Anyone who follows my blog knows that I was a little discouraged and frustrated the last couple of weeks. The plan was to just change up this blog, since “everybody” talks about Music and Entertainment and my adding to the repetitiveness resulted in me not having any subscribers and limited amount of user comments. However, now I’ve decided that I’m just going to start a whole new blog to discuss things I think are interesting, or my social commentary, or just to talk about myself. I think it will be fun, informative, and at times negative, but it’ll be a totally different type of blog than this one.
When I set that up, I’ll let you know. With Music and Movies, I LOVE Entertainment and I don’t feel like I should deprive myself of blogging about things I do enjoy and love, just because I’m not getting enough hits. So I will continue the blog as it is, and if people want to read it or not it doesn’t matter.
Right now, I want to talk about the Summer finally coming to me in the Fall.
Since I rarely go out and see movies anymore, I generally have to wait for the ones I wanted to see come on video. This past week, two of the films I was really excited to see were released on Blu Ray. And I’m happy to report that neither film disappointed, and one actually exceeded my expectations.
First, released last Friday, “X-Men: First Class“. Since Junior High, I’ve been a huge fan of the X-Men but been a little underwhelmed by the film adaptations. With the exception of “X2” (which I regard as one of the best Comic Book movies ever), the other films weren’t terrible but they never worked 100% for me. Whether it was the casting, or the writing, or the pacing that didn’t work it’s not clear… just something was off about most of them (I think maybe they were a little too cheesy!?).
“X-Men: First Class”, a pre-quel to the first “X-Men” movie, was a film I was interested in but iffy about based on the other films in the series. Where the idea of the formation of the X-Men could work and be totally interesting; it could also easily fall apart and become the worst in the franchise. Luckily, while it’s not the best of the series it’s clearly not the worst. For the most part, the film works really well and accomplished most of what it set out to.
While I feel like the story could have been developed a little more, and there were pockets that could have used a little more action, overall it’s a decent film. And with so much back story and character introductions needing to be uncovered, decent is a real compliment. Of everything, I think I was most surprised with the acting. Not only were the two leads, James McAvoy as young Professor X and Michael Fassbender as young Magneto, perfectly cast but even the peripheral characters gave some pretty realistic and gritty performances.
The biggest complaint might be that it felt more like the Magneto story, with everybody else as supporting players. Magneto does have the most interesting character arc of them all though, going from a kid treated like a lab patient because of his gifts to a revenge fueled adult. Than meeting Professor X and softening up and using his powers for good (for a moment) gave Fassbender a lot to chew on and he more than did his part. McAvoy’s Professor X is a charming and convincing guy who can talk to anybody and who is well liked by most. There’s a few interesting bits with him, but for the most part there wasn’t much change or growth with this character the entire movie.
Also surprisingly great were Jennifer Lawrence as the conflicted Mystique, and Nicholas Hoult as the pre-beastly Beast did a acceptable job (although I feel like Beast’s story was wrapped up a little too quickly, there could have been a better development instead of “bam!!! I injected myself with something and now I’m BEAST!”). And while Kevin Bacon’s villain was over the top (.com), his partner in crime Emma Frost, played seductively with a hint of tragedy by January Jones, made his scenes more watchable with her beauty and visually stunning mutation.
There’s some interesting stuff in “First Class”, and it could make for interesting follow ups. However, “X2” remains the best X-Men movie thus far and until a director or writer channels the energy and pacing of that movie the X-Men series will always have a big question mark attached.
While I could nitpick with “X-Men: First Class”, I find it hard to think of anything wrong with “Thor” which was released on Blu Ray just yesterday. Funny enough, I wasn’t all that familiar with the comic book hero “Thor” other than a brief (but pivotal) appearance in 80’s Teen Comedy “Adventures in Babysitting”. However when I saw the previews (and knowing it’s Star), it shot right up as one of the movies I wanted to see MOST this year. And not only did the film not disappoint, but it really exceeded my expectations in so many ways.
Sure some things were a little cliche (the whole “my brother is my enemy” thing — I guessed that from the very beginning), but hell it’s a fantasy super hero movie so you can’t expect it not to be a little predictable here and there. What the film excels at more than overshadows all of the minor shortcomings. The direction, the writing, the pacing, the humor, the action, the costumes, the art direction, the acting. “Thor” is the perfect total package, and on top of all of that, the whole feel of the movie was slightly different than the norm. It wasn’t just a super hero movie, it was part that and part Fantasy. Almost like a futuristic “Lord of the Rings” type movie, cross bred with a more urban and realistic comic book flick.
First things first though, the star of the movie deserves some major praise. Chris Hemsworth, who had a small but really effective role in 2009’s “Star Trek”, was the perfect guy to take on this job. Not only is he extremely attractive, with the physique of a god, he actually possesses some strong acting chops which the writing helped him showcase. Where at first he’s the charming yet super cocky and arrogant heir to the throne of his interstellar home land Asgard, he develops into a caring and humbled man towards the end. The transformation is subtle, yet you want to root for him the entire time.
If there’s any problem with “Thor” is that maybe it was a little too short (and at over two hours, that’s a big compliment to the film). The reason I say this was because the relationship with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster wasn’t developed enough. And I normally scoff at forcing love interests in places where it’s not necessary, but the chemistry between Hemsworth and Portman worked so well I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of it.
Overall, “Thor” was an excellent film that managed to take a pretty complicated story and make it flow so well. Hemsworth established himself as a star to look out for in the future, and Portman further proved she’s great in any role. The supporting cast was just as good, all these huge stars like Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba and Rene Russo did the impossible and made their fantasy characters feel real. Tom Hiddleton also did a great job as the villain, while Kat Dennings did enough with her small role to add a little humor and contemporary lingo.
Just an all around great flick, one of the reasons people go to the movies in the first place. Pure entertainment, but with some actual care and creativity put into it.
Here are the other Summer movies I can’t wait to check out:
Captain America The First Avenger (the final flick leading up to “The Avengers” which I’m completely excited for)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two (this probably won’t be released until near Christmas, but I have to see it. Not such a big fan, but just to see how it all ends)
Hangover 2 (I saw this and loved it on bootleg, can’t wait to own it)
Cars 2 release date: 11/1 (LOVED the first, and LOVE Pixar. So it’s a win-win)
Super 8 (Heard great things about this, and heard bad things. Eager to judge for myself)
Fast Five release date: 10/4 (Yup, I was a big fan of the first film… and to see everybody back together will be fun)
Crazy Stupid Love release date: 11/1 (the only RomCom or Dramedy I was at all interested in this summer)
Rise of the Apes (Surprisingly I heard a lot of good things about this, so maybe it will redeem itself after the majorly disappointing Tim Burton stab at the franchise)
Transformers Dark of the Moon release date: 9/30 (Well I watched the first two and lightweight enjoyed them, so why not)