Comic conventions, my addiction to Amazon, and the line-up for this year’s summer blockbuster marathon have me neck deep in comic culture. It’s a good place to be. My thoughts:
X-Men First Class: A: This X-Men movie double-entendred its name by being the first to bring some class to the series. (Rimshot!) Most of the characters, when introduced, are sly and interesting. (Ok, maybe just the main few characters.) This allows some forgiveness after the movie progresses into the cheesier comic-book-movie style that I expected since the core characters are so well developed. The revenge themes and the civil rights allegories play out smoothly and elegantly and the final actiony bits, though displaying a bit of poor CGI, run about as one would expect (as hoped.)
X-Men: B: After First Class, I wanted to revisit the first X-Men to see if the character interactions were still intact. They weren’t of course. Xavier and Magneto’s relationship worked even better than before but Xavier and Mystique seem to have forgotten that they’d grown up together. The other members of the First Class are suspiciously absent as well, Beast being the most notable omission. Still, the Wolverine-centered plot led to good action sequences blemished with terrible one-liners. Halle Berry strengthened her hold in my mind as the worst actress in far too many movies I enjoy.
Super 8: B: I firmly believe that it’s perfectly OK for movies to retell a “classic” tale as long as they spin it their own way. Though Super 8 did exactly this, I found myself doubting this belief. Super 8 is nothing new. It seems like I knew what would happen in every scene, like it has spliced the best bits of various classics and remastered them with better direction and special effects. The “force” as I’ll call it to keep from spoilering, was awesome while boring and the characters were interesting and trite. (I don’t understand me either.)
All-Star Superman vols 1&2: A+: I have never been much of a Superman fan but I have to say Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly have crafted a perfect comic. Every issue is a joy. Hell, every panel is a joy. They have told a superman story that simultaneously restarts the characters and plunges them to the future. Each story taps a bit of the established Superman lore but weaves it perfectly into a world infinitely more interesting than the standard DC Universe. It’s modern pulp superhero sci-fi and it’s the best comic I’ve read in recent memory.