I finally managed to get to the cinema to see the new X-Men film the other day – the trailers implied that this was a bit of a strange beast being set in the 60s but in an alternate reality where history didn’t necessarily have to take the same course as what we know happened (of course there were also super-powered mutants thrown into the mix to keep things interesting as well but that’s a minor point…).
According to hearsay and rumour, at an early stage of it’s development this film was supposed to focussed more on the Magneto character – showing how he developed and became the character that we see in the original X-Men trilogy films (in a similar way to the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film of a few years back). Over the development of the film this expanded out to example the relationship between Professor X and Magneto – how they first got to know each other and develop into the characters that are more familiar from the older X-Men trilogy. This leads to an interesting story being told as comparisons are made between the characters at different stages of their lives. It also means that when the characters meet there’s a lot of chess played – a simple idea visualising the discussions that the characters are having.
I thought the film used it’s setting very effectively showing the early days of the discovery of additional mutants, and how they come together to form a working group, whilst showing the blossoming relationship between Professor X and Magneto, grow strength, and then fail through the different methods the two choose to use and philosophies they differ on. The final show-down is very effectively set within the Cuban missile crisis, bring the tension of this situation and adding an additional hidden agenda leading to a gripping finale. I was impressed in this finale that everyone was given their fair share of screen-time allowing each character to breathe and have their moment – this was a real strength of the film, no character fell into the background.
Unforuntatly the film fell apart a bit more towards the end – it felt like they wanted to cram in a set of story points and these all had to be done before the end of the film so at the end SPOILER WARNING – though technically if you’ve seen all the other X-Men films these are things you’re already aware of…. – you get Magneto going his own way and taking people with him, you get Professor X losing the use of his legs, you get Mystique choosing to follow Magneto leaving her childhood friend… It felt like these were a bit rushed and crammed in, I was surprised Professor X’s hair didn’t all fall out as well… as this is the first part of a planned trilogy I would’ve preferred to have seen these ideas played and tinkered with over the course of the films, rather than just throwing it all out in one go.
Apart from the above mentioned I found that the film was solid and enjoyable. The story fitted and used the setting well leading to an intriguing story of discovery and eventual betrayal – worth looking up.