Just Pillow Talk v Marvel Comics 6 (6)- X Men: First Class
I think this film blows. Droid in his infinite wisdom also thinks this film blows. Yet, inexplicably, there seems to be consensus out there that this film does not, in fact, blow. Well, even in a minority as small as the one I find myself in, the truth is still the truth. I have now come to the conclusion that it must be flat-out impossible to make an X-Men film that could ever be described as actually good. The whole series is one sprawling morass of boredom and lameness with the occasional moment of quality that stands out from the otherwise never-ending stream of sleep-inducing tripe that otherwise parades across the screen in these movies. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that this may possibly be the worst X-Men film out there, and it’s all James McAvoy’s fault. Well, that’s a bit harsh, mostly his fault, because the writing makes it worse. Anyway, that’s enough rambling from me, let’s see how JPT gets on With X-Men: First Class.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
“Hooray” shouts the crowd as they gather around for another review of the beloved X-men.
This time around they decide to go back to the beginning with the formation of the X-men and the world’s first glimpse at mutant kind. We start off with introduction to our two main characters as kids: Erik (Magneto) in the same damn footage from the first X-men movie with his mom being taken away from him and he exerts his powers for the first time before being knocked out. The scene continues with the introduction of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) who witnesses those events unfold. Turns out Shaw knows what Erik is and wants him to use his talents, with a little motivational help, namely threatening to kill his mom in front of him. Erik tries his hardest but mom gets a bullet in her head for her troubles. Erik uses that anger to crush some German soldiers’ helmets and rearrange various cabinets.
Cut to New York where Charles Xavier stumbles across Mystique trying to steal some food from their home. They discover each other’s powers and before you know it, Charles is telling Mystique she never has to worry about going hungry again.
Jump ahead twenty years and we have Xavier (James McAvoy) still being uninteresting and basically treating Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) like a child. At least with Magneto (Michael Fassbender) we have something. He’s none to happy with Shaw and has plans to off him, trying to track down where his present whereabouts are. Eventually Xavier and Magneto cross paths and end up joining forces to stop Shaw, albeit for different reasons, and end up working for the CIA. Here we meet the Beast and through their recruitment process, meet Banshee, Havok, and a couple other worthless mutants. This all leads to the final battle where they stop Shaw’s plans of starting a nuclear war, thereby guaranteeing mutant dominance of the world, and Magneto and Xavier go their separate ways.
Fuck the rest of the synopsis, here’s what works with the movie: everything with Magneto and Shaw. Fassbender and Bacon are both good in their roles, and automatically elevate every scene they are in. The first scene we are introduced to Bacon in, we immediately see he means business by offing Magneto’s mom. He seems to relish his role as Shaw, and it also helps that his mutant power is sort of cool (absorbing power and then unleashing it on poor saps). Fassbender, unlike the old man, plays Magneto like someone on a mission and someone not to be fucked with. His control over his powers grows during the course of the movie and by the end, he’s pretty much top dog of the mutant world.
And then there’s everyone else. James McAvoy plays Xavier like a giant prick and I wish he died. Why the fuck does any mutant follow this asshole? He treats Mystique badly, doesn’t treat her like a person, and she sticks around for as long as she does? I realize her confidence is just not there yet, hence the reason why she goes with Magneto, but c’mon. Xavier is a worthless douche. Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t really register one way or another as Mystique. Nicholas Hoult as the Beast is passable, that’s pretty much all I got with him. January Jones is attractive as Emma Frost. The rest of the bit players don’t add anything to the film. However, I will call utter bullshit on “Angel”, which they decide to make a chick. Who spits fire. What.The.Fuck. Are you kidding me? You couldn’t make Angel, um, like Angel from the fucking funny books??? Is it that fucking hard? Stupid. And the effects with her flying are pretty shit to boot.
Overall the effects are okay and are leaps ahead of the first few X-men movies. I think a few of the scenes are handled very effectively: Magneto in Argentina eliminating some associates of Shaw’s, the attack on the CIA (and X-babies), and particularly Magneto’s resolution with Shaw. Oh, and when Wolverine tells Magneto and Xavier to “fuck off” when they try and recruit him, which was rather amusing. I”ll give this movie 1.5 slices of bacon out of 4 based on the performances of Fassbender and Bacon. I’ve changed my mind and if those two were involved in a Magneto: Origins movie it would have been eons better than this. I do like the setting of the movie taking place in the 60’s vs. present day. The problem with these movies is that they haven’t made a really good, fun X-men movie yet. If they did this one properly it sets up everything else. You can have the original X-men movie, have that group stay for several films before welcoming into the fold the “new” X-men and go from there. But no, let’s just ignore the Iceman being part of the original team, or Jean Grey, or change Angel to a fire spitting chick. Nice.