The third film production of X-Men did not have such a bad collection at the box office, but the critics were not kind to it. However, the studios – now defunct – 20th Century Fox, knew that it had in the Marvel Comics mutants a huge franchise of unlimited potential. That is why after the stumble of X-Men: The Last Stand (which we talked about here yesterday) and Wolverine: Origins, various points were rethought. I leave you the link:
Also important was the fact that several actors were ending their contracts and renewing them would be quite onerous; On the one hand, it was more beneficial for the production company to make new castings with lesser-known actors and, incidentally, to correct the errors.
Since the release of the first X-Men film in 2000, some of the actors have become more and more famous and sought after. For example, Halle Berry (Storm) had won an Oscar for Monsterball, Ian McKellen (Magneto) was recognized worldwide as Gandalf, Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) was the actor of the moment and Patrick Stewart (Charles Xavier) had been knighted.
The Fox executives had also flirted with the notion of representing a younger generation of X-Men, but they could not use the first batch of heroes in the comics (Xavier, Cyclops, Jean, Iceman, Beast and Angel) because in cinema they had been established in a very different way. They had to maintain continuity and correct their mistakes, so they decided to work on prequels.
It was the continuity that would eventually make the X-Men timeline even more confusing and it tried to be patched up in Days of Future Past, but in any case there were contradictions.
In 2006, Marvel had released a comic titled First Class and in which, retroactively, stories with the first Xs were presented when they were young, expanding the history of the comics of the ’60s. The Fox production wanted to do something similar with the first generation X-Men.
The plan to generate prequels for characters like Wolverine, Charles Xavier and Magneto was raised. Wolverine: Origins, was badly received and the projects were canceled. Magneto’s version of the film was radically modified and reimagined as a new X-Men movie.
In a risky move, three of the main actors were dispensed with: Jackman, Stewart and McKellen. Younger histrions were selected to play Charles Xavier and Magneto: James McCavoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively. They both received good reviews for their work.
In addition, new actors were integrated as newcomers or some already known characters: Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Lucas Till (Havok), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw), January Jones (Emma Frost), Caleb Landry Jones (Banshee) and Zoë Kravitz (Angel Salvadore), among others.
To give the project credibility and continuity, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) made a cameo appearance. The fact that Wolverine is a long-lived character allowed Fox to keep the Australian actor. Eventually his problem was that Jackman was aging faster than his character.
In the director’s chair was not Brian Singer (who directed the first two), but Matthew Vaughn (who has several good comic book adaptations, such as Kick-Ass and Kingsman).
The film is a bit more serious, with humorous overtones; it touches the youth of Charles Xavier and Magneto, the moment they meet and the founding of X-Men. There are considerable alterations, such as the inclusion of Mystique as Xavier’s adoptive sister (which does not match either the comics or the early versions of the movies). First Class It is approached more as a spy story based on the Cold War of the 1960s and the famous Cuban missile crisis of October 1962.
The historical sense of the film helps to give veracity. Locations around the world (real or recreated) are shown and several languages are used, showing a historical and global panorama. The balance between the fictional and the historical is not easy to achieve, but the production did. First Class It is a film in the style of espionage and superheroes.
The musical score and the editing are other well-accomplished elements that contribute to the good performance of the production.
On the contrary, it is said that an actor like Kevin Bacon was wasted in the role of a character who looks little like the enemy of the comic, Sebastian Shaw, leader of the Hellfire Club. Similar are the cases of White Queen (January Jones), Banshee (one of the classic X-Men, in charge of Caleb Landry Jones) and Havok (Lucas Till), who is the brother of Cyclops and a member of the X-Men almost since the start of the comic.
X-Men is one of the most important franchises in both comics and movies and although Fox’s vision has ended, they continue to captivate new viewers so there is no stop talking about their imminent inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
X-Men: First Class celebrates 10 years of its premiere, on June 3, 2011 in the United States, Spain and several Latin American countries.