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X-Men: First Class–A Second-Class Film (Orion’s Take 2/5)

June 13, 2011 1 comment

This movie review is late.  Part of the reason for that is the sheer disbelief I felt when leaving the movie theater after the credits—I needed time to process my horror over the destruction of a beloved brand.  Perhaps I exaggerate: after all, the lead characters did their job admirably.  I just cannot comprehend why the producers of this film thought it a good idea to return to the era of kitschy, campy, superhero movies, when The Dark Knight proved to anyone with a brain that superhero movies could be done seriously, and done right.

As noted above, the rapport between James McAvoy as Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Magneto is quite electrifying.  Unfortunately, the film doesn’t give them enough room to grow: though it’s clear that the two characters respect each other (Xavier and Magneto go as far as to call each other “brother”), there is no real interaction between the two that explains this connection.  Sure, the two play some chess, and talk about the nature of revenge, and of mutant rights—but that makes up maybe 10 minutes of a two-hour film.  There simply isn’t enough material to go around.

Thus, despite excellent performances by both McAvoy and Fassbender, the relationship seems stilted somehow, strangely misplaced.  This is all the more problematic because the two characters share an extremely complicated relationship in the other films and in X-Men canon.  Magneto is no simple villain, and Xavier is no simple hero, but without a lack of development at the end of the film these are the positions each character holds.

And if that weren’t bad enough, the rest of the cast is at best lackluster.  I don’t blame them.  Playing such second-rate mutants as “Banshee” or “Angel” can’t have been exciting.  The only characters the casual fan will recognize are Beast, Mystique, and maybe Havok.  I don’t understand why these were the X-Men chosen to make up the “first class” of X-Men—obviously the movie doesn’t stick that closely to canon (everyone knows that the real reason Xavier is in a wheelchair is because of Lucifer, an obscure villain), but why use random X-Men nobody has heard of?  Also, the first few X-Men also run into the same problem as Xavier and Magneto, getting so little screen-time that when one character is removed from action, the audience doesn’t feel a thing.

My feelings are captured in the last scene of the movie.  Erik Lehnsherr has put on the mantle of Magneto.  His cape is red.  He’s wearing gloves.  I’m excited for this moment, the beginning of the next chapter, the unveiling of one of the best comic book villains ever.  And then the camera cuts to Magneto’s face.  The helmet, which was cool before in silver, is now spray-painted a gaudy red.  There are two horns on the front.  He looks and obviously feels ridiculous, but he takes a deep breath and delivers a line that makes me smile in embarrassment.

“Call me…Magneto.”

2/5 Waffles

–Orion

See also: Apple’s Review (4/5)

Killing will not bring you peace, my friend: “X-Men: First Class”

I have been excited for this movie since the first preview.  X-Men is set apart from other superhero/comic book series simply because of the sheer number of characters.  There is no main superhero; instead, there are teams.  Although the latest installation in the X-Men franchise, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” was terrible, the trailers for X-Men: First Class focusing on different characters just looked so exciting.  Orion and I went to the midnight premiere, which is always fun and packed with energy.

James McAvoy stars as the young Professor X, still simply Charles, who begins discovering other mutants.  There is a sense of coming together, and, as Charles says several times, “you are not alone.”  There were many things that I liked about “First Class,” but I think my favorite was just how many characters there were, and how each character grew in his or her own way.  (You guys can check out some of the character-specific trailers that are out there.)

Of course, the movie is filled with tributes to the original X-Men movies, both its predecessor and future.  We see Charles and Erik attempt to recruit a gruffy Wolverine, we learn how Charles became wheel chair bound, and watch the rise of the Brotherhood.  While this is pleasant and fun in one sense, it’s also sometimes frustrating; ne of the big problems I have with Marvel is just how many contributors there are to a series; so many different authors have all written in their own stories, so continuity becomes a big problem.

It’s amazing how much the movie was able to accomplish – not only do friendships form and break, but romances and alliances do as well.  Of course, they’re not very thoroughly developed because of the sheer mass of events, but it’s enough to be believable.  The division between mutants with physical abilities and mutants with mental abilities, for example, is something I never really considered before, but plays out in the movie.

Overall, 4/5 – the story was fast-paced, fun, and exciting!  I love watching the students grow, and Charles and Erik evolve into Professor X and Magneto.  Orion hated the movie though, so you’ll all have to stay tuned to hear what he thinks!

Best regards,

Apple

See also: Orion’s Review (2/5)




June 2011!

X-Men: First Class – James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender – sSet during the Cuban Missile Crisis, this takes a look at how it all began!  I am super excited for this!!

Super 8 – Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams! – a found film about something extraterrestrial?

The Green Lantern – Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively – your favorite comic book hero finally gets his own movie.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper, as the businessmen who inherits six penguins!

Bad Teacher – Cameron Diaz + Justin Timberlake – teacher-teacher love.

The Troll Hunter – Nowegian film students go looking for trolls, which apparently have been kept secret by the government.

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