X-Men First Class
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt, January Jones.
This film was a wonderful addition to its predecessors. For any of those who enjoyed the first four installments and for those who’ve wondered about the past behind it, this movie will answer all those questions in dynamic ways. The ‘who’s and the ‘how’s and the details unravel in a good script and amazing special effects. The one-time characters made obvious in the teenaged (or so we assume) pack aren’t given enough time to develop; frankly, viewers will be glad. Their plot is the normal plucky superhero one, but the audience should find them redeemed with the fairly fast-paced action they are placed in and will eagerly await the final showdown. Mystique’s (aka ‘Raven’) past is interesting, yet overly long; however, her cheesy whining and one-liners will make sense at the end and will serve as a haunting reminder of today’s society.
The two main characters of Charles Xavier ‘Professor X’ and Erik Lensherr ‘Magneto’ are well cast and with their multilingual and empathetic acting chops and they make the movie. These two are given a surprisingly short time allotment on screen together, most of it comprised of standing beside each other. To the casual viewer, this may disappoint at the idea of ‘friendship’ and camaraderie, but for the intense audience, that’s all that’s actually needed. The scenes that they do have together are witty and touching and will ring throughout the film and into the sequels with near-perfect ease.
Thankfully, the plot doesn’t follow Xavier too closely—the idea of a stuffy English boy being cooped up in an English mansion and going to school for advanced mutant genetics would murder the movie. Instead the plot is mostly given to Lensherr/Magneto who’s far more painful background wins hearts despite his admittedly and understandably evil intentions. The filmmakers were wise in including a snippet from the ‘first’ film to tie everything together. The plot jumps around locations, spending incorrect amounts of time with the wrong people to set up the movie; it is neither enough nor just right for Kevin Bacon’s character, Shaw/Schmidt.
The learned viewer will be far more interested in the mechanics and tech, literally, which make their debut in this prequel. As for the superpowers, some are sadly repeats or copies. The enlightened may find this mildly to extremely annoying; regardless of the action the mutants bring to the plot. The semi-knowledged viewer will be able to keep up, or at least guess and they will be taken for a spin.
Recommended to see with an X-men know-it-all or casual reader/viewer, but not required. All the dots will be connected here, including a surprise cameo from another well beloved character from the ‘sequels’.
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