Posted on 6/04/11 12:03 PM
X-men first class is one of those films that begs the audience to just go with it. Erase all previous memories of the first four x-men (preferrably the latter) and trust the director to make a reboot that will really work. It definitely doesn't feel like a reboot, and that's a good thing. Instead, it feels more like a sleek James Bond film, but only with mutants. Matthew Vaugn's biggest accomplishment with this film is the fact that it's the first x-men film i've come out in quite some time where all i can say is "I hope there's a sequel soon." With a 131 minute running time, for some reason i wanted more, because despite some of its overlying flaws it is still a great platform for a new X-men trilogy.
The day a good x-men movie comes out will be the day xavier is in the clubs hitting on women. It sounds weird, but Charles Xavier was at one point more than just a bald man in a wheelchair. The young and vibrant Charles, who is played excellently by James McCavoy, seems to be the center of everything that goes wrong. Betrayal, a key theme in this prequel, is happening everywhere, but Xavier was once friends with the villians we saw in the earlier X-men trilogy. Playing opposite of Xavier's character is Erik, otherwise known by Magneto otherwise known as the natural born star Michael Fassbender. The key story of First Class is the relationship between Charles and Erik as they assemble a team of mutants during the era of John F. Kennedy and the the cuban missile crisis. First Class certainly has a brisk pace to it, and it accomplishes a whole lot more than the other x-men films in terms of characters and their intertwining relationships. It also has a wonderful third act where all of what x-men does builds up to a bone chilling decision that all the mutants must face, or accept.
What really shines in First Class is the cast, both the real actors and the great choice in what mutants are in or out. The two leads, McCavoy and Fassbender, are the real stars of this film. Both play off of each other so well it kind of reminded me of the classic Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker situation. The rest of the cast is quite good as well. Recent oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence delivers a believable Mystique, and Kevin Bacon plays a villian that everyone can hate. January Jones of Mad Men fame does the same schtick she's known for in everything else she does, but she delivers her lines well enough and somehow never sounds cheesy despite looking like a villian out of a Scooby Doo cartoon. Depending on how much you loved the first three x-men, you may be glad to see that Storm, Jean Grey, Cyclops and Wolverine are all out of the mix. This is one upside to having the setting take place during the cold war era. The other benefit of it is the fact that the writers can't cop out in a certain scene by having Mystique disguised as five different characters. Good thing they never let Shymalan run this franchise.
The one of the films biggest strengths is also its biggest weakness. As i said before, First Class has a very brisk pace and covers a lot of ground in its running time. It moves so fast that at times that the decisions some of the characters make aren't very believable and feel almost forced. Moments that should be quiet and sincere are given 30 seconds of screen time, then shrugged off leaving the audience not necessarily confused but more disappointed. It's hard to explain these moments without spoiling major parts of the movie, so i'll leave it at that. In order to make it believable we need to know the characters better, we need explanations, not dialogue.
If you are the tiny bit interested in superhero movies, then please go see this film. X-men first class is a film that delivers on actions and almost gets the rest of it right, but it's still a really fun movie. It's a great way to kick off the summer, and by the end hopefully we will see another superhero film top it.