With a roster of over 100 mutants, the X-Men comics have always had a hard time giving individual characters their chance to properly shine. This problem has also carried onto the movie adaptations. X-Men: First Class would be wise to eliminate all non-essential characters from the film and just focus on four or five major players. Doing so would leave the film less cluttered and more focused on the plot.
Think about it: Did X-Men really need Sabretooth and Storm? They were nothing but very well paid extras. Same goes with Colossus, Lady Deathstrike, and Angel when they appeared in the sequels. Hell, every character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was useless. The filmmakers on X-Men: First Class should be less concerned with pleasing fans by including a bunch of background characters and more concerned with highlighting the fascinating relationship between Professor X and Magneto.
The other huge complaint about the previous X flicks has been their brief running time. The X-Men universe is so large and complex that these films need to allow plenty of time for proper explanations and development in order for the audience to feel fully immersed in the world. Without ample running time, plot and character development usually take a backseat to cheesy action scenes and cheesier one-liners.
X-Men, X-Men 3, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were all only around 105 minutes long and they all sucked. Only X2 was given a decent length and it was easily the best one. If Sex and the City 2 got over two hours then X-Men: Fist Class should too. Speaking of which, Kim Cattrall would make an excellent Mojo.
Every X-Men film has done a pretty sub-standard job of accurately adapting the comic book storylines. From X-Men’s disappointing portrayal of the relationship between Sabretooth and Wolverine, to X-Men 3’s godawful re-creation of the Dark Phoenix storyline, to basically everything about X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the X flicks have suffered most when they don’t utilize the comic book source material correctly.
The X-Men have been around since 1963 for a reason. The comics are smart, relatable, and filled with memorable characters. Director Matthew Vaughn should pay close attention to the early X-Men stories of the '60s and try to build a film around those original concepts. While the trailers and information for the film so far suggest he’s doing the opposite (why do we have the sinking feeling that they won’t even mention that Havok is Cyclops’s brother?) there is still hope that the original comics have a bigger influence than they’re letting on.
The first three X-Men films have had the advantage of featuring the best villain in all of comic books, Magneto, as the main adversary. However in X-Men: First Class, Magneto is not yet the malicious master of magnetism. In fact, he’ll spend most of the flick buddy-buddy with Professor X.
This means that the movie will be sorely lacking in the bad guy department. While Sebastian Shaw (played by Kevin Bacon) and the White Queen (January Jones) will appear in the film as the main baddies, neither of them can hold a candle to Magneto. However, while it's easy to play armchair screenwriter and say that the filmmakers should have put Mister Sinister, the Sentinels, or even Proteus in the film, great acting and writing can make any villain work. Fingers crossed.
An X-Men movie is always going to be expensive, there’s no way around it. Some characters can shoot beams of energy from their chest, others can lift a building off the ground with a mere thought and then there are some who can transform their skin into diamonds.
The last thing this movie needs is for Fox to pull a Chris Christie and refuse to spend a dime on what really matters. These mutant powers need to look intimidating and they have to be showcased often. Past X-Men films have resembled B-movies because of frugal Fox. Cyclops’s optic blasts were only used sparingly for budget reasons, Angel’s wings looked like props from your local community theater’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar and Beast looked like his body was covered with shag carpeting.
It’s time these filmmakers opened up their wallets a little bit and allowed these mutants to finally be extraordinary.