9 June 2011

X-Men First Class

As you must all know by now, I rather like my superhero films. They tend to push boundaries in several ways: Special effects, concepts ranging from alien powers to radioactive spiders to genetic mutation, hot men in spandex.. Anyway, I find these films to be better than most because we find ourselves in an utterly different situation. This is no longer everyday life, it is what you make of it, and who is to say what is wrong and what is right?

The most recent X-Men film illustrates that last question perfectly. The film enables us to see everyones point of view; The normal human being, who is intimidated by the next stage of evolution and fears its own extinction. Charles Xavier, who empathises with all parties despite being a mutant and Erik Lehnsherr, believing there is a war coming and wishing revenge. As viewers, we can see the reasons for each character's actions. To them, what they think is right, and this quality in the film is something that I think everyone should appreciate.

This particular film is a prequel to the previous 3 movies, but not Wolverine, whose story, incidentally, is before and during this one, as we see by the fleeting cameo in which he tells Charles and Erik to 'fuck off' as they try to recruit him. I did take quite a lot of satisfaction from this as I do rather love Hugh Jackman and his antihero character.

There were, unfortunately, a lot of slip ups in this film. And I am fairly sure that quite a bit of it was true to the comics, but not so true to their other movies. Here are just a couple of them:

In X-Men: The Last Stand, when Xavier and Magneto visit Jean Grey as a child, Xavier can still walk. Xavier gets paralysed in First Class at a very young age, much before they go to see her. Magneto is meant to be in the Brotherhood at this point, and so may not have even accompanied Xavier to Jean Grey's childhood home.

In the first X-Men movie, Xavier says that Magneto helped him build Cerebro, however, in this film, Beast is the one to build it, and it is destroyed and not put back together before Magneto leaves to build his Brotherhood.

However, they do clear up quite a lot of questions that I had. Probably the biggest was how Xavier got paralysed in the first place. As I have not read the comics, I find the film very good in giving this kind of information, as well as Including characters that I know from the X-Men cartoon series.

The film stars all new actors in order to appeal to the younger audience, and in this respect they did a good job. I do think that they could have given a bit more to all the people who have seen the other films, though. Since the cast was entirely new and quite young, there was no way of recapturing the older generation and the lovers of the original films.

My favourite actor was probably Michael Fassbender in his performance of Erik/ Magneto due to his talent at getting across the mixed emotions that he feels with his facial expressions and body language. I think he did a good job of allowing the audience to get to know the character without hating him, quite like the way that Ian McKellen did in the original 3 movies. You can definitely see that he has studied the actor and taken character traits from him, only put them into a younger and therefore more volatile form.

Just to give a mention to another actor who I hold in quite high esteem, I think Nicholas Hoult did a brilliant job at being a geeky and rather sweet young version of Beast. I liked the way that the emotions of the young people were displayed, and the film did play a lot on attraction and self esteem. This, I felt, was a little too teenage even for me, so maybe the market could have been widened a little.

Overall I think this film is an 8 out of 10 as I very much enjoyed it and it had superb special effects. But it certainly isn't one for the huge fans or the originals, or for the comic book fans for that matter.

For me, I still think that X-Men Origins: Wolverine had it all.