Like every other good little comic book nerd, this past weekend I went out and saw X-Men First Class. This is another one of those that I've literally read so many impressions and reviews of that I have absolutely nothing to say or add that you haven't read elsewhere, written much, much better. Still, it's a comic book film, and you just know I'm going to at least talk a little about it.
I'm among a minority of comic book fans who doesn't absolutely love the "X" movie franchise. Yes, the first two were good, and X2 was damn good, but I don't think they're particularly great. I hated X3 and X-Men Origins Wolverine. I understand there are limitations as to what they can do when bringing a comic like X-Men to the screen, it's the things that are changed or the way things are mishandled for no apparent reason that bother me. For example, Sabretooth from the first film, Juggernaut from X3, and Magneto from all three films. For everything Bryan Singer did right, he did something else that I didn't like. I will NEVER forgive whoever it was that wrote Storm's line about what happens to a Toad when it gets hit by lightning from the first one. Every time I hear it I literally get physically angry because of how stupid it is. I won't even begin to start on my Juggernaut rant, the less said about the abortion from X3 that they called "Juggernaut" the better.
I went in to First Class with high expectations, the trailers looked fantastic, and I'm particularly fond of Michael Fassbender and was looking forward to his Magneto. I never liked Ian McKellan as Magneto, dude was just too damn old and his helmet looked goofy. I also liked James McAvoy in Wanted, so I knew Professor X was in capable hands as well. Both were great here, and played off of each other very well. It was easy to imagine that this was really how the relationship between Charles and Eric started out. Kevin Bacon was the other stand-out, and again I expected as much, but he managed to make a character that I never really cared much about, Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club, fucking awesome. I'm a Kevin Bacon fan, and I especially love it when he plays the bad guy. I'm guessing there may actually be one or two people who haven't had the cameo spoiled for them, so I'll keep my mouth shut about it, other than to say that I loved it and it made me laugh out loud.
Other than a few little continuity issues and retcons, I really don't have anything bad to say about First Class. Those of you going into it looking for non-stop action will come away disappointed, as there's only a couple of action sequences. They're really good ones, but still there's only two or three. Personally, I liked the fact that this movie was more story-driven. It did move a bit slowly in the beginning, which forced a little hurry-up in the third act, I enjoyed the training sequences, would like to have seen more of that. A lot of characters were introduced, but unlike X3, this time almost all of them actually served some purpose in the movie. Still some could've used a little more attention. Still all these are minor nitpicks when you put First Class up against the unforgivable problems I have with X3 and X-Men Origins Wolverine.
If I'm ranking the franchise, I'd put First Class second only to X2, and it's not lagging very far behind it. I'm not sure if I saw the same movie as all of these people claiming it will give The Dark Knight a run for it's money as the best superhero film of all time, but as good as it is, it's definitely no Dark Knight. If nothing else though, it got me excited about the X-Men on the big screen again. The ending of course left things wide open for the inevitable sequels, and I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't looking forward to them, provided director Matthew Vaughn and the cast plan to return.