Site progress: Kinda sorta nearly done! It’s mostly just a manner of tying everything together and fixing up the loose ends, though that’s probably going to be a bit gruelling. I’m hoping to have to done and uploaded by mid-June, but we’ll see what happens. I’m a mite concerned that after nearly a year of supposedly working on this revamp, there probably won’t be much in the way of new content besides some prettier layouts. We’ll see what happens.
I went to see X-Men: First Class a couple of days ago. I’ve come to forget a lot of the details, so excuse this horribly mangled rummage of my memory.
I’m pretty unfamiliar with the X-Men movie franchise – I haven’t rewatched the first one ever since I saw it in theatres over ten years ago, and although I watched Wolverine Origins, it’s more or less a side story about everyone’s favourite Canadian. Whatever homages or references this had to the second and third movies (or, heck, anything besides Wolverine), they flew straight over my head.
My brother’s seen the whole trilogy, and he recollects them as almost “subdued” superhero movies, and I suppose I agree. It’s probably just the sheer bombastic nature of the likes of Iron Man, Thor and Spider-Man that makes it stand out by comparison, but First Class felt quite subdued. About the biggest “wow” moment is Magneto hauling a huge submarine out of the ocean while dangling from a jet; in the middle of a standoff between the American and Russian naval forces, no less. That’s kind of it in the way of big ol’ eye candy moments, though.
Naturally the main draw is about Xavier and Magneto getting their bromance on. I’m only really familiar with their strange brand of camaraderie through the 90s X-Men cartoon, and even then my familiarity is very vague – I just remember being puzzled why the hell the two of them kept getting stranded in the Savage Land all the time (the episodes were aired out of order on TV, gimme a break!). The relationship is done nicely; the two can be real comrades-in-arms when Magneto isn’t being so emotionally driven, though the fact the guy who plays Xavier gives me real David Tennant vibes kinda makes it feel like a fangirl’s slash fic at times. Yeah, funny how looking vaguely like someone makes me think of another man’s TV show, and then thinking of that other guy’s TV show makes me think homosexual relationships. We can all blame Russell T Davies and Doctor Who for that.
The bad guy is Sebastian Shaw (who I’ve absolutely no familiarity with – sorry!) and his crew of mutants who want to start a third world war so he can begin his mutant uprising. Maggie’s tiff with him is that although he essentially unlocked his mutant powers, he did kind of kill his parents in the concentration camps and all. Unfortunately, he’s played by Kevin Bacon, and although he does well as a generally manipulating business jerk, he never quite becomes a supervillain. Whether or not this is a bad thing is up to the viewer, but he’s no patch on Ian McKellen, that’s for sure. Emma Frost does her shtick of femme fatale, but the other two do little more than just stand out, kill dudes occasionally and look spooky. And, personally, the good guy recruits weren’t given much time for me to give a damn about them. The only dude I know is Beast, and really, who cares to know what he’s like when he’s a teen? It doesn’t help that just looks a bit ridiculous once he turns blue and furry. The frequent shots of him snarling while he’s flying the plane reeeeaaally don’t help.
What I thought made the film stand out was it being set during the Cold War. I’m just a big history nerd, and seeing fictional stories wedge themselves into real events always tickles my fancy (for instance, Dark Void was already an engaging enough story, and then they add shape shifting robot lizard aliens from another dimension that turn out to be puppeteering the Nazis!), so the Americans assembling a mutant force against the Russians is just really neato. It doesn’t quite compare to Watchmen, personally, but it made it a lot more interesting than it would’ve been otherwise.
I think I’m just not the right audience for this one. I missed out on half the X-Men movies and I’m not invested enough in the source material to know much about these characters – and if I want to see Magneto and Xavier getting their bromance on, I’m pretty sure the comics have more than enough of that going on. Besides, I’d only be interested in seeing some slashfic action if it had Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. Never settle for second best. And, heck, if we’re just going to make a movie totally tailored to my bizarre and best-left-unspoken fetishes, Mystique should’ve grown a moustache.
Make it so.
(this is why i shouldn’t be writing movie reviews in the middle of the night)
And I suppose that tiny mention of Dark Void should be commented on. I bought the game a couple of weeks ago, and finished it last week. I thought it was a pretty neat game! It takes a while to get warmed up, and the replay value is sadly lacking, but just for the story and atmosphere alone I was hooked for the entire game. Flying around in a jetpack and punching robots in the face didn’t hurt either.
Sadly, just as the story looked like it was gearing up for a stupendous final act… the next level is literally the final boss. With no lead-up, build-up or reasonable explanation. And in the ending, one of your allies becomes a baddie, one of them needs sacrificed for the hero to return home, and another, despite saying he’d stick around in the Void, appears on Earth as an attempt at a sequel hook. In a way there’s kind of enough stuff wrapped up to make an okay conclusion, but it just feels like a downer, y’know. It does end more gracefully than Bionic Commando since it didn’t lose all credibility once you find out what happened to Spencer’s wife, but it does end on a similar vibe of “whoops, Capcom’s got a deadline! NO MORE GAME FOR YOU.”
Mind you, without how many themes and elements the game has got, it’d need a novel just to give them all satisfactory coverage. It’s got World War II! The Bermuda Triangle! A parallel dimension full of lost people and technology! Jetpacks! Robots granting humanity technology! Jungles! Futuristic landscapes! Native tribes! Prophecies! Robots working with Nazis! Jetpacks! Robots! Lizard things! Slug things! Jetpacks! Bomber jackets! Jetpacks! The game does have collectible journals (as is all the rage these days) that try and give a slice of life into the many other people lost in the Void, but regarding the main story, I haven’t found much that explains that. A touch frustrating.
Still, slapdash conclusion aside, I really enjoyed Dark Void; not perfect by any means, and Bionic Commando left a much better impression on me, but if you think someone needed to take the Turok universe and add more robots and jetpacks, Dark Void excels at the job by leaps and bounds.