March 12, 2012

Movie Monday: 2011 Superhero Films, Part II

You can read Part I, which covers non-Marvel films.

Book Cover Marvel's first and most successful release last year was Thor, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring newcomer Chris Hemsworth. There's was a lot to like about this movie. I thought the relationships were a strong point. Tom Hiddleston had a tough role as Loki, but he managed to make the villain sympathetic and there was a nice mix of love and jealousy between him and Thor. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Darcy (Kat Dennings) added a lot of humor and it was nice to see a female friendship showcased in a superhero film. But I must say that I thought Thor was the weakest of the three movies. It was certainly fun, but there was noting that made me love it.

Book Cover X-Men: First Class is the fifth X-Men movie and serves as a mingled prequel/reboot. There are those who insist it's not a true prequel due to continuity snarls, but let's face it: superhero stories and continuity snarls go together like ice cream and cake. You either accept that the two things are meant to be or you have very odd taste. The movie has a very different line-up for the team than the comic it is based on, but I thought they picked a nice mix of personalities and powers and hired a great cast. The movie objectively had issues, however. Some of the character arcs happened too quickly. By the end, the "good" team was only the white guys.

But all objective problems were obscured by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender's terrific performances as Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr. I grew up watching the (nineties) X-Men cartoon on Saturday mornings. I still have fond memories of Professor X and Magneto taking on dinosaurs together. McAvoy and Fassbender captured their intense friendship and underlying ideological differences perfectly.

Book Cover Finally, we come to Captain America: The First Avenger. I did not know what to expect from this one at all. I vaguely knew Captain America's origins, but he's never been a superhero that caught my interest. I fell in love with the character over the course of the film. Steve Rogers is simply a good person who goes out and does the right thing, even if it means great risk to himself. It's hard not to rally around a character like that.

Now, who's excited for The Avengers? Spider-man?

1 comment:

  1. I saw all 3 of these recently too! I felt a little differently about Thor and X-Men (altho, like you, I did notice and disliked the lack of diversity among the "good" guys or even the survivors in X-Men). I think I was just so surprised by the talent and performances in Thor that I rated it a lot higher than you. I expected nothing and was pleasantly surprised.


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