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Customer Review

on July 18, 2013
Update (5/23/2014):

If you only want the X-Men related movies in this bundle, Amazon has the set X-Men and the Wolverine Collection (X-Men / X2: X-Men United / X-Men: The Last Stand / X-Men Origins: Wolverine / X-Men: First Class / The Wolverine) available today for $32.96, plus you get a movie rewards code for up to $8 value to see X-Men: Days of Future Past in the theater. Even if you don't plan on seeing the Days of Future Past in theaters, the X-Men and Wolverine Collection still comes out a little cheaper per movie than buying this larger Marvel bundle, so be sure to check it out if you just want the X-Men movies.

As for the entire movie bundle listed here, Marvel's most recently released blu-ray in the X-Men franchise, "The Wolverine," has now been added to this collection. A timely addition since "X-Men: Days of Future Past" is premiering in theaters today. This bundle is also Amazon's "Deal of the Day" again today, this time for $65 (basically adding "The Wolverine" in for only $5 more than the bundle price from last summer).

** PLEASE NOTE **
Amazon has this review listed on BOTH the 9-movie Marvel Bundle (Amazon Item # B00CRVL5Z4) and 10-movie Marvel Bundle (Amazon Item # B00JMXWPU4). The 9-movie bundle is the older offering and does NOT include "The Wolverine." If you are unsure which bundle's page you are currently on, just enter the Amazon Item number for the bundle you want into the "Search" box at the top of the page and then hit enter, and it will bring up the appropriate movie bundle.

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Update (11/5/2013):

This movie bundle is once again a Deal of the Day and available for $60! Feel free to skip the previous update I posted below and head straight to the original review, as that first update is there just to give options and links for buying these movies separately when this set isn't on sale.

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Update (7/19/2013):

With this bundle no longer being a "Deal of the Day" product available for $60 as it was the first day Amazon posted the bundle, I'm torn on the rating to give for this. At its current price of $140 as of today, I have to recommend not purchasing this particular bundle, but rather buying these movies individually through Amazon at the links I've provided below. Pricing can fluctuate on Amazon, however, so I am choosing to leave my original rating of 4-stars on this set for the product itself should the pricing every return to a good-value-per-movie point. At its original price point, it was a very good value on a set of movies ranging from "outstanding" to "well, at least the characters are attractive." I'm still leaving my original review below for any benefit it may provide you in picking out which of these movies to purchase individually, or for buying this bundle itself. Also, if you'd like to buy these movies individually, it's worth noting that many of the links listed below are Blu-ray/DVD combo packs and include a digital copy, as well, whereas all the movies in the bundle set appear to be the single-disc version:

X-Men (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
X2: X-Men United (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
X-Men: The Last Stand (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Alternatively, you can buy the above three movies together without the DVD combos and digital copies for even cheaper in the boxed set:
X-Men Trilogy (X-Men / X2: X-Men United / X-Men: The Last Stand) [Blu-ray] (Amazon Item # B001PPGAKS)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Two-Disc Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]
X-Men: First Class (+ Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]
Fantastic Four [Blu-ray]
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer [Blu-ray]
Daredevil (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]
Elektra (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]

There is also a "Fantastic Four / Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer [Blu-ray]" two-movie combo pack (Amazon Item # B007PM214O) that may save you a little money if you want both movies, as well as the "Marvel Blu-ray Three-Pack (Fantastic Four / Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer / Daredevil - Director's Cut)" boxed set (Amazon Item # B001G7Q1PE) if you want both of the Fantastic Four movies plus the director's cut edition of Daredevil, but don't care about owning Elektra.

Sorry I couldn't provide direct links to some of the movie sets; Amazon only allows 10 product links per review.

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Original Review (7/18/2013):

The good part about this bundle is that if you're a fan of the X-Men franchise, this is a great way to get the entire currently-released collection on the cheap. It includes the original X-Men Trilogy plus X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: First Class. That bundle by itself typically costs more than this entire Marvel bundle.

While some of the X-Men movies are arguably rough in their execution (Origins: Wolverine probably being the most-so), they all have some great parts and are worth watching. The launch of the series was well done, introducing Hugh Jackman into the best known role of his career. Famke Janssen does a great job as Jean Grey, James Marsden was a near-perfect choice for Cyclops, and Sir Patrick Stewart ... well, all of us that have been hoping for a live-action X-Men movie since we were kids have known for decades that he was the only choice to ever play Professor X. Add in Sir Ian McKellen as Magneto, and the launch title for this franchise was truly packed with potential from the get-go. Unfortunately, some changes to the comics' canon brings this movie down a bit for diehard fans. A young Iceman who doesn't appear to be much of a core member, and Anna Paquin in place of the the sassy, busty, and heavily-accented Rogue from the comics, left a lot of us feeling a bit let down for what could have been. The blockbuster cast members still manage to steal the show, however, and this is a great launch title to the franchise overall.

X2 upped the ante in the visual effects department with the introduction of Nightcrawler (played by Alan Cummings). This movie is worth owning for his performance alone (the opening scene is FANTASTIC). The make-up artistry team did an amazing job with his look, and his powers are done extremely well. Cummings' ability to speak with a believable accent also helps tremendously with pulling you into his character. The sub-plot in this movie involves a deeper look into Wolverine's backstory. Though it doesn't delve too deeply, its inclusion is appreciated, though perhaps somewhat rhetorical thanks to the later making of Origins: Wolverine. Considering that Origins was released six years after this film, however, it's hard to fault them for any overlaps, and fans were already clamoring for some background story on the franchise's main character by the release of this second X-Men installment. Frankly, I preferred the X2 version, which continued to mix a large amount of mystery with little tidbits of truth and revelation in regards to Wolverine's past.

X3 was unfortunately a bit more of a letdown. On the plus side, there were some awesome cast additions to finally round out the original core team - Beast and Angel. I didn't necessarily love how they were worked into the plot, but at least they were included. Why it took 3 movies to include the original five X-Men, I'll never quite understand. Another big plus is the expanded role of Colossus, who gets more screen time than just as a convenient human shield. The overall plot of this movie, however, was a bit frustrating and the wrap-up to the trilogy left a lot of folks feeling let down. Hopefully any sequels to this storyline can either rekindle the fire that started the franchise, or simply reboot it and move on.

Origins: Wolverine has one really shining point, which is that despite a rough storyline and some pretty cheeseball effects, Liev Schreiber brings an excellent new spin to the role of Sabretooth. While Tyler Mane's character in X1 looks more the part of the printed comic's character, Schreiber's portrayal of the re-imagined Sabretooth is in a whole separate class acting-wise. Ryan Reynolds also steals the show whenever he is on screen, but unfortunately, it wasn't enough to pull this movie up to anything better than a B-flick. Some incredible liberties were taken with other characters, and its safe to say a lot of folks felt down by Taylor Kitsch's portrayal of Gambit (a character whose inclusion in the film felt fairly unnecessary to begin with), and of course, Deadpool. If you're a big fan of the "Merc with a mouth," you're not going to like this movie, period. So let me save you the trouble there. Otherwise, it's still a film worth watching at least once, and for the non-comic reader, it helps provide some more background into Wolverine's past (at least in regards to the Marvel canon as presented in the films).

The Wolverine was an enjoyable movie that didn't skimp on the special effects the way "Origins" did. While it's still not one of my favorite X-Men movies, some of the fight scenes are absolutely amazing with long takes and very fluid choreography. There is a bit of history in Wolverine's life that is not previously shown in the other X-Men movies, but the majority of this movie is set following the events in X-Men: The Last Stand. The storyline felt a a little bit trite at times, but it's a movie that's still worth owning and watching more than once. Rila Fukushima's supporting role as "Yukio" also lent a lot more excitement to the film than I expected as the movie went on; her fight scenes as equally as enjoyable as Wolverine's, and her own character story draws you in as much as Wolverine's does.

X-Men: First Class brought the X-Men franchise back to the theaters in a very smart and well-done way. Instead of trying to rectify and continue the previous storylines, it jumps back in time to provide you with some background on the team. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as a young Professor X and Magneto, respectively, explode off the screen with charisma and believable emotions. For X-men fans who only know the characters through the movies, this movie gives great depth and background to the bond between Professor X and Magneto that's touched upon throughout the original movie trilogy, giving much more meaning to the original trilogy as a whole. There are some other great characters in this movie, but McAvoy and Fassbender steal the screen. As with all the other X-Men movies, many of the other characters are introduced out of sync with the timeline of the comic books. The big difference is that here, however, it wasn't quite as off-putting, though it still surprises me a bit that a movie titled "First Class" only includes one of the original five X-Men in its cast. Still, this is the one X-Men movie to date that will have you putting the disc back in your player time and time again without collecting dust in between viewings.

The Fantastic Four movies' inclusion in this bundle aren't unwelcome, but these are some of the more campy movies in Marvel's stable. If it wasn't for Chris Evans, these movies would both be total flops, but Evans has the perfect amount of bravado and charm to pull off his role as the Human Torch. I wish I could say there are other saving graces to these films, but most of the non-Evans moments are fairly forgettable. If there's one downside to Evans' role, it's that he was such a great Torch that he was later cast by Marvel as Captain America, as well, so we'll probably never get a Fantastic Four / Avengers crossover.

Unlike a lot of other folks, I enjoyed Daredevil. It was a little darker role for Affleck (moreso in the Director's Cut with its "R" rating), but I felt he played it well with what he was given. Speaking of the Director's Cut, that's what you'll be getting with this bundle instead of the theatrical release, so it's worth a re-watch even if you saw and disliked the original film. Aside from the more violent undertones, a lot more development is put into Matt Murdock's character, Daredevil's secret identity. There is also a bit less focus on the romantic storyline compared to the theatrical release. Jon Favreau's portrayal of Franklin 'Foggy' Nelson brings some good comedic timing to the movie, but Michael Clark Duncan's "Kingpin" character was a bit over-the-top. It was already tough to stomach a towering black man in place of a short and obese-looking white guy from the comics, but you could somewhat overlook the creative casting choice because, hey, it's Michael Clark Duncan. Then they saddled him with some of the cheesiest lines in the movie, and that was that. In what seems to be somewhat of a rarity in comic movies these days, the look of Daredevil's costume was done extremely well and should please fans of the comic, at least. Plus this movie had a great soundtrack. Elektra was a good-looking but ultimately poorly-used character in this film, a fact which is only somewhat corrected in the Director's Cut. It's not a major winner of a flick overall, but it's definitely enjoyable, and I'd imagine the Director's Cut will breath new life into this film for a lot of viewers whose only prior viewings were the theatrical release.

Elektra as a stand-alone movie, sadly, felt like an obligation. Cheesy effects, an oddball storyline, and not one you'll probably re-watch on any consistent basis. On the plus side, Jennifer Garner's inclusion in the Daredevil/Electra movies is what prompted us look up what other roles she's played, which led to us watching her previous portrayal as super spy "Sydney Bristow" in J.J. Abrams' "Alias" TV series. So I have to at least thank the movie franchise for leading us to that, because "Alias" is fantastic!

All in all, this bundle is a great deal for getting a couple of stellar movies, a handful of enjoyable ones, and a couple of arguable duds, all for less than the price of the X-Men collection by itself (EDITORIAL NOTE, 5/23/14: The X-Men & Wolverine Collection by itself can now be had for less than the cost of the Marvel Bundle). And if you're a Marvel movie collection completionist, sets like this are a welcome offering since you don't wind up paying above and beyond what you would have paid for the movies you really liked anyway, and you get to fill those gaps in your collection you might not have otherwise purchased in good conscience.
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