Pointless Nonsense

Posted in movies by Bill on June 5, 2011

X-Men First Class was a very good movie, but also extremely annoying.

The good:

  • Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy were perfectly cast.
  • A great cameo.
  • A solid plot.
  • Some exciting action scenes.
  • It was not super concerned with the other X-Men movies as far as continuity, which is good when you’ve made two consecutive lousy movies in a franchise.
  • January Jones in not much clothing.

The bad:

  • There was a really bad line to hit us over the head with “the plight of the mutants is just like the gays,” it was handled much better in X2 with Iceman’s parents being all “have you tried not being a mutant?”
  • January Jones trying to act. Seriously, Emma Frost is not Betty Draper (in slutty clothes), she’s a wicked bitch who just loves fucking with people (in slutty clothes).

The ugly, after the jump because it involves serious spoilers:

What bothered me was the changes to Magneto’s backstory. What makes Magneto a great villain is you understand him. Like Xavier, he hates the way mutants are treated by regular humans. But unlike Xavier, he’s seen the worst of humanity in a concentration camp. So when he decides “fuck regular people,” you completely understand, even if you don’t agree, because you can understand hating all people for what they did to his parents.

In X-Men First Class, Magneto sees his mother shot and killed by Sebastian Shaw, who Magneto later learns is also a mutant. So when he decides “fuck regular people,” it makes no sense because if there’s one person who should know that mutants are really no better, it’s Magneto.

Worse, Sebastian Shaw’s entire plan is to wipe out humanity because mutants are better. I had hoped that Magneto would never learn that Shaw was a mutant, and he would ironically turn out to be exactly like the man he hated. But no, he learns Shaw is a mutant, he learns Shaw wants to kill regular humans to make a better world for mutants, and he decides “even though I hate you more than anyone else on earth, you’ve got some awesome ideas so I’m going to be exactly like you because I’m kind of an idiot.”

I’m normally not picky about getting character motivations right (Chris Sims absolutely hates it when Batman’s parents’ deaths are written as something he feels guilty over, since he prefers Batman to be about preventing the random tragedy he suffered rather than about revenge or guilt, but I don’t care), but to me this is not a subtle distinction for Magneto. This is why he hates humans so much. And if you change that, he is no longer sympathetic at all, he’s just an asshole.

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