I saw X-Men: First Class tonight, and for some reason all the discussions of mutant genes and the letter X reminded me of a series of books I loved when I was a teenager. They focused on a man named Spider Scott, who was an XYY “supermale”. The first book, fittingly named The XYY Man, introduced an interesting character in Spider. At the time it was believed that persons with XYY chromosomes were predisposed to a life of non-violent crime. While this has since been proven false, it led to great character development, and you got to read all about a man that was torn between following his nature and doing what society expected of him, whilst he used his skills to help the British government. Fast forward 20 years to me sitting in a theater watching other X characters that have genetic abnormalities, and I really was hoping for some of that same level of internal conflict. Sadly, it’s just not in this movie.

This isn’t to say that X-Men: First Class is a bad movie, because it’s not. It’s just a very stupid one. It has some really fun scenes with great effects and a few moments of humor, but is saddled with cheesy dialog. About 3/4 of the way through I realized that I had seen a bunch of stuff happen on screen, without anything really happening. And that’s the problem with this movie- it’s as if the screenwriters sat around with the director and had a session of “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” They ended up with a bunch of cool scenes, but with this film, the whole is less than the sum of its’ parts.

In honor of the stream of consciousness nature of this movie, here are some random stream of consciousness thoughts about it. (Hey, if Larry King can write a column in USA Today this way for over a decade, I can write one blog post doing so.)

  • Why does a character that is shown as a child growing up in Westchester, New York have a British accent?
  • I get that Nazis are bad- but murdering a Nazi is still murder.
  • Charles Xavier hits on women in about the same way as Austin Powers.
  • I’m not sure whether Raven’s shapeshifting abilities have her pretending to wear clothes, or if she actually wears them. If she does, then she somehow absorbs them when changing forms. I think Odo on Deep Space Nine had a more sensible type of changeling abilities, though his normal form was less fun to look at.
  • Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Raven, looks like Jewel if she had a better dentist.
  • Everyone not playing a mutant in the movie gets to look surprised- these actors must have spent days practicing in the mirror to perfect those expressions.
  • X-men are much like away teams on Star Trek- the black guy dies first.
  • Kevin Bacon plays what is essentially a James Bond villain- he even has a ship that has a submarine he’s able to take out of the hull. In this submarine, he has fancy artwork, including what appears to be a Diego Rivera painting. Because if you’re going to be a supervillain, you should do it in style.
  • The “Covert CIA Research Base” is about as covert as Camp Pendleton.
  • I appreciate the blue cleavage in this film, though not as much as I did in Avatar.
  • Hostess either paid for product placement to get Twinkies in the scene where Beast is going to draw Mystiques blood, or X-Men really just like those things. Can’t say I blame them, they’re delicious.
  • Erik/Magneto is seen across a chess board from Charles Xavier multiple times. I can’t imagine this is fair, since the future Professor X can read minds. He should win in about 6 moves every time.
  • The relationship between Charles and Erik is totally homoerotic. At one point I whispered to my friend, “Why don’t they just fuck and get it over with?”
  • The dialog seemed at times to just be reciting Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga lyrics- “You are beautiful, just the way you are.” “I was born this way.”
  • Apparently the filmmakers really wanted you to know that Charles was concentrating when using his powers, since he pointed at his temple EVERY SINGLE TIME. It reminded me of the telekineses battle on South Park.

If you need a rating scale for this film, I’ll rate it on the frequency of electromagnetic waves, from AM radio waves at 106 to Gamma Rays at 1019. X-Men: First Class is a middling Infra-red at 1012, falling well shy of X-Rays at 1018

P.S. This is the second movie I’ve seen in the last two weeks where someone in the audience had such bad B.O. that it was like a force field. There was a man in the audience that smelled so bad that I could practically see it like Pigpen. People, if you’re going out in public, take a shower more than once a year.