I saw X-Men: Days of Future Past recently and went all giddy with happiness. I sat down in the theatre and felt like a child waking up on Christmas morning to the smell of pancakes and the sounds of wrapping paper rustling. Except I could smell mozzarella sticks and popcorn and hear the theme from X2 pumping through the speakers. Needless to say, I was a happy camper. I was still happy when, like thirty minutes into the movie, I started to cry just a little (more than a little). It had some really touching moments! And it is also pretty intense, as the future no fan ever wanted some of his or her favorite characters to ever experience unfolds before the eyes. Or such a past for that matter. Every character in the movie is at their lowest low, constantly dodging fiery death and their own fears and hatreds.
Not to dwell on the tragic or anything. It is also really funny and, of course, action packed with daring heroics. Everything about it pleased me and if you haven’t seen it I would really really encourage you to. I will likely write up another post in a bit that is more spoiler filled, as their are a couple things I really want to talk about. But for now, I just want to recount how this movie led me to reconsider other movies like it. It basically just made me want to watch all the X-Men movies (yes even that one. And that other one). But also… all the Marvel movies. Sorry DC. Sometimes you are good too. But this is Marvel’s show.
So I watched Thor last night. Holy God! I remember watching it when it first came out and really liking it. But something about watching it again just made it into something that blew my mind. It’s like I was having the best cup of hot chocolate ever and then someone poured Bailey’s into it. That is Thor now. And X-Men is the Bailey’s of superhero movies at the moment. Thor is a Shakespearean play come to life as a comic book movie, unsurprising as Kenneth Branagh directs, and what’s more– it actually works as such.
It is a self-contained movie, something comic book movies have sometimes struggled with in the past, and it is just… great. It is a great movie all on its own, even without and beyond its source material. It is the story of two brothers, both so opposite and both so lost, trying to find a way to make their father love and approve of them. What is more Greek or Shakespearean than that? This could have been performed on the stones of Athenian theaters or the boards in London-town and it is a story that everyone could relate to. Especially the Greeks. They were closer to the gods than we.
And at its core, the new X-Men is also just such a fundamental story. A group of people who have lost their hope, watching their worst fears materialize into a future they don’t know how to prevent. Add in some togas and its got all the makings of a modern Julius Caesar, with Wolverine desperately pointing his finger and proclaiming that the Ides of March will soon be upon us all. So today I am thinking about all those Big Damn Heroes and their stories. I am so happy to be able to sit a spell and listen.