Thursday, June 09, 2011

Post-Movie Podcast "First Class"

Steve Head and John Black graciously had me back on the PMP last week for "First Class," and lots of "issues" cropping up on my end let posting it here slip my mind at first. Apologies, here it is.


Cartogriffi said...

If you’ll excuse a somewhat off topic question, but do you review all of the movies you see, and if so where would I find these?

TheDVDGrouch said...

Hey seeing as the whole cold war Russia thing has already been brought up. Would it be to much to theorize Omega Red could be a villain in the First Class sequel?

Nick "Sylocat" Barovic said...

January Jones is GREAT in Mad Men, one of the greatest shows of all time.

Varya said...

So I just read on IMDB that this was changed from being a prequel to being a reboot during production.
It's a bit strange seeing as they go kinda far to establish some canon things, but I'm kinda exited. Now we don't have to be tied to some of the more questionable things from the first movies.
So yeah, I'm looking forward to see were they bring this!

bigjkt said...

I thought it was a good movie. The actions scenes worked and Fastbender as Magneto was a good choice. Um did the critic from the PMP I think his name his John did he see a different X-men First Class than everyone else?

Chris said...

Why did that one critic even bother with this movie. It sounded like he was trying to make up stuff to hate.

Aaron said...

Bob, I would really like to know your thoughts on the last episode of South Park.

TheDVDGrouch said...


Yeah last nights south park episode really got to me. I'm sure its just one big practical joke but even still I don't think I've ever been so sad at the end of an episode ever.

Sofie Liv Pedersen said...

Maybe it's because I am European and thus have a completely different background.
But really keeps striking me how all you guys keel talking about the mutants as an alias for "gay people." and the movie.. when all I could think about, and what I thought was brilliant, I mean there even is a straight down parallel in the movie and it's an issue dealt with... Is the holocaust and extermination of Jews which I felt to be a very striking similarity to the mutant problem at hand.
Now I am danish, neigbour to Germany, I grew up having pandered these stories into my head, even my own country had a lot of jew camps where jews were treated as nothing but sort of slaves.. And why? Because prior to the war they had proven to be smarter and thus became richer and more influential.. Hitler needed a scapegoat, It's to easy to say that world war two happened because there was one single evil man, so why would it happen? why would just slaughter the jews? I think this movie asks that question kind of brilliantly. And it drives Magneto's character, he saw this shit happen ones, he was a jew and was sentenced to live in a holocaust and die for the crime of being a jew, now he's a mutant and he sees the exact same pattern unfolding in front of his eyes.
Why am I the only one bringing this up at all? Is it me who's on the complete wrong track?
I don't even get the gay metaphor at all! but then again, I life in the second gay friendliest land in the world so it just kind of isn't a great deal to me and doesn't matter at all, I didn't think it as much as ones while watching the movies and I still don't see it even though other people keep on bringing it up.

Mads said...

...why didn't you defend Roger Ebert? Didn't you do a long piece on how we should at the very least respect what he's done for cinema?, And then there was that point where one of them brings up an ebert quote and says how it conflicts with what ebert has said earlier. He basically shoehorns this point of view of critics being movie judges and recommenders, rather than entertainers, onto ebert. It's a completely false dichotomy, you've revealed it as such in one of your recent articles just completely let it go?
Otherwise, nice performance.

Well, here's a question for you: Do you read a lot of x-men comics? how about vinage x-men comics?

Bob is a comic book fan, the other two appear to be somewhat into that as well. As such, seeing the x-men as a metafor for the current front in the civil liberties and rights debate is natural. In other words, there was injustice in nazi germany, there was injustice during the 60es before the rights of african americans was greatly improved by the bill of rights. Today, americans still cannot be married or even enter into equal-level civil unions. Fundamentally, it's the same thing; a minority is oppressed by a majority.

Since this is the central theme of the x-men, it naturally ties together.

As an example of the difference between the american and danish systems: If an american falls in love with a south american, and they're a gay couple, they're not allowed permanent residency in the same country. In Denmark, if you're gay, and you fall in love whereever in the world, you get to take that person into Denmark if you so choose.

This is a big deal; any civilised society that decides to perpetrate injustice out of fear - which is the reason gay people can't marry in the US - deserves to be criticized and be told how opressive they are.

The parallel in the movies is really mainly relevant to current problems; they're accentuated by the reference to the holocaust, but it's the same basic idea.

So that's where it comes from. Why do people remark upon this? Because it's a subtle metaphor; the metaphor of mutant opression as nazism was apparently so clear-cut that they didn't bother mentioning it much.

Steve said...

I've never been a fan of the racism/gay analogy for X-men because I don't think it's strong enough to compare mutants, who are sometimes literally walking weapons, to a man of different skin color. HOWEVER, they are great to combine with one another. For instance, I remember an African American mutant who complained it was already hard being black, but then a mutant as well (Maybe it was in District X). That's great, because both of those groups point to the same problem, which is prejudice. It's what makes Magneto such a strong character because he always will mention back on the holocaust, and in there, those people didn't even have powers and they were killed off with second thought. That's what makes X-men, the bloody face humanity has, and will always have.

Sofie Liv Pedersen said...


no, I have to admit that even though I do read comic books I haven't read any X-men comics. All in all I am not a supporter of the ungoing "goes on forever under several hundred different writers." thingy, I think that's the very reason Bob keeps saying comic books are weird, they are and to many cooks spoils the food while being ungoing to long without a plan makes then a patchwork and.. well, not working for me.

Anyhow.. from your name and the way you talk, I am sort of going to guess you are Scandinavian.

I don't know, I just can't help but fell from Magnetos point of view he is just experiencing major deja vu, seeing the exact same thing unfolding in front of his eyes, towards him and everyone he stands with, only this time he is not a little kid and can defend himself, and I fell that's a fair and square paralel and reason.
As I said, as my country don't have the gay problem at all, my schooling did focus on the holocaust instead, the subject came up as a major subject a full six times doing my elementary and high school the fall of the Berlin wall four times, i've seen the concentration camps with me own eyes, seen the Jewish museum in Berlin, in this country there is like one or two movies out about the subject each year.. no one is going to make it rest.

What I find so interesting though is, that every movie about world war 2 always begins as the war has all ready started, Hitler and his soldiers is a bad guy, our hero is some kind of purehearted hero who must overcome the hardship, go!
And X-men, while not directly saying it has anything to do with world war except the fact that they are trying the prevent world war 3.. and kind of starts it anyhow as Magneto sets out to fight humanity.
They ask the question. "Why?" and "How?"

Questions not asked very often in movies dealing with war, even though they should, and I fell they are even asked brilliantly so though not giving you an entire answer, which I am great full for, as far as I am concerned there is not correct finale answer.

Steve said...


I don't think First Class was necessarily about war as much as it was survival. For Humanity, for Mutants, for the good guys, the bad, etc.

Sofie Liv Pedersen said...


Actually, I am pretty convinced the main issue with X-men should be fun action a ton of cool super powers and having fun...

I just can't help finding it so curiouse that people keep on going on and on about the "Gay" synonom when I didn't even see it, and what I saw was the holocaust which makes more sense to me as A; we see the holoecaust in the movie and it makes up Magnetos character, that he is a jew seems to keep on mattering B; the ending climax is about avoiding world war three which is on the brim of happening C; judge this one as you like but that's how I see it, the movie ends with the small beginning of world war three anyhow, because humans declared war on the mutants and mutants lives all around the world.. So that will inevitability become world war, it's a war humans can't win because mutants will keep on cropping up, but it's still a war.

And people keep on going about the gay rights?

It just stroke me as being so odd and on some level amusing.

Varya said...

@ Sofie

The one doesn't exclude the other. Initially, I'd imagine (not a huge comic reader) that the mutant hatred was played kind of straight as racism, but with WWII almost 70 years back, it's not fresh in peoples mind. Yes we all KNOW about it, but it's not the same as remembering it. The "Gay angle" is much more relateable to us today.
In some ways, as in the Mystique/Beast plot, it's a better allegory; will you hide who you are to live normal, or show who you are and live proud.
But in the end, the prejudice towards mutants is also unique, since, let's face it, mutants (the X-kind) doesn't exist. Gay's aren't actually capable of going nuke or reading minds, whatever some may say, and neither were Jews. In the end, the likeness towards racism and homophobia is there so that we can relate to them, not to say: Mutants are Gay/Jews/Black

Mads said...

@ Sofie
Yup, I'm danish too.

And I agree with you on comics; I'm not a big fan of comics myself, but for whatever reason, I've read a lot of the wikipedia articles on marvels superheroes, and some of DC's too.

In this case, the civil rights parallel of the x-men is sort of a historical artifact, as I was trying to argue before. The update to include GLBT (gay/lesbian/bisexual/transsexual) issues is a natural extension, since they're currently oppressed in a lot of places, among them the US.

Personally, I'm afraid to say that the GLBT issues are less important than racial seggregation was; I mean, superficially, one seems much worse. And clearly, the outright extermination of semite people in nazi germany was much, much worse than either of those.
But looking at it like that...well, in the end, opression is opression, and injustices perpetrated by the government are all abhorant...and I don't want anybody to have any excuses for accepting it, so I tend not to make these distinctions all too clear. It's wrong, and it needs to stop.

Anyway, so when people draw on this parallel, it's probably also because GLBT issues matter right now; nazism is bygone and noone can do anything about it. LGBT issues are current and worth being offended over.

On another note, yes, it is amusing how people favor one parallel over the parallel you outline...but, well, one's current, the other isn't.

I guess one of the other reasons is that the parallel you mention is too "obvious" to be an interesting thing to point out in a movie podcast; Magneto sees the parallel so clearly, it's his driving motivation right there for all to see; it's presented that way. The LGBT parallel simultaneously allows people to flash their geek knowledge, and I guess, be amused over it's weirdness.

But to be honest, the question of whether he's right - and his reactions to it - is actually the more interesting one, to me anyway. So the nazism parallel is definitely one of the most important ones, both to magnetos character, and ultimately to appreciating the x-men.

Oh, there's actually also another angle to magneto I hadn't given much thought till now; he's a jewish terrorist, essentially... so he's more or less a criticism of extremist zionism. He has the same essential roots as many of the zionists who founded israel, but his calling is mutants (of course), and he approaches it as an extremist who's been hardened into a ruthless villain by tragic circumstance.

joseph said...

I agree with the doubter but I would focus my criticism on different things. The principle issue I have with the movie is the uneven production. You sight it as a 6 month production schedule. I can see it. Some of the special effects are just plain bad and unprofessional.

Some of the scenes are as you say uncompromisingly amazing and some of the best film-making I've seen in years(Argentina FTW!). Those scenes stand out almost feeling like a different director was working on them, and that a different writer wrote them. The rest of the movie simply feels inappropriate in comparison.

The movie tries to be shocking more for shock value than because it fits with the movie. I'm all for character deaths but putting a character death in the middle of one of the most goofy scenes of the movie(Darwin)makes everything feel so inconsistent. I don't ever have a sense of orientation emotionally when watching the movie from the second act on. The story is not good enough to offset this.

In the end this is a movie that maintains the trend of phenomenal casting and uneven production values. This was a trend started by x-men after all why should they stop the trend 5 movies in?

I love x-men comics above all other comics because the concept for the comics is better than that of any other traditional comic. x-2 is still the best(IMHO) albeit highly compromised x-men film in my opinion and I'm sad I still have to say that.

Blah blah blah, yakety smakety... said...

oh and that guy with the whirl wind is not riptide really he's some fabrication of the film universe like the porcupine character from x-3. Rip tide spins himself and grows/throws bones like marrow. so his power on apperance is as a tornado with bone spears shooting out of it. ha ha ha!!!! Wow happy they didn't put him in the movie, :P

Blah blah blah, yakety smakety... said...

you can't kill Darwin he'd develop sebastian's power temporarily or something he is kinda unable to be killed in a traditional sense. Even if he died he exploded his bits would reform or something he has no weakness.