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Some Couple reviews X-MenFirstClass
Glenn: Hello and welcome to another installment of "Some Couple Reviews..." This week, the couple reviews X-Men: First Class, directed by Matthew Vaughn, and starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. As always, some minor spoilers might be inferred from our review, though we do try to keep the review relatively spoiler-free.
Well, let's get started. I'm a huge fan of the X comics, so I may be a bit biased ... but I thought this X-men movie was quite good!
Kik: I liked it! Wasn't sure I would, since I hated X-Men 3: The Last Stand.
Glenn: You and I both thought X3 was a let down, though we both liked Wolverine. This movie definitely had a different vibe than all the previous X films though.
Kik: Yeah. I liked the 60's vibe. It also seemed to be much more about the Magneto and Xavier characters and their relationship, more than just super powered fun. I love the ways this film did connect to the other movies though. The Rebecca Romjin and Hugh Jackman cameos were great. I never followed the X-Men comics like you, so it was nice to see some of that back story of how the X-Men began.
Glenn: Well, the movie took quite a few detours from the comic book source material. Though, asking for continuity and canon accuracy when it comes to the ridiculously convoluted saga that is the X-Men comic universe is probably silly.
That said, I liked that this movie really delved into some of the lesser-known characters in the X-Men universe. What did you think of the new mutants?
Kik: Fly-girl was cool. The character Banshee was cool, though the actor was blah. Kinetic hoola-hoop guy was lame! You'd think a guy in solitary confinement would be more bad ass, but his character was left completely undeveloped. The training session scenes were fun, but those were more about Xavier and Beast doing their thing, than Hoola-hoo...I mean Havoc.
Glenn: About that section of the movie, I quite like how the director made the obligatory training montage into a series of comic book-style frames. It was a subtle nod to the source material, and helped keep the movie's pace from dragging.
Kik: My one complaint would be, especially with Mystique and the White Queen, there was plenty of eye candy for the boys, but nothing for me really. I wish they would have done more with tornado-guy. He was kind of cute.
Glenn: After sitting through three Twilight films, I have absolutely no sympathy for you. I liked many of the special effects. Mystique's shape changing looked better than ever. Especially with those slow changes, and that rippling sound effects, it really created the sensation that her skin was actually flipping over in order to change appearance.
Glenn: There's something to be said for good acting going hand-in-hand with the special effects too. It was awesome to see a young, vibrant Magneto doing his thing. And my hat's off to the acting job done by McAvoy! He did that thing where every time he was supposedly using his mutant telepathy, he would put two fingers to his temple ... a move that should have come off as cheesy, but somehow he made it work.
Kik: Yeah, I liked the acting, especially between Magneto and the professor. I always appreciate me a good bromance, and it didn't come off as cheesy at all ... which is saying a lot since they did, literally, cry together.
I also enjoyed the character development of Mystique too, seeing how she eventually hooks up with Magneto.
Glenn: Yep. Though on a side note, in the comics, she also hooks up with Azazel, which results in the birth of Nightcrawler. I think the screenwriters (who also wrote Thor, fyi) definitely did a great job with this film. I especially liked how they incorporated the historic event of the Cuban Missile Crisis into the plot.
Kik: Meh. I didn't care much. All I know about the Cuban Missile Crisis is that it took place in a Cuba-ey area and involved missiles. For all I know, mutant telepath, submarine explosions really did take place during the crisis.
Glenn: Well, I quite liked it. I read somewhere that someone involved with the first movie hinted that the creative team was playing with the idea of incorporating the Kennedy Assassination into a sequel - with Magneto's powers helping to explain the magic bullet. In poor taste, perhaps, but still intriguing.
Kik: I just wish the writers would have killed off Mr. Hoola Hoop instead of Darwin!
Glenn: Yeah, a few unfortunate tropes were included in the script ... like the charismatic black guy getting killed early in the movie. Oh, and making all the bad guys foreign, and all the good guys American. For instance, in the comics Banshee was Irish, and Sebastian Shaw (portrayed as a Nazi German in the film) was very much American.The X-Men comics were considered groundbreaking because they were so international, so that aspect was a little disappointing.
Kik: While you're brining him up, I was thrilled to see Kevin Bacon as Shaw ... if only to expand the game opportunities for Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. His character was cool. Menacing, with just the right amount of camp.
Glenn: Back to the topic of character development, I think the writers did perhaps too good a job presenting the motivations of Magneto. It's hard not to agree with him, and write Xavier off as hopelessly naive by the end of the film. We're never really shown why Professor X is so optimistic about the future of human/mutant relations. Whereas support for Magneto's philosophy literally bombards the screen.
Kik: Just to completely digress, I've just got to mention that the actress playing Moira McTaggert in the film - Rose Byrn - also co-starred in the very, very funny Bridesmaids! I thought it was hi-lar-i-ous! It was funny as hell to see John Hamm play such an asshole, and Kristin Wigg is hands-down the funniest person on SNL right now. We saw it a few weeks ago, but it had already been out over a month, and Glenn was too much of a slackerass to get around to giving the movie it's own review hub.
Glenn: Shush, and eat your bear sandwich!
Explore the world of the X-Men
Recently written comics that clearly helped inspire the name - and the costumes of the film. This paperback collection is a relatively simple introduction to the world of the X-Men.
Can't get enough mutant cinema? Box sets of the first three X movies are quite cheap and make nice gifts.
Part of the X-Men's great popularity is that the comic (in its finer moments) really could explore some deep issues, like race relations, prejudice, the ethics of tampering with the human mind.
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