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« The mystique of playing Mystique | Main | Your near-flung correspondent »


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Ken Muldrew

If you watch Kenneth Clark's Civilisation series, there is a segment of Hamlet (Alas, poor Yorick) with a youngish Patrick Stewart playing Horatio. I don't know if it was a clip from an actual BBC version of Hamlet or just a sketch for Civilisation. Nevertheless, he's kind of young in the scene (late 60s or early 70s).

Earl Bockenfeld

In Chicago now, where a Superman movie is being shot, the names of buildings and signs have been changed so that "Chicago" is actually appears to be "Metropolis, Illinois." The movies seem to usually exist in a parallel universe, where all the names have been changed, except when the studio can receive cash for product placements. I don't know anything about the X-Men world, and its seems strange they would want to intermingle with JFK and the cuban missile crisis in the movie plot arc.

We have had the revelations in the past week that Jackie Kennedy and the kids wanted to stay in Washington with the President, so they would have died together if their had been a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia. Also we learned after the event that a Russian sub could have fired nuclear missiles, except the sub commander decided to surface the sub instead. The world owes that Russian sub commander a debt of great gratitude.

In the middle of the escalating tensions, the destroyer USS Beale was dropping depth charges on the Soviet submarine B-59, one of four at the quarantine line, each carrying nuclear-tipped torpedoes. According to National Security Archives director Thomas Blanton, the US Navy "did not have a clue that the submarine had a nuclear weapon on board." The sub's signals intelligence officer Vadim Orlov said in an account issued by Blanton, "They exploded right next to the hull. It felt like you were sitting in a metal barrel, which somebody is constantly blasting with a sledgehammer." According to Orlov's account, the Soviet submarine's crew thought the war may have started and considered using their nuclear weapon, but decide instead to surface.

As I read some of the reviews for X-Men: First Class, it seems that the mutants were working a kind of civil rights battle for civil rights protections like the gay community is waging now about marriage and discrimination.

I guess it would finally come down to the story and the acting, and if the movie can convince the viewer to care about the story and the characters after the movie is over. If I go see this movie, or rent it, it will probably be because of Jennifer Lawrence, who blew me away with her role in "Winter's Bone".


re: Magneto in check

In the original dogma, Magneto disappears with a cache of Nazi gold after he and Xavier fend off HYDRA in a battle in, of all places, Israel (Hammegeddo, if I recall, or Armageddon).

The one really annoying thing about the films has been this distinct lack of connecting Lensherr's Holocaust experiences to his crusade to prevent the destruction of mutants. It would have added a very deep dimension and made his attempts to recruit (and his temporary alliances with) the X-Men far more plausible. Lenscherr survived three concentration camps, and saw hundreds of thousands of people slaughtered.

You'd think that would give him a little moral weight in the film and make Xavier's position a lot more uncomfortable.


See, I always had a fondness for the X-Men, because they were originally a bit second-tier, more off-beat and off the radar. They were my favorite (of the superhero comics, anyway) I followed in the 80s, although at that point they had become (unknown to me) quite popular. I thought the early stuff was promising, but it was the later, "new" X-Men, done by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Dave Cockrum, etc. that was really intriguing... although imo Claremont's writing went waaay downhill later on (with the occasional return to form). Anyway, they fleshed out the characters tremendously, and they became some of the most interesting characters in the Marvel universe. (Lance, you'd probably dig Dennis O'Neil's revamp of The Question for DC in the late 80s/early 90s.)

As for the film, the interplay between McAvoy and Fassbender is the best thing about the film. Per actor212's point, Ta-Nehisi Coates had some thoughts along those lines. If you missed it:


Jack Frost was Iron Man's. Captain Cold was Flash's (and by far the better villain).
Geek observation aside, good review.

Earl Bockenfeld

Batocchio, thanks for the Coates link. This is the kind of thoughtful, eloquent commentary I love to read. I wasn't sure about planning to see the movie. I will now. Thanks for that.

We are in the midst of The Great Conservative Conspiracy of Revisionism in which people of color are being erased from American history and marginalized in daily life. Just like religious bigots are now trying to write gays out of history and current reality. I thank Ta-Nehisi Coates so much for his op-ed, for insisting that the past actually happened and cannot be white-washed according to some political racist's wishes. Thanks especially for pointing out that the issue is not some weird kind of competition to memorize useless data, but the reality of real peoples' lives.

Whenever I hear or read about a "common sense of purpose" that supposedly existed in some mythical U.S. past, I always wonder, where was I? How did I miss such a 'wonderful' era?

Was it when 'we' all agreed to subject Native Americans to genocide with smallpox laced blankets? Was it when 'we' agreed that "all men are created equal...and entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" except, of course, for black Americans? Was it when 'we' agreed that women are useful in only one way, interchangeable in all others, and discardable at whim, when we we feel the need for a trophy-wife? Was it when 'we' agreed that the children of the poor should have only one career option, the military, and that they should be kept busy going around the world killing people, we don't like?

Jose Padilla

Kevin Bacon and January Jones were weak. Neither made a very threatening villain. Bacon did not look at all like Sebastian Shaw, who was physically very large and menacing. Jones was Betty Draper in her underwear, more peeved than anything else. Some actors can portray evil and some cannot. Bacon and Jones cannot. Without convincing antogonists the moviereally had nowhere to go as the bad guys are the plot drivers in thrillers.

Gary Farber

In the department of trivia, this is wrong: "Cyclops had heat vision, one of Superman’s secondary powers."

Cyclops' power is "optic blasts" of force that smash. They have no heat component whatsoever. They don't set things on fire. They simply and purely batter with concussive force.

Which makes your assertion that the all the X-Men powers were duplicative, and that Cyclops' beams bear comparison with Superman wrong, as well, but obviously this won't retroactively make you change your childhood opinions. Just FWIW.

Also: "What did you need Beast for when you had Hulk and the Thing?"

Because Beast's primary power was never, ever, super-strength. He's strong, yes, but it's not at all his primary power. His primary power is AGILITY.

Being strong is purely secondary and he's not remotely in a class with even the Thing.

Also: "shoot lasers out of their chests"

If you are referring to Scott Summers' brother Alex, aka "Havok," they're more or less the same concussive force blasts as his brothers. They in no way cut, and are in no way lasers. In both cases we're talking about a power far more akin to being smashed with a huge rock, except with energy beams.

Also: "people who can turn their skin into diamonds"

Emma Frost's entire body turns to diamond form. (Don't ask me how her biology works when she does this.) This in fact has been a huge, key, element to her character because she can be, and has, been shattered into pieces.

It's not her skin.

You're not really batting a good average for accuracy, or even paying attention, or caring, here, but it's all trivial to your points, of course.

Gary Farber

Also, it's "Spider-Man," not "Spider-man." This is not particularly obscure, what with being in the title of all his, er, titles, and every time anyone says his name in the comics.

Lance Mannion

Gary, I was ten.

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