FREAKS VS THE REICH maybe the greatest X-Men film ever made. It could be argued that it is one of the best superhero films ever made as well. It is certainly the most weighty, leaving it’s audience feeling as though it’s had a fine 12 course meal instead of typical circus cotton candy, popcorn and soda.
Set during the war in 1943 Italy the film is the story of four circus freaks who are in a small traveling circus run by a Jewish musician. When the war intrudes and destroys their tent they are sent scattering. They run into a German pianist with 12 fingers and the ability to see into the future. He knows the group is key to perhaps winning the war.
Deliberately told, this is a film crafted by a master story teller. It's deliberately paced giving the film time to create it’s characters and set up it’s situation. This is a film where the characters and their interaction are perhaps more important than the action. It’s a film where everything has a weight. There is a cost to every action. Characters die. We are left as heartbroken as the people on the screen.
I was moved.
No I was rocked. There is a moment late in the film that was one of the most terribly beautiful moments I’ve ever seen in any “superhero” film. Nay, make that in any film. The fiery image killed me because I could feel the weight of what caused it to happen.
Where most similar Hollywood films, say those of Marvel and DC characters treat the material as kind of disposable and commercial, FREAKS VS THE REICH treats it as an actual examination of humanity. There is no thought of connecting it to however many other commodities. This is the only story it is telling and these are the genuine stakes, stakes that will not be compromised by knowing there is more.
It is the most satisfying “superhero” film I’ve seen.
This is a truly great film.
It is highly recommended.
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