Movie of the Week: X-Men: First Class

When I first heard they were making X-Men: First Class, I had absolutely no interest in seeing it. The X-Men franchise, which started out great, had fooled me twice with X-Men: The Last Stand (which should have been my last stand) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Then the trailers started coming out and I became intrigued. The more news I read and video I saw, the more I wanted to see it. So cheers to the advertising and PR campaign for the film. When the final credits rolled, I wasn’t completely disappointed but if I had gone with my initial feelings and caught it on Netflix, I wouldn’t have felt that bad.

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Movies I’m Looking Forward To This Summer 2011

Instead of doing my usual list of movies I’m interested in seeing knowing I’ll probably only see a third of that list, I’m just going to focus on the 10 movies I’m going to make the most effort to try and see.

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (7/15): How could this not be #1 on my list?  I can’t believe it’s finally going to be over.  The latest trailer looks amazing (but then again, all of the Harry Potter trailers have succeeded in increasing my anticipation).  I wonder if I would have enjoyed the movie series as a whole more if I had stuck to my initial plea to not read the books until after the movies had finished (Thanks again, Erika).
  2. Super 8 (6/10): The trailer has a strong E.T. vibe to it (Steven Spielberg is the executive producer). The second I heard Kyle Chandler’s (Coach Eric Taylor from Friday Night Lights) voice, I got excited.  I really hope this is the beginning of Chandler becoming a huge movie star (or at least Jon Hamm-level industry respect).
  3. Captain America: The First Avenger (7/22): I had concerns about Chris Evans playing Steve Rogers and the fact that he has very little dialogue in the trailers hasn’t completely alleviated it.  I generally like Evans’ work.  When he was cast as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies, I thought it was perfect casting because of his easygoing personality but Rogers is a more serious character.  It will be interesting to see if he dials it back or if we’re going to have a more “fun” Captain America.  I’m praying for the former.
  4. X-Men: First Class (6/3): When I first heard about this movie, I had absolutely no desire to see this.  After the last two X-Men movies (X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine), I was pretty much done with the franchise (at least from a movie theater experience).  Then I saw the trailer.  It didn’t blow me away or anything but the movie looked a lot more competent than expected.  Suddenly I stopped ignoring all the news surrounding the movie.  I realized there were actors who’s work I generally enjoyed (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult) and I am a fan of director Michael Vaughn’s work.
  5. Thor (May 6): Knowing everything that is attached to the character of Thor, I imagine this will be the most difficult Marvel movie conceptually for the average moviegoer. You have to explain the idea of Asgard, the gods, the Rainbow Bridge and still make it entertaining.  If it wasn’t directed by Kenneth Branagh, I’d have less faith that they could pull this off.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this bombed but I really hope it doesn’t.
  6. Kung Fu Panda 2 (5/27): The first Kung Fu Panda was a huge surprise to me.  I might have been experiencing Jack Black Fatigue at the time. I didn’t see it in the theaters but ended up catching it on cable and liking it a lot.  Then I watched it again.  And again.  And again.  Basically, if I’m flipping through the channels and Kung Fu Panda is on, guess what we’re watching? While I doubt that this sequel can be as good as the original (no matter what the story is, it’s had to re-create the character arc of Bo becoming the Dragon Warrior), I hope it will at least be entertaining.
  7. Winnie the Pooh (7/15): Seriously. When I heard that Disney was making a new feature movie with Winnie The Pooh, I was genuinely excited. When I was a kid, I lived for catching the three Winnie The Pooh featurettes (Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree , Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too) on Sunday evenings. I’m looking forward to a nostalgic return to the Hundred Acre Wood.
  8. Green Lantern (6/17): I have the same reservations about Ryan Reynolds playing Hal Jordan that I have for Chris Evans playing Steve Rogers.  He adds humor to a character that doesn’t require any.  A bigger concern for me is the CGI.  Each trailer I see adds to my nervousness.  It looks like a comic book movie version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? with Reynolds walking around a green screen surrounded by cartoon Lantern Corps members.  I prefer my special effects to be somewhat grounded in reality (if that makes any sense).
  9. The Hangover Part II (5/26): In this case, seeing the trailer made me want to see this movie less.  I hate “How can the same thing happen to us again?” sequels and “Wow. How did this person from the first movie randomly show up in the sequel?” sequels.  The stock dropped the second I saw Ken Jeoong in the trailer (nothing against him).
  10. Cars 2 (6/24): The first Cars movie may have been my least favorite Pixar film but I see every Pixar film in the theaters so why would I break the streak. Plus, there’s going to be a Toy Story short in front of it!
Other movies I might check out but will likely catch vis the Internet: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (8/5), Another Earth (7/22), The Tree of Life (5/27), Bridesmaids (May 13), Our Idiot Brother (8/26), Cowboys & Aliens (7/29)