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Posted on 7/12/11 10:12 PM
"Listen very carefully, my friend. Killing will not bring you peace."
"Peace was never an option."
Let me begin by saying that the trailer for this movie should win an Oscar. I've never been a fan of the X-men. I've yet to read the comics, and after X3, I was ready to write X-Men off as a movie franchise that simply wasn't for me. And yet the Marvel Movie Magicians found a way to suck me right in. I was hooked the second I heard that low, creeping music, and by the time the trailer had built up to that great little snippet of dialogue between Xavier and Magneto, I was completely sold. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in my excitement that I forgot something a very wise old man once said: trailers lie. Anyone can cut scenes from a so-so action movie and make a kick-ass music video, which is exactly what happened here.
The film has a promising start; it begins by showing major turning points in the young lives of titular characters Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto). Xavier's scene is quite heartfelt, and Magneto's scene, while somewhat "Revenge of the Sith"-esque, is pretty gripping in it's own way. In fact, I was really satisfied with First Class for the first 30 minutes or so. But as soon as Xavier's young recruits show up, the film takes off and never stops for a breather. It's a nonstop barrage of cornball dialogue, cheesy spy action and training montages (really) up until the big action set piece at the end; which is admittedly pretty cool, at least until the film reverts back to Professor X talking about how he doesn't want to be bald. Yes, they make that joke. Several times.
As a summer popcorn movie, I can't say that First Class isn't somewhat of a success. There's enough action here to keep the Transformers crowd entertained. The dialogue is often bad, but rarely offensively so. It's even got a couple scenes between Professor X and Magneto that are pretty good(even though they pretty much blew their wad in the trailer on that front). But the things I enjoyed about this film were few and far between. In the end, it suffers from the standard superhero movie dilemma: too many characters and not enough time to develop the ones we care about.
Maybe my expectations were too high. I was hoping for something that was a cut above the average superhero movie, something a little more potent, maybe even something that would stick with me (once again, I find that The Dark Knight has ruined me). But overall, it's just another big, dumb X-Men movie. And as much as I want to, I just can't give this one a pass.