I love comic books; the art, the characters (both fantastical and realistic), the stories. Whether it be a far away galaxy or right here on earth, the future or in the present or the past; I am constantly impressed by what the writers and artists are able to accomplish. Comic books, and their grown counter part the graphic novel, represent the perfect blend of my twin passions- movies and books. Seemingly simple writing is reinforced by the art work, both working diligently to move the story forward and build characters frame by frame.
It seems shocking that it would take so long for Hollywood to jump on the geek bandwagon, until you remember comics are for kids. Or, at least that was the popular thought when the greatest characters were created in the 50s. Who would have thought a dime store comic book would later sell for millions?
"X-Men: First Class". I love the X-Men. Of all the big "brands", the mutant warriors of good and evil are by far my favourite. I love how each character is so different from the next, but there are subtle overlaps in powers. The line between good and evil is also blurred as each villain and obstacle are attacked by opposing sides- the "good" X-Men and the "bad" Magneto and his army. [side note: Does anyone else think it's kind of lame that Magneto didn't get a cool moniker for his brood?].
My favourite character is Jean Grey, almost exclusively because she becomes the Dark Phoenix whom I adore. It is much for this reason I loved "X-3", and seem to be the only person who did! I urge you to go back and watch it again. Sure, Brett Ratner isn't known for the subtlety that proved Bryan Singer the right man for the job. (Remember when everyone hated that he was directing? Fools!). The story was good but perhaps they tried to do too much in too little time (much like this newest film). **SPOILER ALERT IF YOU NEVER SAW "X-3: THE LAST STAND"** Still, who could forget when Mystique is cured of her mutant-ness and Magneto leaves her behind? I think the line is something like, "You were beautiful, now look at you." To a nude Rebecca Romijn!! Or, the struggle Rogue goes through when faced with the possibility of a cure. Should she? Shouldn't she? I hated the choice she ended up making, though now, years wiser, I understand it.
How did Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) meet and then how did they come to be foes? (I won't use the term enemy, as I've always felt they still have a great deal of love and respect for one another). When did they become Professor X and Magneto, respectively? When was the school for gifted youngsters established? Why is Charles in a wheel chair? All and more will be answered!
Matthew Vaughn has transitioned well from the indie darling "Layer Cake" to more commercial fare like "Kick-Ass" and this film. His attention to character is precisely what this film needed. There is a lot of history (both real and from the comics) to cover, and not getting lost or dragged down and away from the plot could be tricky in less capable hands. I think there were just too many cooks in the kitchen, with four credited screenwriters, not to mention two story by credits. Clearly, someone had a lot of fun writing it but the film would have been better if it didn't try to introduce too much of the school. It should have been called "X-Men: Origins" and saved the "First Class" moniker for a second film when we could really explore the establishment of the school.
**** (4 stars)