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Review: X-Men: First Class; plus: Geekery!

Okay, so let me just say that I was expecting X-Men First Class to be pretty good, but not awesome.

I say the following with no shame: It was the best. X-Men. Ever.

Here follows a metric fuckton of spoilers and analysis.



Okay, so. First off the thing that absolutely separates this from all the other X-Men films is the solidity of the characterizations. I don't recognize most of the screenwriters (Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughan) but I am filing them away for future reference, because they GOT the characters, and this is very much a character story as well as a comic book flick.

It starts off as like Inglorious Basterds 2 though, with bb!Magneto in the camps and all. Then he grows to become Michael Fassbender and tracks down, one by one, the men who killed his family, tortured him, etc. And y'know, I would have been perfectly happy with a "Magneto hunts Nazis" flick all on its own. But. There's more.

The crux of the story is the epicness that is Xavier and Magneto. This portrayal really spins them as a sort of Kirk-and-Spock dynamic: complete opposites who nonetheless complement each other and literally make each other stronger. Together, these two have unmatched potential and could do amazing things, and like Greek tragedy, it is unbelievably painful that you know they won't. McAvoy and Fassbender also have truly unbelievable chemistry together, completely matching if not actually SURPASSING Stewart and McKellan in their portrayals (yeah I can't believe I just wrote that either but THERE YOU GO). My favorite scene is where they are discussing control of their powers: Magneto wants Xavier to shoot him because rage is his fuel. Xavier refuses because he can't shoot his friend; instead he goes inside Magneto's mind to pluck out a memory "between rage and serenity"--in this case lighting Menorah candles with his mother. Both men shed tears as they relive the moment. Just wow.

And OMG the slasherificness of them! With tasty subtexty text. "You do make an adorable lab rat, Charles!" The swinginess where they lie next to one another on a bed before being treated to a 'private' performance with Angel. And the climactic scene in which they acknowledge, sorrowfully that their ideologies are too different, and as Magneto arrogantly deflects a million bullets, one of them hits Charles.

At the spine.

SO NOT CANON AND I DON'T EVEN CARE BECAUSE IT IS BETTER.

Magneto is horrified and gathers Xavier up IN HIS ARMS and I swear to fucking God I was expecting them to kiss manfully, ala Aragorn and Boromir. But no. (Which is too bad because there was a very cute "don't ask don't tell" joke mid-film.) Sigh.

Now let me switch gears and rhapsodize over bb!Mystique now. I was NOT expecting to love her as much if not more than the boys. Raven is here adopted-ish by a young Xavier when they are like ten and she becomes his sister and they are adorbs together. Then suddenly he's in grad school doing his best to be a manslut and she wants attention from boys but somehow fails even when she's in her blonde form. (To which we can only conclude that all men in the 60s were blind AND gay.) She totally crushes on pre-Beast Beast who has his own self-image issues to work out, and between him and Xavier's cluelessness/(brotherly?) cuttingness she's just a teenage girl who wants a boy to tell her she's pretty.

Which Magneto does. In a really awesome scene, she sneaks into his bedroom. In blonde girl form, he tells her to come back in a few years. She turns into Emma Frost. He says tells her to be herself. She does. They kiss, wonderfully, and let's all pretend X3 never happened and that Magneto would never ever leave her because she was just human, okay?

(Also, the Hugh Jackman cameo? WAS ADORABLE!)

Anyway, I basically kept wanting to hug her and say "To hell with stupid boys! BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE, BABY! If you wanna be an adorable blonde, that's cool! If you wanna be blue, that's cool! WE LOVE YOU THE WAY YOU ARRRRRRRRRRRRRE DAMMIT!" And I just LOVE her forever and ever. *sigh*

Okay, now that the rhapsody's done with, let's talk about the weaker elements.

I found Darwin completely charming and completely wasted. Okay, seriously, you guys HAD to kill the black dude? Really?! HE DOESN'T EVEN DIE IN THE BOOKS. Grrrr.

He, Banshee, Havok, and Angel had the least screentime, less even than Moira McTaggert who is somehow 1) in the CIA and 2) the only chick in the CIA? What? And there's some retro "mockery" of this. Also, fairly inexplicably, the only mannequins around for Havok to practice blasting were female? HEY GUYZ YER MYSOGINY IS SHOWING, WHAT IS THIS EVEN?!

I've read some complaints about Kevin Bacon's performance, though I think considering the amount of time onscreen (not that much considering) he did very well and further, sold it much more than previous X-villains. And of course, his final stand-off with Fassbender was just--wow. Completely brutal and amazing, and each of them--and McAvoy--sold the fuck out of it.



In short: I absolutely adored this film and want to go again. That is all.

ETA: Unlike all the other Marvel flicks, there's no fun stuff after credits. We stayed with a lot of other True Believers and there was nothing and we were sad.

~

Okay, so some nifty things before I got to bed.

Star Trek (reboot) video game. If the whole thing is anything like the sample graphics, I wants it. I wants it nao.

Fandoms Against H8 tees. jim_and_bones posted a link to the "Some Captains Marry Doctors" tee. The shirts represent many fandoms though, including Dr Who, Torchwood, Hawaii 5-0, Supernatural, Harry Potter, and more. The designer is also open to additional pairings/fandoms. HINT F-LISTIES, I NOTICED THERE'S NO LOTR ON THERE! Go fix that. I am meanwhile contemplating whether I could actually suggest (and get away with) "Some Rohirrim Marry Captains. H8 is not Gúthwinë." ...Someone besides me would wear this, y/y?

Comments

( 24 comments — Add your .02 )
hyde_the_body
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
You have blinded me with your amazing geekery! (And yes, I would wear that shirt!) I'll read your critique after I've finished simmering down from a conversation with an ignorant ass hat claiming to be an X-Men fan who dissed the movie (and myself) without ever having seen the film.

Until then, still blinded by your awesome!
caitri
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC)
And then you broke his nose and danced in his blood, y/y?

DUDE GO SEE THIS FILM! SOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOD!
hyde_the_body
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:49 am (UTC)
I DEEEEEEED!!! Go see the movie, that is. I told the dude to stfu and move on, that it was pointless arguing with a person online about a movie they hadn't even seen yet.

Awesome movie. Aaaaaaand I now ship Charles/Erik. Like a burning. Charles's "No, you did this." on the beach reduced me to a simpering mass of blubbery tears.
caitri
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:50 am (UTC)
OMG I KNOW. I kept waiting for them to kiss! I MEAN LOOKIT HOW ERIK HELD HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
hyde_the_body
Jun. 4th, 2011 05:08 am (UTC)
So tender! So precious! KISS YOUR ADORABLE LAB RAT YOU FOOL!!!!
caitri
Jun. 4th, 2011 05:09 am (UTC)
Oh God. I need to figure out how to do an AU. Where they are adorable and have a happy ending.

BUT I HAVE STBB AND STUFF. ARRRRRRRRRRRRGH.
hyde_the_body
Jun. 4th, 2011 05:26 am (UTC)
>.> You realize that I'm going to have to attempt this now, right? It will be huge and massive and so ridiculously character driven and alternating between fluffy and angsty and IF I DO WRITE THIS WOULD YOU BE MY BETA?!?!?

(Holy shit, run-on sentence much?)
caitri
Jun. 4th, 2011 05:40 am (UTC)
FUCK YES.

(Though it behooves me to give you a head's up that, as beta, I WILL totes cover it in red ink as necessary, albeit constructively. But, y'know, not everyone is up for that so it's only fair for me to say that.)
hyde_the_body
Jun. 4th, 2011 05:48 am (UTC)
The only way to get better is to have the shit(ty writing) kicked out of you and replaced with something better.

If I didn't have tutoring in the morning, I would so start writing this now. *stares at clock* Screw that! *starts writing* NOTHING SHALL GET BETWEEN ME AND MY SLASH!!!!
caitri
Jun. 4th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
re: writing: YES. (I'm also an editor professionally, and with fic I do tend to put disclaimers where I worry that my personal preferences tend to color things, but most people tend to find my advice fair, etc. I just didn't want to inadvertantly freak you out or anything. :))

re: morning: LOL. I'm about to start revising a ridiculous epic that needs rewriting, so cheers! *salutes you with coffee mug*
avictoriangirl
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:24 am (UTC)
OMG. I was dying to see this movie and now I want to see it even MOAR.
caitri
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)
DUDE. JUST DUDE. *gesticulates wildly*

I would write Xavier/Magneto fic if it wasn't so fucking tragic!!!!!!!!!!! THAT IS HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS FILM.
thistlerose
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:28 am (UTC)
I hadn't noticed the "H8 Is Dead, Jim" line at the bottom of the shirts the first time I looked at them. Aww.

Argh, I want to see this movie!!!
caitri
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:41 am (UTC)
DO EET. DO EET NAO.
claudia_nic
Jun. 4th, 2011 10:44 am (UTC)
I so agreeee! Minus the Kevin bacon part because he just didn't do the trick for me. ALthough he was indeed great in that last scene with Magneto. I'm just still wondering, 12 hours later, what happened to all the energy he adsorbed after he got himself killed by a coin? Why didn't he explode? Any ideas?
And that last scene on the beach, where Eric is holding Charles and they are all reasonable, yet not willing to let each other go....it was so perfect.
And I would have liked to see more bb!Xmen action, because I thought they did a really good job. Especially Raven was in some ways left out of the action, due to the lack of awesome exploding superpowers. So I was really happy when she got her moment to shine impersonating Frost.And I kind of liked the entire clueless big brother thing Charles had going on...but he just didin't get it, did he. But at least he let her go.Enough rambling....most awesome movie of the year by far....I have to go see Pirates 4 this afternoon and it will be such a let down after last night :D
caitri
Jun. 4th, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
I wasn't sure if Charles didn't get it or didn't WANT to get it. Particularly that scene early on when when she flops herself onto the couch in her bathrobe for a cuddle, and later, post-Magneto, when he tells her to put clothes on and he doesn't know where to look. I really felt that second scene was cut short because it leads so much to Raven going to Magneto at the end.

Also: I ADORED how Magneto and crew held hands at the end. Sure it was for teleportation, but the image of them so connected while the X-Men were scattered about was very powerful!
amine_eyes
Jun. 4th, 2011 10:56 am (UTC)
YES YES YES TE YES YES :D

I absolutely loved this movie, though I do agree that it was basically a movie of two sets of characters, with Kevin Bacon sauntering around between them - Xavier and Magneto, and Mystique and Beast. The other characters could have been used much better (such as Angel's 'betrayal' - all we get is one line beforehand about her feeling objectified >_>), BUT. Still SUCH an awesome movie :DDD
caitri
Jun. 4th, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
I really wish it had been designed as a two-parter or some such. The first half of the film is pretty perfectly paced, and then it's like they LITERALLY hit the fast-forward button when they do their "week" (a WEEK?!) of training etc.

I also adored the motif of the chess games between Charles and Erik and felt some more time could have been spent there, but that's mostly because I wanted more Charles/Erik PERIOD.
amine_eyes
Jun. 4th, 2011 05:02 pm (UTC)
Very true! I honestly thought that it was longer than a week, but apparently one of them has time-travel powers xD

Couldn't agree more :DD
rubynye
Jun. 4th, 2011 02:46 pm (UTC)
I have never minded spoilers, and this review fills me with joy.

The crux of the story is the epicness that is Xavier and Magneto.

YES YES YES YES YES AND ALSO YES! From I first heard of this movie I've been saying I've hoped it is how Magneto & Xavier met and fell in love. And a K/S-y dynamic I can love (to make up for losing K/S itself to its rabid fans)! Yay!

and let's all pretend X3 never happened and that Magneto would never ever leave her because she was just human, okay?

She was supposed to be sitting beside him in the chess park scene at the very end; just pretend she'd gotten up to pee in the moment when we see him.
caitri
Jun. 4th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
From I first heard of this movie I've been saying I've hoped it is how Magneto & Xavier met and fell in love.

THAT IS SO EXACTLY WHAT IT IS!!!!!!!! I seriously have NOT seen a film as emphatically about destined bromance like this since XI. It is so amazing.

She was supposed to be sitting beside him in the chess park scene at the very end; just pretend she'd gotten up to pee in the moment when we see him.

I like thsi plan. I like it a LOT.
joirerson
Jun. 4th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
io9 even said this was a super slashy movie!! I might have to go see it. HAVE TO.
caitri
Jun. 4th, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
Hee! They also noted the K/Siness of it! *G*
tn_tiger
Jun. 5th, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
I am so glad that "First Class" was so good. Have to put that on my list now.

Just now looking over the Fandoms against H8 tees. I WANT "Some Angels Marry Demons" (Good Omens, I assume), "Some Hunters Marry Angels" (yes, yes, they do...) and "Some doctors marry consulting detecives".
( 24 comments — Add your .02 )

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