Wil Wheaton and I got excited and made a thing! Check out our University of Gallifrey Fighting Time Lords Shirt over at Sharksplode.

Gallifrey University Fighting Time Lords Shirt - Doctor Who parody, geeky tees, funny t-shirts, nerdy shirts

I am closing out some current t-shirt and print designs. Please check out this blog post since the stuff on closeout probably won’t be available again.

Rejoice nerds. Our long national nightmare is over. X-Men: First Class has wiped clean the stains left on the X-Movie Franchise by X-Men 3: Frasier Beast and X-Men Original Recipe: Wolverine. It really is that good. Before I get to the good, I will quickly dispatch with the bad. As stated in the panels above, the films Americanizes ALL of the non-American characters from the comics. This seems like a very strange and totally unnecessary choice. The X-Men were always supposed to be an international collective, representative not of any one country, but of the world. It’s supposed to be mutants v. humans, not americans v. everyone else. Since the plot of the movie revolves around the cuban missile crisis, I wonder if they did this to place emphasis on the American/Russion conflict. This doesn’t ruin the movie, but it will leave longtime X-Fans confused. The other major gripe I have it will Emma Frost. The casting, the writing, and the characterization are just wrong. She comes off in the film as a tarty, sexy, fun-loving, bond girl. Where is the stone cold fake-British-accent-sporting bitch we all love to hate/love? [NOTE: I admit I am primarily familiar with the Emma from Astonishing X-Men and realize she might have been portrayed differently in the past or in other titles, perhaps without an accent at all.] January Jones (who until recently I assumed was Blake Lively), either can’t act or just doesn’t want to. Again, these are small gripes that only slightly detract from an otherwise fantastic movie.

Now for the good. The rest of it… is the good. Michael Fassbender as Magneto OWNS this movie. While I adored Ian McKellan’s portral of the master of magnetism, it was clear we were seeing a battle weary version of Magneto in his twilight years. He was more concerned with playing general to his various henchmen than getting into the thick of things himself. He was probably on a 2-3 bottles of Ensure a day habit and likely went to bed around 8pm, right after “The Wheel” went off. The Magneto we see in First Class is in his prime. He’s an assassin, a fucking unstoppable badass. And his friendship/idealogical struggle with Charles Xavier really balance out his all consuming need for revenge. Speaking of accents, Fassbender’s Irish accent pops out towards the end of the film during a few moments of impassioned speech.

There are parts of the film that feel like it should be called X-Position Men. Characters pick their codenames, give their backstories or drop an unusual amount of backstory in a very short of amount of time, but you can’t really fault them for trying to bring the average movie goer up to speed quickly in order to move the plot along. Some of it feels ham-fisted, like when Mystique says, “I want to be called Mystique and you should be Professor X!” But most of it goes over just fine. I also applaud the filmmakers for establishing quite clearly that the movie takes place in the 1960’s but somehow keeping everything mostly decade agnostic. It doesn’t feel like a period piece which keeps things more relatable. Final verdict: GO SEE IT. Fun times.

COMMENTERS: Did you see X-Men: First Class? What did you think? Do you hope they continue the franchise in this timeline?

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  1. Anyone else annoyed at the "whiteness" of the cast?

    I mean, <spoilers> black dude gets killed of to show that the characters are in "dire peril".

    Latina chick with wings goes evil. Blue chick goes evil.

    Red dude is evil (and russian apparently), and the Hispanic dude was already evil too.

    The only non-white on the team is beast, and he's as white as you can get on the inside.

    Enjoyed the movie, sure, but some parts were cringe worthy.

    • Yeah, that really bothered me too…. the one black dude, and his power is supposedly the ability to adapt to ANYTHING, and the one time he really needs it… DEAD.

      I also cringed when Sebastian Shaw said "enslaved" and they immediately cut to a shot of Darwin's face.

      • When they obviously held the shot on Darwin's face for the word "enslaved" I saw it as another device to put it firmly within the 60s, much like a rococo designed submarine bridge.

        Have we forgot the Civil Rights Riots already?

        • While I got that bit, as I mentioned to my husband (not Demiakumu but there were parallels with the convo I had with my husband) he was the only black guy in a movie set in the midst of civil unrest. And they use the slavery dig, really? Come on. It was cheap. Great movie besides that gripe and other small ones. But cheap.

          • Not just cheap, poorly designed! It's something Michael Bay did in the first transformers movie! What really annoyed me is that they could have done so much more with his death, but everyone just forgot about him like he didn't exist. It wasn't even that much of a tragedy, everyone was more worried about the white guy getting crippled. Not to mention other than Shaw, he was the only mutant who was killed. Really weird.

    • Same reaction here. Let's be clear: The dream team of "bad guys" at the end of the movie is a group of non-white people and a loose woman (Emma) led by a Jew. The movie had lots of great in it, but that part of it felt like Glen Beck had broken into the writers room and made some last minute script adjustments.

      • Now you've got me wondering if this was something set up by the racial climate of the 60's when these characters were actually created. I know the movie "bad guy" team isnt directly representative of the comics in any way, but was there a higher frequency of non-white baddies back in the day?

        • Many of the creators (including Stan the Man himself) will tell you that X-Men was created (or at least used as a vehicle) to discuss race. It's kind of the obvious point of it all. ((In fact, I apologize ahead of time for being Captain Obvious))

  2. I agree with Alex. Not as epic a race-fail as Avatar or Avatar, but race-faily all the same. To amplify Alex's point <spoilers> black dude sacrifices himself for everyone else! Other than that, I did love the movie

  3. I find it fascinating that people are complaining of the accents and the "whiteness" of the movie when NONE OF THE #$#*ING FIRST CLASS (except for Beast) ARE ACTUALLY IN THE #$#*ing movie!

    • I think that's because all of the other characters were explored fully in the previous films. This franchise doesnt have much more to say about Scott, Jean, Bobby or Warren.

    • Well the irony is that the actual first class was a bunch of white guys (and gal). The X-Men didn't become all diversified until the first reboot. So that's I guess the one real victory for the movie staying true to the source. 😛

  4. I loved FIRST CLASS with the fire of a thousand Pyros. Fassbender was indeed fantastic as Magneto, as was MacAvoy as Xavier- love how their friendship played like a relationship; shame there wasn't a kiss between them! Also loved Nicholas Hoult as Beast (despite the fact that he looks so much like James Marsden he really should have been young Cyclops, Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw (the German accent WAS creepily sexy) and the awesome 3 word cameo from a certain grumpy mutant. Nice nods to continuity too- Stryker, Cerebro and a 5 second cameo from Storm, fortunately not played by Halle Berry so not sucking 🙂

    • Hahaha, I thought the exact same thing. The first time they showed Beast I was all "oh hey, thats a fantastic casting choice for Havok!" and then 5 seconds later, "whaaaaaa?"

    • When the moved the satellite using the power of warm mommy love I was totally chanting "kiss kiss kiss.."

  5. Saw It yesterday and also loved it. While watching I assumed Havok was Cyclops father, later after some wiki'ing I come to find out he is his uncle. So during X1 Cyclops is a minimum of 40 or 50 years old. Also looked up Azazel and apparently hes the demon king of the brimstone dimension (the place Nightcrawler goes when he teleports).

    • Havok is Scott's brother. There are 3 Summer's brothers. The ages are just off for this film. Azazel is also Nightcrawlers dad. Mystique is his mom. Hence, Nightcrawler looks like a blue Azazel.

  6. Can't wait. My friend saw it, loved it. Mentioned there was NO after-credit treat, tho.
    And no Stan cameo.

    (The other major gripe I have it will Emma Frost. *is with?*)

    • Was Stan Lee in any of the other X-Movies? I can't remember him being in them, and apparently can't be bothered to google it, either…

      Of course, currently working on the assumption that Lee wasn't in the films, I have a theory: There will have to be more X-Movies until they can put Lee into one of them.

      • I distinctly remember Stan Lee in 1 and 3. Hotdog cart man when mutant senator Kelly washes up on the beach, and random neighbor to Jean Grey watering his lawn in 3.

        Anyone remember off hand if he was in 2 anywhere?

        • Now that you mention it, I do remember him (and I finally decided to look).

          According to IMDB, X2 is the only X-men movie he's not in, while the first one, as the fellow by the hotdog stand, was his first cameo. ((Granted they don't have they don't have a cameo listed for this movie or Wolverine, either))

  7. The only problem I have with this movie is the continuity swirl. I just watched X-Men again and there's a few errors (like Xavier says he met Magneto when he was 17 and built the Cerebro) and I think the third one has a few problems too (like the scene with young CGI Xavier and Erik, when is this supposed to happen ?).

    I have no idea if this is a prequel or a reboot. Me iz confused.

    Also, I would love to see an entire movie with Magneto tracking down Nazis, Inglorious Mutants-style.

    • Personally, I have no problem with pretending that X3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine don't exist.

      As for the minor continuity stuff in X-Men, it's a little annoying, but it's the kind of thing that happens with every franchise. (I mean, heck, how do you reconcile that there were 3 different actresses playing Kitty Pryde in the first trilogy, or the Sebastian Shaw and not-blue-and-furry-Hank McCoy cameos on the TV in X2?) Right now, I'm fine with thinking this is a prequel.

    • Well I was gonna say that magneto still could have helped Xavier build the Cerebro under the mansion, but I just realized that would have had to have happened before the split. Still, at least they didn't try to work lillandra in there somewhere for the original's origin story. I don't think we really need any space travel in the movie continuity.

    • Its really more of a preboot. Beast's continuity is all effed up too. He appears human on the news in X2, then he's blue in X3 (a few months later?), then he talks about being on the old X-team as if he was blue the whole time.

  8. I think it's as close as the movie was going to get with continuity. They used a bunch of characters we haven't seen in the film, but that was kind of a mess. Alex is supposed to be Cyclops' YOUNGER brother, but oh well.

    On the accent thing, I thought Banshee was irish, I thought that's where he took the name from (irish folklore).

    On the good side: OH GOD Xavier and Magneto. SO GOOD.
    Xavier was brilliant, but he was also kind of a dick. He was arrogant and in some ways naive. It was interesting to see that he picks up some of his humility from his injury.
    Magneto was awesome as the tragic hero of the piece, a man who does heroic things for the wrong reasons. The only problem I have is that his injury of Xavier was accidental, rather than him THROWING A SPEAR THROUGH HIS SPINE because of their argument like in the comic.

    • See but "spear through the spine" isnt even the original way he was paralyzed. He was original hurt during a battle with the Shadow King. TOO MANY CONTINUITIES!!!

    • In the Ultimate Marvel series they changed Alex to be Scott's older brother. So Alex being the older of the two is not that out of place.

      I agree that making Banshee and Moira McTaggart American was kind of annoying, not to mention they made her a CIA agent when she was a geneticist and mutant specialist in the comics and the horrible X-Men: The Last Stand.

  9. There were parts I liked, but I can't say the whole thing was great. I really enjoyed Magneto / Eric's nazi-hunting escapades and the whole "just following orders" call-back was perfect. Professor X / Charles was a treat to watch as someone who grew from a smarmy lech to a leader. Kevin Bacon is just so much fun as a villain.

    However, there was really no reason for all the other mutants to be in the film. They didn't add anything other than being visual aids for themes. Other than a comic relief spot and a contrived "we need sonar" moment, what point did Banshee serve?

    I think this movie could have been so much better if they hadn't tried to go all Avengers, Assemble on us and stuck to the heart of the story: Eric and Charles. When Magneto is holding Xavier at the end, I felt we didn't get enough build up to that emotional breakdown because of all the other characters eating up screen time.

    Still, a good movie, just not as good as I'd hoped.

  10. I may be the only one going to see this old enough and anal-retentive enough to care, but: Every time we overshot into the Soviet Union, the screen labeled it "Russia." Look, people, you may be geographically correct but during the cold war NO ONE said "Russia." It was always USSR or "The Soviet Union." That's like flying over the U.S. and labeling it "America." Duh.

  11. I haven't seen it yet, but here (Argentina) the main comment I'm hearing is the huge mistake on the location called "Villa Gessell".
    "Villa Gessell" is a cost town with no mountains, no snow, no lakes.

    • I know this is and ancient post, but I'm going through the archive and wanted to make this exact comment!
      And Villa Gesell has more drunken teenagers (at least during summer) than nazi refugees. Also the bartender sounded more mexican than argentinian.

  12. I didn't care too much for it. I thought they tried to do too much (everyone's backstory and origin) and I think they tried to do it *too* neatly. It made for a small, closed world that removed any possibility of random causation.

    Yes, Michael Fassbender as Magneto owned the movie. He was amazing and the character was consistent with who Mageneto would become in the first 3 X-movies. However, I laughed out loud in the theater when Xavier got shot because the situation and the timing we just so neatly absurd.

  13. January Jones seemingly cannot act. I always thought that it was her character in Mad Men that was so stiff, but then I saw her host SNL, which was terrible, and now this. She's lucky she was half naked the entire movie or it would probably be a bigger deal.

  14. I don't want to be the grammar nazi, but I think it should be Macleprechaunpants.
    Leprechan would be german.
    Huh, spot the double irony here.
    Of course, who knows how those whacky Irishmen really spell their supernatural beings of small height with questionable fashion sense and pronounced fashial hair?

  15. I thought it was absolutely fantastic and I definitely think they should continue a storyline in this universe, if not in movies, then in a comic series. All the other X-men movies were a little too dramatic and angsty for me, and there were always squicky parts I cringed at that make the entire film not worth seeing in my opinion. But I really had none of that for this movie. Magneto did indeed Own Everybody, and Xavier was a wonderfully cheeky bugger that fit my mental idea of a young man in the 60's, with control over his abilities but still enough of a kid at heart to do fun, amusing stuff with it, instead of being all "great power, great responsibility, I is rly srs bizns nao." And despite the lack of accents, the way the team came together worked for me. Accents can be explained away in numerous fashions; that's what makes the comic book and comic movie universe so great.

    My favorite mutant in this film, in fact, was Banshee.

  16. Since no bloody poster has mentioned it:

    We Aussies got this first. Pyro is AUSTRALIAN.
    But come the movies? Hellooooooooooooo Yank Yankerson of Yanktown USA.
    (What, you thought Hugh was the ONLY one in Hollywood? Need I remind you how many we have in that place? Sierra from Dollhouse, 2/3 of Without a Trace, Tara from United States of Tara, Blonde Doc from House – one of the only ones allowed to retain his accent – and more!)

    Still liked X2, but man did that piss me off!
    (The only other one we have is "Gateway" I think his codeword is? Shit, they USED him in the bloody console games!)

    • You do realize that out of your four examples only one of em is not canceled?

      Not saying much for "Aussie love" over here.

    • Also: Yvonne Strzechowski (Chuck), Anna Torv and John Nobel (Fringe)

      But yeah, they took a lot of very strongly ethnic muteys here and Americanized the shit out of them. Which works storywise, considering the era it's set it, but really sucks as far as characterization goes.

      • WORKS considering the ERA?

        We had liaisons in NASA back then for a start to sync Parkes for the 1969 landing telecast!
        (US satellites didn't always see the transmissions.)

        Even back then, hell, in the 1800s you had the odd traveler who was bored of their own country and traveled/settled! If not, how would Chinatown, Little Italy e.t.c and illegal labour get started? 😛 🙂

  17. In fact, I hate Michael Bay with a fury, but TRANSFORMERS had an Aussie MAIN CHARACTER, WITH HER ACCENT INTACT! NOT an American FAKING and accent! In a summer movie! ;_;

  18. I feel like a grumpy old person after reading how much others enjoyed the movie, but I was mostly underwhelmed.

    Like most of the other posters, I did like the way the movie portrays Xavier and Magneto, and I generally enjoyed the way their relationship was handled. It was easy for me to empathize with both characters, and I thought their faults were both interesting and appropriate. Luckily, this makes up a significant part of the movie. I actually prefer the interactions between Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan in some of the earlier films, but I think those two are among the best living actors, so it's hard to top what they can bring to a performance.

    Everything else about the movie was not for me. I didn't get much out of the plot, and I didn't think that any of the characters aside from Magneto and Xavier were really developed in an interesting way. Most of the action scenes were not very good, and the way they handled Xavier's paralysis was so hammy that it almost caused me physical pain. I think the film missed some excellent opportunities to anchor the series going forward on this timeline, but on the bright side, I am glad that many others seemed to enjoy it.

  19. I really enjoyed this film. I didn't think I would, but I got into the story in a major way. magneto and Xavier were pplayed excellently!

  20. To keep with the naming theme, shouldn't it have been Helena Haggishose?

    Sorry, but that movie is going to be seen as a Netflix for me. The character lineup gives me a chronos headache.

  21. X-men first class is by far one of the worst films I've ever seen. It is decent for an action movie, and its better than The Last Stand and Wolverine, but my god, who died and ****ed up the script?
    Mystic is good and Prof X's adopted sister?! Whom he saw her stealing their family food and just said "Hey, I'm 10 and no one will care if you just start living here cause I said so, even though my step-dad and brother are extremely abusive and is only after my mother's money." with a big smile on his face.
    "Darwin" is killed before after they kept saying that he could adapt to survive anything. WTF?!
    "Angel" betrays the "team" before any actual fighting happens.
    The ONLY redeeming quality was Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw. And That Is IT!
    Please people, save your money, Fox has ran the X-men into the ground, and its never going to get any better.

    • You, sir or madam, are incorrect. This was the best of the five X-Men movies.
      However, the continuity with the other movies was pretty rough. Like, in X1-3, wouldn't Charles constantly be paranoid about a shapeshifter hanging about? And wouldn't he, like, always know where Mystique was, since they grew up together? How is she introduced as a new and surprising villain in X1?
      Where was a young Juggernaut in Charles' youth, instead of Mystique?
      They didn't just take some liberties with the comics, they took them with their own movie timeline.
      Still the best.

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