I have a few issues with the installment of this new trilogy. Considering the fact that “First Class” is a prequel, I am unable to reconcile how, say, McAvoy and Fassbender’s characters are going to grow up and become Professor X and Magneto that we are familiar with on a big screen. I took a look at McAvoy and compared him with Patrick Stewart. Nah. I took another look at Fassbender and thought about Ian McKellen. No way. Is it important that the casting should somewhat reconcile with our mental expectation? I would think so. Star Trek has done a pretty good job in choosing their casting when the prequel was made. McAvoy and Fassbender are good actors. But the disconnection with the existing X-Men films is a bit too much for me to take.
From the story point of view, after the climatic ending of “X-Men: The Last Stand”, I doubt a prequel could top that. And it does not. The ideas of mutants against the humans, teaching the mutants to control their power and one super mutant wanting to take over the world – these ideas begin to sound old to me. Who cares about the ability of creating whirlwinds when we have already seen what Storm can do? Who cares about a stripper with wings of a housefly when we have seen a human boy with angelic wings? Havok shoots beams from his chest but hey, we have already seen how Cyclops shoots beams from his eyes. A boy who screams that enables him to glide in mid air with artificial wings? Maybe the movie is not doing the comic books justice. Or maybe it is what it is.
If I am to look at “First Class” as a standalone movie and to remove most of the mutants who are unimportant to the story, the film does offer more background on the friendship between Professor X and Magneto and who they are. The linguistic ability of Magneto (or rather Fassbender) is charming. Seeing a younger version of Professor X flirting and chatting up with girls is unexpected, but refreshing. Hence, it is the drama bit that I enjoy watching. What is disappointingly missing – besides more depth in Professor X’s romance would be nice – is the transformation of Magneto: the transformation from a mission of personal vendetta to a mission of one mutant (and his recruits) against the world and the disintegration of a friendship. In one scene, a man was down on the beach. Magneto could have had him teleported out for medical care. Why the hurry to disappear from the screen? That emotional part of a human, or rather a mutant, is missing. And I am left with an empty feeling wondering if I still want to see more.
The good news is, “Second Class” and “Third Class” – if at all the rest of the installments are so called – are likely going to beat “First Class”. It is likely that I will get to continue watching this trilogy, because Cynthia is a X-Men fan.