February 11, 2014
X-Men can't read my mind
Superhero movies aren't usually my thing, but I really liked X-Men: First Class, and have been excited about the sequel coming out in May, Days of Future Past. In the first X-Men series, I liked the sequel (X-Men 2) even better than the first movie, so I have high hopes that this sequel will also be great, before some other director comes in and ruins the franchise with an abysmally disappointing third installment. Please keep Brett Ratner away from this series.
I liked almost everything about First Class, with one big exception. James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, and his insistence on showing the audience he's reading someone's mind by putting his fingers to his temple, every blessed time. Once or twice would have been OK. Putting your fingers to your temple is universally accepted movie-code for "I'm reading your mind", but after the ten thousandth time, it just got insulting. Xavier can read minds, we get it! Unless there's a physical Telepathy Activation button located on Xavier's temple that must be pushed in order for mind-reading to occur, all that gesturing was pointless and silly.
What's especially strange is that Patrick Stewart didn't use the mind-reading gesture in the first X-Men series, and neither did January Jones, who plays telepath Emma Frost in the same movie as James McAvoy. Those other actors just look intensely focused for a moment and squint ever so slightly, and, magically, the audience understands what's happening.
Since the world has been so thoroughly educated on Xavier's mind-reading ability, I sort of assumed we wouldn't be subjected to so much temple-pressing in the X-Men sequel. Then I got my special collectible X-Men Days of Future Past issue of Empire magazine in the mail, and was greeted with this cover:
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