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June 5, 2011 / MojosWork

X-Men: First Class

Rating: 2/5

Synopsis (via IMDB): In 1963, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence

Time: 132 minutes, with plenty of bathroom break time somewhere in the middle

It’s too bad X-Men: First Class treats the source material from whence it came like a second class citizen. I absolutely LOVE the X-Men, but apparently only in comic form. The creative liberties taken with the franchise are just mind-boggling. Imagine writers and directors using Harry Potter characters to retell their own origin story of the title role. It’s a stupid idea, right? Now, imagine Harry Potter, in all its glory, was already drawn as a comicbook. Not only do movie writers already have the story, but its been storyboarded, too! I’m convinced the only reason Hollywood craps on the originals is to create union jobs. I mean, by now, they have to realize they aren’t better writers than the creators of these beloved characters, right? RIGHT?

Instead of maintaining the absurd movie continuity established in the initial X-trilogy, this was the chance to start from scratch and get it right. Has Wolverine: Origins taught these people nothing?

And here comes Spoiler City, so if you insist on dropping $10-13 on First Class, I suggest you close your browser right now.

Sebastian Shaw as a Nazi war criminal who was one of the first to see the mutant potential in Erik Lensherr? I have to admit, I kind of liked this spin on the character, but since the movie takes place in 1962 (or was it 1969?), that leaves Shaw ancient by the time the movie X-Men reach the ages of their comicbook counterparts that so often deal with the Black King. Ditto Emma Frost, who is absolutely HOT, courtesy of January Jones. (I knew her by name/reputation only. She is absolutely smoking for all the right reasons, something the rest of this timebomb can’t claim.)

In a perfect world, Russell Crowe plays Shaw. He already owns the clothes.

The team roster – WORST Class, get it? – annoys me. Instead of Cyclops, Angel, Marvel Girl, Beast and Iceman, we get Havok (Cyclops’ little brother, who in movie world is apparently 20 years older than Cyke), Angel (not the real one, but the cool-but-useless chick from Grant Morrison’s early-2000s run), Mystique (the closest she has ever been an X-Man was in alternate reality stories), Darwin (Jesus Christ), a 15 year-old Banshee (he bangs Moira MacTaggert in the comics; here, she could be his mother!) and Beast, the only remotely accurately-written character outside of Magneto. Oh, if you exclude his super speed. Yup. Super speed.

Back to Moira, she is not a CIA agent. Ever. Which means that this film lost all credibility with me about 10 minutes in.

Back to Beast, his make-up was really shitty, and when he spoke in his animalistic form, it might as well have been dubbed over a la old Bruce Lee movies.

Riptide and Azazel were utterly random choices for henchmen. The former was never mentioned by name and the latter is one of the most maligned characters in the history of X-Men (though I happen to like Chuck Austen’s Nightcrawler origin, which I reference to remind myself that I am not an X-snob), reduced from reality-hopping demon to German henchman in a waiter’s suit. (He does have a badass scene in which he single-handedly kills about 57 CIA agents.)

On the other hand, if your only exposure to X-Men is through the movies, you’ll be happy to hear its probably the best of the bunch. The writers have at least acknowledged that this plot follows along with elements previously established in the other films. We’ve got Mystique’s origin, the rounding out of Beast’s cure arc, the introduction to the hate monger Stryker, and the rift between Magneto and Xavier, which never really needed explaining anyway.

If nothing else, the inclusion of an adult Emma Frost in the 60s negates everything that occurs in Wolverine’s shitshow of a movie. (Assuming you have justifiably blocked the memories of that abortion from your mind, Emma was a teenager alongside Scott Summers.) And the ol’ Canucklehead makes a brief cameo himself in First Class. He might as well have been speaking to me when he dropped his one line: Fuck off.

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One Comment

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  1. datingsagame / Jun 5 2011 6:21 pm

    while not being an avid X-Men reader, I did enjoy parts of the movie. It was entertaining, albeit a bit drawn out. Wasn’t a big fan of Kevin Bacon as the villain figured they could have found somebody better to play that part. All in all I agree with your assessment.

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