Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Movie Ramblings: My Thoughts on X-Men: First Class & Green Lantern

Spoils! Spoils! Don't Read if you Don't want to Know!

Over the weekend I went to see the two comic book superhero movies released so far, 20th Century Fox's X-Men: First Class & Warner Bros. Green Lantern.

X-Men: 1st Class
1st up (No Pun intended) X-Men: First Class is a film prequel of the X-Men franchise. With the lackluster performances of X-Men: Last Stand & X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 20th Century Fox decided to reboot the series much like 2009's Star Trek. Set in the 1960s during the Cold War where a young Professor X (Charles McAvory) & Magneto (Michael Fassbender) meet for the 1st time. They gather a young team of mutants to stop Nazi war criminal Sebastian Shaw's (Kevin Bacon) Hellfire Club from starting World War III with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

McAvory & Fassbender as X-men's founding fathers
Performances of Charles McAvory & Micheal Fassbender as the leads Pofessor X & Magneto as great. McAvory plays Professor X a swave swinger picking up sexy college girls in bars. Well Fassbender seems to be using this role as an unofficial audition for James Bond. Playing off each other, showing their Martin Luther King, Jr./Malcom X philosophical differences perfectly. You can see why Magneto would become the Man he is. A Holocaust survivor, he wakes up from a dream with the look "Never Again".

Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw
Kevin Bacon as the proto-type Magneto Sebastian Shaw delivers a brilliantly campy "twirling mustache" villain. Really enjoying the evil he does.

Rose Byrne as CIA agent Moria MacTaggert

The other casting choices don't standout too much in their performances, but the ladies do look very sexy.

Zoe Krazitz as Angel Salvadore

January Jones as the sexy Emma Frost
January Jones of the TV series Madmen looks sexy in white lingerie, but gives a wooden performance as the telepathic Emma Frost, evident in the interrogation scene.

Sexy Alice Eve
I wonder if actress Alice Eve (from 2010's Sex & the City 2 & the upcoming The Raven with John Cusack in 2012), who was originally cast in the role would've done any better?

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
A fun cameo by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is a great when he says "Fuck You" to Professor X & Magneto go on their recruiting drive.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique
I did have trouble with the the make-up F/X for Mystique (played by Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (played by Nicholas Hoult) which looked better in past films, but that's just a minor complaint.
Nicholas Hoult as Beast

The costume designs look like they came right out of the pages of the comic books. 
X-Men: 1st Class
1960s look of the film, heavily influenced by the classic James Bond films is beautiful looking. The US Military 's war room looks like it came right out of  Dr. Strangelove.

The only thing that takes you away from that time period is the soundtrack which comes off as too 1990s Grunge Music. Maybe a Sinatra-like score would of been better suited.

X-Men: First Class
Overall X-Men: First Class is a great popcorn flick. 20th Century Fox sees this as a start to a new trilogy. I can't wait for the next one.

Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern
Next up is Warner Bros. big screen adaptation of DC Comics superhero Green Lantern in 3-D starring Ryan Reynolds. Well let's start off by saying I was really disappointed by this flick after getting excited seeing the great trailer. It seems we have a case of "all flash & no substance", where Warner Bros. just focus on making Green Lantern just a CG F/X show and not focusing on any story to keep audiences interested. Even though Warner Bros. promoted the Green Lantern Corps heavily in the movie posters, they weren't use much beside little cameos by Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush) and Kilowag (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan).

Tomar-Re & Kilowog meet Hal Jordan on Oa

Mark Strong as Sinestro
The main Green Lantern on the planet Oa, Sinestro (played by Mark Strong) isn't used very well either. Facts like Hal & him becoming enemies because of his jealously of Hal aren't explored at all.

Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond
Instead the villains we get are the telepathic Hector Hammond (played by Peter Sarsgaard) & Parallax (voiced by Clancy Brown), a crappy faced cloud monster as the major threats. Didn't any of those producers see the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer? Cloud Monsters don't cut it. But Saragaard did play Hammond very well, giving us a "creepy guy" feeling to him as he looks at Carol Ferris from afar. I feel they should have had Sinestro lead Green Lantern Corps against Parallax and getting defeated, with Sinestro returning to Oa humiliated at his lost. Showing how a major threat it is to Earth. This would make Hal Jordan's battle against Parallax that much more suspenseful  and his triumph more meaning full. This would lead to Sinestro's betrayal of the GL Corps and setting up a battle for a sequel. Maybe an adaptation of the Sinestro Corps War.

Lively & Reynolds
The love interest is played by actress Blake Lively as Hal's boss Carol Ferris. Lively is an attractive looking lady, but is totally uninteresting, giving a somewhat flat performance. 

Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern
Ryan Reynolds does looks good in the skin tight CG outfit, but to me was missed casted as Hal Jordan. Definitely not Paul Newman, on which co-creator artist Gil Kane based him on. He should waited & played the Flash (the Wally West version). His wise cracking jokes are better suit to him.

Paul Newman as Green Lantern?
Even though Warner Bros. "somewhat disappointed" in the opening-week box office of the film, only earring a weekend gross of $53.1 Million (What! That's All!), they still intend to move forward with a sequel, at least for on. I guest they don't want to say the movie sucks just yet. If we're lucky Warner Bros. will used instead the character of John Stewart as the Green Lantern in their planned Justice League movie cause Reynolds just doesn't cut it.

I agree with Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times stating, "Green Lantern does not intend to be plausible. It intends to be a sound-&-light show, assaulting the audience with sensational special F/X. If that's what you want, that's what you get".

Green Lantern in 3-D
So if you need a movie to drop the kids off at on the weekend while you go see something good, this is the one for you. So wait until someone else rents it or buys it on DVD or Blueray & then borrow it, don't waste you're money.

- Raja Devilman74

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