Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: X-Men First Class

 X-MenIt became redundant to whine about comic book movies not following the comic around the time The Watchmen came out, so I will refrain from pointing out the numerous inconsistencies sprinkled throughout X-Men First Class. One big reason: anyone who is familiar with X-Men will know there are many parallel universes that exist, which makes highlighting inconsistencies pointless.  There is no caption in the movie that states which one of the multi-universe (explored or unexplored) the movie takes place in.  For example, the comics are in Earth-616, our reality is Earth-1218, and I believe the Avengers movie takes place in Earth-199999 (which will explain why Magneto won't show up to fight Iron Man).  Sometimes it is good to stray from the comics; in this movie, for example (without giving any major spoilers away), it isn't an alien scout named Lucifer disguised as the Devil who cripples Xavier, which leaves room for a pretty good story that explains what did happen. [spoilers after the jump]

There are several other compelling story lines in the movie that don't get nearly enough attention, and several that get far too much attention. On the compelling side: Hank McCoy’s botched experiment to suppress mutant physical characteristics. This seriously backfires, creating something worse than his freakish feet--Beast. The character I wanted to see more about was Havok; I have been waiting for him to be included in an X-Men movie and felt a little shortchanged with his story and lack of screen time. Most of the young mutants had really stunted character development so you felt like you didn’t really know them.  (For example--why was the Butterfly girl so quick to go with the bad guys? She didn't just side with them, but she maniacally laughed at the idea of human annihilation. Maybe she had a good reason to, but the movie didn’t let us in.)  Yet the movie was nearly 2.5 hours long. My marker for a bad movie: you were bored from the length, yet felt like it didn’t go or get anywhere.

Even thought we all should expect it by now, the objectification of women continued in a big way. Not one female character wore a complete outfit, even the CIA agent Moira. When are movie makers going to learn that if you want to make an iconic female character you don't need to have then fighting in high heels and underwear? (see Lisbeth Salander and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill)  Are audiences ever going to be ready for Susannah Dean?
The best thing about X-Men First Class was Magneto--everything about Magneto was done right, and Michael Fassbender was perfect as Erik Lensherr. I have always been drawn to Magneto's conflict and believe the depth of his character is one of the strongest in comics.

X-Men First Class is fun, and you get exactly what you wanted to see out of a comic book movie: young mutants fighting together and what will hopefully be the start of a another successful (but better) X:Men movie trilogy.

Oh, and Kevin Bacon plays Sebastian Shaw (leader of the Hellfire Club)--enough said.