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A movie with Marvel's merry mutants!

Today's post is reblogged from our sister site, This has been post-dated to coincide with the post date of the original, which was July 12th, 2011. - Kevin, January 31st, 2012

X-Men: First Class is Marvel's latest full-length feature film, hot on the heels of The Mighty Thor. Lemme tell you right now, it is one first class film. It's x-cellent! It is the blockbuster film to beat this summer. Words could not do the film the proper justice, but I'll try. For you. For America.

The title refers to the very first band of mutants - children of the atom! - recruited by a young Charles Xavier. Believing that peace and cooperation are the key to a better world, he is recruited by the American government. for his professorship in mutation and genetics. This being the swingin' sixties and the Cold War, Xavier has to stop former Nazi and current mutant, Sebastian Shaw, from engineering a WWIII (read: World War tres) in which mutants are the victor. This is where Erik Lensherr, a young Magneto comes in. As a child, Erik was tortured by Sebastian Shaw, the genetics director of Erik's concentration camp, to unlock his magnetic powers. Erik plays the part of an international secret agent, travelling from France to South America, climbing up the ladder of former Nazis to find Shaw and avenge his family.

So while we have the major conflict of good mutants vs. bad, we also have this conflict of ideologies between Erik and Charles.  And it's a juicy one.

The film is a hit from beginning to end. I've only described the bones of 3 characters, but everyone has their own story. Hank McCoy learns what it means to be a beast, and Mystique finds a shift in her ideals. It's amazing how so many characters feel real in the duration of the film. I could definitely see a sequel. First Class holds a rich cast with a pulse-pounding plot that leaves you thinking at the end.

Truly, the movie theatre has never been more exciting than in this -- the Marvel Age of blockbusters!

The comic book perspective: So that's it for the review proper. Herein I'll comment on how some characters translated to the film. This part's unnecessary to understand the film, but, if you wanna brush up on your X-lore, you might gain some insight.

-There's an actual Marvel comic series titled "X-Men: First Class" by Jeff Parker et al. He's from Portland, Ore. In no way is the film based on that.

-Rose Byrne is a cutie as FBI agent Moira McTaggert! I'm very attracted to her straight, smooth hair. In the comics, she was a genetics scientist and former flame of Xavier. In the film, she has awesome hair!

-"First Class" could also be referring to the very first appearance of the X-Men from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. That's extremely unlikely though, 'cause those comics featured a bald, paraplegic Professor X with 6 mutants: Cyclops, Jean Grey, Havok, Angel, Beast and Iceman. 90-or-so issues through, the comic was making terrible numbers, so Stan decided to cancel it. By the time he finished the last issue, 93, the numbers were way up! But it was too late.

-The "Angel" of the film doesn't make any sense at all. We all know Angel is Warren Worthington, from the first generation of mutants (given a film incarnation in X3: The Last Stand). The girl with the fairy wings refers most closely to a current generation X-kid called Pixie.

-First Class, the film, draws on no specific storyarc, but draws the most from the writer who followed Stan the Man, Chris Claremont. He pioneered the way for modern X-comics, introducing a bunch of characters including Storm, Colossus, the Hellfire Club (featuring the Black King, Sebastian Shaw and the White Queen, Emma Frost), and Dark Phoenix.

-January Jones is a BOMBSHELL as Emma Frost.

-Some of Claremont's best stuff is collected in Essential X-Men Vol. 1 and 2. 2 is the Dark Phoenix saga.
Favorite scenes: Herein I recount my favorite scenes. There are spoilers. Deal with it.

-In a South American bar, Erik makes some small chat. . . before straight up murdering the bartender and the two barflies, former Nazis who were "following orders." It's a great scene, and it helps you begin to understand Erik's single-minded ardor for revenge.

-Previously fueled by pain and rage, Erik becomes powerful enough to turn a satellite yards away, only when Xavier unlocks a touching memory of his mother. The memory was suppressed by years of pain from Shaw, but in this one moment of time, the pain went away.

-Sebastian Shaw's whole mutant deal is that he absorbs energy, so if you toss a nuke at him, he'll just absorb the kinetic energy and metabolize it. . . somehow. In the final confrontation, Charles telepathically freezes Shaw in order to detain him, but Erik, in pursuit of revenge, takes a German quarter and, ever so slowly, pushes it to Shaw's forehead through his brain and out the other end. The camera juxtaposes a silent, incapacitated Shaw with an agonized, screaming Xavier. Xavier feels the pain that Erik meant for Shaw, and it is the pain of a friend cutting the ties that bond them.

-EVERY SCENE WITH MAGNETO. THIS DUDE ROCKS. I really think that First Class is a Magneto origins story. Sure, there are other people, but he is the main story. The story begins with his conflict and ends with the resolution of his conflict. Sure, Xavier is crippled and gets that wheelchair, but it's trivial compared to the emotional journey that Erik undergoes.

If you didn't get it by now, First Class rocks. It's a great movie and a superb comic book movie. I love it.
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