FILM NEWS: X-Men: First Class trailer is all kick and no ass

The first trailer for Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class is live, and it has left me a maelstrom of mixed feelings.

Before I get my mind-dump on, I’m going to do a little scene setting for those of you who don’t know your X-Men from your Brotherhood. First Class takes place before The Statue of Liberty, before Alkali Lake and, crucially, before Brett Ratner. It is largely a prequel, though through some toying with continuity it is also a quasi-reboot; plucking Hank McCoy and Emma Frost from later movies for Vaughn’s own devices. Set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the film centres on the decaying friendship of Charles Xavier (who can manipulate minds) and Eric Lensherr (who can manipulate metal) as well as the formation of the titular X-Men.

While it is of course impossible to judge a feature film by its two minute trailer, I am going to do so anyway. When X-Men: Last Stand wasted a perfectly good Juggernaut on Vinnie Jones, proceeded to wipe half of its cast of superpowers and ultimately buckled under the franchise’s accumulative star power (Halle Berry, get your priorities right!), it was quickly evident that we had reached a clear dead end. With each new instalment granting Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine – one of the least interesting superheroes in the source comics – more and more screentime, the inevitable happened and the character was spun-off with an unwieldy X-Men Origins prefix to diabolical effect. Having outshone the majority of superpowered superheroes with his glorious Kick-Ass, the hiring of Vaughn heralded the end of lack-luster adaptations and a return to form for the X-Franchise.

The trailer for X-Men: First Class is an interestingly mixed bag, while the plot looks intriguingly stripped down and the focus correctly recentred on Professor X and Magneto –  both of whom had been done a complete disservice by trilogy’s end – the new cast fail to invoke such inspiration as the ensemble of Patrick Stewart et al. These are the characters we love but not as we know them, the darker tone suggesting that this franchise has been disappointingly Nolanised like just about every other property going.  The inclusion of Beast appears to play with continuity unnecessarily, there is a wealth of characters at Vaughn’s disposal and it is a shame we must distance ourselves from another incarnation – however laughable – in order to enjoy this first class.

This prequel remains atop my list of anticipation, however, as Vaughn has cut together some truly impressive and tributary footage which maintains the equilibrium between novelty and homage beautifully. Evidently aware of how well-received Nightcrawler’s introduction proved in X-Men 2, the inclusion of Azazel contributes to a greatest hits vibe as a number of the most interesting characters return to Xaviers School For Gifted Youngsters. The return of Mystique and the X-Jet in particular are unlikely to provoke much disagreement among fans.

I have faith that this will be worth the decisions made during writing, and that Vaughn will balance the trailer’s evident cool with enough warmth to bring these characters back to life. If the trailer proves one thing it is that this movie is still very much a part of the franchise which preceded it, and, if played right, this could be the X-Movie we have all been waiting for.  Just please, please Mr. Vaughn, remember the humour! I would like at least one butt and one joke to compliment my spectacular serving of levitating submarines.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

2 Responses to FILM NEWS: X-Men: First Class trailer is all kick and no ass

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