X-Men: First Class

Yeah, posting schedule has been detoured, again. I blame the boyfriend and his nefarious ideas re: seeing movies on the weekend. Will nobody stop this madman?

So, my thoughts on X-Men: First Class:

* Retro-tastic! Always a plus, for me: I would go into some sort of Padme-style lack-of-will-to-live decline if I found myself back before birth control and lattes, but historical eras are always fun for me to read or watch. Especially when there are mutant powers or magic or something to make up for realistic historical squalor. I was not around in the actual sixties, but from my perspective, the movie did a pretty good job of establishing the time.

* Swinging Young Xavier is hilarious, also very cute. Not really sure why he had an English accent at six, what with being born in Westchester, but whatever. Not really complaining.

* Ugh, Mystique, stop being Clingy Jealous Girl. Cockblocking is not the way to anyone’s heart; there *is* no way to Xavier’s heart in the way you want; stop mooning and pouting. She does, thank God–and Magneto–but the first few scenes with Adult Mystique…GAH.

* Mystique’s issues in general were…interesting. In the comics, and the modern-day movies, it’s pretty clear that she’s pissed that society will hassle her if she appears in her true form, and that this is understandable; in FC, at least at first, it seems to be more about boys not liking said true form. Which is very appropriately teenage, but…

a) If I could look however I wanted, for however long I wanted, I so would not care how “hideous” my natural form was. Honestly, the natural state of the “normal” human body is or can be twenty different varieties of either “ew, get it away” or “don’t look at me like this”, and while I assume Mystique’s no more immune to head colds or food poisoning than the rest of us, shapechanging seems *way* easier than hair dye, facial scrubs, shaving, regular trips to the gym, etc.*

b) Mystique’s true form is Jennifer Lawrence only…OH MY GOD SHE’S BLUE. And maybe kinda scaly. THE HORROR. Yeah, Xavier’s not interested**, and Beast’s got issues–dude, you have fleshy monkey feet, she’s Blue Jennifer Lawrence, maybe not conflating the two so much?–but informal polling indicates that nine out of ten guys would hit that.

* Could have lived without the invocation of Black Dude Dies First, movie. Also having the only defector to Shaw’s forces of Evil be the stripper. Really? And it’s pretty *blatant* defection to evil, I gotta say: guy’s just killed about a hundred people for no good reason.

* Shaw’s attack on the facility was a nicely hardcore moment: no offscreen civilizations getting destroyed, no people disappearing…nope, a lot of guys getting dropped to their horrible screaming doom. And/or shivved. It seems strange that you have to establish that a film goes there when said film began with Nazis, but hey, it’s effective.

* Speaking of Nazis: yeah, I’m kind of on Team Magneto here, or at least on Team Sometimes You Have to Put a Coin Through a Dude’s Head. Shaw:

a) was a Nazi. If not an official Nazi, a guy who joined up with the Nazis so he could experiment on ten-year-olds, which is…not actually any better.

b) post-being-a-Nazi, tried to start World War III, and killed a lot of people in the process.

c) could absorb and redirect energy. Put this guy in a normal jail cell and he’ll run into the walls until he can blow the place up.

Yeah, killing him might not bring Magneto inner peace, but it brought the rest of the world the assurance that we were one step further away from being nuked. I’m cool with that. Couldn’t have been much fun for Xavier, what with experiencing the braincoinage second-hand, but sometimes you’ve got to break eggs to make an omelet. Er, kill a guy. Whatever.

* People who find dental stuff squicktacular: there’s one scene in this that is just Not Okay. Geez. Inventive use of Magneto’s power, yes. Comfortable to watch? OH MY GOD NO.

* Emma Frost could only be more Bond Girl if her name had been something like Frosti Piques. And if she’d gotten it on with Xavier or Magneto, I guess, but hey: PG-13.

* Yay training montage! *Snerk* at Hank’s montage scenes. Beast is awesome and all, but the Jekyll & Hyde allusions are perhaps a little much considering that the guy has…monkey feet. When I think “hidden animal darkness waiting to be unleashed”, I do not think “prehensile toes”.

And I don’t actually ever think “hidden animal darkness waiting to be released”, because then I’d have to paint my nails black, listen to *way* more Depeche Mode, and write a lot of bad poetry during third-period study hall.

* The Russian/American parallels were all kinds of awesome, and the “it has been an honor” scenes rocked. That said, *wow* does humanity sort of justify Magneto’s decision at the end.

*Disclaimer: these things aren’t, and shouldn’t be, mandatory for everyone out there. But they are for me, and I expect them or the male equivalent from anyone I’m involved with.
**And the movie leaves it pretty ambiguous why: maybe it’s Mystique’s blue scaliness, maybe it’s a Westermark sort of thing, maybe he likes playing the field and doesn’t want to bonk a girl he’s close to. It’s not clear, and I approve of that.


Green Lantern: Spoilers

Been a little while, no? I’ve just finished the first draft of the second romance novel–that sounds a little like a Scooter lyric, but hey–and am again experiencing the joys of free time. Or at least more free time than I’ve previously had. Upcoming posts: IT and the nature of nostalgia, more Shadow Hearts before the PS2 room gets too hot to enter, and probably something about Mass Effect.

Meanwhile, went to see Green Lantern last night. Not great; not bad; if you want to sit around somewhere with central air and eat popcorn, you could certainly do worse. A few notes:

* This summer’s trend seems to be Half-Naked Guys and Exploding Galaxies. I am…not complaining.

* Stuff that I could have seen expanded: the training montage (I find it hard to believe that Jordan masters his ring in a day, plus you can never go wrong, in my book, with more training montage), the relationship between Carol and Hal (they seem to whipsaw back and forth between past friendship and past issues in a way that’s weird for people who’ve been working together for years), Parallax’s arrival on Earth (…the military didn’t see this thing coming and fire some missiles? Really? It’s only as big as AN ENTIRE CITY and it shows up all “BOO!” behind Hammond, WTF?).

* Stuff that I could’ve seen cut: the birthday party scene (we never see any of those characters again, and I think we get the Hal Has Paternal Issues and Also Is Irresponsible point already), the getting-jumped-in-an-alley scene (you can put the power-discovery bits in either the oath or the helicopter-rescue), and, to my mind, a lot of the renunciation bits. Things just seemed pretty uneven: Hal is loving this! Then he’s hating it! Then he wants to be with Carol! Then he doesn’t! Ow, my neck. Also, I felt like Parallax did not need the expanded backstory. He’s a fear demon, he’s yellow, he’s creepy Lovecraftian badness, he was imprisoned and now he’s not and it sucks to be us, end of story.

* Stuff I liked: Hal taking a third option on the girl-or-the-world deal. Carol being useful, and having her own deal. (And that she liked being part of the business end of things.) Parallax’s appearance, which was very cool and Azathoth-esque, yipe. The creepy telepathy between Hal, Hammond, and Parallax. A Green Lantern Corps that looked alien (except Sinestro and Abin Sur, but hey: legacy) and a really alien-looking Oa, including the suggestion that the Guardians sit around in giant vertigo-inducing chairs glaring at the cosmos.

* Yes, the test pilot scenes *did* totally give me Hot Shots flashbacks.

* This is something I wonder about in the comics canon too: okay, so you have a ring that gives physical form to anything you can think of. Said ring is owned by…twenty-to-thirtysomething guys somewhere on the straight side of the Kinsey scale. I would expect a lot more evil to be fought with green naked versions of Alyson Hannigan. And that’s the *most* tasteful assumption.

* My usual sympathy for academics kicked in and I felt really sorry for Hammond during the mindreading-during-class scene. It’s unclear how much choice he had about getting Parallaxed–like, is the fact that he tries to kill his dad with TK the first time what brings on his transformation into gross fetus-faced guy? Or would that be inevitable anyhow?–although clearly he’s given in at the end.

* Speaking of tragic downfalls…Sinestro? (I’m gonna go ahead and assume your name actually means “Wise, Responsible, and Totally Not Evil” in your own language, okay? At least you’re an alien. Dr. Doom has no such excuse.) Forging a ring to use the power of the enemy did not work for Saruman, and it will not work for you.