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Sunday, June 5, 2011

X-Men First Class: Two Points Of View Review




I didn't originally get to review this film, my advanced screening opportunity fell on the night I had work @ AIU, so I figured I wouldn't be reviewing this one. After watching it last night, I decided to change my mind and at last talk about the film from two different perspectives.
  • I am going to give you two perspectives. 
  • One of a guy watching a movie. 
Perspective I | A Comic Book Fan and Collector:

One that knows just about everything there is to know about these characters. (Well, almost everything). 

As a guy watching a movie, First Class delivers a fantastic journey into the world of the X-Men at their birth. The actors are fantastic and you can connect with them right away, especially the flirtatious and not usually seen behavior of Charles Xavier; who is a genius very early on and highly compassionate. The story while connected to Charles, as much as it is with Erik Lensherr, does feel more of a focus on Magneto's life and his plight above everyone else.

I enjoyed the connections and I enjoyed the action. Overall it was very satisfying even were I not a comic book fan, I could enjoy it and essentially understand from a mainstream concept what was going on and why certain things connected together. It felt almost like a reboot in the spirit of Smallville. The writing and direction took this film into a place that made it believable and utilized a more humanizing touch. Especially in the concept of good vs evil, frailty, life, and death.

The special effects were excellent although some of the concepts behind the effects on Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) were a little strange, it still did not completely detract from the story and what was going on. Again, akin to the Smallville like story telling, the climax was a little unsatisfactory and seemed to finish too quickly for my taste. I would have (perhaps) liked to have seen more of a struggle. I won't issue details that will ruin it, but you will understand from my parallel to Smallville especially where the character Doomsday was concerned in that series' finally.

Overall it was enjoyable, it had a good amount of action without dumbing it down with monotonous chatter, yet some of the drama poured through especially with Magneto's story. I would recommend anyone in the mainstream to see this as it will give you a good movie for your monies worth.

Perspective II | From the eyes of a Fan:

First Class made me shrug and shake my head often. Despite the movie being well done and having a variety of excellent story features that made sense and allowed for a proper flow that would leave no stone un-turned, rather the plot holes were not apparent to the laymen...to me as an avid fan and historian of comic books all I saw were holes.

For starters. Professor X and Mystique do not meet in their youth, Mystique is also not part of the First Class. Mystique is said to be potentially over a hundred years old, putting her age completely off in this timeline. Sebastian Shaw does not encounter the X-Men until well past the Phoenix Saga. I don't recall Alex Summers being in prison? Azazel being in this film made no sense, especially since they never explored the connection between he and Mystique...If you knew Nightcrawler was the product of a fated Azazel and Mystique union, and figured well perhaps they would have an encounter here to build on that possibility - it's not going to happen. Azazel is more a drone than an active member. A sentry would be a better description. In truth I felt that the producers and directors had this conversation behind closed doors:

Bryan Singer - "You know...the nightcrawler scenes in X-men 2 were pretty badass..."
Matthew Vaughn - "I agree, totally kicked ass"
BS - "We should do that again...in this one...but it can't be nightcrawler...who do we use?"
MV - "I know...we'll use his dad...fuck it...we'll make it work!"
BS - "Totally Bro!"
Because that is really what Azazel provided, an easy kick-ass factor, where they delved nothing into his character and didn't even consider the utilization of his story. 

Another Immediate plot hole. NOTE: ***Spoiler*** While interesting and cool to see Logan (Hugh Jackman) in this film, for a few seconds, his one line "Fuck Off!" seemed impressively fitting if not perfectly appropriate. 

Can't find the reasoning yet? During X-Men Origins: Wolverine, you had of course Hugh Jackman as Logan, but you also see in that particular film a very young Emma Frost, aka The White Queen. I will say first I loved January Jones in First Class...Dear God, she was an exquisite Emma Frost, but by throwing in Logan, you now completely threw any normal continuity attempt (as if there was any regardless) out the window because of the age differences. 

Granted, we all know that Emma Frost can use her abilities to manipulate what you see her as, however this films timeline predates X-Men Origins: Wolverine. She uses none of that ability in that film, and it can't be stated as that as a cop-out, seriously now... 

So this is a bit of a fanboy raging on my part (whether it's rational i'll leave to you to deem). Beyond this I can reveal quite a few other issues but it would in effect take away from the film if you happen to watch it, so I will keep that to myself. I could reveal and spoil the Wolverine cameo because chances are you already knew he was popping in the movie, just not where, when or how.

While my inner Comic fanboy screamed and raged, my inner film fanboy was perfectly content. It's a duality I have when it comes to watching movies. I can understand the necessity to work with content and derive more stories from it by adding a little embellishment here and there. I can also cry out in frustration to state the obvious and unnecessary aspects of a producer and directors need to make something their own. When in truth it is not their own, it is something the fandom has loved for generations. 

This is a story that has multiple elements comprised that are not necessarily told in the comics we have read, however in pieces they are their own respective stories from separate timelines and separate characters. Considering how comics, as they are, can many times branch out into a variety of storylines without regard for others, it almost makes sense to allow the films to do the same. I can paraphrase the last paragraph into "Ah, fuck it! it works."

I would still suggest those entrenched in the fandom to watch this film and formulate their own opinion. While it frustrated my inner fanboy on many levels it still somewhat held some relative intrinsic value. 

Film Fanboy | 4 out of 5 Geeks will love it
Comic Fanboy | 3 out of 5 Geeks will love it
Overall | 3.5 out of 5 Geeks

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