I owe a personal apology to Hello, Tailor for not watching X-Men until now. Sometimes, when people get unreasonably excited about things, I assume I won't enjoy it as much and then I just feel guilty when I don't.
In this case, I was wrong.
After 15 minute of breathless stupidity, after which I very nearly switched the film off, Rose Byrne graced the screen (mmmm...Rose Byrne). The movie quickly shifted into something far more interesting, almost an espionage thriller.
Did you notice that Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender were wearing the same black turtleneck in one scene?
Like they are both fighting for Xavier's soul. Mystique longs for X to be a better man than he actually is, while Magneto longs for approval/ pragmatism. In a lovely twist, they both lose him and join together instead.
It's only fair, because Xavier doesn't deserve either of them. He's continually phrased as this radical idealist who cares neither for people nor politics, just a mythical idea of what's right. Until the end of the film, it's far too easy to hate him, especially considering the way he treats my beloved Jennifer Lawrence.
Seriously, Xavier's such a dick to her that I'm surprised she leaves him with such equanimity. A punch in the face seems like a bare minimum.
This movie sets up a far more interesting X-Men narrative than is likely: one where the villains are only in the eye of the beholder. I'm aware that X-Men isn't Homeland; there's only room for a certain amount of complexity in a blockbuster movie. That said, I'm still hopeful they can achieve something thought-provoking and cerebral with this team of actors.
We've got the younger mutants like Havoc and Beast to provide the action pyrotechnics and comic relief, so the adults should be left free to behave like...adults. After all, working for the CIA doesn't exactly place Xavier's team on the side of righteousness. It makes him a collaborator in the destruction of his own people, and it makes sense that Magneto would rebel against that.