Much Better Than Sitting In Economy –X-Men: First Class

Of all the early Marvel comic books The X-men were Stan Lee’s laziest creation. He decided all the X-men would be mutants (meaning they were born with super powers) because he was tired of coming up with creative ways for superheroes to gain their superpowers.

But I’m glad to say the movie X-Men: First Class does not share that lazy inspiration. It’s actually the most energetic, fun movie I’d seen in a while. A warning though, if you’re into continuity X-men First Class might not be your thing. The characters’ ages, accents, and relationships to one another are completely inconsistent with the previous X-men movies and the comic books upon which they are based. This angered a forty year old guy who left the midnight screening at the same time I did, but I’ll gladly allow Professor X to have a full head of hair and speak with an English accent if he’s going to star in a movie as awesome as X-men: First Class was.

Maybe the fact that X-men: First Class played fast and loose with the source material was one of the reasons I loved it so much. Instead of knowing from reading the comic books what was going to happen next I found myself involved in the story. This movie was the smart, logical step toward where comic book movies will have to go if they want to avoid Thor’s realm of mediocrity.  Now that we’ve seen the literal representations of all the major comic book characters, it’s time to allow the filmmakers to have fun with them rather than being enslaved. 

X-men:First Class’ army of screenwriters and the director, Matthew Vaughn, break away from convention. They set it in the early 1960’s smack dab in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis which allow the characters’ to wear Mod clothes and say the word, “groovy” a lot. It’s like Mad Men with characters flying and bending metal and with Don Draper’s wife prancing around in lingerie.  

When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the X-men in 1963 I doubt they thought the characters would still be around in 2011, much less that the soap opera  detailing the X-men’s lives would  saddle down the characters with fifty years of back story. There have been some great ideas and adventures along the way, but there have also been times where hacks were put in charge of chronicling the X-men. All the stories, the good and the bad, are part of the canon that many fans take very seriously.  The makers of X-men: First Class smartly sorted through all this history knowing where the characters are headed, and cherrypicked the elite stuff  giving the X-men a wonderful starting point. The reason why Professor X is in a wheelchair is a lot more poignant now, as is the reason why the beast is blue and furry, and now Magneto’s costume just oozes with history.

The way the filmmakers were able to juggle so many characters and make us care about quite a number of them was amazingly efficient and makes me hope that they’re already working on a sequel. Or at the very least a comic book series where Professor X will continue to use the word groovy and frequent bars inhabited with go-go dancers.


8 thoughts on “Much Better Than Sitting In Economy –X-Men: First Class

  1. How different is this, than watching WWF? People in lyrca jumping around to ludicrous storylines? If pro-wrestling made more use of wires, you’d have the same “good vs bad” experience of people flying around.

    • WWF? I didn’t know the World Wildlife Foundation was so exciting. I’ll renew my subscription to Ranger Rick on the double then.

  2. Spot on review. This old Marvelite thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I was a little wistful for wanting to see all the original X-men together but, am too, open to a revisionist story designed to make the concept more palatable to modern audiences. What really stood out about this movie, and what made it so satisfying for me, despite not adhering to convention, is the central realtionship between Prof X and Magneto. McEvoy and Fassbender totally sold me on the writers intent to make them real people with divergent idealism on issues that they both share. Friends that respect one another but discover that they live in different worlds. Obi Wan and Anakin anybody.
    Great “back story” on Xavier’s paralyisis. BTW – I had that very pin up of Marvel Girl hanging on my wall in the early 70’s. Yes, I disfigured and rendered the comic worthless by doing so.

    • You might have cost yourself some money doing that, but hopefully you didn’t disfigure yourself from staring at that pin-up for too many lonely adolescent hours.

      • Mostly I just got headaches from trying to telepathically manipulate myself. Nothing serious, though.

  3. Loved it! Just walked home from the theater. I’ve also heard it suggested that the story was an insider disclosure of how something similar actually occurred at the Cuban missile crisis.

  4. I thought the first half was awesome, and the second half good. They didn’t develop Darwin much, which is a shame because he is a cool character. They they killed him, but of course he can’t really die so he’ll come back as pure energy or something down the road….

    The training montage was pretty awesome.

    • I’m.assuming if there’s a sequel Darwin will be back. in the comic book they killed him too and they found a way for him to evolve back to life.

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