Hello fellow readers of words, welcome to another edition of Chris Lackie – The Blog!
This time around I thought I would talk about my all-time favourite superhero team. No, not the Powerpuff Girls (although they are pretty awesome… did you know that Bubbles is the joy AND the laughter?) I am of course referring to those marvelous mutants: The X-Men.
Why are they my favourite team? Well, as the old saying goes, you never forget your first (superhero team). When I was a kid (and, who am I kidding, now) I watched a lot of cartoons, and one of my favourites was the X-Men. I think what really captured my imagination was that they killed Morph, one of the team members, in the first episode. I mean, how ballsy is that? It’s a show aimed at children and one of the first things you do is kill off one of the heroes? That’s a bold move. Spoilers: It turns out that Morph didn’t actually die.
Ever since then, I’ve been in love with the Children of the Atom. Well… not in love, but, you know what I mean.
After the cartoon, I started getting my X-Men fix by playing a bunch of their videogames. X-Men: Children of the Atom is a fighting game I remember playing a lot in university. There was a code you could enter that would put the characters in beach clothing, and Juggernaut wore a bucket on his head. It was awesome. I’m also pretty sure you could play as Professor X… in a fighting game. I’ll let you think on that one for a while. I also remember playing an X-Men side-scroller on Game Gear (for you kids out there, Game Gear was Sega’s version of Game Boy… and it was in colour). The final bad guy you had to beat was Magneto, and I still remember the key to beating him: Use Iceman.
Moving from consoles to the cinema, I remember being really psyched to see the first X-Men movie when it came out. My friends must have really wanted to see it too, because I remember going to a theater in Ajax on a Tuesday night, only to find that it was sold out, then driving to Pickering, where it was also sold out. We gave up at that point. The first time I ended up seeing the X-Men movie was in my friend’s basement when it came out on DVD. After watching it I thought to myself, “this is the greatest movie that has ever been made.” Admittedly, by that point I had only ever seen two movies: X-Men and Indian in the Cupboard. But still, the sentiment was true.
Now I can’t recall if this happened, but if X-Men One was the best movie ever, than its sequel, X2, must have exploded my stupid little brain. As the kids say, that movie is total boss (I assume kids talk like dumb people). The opening scene of X2 where Nightcrawler is bamfing all over the white house and taking people out left and right is easily the best scene in any X-Men movie.
Of course, it hasn’t all been “Jubilee” and “Dazzler” in the X-Men cinematic universe. The third X-Men instalment isn’t nearly as good as the first two. I mean, why was Angel even there? And why did they kill off Cyclops? He’s the field leader of the team for chrissakes! That said, the moment where Wolverine kills Jean Grey is heartbreaking. It really tugs at the heart strings. Of course, it isn’t nearly as heartbreaking as Wolverine Origins (or whatever it’s called) when they take Deadpool’s mouth away (he’s “The Merc with the Mouth” for goodness sakes). And who can forget the fact that they gave him laser eyes. Oy vay. At least they somewhat redeemed the Wolverine stand-alone movies with The Wolverine, but I certainly wouldn’t call that one a great film either.
My favourite X-Men movie has to be First Class. It has such a unique style compared to the other X-films, and easily some of the most iconic scenes. I mean, do you remember the scene where Magneto pushes a coin slowly through Sebastian Shaw’s head? Ahhh man, it gives me chills just thinking about it.
Now, the whole reason I bring up the X-Men in the first place is because I recently saw Days of Future Past, a sequel to both First Class, X-Men 3 and, in some ways, the after credit scene of The Wolverine. Days of Future Past is loosely based on the Days of Future Past storyline in Uncanny X-Men #141 and #142, written by Chris Claremont. Before I get into the movie, let’s talk a little bit about these two comic books. I want to point out how incredible it is that this iconic story only needed two issues to tell and it was told within the confines of a regular monthly book. Nowadays, all “epic” stories get their own limited series and they run for 6 or 7 issues (with 20 or so tie-ins), and they usually aren’t all that memorable. In other words, it takes a team of writers almost 30 issues to tell the kind of story that Chris Claremont can tell in two, and that team of writers can’t do nearly as good a job as he can.
Anyway, I don’t want to give too much of the movie away, but it took them 7 movies to do what they should have done in the first 7 minutes of the first film: Mother Effin’ Sentinels! And these giant mutant killing robots do what they do best: Kill mutants. They even made the first version of the Sentinels purple. Just like the comics.
Like any sequel to a superhero movie, there are of course new characters introduced in Days of Future Past. While I think most people will say that Quicksilver (the really fast guy) stole every scene he was in (which I would agree with), I think my personal favourite new character is Blink. Blink is a woman who can create portals which allow her, or other people, to teleport short distances. She didn’t have much in the way of character development, but she made the fight scenes in the movie way more awesome than they would have been otherwise.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie, but it wasn’t nearly as good as First Class. That is why it’s upsetting that, given it looks like the X-Cinematic Universe is going to be focused on the original X-Men film cast going forward, we won’t get to see any more from the First Class group. Oh well. The next movie is going to focus on Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen. It’s going to be awesome (maybe).
In summary, if you like the other X-Men movies you’ll like this one. It’s not as good as First Class, but it’s way better than the Wolverine stand-alone movies. And, if you didn’t like the third X-Men movie, don’t worry about that anymore. Trust me. 😉
And if you don’t like the X-Men movies in general, you should see this one anyway. I mean, Jennifer Lawrence wears nothing but blue body paint. What more do you want?