Tag Archives: Jonathan Evans

Review Wonder Woman by Jonathan Evans


 
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)
 
Ever since Man of Steel the DC movies have had to compete with MARVEL as well as distinguish themselves. Unfortunately their idea of distinguishing themselves is to make the image bleak and their Superheroes not so heroic. It has been one failure after another and now comes the time when Wonder Woman is to finally get her own movie. This does not stand on the shoulders of giants and history has been anything but kind to female Superheroes.

This is a glorious time to see your favourite characters from the comic book panel adapted for the big screen. Except if they’re female, of all these recent movies in the last ten years there has been no shortage of female supporting roles that have been well acted and developed, but sadly lacking for being on the title and main focus. So there is indeed a lot riding on Wonder Woman, because it cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make, because DC movies have been consistently poorly received and if this does badly it will probably set female driven action movies back another decade or so.

Firstly who is Wonder Woman? Well she is one of biggest names in the DC universe, her setting is usually mythology and she stands for truth. There are other elements I could get into but lets focus on this, she deserves respect and stands for honesty.
For me Wonder Woman was the best thing in Batman v Superman but maybe that’s because she was only in it for about fifteen minutes. Well luckily it wasn’t just luck, Gal Gadot embodies the character and is able to carry her own movie. She is a stern warrior able to take down any other fighter (with or without superpowers) but is also filled with optimism and compassion seeing the beauty in many things. It’s a tough order to fill I wont lie, but Gadot fills it. She also masters her confidence in her own skin and the costume, embodying absolute nobility.

For the plot we open in modern day with Diana/Wonder Woman looking at an old photograph and how she had intentions of saving the world but something changed. We then cut back to years ago on the island of Themyscira where a great race of women named Amazons live, they don’t interact with the rest of the world and have existed in peace for hundreds of years. This is told to us very beautifully through animation that looks like a moving Peter Paul Rubens painting. The only child on the island is Diana and she grows up with love form her mother Queen Hippolyta and taught the ways of combat by Antiope (Robin Wright). However, one day mans world finds it’s way to Themyscira in the form of pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), he’s on a mission of importance for The Great War. When Diana hears of this she concludes that it must be Ares doing and must now leave her home.

Pine and Gadot make a fine on-screen couple, both are very attractive and the script gives them a lot to work with, from fun subject matters to discuss and the more heavy ones, from etiquette to duty and end goals.

The movies color pallet is varied from setting to setting. Previously the DC movies have drained nearly all the vivid color from their movies in an attempt for you to take them more seriously, it hasn’t worked, they’ve just created something un-engaging to look at. This movie opens with more luscious colors while on Themascira then drains it when we move away from that, this shows a tonal shift for each setting. Plus there are some other settings where it’s a warmer tones. This is a more realised and smart look for a movie.

Being that this is a Superhero in the middle of a World War, fighting soldiers it will inevitable draw comparisons to Captain America: The First Avenger. This isn’t the worst thing for me because I like that movie quite a bit and there’s nothing wrong with channeling a fun tone for your movie watching. However Wonder Woman and Captain America are very different characters and this is still it’s own movie, so no harm no fowl.

This is, without question, the best DC movie to be released since Man of Steel. It is a Superhero movie that knows what a Superhero is, has colour, a consistent tone and a lead character and actor that make you believe in them.
This is not a great movie; there are some basic logic and directorial choice movements that did have me questioning the moment as it played. I wish it was a modern day The Dark Knight, but it’s not. It is however a solidly made movie, with a consistent tone and a message to deliver with a character that gets it right.

For fans of Wonder Woman I’m sure they’ll be satisfied (I was). For others that seek an action, Superhero movie they will get that. For the people that aren’t fans and go to this movie to be convinced, harder to say. I’m sure they will see her appeal and elements of why she is so loved by some. I wouldn’t say this is the highest movie caliber the character is capable of but it does do her justice.

Review Snatched by Jonathan Evans


 
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)
 
Watching a movie like Snatched isn’t the hardest thing in the world. There are groaners to sit through but then there are others where you get to laugh, so in the end you come out of it unscathed. But how to handle that as a reviewer and need to let people know if it’s worth their time?
Emily (Amy Shumer) is bragging to a costumer that her career will lead her places and her successful boyfriend’s in a band and they’ll be going on a vacation. This is of course not very acceptable and is then fired, what does she care with her boyfriend? Unfortunately when she goes to meet him he breaks-up with her, she’s is boyfriend and job less. So her life sucks now, it’s not helped by the fact that the person that takes the greatest interest in her life is her mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) a woman that has no real life so obsesses over her children and snuggles in her home, never leaving. The vacation is non-refundable and being that none of Emily’s friends wanna go with her it’s a mother and daughter trip.
While staying at the hotel there’s plenty of tension between mother and daughter, they just don’t click, but she meets a man at the bar and he genuinely seems interested in her. He takes her out of the hotel area and experience the culture, the next day Emily insists to her mother that she come along on a drive he has planned. During the drive a van slams into them, they then wake up in  a dingy prison with people telling them what do and where to go. Now they have to get out of their situation alive.

The comedy is mainly focused on the incompetence of this duo being placed in an environment completely beyond their control or some cringe moments. They are a mixed bag, some jokes genuinely do land while others are far too forced and fall really hard. Take one moment where Emily is stumbling drunk back to her hotel lobby after a night-out with the guy she met at the bar, the big punchline is pretty-much as low-bar as it can get. There is though another time when they meet someone to help them navigate their situation and what they do with this character is funny. As a whole though it has more hits than misses.
The weakest moments are when Shumer tries to be the high-point of the scene. These aren’t generous moments and she’s trying way too hard to be ridiculous, she’s not afraid to look foolish but in her efforts that all she does, look foolish.
The most consistently funny character is the brother Jeffery (Ike Barinholtz) and his interactions with a middle management Morgan (Bashir Salahuddin). They have a dynamic that is is snappy and instantly satisfying. So much so that a movie based around these two would probably have been better.
What we have is a movie paring two funny women together and at times gives them material which will get a laugh out of you. Other times it goes too far and becomes obvious and you just have to sit there until the scenes over. This wont go down as an endearing comedies, nor the high-point of Jonathan Levine’s career. But it is not dreadful either.

Review Smurfs: The Lost Village by Jonathan Evans


 
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
 
Smurfs: The Lost Village is an adventure story told so simply and with so much enthusiasm that it will definitely satisfy the younglins and more than likely break down the defences of adults.
The story opens on a recap of what Smurfs village is and the origins of Smurfette (Demi Lovato). Smurf Village is a little village where the houses are Toadstools and little blue creatures live called Smurfs, they are named after their defining characteristic i.e. Grumpy, Nosey, Baker. Smurfs can also be used as a source of raw magic if digested which is why they are hunted by the evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson), one day he created Smurfette to bring him the Smurfs, but the goodness of Papa Smurf (Mandy Patinkin) turned her good and now she lives among the others. Only weird thing though, all the other Smurfs are male. For reasons Smurfette isn’t able to find her one characteristic and is always an outsider (not just because she’s the only female). One day her and her friends Hefty (Joe Manganiello), Clumsy (Jack McBrayer) and Brainy (Danny Pudi) are wondering around and then come across another Smurf they don’t know, Gargamel also learns of this other source of Smurfs, so now the race is on for who can get there first.

The animation is loaded with energy, having the characters jump and bounce all around the screen. The character designs are an elegant translation of the old Hannah-Barbera cartoon, with minimal, but bold and expressive lines. All the Smurfs essentially look the same but they use the technique of adding something so that they instantly become recognisable i.e. glasses or a specific expression i.e. sly, grumpy and body language so that you know who’s onscreen and talking at any time.
The colour pallet is also immensely appealing. Using bright, luscious various colours to create a glowing screen. They also use blacks for more threatening moments and add contrast. Usually movies that seek to adapt a kids cartoon for a movie either make it dark in an attempt to make it appealing to older audiences, or over-saturate it with colour. This movie knows that the subject matter is by no means dark but that black, when used wisely can bring out the colour even more.

Along with all of this are some pretty neat, creative visuals. Flowers and insects that are both cute but have the right level of being threatening and the environments are sharply realised with many different textures simultaneous rendered to create a fully realised world.
One of the great strengths of the movie is a simple one to have and yet so many animated movies lack it and that is no modern-day references. Putting in modern references to any kind of social media or slang just dates the movie terribly and is nearly always forced. This movie has none of that and wont be dated because of it.
This is an adventure movie that tells it story well and with more than the necessary effort and skill gone into it. It would be something I would be more than happy to put on for my children and wouldn’t mind sitting with them for the viewing too.

Review Alien Covenant by Jonathan Evans


 
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
 
Alien was always about the something in the dark that jumps out at you. But it masterfully crafted the art of anticipation and the jumping, as well as what it is that jumps out. Ridley Scott returned to his this world with Prometheus, which was more about the origins of us as a species rather than Alien itself. Now with this one it will definitely satisfy the people wanting the big bad creature back.
This has a lot more in-common with the other Alien movies, mostly because it’s definitely seeking to startle you in you seats. But it also comes with a few existential questions. So I guess this is a hybrid of what Scott created years ago and the questions that he wants to ask now.

The plot revolves around the spaceship Covenant, that is traveling through space to colonise another planet, a freak storm hits it and it takes a beating, the crew members wake-up but a few die. They then learn that there’s a planet nearby that could serve nicely as planet for them to settle down on. A search party lands and they find that there are things waiting for them when they arrive.

Katherine Waterson as Daniels

For the role of leading lady we have Katherine Waterson as Daniels. She does something a little different than other leading characters in an action horror. She fully displays her emotions, I don’t mean that there aren’t other examples of main characters in these types of movies having feelings, but they were more stern and gave hints of their vulnerabilities. Waterson is dealt disturbing information and one of the greatest terrors of the movies and it shows, you can see all the confusion and terror on her face but she also endures and deals with the situation knowing that she has a strong core to her. Not many people embrace so heavily showing their action stars in such a state, I applaud them for it and hope to see more.

Original Xenomorph design by H.R. Giger

The Xenomorph, based on the H. R. Giger illustrations, is one of the greatest creatures ever created. It’s shape and shiny black colour makes it instantly recognisable while having intricate details close-up that makes every inch of it fascinating to take in. Whether it’s melting into the darkness, camouflaged within machinery or fully lit it is terrifying because of it’s ferocious nature and in-human body. Unlike in Prometheus, there is no ambiguity, it’s here, we see it and the characters must deal with it. It seems like it’s one-hundred-percent computer generated this time but Scott and his effects team don’t go overboard with it. They still shoot it’s scenes like they would have back then, with build-up, followed but quick shots of a slash or a burst of blood. It’s able to move faster than anyone in the suit was and they utilise that so that the threat is in it’s deadliness.
There are some images within the movie that are inspiring and thought provoking. Others that are overblown and so far beyond practical that they’ll just drawn too much attention from what happening, others where it is gruesomely terrifying.
This is Ridley Scott returning to his roots. Alien, though as masterfully made as it was, was only Scott’s second movie, since then he has gotten a lot more experienced. This shows a man who’s has years to perfect his craft and think about the subject matter to deliver a very mixed bag but comes together as a strong whole.
Whoever said that what the human mind will think of will always be more scary. That person had never seen a Xenomorph in action.

Review Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 by Jonathan Evans


4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
This movie is an example of the age that we, as a movie audience and MARVEL Studios are living in right now. There is an audience that is not so stuffy that can accept weird and outlandish concepts, characters and images and a studio that has accumulated enough capital that it is willing to spend money and delivery on them.
We get our Guardians of the Galaxy back for this movie. Chris Pratt is Peter Quill/Star Lord still a handsome well meaning fool. Rocket (Bradley Cooper) that’s still so tech savvy and can piss of anyone within a few moments of being in their company. Also still an amazing C.G.I. accomplishment. Drax (Dave Bautista) who might just get the most and biggest laughs from me this time, speaking his mind, no matter how uncomfortable or offensive it might be. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who’s more defined here, she is the level headed one and the stern fighter. Finally is Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) still growing from the last movie, a really cute design that will probably sell many, many toys.

Our opening sequence is our Guardians defending batteries from, some kind of energy eating monster. They take it down eventually, though a more coordinated team would have been able to do it better, and receive their reward from a species of gold-skinned humanoids. Though Rocket has kept a few batteries for himself, which displeases them greatly.
This comedy style can be described as wise-ass, the characters constantly poke fun of their situation and other characters in the world. It helps by not taking itself too seriously, which would be a struggle with characters and visuals this wild and ridiculous. Some of the gags go on too long, with one character not hearing or completely misinterpreting what the other said so it all has to be repeated with rising frustration. This is milking a scene however it almost plays into the comedy, it’s funny that they don’t have to be stingy with their special effects and have a scene play-out.
These movies have distinguished themselves in their lavish production value. No other movie can I think of that has brought to life such crazy concepts with such care and skill. Having bars and ships filled to the brim with all these different alien designs and meticulously designed sets that vary from pristine palaces to dingy, leaky slums.
In the last movie Peter has a cassette tape of hit songs from the eighties and before. At the end of that movie he got the next volume, so this movie once again is filled with catchy songs. They’re not all as recognisable or as catchy as the first one, but I think they fit the themes of the moment they’re played in better.
There’s a lot less going on in this movie. Less characters and less intertwining narratives, the whole thing is more focused and consistent. I criticised the first movie for wanting to reach emotional placed but never being confident enough to go there. This one has short, but sincere moments of emotion but never tries to go too deep with them and are nearly always book-ended with comedy so the whole thing is much more consistent.
In nearly every MARVEL movie Stan Lee has made a little cameo appearance. It’s been something cute for the fans to see and develop theories for. Well here, he makes a cameo again and they do something special with it. What it is I wont dare spoil, but it’s good.
This is a franchise that never excelled in it’s depth of a story, profound message or even something philosophical. No it’s strength is in it’s incompetent, but fun characters and visuals. It strikes that great genre piece that made the eighties an enjoyable decade, colour and fun.

Review The Boss Baby by Jonathan Evans


4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
 
When you are a child everything is so much more dramatic and threatening, especially when you look back on it. What was maybe a small argument escalates into an epic battle, what was most likely a chase around the garden is a fierce race. The Boss Baby understands this concept and uses to tell it’s story in the most entertaining way.
A man named Timothy (Tobey McGuire) tells a story about how when he was young (now played by Miles Christopher Bakshi) he lived with his mother (Lisa Kudrow) and father (Jimmy Kimmel). He was very imaginative and was encouraged to use his imagination to play games of adventure. All is happy, but one day a taxi pulls-up outside his house and a baby exits, wearing a suit, sunglasses and carrying a briefcase.
Alec Baldwin as the baby is so appropriately cast against type. As a serious veteran actor he’s not the first name that comes to mind when you think of sweet baby. Though this isn’t his first time in animation, he’s given his voice to Cats & Dogs, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Madagascar 2 and Rise of the Guardians. He has a greatly distinctive, gravely voice that of course doesn’t work for a baby, that’s why it works, it makes the whole thing so much more absurd and funny. But also in terms of his performance he is able to be sharp and cynical, petty and bouncy. For the baby body itself, it obviously has greater maneuverability than a real baby would but stays true to the stubby proportions that real babies do.
This isn’t the first movie to have the plot of a new child coming along, the first ones that come to my mind are The Rugrats Movie and Look Who’s Talking (you could also interpret that as the plot of Toy Story, but that’s irrelevant). The point is how well it tells it’s story. This is fun, enjoyable with all it’s over-the-top acting, situations and reactions, engaging for the eyes with the energetic and colorful animation, all of it will have you smiling. The filmmakers have very effectively put themselves back in the position of a seven year old. Where they can see things and interpret them in their own logic. They also inject things for the adults but smooth it down enough so the young-lings will laugh too.
Through Tim’s imagination we are able to see many visual variations on-screen. Some are more expressionistic and stylized but they all have the vivid colors and clean lines that make it all clear and accessible for all the ages.

One thing I do question is the conflict with the baby. Sure adults will be able to tell that this is stylized fantasy, but how the young children will take it and then treat their siblings is a bit more of an iffy subject.
The animation, character designs and backgrounds are all smooth and simple. The eye’s are large and round with not much detail in terns of facial features and the animators use this to create large, clear expressions that make the characters thoughts and reactions easily understandable.
I was genuinely surprised how accessible and likable this movie was. There is a great understanding of the workings of a child but also a focused goal on telling a story with a message that playtime is probably more fun with a playmate. It will more than entertain the young children with it’s silly names, comedic timing and stimulating colors and the adults will see a well crafted story and genuine sentiment. The phrase “Fun for the whole family” gets tossed around a lot, but this one really is.

Review Ghost in the Shell by Jonathan Evans


3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)
Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell is one of the greatest pinnacles of intellectual science-fiction and cult fan-base. It is material that has passion from both sophisticated movie analyzers and the enthusiastic nerds that wear the t-shirts. It popularity and longevity has been more than proved so it is only natural that an English speaking studio would seek to adapt it.
The question of Ghost in the Shell has always been about the progress of technology and how that will effect humanity. What is the line or organic and the manufactured for the living?
You shouldn’t always have to compare one movie to another, you don’t need to compare 2001: A Space Odyssey to Star Wars, however you do need to compare the original Oldboy the the remake, because it has the same name and tells the same story. But how much? You also shouldn’t want the exact replica, because then it’s just a waste of time. With a remake of any sort, you need something that understands the material but tells it in it’s own unique way.

Director Rupert Sanders (who also made Snow White and the Huntsman) has a mastery of creating extremely good looking movies. He and his team have captured the world of the source material with the bright vibrant lights of all the advertisements, the dark shadows of the alleyways and the intricate as-well as organic look to the technology.
Being that it’s source material is Japanese the decision was made to incorporate a lot of Japanese aesthetics and cast members into this American adaptation. It comes off odd, I don’t know whether this actually takes place in Japan or whether or not there’s just some big cultural merging that has happened over the years.
Scarlett Johansson as the Major is different from what people are use to. She is more expressive and vulnerable, but that’s because her origin is changed (I’ll forgo that explanation). However she is still stern and commanding, can clearly combat a threat in either hand-to-hand or gunfire.
This is not a straight remake of the original, it is more like a channeling. It takes moments and set-pieces from the original and tells an altered story with it. You will recognise situations an images, but their place and context has change or altered.
The original movie was able to have loads of detail within it at times to explain certain elements of how the world works, but it also allowed other moments where it left it to interpretation original had blank spaces, this over explains.Rarely does it leave moments of ambiguity, this is more like a traditional Hollywood movie with ensuring all the questions are answered.
Is this still Ghost in the Shell? Yes, this is the world and it asks similar questions. It is not as unique or as haunting as the original but then it’s not trying to be a straight adaptation of it anyway. This is one of the best looking movies out right now and probably will be for awhile. It will also make you ask questions, not super deep questions that you can find in other Science fiction material, but their still worthwhile questions and all while being enveloped in a luscious conceived and realized world.

Review Power Rangers by Jonathan Evans


3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)
Power Rangers is a franchise that has lasted because it has a tried and tested formula that works. Teenagers get superpower as well as colorful outfits and must defend the earth (or neighborhood) from a galactic threat that then escalates to giant monster vs giant robot.
There have been other movies before, but none have done that well. Now it seems that every studio needs a big franchise under their belt so why not this one?
Kicking off everything is a flashback to prehistoric Earth where colorful warriors lay defeated from a battle, when their armor disintegrates it reveals them to be aliens. One of them stands victorious over the others, this one is named Rita, the last one living, Zordon (Bryan Cranston) orders a meteor to hit earth and buries five colorful coins until the right people can claim them. Cut to present time where the land has become the small town of Angel Grove.

In the town we see a young man named Jason (Dacre Montgomery) attempting a prank that involves the school mascot cow, this goes awry and he is then sentenced to school on Saturday’s just so he can graduate. In this same class there is Billy (RJ Cyler) a possibly autistic kid that is the motormouth and juxtaposes the others with his offbeat ways (probably my favorite). Kimbery (Naomi Scott) a former popular girl but is now in-class and unfriended because she sent a picture and punched out a popular boys tooth (they put it back), later they run into Rini (Becky G) a girl who wander around pretty much and isn’t interested in getting to know the gang, then there’s Zack (Ludi Lin) who also wanders around but is also crazy (cause he tells us so) and more invites himself.
Eventually they do uncover the coins and they get powers and unlock other things and must face the threat, yadda-yadda-yadda.
Clearly the most effort has gone into adding depth to these teenage characters, giving them backstory and trauma and some kind of adversity to tackle. They are all part of a different ethnicity which adds diversity and is more like humanity coming together rather than mostly white people and the token minority.
The thing about all of this is that this is Power Rangers (try saying it out loud). This is by its nature corny, colorful and lighthearted. So they keep in some of the quips and color but when they introduce the dark, edgy elements it doesn’t mesh. A comedic scene can play out and it’s fine, however a dark scene can be pulled-off well but becomes that just happened in a movie where the cheesy things happened it’s like we’re in another movie. Good movies have a theme and tone consistent throughout, they establish if this is for children, teenagers or adults and plays to the kind of mood for said audience. This comes off more unhinged.
Rita Repulsa is the original big villain in the first season of Power Rangers. Here she is given a now look but still taking ques from the original (mostly in the staff) and reworked to be more threatening. The main draw is Elizabeth Banks who decides to go all out in performing her as well as clearly having a lot of fun. It’s hammy, but in a controlled way.
This movie has everything that fans of Power Rangers will expect, but may be not how they’re used to getting it. But even then, does this movie work? It works well enough, it is self aware enough to point out some more obvious cliches and pokes fun of itself enough while clearly being enthusiastic over the source material. For a summer blockbuster for kids and teenagers this is a standard plot with good intention of having a diverse cast. It will do no harm and there are moments where people will be entertained.
 

Review Get Out by Jonathan Evans


4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Get Out, in it’s purest striped down form, is about being the odd one out in a crowd and environment. On the next level it is about how race relations have merely been pushed down under the surface, but to be sure, they are still the same.
Our story centers around a young man named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), who’s a successful black and white photographer in the city and will be visiting his girlfriends Rose (Allison Williams) parents house for the weekend. He is a little nervous about meeting them though, cause he is black and she’s white. They take the drive and hit a deer on the road (never a good sign), when a police officer is taking their information he asks for Chris i.d. too, even though he wasn’t driving (equally not a good sign).
When they get to the house the parents are all too accommodating and enthusiastic. They say all the right things and act how your suppose to, but not in a genuine way. They say and act like they’ve been instructed to, smiling through toothpaste grins and offering a tour of the house simply because that’s what you do.
The performances in this movie are all sharp. Everyone is either grounded normal and convincing in that, or they are just off is a way. Like their smile is too wholesome to be genuine, or when they do it comes with a tilt of the head, making it seem wrong. It’s greatly contrasted by Chris and Rose that are people in the real world so everyone eases is strange behaviour is even more off-setting.

The creation of this movie is like a channeling of the school of Alfred Hitchcock on how to make a suspense. The camera lingers on elements and very little is said that makes the characters intentions clear. There is sharp attention to detail on the sound, most notable with the mother and how she stirs her teacup and clinks the spoon.
Adding to the Hitchcock comparisons is Michael Abels music, which is conceived in the same mindset of Bernard Herman’s score for Psycho. Completely removed from all other instruments than the strings, which make a sharp, shrieking, stabbing sensation.
One of the most surprising elements of the movie is not any of the plot twists or the imagery, but the talent behind it. Jordan Peele, the other half of the comedy duo Key & Peele, one of the most consistently hilarious sketch shows. Here he is writer director with an already deft mastery of handling a feature film. The screenplay is well-crafted, having elements that payoff later, he has bold ideas of what to do with the camera as well as able to get a wide range of performances out of his actors. If there is any complaint I can find with his execution it is that he constantly has his characters talking, instead of letting the images and what’s been said before speak for itself.
In terms of a suspense movie with shocks, it is extremely well crafted and acted. As a stylised portrayal of race relations, it’s more tricky to comment on. Recent times have shown that strong racial inequality feeling have been far from whipped out and have merely been pushed down and can come back given the chance. This movie probably serves as a reminder for that if anything else and we need to be reminded so we never fall back on our mistakes.

Review Logan by Jonathan Evans


“You can run for a long time,
Run on for a long time,
Run on for a long,
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down,
Sooner or later God’ll cut down.”
-Johnny Cash, God’s Gonna Cut you Down

We are in the year, 2029, where Mutants have seemingly disappeared, or are at the edge of extinction. Wolverine’s years are beginning to show, wrinkles are more prominent, his hair is faded with a few whites as-well. Plus his healing factor is withering, he can still spit out bullets, but not at the efficient speed he once did, all the years are finally catching up to him. He’s living a life on the down-low, driving a limo, then he goes to a rusted shack where an albino named Caliban (Stephen Merchant) and a very withered Charles Xavier lives. Possibly suffering from Alzheimer’s, its unclear.
This easily has the most mature content of any of the X-Men movies. There is regular alcohol consumption, swearing (of the four letter kind) from everyone and serious, brutal action sequences. The filmmakers clearly decided that if this is their last hurrah, then they’re going out without any soft-punches.
Hugh Jackman has been playing the role of Wolverine since 2000 and has had a small role in just about ever X-Men movie. This is as much his swan song as it is for that character. He has given a lot to the role constantly having to be in-shape and energetic, which gets harder and harder to do the older you get. He is able to add, subtle tenderness as-well as gruffness to this withered character that is just plain tired and needs a rest. The whole movie is about wanting to reach a goal, or looking back and realizing you unfulfilled dreams. This is also the bleakest of nearly any Superhero movie I’ve seen. But still, there is a the noble drive to the character that wont stand to see innocents oppressed.

He is successfully keeping a low profile when a strange woman finds him, saying she needs his help, he quickly refuses but when money is offered he agrees. The jobs is the transportation of a young girl across the border.
The girl is named Laura, who has similar powers to Wolverine, for the fans of the comics they will know her as “X-23” (which she is eventually confirmed as). I wont dare spoil the details of her origin here but it is a very good inclusion of the X-Men lore. Dafne Keen plays this very complex character extremely well. She needs to have the unassuming curiosity of a child, the quiet stillness of a bad-ass as well as threatening savagery. The character is a great highlight to be written in the movie and she brilliantly brings it to life between two elderly, accomplished actors.
The action scenes in this movie work just as good on their buildup as the actual fights themselves. They are like seeing an animal being chased and then cornered until they have to attack with all fangs and claws. Wolverine is slower, both in movement and healing than he has ever been so it would be best to avoid the fights, but he is pushed so the claws must be drawn. At this point in movie history we’ve really seen it all with action movies, two people, many people, with any weapon or and setting, we’ve seen it before. Over the course of watching X-Men movies you will have seen a man with blades in his hand’s fight soldiers, and it’s variations. These scenes work because we feel them, you can see that force delivered and felt by Wolverine you hear the bones break and the cutting of the flesh. It all adds to the do-or-die nature of the whole movie.
This is the movie to end the character and the actors journey with them. Through it you will feel, you’ll find small moments to laugh at, many more to sadden and shock you. But none of the scenes go by without invoking emotion and these aren’t healed over so easily.