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Underrated: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: X-Men Origins: Wolverine.


This week on Underrated, I wanted to take a look at one of the most reviled movies in the X-Men Franchise, not because I’m going to convince you it’s secretly a great movie that has been unfairly shat on for nearly ten years, but because I want to highlight some of the things that it actually did right. Do they out weight the bad to redeem the movie? Personally, I think so. Although X-Men Origins: Wolverine will never be thought of as a shining example of the character in cinema, and nor should it be, it isn’t the catastrophic mess that we remember it being.

Before you start raging at me (and you’re more than welcome to do so on twitter @karcossa) ask yourself when was the last time you saw this movie? I watched it on the 21st of March this year with the intention of tearing it to pieces in an article, but I actually kind of enjoyed it, so I wrote this instead [note, this article was written on March 23rd, so the movie was quite fresh in my mind]. So before you fire up those angry fingers, give the movie a quick watch and remember I’m not claiming it’s great, just that it isn’t bad.

  • The Opening Sequence
    Honestly, you give me a movie with Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting their way through history based on this opening credit montage and I will throw my money at you. This is a prime example of a movie blowing it’s load too early, if you’ll pardon the expression. We get one of the best opening sequences in the franchise before one of the worst movies. No wonder it got flattened by fans.
  • Liev Schreiber And Hugh Jackman
    Say what you want about the script, plot choices, and pointless cameos, but I will not hear a bad word said about either Schreiber or Jackman’s performances in this movie. It remains a great tragedy that we only got one movie with Liev Schreiber playing Sabretooth opposite Hugh Jackman, and that it was this one. Having watched the movie recently, the two men are almost able to save the movie with their acting chops alone – without them it wouldn’t be worth watching past the title sequence.
  • Most Action Sequences
    Strangely enough, the action sequences in the movie are actually pretty good; Logan and Creed fighting in the bar is awesome, and even the final battle is pretty entertaining (despite the character mutilation of Deadpool). The only downside to the sequence where Team X attacks a compound is that the individual use of the soldier’s abilities makes little sense as a tactical strike, but as a showcase of the individual powers at play it’s pretty good. As is the helicopter fight – right up until the cliched walking away from the explosion end point.
  • The One Liners
    X-Men Origins: Wolverine isn’t a comedy, but there’s quite a few one liners that will at the very least elicit a chuckle from you. Plus, you can also laugh at the so-bad-it’s-good moments.
  • Wolverine Uses All His Powers
    Funnily enough, one of the things this movie gets right is how many other abilities Logan has. At different points in the movie you see him use his enhanced senses of smell, vision and hearing to locate Creed, Zero and Kayla. You don’t see him using his other powers as often as you do his healing and claws (for obvious reasons, I’m sure).

Yes, the movie has its problems, especially with how it fits (or used to fit depending on who you’re talking to) into the X-Men movie franchise, or how it treats certain characters, but if you look at it as a standalone movie that just happens to feature Wolverine… it’s actually not that bad; truth be told, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and that’s why it’s the subject of this week’s Underrated.

The Empty Man Gets Its First Trailer

The Empty Man is almost here! The first trailer is out for the film coming to theaters October 23.

The Empty Man is a supernatural horror film based on the comic series first published in 2014 from writer Cullen Bunn, artists Vanesa R. Del Rey and Jesús Hervás, colorists Michael Garland and Niko Guardia, letterer Ed Dukeshire, and published by BOOM! Studios.

After a group of teens from a small Midwestern town begin to mysteriously disappear, the locals believe it is the work of an urban legend known as The Empty Man. As a retired cop investigates and struggles to make sense of the stories, he discovers a secretive group and their attempts to summon a horrific, mystical entity, and soon his life—and the lives of those close to him—are in grave danger.

Directed by David Prior from a screen story and screenplay by David Prior the film stars James Badge Dale, Marin Ireland, Stephen Root, Ron Canada, Robert Aramayo, Joel Courtney, and Sasha Frolova. The film is produced by Ross Richie, p.g.a. and Stephen Christy, p.g.a.

The Empty Man movie poster

Tenet Opens with a Nolan Best While New Mutants Brings in $10 million

New Mutants movie poster

It feels weird reporting weekend box office numbers but Hollywood and theaters are attempting to get back to normal despite reality. Tenet and New Mutants were the two big openers for the weekend with interesting results that are a bit hard to interpret.

Tenet opened with over $53 million in 41 international markets. That’s the biggest opening for director Christopher Nolan. Not surprisingly, Warner Bros. has been a bit cagey about data they’re releasing as far as the performance goes. For instance, the film opened in Canada where numbers were not released and it’s unknown if they will be or folded over into next weekend’s numbers.

The film begins to open in the U.S. this week for an official opening on Thursday for Labor Day weekend.

The final Fox “X” film, New Mutants opened to $7 million from 2,412 to take the top spot of the domestic box office. The film also earned $2.9 million from 10 international markets. The movie was a holdover from Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox.

The film has a reported budget between $67 and $100 million, a more modest amount compared to recent “X” releases. It’s hard to see how the film turns a profit in today’s environment and one wonders if the film would have faired better being sold for $25 on demand.

New Mutants has been savaged in reviews earning 32% on RottenTomatoes from critics and 53% from audiences as of this article. That’s on top of issues concerning white-washing and the inability of the film to get small details right like the spelling of the last name of one of the creators of the characters and comic series.

Theaters are at about half open compared to the same time last year. 2,500 theaters were open in the US and about 3,000 in Canada.

Bill & Ted Face the Music opened both on-demand and in theaters warned an estimated $1.1 million 1,007 locations. Because it opened on-demand in homes, major theater chains overlooked the film.

The King’s Man Official Trailer is Here

As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions, one man must race against time to stop them. Discover the origins of the very first independent intelligence agency in The King’s Man.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, The King’s Man is based on the comic series The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. It features Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Brühl, with Djimon Hounsou, and Charles Dance.

The film comes to theaters September 18.

Alien’s Original Screenplay Gets a Comic Adaptation

Dark Horse Comics and Twentieth Century Fox, with writer Cristiano Seixas, artist Guilherme Balbi, and colorist Candice Han, adapted from the screenplay written by Dan O’Bannon, brings you Alien: The Original Screenplay.

Alien: The Original Screenplay presents an alternate line of events initially conceived by Dan O’Bannon before it became the Alien motion picture manuscript. En route to back to Earth, the crew of the starship Snark intercepts an alien transmission. Their investigation leads them to a desolate planetoid, a crashed alien spacecraft, and a pyramidic structure of unknown origin. Then the terror begins . . . 

Alien: The Original Screenplay #1 (of five) goes on sale April 22, 2020, just in time for Alien Day celebrated on April 26th!

Alien: The Original Screenplay #1

The Much Delayed The New Mutants Gets a Trailer

After many delays and speculation, The New Mutants finally has a trailer. The film is the final X-Men movie before the Fox acquisition by Disney.

The New Mutants, based on the classic Marvel Comics series, is an original horror thriller set in an isolated hospital where a group of young mutants is being held for psychiatric monitoring. When strange occurrences begin to take place, both their new mutant abilities and their friendships will be tested as they battle to try and make it out alive.

The film’s directed by Josh Boone with a screenplay by Boone and Knate Lee. It stars Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, and Henry Zaga.

The New Mutants is in Theaters April 3, 2020.

Disney’s Fox Purchase Already Impacting Small and Independent Theaters

While others were celebrating the X-Men and Fantastic Four‘s return to Marvel, it was clear that Disney‘s purchase of 20th Century Fox would have dire effects on the film industry.

Already there’s been job losses and film cancellations but over the past few days there are more reports of Disney pulling film runs at theaters.

While it might not seem like it but screenings of older films can be a solid business. Midnight screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show has been a regular thing for decades. In more recent times Die Hard and Home Alone have become an event for theaters around the holiday season.

Older film runs are being impacted by Disney’s different policy than Fox’s. The studio is no longer licensing its old films to commercial theaters. The speculation is those films will be used to entice individuals to purchase Hulu or Disney+.

Disney’s policy is to not allow first-run theaters or commercial discount theaters to screen movies from its library. That policy now extends to Fox’s catalog. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the exception from this policy (I guess even the Mouse is afraid to piss those fans off).

Theaters who specialize in just screening old titles still have access to Fox’s movies.

This policy shift has forced theaters to cancel already planned screenings. It also puts theaters in a bind as these special event screenings can fill the theater at times it normally wouldn’t do good business. Alamo Drafthouse as an example regularly holds these events as well as shows first-run movies.

The policy shift also extends to 2nd date runs. Disney has handled those to be when video on demand/Blu-ray has already been released and their demands are much higher than the 35-40% industry standard.

There’s not just the business aspect but the cultural impact as well. Art is made to be experienced and hiding it in a vault defeats the purpose. It also leads to greater piracy as individuals seek to “free it from its captives.”

Add to the confusion is the lack of clear guidance from Disney. Fox contacts have been fired without outreach to theater owners as to who their new representative is. There also seems to be inconsistency in approval with some theaters being approved, others being denied and then eventually approved.

Other studios are much more open to the business simply offering the ability to play Blu-rays for a licensing fee. Fox has always been on the more restrictive end of things but the sudden shift is pulling out the rug from an already shaky business.

This is surely the start of the House of Mouse putting even greater pressure on the theater industry. With Disney+, Disney has a second digital distribution channel, and like Netflix, is running original movies with big names on the service. As that service grows Disney will need theaters less and less and can demand more and more making Disney the villain its heroes would fight against.

The moral of this story is to support your independent theaters and don’t be too quick to cheer on corporate consolidation.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix Comes to Digital, 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD in September

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is coming to digital, 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD this September. The film will be released digitally September 3 with the rest on September 17.

Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence fire up an all-star cast in the finale of the X-Men saga! During a rescue mission in space, Jean Grey (Turner) is transformed into the infinitely powerful and dangerous Dark Phoenix. As Jean spirals out of control, the X-Men must unite to face their most devastating enemy yet — one of their own.

The home entertainment release comes with hours of extensive special features and behind-the-scenes insights from Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker delving into everything it took to bring the film to the big screen. Beast also offers a hilarious, but important, one-on-one “How to Fly Your Jet to Space” lesson in the Special Features section. Check out a clip of the top-notch class sessions below!

Extras include:

  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker*:
    • Edwards Air Force Base
    • Charles Returns Home
    • Mission Prep
    • Beast MIA
    • Charles Says Goodbye
  • Rise of the Phoenix: The Making of Dark Phoenix (5-Part Documentary)
  • Scene Breakdown: The 5th Avenue Sequence**
  • How to Fly Your Jet to Space with Beast
  • Audio Commentary by Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker

*Commentary available on Blu-ray, iTunes Extras and Movies Anywhere only 
**Available on Digital only 

(Spoiler Free) Movie Review: Dark Phoenix

This is it, Dark Phoenix is the finale to the latest round of X-Men films. It’s an adaptation of the classic story, The Dark Phoenix Saga. But didn’t they already sort of do that with X-Men: The Last Stand?

We’ve seen the film and have our opinions right here on GPTV! Should you spend your money? Find out in this video review.

You can read our written review already posted on the site.

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