Saturday, 9 July 2011

X-Men First Class - review

I have a totally legal and not at all downloaded copy of X-Men First Class, since I avoided it at the cinema I decided that I should probably do a blow by blow review.  I've had people say it was great and people say it was terrible so I suppose I shall see for myself.



Warning this review contains spoilers



A brief history of my relationship with the X-Men.  I was a huge fan of the 90's animated series as a kid (favourite characters Gambit & Rogue) and started collecting the comics from then until I went to live in Japan.  I liked the first two X-Men movies, even if they did place far too much focus on Wolverine and made some odd character choices for some of the core cast.  When X-Men 3: The Last Straw came out, well there aren't quite words to describe how much I hated that movie.  If I ignored everything else I hated in it, to prevent a rant, even the over promotion of Angel for a five minute appearance in the film, the part which most disgusted me was Rogue's storyline.

Rogue being one of my favourite characters and me being a huge supporter of the Gambit/Rogue transitioning from animated series to comic books, her film development was important to me.  The appeal of the character in the comics/tv series was that she was a strong and confident female character who didn't let what was quite a debilitating power ruin her life.  She was complex and the romance between her and Gambit was both complex and tragic because the two, whilst clearly being in love, could never physically be together, but remained true to one another despite this.  At this point I would have embedded a clip demonstrating this, but since youtube is shite these days I actually couldn't find a single actual clip from the show, there were only music videos which wasn't really what I was looking for, *sigh*.

The Rogue of X3, decides that she'd rather give up her powers so that she can snog her boyfriend.  Of course they throw a line in there with him saying 'oh I hope you didn't do this for me' and her responding that she did this for herself, but the fact remains that she did in fact do it so she could snog her boyfriend.  If she had not been in a relationship during these movies with Ice Man, then would never have done it and kept her powers.

This significantly pissed me off enough to tarnish the franchise forever in my eyes.  I won't go into X-Men Origins: Wolverine, too much, as the less said about it the better, but Ryan Reynolds was the only good thing about that movie and time line and continuity wise it made little sense and the guy without a cajun accent masquerading as Gambit better watch his back.

So I completely avoided this one at the cinema, after being bitterly disappointed by the other X-Men films I didn't actually want to spend any money on the franchise as it had robbed me of enough of my money and sanity already.  So I will be commenting on it in real time as I watch the film, (perhaps pausing to type) and if the unlikely situation occurs where I actually enjoy the movie I will buy the dvd.

Here we go:
  • Oh how can the fox logo make me feel so apprehensive?
  • Did I miss something?  When did the Bad Hat Harry production company start using the usual suspects as it's logo, or has this been around for a while and I just missed it?
  • Ok! Movie!  So we've got Magneto at the concentration camp, how will it measure up to the flash back in X-Men?
  •  eh, close enough I suppose for it not to piss me off too much.  
  • So we switch to a new boy who is probably Prof X considering the accent, I wonder if they'll bother to explain how he kept that accent.
  • Oh a young mystique...  how bloody old is she considering when she depowers in X3 she's Rebecca Romjin and significantly younger by about 30/40 years than Sir Ian Gandalf.
  • Ah Kevin Bacon, so he's the bad guy, I am so surprised.
  • Actually props for the German accent, I'm sure native speakers would argue with me, but it's pretty good.
  • Bacon giveth the chocolate and he taketh away.
  • Oh dear it looks like Bacon is going to torure Magneto's mummy or shoot her...
  • Oh Bacon, you fucked with the wrong kid.
  • I have to say this rage scene is pretty good in establishing both Magneto's character and powers.
  • I must say it's pretty cold, even for Kevin Bacon playing a nazi.
  • A title card!?!!?!!!  Nine bloody minutes in??!!?!?!!!ONE!!!  What the hell?
  • No we're with grown up Magneto in the sixties and he seems to be hunting Bacon.
  • Ewwwww.....  Professor X hitting on someone...  he's Patrick Stewart in the future.
  • So Raven(bleargh) Mystique is Charles' sister, with an American accent.  
  • Funny how they didn't mention it or recognise each other in the other films.
  • OK, Mystique is blue, she has a right to have image issues.  
  • lol...  ok Magneto making some guy slap himself in the face is kinda funny.
  • We're jumping around a lot here establishing characters so I hope we get to a point soon.  
  • Random unknown peoples in a car.
  • Emma Frost!  She was a teenager in origins, is this movie ignoring all previous continuity all together?
  • So we've got possible CIA agents spying on peoples, Bacon with Frost and.... um...  wind making dude?  Aang!  Ok, Emma Frost and Aang working for him.
  • LMAO....  the cheap arse effect on Emma Frost is ridiculous.
  • Wow, Azazel's in this movie, I wonder if he's get together with Mystique and have a baby Nightcrawler?
  • I actually like this scene with Magneto and the Nazi's in the bar in Argentina, the knife flying thing was cool and dramatically speaking it's tense yet exciting.  However we're nearly half an hour in and I just want the bloody characters to meet now.
  • HOLY SHIT!  Kevin Bacon has super powers!  Totally didn't see that coming, since he's playing Sebastian Shaw, one of the best comic book villains of all time, total shocker!  /end sarcasm.  Come on, movie.
  • Agent Stryker, older than Prof X in the first movie...  yeah, COME ON MOVIE!  For fuck's sake.
  • Oooh Oliver Platt!  I love him!
  • I do like the way Prof X is being played, pity it's absolutely nothing like Professor X.
  • Emma Frost is still laughable, the effects are like made for tv movie.
 At this point I had to pause because the storm knocked out all the lights, the other electricity was fine, just the lights, which seem to have blown and I can't find the fuse box thingy or spare light bulbs so I had to find some candles sharpish.

Continued...
  • At this point one of the main things I'm wondering is how Mystique goes from being Prof X's sister to being Magneto's closest confidant and also thirty years younger.
  • Oh dear, Aang blew the ships away that are coming for Kevin Bacon.
  • The chains which magneto sends running through the ship are going far faster than Bacon is actually running from them.  And Magneto discovers he can't raise a submarine whilst in the water.
  • Hank McCoy...  Beast!  And Prof X's outs him, don't ask, don't tell....  hang on...  that's that kid from skins/About a Boy.
  • I just realised, Mystique should not have demonstrated powers, neither Porf X as children, as it's supposed to kick in in puberty, unless brought on early by extreme circumstances like with Magneto.  Mystique doesn't have a traditional skeleton structure which is how she's able to change height, so really, how does child Mystique work...  oh I'm over thinking this.
  • So Bacon's helmet is Magneto's helmet and that was built by the Russians was it.  So was Magneto lying in the other films when he said he made it?
  • The Skins kid can do pretty good American accent actually.
  • Cerebro....  Magneto...
  • So it was built by Beast was it and not by Prof X, who seems to have to clue who the others are in the other movies until he regenerates into Fraiser that is.
  • So we're going to get flashes of X Men who shouldn't have been born yet are we?
  • Not that this movie has attempted to keep continuity with the other films in any way shape or form.
  • lol...  Magneto and Prof X do have a bit of good banter.
  • Oh come on!  Alex summers as a teenager!  Bloody hell, you're not even trying, movie.
  • Hugh Jackman....  FUCKING HUGH JACKMAN!  Ok, it's a funny line, but shouldn't he be in Vietnam with his brother or something?
  • Oh wait, I forgot continuity didn't exist in this movie.
  • This little scene with the mutant students is really nice and it does a good job of introducing the characters and their powers, if only it wasn't coming an hour into the movie.
  • P.S movie, Havok is supposed to be younger than Cyclops, fyi.
  • Bloody Magneto, he's supposed to be like a criminal genius, not a reckless idiot.
  • Goddamn that diamond effect is rubbish.
  • Goddammit...  if they bring in the sentinels...  Awww...  they killed Oliver Platt, that's rubbish.
  • Aang, Azazel and Kevin Bacon are causing so much trouble...
  • Ew...  Kevin Bacon is creepy.
  • Angel's an idiot, Bacon and co just killed hundreds of people trying to protect them AND one of her friends and she decides to go with them because of two CIA guys making nasty comments.  What an idiot.  She's more than an idiot, she's idiostuperific.
  • So the Cuban missile crisis was the fault of Kevin Bacon was it?
  • Ray Wise!  You're far too evil to not be playing a real bad guy in this movie.
  • Training montage!  Where is the spunky 80's pop ballad?
  • Oh come on, Beast is not The Flash.
  • Oh so it's magic (you don't have to explain it) that keeps Mystique young.
  • This little scene between Magneto and Prof X is probably the best in the movie so far, it's nicely acted and is a great character defining moment.
  • Oh, Beast, you're about to fuck up in the worst way.
  • Please remove your foot from your mouth.... 
  • Oh god, it's awful make it stop...
  • Oh thank god he left the room.
  • Beast is about to get evolutionary me thinks...
  • Nice Jekyll and Hyde rip off.  I mean homage.
  • Ew...  Mystique don't hit on Magneto, it's creepy...
  • YES!  Oh YES!  Rebecca Romjin!  Oh sweet, sweet, Rebecca Romjin...  oh why do you love Jerry O'Connell and not me?  Ok, that was awesome.
  • Ooh, Magneto's accent slippage.
  • Ew, ew, ew, Magneto and Mystique, ew.
  • lol....  the costumes...  oh the costumes...
  • Oh Beast, thou art hilarious.
  • Michael Ironside!  You're far too evil to be just an extra in this movie.  What are they doing wasting you?  My Mum would have a shit fit.
  • Ok this is actually building up to an exciting bit, yankees vs ruskies, the X-Men have to stop it, find Kevin Bacon's sub and prevent nuclear war....  well it would be exciting if we didn't already know that Russia and America never had a nuclear war, that tiny detail.
  •  There's still half an hour left in this movie, bloody hell.  I wonder if before the end they will address the Azazel thing being Nightcrawler's Dad...  it would have been quite cool if he was played by Alan Cummings.
  • It's the trailer bit with the lifted submarine, only it was much slower in the trailer.
  • Michael Ironside is wasted in this movie.
  • Oh dear, Aang's causing trouble.
  • Dearie me, I think they're going to have to build a new plane.
  • lol....  Magneto's helmet makes Kevin Bacon look like Edward Tattysyrup.
  • The flying effects for Banshee are pretty good, it actually looks like they've used some wire stuff instead of just green screening it and that makes it better because it looks real.
  • lol, polystyrene metal bar.
  • So Magneto kills Kevin Bacon, Prof X gets a big NOOOOOO.
  • The government decides to kill all the mutants....  just because...  
  • Magneto's accent's totally gone now, lol.
  • Michael Ironside is wasted in this movie.
  • The mutants can only look on in horror as everyone fires on them.  It's sloppily reasoned as to why they are firing upon them.
  • Prof X is shot in back by stray bullet deflected by Magneto, he is SO paralysed.  
  • Magneto is of coursing blaming the CIA lady who was trying to stop him killing thousands of people and not himself.
  • So Magneto zaps off with Mystique, Aang, Azazel and Angel.  
  • Prof X can't feel his legs, I'm so surprised. /end sarcasm.
  • Damn that Magneto outside is cool but cheesy as hell.
Summary:

Well I enjoyed that way more than I thought I would, which probably means I'll have to buy it on dvd.  dammit...

The film is not without problems, it's a bit long by about half an hour, the beginning jumps around way too much and some of the subplot could be trimmed to fix this.  Some of the effects look great like Beast, Mystique, Banshee flying, Azazels boomphs, but then you have Emma Frosts diamond effect which looked way better in X-Men origins and some very dodgy costume choices.

The continuity is awful and inexcusable.  There's practically no attempt to make it fit in with what happens in the other movies and would have benefited from a straight reboot prequel rather than trying to make it fit in with the other movies and failing quite badly at it too.

Rebecca Romjin's cameo was brilliant, Wolverine's was funny, but doesn't seem to fit in with the timeline.  There's several completely wasted actors, Ray Wise says one sentence and Michael Ironside is totally under used, Oliver Platt is killed off before he gets to do anything interesting, I have no idea what Aang's actual character name is as it wasn't said and I'm not familiar with that mutant.  *consults wiki* ....  Riptide...  fucking RIPTIDE....  In the comics, Riptide can grow his bones really quickly, which sounds like a lame power, until you realise that he uses that to create ninja stars to throw at people that are strong enough to cut through steel.  Bloody hell.

Knowing who Azazel is from the comics makes his onscreen appearance disappointing because they do not bother to explain who he is, he just pops in and out.  Having a romantic interest between him and mystique would have been really interesting (instead of the creepy Magneto stuff) and having him played by Alan Cummings would have been awesome as it would have explained easily to the audience without spelling it out, the origin of Nightcrawler.

It's also sad that since they didn't pick back up on Darwin becoming an energy being, that they just killed him off, if there's a sequel then they should address this.  
   
The continuity stuff is enough to piss me off significantly to drop it's score, this is based on the movies not the comics, mind, because they just don't seem to care that it doesn't make any sense when trying to fit it in with the other films.  If you haven't seen the other films then it's definitely enjoyable, though a lot of stuff will still be a forgone conclusion. 

8 out of 10 without the continuity problems, 6 out of 10 with them, they are very jarring for people who've seen the other films.

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