Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

X-Men: First Class

X-Men First Class will be seen as the film which put the X-Men franchise back on track, after the disappointing X-Men 3 and the simply atrocious Wolverine. X-Men First class does what the first two film did, which is show patience and let the story unfold naturally. Its a rousing action film and another entry into the select pantheon of great comic book films.

There’s a pretty cool story going on which ties in real world events; more specifically the Cuban Missile crisis. Through this we learn a lot about the movie-based X-Men world and how many of the things we were introduced to in the first film (like the supersonic jet, cerebro, etc.) came to be. They focused on story here and not stuffing as many mutants as they could into the frame (though there is still a little of that).

But don’t get too excited. This is not a perfect superhero movie.  There are some minor flaws I need to mention regarding the production values.  For one, Beast’s make-up looks awful.  It looks like make-up straight out of Planet of the Apes…. the 1968 version.  There’s also some really fake-looking CGI ivolving White Queen’s crystal form.

There’s some really weak writing in spots, such as the scene where all the teen mutants have a party and a decision by one of them to switch sides, and then immediately showing no signs of remorse. This, unfortunately, is coupled with some really weak acting by the actors who played the teenage mutants. Most of them are pretty new to the acting biz and, well, that is noticeable.

However, their mediocre acting is offset wonderfully, by two other amazing performances; that of James Macavoy as Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Magneto. These are both electric performances which will capture your interest and pull you through for the ride. The film-makers focused on the dynamic relationship between Xavier and Magneto which was so evident in the first films, which was a great decision. There’s some really good stuff with the back story of these characters, including a fantastic scene in a bar in Argentina.

Thrown into the mix is the character of Mystique who must choose between their two conflicting ideologies. Sure Jennifer Lawrence’s performances doesn’t quite reach the level of the other two, it is still an effective interplay.

I wish that the villain side of the equation could compare t the MacAvoy-Fassbender pairing. But all we get is Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw and some really weak side kicks; some devil guy who looks very out of place in this movie (perhaps he’d fit in Hellboy) and some lame tornado guy. Oh yeah, and White Queen who ends up doing nothing.

The highlight of the film is the backstory of the two main characters/ It really gives a lot of insight to their motives in the earlier films and really grabs a hold of your attention along the way. A great new X-Men movie which could have been the death of the franchise but instead boosted it up. Oh yeah, there’s also one of the best cameos I’ve seen in a long time.

3 Responses to “X-Men: First Class”

  1. I agree with your review and score!

    I was a little disappointed with some of the CGI too. Glad I’m not the only one who didn’t like the White Queen’s cgi form. and I’m afraid you hit the nail right on the head with Jennifer Lawrence and all the younger mutants.

    What did you think of their usage of Azazel and Sebastian Shaw? I felt they were a little underused. Especially Azazel.

    • I thought Azazel was a stupid villain to add. He looked really out of place. Shaw was well-used though.

      • I’m not really familiar with Azazel until I saw the movie — and I didn’t even catch his name — but I think his powers and combat-skills are amazing. He’s like an upgraded Nightcrawler. I was amazed by how good he was that I cherished the few minutes he appeared in the film. He’s a new character for me. ^_^

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