X-Men: First Class, with bonus Green Lantern trailer rant

June 4, 2011

Ready for a shock?  This movie was utterly charming and enjoyable — just as long as you aren’t too attached to Marvel comics continuity (Moire McTaggert as CIA agent?  I could hear the teeth grinding…) and ignore some of the clunkier bits of plot (let’s see, here’s a mutant character not from the comics who no one has ever heard of, and who is black.  Does he die first?  Why yes, yes he does!  Srsly!).

What I absolutely loved:  McAvoy and Fassbender as Charles and Erik, Professor X and Magneto, and the arc of their friendship.  Erik is a murderous bastard — and totally sympathetic.  Charles is charming and compassionate, and the film and these actors completely sold me on the idea that they would become best friends under these circumstances, and that their friendship couldn’t survive their philosophical differences.  But thinking of it now, the friendship never goes away, though the outward expression of it might.  The film purposefully echoes the chess scene at the end of the the first X-Men movie — some kind of relationship goes on.  I’m very curious now to go back and watch it, and see how many other echoes are there, and if this movie actually adds some depth to the first one.

Before the movie, I kept thinking about the first X-Men movie, and how powerful and daring it was, rooting the mythos firmly in history by starting with Erik as a young boy in a Nazi concentration camp.  That setting would be the backdrop for every philosophical discussion in the series after.  So I was amused when “X-Men: First Class” started with exactly the same scene.  As if they knew they couldn’t do any better than that, so why not embrace it?

Bonus Rant Inspired By Green Lantern Trailer

There’s the bit where Hal Jordan says something like, “That alien saw something in me I can’t see in myself.”  And his doe-eyed girlfriend says, all heartfelt, “I see it.”  And then Hal goes off to save the world.

I suddenly became furious.  Because what I really want, more than anything, is to see a movie about a superheroine where her supportive boyfriend says, “I believe in you, go save the world,” and she does.  Where a woman is the actual hero and not just the supportive backdrop.  Or stuffed in a fridge…

I told this to my friend who said, “You know you’re  never going to get that, right?”

And I was filled with even more rage.  Seething rage.  Because it’s not fair that I can’t have that.  It’s sexist, condescending, and totally not fair.  I may have to go write the damn thing myself just to get it out of my system.

Back to X-Men: First Class

Speaking of women heroes, Moire McTaggert, CIA agent, was awesome.

24 Responses to “X-Men: First Class, with bonus Green Lantern trailer rant”

  1. Jaws Says:

    The original, theatrical release of Aliens is probably the closest you’re going to get to what you describe in the Bonus Rant. This is one of those instances (along with Apocalypse Now!) in which the studio’s demand for a shorter cut for financial reasons worked to the film’s benefit, despite the director’s overweening ego and later release of a longer, “preferred” cut that was narratively weaker. Sadly, that matters to this particular issue because the extra crap undercuts Ripley’s decisionmaking as central to the story arc… and underplays the Colonial Marines’ acceptance of her as a hero.

    And happy housewarming…

  2. wygit Says:

    Please do!

    PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE!

    I can’t wait to read it.

  3. Miss Bliss Says:

    AMEN! WRITE IT! Hollywood can’t handle it but write it anyway. Who knows maybe you’ll win the lottery and you can produce it yourself. I have the exact same frustration. I’ve also noticed that even in books, where you can at least FIND women who are strong and heroic and leading the charge, you rarely find books that are about two chicks on a quest. You can find boatloads of great books with a couple of guys on a quest…one of them might end up with a girlfriend but if he does that is totally secondary to the friendship and the quest. Where’s the chick version? Specially in Urban Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Fantasy…where it feels like the Romance genre has infiltrated and any book with a central female character will end up really being about her getting her hot guy rather than kicking butt and saving the world. Not to bag on Romance writing but I want to see the driven female character that sacrifices her entire life for revenge or for her village or her world. I want to see the powerful female character that leaves her loved ones to go fight the big battle from which she might not return. I want the full range which includes heroic to scary to misguided to criminal to insane.

  4. Andrija Says:

    The most I can do is offer you a copy of the animated Wonder Woman film. You can skip to the part where she shows the little girl playing swords with boys the proper fighting stance, and the little girl promptly starts whooping the boys hinder if it will help.

  5. Markysan Says:

    Even if you can ignore the break from “Marvel” continuity, this film breaks continuity with its own franchise. Consider Emma Frost, last seen as a teenager in 1979 as Wolverine and Deadpool tore up Three Mile Island. Now she’s also a teenager in 1963? This is too stupid to deserve any fan support.

    Once you throw in the “Marvel” related errors, it’s a complete train wreck.

  6. DebbieW Says:

    Yes, PUH-LEEEEZE write it!!!! Not only will it be cathartic for you, it will satisfy all of us women readers out here (& the men who understand the issue) who share your dream!

    And I agree with Miss Bliss … I have to restrain myself when I go into a bookstore & find they have put all the Kitty books in the paranormal ROMANCE section ‘cos I want to grab them & move them into the SF/F section! Not that I *hate* all things “romance” but I still feel embarrassed if I wander through that part of the store because I don’t want someone to “label me” based on the few items of tolerable reading material I find in that section. Guess that’s why I am more likely to get e-book versions of those works so I can “hide” them on my Nook & passersby won’t see what I’m reading.

    Okay. Enough standing on my soapbox for now.😉

  7. Michael Says:

    Just wondering, are you referring to lack of heroines in comic book based movies? Heroines in movies? Heroines in Science fiction?
    Or just lack of believable heroines period?
    There are some in science fiction at least. Rachel from Dan Simmions “Hyperion” series comes to mind.

  8. Mike H Says:

    I’m sure people ask to co-write with you all the time, but I’m never one to shy away from public humiliation. I am about 20k words into a story revolving around three high school girls each with a unique ability. I had gone even one step further than what you mentioned about having the supportive boyfriend. There aren’t any boyfriends at all. They are driven to do what they believe is right w/o any external validation. All the key scenes are there, beginning, middle and end, but some of it is in outline format simply stating what needs to occur while other scenes are fully written. I presume my email address is accessible to you since the form requires me to submit it. If you want to see what I have written, please contact me and I will send the Word doc.

  9. LupLun Says:

    For what it’s worth, it cuts two ways. Men who don’t try to fix whatever problems the plot presents are seen as weak and cowardly, even if they could logically be expected to fail painfully or make things worse.

    But if you really want it, watch Kim Possible. ^_^

    Failing that, read Claymore.

    Failing that, play Iji.

    Failing that, watch Sailor Moon.

    Failing that, play Mass Effect or Knights of the Old Republic II as a female.

    Failing that… *gets hooked offstage*

  10. Jacqie Says:

    I loved it too! It seemed far more character driven than the first trilogy. Eric and Charles were wonderful and heartbreaking- I shed a tear at one point.

    And for the person who wants a revenge-driven, over the top female heroine, try Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy. Be prepared for darkness.

  11. Jakk Says:

    Actually, Darwin not only is in the comics, he is currently still alive(having been “dead” for awhile..it’s comics) and a member of a group of mutant P.I.’s called X-Factor, written by Peter David.

  12. Jakk Says:

    I would like to state that this was a excellent movie, and i have long considered this movie series seperate from the comics. And i totally disargree with Markysan. This movie is worth your time to see if you like superheroes. Period. As for the Wolverine solo movie, i would like to forget that one completely.

  13. Re WIlliams Says:

    I want to watch your movie already and you haven’t written it yet. 😉

  14. carriev Says:

    Trying to get to answering comments…

    Mike H: I’m sorry, I have way too much of my own work to take on another project.

    I did give a warning about the continuity… It didn’t bother me because the only continuity I get rabid about is Star Wars. There are only three Star Wars movies, there are only three Star Wars movies…

    So Darwin is from the comics? Awesome. My knowledge of recent X-Men is not good. But, he’s still black and he’s still dead. I should insert a correction — one of the CIA guys died first, but Darwin was still the only named good guy who died.

    I think I specifically want a canon superhero comic movie with a heroine who isn’t appalling. There are great stories with great heroines out there — it’s one of the reasons I’ll defend the Resident Evil series against all comers, because Alice is strong, compassionate, a leader, unapologetic, and the movies pass the Bechdel test every time. It can be done.

    But I can’t figure out why the comic book people can’t seem to get their shit together to not be sexist assholes.

  15. Jakk Says:

    That is funny, Carrie. We share the same mantra about Star Wars. What i loved about that series was it started, had a middle, and ENDED, something that was rare in Sci-Fi up to that time for motion pictures. It didn’t need prequels, and it dosn’t need sequels.

    And i see every Resident Evil. I love that series MAINLY because of Alice. A great heroine and i love the cliffhangers.

  16. LupLun Says:

    Probably because the superhero genre has been stuck in a rut for decades. I mean, sure, they’ve brought out some great films recently, but the characters and their storytelling are stagnant. The major properties are all either more than 20 years old or deconstructions of the genre. Hell, I can remember four different adaptations of X-Men, going back to the 1990’s, and they all had the same storyline. And every time the writers do try to mix things up in comic book land, the fans pitch a fit, the editors panic, and the reset button is punched. You could probably count on one hand the number of superhero retools in the past thirty years that have actually succeeded. It got to the point that Marvel had to create the Ultimates continuity just to do new and different things with their characters. It’s a very sorry state of affairs.

  17. carriev Says:

    Another example: caught part of X-Men 2 last night, the scene where Jean and Storm are looking for Nightcrawler. Now that’s a great sequence: two strong, capable women, working together, with no stress or hand wringing. Wearing uniforms that are functional and not titillating. More of that, please.

  18. falwyn Says:

    I came here through reading your Amaryllis story. (I adore it, by the by.)

    I suggest Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the TV show, in answer to your bonus rant. But by all means, PLEASE write one yourself. I would watch it.🙂

    There are definitely only three Star Wars movies. Have you seen this youtube video? I believe it to be a documentary – the only possible explanation…
    (gosh, my first comment ever and already I’m sharing videos? the audacity!)

  19. Markysan Says:

    Now that I’ve actually seen the film I was hoping to recant some of my previous comments, but I can’t. The Xavier/Magneto storyline was excellent, (even though everything about it was wrong). That part of the film alone artificially elevates the rest of that piece of crap to something greater than it really is.

    The “X-men” team was lame. Each member had 3 scenes, basically. Intro, training, token role in final battle. (except for Beast and Mystique… the only A-list mutants… they had a “tad” more screen time). Otherwise, they were completely ignored. Same with the Hellfire Club. Shaw and Frost had all the screen time… the other 2 goons might have had one line of dialogue each.

    The Xavier / Magneto story swallowed everything else in the movie… but that part of the film was excellent. I stand by my comment that the film deserves no fan support, and that’s without pointing out all of the glaring continuity errors.

  20. Annamal Says:

    Seconded on the Kim possible rec (and adding in Juniper Lee as well, where every main charater except one is non-WASPy and Juniper spends most of her time trying to keep the peace).

    You might also like Libba Bray’s new teen novel beauty queens, where a plane full of teen beauty queens crashes on an island and winds up being gnerally awesome in a variety of wonderful ways, there’s some anvil-dropping stuff in there but as TV tropes says…some anvils need to be dropped. Worth it if solely for Miss Nebraska and her right hook and for the assorted pirates, mooks and dictators who wind up on the wrong end of a bunch of pissed off girls.

  21. carriev Says:

    Okay, that sounds like exactly my kind of story…

  22. Berni Says:

    I enjoyed your AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE so I would love to see you write more super-hero stuff. I love the Kitty books, but I realize you can’t keep writing those forever.

    As an old comic book geek, I was very happy when George R.R. Martin started the Wild Cards books in the 1980s. I don’t know why they stopped for so long, but I’m glad they’ve been continuing in the past decade.


  23. For a superheroine with a supportive boyfriend, read Witchblade. Her boyfriend, and detective partner Gleason, pretty much says to her, alright, go do your thing, I’ll wait here for you.

  24. Lindsey Says:

    If you write that story, I will buy whatever book it is in. If Hollywood ever made it into a movie, I would see it again and again. Because I too, am filled with rage that women superheroes are so much cannon/girlfriend-fodder. Where is the whoopass?


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