Friday, July 01, 2011

X-men, first class

I give the most up to date reviews.

I am going to go ahead and give the new X-men a thumbs up. It gets the fundamentals correct, with the main thrust of the story being about a battle between idealism and pragmatism, with Xavier thinking the best of people, and Magneto the worst. Both McAvoy and Fastbender do splendid jobs, although the latter slips into an Irish accent somewhat into the film, which is a tiny bit embarrasing. Still, their stories are compelling, and this is what drives through the film, and powers past many of the flaws that the story possesses.

Along the way there are other effective tales- the younger x-men are mostly forgettable, but Raven and Beast's struggle reflect their "parents", and as a result are the most interesting. The other mutants are, sadly, decoration, and they are given paper thin personalities- the film probably spends more time with them than necessary, as we have no real incentive to care about their struggles.

The script is probably the films weakest part. While its fine when dealing with Xavier and Magneto, everything else seems to have come from film cliches 101

"God help the russians if they cross that line."
"God help us all."

"Can you fly this thing?"
"Fly it? I built it!"

URGH. Not only are both those selections terrifically cliched, they actually add nothing to the film. Theres no reason to actually have them there other than to fill dead air.

But, for the most part, the film works. It could have been better, but it could have been worse, but the central conflict is compelling and fun, and worth a watch.

Now for nitpicking time!

-Kevin Bacon was a lot scarier with a moustache, rather than a groovy submarine dwelling villain who wears a goofy helmet.
-January Jones can't act. Also, her diamond form can be crushed by metal. Huh?
-The CIA agent wears ludicrously sexy underwear to work
-Apparently Kevin Bacon can absorb all force except a shiny penny. I guess he was killed by the force of irony?
-Xavier decides to hide from the government. In his massive mansion, under his own name. Lets hope the CIA didn't do any paperwork!
-Urgh, every single time they had to say someone's name, it felt like a massive wink at the audience. "No.... X-men!"
-I love that Azreal and whirlwind man (did he even get a name?) have NO lines in the film.
-Beast's face mask looked really, really silly.
-When magneto decided to cause an international incident by invading the Russian base, Xavier looks utterly powerless. If only he had some way to control Magneto's actions!
-I love that the expert in genetics they choose is a newly graduated phd student. Man his supervisor must be PISSED. Admittedly his supervisor doesn't have mind powers, but thats just sheer blind luck on the cia's part.

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At 3:49 pm, Blogger Ed said...

I very much enjoyed the film, personally, and while you're right about the other x-men being a little sparse, that's always been the curse of the x-men in all media. I actually disagree with you about the script, for the most part it seems pretty sound. The god help us all bit is supposed to express that neither of the captains wants to do this, they know it will lead to a war with no winners.

And now to nitpick the nitpicking!
- I was more scared of the nigh-invulnerable supervillain Kevin Bacon than the somewhat crazy Nazi Bacon but, hey, to each their own.

-January Jones is an adequate actress most of the time, though she was definitely not the best choice for Emma Frost, and the diamond thing is actually a thing; diamond is very hard, not very strong, it has fault lines. Real-world diamond cutters normally split diamonds using wooden wedges before they get down to polishing.
-MacTaggert's choice of underwear was not particularly unusual back then, the sixties were a much more dapper time. I know a few people who do the same as a matter of rote even now.
-Yeah, I don't know where they were going with that. I get the feeling they were going for "it's going really slowly, so that doesn't count somehow" which, now that I think about it, very nearly makes sense.
-Mindwipes all round!
-Yeah, I got that too, although in no way was it bothersome.
-Azazel gets a few lines, in a very thick Russian accent no less. Riptide doesn't but, frankly, fuck that guy.
-It looked like Beast does these days. Whether or not it's silly is a matter of opinion.
- He was trying to keep Magneto around and mind controlling him would only have made him leave.
- It's set in 1962. DNA has been understood as a structure for a little over eight years, it's entirely possible that he is the person with the best understanding of mutation in genes. More importantly, though, we see him just after he's promoted to professor of genetics at Oxford, even if he has yet to teach any classes. If you were a CIA agent tasked with finding an expert on genetics, who would you go to first?

At 4:00 pm, Blogger Mr K said...

I did enjoy this film, don't get me wrong, but it could have been better. You're right that the gold help us line has A purpose, its just clunky- its narrative we've heard a million times before.

Now to nitpick the nitpicking of the nitpicking!

-I just felt hippy Bacon was a bit too groovy to be a villain
-I am just wrong about the diamond thing. But not about the acting
-Pfft, I think men liked to imagine women wearing sexy underwear at all times, its just rather convinient!
-on the magneto thing.. magneto is apparently about to start world war 3! I think thats the time to do mind wizzery (of course it turns out he doesn't, but meh...)
-I'd go to his supervisor! OK, maybe he's actually becoming a doctor by producing research so original that no-one has thought of it before... but yeah, I doubt it. Seniority is meaningful!


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