The helmets and missiles of X-Men: First Class
The film starts out a little disjointed, but once it picks up steam it’s a powerhouse.
First, this point: X-Men: First Class was not offered in 3D, which is refreshing. I guess that’s all there is to say about that.
Many of the nicest scenes of the film were well and truly spoiled. I found myself disappointed several times at scenes with major neat-factor or twists, as I’d already seen them in the plethora of pre-release clips. Of course, I already knew that was going to happen, and it’s my own fault for watching the stupid things, but it was still a tangible disappointment. I can’t fault the film itself for that, however, that’s a studio marketing decision.
The beginning of the film has a bit of a jerky start, but this was something else that, it seems, could not be helped.
The story is all about Erik and Charles, and how they got together, and ultimately, the differences that drove them apart.
This means that the beginning of the tale goes through the characters live up until the point they meet, and this section flashes between the two starkly different tales (one of loss and remorse for Erik, and of learning and compassion for Charles.
Once they come together however, the parts slip together more wholly, and the film becomes seamless and full, more so than it could have been without that earlier bit of disjointedness.
The themes of the story seem to have changed a bit. While the X-Men stories always focus on the ideas of acceptance, this film is less about exploring the idea of finding a place in society, as it deals with the idea of the need to find a place at all.
It’s a fine distinction, but an interesting shift, none-the-less. Of course, there is the obligatory comparison of mutantness to homosexuality. If you haven’t noticed, each oif the films in the trilogy has at least one line which draws a tongue-in-cheek comparison between the fictional issue, and the real one. In the first film, it even serves as one of the major themes.
The film does a great job of giving everything the beginning it needs. Lots of details about the X-Men canon are established here, and, despite seeing that it doesn’t quite fit with the original film trilogy, it’s made me want to get those films back out and watch them again.
The climax of X-Men: First Class was emotional and touching. It is easily the most powerful scene in a new film so far this year. When the dichotomy between Erik and Charles reaches its ultimate point of resolution, there is truly no turning back for anyone, and all of the characters are so fully sympathetic and dimensional that one might find themselves in tears (not that I did... ahem...).
Then again, as a comics reader, these characters are already so close to me, and knowing all the hurt that they will cause each other after this moment, I just wanted to help them stop this whole thing from starting, though I knew how inevitable it all was.
The film’s overture was familiar. It was the same scene we see in the first X-Men movie relating to Magneto’s origin. Not everything fits in with that canon, however. T
here are several details in this film which do not quite mesh with the existing trilogy. This suggests that they may be planning to branch it off into a new X-men franchise. I would have no problem with that. Now that they’ve given it a new beginning, I want to see where it goes next.