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Preview: 'X-Men: First Class'

Ever since I wandered into a comic book shop at the age of 14 and spied the holographic cover of X-Men: Fatal Attractions I’ve been hooked on the mutants from Westchester. That particular storyline had everything; love, death, betrayal grief. Magneto ripping out Wolverine's Adamantium skeleton and Professor Xavier erasing Erik’s mind in revenge.

I grew up fascinated by Greek Myths: Jason and The Argonaut's, The Seven Labour of Hercules, Prometheus, Pandora and Theseus and the Minotaur. The X-Men are modern mythological characters, God-like beings embarking on fantastical adventures. The stories might be child friendly, but the themes are adult and the older I’ve got, the more I’ve appreciated how dark, complex and violent some of the great X-Men tales are.

Being a raging fanatic I was beyond excited when I heard that Bryan Singer was making the first movie back in 2000, but in hindsight, I was never going to be pleased with the final result - the X-Men I wanted was a bigger, darker, more realistic film. Patrick Stewart was always my choice for Professor X, but I had my heart set on Terence Stamp as Magneto and Robert De Niro as Wolverine. Strange choices perhaps, but anything else just wasn’t an option for me at the time, and because I’d been spoilt by the artwork of the likes of Jim Lee, Adam Kubert and Joe Quesada, the special effects were never going to be able to match the scope and brilliance of their illustrations.

The film had a few good scenes but all in all I was disappointed. X2 (2003) was an improvement but I still found it wanting, and as for X-Men: Last Stand (2006), it should be erased from the history of cinema and nobody should ever speak of it again.

I haven’t collected the comics for nearly 17 years. The golden age of the X-Men ended for me at the conclusion of the Age of Apocalypse storyline, and anyway, I was getting older, drinking in pubs and chasing girls, and all my spare money was being used up on social pursuits rather than in comic book shops.

Still, when I heard that the team behind the glorious Kick-Ass (2010) were making X-Men: First Class (2011) I was just as excited I was first time around. If not more so, as being older and wiser I’m more willing to embrace somebody else’s vision and with Mathew Vaughn directing and Jane Goldman on story duty, I know I’m getting a film from two people who love and respect the comic book genre.

I’ve seen the trailer and I must say I’m impressed. Especially as lesser known characters such as Banshee, Havok and the fiendish Sebastian Shaw are all on board, and I love the idea of playing it out against the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis. A prequel to the original trilogy was definitely the right move and I hope the movie is as good as I expect it to be. If it isn’t then I’ll be sending Deadpool around to a few houses with a stern face and a sharp sword.

X-Men: First Class is due for release in the UK on 3 June, 2011.

Lee Cassanell

 
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