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So, yes, in addition to the scheduled general meet and greets, I’ll be teaming up with my friend (and former fellow Dark Matter Executive Producer) Vanessa Piazza to pitch Masked while in L.A.  Editor Lou Anders assembled a diverse selection of tales that focus as much on the individuals behind the masks as they do on the superheroics.  The stories are grounded in character, something I’ve always been a firm believer in, from Stargate straight through to Dark Matter.  I envision the series as an anthology in the vein of Black Mirror except that, instead of studying the influence of technology, the focus will be on the social, political and personal effects of possessing extra-normal abilities – the advantages, the drawbacks, the costs.  Two great examples from established comic lore are DC’s Batman and Marvel’s Spiderman.  Batman – the world’s greatest detective, the dark knight, a masked vigilante who protects the streets of Gotham.  And, yet he is, at heart, an orphan, so scarred by the murder of his parents that tragedy fuels his relentless quest for justice.  Spiderman – the web-slinging, wise-cracking defender of New York is, in contrast, a meek, mild-mannered high school student similarly driven by tragedy to bear the weight of responsibility power and fate have thrust upon him.  Batman and Spiderman, Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker, have always been, for me, the pinnacle of engaging, richly textured characters – at once relatable yet delightfully complex.  And that’s what we’re looking to bring through a collection of original superhero-themed episodes scripted by some of comics and genredom’s heaviest hitters.  Tonally, thematically, I want Masked to offer viewers a show that engages and entertains, but provokes as well.

So who is your favorite superhero/alter ego?  And why?

A couple of years ago, Vanessa was featured in a Hottest Canadian Film and TV Talent You’ve Never Heard Of – But Will list.  There’s a great write up on Vanessa (click the link), and an equally great artist’s rendition accompanying the piece –

Hey, you have less than a month left to get your letters in for a chance to win a piece of Dark Matter…well, a piece of Dark Matter.

Details here: https://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/september-29-2017-fandom-start-your-blickensderfers/

Some of the items up for grabs:

Android chip and Victor upgrades.

FIVE’s sketches.

FOUR’s imperial ring.

FIVE’s goggles.

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Abar - posterMonster am drunk reviewing dis movie.  Why not?  After all, me felt positively sloshed watching it.  It full of weird cuts, funky music, bizarre performances, interminable montage sekwences of people driving around, and a plot more ridikulous den Sam de Eagle’s cruising toupee.

Movie begin wit nice family moving into new home.  But neighbors not happy.  Not happy AT ALL.  Why dey not happy?  Becuz dis family be different.  Different how? Well, for one, de husband and wife talk like dey be reading off cue cards.  Barely. Either dat or dey be sekret robots.

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Dr. and Mrs. Robot

Soon, word gets out.  Breaking news report on radio inform shocked listeners: “A black family has moved into Meadow Park…”!

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Neighbors are clearly prejudiced against non-union aktors.

Gang ride to de reskue and scare off angry neighbors wit deir LED light bedecked jackets.  Dey led by guy called Abar who suggest Doc move back to his old neighborhood.  But doc refuse.  Mayor’s office swing by and offer to buy him out.  Doc refuse.  Even Doc’s crazy uncle break into home in middle of de night wearing creepy mask (what a joker!) and suggest he pack it in.  Doc say no way.

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Abar plays to captive audience.  And old timey wheelbarrow.

Doc’s son have weird (even for dis movie) dream about Old West shoot-out.  De next day, dis inspire him to try to outgun a car.  Car prove faster – and heavier.

Everybody sad.  Doc finally get around to _Oh, by the way! – informing Abar dat he created superhuman serum while working on a cure for heart disease (!).  Dis be very surprising – especially since we’re over one hour into ninety minute movie.  He offer it to Abar.  Why he not take it himself?  Well, uh, good qwestion.  See, Doc claim he have weak heart and, uh, look, do you want super powers or not?

Abar take it and develop powers like…well, Monster not sure.  He turn booze into milk, car into horse and buggy, spaghetti into worms, and drug addikts into high school graduates.  Instantly!  BUT we learn dat if he use his powers for selfish gain, he temporarily lose dem.  How he know dis and how dis figure into story?  Beats monster.  Mebbe dey have sekwel planned.

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Worms All’Amattricana.  See Big Bird for recipe!

Abar turn tables on angry neighbors.  He blow up bomber’s car.  He infest woman’s house wit rats.  He put snake in bed wit other woman.  He make neighborhood REALLY windy, den trap everyone in shrinking t.v. screen of death (?).

And to top tings off, we treated to surprising twist:

Bet you not see DAT coming!

Verdikt: Movie try to deliver message about evils of racism so heart in right place but you know what dey say: Road to Hell be lined wit good intentions.  And sitting thru dis movie definitely feel like one WEIRD road trip down down under.

Rating: 2 chocolate chippee cookies for unintended hilarity.

Today’s entry is dedicated to belated birthday gal and blog regular Tam Dixon!

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1Oooh, check ’em out.  Macaron ice cream sandwiches.  They come in four flavors – strawberry cheesecake, coconut-mango, raspberry-pistachio, and chocolate on chocolate with cocoa nibs – now available at Payard.  Read all about them here: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/06/payard-macaron-ice-cream-sandwiches.html.  Thanks to sis for the heads up.

Also pursuant to our macaron discussion my macaron rant in yesterday’s blog entry, here’s helpful article to help you (or your celebrity chef friends) distinguish the difference between a macaroon and macaron: Macaron vs Macaroon – There’s No Place Like Oz

photo by Robyn Lee

photo by Robyn Lee

And here’s an article to help you (or your celebrity chef friend) know what to look out for when judging a macaron: Macaron vs Macaroon – There’s No Place Like Oz

Finally, to the celebrity chef judges of Masterchef (Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, Joe Bastianich) who have, apparently, never in their lives seen a macaron prepared with fresh fruit (which, frankly, shouldn’t be all that surprising since they can’t even get the name right), may I present the Pierre Hermes Ispahan:

After over a year and a half of film reviews here on this blog (and over on his own.  They’re all here: http://cookiemonstermovereviews.wordpress.com/) for our weekly superhero-themed Supermovie of the Week Club, it appears as though our resident film critic, Cookie Monster, has pretty much watched and critiqued every American superhero movie ever made and should be wrapping things up by August.  Yep, it certainly looks that way.  But, upon closer scrutiny, I couldn’t help but notice he missed a few. Namely:

Abar, the First Black Superman (1977)
Dr. Strange (1978)
The Toxic Avenger (1984)
The Toxic Avenger II (1989)
The Toxic Avenger III (1989)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1990)
The Guyver (1991)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
The Crow (1994)
Guyver: Dark Hero (1994)
Black Scorption (1995)
Darkman: The Return of Durant (1995)
The Crow: City of Angels (1995)
Darkman II: Die Darkman Die (1996)
Black Scorpion II: Aftershock (1996)
Star Kid (1997)
The Crow: Salvation (1999)
Citizen Toxic: The Toxic Avenger IV (2000)
The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005)
Despicable Me (2010)
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Man of Steel (2013)
Kick- Ass 2 (2013)
The Wolverine (2013)
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Now before Cookie reads this and has a nervous breakdown, I am willing to cut him some slack.  For instance, I won’t blame him if he’s unable to get his furry mitts on a copy of the 1977 Abar, the First Black Superman, and I certainly won’t force him to watch the Black Scorpion sequel, much less all three Toxic Avenger sequels – but I do expect him to make a concerted effort to at least watch the first installment in both glorious film series.
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To make things easier on him and (hopefully) wash the bitter aftertaste of some of these movies out of his mouth – and eyeballs – I’m going to suggest we alternate between these overlooked superhero movies and a movie to be voted on by readers of this blog.  So, let’s start taking nominations for a non-superhero film that Cookie Monster can enjoy review.
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Finally, a reminder to watch the 2012 pointless remake of the 2002 Spiderman in advance of this Monday’s Cookie Monster review:
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Oh, and since we’re on the subject, check out this oh-so-true rundown of 10 WTF Superhero Movie Monents YOu Won’t Believe They Got Away With: http://whatculture.com/film/10-wtf-superhero-movie-moments-you-wont-believe-they-got-away-with.php.  But be warned!  Spoilers abound!

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C - posterWhen is a found footage film not a found footage film?  When de makers mysteriously bail on de concept two turds of de way thru de movie.  Chronicle has distinktion of being de first (mostly) found footage superhero movie.  And dat about all dat make it distinkt.  It otherwise pretty standard fare.

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Hey, it be like Peter Parker x 3!

Our protagonist, Andrew, be a high school nerd.  His mother dying, his dad abusive, he bullied at school.  It a miserable life for him – but very entertaining for everyone else so he decide to start filming it.  He bring his camera everywhere, inkluding to a party he go to wit his cousin and jock friend.  After leaving party, trio find weird hole in de ground, investigate, and diskover strange glowy crystal holding squiggly black ting.  Having never watched a horror or science fiction movie in deir lives, dey trow caution to de wind and decide to touch it.  Crystal changes color and dey get nose bleeds!

Weeks later, dey are showing off deir new teliknetik powers, moving objects wit deir minds.  It all fun and games until someone gets hurt…

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Someone gets hurt.

Andrew uses his power to trow tailgating truck into lake.  Others tink dis is NOT cool and, after swimming into water and rescuing driver (instead of just using deir telikentic power to pull him out), dey agree to not hurt other people.

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I believe I can fly.  I believe I can touch de sky.  I believe I can make others die.

Dey also teach demselves to fly and go hang out in de clouds – until dey almost get run over by a plane (Mighty crowded up dere!).

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Wit great power come great irresponsibility

Dey celebrate by going to house party where Andrew trow up on girl. He humiliated and, next day at skool, he perform instrument-free dental surgery on bully who be picking on him.

Upset, Andrew fly away so he can be alone and film himself crying.  But jock manage to find him – me not exaktly sure how.  Mebbe he go to his favorite special place in de sky?  Jock try to cheer him up.  Andrew tank him by killing him wit lightning blast (Oh, yeah, he also apparently have lightning blast power).

Andrew start tinking he all special and superior, like Grover’s cousin ShaLaunda dat time she got her nails done.  He put on fireman suit and rob bullies and gas station to get money for medicine for his dying mother.

It be at dis point in movie where direktor decide “Fudge it!” and drop de found footage look.  But den seem to want to hedge his bets and inklude unnecessary security cam footage as well.  And, finally, seem to realize he being inconsistent so he go back to found footage look for movie’s ending dat involve Andrew vs. cousins vs a lot of parked cars in high-flying aktion.

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Stay down!  Don’t move!

For some reason, despite all de damage and havok dey cause, police not at all inclined to shoot de boys.  Every time dey toss around police cars and policemen, cops just keep yelling: “Stay down!  Down move!” And, of course, dey move and trow around more cars and cops, and fall down some more and de cops yell: “Stay down!  Don’t move!”

Dis process is repeated until cousin get as tired of dis movie as we do and simply impale Andrew wit a handy spear from a nearby statue.

Movie end wit cousin filming himself addressing Andrew as he arrive in Tibet.  Why?  Does he believe Andrew also have de superpower to watch movies from beyond de grave?

Verdikt: Dere come a point in every found footage movie where audience wonder “Seriously!  Why de hell dey filming dis?”.  It seem dat, late in film, direktor arrive at same conklusion and deeply regret de whole “found footage” ting.

Rating: 3 chocolate chippee cookies.

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CA posterNo offense to Captain America but, technically, wasn’t Thor de “First Avenger”?  Dis de first qwestion dat cross monster’s mind, followed by “Dis entire movie a period piece?” and “Did me forget to buy cake mix for Grover’s potluck supper next Toosday?”.

Monster sit down to watch Captain America wit an open mind and, while me pleasantly surprised by rip-roaring first half, overall movie make it abundantly clear dat Captain America be a flawed hero.  He not as cool as Iron Man or as mighty as Thor or even as interesting as Spiderman. At de end of de day, he about as awesome as Linoleum Girl or Unsweetened Oatmeal Man.  Still, Cap’s alter-ego, Steve Rogers be a very interesting charakter – for about half de movie anyway and, at de point when it become less about Steve and more about action and speshul effekts, dis film flounder for me like, well, a flounder.

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Hey, Scarecrow, you’re in the wrong movie!

Movie open on diskovery of crashed ship in Antarctika.  Inside, men find frozen star spangled shield.  What it be?  What it mean?  Well, for answer to dat, we flashback to…

1942 where evil nazi (As opposed to what?  Good-hearted, lovable nazi?) kill old village priest and steal glowy cube.  What it be?  What it mean?  Well, for answer to dat, we go to…

Steve Rogers, a skinny, sickly guy who want to enlist in de army but refused because he TOO skinny and sickly.  He get bullied, beaten up, and generally feel bad about staying behind with all de girls while lucky guys go off to war.  He get taken in by kindly German scientist who offer him opportunity to serve.  Steve agree to undergo experimental serum treatment and, before you can say “Hulk smash!” he be transformed into dreamy hunk!

MUCH better!

MUCH better!

Monster here must make speshul mention of spektacular visual effekts dat transform aktor as handsome and ripped as Cookie Monster into gawky geeky Grover-looking guy.  It truly a fascinating achievement.

Anyhoo, spy kill German scientist and we treated to transformed Steve chasing down bad guy and saving de day.  Suddenly, skinny/sickly Steve (moderately) super fast, (moderately) super strong, and (moderately) super agile.  He obviously destined for great tings!  He destined for…

BROADWAY!

Gotta dance!!!

Gotta dance!!!

Seriously, dude.

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Okay.  Serious.

BUT when Steve find out his old buddy Bucky be captured by nazi’s, he decide he want to go reskue him.  And because he display such great onstage dancing ability (????), he happily dropped behind enemy lines in his Broadway attire and shield.

As Captain America, he infiltrate nazi facility and face off against super-nazi called The Red Skull.  Why he be called Red Skull?  What dat mean?  For de answer to dat…

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“Skullsy McScarlet” already taken.

You have to watch de movie instead of reading dis review but let’s just say he be called Red Skull for a very good reason.  Dat has someting to do wit him having a red skull.

Captain America so awesome, he reskue Bucky and bunch of prisoners, den walk dem all de way back from Germany.

Government suddenly realize full potenshul of Captain America and cast him in off-off-Broadway produktions of “Kick Nazi Ass!”.  He go on various missions where he…Kick Nazi Ass!  He lead team against Red Skull lab and nazis armed wit energy weapons dat demolecularize people but, for some mysterious reason, bounce off Cap’s shield.

Cap showdown wit Red Skull on super jet carrying atomic bombs, each one carefully labeled so grievous error not made like dropping New York atomic bomb on Chicago.  How embarrassing would DAT be?

Captain America steer jet safely into ocean where it crash and he lost until…flashforward to…

Steve wake up and freak out.  He find himself in modern day Times Square where he shocked to hear it be 70 years later!  And de Chicago Cubs still haven’t won a World Series!

Verdikt: A movie dat start surprisingly strong and interesting but become less so as focus shift from charakter to action and speshul effekts.  Ultimately, it straightforward and kind of bland – like its hero.

Rating: 7 chocolate chippee cookies.

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All - posterDis less a movie den it be a student film project gone terribly wrong. Poor akting, lame dialogue, weak direktion, and cheap produktion values be de least of it’s problems.  No, biggest issue monster have wit Superheroes Must Die be it’s unforgivable stoopidity and fakt dat it make about as much sense as Lost in czechoslovakian.

Not-so-fantastic Four.

Not-so-fantastic Four.

Group of superheroes wake up in remote town minus deir superpowers. Foursome made up of bad aktress, bad aktor, worse bad aktor, and bad aktor who spend entire movie walking around wit half a mask because it got torn and he can’t be bothered to just take it off.   It turn out dis situation compliments of arch-villain, Rickshaw.  Yes, he be named after a two wheeled passenger cart for trotting tourists around. “But how dis  possible?”dey ask.  Rickshaw supposed to be dead.  How he capture dem?  What he do to dem?

Don’t hold your breath waiting for any answers.

Rickshaw (aka Cackles McCackleson).

Rickshaw (aka Cackles McCackleson).

Thru a series of video recordings, Rickshaw inform “heroes” dey must perform series of tasks in order to save hostages.  If dey refuse to participate, whole town rigged to blow!

So, basically, dis entire movie based on classic “stoopid villain” premise. You know what me talking about.  Instead of just killing de hero, villain has to create super elaborate set-up for entertainment purposes. In dis case, his NOT ours.

Uncle Sham

Uncle Sham

Heroes have to split up into two teams.  One team end up having to fight egregious over-aktor dressed up like Uncle Sam.  Dey rush him and he push dem down.  Really hard me guess because dey mysteriously incapacitated.  Uncle Sham pull out knife and stabby-stabby worse bad aktor.

Meanwhile, other team have to split up.  While one guy fight skinny circus strongman on trampoline, other have to save hostages strapped to explosives.  He attempt to save dem by putting out fuse wit his fingers.  It not work (obviously) so he use axe to cut end off fuse. Whew!  Dat was close!  Only, for some reason, fuse light up again. What can dey do?  Use axe again?  Maybe yank fuse out of explosives (monster’s first choice)?  No.  How about run away and let hostages explode?

Second group meet up wit first group and Half-Mask plow into Uncle Sham, demonstrating dat he de only one who got to keep his super powers.  Super strength!  But it later revealed he didn’t lose his super powers because he never had super powers to begin wit.  Even tho…er…he supposedly super strong.

Anyhoo, it too late for stabbed guy.  At dis point, remaining heroes finally get around to checking in on second group of hostages.  Who also get blown up.  Heroes realize it not matter what dey do because Rickshaw going to blow up hostages anyway!

We mistreated to maudlin flashbacks in failed retroactive effort to make us care about dese charakters.

Back in his hideout, villain do de old “cross out dead character’s picture wit red marker” gag – and cackle.  Oh, how he love to cackle.

Remaining tree heroes show up at second spot where another tree hostages rigged up to blow.  Also in room are a gun and tree coffins wit deir names on it.  Only tree coffins because, according to one hero, Rickshaw guessed other hero would already be dead after not completing last task.  Uh, right.  Dat and produktion not able to afford turd wooden box.  Rickshaw tell dem dey must kill demselves to save hostages.  Half-Mask grab gun, step up to his labeled coffin, and put gun up to his chin.  It look like he about to kill himself.  But, instead, he shoot hostages!  Dis be a very surprising moment because…it make absolutely no sense!  Why he pretend to shoot himself first?  Not for benefit of hostages because dey hooded (so dat produktion can save on extras and re-use same tree aktors).  What de Fudgee-o?

Dey rush off to next stop where one of heroes’ sisters rigged to blow up.  Rickshaw tell dem dey must kill each other and he will let sister go.  Of course, at dis point, we already know Rickshaw not letting anyone go.  He already killed all de hostages.  Heroes already stated he already going to kill all de hostages anyway.  So time to try and save hostage instead of playing useless game, right?  Right?!!

Nope.  Brother suddenly and mysteriously very bitter about fakt he be a sidekick.  He get himself killed.  Presumably to save his sister.  And – surprise surprise – she get blown up anyway.

In final round, Half-Mask and girl superhero must fight to death.  Half-Mask seemingly kill himself but it really only a ploy to help him triangulate Rickshaw’s position.  Uh, how he do dat?  By pulling out a map, connecting a bunch of x’s, and deducing point of intersektion be Rickshaw’s hideout.  Me repeat: WHAT DE FUDGEE-O?!

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Hey, buddy – viewers suffering A LOT more.

Half-Mask beat up a bunch of henchmen in bear suits.  Why dey wearing bear suits?  Because it make dem look more fearsome?  He get drop on Rickshaw and shoot him.  But, wit his last dying breath, Rickshaw pull out remote and trigger timer dat will blow up entire town in tree minutes.

A badly wounded Half-Mask check out security monitors and notice girl superhero.  Instead of eskaping town, she race to other place and locate Half-Mask’s ridiculous “triangulation” map.  She end up finding him.

As timer tick down, dey limp out of HQ.  Sadly too late to save demselves, but happily right on time to save US from crappy sekwel.

A cheese omelet stuffed wit stoopidity.  Dis movie aktually make Monster nostalgic for Supergirl.

Verdikt: Worst Superhero Movie Ever!

Rating: 0 chocolate chippee cookies.

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X1 posterWatching X-Men: First Class like dating smart, beautiful she-monster who be fantastik company – until she drink too much, start rambling, talk about her ex, linger over espresso, and leave you wishing date could have ended sometime after dessert and before she vomit in your cabriolet.  Disappointing because movie start off VERY strong but, sadly, overstay it’s welcome like a visiting uncle Herb.

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Guess what number me tinking.  Wrong.  Blue!

Movie open in WWII concentration camp where boy, Erik, demonstrate superpower of magnetism when he get angry – much to de delight of evil Nazi, Professor Footloose (second worst miscasting in recent supermovie memory), who kill his mother to reawaken his abilities.  For some reason, Erik destroy room, crush nazi soldier skulls, but leave mom-killer alive – even tho monster pretty sure professor’s glasses could have been pretty effektive/gruesome weapon.

Meanwhile, in England, another boy, Charles Xavier, who have mind-reading/control powers, walk into his kitchen and befriend shapeshifter-burglar, Mystique.  Awww.  You see?  Mebbe you can make friends wit a burglar too if you only make de effort.

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Magneto, Master of Tai-Chi

Twenty years later, everyone grown up (Which, incidentally, make dem in deir 20’s in de 1960’s.  So, doing de math, Professor X and Magneto be around 75 years old in de X-Men movies.).  Erik trying to track down Professor Footloose who, for some reason, look twenty years younger den he did during WWII.  In addition to better looking, he also got hisself three mutant assistants and plan to start WWIII.  He really tinking BIG!

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Smiles, everyone.  Smiles!

Wit help of Charles Xavier and Mystique, CIA go after Professor Footloose.  But he eskape in sekret submarine which, incidentally, be standard on most supervillain yachts.  On de bright side, Charles make new ally in de process = brooding Erik.  BFF, dey team up and recruit teen mutants.

While teen mutants settle in and play Big Brother, Charles and Erik go to Russia where dey capture Professor Footloose henchwoman, Emma Frost (WORST miscasting in recent supermovie history) who about as interesting as a fish ice sculpture – and learn of his plan.

While Charles and Erik be in Russia, Professor Footloose attack teen mutants.  He kill one, take another, and massakre many CIA agents.

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Believe it or not (and you probably not believe it by dis picture) but she one of de worst tings about dis movie.

Lots of time wasted wit secondary charakters.  Mutants train.  Den put on new team uniforms and go after Professor Footloose and co. while trying to head off nuclear war.  Plenty of action!  Explosions!  Cool visual effekts!  Erik finally get his revenge on Professor Footloose and steal his hat.  Charles paralyzed.  Nuclear war averted.

In movie’s final scenes, wheelchair-bound Charles open up school for gifted mutants.  Erik (aka Magneto), meanwhile, wit support of mercenary mutants inkluding Mystique, break White Queen out of jail. Presumably so dat she can get de help she needs.  Me hoping acting lessons!

Verdikt: A good movie dat about a half hour too long to be a great movie.

Rating: 7.5 chocolate chippee cookies.

Past supermovie reviews here: http://cookiemonstermovereviews.wordpress.com/ (Thor, Megamind, Green Hornet, etc.).

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