26 May 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past gets the X-Verse back on track

X-Men: Days of Future Past is kind of a sequel to X-Men: First Class and kind of a sequel to The Wolverine and kind of a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand, but not really.

Let me start over.

X Men: Days of Future Past is an almost complete reboot of the laughably poor X-Men "continuity". By the end off this film, it is safe to assume that the events of X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine simply never occurred, and that we have no knowledge of this universe from 1973 until 2023. This is known in comic books as a retcon, or Retroactive Continuity - bits of the film universe that they don't like have been written out, which funnily enough ends up being almost all of it.

22 May 2014

Godzilla understands the importance of restraint

There has been a lot of criticism aimed at the new Godzilla film regarding the use of the titular character. Everyone from film critics to Facebook friends have slated it thanks to the limited screen time Godzilla actually gets. I disagree, and to understand why we are going to have to talk about the over exposure of destruction and the concept of action fatigue in modern films.

Man of Steel is a great example of a film that suffers from action fatigue. About halfway through, Zod and his group find Superman in Smallvile and proceed to level the town in a pretty good action scene. It lasts a decent amount of time and has innovative action beats, with characters being suitably strong and cool to watch. Later, we have a much longer action scene focusing around Zod and Superman, battling in a destroyed Metropolis. What should have been the most interesting fight scene in the movie ended up being a mostly forgettable mess - partly because of the characterisation issues the film has, but also because we have been over exposed to Superman and Zods power. We've been watching them fight for so long that we have lost our frame of reference, and end up tired of the fight and lose interest in the story. Action fatigue is an issue that a lot of films fail to address, and I'm sure that Gareth Edwards knows this on some level, giving us Godzilla as the counter.