Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade | X-Men: Days of Future Past
1938 and 2023 - both looking to the past.
MOVIE REVIEW /// Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Movie summary: In 1938, after his father Professor Henry Jones, Sr. goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Professor Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. finds himself up against Adolf Hitler's Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers. (IMDb)
I used to think that Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was the best of what was then a trilogy, but have swung back to the first movie being the best as I've got older. To be fair, the margins between the two movies is barely perceptible because they're both great films that still stand up 95% of the time even when compared to modern action-adventures.
I'm leaving that 5% though, as there are certain moments that either come across as far too contrived to be feel genuine, or - in the case of Last Crusade - the humour doesn't quite work, coming across more as being corny instead of funny. Then again, those are the only real criticisms of this movie, which felt like the most perfect way imaginable to wrap up Indy's adventures.
I will acknowledge that some will find Indy's treatment of Elsa (Alison Doody) to be problematic - which it is, especially for the 'heroic' lead, but is also pretty accurate for how women were treated at the time. The biggest aspect that weirded me out about their relationship was discovering recently that Doody was 22 when making this movie, less than half Harrison Ford's age at the time!
That's a strange place for an actress to be in - and one that continues today in Hollywood with older men having... 'relations' with younger women while it being rare to see anything the other way around - although I'd prefer to try and take a positive from the situation and credit Doody with an excellent performance that made her character feel much older than the actress.
She really does deserve credit too, because it's not her looks that get across her age - she does look gorgeous, even if she works for the Nazis - but how she speaks and how she carries herself. For a young actress, Doody does about as well as anyone could ever hope to in trying to measure up against Ford and Sean Connery, playing Indy's father, and their amazing double act.
Last Crusade was a definite reaction to the much darker Temple of Doom and an attempt to get back to what made Raiders of the Lost Ark such an incredible phenomenon, and the relationship between Indy and Henry is the most obviously perfect part of turning things around. They are incredible in their roles, and every scene they share is absolute gold, even if the humour can detract from the danger a little.
I really can't stress just how good the pair of them are though. There are some unbelievable moments in the movie, especially when the more supernatural stuff starts happening, but there's not one false moment in the relationship between the Doctors Jones and they bring every scene, and every actor they share the screen with, up a level by apparently being just that damn good.
One last note about said 'supernatural stuff' just to say that it does help tie the movie even more back to Raiders, including a gruesome death for a main antagonist that might serve as a wake-up call to those enjoying the breezier atmosphere of Last Crusade over the two previous movies. It might have more laughs, but this is still an Indiana Jones movie, so be ready for a grisly sight or two.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a brilliant way to continue the adventures of the world's most famous archaeologist, and certainly the funniest of them all - primarily thanks to the ridiculous chemistry between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. It's lighter tone does make it feel marginally less substantial than Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it's still a bloody good film and a definite recommend.
[9/10 - Great]
MOVIE REVIEW /// X-Men: Days of Future Past
Movie summary: The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants. (IMDb)
You know, if Fox hadn't screwed up the continuity between their various X-Men movies, then X-Men: Days of Future Past could've done even better than it did. But with so many inconsistencies between the various films, you almost have to block out pretty much every other X-movie and take this film on its own merits - lucky it's so bloody good then, isn't it?
At best, you really only need to have seen X-Men: First Class and one of the first two X-Men films from 2000/2003, as even just a passing familiarity with the characters means you'll get a lot more from this story than otherwise - Elliot Page's character might be vital to this movie, but is so different from previous appearances (including brand new powers) that it doesn't really matter.
As for the actual story of Days of Future Past, it's pretty simple to follow thanks to the time periods involved looking and sounding completely unlike each other, with almost entirely different casts of actors involved (Hugh Jackman the exception thanks to Logan's slow aging) and very few shared characters - namely, Professor X (Patrick Stewart/James McAvoy) and Magneto (Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender).
There shouldn't be any confusion about what's going and please don't worry about trying to make how time travel works marry up with how Avengers: Endgame explains it. I love that movie, but just accept that different franchises have different rules and, as long as the movie remains consistent with the rules it sets up for itself, then it's the story and characters that are the important parts to focus on - I've seen far too many people needlessly comparing other time travel movies to Endgame as if it was the final arbiter on how that impossible science works (Primer would destroy these people's minds).
Instead, just get to enjoy seeing the two different casts in the same movie, even if what each set of characters are going through might feel like they belong in different movies - the Seventies action feeling far more grounded than an apocalyptic future fight against shape-shifting robots. Considering said Seventies action involves breaking into the Pentagon to free Magneto - imprisoned for the murder of JFK - and a final battle involving the earliest forms of the future robots, that says something.
The highlights again, like in First Class, are McAvoy and Fassbender, who dominate proceedings despite the large cast and I will say again that I'd watch a movie about just their characters any time. Considering the character and actor's popularity, Jackman's Logan isn't as prominent as you'd think from the marketing, but is still vital to the plot, albeit in a way that allows the newer cast to retain prominence - other, more egotistical actors might not have been so generous.
Ultimately, X-Men: Days of Future Past could've gone wrong in so many ways that it's a minor miracle that it worked out so bloody well. Despite a lot of characters only having minor roles, it never feels like anyone's phoning in their performance and that really sells the stakes for what could've been a messy movie, making sure that you give a damn about all of them even if you've not watched the other movies or read the comics.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is fantastic movie in its own right, bringing together the casts and timelines of the the original X-Men movies and their 'younger versions', but Fox messed up continuity so badly across the various X-films that nothing feels like it ultimately matters. It's still 100% a recommended watch though, as the cast, plot, visuals and sound all combine to create a fantastic superhero story.