Sunday, June 24, 2012

What's Next On My Marvel List? (Movies) X-Men

So, let us dig in, our first quartet will be the X-Men movies, let's get down to it, shall we?

Oh, it was 12 years ago that the first movie was released... a lot has changed since then, but still it is one of my many favorites. 
The story concentrates on Rogue, a young girl who's mutant power is to suck the life energy of one (in case of a mutant, their special power as well), and how she came to meet the X-Men. She runs away from home, fearing she will hurt the ones around her, only to encounter Logan, aka Wolverine. She catches a ride with him, when they are attacked by Magneto's mutants, who need the girl for their master's evil plan to enhance everyone's X-gene, therefore closing the gap between humans and mutants. Logan fights them off for as long as he can, when they are rescued by the X-Men. Cyclops, Storm and Jean Grey take them bake to the Professor's school for gifted youngsters where they will be safe. But, wouldn't you know it, they catch Rogue just the same and it is up to our main characters to save the city. They succeed and Magneto is put away, while Wolverine leaves the X-Men to find answers to his own questions.
General thoughts? I find that the casting is somewhat marvelous, they got every character right. If you look at it today, a couple of effect are somewhat silly, but considering it is still a lot more enjoyable then many movies that came out recently. It doesn't contain unnecessary CGI, or anything extra that the comic fans might dislike - meaning they didn't add any movie cliches just for the everyday viewer. To sum up, imdb's 7.4 rating is more than fair!

Before I begin, please let me point out that I hate these posters. I just don't get them! Well, I do partially. Let's put the girl with the Oscar and the guy with the biggest fan base in history on top, that is simply an honest marketing strategy, but really... Storm? She doesn't do shit in this movie! Her only contribution is helping Nightcrawler, and he is the fundamental one! I also don't understand on what basis were the characters divided, seeing that Rogue and Magneto appear on both versions! I find that ones who actually contribute to the story are somewhat pushed to the bottom... Why? Who knows.
Anyway, three years later the highly anticipates sequel arrived. Rogue is quite happy with her boyfriend Iceman, the school has many students and Logan returns to ask for help from the Professor. But just as he arrives, a mutant tries to assassinate the President and the Professor fears that this will only enhance the gap between mutants and humans. Because of this attack, an army general by the name of William Stryker is given permission to take down the Professor's school. A couple of children get kidnapped, Colossus manages to save most of them, while Logan gets stuck with Rogue, Pyro and Iceman, while he almost found answers for his questions: Stryker knew him before his amnesia. The Professor is captured as well and Stryker uses him to kill mutants, while Logan meets up with Jean and Storm who found Nightcrawler, the mutant who tried to assassinate the President. They also join forces with prison escapee Magneto, who wishes to stop Stryker just as much as they do. They manage to succeed and also give evidence to the President that Stryker was behind his attack the whole time - trying to incriminate the mutants. But tragedy occurs as Jean sacrifices herself to save the others from the collapsing remains of Stryker's secret military base.
General thoughts? I can tell you that you will hardly find anyone who's favorite X-Men movie is other than this one. People love it, and I can see why. The first movie laid some pretty thick and strong stones on which the writers and directors could build on and they did so wonderfully. How? Not simply because it is a great sequel, but because it stands on its own as well. The first movie is needed for those who don't originally know the comics or the characters, but for those who do, this one brings them closer. Again the casting is wonderful, the story is very enjoyable, and we get the chance to see more characters that we love. It probably is the best of four (so far!).

Oh boy... people did not like this one! And why? I can think of a couple of reasons, which I will list to you later, but personally... I LOVE IT. I really do, I really do. I loved it because I think it fits well. I think it has a wonderful ending, and my most solid excuse is that by far my favorite X-Men is Peter Rasputin, aka Colossus. I literally have a crush on him, and while he barely appeared in X2, he was more of an important
character in the third movie. Although he didn't have a story and barely spoke... never mind!
Story: A new sirum that can "cure" the X-gene is discovered, and Rogue, jealous of the friendship between Kitty Pride and Iceman decides to try it out herself. But mutants who embrace their powers are not happy about this cure and they fear that although they say it is not obligatory, one day they will force it on everyone. We thought Jean was dead, guess what, she isn't. Her inner mutant, the one that was caged in her mind, the Phoenix is unleashed and she turns into a bitch. She kills Cyclops and joins forces with Magneto to take down the humans. In the meanwhile peace is getting stronger, mutants and humans haven't had a disagreement in over a year and a mutant, Hank McCoy, aka Beast is a member of parliament. Unfortunately, the Professor becomes a casualty of Jean's killings as well, and the school for mutants is stuck in silence. What to do next? Our heroes decide that the only way they will live in peace is if they show the humans that they do not concur with Magneto's evil plans, so six stand against over a hundred and in the end come up triumphant. However, victory is not enjoyed, as too many friends have lost their lives and Logan is forced to kill Jean.

General thoughts? During the shooting, the money ran out and well... suddenly from the afternoon we pass to nighttime in a flash. That was weird. Also the CGI isn't the best. While Colossus looks awesome, Iceman looks exactly like him and that was a bit off too. Everyone loves the Phoenix because she is powerful enough to destroy entire planets, but she barely shows her power. Jean Grey was actually setup wonderfully in the first two movies, all of her doubts and questions on her powers and feelings were displayed perfectly, but you have a sense that her character was rushed. Another problem, which I didn't really relate to, is something that my brother pointed out: Logan would never be able to kill her. That maybe so, and I see the basis he had, especially having read all of the comics, but still, if you think about it, what else could've been the solution? My personal problem was that although they brought in Beast marvelously (showing he knew the Professor, he was part of their history prior to Logan's encounter with them and so on), one of my favorite love stories of all time is the one between Storm and Beast. It is truly the most beautiful one in history. AND I WANTED THAT! With all the drama between Rogue and Iceman, with the oh-so-old love triangle of Cyclops-Jean-Logan, wouldn't we have liked a bit of romance? Although there is a very cute scene where Storm blushes on a comment by Beast, still, I WANTED MORE! But as far as the new characters and X-Men go, they didn't add much to the story and you couldn't really relate to them. Angel was supposed to have this big role like Rogue did in the first one, but I fear that the writers forgot about him while writing and when he shows up he simply fears forced. Lastly what I loved was Storm's look: she finally looked like the one in the comics! Many thanks to the make-up and hair department!
As the Nostalgia Critic claimed that this is one of his guilty pleasures, I have to say it is one of mine too. It really is bad, from the point that it wouldn't stand alone and even with the other too it isn't strong enough, but I look at it as more of my favorite characters in a movie and I love it.

Oh, yes, one of the many new favorites. I had the fortune to see this in the theater and it is a good one indeed! Biggest problem? It is claimed to be a prequel to the others, but it really isn't.
Although the Professor has become iconic with his wheelchair, you still have to wonder, what was he like before that? Or, how can the most genuine hearted Professor be such a good friend with Magneto, who resembles a homicidal maniac? And why is he like that? Where does this pain and constant anger come from? How did he get to be with Mystique? How did Hank McCoy become the Beast? And so on. Of course, if you read the comics you know the answers to all of these, but let's assume you don't, or even if you do, you'd like to see it on screen. Where, here you go!
Magneto loses his mother in a concentration camp prior the second world war, where he meets face to face with her killer Sebastian Shaw. Professor finds Mystique lurking in his kitchen and decides to take her in as his own sister. The two only meet up years later, while both are trying to get Shaw who, in this version is actually responsible for the missile crisis between the USA and Cuba, during JFK's presidency. The two decide to take in youngsters, to form the X-Men in order to show them that their powers are nothing to be ashamed of but have to be embraced. While Professor is driven by the mission of peace, Magneto only seeks revenge and this conflict is never resolved among them. Although Shaw is stopped, Magneto defends himself and pushes a bullet away, and that lands into the Professor's spine, paralyzing him for life. The two divide and both travel on their own road, only to encounter each other again.
General thoughts? I always love movies that use existing historical events and alter them in a funny way, for example did you know that the cuban missile crisis was actually Kevin Bacon's fault? I didn't think so. You finally get to discover many of the characters who's interesting and unique background story was taken for granted in the other movies. I personally found that I can relate to both Magneto and Professor more now that I have a sense of who they are and why they really fight for what they fight for. Another story line that I hope will be continued is that on the bad guys side we had a mutant by the name of Azazel, who is Nightcrawler's father, and in the old X-Men cartoon we were told that Mystique is his mother... I would love for this tale to be included in the following sequels, if they make a sequel. Two awesome cameos by Wolverine - Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn is included and the casting was once again well done. I was lucky to have seen it in the theater, but you should check it out just the same!

Coming up next is "Why should you enjoy X-Men Origins: Wolverine in spite of public opinion". Until then!

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