Jul. 15th, 2011

For the record, I don't really consider myself an X-Men fan, so there are things that are canon that I either don't know or don't (and won't) care about. My most indepth experience with the franchise was the "X-Men Evolution" show. (Particularly episodes featuring the voice of Matt Hill. I HAVE A THING, OK.) And I'm mildly obsessed with X-23. So I'm looking at the film from that perspective; there are easter eggs that I can recognize and that make me happy, but mostly I'm wanting the film to stand on its own legs, as it were -- on the information that it provides us. (I did see the first three, missed the Wolverine one.)

There are things I'm supposed to get mad at that I keep forgetting to. I never remember to be pissed off enough at the "black guy dies first" thing as long as it's not an embarrassing death. I'm always just so pleased when there is dignity** (and, you know, absence of bob-walking and a hip hop soundtrack. There is nothing wrong with those things. But those things are treated too much in film as a genetic trait and not a completely aesthetic and surface and NOT REMOTELY UNIVERSAL style choice. This is why I forgave "300" so many things...more than I should...) I ask for very little. This is why I keep getting "Not aggressive enough" on my employee reviews. *aggressively wields red pen* *deploys aggressive commas* *with aggression* *except not on the Internet, I come here to relax*

(**And this one was hot and fun and very very importantly, not $*#(*)& this at all.)

I do regularly get highly pissed off at stories that try to pretend to me that things were nicer and more enlightened and less dangerous than they actually were. So, for example, long ago I spent several days furious with "Far From Heaven" trying to show me an interracial relationship between a white woman and a black man, in the '60s, without showing me any fear, trepidation, or even the sublimation of fear and trepidation through defiance and posturing, in this couple -- beyond normal adultery nervousness. It was hard to enjoy the nuances and fine acting and pretty background musical riffs when I kept suppressing shouts of "YOU IDIOT THEY WILL HANG YOU FROM A TREE THERE WILL BE FIRE OMG LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER ONE TIME." That sort of thing. Don't tone down the actual life danger, please! There was life danger! It still makes people only slightly older than me really really nervous, let alone people like my mom, who actually had to get up and move to the Negro section of a train on some occasions. It was not a small thing overcomeable by a pleasant expression, 15 minutes of chat, and some shared vinyl records..

Which ultimately means I'm more in this camp [links may spoil]

than this one

or that one.

Although to be frank I am not OUT of any of those camps.

Seriously -- these were 2011 teenagers masquerading as 1960s ones. Two seconds meeting each other and the kids of color are just going to up and comfortably party down and drink and gyrate with the white (and white-looking) ones? Not even some guarded looks????? Not to mention the social differences, you found that girl in a strip club, she is not going to automatically think you are taking her to a place where there are all nice men around whom she should let her guard down and... Oh, give me strength.

Which would not have been so weird if all the characters had just been white like an actual '60s comic book***, or, more importantly, if the movie hadn't fully remembered to shoehorn in and lampshade all the nasty sexism. Both or neither. This is a comic book, just go full fantasy-60s with it, why can't we have the girl power AND the we-are-all-one-under-the-skin?

(God, and the evil Hispanic tornado dude didn't even get a line. Very Kal Penn in Superman, film.)

I would be more fully in Camp 2 (and really, I do like that article the best, I think) if the film had remembered to make Xavier...not a dick. I think it might be easy to miss, but... c'mon, let's be quite honest, he was a dick, and the only reason he seemed like slightly less of a dick is that he was a dick in James MacAvoy's extremely pleasing dulcet tones and baby face. Seriously, the film completely forgot to make Professor Xavier's point AT ALL (and he did kind of have one!), while lovingly and meticulously crafting Erik's with soft lighting, tons of backstory, and emotional closeups in nearly every scene. Even in scenes Fassbender was not in. (And I am not convinced that was unintentional, to be honest.) whoops, mild spoilers )

I swear, this is the first time I haven't really been on Xavier's side (even back when he was Patrick Stewart and I was finding Ian McKellan both sympathetic and kinda hot). I just want to SMACK him. He starts out with smarm and ends up... well, I'm repeating myself now.

***

Nicholas Hoult! Oh, I am so proud of your versatility. I almost didn't see you there.

That Kravitz/Bonet kid is so gorgeous I don't even know what to do. 0__0

Shout-outs! I usually hate cameos and shout-outs. I did not hate these. I thought they were excellent. HELMET. Oh, Helmet. *loves on evil helmet*

Nice handling of Mystique. Nuance. Exploring the formation of minority racial identity pretty much by-the-book. Well done.

Deep? Yes I believe I think so. Sort of.
Flawed? Quite. And not ignorably so. Almost shoot-self-in-the-foot so.
Enjoyable? I am not going to tell you about which part I went and applauded (quietly! I am polite), because I am pretty sure I was not supposed to be doing that. YOU FORGOT TO MAKE XAVIER'S POINT, FILM. I might be walking on air a little at the moment. Oh I'm so ashamed.
Worth admission? Oh hells yes.
Worth the bedbug risk? Yeah-huh.
Worth a repeat viewing? Yup.



------------------------
***Not saying that's OPTIMAL, saying that's LESS JARRING/HYPOCRITICAL-seeming.

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tsubaki_ny

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