EDITORIAL: Why X-Men: First Class Will Probably Be The Worst CBM Ever!
If like me, you were appalled by the details Bryan Singer revealed yesterday, read on for my in-depth take on why X-Men: First Class will probably be the worst CBM ever! PLUS: Cast your vote on whether you think it'll be a hit or a miss...
I'm not usually someone who rants on about the changes made to our favourite comic book characters during the transition from page to screen. Yes, it annoys me when certain things are altered and yes, sometimes I'll complain until people get bored of me going on about it! (no Hank and Jan in The Avengers!?!) But for the most part, a lot of these changes don't really bother me all that much. In not referring to that watered down version of Doctor Doom we got in Fantastic Four or "Barakapool". I'm thinking more about the smaller things we've seen in the recent offerings from Marvel Studios or even the first two brilliant Spider-Man movies. Because sometimes these changes are necessary. Sometimes, dare I say it, they actually improve upon the source material. And while I can even accept the most extreme of changes if it makes sense, reading Bryan Singer's comments in the article DCMarvelFreshman posted last night left me feeling only one thing: infuriated.
I know that many if you love the first two X-Men films and I've often caught a bit of flak in the past for saying that I didn't enjoy them. It's not that they're badly directed or poorly acted. It's the fact that they're such a poor adaptation of the comic books. It's clear that Bryan Singer does not give a damn about the source material. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I once read a comment from him where he admitted never even going near a comic book while making the first movie. I don't expect every director who's involved with a CBM to have an encyclopedia-like knowledge of the source material but Bryan Singer went out of his way to make films based off his own beliefs. (anti-mutant feelings reflected from his own experiences of homophobia as he's previously admitted) Now, I have no problem with a director using their own experiences to enrich a film but Singer didn't even combine that with a respectful take on the comic books. Bear in mind that he's the same man who very nearly killed off the movie franchise of a DC icon with 2006's Superman Returns, another movie where he decided to go off in his own direction.
My point? Bryan Singer being producer of X-Men: First Class was the worst possible thing that could of happened especially when combined with a studio like Fox. There is no doubt in my mind that this will be the worst comic book movie the studio has ever released. I'm sure that the critics will love this quirky 1960's set take on the origins of the X-Men and I'm sure that Matthew Vaughn will do a great job as director. However, the information I heard last night is just too much of an insult for me to be able to enjoy the movie regardless of how great the cast are or how good the trailers end up looking. The 1960's setting is actually a pretty good idea. If it maintains the feel of the silver age comics, it'll make perfect sense to see them in the slightly garish black and yellow costumes. This setting would have in fact been the perfect place for a reboot that would have given us the origins of the original five members of the X-Men. However, in terms of continuity, this setting makes no sense. What would made sense if they wanted to keep this movie in with their already fragmented and messy continuity would have been to set it after X-Men Origins: Wolverine, even if that meant a varied cast that didn't include the original five. (a cast of characters I'm now convinced we'll never see together on the big screen)
I could have lived without the original five but no Scott Summers and Jean Grey is the straw that broke the camels back for me. Cyclops is one of my favourite comic book characters, and after three movies of seeing him portrayed as a whining idiot constantly competing with Wolverine rather than a capable leader, I was really hoping that X-Men: First Class would be his chance to shine. But no, we're getting his younger brother Alex instead. A younger brother who's roughly 10 - 15 years older than Scott. Why exactly was the mutant Scott sitting in high school to be kidnapped by William Stryker when Havok had been a member of Xavier's team years before? And I guess that the Beast we saw in X-Men 3 was roughly about 60 in terms of this continuity. Emma Frost, who was a teenager in a film set years after this one, will be an adult here and an old woman by the time of X-Men 3. Guess Scott has a funny taste in women to eventually hook up with her after Jean's death. Hang on...oh, that's right! Fox killed him off! Finally, let's not forget that both Professor. X and Magneto (roughly 30 in the 1960's) must have been nearly in their 80's by the time of the modern day films. I could probably keep on pointing out things like this for the rest of the article, but I think you get my point. This is not a prequel that makes sense and barely fits in with the continuity set in the other movies. I can't imagine who sat down and decided that this whole concept would be a good idea. Fox clearly care more about quickly churning out another movie that allows them to hold onto the rights rather than looking at the negative response from the fans to the numerous changes they've allowed to be made to the characters in the past. If nothing else, you'd think that the poor reviews their last two mutant related movies got would be a sign for them to start changing things.
In my honest opinion, this movie will be a huge mess. The team of X-Men is a mixed, and largely uninteresting, bunch. Angel Salvador? Banshee? Mystique? Havok? Raven Darkholme? It's not that I don't want to see live action adaptations of these characters, but what a boring and uninspiring team of characters! I'm sorry, but I guess I'm more of a "fanboy" than I ever realised. I really don't give a damn how good, or bad, the reviews end up being. I will not pay to go and see this movie. I've grown up with these characters and although I'm sure we'll hear plenty of more information in the coming weeks and months, what I read last night was enough to make me realise that as a comic book fan, I'll never be able to enjoy it. It's too insulting to both the characters and continuity, while it's not even like they'll get the personalities of them right as their past movies prove. Add in Sebastian Shaw and Azazel and I'm even more convinced this will be a messy, poorly structured film with a plot that leaves a lot to be desired. Then again, what do you expect from Jane Goldman? Kick-Ass was a good film but she managed to write out everything that was interesting about Big Daddy and put a jet-pack in one of the most out of context and idiotic moments in any film I've ever seen.
So, am I judging this too soon? Am I being too harsh? As I've said above, I don't think so. It might be a great movie. But it wont be a great COMIC BOOK movie which is why I'm so unhappy about yesterday's news. I don't want to see films loosely based on these character. I want films that are faithful, yet realistic, adaptations. Just look at Iron Man or Batman Begins. In a year with Thor, Captain America and Cowboys and Aliens it's hard to give a damn about Fox's latest offering. Oh, and let's not forget about Green Lantern. I'd like to thank those of you who convinced, and advised, me to start reading his comic book adventures. The "Blackest Night" hardcovers arrived yesterday and I'm now nearly right up to date with the current monthly issues and thoroughly looking forward to the movie. In what will surely be an amazing year for CBM's, I'll see X-Men: First Class in the bargain bins along with Fantastic Four and Elektra. Thanks for reading, and please share your thoughts in the usual place! :)
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