X-Men: First Class. The best comic book to screen origin story I’ve seen, and a more than adequate potion to help erase the farce that was X-Men 3: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
I had my doubts after the last two failures, and taking it back to the 60s, telling the story of a young Magneto and Charles Xavier and intertwining the story with the Cuban Missile Crisis seemed like an extremely ambitious undertaking by Matthew Vaughn, but all in all, he’s made it work, and then some!
Ah, Michael Fassbender, my new mancrush. Fassbender is fantastic as a young Erik Lensherr / Magneto, and his character is written very well the whole way through. His scenes in the first third of the movie feel like they could be out of a James Bond flick, and his two relationships—one with Xavier, played splendidly by McAvoy, and a wonderfully evil turn by Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club—are at the crux of what makes this film so good. Oh, the chills, when he puts on that helmet towards the end, and the symbolism and hope of what it could mean for the future of this trilogy.
On the flipside of Fassbender’s Magneto comes January Jones’ very rigid Emma Frost. I’m disappointed. Emma Frost, the White Queen, could have been so much more, and while there’s still hope, I just can’t see Jones switching gears. I expected seductive and manipulative, like Mystique from the previous trilogy, but the outfits looked terrible at times, and the delivery, I don’t know, it was just off. Seeing how things ended, I’m scared that she could ruin a sequel, given her potentially large role.
I hated, and cringed at the bestowel of names on each of the characters. You know, why not just NOT go there? It was forced, with the barest semblance of an explanation, and every time I heard another X-Men name come up, I died a little inside. Terrible, lazy writing for the minute or two of screen time that it took up.
Another gripe. Apparently it isn’t an X-Men movie unless you have some useless mutant that becomes part of the central group of characters. Meet Angel Salvadore. Honestly, why? A weak character that got progressively worse. Riptide, I didn’t mind, and I loved Azazel, mainly because I love Nightcrawler so much. Interesting that Havok, Cyclops’ younger brother was written in too; I was really hoping he’d go crazy towards the end and let loose with some plasma blasts. Next time it is!
These gripes however, are minor, and try as they may, do nothing to affect the quality of First Class. Vaughn has created a great Magneto origin story and X-Men prequel, and I can only pray for a quality sequel that’s in the X2 ballpark.
Oh, and that moment, when the whole audience will burst out in laughter, yeh, it’s awesome!
I foolishly decided to start a thread in /r/movies, and am currently getting a tad flamed, so head on over if you want.
6 thoughts on “X-Men: First Class [spoilers, duh]”
I didn’t think it was that impressive, although partially because I was so distracted with the unnecessary changes to the characters. Moira Mactaggart as an American CIA agent instead of a Scottish doctor? Why? Emma Frost (she’s the White Queen, not the ‘Ice Queen’) is American now instead of British? Same with Banshee not being Irish. Oh, and ugly.Even ignoring all that, there were some major plot deficiencies…I mean, why would Shaw want to start a nuclear war? It would kill the mutants as well, not sure what that clap-trap was about radiation making them stronger.Fully agree about the uselessness of Angel, considering how many brilliant characters there are to choose from in the X-Men archives.In the end I was entertained and thought some of the actors did a great job (Fassbender in particular), but as a whole the movie took itself a bit too seriously at times and didn’t really have a compelling story beyond some key characters. Shame, but I wasn’t expecting much so I’d lie to say I was horribly disappointed.
Eep, fixed, and, harsh review! Yeh, for a second I wondered why they Americanised some of the characters, but eh, that wasn’t an issue. Most gripes seem to be around the Havok continuity. Also, apparently she was born in Boston.I’m not going to question the science of it, because while watching it, it never crossed my mind, and I went with it, but in terms of eradicating the inferior species as a motive, it seems a very X-Men thing, and I thought it was fine. Also reminded me of that Children of the Atom video game. Looking back at it now, yeh, you’re right, maybe other mutants would’ve been wiped out by it too.Again, maybe it’s just expectations, but I knew going into an origin story that it’d be about introducing the characters, and I’ll sure as hell expect a richer plot for the sequel, as happened with X2 and The Dark Knight, but I really really liked it.Thanks for the comment though!
True, as an origin story it makes sense that it would be more focused on those key characters. I just wonder why, considering the amount of money pumped into something like this, the plot and certain parts of the script would be so lazily thrown together. But yes, now that we’ve met a bazillion characters, many oddly chosen, a sequel would definitely have to be much stronger in those areas.And good catch – Emma Frost is generally portrayed as having an English accent, however she technically is American, so maybe I just need to get over that one!
"The best comic book to screen origin story I’ve seen"Better than Batman Begins? I don’t think so. "Matthew Vaughan" *Vaughn.Lensherr’s accent wasn’t convincing. Wasn’t Emma Frost in Wolverine? Apparently Alice Eve, an English actress, was going to play Emma Frost in First Class. I didn’t really have a problem with January’s performance but then I may have been distracted.
Fixed.And yep, you can see that many didn’t agree on Reddit that it was better than Begins either, but I’m more than happily sticking by my opinion. As much as I can appreciate Batman’s inner struggle, he’s not as appealing to me without a villain of amazing calibre.The accent went a little Irish towards the end in his rage, but, /shrugFrost was barely in Wolverine, and a child, but still probably demonstrated better acting than January Jones. I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t get a Razzie nomination.
Dude, Wolverine is set way after First Class. The X-Men already exist in that movie by the time Wolverine frees Cyclops etc. So they’ve retconned Frost.