After taking a few days off from the Ireland blogging, I took the time to get caught up with a few things here – as well as getting caught up on the summer super hero blockbusters by seeing X-men First Class. I was a little nervous about sitting in a dark theater while recovering from a 7-hour jet lag, but I chanced it and was successful.
In case you didn’t know: I’m a comic geek, and the X-men – my first love – extends to our cat named Logan. Unfortunately the last chapter of the X-men movie really ruined that franchise, to the point to where they couldn’t make any more sequels. I’m not quite sure how X-men First Class fits into all of this. Is it a prequel, or is it a franchise reboot. Nonetheless it rectifies the monstrosity that was X-men 3 and brings this franchise somewhat back.
[Warning: Possible Spoilers Ahead]
Of all of the comic movies,X-men has the ability to venture into some political and philosophical discussion – how do people deal with persecution and prejudice. The battle between the ideals of Xavier and Magneto have always been intriguing, and I love how this movie explored their friendship, their commonalities, and how their falling out occurred. I love that the movie used the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis as the foundation of this movie. The Missile Crisis is one of the few times in our history when we humanity (from a US point-of-view) was genuinely threatened, and it gave the X-men a plausible way to save the world. I love how the US and Soviets – enemies that only minutes ago tried to destroy each other – agreed that mutants were so threatening that they had to band together to take the mutants out.
Other things I loved about First Class:
- One of the best training montages in a super hero movie. One could make an argument for Batman Begins, but I love how Xavier helped each one of the students develop their powers and learn how to grow their abilities.
- The performances by James McAvoy as Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Magneto. These guys did a wonderful job playing young versions of these characters without trying to look like caricatures of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan.
- Young Nazi-killer Magneto was badass
- During the movie, my wife Bethany pointed out that Michael Fassbender looked like a younger Jon Hamm.
- I loved the imagery that was used with the “Magneto” helmet. It of course had the very practical use of blocking telepathy, but I loved how it served as the mantle of the leader of the mutant superiority movement. That moment with Magneto put on the helmet had a Darth Vader-like approach of embracing the villainy
- I really liked Kevin Bacon’s acting in this movie, he made a pretty good villain
- That cameo with Wolverine was fantastic
Things That Bothered Me About First Class:
- I didn’t like how Mystique turned out at the end. The dots that brought her to Magneto’s side didn’t connect, and especially the timing of her turning was bizarre. Somehow we were expected to believe that she would walk over the crippled body of (essentially) her brother over to the guy who caused the incident. I don’t know if the writers felt compelled to have her switch sides by the end of the movie, but I felt like people would have accepted a switch in the sequel or even off-screen.
- The Hellfire Club was a little misused and came across a little one-dimensional. In the comics they were originally this secret society, but the movie portrayed them as this hodge-podge group of super villains.
- Some of the choices they made for characters were a little strange. There are definitely better mutants out there that could have been used rather than Angel and Darwin (who ultimately were really one-dimensional). This comes down to whether this was a prequel or a reboot. I wish it would have been a reboot, because then you could have gotten away with using some characters that were used in other movies.
It’ll be interesting to see where the X-men franchise goes from here. Part of me wishes they didn’t pack so much into this movie and reserved it for a sequel. My guess is that this movie has been acclaimed enough and has made enough money to continue down this story, so now the question is “Where do they go here from now?”. Do they introduce new characters, and do they introduce the ones we know? How does this tie into the previous movie canon and the Wolverine movie? I would love them to take the “Reboot” route that was done with Star Trek, then they could introduce some of the stronger characters that we grew to love in previous movies.
What do you think of this movie? Where do you think it compares with the other movies? Not counting the Wolverine movie, I would say that this movie probably is second to X2, beating out the first first movie (all of which are miles above X3).