X-Men: First Class
First Class starts off as its own movie but slowly turns into the studios want of a prequel, by the end, it's reeking of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Although Vaughn does a very good job of reviving the X-Men series, his dreams of a â€œmore epicâ€ sequel are dashed by his ending to this one. Though, you never know. - Hanley
This film had such high precedents. A superhero movie in a James Bond era with Matthew Vaughn of 'Kick Ass' fame directing and X1 & 2 director Bryan Singer producing. Three words spring to mind: Here we go.
The majority of the movie takes place in 1962 with Charles Xavier (James MacAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) joining forces to recruit mutants for the CIA in order to stop villain Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) from starting World War III.
This is simply the best of the X-Men films, the main reason being it revolves around a team of superheroes. In the case of the first trilogy, the mutants were too powerful and too independent. This is the first film where we get a sense of the X-Men needing each other and using their powers to complement each other, while clearly displaying Xavier as team leader. The first 45 minutes or so are fantastic, showing Lehnsherr hunting down the Nazis who killed his family, Xavier trying to recruit mutants to show them they're not alone and the CIA hot on the trail of Shaw, who is played superbly by Bacon, getting the perfect blend of charming and ruthlessness.
Unfortunately it's after this where the film turns into your “typical X-Men movie”, seemingly abandoning the selling-point of the movie for most of us: the dissolution of the relationship between Xavier and Lehnsherr. The movie tends to focus too much on cliché throw-backs to the comics and previous films. A hilarious cameo, on second thought, seems detrimental to the film's storyline and does nothing but cheapen the entire experience. Another cheesy scene where “nicknames”, in other words, superhero names, are created on the spot causes frustration, whereas Adam Sandler movies have had more creativity. Also plot holes crop up left, right and centre. For instance, Nicholas Hoult's Hank McCoy seems so focused on a cure that eliminates physical mutations but retains abilities, even though his abilities RELY on physical mutation.
One of the best things about this movie is the performances are solid throughout. The young X-Men, most of whom, this is their biggest movie; do well to own the screen as much as they can. Albeit nothing they can do can match the talents of Fassbender, MacAvoy and Bacon, clearly, this movie's big guns. Unfortunately, in the last twenty minutes, Fassbender, a German-born Irishman, seems to forget who he's playing and goes 100% Irish accent, cheapening the climactic scene between Xavier's X-Men and Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants. That's not the only thing that ruins the ending, as the X-Men and the Hellfire Club go at it. Jason Flemyng's Azazael, as cool as he is, seems a poor choice of a major villain, seeing as he can only teleport, making it extremely difficult for a logical fight scene involving him. The same story with Riptide. Here, I was dying for a bit of macho-man fight scene. In the first trilogy's case, there was too much, here, not enough.
X-Men: First Class is as dark a 12's superhero movie as it comes, with Lehnsherr brutally killing and torturing, a few shocking murders by Shaw and Azazael and a very memorable F-bomb. First Class starts off as its own movie but slowly turns into the studios want of a prequel, by the end, it's reeking of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Although Vaughn does a very good job of reviving the X-Men series, his dreams of a “more epic” sequel are dashed by his ending to this one. Though, you never know.
Review published on the 02 June 2011 08:44
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