X Men School #atozchallenge


XWho’s your favourite member of the X Men – or X Person (if you feel that a group of super heroes of both genders should have had an appropriate name change by 2016)?

Is it Wolverine, with his wolf-like retractable claws and less wolf-like self-healing powers, or Cyclops, who wears cool designer ski goggles because red laser beams constantly shoot from his eyes. You might favour Storm and her ability to roll her eyeballs 360° and manipulate the weather, or Rogue, one of the coolest for her knack of absorbing the abilities of others thus rendering her all-powerful (and consequently, in the patchy  X Men 3, just a little bonkers).

To be honest, Marvel’s X Men – created by the amazing Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in 1963 – now one of their most successful comic book and movie franchises, is a bit of a swizz. Coming up with a collection of superhero mutants with different powers (and admittedly silly names and even sillier costumes), Stan Lee knew that his characters could literally do anything – which means the stories would end up becoming more outlandish and ridiculous as the years went by. Kicking off as a clever commentary on race and equality in the turbulent early 60s, these all powerful characters would end up only being able to fight each other before Lee and his writers had to think of even more astonishing beings that would challenge them. You’ve seen the movies, well the comics are even more mind-boggling.

Marvel turns it up to 11 in a recent Uncanny X Men series

I do love the X Men (although I’d say the movies peaked at X Men 2) but I always wonder if Dr Xavier’s school for gifted children – where these extraordinary mutants are taught to harness their gifts – should offer courses for those with more mundane, everyday powers. Perhaps you have the amazing ability to open jars that have been closed too tightly. Off to X Men school with you! They would call you The Twist. You might have an uncanny sense of direction. You’d be in there too and your X Men name would be SatNav. Perhaps you just give incredible hugs, the kind that have awesome regenerative powers. You’re enrolling! You will be known simply as The Bear.

These powers are no more useful than teleportation or the ability to manipulate metals with your mind. They might even be more useful. How are these X Men going to find their way to a battle without SatNav – or more importantly, find their way out. Where do they go if their feeling a little low? That’s a job for The Bear.

So what would your X-power be? What gets you into X Men school? Are you particularly good at Sudoku? Do you always arrive on time? Perhaps you have an uncanny memory for pop lyrics of the Nineties. I’ll get you an application form.

My power is that I am incredibly good at finding things: keys, wallets, school ties, household bills – if you’ve mislaid it, I can get it for you. I’m pretty sure I’d walk into X Men school with that humdinger. I bet Wolverine is always losing stuff. They’d call me Findo. Now, I need a costume.

Kraitt out.

Wolverine’s lost his mobile phone again!

Batman meet Superman. Superman meet Batman. #atozchallenge

Yes, just like the rest of the pop culture geek sheep, James and I turned up on Bopening night for Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of the Return of the Revenge of the Son of the Bride of Justice (that’s James’s joke). My daughter Molly is sixteen and has far more important things to do with her time!

Now, this blockbusting beast of a movie has suffered some cataclysmically disastrous reviews and many fans feel let-down, wounded, betrayed…

A very clever film critic prepares to pass judgement on BVS:DOJ [acronym ahoy!]


We both did.

Yes, it’s a godawful mess. Of course, the plot actually makes no sense if you think about it for more than five seconds. Zack Snyder has no idea what to do with Superman so Henry Cavill looks faintly perplexed throughout. Sure, Lois Lane is desperately underwritten. Obviously, the blatant mini-trailers for future DC movies that have been shoehorned into the plot seem utterly contrived and nastily cynical (Marvel never does that – they save it for the end credits!). And I understand from true geeks that the film makers haven’t just ignored comic book lore, they’ve torn out all the pages of the rule book and set fire to them on a Viking longboat and sent them floating off on the River Styx to Movie Hades.


You cannot deny it is a hell of a lot of fun.

Ben Affleck is the most bad-ass Batman we’ve seen this side of the Arkham video games. Jeremy Irons is a perfectly crotchety Alfred. Gal Gadot takes on Wonder Woman with a vengeance and Jessie Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is a fittingly contemporary, sincerely bonkers techno-zillionaire. The action sequences are sweet, the mood is darker than the Marvel model, and it even attempts some serious themes amongst all the nonsense. Much of this good will may be down to my astonishingly low expectations: Man of Steel was half an okay picture but the other half really was a crime against movie-going humanity; but that doesn’t alter the fact that this reviewer’s thumb is up! I actually want to see it again and what’s not to like about that?!

Next time, we’ll turn our attention to a real movie legend who would kick these guys’ butts from Metropolis to Gotham and back again. Until Monday.

Kraitt out.

Bruce Wayne and his chums in happier times