Asta 2

I'm Back...Again

It's been three months since I last posted. Whudaya want to make of it? ;p To be honest, I've come to conclusion that unless there is something I really feel strongly about discussing - such as White Collar returning tomorrow night - I have little interest in posting. And Twitter has eaten my brain. And jamiebambernews can take up quite a bit of time, at least when Jamie has a project in the works. So, yeah, I don't think my LJ posting is ever going to be what it once was and I'm OK with it.

I actually had a list of shows that I intended to post some thoughts on, but the fall season is over and it now seems rather pointless. But I did want to dust off my posting skills before White Collar's third season premiere and my weekends movie and TV viewing did get me to thinking.

I've seen several people declare First Class the best X-Men film yet. I'm not quite willing to go there. My Hugh Jackman/Wolverine love is very likely skewing my opinion. Although, even Hugh couldn't salvage the abysmal Wolverine film. That was TERRIBLE. And Last Stand had more than it's share of issues. But I can definitely add First Class to the first two X-Men films as immensely rewatchable.

I also feel, as good as First Class is, it could have been better. There are continuity issues. Many of which can be overlooked if you ignore Last Stand and Wolverine (and I know many of us wish to). The most problematic continuity issue I had involved Raven/Mystique and Charles growing up together. There was no indication in any of the previous films the two had ANY connection in the past, let alone spent years living together. It also would have been nice to have an explanation as to how Mother and Stepfather Xavier welcomed Raven into their home, even if she disguised her appearance. zegeekgirl had a workable theory that Charles used his mind control powers on them, but I still feel there's a big leap from offering his home to her and it actually happening.

Hank creating Cerebro initially pinged as wrong to me, I was eventually able to handwave it as a prototype, with Charles and Erik later designing the one on Charles' estate. I can also totally accept Erik and Charles reconciling at least once over the years in order for the thing to get built.

While I think a wonderful job was done developing the relationship between Charles and Erik, fleshing out what was hinted at in the previous films, many of the other mutants didn't fair so well. Even with it's faults, X-Men did a pretty good job of establishing the powers and personalities of Logan, Rogue, Scott, Jean, Storm and, to a lesser extent, Magneto's crew. In First Class, of the 'lesser' mutants, only Mystique and Beast get decent development, building on what we already know and in some unexpected ways. The Hank McCoy in Last Stand, so comfortable in his body and an outspoken advocate for mutants, is a far cry from the young man desperate to hide what he is. In the same film, when Mystique loses her mutant abilities and is forced to live as a human, her anger and subsequent betrayal of Magneto is understandable given he was the one person to accept her as herself - then cast her aside as soon as she was no longer useful to him.

But the rest of the mutants didn't fair so well. Poor Darwin, we hardly knew you. I missed Alex's last name so I had to look up online to see if he was, in fact, Scott's brother...and that was the most interesting thing about him. Banshee didn't really, er, resonate. Angel's quick turn to the darkside was made even more WTF by happening right after witnessing dozens of men slaughtered and new friend murdered. And all I can say of Shaw's gang is - EVIL! Oh, and January Jones is an incredibly wooden actress, isn't she? I think I would have preferred her and Rose Byrne swapping roles.

While Fassbender and McAvoy share a fabulous onscreen moment after Charles is shot, I do wish it hadn't happened. Not just because it's another continuity issue, but because it would seem to indicate, if there is a sequel, McAvoy/Charles will be in the wheelchair. If the filmmakers were hoping for another franchise (and I can't imagine they weren't), one would think they'd hold off introducing Charles' paralysis until at least the third firm.

No offense to James McAvoy, who did a fine job, but Michael Fassbender, like Hugh Jackman before him, was THE breakout star of the film. You couldn't help but to focus on him whenever he was on screen. Putting aside his looks, the man has acting ability. Already knowing who and what Erik becomes, it's a hard sell to make the character sympathetic. But Ian McKellen did it before and Michael does it again. Hell, I would have even considered going with Erik given the mutants just put their asses on the line to save humanity and humanity's response was to kill them all. (By the way, anyone have any idea how they got off the island? Charles using mind control again?) At the same time, going to war and making humanity pay for their fear and ignorance wasn't going to solve any problems either.

Given my aforementioned Jackman bias, LOVED the Logan cameo. PG-13 films are allowed one use of the F word and they put it to good use. :) It was also nice to see Rebecca Romijn get in on the cameo action.

And my favorite unintentionally hilarious moment was finding out Charles planned to hide himself and his school in Westchester. On his family estate. Seriously? Look, the U.S. government and it's various security agencies have their fair share of problems and screw-ups, but a simple deed search is going to out him.

I'm not terribly invested in Doctor Who. I tend to watch episodes once, maybe twice. I don't feel compelled to discuss it at length. Once in a while I have a strong reaction to Who storylines. Donna remains my favorite companion and I hate how RTD destroyed the character. I prefer Eleven to Ten. And while I don't love River as many on my Flist seem to, I do like her and find her an interesting character.

And this weekend we learned, conclusively or as conclusively as can be in a show that is capable of changing time, space and history, River Song is Melody Pond, the daughter of Amy and Rory. Who also happens to be madly in love with the Doctor. The guy her mother snogged and who she, literally, shared a crib with. Head, please meet desk.

I've seen reactions to this twist range from thrilled to 'I don't know how I feel about this'. I would definitely be in the latter category. On the most basic level, I find it incredibly depressing if Melody/River is presumably the little girl in the space suit, and history can't be changed and, at best, Rory and Amy missed their child's first seven or eight years of life. It was also a little dispiriting, after reading chaila's post, to think that, instead of immediately revealing her identity to her devastated parents so they'd know their daughter lived and, putting aside a rather lengthy criminal record, is healthy and happy, she plays a guessing game with The Doctor. I know the show is called Doctor Who and he's the center of the universe (close to literally), but this felt like it should have been a River/Amy/Rory moment rather than a moment focusing on him.

I've also had a growing feeling all season the series has become too complicated. That's not to say too complex. I like complex. I wouldn't be as big a BSG fan as I am if the story boiled down to robots = bad and humans = good. I like grey and I like to think. But if I think about the River Song/Melody Pond storyline for too long, my head starts to hurt. I don't know if at the end of this current series, Steven Moffat is going share when he came up with this current storyline. I'm not going to buy it was when we were first introduced to River since RTD was still in charge and we had a different Doctor and companion. Maybe it came to him last series or when he sat down to write this series. Either way, it has the feeling, to me, of thinking you have a great idea, but not really thinking through the implications of it. More than BSG (And, yes, I will admit Ron was guilty of throwing ideas out there and poorly executing them. ::cough:: Daniel ::cough::), this weeks DW made me flashback to The X-Files, which ultimately collapsed under the weight of it's own mythology. I still don't know who was behind what or what exactly happened to Samantha or why the aliens seemingly gave up...but I digress...

While definitely not a bad episode (unlike the PotC ripoff a few weeks ago), I have my concerns about where this is all heading. I can only hope for a really awesome and unexpected solution in which I'm not left incredibly sad.
Hi! I, for one, am happy to see you posting!

Angel's quick turn to the darkside was made even more WTF by happening right after witnessing dozens of men slaughtered and new friend murdered.

That was probably my biggest HUH? moment of the movie. "I just watched you attack and kill a whole bunch of innocent people, including one person I was friends with and who was a mutant like me, and now I want to join your team!". That didn't make any sense to me at all, unless I'm supposed to think that Angel's kind of a psychopath.

I liked the movie a lot, though. It's one of those summer movies where I don't mind so much if it doesn't entirely make sense as long as it keeps me entertained. And yeah, as much as I liked many of the other cast members, Fassbender absolutely stole the show. I think this is going to make him into a big movie star.

this weeks DW made me flashback to The X-Files, which ultimately collapsed under the weight of it's own mythology. I still don't know who was behind what or what exactly happened to Samantha or why the aliens seemingly gave up...but I digress...

She's magic fucking starlight now! Or...something. I don't know either.
I watched the last X-Files film again not too long ago and, early into the film, Mulder looks at that photo of Samantha and my mind immediately went to, "What the hell happened to her???" And was the CSM Mulder's father? That family tree got so f***ed up. I guess I could check wikipedia. ;)

I agree with most of what you say here. I liked the X-Men film a lot, though it wasn't perfect. In general I didn't mind the lack of characterisation for the younger generation, though it would have been a stronger movie had it been better, but I did think that Angel was just a lazy attempt at repeating Pyro.

I didn't have too much of an issue with Mystique because I got the impression his parents were incredibly distant and he was mostly raised by servants, or something, and she could disguise herself as anyone. In fact I sort of thought that he never actually told his parents and/or used mind control but you're right, clarifying that would have been better. I did like the way it ended between them though - surprisingly unrecrimination - even though I would understand if people felt cheated given their lack of interaction in the "later" movies.

The one thing I really wish they'd done slightly differently was part of Erik's storyline, basically because it was far and away the best thing about the movie. The moment when he kills Shaw was great, but somewhat lacking in emotion for me because he's already killed a bunch of people and done some really bad shit to get here. I do understand that this was the apex of his quest - that after this he has no focus and it won't have brought him peace, but still, I felt it could have gone from a great to a spectacular moment if he hadn't been killing people all along - at least not onscreen in such a casual way. Related to that I would have liked a bit more differentiation between Erik and Shaw. Not a huge amount, just...a subtle variation of their attitudes beyond what we had there?

Having Erik as a mirror of Shaw, just having had to endure more and at his hands...I guess it works? But I don't know. Part of what I love about Magneto is his loyalty to his own kind, which is something Sebastian Shaw said but never really lived up to in terms of his character in the way Magneto does (even when Magneto's currently waging war on his fellows). I understand the desire to parallel the different factions of mutants as a different factions of WWII in an attempt to create a thematic mirror to Erik's backstory and also because, well, oppression of the other and race are core X-Men themes. But there was something about the way it was executed that was...not quite sharply defined enough for me. I'd've liked a bit more attention paid to that. Or maybe I just wanted more Magneto. ;)

As to Doctor Who, I am...coming around to not hating the idea, basically because of curiosity about where it'll go and how they'll handle that and because, well, I guess because I feel it's more silly than offensive. More a bit of a disappointment than a soul-crushing example of idiocy. And I'm kind of feeling apathetic enough about television in general (and perhaps Doctor Who in particular right now) that I don't really have the energy to be outraged? But I do agree that as much as I can see them heading in a direction I don't hate, I can see them heading in a direction that makes me want to throw my remote at the TV. SO WE'LL SEE.
Pyro wasn't the most complex of characters, but he had some development and you could see he was already treading the line between right and wrong and after Magneto declared him a god, yeah, you could see why he might switch sides. ;) Shaw walks in, after slaughtering a bunch of people and says, 'Hey, I get you better than they do. Trust me!'

I was let down by Shaw's demise and I couldn't put my finger on why. Killing him, slowly, with the coin was clever, but it lacked DRAMA. Now that you mention Erik's many victims before Shaw, that's probably it. The emotional impact of Erik achieving his goal after all those years didn't seem like such a big deal (for us) following a significant body count. He could kill easily by that point, and seemed to accept it as a way of his life, whereas it should have been more a 'look at what you made me' moment.

The main difference between Erik and Shaw, for me, was Shaw's desire to wipe out humanity whereas Erik would, eventually, seek to dominate it. You can't be a god among humans if, well, there are no humans. Sure, Erik nearly killed all those naval folks, but that was more a reaction to betrayal and anger. Ultimately, I found it interesting that Erik became so much like the man he so hated and didn't seem to realize it.

I hate to judge 'Doctor Who' too much until we see part 2. I've burned myself before by getting worked up by things I thought would happen and didn't. But I wish I was more eager to see part 2.
In one of those moments that make me go "hmm... weird", as I turned in last night I thought "I haven't heard from Asta in a while... I must send her an LJ-nudge." And then, there I am 8 or so hours later catching up on LJ quickly by BlackBerry as I wait for my train, and there's a post from you. Do I have the latent mutant power to detect potential LJ posts?
I think I have a latent mutant power to detect potential Jamie Bamber news, so who knows! ;)