Friday, June 10, 2011

Marvelous and Marvel-less: Thor and X-Men First Class


So the other night I did some serious catching on my geek movie quota, seeing a double-feature of X-Men: First Class followed up by Thor. I had no idea what to expect from Thor, and the third installment of the X-Men series (are we even counting the Wolverine solo movie?) left such a bad taste in my mouth I was very hesitant on First Class.

But I owe thirty-five years of comic book reading to do my duty. I'll start off with Thor, far and away not only the best movie of the night, but probably the best of all of the Marvel films to date. I'm thinking I may have to do a new "all-time comic book movies" post, the last one is a bit dated. Thor was great, 'nuff said. The way Asgard was handled was amazing and straddled worlds both sci-fi and mythical fantasy.

The actors in Thor could act, period. The action wasn't overbearing or used as filler, plus it was perfectly choreographed and exciting to watch. It had a storyline that meant something with both humor and seriousness, romance and over-the-top comic book action. I loved this movie, I'll see it again. If you haven't seen it, go see it. If you don't even read comics or know who the Marvel-version of Thor is...still go see it. If you want in-depth reviews that detail point by point, well you know where to go, but shooting from the hip here at Mik's Minis I'll just say, Thor was rocking, and it was a quality movie that was fun to watch.


I'll be even briefer with First Class. It was an awesome idea; X-Men heroes set in the early 1960's amidst international intrigue and action. A near-James Bond styled storyline. A darker, more sinister storytelling with an edginess that wasn't present in even the 'good' X-Men movies (all two of them). Legitimate interaction and development between Professor X and Magneto and their relationship. All of these were great ideas, and kudos to the bold movie-makers who went in this direction. But my kudos end there.

Great ideas are only as good as the application of said ideas, and where First Class had lofty ambitions it fell short of meeting them. If you've seen the previous three X-movies, you're going to see this regardless of the reviews. There's plenty of 'easter eggs' sprinkled throughout to make even a casual fan go, "Aha!" But in the end, the magic died after X2. The franchise has been limping along on the power of the fans making their own inferences and ignoring the obvious blunders. As I said, if you're a fan, you'll go see it, and you'll remember only the best parts and mentally block out on a subconscious level the worst.


I just found this YouTube clip that actually sums up how I feel about the new X-Men movie rather well. Enjoy!

15 comments:

  1. Thor has no interest to me but I was thinking about seeing the X men movie as I have seen the last four if at least on video. I will probably wait as this is the second bad review I have seen. Penny-Arcade had a comic on the quality of the mutate powers.

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  2. I'm a huge Marvel fan and I had much the opposite reaction. I liked Thor but I did not love it. The thought the story lacked something, somehow both falling short of being epic and having characters that connected with the viewer. Didn't help that the effects were behind the curve.
    X-Men First Class on the other hand was a lot of fun, dramatic and had some top notch effects. Yeah the ultimate goal of Shaw's plan was a miss I thought but how we got there was superb so I forgave it that.

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  3. @Brad: Thor is pretty cool, even just as a sci-fi movie, I never really got into the character until the Ultimates line anyway, so I went in with zero expectations. Don't take my word on X-Men, well, I mean you kind of already did! Make it a matinee at best, heh.

    @GPumpkin: The way I see it, I am in a small minority on my outlook of both movies, more and more people I talk to are in the same camp as yourself, for pretty much the same reasons.

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  4. I haven't seen first class yet but I'm not as much a fan of Thor as you. I didn't like the action scenes that much (no matter what - I'm just gonna throw my hammer through your face!) I mean, what's the point of the story if he can't be touched, yet alone lose?

    I thought it became more about the love story rather than what he was supposed to learn from it. I will give you that the actors in Thor were quite good.

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  5. I agree with GrayPumpkin. X-Men Frist Class was the better movie. Both were definitely worth seeing.

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  6. I just inserted a clip by a couple of my all-time favorite critics that works in summing up my First Class movie-viewing experience wonderfully!

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  7. Had a passing familiarity with the Thor 'verse, and entered the theater knowing that THOR was a setup for the Avenger's movie. It turned out to be a bit more than that and enjoyed it.

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  8. Wow, in the past I have found I am usually pretty dead on with your opinions on movies and such. However not so here. I'm right there with GrayPumpkin and Andy, Xmen was the better movie.

    Don't get me wrong, Xmen had flaws and Thor was a good movie (god I hope Captain America is good, if not it is going to kill the momentum built by Ironman and Thor heading into Avengers), but I think the thing that ruined Thor for me was his band of Adventuring "Super Friends".

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  9. @Andy: Ha, I didn't know those were actual characters. I thought Branagh just stuck the Errol Flynn guy in there as nod to himself.

    @HuronBH: Bah, we had such a good track record too! We'll get back to cinema sympatico soon. I do think I'll end up being in the minority on this one.

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  10. I don't read the comics. I find the art often static (used to read manga, maybe that colored my views) and the backlog exhausting. Too many storylines and retcons :) But I love the superhero movies. I think they transform the whole thing into something more enjoyable for me.

    Thor was really good. Did anyone but me notice that the only one pronouncing anything Asgard related correctly was the professor? I so wish they had cast his son (Alexander Skarsgård) as Thor and Stellan as Odin. And anyone else as the love interest. She was great in Leon/The Specialist. Not even remotely good in this one. She's just so damn bland and boring when she 'acts'. I can't fanthom why Thor fell in love with her. It stopped the whole movie from being great.

    X-men first class rocked. I loved it. I don't have any idea what they did "wrong" and it obviously retconned a whole bunch of stuff from the previous movies (then again, Marvel timelines are so fuzzy!). But it was good, it was more grown up. It was a better movie. I recommend anyone who's not too big a fan to go see it. Bacon was awesome :) And it kinda makes sense that the powers of some sucked since this was the first try. Bet a follow up could introduce some more funky mutations :)

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  11. Seems like theres a lot of mixed feels on X-Men.

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  12. @Flekkzo: Obviously Thor had seen Portman's posterior in Your Highness, hence his infatuation with her.

    @Loneislander: It's a charged issue!

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  13. My wife decided that we were finally going to see First class on pay per view which costs less than a movie ticket. It was OK at best.

    They are soft of in a tough place with the comic fans in that they have used up most of the iconic x-men mutants in various films outside their original ages and appearances. Left a pretty thin bench to work with.

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  14. "OK at best." is a solid review and sums it up perfectly. I could've saved a lot of typing and just stuck to that. They have painted themselves into a corner, and characters that should've been in First Class (like Angel, duh) were left out because they monkeyed with time lines too much in the past.

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