Is it safe to say to that right after X-2
, the X-Men films has taken a turn for the worst? X-Men: The Last Stand
was awful and X-Men Origins: Wolverine
was not too far behind. But, does X-Men: First Class
follow the banter of the last two films or can the film be worthy enough to be mentioned along the first and second films? I was skeptical about First Class when I saw the first trailer late last year. I thought, “This looks like X-Men Evolution
.” Well, when I walked out of the theater I felt different.
The film opens up in Poland in 1944 at a German concentration camp with a twelve year old Erik Lensherr being separated from his mother by Nazis. After seeing that he could manipulate metal, Erik is called to see Dr. Schmidt or Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Schmidt bullies Erik into trying to move a Nazi quarter and threatening to kill his mother as incentive. Erik, who is desperately trying to move the coin, watches as his mother is shot and he goes ballistic, moving everything metal around the room. Meanwhile, in Westchester, NY, a 12-year-old Xavier awakens to Raven (Mystique) raiding through his refrigerator. A friendship is then bonded between them that at first seems to last.
Flash-forward to 1962, America is on the brink of WW3 with Russia and Erik is hot on the trail of finding Shaw and exacting revenge. Xavier, on the other hand, is working on his thesis about genetic mutations while hitting on girls in bars, reading their minds no less with Raven taking a backseat to his antics. Shaw, along with Emma Frost and Azazel, is using his powers to manipulate Colonial Hendry to help persuade the movement of US nuclear missiles into Turkey. CIA agent Moira Taggert along with the ‘Man In Black’ team up with X and Erik to recruit a mutant army of their own, under the guidance of the CIA. The movie kicks off with a bang and doesn’t seem to let up. The film is over two hours long and every minute of it is enticing and incredible.
Michael Fassbender is superb as Magneto. He brings a raw energy to the movie that is bar none the best performance in the film. James McAvoy is also grand as Professor X but is not that good compared to his co-star. I’ve read somewhere that Kevin Bacon is a bit comical and I would have to agree. But not in the sense the writer intended. He’s not ‘ha ha’ comical but his character is collateral damage in this adaptation. Not every character can translate well on screen. Each mutant has a moment to shine. Writers Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, who both co-wrote Agent Cody Banks and this years Thor, along with Kick-Ass alums Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn (also the director) do a great job of bringing characterization to each protagonist to the likes that hasn’t been done since Bryan Singer‘s X-2: X-Men United. The Cold War background plays a major role in the film; you would think it was an antagonist.
All in all, X-Men: First Class is the top sequel or prequel of the year so far. The scope of the film is three times larger as the film with trips to Poland, Vegas, Argentina, France, and New York just to name a few. Matthew Vaughn has a keen eye; his direction is sublime. Fassbender is excellent and will have people watching him who didn’t know what he did before. The movie isn’t perfect but it damn sure feels like it. Be on the look out for two great cameos.
Oh, I almost forgot, there is nothing after the credits, so you can go home.