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Saturday, June 4, 2011

What REALLY Happened in The Cuban Missile Crisis: X-Men First Class Review

Little known fact, because it’s nerdy as all get-out: Ern likes X-Men comics. Leeard likes (no, loves) James McAvoy. This week, these things came together in the new X-Men movie. Now, Ern is actually going to turn off the comic book fan and review the movie pretending she never read them. Why? Because most people haven’t and the movies are for the masses. Also, because the movies are nothing like the comic books. Occasionally, movies will follow the comic books exactly, and while that pleases purists, it doesn’t really work onscreen.

Onto the movie: This is the first of a planned origins trilogy, so it's nice to see good casting if we have to look at these people for years to come. One of the movie’s strengths is the bromance between damaged, vengeful Erik Lehnsherr and idealistic, encouraging Charles Xavier. Also, it’s really nice to see them younger and hotter and more mobile. James McAvoy’s Xavier brought lots of smiles to faces as a smart, idealistic little charmer with a heart and beer-chugging abilities. And that accent was adorable. Ern hated James M. because of the movie Wanted. Don’t even get her started on Wanted. BLECK. But now, she’s a fan. He did Professor X proud.

Michael Fassbender had some sort of weird, ever-changing accent that we can’t pin down. We know he’s a mix of German and Irish, in real life. But other than that, he was great, and it was the director's fault/idea anyway. ( There’s nothing like an antihero to steal a show. One of us has liked him since Inglorious Basterds (where his crazy accent actually got everyone killed), and he made an alright Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre too. But we think that both he and James did their best jobs here, and we’re glad to see them get such good material. The two had great chemistry and milked their parts for all they were worth. They could have been the only mutants in the darn thing, and it would have still been good.

Ern was really hard on Thor (too hard, probably) for being generic, and she gave it only a B. The X-Men movie is a little better, because it had more going on in the relationships between the characters. The story was fine, the direction was great, and the pacing was much better than Thor’s. It went by quickly and didn’t feel slow, while Thor sagged a bit in the middle. Really, what you want in a movie is to be entertained, right? Pacing is a big part of that.

There were a few good laughs and cameos too. There was tension, even though we all know what happens to the main characters, eventually. The effects were good. The X-Men movies have nice tolerance messages that can sometimes get a little heavy-handed, but we’ll forgive that. The new characters were fun.

What didn’t work for us? Well, Jennifer Lawrence brought a lot to a boring role, but we didn’t like the origin story where she and someone else were best friends. When you look at the other movies, there is no continuity with that plot line. Also, lots of things could have spanned two movies. They didn't need to wrap up and end so much if there is going to be a trilogy. Beast was a little whiny, and we weren’t digging the Kevin Bacon performance. Or the January Jones performance. But is that really a surprise?

Bottom line: This is one blogger’s second-favorite superhero movie, if you don’t count Kick-Ass, which was more of a comedy. The number one is still The Dark Knight. That was this blogger’s Titanic. This blogger saw it six times in the theater. Wow, why am I admitting that?

Movie Grade: A


  1. Wasn't sure how this one was going to turn out after the disaster that was "X-Men Origins: Wolverine". Not as good as "The Dark Knight", of course, but a very promising beginning. I thought Magneto and Xavier were scripted and acted beautifully; in many ways, this was their origin story, and the rest of the characters were along for the ride.

    The movie did fall down a bit in the villian department. Shaw wasn't all that interesting, and Frost, well, gave a frosty performance. Loved Azazel, though. You can now see why Nightcrawler was so screwed up.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

    Now, bring on "Super 8" :)

  2. Wolverine was terrible. Only enjoyed it/saw it because Hugh Jackman was hot. No idea how any guy enjoyed that dribble.

    You're right about the villains, but the main two were being so interesting that we didn't feel much of a lack. Gotta love a good bromance.
    We thought the film was more Magneto's origin story than Xavier's. The rest of the characters and villains just served as a background for those two to play on. When we said that things "could have spanned two movies," we meant their friendship. That was too short. Magneto could have killed shaw, then spared the ships and gone home with a slightly disgruntled Xavier. Why do it all in movie number one?

    We're going to see Super 8 on the first day it comes out.

  3. I had never read the comics so the only thing I know about X men is what I watched in the preovious two films (yes, I'm ignoring "The Last Stand" & "Origins: Wolverine") and I thin that I watch the cartoon series but I indeed love the two first films (I had a crush on Anna Paquin, maybe that's why I watch True Blood).

    I reallly liked this film. It's entertaining, really quickly but too hurried in the end. I like (not love) Jennifer maybe because I felt better for her than the last time that I saw her, she was hunting squirrels for eating (Winter's Bone a.k.a. The film about how depressing are the poor people hahaha).

    Fassbender and McAvoy.. Just love their bromance.

  4. Fassbender and McAvoy made the movie. Jennifer was given a lame character who only whined about her looks and tried to bag the blue-eyed leads. We think she did as much with it as she could.

    We agree that it was hurried at the end. Why did they have to wrap it all up? Like we said in an earlier comment, the bromance should have lived on to span another film. (Second class)

    And one of us is going to defend The Last Stand. It wasn't nearly as good as the first two or this one, but it wasn't as bad as everyone says, we think. There were scenes that really worked, the special effects and cast were good, and we were entertained. They didn't have to just kill everybody off though, and there was too much focus on the Jean/Wolverine love.