Blended, X-Men: Days of Future Past – Movie Reviews

BlendedBlended – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 23 May 2014

I was pleasantly surprised that Blended turned out to be one of the rarer cases of late where Adam Sandler’s presence in a movie is an asset rather than a problem. There are many who think The Wedding Singer, also with Drew Barrymore, was Sandler’s best overall character. While Sandler can be sad, funny or infantile he’s rarely allowed to be all three in a single performance. Here, his heart comes to bear not in his character Jim’s romantic interest in Drew Barrymore’s Lauren but in Jim helping his daughters grieve for their deceased mother. He is funny when Jim is at odds with Lauren and when he’s being a good dad. It is telling that this, like The Wedding Singer was not written by Sandler.

The premise of Blended sounds like an exhausting and tired rom-com. Instead, it zips along with several funny scenes and lands us in a South African resort very quickly. The transition from Jim and Lauren separately deciding to go to Africa to them realizing they had the same idea and are now stuck together only takes a few minutes to play out. It’s done in two adjacent scenes. Terry Crews and a host of backup singers show up at every turn to sing entertaining exposition. The plot focuses on Jim being a good surrogate dad to Lauren’s sons while Lauren is a good surrogate mom to Jim’s daughters.

It’s this twist of putting the family dynamics and taking care of the kids first that makes this a very atypical romantic comedy and more of a 21st century story about showing up for your kids. It’s a movie that parents – single or otherwise – will likely appreciate as well as most families that are old enough for the PG-13 rating.

Jeremiah and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car:

X-Men: Days of Future PastX-Men: Days of Future Past – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 23 May 2014

Building on the excellent foundation of the previous X-Men: First Class, Days of Future Past tells a story in two timeperiods. In the bleak “present,” the Sentinels are killing humans and mutants alike and it is up to Wolverine to go back in time to convince the X-Men of 1973 to change their ways and prevent annihilation.

Wolverine gets sent back in a scene that nods to The Terminator’s famous “I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle” scene. The bulk of the movie is the excellent First Class cast being brought together by Wolverine to stop a rampaging Mystique from setting in motion the chain of events that leads to the Sentinel apocalypse. The number of characters is very high, but the movie is careful to only truly focus on a handful of players and leave the rest as candy for diehard fans of the comic series.

The superhero powers are excellently realized in both visual effects and staging, making the powers feel great and leaving you fantasizing about which one you’d most like to have. Mystique, Blink and Quicksilver are all contenders in this movie for best power, though Quicksilver’s main scene is a clear winner and more successful than a similar standout scene in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

While I enjoyed First Class, I felt this movie had a better third act and ending. The conclusion was very satisfying and set the stage for future installments with the younger version of the cast and giving a great sendoff to roles we will not likely see in action again such as Patrick Stewart’s Xavier, Ian McKellan’s Magneto and Halle Berry’s Storm. This was the first of the summer blockbusters that I have felt really confident about recommending as a feel-good action movie compared against other recent releases like Godzilla and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Christian, Adam, Juliette and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car:


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