Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Inexplicable Movie Review – Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: First Class

Note: Spoilers follow for Captain America 3 and X-Men: First Class.

Because I’ve seen so many Marvel movies, and the X-Men and Spider-man animated series, and lost hours down the Wikipedia wormhole when it comes to characters, I’m dealing with a problem many other comic book nerds probably have. Namely, the storylines are hopelessly tangled in my mind, especially when it comes to remembering anything I haven’t watched in like the previous three months.

This sprung to mind because over the past five days, I checked out Captain America: Civil War, which then spurred Karen and I to watch X-Men: First Class (and eventually, we’ll get to Days of Future Past). However, much like the time-traveled and addled brains of the mutants, I can’t keep track of what plots are in what mediums.

To tackle the movies in order by release, First Class features the introduction of Alex Summers, a.k.a. Havok. Of course, I recognized that last name, so I kept trying to remember who he was related to for the rest of the movie. It doesn’t help that the Summers’ family history is so tangled. (Note: Comic book spoilers there, and potential future movie spoilers.) Likewise, because the movies often flip the genders and ethnicities of the established characters to justifiably get some more diversity involved, I didn’t know if Angel was the soon-to-be Archangel or someone else. (Answer? The latter.) Mystique and Emma Frost also have twists on their comic book personas.

Timeline and background issues aside, I really enjoyed the ole First Class! It did some great things, like dispelling the notion of Professor X as just this hoary old intellectual. He gets the most playful ‘winks’ at his later incarnations, like the constant mentions of going bald. The Mystique-Professor X relationship felt quite clunky to me at times, but from the trailers for X-Men: Apocalypse, it does seem like they’re trying to make the best out of J-Law’s talents.

First Class is a better movie from start to finish than Captain America: Civil War, to make an odd comparison for no particular reason, except that I’ve seen both of them recently. However, if you really enjoy the superhero movies, and you’ve seen almost all of them, then Civil War might be a more enjoyable experience for you.

First things first – It would probably be more accurate to title the movie Avengers 2.5 or Avengers 3. While Captain America is the most prominent character in the movie, the second most prominent is Iron Man, and the biggest fight scene features them, Black Widow, Vision, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, War Machine and other characters prominent in the Avengers movies.

The Captain America vs. Iron Man squabble is as overwrought as you’d think it would be. However, the movie is really spiced up by the inclusion of Ant Man and Spider-man, who both bring some much needed levity, especially the latter. The new Spider-man movie, whenever it comes out, is going to make a bazillion dollars, and it’s great that Rob Lowe has shared the location of the Fountain of Youth with Marisa Tomei, who is allegedly 51, but that just has to be a god damn lie. (Side note: She barely tweets, and only follows two accounts: Marvel Entertainment, and a NYC make-up artist, who obviously needs a raise.)

Beyond the comic relief, much like with the previous Captain America movie, Winter Soldier, the relationship between the Captain and Bucky provides that best main character moments in Civil War. Bucky’s the only one who can really sympathize with Steve’s situation, even if his mind has been turned to mush by Soviet experimentation. The coolest individual fight scene is the two-on-one between the duo and Iron Man, with some combination moves using the vibranium shield.

Anyway! I’m psyched for the upcoming X-Men movie, as well as the inevitable continuation of the Avengers shared universe. For the full list of the many, many, mannnyyy Marvel movies coming out, Den of Geek has you covered, and for the X-Men movies as well. Excluding Apocalypse, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Wolverine 3 seem the most promising to me, and the latter only gets on the list because Old Man Logan / Wolverine is always an awesome idea.

To read all of Steve’s past Inexplicable Movie Reviews, click here! For Inexplicable TV Reviews, click here! For Inexplicable Video Game Reviews, click here! And for Inexplicable Book Reviews, go here!

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