XAVIER & SHAW
After the critical failures of X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the X-Men franchise was looking for a fresh start. They found it in X-Men: First Class, which returned the X-Men to their original decade of the ’60s. It was something of an unexpected hit, truth be told, so it’s merchandising was almost non-existent. Fortunately, Minimates were there to save the day, with an assortment of TRU-exclusive two-packs. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the film’s two leading men, Charles Xavier, alongside the film’s main antagonist, Sebastian Shaw.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Xavier and Shaw were part of the TRU-exclusive X-Men: First Class assortment of Marvel Minimates, released to coincide with the movie’s release in 2011.
James McAvoy had some serious shoes to fill when he took over the part of Xavier from Patrick Stewart, but he did it quite masterfully, creating a different, but still very much the same person, take on the character. This figure opts for his flightsuit look, which is a solid choice since it a) is by far his most exciting look from the movie, and b) matches the rest of the team released in this assortment. Xavier uses the basic body, with add-ons for his hair and his belt. The hair is borrowed from DC Series 7’s Nightwing. It’s not quite an exact match for the look Xavier’s sporting in the movie, but it’s close enough, and it’s a good enough piece that I’m really not going to complain about seeing it re-used. The belt’s just a basic piece, with no detailing, used dozens of other times. Nothing to write home about, but it gets the job down. Xavier’s paintwork is definitely top-notch. The likeness on the face is a very good match for McAvoy, and the detailing on the jumpsuit is just tremendous. All of the small details and stitching are included, just s they should be. The back of the figure is slightly less detailed than the rest, but he’s at least not totally void of detail like some less fortunate ‘mates have been. They’ve even painted his neck yellow, differentiating his uniform from Magneto’s, just as it was in the movie. Xavier included no accessories. A Cerebro helmet would have been nice, but this assortment’s completely re-used nature ruled that out.
Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw was a slightly different take on the character, combining elements of Shaw’s comics counterpart with later X-foe Mr. Sinister. The end result is a more calculating, far less hand-to-hand combat sort of a character, who was quite entertaining to watch. Shaw uses add-ons for his hair and jacket/shirt piece. The hair is re-used from Back to the Future Part II‘s Biff Tannen. It’s not a perfect match for Shaw, and definitely not as close as the piece chosen for Xavier. That said, it’s the best piece they had on hand at the time, and it’s serviceable. The jacket is from 24‘s Tony Almeida, and is a well sculpted piece that fits the style Shaw was sporting throughout the movie. Shaw’s paint work is not quite as complex as Xavier’s. For the most part, it’s just the face that matters, and I gotta say, this guy doesn’t look all that much like Kevin Bacon. I think he’s one of those people whose likeness is very dependent on his nose. Without it, he’s very hard to convey. Shaw also includes no accessories. The helmet’s about the only thing I could think of to give him, and that got (rather sensibly) packed in with Magneto.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Though lacking in accessories, Xavier is an otherwise very fun figure, and once again goes to show just how far you can get without needing any new parts. Shaw’s an important part of the movie. That said, he’s never quite as “battle-ready” as some of the others, which translates to another “guy in a suit” Minimate, and not a particularly notable one at that.