Wednesday, July 06, 2011

X-Men: First Class

Yes I realize this is really late but this summer has been extremely busy. I was recently in the city of (Dirty) Angels for work and got to catch up with some friends. They both had seen First Class already but they liked it enough to see it again with me, which was great, cause at the rate I was going I was never gonna see the damn movie on the big screen. For a few weeks I tried to get my wife interested in seeing it but she's doing this, "I'm kind of done with the Superheroes" thing. She couldn't quite understand why the X-Men were in the 60's and what exactly that had to do with the Cuban Missile Crisis? She lost interest before she could even finish her sentence. So thanks Jen and Speck for seeing it again just for me.

First Class follows the two very different lives of it's most famous Mutants. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), the telepathic mutant originally played by Patrick Stewart in the first few films. Thankfully McAvoy didn't play him as a caricature. He's a good hearted guy but he's arrogant and spoiled and he's not above using his powers to bed pretty girls. He's sheltered from the world in his mansion and it makes it harder for him to control or fully understand his complicated friend Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), a Holocaust survivor and mutant with the power of magnetism. Erik was originally played by sir Ian McKellan, and honestly I think Fassbender is even better in the role.  Erik only feels anger and vengeance and in the beginning he's on the hunt for Nazis in hiding. The first forty minutes are almost like the Odessa File and Munich, as Erik brutally hunts these men down and kills them. The big fish he's after is a former Nazi under the surname Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) who is himself a mutant. Possibly the most powerful of them all as  he is able to absorb kinetic energy, channel it and use it as he sees fit. It also allows him to slow the aging process. Shaw is intent on bringing humans to their knees while birthing the dominance of mutants by inciting a war between the Soviet Union and the United States. Only the X-Men led by Xavier and Lensherr, aka. Magneto, can stop him from creating a new global Holocaust.

This flick completely washed away the terribleness of X3 and Wolverine. I really did love that this takes place in the 60's where I think being "children of the atom" works best in this era. I still wish that Fox would get a clue and included the original X-Men to this movie and call it a reboot. That would include; Scott Summers aka. Cyclops, Jean Grey, Bobby Drake aka, Iceman, Warren Worthington aka. Angel and of course the only one of the group that was in the movie Hank McCoy aka Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Instead we got stupid throwaway B characters like Darwin (Edi Gathegi) & slutty Angel (Zoe Kravitz). Admittedly Darwin wasn't terrible but ugh, Zoe Kravitz's Angel was awful. She looked awful when she flew she looked almost laughable when she shot out her flame balls from her mouth. If they had given her a larger role it would have completely ruined the movie. Thankfully the chemistry between frenemies Xavier and Magneto was so good it allowed me to ignore her for the most part. I also really liked the evolution of Beast as they seem to stay pretty close to the comic. He was certainly the heart of the show and you really feel for him when the experiment on himself goes awry. I also really loved Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, she totally erased the bad acting of Rebecca Romijn from the first few films. She gave her a depth and a much better road for her turning wicked then what was presented in previous films. I know fanboys were howling over her early relationship with Xavier but it really makes sense in the larger scheme of the comics and how she makes her turn to the dark side. The rest of the team, Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) and Alex Summers aka Havok (Lucas Till) were nice additions. I also really enjoyed Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert. Not quite sure why she was a C.I.A agent but whatever I though it worked. For future films I'm going to enjoy how they explain Alex Summers, who is Cyclops' younger brother, fits into the larger universe especially if Scott makes an appearance in future films.

As for the bad guys I really dug Azazel (Jason Flemyng) who is sure as shit Nightcrawler's daddy the way he moves. Riptide (Alex Gonzalez) was cool but they didn't really allow him to do much except make little mini tornadoes. Kevin Bacon was great as Sebastian Shaw, he was effortless with his German, perfect embodiment of evil. The only flaw here was the White Queen (January Jones). She is certainly hot and she looks the part but damn this woman is so wooden. There are so many women who I think would have been great in this role but none of them were January Jones. Yes I understand she is on Mad Men but that doesn't mean she's a good actress or more importantly it doesn't mean she is capable of playing a complex character like Emma Frost. I mean this chick has been apart of the Hellfire Club the Brotherhood of Mutants and the X-Men. Couldn't they find somebody a little more suitable then January Jones? But again she wasn't bad enough to deter me from loving every minute of the film. Director Matthew Vaughn has proven once again what a phenomenal director he is. So far I haven't seen a film he has directed that I haven't liked.  So if he wants to bitch about how bad Brett Ratner is, I think he's well within his rights to do so. Yes I understand that X-Men hasn't brought in as much money as Last Stand but it is a far superior film. Hell I think it's just as good or better than X2 which up until now was my favorite of the X series.

I realize that this review is really late and X-Men First Class may already be gone from your local theatre but if it isn't or if it's in a subrun house, ditch Transformers and that stupid looking Zookeeper, go and see something that will make you feel good about the comic adaptations again as well as entertain the fuck out of you. A small note here for MGM/Sony, whoever the hell is going to be doing the Bond flicks in the future; If Daniel Craig decides to stop being Bond you shouldn't waste much air and go right for Michael Fassbender the guy was basically playing Bond for the first hour or so of this movie, I shit you not he may be an even better Bond than Craig and Connery.

Grade: 4 Buckets

1 comment:

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