X-Men X-Pansion

Of all the superhero teams out there the X-Men were one of the first, in comic book form and on the silver-screen. Although in the beginning (of the comic books) the line-up simply consisted of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel and Beast, this evolving team constantly added characters to their ranks such as Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Storm. One of these line-ups happened to appear in a film in 2000 (check), and from then on the X-Men franchise has grown into seven films; and it isn’t about to stop any time soon.

Apocalypse

Before the last film, X-Men: Days of Future Past, was released, returning director Bryan Singer had already announced that the follow-up to this film would be released in 2016 and would be titled X-Men: Apocalypse. For any fans of the comic books the super-villain Apocalypse, or En Sabah Nur, needs no introduction, for anyone unfamiliar he is regarded as the first ever mutant; a hint to this was given in the Days of Future Past end credits sequence, when we saw him as a child building the pyramids of Egypt. There are many villains in the Marvel universe, some are much more dangerous than others, and two of the most powerful are Apocalypse and Thanos. Seen as The Avengers will eventually be battling the latter in 2018, it only seems right that the other super-powered team on the big screen should clash with a character just as horrific.

The film will be set in 1983, 10 years after Days of Future Past, and will see James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters and Hugh Jackman reprise their roles once again; and will also feature young versions of Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler and Jean Grey, along with a cameo from Channing Tatum as Gambit, before his 2016 solo film.

The title may very well give something away about the plot of the film, perhaps this is going to once again alter history and be the end of the X-Men due to this foe. Apocalypse is definitely up to the challenge, he was already powerful, but that power increased when he merged himself with celestial energy. Along with being able to regenerate himself, mimic other powers and control his molecular structure so that he can be as malleable or tough as he likes, he is also telekinetic, telepathic and a genius in the sciences. So the team will definitely have their work cut out for them this time.

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Television Series

It appears that with the acclaim that the X-Men franchise has had, 20th Century Fox are trying to take the heroes to the small screen; with their own television series.

Not much is known about what the series will depict at the moment as Fox are still trying to buy the rights from Marvel; Fox own the film rights to X-Men, but not the comic book rights. With Marvel having so much on their plate the moment, with TV shows Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter coming later this year, plus Daredevil, AKA Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders all in the works they might not feel that another superhero team on TV is needed. However it would be great to be able to sit in front of the TV each week and see the team battle a new enemy, which could also tie into the films and introduce many more X-Men.

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Although the X-Men franchise took a slight swerve at times, it appears that it is safely back on track now.

X-Men: Apocalypse News

As we are just on the brink of getting our mitts on the new X-Men film in 2014 – X-Men: Days of Future Past, it is hard to see how our hopes could possibly be risen any more. Well the most recent news from the X-Men world is that in 2016 we are going to get one of the most powerful villains in all of the Marvel universe…’Apocalypse’.

250px-En_Sabah_Nur_(Earth-616)_0005It seems as if after The Avengers franchise introduced us to ‘Thanos’, who is going to be their villain in the third Avengers film. Then 20th Century Fox want to use their own ultimate super villain story line. As Thanos was taken, the next best choices would be ‘Galactus’ and Apocalypse, but because the latter is one of the most powerful beings in all the universe he seems like the appropriate choice.

To make things even better, the person attached to directing the eighth instalment to the X-Men franchise is none other than Bryan Singer himself, the man behind X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003) and the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past. Now although it maybe a bit too early to give speculations on how good X-Men: Apocalypse will be, I think it is fairly safe to say that with it in Singer’s hands it will be quite an amazing super hero flick.

For those of you not familiar with the grey-skinned villain known as Apocalypse, let’s just say he’s the alpha of the super villains. His original name was ‘En Sabah Nur’, and he was born in Egypt during the times of the Pharaohs. Often thought of as the first ever mutant, he discovered alien technology which he used to his advantage to rule over many civilisations throughout history. Believing in the idea of survival of the fittest, he has slaughtered and defeated many foes throughout his years. What really gives Apocalypse his terrifying reputation are his numerous powers which have led him to defeat the X-Men (amongst other super teams) on various occasions.

These include being able to project and absorb energy, being telekinetic and telepathic, being technopathic – which means he can directly interface with technology and he can change his own molecular structure. Which means he can make himself as flexible, strong and tall as he wants, along with being able to transform his limbs into whatever he likes, such as weapons. He can also regenerate, can adapt to make himself immune to any climate or disease and can give himself any superhuman powers. On top of all that he is also immortal and a scientific genius in areas like physics, biology, engineering and genetics. So yes, he is kind of a big deal in the Marvel universe. How the X-Men can possibly hope to defeat him is beyond me, but I can’t wait to see how they try.

There is a bit of news on what is in the future for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, although Jackman’s contract with Fox runs out after X-Men: Days of Future Past he has said that he is eager to make another wolverine film with James Mangold – the director of The Wolverine (2013). However he says only if it is an amazing film which is worth releasing, as he wants to give the fans everything they want.

So the future of the X-Men is looking pretty busy.

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New X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer

After The Wolverine concluded with a clip hinting at the next chapter in the X-Men franchise, and left us with that very delicious taste in our mouths for more. We have been gagging for any single scrap of information about the 2014 instalment – X-Men: Days of Future Past, and now we have it. In the form of a 2:18 trailer, which was released on Tuesday 29th October.

XMenDaysofFuturePastThe film – which is gearing up to be the greatest X-Men film yet due to it being directed by Bryan Singer (X-MEN/X-2) and written by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass/X-Men: First Class) – is bringing back all of our favourite heroes, from both ends of the film spectrum. Meaning that we get the young band of newbies from 2011s X-Men: First Class and the older more experienced heroes from the original trilogy, along some new ones such as Quicksilver, Bishop, Blink and Sunspot.

From the looks of the trailer, the plot seems to be a much darker one than we have seen so far. As the title suggests, it is a time travel story line, which will see Logan travelling back through time to warn our younger and more hairy Professor X about the impending doom which the mutants face at the hands of the Sentinels (robots designed by humans to hunt down mutants). So once again the fate of mutant-kind rests on Logan’s shoulders, although, as Magneto says “side by side to end this war, before it ever begins”. Letting us know that both the X-Men and the brotherhood of evil mutants will be joining forces to stop this foe.

Although the full reason why Logan needs to persuade the young Charles Xavier to get on board is not yet known, it is clear that the character has many different ideas to his older counterpart. It will be great to see how James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart portray him so differently.

2014 can not come quick enough.

The Wolverine

Hugh Jackman is back to his old ass-kicking ways in his sixth film appearance as the Wolverine. This time set in Japan, where the land of morals and honour prove a hard task for him to sink in to.the-wolverine-poster

Set after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, and taken from the 1982 comic book series ‘Wolverine’ by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. The Wolverine portrays a desperate Logan who only wishes for death, and has vowed never to hurt anyone again. The film attempts to capture the strain of immortality which is being put on him, and how he is dealing with it – something which the 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine did not.

The X-Men have disbanded and a lonely, bearded Logan searches for some reason to keep on living, fortunately that reason comes after Yukio tracks him down and explains that her employer would like to give him an honourable death. Jumping to Japan, it appears that the employer is Master Yashida, an individual who was saved by Logan during the Nagasaki bombing in 1945. Yashida explains that he has the capabilities to make him mortal, in exchange for his immortality. Refusing, one of the films main antagonists, ‘Viper’ whose great performance is given by Svetlana Khodchenkova, implants something inside Logan which slows down his regenerative abilities. Thus making him more vulnerable to attacks, and puts him to the ultimate test as he tries to protect Yashida’s grand-daughter Mariko from numerous assailants. When the Wolverine is at his weakest, he needs to be his strongest.

As soon as the film began you were gripped into the story and the special effects, with it opening on a scene showing Logan and Yashida attempting to survive a nuclear blast in Nagasaki. Although in reality Yashida would have been vaporised, or if he had survived underground would have had to wait a hell of a long time to resurface. It still made for a spectacular opening to the film, which shows just how far special effects has come.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine did try to explain the past of Logan, and saw him evolve into a hero – although so did ‘X-Men’ (2000) – but this Wolverine is searching for a meaning to his existence. He doesn’t want to be the hero any more if it means having to hurt people, we learn this through his still-hung-up-on-Jean Grey dreams, in which all he wants is to join her in death. However one thing that I did notice is that, in his dreams, Jean says that she is “all alone here”, surely Cyclops – her long-term boyfriend – would also be there, due to his death in X-Men: The Last Stand. Another small criticism is that – assuming we are including all of the previous X-Men films in the time line – Logan should have no recollection whatsoever of saving Master Yashida, as he was shot in the head with an Admantium bullet in the 1980s which erased all of his memories, so therefore would have forgotten everything before that.

Those small aspects don’t take away the fact that this was an enjoyable film though, for Marvel fans and audiences new to the story of this clawed-crusader. It has really, like with X-Men: First Class, set the bar high for the next X-Men film to be released, although I hardly think that the 2014, X-Men: Days of Future Past will disappoint, with director Bryan Singer, scripter Matthew Vaughn, the story line and the actors behind it.

The Wolverine delivers the Logan that Marvel fans have been waiting for, ruthless in a fight, but passionate and willing to do anything for the ones he loves. The fight sequences have gone up a full notch for Wolverine since the X-Men films, adding detailed choreography whilst he is fighting gangs and ninja warriors, and the battle on the roof of the bullet train was a great new fight sequence which saw Logan have to use his wits to out match the gang members.

The film was directed by James Mangold, who has brought Knighgsome great films to the big screen in the past, including: Walk The Line, 3:10 To Yuma, Identity and Knight And Day.

The Wolverine provided us with our X-Men fix, until the next in the franchise is released in 2014. A film which has its main antagonist hinted at during the end credits sequence of The Wolverine.