As we look at X-Men: First Class today, we need to keep one thing in mind. I am a huge X-Men fiend. Ever since I viewed the cartoon in the ’90s, I’ve been following the stories of this Marvel team, and gobbling up anything that has to do with them.
With that in mind, we also need to be brutally honest. Ever since X-Men 1 & 2 came out in theaters, the franchise has been drifting. The first two films are generally recognized as a great effort to make things seem plausible and realistic, showcasing the mutants in different ways as they battle each other and the world.
The third film, although doing decent in theaters and getting OK ratings, is recognized as being as being a horrible cash-in by an unenthusiastic director and some of the snottier members of the cast. Wolverine, the 4th film, proved to be… well, stupid. It was a brainless exercise that gave us… nothing. Does anyone even remember it? (Besides with sighs of exasperation)
X- Men: First Class is seeking to remedy that. The movie is taking a chance, by going back to the time when the X-Men were first assembled, in the 60’s and showing a different range of characters. And everything is new.
Everything has been re imagined, from the outfits to the actors to the setting. This is a fresh start, using new people and direction and production values to make something great looking.
From everything that I’ve seen, this director is making an honest effort to stay true to source material, and to make a vibrant and dynamic film that makes the X-Men something special. By inserting the X-Men into the 60’s, the project not only changes up setting and gives us new characters, but it also gives them situations that require heoric people to step into.
If there was a fatal flaw with X3 and Wolverine, it was an abundance of pointless useless mutants that served as cannon fodder for the X-Men. The films were just composed of mutants punching and zapping each other and crying about it. X-Men has always been about the team working together to help the world.
By going with political strife in the 60’s the setting is something that actually concerns people. It’s a smart move overall.
The introduction of different characters that are not in the previous movies also gives people faces to discover. The relationship between Professor X and Magneto will also be fascinating at this point in their lives.
All in all, X-Men: First Class looks like it has the potential to be a breath of fresh air. It may just be the reinvention of the franchise we were looking for.