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‘X’ marking the summer movie spot

Well, the summer is sneaking up on us – although if that hot, dry summer doesn’t kick in soon I’m going to be downloading plans for an arc. But hey, I’m not bitter.
Here’s the deal:
Things are not exactly unfolding as we thought although they are doing exactly what they do every summer.
There are all these movies that in theory look great. They roll them out and as often as not, they’re a whole lot less than that.
Thor was terrific but too smart for the superhero squad and Hangover 2 was mean-spirited and nasty at the expense of its predecessors charm.
The break out hit so far this summer is Bridesmaids which is looking to be the X-rated version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding in terms of a movie slaying with word of mouth.
And the money-in-the-bank can’t-miss cash cow of all time has fizzled. Ok it’s a 170 million fizzle but it’s right up there with Carrot Top retiring. Who cares? Who knew? Who asked?
And save your emails, I know that no talent hack hasn’t retired, I was just making a point.
So in the middle of all of this comes the first great movie I’ve seen this year. Of course I’m from the 60s so I don’t remember last night let alone the films I’ve seen this year. But I digress.
X Men First Class is one of the best adaptations of a comic book in a long while.
It’s a prequel which is the new Hollywood gimmick and it really works here.
If you know nothing about X Men or Marvel comics it’s still incredibly entertaining. There’s some great casting. Kevin Bacon is absolutely Machiavellian as Sebastien Shaw the evil genius who wants to lead an army of mutants against mankind. The movie opens with Shaw forcing a young Magneto to use his ability to move metal objects with his mind, and it’s a jarring, shocking launch into what is non-stop action for over two hours, and there isn’t any wasted time between the lines.
The film traces the rise of Charles Xavier, played with the right mix of smarm and charm by James McAvoy, who will eventually become Professor X. Michael Fassbinder plays Erik, or as he prefers to be called, Magneto.
See if you can lift a submarine with your mind you can pull that crap off.
I tried to get people to call me by my transformer name Kool-a-tron and it just never stuck but I can’t even roll a bus down a steep hill. Tiny mind syndrome.
There are some interesting story arcs in this film and under less skilled direction it would be a mess but the story never suffers for its complications
It’s the build up to the Cuban missile crisis and Shaw wants the super powers to go to war so he can use his power to absorb and then redirect energy. The lure of a nuclear attrack has him all jacked up. He has recruited and trained a handful of mutants including the always lovely January Jones (Mad Men) who is Frost, the telepathic ice maiden.
As the world lurches toward Armageddon, the clowns at the CIA are trying to come to grips with mutants who want to help mankind.
As a sidebar, I like that there is no time wasted explaining how there are mutants. There just are. And if you don’t believe that, try hanging out at a bingo hall at closing time. Oh the humanity.
Charles and Erik are friends but a revenge driven Magneto is clearly on a collision course with his associate.
As the boys recruit other mutants and they learn how to control their powers, the lines are drawn and we know where this is going to end up.
It’s smart and credible and I was riveted. Look, I don’t gush but this movie held me all the way through. I know that comic book films are usually the domain of pasty nation and the magic playing basement dwellers but this has wide spread appeal. The ending is one of the best action scenes I’ve encountered in a long time Story usually suffers for special effects but not in this case.
I think it’s a little dark for young kids. Spoiler alert:
The film opens with Erik’s mom getting shot.
A little tense.
I think this film cuts a pretty wide demographic. I liked it and I don’t like much of anything. I suspect this film will find an audience. It’s just that good.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: Paul Peterson


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  1. Kathy Felkar says:

    Funny, Paul, I was just thinking of you the other day and was missing your thoughtful insights and here you are! Glad I found you once again:)

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