Saturday, May 21, 2011

McWeeny Raves For "First Class"

Drew McWeeny, pound-for-pound the best overall film-journalist to emerge from the "movie-geek boom" of the late-1990s (as AICN's "Moriarty"), has the web's first semi-detailed (and basically spoiler-free) impressions of "X-Men: First Class" up on HitFix... and he sounds happy with it. Go give it a read.

Money quote from Drew:
"This is ground zero, and I think Fox just got it right, really right, in a way I can't say it feels like they have on any of their Marvel films so far.  With the right support, and with this film's key creative team onboard, a sequel to this could well be the "X-Men" epic we've been waiting for since day one."

It's going to be interesting to see how this is recieved. It's flown largely under the radar as the "and the rest" of the "Summer of Superheroes;" mostly because it's not part of the two BIG film-press narratives i.e. "build-up to The Avengers" (Thor, Captain America) and "Warner Bros. setting up the DC Universe characters to supplant the Potter cash-cow" (Green Lantern.) But the marketing has been strong, the cast is a who's-who of stars-in-training and Matthew Vaughn has major fanboy-cred after "Kick-Ass."

On the other hand, the decision to hedge bets by keeping vague continuity with the previous three films (this is still technically a prequel, not a "re-boot") means a dearth of ultra-recognizable characters; and after the twin disasters of "X3" and "Wolverine" audiences could certainly be forgiven for approaching another X-Men movie with trepidation. Also... there's a weirdly-resentful undercurrent in a lot of the fandom for any further Marvel movies being made outside of the Marvel Studios "shared universe" umbrella - as though fans are actively hoping for them to fail on the assumption that Marvel will then scoop the rights back up and make "Wolverine vs. Avengers" or whatnot.

We'll find out in about two weeks, one way or another.


Dave from canada said...

He also liked Indy 4 and the phantom menace.

Adam said...

I'm cautious towards X-Men, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

I'm pretty confident that the X-Men will never join the Marvel shared movie universe though. The X-Men have always been the odd ones out of even the official Marvel comic universe. They work as their own entity, but when you have other superbeings running around being involved in just as many things getting blown up yet the public loves them (a la Fantastic Four or the Avengers) it's kind of a weird dichotomy. If we actually did have superpowered idiots in tights running around the real world I don't think people would be very discerning about which ones were really heroes and which ones were just constantly making a nuisance of themselves.

TheDVDGrouch said...

I'm pretty excited for the new X-men. If nothing else I'll get to see Kevin Bacon in another villainous and if its anything like super we are all in for a treat.

LastRambo341 said...

Hey Bob, is the new Battlestar Galactica worth checking out?

Nick said...

The sad part is, even if the movies DO stop making money for Fox, it's going to be years before they stop making them, because nobody at Fox wants to be the one who let the rights slip back to Marvel and watch helplessly as Lasseter's empire starts doing them correctly and makes a billion dollars out of the deal.

That said, this is looking to be the best one so far, so there is a consolation prize. I look forward to seeing what else Matthew Vaughan can do in the superhero genre (I never really liked him before Kick-Ass, apart from Stardust).

Jwillx70 said...

To hell with managed,or even realistic, expectations. X-Men: First Class, 2011 Academy Award winner for Best Picture!!!

Waldo said...

Could somebody please explain to me why i'm supposed to think X-3 was such a terrible movie? As far as superhero movies go, i rather enjoyed it. Is it some sort of disrespect for continuity thing i'm just not getting (i've never really read any of the comics)?

Sssonic said...

@Waldo: Speaking only for myself, I consider X3 a bad movie for the following reasons:




* The script is an absolute mess. Never mind the fact that it tries to squeeze in all sorts of plot threads-Magneto's army, the Cure, Dark Phoenix-while giving none of them any sort of breathing room, it's filled to the brim with half-hearted story arcs which receive little attention and resolve idiotically-Rogue considering the cure is the most notable example-, new characters who receive literally no attention or characterization-Angel, Shadowcat, Colossus, the gang Magneto recruits-, and no real attempt to put it all together into a coherent whole.
* The action is dull as dishwater. The lesser budget from the first two films shows badly, resulting in things like Storm's bizarre "thunder spin" outside of Jean's house or the Great Battle at the end being a jumbled mess of wire-fu and crappy CGI. This is, I realize, entirely subjective, but for me I literally could not follow most of the action scenes, and the ones I COULD follow were inexcusably weak-Iceman vs. Pyro is a choice example for me.
* Lousy, LOUSY directing. The aforementioned action scene failures are one example, but more important still are things like Xavier's confrontation with Jean or the funeral afterwards. That lingering shot of his wheelchair fails so spectacularly at what it's trying to evoke that it's literally laughable.

That's just me, mind, but there are definitely reasons to dislike X3 well beyond its handling of the source material.

Dave from canada said...

@ ssonic

there's also the bit where people being offered a cure for being a minority is presented as a good thing. The whole mutant thing was suppsoed to make them an easy stand in for blacks, jews, gays, whatever the oppressed people du jour happened to be.

An excellent example is in X2 where iceman's mom says "have you tried not being a mutant?" which is a word for word take on waht a susbtantial portion of the gay community had to deal with on coming out to their family.

X3 treats what is the marvel universe's equivalent of conversion therapy as a good thing.

Granted I've all but given up on marvel's ability to handle xmen properly in the modern age but still. Someone should have seen the implications and mentioned how incredibly offensive they are.

Oh and there's also that business with Cyclops being written out of the story so wolverine could monopolize a third movie, even after his major plot points were dealt with in the previous one.

Chris Cesarano said...

I would honestly hope that this film gets a positive reaction of such a sort that Fox decides to use this as a reboot point. I'm so loving the tone of the trailers. It just captures what I feel X-Men is about in a manner that I never got from the original films.