I confess that I was a bit of a cartoon nerd growing up. Throughout much of my elementary and middle school years I dreamed of becoming an animator for Disney. I looked forward to that yearly animated Disney release back in the day. I grew up while Saturday mornings were still prime cartoon time for kids. And every Saturday morning I looked forward to the continuing cartoon saga known as X-Men.
I was fascinated with the diversity depicted in the program. Mutants had a variety of “gifts” and came from every walk of life. Each had their own story and ways of dealing with their outsider status. I was an outsider of sorts for much of my young life so I identified with the cast of quirky outcasts.
I saw the first three movies and the horrible Wolverine feature with the beautiful Hugh Jackman. As a loyal fan of the franchise (and after I realized James McAvoy was in it), I decided to support the new installment.
X-Men: First Class is another example of Hollywood’s trend of revamping a franchise with a prequel. This movie focuses on the genesis of the X-Men, depicting a young Charles Xavier (Professor X) played by James McAvoy and his friend, Erik Lensherr played by Michael Fassbender who later becomes his nemesis, Magneto. We see a few of the more famous mutants such as, Mystique and Beast, as youngsters and the conflicts they experience with choosing sides. The action was great. The chemistry between the cast didn’t seem forced. Oh! And the villain Kevin Bacon was good except his accent reminded me of the one he used in the movie Beauty Shop with Queen Latifah. I kept expecting him to say “yahguar”.
What I found the most fascinating about our midnight showing on opening weekend was that a full house of a few hundred people were held captive as the credits rolled. If you have ever attended a Marvel movie then you know there will be some tasty sequel nuggets thrown at you after the credits are done. Several hundred of us, save the 3 or 4 that jumped up as the screen went black at the beginning of the credits, sat in the theater after 2am waiting for those tasty nuggets. An interesting comparison came to me while I waited expectantly with my fellow moviegoers: I wonder how many people in this theater fall in the category of people who leave a church service before it’s over? I know, I know. A weird thing to contemplate when I had been up earlier the previous morning and was due at work in less than 6 hours.
I thought of how many services and conferences I had attended over the years where in a group I was ushered out early to beat the traffic. Or as a churchgoer saw people stick up the “excuse me” pointer finger as they exited the sanctuary before the pastor started a prayer for blessing or salvation. What does that say about us as a culture when people are motivated to sit through the most ignored portion of a movie (except for those working in that industry) to catch a glimpse of a sequel that won’t be out for another 2 years but yet church folk can’t sit still while someone contemplates the condition of their life and soul during the ending prayer of a church service?
It says that we willingly give a measure of meaning to things of our own accord. We sat there enjoying the company of others as we waited for the credits to roll through because we wanted to be among the first of mainstream moviegoers to view a preview of a sequel. There was value attached to our behavior. It makes me wonder just exactly what things do I value by what I say versus what I do? Oh yes, this will definitely lead into another blog post. 😉