03 June 2011

X-Men: First Class Review

It is easy to write about bad films. Great films are difficult to write about. Much easier to say that a film is bad because of plot hole X and logical fallacy Y. It's also a lot more fun to trash a movie.

This X-Men prequel is less about the First Class and more about the story of Charles and Erik. If you have had exposure to the franchise's history, then you know the basic storyline of the film.

Erik (Magneto) was raised/taken into a Fun Camp during World War 2. When the Nazis discovered his ability, they performed experiments on him. Erik believes that the rest of humanity will try to control, enslave, and exterminate mutant kind. Charles grew up in America (and miraculously retains an English accent) far away from the atrocities of man. He believes that mutants and humans can share the future and co-exist in harmony. Despite the ideological difference, Charles and Erik became Best Friends once they grew up while working on a mission for the CIA. After the mission, Magneto and Professor Xavier are put on opposite sides and sets up the status quo for future installments (hopefully).

The story is pretty hard to mess up and I'm glad that they didn't. The origins of Magneto is forever tied to the Holocaust just like Captain America with World War 2. It would have been disastrous to have changed anything.

I feel that the 'First Class' parts didn't really mesh well in the film as they didn't appear until the 60ish minute mark. This film is 130 minutes long and they had plenty of time to at least give the remaining characters a little depth. I'm sure comic enthusiasts would have gotten more out of those characters but I barely know any of them.

The only big criticism I have about First Class is all the constant 'winking' at the viewer with references. SPOILER ALERT. During the film Charles attaches some electrodes onto his skull to tap into Cerebral. "It works better if you are bald." "I'm not shaving my hair."  Charles becomes paralyzed from the waist down at the end of the film, and he's all like 'well at least I'm not bald'. Ugh. "We should give ourselves some cool man nicknames. I'm Mystique, what about you?" " Oh I'm like a Banshee because I can do this." wink "I cause a lot of Havok" wink wink "Hey you should have a cool name like Professor X and you should be called Magneto." wink wink "Even I've got to admit you're kind of a BEAST now."  Fuck you writers. We don't need you to throw in names like that. It didn't feel natural at all. The audience can figure out which characters are which if they really cared. I can't forget about the big one. "Oh we're still working along side the G-Men." "No you need to stay independent. You don't work for the G-Men. You're now an X-Men." Fuuuck.

There's also some really bad trope-y dialogue. Charles: "They were only following orders". Erik: "THE LAST TIME I HEARD THAT THEY KILLED SIX MILLION JEWS. NEVER AGAIN."

Anyway, this film doesn't really jive with the established film franchise, but that can be easily forgiven since the later films have been terrible. I understand that this is supposed to be the start of a new trilogy of films. I hope that the sequels don't falter like the last X-men trilogy.

X-Men: First Class won't win any awards in the writing department, but is well produced and well acted. Definitely solid entertainment.

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