Allow me to preface this rant by stating that I fully understand the studio and producers of this franchise are in the movie business, with business being the key word. As this past decade has shown, film studios have caught on to the fact that the nerd dollar is a mighty one, sure to go unspent on sporting event tickets, home gym equipment or in the pursuit of women, so it was wise of them to capitalize on bringing this (at the time) disregarded demographic’s ink and paper escapism to the big screen.
I also understand that 20th Century Fox is obligated to pump out a movie every couple of years in order to retain their rights to The X-Men characters. Fine. The X-Men are a cash cow–I can accept this. However–I refuse to accept that within the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars spent to make these films they simply couldn’t find room in the budget for a single person to keep track of basic character, timeline and story continuity.
Mistakes happen, it’s only human. Even the best and most beloved films are riddled with them–but this series takes it a step too far… Point being, I just recently watched X-Men: First Class and unlike most, I don’t consider it to be the best of the franchise–on the contrary, I consider it the worst because it blatantly screws up so many fascists of the already mediocre series, thus making them even worse than I already found them. Which is nothing new to the X-Men Movie-Verse. So much so, it’s been bothering me for several films now, but First Class really jumps the shark. So, consider this my catharsis after seeing so many awful super-hero movies, or as an attempt to point out to this franchise’s fans how their acceptance of these films is, frankly, unacceptable. But above all, see this piece for what it is at it’s core: a deep seated need to bitch about 20th Century Fox and their apathetic, lazy and downright pathetic approach to consistency, regularity and coherence within their X-Men Franchise.
Some may argue that First Class is intended as a reboot, and as such, makes a bunch of my arguments null. I think I even read somewhere that one of the producers claimed their goal was to perform a Casino Royale (as if they could ever make something near as good). And while this would explain why Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn return as their characters from later (ala Judi Dench’s M), it still doesn’t explain why, if this was indeed their intention, the filmmakers chose to highlight such amazing and beloved characters as Latina Stripper-Fly, Hula-Hoop Handsome White-Boy #6 and Token Black-Guy Who Dies For No Good Reason instead of, you know–THE FIRST CLASS! I.E.: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman and Angel, instead of just Beast? Rhetorical, because Beast is the only one that makes sense within the small amount of consistency they bothered to use in relation to the other films. And along that thread, I also ask this question: Why would they bother to mention that Mystique’s cellular renewal whatever allows her to age much more slowly? Why would that be relevant unless it’s to explain how she looks so young in the original trilogy? Because it certainly has nothing to do with the story in First Class. So, if anything, First Class is a Half-a-boot, and a lame one at that since they didn’t bother to include practically any of the characters that made the time-period so magical.
Finally, the ages listed after the actor’s names are theirs at the time of the film’s release. And, please, don’t send me crap saying that the character isn’t necessarily the same age as the actor portraying them–I know this. BUT, from a viewer’s standpoint, they should at the very least appear in the ballpark. And for these movies–I’d say they’re juuust outside the stadium’s parking lot standing on the highway with a lot of them. And if you are one of those fans that claims that the characters with the SAME powers and the SAME names are not intended to be the SAME characters in the other film’s that contradict their ages, then your point is still moot as they shouldn’t have been there in the first place, as it is not only terribly confusing, but insanely idiotic on a whole other level that doesn’t even need questioning–it’s just lazy fan-service, apathetic writing and studio bullshit.
So, without further ado, here are my plotholes, problems, continuity questions and irritating issues regarding everyone’s favorite movie mutant franchise.
X-creMent: An X-Men Movie Rant
Did they think we wouldn’t notice?! Or did they know the fans wouldn’t care?…
THE AGE OF MUTANTS (And a couple humans…)
NOTE: Though they rarely give out exact dates in these films, there are many clues and events that I’ve used to determine the years I use to point out the discrepancies…
X-Men: First Class: Begins in 1944, and then jumps to 1962, made apparent by the inclusion of the Cuban Missile Crisis being woven into the plot.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Begins in 1845 and, through a montage of various battles, ends with the War In Vietnam–and even though no year is given, we are lead to believe that it’s around 1973, as when the next time the story jumps it is ‘6 years later’ and the film ends during the incident at Three-Mile Island, which happened in 1979.
X-Men: I’ll be ignoring the whole “In the not too distant future…” opening to ‘X-Men’ and just consider it to be taking place in the year 2000. Which actually works in favor of the series’s continuity, as it was made in 2000, and going into the future would make all the character’s age discrepancies even worse. And it can’t take place too, “too far” as the film opens with Young Magneto in Poland, 1944, which already puts him in his 70’s by the year 2000 and Ian McKellen was not nearly that old back then. Not to mention you can see the World Trade Center in several shots, including the X-Men’s fancy CG model creator thingy. So, at most, you could say part one took place in late-2000, early 2001.
X2: Takes place, roughly a couple of months after the events in ‘X-Men’, which I pinned down through various small bits of referential dialogue made during the first act.
X-Men: The Last Stand: The film begins with a subtitle saying: ‘twenty years ago’, and then after one scene jumps to ‘ten years ago’. So, when applied to the fact that shortly after these opening scenes we receive a ‘in the not too distant future’ subtitle again, the film is assumed to take place another couple of months after the last installment, meaning that it begins around 1980, jumps to 1990 and then back to circa 2001.
So, with the film’s time-frames pinned down, here are my issues…
Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast
1962 (X-Men: First Class): The character is played by Nicholas Hoult who was 22 years old at the time, which means Hank was born around 1940. His mutation is a physical one, prominent in his ape-like feet. Then, in an attempt to “cure” the physical aspect of his mutation, he accidentally enhances it transforming his appearance to that of a blue colored Chewbacca.
2000-01 (X2): The character is played by Steve Bacic who was 38 years old at the time, when he should be 60. An unexplained 22 year de-aging made stranger by the fact that he also has NO physical mutation what-so-ever.
2000-01 (X-Men: The Last Stand): The character is played by Kelsey Grammer who was 51 at the time. But unlike in X2, it’s difficult to discern the age difference as Hank is once again blue and furry–though not nearly as ‘Beastly’ as he was in 1962. So I guess his physical mutation just comes and goes with different levels of intensity. Like herpes.
1962 (X-Men: First Class): The character is played by January Jones who was 33 years old at the time, which means Emma was born around 1929.
1979 (X-Men Origins: Wolverine): The character is played by Tahyna Tozzi who was 23 at the time and looked even younger. Yet Emma is 50 years old at this point.
1962 (X-Men: First Class): The character is played by Rose Byrne who was 32 years old at the time, which means Moira was born around 1930.
2000-01 (X-Men: The Last Stand): The character is played by Olivia Williams who was 38 years old at the time. And she looked damn good for her age. Which makes it even more awkward that the character should be 70 years old by this point.
Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr
1944 (X-Men: First Class): Xavier and Lehnsherr are shown played by Laurence Belcher, age 15 and Bill Milner, age 16, respectively. However, IMDb lists Young Xavier to be 12 years old. So, this means that Charles was born around 1932 and Erik around 1928.
1962 (X-Men: First Class): Charles is now played by James McAvoy who was 32 years old at the time (putting him directly in the age range that he should be) and Erik, now played by Michael Fassbender, age 34, who is quite nearly the perfect age as well.
2000-01 (X-Men): Xavier is now played by Patrick Stewart, who at the time was 60 years old. And Lehnsherr is played by Ian McKellen, age 61. Though they should be 68 and 72, respectively. And, at those ages, an 8 and 10 year difference would be quite noticeable. But, of course, it’s not.
The Summers Brothers
1941 – Alex Summers is born. [Lucas Till was 21 years old in 2011 when he played the character in 1962]
1979-80 (X-Men Origins: Wolverine): Scott Summers (Alex’s brother) is played by Tim Pocock, age 24. But, Scott is shown to still be in High School, so I’d put him at 17 or 18, meaning that he must have been born in or around 1962 when Alex was 21. Meaning that Alex’s parents had a second child 21 years after their first. Not unheard of, sure. But strange none-the-less.
2000-01 (X-Men): Scott is “introduced”, played by James Marsden, age 27. When really, since the character of Scott was born around 1962, he should be about 38 years old. But what’s 11 years!?
Or, if you look at it starting from X-Men and working back, it would mean that Alex and Scott’s parents had Alex in 1941 and then Scott in 1973 (to match the age of Marsden), which would mean that they had their children 32 years apart. Which means that even if they started having children when they where 18, they would still be 50 by the time of Scott’s birth. –Ewww–
And this is all working under the assumption that the boy in sunglasses seen in First Class during the Cerebro search for mutants–isn’t Scott, as I believe it is to be implied. Which would mean that First Class wants us to believe that Scott was around 12 in 1962–which makes my head hurt… However, I can’t ignore that they also show a young black girl with snow white hair…
Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm
Now in the original X-Men movie, Storm was played by Halle Berry, who at the time of the release was 34 years old. This means that Ororo was born in 1966–4 years after we are lead to assume that Xavier saw her as a 8 to 10 year old girl while scanning the globe with Cerebro. Which would make Storm at least 42 in the year 2000.
1979 (X-Men Origins: Wolverine): Stryker is played by Danny Huston who was 47 at the time. Meaning Stryker was born around 1932.
2000 (X2): Stryker is now played by Brain Cox who was 57 at the time. When the character should be 68. Another 11 year difference.
James Howlett a.k.a. Logan a.k.a. Wolverine and Victor Creed a.k.a. Sabertooth
Note: This one gets pretty picky, but stick with it, I do list valid discrepancies…
1830-31 (X-Men Origins: Wolverine): Logan and Creed are born. [Troye Sivan was 14 years old and Michael-James Olsen was 15 years old in 2009 when they played James and Victor, respectively, in 1845]
1861-65ish (X-Men Origins: Wolverine): Logan and Creed fight in the American Civil War and should be about 30 to 35 years old. At the time of filming, Hugh Jackman was 41 and Liev Schreiber was 42. Meaning that they looked roughly 6 to 10 years older than the ages of their characters.
1962 (X-Men: First Class): Xavier and Lehnsherr briefly meet Logan. Hugh Jackman was 43. Meaning that in roughly 100 years, Logan physically aged 2.
1979-80 (X-Men Origins: Wolverine): Logan and Creed are now, about, 150 years old. Jackman is now 41. Meaning that in roughly 17 years, Logan physically de-aged 2 years, putting him back to looking like he did in the 1860’s, nearly 120 years earlier. And Schreiber (having not made a cameo in First Class), still looks 42 like he did back in the 1860’s.
2000 (X-Men): Logan is “introduced”, played by Jackman who at the time was 32. Meaning that he looks about 10 years younger than he did over 20 years ago. And Logan is actually about 170 years old at this point. And Sabertooth is now played by actor Tyler Mane, whom at the time of filming was 34. Meaning that Sabertooth now physically looks 8 years younger than he did over 20 years ago. Not to mention he’s also 6 inches taller, has blonde hair, black eyes and has entirely lost his personality.
Now I realize that it’s incredibly anal to nit-pick over a couple of these points–especially when Hugh Jackman looks arguably better in his 40s than he did in his 30’s, but those couple of smaller increments aside, this still means that Logan and Creed aged slightly faster than normal over the first 30 or so years of their lives, practically stopped aging for the next 120 or so, than over 20 years later managed to physically de-age near 10 years a piece and then started to age normally after the turn of the century.
One more thing with The Wolverine…
(X-Men) – Xavier: “Logan–it’s been almost 15 years, hasn’t it? Living from day-to-day, moving from place to place. With no memory of who, or what you are…”
Meaning that the events that happened in 1979 in Origins took place 6 years later than that in X-men. And this is confirmed by Stryker in X2… WTF?
RANDOM UNANSWERED QUESTIONS AND PLOTHOLES:
– In First Class Mystique’s speaking voice is normal. Yet in X-Men it has a zany warped tone to it. When did this happen?
– In X-Men Xavier says: “…what the children have affectionately called–X-Men.” But in First Class Moira coined the term back in 1962.
– In X-Men Xavier says: “Cylcops, Storm and Jean were some of my first students.” Meaning that even though he created the school in 1962, he didn’t bother to start teaching mutants until the 80’s. Weird, considering that it seemed to be his immediate intention at the end of First Class. Though this could be explained in the inevitable First Class sequel. Perhaps a 20 year coma…
– In X-Men Logan asks Xavier in regards to Cerebro: “Why don’t you just use that thing to find Magneto?”
Xavier: “I’ve been trying to, but he seems to have found some way to shield himself from it.”
You know… like the helmet he took from Shaw back in 1962… And furthermore, why doesn’t he use Cerebro to find Toad, Mystique, or Sabretooth? Not to mention the numerous occasions when Magneto doesn’t wear the helmet. Even a shot in the dark like trying in the middle of the night when Mags might have taken it off to sleep would have seemed like at least worth a try…
Logan: “How would he know how to do that?”
Xavier: “Because he helped me build it.” (which Lehnsherr confirms in X2)
But in First Class it was shown that Hank McCoy built Cerebro for the CIA before even meeting Xavier. Xavier is fulla shit, man.
– In X-Men Xavier says “Experimentations on mutants–it’s not unheard of. (and referring to Logan) But I’ve never seen anything like this before…”
Except in 1979 when he rescued a bunch of kids from being experimented on while Logan and Weapon XI destroyed Three-Mile Island right before his eyes.
And speaking of that incident…
1979 (X-Men Origins: Wolverine): Xavier walks out of a helicopter to rescue the mutants. And then…
1980 (X-Men: The Last Stand): Xavier is still walking when he goes to recruit Jean for his school. And, even weirder, he does so with Eric Lehnsherr…
But, back in 1962 (X-Men: First Class): Xavier and Lehnsherr met, become the best of friends, and then their relationship soured after Eric played a part in crippling Charles, making him wheelchair bound for life.
Not to mention…
In X-Men Xavier, tells Logan “When I was 17, I met a young man named Eric Lehnsherr…” Which would be around 1945. What the hell is going on!?
– X2 (2003): When Stryker visits Magneto, he enters the cell while still wearing his glasses, which have metal legs.
– In The Last Stand during–well, the last stand, why doesn’t Magneto take out Colossus and Wolverine? He easily could have annihilated them, yet prefers to watch scores of his “pawns” be slaughtered by the two.
– In Origins, why does Stryker send Zero to “take his (Logan’s) head off” knowing that the only weapon they have that could possibly kill the Wolverine are adamantium bullets–which he doesn’t arm his agent with?
– Sebastian Shaw: 1962 (X-Men: First Class): Kevin Bacon plays Shaw and is killed at the end of the movie. 2006 (X-Men: The Last Stand): Charles Siegel plays Shaw and is very much alive.
– In X-Men how did Mystique find out about the incident between Logan and Rogue, when he accidentally stabbed her? Had she infiltrated the school? If so, how did Xavier not sense her? And why doesn’t Xavier recognize or bring reference to Mystique when he sees her later on? After all, she was his adopted sister and best friend for nearly 20 years of his life… Furthermore, why doesn’t Sabertooth remember Wolverine? And why doesn’t Cyclops remember Sabertooth, the man who captured him back in 1979 and lead him to be experimented on? And why don’t Xavier or Lehnsherr remember Logan in X-Men, yet Lehnsherr seems to know all about his past in X2?
OTHER RANDOM SHIT THAT ANNOYS ME PERSONALLY
– X-Men: The Last Stand (2006): Why was Psylocke phasing through walls? How do you fuck up Psylocke?
– X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009): How does Gambit make his cards levitate? And since when did he have Spider-Man’s agility and the power to shoot into the air like a god damn bouncy-ball? How do you fuck up Gambit?
– X2 (2003): What happened to Storm’s accent? Wait–Nevermind. I’m glad it disappeared, whatever the reason.
AND the fact that nobody else seems to care about any of this. Sigh. What a mess…