X-Men: First Class (2011)
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, and January Jones
Marvel again brings us the latest adventure in the battle between good and evil with the recent release of X-Men: First Class, which takes place before the previous movies in the X-Men series. This flick chronicles the relationship between young Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, and how they both come to terms with being mutants. Long before they became Professor X and Magneto, respectively, Charles and Erik were friends, meeting in their 20s when they worked together with CIA agent Moira McTaggart.
Because explaining the basic storyline in words doesn’t work as well as viewing it, I will direct you to the IMDB synopsis of the storyline, should you care to read it. Beware of spoilers, though!
I enjoyed the background this movie lent to the X-Men movie series. As a prequel, I thought it worked well. It was interesting seeing the younger, less seasoned versions of the characters, who were still working through the challenges of living as mutants in a “normal” world. The movie did a good job of depicting each character’s unique perspective of what it means to be a mutant, and whether that’s a positive or negative thing. The actors who played Charles, Erik, and Raven/Mystique each seemed to have a good handle on their character’s motivation and perspective, which made it interesting. January Jones, however, didn’t lend much to her portrayal of Emma Frost. She was almost a non-character in the storyline. She mostly just stood there, trying to look brooding and evil.
The special effects were great, of course, though not quite as visually stunning as the scenes in Asgard in Thor. Mystique’s morphing into different personnas was flawless, and I liked the way her scales flicked on and off her skin as she shifted. (I read another review, however, that likened her scales to “blue bathtub anti-skid stickers“, so your verdict may vary.)
My only disappointment was relatively minor, and not any real issue – my whole family agreed that the way they depicted Beast was just off. When Hank McCoy finally mutated into the blue hairy Beast, he was almost more of a blue werewolf version of a 98-pound weakling, rather than this huge hulking…well, Beast. He needed to be taller and broader, which could have been easily achieved. We couldn’t figure out why they decided to go with a leaner Beast. But, eh, no real biggie. Not a major distraction from the overall entertainment. The cameo by Hugh Jackman with a fabulous Wolverine moment more than made up for it.
And you? If you’ve been to see X-Men: First Class, feel free to chime in with your comments below.
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