X-Men First Class review

Let's take a short trip to the past. All the way back to the Summer of 2003. I had just seen X2 and couldn't be happier about what I had just witnessed. That movie had done nearly everything right and ended in a way that left room for a perfect sequel that could have done the Dark Phoenix Saga justice. What we got 3 years later was X-Men 3: The Last Stand. Overall it was a sloppy movie with dozens of wasted opportunities and meaningless deaths. Suffice to say, I hated it. Add Xmen Origins: Wolverine and all my hopes of redemption for the Xmen were dashed away.

When I heard they were making a prequel entitle First Class set in the 60's, I was concerned and not hopeful. I was a little relieved the Matthew Vaughan (Kick-Ass) was brought on to direct it, but all signs were pointing to the filming being rushed for a Summer 2011 release.

Xmen First Class starts the story of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) as they meet for the first time and discover other mutants as well. Their group of rag-tag (who says rag-tag?) mutants are recruited by the government to track down the international super-criminal Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) who Magneto has a vendetta against so it serves his purposes.

McAvoy and Fassbender are fantastic in their roles as ill-fated friends. McAvoy actually gives Professor X a personality and charisma. He isn't just the overly serious Professor X. Michael Fassbender is great as Erik Lensherr (Magneto) and is menacing as he seems to always be on the verge of losing it at any moment. It was good to see Kevin Bacon again and he surprisingly makes for a good villain. The rest of the mutants were essentially place-holders and you feel nothing for them, except for maybe Beast and Mystique. I could have done without the whiny Mystique altogether.

The first half of the movie plays out like a world-hopping Bond film. It was good to get the backstories of Erik and Charles but it did not feel like an Xmen movie and was a little too frantic. Once the movie hit the halfway point it really takes off and the action sequences begin.

If this movie does well they will definitely have sequels and those movies are said to tie in to the original Xmen trilogy. I would be quite happy to see McAvoy and Fassbender act against each other again, I only hope the sequels wouldn't fall back on the human-to-mutant bigotry that the original trilogy relied on.

There are flaws in this movie. Do not believe the commercials that claim that it is on par with The Dark Knight. First Class is not. Though it is a pretty great return for the Xmen and the best movie in the series since X2. I'm thinking it's going to be a great summer. Xmen First Class does not ride coach. (sorry, I had to do it) I give it 4 stars.


Matt said...

Alas...I went with Pirates last weekend instead of X-men. My mistake.

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