X-Men: Days Of Future Past Is A Great Superhero Epic

X posterX-Men: Days Of Future Past is a return to form for the X-Men film franchise and it’s more than that. It rectifies the misfires made with the franchise since the film’s director Bryan Singer left it to do Superman Returns. But more significantly, Singer has delivered the best X-Men film to date, even eclipsing favorites like X2: X-Men United and X-Men: First Class.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The fifth X-Men film (not counting the Wolverine solo efforts) is a loose adaptation of the classic Chris Claremont/John Byrne comic book story arc in The Uncanny X-Men #141-142 where mutants are facing extinction in the future and one mutant’s consciousness is sent back in time to prevent the mutant holocaust at the hands of giant Sentinel robots. The opening scenes in X-Men: Days Of Future Past take place in the grim, dark future where mutants are being mercilessly hunted down by advanced, adaptive Sentinels. In a desperate move, the consciousness of the fast-healing mutant Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back to the 1970s into the mind of his younger self, which begins a wild ride.

The film switches gears and has the audacity to introduce much-needed humor as Wolverine does a fish-out-of-water routine when adopting to the new timeline. In the 1970s, Bolivar Trask ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????(Peter Dinklage) is a mutant-hating scientist who constructs the Sentinels. According to history, he is assassinated by the shape-shifting mutant Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), which starts the chain reaction leading to the dystopian future seen in the film’s opening act.  Wolverine has to find a younger version of his mentor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and convince the two men to put aside their differences and change history.


X-Men: Days Of Future Past is genuine epic spanning across time and places with an intricate, but fast-moving story that is never dull. It’s so perfectly paced with exciting and tense sequences interjected with pathos and wry humor. There’s a smile-inducing segment where Wolverine, Xavier and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) recruit the speedster Quicksilver (Evan Peters) to break Magneto out of prison and he just steals the show. The way Singer demonstrated Quicksilver’s super-fast powers was so incredible to behold and fresh. It would’ve been easy to just show him as a streak, but Singer went the extra mile and showed his POV where the world around him slows to a standstill as he speeds up. This shows why Quicksilver is one of the coolest mutants and it’s too bad more time isn’t spent with him. His actions erases any complaints from haters and trolls who moaned about how dumb he looked in publicity shots. Of course, what elevates Quicksilver’s presence is how Peters played him as an ADD-addled, fun-loving type. Hopefully, he’ll pop up again in a future X-Men film and one can only speculate at this point on how Joss Whedon will present him in next year’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

X and WolverineAs with Peters, the rest of the cast elevate X-Men: Days Of Future Past by giving deeply emotional and captivating performances. This goes for major cast members like Jackman, McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence to those that had minor parts  like Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Fan Bingbing, and Halle Berry. It was great to see the acting greats Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen returning to their roles as the older versions of Xavier and Magneto. Also, there are surprising and most welcome cameo appearances by other mutants, which enrich this film and shows how Singer cares about the franchise and pays attention to its details.

On the whole, unlike the other films, X-Men: First Class aside, this one felt like a true ensemble film and not just Wolverine And The X-Men. He does have a major part in the film, but he is not the only star, that is because the other actors get their moment to shine and Jackman portrays the famous superhero differently, he’s more in control of himself, more mature.

With this film, Bryan Singer takes firm control of the film series and heads it in a new and hopeful direction. It’s clear from watching the performances, the intricate storyline and all the Easter eggs with nods to other X-Men films that Singer is invested with the franchise. X-Men: Days Of Future Past can be seen as an apology of sorts from Singer for leaving the series. Thanks to his efforts, the film is at the same time a welcome superhero blockbuster that will leave many X-Men fans overjoyed.

José Soto

Godzilla Finally Done Justice By Hollywood

godzillaAlright people, the new Godzilla movie is so great that it makes you forget about the stain from the 1998 version!

It works on so many levels and left me feeling so satisfied and relieved that Hollywood finally got Godzilla right. That’s because of the director of Godzilla, Gareth Edwards. When making this film, he wanted to emulate the mood established with the classic Jaws. First have characters, then present inferred appearances by the monster, then fully reveal the monster in all of its glory. In this movie, we the audience only see parts of Godzilla at first, a fin here, a tail there. But don’t worry, when he’s finally revealed it’s a gasp-inducing moment! It’s a huge payoff. But more than that this really feels like a Godzilla movie or at least how Godzilla was like in his early movies.


This version of Godzilla is a sort of quasi-sequel to the original 1954 classic and it pretends that the sequels that followed never existed. This film sticks to its Japanese origins, which is important and the creature looks and sounds like Godzilla. This Godzilla has his trademark atomic breath, but it’s white hot and his back fins glow before he fires as seen with the recent Japanese films. It’s works for Godzilla and there wasn’t any reason to change it. Gareth Edwards and the other filmmakers understood that it was important to deliver the gargantuan force of nature that defines the monster unlike the ’98 version.

What’s more they embellished the nature of Godzilla by the revelation that he is a part of a group of animals known as alpha predators that existed before dinosaurs and was raised in a primordial Earth bathed in radiation. So it makes sense that he is awakened in the 1950s when mankind started testing nuclear weapons.

GODZILLAThat’s just one of the many cool things about Godzilla. There are also the pounding Kaiju fights, which brought out gasps and applause from the audience I saw it with. Even the opening credits are stunning. The credits are supposed to appear like classified documents that are redacted, it helped set the dark, serious tone of the movie, which was best shown with the ominous HALO jump seen in the trailers. Edwards uses for that scene the same eerie chorus heard in 2001: A Space Odyssey and it’s very effective.

The characters themselves are decent and serve their purpose though there aren’t any breakout characters. But that shouldn’t deter anyone from skipping out on Godzilla. It’s a terrific monster movie thanks to its moody tone and its faithful interpretation of the King of the Monsters.

Steven L. Walterson

First Look At The New Batman

new batman

Ever since Batman was announced to be appearing in the next Superman movie, there has been a ton of speculation about how he would look. Things went into overdrive when it was announced that Ben Affleck would be taking over the role from Christian Bale. Many people decried the acting pick, while others had a wait-and-see attitude.

Still, behind all the wondering, Batman fans wanted to know how the new Batman would look like. Yesterday, Zack Snyder, the director for 2016’s Superman/Batman movie teased fans with a covered Batmobile and hinted that more revelations would come. Well, Snyder wasn’t kidding.


Today, he released a black and white photo of Affleck adorned with the famous Batsuit alongside a new Batmobile. From what can be seen from the photo, the Batmobile looks like a throwback to the sleek designed armored car seen in Tim Burton’s Batman movies, but looks more sturdy like the mini-tank shown in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films.

As for Batman himself. he looks like the way Frank Miller drew him in the famous The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel. Very muscular, and the pose gives off a Batman who seems weary and near the end of his rope, but still determined to carrying out his duty…the latest one being confronting Superman.

To think we have to wait over a year to see the film! At least now we have something to whet our appetites.

Lewis T. Grove

Optimistic Anticipation For The Latest Godzilla Epic


With the release of a new American-made film Godzilla coming on May 16th, there is hope (based on the trailers) that the mistakes made in the previous American effort won’t be repeated. That film from 1998 directed by Roland Emmerich had a giant iguana-type creature that ran through the rainy streets of NYC and dodged fire from attack helicopters, which ended up hitting many buildings. It was shown that the army did more damage to the city than Godzilla himself, and he was vulnerable to their attacks when he was hit. This description illustrates what went wrong with that film and shows what Godzilla isn’t.

photoIn all of his Japanese films, Godzilla is portrayed as an unstoppable force of nature that has to be endured. He causes massive destruction on an unimaginable scale, almost like a typhoon or tornado. That is why military strikes against him don’t really work. You can’t bomb a hurricane into submission. All you can do is wait for it to pass and deal with the aftermath. The ’98 film Godzilla didn’t seem to grasp this concept and made Godzilla seem like your run-of-the-mill monster. If it was not called Godzilla, the movie can be enjoyed as a decent monster flick. But when given the title Godzilla, there are certain expectations that fans have, and hopefully the new film will fulfill them.

So far, the trailers for the latest Godzilla film seem to show the same serious tone that the original 1954 film had with a dark and moody feel. They also evoke a sense of dread and awe at the sheer size of Godzilla, and the chaos he leaves in his wake.

If done correctly, this film can lead to a new series of American-made Godzilla movies and reestablish the godzilla 2000character as a film icon, something the ’98 film failed to do. That misstep forced Toho films to resume making their own Godzilla movies. The first of which (Godzilla 2000) was a nice return to form for the Big G. The new film will also have him fighting other creatures, which should be fun to see and bring back memories of his many bouts with other fan favorites like Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidora. The thing with those films is that they were somewhat more light hearted in tone than the original film. So hopefully this new one will combine the serious outlook of the 1954 film with the monster match ups of later Godzilla movies.

In any case, it is nice to see another Godzilla movie after 10 years of his absence since Godzilla: Final Wars from 2004, and should bring the King of The Monsters renewed attention and attract new fans.

C.S. Link

Coyote: Allen Steele’s Gateway Novel To A Bold New World

Some of the best sci-fi books to read during the summer months are those from author Allen Steele’s Coyote universe. Starting from Coyote and concluding with Coyote Destiny, these books explore a few tried and tested themes seen in science fiction literature. Chiefly among them are the ideas of man versus nature and of man versus his government, which are first seen in the first novel of the series Coyote. Subtitled “A Novel of Interstellar Exploration” this book deals with a group of space colonizers who rebel against an evil American government in the late 21st century and like the early pilgrims in our history, set out for a new land or rather a new planet.

coyote 1Actually this novel that was published back in 2003 is a collection of short stories that have been gathered into one book which explains the episodic nature of the novel. It’s not a complaint since each storyline while self contained and sometimes focusing on some characters does advance smoothly the overall story and gives a good perspective on the aspects of colonizing an alien world.

The book opens with the main characters on Earth. In the future, the United States has fallen and replaced by an ultra conservative dictatorship called the United Republic of America. It’s a dismal place where the government represses people, is fighting guerillas and separatists and is isolated from the world. The U.R.A. is also launching a colony starship with colonizers to its destination being Coyote, a moon that can support life and orbits the planet Bear in the 47 Ursae Majoris system. Unknown to the tyrannical U.R.A. is that the starship’s captain Robert E. Lee – – yes, he’s a descendant of the actual Lee from our history, and a group of conspirators plan to hijack the ship during its voyage. It won’t really spoil anything to say that they succeed and that the reason they do so is that his group wanted to escape the government and they figured that their destination was beyond the grasp of the U.R.A.

Before they arrive on Coyote, the novel spends a segment on the actual voyage. The starship, the U.R.S.S. Alabama, won’t reach Coyote for 230 years so the crew goes into biostatis, a type of induced hibernation. Unfortunately, one of the crewmembers, Leslie Gillis, is awakened only three months into the journey. Unable to go back into biostasis, Gillis is condemned to spend the rest of his life in solitude on board the ship or commit suicide. He chooses the former and the novel details how he spends time which was surprisingly interesting. One plot point which is brought up and so far never resolved is the fact that Gillis finds evidence of alien intelligence in the form of a passing spaceship. Steele never reveals in Coyote what was it that Gillis spotted and it’s frustratingly tantalizing.

Midway through the book, the colonists coyote maparrive and the rest of the story deals with the hardships they face in settling in the new world. Steele wisely spends some time going over the alien environment that while Earth-like is still an alien world. It makes the world of Coyote seem like a character unto itself. One way this was shown was when it’s shown  that the world has longer seasons. This adds to the hardships the colonists face since a month lasts about ninety days so winter for instance is that much longer.

The story shifts to Carlos Montero a teenager who sets out with his girlfriend Wendy Gunther and his friends to explore the world’s vast equatorial river system. This plot doubles for a coming-of-age story which is heartfelt at times without being too saccharine. The story becomes more intense as his decision to take a Twain-inspired trip and his reckless behavior leads to death and Carlos is forced to become a man. Part of the way he does this is by his continuing the journey solo to find himself and spare his companions more hardship. The story at the same time doubles as a fascinating travelogue of Coyote as Carlos explores it and ultimately as a man makes a hard choice over what to do with his life.

From reading the novel it’s fairly obvious that it’s a retelling of our American history right up until the Revolution. The last part of the novel is a set up for the sequels. Another starship arrives and brings humans ready to share the spoils in the world the characters worked so hard to settle. This, of course, sets up the future conflicts seen in Coyote Rising and Coyote Frontier. The final two books in the series open up the Coyote universe as contact is made with alien civilizations. This premise spun off a trio of novels that largely take place away from Coyote: Spindrift, Galaxy Blues and Hex. Those books themselves are just as fascinating to read. On the whole, all these books are well written, never dull and are definite page turners. In other words, prime summer reading for sci-fi fans. It will take a while to go through all of them, but it’s best to start with Coyote, the one that started it all. With this first book, readers will easily find that Allen Steele has created an engaging story, world and cast of characters that warrant these sequels and spinoffs.

José Soto