5 Things We Learned From ‘X-Men: First Class’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

xavier vs magneto xmen first class 5 Things We Learned From X Men: First Class

2. Altering The Source Material Can Be A Good Thing

I’m sure I’m going to lose that aforementioned contingent of hardcore fans that don’t like their comic book mythos messed with, but I’m going to say it regardless: Sometimes (admittedly rare times) there are ideas that comic book movie makers introduce into the mythos, which are simply more logical, organized, or downright better than what the comics have established. Such was the case with the Xavier/Magneto backstory in First Class

I’ve always thought that Sam Raimi’s introduction of organic web-shooters for his movie version of Spider-Man was smart and logical; I feel the same way about a lot of the details Chris Nolan put into Batman Begins, in order to explain the character’s origins in a more modern, realistic way. The fact is, great creative visionaries come in a variety of different forms – whether they be comic book writers or movie makers. More to the point: comic books have always been about creative collaboration and creative evolution, so I’ve never understood why (or how) some people believe that a comic book movie should be this heavily restricted form of storytelling.  At the end of the day, for me, a good idea is a good idea.

X-Men: First Class is a perfect example. For all the movie’s flaws, one point of consensus is that the relationship between Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) is the most spectacular aspect of not just this film, but of any comic book movie to date. And (gasp!) most of the pivotal relationship depicted in First Class was original material created for the film…not a retelling of the comic books.

x men first class professor x and magneto 5 Things We Learned From X Men: First Class

From their first meeting to their fledging friendship and ultimate falling out, First Class presented the Xavier/Magneto relationship in a way that (in my opinion) vastly improved on all the comic mythos of the last half-century – while still preserving the core essence of the respective characters and their themes.

Magneto as a super-powered man of espionage, hunting down Nazi war criminals? Much better than the guy in the comics, who tried to live peaceful for a time on a mystical mountain of animal people, only to eventually slide into mutant terrorism. How about Xavier as a dangerously naive young rascal who had no tact to go along with his invasive mind powers? For my money, that was much better than a perennial saint/zen master who has only had his bald head tarnished in recent decades.

First Class took two characters who have been done to do death (and back, and dead, and back again) and still managed to make them something fresh, dynamic, relatable and exciting. If I could have it my way, the comics would incorporate the mythology of First Class Xavier and Magneto into the canon, and would be all the better for it.

X Men First Class Kevin Bacon Sebastian Shaw 5 Things We Learned From X Men: First Class

Just like in the comics...oh, wait.

Others are going to point to other liberties First Class took – Havok and the White Queen’s ages, the almost unrecognizable roster of X-Men, Kevin Bacon’s “lean, mean” Sebastian Shaw – and admittedly some of those changes did fall flatter than others. However, for all the failed experimentation, I still feel that the movie succeeded with its new ideas more than it didn’t. More importantly, I don’t think I ever want to see the day where filmmakers stop taking risks. Sure nothing would be lost – but nothing potentially great would be gained, either.


What matters most, now matters less…

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  1. X-man first class movie is differ from other movie that I’m watched.

    • First class was ok… I personally loved the other x-men.

      • I disagree. I have to hear rogue/Ana Paquin scream again in a X-men movie then I’m gonna give up on the entire franchise. Where is the Southern girl brawler? Not with gambit (ggggrrrr) that’s where.

        And where was Storm’s Egyptian accent?

        • Storm is from Kenya.

  2. This film was horrible on all methodologies. Saying shifting supply content can be a great element is just obscene, when you take into consideration that the company name X-Men is a COMIC PROPERTY and it is well-known because of the STORY. Changing situation changes the whole 50 season historical past. Which is what causes the fanboy anger. It creates no feeling to take home that is very well-known because of it’s story and then modify almost the complete story and anticipate it to do well. Along with this was a terrible toss.

  3. So we have an unpolished film with an ensamble cast that didn’t seem to fit together (or maybe just weren’t given the time to gel). A story line that is so insular that it lends itself only to it’s own pocket universe rather than being in the same world as all the other Marvel titles. Now as an old school fan of the X titles, I have to say that I found your article to be somewhat offensive. As you poke at “fan boys” for not being willing to accept this tour de crap, when from the first trailer it seems you were hellbound to like it in some stranger geek-hipsteresque want to be outside the box from the real fans… Like you had this inner monologue saying “I’ll be cool and geek-subversive by liking this movie no matter what!” This movie was on par with X-3, which only makes it slightly better than “Manos: The Hands of Fate”. Seriously I would rather watch “Night of The Lepus” in a stroke theater while severely constipated then ever watch X-3, Origins:Wolverine, or First Class ever again. Regardless of your feelings about the comics all 3 of these films where rushed, poorly editted, and had horrible syfy channel quality scripts.

  4. Author makes no sense. Continuity is good, but altering source material is also good? As for rushing it and “seams”, there is not one actual example. Dumb.

    • That’s a big no on fanboys keeping the industry alive. If anything they’ve done everything in their power to absolutely destroy it. And the lion’s share of creators out there can’t stand them, and they continue to be blind to this. Pathetic.

      • You must be joking. Fans are people who line up in theatres instead of waiting for it to appear at the video store or on their Netflix queue or online for free. Fans are people who tell their friends to go to see the movie and spread word of mouth. Fans discuss movies online. Yes, even when they trash a movie they make people think “I want to go see what they are talking about”. People rush to see movies so they can tell their friends what they thought and they try to get there before their friends so they won’t be spoiled. If creators can’t stand fans then creators are biting the hands that feed them.

        • I get what you’re saying, but I think the other person means the hardcore fan base of the original material. The people who think it ought to be EXACTLY like the source material. So, in this case it would be the x-men comics’ fanboys. SOME OF THEM are seem too stubborn to be able to let a story stray from what they expect… which is a near exact replica of the story in the comics. And if it strays from that, then revenues tend to go down – at least initially.

          In my opinion, this makes absolutely no sense to me. All of these movies – of which the source material is comics, books, other movies, etc – never claim to be replicas of the source material, they claim to based on the source material. So, people should expect, just from that, that the movie isn’t going to be the same…
          And why would you want to see something EXACTLY the same anyways? Just read/watch/etc the source material. It is cool to identify differences and similarities. Some people just need to learn to compromise. The standard of which SOME PEOPLE hold movies based off their favourite comic/book/etc shouldn’t be measured by how close it was to the original…

          • Yes but most of these people are still going to see the movie and talk about it online. If they complain about the movie and filmmakers don’t like it then filmmakers need to develop thicker skins.

            At the same time, fanboy complaints need to be reasonable. If Scott Summers and Jean Grey were teenagers in the 70s then they were only little kids in the 60s. What Singer did was make Alex the older brother instead of Scott so now Beast, Havok and Banshee were the first X-Men rather than Beast, Angel, Iceman and Cyclops. That’s really a minor change if you ask me.

            There were a lot of homages to the source material. For example, in the comics Magneto amassed wealth by stealing Nazi gold. That obviously happened in the movie continuity but we weren’t shown it. Instead, Singer came up with his own story of how Xavier and Magneto met and made their meeting concurrent with the formation of the original group of X-Men. It’s a compromise: they take elements from the comics and combine them to make their own continuity.

            It will be interesting to see what they do in sequels. Will they show Cyclops joining the X-Men or will they just pick things up in the 70s with Scott already in the group? And if they show Cyclops joining the X-Men will they do it in a way that completely invalidates the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie? It’s the kind of question a fanboy might ask but it is a good question if you like to rewatch the movies on DVD, never mind expecting continuity between the movies and the comics.

      • I said “comic book industry”, if you think the casual reader keeps up the hype on these titles, you’re just plain wrong. All of these titles are hits because of the comic book behind them. The fans don’t get mad if something is altered a little to help the story, but First class had things just way off base, which also means any movie made after it will have to deviate that much further from the mark. In the end, you have a movie franchise that shares the title “X-men”, but has little to do with X-Men.

  5. Xmen: First Class & Captain America were really impressive, regardless of the schedule or inconsistencies whined about by fanGIRLS, whereas Green Lantern was nothing but an embarrassment. I can’t believe that some actually wasted words and oxygen by saying Green Lantern was “the best superhero movie ever”, and that was said more than once. It was shocking to hear that just once even before I saw the film, but it was said numerous times and after seeing the film itself, I was even more agitated by the people who said that! Green Lantern was a pile of Chihuahua turds compared to even the worst 5 minutes of The Dark Knight, which is arguably the best superhero movie ever.

    Anyway, screw this stupid article past just the first part. If you compare Captain America and Xmen to Green Lantern in any way, other than saying, “They are movies released the Summer of 2011″, then you’re a waste of time. Period.

    • >>fanGIRLS
      Haha its funny because women are inferior to men. Who else stopped reading at that point?

  6. very nice collection.

  7. I loved X-Men First Class, I thought it was amazing. I think the problem with most people is they forget “the movie rules” in which there is a line about no movie ever completely fitting a book (or in this case a comic). They also began when viewing previews or trailers to make up their own movie in their heads and when this movie doesn’t live up to their dreams they bash it, which is both sad and wrong. I still love the movie and have it to order for my birthday, *happy birthday to me!!!*

  8. What I learned from “X-Men First Class” was 1)the black guy always dies first, 2)Hispanic women in movies are low class strippers who will turn traitor as soon as someone asks them to, 3)despite the laws of physics, it is apparently possible to use a two ton aircraft as a platform to lift a 100 ton boat, 4) when talking about slavery you should always have your camera pan to the face of the only black character in the film, 5) they should really stop making X-Men films until they can find someone who can write a coherent script.

    • As if Erik lifted metallic objects by carrying their weight through his own body. Hello? 100 tons? He affects magnetic fields. Mag fields dont weigh on their emitter. They affect metallic masses without their weight transfering to anything but the fields themselves.

    • In all fairness most of the women in these movies have not been portrayed well at all, First Class just kind of hit the peak with it. Emma Frost was pretty much a Stepford Wife in the movie, and even McTaggart ran around in her under ware because that is what a CIA agent would do to infiltrate a suspects hideout.

      You also forgot to mention how Azazel and Riptide not only hung around after Shaw got killed and the missiles were heading for them (either one of them could have just left on their own power), they also sided with Magneto even though they didn’t know him and he actually tried to kill them in the submarine earlier. Frost also goes with him at the end even after he tried to strangle/crush her (because a bed post is denser the diamonds).

  9. i thought first class was a great movie maybe not quite as good as x-men 1 and 2 but much much better than “last stand” or “wolverine” for many reasons, but most of all i didn’t feel like all the special fx and the easter eggs were there to cover up or distract from the flaws of the movie but was just an added bonus with what you got which was a great story and great acting and that understood what the x-men was essentially about.

    i could nitpick and say that Magneto’s accent was all over the place and the reused scene from the nazi camp was pointless and Emma Frost was dull but these are small problems.

  10. I really liked this film, but I’m a pretty big comic book fan and just couldn’t overcome the idea that Alex Summers (Scott Summer’s younger brother in the comics) was near the same age as Xavier.

  11. It’s funny how as special effects have gotten better, plot and dialog have continually gotten worse. Most of you need to stop grading films on a curve. As much as I like a good effects film, a good script and a good cast always trump budget… P.S. First class lacked a good script (regardless of comic continuity) had a loose cast, I hate Joss Whedon but any episode of firefly was better than any sci-fi/fantasy block buster that has come out in the last 25 years (excepting of course fellowship and the two towers)

  12. i realy do like so much the X-men:first class coz it is how they re discovers theyre superpowers on theyre own and James Mcaboy teach each one of them on how theye control theyre magnificent extra powers so thats why i like it so much coz James Mcaboy teach this teenage students to how they discover and control theyre superpowers is just like this other movie Chonicles that this movie is something similar to X-men:first class that,s why i like it so much coz it is how they control theyre psychik abilities that,s all like this old season of siereis of Heroes with this director Tim Crim that,s all

  13. First of all, I use to read the X-Men comics when I was a kid (back when we rode dinosaurs, hahaha). And I remember several story archs, Ultimate, Uncanny, just to name two, that changed things from the original X-Men line. And sometimes the solo adventures changed things as well. Then there was time travel. That’s got to be a bit much. So when the movies change things, I’m not too upset over it as long as they make sense and keep the overall character theme. Besides, Stan Lee was one of the executive producers. So he did bless the changes.
    Despite being a fangirl of the original comics, I still liked the movie. In fact, I liked all the X-Men movies, overall. Even though I’m not a big Bryan Singer or Halle Berry fan. But she did make Storm her own. And although I love Sir Ian, he wouldn’t have been my first choice. But I think he did an awesome job. And Patrick Stewart was the only choice for Prof. X, IMO.
    In First Class, I liked the changes to Charles and Erik’s back story. They made sense. They worked for me. And Raven’s introduction was a nice touch, too. And I thought her being jealous of the girl with the green/blue eyes Charles was coming on to was a nice touch. And when in Erik’s bed, her changing into Rebecca, also a nice touch/cameo.
    Changing the original X-Men team didn’t bother me either. I prefer Alex Summers to Scott any day. I always thought Scott was a boring character with a boring power. But it was a nice touch, by Stan, making the power always on. And they did show Scott when Charles was using Cerebro for the first time, the kid with the glasses and the baseball glove. And Storm was also one of the kids he saw through Cerebro.
    A comment on Alex being the same age as Charles, Alex seemed to be late teens early twenties, maybe, and Charles was 30. So although their ages were closer than the comics, they weren’t really that close.
    And Wolverine, nice. I liked the cameo. And they did keep with the “he could be older than you,” comment by Jean to Prof. X in the first movie. And the Origins: Wolverine. And his comment, “go f#$% yourself,” definitely something he would say. And the choice of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine didn’t bother me either, the height issue. Hugh definitely did a spot on job.
    Something that did bother me, was the same one that bothered me with the first X-Men movie. The additional villains being seen and not heard. Riptide said nothing, Toad had, what, one line. Even Azazel and Sabertooth, had so few lines.
    What I wasn’t so bothered about, that seemed to bother most other women, was the chauvinistic view of women. Angel being a stripper. Emma getting the ice for the man. I’m surprised he didn’t put his feet on her lap and tell her to massage them for him. For 1962, definitely. For 2012, no way.
    And as for the racial issues, at least they didn’t make Darwin drink from a different water fountain. That’s definately the kinds of things that happened in the 60′s and was nicely left out.
    The times they have changed.
    As for making Moira a CIA agent instead of a scientist. I’m indifferent about. Her dedication to Charles. Still there. Him wiping her mind of his location. There are drugs and torture methods. And with Striker and his hatred for mutants. If they keep him to the way I remember him from the comics, and the previous movies, I can see him torturing Moira for a location. Everyone has a breaking point. The ends justify the means. But it really wouldn’t be too hard to figure out the location. It is Charles’ property.
    Well, I can’t think of anything else that jumps out at me right now. So overall, I liked this and all the X-Men movies. And am waiting the next installments, X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Wolverine. As titled on IMDb ATT.

    • I understand your view on changes and you have some good points. but you didnt mentioned X-3 which almost all X-men fans dislike a great deal.

      For storm who is my favorite: in my opinion angela bassett would have been a perfect storm. she is a feiry actress and in most of her roles when she is annoyed or upset, it appears she would put a lightning bolt up someone’s butt.

      my main issues with the characters misplacement, is lack of continuity. Changes are good, but there is a reason why the characters are the people they have become is through their past experiences and what we as fans have seen the most, either through cartoons or comics.
      for example,

      Wolverine and sabertooth: Even if wolverine didnt know who he was, sabertooth did, nothing was wrong with his memory, therefore there shold have been some brotherly dialogue.

      Wolverine and Lady deathstrike: both had somewhat of their memories so he should have known her since he almost married her and she should have hated him since she believes he killed her father. She also had no sentences to speak in X-Men 2.

      I wont even speak on x-3- Wolverine killing Jean Grey/the Pheonix; Not in any universe.
      Just continuity, and things that make sense. I’m not a hardcore comic fan, i guess i just want to see what I grew up with. But this is just my opinion

  14. Wow, this entire read is funny. Besides for X2, First Class blows every other X-Men film out of the water easily. I prefer it over X2 as well, but X2 comes in a close second.