Hey, everyone! We finally have the internet back so the blog is back up and running and I'm here with a big one. Tonight, we're looking at X-Men: First Class, one of the most positively reviewed movies of the year...much to my surprise.
And with one flex of an eyebrow, you will forget all about the Wolverine movie...
Now, even though I did enjoy X-Men Origins: Wolverine for the performances from the cast, I'll admit it was not a great film and was aimed more at the "Hurr need more 'splosions" crowd. It was fun, but wasn't good for you either. However, since Wolverine drew in a tremendous box office intake, I was concerned that there would be more movies along the same vein, so when First Class was announced, I was a little skeptical. Once the film hit theatres and the feedback began to spread, I was surprised how positive said feedback was. Having seen the film now, I can see why it got the reception it did.
Badass: Noun, Awesome to an extreme level, thereby leveraging unquestionable authority. Example: Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr/Magneto.
The story of First Class follows Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr/Magneto in their polar opposite beginnings and how their lives manage to intertwine when Charles is recruited by Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) & the C.I.A. to catch a sleazy dictator mutant named Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), the same man who killed Erik's mother in Poland during WWII. Together, they bond a friendship and recruit other mutants to assist them and the government in stopping World War III, although their conflicting beliefs begin to come between them.
While Wolverine had great performances, First Class matches that and then proceeds to do right what Wolverine didn't: be a good movie all around. I loved seeing the younger side of Xavier as quite a flirty charmer and James McAvoy really hits it home here. As mentioned earlier, Fassbender is totally badass as Magneto and to be honest, I wouldn't have minded if this film kept with the original idea of being X-Men Origins: Magneto so long as he was still in the title role. That being said, I don't think you can tell one character's origins without touching base on the other since they are so intertwined with each other, so I think the final product is the only way this film would've truly worked.
Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy/Beast. He's no Kelsey Grammar, but come on, those are some tough shoes to fill.
Along with Professor X, Magneto & Beast, other mutant appearances include (but aren't limited to) Raven Darkholme/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Angel Salvadore (Zoe Kravitz), Sean Cassidy/Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Alex Summers/Havok (Lucas Til) and Emma Frost (January Jones), who actually looks like Emma Frost instead of Tahyna Tozzi's representation in Wolverine. My knowledge of the entire X-Men universe is limited to what I've learned from the early 1990s cartoon and some of the video games, but I was really happy to see the characters that I did recognize. Each of the above mentioned characters actually have a purpose within the story and don't feel shoehorned in for the sake of having more mutants. Not that there were some characters that did feel like shoehorns. Azazel (Jason Flemyng) and Riptide (Alex Gonzalez) seemed like they were just there to look mean and intimidating when I would've liked to have seen those characters developed a bit more (I didn't even know Riptide's name until I looked it up on IMDB). Instead, most of the villain focus goes to Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw, which don't get me wrong, it's great to see Kevin Bacon in a large and sinister role like this, but in hindsight, why not add some depth to the henchmen? Just a little?
Oh, I can't stay mad at you, Mr. Six Degrees Of Separation. You were just too awesome in this movie.
Honestly, this is one of those reviews that was hard for me to put together because I spent less time taking notes on what to discuss in the review and more time losing myself in the film, which is usually a good sign that I am really digging what I'm watching. X-Men: First Class is a great way to show that not all comic book movies are complete over-the-top spectacles. Not only does this movie retcon the Wolverine film by pretending that it didn't happen (although a certain cigar-toting mutant does make a three word cameo in this film, which was great) but First Class also comes off as a very adult film, giving little to no camp value and treating its source material very seriously. If you took the mutant powers out of this movie, you would still be left with a well worth viewing suspense thriller that'd keep your eyes glued to the screen. Because of this, I think X-Men: First Class was better than Thor (which, for the record, was better than Captain America) and is not only the best 2011 film I've seen this year nor is it merely one of the better comic films in recent time, but it's easily, in my opinion, one of the best comic book films ever made. If you enjoyed the first three X-Men films or didn't get a chance to see this film during its theatrical run, you must check out X-Men: First Class. Trust me when I say, "It's well worth it."