So I watched XMen: First Class last night. And I can’t unwatch it, which is the real tragedy. Aside from the astronomically stupid plotline, the cardboard characters and the deviation from canon (that’s right, I get upset about that when the movie is terrible), James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are simply too good for the material. As with most “prequels,” the screenwriters tried to pack too many clever references into one story. January Jones was abysmal, which leads me to think that she isn’t acting when she’s playing Betty Draper, she’s just standing around in exquisite costumes looking bored.
I have a love/hate thing with XMen, both the comics and the movies. (Actually, my problems with the entire Marvel universe are legion, but I won’t get into that right now.) How Professor X could convince someone as interesting as Wolverine to become a neutered house pet is beyond me. Xavier’s intentions are good, but unrealistic and simplistic. I’ve always been more sympathetic toward Magneto, to tell the truth. Xavier is dangerously naive, and there’s a nasty undercurrent of antisemitism in the fact that Erik (Magneto), a survivor of the Holocaust, becomes a mutant supremacist and attempts on several occasions to annihilate mankind.
Bah. I watched Hunger, a biopic about Bobby Sands, this morning as I was getting ready. It wasn’t bad. The acting was excellent, and the director took some risks utilizing silence and heavy editing that I feel paid off. Much of the first half hour of the film was characterized by absence — the story was told by what was left out rather than through a laundry list of the abuse visited upon the prisoners. There was a marked lack of context, with bits and pieces of news stories and snippets of Margaret Thatcher’s speeches on the Troubles and the republicans.
If you know the story, it’s an interesting film. If you don’t, you may be wondering why you’re spending an hour watching some hot Irish guy die in a decidedly un-hot way. It was a great palate cleanser after the disaster that was XMen: First Class.
Watching Hunger brought up a lot of old, confused feelings about the Irish republican movement. I’ve always been sympathetic toward the dream of a united Ireland. I know the history of the country, and I know the history of the British occupation. As a human and a grown-up, it’s hard to condone the random acts of violence and terror that have come to characterize the fight for independence in Ireland, and yet what is more intrusive than a colonial occupier? Talk about big government.
Ireland is the one place I’ve always dreamt of visiting. Good and bad, the story of Ireland is fascinating, terrible and beautiful. I got to visit Australia a few years ago, which was very cool, as it was third on my list of places to go before I die, but Ireland has always been at the top of the list for years and years and years. You can ask my friend Eden all it. It’s really been a bit of an obsession. When you grow up in the middle of the Sonoran desert, Ireland seems really, really far away.
In a lot of ways, it still does.