I am a grown-ass woman. I have seen comic book movies — oh, so many comic book movies. I was one of the most excited teenagers in the world when the first X-Men hit screens, and was equal parts thrilled and disappointed with the result, but hey, who wasn't? I've faithfully watched and bought them all, even against my better judgment, because in every single one there was always at least one thing that I loved, that reminded me of the world I inhabited via my comics for so long.
First Class was a milestone, for me. Stewart and McKellan were genius casting, but Fassbender and McAvoy were the revelation I was waiting for. And if Emma and Moira weren't exactly what I'd hoped, well, I could deal with that in exchange for Fassbender's barely controlled rage as Magneto: Nazi Hunter and McAvoy's casually cocksure Xavier. Jennifer Lawrence? Even more of a bonus.
So I had high hopes for DOFP, hoping against hope that the reintroduction of the original trilogy cast wouldn't throw off the First Class groove.
And I got so much more than I had even hoped for. I got a Hugh Jackman who actually got to act as Wolverine, not just snarl, yell and crack one-liners. I got an older, wiser Logan trying to reach two much younger, embittered versions of their elder selves. I got Charles Xavier as a disillusioned, frightened genius hiding from the future, and I got an Erik Lenscherr, no longer quivering with fury, but frighteningly calm, grimly determined, calculated and cold, because he had finally come to terms with what he would have to do to achieve his vision for mutants. I got a Mystique teetering as the fulcrum between two opposing viewpoints of the world, I got a gorgeous, ineffably brilliant Quicksilver, a Trask with stunning levels of cognitive dissonance, an uncertain Hank McCoy and a very real sense of fear for these characters.
And to top it all off, I got a Storm, a Blink, a Bishop, a Sunspot, a Toad, a Colossus, an Iceman, who actually DID things. I could truly see Fassbender's demeanor in McKellan's Magneto girding up for the final defense. I wasn't grinding my teeth over Bobby and Kitty. For once, it was a movie about the X-Men that was all about them and at the same time, not about any of them — it was bigger than all of them, and you could see that sentiment written across each character's face every second of the movie.
I wasn't even annoyed at the retcon ending — I was ecstatic! Which, given my feelings in the past about some of the retconned characters, is astounding, to be honest. Back at Xavier's school in the closing scenes, I had tears in my eyes, because I felt like I was finally SEEING it. I was seeing the home of the characters I loved so much, finally presented in a way that did them justice. It was finally the X-Men movie I'd been waiting for.
I walked out of the theater after the expected setup-post-credits scene, and I had mascara all over my face, and I knew it was stupid, and I didn't care. I had 7% battery left on my phone, and I used it to call my best friend and comic book-buddy from middle school to reminisce about the X-Men. It was worth every bit of the 10 minutes remaining.
Movie poster via screenrant.com