At The Theater 2011 #4: X-Men: First Class

After the disappointments that were X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I am very happy to report that X-Men: First Class is a great movie. X2 is still my favorite of the franchise, but this gives the first X-Men serious competition for the number two ranking. The movie is like an awesome mash-up of the X-Men and classic Bond movies.

X-Men: First Class takes liberties with the formation of the X-Men. The only X-Man from the original comic book line-up is The Beast. There is an Angel, but it’s the Angel with insect wings from Grant Morrison’s run on the book, not Warren Worthington III. The other first recruits are Magneto, Havok, Darwin, Mystique and Banshee.
I’ve had fans of the X-Men comic tell me they don’t want to see the movie because of the inclusion of Azazel, the main villain from one of the most reviled stories in X-Men history; a story so bad it ruined Nightcrawler and Mystique for many people. All I can say is that the Azazel here is not the Azazel from the comics. In the movie, he’s basically just a red, mute, evil Nightcrawler. Since much of Azazel’s lameness in the comics came each of his dialogue, it should be considered a good thing that he doesn’t open his mouth in X-Men: First Class.

It’s interesting to see how this movie ties into the earlier X-men movies, which all take place after X-Men: First Class. Havok’s energy blasts are colored red here, and he’s a teen in the 1960s. I’m guessing we’re to assume that in the movies’ universe, Havok isn’t Cyclops’s brother, but is either his father or uncle. Azazel looks like the parts of Nightcrawler that don’t look like Mystique, making Azazel the leading candidate to be Nightcrawler’s father. At least the movie didn’t carry over the ancient races of demon-lookalike and angel-lookalike mutants from the comic book. Since Emma Frost was a child in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and is an adult in X-men: First Class, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all to ignore that X-men Origins: Wolverine ever happened. Fine by me.

I’m guessing the producers of X-Men: First Class cast January Jones as Emma Frost immediately after seeing this scene in Mad Men.

A couple of weeks ago, January Jones, who plays Emma Frost in X-men: First Class, made headlines because she felt she couldn’t live up to the image of Emma Frost, saying “In the amount of time I had to train, it just wasn’t possible to achieve that amount of muscle without losing all the good bits.” I think we can all agree that January Jones is 100% good bits. Who is complaining about how January Jones looks as Emma Frost? Seriously, I want names! This is ridiculous. Anyone who thought January Jones looked anything less than hot in this movie is on timeout. No more internet for them until they come to their senses.

If you’re complaining about January Jones not looking good enough to play Emma Frost, I don’t want to know you.

It’s interesting how much the cast of Mad Men is getting involved in comic book related projects. January Jones here, Elizabeth Moss plays a Green Lantern in the just released Green Lantern: Emerald Knights DVD and Christina Hendricks voiced Lois Lane in All-Star Superman. If only they cast Jon Hamm as Superman in the upcoming Superman movie.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s SuperHamm!

There are two cameos in the movie that I won’t go into detail on, because they took me completely by surprise and they were awesome. It’d be like ruining the cameo in Zombieland. Watch out for both of them. That’s all I’m going to say. There is also a slightly less awesome, but still cool cameo is by a young Storm, who appears during Xavier’s first use of Cerebro.

The Regal at Battery Park has become my go to theater for summer blockbusters. Five of us showed up a half hour early to see X-Men First Class and there were maybe 20 people there ahead of us. I could really get used to not having to plan on getting to the theater an hour or more early in order to get seats not in the front row. Plus, there is now a Shake Shack around the corner from the theater. Pro tip: Shake Shack is far more crowded than the Regal at Battery Park. Plan your movie watching/burger eating accordingly.

Lots of comic book movies this summer. So far I’m putting X-Men: First Class over Thor. Where will Green Lantern and Captain America show up on this list?