X-Men: First Class, Dismissed

I am a fan of the X-Men. I began reading those comics very shortly after acquiring my first Marvel subscription to Amazing Spider-Man when I was 11. The beautiful thing about the X-Men world is that there are so many different mutants, each with an amazing power and their own story. There are details and characters and events within the Marvel Universe that a young adolescent absorbs and relishes. I read as many of the comics as I could and discussed with the few friends I had the similarities, the differences and relationships of each of the characters, such as Cyclops and Havok being brothers. So, when a big blockbuster film comes out (again) and attempts to rewrite those events and characters (again), I can only shake my head or laugh out loud at parts of the movie as my childhood memories are strangled to death.

Now, I can’t say that X-Men: First Class was a total disaster. It was a massive improvement from The Last Stand and X-Men Origins. Overall, I liked the movie, but there were characters and details screwed up so badly I can’t stop thinking about them. Mainly, my peeves lied within the rape of the X-Men Original Line Up. It was supposed to be Cyclops, Jean Gray, Ice Man, Angel, and Beast (whom they got right). Not Havok, Banshee, Angel Salvadore, Darwin and Mystique. Here is a list of the things that I disliked the most:

  1. I hated that Mystique was any part of the X-Men origin story. For one, she’s not a little girl when Charles Xavier is a child. She’s supposed to be almost as old as Wolverine. They could have made her a side character who said nothing and walked around with her scaly, blue boobies hanging out, because that’s what the nerds want. The nerds don’t want her to talk. They don’t want her to be Xavier’s “sister.” It probably would have been even cooler to put her in the white gown with the skull belt. But no. The film makers had to go and make her an intricate part of the storyline. They just had to go and make her Xavier’s adopted sister. They had to give her stupid lines like, “Mutant, and proud.” Why would they think that would be ok? It looked completely retarded showing a little, mini Mystique. Nobody wants to see Mystique as a little kid. Annoying. Every time she came on screen, I cringed.
  2. Moira MacTaggert is supposed to be a Scottish scientist, not an American CIA operative; although, I can’t complain about her undercover scene in the adult nightclub.
  3. Banshee is supposed to be Irish. He’s also not the Submariner. Just because he has a sonic scream doesn’t mean he can hold his breath under water for 20 minutes. Also, jumping out of a jet and flying down into the ocean at a high speed from 100+ feet would crush his skull. Just saying.
  4. Havok is supposed to be Cyclop’s little brother and shouldn’t have been in the movie. With this new timeline that Bryan Singer and his crew devised, Havok is about 17 years old in 1962, and Cyclops about 17 in 1975ish with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So, now Cyclop’s little brother is 13 years older than he. I mean, if they were going to screw up the entire timeline of all these key characters, they should have just started over with the whole thing.
  5. Stereotypes come true in this film. The black guy is the first to die. Darwin sucked. As a character and as a mutant. If his mutant ability is to adapt to becoming a black cab driver in New York: mission accomplished. His first appearance in the X-Men universe wasn’t until 2006, not the 1960s. He shouldn’t have been a part of this film. He’s also supposed to be Latin American. Read his character bio here.
  6. The scene of Young Erik Lehnsherr’s mother being killed was very touching, even though the circumstances and details was another inaccuracy compared to the comics. However, it quickly became comedy with his Frankenstein tantrum as he screamed and bent metal objects. It reminded me of that very hilarious scene from Star Wars: Episode III when Darth Vader steps down from his medical table and finds out that he killed Padme. Screaming and crushing things with your powers is a great way to kill what’s supposed to be a very sentimental moment.
  7. I can’t really state this next one without offending some people, but it was one of the things that irked me. The analogy of mutants to gay people. I can see what Singer and the other creators were trying to do, because they did with X2. There was much more of it throughout X2, however, it was subtle. The analogies and lines in First Class were much fewer, but so painfully obvious. Mystique’s horrifically delivered lines of “Mutant, and proud” were lazy. She might as well have said “gay and proud” and been wearing a rainbow flag. Or how about the scene where Hank McCoy’s government employer finds out he’s “a mutant”, ie. “gay?” He replies, “You didn’t ask; I didn’t tell.” Great job throwing that in there after the issue is now moot. So, mutants are feared and hated and have these special abilities that can hurt a lot of people, and gay people can’t get married. So they’re pretty much just the same. Here’s a thought: stop twisting my childhood stories to fulfill an agenda.

Those are just a few of the little details of the film that bothered me, but like I said, it wasn’t a complete disaster. I have to say, that movie has style. It was like a 007 film, with super powers. I loved the whole 1960s/Cold War setting. The villains of the story (Sebastian Shaw and his crew) lent that quality of James Bond villains: international mad men, hell-bent on world domination. Kevin Bacon was awesome.

I loved the Hugh Jackman/Wolverine appearance. Loved it. It was like Hawkeye’s appearance in Thor. I know they just put that in there to appease the Wolverine fans, and it worked, because I’m one of those fans.

Most of all about this new X-Men film, I loved the origin and doomed friendship between Erik and Charles. Magneto was probably my favorite part of the story. He was a human being in this movie with actual feeling and character. He was the Magneto of the X-Men comics. I loved his vengeful killing spree. He was a bad-ass. However, I would liked to have seen a stronger, definitive moment that made Erik decide to create the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants instead of just assuming Shaw’s role after he killed him. Seriously, Shaw did all of the ground work of being an evil mutant, obtaining all the resources to wage war for world domination, and Magneto just kills him and resumes the motive.

It was still a pretty good movie. If you’re an X-Men fan, go see it. You’ll like it. If you’re somebody who just likes blockbuster movies, you’ll love it.

5 thoughts on “X-Men: First Class, Dismissed

  1. Badass review dude. I was gonna check it out, but now I’ll probably wait for it to be released at home. I am planning on seeing the Green Lantern in the theater though. Hopefully it will be just as good as Thor is supposed to be. Keep up with the writing!

    • Thanks, man. I can’t wait to see Green Lantern and Captain America.
      You probably should wait to see this one. It’s still cool, just not a big special effects movie that needs to be seen on the big screen. It’s more character driven.

  2. Good stuff, Dave. I agree with you almost completely on all your points, especially on the doomed relationship, the odd placement of Mystique, the overly casual ending, Kevin Bacon, and the style that Matthew Vaughn brought to the setting (his films are nothing if not stylish…). I didn’t like the Wolverine cameo as much as you did… but the rest, yeah.

  3. Chris says:

    Still haven’t seen the movie. I think your review makes me want to see it less. I wish they could make a fun summer movie without a hidden agenda. I’ll still probably go watch it.

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