Entertainment Magazine

X-Men: First Class

Posted on the 19 May 2016 by Christopher Saunders
X-Men: First ClassBryan Singer's X-Men films kick-started the 2000's superhero trend, only to crash with an abysmal third film and an abominable origins reboot. Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) expertly revived the franchise with X-Men: First Class (2011), one of the genre's high points.
Mutants Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) pursue different paths in 1962. Telepathic Charles is an Oxford genetic professor living with his adopted sister, shapeshifter Raven (Jennifer Lawrence). Metal-bending Erik (Magneto) hunts Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who killed his mother in the Holocaust. They discover Shaw is also a mutant, using his Hellfire Club to maneuver America and the Soviet Union into nuclear war.
Origin stories are usually a drag, but X-Men: First Class proves a well-conceived, thrilling blockbuster. Vaughn provides a Bond-like retro feel with immersive action scenes, ranging from mutant fights and gun battles to a show-stopping climax where Magneto freezes a fusillade of missiles midair. Computer effects are unavoidable with characters who shapeshift, teleport or shoot fire: I especially liked Darwin's (Edi Gathegi) adaptive ability, sadly underused.
Using the Holocaust and Cuban Missile Crisis as plot points, First Class enhances backstories rather than merely literalizing them. Charles' well-heeled background contrasts with Erik, who survived Nazi death camps while absorbing their ideology. Erik finds no quarrel with Shaw's mutant supremacy; only a personal grudge divides them. And Charles faces dissent from Raven; ashamed of her blue appearance, she finds Erik's message of pride appealing.
James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are perfectly cast: McAvoy's playfulness turns into earnest rectitude, Fassbender provides intense, smoldering rage. But Jennifer Lawrence steals the movie, selling Mystique's conflict between righteousness and awakening. Kevin Bacon makes a hysterically hammy villain. January Jones's henchwoman and Rose Byrne's CIA spook are strictly eye candy, while Nicholas Hoult's Beast is a one-note nice guy. Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn have amusing cameos.
Franchise prequels and reboots are a tough sell, providing brooding background or rehashing familiar ground. Fortunately, X-Men: First Class earns top marks, standing tall among this decade's endless superhero adventures.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

Magazines