Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Lies my teacher told me

The way I learned it, the Cuban Missile Crisis was the most dramatic confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union of the Cold War, brought about by the Soviet's attempt to place nuclear missiles in Cuban bases, and only resolved by heroic, mostly secret negotiation between President John F. Kennedy, the U.N. Attorney General, and Nikita Khruschchev.

I had no idea that it was all engineered by Kevin Bacon from his swinging submarine, and that it was actually averted by the combined forces of Charles Xavier and Magneto.

I just saw X-Men: First Class tonight, four days after it opened, because I am a bad comic book fan. Here are just a few quick thoughts.

—I kinda liked it okay. It didn't have any performances to match the best of those in the first three films (particularly Ian McKellen's Magneto), and virtually no action scenes or powerful visuals to compare to some of the best in those three films, but the actors were all pleasant looking, charismatic and I liked the costuming and set-design for the most part. Plenty of plot holes and odd leaps in logic, but, in terms of plot, there was nothing incredibly stupid about it, akin to the first film's mutant making ray-gun thing.

—The movie only really came to life for me in the short sequence in which Xavier uses the proto-Cerebro to seek out other mutants, and he and Magneto go through a recruiting drive montage. That scene, and maybe the one where we see Chuck trying to pick up girls with his mind-reading ability to genetics-based lines in a bar. The rest of the film was surprisingly lifeless.

—I don't see why Emma Frost couldn't have had an English accent though, or Moira a Scottish one, or Banshee an outrageous Irish one.

—While considering some of the choices they made in this film, I couldn't help but notice how many completely hilarious characters from the awesomely terrible mid-nineties X-Men cartoon were in this, and how they were rendered non-terribly hilarious.

Like, Sebastian Shaw just wears a pretty nice period suit, instead of knickerbockers and tights. Beast doesn't have that goofy smart guy accent and the habit of not only constantly quoting scientists and philosophers but then citing them like an asshole, and Banshee doesn't make that dumb flying scream he made in that cartoon ("EEEEEE!").

—I liked Emma Frost's hat in the Russian scene, and her costuming in general. Which kinda surprised me, as all the promotional shots the studio released previously kinda made me cringe. I think she looked pretty dumb in her diamond form though.

—The black mutant dies first. Of course.

—Was it weird that they never even named Shaw's tornado guy assistant? I didn't recognize him at all. I wouldn't have even known that Azazel mutant was anything other than an evil version of Nightcrawler if I hadn't seen him mentioned on a couple of blogs in recent days.

—I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to this movie, set...I don't know when, the ' 70s? The '80s?...when teenage versions of the heroes from the first trilogy like Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm and some of the ones from the end of this film are being X-Men and doing X-Men stuff. I don't really know how all of the five X-Men film fit together at this point though; weren't a teenage Cyclops and a teenage Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine...?

Of course, since Chuck and Magneto broke up at the end of this movie, and the former can no longer run around being a psychic man of action, I wonder if there's much point in a direct sequel to X-Men: First Class.


Anonymous said...

would xmen second class be a horrible name for a sequel?

Also, did you notice the total lack of concern for the continuity in the films? I had the impression that they attempted to link this to the first three movies, but Hank McCoy sticks out as a continuity issue as he appears to be fully human in a news clip in one of the first two.

Anonymous said...

I found myself wondering if the US really did put missles in Turkey, but found myself too lazy to check.

Josue said...

Wow. Should´ve said it was about the movie. Hope you didn´t spoiled me anything with that first paragraph.

LurkerWithout said...

The follow-ups to the comic were "Wolverine: First Class" and then "Uncanny X-Men: First Class", so I guess if they did this as a series those could work as titles...

And a movie that has the whole Wolverine forced to take Kitty and her teenaged friends to a Dazzler concert scene might be interesting...

Jay said...

Emma Frost doesn't have an English accent because the character is, and always has been, American.

snell said...

Nick--yes, they did...and it was a secret agreement by Kennedy to remove those missiles at a later date that led to the resolution of the crisis.

Anthony Strand said...

Yep. Emma's from Boston.

A Hero said...

Re: Emma Frost's accent - I think everyone envisions her with an English accent despite her being from Boston. Because of that I wish they had given her the thickest Bostonian accent they could manage.

Anonymous said...

Heh. Make her from Southie. Or Dorchester. The mental disconnect would explode many a brain.

Caleb said...

Also, did you notice the total lack of concern for the continuity in the films?

Huh. I didn't remember that at all until I read your comment. I don't think he NEEDED to turn blue and furry in this movie anyway, really; it was just one more distracting subplot.

As it was ending, I did want to rewatch at least the first one to see how the end of this one lined up with the beginning of that one.

Emma Frost doesn't have an English accent because the character is, and always has been, American.

Oh my God, really?! I honestly always assumed she was British. Before anyone revokes my comics blogger license, please bear in mind that the X-Men have always been one of my big blind spots of comics knowledge (DC's Legion stuff another).

Most of what I know of the X-Men comes from that cartoon I mentioned.

I actually looked up clips of Emma from it to see what kind of accent they gave her, and it was totally just a normal accent. That's crazy! EVERYONE on that show had a ridiculous accent of some kind.

Jeremy said...

Emma apparently speaks in one of those high-brow New England voices that sounds British to some people, but is really just snooty and condescending. So your confusion is understandable.

John Foley said...

I think one of the Whedon issues stated that Emma sometimes affects a totally fake-sounding British accent.