Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Posts Tagged ‘x-men

X-Men Movie Reboot

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I am an X-Men fan through and through. It’s probably fairly obvious from my previous posts about them and how much I mention them in articles that they seem very unrelated to. I love the X-Men because every character is messed up in some way or other. There are no “perfect” X-Men…each brings their own maladies and dysfunction to the group. This is the beauty of the series because everyone can find someone that they can attach themselves to whether it be a popular character like Wolverine or Gambit or less popular characters like Psylocke or Wolfsbane.

Recently, after hearing talks of them rebooting the Spiderman movie series, I heard that they might possibly be thinking about doing the same to the X-Men. Immediately, my heart pitter-pattered in my chest because I would love to see them produced as amazingly as the new Batman series perhaps. I think that the first two of the trilogy that are in existence now are good movies (we won’t speak of the third because although it was passable as a movie, it made fans of the series and comics go “WTF!” in the theaters…some of us just happen to be a little more vocal than others). They actually have a lot going for them to have such an extensive cast. However, there are also some parts that are just awful.

Good:

–Casting for the most part was fairly spot on. Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart are amazing as the opposing leaders. Famke Janssen, Hugh Jackman, James Marsden, Kelsey Grammar, Rebecca Romijin, and a few others were amazing in the parts they played…I have a few scruples about the age difference between Famke and James, but that didn’t bother me as bad as some other things.

–The storylines, although not mainstream X-Men plots, were not bad. The idea of changing world leaders into mutants and killing all mutants are both very logical and followable plots. They create a journey that both movies are able to follow to fruition.

–Effects–They didn’t overdo them which is amazing. With a super hero movie, it is the tendency of most directors and crew to try to be overly flashy with special effects….this was not the case with the first two movies. They relied on very limited effects and let the storyline/acting take the forefront of the movie.

–Directing. Bryan Singer was amazing at capturing the heart of the X-Men’s universe. He seemed to understand the drives and motivations of most of the characters…he seemed to really get the ideas and the heart of the comics.

Bad:

–Haley Berry and Anna Paquin–While both are good actresses in their own right, they were not the right people to play Storm and Rogue (respectably). Berry played Storm too hot-headedly. Storm is practically a goddess of the weather…she gets pissed the weather changes. This is why she is generally seen as a very stoic person in the comics…in the movies, Berry gets angry and shows a variety of emotions that would cause the weather to go all sorts bad. Paquin just doesn’t live up to my standards as a Rogue in my book. One, her accent is not great. Two, I don’t think that Rogue should have been that young (no fault of Paquin’s). Finally, Rogue is one of my favorite X-Men. She is nothing that I envisioned her to be (I’ll admit that I have a personal bias here).

–The third movie….or as I like to call it, Barry yells a stream of obscenities at the movie theater. It was awful from a purely X-Men nerd stand point. Why? Because they (and I place most of the blame with Brett Radner) completely destroyed a treasured storyline (the Phoenix Saga), they went against the internal motivations of characters (Magneto would have died saving Charles from Jean…Charles would have never transplanted himself into another body), they killed multiple main characters and screwed over even more (Cyclops is dead, Jean is dead, Xavier as we know him is dead, Magneto has weakened powers and Rogue has none…honestly, what is this)…This movie managed to make me wonder if it would have been better to stop at the second movie because then they would have at least ended on a good note…instead of on crap…also, I’m not even going to include X-Men Origins: Wolverine because it’s so far from the original comic line that I’m not even going to get started…

All in all, I think that if they did decided to reboot the series, I would not be hurt by it because I think there is room for improvement. I think that if they found someone with the right vision like they have for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight that this series has the potential to be AMAZING …and I’m not just saying that because I love the X-Men….or maybe I am…who knows?

Sequels: The Good, the Bad and the Mediocre

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In the realms of movies today, many sequels keep spawning in the recesses of the movie studios…some good…others not so good. Why is this happening? It’s because people are taking to heart the concept that there are no new ideas in the world. Rather, we as humans are simply reinventing old concepts for the newer world. While I do think that there is some relevance to the whole no new ideas concept, I still think that there are some fairly clever writers out there that can think up something better than such gems as Step Up 2, The Ring 2, etc. Each of these movies have several things that make them poor sequels.

1. The whole idea of a sequel is pretty much saying that it isn’t going to be as good as the first. The reason for this is the idea that “we can’t think of anything else, so we’re going to make another one of these” mentality. In reality, a sequel should be bigger and better than its predecessor because we’re already introduce to the characters and therefore should be able to start with just the plot of the movie. Very few sequels actually seem to realize this. Most of them want to reveal the characters to us again…on the off chance that a sequel doesn’t use the same base characters or have them appear in the movie…to me, it is another movie. It should be named as such (i.e. Step Up 2…etc.). The idea behind a sequel is that it is a continuation of the former movie…the same title with new character thing doesn’t fly with me.

2. Sequels should either be continuing the plot from the previous movie or should contain a plot complete and entirely to itself. Don’t try to rehash the same plot with a different antagonist…it’s irritating to be watching the same movie with a different villain (I’m sure many of you out there will agree).

3. For the love of God, Subtitle your sequels or change the title!!! I don’t think I have ever seen a sequel that didn’t have a subtitle which was any good…think the Step Up movies, Save the Last Dance, and others…the fact is that if they didn’t give it enough thought to give it a little something extra very rarely will it be any good (however, there are always exceptions to this ideology).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all sequels are shit because that’s not true. I’m just saying that a vast majority of them are…for ever Diehard franchise there is a Speed…for every good there is a bad. The title of this blog is even based on a movie trilogy which is excellent. It’s Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” trilogy which includes A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. These movies were brilliant and carried over a character as part of the continuity…they are well-made sequels. However, the writer and director of the films had a clear, artistic vision of where they wanted to go with these films…most sequels made today are just created as a cash cow.

Anti-Heroes and the New World

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In the scope of the past several hundred years, we have changed from a heroic society to one that values the anti-heroes. We long to see more of them. Why one might ask? Well, the answer is very intriguing and complex yet simple.

1. They’re cooler. Sure most people’s hearts swell when the knight in shining armor gets his princess…but really, after the first 500 times you see this event occur, it gets kind of stagnant and boring. The Anti-Hero, on the other hand, is more intriguing because most of them are not out to prove their greatness by saving a damsel in distress. Usually, these characters have agendas that lie in their past. Some are attempting to atone for the terrors they were before, while others are simply trying to make it in a world where there are no bad guys in black cowboy hats and good guys in white. They are the gray area…

2. The gray area…since most of us do not fall into the “pure good” or “pure evil” sections of humanity, it stands to reason that we fall into the gray area…that is the area that is somewhere between “good” and “evil”…the majority of people fall into this category because we are innately good and evil at the same time…mind blowing idea there right…but think about it. We do some good things and some not so good things (not necessarily evil)…it stands to reason that we don’t want heroes that are the pinnacle of perfection…we want someone who is a little more flawed…think of Wolverine over Cyclops…Lestat over Louis…and many more…

3. With the tendency to have a moral compass that does not always point north, their stories have much more room for complications than those of the “good” hero. Think about it…the “good” hero (or G. H. as I will call him) is effected by outside forces: evil queens, dragons, disease, etc. A G.H. generally has no internal conflict that could make him stray from his task at hand…he generally stays within the realm of “goodness” to achieve his goals…The Anti-Hero is a little more morally ambiguous. He will go to lengths that the G. H. will not go to to see his goals come to fruition. These heroes often wander about and go onto tangents to help better themselves or discover a great truth…eventually, they will arrive at the end of their journey, yet they might not have a princess to save any more (thanks to those G. H.s out there.)…

4. Anti-Heroes generally don’t give a crap about what those around them perceive them to be. G. H.s want to be seen as good and virtuous. They sport the “shining armor” and go off  to slay dragons at risk of life and limb…Anti-Heroes usually have a whatever attitude that makes them more likable because let’s face it sometimes chivalry is not all it’s cracked up to be…the Anti-Hero is just more open about this than the G. H…

Written by uncannynerdyguy

March 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Favorite Characters in X-Men

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In the X-Men comic book, there is a variety of characters that people pick favorites from. While most people invariably pick characters that are popular or more visible, the fact is that there are many out there that are way cooler than the Wolverines and Gambits.

I like several characters for many different reasons. I will be honest with you. I despise Wolverine and could care less for Gambit…they both have the same kind of demeanour and attitude, and their brand of person does not interest me. I am by far more interested in some of the characters who seem slightly off kilter…

1. Rogue…I don’t know what it is about her that makes me like her character so much. I think part of it might be the infinite possibility of power she has. She could potentially drain every other mutant’s power to become all powerful. This is how she gained her “secondary” mutations of super strength, flight and near invincibility. She drained Miss Marvel (Carol Danvers) of her powers. This draining of abilities also has consequences that she must deal with. Not only does she gain the powers of a person, she also absorbs their minds or life-force if you will. This mind-sucking of Carol Danvers almost makes her go crazy because there are 2 mentalities trapped in one body. Her character intrigues me.

2. Mr. Sinister. Aside from the name which is a little silly (comic book cliché name), he is by far one of the best villains in the Marvelverse. Why you might ask? It’s because his mind and set of skills make him  more diabolical and unpredictable than any of the other “evils”. He is a puppet master moving quantities of people together so that he can conquer them. He also believes in the idea of the “enemy of mine enemy is my friend” as seen by him teaming up with very unlikely allies throughout the course of the X-istence. He, who was a contemporary of Darwin, is the ultimate example of natural selection because he naturally selects the abilities and properties to enhance himself.

3. Psylocke. She is probably the least known character that I will speak about. She is an art thief with psychic powers. She doesn’t really have a lot of affiliations early on, but later, she becomes a member of the X-Men. Her psychic abilities being interestingly presented and her tale of body swapping are what I like about her. She is able to project psybolts to stun enemies and others. She also is able to yield a psychic knife or a katana to help fight her enemies. Her fighting skills are unparalleled which makes her even more dangerous.

So, there you have it. Those are my top there…there are many more that could have made the list (like Jean Grey and others), but these are probably the ones that intrigue me (yes I know that I use the word intrigue a lot). Feel free to agree or disagree. These characters are the best to me.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

March 3, 2010 at 2:43 pm

X-Men and the 60’s

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If taken in the context of the 60’s, the idea of the X-Men is an interesting one. During the 60’s, the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. The African-Americans fought for their rights and eventually won them from the suppressing forces of America. This plight is echoed in the pages of the X-Men Comics with ever more parallels that just this recurring theme.

The X-Men must deal with prejudice in the pages of their comics much the same as the African-American did in reality. The X-Men are persons with special powers such as flight, fire manipulation, etc. and are often refered to as mutants because of this. They must fight to become accepted in a world that sees them as freaks or as lesser beings. They have to fight against extremist groups such as the Friends of Humanity (F.O.H.) which has the particular ring of the Ku Klux Klan. They have to fight the prejudice and even lose members of their community to these persons. They also have to deal with the Sentinels, huge robots that are built to hunt mutants. These robots come to take them in the night. Much like the groups that used to come and burn down African-Americans’ houses during the night.

The leaders of both the main groups of mutants, the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, are reminiscent of the two main African-American figures of the time. Dr. Charles Xavier (X-Men) is the spitting image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He believes that humans and mutants can live together in harmony and tries to work through peaceful methods to end the human/mutant prejudice. He thinks that man and mutant kind can live together in peace if they just try much as King did. With the help of his X-Men, he tries to show the world that mutants are not all bad and that they peacefully coexist.

Magneto (The Brotherhood of Mutants), on the other hand, is more proactive like Malcolm X. He believes that coexistence can be achieved mainly through force and uses his groups of mutants to try to subjugate the human race to that of the mutants. He openly attacks groups that threaten mutants and is continually in conflict with those who oppose his ideals. With his group, he becomes a threat to the idea of peace that Xavier hopes to make possible. He himself could be viewed regressing the steps forward that any others had made because the majority of the world does not respect violence (think of the War in Iraq, the Rwandan Genocide, etc.) and deal with it swiftly and with equal violence.

The X-Men are a subject that are near and dear to my heart. It seems to me that Stan Lee and the other creators had a specific idea in mind when they started publishing this comic. They used the struggle of the mutants to be a metaphor for the struggle of the African-Americans. It seemed that they used this as their own individual method of protesting the unfair treatment of African-Americans everywhere.

Superpowers

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Quite often, I am reminded about why we as normal people do not have superpowers. I believe that the world would be plunged into anarchy because let’s face it for every Spiderman or X-Man there are at least 10 supervillains that are out there. Also, I believe that normal people would not be able to deal because “With great power comes great responsibility.” Thanks Uncle Ben…but what is it about ourselves that makes us unable to have said superpowers…let’s just think about that.

1. Most of the superhumans that exist in our wonderful fantasy worlds tend to have moral compasses that go to either extreme of “good” or “evil”…there are few rare instances of the “gray area’ that most normal people would live in. Think of Charles Xavier and Magneto. They are both people who are run by specific goals: one the cohabitation of mutants and humans…the other for superiority of the mutant race over humanity. Professor X would be considered to have his compass pointed toward the good, and Magneto would be pointed toward the evil. Each tend to try to achieve their goals by means that would support this…However, in the real world, we tend to be neither good nor evil…we tend to have our moments of brilliance on both ends of the spectrum.

While our powers would be morally ambiguous, the minds running the powers wouldn’t…and sometime, we would invariably do “evil” with them. Whether this be blowing up the guy who cut us off in traffic or beating someone to a bloody pulp because they spited us, I guarantee it would happen.

2. While there seem to be plenty of people in the comic worlds to uphold truth and justice, I believe there would be more people who would fall into the scope of evil simply because using their powers to better themselves would be too great a temptation to avoid. If I could control the weather like Storm, I’ll be honest I’d probably sell my services to the highest bidder because it would be easy money…doing so would probably effect the global ecosystem pretty badly.

3.What happens if someone gets a power so phenomenal that they can shape the world? (That’s all I’m going to pose because the idea is intriguing and frightening at the same time.)

4. Finally, we are human. That is my biggest reasons superpowers would never work for us because if suddenly by some tremendous happenstance we did gain some sort of power we would be humans with superpowers. We would bring all of our driving forces to the table. Something bad is bound to happen if you drop a lit match into a room filled with propane…

Now, I’m not saying that some people wouldn’t make the wise choices because you would have those out there who would become the heros. However, all the superheroes in comic-dum have had their bouts of falling between one extreme and the other. Superpowers are fine and dandy…and honestly, if I ever got one, I would be super-excited like any fanboy would…however, I don’t know how I would react…I would like to think that I would be good, but the allure of the darkside (to reference Star Wars) might be too great.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

February 22, 2010 at 11:29 am

Opinions: Like a Butthole

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I am an opinionated person myself. However, I never claim to have an opinion on everything. Quite frankly, there are just some things that I don’t give a damn about. In my mind, there are three types of people who fall somewhere along a spectrum if you will.

1.The first being those who don’t really care one way or another on most subjects. These people are often times referred to as apathetic which is cool. If you can go through life without really caring about things (other than the big things), I say more power to you. One thing I will stress about these people is that they do have opinions about subjects but generally only share them with certain people.

2. People who have opinions and know when they should share them. This is the group that most people fit into. The people in this group usually share their minds when something piques their interest such as a comic book conversation, politics, religion, etc. This group also tends to have information to back up their perspective that they’re trying to get across (i.e. they “know” something about what they’re talking about). These persons tend to be very agreeable unless you willingly push their buttons to try to get a rise out of them.

3. The final group….these are the people who have an opinion about everything and will share it with anything that sits still long enough. These are the people that all the other groups find a little annoying because no matter how smart you are no one knows something about everything. That segways into another point: these people tend to think that they are very, very intelligent people. Now, don’t get me wrong. These people may be intelligent, but there is always a limit….just because you have read some X-Men comics doesn’t make you an expert on the X-Men or you have talked with a Muslim doesn’t make you an expert on Islam…One more thing about these people, not only do they think they know something about everything…they also believe that they are never wrong which will frustrate all those level 1’s and 2’s out there….it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re right because they “always” are.

 In the end it’s like my Grandpa used to say, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.” So, the next time you think about butting into a conversation I would suggest thinking about whether you’re a 1, 2, or 3.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

February 18, 2010 at 10:00 am