Them Hooks…

They got ’em in me.

I did not care for Wolverine Origins, because it was not a good movie, and what the hell was up with Deadpool? X-Men 1, looking back now, was kind of spotty. Someone once described it as a really well made made-for-TV movie, which I think is pretty accurate. The less said about X-Men 3, the better. (Not joking. The night I saw it, I got into a shouting match with a friend over the fact that I thought it was a travesty of filmmaking, and he told me to calm down because it was “just a story.” Not my proudest night.)

X-Men 2, though. Number 2 had it going on. We call that the Nightcrawler factor.

There’s a thing about the X-Men films that makes it hard not to think of them as subdued. Even at their highest pitch, their fastest pace, I can’t help but think of them as quiet films. Generally speaking, this is poison for a genre film, especially a film about people with superpowers. With X-Men, though, it’s always the quiet moments that work the best. Take, for instance, the scene from the first film when Logan/Wolverine/James/Hottie McCanada wakes up in the Mansion for the first time. He wanders the halls, silently observing, listening to a disembodied voice that’s guiding him upstairs to, of all things, a classroom, where he finds a group of children and a bald man in a wheelchair. A quiet scene, and one of the best.

The climax of X2 even, hinges on a completely internalized struggle between Patrick Stewart’s Prof. Xavier and the illusions created by a student he failed to help in the way he needed. Quiet, and intense. (It shouldn’t have been any big surprise, then, that Bryan Singer, who directed the first two films later directed a Superman film that was largely quiet and meditative.)

It’s when they decide to go big that the movies hit their rough patches, because they never really escape that quiet energy, and when you combine a quiet energy with big high-falutin’ spectacle, you get boring, and X3 and Wolverine were nothing but.

 

Sadly, X-Men: First Class already has a lot going against it. Aside from Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), a lot of the characters they’ve included are pretty random. As you can see in the above trailer (sorry for the weird formatting), there’s a lot of high-falutin’ spectacle.

This film has a lot working for it as well, though. For one, I haven’t come across a movie directed by Matthew Vaughn that I didn’t enjoy tremendously. The cast includes James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, not to mention one KEVIN. FUCKING. BACON. Not to mention the fact that the core of these films has always been the relationship between Xavier and Magneto. And, pathetically, contrary to the evidence, I’m even hopeful that they manage to pull off that giant airplane/submarine fight.

So color me stoked, and forgive me in six months when I rage in my disappointment.

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