|Examined by Aliens while sleeping in jeep|
What is the message of this movie? It's simple: don't be ashamed to be yourself! If your body is covered by hundreds of zebra stripes that come to life and attack people who have ticked you off, well...that's okay. Or, for instance, you could have eyeballs that pop out of your head on stalks that get infinitely long and have the tensile strength of titanium and follow your commands with the dexterity of a classical pianist, well....that's okay too. Don't be ashamed! There are others who are...well...different. And they're looking for you.
We all know the world is full of mutants. Look around, anywhere, any time. Mutants. Your next door neighbor is probably a mutant. You might even be a mutant and not know it. You might do mutant things in your sleep, like eat the contents of an entire bakery and not gain weight. It's possible, isn't it?
X-MEN FIRST CLASS extends the Marvel Comics empire with a prequel, a look at the adolescent X-People and the ways they first defined themselves as mutant heroes and villains. A selection of the classic characters make their youthful appearances. Magneto is here, as are Raven, Havok, Beast and a youthful pre-wheelchair Charles Xavier.
There's a philosophical divide established in this film, as to who is hero and who is villain. One side regards the human race per se as just so much evolutionary garbage. Greedy, destructive, lacking impulse control, addicted to wearing dark suits and driving big dark cars, humans are so much dross to be sloughed off in the wash of new mutations. This new breed will make a glorious civilization in the future.
On the other hand, the human race is a flawed but soulful species that redeems its mayhem with beautiful and noble acts. It's capable of creating sublime art and architecture and there is a fundamental Goodness at the core of the species Homo Sapiens. Humans simply need guidance. Soon enough they will be ready to take their place in the galactic civilization that will arise in the coming eons.
Frankly, I find it a toss-up. If I were a young mutant with the ability to make my circulatory system emit radiations that can heal all the diseases of mankind, I'm not sure which group of mutants I'd join. I suppose I'd go with Dr. Xavier because he's sweet and has such plump lips and is obviously a man of integrity. I don't like Sebastian Shaw because he's into concealing his thoughts from mutant telepaths, and besides, he was a Nazi and barely escaped the destruction of The Third Reich with his britches on fire. He's a visionary, yes, but when Kevin Bacon wants to play villain, he can be really scary. My wife has always been terrified of Kevin Bacon. He scared her even when he played sympathetic parts.
I've never been into Marvel Comics. I was born to an earlier generation that read Superman, Wonder Woman and Archie comics. I guess that makes me a D.C comics guy. Whoa, I hope that doesn't mean I'm a Republican.
As a movie, X-Men First Class is pretty ordinary fare. All I ever ask of a film is that it be entertaining, that I'll want to watch it to the end and not bail out in the first ten minutes. X-Men First Class meets that standard. Is it up to the Rotten Tomatoes rating of 87%? I don't think so. I'd give it two and a half muskrats. 87%? I think my run of Marvel Comics-based movies has hit a wall. I've gotten bored with the concept. I'll wait for Robert Downey or Christian Bale to re-appear as Iron Bat or whatever that thing is that climbs walls and changes shape every couple of seconds. The half muskrat is for James McAvoy, who is the weirdest looking leading man in the film industry today. Okay, maybe Owen Wilson tops the weird looks department, but I have a lot more respect for the acting abilities of Mr. McAvoy.