“Apart from a few minor missteps the movie is fun and great for any comic book fan.”
X-Men: First Class allows it’s audience to see two things: 1. The origin story of the X-Men which you have grown to love over the years; and 2. The redemption of a franchise that you have grown to hate over those same years. X-Men First class finds Charles Xavier (Professor X played by James McAvoy)and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto played by Michael Fassbender) team up against Kevin Bacon who plays the antagonist of the film, Sebastian Shaw. Unfortunately for our will-be X-Men, this isn’t fun Kevin Bacon like in Footloose but rather closer to ‘rapey’ Kevin Bacon from Hollow Man. X-Men: First Class also sees the introduction of Mystique, Beast, Banshee, Emma Frost, and a bunch of other mutants that I don’t feel like naming.
By the time X-Men: First Class rolled around, people were pretty much done with X-Men movies (X-Men Origins: Wolverine anyone?) so this movie had a lot of slack to pick up. I think it did a great job at doing exactly that (or at least picking up enough slack to put X-Men films back on the radar). Like I said, the film follows the concurrent rise of Magneto and Professor X (as well as Mystique). One problem I had with the movie right off the bat was the fact that the CIA was perfectly fine with working with mutants. A couple of people show up in a conference room and start doing shit that has never been seen before (and that physically shouldn’t be possible) and they say “Sure, just take them to this hideout and equip them with high-tech gear”. I understand that the ending of the film shows us that humans aren’t okay with mutants, but it seemed like a very bi-polar shift in attitude seeing as the humans were more than wiling to work with the mutants not an hour earlier. To go hand in hand with humans not accepting mutants we have Mystique. Now Mystique is a shapeshifter who’s “real” form is a blue, almost reptilian, woman. Mystique was partnered with Charles from the beginning of the movie, but when she realizes that Charles is flirting with other women she gets upset. Fast-forward and we see Mystique start to get influenced to think that mutants should be accepted for who they are (which is a big part of Magneto’s beliefs). That’s fine, and actually rather interesting to see. The problem I have with it is the fact that she does all of this while still changing her appearance to look “Normal” (like a human). I wish that someone would have called her out on her bullshit during this movie. It is on par with a smoker giving you shit for smoking. Really, I was just surprised to see that Mystique had shapeshifting powers as well as the powers to be a fucking hypocrite. I also had a problem with the ‘Evil Plan’ vision that occurs about halfway through the film. I understand that it had to be spelled out for the audience, but did it have to be so ham-fisted? The scene literally shows the bad guys standing on top of some rubble with a destroyed city around them and then thousands of people are chanting “President Shaw”. It’s a little on the nose isn’t it? Apart from that I think the movie was well done technically. I thought the camerawork and actions scenes were well executed, and one scene in particular really caught my eye. The “training montage” was very interestingly shot, many angles being used to create a collage effect which I thought was interesting. It wasn’t great (I found it a little distracting), but it was an interesting concept for sure. Surprisingly, quite a lot of the effects in this movie still hold up. Of course, that means that not all of them do (I’m looking at you CGI fish) but for the most part the movie looked pretty great. I particularly enjoyed the use of practical effects, mainly the suits for Beast and Mystique (whenever she wasn’t being a fucking hypocrite). One problem I saw with the make-up for Beast was the fact that his mouth didn’t movie at all when speaking. Other than the fact that it reminded me of an episode of “Real Housewives” (plastic surgery joke!) the makeup was pretty good. The acting was great as well, McAvoy and Fassbender stealing the show (in my opinion), but everyone did a pretty good job.
Overall X-Men: First Class is a redemption of the X-Men franchise with a great return to form. Apart from a few minor missteps the movie is fun and great for any comic book fan.
I give X-Men: First Class a B