I got to see X-men: First class this weekend, hurray for me and a whole bunch of other people!
I used to be a huge fan of the X-men, I read the comics, watched the cartoons, dutifully saw the movies twice in theatres, but these days that love is more like a distant memory of the good ol’ days. X-men: First Class gave me the opportunity to go back to the franchise and see if it could still captivate me.
I tried going in without spoilers, and I sort of succeeded at that. I had no idea what the movie was going to be about save for the bare essentials. I had, however, read a couple of comments from others. People were really positive about the experience, claiming this movie delivered what Wolverine and X3 failed to deliver (namely a pesky little thing called “quality”).
I got out of my seat utterly confused. This was a decent movie, but at the same time it hurt my fanboy heart. Flawed from start to finish, but still fun to watch. The geek in me could pick this film apart from top to bottom, pointing out that they rushed the story and failed to really present the big picture in the process… but that same geek could just smile and tell you the whole thing is an awesome flick that is filled to the brim with action and fun.
But it did make me confront an uncomfortable truth… I’m no longer in love with the X-men.
After X-men First Class I went out and bought a couple of Essentials… basically massive black-and-white reprints of the old X-men comics. They’re as thick as phonebooks and they contain the stories that made the X-men great in the first place. It doesn’t hurt that they’re really cheap.
I love them. I really do, and that’s why I’m now, more than ever, convinced that my love for the X-men is gone. I love what the X-men used to be. I started reading the X-men when I was a teenager and Onlsaught came rolling in. I kept buying back issues and I just loved the relationships between the characters and the adventures they went on. Saving the world from one threat or another. These days the X-men are a franchise, they feel empty. There’s no longer a sense of exploring the world and the characters. It’s all about churning out six-issue storylines that are laced with chronically cool phrases and ideas, because it’s what the target demographic enjoys according to haphazard research.
Back in the good old days, the days that I never really was a part of, stories went on and on and on. Characters grew into new roles and they defined themselved through their various journeys. As a reader the characters were infinitely more human and relatable back then. I miss those days. I miss the days when you could still sit down and actually read a comic, instead of going through an issue in a five-minute-flurry of all flash and no substance.
I guess I’m just getting old and nostalgic, those damn kids should keep off my lawn!