This has been a strange summer for me. So far I have only seen two movies in the theater this year. (Although I am very interested in seeing what all the hype of Tree of Life is all about, I have not had a chance to see it yet, and I am quite excited for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 which I already have tickets for Thursday at midnight).
Being the life-long Marvel Zombie that I am, of course the two movies I have seen were Thor and X-Men: First Class.
Thor was one of the comics that I could never get into. He has that same problem for me that Superman has; No flaws. Both are similar in the sense that they are indestructible "gods", in Thor's case that term is literal. I probably would like Thor much more if I ever really gave it a chance since I am obsessed with all classic mythologies and Marvel did keep very close to the Norse text from what I can tell (except the whole changing Thor from a red-headed kind of ugly idiot into the blond, good-looking hero-type, but we can forgive them for that (for now)). The movie told a very accessible story for the layman, and I was very surprised that it was so mythological and even more shocked that it worked and was almost believable. But really the thing that made the movie was Kenneth Branagh making the story very Shakespearean in nature and casting the insanely likable Chris Hemsworth as the titular character.
While watching the movie, I was thoroughly entertained. I especially loved Tom Hiddleson who personified Loki and gave the trickster god/villain real heart so the audience was almost rooting for him. As well as the comic relief of Kat Dennings and the inner child in me was super excited to see how Marvel is truly growing their universe and connecting all their movies with appearances by SHIELD, Hawkeye and was that Luke Cage that Thor fought?
After a month of hindsight, the movie does have it faults *cough* Natalie Portman *cough* (and that unbelievable love story), but what the entire movie rested on the actor playing Thor, and he really delivered by making the character likable.
The other movie I saw was X-Men: First Class. This movie went very much against the comic books in details, but it had the heart of the books which is why it works very well. I loved how Matthew Vaughn took real-world history and incorporated it into the world of the X-Men. This was a great reboot (and can only hope Spider-Man succeeds even half as well), because we can see how this story ties into the movies that came before it while also being its own story. The story of this X-Men shows Charles Xavier and Magneto as young men. It shows how they met and how/why they developed their similar, yet conflicting philosophies.
The highlights for me are pretty obvious: Michael Fassbender as Magneto played the tortured role in a believable way where we can understand why Magneto could be so angry. I also loved the first-person point of view of Beast's transformation, and the kids having fun with their powers.
I had some issues which are mostly nerdy issues like how certain characters were portrayed but that's only because they were different than the 20+ years of books I've been reading. I can 100% understand why some the writers chose to go in the direction they did. But here's a pretty simple idea when adapting comic books: You have years upon years of material and hundreds of books that are almost perfect storyboards to be used at your discretion. You also have universally accepted "best of" storylines, Hollywood should use what they have and not try to reinvent the wheel. And when you have what is considered one of the worst storylines of all time, and is considered terrible because of one specific character, you shouldn't put that character in your movie: I'm looking at you Azazel!