I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

X-Men First Class

tn_xmenfirstclassHuh. Turns out Professor X and Magneto started out working with the CIA. You know what that means, don’t you? PHOENIX WAS AN INSIDE JOB.

X-MEN FIRST CLASS is the new X-MEN prequel that I guess they made to save money on the cast and to appeal to today’s young audiences, who despise baldies and cripples. So Professor Xavier, Magneto, Mystique and Beast return played by younger, hair-sporting, wheelchair-free actors to tell the story of what went down with the mutants during the Cuban Missile Crisis and before the founding of Professor Xavier’s Fancy School For Tots Who Shoot Beams.

This time around it’s directed by friend of the internet Matthew Vaughn (KICK-ASS, LAYER CAKE, almost did X3 but quit at the last minute) with parts 1-2 director Bryan Singer as producer. It has a very similar tone and feel to the previous X-Pictures, but the early ’60s setting is a nice change. They use it as an excuse to use some of the silly outfits from the comics and to have alot of beautiful women walking around in skimpy clothes and handsome men in nice suits. Stylistically there are some mild retro touches – a little dash on the score (they shoulda done it up full-on James Bond, in my opinion), some lounge tunes here and there, some goofy split-screens and wipes, alot of really crappy looking effects. Actually that last one was probly not on purpose, a phony looking diamond-skin digital effect is not something you’d see in the old 007 pictures, but I thought it sort of fit in somehow.

mp_xmenfirstclassWe see how Xavier met Magneto, who gave them their nicknames, how they tracked down other mutants and turned them into a team, and why they became enemies (spoiler: for the reasons already explained in the other movies).

They stay away from some of the mutants from the other movies (including ones that were already there at the start of part 1, like Storm, Dead Blind Guy and Xenia Onnatopp) but introduce a bunch of other ones: girl with bug wings, guy with powerful screams, etc. (I was trying to figure out why I recognized that kid, turned out he was the creepy brother who was the best part of THE LAST EXORCIST). There are some training sequences, some adventures and what not. Michael Ironside shows up as a general, no not much dialogue, and credited as “M. Ironside.”

One of the best scenes is the one where the young mutants all meet for the first time. They show each other their powers, make up super hero names and laugh. None of them have been able to show off their mutant abilities before, so it’s kind of sweet to watch them open up, and you can understand why they seem to get along pretty quick. It’s nice to see them having a good time, and when Mystique reminds everybody to refer to Alex as “Havok” it really does seem like a dumb thing some friends made up for fun.

Then the damn plot starts going again.

Hank “The Beast” McCoy, not yet furry and blue but with useful thumbs on his feet, invents a serum that’s supposed to make mutants look “normal” but not affect their abilities. I’m not sure how he expects to use that since his ability is to jump upside down and grab onto things with his weird-looking feet. Not gonna do him much good with “normal” feet. But through this plotline we’re able to re-deal with some of the same moral issues as in part 3 but not as severe since it will only change your looks and is not used as a weapon.

Since it takes place in the ’60s they have a couple references to the sexism of the time and one unspoken acknowledgment of the history of slavery to address the racism. The one black guy dies right away (heroically though, don’t worry) and Lenny Kravitz’s daughter switches back to the Nazi’s team without needing much encouraging. So that was kind of a bummer. They’re all about racial equality as a metaphor but not as a reality. I don’t know if they know this movie only takes place in 1962, it wasn’t actually filmed in that era, so they’re allowed to have different races it. Oh well, you live and you learn.

There’s a commercial I kept seeing on tv with a quote from somebody saying “Matthew Vaughn does for X-Men what Christopher Nolan did for Batman.” That’s absolutely right in the sense that both of them did a movie about a comic book that took place in an earlier period than the previous movie somebody else made. But if they meant it in any sense that the commercial wants you to think then I gotta call bullshit on that. Nothing against First Class, and I’m sure some of you will like it better than Mr. Nolan’s Bat-pictures, especially if you’re against greatness. But I think First Class is a movie that does pretty well what a comic book movie is supposed to do, Dark Knight is one that transcends and goes beyond what a comic book movie is supposed to do.

This is not a complete re-invention of the X-Men series. It has what’s fun about the other ones: an ensemble of colorful characters using their different goofy powers against each other, a world where society has to deal with the existence of mutants, disagreements between the more compliant mutants and the more militant ones. That’s what’s good about it.

The one area I think it could’ve been way better is unfortunately an important one: I think it’s kind of hollow. It deals with relationships and conflicts that we’ve already seen in three other X-Men movies, and I don’t think it adds much, if any, depth to them. We’ve heard for three movies that Professor X and Magneto used to be friends, now they make a movie where they get to go back and show the time when they had fun together. In a montage. Mostly they’re kind of uncertain allies.

If you ever read my review of X-Men Part 2: X2 then you know that Mystique is my favorite X-Man. But you also have documentaiton there that everything about her attitude and motivations in this movie were already evident in the old ones when she was the bad guy’s henchwoman instead of one of the lead protagonists. They basically take what was there between the lines and then spell it out in shitty dialogue, like the awkwardly forced scene where she and Beast are having a conversation and accidentally say at the same time that they want to look “normal”. And then act like that’s some huge surprise.

I do still like Mystique alot in this incarnation (she’s played by Jennifer Lawrence from WINTER’S BONE), but it’s kind of lame that they made her characterization less subtle and no deeper. They switched from a swimsuit model to an Academy Award nominated actress and didn’t getting anything good out of it. Come on, fellas. Respect for the blue, scaled cleavage in the X-suit, though.

In fact (OUTRAGE ALERT) the universally hated BRETT RATNER’S X-MEN 3 was, for me, a more emotional movie, the way it dealt with the different characters’ feelings about being “cured,” the morality of using the cure as a weapon against mutants, the tragic betrayal of Magneto ditching Mystique as soon as she got forcibly un-mutated, and even the minimalistic development of the character I think was called Angel that was not the same character as in this one that was called Angel. Without as much screen time or dialogue they said more about that character’s struggles with being different than they did with Beast and Mystique’s conversations in this one.

The coolest character in this movie, and the one they do the most with, is definitely Magneto. Michael Fassbender (who’s also managed to work with Tarantino, Cronenberg, Soderbergh, Jarmusch and Ridley Scott in a period of three years) gives him the dignity and seriousness Ian Mackellen did, but while still young and badass. It was pointed out to me that he’s an exception to my previously stated rule that Steve McQueen was the only white man that looked good in a turtleneck.

The emotional underpinnings again are the same as in the previous movies – in fact, they straight up just reshot the first scene of the first movie where he uses his powers to tear open the gate at the concentration camp – but we get to see some scenes where he’s grown up and tracking escaped Nazis in South America to get revenge for what happened to his family. I wonder if that’s what David S. Goyer’s Magneto movie would’ve been about? It seems worthy of its own movie.

While Magneto’s travelling the world hunting war criminals, that douche Xavier’s going to Oxford and using his knowledge of mutants to hit on girls. The fuckin X-Mansion is his! That’s where he grew up, and when the CIA won’t play with him anymore he just starts his own gig there, apparently with his own money. The guy was born telepathic and smart, he became a professor when he was still in his twenties it looks like, never seemed to have to work for a living. To be fair though we learn that his mom never made him cocoa, so that’s pretty harsh.

Even more than in the previous movies it’s easier to root for Magneto than for the X-Men. The movie makes you relate to him and his mission of revenge, and then assumes you’ll understand silver spoon Xavier when he says “No, don’t kill the Nazi-collaborator who executed your mother in front of you as part of a long series of torturous experiments he did on you to gain powers he is now using to start a nuclear holocaust – you’d only be stooping to his level!” I mean, I agree with non-violence and pacifism (more than Xavier does; I’m not the one with the heavily armed private militia) but I don’t think any of us blame Magneto or even have any regrets about him killing the guy. It almost seems like Xavier is being a dick by spoiling the moment with his platitudes.

Magneto is also the clear winner in the more superficial departments of coolness and charisma. Wise veteran Patrick Stewart can get away with preachiness and corny inspirational talk to his students, but when it’s a young guy he just seems like a nerd. And it would be fine if he was a nerd who was great at inspiring other mutants and making them feel good about themselves, but he completely blows it with his own best friend since childhood, who he considers a sister. He promises Mystique that he won’t read her mind, but then without it he’s completely insensitive to her feelings. This is intentional on the part of the filmatists, to show Xavier’s flaws, but I just don’t see as much of his strengths as I’m sure I’m supposed to.

Unfortunately at the end Magneto just starts acting like he’s the bad guy, since he’s supposed to be the bad guy. The switch from hero-of-the-movie to man-who-has-gone-too-far-and-now-wants-to-wear-a-purple-helmet-with-horns just seems to happen because it’s time. In the end we know that Mystique used to be friends with Xavier, we know more specifics about the torment Magneto went through during the Holocaust, and we know what they looked like in yellow suits. But do we know anything important? I don’t think so. I guess alot of classes are like that.

Fun movie though. I liked it about as much as the other ones. I’m just saying let’s not get carried away.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Sunday, June 5th, 2011 at 5:23 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

164 Responses to “X-Men First Class”

  1. I had that same rooting-for-the-bad-guy problem with Thor. It’s the mark of a horrible movie. Like Legend.

  2. The praise this has been getting is kind of stunning to me. Thought this movie was a rhythmless, tensionless, bore. A step up from Wolverine to be sure but about the same as X3. The need to get Xavier in a wheel chair and get Magneto in his helmet before the end credits was particulary terrible. Also for some reason it felt to me that every other scene(the big cameo in particular) was shot in one take.

    Oh and maybe I’m being a bit unfair (spoiler ahead!!) but the black mutant with the most interesting power dying first(and in a really wimpy way) was really weak, especially when you consider all of the civil rights parallels the X-Men series has.

  3. they filmed scenes of this very close to where I live on Jekyll Island

    I haven’t seen this yet, but is there a scene with a plane crash? well that was one of the scenes filmed here

  4. Harsh boys. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie as did the guy I went with. I don’t think it’s a great film, but I liked it a lot. The ’60s setting was nice but didn’t seem to factor in stylistically as much as I’d like. I thought Kevin Bacon was a pretty good villain, in particular his first scene when he’s just so damn gleeful when Magneto is tearing up the office. Michael Fassbender owned the movie no doubt, but I really did buy and feel a connection between him and Xavier. Much of that was due to Fassbender and McAvoy’s acting in the moving the satellite dish scene, call me corny but it felt deep to me.

    It was much easier to understand and get behind magneto’s motivations in the movie and by the end I was more on his side then Xaviers, but that didn’t bother me or strike me as failure on the films part. Also, Ironside did have several lines, including the ol’ “It was an honor to serve with you boys.”, and of course he delivers it with aplomb. And I got a huuuuge kick out of the ‘big cameo’, it struck just the right tone and the dialogue was priceless.

    Also, I do believe Mr. Jason Statham has proved he can wear a turtle-neck with the best of them.

  5. I thought the others were lame as fuck for the most part. The fact that they had some guy named Wolverine who actually had comic book Cyclops’ personality and not comic book Wolverine’s played to sheer annoyance by Hugh Jackman. Then had the one character that was supposed to BE Cyclops do NOTHING in the movies as well never sat right with me.

    As long as FOX keeps making X-Men movies I would not waste my time. If by some miracle Marvel gets the movie rights back that’s a whole other animal. The potential of what these movies could be has not been anywhere near being tapped into. Well ok to it’s credit X2 probably came the closest to delivering on the X-MEN MOVIE promise at times. The others were just greatly boring and very amateurish looking though for the most part. Even X3 with all it’s action was fucking dull cause the action had no real emotional resonance or gravitas due to how lackluster & underdeveloped a key element of the X-Men (the interactions between characters) have been in all the movies. Just seemed like a bunch of staged setpieces.

  6. It’s true that the movies are not particularly faithful to the comics, and that a more straight-up adaptation could be pretty cool, but this series is still pretty good and has a lot to offer. The good ones aren’t really as good as they sometimes get credit for, but the “bad” ones aren’t nearly the travesties people make them out to be. It’s a mostly solid series, even if it isn’t what readers of the comics really want to see.

  7. Vern,

    does this movie remind you of Watchman? you know, slow and deliberate pacing but not in a good way.

  8. Vern, my main man, cannot believe you didn’t do your traditional ‘(SPOILER)’ section and brush apon the cameo (don’t worry, I won’t go into detail and piss everyone off)… I mean hearing an F-bomb in a 12a is always a nice suprise.

    Good review as always. I totally agree with you that it was an enjoyable film, but Dark Knight it was not.

    Kevin Bacon is really good at playing assholes.

  9. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 6th, 2011 at 12:09 am

    I was gonna pass this one over. The whole super hero thing has gotten a bit long in the tooth for me. But you say Michael Ironside pops up in it? I’m tempted now.

    I always thought Sir Roger Moore pulled off a turtle neck. Obviously not on par with Steve McQueen, but he did look badass back in the day.

  10. Ironside is completely wasted.

    You’d be better off just watching this and saving 10 bucks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNTmHfCvnYc

  11. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 6th, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Incredible, did they want him in his Highlander 2 costume or did he just roll up on set and no one had the balls to question it?

    I always thought he walked onto the Total Recall set dressed in his own clothes and the costume department looked at him and thought “fuck it, thats perfect”.

  12. It got very distracting when there were so many roles in this movie with one or two lines who were also played by recognizable character actors. Not only was Michael Ironside playing the Captain, his XO was Jason Beghe who has played a million cops and military men, his Comm Officer was Brendan Fehr from Roswell (not so much a character actor, I admit, but immediately recognizable). Rade Serbedzija, Glenn Morshower, Matt Craven, James Remar, Ray Wise were also in this.

    Kevin Bacon was excellent and made the most of a proto-Magneto type character. He really does excel in playing assholes.

    Is it just me, or am I the only person who thinks January Jones is one of the more wooden actresses around? I haven’t watched Mad Men, but I’ve seen her in movies and I can’t see her as able to tackle more than just a minor character in movies.

    Aside from the [spoiler] Wolverine cameo with the perfectly excuted F-bomb, I loved the fact they got Rebecca Romijn to a cameo as Mystique’s adult human form. [/spoiler]

    It’s definitely a good addition to the line of superhero movies. Not as groundbreaking as the Dark Knight but it’s solidly written, enjoyable and definitely something I would watch a sequel of. The only note I think didn’t quite work was Magneto’s sudden appeal for purple capes. Otherwise, I greatly enjoyed the entire thing.

  13. Ace – I’m getting a little burnt out on super hero movies too, after Captain America I think I need a break for a while (and I’m not interested in the Green Lantern)

    that’s the main reason why I decided to skip this for now despite the novelty of seeing a movie filmed near me (I mean only super rich people live on Jekyll anyway)

    The Legend if Baggar Vance was filmed on Jekyll too and you don’t see me clamoring to see it

  14. I enjoyed this one, although I felt the ending was very rushed – they didn’t need to get to xavier into a wheelchair quite so quickly in my opinion. I could have watched a whole movie of Fassbender chasing down Nazis in South America.

  15. I’m surprised there isn’t a ton of love for X2. For me, that’s one of the great superhero films that just got everything right. The scene where Wolverine first jams his claws into the paramilitary personnel gave me chills when I first saw it. I also felt that, unlike in Batman Begins, the action was incredibly well staged in X2. I too have been feeling superhero fatigue, which is why I have so far skipped this new X-Men movie.

    I don’t think that people are done with superheroes, necessarily, but I do think people are done with origin films. Superheroes have been around for over seventy years. People have done a lot with the genre. But Hollywood, for some reason, seems content on pushing out slightly different variations on the same formula. I was interested in Thor because it was at least injecting fantasy elements into a superhero movie, which was somewhat new. I think some more genre mixing could really reinvigorate these franchises, but it would require jettisoning the stale formulas.

  16. darth irritable

    June 6th, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Ace – really? Roger Moore badass? I mean I loved the Saint and his Bond flicks as a kid, but badass he is not…

  17. Oh, for a while the nerds LOVED X2 and it was the greatest comic book movie EVER for them!
    Then they found out that Bryan Singer was gay and Hugh Jackman is a musical star…

  18. It pains me to say this butI also thought that the dipshit from Skins series 1 (Nicolas Hoult, I believe his name is) did a pretty good job as Beast. I truly felt quite bad for the bloke.

    Unreleated note: Cassidy, I’m hoping you picked your username from the best creation in fiction. The Irish vampire in Preacher. Man, if (and it’s a huge ‘if’) they manage to make an honest film out of Preacher Vern would fall in love.

  19. Well, so far Operation Won’t Get Fooled Again is moving along swimmingly. I thought this one looked like an overstuffed, too-good-to-be-true, feature-length trailer, and that seems to be what it is. I’ll be perfectly happy waiting for the DVD. You fellas wake me when there’s an entire movie playing, will ya?

    I still think X2 is awesome, though. The White House attack remains my favorite setpiece in any superhero film, with Logan pinning that dude to the fridge running a close second.

  20. This needs to be said that Christopher Nolan’s two Batman movies are overrated. I can barely sit through part one and The Dark Knight is only good because of Heath Ledger. If Joker is acted by anybody else The Dark Knight would just be a slightly above average comic book movie.

  21. Sternshein: I have resolved not to speak of these matters anymore, but I just wanted you to know that you are not alone.

  22. I didn’t want to talk anymore about my dislike for the Nolan Batmen either, but now I have to mention again that one of the main reasons why I don’t like TDK, is Heath Ledgers horrible straight-out-of-a-Schumacher-Batman overacting.

  23. Xenia Onnatopp.

    Man, I’d pay good money to see a movie just about her.

    In fact, since we’re looking at X-Men, with the one off character movies and prequels and sequels and parallel story lines and what not… why didn’t Mr. Broccoli and crew ever consider spin off franchises in the Bond universe?

    I’m sure there’s enough interest out there in a Jaws spinoff. Bring Richard Kiel back. The novelty of a Jaws movie would be he never says anything, except for one line, the whole movie.

    Get Christopher Lee to reprise Francisco Scaramanga!

    C’mon Hollywood, if you’re not going to do anything original and just mine preexisting material, mine James Bond villains… I humbly submit this most equitable suggestion to your corporate suitednesses.

  24. Ok shit! I was scared to talk about this on here, but seeing as other people have the same opinion, I’ll find the courage. Dark Knight was overrated as fuck. I agree with Vern’s whole ‘why are you complaining that the film was too long? They could’ve made a lot more money if they nudged it into 90 minutes’ theory. Nolan was dedicated and it was a well shot film.

    But it always fell into one of those holes where it worked better on DVD than on cinematic release for me.

    Feels like I came out of the closet. I hope my mother will still accept me for who I am for not digging Dark Knight as much as I was told to.

  25. Spinoff’s for Halle Berry and Michelle Yeoh’s characters were mooted for a while, BR.
    “It pains me to say this butI also thought that the dipshit from Skins series 1 (Nicolas Hoult, I believe his name is) did a pretty good job as Beast. I truly felt quite bad for the bloke.”
    He was also the kid in ABOUT A BOY, one of the few Hugh Grant movies I actually give a shit about.
    Anyway I liked the film a lot more than Vern seems to, but I can see his points and even think they flung too much into the story. A gradual breakdown of the Charles/Magneto friendship over multiple movies would have been better. You could have even done it with Xavier being crippled in film 2, and Magneto leads the field missions, which allows him to bring the other X-MEN more under his influence and using his MO until it comes to a head. I expect there will be a sequel though, so I wonder if they will be having Mystique as Nightcrawler’s mother given she’s on the same team now as a teleporting demonic looking dude.

  26. You know, I always knew there would be a TDK backlash. But now that it’s happening, it’s really not as satisfying as I thought it would be. I still respect Nolan’s attempt, and I don’t think he’s going to deserve the nerd shitnami that’s going to rain down on him when the third movie doesn’t measure up to some impossible standard.

    In other news, I thought January Jones was good in THE THREE BURIALS OF THAT MEXICAN GUY WHOSE NAME I CAN”T BE BOTHERED TO LOOK UP. And by “good” I mean “wearing a tanktop.”

  27. The opening sequence used quite a bit of footage from the first movie mixed with new stuff.

  28. Yes, I know he was in About A Boy, but Nick Hornby has the same effect on me as cancer. All I was saying was that the guy suprised me, he did a good job. Sure he was no Fassbender, but he did manage to hold his own.

  29. Aw fucking great… now I’m a nerd? Thanks Majestyk, I thought you a brother.

    Plus, if you really want to talk Elmore. Stick is better than any of the shit he’s done in ages.

  30. No, no. We’re the iconoclastic, non-reactionary first wave of TDK dissenters. The nerds will come later, claiming to be us, but we’ll know better.

    Agreed on Leonard. I like SCHWAG more than STICK, though, for some reason. A killer last line goes a long way.

  31. So wait a second for those of you bashing THE DARK NIGHT RETURNS, are you bashing the film or are you bashing the regard it is held it? I can see if you do not like all the kudos and praise it receives but lets be serious TDNR is an excellent film. It is well acted, well constructed and well executed. I think the problem is there are just to many superhero comic book movies being made at this point, and we the consumer are starting are becoming fatigued from it.

    I already briefly reviewed FIRST CLASS in the Potpourri 3D thread yesterday. It is a good summer popcorn movie, and much better then I would have expected it to be. It is well paced, even if there are some parts that get a little bogged down with exposition. There are other things I could complain about like Jones, and how they handled the effects once Beast after his transformed, but overall this is a fun film anchored by a great performance from Fassbender. I would say X2 is still the best X film but FIRST CLASS is in its league.

    Stu, they have already confirmed that they plan on turning this series into another trilogy with the focus being on Magneto and Professor X.

    ParkerPops, I agree I love “Stick”.

  32. Mr M., the nerds are already here, and one is talking to you right now.

  33. I just don’t like the movie, Charles. I can see why everyone else does but it just doesn’t work on me for various reasons I don’t feel like getting into.

    Shit. This is going to be the LEGEND board all over again, isn’t it?

  34. Mr. M., fair enough. I understand if TDKR does not work for you and it is not a film you want to revisit, but I don’t know how someone could call it a bad film.

  35. Totally off topic, but VERN, you have three fans who love Stick… It’s about time you review Burt Reynolds’ Stick. Be fair dude, you owe it to us, seeing as you do this job for free and every internet has a mouth.

  36. Also, I would like to point out that one of the reason X2 is so good is that John Ottman edited and scored X2. I think it is also why X2 is one of Singer’s best films. By having its editor and composer be one in the same X2 has a synergy of pacing, and atmosphere that real make it stand out.

  37. ParkerPops, the Reynolds’ STICK is available in Netflix streaming. It has been a couple years since I have seen it, but I don’t remember liking it anywhere near as much as the book, and I am a huge fan or Burt.

  38. Jareth Cutestory

    June 6th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Majestyk: What was that phrase you had for Bale’s Batman voice? Harvey Fierstein with a chest cold?

  39. No, it was “Corey Feldman in THE LOST BOYS trying to sound grown up.”

    Dammit, I’m trying to let bygones be bygones here!

  40. Mr. M, Hilarious. I think we can all agree that Bale’s Batman voice is ridiculous.

  41. A friend of mine told me how even Kevin Conroy mocked Bale’s Batman voice and wondered why nobody told him how silly it sounds.

  42. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 6th, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I watched Batman begins on tv a few weeks ago, and having a new born son in the house, I took the night shift and stayed up being the doting father/watched The Dark Night into the small hours. And now having re-watched them, I’m still convinced they would be just as good if it was an unknown vigilante and not Batman. I do however hold the films in a higher regard having watched them back to back.

    Silly voice though.

  43. ‘Even’ Kevin Conroy? CJ, there is no such thing as ‘even’ Kevin Conroy. He’s the definitive Batman voice of all time.

    And to me, bitching about The Dark Knight is like running in a circle and hitting yourself in the face with a plank. I don’t get it. I’m genuinely confused and disappointed that everybody can’t get the level of enjoyment that I and one or two other people did. Maybe three. But the good thing is I can love it and not give a fuck if other people do or don’t. I’ll never understand and that’s fine with me.

    Closing, is it bad that Bryan Singer is gay and Hugh Jackman does musicals? Are ‘nerds’ and ‘geeks’ homophobic as a general assumption? Seems kind of ironic no?

  44. I didn’t mean “even” as something negative.

    And while I’m not saying that all nerds and geeks are homophobes, the first time I witnessed a huge backlash against X2, was linked to hundreds of idiots, ranting about how Hugh Jackman would be too feminine to play a good Wolverine and how a “fag” (not my words) could never direct a good action scene.

  45. Mr. Majestyk:

    Cory Feldman’s Lost Boys voice = Bale’s Batman voice

    You sir, win one Internets.

    That is the most hilarious and, even worse, ACCURATE, statement I have heard all week.

  46. You punch your mother with that mouth?

  47. It’d probably more appropriate from a nomenclative deterministic point of view if Brian Singer did musicals and Hugh Jackman was gay.

  48. Wow, I actually put First Class up there with Dark Knight and Spider-Man. I was really moved by the character conflicts more than even the McKellan/Stewart versions.

    Glad to see Vern give props to The Last Stand though. I know it violated all sorts of fan rules, but that was the one that made me feel: “Oh, the X-Men are actually working as a team, not just the Wolverine story with supporting characters.”

    I think all major hits need to have a few dissenters, even The Dark Knight. It’s not healthy to have universal praise. It’s not real either. I’ll be the one for Inception. FWIW: I was the guy who hated Enchanted too.

  49. I’m sure this one’s good and all but it just seems so needless. Why just go back and fill in the details when we already know all the basic emotional story points? At least with the prequels we didn’t really know what happened, just that there had been a falling out, someone was seduced by the dark side, etc. Here, it seems like we know the whole story already. Are there some surprises here that people have politely not spoiled for me, or is there no need for me to see this at all?

  50. I love the first three X-Men movies equally (I understand the hate for X3, but I don’t subscribe to it) and thought Wolverine was a step down. For me, First Class was about somewhere in between Wolvie and X1-3. My criticisms with it are borderline quibbles, but there are enough of them (pacing, goofy finale, etc.) for it to really compare to the first three. Still, Vaughn did enough things right (character interaction, cool low tech X-Men powers, Fassbender and McAvoy’s scenes) to sort of overlook them. In time, with repeated viewings, I’m sure my qualms will disappear and I’ll just enjoy them without the nitpicks; as the case is for me with most superhero movies (like Punisher: War Zone).

    Oh yeah, and if Daniel Craig wants out of his James Bond contract, let Fassbender
    or McAvoy take the reigns. Fassbender if you prefer the badass Craig style Bond.McAvoy if you want the poontang crushing Roger Moore incarnation.

  51. I’ve been a fan of McAvoy since Children of Dune. I really enjoyed that and love the soundtrack.

    For me, X-Men 2 and Spider Man 2 are the best super hero movies. I’d probably even throw Watchmen on there, too, but only around you guys because you’re my bros.

    I liked X-Men 3 in the same way I manage to enjoy things like the Book of Eli or Terminator 3 or something. They’re not bad or anything but they feel like they should be a lot better than they ended up being. I’m not sure if that’s fair of me or anything, but there you go. Actually, Terminator 3 could have been awesome and there are so many moments and parts of it that I think work great. I hear there’s a fan cut of the film that works well and I’ll have to see it sometime.

    I didn’t care to see this new X-Men but the preview for it in front of Fast Five seemed pretty rad. Even still, it was one of those movies I have not cared to get people to go out and see and no one has called wanting to see it. Vern’s review has cemented that for me.

    I’m glad people are coming around on why The Dark Knight isn’t great. For some reason that movie just brings out the worst in me and I can nitpick it to death. It seriously makes no sense and is really kind of dumb. That would all be okay if it didn’t take itself so seriously. Since it tries so hard to be serious and adult all of its faults just come off really bad to me.

    I do like Bryan Singer, though. I think X-Men 2 is a really good film and Valkyrie works really well. It manages to be suspensful and intense even when you know how it’s going to end. I even liked Tom Cruise in it. I liked it enough to forgive him for Superman Returns.

  52. Subtelty, I would say the same thing about most prequels. That’s what caught my interest in this. It wasn’t just setup. They actually showed Xavier as a freewheeling ladies man and Mystique as an insecure teenager. Magneto as a vengeful antihero wasn’t as much of a stretch but man Fassbender brought it.

    Here’s my controversy of the day: I think Spider-man 2 is the worst of the trilogy. I find lots of good in 3, but I don’t get the mass love of 2. It is SO repetetive of all the things we already saw in Spider-Man 1. Aunt May retells several morals that we already learned in 1, and there’s a random scene where Peter Parker eats cake with the landlord’s daughter! Also, Doc Ock is not the sympathetic villain the film wants him to be. He’s clearly a megalomaniac from the start. When his experiment is going bad and it’s clear everyone’s in danger, he says, “No, I’ve got this.” THEN when it kills his wife and turns him into a monster, he feels bad, but tough shit. Norman Osborne was only trying to save his company. He was screwed in standard business practices so he did something desperate, but coming from a good place. That’s a sympathetic monster.

    Really, I think the effects are better in Spider-Man 2 so fans ascribe it all the other qualities of Spidey 1. It’s okay, but it’s too repetitive for me to fully enjoy.

  53. FTopel, I agree with you on Spider Man 2 being the least of the trilogy. For me, Spider Man 3 is more interesting beccause Spidey abuses his powers instead of pussying out and not using them. Also, Doc Ock is all wrong. He shouldn’t have been the Mentor Who Turns Against His Mentee. He should’ve been an A-1 Nutzo from the get-go. Trying to make him a sympathetic villain was just silly. That said, I love all the Spider Man movies, warts and all.

    Also, I said from day one TDK was “flawed” and immediately got flamed for it. It’s good to see people are finally seeing that Nolan can’t walk on water. It’s a perfect movie for two hours but after the birth of Two Face it turns to shit.

  54. Okay, I can understand why people might not completely buy into the Nolan Batman films, and I sympathize with their frustration with the cult of Nolanites that have deemed a solid director the next coming of Christ. But when you start knocking on Spiderman 2, then I have a problem. Sure, the themes are all pretty similar to the first film, and it repeats some ideas, but it also improves on the first film in every way. Spiderman 2 is such a visually audacious film that borrows its cinematic language from cartoons, to the Universal monster movies, to melodrama, to horror, and to a million other influences floating around in Raimi’s brain. And yet it does so without feeling like some stitched together monster. Spiderman 2, for my money, is the best superhero film, and I cannot see it being beaten any time soon. I’m am constantly surprised by how much Raimi was able to get away with in that film.

    There was a brief moment in time when the studios thought that audiences wanted more artistic superhero movies, so they let their directors run wild. We got some crazy movies, like Spiderman 2, Ang Lee’s Hulk, Singer’s Superman Returns, and Nolan’s Batman movies. Then the studios quickly realized that most audiences just wanted the same, safe meal over and over again. Despite the fanboy cry that these were serious characters who could handle real themes and depths, all they truly wanted was some more Hulk smash. These visually unique films were soon replaced with the more restrained superhero films that we have today, the Thors and the Iron Mans. Now, I like these movies, but they are not nearly as unhinged as some of the earlier superhero films. Hell, Thor and Iron Man could have been made by the same director. Who can tell? And that’s also part of the point. They want some continuity and consistency. I can appreciate that to some extent. But at the same time I liked it when Ang Lee could get an insane budget and make a film that made most of America scratch their head.

  55. I agree that we were blessed with some crazy visionary films. The biggest shock to me was Superman Returns. How did Bryan Singer get away with a $250 million indie relationship drama? It’s awesome, I love it, I wish we could have seen the sequel to it. The worst scenes in that movie are the plane catching action. No involvement there, but Luthor having that lightbulb moment about Lois’s kid is magic.

  56. Oh, and I think it will be healthy for Nolan to experience the fan backlash on Dark Knight rises. He’ll grow from it.

  57. I think Spiderman 2 takes the Spiderman “formula” and does it the best. I enjoyed the first one but as soon as he puts the suit on and does the Spiderman thing the movie, for me, falls apart.

    I actually really enjoy a lot of Spiderman 3 but it has a few moments and scenes that are really embarrassingly bad. If some of those scenes were taken out or reshot I think it would be the best.

    For me, Spiderman 2 has good action, some likable Peter Parker stuff, a good pace, and just gets the rest of the Spiderman “formula” without the valleys that Spiderman 3 has. It’s not that it’s the greatest movie ever, but it’s solid and works from beginning to end and the other two movies don’t do that for me.

  58. Just got back. It was solid, probably the most all around well made X-Men movie but I agree that it felt a little long. It’s ALL about Fassbender in this flick.. Jesus, he’d make an incredible James Bond if Daniel Craig were to drop out anytime soon. Actually that was probably my favorite aspect of First Class. It totally had the same look and overall tone of the old Bond flicks that I would love to see the modern entries go back to.

    Kevin Bacon was pretty awesome too.

    Although holy SHIT, Beast’s make up was awful. Totally distracting.

  59. You. Must. Review. HUNGER.

  60. Casey, see, Spider-Man 2 is all valleys for me whenever Aunt May opens her mouth. She is just not as compelling as Uncle Ben, who said the same things in Spider-Man 1. And it’s like they’re recapping the origin, for all the people who didn’t see the $400 million grossing then biggest superhero movie of all time Spider-Man 1. That said, I think the 2.1 cut is better paced and works a little better.

    If you’re refering to Peter Parker’s street dance in 3, that’s my favorite part. I love how even when he tries to be evil, Peter Parker is just a big old dork. I also love the theme that you don’t always know the whole story (i.e. Sandman’s involvement in Ben’s death) and that sometimes with great power coming great responsibility means it’s your responsiblity to forgive.

  61. It wasn’t just the dance sequence but there were lots of other parts, like the big celebration in the beginning and everything dealing with Gwen Stacey.

    I really thought the actors playing Sandman and Venom did a really great job. I thought that kid from That 70s Show brought a lot of pathos to his role and really personified what Peter Parker could have been. I also thought Thomas Hayden Church acted his ass off and that he was excellent. I think there’s a truly great movie in there but I just felt it was really jarring.

    I totally see where you’re coming from with Spiderman 2 but for whatever reason all of your complaints, which I can totally see, never annoyed or bothered me in the slightest.

  62. Casey, that’s what we’re here for, to express ideas. I agree about Grace. There was just enough Venom for me, I don’t have any attachment to the character. It made the point about a desperate insecure schemer obsessing about the same power as Peter. There’s actually nothing I DON’T like about Spider-Man 3, except maybe that it’s not Spider-Man 1, but that’s it. I think Raimi crafted an amazing film out of studio constraints (must have Venom, must have Gwen Stacey, etc.) Well, if it has to have that, here is the story in which all those elements make sense.

  63. Almost entirely off-topic: If nothing else John Saxon in Enter the Dragon was at least cool while wearing a turtleneck, if not also lookin’ good in it.

  64. I’d agree that SPIDER MAN 2 is the best super-hero film out there. It’s a simple tale, told with the absolute best fundamentals of anyone. Absolutely everything in that film works perfectly. Not a false note in the whole thing. The only complaints Ive heard anyone make are that its a retread (all comic movies are) or that the story should have been different (my most hated of all nerd nitpicks. No one cares the way you imagined it, just comment on what actually exists.)

    I should note that I do not consider TDK a superhero movie. Obviously that’s better than SPIDER MAN 2. And that coming from someone who thinks that BEGINS is a pretentious bore and INCEPTION is a well-constructed but shallow slog.

    I don’t hate SPIDER MAN 3 but it has that distinctive scent of filmmaking by committee which is impossible to shake. Its kind of fun but one can’t help but feel like these storylines feel unnaturally sutured together and less effective as a whole than they are as parts.

  65. It seems like in comic book films the second film in a franchise is usually the best.

    Superman 2
    Spider-Man 2
    X2
    The Dark Knight

  66. Blade II
    fantastic Four II( still a piece of shit but better than part 1)
    Hellboy II
    Thomas Jane Punisher(not technically a sequel to the Dolph version but I’m going to count it anyway)

    About the only exception to this rule is the Ang Lee Hulk(and apparently Iron Man 2 but I never saw it).

  67. Fassbender was awesome (but we kinda always knew he would be).

    But what really suprised me was Kevin Bacon. I mean, he’s always been a great actor in my opinion, and if it wasn’t such a touchy subject for the awards, I truly believe the The Woodsman should’ve cleaned up. Such a hard role that he totally owned with an honest performance.

    But what struck me was how well he handled German in First Class. And it wasn’t just the usual trick where the director has the actor say a few select words in German, the Bacon actually had long scenes in which he spoke perfect German. I know Fassbender can speak German, as he grew up in Germany, but as far as I know Bacon can’t. And I understand that Bacon could’ve been given a million takes to get it right… but shit, he even had the accent down. I love Christoph Waltz, but I’m so glad they didn’t go for the obvious choice and pick him for the role.

  68. threadjack:

    http://www.deadline.com/2011/06/sony-to-remake-big-man-japan/

    this is either awesome or lame, i can’t decide. it depends on who they get to play big man usa

    steve carell? zach galifianakis?

  69. I’ve only read the comments down to Parkerpops June 6th, 2011 at 8:19 am, but had to strike while my metaphorical iron was hot.

    Dark Knight, love it in the cinema…..all 3 times, I believe. But I find it impossible to watch now, on TV or DVD. It’s so…..long. Actually, I remember thinking that, even when I loved it in cinema. That whole ‘extra’ ending, with the whole ‘boats’ thing…..jesus. They should have finished I think when Two-Face was created. The fact that they went into a whooole new character arc on top of that, to eventually show his downfall? Just too much, in my humble opinion. Too much.

    Batman Begins….was never crazy about. I like it just fine. But I wouldn’t watch it if it cam on TV. No, scratch that, I like the first hour and half, but once again….the ending, or final 45mins doesn’t do anything for me. Let me make clear, that’s not a dig, I like it just fine….but I just don’t get the ‘love’ for it.

    X-Men First Class…..I really liked. Not batshit loved, like X2, but thought it was easily on a par, and definitely the next best in series. It’s odd, I agree with the issues Vern had with it, but they didn’t really affect me as much. I was kinda aware we were covering a lot of ground already covered, but it was done so well, I really enjoyed it. (disclaimer: I have never read a comic book. Not one). Fassbender…..man, he OWNED that movie. And like has been said, I could have gladly watched a whole movie of him badassing it around looking for Nazi’s….that’s the best bond movie that I’ve never seen. He and McAvoy worked very well together, and thought the flaws in Prof X were well handled too.

    However, I do agree that the ending was a bit rushed…..and definitely Magneto’s rush to put the Helmet on…..could have easily been given more power by pacing that a bit better. But that’s all details…..damn good movie.

  70. Mr. Subtlety: “I don’t hate SPIDER MAN 3 but it has that distinctive scent of filmmaking by committee which is impossible to shake. Its kind of fun but one can’t help but feel like these storylines feel unnaturally sutured together and less effective as a whole than they are as parts.”

    Completely agree with this. I’m all for revising opinions and all, but Spiderman 3 does nothing for me. I found that painful to watch. My memories of it are so fragmented, I can’t even remember what the ‘story’ was. It was bad. But if I’m honest, the Spiderman films have never really hit me that much. I don’t know why, when 1 came out, I was 19, turning 20….should’ve been perfect for me. And I liked it just fine….actually, more then fine. But only in that moment. 2? I liked it fine. I dunno, they just reek of ‘studio’ a bit too much. I know, that’s a ridiculous sentence. But I haven’t deleted it. There’s just no…..heart to them. They’re all about ‘heart’, but I don’t buy it for real. Every second sentence is about ‘values’ and being ‘true’ to who you are, yet…..blah. Just doesn’t feel real. That could be me, though. What I can say for certain, is that I won’t be going to see the new Spiderman reboot. Holds no interest for me whatsoever. And frankly, allowing a franchise to reboot so soon after it’s first ‘reboot’, it’s one of the few times I take a moral stance on not going to see a movie. This will just be endless if we keep allowing them to do that.

    I see that you could raise an argument about X-Men, but it’s not the same.

    I liked Superman Returns. Just thought I’d throw that in there.

    Oh, and I’ve never seen X3. Yep, on the advice of my brother (who’s 35 now), who just, I dunno, I don’t think he’ll ever recover from it. I’ve never read the comics, but he has, and was….broken, after that film. I don’t remember his exact words, but it was along the lines of his disbelief at the whole Phoenix story being shoved into one (shit) movie, when it easily could’ve and should’ve formed the basis of its own epic trilogy. I’ll never forget the look in his eyes. I lost a bit of my brother that day. So I figured….I’ll either read the comics, or wait a decade of two until it’s done properly. Knowing that I was depriving Rattner of some box office made it all a bit easier.

  71. “But what struck me was how well he handled German in First Class. And it wasn’t just the usual trick where the director has the actor say a few select words in German, the Bacon actually had long scenes in which he spoke perfect German. I know Fassbender can speak German, as he grew up in Germany, but as far as I know Bacon can’t. And I understand that Bacon could’ve been given a million takes to get it right… but shit, he even had the accent down. I love Christoph Waltz, but I’m so glad they didn’t go for the obvious choice and pick him for the role.”
    I think Bacon must be fluent in german because I’m sure I read something recently where he was talking about the film and being happy to have a role he could speak german in at last.
    I wonder what the level of co-operation is from Marvel on these non-Marvel produced movies. They’re making money from the license, but they’d rather get the rights back themselves, so you could imagine they aren’t as forthcoming with access to writers and artists and such.

  72. About X3. Most people’s complaints about it stem from it not being the Dark Phoenix saga they know and love from the comics. To me, to go out and do a whole thing in outer space after Singer (wisely) grounded the first two movies in reality would be too much of a leap. The X3 Phoenix stuff was simplified, yet I think it worked well in the confines of the already established X Movie Universe. In the comics, Jean destroyed worlds. In the movie, she destroyed the two men she loved the most. Those were her worlds. It hits home a lot more when you kill off two beloved characters instead of some aliens in outer space.

    I expect to get flamed for the above statement by die hard X-Fans, but that’s how I feel. If you can just divorce yourself from the comic canon and look at the film as it’s own deal, it works. If you can’t, I can fully understand your hatred and outrage at Ratner. That’s just my two cents though.

  73. Actually, that sentence I mentioned about the ‘new’ Spiderman reboot, has really hit a chord……in me. It’s just ridiculous. Imagine how it will even look in a DVD shop, having the two Spiderman films next to each other……

    “oh, do I want to see the Tobey Maguire origin story from 2002, or the other origin story from 2012? Hmmm. Well, they both have state of the art CGI, but I suppose the 2012 version is slightly more state of the art.”

    I hope this new one bombs. Not because I don’t want anymore Spiderman films, but this is really taking the biscuit…..redoing a whole origin story of a character, that has just dominated the previous 10 years in terms of box office and pop-culture. At least when Batman Begins came out, it HAD to be a reboot. Batman as a character was so fatally wounded from the Schumacher films, that it was the only thing that could be done with them. But Spiderman? Look, I hated 3, but it wouldn’t have stopped me from going to see 4, if the characters and story were handled right. But now, if I want to see a new Spiderman film, I have to go through ALL that shit again that we just went through a hand full of years ago? 1 and 2 were pretty much an origin story, by 3 it was just getting to the point where you could watch a ‘Spiderman Movie’….and now we’re back to the start again?? Fuck that.

    Sorry. That stuff just pisses me off. End rant.

  74. No no, it’S true! The Spidey reboot is an unbelievable stupid idea for all the reasons you just mentioned! And you can’t even justify this as a commercial choice, because the last time I checked, Spidey 3 made way too much money to just start over again! (Not to mention that acording to some of the pics from the set, they do the emo Spidey from part 3 again – but this time completely straight faced and meant to be cool.)

  75. ParkerPops: Ay.

    And I seriously can’t believe the criticism for Spider-Man 2, X2 and the Dark Knight. I don’t think I’ve heard that much criticism of those before until now.

    And agreed on the stupidity of remaking the Spider-Man origin story if that’s what they are doing with it.

  76. Exactly, commercially it makes no sense whatsoever. Spiderman 3 made tonnes of dough, despite being pretty crap. I really would have been interested to see a possible Spiderman movie, where he gets older, beyond the teen years. Nothing was fundamentally broken with the ‘model’ they had set up from 2002, they just blew their load a bit too big with Spiderman 3. But not to the point of being beyond redemption.

    So now? You can just see what the studio execs are thinking: ‘If we just keep rebooting it and re-pitching it to the teen demographic, for every generation until the end of time…..ker-ching!!”

    But they’re really taking a lot for granted if they think people are going to accept that. Not to mention the fact that it will look ridiculous having (at least) 2 different sets of movies, showing the origin of Spiderman from scratch, with (by the looks of it) a similar aesthetic, by the same studio, within a few years of each other.

  77. Jack – X3 is just a poorly made film. Poorly constructed, badly paced and a real disappointment all around. Sending the characters to the moon would have neither helped nor hindered the picture. It would have just been one more aspect that didn’t work. In fact, I’m glad the comics version wasn’t sullied by the X3 abortion.

    I have to agree with Ace Mac Ashbrook. The superhero genre is already getting played out for me. It was right around the time I saw both KICK ASS and IRON MAN 2 I decided I was pretty much done with the genre. CAPTAIN AMERICA will probably be the last superhero picture I see in a theater unless something comes along that really changes the game like WATCHMEN did for me, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. AVENGERS maybe. That’s a big maybe, though.

    That raises a question, though. What will be the next big hot genre adaption property? We’ve had TV show adaptions which were replaced by Comic book properties. A number of studios are playing with some Anime properties to jump on the TRANSFORMERS bandwagon but it looks like unwieldy budgets and cultural translation problems are hindering that effort. At one time it looked like Del Toro was poised to bring back the Epic Horror picture but that fell through. Even the alien invasion picture is but a shadow of it’s former glory. So what’s next? What will replace Superheroes as the 3D Summer Tent pole genre?

  78. To those who have seen this X Men First Class thing…I actually enjoyed the X Men Wolverine flick for its unrepentant cheesy silliness. It felt like a comic book! I loved it. When he’s in the pickup truck and delivers that line about being the best at what he does which incidentally is not pretty…that’s gold. Is there some chance I’ll enjoy this one in the same way?

    Also throwing my vote in for Dark Knight being overrated. Loved Heath Ledger, LOVED the opening bank robbery sequence. What I didn’t like is something I haven’t seen anyone else calling out; the barely-concealed pro-fascist propaganda aspects of the plot. Maybe I read too much into that stuff.

  79. If I may be given a chance to poke the hornet’s nest, I have to say I was stunned that there seems to be so much acrimony for SUPERMAN RETURNS. I sort of thought it was exactly what it should have been in virtually every way. I genuinely don’t know what people dislike about it. Is Spacey too broad? Is it just the usual nerd grumbling that the thing takes creative liberties with the character? Other than those two things, I feel like it’s a very classically constructed film which moves along nicely and gets the maximum milage out of its cornball lead character.

  80. Gilmore — all superheros are fascist to varying degrees. That’s why we have WATCHMEN. But I don’t see TDK as one of the more serious offenders. If anything, its one of the superhero films which expresses the greatest concern about vigilantism, its abuses and unintended consequences. You’re supposed to feel a little morally ambiguous about what Batman’s doing, which is more than you can say for most superhero stories which are fundamentally just as fascist.

  81. Mr. S – I like SUPERMAN RETURNS a lot, but the story is amazingly underwhelming. Superman needs to do more than lift heavy things to prove that he’s worthy of the godlike status the film affords him, and Luthor needs to have a more workable plot than “sell land to governments who will choose to pay me rather than shoot me with missiles for some reason” to prove that he’s a criminal genius. It works as an almost expressionistic distillation of the Superman mythos and packs an emotional punch in the scenes of Big Blue’s near-martyrdom, but described on a literal level, the movie consists of “Luthor throws a rock into the ocean and then Superman throws it into space.”

  82. Also, Kate Bosworth is a completely bland Lois Lane and way, way, way, WAY too young for the part. She looks like she’s playing Rosalind Russell in the Max Fischer Players’ production of HIS GIRL FRIDAY.

  83. Superman Return gets a bad rap. I absolutely agree that Bosworth was terribly miscast, but most of the other issues people seemed to have with the film didn’t bother me. It would have been interesting to see a new villain, but once you get into those arguments you’re rewriting the film rather than examining what right in front of you. I would rather have a flawed but interesting movie like Superman Returns than well executed but generally unambitious films like Iron Man or Iron Man 2 (although, I still liked both of those films). I would have loved to have seen what Singer would have done with a sequel. I think there’s a reason why sequels generally improve upon the original: they don’t have to worry about setting up the rules of the universe and can get right down to business. That’s why I’m hoping superhero movies nix the origin stories. They seem to be there in order to convince us that these superpower are real, but at this point we have seen a million of these movies. We are willing to suspend disbelief on the whole superpower thing.

    With regards to the Spiderman reboot: my understanding was that Sony was attempting to exert a lot of creative control over the fourth film and Raimi balked, so they decided to reboot with a cheaper cast, cheaper director, and a smaller budget. They figured that Spiderman is a big enough name to carry the film no matter who is in front or behind the camera. Of course, they thought the same thing about The Incredible Hulk, and that film made about the same amount as the Ang Lee film that everyone supposedly hated. I’ll definitely skip new Spiderman film. I absolutely loved the second film and thought 1 and 3 were uneven but overall enjoyable, so I don’t really see the point of going back to high school with these characters.

    One last thing on Spiderman, why, again, did everyone hate “emo” Paker? Did they not understand that it was a joke? We’re not supposed to think he’s cool. I actually liked the scene at the jazz bar. I’m glad other people are defending this part of the film. I truly never understood why everyone hated it. When Parker shows up on the piano out of nowhere, it looked like something out of a Tex Avery cartoon. Say what you will about the Spiderman movies, but Raimi must have a massive pair of cajones to go through with some of the ideas he came up with. I would have loved to have seen what he would have done in a fourth film.

  84. ThomasCrown442

    June 7th, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I gotta give some credit to the movie going public. With all these sequels, prequels, sidequels, reboots, remakes, etc., I’m shocked that anyone even knows what the hell they’re about to watch anymore.

    As far as the next big genre, I think Anime will be it. As someone who is not an animation fan and has never seen one anime movie in my life, I’d be interested to see some live action anime remakes. A whole new genre would open up for the general public (who I assume does not watch anime). The only drawback I see is the matrix movies were pretty anime like and the world is pretty matrixed out at the moment. I’d trust the people behind these live action anime remakes to be creative enough to avoid that though.

  85. You’re getting your wish Mr. Affair, they are live-action-remaking Akira right now, with an all-white cast and it’s not set in Tokyo. However I do not think this is going to spark a whole new genre of whiteified live action anime. Though it may spark a whole new genre of abusive blog comments directed at the film.

  86. RBatty re: Emo Parker: EXACTLY! I’m telling this people for years! The whole dance scene and emo look was a way to show the audience, that he might be “evil” now, but the dorky Peter Parker kind of evil! Non-symbiont infected Peter thinks that the old, worn out ring-in-champagne-glass thing is the most romantic thing in the world, infected Peter thinks a douchebag hairstyle and a silly dance makes him cool!
    To be honest, Spidey 3 made me realize that it’s not necessarily the movies that get dumber, but the audience!

  87. Gilmore – I do believe live action AKIRA has been put on indefinite hold. But there are a number of giant robot franchises in the works, including Del Toro’s PACIFIC RIM which brings the alien invasion up against the big mecha. This could be the next big thing.

  88. CJ: Thank you. When that film came out I felt like I was going crazy. People just kept on saying, “Spiderman 3 sucks! Emo Parker! Bah!” But I’ve never understood why they hated that part of the film. What was I missing? I like the film, but Spiderman 3 is really uneven. There’s plenty you could criticize. Why emo Parker became so controversial, I’ll never know.

  89. I don’t get it either. It seemed like the kind of thing Sam Raimi would do.

    But nerds always obsess about the weirdest shit. Like the whole “nuke the fridge” thing, when everybody knows that’s the best part of the movie.

  90. Jack Burton – I hated X3 because it took the same actors as the first two movies, ripped every bit of what made their characters great out of them, and turned the whole thing into meaningless spectacle. I disagree totally with Vern – I don’t think it had any emotion at all because I didn’t feel for a second as though any of the characters were real. As for Magneto ditching Mystique, I don’t even know why I was supposed to care. It lost it for me when Pyro and Iceman met – two characters who were friends in the previous film – and instead of playing it for any kind of emotional resonance, or even acknowledging that they know each other, they immediately start blasting each other with balls of fire / ice. Because it’s supposed to look cool, or something.

    RBatty – I agree with you on “Spiderman 3”. It’s definitely uneven but I don’t know why that one aspect of it gets picked on so much.

    CJ Holden on the other hand – nope, it was definitely the movies that got dumber. Although considering the two films before it, to say it “got” dumber would maybe be a stretch. There can’t be very much that’s dumber than “Spiderman” and “Spiderman 2”.

    “Superman Returns” was one of the few films that I really, really hated. I don’t just mean thought it was pointless or did nothing for me; I mean hated to the same extent that I hated “Buried” or the “My Bloody Valentine” remake. I just found it totally unsatisfying and unpleasant. Every single character in it was an unlikeable asshole, including Superman and Lois Lane, with the exception of the one nice guy that gets totally screwed over at the end. And we’re supposed to cheer for the people who screwed him.

    Oh, and Xenia Onotopp was probably the worst thing to happen to Bond girls since the constantly-helpless-and-screaming Charlie’s Angels blonde in “A View to a Kill”, who gets constantly dragged everywhere by Bond for no good reason. (At the end of it, she gets kidnapped by somebody riding a HOT AIR BALLOON. Although by that point I think the scriptwriter might very well have given up trying to make her look like an actual human being and just gone for the most ridiculous way he could think of to put her in danger.) Although I think Denise Richards might have topped them both for sheer, obviously-shoehorned-into-the-movie-at-the-last-minute-to-look-pretty, vapid, characterless, irritating object of Bond’s lust and one-liners.

    Damn, I’ve not been here for pretty much a month, and THIS is all I can find to comment on. :( Hopefully I see something new and original like “Silent House” (see this film if you can) soon.

    Vern, please review “Juggernaut”.

  91. Nabroleon Dynamite

    June 7th, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Haven’t seen this shit yet, but the black guy dies 1st?

    Fuck this shit!!

    (X3 is the only X-Men movie I own. The 1st two are better, but the chicks that boost DVD’s from Wal-mart around my way never got their hands on those original two joints)

    I liked Buried and the My Bloody Valentine remake!! Damn Paul!! Come’on son!!

  92. Rbatty, you are correct. Development on Spider-Man 4 got pretty far with Raimi and Maguire, but either Raimi didn’t think he could do it by 2012 when the studio wanted it, or just didn’t want to deal with more studio demands.

    Rbatty and CJ, I totally agree with you on emo Spidey. I thought the whole point was that even when he’s evil, Spider-Man is just a big dork. I also really like the evil Superman scenes in Superman 3.

    Superman Returns to me totally works as a relationship movie. The “plot” of it is total crap. He’s making a new continent out of kryptonite? Superman catches a plane? Borrrrring. Although I did like the montage where he stops a bullet with his eye. I wanted more of that but the superhero plot didn’t matter at all. It was all about “holy shit, we’re treating Superman like a ’90s indie movie character dealing with his feelings!”

  93. Paul: To be more specific about my opinion on dumb audiences, this happened at the same time where I heard people constantly pointing out the “huge plothole” of POTC 3, that Davy Jones didn’t release the Kraken anymore, although it is not just mentioned that he has been forced to kill it, no, we even see that FUCKING GIANT SQUID CORPSE lying on a beach and have Jack Sparrow talk about it in one scene!.

    Later stuff like “OMG INDY 4 nuked da fridge worst film ever”, “300 is the best film ever”, “CASINO ROYALE is not the same shit as in the Brosnan years, only without gimmicks and a worse Bond, because the press release says Daniel Craig is awesome” and “Wow, DIE HARD 4.0 is as good as or even better than part 1” happened.

    So I hope you can see why I started to give up on audiences.

    P.S.: JUGGERNAUT was on TV last night. I missed it. Sorry.

  94. FTopel:

    Simple economics killed Spider-M4n.

    The studio only had a 3 film option on the principal stars. So, to get Raimi, McGuire and Dunst back would have cost a whole shitload of money. 20 million, plus producers fee, plus first dollar gross for Raimi. 20 million, plus a probable producers fee, plus first dollar gross for McGuire*. 10+ million for Dunst. Spider-Man 3 already cost over 300 million (258 officially, but closer to 350 from what I understand) and Sony was looking at spending 150+ million before actual filming costs, just to retain their core crew or the 4th. Ultimately, Spider-Man 4 would have easily cost north of 600 million to make once you figure in gross participation, production and advertising.

    Add to this that Raimi was consistently bickering with the Sony on the direction of the sequel, the fact that neither McGuire, nor Dunst was or is really a movie star, the disappointing grosses of Drag Me to Hell which proved that Raimi’s name didn’t mean much to mainstream viewers and a dying DVD market and it just didn’t make any sense. The film would have to be a success on the level of Avatar or Titanic just to turn a profit. If it underperformed, it literally could have killed the studio.

    I mean, would you really want to bet not just your crown jewel franchise but the entire studio on a film featuring a pudgy, unsexy leading man in his mid-to-late thirties and a geriatric villain who flies around in a bright green bird suit? Sure, Dylan Baker is a good actor, but is he really your first choice for the secondary antagonist in a movie that cost over half a billion dollars to make and release?

    All the same, NOT making another Spider-Man was out of the question. Shareholders wouldn’t stand for Sony throwing away a franchise that grossed $900 million with part 3 and Marvel would get the rights back in just a few years if a new film didn’t come to fruition. It would be career suicide for all the executives involved if Marvel were to get the rights back and reboot Spider-Man into a whole new billion dollar franchise for a competing studio.

    So, after seeing the relative success of The Incredible Hulk and Batman Begins, Sony decided to reboot. The new Spider-Man film cost 80 million to produce, will be repositioned in keeping with the demands of the Twilight crowd, features a very inexpensive cast full of up and comers who all signed very studio friendly 3 picture deals and is helmed by a music video director who has some indie cred thanks to (500) Days of Summer and a need to prove that he can play in the studio sandbox. Additionally, since it’s a reboot, the filmmakers can reuse the few memorable (to mainstream audiences) villains.

    *To put the first dollar gross payout into perspective, McGuire alone made FORTY MILLION DOLLARS from Spider-Man 2.

  95. STU:

    Marvel is definitely very cooperative in all films based upon their properties. If they let studios fuck up Marvel-based movies it poisons the well for any future Marvel Studios reboots of said properties. Plus, enough shitty superhero movies could kill the entire subgenre and last I checked, Marvel Studios wasn’t exactly ready to branch out and start making teen comedies or slasher movies, you know? It’s kinda like how Cameron wants to Shepard other filmmakers through the 3D film making process.

  96. jsixfingers:

    Homophobia, racism, misogyny and brazen white entitlement are very demonstratable within the geek and nerd communities. While it might be a generalization, it is not one without merit.

    RE: The Dark Knight

    Given that Bale plays Bruce Wayne as a riff on Patrick Bateman, (a truly brilliant angle on it all that adds a lot of depth and logic to the character), his ridiculously gruff Batman voice makes sense as a conscious character choice. Wayne is creating a fake voice for what he thinks will *sound* tough. He’s hyping himself up. He’s playing into his own ideas of masculinity. Of course it’s over the top and ridiculous, what about Batman ISN’T over the top and ridiculous?

    I’ll also have to join the chorus of TDK semi-haters. While the plot is complex and everything with Ledger fires on all cylinders, the stuff with Two-Face just doesn’t work for me at all. I mean, that first scene with Harvey Dent in the courtroom? “But I haven’t finished my deposition yet!” Ewww. Straight out of Batman Forever. Honestly, if you threw that scene into the previous iteration of the franchise it would make perfect sense.

    That said, TDK is philosophically interesting in that it appears to be a pro-Bush doctrine film with Batman as a cipher for the Bush administration’s actions, (illegal extradition, torture, wiretapping, preemptive strikes, creating new breeds of terrorism and a celebration of the wealthy through Randian worldview all bear directly into the plot). It’s especially fascinating when taken in the context of other superhero movies, almost all of which are ultraconservative in nature. If you put Iron Man next to The Dark Knight you begin to see some parallels that lay bare a lot of the problems of post-9/11 American psychology.

  97. “will be repositioned in keeping with the demands of the Twilight crowd”

    oh God really? I fucking hate Twilight so much

    anyway I thought Spider Man 3 had some pretty cool action scenes, the rest was pretty bad though, it was obvious that the Raimi Spider Man series had run out of steam

  98. and Tawdry a super hero seems to be a pretty conservative concept when you think about it, I mean a guy taking the law into his own hands and all that

  99. Tawdry and Griff – I think a “reboot” of the Spiderman movies could be the best thing that ever happened to them. The last film was reviled by a lot of people (although I didn’t think it was that bad, certainly not worth the comparisons to the atrocious “X-Men 3”, some people obviously disagreed). Raimi was frustrated by producer interference and Dunst’s character had been getting steadily more and more interesting, as had Aunt May, and Tobey Maguire has always been lacking. Really, it’d be nice to see a “Spiderman” movie that DIDN’T fuck up those characters.

    As for the “Twilight” comment, well, if it means that they attempt to have a female lead who’s something a bit more than an insanely annoying Mary-Sue who gets constantly kidnapped all the time, I’m all for it.

  100. No, I mean that it will focus on a supernatural love triangle in a manner similar to Twilight, except here you have two normal girls (Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacey) fighting over one super powered sad sack. Peter will be made to be more Byronic and less…I don’t want to say Horatio Alger, but I can’t think of a better comparison at 3:30 AM.

    The three films will all focus on young peter and instead of keeping him with Mary Jane from the start, there will be competition. If they play it well, they can kill off Gwen Stacey in part 2/part 5 and create deeper emotional turmoil that can play out in part 3/part 6 where Peter finally gets with Mary Jane only to discover that Gwen Stacey is still alive in the Forbidden Zone, or wherever it was that they sent her.

    I’d also expect Venom to play a larger role in this version, acting as Peter’s nemesis and also as a sort of Jacob to his Edward.

  101. “a sort of Jacob to his Edward”

    WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!?

  102. I don’t entirely know since my understanding of the character Edward seems to imply a guy who’s pretty abusive, if not an out and out child molester. I’m just trying to think of how somebody probably pitched it.

  103. I think you’re right on how TDK and Iron Man really are telling of how ugly America can be, Tawdry. I always read Batman as a fascist and Batman Begins and TDK don’t even pretend to hide it. I even think Inception goes into this a little bit and makes a gross fetish out of capital. Iron Man is pretty gross here, too, and belittles democracy and instead forwards the notion that only private enterprise can save us and that the best thing that could happen in the world is if we’re saved by a Randian superhero.

    As a guy who likes movies and who manages to play Warhammer 40k every week I have no problem saying that nerds are awful people, by and large. Fascist appeals to power fantasies play well to that audience .

    That’s part of why I like Spiderman, actually. Sure, Peter Parker has powers but he’s punished early on for using them for personal gain and instead tries to serve the community. Even in Spiderman 3 when there are the scenes of celebration, which I thought were goofy and just annoyed me, that leads to his hubris which leads to his falling for the black suit.

    I don’t mind a quick reboot of Spiderman. I guess I always look at superhero movies, even direct sequels, as a sort of reboot as they all seem to go over the same material with slight variations on that. I actually really liked Maguire as Peter Parker but he was aging pretty fast and unless they were going to do an interesting take on a middle aged Spiderman, which I think could have merit, they kind of have to reboot.

    I actually think Spiderman is so linked to a person of a certain age that it kind of locks them in to only so many movies before you’re forced to reboot.

    I wanted to like Superman Returns. I really did. I think the space shuttle scene was awesome and I liked the big farmboy they got to play as Superman. He did a good job. At some point, though, someone decided to write scenes where Superman was a stalker. Then the director decided to shoot those scenes. And then the actors decided to act those scenes. I’m just really surprised that for all the people involved in a movie that scenes involving Superman acting like a stalker managed to get into the final cut. I don’t understand it.

  104. I think I will watch SUPERMAN RETURNS again tonight.

  105. Thanks for the breakdown about Spiderman 3 into Reboot, Tawdry. As much as I hate the reality of the situation you describe, it all makes sense. It’s still annoying though, ie:
    – Raimi & Maguire & Dunst (of all people??) demanding even more money for their involvement, to the point that a film becomes economically unfeasible…..talk about ‘true artists’.
    – The power of shareholders, not having the good sense to see that if said film becomes economically unfeasible to the point that a reboot is the only option, not having the patience to leave the reboot for a few years to build some genuine anticipation.

    I’m still not going to see the new iteration on principal, and frankly because I don’t have THAT much interest in Spiderman as a character to see a (slightly?) different take on his origins and development.

    On a different note, while Superman Returns was by no means perfect, I really liked it. I definitely would have liked to have seen where it would have gone with a sequel. The world he set up was quite good, a very ‘stable’ first instalment.

    Agree on Dark Knight.

  106. SUPERMAN RETURNS AGAIN is the sequel I’ve always wanted to see.

    Tawdry, you are correct on the financial breakdown.

  107. Casey:

    TDK is an intelligent film about Bush. Iron Man is…not.

  108. Casey — I think its probably safe to say that nerds, by and large, feel overlooked and disempowered, and power fantasies (especially those that present themselves as pragmatic and unsentimental) have an obvious appeal there. It often makes me uncomfortable when nerds embrace really dispicable films like WANTED as wish-fullfillment or fall into hero worship over obviously deeply flawed characters like Rorsarch or Batman. I always thought that the genius of TDK is that it is very upfront about its fascist protagonist and I assumed that it was obvious that Nolan wanted us to feel extremely uncomfortable with his actions (at the very least, it wants us to see that his escalation of violence has made things exponentionally worse for everyone and has completely destroyed his sense of morality). But of course, it always seemed to me stunningly obvious that WATCHMEN was a direct commentary on this, and of course the audience (with a lot of help from Snyder, who obviously feel this way himself) seemed to ultimately embrace Rorsarch as the correct moral compass in the story.

    yeeech.

    Mr M — I completely agree with your assessment of SUPERMAN RETURNS but honestly don’t really see a problem with it. It’s kind of a small story for a movie with so many big setpieces, but shit, when they come they feel pretty huge and epic and iconic. Superman is such a one-dimentional hero that picking up a really, really heavy rock seems like a appropriate climax. Probably more so than any superhero film I’ve ever seen, I felt like RETURNS embraces its place as a modern mythology piece instead of an action movie. Maybe that was everyone’s problem with it, but I thought it made it kind of special and I’d actually be more excited to see a sequel to that (by Singer) than any other superhero film. FTopel, maybe we can buy the rights and set that shit up, like the lady who bought TERMINATOR.

    as to SPIDER-MAN REBOOT: I’m glad Raimi’s off and can hopefully get something really crazy of his own going. I’ll happily watch another Spider-Man and won’t miss MaGuire et al. But I swear to god I will not fucking watch another origin story, won’t do it, don’t care.

  109. I’m not sure how intelligent of a film The Dark Knight is. When Morgan Freeman takes issue with the surveillance technology it didn’t ring true to me. This is the same guy that was more than happy to give weapons of terrible power to a billionaire sociopath. That whole scene just seemed really on the nose and is one of the reasons why I was totally underwhelmed with the movie. That and every line of dialogue had the word “knight” or “hero” or “white knight” in it. Batman Begins word of choice was “fear” or “terror”. I’m hoping the next Batman movie uses “dialectic” or “deontological” in every sentence.

    It’s a shame because some scenes are awesome. I actually really dug the scenes on the boats. It was a little cheesy and whatever but it was done effectively.

    Iron Man is really vapid but I think in light of Iron Man 2 it becomes clear that it’s a very pro-market, pro-America, pro-EverythingCaseyIsAgainst movie. I think it does have a message, it’s just a really stupid message wrapped up in a very stupid movie. If you can ignore that I think the first one is still a decent flick.

    I like your read of TDK, Mr. Subtlety but I’m unsure if the movie actually supports the idea that the audience should be uncomfortable with Batman’s escalation of violence and fascist actions. I think the Joker and Batman create a dichotomy where you either choose chaos or rigid and undemocratic authoritarianism. Even the very notion of democracy is shown to be flimsy and useless in that it requires a hero to exist, such as Harvey Dent, or else it doesn’t work and it’s up to someone like Batman to pick up the slack.

    Had Harvey Dent been immune to corruption and was capable of staying steadfast and ultimately came to oppose Batman and became an antagonist against Batman than it could have been really interesting. Instead, we see the democratic process undermined since it relies so heavily on a heroic individual to save society and once that person falls from grace it is up to Batman to fight against chaos. Batman’s paternalism is really gross.

    Part of why I liked the boat scene so much was that it involved every day people acting heroically. I really hope that becomes a bigger theme of the next movie. I also hope that Commissioner Gordon becomes an actual character instead of an enabler who gives explicit permission for Batman to be a fascist. The movie even ends on a contemplative mood as he narrates about how he must be hunted but that he is still a hero. It’s really absurd stuff and I think ultimately the movie forces the viewer to choose between order and chaos and that choice ultimately leads to agreeing with Batman and his fascism.

    I like Watchmen a lot more. I think its perspective, and the perspective that Alan Moore had, was that anyone that would dress up to fight crime is also a pretty disgusting and evil kind of person. It seems to me that anyone that chooses to use their wealth and privilege to beat up poor criminals is a really awful person. I think part of why Rorschach is likable in that movie is because he is also a poor guy and really represents that young man idea that personal ethics trump everything else. I mean, I remember what it was like to be an 18 year old and I remember believing that I’d rather die for what I believed than to ever submit. Of course that idea is insane and leads to evil stuff, but it’s something I’d wager most young men believe in at some point.

    I think Watchmen is really interesting because of Ozymandias. He thinks he knows what is best for the world and makes the decision to kill millions because he believes it will save even more. I’m glad the movie kept its setting as the 80s because we know now that the Soviets in Afghanistan did not lead to worldwide war so what he does is for nothing and only ends up murdering millions.

  110. Casey, I think everything that you disliked about Iron Man 2 was very present in Iron Man 1.

    Let’s see:
    weapons of mass destruction are where we say they are,
    preemptive strikes are justified,
    there are two kinds of arabs, those who are faceless towelheads and those who die to protect white men,
    the middle east can be saved by a single white man (who enters the scene in a very Christ-like shot)
    validation of conspicuous consumption
    Randian proselytizing,
    endorsement of the military industrial complex,
    the best way to fight weapons is not with diplomacy, but with more weapons,
    blacks are subservient to whites
    women can help out…but only by doing office work,

    And a bunch more stuff that I forgot because I only saw the movie once and found it boring, except during the Tony-Stark-not-as-Iron-Man scenes. Look, Favreau is a Republican, if not an outright NeoCon. And I’m cool with that. The guy has worked hard to get where he is and has every right to make movies that come from his worldview*. I’m no Objectivist, but I’m all for a Marketplace of Ideas. I can think of nothing more boring that a world where all media and entertainment came from the same political bend (even if 99% of Hollywood movies are ultimately Ultra-Conservative bordering on Reactionary in faux-Libertine clothing). I think it’s a good thing that there are movies like “Iron Man,” “From Paris, with Love” and “The A-Team,” films that make no bones about their political leanings and display a very pointed worldview that stands in direct opposition to my own. But isn’t one of the wonderful things about cinema how it can show us the world from a whole new perspective?

    As for TDK, I think you grossly undersell the nuance in the film. Sure, a lot of the dialogue is pretty bad, but if you look at the movie from a structuralist perspective, with the characters and sequences acting as pieces in an almost Kantian dialectical (Thesis: Antithesis: Synthesis — repeat), you can see that the film is actually about questioning the dichotomy between hero and villain. Of course, I think that the film, much like Iron Man, is ultimately pro-Bush, but that is up for debate.

    *I don’t mean to call the man a racist, by the by. The comment about Blacks being subservient to white was entirely glib, even if it is technically present within the text. There is a strong element of anti-Arab xenophobia, however.

  111. As for Watchmen, my reading is this:

    The central conflict is that Ozy is a well-meaning, enlightened liberal but his actions are utterly evil while Rorschach is a fascist bastard who is morally reprehensible…and he’s also completely right about everything. By common logic, Rorschach should be the villain and Ozy the hero but at the climax of the story their roles are reversed and we are left without any type of simple solution.

    The movie completely misses this. As I’ve said elsewhere, I saw Snyder at Comic-Con giving a live commentary track on the director’s cut of the film. He said something like, “And that’s the real question of Watchmen, if you were in Ozy’s shoes and you knew that you could ensure world peace by killing 10 million people, would you do it?” And of course, that’s not the question at all. Ozy’s plan is absurd and would never work. After 6 months without a giant squid attack people would go back to infighting. So the only way to keep the “peace” is to continue a long term series of false flag acts of genocide.

  112. I totally agree about Iron Man. I’m not sure if it was because it wasn’t as obvious in the first film or if I wasn’t as sensitive to this as I am now but a lot of those issues only really came to my attention because of Iron Man 2. A lot of things I didn’t think much of in Iron Man became really clear in the sequel.

    I’ll have to give TDK a new view now that you bring up its structure. That’s not something I thought about and I’d be interested in watching it from that perspective.

    I guess I’m really interested to watch the film again to look at its structure because I feel that the dialogue is so bad and so obvious that I’ve only recently tried looking into a deeper meaning because I thought the movie wasn’t smart enough to be about anything more than what it repeated over and over again.

    I don’t know if the director of Iron Man is a racist or not. I don’t care. I’d rather he made better movies but I guess if he’s going to make propaganda I disagree with I’d rather the movies be boring. Still, I think some people get too shy to call someone a racist. Of course the Tea Party people are racist. They’re really openly bigoted towards Arabs, Persians, Muslims, Latinos, homosexuals, atheists, and lots of other groups. Just because they’ve managed to thinly veil their blatant racism towards African Americans doesn’t change the fact that they’re really openly and proudly bigoted towards so many other groups.

    I’ve really appreciated your comments, Tawdry. You and lots of other guys have really made me think and analyze a lot of new things and I’ve really appreciated hearing your perspective and teaching me things I would have never come up with on my own. I really appreciate that we can all disagree but still have some really awesome conversations about these movies. Thanks!

  113. I totally agree with your read on Watchmen. I think a big reason for why I appreciate it as much as I do is because I see it as an extension of the book and because of that I find it hard to analyze it as its own beast. The Watchmen movie is one I enjoy a great deal and think works but that’s due to largely subjective reasons and because I bring the book to it whenever I see it.

    I don’t actually disagree with Snyder’s read of the material. I do think that such an attack would really affect people by bringing the horrors of such widespread death to worldwide attention. It becomes really difficult to talk about using nuclear weapons when the world has gone through something so similar. Maybe I’m a total optimist about that, though.

    I think that’s a minor point of the material and I think your views about Rorschach versus Ozymandias is much more important.

  114. I think it’s safe to say that Jon Faverau is NOT a racist. I apologize for insinuating as much. However, I stand by my statement that Iron Man is certainly a xenophobic film.

    “Of course the Tea Party people are racist.”

    I disagree. The so-called “Birthers” certainly come from a place or racism or at least fear of the other, but I don’t see anything overtly racist about the “Tea Party.” I mean, I’ve been generally ignoring them for some time, but I don’t recall any of the leaders of the movement, excepting those who bought into the BS birth certificate thing, and the “Not-on-Ground-Zero-But-Actually-on-a-Burlington-Coat-Factory-Several-Blocks-Away-and-Also-not-a-Mosque” thing, making any overtly racist comments. I’ll grant you the homophobia, but that strikes me as more of a most-of-America thing than something unique to the Tea Party.

    It is unfair to characterize a political movement based upon homemade signs that are often specifically designed to get attention. The people making signs with Obama rocking a Hitler ‘stache are outliers. They want attention more than they want to be right. Lord knows I wouldn’t want to be defined by bumper stickers endorsing liberalism or atheism. Ya dig?

    You’re welcome. I stupidly decided to get a degree in Film Theory and this is pretty much the only place on earth I can use it, so I’m happy to throw down. If I brought up Kant or Dialectics anywhere else on the web I’d just be called a “Faggot” or a “Troll.”

  115. I think it’s safe to say that Jon Faverau is NOT a racist. I apologize for insinuating as much. However, I stand by my statement that Iron Man is certainly a xenophobic film.

    “Of course the Tea Party people are racist.”

    I disagree. The so-called “Birthers” certainly come from a place or racism or at least fear of the other, but I don’t see anything overtly racist about the “Tea Party.” I mean, I’ve been generally ignoring them for some time, but I don’t recall any of the leaders of the movement, excepting those who bought into the BS birth certificate thing, and the “Not-on-Ground-Zero-But-Actually-on-a-Burlington-Coat-Factory-Several-Blocks-Away-and-Also-not-a-Mosque” thing, making any overtly racist comments. I’ll grant you the homophobia, but that strikes me as more of a most-of-America thing than something unique to the Tea Party.

    It is unfair to characterize a political movement based upon homemade signs that are often specifically designed to get attention. The people making signs with Obama rocking a Hitler ’stache are outliers. They want attention more than they want to be right. Lord knows I wouldn’t want to be defined by bumper stickers endorsing liberalism or atheism. Ya dig?

    You’re welcome. I stupidly decided to get a degree in Film Theory and this is pretty much the only place on earth I can use it, so I’m happy to throw down. If I brought up Kant or Dialectics anywhere else on the web I’d just be called a “F*ggot^” or a “Troll.”

    ^hate to use any type of censorship in an adult conversation, but apparently I can’t type that word without it getting “sent to moderation.”

  116. But Casey, Snyder seems to think that Rorschach is actually the HERO of the piece, unequivocally. I don’t think that Moore wanted us to like Rorschach or to wholly abhor Ozy.

    The biggest problem with Watchmen is that the book is a deconstruction of the comic book hero genre. The movie is also a deconstruction of the comic book hero genre…but it doesn’t work because it’s not using the form of comic books, it’s using the form of films. A good Watchmen movie is very possible, it would just have to be absolutely NOTHING like the book. In fact, the movie Watchmen pissed me off so much that it inspired me to write a script that played with some of the themes of Watchmen while acting as a deconstruction of super hero movies. Ironically enough, the head of development at Legendary Pictures (the company who made Watchmen) read it and loved it…but told me to make it into a comic book and then come back.

  117. I live in DC, inside the Beltway at least, and I’ve been to a lot of Tea Party rallies to talk to people, to counter protest, or just because I happened to be in the city. Last year my wife and a few friends went to counter protest on the weekend Healthcare Reform was about to be passed and it was ugly. Immediately my wife and a female friend were accused of having abortions and we were accused of being bused in and paid to protest. I’ve seen similar things happen and it’s a really hostile and ugly group.

    I think they’re racist because they don’t seem to hide their hatred of Arabs or Latinos. They also seem to be incredibly proud of their hatred for lots of other groups. It just seems to me that when you have 1) a large group of older white people that 2) started to organize when a black man was elected president and 3) are opposed to immigration from Latin America while 4) accuse Arabs of trying to invade the nation and implement Sharia law and simultaneously 5) complain about “welfare queens” and talk about how racist black people are for voting for Obama and then immediately thereafter asserting that the only people who support Obama are people who are on welfare while 6) advocating for policies that hurt African Americans, Latinos, and everyone else who is not a wealthy white Christian male than I think there’s a case to be made for them being racist.

    I’m taking a holistic approach here. I don’t think they’re racist because they said something stupid at one point. I think they’re racist because of a whole slew of things and because I can’t think of anything they say or stand for that would actually improve the lives of anyone that isn’t white.

    The Hitler-Obama signs are usually from Larouchites. They’re a scary political cult that thinks the British Empire is exerting control over America and who want to build railroads over the ocean. It’s pretty nutty stuff. An exgirlfriend, who was really the sweetest girl ever, made the mistake of treating one of them like a human being and was friendly and they got her phone number and called every day for months on end. They usually end up living together in small compounds in the area until they get evicted or foreclosed on. It’s a pretty scary cult and I actually mean cult as in cult cult, not as in Ron Paul is wacky and his supporters are cultlike in their devotion.

    Honestly, I’m not too concerned with the Tea Party being racist. It’s terrible but I think it’s mostly sad. I’ve been looking at this from a historical perspective and one of my heroes is Eugene Debs. He advocated for African Americans to be allowed into the unions but votes to do so always ended up failing. Instead African Americans ended up working as strike breakers and the capitalist classes were able to inflame racial tensions to keep us workers in a perpetual state of racial strife instead of uniting under class consciousness. I see the Tea Party as doing something similar as they are doing all they can to destroy unions and African Americans make a huge percentage of many unions, especially public sector unions. I find it impossible to not see parallels here.

    Sorry for the tangent!

    I definitely misread your statements about Snyder. That’s a real shame. I always got the impression that Moore really hated all of his characters in Watchmen. Rorschach is a pyschopath, Nite Owl is an impotent little man that has to use violence over petty criminals to feel like a man, and Ozymandias is a megalomaniac. I always saw those three characters as three different versions of Batman, as I think Batman has all three of those personalities in differing levels based on who is writing the story.

    I think Snyder might still be a teenage boy in a lot of ways and his love of Rorschach is that of a 15 year old kid who listens to Metallica and really takes to heart “living on your knees, conformity! dying on your feet, honesty!”. I know I did as a teenager and I think Rorschach really appeals to that idealistic teenage boy who cares way too much about shit like that.

  118. really interesting stuff guys

  119. Casey, good points all. I concede, you’re right.

    As for the strike breaking, that calls to mind one of the biggest flaws in Marxism. The theory utterly fails to account for racial divides. Marx posits that the revolution will come from Proletariat Class, but this is impossible. History has shown time and time again that the Proletariat are not revolutionary, as Marx assumed, but rather reactionary. Clinging to ideas of the flag, religion, and racial superiority. The French working class saw no solidarity with the Haitian working class because the former saw themselves as FRENCH and WHITE first and foremost while they saw the Haitian’s as BLACK and HAITIAN first and foremost.

    In fact, if you look into the biography of any great revolutionary you will find that he/she was a member of the Bourgeois or Petty Bourgeois class. In same cases the men/women were actually members of the Proletariat, but where, for one reason or another, offered education and enculturation in the higher end of the spectrum.

    The reason is this; the revolutionary ultimately comes from a place of understanding that the whole of the system is unsustainable. Sooner or later it will collapse. If you wait for it to happen “naturally” it will likely fall into anarchy and something akin to the Reign of Terror. In this case, the revolutionary or his/her descendants will very likely be beheaded or brutally murdered. As such, change now, even violent change, is necessary to stave off larger cataclysm in the future.

  120. I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees Snyder undermining Moore’s take on Ozy and Rorsarch while superficially telling the same story. I think Moore finds them at least equally dispicable, but Snyder goes out of his way to soften up Rorsarch (by excising some of his most unpleasant traits) and makes Ozy seems like an unlikable, whiny, effiminate jerk. All the characters in WATCHMEN are deeply unappealing, because Moore hates superheros and rightly identifies them all as sociopaths or fascists. But Snyder’s film subtly but clearly plays the right-wing characters more sympathetically.

    I don’t think the problem is the medium change (since superhero movies now reflect the same sensebilities as the books once did) but rather the director’s own issues –either failure to understand the material or letting his personal predjudice color the portrayal. I tend to feel like the teenage boy comparison made by Casey feels quite appropriate (right down to how obviously “cool” Snyder thinks his ultra-violent action sequences are. I have a hard time believing Moore wants you to think Nite Owl and Silk Spectre are fucking awesome for brutally killing the punks that try to attack them.)

    And of course, his treatment of the female characters utterly and stunningly misses the whole point, which no one seems particularly bothered about. Laurie is a much more proactive character in the film, but also a much shallower and less conflicted one.

  121. Watchmen is pretty much the only story I’ve ever seen that delves into “she was raped…but then she kinda liked it” territory without making my stomach churn. Shame the movie left that out, since Snyder appears to have no issue with rapetastic content, as per Suckerpunch.

  122. Just saw First Class, had basically the same problems alot of people had – the rushed ending, the cheap-looking FX, a few slow spots, but I liked it overall. SPOILERS – the cameo(s) were great, and I love how people in my audience were cheering during the villain’s big comeuppance. It’s a great, emotional scene, and i loved how they blatantly gave it away in the post-opening credits scene but it happens in a way you didn’t expect.

    I kinda get the feeling Vern liked it even less than his review said, and I’ve always thought for years he liked X3 more than he stated, because, yes, the internet is an angry beast, and you can’t really admit to liking Spiderman 3, X3, Blade 3, or Superman 3 without getting shat upon.

    So here goes – I really did love X3. I’ve only seen it once, but I don’t remember anything being inept or poorly made about it. The action sequences were good. The acting was good. The scene of Wolverine struggling to walk towards the woman he loves to kill her while he’s being torn to pieces was powerful. And it had balls – on a side note, I remember watching H20 and thinking it was just ok, but when she beheads Michael Myers, I could not believe what I just saw. NOBODY has the balls to do anything anymore to jeopardize a franchise; it was amazing (i’m going to pretend the next Halloween movie didn’t happen, ok?)

    And I think that’s why people hate X3 – they don’t like the character deaths. Harry Knowles said it was like if the third James Bond movie killed off M, Q, and Blofeld; it wasted potential.. Harry, you’re insane if you thought there was going to be 20+ (or 10+) of ANY franchise with the same canon and continuity. (Shit, they can’t even hold onto a fucking Incredible Hulk or a Terrence Howard for more than one movie, you think everyone from the Xmen is going to agree to be in like 20 movies?) Plus everyone has an issue with Rogue getting the cure at the end, even drawing anti-gay subtext from it. I seriously doubt if ANYONE had her “power” they wouldn’t take that cure in a second. Tons of characters from X1 and X2 are dead or depowered at the end, and I for one think that’s great.

    (Also, I wonder why the same people who despise the deaths in X3 seem to LOVE that a certain character dies FOR NO FUCKING REASON in Serenity, other than Joss Whedon is a genius and Brett Ratner’s an asshole or something)

  123. So what do you guys think about Magneto’s helmet? They kinda skipped over how he settled on purple.

  124. Oh and re: Damon Lindelof’s tweet where he weirdly disses January Jones like he’s a uh…talkbacker or something: a) I actually didn’t think she was that bad, certainly not bad enough to warrant a tweet b) January Jones could probably write up a better ending to LOST. OH SNAP!

  125. Me and my friends were talking about that after the movie and we thought it would have been funny if there was a moment in the movie where he undresses to suit up and reveals he wears purple boxers or something. Then have it scored with ominous music.

    Also continuity problems were the least of this movies problems but didn’t Xavier say in the first movie that Magneto built that helmet? And didn’t he say they met when they were teenagers? Of course I could be remembering it wrong and if so I apologize.

  126. By the way, I don’t think First Class leads right into the beginning of X-Men (2000). I think there are many more adventures to be had and some will have Xavier and Magneto on the same side (like in X2) and some will pit them against each other.

    I will be eager to see the new Spider-Man on principal. It is such a crazy idea to reboot a series within 10 years (nine really, it was announced nine years after the original came out), I want to see what craziness results, good or bad. Cool if it’s good.

    It’s funny to me that January Jones is “suddenly” getting bashed. Most people only know her from Mad Men so this and Unknown are the first times they’ve realized she’s always the same. I saw her in American Wedding and Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and interviewed her for both. She always seemed very unhappy but genuinely ambitious. So I say let her have her fun. I’m sure she’s a lovely girl.

  127. I only know January Jones from Mad Men and I can’t blame her for having an awful character on that show. Sure, her character is awful and a petulant child but so is everyone else in that show. My wife loves it but I can’t figure out what it’s about. I’m not inclined to like her but I don’t really care.

    And I loved the ending to Lost.

  128. Tawdry, I agree that revolution is difficult and is idealistic in its very core. I need to look up my source for this but I remember reading a story during the Haitian Revolution where a group of French soldiers refuse to shoot at the Haitians after hearing them sing La Marseillaise. The Haitians saw themselves as a natural extension of the spirit of the French Revolution. I also remember reading about stories from Algerians who were always puzzled about why the left in France didn’t support their cause.

    I used to think that class consciousness was tied to a certain level of self actualization and that self actualization required a certain level of wealth but I no longer believe that. I know lots of fully actualized and class conscious poor people and have known more than a few very wealthy people who are not actualized at all and are miserable from their constant pursuit of wealth.

    I’ve got more thoughts on this but for the most part I agree but I think there’s a little more nuance in the situation than I read in your reply. I need to run to work, though, but I hope we get to have more of these awesome conversations.

  129. hey Vern, maybe Magneto just found his helmet lying on the ground and thought “that’ll work” sort of like how Jason just found the hockey mask on the ground in the Friday The 13th remake?

  130. I only just now remembered that Professor X was walking with his buddy Magneto in the prologue to X3 (I think) so you could argue this movie definitely does not jive with canon. Unless that scene was set during the “finding mutants montage” of this one.

  131. Griff – I think the scene in the Friday the 13th remake was an homage to the scene in the Texas Chainsaw remake prequel where Leatherface got his chainsaw because there was a chainsaw sitting there. Actually (mild spoiler) this movie does explain where Magneto’s helmet came from, but at the end it’s suddenly purple and has horns added. It would be interesting to see who he went to to get it pimped out and if they thought he was a weirdo or not. I guess maybe he went to Evel Knievel’s people.

  132. Neal – actually if it comes across like I didn’t like this movie then I would say that I like it better than I’m making it sound like. I really did enjoy it, I just feel like there’s a little more depth to the other three. They all have their problems. Part 2’s probly the best, but I can’t stand Xavier’s powers to stop time or the missed dramatic opportunities of the opening scene and ending (I think I went into that in my review). But I really like the characters and the ideas behind the whole world so they’re high up on the list of super hero movies I enjoy most. The Blades would be at the top of my list, then some of the Batmans, then obviously Popeye, but X-Men would be my next favorite super hero series unless I’m forgetting somebody. I also enjoy Iron Man, Thor was okay, etc. but the X-Men world is more interesting to me.

    You’re right though, I’m really out of touch with the Nerd Law on acceptable comic book part 3s. I still don’t fully understand the hatred of X3 and Spider-3. Not like I don’t see weaknesses, but I don’t see them as so crushingly worse than the others, and see many good qualities in them. Blade 3 of course I do understand is way worse than the others, because the first two are among my favorite modern movies. But also it’s enjoyable to watch because the character of Blade is still there, dignity intact.

    I wouldn’t be afraid to express these things though, especially here where apparently up is down, I’m no longer the only person who thinks the dancing part in Spider-man 3 is kinda funny, everybody agrees that the obvious best comic book movie since Barbarella not including Blade is actually terrible, and people have more to say about Haitian politics than Mystique’s scaly blue boobs. This place is not only different from the rest of the internet, but different from itself.

  133. X3 & the Rat unfairly get a lot of hate, it is my understanding that the Rat just stepped in and picked up where Matthew Vaughn left off. He shot the script Vaughn was going to shoot and used all the production design and effects that Vaughn developed. I wonder if Vaughn had stayed with the project till its conclusion, would it have been a different film? I don’t know if it would have been a better film, but I bet it would have been received differently by people without Ratner’s name attached.

  134. Charles – positively the last word I’m going to say on X3.

    I don’t care who directed it. I don’t care who starred in it. One of my favorite movies so far this year is a one-take experimental Ukranian arthouse horror film whose director and stars I’ve never even heard of.

    I think it’s often unrealistic to expect a sequel, made solely to cash in on its unexpectedly successful predecessor (which X3 obviously was, and arguably X2 as well) to be better than the film that it’s following. I DO think it’s reasonable to expect it to be made by people who understand what made the preceding films successful and who want to try and bring something new while at the same time keeping the “soul” of the series intact. X2 managed this very well.

    But X3? No way. There’s a bloke in it called Magneto played by Ian McKellen. That’s not Magneto, any more than the character Bruce Willis played in “Die Hard 4” was John MacClane, at least as far as I know them. Pyro and Iceman, two of my favorite characters from X2 if you don’t include Alan Cummings’ Nightcrawler (mercifully absent from X3 so there’s at least one character they didn’t completely fuck up) aren’t friends any more. They aren’t really ANYTHING any more. They fight because, well, it’s what everyone expects, isn’t it? Plus they look cool with the CGI effects. Never mind if any of this is justified by character or the story or anything else.

    Main characters die offscreen, in totally dumb ways, for no reason. In fact that’s probably what irritates me the most about this film. The people who made it apparently expect the audience, who will naturally be largely composed of people who saw and liked “X2”, not to notice that the characters they liked are replaced by cardboard cyphers, that the story makes no sense, and that the central plot conceit (that there’s a “cure” for mutations – even by comic book law that’s seriously fucking stupid) pretty much undoes everything the first two films did that we were supposed to regard as “important”. And then the final scene – where it’s hinted that, surprise surprise, the cure doesn’t even work – pretty much undoes everything THIS film did that we were supposed to regard as important. And either the producers were too dumb to notice or thought the audience would be too dumb to care. Seriously, fuck those guys. If they’re going to cash in, at least try and put some effort into it.

    So I never read the comic books, watched the cartoons, or had any interaction with the X-Men universe in any way outside of the films. Also the only Ratner films I’ve seen are Rush Hour 1 and 2, and I thought they were good disposible entertainment if not much more than that, so I have pretty much nothing against the Ratner. And I STILL despised this film. Not hated – I don’t care enough about it or the franchise in general to hate it, and it’s not “hateable” bad, more just “massive missed opportunity” bad.

    But it really annoys me when films like this are successful and people give them a “pass” because, well, they’re big budget blockbusters, who cares if they’re a little patronising or dumbed-down? Strive for excellence, damn you!

  135. I remember thinking that X3 had a really short running time or felt rushed. I wonder if it was cut to be a much shorter film so they could fit in more screenings? Honestly, I think the film could have been a lot better (and I’m not a hater, I liked it well enough) if it had another half hour to really let a lot of those character dynamics happen instead of being suggested.

    Not to be totally cynical but maybe the film was cut to 90 minutes or whatever so that it could get a ton of screenings? Hell, the movie might actually be 3 hours but it just felt really short and that it rushed from scene to scene. I liked X2 the most because it had a lot of time to breathe.

  136. Yeah, that’s my main problem with X-Men 3 too. They squeezed not one, but two big stories into a 90 minutes movie, although each one of them could and should have been used in their own movie, with at least the runtime of X2!

    Apart from that I like it. It’s doesn’t come close to the quality of part 2, but is at least almost on par with part 1.

  137. Its impossible to know for sure what was Vaugn and what was Ratner, but X3 feels very vaguely directed to me. One one hand, its incredibly dark and serious, but its also filled with goofy pratfalls and crap. Major character just sort of drift around, a few dying inexplicably (we sat through Cyclops for two movies and then he just vanishes off-screen?) and then all the sudden we have a couple new characters who show up at the finale as if we are supposed to know them. There are these huge changes but then the end kinda negates everything (we even find out Professor X didn’t die. Geez, why even jerk us around like that?)

    Everything has this weird cadence where it focuses on odd details, but it seems like major story components get barely touched on (the whole pheonix thing is completely unimportant until the very end, and even then its kind of unclear what the fuck the deal was.) Basically, it seems like a case of good material being their but then having it shot by someone who wasn’t really thinking about it too deeply and as a result you get an odd mix of good parts assembled haphazardly, with some not fitting all that well.

    So yeah, I do blame Ratner.

  138. Rumor has it that Cyclops’ off screen death was some kind of punishment for James Marsden, because he dared to make SUPERMAN RETURNS with Bryan Singer. (A pretty stupid punishment if you ask me, because that way he got still paid, but had to work less. So I doubt that rumor.)

  139. Also most of the casting was Vaughn’s idea. Both Vinnie Jones and Kelsey Grammer have stated in several interviews, that they were hired by Matthew Vaughn. I can imagine that Rattner’s only casting choice was Ken Leung, since they already worked together several times.

  140. X3 is mostly a missed opportunity. Everytime I think of it I get kind of bummed out thinking what we might have gotten if Singer was allowed to film X3 and 4 back to back like he had orignally planned. I actually wish the McG Superman project hadn’t collapsed when it did so Singer wouldn’t have been tempted to leave the franchise. Oh well.

  141. Vern, I think you are mistaken about Xavier stopping time in X2. It was my understanding he was just mind controlling everyone in that one location so they all froze in place. Like what he did to Bacon at the end of this one.

  142. Yeah, Singer goes into that in the commentary. He’s freezing only the people in the room, not stopping time. Though that doesn’t really explain why the teleprompter stops working.

  143. Wow, Vern, I’m unsure if your description of these forums is flattering or not. I’m going to go with flattering.

    And I don’t think anyone thinks The Dark Knight is terrible. I think it’s a pretty okay movie that just doesn’t hold up well under any scrutiny. I apologize if I have come off as overly critical of it as I’m really trying hard to not be overly negative.

    Not to steer things off again, but I like Tawdry and he made some good points. I think your criticism of Marx is completely valid and I would agree for the most part. I would just classify it as a problem with Marx’s dialectic because I think the phrase “Marxism” has too many connotations and meanings. I think Marx’s understanding of capitalism, for instance, is spot on and it’s really peculiar to start seeing a lot neoliberal economists talking about economics in a way that is compatible with Marx even if they don’t see the connection. It’s hard to not think of something like “creative destruction” without thinking of Marx, even if those that would use such a phrase obviously dislike Marx.

    I do think that the working class can be organized and equipped to fight for their rights. There are tons of examples in the 20s and 30s, not to mention the 60s and 70s, of young Marxists going into working class communities and igniting some real class consciousness. I’m a firm believer that class consciousness is the spark that can ignite real change but that issues of race, religion, and other issues will always be used by the bourgeois class to keep the working class pitted against itself.

  144. I kind of liked X3 but also found parts of it verrry boring. The prologue with the holodeck training session was inexcusably bad. The fight scene at the end, with 6 or 7 nobodies plus Wolverine fighting an army of bad mutants, was pointless, too long, and had zero buildup or emotion. However at the same time there were some very good parts, such as Rogue’s excitement over the cure contrasted with the other mutants’ disgust. Famke Jannsen is hot. And I liked the bad mutant chick who could detect other mutants, and the part where she detects a huge “disturbance in the force” (or whatever) and all Magneto does is ask “Where is she?” Pretty badass, right? No?

    SPIDERMAN 2 is the best superhero movie, ever, hands down. Better than DARK KNIGHT but not by a huge amount. But I love Alfred Molina.

  145. Paul – I hear what you’re saying about X3, but I don’t see how it can be patronizing or a cash-in since there’s so many deaths. I’d say another Xmen adventure where they just fight a bunch of bad mutants/people and defeat them and leave the door open to another sequel would be the more patronizing route. We’ll agree to disagree.

    Also, rainman – I actually liked how the last fight was Wolverine and the damn B-team vs. the mutants. Wolverine’s been such an out-for-himself asshole, it was nice to see him accept his place as a leader (kinda like Han in Return of the Jedi). And the way he led those military guys that he normally would have hated, it was good stuff.

    Then again, I’m the last guy standing to defend Blade III – I’ve seen it so many times and loved it every single time – couldn’t see what you guys were saying about the action scenes being poorly shot, I actually thought Ryan Reynolds was funny, etc… then I caught it on TV the other day and holy shit, the action scenes were poorly shot and Ryan Reynolds was obnoxious as hell to the point of making me not want to see Green Lantern anymore. I’m almost 100% positive seeing X3 again will make me see the flaws you guys are talking about.

  146. Nabroleon Dynamite

    June 9th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    A Watchmen reboot directed by David Cronenberg would be dope!!

    Ya’ll wanna take up a collection???

  147. Wait, Xavier’s still alive in X3? When does that happen?

  148. After the end credits.

  149. That’s one part that Matthew Vaughn wouldn’t have had. They said Ratner made it up on set and shot it in secret. So Ratner’s the one who didn’t want to kill off Xavier.

    Neal – I still think Reynolds is funny in BLADE III. The name tag that says “Hello, my name is FUCK YOU,” the part where he says “a satellite. Which is in space.” Also Snipes is funny in it, like when he says “Forgot my sword.” Whistler’s defiant middle finger flipping death. It has all kinds of good shit in it. If it wasn’t a sequel to two all time greats it would be easier to forgive some of the other parts.

    Casey – sorry, I think I was being rude there. I was just flustered by the DARK KNIGHT discussion. That movie used to cause a problem because of how many unrelated threads got dragged into people debating its merits with Majestyk and the one or two other living humans who didn’t agree that it was great. Here we have a sudden mixup where like seven people are unanimously agreeing that it’s not only a bad movie but an anti-democratic one. I’m scrolling through finding point after point that I want to debate and then realizing what the fuck dude, weren’t we talking about the new X-Men?

    Maybe next time I watch it I’ll write up a new piece entitled Remember How The Whole World Was Right About Dark Knight Being Amazing? Well Shut the Fuck Up Then And I Will Explain To You Why Again. An essay by Vern. Part 1 of 6.

    Until then I’ll sit this out and try not to make bitter comments about it.

  150. I’m with you on Blade 3, Vern. I’ve only seen it once and I remember liking Ryan Reynolds a lot. I remember Blade being Blade and some of the action being solid. Sure, the scene where the one brunette woman battles vampires in the subway listening to music was goofy and I remember there being slow motion Dracula minus-shirt walking in sunlight scenes (or am I making those up now?) were all pretty bad. But still, Blade was still Blade and I thought Ryan Reynolds was a good addition. It’s not as good as the first two, but it’s not terrible by any means and it has some parts that I really enjoyed.

    I apologize for being one of the most vocal people in regards to TDK’s faults and dragging that into a few threads. I’ll try to put the brakes on that, although I do think we had some interesting conversations that did spring up from those initial posts.

    I would love to see you make a post addressing a lot of the issues that do spring up. I think there’s some fertile ground for discussion here and I would really enjoy reading your perspective on these issues.

  151. I may have said this before, but I think the first 30 minutes of Blade III is the best Blade ever. Wesley Snipes pretty much silent just kickin’ ass. It’s when the nightstalkers come in and start talking all the time that ruins the movie. Consider Act I of Blade III a short film?

  152. Vern — actually you really ought to write a piece addressing the vigilantism/ fascism aspect of Superhero films. I mean, I for one think DARK KNIGHT and IRON MAN are both awesome films (TDK obviously being the classic one there) but they both have very dubious moral universes which I think TDK addresses nicely while IRON MAN ignores, but either way, there’s a lot to talk about in the implied politics of superpowered vigilantes.

  153. For the record, i do NOT think that TDK is a terrible movie. I actually think it is one of the most interesting and important movies of this era…I’m just pretty sure I like it for a completely different reason than 99% of the viewing populace. Also, it also has some superb spectacle and a dynamo performance from Ledger.

    Someday I would like to teach a college class in film theory on significant post-9/11 film making, a subject I almost wrote my senior thesis on, before I decided to write a revenge film dealing with the same themes instead. Some of the films I would discuss would be the Saw franchise and Hostel (film about the emasculation of the American male post 9/11) The A-Team and From Paris, With Love (Post-Post 9/11 filmmaking) The Dark Knight and Iron Man (post-9/11 political theory).

    In any case, can we move the TDK discussion over to the Potpourri 3D? Because I’d really like to hear your responses to the discussion we’ve been having here. It’s been really stimulating to me.

  154. Subtlety, aren’t those morals questioned in Iron Man 2? How can the government allow one billionaire to heave a weaponized suit unregulated? The answer is they can’t, because other corrupt billionaires will build their own too.

  155. Saw FIRST CLASS last night. Stunned by the tedium and mediocrity.

    To be fair, Magneto’s Nazi hunting was good but the cheesiness (I felt it was very self-consciously Austin-Powered in places) was very out-of step for the theme of the movie to me.

    And are the X-Men used the lamest superheroes ever? The shrieking guy? Spitting girl? The ludicrous Michael Bay walk-on of Beast? Michael Ironside with his ‘Privilege to have served with you’ speech? Were they taking the piss?

    I liked the mirror-lined submarine (you know, for the radiation) and Hugh Jackman finally got to be Wolverine, but Jesus.

  156. Mr Subtlety

    Completely agree about SUPERMAN RETURNS. I second a call for the sequel to that.

  157. I thought this movie was just awful. Especially considering it’s surprisingly-high RT score. No real drama, every scene moved as fast as possible, leaving no time for emotional weight. The effects in the first X-Men were better than in this. The dialogue was really cheesy and predictable. Very few movies actually make me physically aggravated, but this one did… and not in a good way.

    Rant complete.

  158. I enjoyed it as a silly, fun, kind of old-fashioned comic book film but a lot of he corny orgin story stuff dragged it down a notch or two; “ooh, ooh I wanna be called Mystique!!!” etc. Also I don’t know much about the comics but Angel and Sonar(?) (whatever the male flying character was called) both looked seriously terrible on screen. BATFINK anyone? Fun movie though

  159. Whattaya know? X-Men: Days Of Future Past is still 6 months away from release, and now this appears on the horizon:

    http://insidemovies.ew.com/2013/12/05/x-men-apocalypse-2016/

    Either the confidence level is mighty high, or they’re playing tag team summer comic book adaptation movies with The Avengers, or both. Whatever the strategy, it works for me.

  160. Larry – When I read that news, I almost wet myself. Sorry, involuntary nerdgasm.

    I don’t think it has anything to do with confidence as much as Fox is assuming that another X-Men movie will make money for them and I would think that at this rate, this is a safe bet for them. Same reason why Sony got like release dates planned for up to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 4, believe it or not. (Notice that new trailer more or less promised Sinister Six going forward.)

    I mean DOFP is now what the 7th X-Men movie? APOCALYPSE would be 8th, that upcoming THE WOLVERINE sequel will be 9th, that announced X-FORCE spin-off would be 10th, and hell you never know if that forever-in-development-hell DEADPOOL film might ever get produced, that would become #11. That’s some James Bond fucking territory right there, a proven brand name for Fox.

    I know some locals did like X3 and the first Wolverine movie, OK I won’t rain on your parade. But personally I thought after the hardwork by Singer’s crew on those first two X-Men movies which established a franchise, well Fox with those 2 movies I mentioned in the last sentence sorta ran that franchise into the ground. But they’ve picked themselves up and have done decent subsequently, doing good moves like get Singer back into the fold. Not the biggest fan of FIRST CLASS, but its a competent enough entertainment I suppose. THE WOLVERINE I really liked as I’ve mentioned many times. They’ve put some shine back on the hood.

    Could DOFP be the first X-Men movie to do half a billion global? We’ll see.

  161. RRA— No kidding, guy… I did the happy dance as well when I found out. Thank God & 20th Century Fox that they’ve got Bryan Singer back in the X-Men fold. Krypton heroes and beanstalk guardians were not his forte. I have complete & utter faith that he will do these two movies proud.

    Although it wasn’t clear at the time— it required the benefit of perspective and shifting pop culture— I truly think that the first X-Men movie was the jumping-off point for the (happily) ascendant position that nerd/geek culture now holds. Some would argue that SW Episode 1 was responsible, but that one inspired as much vitriol as it did celebration.

    I recall when the first X-Men movie hit theatres: I saw it, loved it, sang its praises on an AICN talkback, and concluded my AICN post with : “And now, an Avengers movie if you please”. Some fellow AICN poster got ALL lit the fuck up by this, mostly because he understood (correctly) that you first had to establish all its characters before throwing them into a movie together. Plus there were legal issues at the time re. who had the rights to certain characters, which characters to implement, which to leave out, etc. Big fuckall mess at the time (2000), but when it came together 12 years later it proved to be the summit of comic book adaptations. Even so, I didn’t much like The Avengers.

    Why, you may ask? Because I believe comic book adaptation movies either fall into the “nudge/wink” category or the serious category (steely gaze upon the audience, but with the occasional humorous eye flutter). The first Iron Man movie managed to straddle the line, but that was an exception (and give RDJ a whole bunch of credit for that dichotomy).

    I prefer the serious category, and I think the first X-Men movie was the first one to do that WELL, and in doing so refuted the silliness of the Burton/Schumacher [REDACTED] movies. Plus it opened the door very wide for Christopher Nolan to follow Singer’s lead, and deepen it.

    And now we have Singer’s return to X-Men for not one but two movies, picking up not a fallen standard left behind by Nolan, but rather one that was laid upon the finish line, a job well done. I couldn’t be happier.

  162. Larry – What’s crazy is that you have people online now who say Singer is a hack and that his X-Men pictures have “aged as well as milk.” Bullshit. X2 is better than any movies of that ilk we got this year. Better than IM3, MOS, THOR 2, even TW.

    Actually I think it was neither X-MEN or EPISODE 1, but [REDACTED] & ROBIN that’s primarily responsible for all that which you talk about. I mean let’s be honest: As bad as that disaster was, you can thank it also for being why movies of that sort afterwards actually tried to be good or have ambition or something. It became the boogeyman that nobody wanted to be compared to.

    I of course disagree with you on AVENGERS, but you know I know snobs and some critics like to say all these superhero movies are one and the same, and that’s bullshit.

    CJ Holden was right on the money when he said Marvel backs 1980s action/comedies, except with modern FX and comic book flavored. The Nolan [REDACTED] movies (and to an extent MOS, which he had little to do with) were more inspired by 1970s movies if you think about it, great scale yet still arty entertainments or try to be at least.

    Those first few Singer X-MEN films (and to an extent carried over in FC) were science fiction, using that genre as a device to make commentary on contemporary and historical politics. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby weren’t exactly subtle when they created X-Men in the 1960s as influenced by the Civil Rights movement, well on film Singer as a gay man wasn’t exactly subtle either when he used that perspective to color his take on the material. (Dear lord X2 had a “coming out” scene to the parents!) Of course other writers/artists on the books played with that angle long before Singer did, but point is he could’ve simply just made movies about people in silly costumes beating the shit out of each other, and instead he made movies about people in silly costumes beating the shit out of each other with some resonating humanity.

  163. I really tried to get into this movie. I like all the players involved for the most part but everytime it just fails to connect with me. X2 is the only X-Men movie I enjoyed. I might check out the new one since Singer came back when it hits netflix or something but the trailer wasn’t interesting enough to get me to the theater.

    I know what Singer is aiming to do because it looks like a lot of retcons will be involved. That’s the beauty of using time travel. This is going to be his “X3” and a sequel to FC. Interesting concept like a lot of other concepts from Singer’s movie but the execution never really grabs my attention.

  164. Re-visited this one on the way to DOFP – alot of stuff works even better the second time – Bacon’s villain, Fassbender’s star-making performance, the cameos, the way the tone finds the right balance of grounded and fun. Alot of problems that seemed so jarring the first time (i.e. Magneto turning into a villain in the last ten minutes) now seem like less of a big deal. The movie definitely doesn’t flow as well on second inspection though – the middle section, while fun, seems like a bunch of random (but good) scenes pasted together with no rhyme or reason, like how we cut from Bacon blowing up Darwin straight to him and Angel (whom he just kidnapped/took from the base) threatening a Russian general, even though that feels like it should be about 3 scenes later. Moira McTaggart disappears and reappears for giant chunks of the film too. But whatever, the movie’s involving and emotional and even though the climax is like 30 minutes long (see X2), it juggles things better and doesn’t seem as repetitive and wheel-spinning. I’d say it’s a toss-up between this and X3 (boooo!! hiss!!!!) as my favorite X movie.

    *Note: per Wikipedia apparently Take That did the theme song to the movie, which basically sounds like Muse’s Uprising. The youtube video has all these comments who were led there by watching the movie, even though I’ve seen the movie twice now and have no recollection of this song anywhere, not even the credits. Am I crazy or is this a foreign-market addition I wasn’t aware of?

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