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“X-Men: First Class”
a review by Darby O’Gill

What would happen if you took a comic book origin story and mixed it with an actual historical event? In a two words… pure awesomeness! X-Men: First Class does just that. Set during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is called upon by the CIA, to put together a team of young mutant powered heroes. One of which is Erik Lennsherr (Michael Fassbender), or as he’s better known Magneto, and Charles’ future nemesis. The two have very different views on the future of mutant-kind, and both are right in their own way. Now, I’ve stated before that I’m not the biggest Marvel Comics fan, but the one book that has always worked for me is The Uncanny X-Men. The story just works on so many levels: isolation, segregation, political and social unrest, and even varying stages of awkward pubescent adolescence. Even though the comics dealt with the adventures of costume clad super-powered heroes, they also always managed to always keep the subject matter of segregation as its driving force. It was that subject matter that director Bryan Singer was able to so brilliantly convey in the first X-Men movie. I think the first movie really opened the public’s eyes to the types of subject matters comic books could instill in children. I for one, remember my own mother after seeing the first movie saying, “Is that what those comics were about?! I had no idea they gave you so much to think about.” And it’s that same attitude that makes X-Men: First Class just as good. Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) doesn’t just re-boot the series. He truly took his time in making X-Men: First Class a prequel that not only honors the previous films, but could also be seamlessly linked back to them. The surprise cameos helped in that department, but on a whole the movie just works.

With Magneto on Professor X’s side this time around, the franchise gets to introduce yet another key protagonist in the X-Men saga, head of the Hellfire Club himself Sebastian Shaw, brilliantly played by Kevin Bacon. I don’t think I would have ever considered Kevin Bacon for the role of Sebastian Shaw, but it worked! He oozes the character of Shaw, as I remember him from the books, on to the big screen. The hair and wardrobe, it’s all dead-on. And yes, die hard comic book fans are just going to have to go with some of the movie’s changes, as characters and events are slightly askew for this new tale. Another character making her big screen début is Emma Frost, played by January Jones. Jones definitely has the look, and she fit the ‘60’s setting perfectly, but Frost’s diamond form was a little off. I realize that this is a hard one to pull off, and that it worked to some degree, but I just think it could have been done a little better. Other than little things like that, the movie works amazingly well! Also, this story is truly epic! They manage to squeeze so much into the almost two and a half hour running time, that at times I found myself wishing it had been a TV series. I would have really loved to have seen plot points from this movie played out as hour long episodes. You can also tell that things were cut in order to keep the movie under a three hour mark, but will hopefully be made available when the movie comes out on DVD and Blu-ray. This is the summer of Marvel movies, and even though X-Men: First Class received the least amount of hype of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, I think it’s going to end up by far being the best one of the bunch!

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“Jonah Hex”

a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, the race for this year’s Death Coach Award might just be over, because Jonah Hex is one horrible movie. Okay, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but it needed to be said. It’s no secret that I’m a huge DC Comics fan, and I’m always looking forward to anything related to the DC Universe. So, when I heard Jonah Hex was making his way to the big screen, I was extremely excited! Add to that, the announcement that Josh Brolin would be playing Hex, and there was no way this movie could fail. Boy was I wrong! This thing is so bad; I’m really hoping I’m going to be able to put it in words.


For those of you who’ve never heard of Jonah Hex, and I’m sure that’s most of you, he’s not really a superhero, but more like a legend of the old west. The comics are very much a spaghetti-western, in which Hex is neither good nor bad, but just a bounty hunter that can buy you a drink one moment, than shoot you the next. I guess it all depends on his mood that day. He doesn’t have any superpowers, just a scarred face, and bad attitude. Simple… right? You would think. I guess DC Comics just found their Punisher. Don’t worry, I’ll de-nerd that statement for you. For years, Marvel Comics has been trying to get their character The Punisher to work on the big screen, which shouldn’t be too hard because it’s just a guy in a t-shirt with a bunch of guns. Never the less, three failed movies later, The Punisher still has yet to be properly portrayed in a movie. It’s a guy with guns, and a shirt with a big white skull on it. How hard can it be to make that movie right? Apparently, very. You would think the same of Jonah Hex. It’s a western. What could be so hard about making that work? The only thing that could be tricky is Hex’s disfigured face, which they amazingly got right; so I’m really at a lost here. What is it you ask that doesn’t work? How about a horse equipped with duel gatling guns? Dynamite stick firing crossbows? Having supernatural powers to talk to the dead? A glowing orb of… I don’t know, some kind of gas that doesn’t even exist, and can somehow level a city? Or maybe it’s a weapon that comes with a handy outline of the White House on the aiming scope? Good thing that’s what their aiming at. Megan Fox? Actually, she’s not as big of a problem as you might think. She’s not good, but she’s also nowhere near the biggest problem with this movie. No, the biggest problem here is… well the whole damn thing. You have to realize you’ve got a bad movie on your hands, when Wild Wild West looks like it could be an Oscar contender. Oh man, I haven’t even talked about John Malkovich’s phoned-in performance. And, why is Will Arnett in this movie? I can’t. I’m sorry, but I can’t talk about this movie anymore. Okay, the bottom-line here, is that this is the worst movie of the year. Wow, I could have just said that from the beginning. Oh, wait… I did. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read a few hundred issues of Jonah Hex, and hope that I can someday repress these horrible images from my head.

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