I’m sure you all knew this was coming. My ugly side is about to come out so be prepared!
So I finally watched X-Men: First Class the other day and it seems almost obligatory that I should review it for you. Needless to say, the words “spoiler” and “alert” should be noted. Continue at your own risk.
I started collecting X-men comics back in September of 1993. I remember that day well. My friend Leona had been a fan for awhile and she had regaled me with stories of the characters and their exploits. I was so fascinated by their world; I just had to see it for myself. We walked down to a local corner store that day and I bought my very first comic book. Sprawled out on the floor of my grandmother’s living room, Leona guided me through the story, giving me all the necessary background information and knowledge I needed to understand the story.Â Â Â
After that, I was hooked. Iâ€™ve now spent almost two thirds of my life with these characters…so I would say, I know them pretty well. I dare say, I might even know them better than I know my own family. I admit that I would have to rack my brain to tell you what my Aunt’s middle name is or the exact town that my boyfriend was born in…but ask me about any X-Man’s personal life or past and I can give you a detailed bio without any trouble.
The director for X-Men: First Class made a terrible mistake for at one point comparing this X-Men film to that of J.J. Abram’s reboot of the Star Trek franchise. Talk about raising expectations. Suffice it to say, X-Men: First Class totally misses the mark when it comes to the clever reinterpretation of plots and characters that we saw in the 2009 Star Trek film. Vaughn and his writers utterly fail when it comes to character development…which is what made the Star Trek film so popular with its hardcore nerd fan-base. You see, what we learned from Star Trek is that you can completely change a storyline and origin story so long as the true essence of the characters remain intact. The main characters in Star Trek are so true to form that they donâ€™t even require introduction. I would have known Karl Urban was McCoy even if he had never introduced himself to Kirk. He is just so…well…McCoy! Strip the X-Men of names and powers in this movie, and I would be hard pressed to figure out who any of them are supposed to be!Â Â Â
So who the heck are these people?
MystiqueÂ - Wow…talk about drastic change. First off, Mystique has been around since the 19th century (that is the 1800′s for those of you who are a bit on the slow side) so she would have been at least 60 by the time she supposedly met Charles Xavier in the movie. By the way, they were never childhood friends. She also never tried to hook up with Beast or Magneto. I also hate the way they portray her as a whiney, self-conscious child. That is so out of character for the sassy, bitchy Raven we have known for decades in the comics.
Before seeing the film, I had suspected that the presence of Azazel in the movie may have been because the director wanted to allude to Nightcrawler’s origin…but no; turns out both characters were just sort of haphazardly thrown in there for no apparent reason.Â
Moira MacTaggertÂ - So the director can have Kevin Bacon trained to speak a gazillion languages but couldnâ€™t be bothered to find an actress who could fake a Scottish accent? Not only did they take the Scot out of Charles’s beloved Scotswoman…she is also an American CIA agent in this movie. In fact, the only thing the movie Moira shares with the comic book character is the name. (And I can even nit-pick that…as during this time period, she would probably still have her maiden name, Kinross)
AngelÂ - Did they think they were being clever replacing the real Angel with the sassy (and pretty gross) Morrison creation that is Angel Salvadore? She was a New X-Men character that was the poster child for teenage pregnancy in the X-Verse. I hated the character then, and still do in the movie. What a waste. Of all the potential mutants to include and they pick her? I also found the scene with her as a stripper to be forced and pointless. Why is it that every female character in this film strips down to their underwear and pretends to be either a prostitute or stripper? (Even Moira!)
DarwinÂ - This character was not part of the original X-Men…since he wasn’t even created until 2005 or 2006 (I don’t have time to look up the exact date).Â I don’t think of him as being a real X-Man since he was created for a mini series that celebrated the anniversary of Giant Size X-Men #1. It isn’t really considered canon.
In any case, his time being an X-Man is almost as short as it was in the comics. So they got that part right.Â Â
HavokÂ - Alex Summers has been my sister’s favorite character since we were small children so I have gotten to know the character pretty well over the years. I didn’t hate him in the movie. (He doesn’t get enough screen time for them to muck up the character too badly…thank god!) But it didn’t make much sense for him to be an X-Man before his older brother, Scott, had even joined. According to their timeline, Alex is now the eldest Summers brother?? They also changed his energy beams to red which is kind of annoying. I guess they did that so it would match Scott’s powers? If they wanted to throw in a random Summers brother, why not use Vulcan?? At least it then it would have been more on par with Deadly Genesis.
Banshee – Hey, how neat! They got Rupert Grint to make a cameo. Hahaha…just kidding. (That would have actually made this film about a hundred times more enjoyable though.) Like Moira, Banshee seems to be missing his accent and his whole back-story. Rather than being a wealthy Irish noble, he is just some dumb American teenager.
Sebastian ShawÂ - I hardly recognized him without the mutton chops and frou-frou clothing. It appears they gave him part of Mr. Sinister’s past (and lackeys) and Bishop’s powers.Â Oh yeah…and he did NOT find/create Magneto’s helmet.Â Â
AzazelÂ - Things must be getting awfully boring in Neyaphem if Azazel is taking up sidekick jobs for mere mortals. What a random character to throw into the Hellfire Club mix! I thought he was maybe just going to pop into the movie, have a brief romp with Mystique, and bamf back into his own dimension. Turns out, he is hard up for cash and is working full-time for Sebastian Shaw. WTF?
RiptideÂ - The Hellfire Club has really lowered their standards if they are letting a lowlife like Riptide join their ranks. Riptide was part of the Marauders during the Morlock Massacre back in the 80′s and hasn’t really been part of anything significant since then. He has been cloned a couple of times. But neither he nor any of his clones have ever been connected with Shaw or the Hellfire Club.Â
Emma FrostÂ - January Jones looks more like an Austin Powers Femmebot reject than the gorgeous and witty White Queen. I really wanted to like her because she really has Emma’s good looks (and cup size!) but, good lord, her acting was just terrible. She severely lacks the presence and stoicism that Emma is known for and ends up doing great disservice to the character. Also, Emma’s diamond form was a secondary mutation that didn’t pop up until 2001!
Charles XavierÂ - That is not how he lost his ability to walk. Not…even…close.
Now I could go on and on for hours about the inaccuracies of this movie. We could get into plot lines, technology, back stories, and all sorts of things. In fact, there is very little that could even be considered canon; much less than I even thought going into it. I admit, I truly did not think they would venture so far away from the facts and what we know of these characters.
For example, those of you who don’t follow comics, would you like to know how many members of the First Class movie team actually were part of the original team? ONE. A big whopping ONE. Beast was part of the first team, that’s it. The other supposed “first class” of X-Men are all characters that came years and sometimes decades later or weren’t ever really X-Men at all!
I also can’t stand science issues in film, especially when it is a matter of simple common sense. Like for example…if there was a game called Rock, Brass, Diamonds…believe me, brass would not crush diamonds. Even in this film, Emma often deflects bullets when in diamond form but almost goes to pieces when being choked by a hollow brass bed post? Â Brass is an extremely soft metal, it would flatten and stretch before it did any damage to a substance as hard as diamonds. I realize it is a stupid thing to get ticked over but whenever I see crap like that in films I cant help but think that the director must honestly think we are idiots if we are going to accept rubbish like that.
I know what some of you film lovers are going to say after reading this. “But I like it for the film”Â andÂ ”It is a good movie even if it is not a good X-Men movie.”
Please allow me to retort…
See the thing is…it IS an X-Men movie. Therefore, I expect it to be a good X-Men movie. If all the film makers cared about was making a decent film, they would call it “Random Superhero Movie” and be done with it. They bought into the X-Men franchise for a reason and if you are going to use the characters and use their stories, I think that it seems reasonable that they should make some attempt to do it correctly. I find it funny that people are so quick to excuse bad comic films from being entirely inaccurate and defend them as being “good films otherwise” but then scoff at historical films who get the tiniest of details wrong. So you have a problem with Pearl Harbor because they made the attack 5pm instead of 7:30am but you are okay with the fact that they got almost NOTHING right with X-Men: First Class??
So if I made a flashy and compelling movie about Tupac Shakur but decided to cast Alan Rickman in the lead role and have him cure cancer before being shot down in the streets by a group of aliens from outer space…would that be acceptable as long as the dialogue is snappy and the movie is enjoyable??
Seems silly and idiotic, right? Well, that is how you sound to me when you tell me to enjoy the X-Men films for just being good movies and not get so hung up over the details.
What to like about it… (there must be something. Right?)
I admit, if you are looking for a good heart-warming film about the forbidden love between two gay mutants in a world of adversity, this is your movie. The director may not have succeeded in doing an X-Men reboot…but I would consider this movie to be a very compelling rehashing of Brokeback Mountain.
Logan’s brief appearance was enjoyable. My sentiments exactly!
X-Men: First Class is not an X-Men movie. Aside from the title, character names, and mutant abilities…it bears almost no resemblance at all to the comic books. Stop making excuses for movies like this! I don’t want to hear “but it is a good film aside from the inconsistencies“. Â If that is all that matters, why even call it an X-Men film at all? Why not just invent a new superhero group and be done with it? J.J. Abrams has already shown us that you can create a whole new world as long as you remain true to the characters…I see no reason why Vaughn could not have followed suit.
For those of you who, like this director and his writers, know only what you’ve seen in X-Men movies or read occasionally on Wikipedia…I feel sorry for you. The X-Men comics are filled with amazing stories and characters that you will never really know.