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The aforementioned | Thereafter

I don’t care. A fuchsia and pink…suit…coupled with a bucket accessorized with a lightning rod cannot replace a tuxedo. The wet suit, maybe…

It’s been over a month since I’ve seen X-Men: First Class. I recall liking it and setting it aside while I was convincing the SO that yes, he could easily walk into the theatre next door with me to watch The Hangover Part II. Turns out, I’m not particularly persuasive enough to convince him to movie-hop without resorting to sexual favors. But seriously? We’re both old—admittedly, I’m still carded; damn clerk will come over to my self-check-out area to see my ID if I buy cough syrup—so no demands to ‘call our parents’ or anything—it’s not illegal, just morally wrong, like it’smorally wrong to charge $9.00 a person and then fleece them with their like 500% marked up, out-of-date “food." In the end, I think there’s some kind of cosmic negation thing going on and so balances out.

But I was persuasive enough and it was early enough that we did see it anyway. After being honest and paying for the evening price we saw the sequel.

And holy hell.

Hangover: Part II is DEMENTED.

In a purely awesome way.

Admittedly, you would have to like the first one, to like the sequel, and most people I know do. So. It’s pretty awesome. And shall be acquiring it in the DVD collection.

So. That being said. I’m actually writing, not really a review, so much as my rambling thoughts of the virtually viral fandom, of First Class, well over a month after I’ve seen it only once, at which time it was overshadowed by the…the…epic-ness of the “wolf pack.”

Not to say First-Class wasn’t good. I thought it was a lot of fun—it had a decent, if not rushed plot, which they could have split into two movies easily especially since that appears to be the new thing since trilogies (before that it was sliced bread and ‘Mary Jane’); e.g., Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, need I say more, other than where was the rest of it—or the plot, for that matter.

Anyhow, I liked how they tried the historical fiction approach with the Cuban Missile Crisis, it worked surprisingly well.

The action was pretty decent, though when Erik (Magneto) was on-screen I briefly wondered why they spliced a James Bond movie into a Marvel comic movie.

Michael Fassbender pulled off the sexy, double-0 Bond thing with such intensity that it was a little difficult to keep in mind that his character is in fact a tragic anti-hero (not to say orphaned Bond wasn’t—though Connery through Brosnan did give the role that Austin Powers flair) and not just an archetypical tall, dark, brooding, broad-shouldered male in a wetsuit...   Ah, and Charles—I’ve always just liked the Professor in the nineties’ animated series (le gasp, say what, I was familiar with the X-Men before tall, gorgeous Hugh Jackman was cast as the 5’3-ish Wolverine?), but this movie made me love him and hate him.

The genetics pick-up lines and rubbish flirting endeared me to him, but his bright-eyed and bushy-tailed optimism that bordered between stupidity and absurd naïveté grated on my nerves—especially with his only hardship in life being lonely and having a neglectful mother as can be gleaned in the movie. If one were to Google Professor X, you’ll find that he had an even more unpleasant childhood (though a distant second to Erik’s—Max’s, technically) which for me makes such…pure and altruistic intentions easier for me to stomach because it gives meaning to those beliefs. They’re not just words of someone who hasn’t been a victim of reality, but instead they’re the convictions of someone who knows what reality is and can be but chooses to believe that people can rise to the occasion. It’s just different…

What I mean is that writers for books or whatever else may have a ‘pure’ character that sees the world with such wonder and see only the good in all things bright and wonderful and so must of course have also some jaded anti-hero striving to preserve that innocence—to protect that character from reality. People that can’t see both sides of the coin or patiently listen to both sides of an argument irritate me to no end. Which may explain why I verbally abuse educate religious zealots about the passages they take out of the religious text and present ill-founded, I use this term very loosely, arguments. Don’t get me wrong, I like happy people, and happiness need not be achieved despite adversity or some tragedy, but if you’re going to have a world view and insist on applying it to that world at large, I think you should have some experience with both the good and the bad.

Of course that was easier done with Erik—a victim and survivor of the Holocaust which was tempered by, yes I’m aware of the irony, Charles’s idealism and his goodness (which bordered on arrogance, but whatevs).

I should say something about James McAvoy as I did with Fassbender. I thought he was also cast very well; he pulled off Xavier’s casual arrogance—it was so innocuous to me that I didn’t notice he was being an ass until the scene moved on because McAvoy did have a kind of boyish charm that was alarmingly beguiling. 

Now, I’ve seen McAvoy in a lot of things—I was surprised at his presence as the lead male in some of my favorites like Penelope and Becoming Jane—so I must admit to my vanity, as eye candy he did not appeal to me as evidenced in how I own the aforementioned and had a…(can’t believe I’m typing it like this, but it only counts in texts, right?) “O-M-G-srsly” moments when I was watching Wimbledon (shut up, I don’t swear off all rom-coms.  And this one has Paul Bettany). Which evidently is the reaction most people have given the story surrounding his audition for Wanted—yes, I know. Wikipedia is not a reliable source, but it doesn’t help my dependency, does it now? But the same could be said for Fassbender, he doesn’t really appeal to me either.

But First Class had me re-watching the movies I owned with either of them in it to watch them. Anyway, that’s enough of me criticizing the patrician aesthetics of those that would have plenty vitriol to spare me considering my own aesthetics, not that they would bother or have occasion to. So, back to the movie.

I have mentioned my being a slut for canon—and talking about sluts, for a paraplegic, Xavier got around, not to say that Mags doesn't. Matter of fact, Magneto's swimmers are quite a bit more resilient than Xavier's considering a good deal of the peripheral mutants one sees in any X-Men canon have the biological right to call Magneto 'Daddy'. Ahem…yeah, I had no reason for that…Any who. Even X-Men I through III with Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, I thought—though, I’m not the type of fangirl to look for it—played the roles of men that were once good friends, but were now amicable enemies pretty well; essentially, there was no blip on my…slashdar.

But oh my goodness. First Class kind of…I don’t know…it was there. Subtle like a Mack truck sitting on a VW lot or Freddy Krueger in the ball pen of Chuck E. Cheese, just saying. I want to say that it was just, while not appealing to my pretty-boy senses I’m certain every actor in the movie had a healthy-in-heat-tween-to-teen fanbase, the crazy stalker fans of the leads migrating over…But as I texted a friend of mine “I don’t know if I’m supposed to wonder when X and Mag will kiss and commence the act of bunnies throughout the movie. But now am trying to figure out if I’m disappointed they didn’t or disappointed in the writers for pandering to the perverted ‘tweens…”

Because I honestly think the screenplay writers’ were aware of the sheer heavy-handedness of what a lot of fans are dubbing the ‘whirlwind bromance’ but I think what really had me begrudgingly flagging down the slash wagon was the attempt of the writers’ to lamely say “whoops, Professor X and Magneto are so totally gay for each other so let’s give them a kiss with the canonically and personality compatible female character, without any buildup which will blindside most of the people watching and make them think we’re trying too hard to correct it because the script was like due two weeks ago” and I think a “whoops, we’re whoring Mystique around so that we can explain how Beast becomes blue and then have her slutting about for Magneto” can be spliced in the previous somewhere.

Seriously, man? Raven/Mystique is an insecure teenaged girl—as such, I defy you to find one that isn’t insecure and isn’t disgustingly photogenic or named Tyra and I’m hardly teenaged now but I still suffer from that malady, and she’s throwing herself at a Y-chromosome carrier that is not-so-secretly an insecure teenaged girl? Really? I know this coupling was just a vehicle to turn Beast blue, but the Raven to Hank to Erik thing was done fairly shoddily. She met Erik first, admittedly, he didn’t start telling her she was beautiful as is until after she commiserated with Hank about wanting to be normal, but still the 180 was a little jarring for me.

Charles and Moira were tepidly thrown together; there was the initial “splendid, you’re a mutant” come on as he was twirling a yard in the beginning and the apology and the kiss at the end, bookends really for the failed love of two alpha males with clashing world views and upbringings. Just the fact that those hetero moments literally appeared to be haphazardly thrown in has me shipping slash. Not to say Rose Byrne did a bad job—given the constraints of her character, I think Raven is the only other female to get as much screen time, she did a remarkable job—even if the character was kind of…meh. I think her character was more just a reminder to the audience that “this is a time-period piece where Anglo-Saxon males dominate the society” but here’s a character that is trying to knock down the walls of “it’s a (white) man’s world” even though she strips down and works her womanly wiles to get what she wants….  <.<

I haven’t much to say regarding the other X-factors, mostly because they were both stellar and unremarkable and the lead male thing had me pretty distracted from the others anyway.

Speaking of leading males that kind of overshadowed everyone else because inevitably Charles and Erik are the only ones that matter…but Kevin Bacon was a leading male, the antagonist, and I thought he rocked it. The character of Shaw, who is introduced as a Nazi and with a backdrop of a sterile white medical room with tools lining the wall that you’re more likely to find at the butcher’s, thoroughly creeped me the hell out. But he was so genial and almost flippantly charming that I had to remind myself that he was genocidal psychopath, a the-let's-start-nuclear-war-so that-I-can-become-a-massively-powerful-self-proclaimed-god kind of psychopath—but he was charismatic.

As an aside, was it just me, or were his sideburns entities of their own? Like silent, non-speaking extras. Like the guys that played Azazeal and Riptide—only noticeable without being allotted screen time so that the audience can watch a dozen or so extras get killed via the silent, non-speaking extras? Or is it just me? Just me? Just me then, never mind.

January Jones was kind of blasé and was equally as unremarkable (I like this word, evidently) as the other bad guys, except noticeable in her lack of attire—I had to read up on Frost’s character, and I find that I’m a fan, but her movie counter-part failed to live up to the sheer bad-assery that she was capable of if one is to believe Wikipedia. To be honest, I don’t think acting was a prerequisite for the actress because I can only remember her saying “it’s beautiful, isn’t it?” and something vaguely threatening when she was in a detainment cell and that’s after thinking really hard about whether or not she had a speaking role.

I also can’t immediately recall anything with the other actors, like Kevin Bacon, unless you count the American Dad! Episode where Roger buys prosthetic noses and literally footloose’s havoc…::Shrugs:: Okay, puns really aren’t my thing, but they aren’t supposed to be ‘good’. So anyway I wasn’t jaded with any characterizations of the actors—what I mean, Jolie: really, is there a movie where she isn’t some secret spy whose organization or some personal vendetta thing is trying to kill her? Or a good movie, for that matter?—which I think made it both easy and more difficult for me to hate First Class. And I was in a position to readily hate it as I’m not a real fan of the live-action X-Men on a whole.

And First Class simply wasn’t what I was familiar with in terms of canon and the attempts to adhere to it were abysmal. Then again all of the live-action X-Men movies made me mad. Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan were two of the three saving graces for the film because come on!  Picard and Gandalf, if I’m going to be that kind of fan. And then there is the tear-his-clothes-off-with-my-teeth ruggedly handsome Hugh Jackman, who was wrong for the stereotype but did pretty well with the role regardless.

That being said, the one thing that undermined the series as a whole and the worst “fuck off” to canon, Marvel Comics as a whole really, being Anna Paquin as Rogue.

Rogue is was supposed to be a bad-ass; hell, she’s comfortable in her own skin, despite it being death to others with prolonged contact—at least what I remember from the animated series. Shoot, she was originally Brotherhood (the bad guys) before she defected for the sake of sanity; movie-verse did to Rogue what First Class did to Mystique, except for three movies. Back on point, Rogue is not supposed to be a whiny little Emo tween that makes you cheer when Magneto almost kills her. What makes it somehow worse?  Remember my “whoops” tangents about how the writers threw in canon to as some kind of…scene change or whatever?  Rogue as a grown woman had some sexual tension and standing flirtation with Wolverine in most series’. So teenaged Bobby playing at the I’m-alpha-wait-you’re-way-more-bad-ass-than-me-so-I’ll-settle-for-being-Rogue’s-man posturing and Paquin’s play on Rogue in scenes with Wolverine made it freaking weird and eww!

Christ, no wonder I can’t write fiction or anything other than science papers—I can’t keep on point and suffer from freaking tangents when I’m expounding subjectivity; it’s just harder to have an opinion on a claim that is backed up by several hundred trials…

But really, if you’re even remotely a fan of anything spewed by Marvel and DC, then you should be used to having timelines and character history fucked with—Vertigo, not so much, I’m told; evidently, they’re pretty consistent. Hell, other than Asian dramas, I don’t know any other venue that kills off main characters as often as American comics; admittedly, we Asians keep the protagonists dead, which makes sequels really difficult, but (not so) surprisingly impossible.

And really, despite the last…five pages of rambling, I’m not disappointed with the issues with canon—believe it or not, while I read the Tolkien series before the movies, I was not one the people to bring the book with me and do a comparison. I get that it’s not really supposed to be, I pray that it was never meant to follow one of the comic series, I’m mostly angry that it was an action movie and any character studies and character development was hurriedly slapped in.

Which brings me to how they could have easily made it two movies, but I understand why they didn’t since the first one would and should probably be character-driven and the second part would be the action bits.

And finally, my penultimate peeve about the X-series is that I don’t think the producers and whoever’s providing the cliff notes version of the characters the actors are playing actually have read the scripts or seen the movies. I keep hearing how people working on some of the films claim that the trilogy, origin, and the prequel fit together in their screwy timeline? Seriously? They need to give up the ghost, if they do, I can stop focusing on the issues with how in X-Men, Xavier claims to have met Magneto when he was 17? How there’s a diamond girl, presumably Emma Frost, in Wolverine and she and the other mutant escapees meet an air-brushed Patrick Stewart? Just admit that the only possible relation every movie has with one another is the name of the main characters and possibly the actors.

But overall, it’s a pretty stellar action flick. Character development was rushed and left you feeling like you have whiplash or wondering if a character is bipolar, but should have been explored a little more. Canon or not, most people know Charles and Erik end up enemies, but it’s always been my fascination and possibly other fan’s share it, as to how the two could ever have been good friends. I mean, yeah, opposites attract, but they were more than polar opposites—they undermined each other’s history with the world and dismissed each other’s philosophies entirely but they were still friends? It would have been nice to have actually seen that—but the movie presented Erik’s driving force in life as revenge against Shaw, so in the end I guess it really didn’t matter.

It’s enjoyable even if you don’t particularly care to have the why? of some characters—why are they the way they are?  Why do they do what they do? Why do they believe the crap that they believe in? Et cetera—explained over the course of two hours, then it’s really good. I just have a particular…I don’t know…thing…concerning Magneto and Xavier, especially given their historical inspirations, where it’s kind of necessary for me to have this history that justifies my lack of remorse for the good guy and my sympathy for the bad guy and vice versa.

So, don’t be like me and get hung up on canon (I didn’t even mention Alex, Scott’s typically younger brother and the possibility left open by the movie that the Doctor isn’t the last of his kind and so their parents are really Time Lords) or the actual characters. It’s not an entirely mind-numbing action montage, it’s rather engaging and gave me cause to giggle. And for the record, First Class probably redeemed the entire series, in my opinion.

I did find the cameos to be pretty neat. Raven aging a bit for Rebecca Romjin’s cameo was entertaining and distracting from the righteous anger I developed about her fickle taste in men. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, of course, was probably the more noticeable one or at least the only one I’ve seen some people comment about. And…I don’t know where I sit on the fence with that one. When I first saw it, I thought it was funny, but a beat later had decided it was too much of a cameo—I don’t know why, but I kind of expected some kind of slapstick shtick.

Regardless, I signed up for Amazon to inform me when X-Men: First Class will be available for purchase. :-D

And unfortunately, I’m not quite done—the last…six pages was mostly the movie—er well, me bitching about the abuse of canon to cover the writers’ asses, but I digress. Now, it’s the fandom.

As I mentioned, the movie kind of took a back seat to Hangover, and so I didn’t obsess over it as I’m prone to do with some things. But I do think that within the week, I wandered over to ff.net and explored the X-Men category. On a lark, I put in Xavier and Magneto as the main characters for sorting, and while I doubt that there were not slashers for the two prior to XMFC, it was not a really popular romantic pair probably because I think in some universes they manage to kill each other; the number of fics referencing XMFC as the inspiration in the summary was not unimpressive, though, which probably counted for the explosion of the pair. And I believe it is still growing.

I think the initial…well, lack for shipping such an alpha pair, when slashers do it to every fandom imaginable, probably had a lot to do with the spot on casting of the older, wiser X and Magneto and given the exuberance of the…youth that tend to ship improbable pairs see Stewart and McKellen less like sex idols and more fatherly figures (as is kind of the intention). But then you have pretty boys cast as younger versions and then it’s like all of a sudden one or both can totally bend for that ridiculous shower sex scene that’s playing in the gutters of the sexually repressed minds while something uninteresting is happening on screen.

Anyway, I have found a new fandom that I am not ashamed to say that I now have an undying love for the tragic Brokeback heroes. And like with the movie itself, one needs to just let go of how things should be or actually are because it will invariably detract from one’s enjoyment and/or drive one to madness. Because the ‘sixties wasn’t very gay-friendly. ‘Gay’ as a matter of fact was still used as it original adjective for ‘care-free’ or ‘happy’ and was not associated with homosexuals. This is the 21st century and great deals of people are still ignorant and intolerant…I mean…well, JFK was Catholic and that was considered vaguely more scandalous than his trysts with Marilyn Monroe!

So I’m content to believe that the majority of writers are setting their ‘sixties in some AU just like I’m content to remind myself to check and prior knowledge or familiarity with the material (canon) at the door when sitting for two-hour movie. This, of course, does not mean I won’t bitch about it simply because I can and if one has a problem with it than one should take a look in the mirror and ask oneself why one sat down and committed to following my erratic train of thought.

Hint: the problem’s not me and my determination to be a whiny nitpicker, it’s you.