Pros & Cons of *X-Men: First Class*

As with last week, I’d like to share a few notes I originally made after watching one of the X-Men movies — this time, X-Men: First Class. Given that it was to be a prequel to the first three movies, featuring decades-younger versions of Xavier and Magneto, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The casting and characterization of those two characters actually wasn’t bad. What was to prove much more annoying was, again, how many changes were made to characters from the comics — ages, powers, appearances, relations to other characters, etc. (More on that below.)

There are fewer notes than last time, but here they be….

X-Men: First Class

Movie poster of xmen - first class

Pros:

1) Founding of the school
2) Certain homages to comics (e.g., joking about shaving Xavier’s head)
3) Wolverine cameo!
4) Cerebro! (inc. ‘visions’ of young Ororo, though she shouldn’t have even been conceived in 1962, let alone 8-10yo)
5) Blackbird!
6) Danger Room!
7) I like the fact that Magneto’s helmet was originally made by Shaw’s people to protect him from Xavier. Note: Wasn’t he afraid Emma might manipulate him?

Cons:

1) Characters from the comics whose look and/or powers are changed dramatically
— Beast (too thin, feet too simian; why would he have superspeed?)
— Riptide (no costume; signature flowing, white hair from comics replaced with dark hair)
— Shaw (not burly enough; not “upper-crusty” and doesn’t wear Victorian-era clothes; his powers were too undefined (e.g., how much control does he maintain of the energy once discharged from his body?))
— White Queen (should not have had her secondary mutation to change to diamond, yet)
— Moira (supposed to be a geneticist, not a CIA field agent, for Pete’s sake!)

Questions:

1) In the scene in Magneto’s room, why did he totally reject Mystique, then “go for it”?
2) Did Emma know Xavier & co. was there at the Russian estate?
3) Why didn’t Emma break out of the holding cell, especially once she cut through the glass of the observation window?
4) In one previous movie, a somewhat younger Charles & Erik visited Jean Grey’s home for first time. If they were working together then, does that mean they will temporarily reconcile at some point? Or, did they screw up the movie continuity?
5) Darwin could have given Alex a silent signal rather than shouting, “Alex, now!” (Still wouldn’t have succeeded, but would’ve been a lot smarter.)

Problems w/ movie version of X-Men in general:

1) I understand why the movies can’t replicate the comics, by why do they have to be SO different? For example, it irks me that they had to so totally change the chronology of when certain characters lived, when they met other characters, etc. (e.g., Emma Frost, Hank McCoy, and Alex Summers shouldn’t even be alive in 1962! Banshee may have been a toddler, not teen.)
2) The close, sisterly bond Mystique has with Xavier is a far departure from the comics. And there was no indication in the other movies that they ever had such a relationship. But, considering said bond, I find the pretense under which Mystique eventually sides with Magneto unsatisfactory.

IF there is a sequel:

1) To maintain some connection with the comics, they could explore Azazel’s relationship with Mystique, which eventually leads to Kurt Wagner (aka Nightcrawler)’s conception & birth.
2) Magneto’s marriage(?) to the gypsy which gives birth to Wanda & Pietro Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver) could be explored.
3) Maybe we could see budding romance between Xavier and Moira, too.

Despite my reservations and many “issues” I had with changes to characters from the comics versions, I still enjoyed X-Men: First Class. In fact, it may be time to watch it again….

Now, I’d like to leave you with a link to a recent article from WhatCulture.com titled “10 X-Men Characters the Movies Totally Wasted”. Writer Scott Campbell does a great job of explaining why they are great characters and critiquing exactly how they got shafted in the MCU. (Especially Nightcrawler and Angel!) I agree with him 100% and only wish that I had had the time to review the movies and put together something similar. Check it out!

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