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Xmen articles

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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:36 pm

http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/baby+boomer+guide+superheroes/4943136/story.html

A baby boomer's guide to superheroes

By Jay Stone, Postmedia News June 14, 2011

Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake) directs an all-star cast of next-gen stars including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence in this dramatically ambitious prequel to the X-Men movies.
Photograph by: Handout, Handout

As a baby boomer, I'm in that funny in-between age: too young for the original Green Lantern, who was introduced in 1940, which was before even I was born, and too old for the relaunch as a socially conscious superhero in 1970, which was the year I got married and put my comic-book days behind me. (``Comic books'' were what we used to call graphic novels. You should have seen us, reading under the covers with flashlights and listening to our transistor radios. You would have laughed your head off.)

So the reappearance of Green Lantern on June 17 doesn't mean that much to me, really: He's just another one of those characters from Marvel or DC (or sometimes invented out of whole cloth), whose value as a symbol of something depends to a large extent on the nostalgia of childhood enthrallment. If you didn't read Green Lantern under the covers - if, say, you were working as a reporter-photographer for a newspaper in small-town Ontario, a job that left little time for such foolishness - it's hard to build up the proper mood of excitement combined with suspicion that they'll get him wrong. Superhero fans have very strict standards and cranky dispositions. I wouldn't want to be Ryan Reynolds, at least, not this week.

Nevertheless, my generation does have a relationship with superheroes. Superman, for instance, was not only in comic books, but they had a TV show about him, starring George Reeves. (His sad story was subject of the film, Hollywoodland.) This was a major advance, even though it was pretty cheesy: Even as a child, I wondered why the bad guys wasted bullets shooting at his impermeable chest. Didn't they read the Daily Planet?

Superman inspired thousands of us to create makeshift capes by tying towels around our necks and jumping off the garage roof, occasionally breaking something. For that reason, he is No. 1. His chief drawback is that he was hopelessly square and he didn't sleep with Lois Lane until they made a movie about him with Christopher Reeve. Even then, he turned off his superpowers for the occasion; perhaps, in the words of an old Playboy magazine cartoon, he didn't want to be faster than a speeding bullet.

Anyway, he stood for truth, justice and the American way, and that was good enough, once upon a time.

No. 2 is Batman, because he had the coolest outfit and a much better cover story: Millionaire Bruce Wayne could change in his Batcave while Clark Kent had to run around town looking for phone booths. (These days, he'd have to duck into a Starbucks or something.) Batman has also undergone several transformations, most unfortunately, as the hero of a 1960s TV show that took the genre's themed villains - a guy who dresses like a Penguin, another one who gets himself up as a Joker - and underlined the campy notions with bad-on- purpose effects and bad-by-inevitability acting. Camp is essentially a gay sensibility, which also suited Batman, considering he was hanging around with a handsomely boyish sidekick with the unisex name of Robin.

Batman improved immeasurably in the movies, reaching its peak in the 2008 film The Dark Knight, in which Heath Ledger made the Joker into something both frightening and tragic. Superheroes are most interesting as metaphors - Batman mostly represents revenge - but it's in the craft that these become workable.

Spider-Man, the third of the Big 3, also came along too late for me to care very much. (He was introduced in 1962, when I had my hands full, trying to come up with a date for my cousin Gail's Sweet 16.) The animated TV show also passed me by - although, for some reason, the theme song has become part of the test pattern of my brain, along with the old Imperial Esso jingle from the hockey games - but I caught up with him at the movies.

Spider-Man was guilt, a psychologically intriguing emotion for someone who throws webs. I think he appeals to people, because he had a gawky crush on the girl next door and also because he can sort of fly. Flying is the superpower I would choose, now that I'm over the idea that invisibility would let you sneak into the girls' locker-room.

Some of my other favourite superheroes:

* Iron Man: Another latecomer, and I don't care much for wealthy industrialists - when will a poor industrialist finally get to fight crime? - but who can resist Robert Downey Jr.?

* Darkman: Sam Raimi invented this character, a hideously burned man with great powers, for his 1990 film with Liam Neeson. I like the twisted, angry- hero motif: It reminds me of the Brian De Palma film Phantom of the Paradise, which was a rock 'n' roll version of Phantom of the Opera (a guy becomes a monster when his head is caught in a record-pressing machine).

* Hellboy: Another great invention, this one by Guillermo del Toro, about a spawn of Satan who fights crime with a cigar clenched in his teeth and a gun the size of a microwave oven. Ron Perlman is incomparable.

* The Mask: ``Smmmmokin,'' says Jim Carrey, who's transformed from schlumpy Stanley Ipkiss into a stylish, hard-dancing guy in a zoot suit. It's not really a superhero film as much as a comedy, but he does do some superheroic things, and it comes from the rich middle of the Carrey oeuvre, the singing-out-of-the- butt years.

* Unbreakable: I hesitate to include this one, because even knowing it's a superhero movie is a spoiler: It's part of the surprise that M. Night Shyamalan included, back in the days when his movies had surprises (and audiences). A lot of people were disappointed, but I thought Bruce Willis's role as a guy who can't be hurt was an ingenious reversal of the genre.

* Kick-Ass: Another twist: the superhero as high-school student (whatever did happen to Aaron Johnson?) with no superpowers. Then he meets Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) and her father Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), who sort of do. It's the best of the self-delusional superhero films, although Woody Harrelson as Defendor is close behind.

* The Incredibles: A retired family of superheroes is called back into action in this brilliant animated film from Pixar. The scene where dad realizes the old uniform doesn't fit speaks to millions of guys who have tried to squeeze into their old wedding suits. This is also a clever critique of a world where lawyers and lawsuits have made the superhero's lot a difficult one.

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:38 pm

http://www.indiantelevision.com/headlines/y2k11/june/june149.php

Prime Focus contributes 22 VFX shots in latest ‘X Men’ film

Indiantelevision.com Team

(18 June 2011 12:10 pm)

MUMBAI: The Namit Malhotra-helmed Prime Focus has contributed 22 VFX shots of Matthew Vaughn’s superhero adventure X-Men: First Class.

Work on the Marvel and Twentieth Century Fox film was completed in London, Vancouver and Mumbai using the Prime Focus’ ‘Global Digital Pipeline’.


X-Men: First Class unveils the epic beginning of the X-Men saga with an unknown history of the cold war and our world at the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

Said Prime Focus VFX Supervisor Stuart Lashley, “We decided to tackle the wire removals in Mumbai, 2D shots in London and animation shots in Vancouver. This was based on the best availability of the appropriate skill sets. Regular reviews were conducted between Stephane Ceretti, the client's London-based VFX Supervisor and me after which the notes would be passed on to our global team. We found this to be an efficient workflow for both us and the client."

With a short time-frame for the work to be completed, the shots were divided between Prime Focus’ teams in London, Vancouver and Mumbai; it was led by Lashley in London, Jon Cowley in Vancouver and Shailey Swarnkar in Mumbai.



The project included some ambitious VFX work for Prime Focus, such as the scene where Magneto brings a line of barbed wire to life to wrap up a group of guards, and a shot providing Xavier's point of view as he telepathically looks through someone else's eyes.

"This started with a series of ‘broad stroke’ design ideas based on selected reference," commented Lashley. "These were then refined with feedback from Stephane and editorial until we had something that had the right look and feel for the client.”

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the film stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Oliver Platt, Jason Flemyng, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi and Kevin Bacon.

Released on 3 June, it became the top-grossing film in the US.
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:38 pm

http://lilbitof.blogspot.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class-style.html

Monday, June 20, 2011
X-Men First Class Style

After watching X-Men First Class a couple of weeks ago, I thought that the style and costumes portrayed in the film were great and I decided to share these four mosaics with you, inspired on how to replicate the look from four of the main characters in the movie.

You can see above these lines Mystique´s mosaic (played by Jennifer Lawrence in the movie).

Belt by alheuredelapero.

Dress by JRoseAtelier

Shoes by Ivanka Trump

Necklace by LeelaBijou


The mosaic above shows the style for Professor X (aka Charles Xavier), played by James McAvoy.

Shoes by Cole Haan

Jacket by Zara

Shirt by Deoveritas

Cufflinks by VikaBStudio




The following one shows the items chosen for Moira MacTargget (whose role is played by Rose Byrne).

Heels by Boutique 9

Scarf by WhiteMoth

Earrings by LeelaBijou

Dress by VivatVeritas

Jacket by Careydion


This one represents the selection for Magneto (aka Erik Lehnsherr), played by Michael Fassbender.

Belt by Zara

Shoes by Zara

Sweater by Versace

Jacket by Coach
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:29 am

http://www.gq.com/entertainment/movies-and-tv/201106/x-men-movie-style#slide=1

Behind the Style: X-Men: First Class
The Marvel blockbuster is a modish trip back to 1962, where the mutant supergroup looks more like the Mad X-Men than contemporary crusaders. GQ spoke to costume designer Sammy Sheldon about getting the movie's sleek, sexy look
by Mike Ryan
June 2, 2011

Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto (Michael Fassbender)

"This character is a joy to dress because he's James Bond, in one sense. He has the perfect outfit for every situation. Money is no object; whatever he needs, he gets. If he weren't in a suit, he'd be in a polar neck or that kind of Jack Kerouac kind of easy clothing. When you look at the early Bond films, you've got those short-sleeve, fine knitted '60s tops and a pair of trousers, but they just look fantastic. We did a lot of research into images of things in Dr. No and bits and pieces of Thunderball and Goldfinger. Those early ones. And we looked at how Bond uses clothing in each situation and it's always absolutely perfect for the day or the evening or whatever. The other film we referenced for Magneto and Charles Xavier, was The Thomas Crown Affair. [Director] Matthew Vaughn was very keen on the way that Steve McQueen dresses in that because he has very particular tailoring in that—which actually is not right for the period in this film."

Charles Xavier (James McAvoy)

"He's very studious. Of all of the characters, he's the most realistic in one sense because he's the grounded, studious professor. I suppose he's the least caricatured of all of them—he's the voice of reason. So his clothing kind of needed to reflect his human side, in a way. In one sense, I wanted him to not look like he cared too much about fashion and, yet, keep it within the realms of the fashionable part of '60s that we were trying to portray. With the professor, we had a wardrobe that we interchanged throughout. So he had one favorite jacket, which is the grey jacket that you see in a lot of the publicity stills—it's a single-breasted fall jacket—that he obviously really liked to wear and it looked great on him.

We kind of tried to do this three-piece thing because he's often scene in a three-piece suit. You might notice that he's not always in a three-piece suit, but there's always a waistcoat underneath or it's always three pieces. One of them, a double-breasted one, is very similar to his double-breasted suit in X-Men 2. We tried to be as faithful as we could, where we could pull those ideas so you could see the characters had gone on a journey, if that makes sense. Color-wise with him we kept it very monochrome—a lot of gray and pale blue whites and blues. We kept him in that range, nothing black. We wanted to keep it away from the very, very black and white, which we used for other characters."

Emma Frost (January Jones)

"Of all of the characters, she's the most comic book. If you look at all of the references in the comic books, she's always, always dressed in white—and usually very little clothing. We actually did, surprisingly, cover her up more than what is in the comic books but there's only so far that you can go. Some of the stuff that I really wanted to try and get as close to the looks that were there, but obviously once you turn those into three dimensions on the body they don't work—we had to make it more practical.

She's usually wearing something very sparkly. In the very first scene you see her in, [she's wearing] crystal underwear. On the boat it's a white laced dress that is more mid-1960s, to be quite frank. She's also a character that you can have artistic license with and push it into the future slightly. Matthew wanted fantastic tailoring, but, with the women, he didn't like the 1962 look. So one of the things we decided very early on is that we weren't going to be absolutely period correct and make the film look like it's a documentary styled film about 1962. With the women, we did move the look a little bit toward '65. Hers were very Emma Peel from The Avengers. You know, that mid-'60s sexy type of skirt. But it's such a caricatured character; you can kind of push the boundaries there a bit more. It's nice to look at."

Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon)

"Sebastian Shaw was a really interesting one because there isn't a great deal of comic book references for him, but, what is there, he always is depicted in an 18th century coat, a pony tail and a big ascot. Matthew and I both went, 'No.' We cannot have the whole film in the stylish 1960s world and then have this guy running around in an 18th century coat. So we used the elements that we could, like the ascot. So we gave him a small ascot that looks more like what people wore in the 1960s. He has a smoking jacket for the scenes in the Hellfire Club. He has a suit when it's necessary. He has a big coat for Russia. He, again, is one of those characters where money is not a problem in terms of what he needs for each situation. You might notice that there's always a little bit of dark red in his costume, that was just to reference back to the dark red of the waistcoat that was always depicted in the comic books."

Raven Darkholme / Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence)

"The thing with Jennifer, her character, the first time you see her she's a child and she's trying to hide herself pretending to be Charles' mother. He protects her, but she hates herself. She can't always control her transformation. She feels terribly insecure and self-conscious about turning blue and naked all of the time. So, one of the things we tried to do with her was cover her up as much as possible. When you discuss these things with Matthew and you develop these characters, we want to make sure that we can see some leg. Because everything else about her is covered up. We started off as very covered up and as she goes through the film she starts not covering her arms up, wearing things that are slightly more blue.

It's quite a tricky journey to go on because you have to bear in mind that the story dictates certain clothing, so it's a juggle between the practicalities of the situation she's in versus trying to tell the story of how she slowly comes to terms with her mutantcy. Hopefully it's quite subliminal."

Hank McCoy / Beast (Nicholas Hoult)

"He's very similar in his nature to Raven, in that he's very embarrassed about his looks. When you read about Hank McCoy, not only did he have the feet, but he was hairy underneath his clothing. So, when you see him in the film, his collar is always done up tight or he wears a T-shirt to cover everything that you can see from his neck down. And he always has a long sleeve shirt or a cardigan. That's a very subliminal thing, but we wanted him to look slightly geeky and studious; he throws himself into his lab work as a way of escaping from having to deal with people. That was a tricky character to make a strong fashion statement with, so we kept it to the checkered shirt and the slightly mismatched tie. And his glasses are a really big thing in the comic book—even when he's Beast, he always wears glasses. That was a big thing that we had to make sure that we got right."

Angel Salvadore (Zoe Kravitz)

"Her character is a go-go girl, so we made the go-go outfits for her and the boots with the laces up the side. And due to the fact that she has wings—and that she reveals them quite often—we had to make all her clothes halter-neck. Everything we made for her was halter-neck so that you could see the tattoo all of the time. So that was quite a tricky one, actually. Because we had to make the clothing fit around the tattoo so it could reveal as much if it as possible. Though, technically, although he clothes look very simple, all the dresses she wore were really tricky."

Sean Cassidy / Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones)

"We started looking at very early Mick Jagger, but I think that was a little too extreme. So we pulled it back a bit. So we still managed to get the tight trousers, but it was decided that he would have to wear a little bit more casual clothing. So he ended up with the '60s button up T-shirts and bomber jackets and windbreaker type things. And we gave him some Cuban-heeled boots to give him a bit of height—not that he needed height, but just to elongate his legs a bit more."

Alex Summers / Havoc (Lucas Till)

"Basically we looked slightly earlier for him, so we gave him that kind of denim jeans and T-shirt look. The slightly rocker leather jacket—you know, he's been in prison and is a little bit more streetwise. So of all of them, his clothes are slightly a throwback to the '50s. His character is quite easy to do. He's very easy to dress anyway—he's got a great figure."

Armando Muñoz/ Darwin (Edi Gathegi)

"We actually looked at some really early pictures of Muhammad Ali and tried to keep that look for him. There were some really great early pictures of Ali—he's got those really cool tight trousers and great leather shoes. And the knitted cardigan he was really in to—or the knitted short sleeved Polo shirts. So we just went with that look for him because it worked really well."

Azazel (Jason Flemyng)

"His character, being basically the devil… I found this reference in a Bond movie – it was either Dr. No or Goldfinger, but Bond wears a Nero jacket. And Matthew really wanted me to get a Nero jacket in somewhere. So I did some research into where in the world we could place that in the '60s look. You do find a lot of Nero jackets being worn in the slightly later '60s, particularly in the Mod era. So we mixed all of that together and then designed this jacket that was basically his suit for the whole thing—he never changed. And we had to elongate it to make it into the long Nero jacket instead of the short '60s look. He has a tail, so we had to also think, as the character, how would he deal with having a tail coming out of his trousers. So you elongate the jacket—you would make that choice if you had a tail, I think."

Janos Quested / Riptide (Alex Gonzalez)

He was a really tricky character because there are very, very little comic book references for him. There were about five pictures and he's always depicted in a kind of purple suit with a bit of silver. So that's where his two silver and purple suits came from because we couldn't suddenly have someone within the realms of all of this sharp tailoring and early '60's etiquette in something really alien. So we decided to just go with the suit look and reference the comic book colors within that.

Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne)

"Rose is the only non-mutant. Her history in the comic books, she's always there in the background for quite a long time—she's always in lab coats or high boots. She's portrayed quite odd in the comic books. What we did was decide that she's a woman in a man's world in the '60s, which is quite unusual at that time to have a woman in that position. We wanted to portray her as not too sexy and not the kind of dolly bird woman in the workplace. We tried to make her look like she was serious and means business. So her suits, even though they're short, we tailored them so that they were fairly conservative. And when she's relaxing, she's in the '60s little short Capri pants—just quite simple clothing. In a similar way that Charles is more about the job than it's about the fashion."

The X-Suits

"Basically, the brief I was given for the X-Suits—which is obviously a huge thing with the whole world of X-Men—is that we needed to go somewhere else other than where they were going with them. That's the future, where did they come from? So it's a big challenge to go back in time to try and create something that you know has got to go on a journey somewhere to get to where you already got. Matthew was very specific with me: he did not want them to be fitted or leather jump suits that were skintight muscle suits. We wanted to go away from that entirely.

He wanted functionality, which is something I'm very keen on. I never like to design things that have no purpose whatsoever. We referenced as much as we could about NASA space suits and pressure suits from the military and put elements of the technology that we could within the realms of believability—but it still looked cool. And Matthew was very keen that we keep it very faithful to the very first X-Men comic book that was released—the very first one that has five characters on the front with yellow fronts and yellow pants. The underpants part had to go, because it just didn't look cool. One of the things that is quite clear is that the yellow is actually meant to be Kevlar… and 1962 is when Kevlar was developed at DuPont. So that was a key element to keeping that within the suits because Kevlar is bulletproof. We ended up finding this fabric which is what the majority of the suit is made out off that is basically a ballistic nylon, which kind of looks similar to Kevlar.

In the end, they were really successful that we made something that really looks utilitarian as much as it looks X-Men. And I hope that comes across that it doesn't just look like some jump suit that is designed for no reason. I don't even think you can see a tenth of the detail that's in them—it takes one person two weeks to put one together. And each one of the characters has a slightly different suit depending on their power. For instance, Havoc has these rings that hones his energy. Banshee has an expandable chest and wings. Charles Xavier's has more Kevlar because he has no powers that can protect him as much. And then Jennifer's… we tried to make it look as sexy as possible, hopefully."
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:29 am

http://www.google.com/search?q=michael+fassbender&hl=en&safe=off&tbs=sbd:1&tbm=nws&ei=9pwSTvO0CYWssAOukuijDg&start=20&sa=N&biw=1000&bih=546

Gun Nuts at the movies
Posted on June 15, 2011 by Jaxon

For a movie about mutants, X-Men: The First Class sure had a lot of starring roles for firearms. If you were on the edge above the new X-Men movie, just go. Most people aren’t big enough comic book dorks to get hung up on some of the inconsistencies with the characters and time frames in relation to the comic. Moreover, the writers chose to focus on lesser known villains and support characters, most likely in an attempt to get people to focus on the story rather than the lack of continuity with the early comics.

The lead characters of Charles Xavier (James Macavoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) were excellent in their roles. Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn make well timed cameos and the movie was what all comic book movies are meant to be: entertaining and fantastical.

The movie takes place primarily during the time of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 as a backdrop for the events. So with that in mind let’s look at some of the guest appearances from the families of Luger and Colt.

James Mcavoy and a Colt Government Model 1911

1911′s aren’t my forte, but by the look the model of 1911 in the movie, it looks like a Colt Government Model 1911. I am loathe to commit to saying that as I am sure someone on the internet can repudiate that by citing some mechanical difference in production from when Springfield Armory took over the government contract in 1917. I was quite surprised when Michael Fassbender’s character, Magneto, safely de-cocks his 1911 in one scene.

Now, for being the “Master of Magnetism,” Magneto sure relies on the crude implements of humans an awful lot. Even at one point, firing a Luger. Possibly for dramatic effect. But it works.

Being a total fanboy, I was excited to see a short cameo of a few AKMs when the X-Men were on a covert mission in Russia. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but it doesn’t end to well for the poor old Kalashnikovs.

Colt Commando

My one gripe with the movie, and other Gun Nuts will pick up on this too, is when a squad of Army soldiers are wielding Colt M-4 Commandos. This is 1962! The M-16 rifles weren’t even being developed by Colt yet. That was the biggest let down of the whole movie. Kinda like when you started playing Call Of Duty: Black Ops and you could get rifles with EO Techs and Aimpoints during the Cold War.

If you’re still not convinced, the last thing I have to say is: Kevin Bacon is in his best role since Tremors….Exactly! Don’t miss it.
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:35 am

http://www.gigwise.com/news/64439/X-Men-First-Class-Revealed-As-2011s-Most-Error-Strewn-Movie

X-Men: First Class Revealed As 2011's Most Error-Strewn Movie

Blockbuster riddled with mistakes...
June 29, 2011 by Alex Winehouse | Photo by WENN.com

X-Men: First Class has been revealed as the most error-strewn movie of the year so far.

The origin story, starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, tops MovieMistakes.com's annual rundown of blunder-filled pictures with 24 errors.

Howlers include a wrongly-dated Nazi coin, a character's hand changing position after being stabbed and pinned to a table with a knife, and an actress's hairstyle changing mid-scene.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides came in second, with 13 errors such as a plate full of cream cakes appearing in the middle of a scene, and a court-room judge banging a gavel - even though they've never been used in British judicial history.

Sci-fi comedy Paul takes third place with 12 mistakes, and Super 8 and The Green Hornet share fifth spot with 10 errors each.
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:29 am

http://seriousmovielover.com/2011/07/11/leading-men-the-key-to-all-x-men-movies/

Men the Key to All X-Men Movies?
By Rebecca Lenzini / Monday, July 11, 2011

X-MEN (2000/DVD)

How clever are the team of writers and filmmakers who brought us X-Men: First Class this year? They made sure to tie their offering to the best of the X-Men movies. Indeed they even open their film with identical sequences from the original X-Men showing 1944 WWII Poland and the young Eric Lensherr as he moves the metal gates at the concentration camp to try to reach his parents. Same shots, same lighting, almost same ending–Eric hit in the head by a Nazi guard, lying in the mud and rain. Of course, in the new film, which focuses on young Eric (as well as young Charles Xavier), we see evil Kevin Bacon, watching from a window and taking careful note. If, like me, you’ve largely forgotten the original film from 2000, it is worth renting and viewing again but you might find yourself somewhat disappointed—that is, unless you’re a Wolverine fan, in which case you’ll be happy. Because the first film is not centered around Magneto and Professor X, but rather around Hugh Jackman and the Logan/Wolverine character. Don’t get me wrong. We’re definitely introduced to the wheelchair bound Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who runs his School for Talented Youngsters (read Mutants) in Westchester, NY, just as always, but now with an elaborate underground of laboratories. We also meet the grown-up Eric as Magneto (Ian McKellan), this film’s villain, with his island-based facility featuring the capability to transform normal humans into mutants. Aiding Professor X are Halle Berry as Storm, Famke Janssen as Dr. Jean Grey and James Marsden as Cyclops. The other side’s most impressive and notable mutant is Mystique, in blue with yellow eyes (just as in “First Class”), but this time portrayed by Rebecca Romijn. But these are all side characters in the film which focuses mostly on Anna Paquin as Rogue, a young teen whose power allows her to “steal capabilities” from fellow mutants and as mentioned earlier, Jackman as Wolverine, who begins the film as a bit of a jerk (make that, total jerk) but by the end is her friend, hero and savior. I won’t spend any time on the plot–rent the movie if you can’t remember it–but suffice it to say, you must like Jackman to like this film. Which explains my disappointment–since I much prefer focusing on Professor X and Magneto and the excellent actors Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, and much, much prefer focusing altogether on this year’s leading men, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. Enough said.

Grade: B
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:00 am

http://staticmass.net/features/x-men-first-class-soundtrack-2011-review/

Henry Jackman, X-Men: First Class Soundtrack
By Patrick Samuel • Published Jul 11, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (CD)
Sony Music

Release date: 13th June 2011
Running time: 60:43 minutes

Composer: Henry Jackman

X-Men: First Class Review

X-Men: First Class, based on the Marvel Comics characters, is the fifth instalment in the X-Men series and takes us right back to the beginning with the meeting of two of the ongoing franchise’s pivotal figures, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender).

It’s a film that rewrites history, giving us a different take on the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and showing us what really could have happened.

X-Men: First Class Soundtrack

Its score is one that matches these events perfectly, at times.

Composed by Henry Jackman – a protégé of Hans Zimmer – the score is rich with a sense of urgency while it mixes classical and contemporary elements to map out an untold story of historical events. At times this works well, but not always.

The first track is simply called “First Class” and it introduces us to a motif that will be carried sparingly throughout the score later on with “Cerebro” and “Sub Lift”. Strings, wind instruments and percussion swell and combine in what we know is going to be a dramatic conclusion both here and in the film. It feels like new ground for the series and there’s a strong feeling “superhero-ness” here too, but the juxtaposition of the rockier elements is jarring, given the time period the film is set in, bringing down this first class score a notch or two.
TRACK LIST:

1. First Class (3.14)
2. Pain And Anger (2.49)
3. Would You Date Me? (1.45)
4. Not That Sort Of Bank (3.23)
5. Frankenstein’s Monster (3.07)
6. What Am I Thinking? (.2.05)
7. Cerebro (2.24)
8. Mobilise For Russia (1.18)
9. Rise Up To Rule (5.56)
10. Cold War (4.06)
11. X-Training (4.27)
12. Rage And Serenity (2.10)
13. To Beast Or Not To Beast (4.45)
14. True Colours (1.49)
15. Let Battle Commence (5.14)
16. Sub Lift (2.20)
17. Coup D’État (2.12)
18. Mutant And Proud (3.39)
19. X-Men (1.02)
20. Magneto (1.52)

Jackman studied classical music at St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir School, Eton College and University of Oxford before going on to programming and production for artists like Mike Oldfield, Elton John, Seal and Gary Barlow. His film work so far includes The Da Vinci Code (2006), as music programmer, The Dark Knight (2008), as music arranger, and Winnie the Pooh (2011), as composer.

As we move through to tracks like “Pain And Anger”, “Rise Up To Rule” and “Let Battle Commence”, the pace becomes frantic. Jackman unleashes a flurry of arrangements that rise and fall and rise again. This helps to drive home the inner conflicts of Fassbender’s Magneto but also serves to underscore the fragile bond that he shares with Xavier. We know that bond will sever and Jackman builds us up for that moment.

With “Rage And Serenity”, the movement in this piece is highly reminiscent of Zimmer’s score for Inception (2010), especially with the strings and guitar work, but Jackman puts his own stamp on it, although again the electric guitars slightly shifts the music away from the time period the film is set in. I found this very distracting not just in the film, but to listen to as a piece of music.

Despite what I feel about these contrasting elements, X-Men: First Class is still a great score and the film benefits greatly with it, but it could have been greater. I’d love to hear what Jackman will come up with if he’s hired for future instalments, but I hope it will stay true to whatever the setting the story is in.
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:25 pm

http://www.countercurrents.org/karthick120711.htm

Liberalism vs Identity Politics In "X-Men: First Class"

By Karthick RM

12 July, 2011
Countercurrents.org

I had to watch X-men: First Class. It was high priority on my list of to-do things in Chennai once I landed here from Delhi. Since I had watched all the other X-men movies, I was intent on seeing this one considering that it was supposed to explain the origins of some of the main characters.

The politics of the movie aside, it was good entertainment and I will suggest it to superhero movie buffs. The director Matthew Vaughn was blessed with a great cast. While James McAvoy as Charles Xavier gave a good performance, he was dwarfed by the towering Michael Fassbender who played Erik Lensherr/Magneto. Fassbender seemed to be at ease with expressions of rage, pain, sadness and above all, loss, probably the toughest of emotions to enact unless genuinely felt. Veteran artist Kevin Bacon played the role of arch villain Sebastian Shaw with élan. And the other characters acted their roles pretty well too.

For those who are beginners to X-men, here’s the deal. There are humans and mutants and tensions are brewing between them. Amongst mutants, there are ‘good’ mutants led by Charles Xavier alias Prof. X and his band of X-men, who believe that it is possible for mutants and humans to live together in peace and harmony. The ‘bad’ mutants, led by Erik Lensherr alias Magneto, believe that this argument is a farce, that humans will always persecute mutants owing to their fears and prejudices, and that the only way for mutants to survive would be to overthrow human rule by force. While the humans in general are suspicious of the mutants and there are some among them who seek to use these sentiments to the detriment of the mutants, there are the good humans too. So, the fight is basically between the good side of the mutants and humans against the bigots of both sides in order to usher in an era of multiculturalism and tolerance - the American way. That’s the theme of the earlier X-men movies in brief.

Now to the politics of this particular movie. In the entire series, X-men: First Class had, in my view, stronger political tones than its predecessors. The clash between liberalism and identity politics, which was an underlying theme in the earlier movies, came out much clearer in this one. Charles Xavier leads the liberal camp. Accordingly, he has the power to read and manipulate the minds of people - as liberals think they can. (Had he been a radical, he would have been a Leninist. But that’s another story!) Despite having grown in opulence, he thinks he can authentically feel the pain of others, as he tells Lensherr. He conducts personality development classes for fellow mutants so that they can be… ‘better’ mutants, or mutants who will be liked better by human beings (Vaguely remember a liberal Tamil politician making a statement that if the Sinhalese hated the Tamils, it is our responsibility to make them love us. Oh Xavier!). The priority is clear here. He recognizes the difference of the mutants and its corresponding discrimination by the humans. But he does not want to emphasize on them. He is the multiculturalist who believes in mutual tolerance and coexistence. He personifies the ‘American Dream’ and its accompanying drama. He is the ‘home nigger’ of Malcolm X, the conformist, the mutant who tries to be more human than humans themselves. The director favours him obviously. Necessary for the reel triumph of liberalism.

I, on the other hand, the viewer with my freedom of interpretation and reading into signs, am predisposed to supporting Erik Lensherr. A Polish inmate of Nazi camps as a young boy, he realized his powers under brutal conditions. He controls metals and electro-magnetic fields and, as if living up to his name, is indeed an magnetic personality on screen (maybe the director’s hint at how radical indentitarianism attracts hard things and people and is eventually dangerous). He witnessed the execution of his mother by Shaw, another mutant who worked for Nazis, and his powers developed further under Shaw’s torturous manipulations. Here is the monster created by greater monsters. Xavier wants Lensherr to understand that though the grievances of the persecuted may be legitimate, there are boundaries they cannot cross. Of course, who devises the frames of these boundaries is a question that Xavier does not deeply consider.

Hunted down for being different, yet bold enough to assert his difference, Magneto is the Tamil ‘separatist’ in Sri Lanka, the Kurdish ‘secessionist’ in Turkey, the ‘violent’ Dalit-Bahujan in India. He is fully conscious of his identity and chooses to assert it, to wield it as a weapon, knowing well that a refusal to do so would mean submission to or collaboration with the powers that be. He also contests that humans would never be able to grasp or genuinely empathize with the ‘mutant problem’ and that the only solution lies in the struggle of the mutants themselves. Is it so? An example: the spontaneous feeling of rage and pain that a Tamil patriot experiences over the atrocities committed on her kind in Sri Lanka can never be replaced or represented by an occasional pamphlet or words of denunciation from a Liberal/Marxist/whatever in, lets say, New Delhi. This not to say that solidarity is not required for identity based resistances, but these are only of strategic value. For such politics to translate into radical action, the essential requirement is for the actors to bond on the basis of an identity and to recognize it as what Everett Hughes calls the “master status”, that is, the identity that takes priority over other identities. For me to be a genuine actor in, lets say, a backward caste resistance, I need to identify myself as a backward caste primarily. Acceptance of identity. Assertion of identity. Action on the basis of identity. (A question can arise: Can a brahmin lead an anti-brahminical movement? I would argue that he can support it but the leadership must be in the hands of those affected by brahminism - following Ambedkar’s, Periyar’s and Lensherr’s case for self-representation at all times). Lensherr’s brief advice to Mystique, that we need to accept ourselves if we want society to accept us, sends out a far more powerful message than any of Xavier’s therapy sessions in the movie. As Nietzsche would say, “you must become who you are”.

After Magneto, Mystique is probably the most interesting character in the movie. With the power to change appearances, she has the ability, or rather, the option to appear as a ‘normal human’ - and so she chooses to be for most parts of the movie till she is fully convinced of the force of Magneto’s arguments. In Sartrean terms, she is initially the inauthentic mutant, always striving to pass off as ‘one of them’, but never fully able to do so. Perpetually caught in an ethical dilemma, she personifies what we call ‘identity crisis’. She is the oxymoronic ‘Sri Lankan Tamil’ of Colombo, an elite, a creature trying to underplay the latter part, the part that really matters, of her identity and attempting to live with the herd, a darling child of Sinhala liberals and of collaborator-intellectuals like Ahilan Kadirgamar. She is the Kurd in Istanbul who would, in public, accept that Turkey consists of Turks alone and that she is one of them while wondering deep inside whether such is the case. She is the Dalit in Delhi University who will avoid eating non-veg so as to not offend the sentiments of her brahmin roommate, who will never disclose her caste identity and who shies away during debates on reservations for fear of being identified.

Unable to be true to any side by virtue of her birth and by matter of her choice, her existence is traumatic. With the well-timed advice of Magneto she confronts reality as it is. And when she realizes what she is, she becomes who she is. A mutant, an aberration to the ‘normal’ but a beauty to those with the perspective. So when she proclaims ‘Mutant and Proud’ towards the end of the movie, one is compelled to join with her saying ‘Tamil and Proud’, ‘Kurd and Proud’, ‘Dalit and Proud’. For broken women and men, pride in what they are, what they should become, is the first emotion that needs to be kindled if at all a liberatory praxis on the basis of identity is to be envisaged.

The ethical argument between Xavier and Magneto at the climax is highly relevant for our times. Magneto, who manages to prevent the annihilation of the mutants - including Xavier - by weapons deployed by humans, decides to use his powers to wipe off the humans who launched the attack. Xavier’s argument against this decision is that the men who initiated the attack were “just following orders” but otherwise were “good, honest, innocent men”. Really now? To those who have watched the Channel 4 video on Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields I ask, do we believe that the men who dropped bombs on hospitals in Tamil areas, who shot children at point blank range were “good, honest, innocent men”? Do we presume that the Sinhala army men who were vividly describing the naked bodies of Tamil women whom they had sexually abused and executed with words that would make a pornographer blush were “just following orders”? If the answer is affirmative, let us assume that they were indeed “just following orders” of their superiors… that they may have been “good” fathers to their children, “honest” citizens to their country… but innocent? Well, in the perspective of the Tamils who suffered, Magneto’s rejoinder seems apt - “I’ve been at the mercy of men just following orders… Never again!” - and his war begins from that moment. I am sure that the Tamil journalist Isaipriya, who also was at the mercy of such men, who was raped, mutilated and murdered by these humans, would agree with him too.

The ‘mutant problem’ of X-men and the polar opposite views of Xavier and Magneto not just convey arguments on liberalism and identity politics, they also indicate that choices are to be made. The Tamil ‘mutant’ in Sri Lanka must choose living as a slave, or collaborating, or fighting for her freedom. The Kurdish ‘mutant’ must forego his identity or struggle to secure a land where his kind can exist as they are. The Dalit-Bahujan ‘mutants’ must choose becoming invisible, or fighting for their rights by themselves, or handing over the leadership of their struggle to those will act in their name but will never be one of them. The choice is ours to make. We can assert our identity and fight for our right to be different and to secede from the rest or we can embrace our oppressor communities and live under their shadow. I have made my choice.

What about you, fellow mutant?

Karthick RM is affiliated to the Delhi Tamil Students Union. He is currently a freelance writer and lives in Chennai.
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:47 pm

http://poptagonist.blogspot.com/2011/07/oh-my-starts-and-garters.html

July 12, 2011
Oh my starts and garters...
After being blown away by X-Men: First Class I decided to go back and re-watch X-Men 1 and 2 (don't have to re-watch 3 to remember it... uuuugh) before seeing First Class a second time. And as much as X2 is awesome... I think First Class is my favorite of the X-Men movies. I have been an X-Men fan since the cartoon show first began to air. I remember as a kid, first seeing promos for it, I thought it looked dumb. Then on one fateful afternoon, a friend of mine insisted on showing me an episode they had recorded (remember when you could record videos of your favorite shows!?)... My life was never the same. I remember the episode too, it was the one where Storm, Gambit and Jubilee go to Genosha, allegedly a vacation spot for mutants, but TURNS OUT it's not so much of a resort as much as it's a SLAVE CAMP. From that one episode, I was hooked, and so began my obsession with superheroes, especially X-Men. I love the themes of X-Men, and I love that its message of acceptance and fighting prejudice can be used for such rich story telling, while still having a very human element of people dealing with their lot in life. That being said, when Bryan Singer's X-Men came out, I accepted that it was drastically different from any depictions of X-Men we had seen before. I appreciate that they begin a new story and don't try to replicate the comics exactly. The movies are their own thing, separate from the comics or the cartoon. I will make lists of pros and cons counting as +1 and -1 and see how the movies add up!


X-Men

Pro x 2
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are perfect as Professor X and Magneto. Throughout the films they really carry the stories and make these larger than life characters very real and tangible.

Pro
Hugh Jackman, an unknown to Hollywood, brought a level of humanity to Wolverine that the character, making him much more approachable as a character than, say, the cartoon.

Pro
They change the character of Rogue (Anna Paquin) drastically from the strong, self-assured badass we know from TV and the comics into a timid, insecure and scared teenager. This was very controversial to many X-Men fans because Rogue is such a beloved character, showing us strength and sexiness long before Buffy took up that mantle. Yes, it is sad to see your favorite characters changed, but for the purpose of the story it works. I like that they show a horrific side of mutant powers that isn't flashy or cool, but traumatizing. And I understand why the made the choice for the character. This film is supposed to bring X-Men down to earth, making them and the mutant phenomenon very real in the world. Having Rogue suck the power from another non-mutant superhero would have been too otherworldly for this film.

Pro
Opposing the X-Men are the Brotherhood of Mutants, who, while most of them only have a couple lines, all ooze with cool attitude and perfectly fit their roles, having fun with the performances. Rebecca Romijn is believable as the slinky and cunning Mystique, Tyler Mane is the perfect brute as Sabretooth and you can see the fun Ray Park has as the playfully diabolical Toad.

Pro
On a whole, the movie looks at mutants from a very sociological standpoint. We see the two opposing views of mutants, some wanting to conquer humanity, others wanting to work with humanity. And we see the effect mutants have on human politics, frightening humans with their abilities. I appreciate the movie because it takes on the larger issues than just people with superpowers, it makes us question if we would side with Professor X or Magneto. It takes a look at how the world would deal with it if people were suddenly born who are in many ways better than the rest of us, but also makes us think about those who are different and what different perspectives can help provide for one another.

Con
The rest of the X-Men, Jean Grey, Cyclops and Storm are not spectacular in their roles, mostly because their characters are somewhat lacking. Cyclops (James Marsten) is stubborn, Jean (Famke Janssen) is smart and sympathetic and Storm (Hallie Berry) is mostly just there. Cyclops sorta gets a get out of jail free card because it's hard to show deep emotion when half of your face is covered, Jean gets her chance to shine in the next two movies. Hallie Berry gets a lot of criticism for her performance, which I both agree with and disagree with. You can see Berry try and give Storm a level of conviction that you need from a second in command field operative, but it just seems phoned in. However, there are a couple touching scenes in which we see Storm's vulnerability that make her seem real. There is a deleted scene with Storm and Rogue in which Storm asks Rogue how she is fitting in, and we see Storm as sympathetic and concerned. Another scene in which Storm consoles a dying Senator Kelly, he asks "Do you hate normal people?" and she replies "Sometimes... Because I am afraid of them" giving us a very real insight into what so many mutants must feel in the world.

Con
One of my biggest problems with this movie is there's too much Wolverine. There's not much action in the film and most of it is dominated by Wolverine. Of course, Wolverine is great, but fans want to see Storm shoot lightning from her hands, and see Cyclops put up more of a fight than being kicked into another room and out of the scene.

Con
The movie on a whole is a very understated opening to the franchise. I understand why they made it this way, they wanted to depict them as very real people, not as spandex clad, untouchable heroes. Which I understand, but the result is a little underwhelming, and for the most part the ensemble cast just isn’t strong enough to make up for it. Much of this is due to budget, there were plans of having Beast in the film and a whole Danger Room sequence, and both were cut due to financial restrictions.

Final Score: 3

X2: X-Men United

Pro
The opening scene to this movie in which Nightcrawler attacks the White House and almost assassinates the President is the most awesome single display of mutant powers in all of the X-Men films. The scene is exciting, action packed, a little scary and nothing if not memorable!

Pro
Alan Cumming was a perfect choice for Nightcrawler, a mutant who has spent his entire life struggling with his identity, only finding acceptance in the Circus and in God. He doesn’t play a huge role in the film, but his scenes and dialogue are very purposeful. Despite being shunned by humanity, he doesn’t let himself be overtaken by anger like Magneto, instead he sympathizes with them, as expressed in one of his best lines, “You know, outside the circus, most people were afraid of me. But I didn't hate them. I pitied them. Do you know why? Because most people will never know anything beyond what they see with their own two eyes.”

Pro
The movie tackles many of the same issues as the first film, people struggling to find acceptance in a world that fears and hates them, only this time they deal with a human enemy. It was an element present in the first film, though it does not present much of a danger as it does in this film. Another main theme of the villain, Colonel Stryker (Brian Cox) is that of mutants being taken advantage of because of their powers for political means, something that would probably happen. People like to take advantage of other people. Stryker uses mutants against their own kinds claiming they “have their uses”. One of the more tragic figures is Lady Deathstrike, who, throughout the film we see as a cool, diabolical bodyguard. We see that she is actually just a mutant who Stryker controls using a serum he developed. She and Wolverine have an awesome fight that ends with him pumping her body full of adamantium, and right before she dies we see her dead-looking grey eyes turn brown, and we see her look of pain and confusion just for a moment before she falls backwards, dead. We see first hand the tragedy that can be inflicted on innocent people in her and Nightcrawler.

Pro
It does have more action than the first film, giving it more of an edge. We see Wolverine go into “berserker mode” when the Xavier Institute is stormed by troops, Storm creates a sky full of hurricanes, even Rogue is useful when she stops Pyro from killing police officers!

Pro
Jean is depicted as a woman brimming with power she doesn't even know she has. We see the first signs of the Phoenix power as her mutant abilities give her more power than we have ever seen before, but also make her sometimes unable to control it. Her struggle between power and control is mirrored in her love triangle between Cyclops (representing control) and Wolverine (representing power).

Pro
Magneto is a survivor and opportunist who will not let himself be contained, and way more badass and villainous as he gleefully murders his jailers. The survivor in him is also what brings him to ally with the X-Men against a common enemy. A shaky allegiance that he only uses as long as it suits him and the moment he gets the chance to move towards his own goals of mutant supremacy he pushes forward without a second thought.

Pro
Mystique gets strong but minimal characterization. In a touching scene Nightcrawler asks Mystique why she doesn’t pass as human all the time if she can, to which she responds "Because we shouldn’t have to". This small scene gives us insight into both Nightcrawler and Mystique, who have both clearly struggled with their mutations throughout their lives, but where Nightcrawler has grown used to living in the shadows, Mystique fights for the world she wants to live in.

Pro
Perhaps the most interesting new addition is Pyro (Aaron Stanford), a young student at Xavier's Institute who refuses to see his powers as something to hold him back and takes any opportunity to display them in front of humans. Throughout the film we see Xavier and the X-Men trying to teach him discipline, and when Magneto tells him "You are a god among insects" the character's fate is sealed. It is interesting to see someone to through this transformation in the film, someone who comes to see Magneto's perspective as they battle a human who tries to annihilate mutant-kind.

Con
They take Cyclops out of the movie pretty early on, and while he’s not spectacular in the movies, you can tell they just wanted him out of the picture instead of making him interesting.

Con
Iceman was always one of my favorite characters and they just make him a little mini-Cyclops, the good kid, instead of making him the fun jokester who is always under appreciated. I understand that they changed characters, but they just made him utterly bland instead of making him true to the character, which would have helped the film since there’s nobody in it who’s lighthearted at all.

Final Score: 6

X-Men 3: The Last Stand

Pro
I like how they handle the Phoenix. The Phoenix story can get really contrived really fast when you involve alien races and magical crystals and diety-esque mystical forces like in the comics. They opt for a more human explanation, that Phoenix is the ultimate manifestation of Jean Grey’s telekinetic abilities allowing her to manipulate the physical world down to its very atomic structure. In this film the Phoenix is Jean, it is the darkness that lies in everybody. Power, incarnate. Granted, it could have been done better, but it also could have been much worse.

Pro
Kelsey Grammar is perfect as Beast. Perfect perfect. His character is summed by his personal struggle as a blue mutant and being somewhat ashamed of himself being at odds with his political beliefs wanting to be proud of his mutation.

Pro/Con
Rogue takes the "Cure" thereby losing her mutant powers. It is a shame to see a character with so much potential for growth, both personal and with her powers, but I like that in the story they have one of our heroes decide to get the cure, and if anybody would, it would be Rogue. So this cancels itself out.

Con
I like that the film (kind of tries to) focus on ushering in a new team of X-Men, Iceman, Shadowcat and Colossus all play roles as the new X-Men. This theme of a younger generation of mutants is always present in the comics, and while appropriate in the film, the characters they add are all so bland. Even as they try to create a love triangle between Iceman, Rogue and Shadowcat, you just don’t care about any of them. And obviously Colossus was just cast because of how he looks. They don’t even try to develop the character.

Con
I see what they were going for with this film. They tried to give the fans what they wanted, the action packed climax of the franchise. What they ended up giving us was a poorly constructed action film devoid of character or any real sympathy with some badass fights thrown in for good measure.

Con
The plot has some interesting themes, the “Cure” for mutancy, the Phoenix but the director clearly doesn't know how to wrangle in all these different story lines and characters.

Con
For some inexplicable reason they decide to kill Professor X (they also kill Cyclops, but he was always kind of a weak link in the movies, and while it is another cop out like in X2, I will let this one slide since there’s already SO MANY cons for X3). Stewart was clearly one of the strongest performers in a cast of many mediocre characters… Why they did kill him, I will never know.

Con
Archangel who only appears in 4 scenes is completely superfluous and Ben Foster is just desperately trying to figure out this role, which is really quite simple… Perhaps too simple

Con
They de-power Mystique!!! She was always one of the strongest and engaging characters in the films), and they replace her with a bunch of completely forgettable new, made up characters.

Con
After killing Professor X and Cyclops we have Storm leading the team, but she is just wholly underwhelming.

Con
Another big problem with this film is that it has more mutants than any of the other films, just mutants reaching into the far corners of the silver screen throughout the film. And while I accept that the movies are different from the cartoon or the comics, I was upset that instead of using the HUGE pool of already created mutants to choose from they decide to make up completely new characters whose specific powers are not exciting or important. I just wanted a LITTLE effort!! Like the man in the woods who grows bones out of his body and has a fight with Wolverine, would it have been THAT difficult to make it a woman and therefore an already existing character (Marrow) who would be fun for any X-Fan to see?!

Final Score: -6


X-Men: First Class

Pro
This film is the best X-Men film yet largely because of its devotion to the characters. Most of the main characters we are already familiar with in the films, and you can tell that the filmmaker and the actors wanted to make sure and depict the same characters at a very different time in history and in their own lives. James McAvoy does a great job carrying the film as the X-Men's founder and teacher, Charles Xavier. But this is not the refined and collected Xavier depicted by Patrick Stewart, this is a young, impulse driven and blindly idealistic man with an ego and a libido. He wants what's best for mankind, but doesn't even allow himself to do what's best for those closest to him, namely Raven a.k.a. Mystique. Raven is his adopted sister, who Xavier taught to be careful about her powers, but he is so overbearing about it that she grows up ashamed of who she really is because of how he treats her. Xavier is flawed, yet trying his hardest to create a better world. This is the humanistic approach to Xavier that I find more interesting than the stoic leader in the other films.

Pro
The biggest "Pro" for the film is Michael Fassbender as Magneto. He is strong, powerful, driven and angry, and this film showcases him in such a way that we wholly understand and even sympathize deeply with a man so tormented by the evils of mankind that he has become that which he is determined to destroy. Fassbender is phenomenal as such an outlandish character, making him both distinguished, and totally badass in a way that we believe this man could exist. The strength of Magneto as character in any medium is that he forces the audience to ask themselves "Who would you side with?" And the audience finds themselves at a bit of a loss. Everybody wants to be a hero, but Magneto, as a reactive advocate of mutant survival, always provides a worthwhile counterpoint to the X-Men. This world filled with shades-of-grey perspectives is more evident in this film than any of the others, and is what gives the X-Men universe much of its storytelling power. Also, Magneto is SUCH A BADASS in this movie!!!!!! He trashed a yacht with its own anchor!

Pro
Mystique was always one of my favorite parts of the X-Men films, but she was always coolly in the background delivering few, but concise lines or smirks that showed her as a strong and powerful person to trifle with. In this film, she takes center stage and is very different, timid, and unsure of herself because of Xavier's years of trying to force her to fit in. In her few scenes with Magneto, we see the seeds of her liberation from her own insecurities being planted, much in the way Magneto titillated Pyro with the promise of power in X2. While she is drastically different from the Mystique in the other films, we understand her character and the arc she travels as she comes to terms with herself, like so many of us have to. We can all only hope to become as sure of ourselves and our own capabilities as she does by the time we see her in the first X-Men film.

Pro
Beast was previously featured in X3, and in that film as well as in First Class, he makes for a strong supporting character. Beast is always a character battling his own nature. Torn between his civil and carnal instincts, his superior intellect is betrayed by his animistic powers. In First Class, we see a young man who is so desperate to fit in he uses himself as a guinea pig in an experiment to make himself normal. Of course it goes ironically wrong and worsens his physical state. While his character isn't deeply focused on, we understand that he is tormented by himself and even when he finds other mutants, he's still teased and feels distanced from those around him. His character isn't as strong as the three leads, but he is a good supporting character to add to the film.
Pro
Something the X-Men movies finally got right was its use of background characters. In the past films, there were a few strong characters and pretty useless background characters, who have one or two displays of their mutant powers in the film, and then fall into the background to let Wolverine deal with whatever threat is present. Or, as is the case with X3, we're shown several mutants having cool displays of their powers, but with little in the way of plot or character to make us care much about the outcome. This film seems to understand that as long as you have strong main characters, it's okay to have other characters who use their powers in spectacular ways more than they speak. Banshee, Havoc and Angel have distinguishable characteristics, but don't have much of a character arc. But we don't need to see an elaborate story of every single character, Magneto, Xavier, Raven and Beast give us the character development the adult in us wants to see and Banshee and Havoc deliver blasts of action that the kid in us wants to see!
Pro
That leads me to my next pro, the action! This movie pulls no punches in the action department! Full of mutant powers, but it's not phoned in or plotless the way it is in X3. Banshee screams, Angel spits, Havoc blasts, Magneto destroys, it's full of awesome displays of different powers!
Pro
Contrasting the original films, which deal with the mutant phenomenon on a societal scale, this film deals with mutation on a very personal level. In a world where mutants are unknown to society, we see several isolated people who are scared of their abilities and have been forced to learn to cope with them without any support. Characters like Mystique and Beast show us the ways physically evident mutations can affect one's perception of themselves, and we end up with opposing sides, one who wishes to fit in, and one who will not modify herself for others, even though she literally can look however she wants. Xavier and Magneto provide an interesting counterbalance as they both feel an obligation to others because of the power they have been given, but their allegiances lie on opposite sides.

Pro
I know I already gave Magneto a "Pro" for being badass, but the scene with him and the Nazis in Argentina.... Just see it and tell me you don't want to have a "Magneto: Nazi Hunter" movie!!!!!
Pro
Kevin Bacon does a good job with relatively little as Sebastian Shaw. He is written as a fairly run-of-the-mill scheming villain, and Bacon is throughtly engaging. He provides an interesting counterpoint to Xavier and Magneto's X-Men, as he mirrors Magneto's future path as the man who is determined to bring superiority to mutant kind.

Con
I was so excited to see Emma Frost in the film! In the comics, she has come to be one of my favorite characters, a woman haunted by the mistakes of her past. She is constantly in a state of trying to redeem herself for her past evils, but also trying to stay true to herself as someone who will see things as they are, and not as one would want to see it (this includes her perception of herself, as someone she knows has a slightly askew moral compass). She is less interesting as a villain, but still should be an entertaining combination of sarcastic, beautiful and devious. None of which come across whatsoever in January Jones' performance which begs the question "Can she even move her face or is she one of those mechanical Japanese sex dolls?" ..... I can't help but think that even Bryce Dallas Howard would have been better.

Final Score: 8

Yup, X-Men: First Class wins!

Bonus: X-Men The Animated Series

I've been watching the old X-Men cartoon from the 90's, which sparked my interest in superheroes altogether. I'm surprised to see how well it actually holds up! In some ways I think it's even better than Batman: The Animated Series, which is a great noir-esque tribute to the Dark Knight, but X-Men's continuous dedication to plot, character and themes gives it stronger re-watch value.

Also, as an example of the animated series taking the task of adapting X-Men in a way that's honest to the source material, you can see below are two images, both from The Dark Phoenix Saga battle with the Hellfire Club, the top image is from the cartoon and the image below it is from the original comic (an iconic depiction of Wolverine's resilience). It's literally the exact image recreated, even down to the pipe on the right side of the image! Extra nerd points if you can tell me which prominent writer/artist team featured which character in the same pose (and saying the same line) in a recent X-Men comic after fighting one of the same villains!

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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:47 pm

http://celebswear.blogspot.com/2011/07/new-products-x-men-first-class-jacket.html

Friday, July 15, 2011
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:06 pm

http://soumitrapattnaik.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/xmen-first-class-vs-batman-dark-knight/

X:MEN FIRST CLASS v/s BATMAN DARK KNIGHT
July 14, 2011 soumitrapattnaik Leave a comment Go to comments

The comparison is unjustified because both are standout ventures with their own moments each. But this article was sparked off after reading a column by Raja Sen some time ago.
Who is Raja Sen? If you read rediff, then you know. I am trying to make this article as far away as possible from a personal assault on that person. I am trying to stick to my own perception here.
Lets start with X:Men…a breath of fresh air. The franchise was heading towards doom and a lack lustre Wolverine confirmed that the think tank was running out of ideas. This is exactly when the story tellers decided turning to the oldest rivalry in the arc i.e Professor X and Magneto. Wonderful ! There could be nothing more interesting than watching the two arch rivals retrace their bonding.
Michael Fassbender as Magneto steals the show. Intense, brooding and charismatic, he makes Erik aka Magneto come alive out of comic strips frames. James Mcavoy lends much more to Xavier than what Patrick Stewart could in the earlier ventures. The only other character that is sketched is Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw and somehow Shaw is neither menacing nor exciting.
Charles and Erik carry the entire movie on them and they manage to hide the flaws. Azazel could have been drawn a bit more, because he seemed enticing enough to be much more than a henchman. That is the problem with x:men. There are so many wonderful characters that you cant do justice to all of them which happened with the Dark Knight as well. Case in point : Harvey two face Dent.
If we look at the Dark Knight, then there is another all time great rivalry going on between Batman and the Joker. Joker steals the show. For heaven’s sake Joker stole the thunder from Batman and Sebastian Shaw as a nemesis doesn’t match up to the standards Ledger and Joker set for villains onscreen.
Dark Knight worked in each patch. From the background score to the camera gimmicks. Even the lighting effects added to the aura of the movie. In the Dark Knight, if two face made it crowded still he had a nice arc. The character developed. That didn’t happen with many characters here in X:Men. Shaw as I said is pretty one-dimensional. He is like a kid who happened to find a piggy bank buried in his backyard and starts playing the loan shark to other kids of his age. Joker and Harvey both were much more interesting than the antagonist in X:Men FC.
Dark Knight boasts of a great ensemble cast and a much grittier feel to it than X Men. X men has its own moments and they are fantastic when you drift through them along with the movie. The sparks fly each time both Professor X and Magneto are in the same frame. X men First Class is a fantastic approach to the series. This is the way you reboot but somewhere along the line Dark Knight still remains the movie to surpass.
The biggest flaw in X Men is Shaw. I happened to see an animated movie Megamind and it tells the story of a villain who feels lost when he accidentally kills the hero. You need to have balance. The villain makes the hero and vice versa. You cannot cut an end off and expect to see the same balance all over again. Though I would have loved to see Magneto break loose within the first half and square off against Xavier,( which would have been a much better proposition than them teamed up and taking out a seemingly clueless Shaw) I would still consider the faint friction between them as a sign of good times to come. Eagerly awaiting for a new chapter of this great rivalry with less supporting characters and more grind. (Bring back Sabertooth and Juggernaut)
And as far as Mr. Raja Sen is concerned…well,the guys already are baying for his blood on Rediff. Smile
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:55 pm

http://superheroesonscreen.blogspot.com/2011/07/blockbuster-aesthetics-and-global.html

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Blockbuster Aesthetics and the Global Languages of X-Men: First Class
The X-franchise has long embraced notions of cross-cultural communication, be it through the incorporation of Ororo “Storm” Munroe, worshipped as a goddess in her native country, within the X-family, or Wolverine/Logan’s time in Japan, or bringing together of internal American others like the X-Men with the literally underground mutant Morlocks. These, intra-, cross- and transnational aspects of the X-texts has been revisited across the film franchise to date, which stars an openly multi-national cast, and features scenes set in a range of disparate countries (even emphasising the disparities between US States, for example in Rogue/Marie’s tracing of her planned journey from the Southern United States through to Canada). I would argue, however, that X-Men: First Class is the first of the films to overtly emphasise multiple language.

In X-Men: First Class, for example, we travel with Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender, who has yet to become villain Magneto) as he tracks down Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) in a quest for revenge over the death of his mother. Along the way we hear not just English, but also get subtitled German, French, Russian and Spanish among others. A particularly intriguing scene shows Lensherr in conversation with former Nazis in South America, and they all shift languages throughout the scene from Spanish to both German and English. In addition, the film even builds to a multi-national moment of crisis as the mutants become embroiled in the Cuban missile crisis. In doing so, the aural and visual landscapes of X-Men: First Class offer a new array potential pleasures to global audiences, embedding its “American” narrative within a diegetic landscape that is perhaps more extremely global than ever before. We hope that this example from the X-franchise will sparks ideas among contributors relating to the languages of superhero films, and we would welcome your thoughts on the subject.
Posted by Superheroes On Screen at Tuesday, July 19, 2011
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:02 pm

http://redmistreviews.com/?p=490

Mutate against fascism
By
Harley Filben
– July 31, 2011Posted in: Films
Sean Geist reviews X-Men – First Class

The superhero yarn, which has dominated the comics industry and more recently popular action film, is dogged by a certain crypto-fascist subtext – a narrative that sees great men, and the occasional great woman, struggle against the crime and decay of mass society. Sometimes it is subtle or ambiguous; other times, it is all but explicit. There is nothing apparently to put Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman above the ordinary citizens of Gotham City, it seems, other than a fetishistic rubber suit and pure force of will (by the outset of The Dark Knight, the masses even have the rubber suits); and Nolan takes great pride in playing with these ideas at inordinate length.

Then there’s X-Men.

I’m sure anyone familiar with the X-Men franchise is aware that its major subtext is not so much the elimination of crime, but the troubled relations between humans and a new breed of super-powered mutant. It poses overlapping analogies for the black civil rights movement and the later gay rights movement, which makes the latest instalment, X-Men: First Class, a highly interesting film to analyse. This analogy for social equality, however, can only go so far, and in fact the franchise could better be described as a story of perpetual struggle against Fascism- a struggle doomed to failure by the story’s anti-dialectical nature, which leaves us no means of finding a way to tackle the problem at its root.

X-Men: First Class is set in the US in the 1960s, at the peak of Cold War tension. It is here we are introduced to the young Erik Lehnsherr (better known as Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (‘Professor X’, played by James McAvoy), as well as a host of other young mutants: some well-known, some less well-known. We first see our protagonists in childhood, with Xavier discovering a young Mystique in his kitchen, and Lehnsherr being separated from his parents in a Nazi concentration camp. The former childhood story exhibits some ropey child acting, not helped by the script. As for the latter, he is the victim of brutal experiments by the main antagonist of the film, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). It is here that we see how the monster of Magneto is created and grows into a vengeful, bloodlust-fuelled adult; and on the other side of the spectrum, Charles Xavier develops into a young academic/womanizer soon to acquire his doctorate, living alongside a somewhat recalcitrant Mystique, who struggles to cope with her natural blue and scaly appearance. These highly contrasting origins set the background for the polemic between the two characters – the polemic of integration and segregation.



The two men meet in a common goal to defeat Sebastian Shaw – though for quite different reasons. Sebastian Shaw is a powerful mutant, capable of controlling energy, with a highly Social Darwinist outlook; seeing mutants as the superior race who should inherit the Earth. With this goal in mind, Shaw sets out to exacerbate the tensions between the U.S.A and the U.S.S.R, by influencing the U.S into placing nuclear missiles in Turkey, and the Soviets into placing their missiles in Cuba (that’s right, mutants caused the Cuban missile crisis). Shaw’s intent in all this is to cause nuclear war, the vast sums of energy from which he can then utilise eliminate all non-mutated human life, thereby allowing the mutant race (or indeed simply Shaw himself) to rule the world. The race is then on for our heroes, who intend to stop Shaw’s plan, each for his own reason. Charles Xavier’s intent is to show humanity the good mutants can do, and the aid they can bring to humanity, thereby allowing a peaceful co-existence between the two species. Erik, however, is not so much interested in preventing Shaw’s diabolical plan (in fact he largely agrees with it), but wishes only for revenge, and sees Shaw’s death as an end in itself.

As mentioned before, the subtext of this film is often the question of social equality, and its two leading men are analogies of the leading figures during the civil rights movement: Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm Little a.k.a. Malcolm X. Charles Xavier emphasizes peace with and integration into human society. Erik Lehnsherr on the other hand believes integration is impossible, that humanity will inevitably fear the mutants, and as such, violence is wholly justified in order to defend themselves, and indeed in achieving their own supremacy. However, I feel this analogy is rather superficial in the light of the specific nature of the two antagonisms it compares.

It is well known that the oppression of the African-American population has deep roots in American history, most importantly in the southern slave economy. By the 1960s, the black struggle had become polarised between two broad approaches: the pursuit of integration into official American society as it existed, most notably advocated by Martin Luther King, and militant black nationalism, advocated most famously by Malcolm X (but also by leftist groups such as the Black Panther Party and its offshoots). The film – and liberal society – sees this as a battle between ‘moderation’ and ‘extremism’; however, despite the apparent victory of the civil rights movement and the secular canonisation of King, racism still pervades American society. Black people are more likely to suffer in poverty, to become victims of criminal violence (and police brutality), and indeed are wildly overrepresented in American prisons. Add in the fact that white physiognomy is effectively a cultural default, and the resultant stereotyping of black culture (pimps, gangsters, rappers), then the radical critique of the civil rights movement does not look quite so wild.

The separatist strand has its problems too. The Nation of Islam believed that white people are a malevolent creation by an ancient scientist known as Yakub, were inclined to claim supremacy over said white race, and so on. Nevertheless, their endeavour to liberate the African-American population through the reclaiming of their culture (however wacky their particular view of how to do so) is an important one. What we are looking for here is Hegel’s dialectical ‘unity of opposites’. Indeed, we find just such a synthesis the late Malcolm X, after his pilgrimage to Mecca, separation from the Nation of Islam, and denunciation of racism, in all its forms – it was at this time he founded the Organization of African-American Unity, which went on to inspire The Black Panther Party and the post-’68 Black Power Movement.

The reason i go into the dialectics of the Civil Rights Movement is to see if we can find any such answer to the contradictions in the X-Men universe. So let us now look upon the nature of mutant oppression. It’s made clear the mutant race suffers segregation due to humanity’s fear of them, although this is usually an element in the oppression of any minority, in the case of the X-Men, it is the sole root of that oppression. Due to its fantastical subject matter, any real world analogy will inevitably fall short, as unlike any historical racial antagonisms, in X-Men there is an obviously superior race involved.

A race of super-powered mutants would clearly out-shine that of the Homosapiens, and it is this which creates the intense reactionary hatred in humanity. As Erik puts it to Charles: “Do you really think people are just going to accept their own extinction?”. The racial antagonism in this film, unlike anything in the history of civilisation, is one based in nature, and not a product of social circumstance. All that’s left is the issue of how people can react to it – rather than how to rectify it. With this in mind, it could be said, Xavier and Magneto are less depictions of the Civil Rights polemic, but rather represent the opposing ideologies of liberalism and fascism/social Darwinism. It isn’t really possible to find the material contradiction in which the conflict has arisen, which could then be used to find a synthesis between the two ideologies – it’s almost entirely anti-dialectical. For the film, of course, it is liberalism which is preferable, as the other advocates racial war.

However, a very disturbing conclusion seems to ultimately come out of this story. Despite Professor X being the clear protagonist of the franchise, it is the beliefs of Magneto that seem to ring most true throughout the film’s narrative. In various discussions between the two leading men, Erik accuses Charles of trying to ignore the social significance of the evolution of a new, super-powered, species, and of knowing full well that they mean the eventual extinction of humanity and as such will always live in antagonism with humans. These are points that are never actually confronted by Charles; rather he concentrates on Erik’s own emotional flaws.

Xavier’s hope of integrating mutants into human society is often depicted as naive or ignorant, and that in fact this ideal of integration can be synonymous with a wish to see mutants simply look and behave like humans, rather than be true to themselves. This is issue is best elucidated by the struggle of Mystique, the shape-shifting with a natural blue appearance, which Xavier insists she hide for her own safety, though at the same time exhibits some prejudice towards her for it. Later in the film it is only Erik that encourages confidence in her natural appearance, and tells her to be proud of her unique aesthetics (here we see a kind of insight into how the media depiction of beauty affects people outlook upon themselves, and perhaps a further analogy to the cultural oppression of afro-Caribbean peoples – and the pressure on gay people to ‘stay in the closet’).

Having said this, it is not the case that the film could really be accused of advocating social Darwinism or fascism. Indeed, Nazism is a prominent theme in the film, and how people can be socially compelled to act immorally. A line that is often heard in the film is “we/they were just following orders”- that famous defence of Adolf Eichmann, during his trial in Israel – a line that often provokes Erik Lensherr’s violent behaviour.

In truth – and this is not so much a criticism of the film itself, but an insight into the inevitable nature of cinema, or even story-telling in general - the story of X-Men First Class is less an examination of the characters opposing ideologies, but rather a depiction of their opposing personalities, through which their ideologies have developed. This could be perceived in a couple of ways. On the one hand it could be a further anti-dialectical viewpoint; that ultimately ideology is rooted in authentic individual experience positively founded subjectively, which could imply an existentialist under-current to the film. On the other hand, there is the more likely option that these characters are more like personifications of their contrasting ideologies, a necessary tool in film, so that such a polemic can be depicted in an entertaining and emotionally involving way.

Either way, throughout this film we see the main characters’ individuality being projected upon the Universal, and this creates another source of irrevocable contradiction in the film. Erik Lehnsherr’s Mutant Nationalism is routed mainly in his vengeful personality and terrible childhood. As such he exhibits a contradiction, in that, as a means of bringing about mutant liberation he seeks to oppress/exterminate the opposing race, thereby perpetuating the existing antagonism (again, possibly a further analogy to the early Malcolm X). Meanwhile, in Charles Xavier’s Liberalism, we see the qualities of good intent, and even naivety, most likely as a result of his privileged upbringing. He’s a man always emphasizing the higher path and letting go of anger to better oneself (easy things to master when one has not had to suffer the same atrocities as Erik Lehnsherr). However, there is also exists a contradiction in Xavier, in his persistence in supporting the U.S. government, going so far as to say his recruits are “still G-men” despite the government having already declared war upon his kind.

Theory aside, this film is an immense improvement compared to its predecessors, and its main characters are far more charismatic and sympathetic. In terms of its action elements, it was for the most part a brilliant spectacle of super-human destruction, give or take some fairly absurd looking battle sequences between some younger members of the cast. Also, at times the special effects looked average at best.

However, this is a film that really concentrates on the emotional development of its characters, and in order to do so convincingly, an exceptional cast is needed, and that is exactly what this film has. I speak, in particular, of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, as one might have guessed. James McAvoy’s depiction of the wise and kind professor we all know and love as an idealistic and narcissistic young man (who is, in brilliantly written irony, highly protective of his hair), creates an interesting new perspective on the character, and is done so with enough wit and charm to carry it off. Most impressive, however, is the depiction of the young Magneto as a charismatic James Bond figure, performed so well by Michael Fassbender that you often find yourself supporting the man you know to be the future bad guy. The relationships between the characters feel believable also, keeping you emotionally invested, to the extent that their inevitable parting at the end feels genuinely tragic.

All in all, X-Men First Class is, like most superhero stories, a propaganda piece for the status quo, which doesn’t really go far into looking at the undercurrents and causes of society’s antagonisms (in this case, that of social inequality). However, unlike many other films in the genre, the X-Men are not reactionary figures, but, to the contrary, are fighters for liberalism, against fascism, no matter how futile their endeavours may. As a franchise, X-Men has been mercilessly dragged through the mud by the previous film adaptations, but i believe that this instalment has more than enough potential for a successful reboot, and make these costume-clad super-mutants as awesome as they should be.
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:06 pm

http://cimorene.dreamwidth.org/3043442.html

The Offended Jew's Rant About Erasing Magneto's Jewishness

Okay, look, I see this all over fandom. ERIK IS NOT GERMANIC. He's a JEW from Germany.

"Germanic" doesn't mean "German-speaking" or "from Germany"; it means a specific ethno-linguistic group.

Most of the Jews who lived in Germany until WWII, including native speakers of Yiddish, a Germanic language formed by a fusion of German with Hebrew, were Ashkenazi Jews, a completely different ethnic group which originated in the Middle East.

For roughly a thousand years, the Ashkenazim were a reproductively isolated population in Europe, despite living in many countries, with little inflow or outflow from migration, conversion, or intermarriage with other groups, including other Jews. Human geneticists have identified genetic variations that have high frequencies among Ashkenazi Jews, but not in the general European population. This is true for patrilineal markers (Y-chromosome haplotypes) as well as for matrilineal markers (mitotypes).

[...]

A 2006 study found Ashkenazi Jews to be a clear, relatively homogenous genetic subgroup. Strikingly, regardless of the place of origin, Ashkenazi Jews can be grouped in the same genetic cohort — that is, regardless of whether an Ashkenazi Jew's ancestors came from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Lithuania, or any other place with a historical Jewish population, they belong to the same ethnic group.

...Which is to say, not to the ethnic group of the country they come from.

Most of this is probably coming from Michael Fassbender, who is half-German and half-Irish, freckled, ginger, and extremely Teutonic-looking. But of course, they were probably looking to cast someone with the general body-type of Sir Ian McKellen who could speak German. And for many reasons, there aren't a lot of Jews left in Germany.

People don't seem to realize how offensive (and ridiculous) this erasure of Erik's Jewishness, especially in favor of "Germanness", is. The ethnic differences between German Jews and the Germanic peoples were the very foundation of the Holocaust. The Holocaust is the foundation of Erik's background and character arc. Confusing 'Jewish Holocaust victim' with 'germanic' is like... well... it's like confusing 'Jewish Holocaust victim' as synonymous with 'ethnically German'! [ETA There were of course many non-Jews killed in the Holocaust, including ethnic Germans, as I hope everyone knows. Of course, the fact that this post needed to be made at all suggests not.] It, the Holocaust, is the standard example of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and horrific inhumanity to which all other conflicts (no matter how insignificant) are compared.

So basically, f#%@#&! STOP IT.

A few more specific pieces of advice inspired by particular stories and kinkmeme requests:

Erik doesn't have a foreskin! Jews circumcise their babies.

Erik wouldn't be a priest! And he also wouldn't be a Catholic who tempts a priest. And that isn't "just a harmless kink" that somehow therefore, because it's kinky, has no bearing on his identity. Remember the Inquisition and the Holocaust? Remember the thousands of years of history in which Jews have been persecuted from place to place, repeatedly driven from their homeland, and forced to follow their own worship practices in secret under threat of death while paying homage to the gods of their conquerors like the Romans (who drove them out of Jerusalem and made them pay a Jewish tax) and the Catholic Church (who tortured them)? Yeah. that. Remember when this very same thing happened last year in bandom and there was a huge stink about it then?
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:37 pm

http://bigmanrobz.blogspot.com/2011/08/fall-and-rise-of-marvel.html

Tuesday, 2 August 2011
The Fall and Rise of Marvel
It is amazing how the metaphor 'Rising from the Ashes like a Phoenix' is thrown around these days but it is safe to say that one of America's, and perhaps even the World's Phoenixs has to be that of the comic book franchise Marvel Comics.

Lets go back to 1998, just after Marvel had been on the brink of bankruptcy and its Stock Market shares emerged from the brink at just $6.75. It appears one of the strokes of genius that helped drag Marvel Comics name from the gutter back to public knowledge was the idea to sell some of the film rights to production studios that wanted to bring Marvel's characters to the big screen. 20th Century Fox snapped up the well known characters from the Darvedevil series (Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Elektra, Kingpin and Bullseye) and released the film of the same name in 2003 (as well as the characters in the 2005 Daredevil spin-off Elektra). They also obtained the rights to the wealth of characters found in the X-Men series such as the major figures like Wolverine (who got his own Origins movie in 2009 after the three original films). New Line Cinema snapped up the rights for the Daywalking Vampire Blade (the first in 1999 and third in 2004) and Lionsgate bought the solitary Punisher and associated character rights to which two films were made (Punisher: War Zone starring Ray Stevenson being the reboot to The Punisher starring Thomas Jane and John Travolta).

Finally there was Sony Pictures, who truely did pick the Golden Goose in obtaining the film rights for the periodically popular Spider-Man franschise. The first two films made a killing in the US and global box offices and even though the third film was not as critically acclaimed it still made lots of money for Sony. They also got the rights for the less well known Ghost Rider franchise and its Characters and released a film of the same name in 2006 starring Nicholas Cage as the lead role Johnny Blaze. Despite inconclusive reviews a second ghost rider film has been filmed and produced, set to be released in 2012 under the name Ghost Rider: Spirit of Venegence, as well as the long awaited reboot of the Spider-Man films starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man.

All this time the production companies were making lots of money through ideas, characters and storylines thought up in the library of Marvel Comics. I'm sure Marvel could see that too, which is why they set up there own production studios alongside Paramount Pictures under the name 'Marvel Studios'.. After this they sought about reclaiming some of their old franchises that had expired their film rights with other production such as the Hulk. Universal Pictures had originally bought the rights to 'The Incredible Hulk' and released film Hulk starring Eric Bana in 2003. The film flopped and Universal never made another film, allowing a time loop hole to enable 'Marvel Studios' to get the rights back and make a reboot, which they renamed The Incredible Hulk and starred Edward Norton as Dr Bruce Banner and Liv Tyler as Dr Betty Ross.

Whilst The Incredible Hulk far outclassed its predecessor in the Box office and made Marvel a lot of money, what turned out to be the jewel in the crown was the lesser known character Tony Stark and his alter-ego Iron Man. The master stroke by director Jon Favreau was the casting of the enigmatic and charismatic Robert Downey Jnr as Stark in the 2008 film Iron Man which got rave reviews and was a smash hit at the box office. After the release of Iron Man and The incredible Hulk (both in 2008), Marvel added additional scenes after the film credits which pointed to a bigger masterpiece. This masterpiece was to be announced as The Avengers which was to be filmed after the second Iron Man film (Iron Man 2, 2010) and the first in the Thor and Captain America films (both released this year) and released in May 2012. Marvel Studios was making a name for itself thanks to the Iron Man franchise, and in 2009 Disney seemed to take an interest and invested in the Studios, buying it for $4 billion dollars along with the rights for Iron Man 3 and the The Avengers from the studios old partner Paramount in October 2010.

Iron Man 2 hit the cinemas across the world in May 2010, once again showing that Marvel had become a giant themselves in the film industry. This was shown by the film Thor in May 2011 starring well known actors such Chris Hemsworth as the Norse God of Thunder, Natalie Portman as Dr Jane Foster, Tom Hiddleston as his half-brother and arch-enemy Loki as well as Anthony Hopkins as the All-father Odin. The film also starred Idris Elba, Jaime Alexander and Ray Stevenson (previously of Punisher fame) and was directed and produced by Kenneth Branagh. This was a very popular film continuing Marvel Studios' consistant successes at the Box Offices and just a few days ago their latest film and final part of The Avengers jgsaw puzzle hit our screens in the from of Super-Solder Steve Rogers aka Captain America. Due to the short time the film has been out it is hard to say how much money it will ultimately take at the Box Office, but as of a few days ago it was on a Par with Thor at the same stage which again shows the consistency Marvel have created under this new banner. My personal opinion of Captain America: The First Avenger was as good if not better than the flagship Iron Man film. It had the right combination of drama, action and emotion and the cast of Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter and Hugo Weaving as Hans Schmidt (aka Red Skull) made the film truely remarkable to behold. The inclusion of hollywood starlwarts Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci added the finess needed to make it a top notch film. All this has heightened the anticipation and excitement for the amazing ensemble of Marvel Studios finest characters in The Avengers next year. From what I have seen of the teaser at the end of the credits on Captain America it doesn't look to disappoint!

Off course Marvel did have its problems behind the screens with the departure of Edward Norton as Dr Bruce Banner and the recasting of Mark Ruffalo for the avengers, as well as the departure of Jon Favreau as director of the Iron Man films. There was also the recent court case in order to maintain the copyrights of some of the characters from one particular comic book artists family which, fortunately for Marvel, was ruled in Marvel's favour. However where as a decade ago Marvel would have crumbled, the foundations upon which it has built itself since its near-bankruptcy has meant that the have the resources and the means to get past such obstacles.

However I must mention that Marvel Studios aren't the only ones busy with their franchises. This year (2011) saw 20th Century Fox bring out a prequel to the X-Men trilogy for Charles Xavier and Magneto like that which was made for Wolverine. This film was called X-Men: First Class and was to lay the foundations of the eternal conflict between Xavier's X-Men and Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants. This was a fresh approach to the franchise, and whereas X2 and X-Men: Last Stand were a bit stale the casting of James McAvoy as Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr revitalised the films. As previously mentioned Sony Pictures are also working on The Amazing Spider-Man and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Venegence which are to be released alongside The Avengers in 2012. There has been rumours of a Doctor Strange movie in the works, as well as a Luke Cage and Ant-Man movie rumours as Marvel go through the back catelogues of their comics looking for fresh characters to bring to the big screen, as well as 20th Century Fox talking about a Deadpool spin-off movie, which to me would be a definate green light project as they could go down so many routes with it.

So to conclude the, well to be frank, lecture recent Marvel history analysis it is clear to see that the metaphor I used at the beginning of the Blog about them rising from the ashes is true. Marvel was on the brink of anonimity in 1999 before it saved itself somehow and now seems to be stronger than ever. It even has its own TV studios with rumours of an Incredible Hulk live action TV series being thrown around. It truely is a comeback tale of epic proportions.....

To finish I will give my opinions on ALL Marvel associated films that I have seen (from 1998 to 2011) out of ten.

Blade (1998): 6/10; X-Men (2000): 8/10; Blade II (2002): 5/10, Spider-Man (2002): 9/10, X2 (2003): 7/10, Daredevil (2003): 6/10, Hulk (2003): 3/10, The Punisher (2004): 6/10, Spider-Man 2 (2004): 8/10; Blade Trinity (2004): 7/10; Elektra (2005): 4/10; Fantastic Four (2005): 7/10; X-Men: Last Stand (2006): 6/10; Ghost Rider (2007): 6/10; Spider-Man 3 (2007): 7/10; Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007): 6/10; Iron Man (2008): 9/10; The Incredible Hulk (2008): 8/10; Punisher: War Zone (2008): 7/10; X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009): 7/10; Iron Man 2 (2010): 9/10; Thor (2011): 9/10; X-Men: First Class (2011): 8/10; Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): 9/10

Films to come in 2012: The Amazing Spider-Man, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Venegence, The Avengers

NB: All the older films I have rated purchasing and viewing the appropriate DVDs and the newer on Cinema/ DVD viewing.

These ratings are my own and should in no reflect the official reviews and influence opinions of others.
Posted by Big Robz at 10:22
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Sat Aug 13, 2011 7:04 pm

http://atti-multimedia.com/oscar-hopes-for-producer-brett-ratner-chris-tucker-and-an-x-men-apology-2/

Oscar Hopes For Producer Brett Ratner: Chris Tucker And An ‘X-Men’ Apology

Brett Ratner might not have been the choice Hollywood was expecting when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their producer for the 2012 Oscars, but he certainly is an fascinating one.

But the “Tower Heist” director has been known for his large-scale films, and the very elements of his filmmaking that have drawn fire from skeptics might be exactly what the Oscars need this year. Ratner, for his part, thinks he can bring something special to the largest night in Tinseltown, something he’s been complaining has been lacking in previous years. And with the failed attempt at drawing in a younger audience by hiring Anne Hathaway and James Franco as hosts last year, it seems like the Academy is seeking an alternate send.

So what can we expect Ratner to contribute to the awards show? We brainstormed a few things we hope happen at this year’s event.

A Crime Caper
Let’s face it — it’s what Ratner is best at. Between the “Rush Hour” franchise, “Prison Break” and “Tower Heist,” it would be a nice nod to Ratner’s film career to have the opening skit have something to do with his genre of choice. And hopefully it would be more amusing than some of the additional skits we’ve seen just.

The Return Of Chris Tucker
Chris Tucker pretty much finished his acting career with the “Rush Hour” series, and nothing would be better than seeing him return to the biz at the Oscars this year. Maybe in something related to a…

A Huge Action Set-Cut
Action is certainly Ratner’s strong suit, so why not find a way to incorporate that into the show? Explosive in the aisles, people dropping down on wires from the ceiling — the possibilities are endless. It certainly could bring some much-needed excitement to the awards show.

A Nod To How Terrible “X-Men: The Last Stand” Was
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence could all be in attendance at the 2012 Oscars, so why not make a much needed “X-Men” joke? With all, their reworking of the distorted franchise was a heck of lot better than Ratner’s own “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Considering the mixed reactions to Ratner’s involvement, it would be nice to see him poke fun at himself.

Plenty Of Fun
And fun is something Ratner knows plenty about. You can see it in the “Rush Hour” movies and his introduction, “Money Talks,” so why not bring some hilarity and levity to the awards show? Oscar certainly could use someone to help him not take himself so darn seriously.

What do you reflect of the news that Ratner is going to be producing the Academy Awards? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter!
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Sat Aug 13, 2011 7:41 pm

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/rorschachsrants/news/?a=44230&t=RESULTS_Which_iX-Meni_Character_Has_Been_Represented_Best_Onscreen

RESULTS: Which X-Men Character Has Been Represented Best Onscreen?
Lots of characters, lots of votes but will you be surprised by the winner? Probably not! Anyway, click for the results in full..

Of course, Wolverine won. Now don't get me wrong I thought Hugh Jackman did a great job playing the movie universe's version of that character but was he the best interpretation of the comic book version? I don't think so. In fact there are 4 or 5 on that list I would put before him, including Patrick Stewart's Professor X who came in at second.

Wolvie won out with 1,151 Votes (28.55%), Prof X wasn't too far off with 1,031 Votes (25.58%) and Michael Fassbender as Eric Lenssher in X-Men: First Class came third with 569 Votes (14.12%).

Here are the results in full..
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:51 am

http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/Fun_Stuff/Michael_Fassbender/Kevin_Bacon/Matthew_Vaughn/John_Dykstra/Luke_Hickman/X-Men/HDDs_Exclusive_Interview_with_Legendary_VFX_Designer_John_Dykstra/7515

HDD's Exclusive Interview with Legendary VFX Designer John Dykstra
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Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 03:40 PM ET
Tags: Luke Hickman, Fun Stuff (all tags)

by Luke Hickman

'X-Men: First Class' will soon be released on Blu-ray, and Fox has given us the opportunity to speak with 'First Class' visual effects designer and industry legend John Dykstra. Dykstra has worked on some of the biggest films of the last 30 years. From the original 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars' movies to 'Spider-Man' and 'Inglourious Basterds,' Dykstra was a master of the trade in the purely mechanical effects days and is still at the top of the game with modern computer generated effects.

In the following conversation, Dykstra defines the role of visual effects designer, explains the evolution of the job, talks 'X-Men,' Michael Fassbender, Matthew Vaughn, and inspiration. Enjoy!

High-Def Digest – Luke Hickman: Can you give us a quick description of what exactly you do as a visual effects designer?

John Dykstra: Well, it's sort of been an evolution. Visual effects design … is the integration of the technologies that constitute visual effects into the execution of a movie – that could be anything from doing simple composites or the removal of something in a scene that didn't want to be there to the complete creation of scene and all of its components from scratch. Examples of all the components from scratch would be something like 'Avatar.' The other end of the scale is something you've seen a million times but didn't realize you've seen it because there was no artifact left - usually it's something like they left the catering truck in the shop and we had to paint it out. So, that's sort of the spectrum. When you go to work, what you do is you take the written page, interpret it into a sketch of some kind which you can express to the director what it is you're trying to create for him to get across what's on the written page, and then you generate those sketches into more specific and more sophisticated artwork all the way through animation as tools to communicate with others who are department heads on the production – the art department, the mechanical effects department, the director of photography, etc. - so that everybody is working from the same visual script. Unfortunately, visual effects is [a] complex medium that invariably involves more than one element – in fact, a simple definition of visual effects is two or more elements executed in different times that are combined to appear as if they were executed in a single moment. As you can understand, the more pieces that you have to put together, the more complex the logistics is of capturing each of those individual pieces and keeping track of them, integrating them, into a final composite in a way that is believable.

HDD: It sounds like your job sure keeps you busy.

John Dykstra: Yeah, busy. Is that too convoluted an explanation?

HDD: I watch plenty of Blu-ray special features, so we're on the same page. I'm with you. Does this job require you to be present during all phases of production?

John Dykstra: Pretty much. … I have the good fortune of the kinds of movies that I work on to generally be involved as early as when the script is being generated and stay all the way through, one of the last people to finish up aside from the editor and director. … Because we touch so many of the shots, especially in the big feature films, and those shots have to be delivered and slotted in in the last minute because we always use up all of the time.

HDD: I've noticed a gap in between all the films that you work on. Now I know that it's because you're constantly involved through the entire process.

John Dykstra: You know, at this particular point I'm kind of picking and choosing the kinds of films that I work on. It would [be] okay to work all the time, but it's pretty innervating. It's a tough challenge and you need to regroup from time to time. And besides that, life is too short.

HDD: And you've been doing this forever. Looking back at your credits, you've done lots of huge movies. You've got 'Star Wars' on your resume! As the industry and technology has changed, how has it been to change and learn along with it?

John Dykstra: You have to really like to learn to be in this business. Part of the fun of it is going out and having someone say to you, “You have to make something that looks like an exploding galaxy,” or, “You have to figure out how to turn all of the people on the Sunset Strip into Irish setters.” Nobody knows how to do it, so they come to you and ask you this perverse or just totally ... undoable thing, and you have to figure out how to come up with an answer for it and you have to do it fairly quickly. And that's the fun of it – a different, new challenge every day, or multiple times a day. You have to like that to be in this business. Having said that, one of the things that came from 'Star Wars' was that in those days [you] had to actually photograph everything. Visual effects being, as I said, multiple elements combined to create a final image, you had to put those individual pieces in front of a camera, photograph them, then composite them in an optical printer. Because you physically had to photograph this stuff, you ended up with all of the constraints of the real world – cameras so big that you could only make the subject so small, otherwise you can't get the camera up to it. Or the camera wants to go through an opening, but the camera won't go through, so you have to build the subject over scale so that you can pass the lens through. Or you have to photograph things at an extremely high speed so the reduction in speed increases the sense of scale so the small chemical reaction can look like an expanding galaxy. That era was mostly about how you did it. You had to figure out what you wanted to do and you conformed what it was you wanted to do to what you discovered you could do. You spent most of your time discovering out how, and over the course of that, you spent some of your time figuring out the what. With the advent of digital imaging the ability to do virtually anything you can conceive of, it became much more of an issue – a responsibility – to spend more time figuring out what it was you were putting on screen that it was to figure out the how to do it. I think that has certainly changed the nature of visual effects and how it contributes to the filmmaking process. It's certainly contributes to how much visual effects you see in movie making these days. Some of the things done contemporarily simply could not be done mechanically. That's the advent of the mechanical solution, the analog solution, as opposed to the virtual or digital solution. The part that spans both of those from a visual effects designer's point of view is figuring out what it is you're going to put on screen – not just how, but what it is – and how that relates to the story.

HDD: What were some of the things that they brought to you in beginning for 'X-Men: First Class?' Were there any unique things that come to mind?

John Dykstra: Oh, yeah! And they had to be unique. Prerequisite is that it has to not offend the people who are advocates of the comic book and it has to not offend the people who are the advocates of the [movie series] and it has to unique, unlike anything they have ever seen before. A good example of that is Diamond Girl. She appeared in the movie and in the comic book, but we wanted to make a unique version of Diamond Girl – and I think we succeeded. That particular manifestation of her power is kind of unlike anything that I've seen before as a representation of what Diamond Girl looked like. That was Emma Frost, but another example of that is the Shaw character – Kevin Bacon. It's another example of getting to interpret a still image from a comic book and - he hadn't been shown in the movies so we had an open hand there – trying to figure out how the absorption of energy would manifest itself visually, which was really fun. It was totally informed by Kevin Bacon's performance. We had a time constraint that was significant on this movie and as a result we were developing the character's look while we were photographing them on stage. The actors themselves contributed significantly to what the final look of the character's power manifestation looked like. So the actors contributed significantly to the integration of their power into the telling of the story.

HDD: So you work a lot with the actors?

John Dykstra: Yeah.

HDD: Then I've got to ask because I'm a big fan: You've done two films now with Michael Fassbender, 'X-Men' and 'Inglourious Basterds' -

John Dykstra: Yeah, I like Michael.

HDD: How is it working with him?

John Dykstra: He's great! He's terrific! He's totally invested in the making of a movie. He puts the making of the movie first. He is a gentlemen. He's charming. And he's dangerous. (laughs)

HDD: How was Matthew Vaughn?

John Dykstra: Oh, he's great. I really enjoyed working with Matthew. The thing that's interesting about him to me is that he has both a tactical point of view and a strategic point of view. So often when you have tight time constraints, it will stress the director to the point where they will invest everything in one or two scenes and don't end up with enough scenes in total to make the movie complete or they go the other way, race through everything and end up with mediocre material. He seemed to have a very acute sense of how to pick out the stuff he focused on. Eddie Hamilton and Lee Smith, the editors, contributed significantly to how the visual effects and story integrated.

HDD: With just a few minutes left, I want to ask you a few questions on the movie and TV series you worked on. Since you worked on both of the original films, are you a bigger 'Star Wars' or 'Star Trek' fan?

John Dykstra: 'Star Wars,' by all means.

HDD: What about 'Battlestar Galactica?' Did you watch the newer series?

John Dykstra: I've watched it. It's funny – you know, it's completely different from what I worked on.

HDD: Did you see J.J. Abrams reincarnation of Star Trek?

John Dykstra: I watched it. But you know what – I don't spend a lot of time watching TV. I go and see movies occasionally, specifically movies that either contain stuff that I think is important of films that have been recommended to me by friends, but I don't see everything that's out there.

HDD: You're too busy making them, right?

John Dykstra: Sort of. What I want to do is save my moviegoing experiences for things that I can enjoy, as opposed to simply flooding my brain with movie images.

HDD: Do you get a lot of ideas for visual effects by watching other movies?

John Dykstra: Sure. But I get ideas from everything. I get ideas while walking the dog. There are ideas everywhere. In fact, that's part of the funnest things about being a visual effects designer - you can incorporate stuff from listening to some science broadcast where you hear about magma that forms tubes underwater and brings to mind an idea for the execution of some creature that you want to develop. The cross-fertilization that happens in everyday life and visual effects design is critical. In fact, people who come to me in the contemporary environment and say, “I want to become a visual effects designer. What should I do?” I say, “Get out more.” The tendency is for so many people to be involved with the box and their primary source of visual stimulation that you [must] get out, go, and do some hiking. Fly a plane. Ride a motorcycle. Do something where you come in contact with your environment in a much more aggressive, much more present way. I think that's critical to making stories and images that come off a two-dimensional screen in a way that affects people.

HDD: Do you think you'll be back for more 'X-Men?'

John Dykstra: I don't know. I'd like to. I don't know what they're doing now.

HDD: I hope they keep it going. 'First Class' is my favorite of the bunch.

John Dykstra: Good! I'm glad. It's my favorite of the bunch too, that's for sure. But it's the only one that I worked on. (Laughs)
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Re: Xmen articles

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:54 am

http://cinematicmethod.com/comic-book-heroes-ranked/

Comic Book Heroes In Film: Which are Best?
Gerry August 29, 2011 9
by Gerry Carey

The first movie my parents ever showed me was 1989′s Batman. I used to watch the VHS from the very beginning of the previews ’til the bitter end of the credits. I know every line and action that occurs in the movie. The next movie I treated this same way was 1991′s Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Watching those movies as a toddler has since made me a lover of all heroes, but since Batman came first, I’m a huge fan of comic books and the worlds they create (I favor DC). With a multitude of comic book movies coming out this year – Thor, X-Men: First Class, Captain America, Green Lantern, Priest, Cowboys and Aliens – I decided to put together a list of what I consider to be the most successful translations of heroes from comic book to film.
“Blade” – Blade

The idea of Blade is very cool. A man with all of the strengths of a vampire but without the silly sun and garlic issues. The definition of brooding, Blade is waging essentially a one man war on all the vampires of the world. This boasts the creation of a vampire world that takes place among us rather than on some deserted island or on some desolate outskirt. Wesley Snipes may have overdone it a bit with the raspiest voice ever but the awesome fight scenes, along with a hate worthy villain in Stephen Dorf make Blade a better movie than it gets credit for.

“Thor” – Thor

Thor has never been one of my favorites in the comic book world. He’s a god in a world of men. It always felt like he should be completely unstoppable. This movie did a good job of showing how an extremely powerful man can be brought down to the lowest of levels only to earn his way back. The movie wasn’t really innovative or even particularly original but it was fun. I don’t care too much for the barrel of laughs that marvel has thrown my way in their last few offerings but I found this one tolerable. Thor just turned out to be a fun character to watch.

“Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” – HellBoy

The first Hellboy movie was by no means an achievement in cinema, but it got the job done. The second didn’t need to show the origins of it’s title character and set up his relationships with others. Here Hellboy gets let off the leash a bit and fights a much more formidable opponent. I can’t help but enjoy Ron Perlman as a rebellious member of the supernatural branch of the CIA. It’s also easy to root for a guy that can take a pounding and fires a huge gun.

“X2: X-Men United” – Night Crawler

X2 is one of many X-Men movies and Night Crawler is one of many mutants featured in these movies, but he is just so much fun to watch. He’s a devout Christian in this movie, which is quite unique in the comic book world. He has a charming accent that belies his amazing abilities. And he blows our minds in the opening scene by making the secret service look like a bunch of pansies. It’s sad that he’s only given an opportunity in one movie up to this point.

“X-Men: First Class” – Magneto

Michael Fassbender absolutely nailed this role. As far as I know the character hasn’t been written this way before, an anti-hero bent on getting revenge on the man who killed his mother. Yes, Magneto is a villain in pretty much every other place that he appears, but here is tentatively a good guy. In a very good movie full of great characters, Michael Fassbender makes Magneto stand out with more than just awesome displays of power but exceptionally delivered dialogue. Magneto confronting two Nazis in a bar is easily worth the price of admission.

“V for Vendetta” – V

V’s trip to the big screen worked so well because Hugo Weaving is relentlessly fun as the lead. His fast talking, alliterative introduction to Natalie Portman is extremely entertaining. I don’t know that I’ve enjoyed listening to a character describe his motives and really just talking in general as much as I did in this movie. Not to mention that V manages to attack the government with some sneaky killing of party leaders but also blowing entire buildings, announcing his presence to the world. The scene against Creedy and his men is one of the most memorable action sequences out there.

“Watchmen” – Rorschach

Watchmen wasn’t particularly well received by critics, but I felt it was a gritty look at superheroes after their time has passed. In a time where movies are made to please the masses, Watchmen is a movie made to please fans of it’s incredible graphic novel inspiration. Watchmen doesn’t feature a real main protagonist but Rorschach stands out as man who wants a better world so badly, he will live a peerless life while killing and torturing to stop crime. Getting to see him kept in prison with the men he’s put away made me giddy.

“Spider-Man” – Spider-Man

Spider-man has always been a hugely popular character because he’s young and witty. He’s a nerd rather than a burly man. In Spider-Man, we get a great taste of a film staying true to it’s source material. There really isn’t anything too serious about the comics and there is really nothing too serious about this movie. He’s just a very young man trying to deal with young man problems while also doing his best when it comes to this superhero thing. It plays fantastically to everyone that has felt that they’ve got too many things to do and not enough time.

“X2: X-Men United” – Wolverine

You’d have a tough time arguing against Wolverine as the biggest bad ass in comic books. He can take anything you throw at him and be fine. Plus he has claws. And during Col. Striker’s assault on Xavier’s School, Brian Singer gives us the Wolverine we’ve all dreamed of. He tears through soldiers with ease and it is glorious to watch. In X2 we get to see a tiny amount of his back story and we don’t have to worry about our boy going soft while discovering himself. This movie is awesome because it turns Wolverine loose.

“The Dark Knight” – Batman

This is my favorite movie of all time. I’ve been thrilled with Christian Bale to this point and can only imagine that continuing for The Dark Knight Rises. In The Dark Knight we see how difficult it is for Batman to fight crime when the opposing force will do absolutely anything to beat him. The movie benefits from Heath Ledgers insane performance as the Joker, but it also delves further into a hero that feels defeated and finds it difficult to push on with this seemingly unwinnable war.
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