Tuesday, 31 May 2011

160: Schnickty-Schning! Mutant Season!

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Revisiting these in anticipation of X-Men: First Class this week.

28 May 2011. Location: Home

First up, the series opener from 2000. This is more solid than I remember, and a lot more 'mature' than the rest of the Marvel cinematic catalogue, it seems.

The Good: The script's a little exposition-heavy at times, but I think that has more to do with its history as a comic. The interplay between Wolverine and Cyclops also made me smile. I'd forgotten how playful the antagonism was.

The Bad: No mention of Sabertooth being Wolverine's brother, this first time around. Odd, given what happened six years later. The first of Marvel's ongoing revisions to its own movie-canon? More on that later.

The Ugly: Toad may be one of the worst characters in movie history, with Ray Park mugging along like more of a cartoon than the comics and cartoons combined.

Overall: Very enjoyable, with more substance than subsequent Marvel outings.


X2: X-Men United
30 May 2011. Location: Home

Sort of great, yet sort of unbalanced. Bryan Singer's handling of the X-Men's themes of community, exclusion and self-discovery feels a little too subtle for the type of movie it's meant to be. That's not to say I don't appreciate what he's done; but there's a muted tension about X2 when there should be more colourful explosions.

The Good: Nightcrawler. One of the best characters in the film - interesting, conflicted, likeable, and criminally underused. I'm annoyed we didn't get to see him in the next movie, but we have a great performance from Alan Cumming here. Also great is Mystique. I'd forgotten what a central role she takes in the films until I watched them all back to back.

The Bad: Well, not 'bad', but as above, Lady Deathstrike is completely wasted in the film. It'd be nice to see her appearing earlier in the timeline (and as 'herself') as in X2 we only get to see her in thrall to Stryker.

The Ugly: It just seems like there's the ideas for two movies crammed into one. Only Wolverine gets any decent amount of screentime, and as his Origins film did it better, X2 feels a bit redundant now.

All in all: A good film, but feels underdeveloped.


X-Men: The Last Stand
30 May 2011. Location: Home

Bigger, brighter, and with almost no subtlety whatsoever. That bit I said about X2 and Singer underplaying the themes? He didn't direct the third one (he went off to do Superman), and Brett Ratner has decided that if you hadn't quite grasped the subtext of the first two films, he'd beat you over the head with it this time. It's not horrendously done, but it's certainly out-there.

The Good: Another great turn from Mystique, although after she's turned 'human', there's a scene where she helps the authorities trace Magneto which was cut from the final film. A damn shame, because we don't hear from her again.

The Bad: *SPOILERS* If you stick around after the credits, there's a scene with Moira McTaggart (more on her later), where it's revealed that Charles Xavier is still alive. If you pair this with the final revelation that Magneto's still got his powers, you just about remove any sense of consequence from the film. The only real 'loss' is Jean Gray / Phoenix. Still, I'm sure Marvel cound change their continuity if they wanted, as...

The Ugly: Hank McCoy/Beast appears in X2 in his human form. In X3, he's in his blue/furry iteration. The idea was that when Xavier used Dark-Cerebro in X2, the shock waves triggered the change in McCoy. No matter; it's established (on-screen) that McCoy is in human form at the time of X2. The upcoming First Class movie is due to have him in blue-form, approximately 40 years earlier. I'm just mentioning it now, that's all. Speaking of 40 years earlier, Moira McTaggart is played by Olivia (6th Sense, The Ghost) Williams, as a woman in her late 30's or early 40's. She's supposed to be the same age as Xavier and Magneto, seeing as she's due to appear in First Class as one of their contemporaries.

I don't mind movie-continuity being different from comic-continuity, but it irks me when the films trample all over existing versions without a reboot.

All in all: There's way more in this film, and yet somehow it feels like less?


X-Men Origins: Wolverine
30 May 2011. Location: Home

I won't do a good/bad/ugly for this one, suffice to say it's a great movie. A lot smoother and more coherent than any of the X-Men films, probably because there are less characters to shoehorn in? It's got a depth and character development that I wasn't expecting, and only one real flaw...

Why is Liev Schrieber's character 'Sabertooth'? Don't get me wrong, he's a great antagonist, but he bears no relation to any other version of Sabertooth in any media. Am I meant to believe that the scheming, skilled fighter in XMO:W is the same monosyllabic, shambling mess of brute force in the first X-Men movie?

Although, while I'm on...

• Bone-claws are just daft. Completely impractical (as is demonstrated in the log-fight scene).
• Please stop CGI'ing Patrick Stewart to look 'younger'. It's creeping me out.
• Danny Huston is good as the young-Stryker, but where did that Southern-Drawl from X2 go?

Other than that, an absolutely outstanding film.


And that, dear reader, was my Bank Holiday Weekend. Bring on First Class!

...should I call you Logan, Weapon-X?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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