Summer Movie Roundup 2011

Cultural CommunistNow I will say this. The summer started pretty positively. Thor was a perfect blockbuster. The story was simple but emotional with Thor being exiled to learn humility, and a step brother usurping the throne due to his identity crisis after finding out he was adopted. Combine that with some humor, a bit of action, and some amazing visual effects and you’ve got the only movie of the summer that I was happy to sit through twice.

X-Men, First Class…well, I hated it. I have loved the X-Men for about as long as I can remember and this movie did little justice to the comics, or the earlier movies. In the comics the first class of X-Men consists of Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, Marvel Girl, and Angel. In the Bryan Singer-spawned trilogy the earliest X-Men were Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, and Beast, if you allow the third film to factor into things. In X-Men First Class the group consists of Havok (Cyclops younger brother in the comics who is made into the older brother in this film), Darwin, Banshee, Mystique, and Beast. As you can see the writers weren’t very true to either source. The character of Darwin is quite literally the ‘token black guy’ as he dies after having been in the film for maybe thirty minutes. The movie missed a great opportunity to address the ‘real’ civil rights movement of the time with his character. The X-Men were, in fact, based off of the civil rights movement that was ignored in this film.

That aside, many of the characters various mutant powers were not done very well. The character of Angel is entirely unbelievable and down-right stupid as she has fly wings that transform into tattoos on her back and spits fireballs. Darwin’s power is also silly as he can evolve to survive any situation. In one scene he literally grows a shell through and over his clothing. Didn’t the special effects team realize his power would come from his skin; not his clothing? The movie makes the same mistake with one of my favorite comic characters, Emma Frost. Not only is January Jones totally wrong for the part of the cold calculating and strong female figure of Frost, but when she transforms into her diamond form it once more extends over her clothing. If comic artists were smart enough to realize that when a person’s skin turns into diamond her clothes wouldn’t do the same; why aren’t special effects guys? This happens multiple times so I cannot forgive it. Even one of the better done characters, Beast, is screwed up. Instead of being physically imposing like in the comics or in X-Men the Last Stand he is skinny. His only visible sign of mutation are his two deformed feet. Did the director ever even read any X-Men comics?

Magneto is really the only character done decently. Magneto’s costume at the finish of the film was almost worth the price of admission – not quite, but almost. The other bad guys in the film are done no justice. The Hellfire Club is a huge secret society with its own private army in the comics. In this film they are four people who own a Casino in Vegas; I smell a sit com! The main baddie Sebastian Shaw has the power to absorb kinetic energy making him a virtually unstoppable force. He can suck energy up and channel it into a punch, or a kick, or just laugh as an enemy shoots him; he’s also pretty physically imposing. In the movie he is…Kevin Bacon, and he has the power to shoot his energy out or make it into neat little balls of light. Professor Xavier is done decently, but that’s probably just James McAvoy who is an awesome actor. His love interest Moira MacTaggert is another character that has been befuddled. She is a geneticist in the comics and a…CIA agent in the film? wha Wha WHAT!? Not only that but a CIA agent who just tosses her clothes off mid-mission to infiltrate the Hellfire Club (Casino, not to be confused with the epic secret society of the X-Men comic books).

Finally the real kicker of the film; the thing that really drove me to hatred was the climax. Not Magneto turning evil; I loved that. No I hated the U.S.S.R. and United States being ten seconds from nuking each other and then suddenly deciding to instead nuke the X-Men, and the remainder of the brotherhood. Why would two countries at the brink of war decide to team up against a couple of mutants? It’s not like they would wipe out all the mutants by nuking the X-Men. It made no sense! It was literally just there to say “hey the United States is just as bad as the U.S.S.R!” Give me a break. Then Magneto decides “well if they are going to nuke us let’s return the favor.” This actually makes quite a bit of sense. If someone just tried to shoot me I think I’d at least try to make sure they couldn’t do it again. Instead Xavier gets on a high horse and preaches about them following orders, which is really pointless because the movie makes it clear that everyone from the CIA headquarters to the soldiers on the military boats hates mutants for the sole reason that they are mutants. Yeahhhh…I’m going to go with Magneto’s thought process. “They just tried to nuke me, I will not try to save them but instead kill them.” It’s like persecuted jews forgiving Nazi’s. As Magneto knows; something’s can’t and shouldn’t be forgiven…like oh I don’t know…TRYING TO NUKE YOU!

Ok I’m moving on; Super 8 ah refreshing! A movie about innocent 70’s kids making a zombie film. I’m sure there will be no blatant anti-United States themes here. Just a good old monster movie! Oh wait the monster is just misunderstood you say? What’s that? It’s been made evil by the abusive U.S. government you say? Oh well I’m sure there’s at least one good U.S. soldier right! No…only a super evil army leader who apparently can torture and kill people without repercussions or tons of media scrutiny from the free press, or U.S. politicians. Hmm well then I guess I didn’t like this extremely predictable movie either. Why does Hollywood hate the U.S. government and U.S. soldiers in particular?

Finally an escape into the wondrous world of Harry Potter! No U.S. soldiers to paint as evil maniacs here because it’s Britain! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the second best summer movie I saw after Thor this summer. It was not the culmination of deep emotions that stemmed from following this character for a decade, that honor went to reading the book. This was simply a fun, and enjoyable experience with minimal problems. There were a couple of book continuity issues, but the only one I feel I have to note is that Harry Potter refers to Lupin’s son Teddy in one scene without ever having been told by Lupin that Teddy existed. The real problem with the movie was that since the third film many of Rowling’s various subplots have been cut out. Therefore in the final epic battle we do not see Giants, Centaurs, House Elves or Werewolves because little to nothing was said about them in the movies. There also was the matter of the movie being called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and really having very little mention of the Hallows themselves. It is never even noted that Harry’s invisibility cloak is in fact a Hallow. Lastly the epilogue should have been left out of the film. It didn’t really fit, and every actor except Harry looked like they were in their early twenties and not their thirties. Other than that the film delivers a good culmination to the films, and it was really worth it just to see the reaction my girlfriend had while viewing the film; can you say Niagara falls?

At last Captain America! He’s going to put all those anti-American films into their place. I fully expect to see him fighting Nazi’s across Europe! He’s going to drive those bastards back into Berlin! He’s going to…fight a totally fictional group called Hydra that is far too reminiscent of GI Joe’s nemesis Cobra? Well at least there are no ridiculously out of place laser beams and colossal tanks right! FUCK! Come on now! Just give me a break! Is it too much to want to see a movie where the United States battles Nazis because the United States was good and the Nazis were bad in that conflict? Did the director really have to worry about offending Nazis!? I mean…THEY ARE NAZIS!? Why couldn’t the Red Skull stay a Nazi in the film? Also how does Captain America fight a war against Hydra when a World War is going on! It’s not like you can just fly into various Nazi controlled countries without having to battle Nazis too. Also if Hydra started as Nazis wouldn’t the Nazis be hunting the Red Skull too? Why would Hydra be allowed to have bases in Nazi territory? Other than that Chris Evans did a bang up job and Hugo Weaving is the man. This was a fun movie, but would have been amazing if they would have embraced the fact that Captain America was invented to fight Nazis. I’m disgusted with you Hollywood why do you hate my country? And why do you hate my country being the good guys?! Is it too much to ask for a movie that makes the U.S. the good guys and has them beating on bad guys? I’m just going to go watch Inglorious Bastards…I think we know why it didn’t win an Oscar now. Too pro-United States and anti-Nazi.