I recently saw the latest installment of X-Men films entitled X-Men: First Class, starring James McAvoy, as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender, as his frenemy, Erik Lensherr, a.k.a. Magneto and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. When I first heard that Marvel was doing another installment of the X-Men series I wasn’t too excited. I thought the last X-Men movie: The Last Stand was decent, but the series felt played out. The, us vs. the world, mentality had built over the past few movies and culminated in a battle of good mutants vs. evil in where Logan’s love of Jean Grey triumphed all and helped to save the day for mankind. End scene, end series. Good run, but how do you build on that?
Why you go back forty-nine years and show us how it all began. Ah, an interesting twist you say, tell me more, you say. All right I will. If any of you have been reluctant to watch the X-Men trilogy released between 2000-2006, because you felt you didn’t know the characters, or understand why they became the way they became, this movie is for you. This is finally your chance to get in on the ground level. No more unanswered questions, no more wondering whose side to take, no more asking: why is he like this, and how did he become like that, etc. This movie answers all those questions and more. Below is my top five list of best-unanswered questions revealed in the X-men: First Class.
*Spoiler alert, if you have not seen the movie and would rather not have these unanswered questions revealed, then stop reading and go see the movie.
How did Charles Xavier become paralyzed? He was shot in the back by a stray bullet deflected off of Magneto. Next.
What put a strain on the relationship between Magneto and Xavier? They seemed like such good friends, and throughout every movie, they always shared a mutual respect toward one another. Then why the love hate relationship? Oddly enough, it wasn’t the bullet. Short answer – Xavier loves mankind, Magneto (Erik), not so much. It’s complicated. Okay then, well that begs the next question.
Why does Magneto hate humans? You would originally think it was because the Nazi’s took his parents away from him and placed him in a concentration camp, but no, that was only the beginning. It wasn’t until his mother was shot in front of him that he finally snapped. I find it odd though, that it was actually a mutant who killed his mother, not a human. Regardless, it certainly didn’t help mankind’s cause when instead of thanking him for saving the world from World War III (Kennedy who?) they shot a hundred missiles in his direction with the intent of wiping him off the face of the world. Bad politics.
Where did Xavier get the school for the X-Men? You ever notice that huge mansion all the mutants get to hang out in … how could you not? That place is pretty awesome. Well apparently Xavier’s parents were loaded (and also rich). The school was actually his childhood home. They never did go into what happened to his parents, or how the made their money, but this kid had it all (even a blue girlfriend).
Why are they called the X-Men? This one seems rather obvious, but for some reason I didn’t place it together until it was mentioned in the movie. They’re called the X-Men, because they’re Xavier’s men (and women). Duh to me, but admit it, you didn’t know either until I just told you.
So there you have it, five unanswered questions answers in one short blog. Now I know many of you may still have a number of questions out there, but why spoil the entire movie. Go see it for yourself and be the judge. You’ll discover that Charles, (when he had hair and could walk), was quite the ladies man. You’ll also be impressed to know that Magneto is fluent in at least four languages. Finally, you can show-off to your friends when you explain to them that it wasn’t Kennedy who thwarted the Cuban missile crisis, it was the X-Men. You’ll even see a surprise cameo. Who? C’mon, I don’t want to give everything away. Let’s just say he had a great line that my son enjoyed repeating. My bottom line: X-Men First Class, best of the group.
Summer blockbuster-time is back! And what better way to open the season than with a classic superhero adventure. The latest installment comes from Marvel (my personal preference over DC, but let’s not go there, that’s another argument). Thor opened in theaters last Friday, and of course, I was there to welcome him to the Tampa Bay area. You can imagine my surprise when I found my father in the theater waiting as well. The love of adventure apparently runs deep in the Bove family.
The latest superhero to grace the silver screen is Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, played by Chris Hemsworth. The movie also starred some other well-known Oscar worthy actors such as Naboo native, Natalie Portman, and I’ll eat your face, Anthony Hannibal-Hopkins. Did I mention this was a superhero movie? How cool is that? When was the last time you saw a couple of Oscar nominated performers doing a superhero movie? Fantasy is finally getting legit!
I had to admit, when I first heard that Marvel was going to bring Thor to the big screen, I had to scratch my head. Granted, I’m a fan of the comic, but I wasn’t sure of the crossover appeal to the general public. Let’s face it, he’s not as kid friendly as Spidy and Iron Man, he’s a bit more mature. If the masses have anything to say about it though, he was a huge success. According to IMDB figures the movie has already grossed over $60 million (within a week of its release).
Without giving away any spoilers, I will admit that I was both pleasantly surprised, and slightly disappointed at the same time (if that’s possible). Of course, I had to see the film on IMAX (nothing screams hero more than IMAX-3D) and the graphics were amazing. It’s definitely worth your while to stick around to the end and watch the universe flow in 3D as the credits fly by. The scenery was incredible, and the costumes were not over the top.
As far as the acting was concerned, I thought everyone came to play. Natalie Portman has truly become a fantasy/sci-fi favorite. Even newcomer, Chris Hemsworth, did a solid job (showed a good sense of humor). He looked a little younger than I thought Thor should be, but he carried the role well. The only role I had a problem with was Loki. Not that the actor did a bad job, as a matter of fact I thought Tom Hiddleston did a great job with the part given to him. I just thought the Loki character could have been more evil and devious than they portrayed. Instead you received a bad guy with daddy issues.
Was the movie true to the comic form? For the most part yes, but let’s face it, when Hollywood gets involved, things tend to glamor up a bit. I thought Asgard was a bit more Star Wars than Norse Mythology, but creative none-the-less. Did the story make a whole lot of sense? Eh. Did I care? Not really. I went with one mission in mind and that was to be entertained, and entertained I was.
Up next I think is yet another X-Men film, or The Green lantern. I’m not sure. I may just wait on those films (so much to see, see little time to see it). The movie I’m truly looking forward to viewing this summer is Captain America. This character is long over due for a re-make. If Thor is any indication of what to expect from Marvel going forward, then I’m enthused.
In the end, I thought this was a good start to the season. Granted it may not have posted as well as Spider Man, or Batman, but Thor clearly had a tougher crowd to win over. If you’re looking for a solid story line, you can wait for the Blu-Ray disk, (wow, I said Blu-Ray, not DVD). If on the other hand, you’re looking to escape, then you won’t be disappointed. I look forward to Thor 2. For Asgard!