Thursday, June 9, 2011

Awesome Movie Highlight: X-Men First Class

X-Men: First Class serves as a prequel, in a way, to the first three X-Men movies.  And it's just as good, if not better, than X2, the best of the three originals.  I think I even like it better than Thor, which was my favorite superhero movie until First Class arrived.  I'm not one to compare to the comics or book because I'll end up being disappointed.  Let's face it: movies are no longer original; they are adaptations of comics or novels.  I like to separate the mediums.  First Class succeeds in its goal of making a fantastic movie, based on the X-Men comics.  It takes X-Men from many generations and incorporates them into this First Class.  I give it an 8 out of 10.  Do not read ahead if you don't want spoilers.

Angel Salvadore, or Angel (not be confused with Warren Worthington, the male Angel), is a nice sassy addition and well played by Zoe Kravitz.  I wish, though, she'd been fleshed out more.  Just so you know, they made her power much less gross in the movie: she vomits highly acidic fluid rather than spits fireballs.  "You're welcome"--Matthew Vaughn

Banshee was a little annoying, but tolerable, and it was fun to see his nervousness at flying, especially after Magneto threw him off the satellite when unprepared.

Darwin was admirable, but I wish he hadn't died.  It shouldn't be possible for him to die, but I suppose the most noble and heroic can't live long, right?  Or else, it's not interesting.  Darwin sacrificed himself for someone who turned her back on her friends.  That says a lot about someone: whether it's that he's stupid or a loyal is debatable.

Beast was great, but his transformation looked not-so-great.  I was hoping for better, but I'm sure it's a very difficult visual concept to make look good on screen.  So my panties aren't in a bunch because of it.  Fun tidbit: Beast's fur is supposed to be dark gray, but due to the limits of printing and art in comics, blue was often used for black, which goes for the original X-Men costumes as well being black and yellow, not blue and yellow, as often misconstrued.  Anyway, I like how the actor played Beast.  His lines were fitting, as were those around him, especially Havok's/Alex's.

Havok was fun.  I don't care for him in the comics, but I did like him here, and I liked the visuals.  It's much easier to show his powers using red energy, rather than white.  It also makes that connection to Cyclops clearer.  Havok was always less serious than his brother, a little more crude, so I think his making fun of Beast was fitting.  After all, we needed a jokester role, right?

How awesome is Jennifer Lawrence?  I love how she played Mystique's early years, someone just yearning to be loved and accepted for who she is.  Even Xavier, who knew what she really looked like, was slightly grossed out by her true blue form.  I felt so sorry for her that I understood and sympathized with her.

That's something this movie grabbed by the horns: erasing or blurring the lines of good and evil.  Because let's face it: there's no such thing.  It's all in point of view.  Mystique may see Magneto as being heroic and good, whereas Cyclops may see Professor X as being heroic and good (although not so much in the comics anymore).  Magneto was seen in a very anti-hero light, killing for revenge, a justifiable revenge.  Then he simply takes the place of Shaw.  He wasn't out to stop Shaw from destroying the humans; he solely wanted to kill Shaw for killing his mother and torturing him.  You felt bad for him, even rooted him on.  In killing.  I can't believe I ever thought that; I don't support killing or war, but here I am, cheering for Magneto.  MAGNETO!  I think that's what's always been unique about X-Men.  You can see the reason for the antagonists' attacks on humans or X-Men.  Mike Carey has been doing an excellent job in writing that with the Children of the Vault.  His antagonists are well-rounded and sympathetic.

Fassbender made a wonderful Magneto, serving as a fitting predecessor for Sir Ian McKellen.
You can see why people would follow him so readily.  He's got the rhetoric, charisma, fuel, and poise of a leader.  McAvoy played a great young Xavier, a playboy and selfish person also with great charisma, rhetoric, and poise.  But he also empathizes, especially with Magneto.  He knows what Magneto has gone through, which is why they're forever frenemies.  The scene where Xavier taught Mags how to get in touch with the rage and serenity at the same time for maximum control over his powers almost made me cry.

The X-Men looking at their new base of operations: Charles Xavier's mansion in Westchester, NY. Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Lucas Til as Havok.

What somewhat irks me about the film is that the non-white folk are reduced to death or villainy.  What we're left with is a group of white X-Men, and mostly male, especially at the end.  It's not too different from the real first class of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel, and Beast, but when the All-New All-Different X-Men splashed onto the scene, we were bombarded with races and cultures previously unseen in X-Men, let alone X-Men.  Since Giant-Size X-Men, X-Men has prided itself on its diversity.  I wanted that to happen for the movie, considering its symbolism of equality despite differences.  I think it could've done a bit better job in developing characters' personalities, but that's tough to do without extending the film's length and without narrowing down the cast.

Overall, I loved the film.  It was a well-made movie.  I just wonder if they'll produce a sequel to this one or do X-Men 4 instead, showcasing the younger mutants from previous films and new ones, like Generation X, New Mutants, or New X-Men.  We'd have some great visuals to work with and varied ethnic backgrounds.  It would be wonderful to see something like Dust, Anole, Cannonball, Husk, Omega Sentinel, Siryn, Iceman, and Kitty Pryde as the new team, having an Operation Zero Tolerance storyline, so we can bring in Omega Sentinel, rendering the rest of the X-Men inactive due to capture.

In related news: Due to the X-Men event in the comics Schism, Uncanny X-Men, the last Marvel comic to be renumbered, will indeed be renumbered after the final issue 544, just six issues before 550!  Come on!  It's not a big deal; it's just for crazy anal-retentive people who don't want change, are completionists, or are proud of having all issues of something so long published.  I'm excited for the change.  It IS the year of the X-Men by golly!  It doesn't really change the content.  The X-Men are still there, but I'm curious as to what the book's focus will be and if Legacy will become the co-main book, as it once was in the 90s.

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