X Men First Class

On release this Wednesday is X-Men First Class. I’ve enjoyed about half of this endless franchise, the good (XMen - the original and best) the bad (Wolverine), and the downright ugly - (X-Men Last Stand – who thought Vinnie Jones would be a good idea?!) So I’ve eyed this prequel’s pre-release build up with more than a healthy amount of cynicism.

This week the BBC Radio 4 Film podcast had an interview with script writer Jane Goldman about the difficulties in making characters with super human powers, well, human. How can you challenge Magneto if he can escape from anything, how can you trick Xavier if he can read anyone’s mind?

Here’s the lightbulb moment. If you’re going to pursue a sequel/ prequel, and want to keep bums on seats at the cinema, you’ve got to find something different – people (I know I am) are getting tired of the same old special effects wow-a-thon. That’s why you need a talented writer, not some hack who’s there to make sure dialogue doesn’t get in the way of action, all out maddening action.

The two most interesting (and human) characters, Xavier and Magneto, have the most dynamic and, dare I say, human relationship. Xavier believes humanity and mutants can coexist, but Magneto believes in war and dominance. The exploration of this alone would make an amazing movie – the idea of what is a ‘hero’ made for great entertainment, and intelligent film making, in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. Proof.

I’m not saying we need to get all super serious, these films are ultimately based on comics, which were originally for kids. But, with great budgets comes great responsibility. To keep people coming back for more, you’ve got to give them something new.

Sadly, I don’t think XMen First Class is going to cut it – I hear Magneto single handily starts the Bay of Pigs. I’m looking forward to seeing that turn up in some kid’s GCSE course work. Sigh.

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