x-men: first class versus green lantern - an optimist's opinion

 

versus...

         Having taken my husband to see the midnight release of the shiny, neon-hued new Green Lantern movie, I find myself asking one simple question - what's with the hate?   Is it the best superhero movie I've seen?   Not even close - not by a long shot.   Is it bad?   I wouldn't say so.   If you didn't mind the Spider-Man franchise (or the old Superman films), I can safely say this film should (key word being 'should') sit well with you.   However, its' timely release coinciding with that of another film from * gasp* a rival franchise, has led to many strong and, dare I say, strange comparisons.   So let's have a look, shall we?   And for anyone who knows me, I am the Wicked Witch of the West when it comes to spoilers, so if you haven't seen either of these movies and don't want the emotional scars attached to having your magical cinematic experience thoroughly ruined by the loud babblings of an annoying comics blogger, please avert your eyes and tell your children to flee in terror this very instant.   And just in case you didn't read this paragraph...
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!
 
 X-Men: First Class
THE CONS
        First things first, I like to get the bad out of the way as soon as possible - so here goes nothing.   Many people will come up to you touting XMFC as the second coming of Christ, and were I in your shoes, I myself would be inclined to believe them.   But this film is not without its' flaws; just bear in mind that this isn't a critical assessment, this is simply my own opinion.   First and foremost, my biggest gripe is actually super-anal, and probably of little consequence to the casual observer... character development and continuity.   This film doesn't disrespect its' source material in any way, shape or form - it just likes to jumble around with it an awful lot, much like a kid with a jigsaw puzzle.   We see a nearly-grown Alex Summers as Havok without so much as a mention of Scott (except for in a possible easter-egg which brings me to point #2 - Scott should be older than Alex, and his powers manifested sooner anyway), Mystique - one of my favorites - is, for some odd reason, childhood friends with Professor Xavier and her usual cold and calculating self is replaced instead by a doubtful and naive young blonde girl who would seem to fit in better in a 1980s' coming-of-age flick, and new characters like Angel Salvadore and Darwin are mind-bogglingly mixed into Charles Xavier's ragtag band of mutants.   Having said that, none of these things - save for the mousy and inept characterization of Mystique, as well as the extreme lack of character development for Moira, who is supposed to be one of Charles' closest friends and allies - are really big problems for me.   Also, I'm probably going to be alone in this, but I would've loved to have been able to sit through just one X-Men film without seeing the name 'Hugh Jackman' (although, for some odd reason I didn't seem to mind the Rebecca Romijn cameo as much).   With that out of the way, let's get to the good part... 
 
  two words: GROOVY, BABY.
THE PROS
        Firstly, allow me to address one of my biggest concerns coming into this movie - the bad guys.   While my husband and his friends were all on pins and needles wondering if they would do the Xavier/Magneto bromance justice (good news - they did!), my greatest fear was that they wouldn't give the lady-in-white her due - fortunately, my fear was quickly allayed, as all my woes were soon to be alleviated upon entering the theater.   Played with a cool subtlety befitting of none other than miss Emma Frost, I watched January Jones play the scheming, conniving and sexually-commanding Frost to the hilt.   Meanwhile, Kevin Bacon - who I had initially found myself wary of for reasons which are now unfathomable to me - plays the extremist Shaw, whose demeanor I can only describe as some strange 'Frankenstein's Monster' cross between the eccentric charisma of Auric Goldfinger and the sheer supremacist evil of Adolf Hitler.   Along with these two, we also have Azazel (the biological father of Nightcrawler, for anyone here who doesn't happen to keep up to date) and Riptide, although these two really mostly play bit parts and actually have little-to-no spoken lines.   However, the villain who really steals the show in my eyes is the street-smart turncoat Angel, played with heart by the talented young Zoe Kravitz, daughter of Lisa Bonet and 90s pop-rocker Lenny Kravitz.   As her doubt begins to grow, we watch as the crafty Sebastian busts right into the front door of the CIA mutant facility and manages to turn her over to 'the dark side' with little to no effort.
        Secondly, we get to the meat of the story - Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender (an actor who I admittedly knew very little about) respectively.   One of the first things I was wary of in the later stages leading up to the film's release was this 'hip' new reinvention of Charles Xavier, but McAvoy pulls it off nicely.   That said, Fassbender shines as the vengeful Magneto in just about every possible way, and allows us to see the young idealist in a more - for lack of a better word - human role.   Watching the tear roll from the side of Erik's eye as Charles helped push him to move a distant satellite, I couldn't help but feel the slightest bit of compassion for the poor little guy.
        Finally, those who are familiar with my tastes know that I'm a very visual viewer - in the more traditional sense, of course.   While I myself don't much care for heavy special FX, my background with costumes and cosmetics mean I'm very affectionate towards the elaborate outfits, the exotic locales, and the simple wonders of a well-made period film.   And when it comes to time periods, there is no single period of time I have more affection towards in a work of fiction than the 1960s.   My mother was a 60s gal thru-and-thru, and I grew up with much of that mindset.   And as an added bonus, the filmmakers worked the Cuban Missile Crisis backdrop into the film quite nicely.   Bottom line, this film did something I had only previously dreamed possible - it made a camp film with a serious tone.
 
        Also, Banshee is adorable, and Hank McCoy rocks my socks.   Just thought that was worth noting.






 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
THE BOTTOM LINE
4 out of 5 - fun for comic lovers and, more importantly, accessible to casual fans.
 
 Green Lantern

THE CONS
        To my beloved hubby - I love you, honey, but this film is FLAWED.   As in, heavily so.   Then again, what summer blockbuster isn't?   Of course, it wouldn't be fair and balanced if I didn't take a run-through of just what exactly why the negative reviews keep rolling in.
        First and foremost, the biggest problem with the movie is its' length.   It tries to tell a plethora of stories in what adds up to about just under two hours - Hal's relationship with Carol, the rise of Parallax, the politics of Oa and the Corps, and Hector Hammond's own little personal struggle, among other things.   I know about the comic lore, but for a casual observer, I imagine this film can become a jumbled mess.   Also, the special FX - one of the film's highlights - finds itself struggling at times.   When it's good, it's good.   But when it's bad, it's worse.
        Also, I'll happily say it with glee - Ryan Reynolds is not Hal Jordan (but he does a good job anyway).   Plus, Blake Lively seems to struggle between whether Carol should be the liberated, powerful lover we see in the comics or a domesticated housecat and dedicated damsel-in-distress desperate for Hal Jordan's approval.   Being that Star Sapphire is one of my favorite characters of all time, this upsets me a little bit.
 
say hello to the face of Ferris Aircraft (which should really get that mole checked out)

THE PROS
        As Tammy Wynette once sang, you've gotta stand by your man - so when I'm told this movie's not bad, I'm actually inclined to agree.
        As stated earlier, the Special FX are very hit-and-miss - which is a double-edged sword.   While some of the visuals are a bit clunky, the film looks positively splendid for the most part, and I'd say the 3D is actually well worth the ticket price if that's your cup of tea.   Parallax (voiced by the Kurgan himself, Clancy Brown) looks thoroughly terrifying, Oa is a magnificently-built spectacle of CG engineering, Sinestro, Kilowog and Tomar-Re are a sight to behold, and while many of the ring constructs are fairly straightforward, you can't say they aren't darned pretty.   So right off the bat, you can't say this film doesn't look nice.
        On top of that, while Ryan Reynolds was a fairly off-handed casting choice, many of the characters are actually pretty decent.   Peter Sarsgaard steals the show as the malevolent and truly horrifying Hector Hammond, Star Wars' Temuera Morrison makes a grand Abin Sur, Taika Waititi plays well of Reynolds as the nerdy Kalmaku, and - let's face it - Mark Strong is Sinestro.   However, my favorite casting choice would probably have to be Angela Bassett as Amanda Waller, even though the character's relegated to little more than a glorified extended cameo.
        How about action?   While the pacing is usually either too quick or too slow, it shouldn't surprise people that this is, as a target summer blockbuster, intended to be your run-of-the-mill action flick.   While it's true Martin Campbell was the man behind the recent Bond reboot (Casino Royale), people also have to remember that he was also the man behind the 1995 hit GoldenEye.   A classic in its' own right, but if you take off the nostalgia goggles for a moment, you may remember that GoldenEye was actually a pretty traditional Bond film, and served little more purpose than to act as a vehicle to get audiences accustomed to Pierce Brosnan as the new face of Bond.   Having said that, Green Lantern is actually pretty effective as a common action/sci-fi film.   However, in the future, an added 20 or 30 minutes and a slightly more subtle tone wouldn't kill you, Warner Bros.   The avocado industry may suffer on Subway's behalf, but the moviegoers will thank you.
 





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
THE BOTTOM LINE
3 out of 5 - worth seeing, but probably only if you're either a die-hard fan of action films or green lantern comics.   definitely not amazing, but certainly worth a second chance.
31 Comments
31 Comments
Posted by Rudyftw

I didn't fully read it because of the spoilers for GL, but I can tell you box office wise X-Men did really well and Green Lantern flopped only making 50 million when the movie took 200 million to make. X-Men also was well received by critics, well Green Lantern received  generally negative reviews from critics.

Posted by cattlebattle

Good assessment, I would agree, 
 
I think Lantern would have been tighter without Parallax, maybe just his corruption of Hammond happening. Otherwise they could have had more development.
For instance the whole discussion about the yellow energy was out of no where and an obvious set up for a sequel (I hate sh*t like that) pay attention to film thats happening now will ya. They didn't even get to use it anyway. I'm not a big Lantern fan to begin with so obviously I thought this movie was pretty much on par with a Transformers movie

Posted by The Velvet Rabbit
@Rudyftw: actually, outside of rotten tomatoes (which I don't explicitly trust all the time because its' curve is generally skewed), it's gotten quite a few fairly average reviews - not that that's really saying much anyway.   and as for production cost and values, you have to remember that it's only been out in theaters for literally about 48 hours (and besides - GL's real blood money is the 150mil+ in kooky marketing costs).   I'm not saying it's great, I'm not even saying it's good, but I've definitely seen worse.   it's definitely the usual when it comes to your popcorn-and-cola flicks, and I won't be seeing it a second time, but I won't act like this is something new because I watched Marvel do this exact same thing with the Spider-Man franchise for three films and a lot of people didn't even bat an eye.   personally, it would've been better if they just cut the content of the film in half and stretched it out to about 130 minutes.
 
Oh, and they could've canned Ryan Reynolds   :P
Posted by The Velvet Rabbit
@Rudyftw: and I'm sure you've probably seen it already, but first class was pretty amazing
Posted by Hawk

I'm pretty much gonna disagree with everything you just said. 
X-men..........meh. Magneto was good........that's about all I can say about that. 
 
GL.....very good. 
Except I thought Peter Sarsgaard was terrible.

Posted by The Velvet Rabbit
@Hawk: I can already tell you'd get along well with my Reggie - just not sure if that's a good thing... oh well, to each his own I suppose.   it just happens that my favorite part of the GL continuity is star sapphire (I also liked the Revenge of the Green Lanterns volume and Blackest Night, though), and I don't really see that happening anywhere in the near future.
Posted by ssejllenrad

Green Lantern is so f*cking good! I don't care bout the critics. My fanboyism is taking over my logic! Nyehehehe!

Posted by buttersdaman000
@ssejllenrad: @Hawk
Somebody please tell me how the hell this movie was any good???
Posted by ssejllenrad
@buttersdaman000
 
I'll repost my statement... 

Green Lantern is so f*cking good! I don't care bout the critics. My fanboyism is taking over my logic! Nyehehehe!
Posted by buttersdaman000
@ssejllenrad
Yeah my fanboyism tried to take over. I even cracked a fanboy smile a couple times...but then it was instantly wiped off in response to something stupid and lame!
REBOOT REBOOT REBOOT REBOOT REBOOT!!!!!
Posted by ssejllenrad
@buttersdaman000 said:
@ssejllenrad:  Yeah my fanboyism tried to take over. I even cracked a fanboy smile a couple times...but then it was instantly wiped off in response to something stupid and lame! REBOOT REBOOT REBOOT REBOOT REBOOT!!!!!
Be careful what you wish for. Look at what happened to the Punisher reboot... :D
Posted by Rudyftw
@The Velvet Rabbit: You make a good point. But the first 48 hours usually says a LOT about a movie. But I can see GL making a ton once the DVD comes out though.I'm planning to buy it.  
 
And I usually dislike Marvel movies, ( We have the Spider-Man/X-Men trilogy to thank for that) but I gotta say they did a hell of a job story wise with First Class. It dragged at times, and it did leave me with a couple of questions, but I overall enjoyed it as a movie. 
Posted by Osiris1428

I cannot understand how anyone could say this movie was "very good", or even "good". I not sure if I hate the movie, but I wouldn't buy tickets to see it again. Hal Jordan is supposed to be fearless. As in "The Man Without Fear." I don't know who said it first, but they used Kyle Ryner's fear of everything (I QUIT!!! *sniffle sniffle*), John Stewart's ability to construct complex weapons (I really hated that. I mean, was that the John Stewart cameo??), and Van Wilder's personality (I KNOW, RIGHT!!!!!).  
 
X-Men was so well done, some folks didn't see it as a "comic book movie" and meant that in a good way. In the end, both GL and XMFC were done in such a way, I couldn't imagine what they could have possibly done to make either of them better than they already are. That is more of a complement for one that the other (can you say FUBAR?).

Posted by Hawk

Ok maybe it's cause I'm an X-man guy and not really a GL guy that I feel this way. 
 
X-men: they used the same special effects that have been used in the past two movies. Nothing new nothing innovative. Emma, was terrible. Charles, terrible. SS was terrible. Best special effect super terrible. Magneto was good at best.  Plus they ignore any type of time line, canon, everything from the comics....it would be better if they just said. "Hey we know nothing about the comics and are just borrowing a couple of characters"
 
GL: Sinestro....awesome. special effects were pretty good. Story was ok and had to be told to involve non-comic readers. Yes they should have just done a shot by shot remake of First Flight but they didn't.

Posted by cyberninja

Green lantern was better.

Posted by Misterwizz

I liked First Class more but Green Lantern was almost as good.

Posted by Chesapeake

The free interpretation in X-Men First Class worked it out with the story and the script so you can live with the changes or mistakes in relation with the comics. On the other hand, in the Green Lantern movie the same kind of freedom and interpretation did not work well at all.  
 
So, the real problem is that the Green Lantern could have been a great movie but it was not. That is that bother me.  I was kind of waiting something good as DC did a good job with the Dark Knight. On the X-Men First Class, I did not have any expectations since X-Men 3 was really bad.
Posted by soundbite
@Chesapeake said:
The free interpretation in X-Men First Class worked it out with the story and the script so you can live with the changes or mistakes in relation with the comics. On the other hand, in the Green Lantern movie the same kind of freedom and interpretation did not work well at all.   


How so?  It didn't even have continuity within it's own universe.  Second, Green Lantern didn't have a whole of of free interpretation.  It stuck fairly close to the Green Lantern lore as a whole, especially in contrast to First Class.
Posted by cattlebattle
@Hawk said:
Ok maybe it's cause I'm an X-man guy and not really a GL guy that I feel this way.   X-men: they used the same special effects that have been used in the past two movies. Nothing new nothing innovative. Emma, was terrible. Charles, terrible. SS was terrible. Best special effect super terrible. Magneto was good at best.  Plus they ignore any type of time line, canon, everything from the comics....it would be better if they just said. "Hey we know nothing about the comics and are just borrowing a couple of characters" GL: Sinestro....awesome. special effects were pretty good. Story was ok and had to be told to involve non-comic readers. Yes they should have just done a shot by shot remake of First Flight but they didn't.
They had plenty of powers in this film not used in other ones.....were you paying attention?
 
And sure. Nothing in that movie was relevant to the comics...because you know, Xavier didn't start the X-Men, the X-Men never battled the Hellfire Club, Charles Xavier never worked with the government, Magneto never hunted Nazis, whatever (sarcasm obviously).
 
So many people focus on all the things X-Men first class didn't do, they don't respect the things that they did
 
And First Flight was the weakest installment of the DC animated films....why would they use that as a template for the movie
Edited by BlackArmor

@cattlebattle
XMFC was a great movie well acted and plotted but it was literally the worst COMIC MOVIE not only that i have seen but probably that was filmed during my lifetime. I went with my dad who hasnt read comics since the origional Xmen he was thuroughly enjoying himself and telling me to ignore that wasn't like the comics until i told him this was supposed to be the Origional Xmen he stared at me stormed out and came back because the ticket was to expensive to waste. Ilaughed but had to agree with him they took the moovie way to far from its roots to even be called a comic movie. The other problem i had with this movie was DARWIN Im an african american and i found it really offensive that they would pull in a random black charecther and kill him off quite literally 2 minutes later just so no one would complain about a lack of diversity .... which there was anyway. i know darwins a real charecter (I had to look him up) but he's way to obscure for this movie and its obvious why he was there and why he was only there for 2 minutes Im not one to call Racsisim but you judge 
 
@cattlebattle
We focussed on what it didnt do because it didnt do the majority or even a minority of what Xmen did when you add the word "correctly" they did almost literly nothing in line with the comics you pointed out generalizations of Xmen events but if you go into detail on any singal one of those Generalizations then this movie did it incorrectly

Posted by cattlebattle
@BlackArmor said:

XMFC was a great movie well acted and plotted but it was literally the worst COMIC MOVIE not only that i have seen but probably that was filmed during my lifetime. I went with my dad who hasnt read comics since the origional Xmen he was thuroughly enjoying himself and telling me to ignore that wasn't like the comics until i told him this was supposed to be the Origional Xmen he stared at me stormed out and came back because the ticket was to expensive to waste. Ilaughed but had to agree with him they took the moovie way to far from its roots to even be called a comic movie. The other problem i had with this movie was DARWIN Im an african american and i found it really offensive that they would pull in a random black charecther and kill him off quite literally 2 minutes later just so no one would complain about a lack of diversity .... which there was anyway. i know darwins a real charecter (I had to look him up) but he's way to obscure for this movie and its obvious why he was there and why he was only there for 2 minutes Im not one to call Racsisim but you judge

Sigh...........If your down for a discussion about it, I'll explain why this movie was very honorable to the X-Men
 
As far Darwin dying I don't think it had to do with his skin tone, It was probably because Sebastian Shaw killing the unkillable made him more fierce
 
and if this is the worse comic movie you've seen...LOL, you haven't seen many I guess
Posted by BlackArmor
@cattlebattle
Cool im down for disscusion I said im not one for calling racism and honestly i dont think Darwin Died because he was black but its hard to say he wasnt there because of it. I say it was the wort Comic movie ive seen  because every other comic movie ive seen was at least a little closer to the books than this one but it wasnt a bad movie movie but putting the word comic in it drastically lowers my aproval
Posted by sa5m

I like them all =)

Edited by The Velvet Rabbit
@cattlebattle: I'd say it was fairly honorable to X-Men.   it was certainly was very good with character interpretation, but these were never characters meant to be portrayed the way they were.   as I said, I don't think they ruined the timeline - they just played with it a bit too much.   however, it is worth noting that they did retcon about 90% of the classic continuity out of existence, and I don't think they could make a direct sequel to this without pissing off too many purists (and believe it or not, sometimes the purists have pretty fat wallets).
 
also, I don't think Darwin died because he was black, but I'm pretty sure that was one reason why he was put in there (the other being that somebody probably thought of the scene with Shaw killing him beforehand and probably thought it's be cool)   :P
 

@sa5m


I've actually seen very few comic movies I didn't enjoy (outside of the usual)
Posted by Manchine
Posted by BlackArmor

I never meant they killed him for his race but instead intered him then said okay we have a black guy so can we do something else now. I kinda think they just looked through a pile of African American X men and said ini mini miny mo used the random charecter and threw them away 2 minutes after they showed up
Posted by JediXMan

I enjoyed X-Men a lot more than I did Green Lantern.

Posted by theicon

xmen killed it  great movie, i enjoyed GL  people r too hard on it, an ryan he did the best he could  it should hav been 3 hours with a full hour of senetro story blended in, train hal,forging a bond,but also him discovering the yellow corp, and the final hour pure non stop action

Posted by cattlebattle
@theicon said:
xmen killed it  great movie, i enjoyed GL  people r too hard on it, an ryan he did the best he could  it should hav been 3 hours with a full hour of senetro story blended in, train hal,forging a bond,but also him discovering the yellow corp, and the final hour pure non stop action
True , but thats the point, they could have taken a lot of things out of GL and had a better more cohesive story, like Parallax could have been mentioned, and be responsible for Abins death and Hammonds transformation, but thats it. They should have focused on Hals new role as a GL, maybe him and Sinestro could have went out on patrol or something
Posted by Kairan1979

X-Men First Class? Masterpiece in comparison with Green Lantern.
One training scene and almost no screen time for Green Lantern Corps? Wrong on two many levels. 
Cut the screen time on Earth in half (do they really need that stupid scene with boy's birthday?), give a bigger role to Amanda Waller and make her the same fierce woman with take-no-prisoners attitude we remember, allow Hal's friend to so something useful.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

Really? I thought Angela Bassett was a terrible Waller. She didn't exude ANY of the raw intimidating presence that The Wall is supposed to carry. She came off as pretty much any average agent of some super secret government group. She had none of the impressive forcefulness that Amanda Waller is defined by. I don't know if he was accurate to the comics, but I will say Peter Saarsgard was just amazing. And Mark Strong was indeed an excellent Sinestro, but if anyone is truly Amanda Waller, it's C. C. H. Pounder. She did an AMAZING job with the voice in the DCAU, equally as fitting as Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as The Joker. But unlike those 2, she even looks the part. She plays a just as intimidating and just as Wall-Looking government agent in Warehouse 13, Mrs. Fredericks. The only thing separating the 2 characters is that Mrs. Fredericks is, at heart, a nice person. But she puts forth such an impressive Wall-Like front. 
 
But overall I agree, Green Lantern isn't NEARLY as bad as people are making it out to be.