And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


X-Men: First Class (2011)

Well, this is embarrassing. I purposefully avoided X-Men: First Class for a variety of reasons I hope I’ve explained in past X-reviews. Come to find out, not only is it better than it has any right to be, not only is it easily the best X-Men movie of the series…for me, it’s also the best superhero movie of Summer 2011.

But after eleven years and four increasingly crappy movies, can you blame me for being skittish? No. Of course you can’t. Even the so-called “good” X-movies are lousy with basic plot and story problems everyone ignored at the time because we were too busy being happy they existed in the first place. Along comes First Class, a film that feels like its makers kept one eye on a gargantuan check-list of those problems…and the other on the clock. It still has the multitudinous problems of a Superhero Team Movie, and especially a superhero Team Movie made by Fox, but unlike every other superhero movie of Summer 2011, First Class feels like an actual film. Continue reading

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Kick-Ass (2010)

The Real-Life Superhero "Movement" Exposed.Of all the U.K. comic book writers ‘ported over during the 1980s, Mark Millar stands as an all-time champion of sorts, never missing a chance to destroy the goodwill he’s managed to build up with his audience. Kick-Ass, the book, is a perfect example of this, as well as everything wrong with modern comics in general and Millar’s comics in particular. A cynical, revisionist nightmare disguised as a superhero story, starring yet another morosely-unsympathetic protagonist who sublimates his own misanthropy, misogyny, and angst by dressing up in a silly costume and beating others bloody.

The twist? In the case, Our Hero is himself repeatedly beaten bloody, sent through physical, emotional, and psychological tortures most comic book writers reserve for their female supporting characters (before dutifully stuffing them into refrigerators). {More}