The first X-Men movie opened on July 14, 2000. A child born early that year would have just turned 17 by the time the tenth entry in the X-Men series, Logan, hits theaters next month. That is fortunate – viewers are going to need a driver’s license to get into this movie, which possesses the hardest R rating of any American superhero movie in history. In the past, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine would swing his razor-sharp adamantium claws and bad guys would simply fall to the ground. There was never any visible evidence of his brutality. There’s more graphic violence in Logan’s first scene – severed limbs, gruesome disembowlings – than in all of the other of the Wolverine and X-Men movies combined.
The LEGO Batman Movie, now playing in theaters (and Palace Cinema LEGO sets) everywhere, works perfectly well for any audience, regardless of their familiarity with Batman, LEGO or otherwise. For viewers who do know the nearly 80-year history of its title character, however, the film is a treasure trove of references. Following his debut in the pages of 1939’s Detective Comics #27, Batman quickly became one of the most famous heroes in all of comics, and eventually spawned television shows, movies, toys, video games, and countless pieces of merchandise, almost all of which get referenced in Chris McKay’s LEGO Batman Movie in some way, shape, or form.
These are dark days for the Dark Knight.
Darkness. No parents. Continued darkness. The opposite of light. Black hole. Curtains drawn. In the basement. Middle of the night. Blacked-out windows. Other places that are dark.
It’s a question that has perplexed Batman villains since at least 1989: “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” Finally, we have an answer. The LEGO Store. The one a few blocks from Warner Bros.’ New York offices currently sells at least eight different LEGO Batman sets, all of which appear in various forms in The LEGO Batman Movie. The film is, like The LEGO Movie before it, a feature-length toy commercial — and, like The LEGO Movie before it, The LEGO Batman Movie is far more entertaining than a giant piece of crass commercialism has any right to be.
Even a murderous mercenary loner needs a couple friends every now and then.
Deadpool, by his very nature as a mercenary, assassin, and general pain-in-the-butt, doesn’t play very well with others. For most of his comic book life, he’s been separated from the rest of the Marvel Universe, although in recent years he has become an unlikely member of teams like X-Force, the Thunderbolts, and even the Avengers. His first movie, Deadpool, was similarly shut off, not just from the Marvel Cinematic Universe but most of the X-Men Cinematic Universe. Apart from appearances from Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Deadpool stood alone.
The awesome trailers and posters for Wonder Woman play up the movie’s heroes: Gal Gadot as Princess Diana, who leaves behind her home of Themyscira to join the world of men; Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor, a World War I pilot who becomes her love interest, and Connie Nielsen’s Queen Hippolyta, Diana’s mother. The marketing does a great job of selling the movie’s action, tone, and mood — but it’s barely addressed who, if anyone is the movie’s primary villain.
Deadpool. Mercenary. Superhero. Weapon X survivor. And Writer’s Guild of America nominee for Best Adapted freaking Screenplay.
The following post contains SPOILERS — both real and fake ones that got shared online — for Rogue One.