X-Men First Class: Review
I recently purchased X-Men First Class on blu ray and finally sat down with it over the weekend to give this film a second look after a theater viewing over the summer. Quick synopsis: This is a prequel to the X-Men movies staring James McAvoy as a young Proffessor X and Michael Fassebender as a young Magneto who join forces to stop Russia and The United States from going to war by the influence of Sabbatian Shaw (Kevin Bacon)
Now let me start this review by saying I am a huge fan of the Uncanny X-Men comic book since I was young but I have mixed feelings about the films in general. I think the first two are good but not great, Brett Ratner’s X-3 is a complete mess and X-Men Origin Wolverine was ok and generally entertaining but completely shat all over the continuity. I was hoping Mathew Vaughn could breath life back into this franchise with X-Men First Class and I think he did just that. After first viewing this film I was blown away by the style and tone of it, as Vaughn did a fantastic job of capturing the characters and setting of 1960’s cold war era America. This film also flourishes in it’s characters story arc of Proffessor X and Magneto and how they became friends and eventually enemies. After a second viewing though, this movie is not without it’s flaws.
The book on this movie is that it was rushed into completion by Fox (of course) in order to compete in the summer blockbuster battle. This rush job was apparent in the performance of January Jones as Emma Frost who is pretty damn terrible in what could only be described as wooden. Some of the dialog is pretty corny and some of the CGI could have been better. I think when it comes to comic book movies it’s tough not to dip your toe into some cheese and this movie is no different from a room full of young x-men coming up with “cool” code names and the villains buzzing around in the world in a submarine.
What makes this film work is McAvoy as Professor X making his character feel much more important that the Patrick Stewart rendition and Fassebender’s take on Magneto is excellent and worth a purchase alone. Their different outlooks on the world and how mutants are treated seems more real than it has in the past and just works this time around. Also one more notable is Kevin Bacon’s Villainous turn as Shaw was surprisingly good. The action set pieces work well, esspecially after the rest of the young X-Men are brought on board and the pace of the film doesn’t suffer from the rush job as it moves pretty fluid throughout.
You get the feeling that Fox wants Vaughn to stay in continuity to the previous X-Men films but he continually flips a middle finger at that idea in this movie and I would hope in the future, assuming there’s a sequel he just goes off the rails completely and starts a-new. With the X-Men there is 40 years of untouched gold sitting within the panels of the comic book that could be ripe for the big screen. With a more polished script, Vaughn could finally make the X-Men movie us fans deserve. First Class is a step in the right direction.
B+ (Buy it now if your a fan, you won’t be disappointed, if your not a fan this is still one of the best of the summer, rent it!)