Posts tagged wolverine
The X-Men are about as ingrained into American pop culture as Superman (or Wolverine, at least), but somehow I had managed to remain ignorant of pretty much everything X-Men-related until a few days ago.
It is an interesting way to go into First Class since, as a prequel, it should be about as unsurprising as the final outcomes of the Star Wars prequel story. Yet imagine how Star Wars would be if watched from Episode 1 to Episode 6; that is essentially how I got into the X-Men story with First Class, and it really was a thrill.
Sure, I had seen characters like Magneto and Beast before, but the solid portrayals of their origins were still incredibly surprising and well-done. Magneto especially tears at the heartstrings thanks to his character’s ability to instantly win sympathy thanks to his understandable personal struggles and roots in the Holocaust.
Yes, you heard me, the Holocaust; no punches are pulled in this one.
In fact, the entire idea of inserting the storyline into the midst of one of the more tense political situations in world history, the Cuban Missile Crisis, is ingenious. The movie creates as much of its own tension and suspense as can be expected from any action-oriented superhero romp, but it sure does not hurt to have a backdrop for the narrative as tense as the high-stakes game of chess that that crisis turned out to be.
Many elements of the film, including the historical backdrop, contribute to a very classy, polished whole. Certain camera angles and shots frame the action perfectly (in one fatal scene in particular), and even the behavior of many of the characters feels classy more often than not.
Whereas superhero movies usually feature super-macho lone wolves like Wolverine, First Class stands out (even from the team leader Captain America) in its ability to lend plenty of screen time to each X-Man. They form a great team, and they all know how important it is to maintain that team bond.
It is always refreshing to see superhero movies differ from each other in such profound ways (compare this to the solitary Hulk). It is unfortunate, however, that First Class does hit a few pitfalls typical to the genre.
While the lead characters (Xavier, Magneto) are fleshed out in extremely satisfying detail, other, still significant characters end up making monumental decisions that feel highly distanced from the characters we as viewers make them out to be throughout the narrative. I understand that these characters need to end up where the comics want them to be by the time the credits roll, but that is still no excuse.
That said, the conclusion of this story made me hungry to find out the rest of the story, however extensive it may be. The centerpiece of this film really was the characters and their relationships with each other, and this central element succeeded greatly. I want to know what happens to them next, something I am sure Marvel (and its investors) would be glad to hear.
Speaking of being glad to hear good news, I want to hear from you! What did you think of this Cold War twist on existing, beloved characters? Heck, feel free to let me hear some bad news too! If you have something in mind about this, and it is not flaming, post away!
If you like First Class, then try:
- Captain America (another Marvel superhero story focused on teamwork).