X-Men: First Class proves the doubters wrong?

X-Men First Class: Michael Fassbender & James ...

Image by Lyon & Pan via Flickr

Although there’s currently an embargo on official reviews for the X-Men: First Class film, word of mouth is that this latest mutant flick easily surpasses all four of the previous X-Men films in terms of quality. Considering how loathed the project was by fans when it was announced, to now have critics such as television host Jonathan Ross call First Class ‘the best X-Men movie ever’ is quite a huge achievement for the Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) directed prequel.

After Brett Ratner‘s X-Men: The Last Stand was met with harsh reviews, plans for an X-Men 4 movie were put on hold. Fox decided to focus on mutant solo adventures such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine and to no surprise Wolverine bombed. It seemed the X-Men franchise was suffering from forcing supporting characters into the films without any development and little screen time. The original trilogy was criticised for focusing heavily on Wolverine whilst ignoring other significant characters such as Cyclops and Colossus, whilst X-Men Origins was panned for cramming too many secondary mutants in for no reason. The X-Men franchise had apparently run out of steam and it was back to the drawing board for Fox.

So when X-Men: First Class was announced fans assumed they would be getting a reboot movie based on the comic book series of the same name. It would mean previously under developed characters from the films such as Cyclops, Iceman and Angel would finally get a chance to be redeemed on screen, whilst paving the way for franchise that reflected the comic books perfectly. Fox had other ideas.

Instead Bryan Singer and co insisted First Class was not a reboot and instead a prequel to the original trilogy. Still not too alarming, but things got worse when the line-up for the film was announced with secondary mutants such as Havok, Mystique, Banshee, Darwin and Angel Salvadore sharing the spotlight with a young Professor X (walking and with hair) and Magneto. Who were these secondary characters? Why were they replacing key members such as Cyclops, Jean Grey and Iceman? Then it was announced the flick was a period movie set in the 60’s around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which opened up a whole load of continuity worms. Havok (Alex Summers) who was originally Cyclops’s younger brother in the comics would now be his father? Mystique being a teenager would mean she would be well into her fifties if not sixties by the time the original X-Men movie came around. Professor X having hair and walking was too far from the source material. Telepath and Diamond mutant Emma Frost had now appeared in two X-Men movies with massive age gaps between depictions.  It was time to hit the panic button for the fans.

Yet somehow despite these shortcomings, X-Men: First Class has incredibly overcome all these obstacles in its path supposedly becoming the best X-movie to date. Early reviews are indicating First Class is more like Batman Begins then any other superhero movie, focusing more on character development and drama instead of character cameos and pointless plot drifts. It’s a shame Fox couldn’t have done this at the beginning as ten years later we are still waiting for the epic mutant blockbuster we all wanted. If First Class proves to be a hit, who knows what the sequel could achieve.

If this is the ‘Begins‘ I can’t wait for the ‘The Dark Knight’…

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