The new X-Men movie fires on all cylinders. The cast, acting, story line, special effects, action, depth …everything comes together to make a first class film.
Several days ago I was involved in a FB conversation about education and how it is failing boys. I mentioned that I learned to read mostly from comic books. Not just basic reading, but mostly reading for depth, character development and theme. The Marvel comics of the late 60s and 70s were so far ahead of their time that they were often considered worthy of banning by those elements of society that always want to ban things. They were considered too violent and too controversial. And that was exactly their appeal. At the same time, DC comics tried to remain more sedate in their approach. Comparing the early X-Men comics to the Superman or Batman comics of the time is like comparing The Walking Dead to Little House on the Prairie. And DC eventually got the message, ramping up their style in the 80s to try to remain competitive. (Unfortunately, greed got the better of them all. While there are still some good stories being told, the comic book industry took to producing so many cross-over stories in the 90s that I just stopped buying them. It was clear that they were just trying to manipulate their customers, who were, all too often, kids.)
The point is that those early Marvel Comics had themes and story lines that were mature and relevant. They were about conformity, fear of the different and alienation, when it came to X-Men. Spiderman was about struggles with personal responsibility. The Punisher was about the nature of vigilanteism. Daredevil was about social conscience. The Avengers was often about patriotism and loyalty. While often mocked by my teachers, this reading material was full of well crafted characters and serious social themes, but presented in an accessible way. I’m sure that it contributed not only to my reading comprehension, but also my eventual interest in psychology and philosophy.
I’ve often said to teachers that, for adolescent boys, reading needs to be regarded as a subversive activity. That will engage them.
That was what I loved most about this new X-Men movie. It captures that depth that I recall in my old favorite comics. It is a film of substance, not just super heroes smashing things up. Well done.
I would give this movie an A.