I liked the X-Men films. Well I say that, the first one was good, the second was better, the third one was a bit over the top, the Wolverine one.. well it was a bit tired by that point. Enter X-Men: First Class – ready to breathe a breath of fresh air into the franchise, add a bit originality and give the whole X-Men thing a bit of a new spin. Right?
Wrong. If you’ve seen the other X-Men films you’ll recognise the tried and tested and quite frankly boring formula. It’s Professor X vs Magneto with an array of forgettable other mutants you’ve either never heard of or as is the case with First Class have the most ridiculous powers. Of the entire back catalogue of mutants to pick from they pick a girl who can spout insect wings from her back and shoot weird egg cum fireballs from her mouth. Really? I shit you not.
The others aren’t any better – some dude who can produce sound waves which also inexplicably enables him to fly, a dude who can adapt to any situation but doesn’t adapt to one particular situation and some other guy who can shoot out weird circles of red light – incidentally, I don’t think we see him hit a target in the entire film. A special mention should go to Nicholas Hoult who plays ‘Beast’ – his part is acted superbly… that is of course until he gets his blue fur and then it’s run of the mill comic book action clichéd one liners.
Other mentions should go to Michael Fassbender (Magneto) and Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) who both do their respective characters justice, particularly in providing their back story. Although, why we still need to see Magneto look like he’s got a severe bout of diarrhea that’s about to splash all over the floor every time he does something challenging with his powers is both distracting and inadvertently funny.
Have I mentioned Kevin Bacon? He plays the villain Sebastian Shaw. Starts off brilliantly as the cruel german doctor and then the next time you see him he has gained mutant powers with little or no explanation. Was he a mutant before? Did he magically harness them from somewhere? Am sure those familiar with all the characters will know, but it left me a bit stumped.
Onto James McAvoy as Professor X – I think he’s caught the same bout of diarrhea as poor Magneto because every time he needs to do something mildly challenging he’s got that strained look coupled with the ‘just one more thing’ Columbo hand-to-forehead action. I literally got bored of seeing it – Patrick Stewart never had this problem. Incidentally, his backstory is rather slapdash and is mopped up pretty quickly, they were obviously concentrating on Magneto.
But above them all, the character I hated most was … was.. you know he’s never even given a name in the film. In fact, correct me if im wrong, but i don’t think he has a single line of dialogue in the entire film. What he does do is summon mini tornados on cue in every scene which becomes incredibly repetitive. Apparently his name is Riptide.
To the films credit I felt Magneto’s internal struggle was played out really well, that is until its spoiled when at the climax of the movie he comes floating out of a wrecked ship – having learned the ability to levitate in the space of 2 minutes and then gone is the torn, conflicted character and instantly he’s spouting the usual I’m the villain nonsense we’ve seen before from McKellan’s Magneto. To make it worse, the costume department see fit to change his helmet to match the previous films and then add some bizarre horn – I mean why?! I appreciate its in line with the comics but you either need to match the films or start afresh and match the comics. Make your mind up!
Finally, don’t bother to sit around at the end to see if they add an extra bit at the end of the credits – they don’t.
Despite the criticisms, it wasn’t too bad – just a little disappointing.