guy behind the mask, and having lost his immortal tormentor, he no longer has a purpose, and the comic ends with him sticking a shotgun in his mouth. It’s a completely different story archetype from the one we’ve seen over and over again in the last five Spidey movies, and it would give us an interesting and different villain who happens to be a fan favourite. You could also swap out the Vermin role in the comics with the Lizard, and we could see a way cooler version of that character than we got in ASM1. Plus we would get to see him and Kraven fight, and two villains fighting is something really cool we haven’t seen yet in a Spider-Man movie. And since we just saw the Lizard on screen, people already know who he is and we wouldn’t have to set up his origin at all, which would allow him to be featured without requiring too much screentime or focus, which is how you avoid “villain-overload”. The comic version also has a heavy focus on Mary Jane’s struggle with worrying about Peter when he’s out fighting crime, and how she deals with it, which is a really interesting angle on that character that we haven’t seen before in the movies. Also, yeah, we’re starting where MJ already knows who he is, because that’s when she gets interesting, and the whole thing where he keeps being late to stuff and she gets mad at him but he can’t tell her that it was cause he’s Spider-Man is super stale and boring. And again, yes, MJ is the love interest, because not everything has to be exactly like the comics and frankly Gwen Stacy isn’t nearly as interesting of a character. Now, of course I have to bring up the whole Miles Morales thing: Look, I think it would be cool to see Miles Morales in a movie, and I totally get the need to make this new Spidey seem distinct from the last two. But Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for the last fifty years, and we haven’t seen that character done well in a long time. And if we’re setting up Spider-Man in the Marvel universe, we need to see Peter Parker done justice as a character. Having said that, the MCU is clearly planning ahead pretty far into the future, and I think there’s plenty of room for Miles to come later. In ten years, when they need Spider-Man for Avengers 6, and the actor who plays Peter Parker is in his thirties, then we can have him hang up the mask and see Miles Morales become Spider-Man. If they use MM right off the bat now, they not only rob us of a proper interpretation of Peter Parker, but they limit their options for the future of the franchise. So that would be my ideal version of the new Spider-Man movie, but whatever Sony and Marvel end up doing I’m just excited to see a new actor play the character, to see some villains we haven’t seen before, and to hopefully not see the exact same story we’ve seen in every other Spider-Man movie. And also hopefully the Marvel studios involvement will prevent Sony or churning out a nonsensical clusterfuck of irrelevant subplots and poorly written characters. Oh, and also, please hire an actor who’s actually a teenager. Nobody’s buying these 30 year old actors as high school seniors.
Kingsman: The Secret Service, also known as that movie with the long uninteresting title that no one can remember, is the latest movie by director Matthew Vaughan, who also directed X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass, and is based on a comic by Mark Millar, who wrote, among other things, the Kick-Ass comics. This movie has a lot of similarities to both of those films. It has the same feel of light-hearted, heightened reality fun, mixed with a lot of the meta-commentaries on the genre. It’s essentially a modern day self aware spy thriller, and they even go out of their way to mention the old Roger Moore Bond movies. I knew pretty much what kind of movie I was in for going into the theatre, having seen lots of ads, but one thing that threw me was the R rating. (Technically 14A in Canada). I thought it was going to be more kid friendly, and when people started throwing around f-bombs and blood started to fly everywhere it was really a pleasant surprise. The movie had some really great action sequences, which were not only bloody and fun to watch, but were also some of the best shot fight scenes I’ve seen a while. There’s lots of long takes, and most of the actors do all their own stunts. They use excellent choreography to make fights believable, instead of using quick cuts so that you can’t tell what’s happening. I kind of wish all action movies were shot like this. As for the cast, the main kid was likeable, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that Colin Firth steals the whole show. He’s really fun to watch, and some of the stunts he actually does himself are pretty impressive. I sort of which he got more screentime. Samuel L. Jackson was also pretty entertaining as a villain, but he’s chewing scenery pretty hard and the lisp he does kept making me laugh. The only major flaw of this movie, other than a few minor plotholes I noticed, was how nuts everything got in the last act. Kick Ass had a similar problem with the whole jetpack thing. It’s not the worst thing ever, but the movie gets a little carried away with itself. If you liked either Kick Ass or X-Men: First Class, you’ll probably like this. And if you haven’t seen either of those but you like fun stylized over the top action that doesn’t require you to take it too seriously, then I guarantee you this is a good time at the movies. Especially for fucking February.
Overall Rating: Roger Moore/10