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Posted on 7/19/11 05:06 PM
X-Men first class, directed by Matthew Vaugn, follows the story of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) in the creating of the mutant alliance called X-Men. We see their original relationship as friends and their turn to become enemies.
The strength of the film lies in the leads and the connections to the Cold War. McAvoy and Frassbender play their roles very convincingly and strong chemistry. Any time either of them are on the screen, they own it. Taking place during the Cold War, specifically the Cuban Missile Crisis, makes the movie feel real. The absurdities of mutants and their powers are masked out by the relationships of the characters.
A lot happens in the movie in an awfully short time, yet it all works thanks to some very good editing. We first learn the origins of all the characters, bring a team together, train them, and take them into combat. There was a lot introduced, someone origin stories tend to do, but it was done in good health.
The main problem I had were the enemies: Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost. They never felt like real threats throughout the entire film. Bacon seemed smug, so to speak, and his place as a villain wasn't very convincing. Jones as Frost was emotionless. She had the faces and reactions of Bella Swan, which is to say, no faces or reactions. Perhaps it was in character, perhaps not, but it didn't work for me.
Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, who is set to play Katniss in 'The Hunger Games') is an intriguing character through the film, who has an interesting love triangle so to speak. It's not exactly love, but an idea, as in who's ideology is the one she will follow. There is Charles who has provided for her and treated as a sister, and Erik, who tells her to accept who she truly is. Her emotions were very realistic and it was an interesting side plot.
Another problem for the film were the effects. Anything involving Magneto I though worked very well, but moments such as Mystique's transformation, Beast's looks, etc did not look very good. It's not very distracting, but it's noticeable.
Final Consensus: X-Men: First Class improves upon all the other X-Men with interesting leads and a plot worthy of the characters - 8.8/10