Friday, February 11, 2011

Captain America and X-Men look to the past for inspiration

As you read yesterday, I got my knickers most firmly in a twist about the new James Bond book – which I believe Hodder & Stoughton are making a horrible mistake with; setting it in the modern day.

Fortunately, my period proclivities are being satisfied elsewhere – with the trailers of the latest Captain America and X-Men movies.

Now, I'm not really into comics, but I do love Captain America. He's as patriotically archetypal as Superman, but the guys at Marvel have done some cool stuff with him lately. Most notably, when they published their 'Civil War' storyline, 'Cap' went rogue and fought against the government's plan to register all superheroes. I liked that because it fed into the American mentality that dissent is patriotic.

Captain America never quite got the hang of camouflage

Anyway – the new movie looks awesome, and is set in World War II – which tickles my fancy no end. From Indiana Jones onward, there's simply no more satisfying cinematic butt to kick than that which belongs to a Nazi!

Almost as exciting is another comic book franchise – the X-Men. I've never really been into the adventures of this talented team of 'metahumans' - but I do like the fact that they're setting this movie in the 1960s, knee-deep in the cold war. While they're diverting quite significantly from the storyline of the original comics (which were first published in the 1960s, as an allegory of the civil rights movement) it looks like they've got the Kennedy-era atmosphere pitch-perfect.

Oh, 1960s... Why were your clothes so beautiful?

The 'First Class' of the X-Men, which nerds complain contains just one member of the first class of the X-Men

These are lessons the Estate of Ian Fleming should have paid attention to. Setting things in the 'modern age' doesn't necessarily make them better or more relatable. In fact, history is a much more fertile creative playground because you can use established characters, events and archetypes as metaphors for today's troubles and tribulations.

Anyway. Watch the trailers to Captain America and X-Men: First Class below. They rock.

Captain America

X-Men: First Class

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