Movie: X-Men First Class

"X-Men: First Class" directed by Matthew VaughnBefore mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to prevent nuclear Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

I wasn’t expecting much with X-Men First Class, to tell you the truth. Wolverine and the X-Men movie that came before, The Last Stand, were great disappointments for me. But when a few friends commented that this one was okay, I thought–hey, it’s been a while since I was last at the theaters. Maybe I should give it a go.

And so I did.

And I loved it.

Well, maybe love is a bit too strong a word. But I definitely liked how they treated the beginnings of the X-Men. I do think that calling it First Class was a bit of a stretch, seeing as they aren’t really the X-Men until the few minutes before the movie was over. But that’s just semantics, isn’t it?

Going into the details of things; I loved the story telling. Even though we were jumping from one point-of-view to another, it didn’t matter because you could still follow what story was being told. This was the beginnings of X-Men, and everyone watching knew this. Yes, we were seeing things through Magneto’s eyes, and we were seeing some happenings through Sebastian Shaw’s as well. But overall, it was the story of how Professor Charles Xavier became the founder of the school for gifted children.

"X-Men: First Class" directed by Matthew VaughnSpeaking of which–another thing I loved was how James McAvoy portrayed the ageing Charles Xavier; and how he was the one teaching his fellow mutants how to harness their capabilities. Especially since the last movie I saw with McAvoy in it was Wanted. Where he was the protege being taught the ropes. He was brilliant in the role. Though, I kept asking myself throughout the movie if Patrick Stewart also affected a British accent in the previous X-Men movies. It’s not important though, just a little nitpicking on my side.

Which brings me to this realization: X-Men First Class shouldn’t be taken as a prequel of the X-Men movies that starred Patrick Stewart and the others. It works best as a standalone–as a new beginning for a new franchise. Because if we did take this as a prequel to those movies, there are a lot of continuity errors that the writers must address in succeeding movies.

Though, seeing as how Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romjin both appeared in cameo roles, playing the characters they played in the X-Men movies, I think the producers do want us to take this as a prequel. Which is a mistake.

X-Men First Class was amazing. I think the people behind this movie would do well to create start the franchise anew, so people could forget the horrible X-Men Last Stand.

But that’s just my opinion.

Other things I loved were: the tweaked role Moira MacTaggert played in the formation of the X-Men; the aforementioned cameos, which were a little funny; the chemistry between actors James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender; and the climax where the movie really ends–but where the story of the X-Men really begins.

Have you seen X-Men First Class? What are your thoughts about the movie?

Book: The Filipino Heroes League, Book One

"The Filipino Heroes League, Book One" by Paolo FabregasUndermanned and under-funded, the Filipino Heroes League does what it can to fight against injustice.

It’s tough being a superhero but it’s even tougher being a third-world superhero.

I have to admit, if it weren’t for the pedicab chase depicted at the back cover, I wouldn’t have picked this title up. Heck, if I hadn’t been waiting for an event to start last May 21, I wouldn’t have picked this title up. The book cover was nice enough, and the title was intriguing enough—but when a book is placed on the bottom part of a display table, along a line of display tables, it’s going to have a hard time attracting attention. So I thank the browser who picked the book up, left it with back cover facing up, in a more visible place than where it was displayed.

With that out of the way, let’s dig into Book One: Stick and Stones.

Book One: Sticks and Stones plays out a bit like an origins story. Which makes sense, seeing as this is the first book of the series. Here we meet the heroes Flashlight, Invisiboy and Kidlat Kid–our three main protagonist who we’ll follow throughout the series. Or at least, that’s my guess. There’s only the first book out. But that’s how I read it, so moving on–

Okay, so the main heroes of the story are set up. Where are the bad guys? Where’s the apocalyptic threat that would force the heroes to band together to save the entire human race? There’s none! Well, we don’t see one in the beginning of the story anyway–because the villains have all been defeated. Heroes have become a moot point. And that’s their main dilemma.

Except, somewhere else in the metro, government officials who are calling for the impeachment of the President are being killed one by one. And the Filipino Heroes League members are being framed for masterminding the assassinations!

By the time the story reached this point, I was completely hooked.

I’m not going to say any more about the story, or the characters, as I feel I might spoil what happens in the book. It’s not a very thick book, and it’s comics, so there’s a huge risk of me saying something that might ruin a few surprises. But the book does boast of three well-developed characters, and a host of others that are full of potential.

If you’re a big fan of comic heroes, and you’re looking for something new to read, then do pick up a copy of The Filipino Heroes League. It’s got heroes, femme fatales, and twists that would make soap operas proud–but with enough heft and plausibility that non-soap fans wouldn’t call it out; it’s also got robots made of trash. Seriously. Robots made of trash. It’s one hell of a cool book.

I got my copy from National Bookstore, but it might also be available in other bookstores. I just haven’t seen them.

Edited to add: You can also get copies from Fully Booked.

Check out an actual review at One More Page!

Or, give it a test read online through this Filipino Heroes League blog link provided by the author and artist.