The Girl in the Park
Director: David Auburn (2011)
My cool mum, who didn’t once slap a nun in the face, enticed me over to the house I grew up in with promises of mummy’s patented meat loaf and a film, the meat loaf was exemplary, the film was The Girl in the Park, after fifteen unbearable minutes we both summed up the film thusly, nothing interesting has happened. A remarkable achievement seeing as how the first fifteen minutes span sixteen years, has a child go missing, features Sigourney Weaver prominently and didn’t bother with distracting credits. Hats off to you, Mr Auburn. Perspective thus gained, we ventured down to the local blockbusters and rented X-Men: First Class, whereupon my father, who looks nothing like Noel Edmonds, joined us.
X-Men First Class
Director: Matthew Vaughn
With the rest of the marvel film department stuck round a table planning new and less interesting ways to cameo Samuel L Jackson before The Avengers finally gets released (Does anyone care anymore? It’ll be shit compared to Dark Knight Rises anyway), it’s reassuring that the X-men team still exist. Sure they threw up all over the raped corpse of Deadpool in Origins, and maybe they weren’t quite as on the ball with X-men Final Stand (which I maintain it isn’t as bad as some of you cretins out there want it to be) as with the first two films, but they found their form with this one, in fact I’d say they found new form, because X-Men First Class is, in my humble but still better than yours, opinion, the best X-men film so far.
The trick it turns out, was for the team to return to the original X-men blueprint, limit your characters and make sure they all get time to show their motivation, cast each role with either an established actor, or someone who possesses quality, tell a large sophisticated plot (In this case the initial discovery of mutants) with a smaller, human interest story (In this case mutants finding each other) on the side and make sure there are plenty of scenes involving Magneto and Professor Xavier debating their philosophical differences without resorting to petty name calling. It also helps, and the rest of Marvel’s film team I’m talking to you now, to keep your fucking cameos to an explainable minimum. Sure there’s a daft cameo, but the entire audience know who the guy is (I care enough to not spoil it for you), in Thor I had to Wikipedia the damn film just to find out who I was meant to be looking at, and even afterwards ,I didn’t give a shit! Fuck Hawkeye, he’s the worst Avenger anyway.
So what’s so good about First Class? Well, all the things I’ve just mentioned actually, set in the sixties, the plot revolves around two men, a man on a mission, Magneto (A spectacular Michael Fassbender) and a young swinging university lecturing Professor Xavier (James MaCavoy who touches the brilliance of Patrick Stewart if not quite matching it). The two locate and set about forming a team of other mutants in order to stop another group of mutants from blah blah blah blah yippie kai-blah. Ok, so the plot pretty much becomes what every X-Men plot is, ‘good’ mutants vs ‘bad’ mutants, while humans debate whether the existence of ‘good’ mutants makes up for the existence of ‘bad’ mutants, but nothing wrong with that, it’s a wide premise, with lots of room for interpretation.
Heading the bad mutants, we have my favourite thing about this movie, Kevin Bacon. He begins as a cold, concentration camp doctor carrying out typically Nazi experiment’s, and then spends the rest of the film as a classic sixties villain. His German sounds a wee bit on the strange side, but as a lead villain he’s surprisingly flawless, though that may in part be down to the fact he owns one classic sixties submarine, and has a sexy January Jones on his arm.
Are there faults, aren’t there always! The CIA seems to have recruited all its members from the school of clichés, as have the Russians, Nazi’s, universities, any human for that matter seems to have studied their thesis there, and some of the action is a little, shall we say, forced. There was also one particularly grating moment, where, having impressed me by incorporating German and Spanish into the script, Magneto, in a Spanish speaking bar in South America, talking to a German former Nazi commander, suddenly decides that a single badass line needs to be delivered in English. Kind of you to think of your audience there Big M, but still, breaks the flow a bit don’t you think.
But that is quintessential nit picking, bottom line is, this is a good film, people in the sixties like to think of themselves as having experienced the fun era of history, to me it seems more like the experienced the STD and deliberate lack of hygiene era, but I won’t deny some of the swinging stuff looks fun, and that’s what Xmen First Class is, fun, a fun film to watch, a fun film to review, and a fun film to eat mummy’s patented Meat Loaf to.
Written By Sam ‘Magneto = Jewish Badass’ McKinstrie
Unnecessarily on twitter as McKinstHFP
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