Saturday, June 04, 2011

X-Men First Class review

My capsule review of X-Men First Class - it is Marvel's apology to us for Last Stand and Wolverine.

Apology accepted.

It also proves that the 20th Century Fox side of Marvel movies can turn out just as good of one as Paramount. I would put this up there with Iron Man, Thor and Spider-Man 2 (IMO the best of the three Spider-man movies).

more after the jump...

To get the most out of the movie, you do have to make a couple of concessions. One is that it isn't going to follow Marvel canon too closely. Forget everything you know about Moira McTaggart, or that Havok is supposed to be Cyclop's brother, or how certain character's powers work in the comics (which the comic book writers are just as guilty of taking liberties) . The other is to not get too hung up on the previous X movies... just forget about the Emma Frost in Wolverine. Or that Moira in XM3 looks 40 tops despite 40 years passing.

The movie itself is part 60's James Bond ( a common opinion from what I've seen), part Batman Begins, with the X-Mythos as source material.

Not everything is different. Magneto's first scenes are almost exactly out of the first X-Men movie. There is an awesome cameo that ties in to the previous movies. Xavier's estate looks like what we've come to know as Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

There is also heaps of back-story... after all this is an origin story. And in many cases the liberties taken make sense.

The cast overall is spot on. James McAvoy gives Charles a believable (and true to canon) idealism without getting preachy or overly naive. Michael Fassbender makes Magneto's journey to "the dark side" much more believable than a certain Vader who will not be named. The biggest surprise for me was Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique. She made Raven a sympathetic character, as opposed to just "that hot chick in blue body paint".

The bad guys are given less depth, but to be fair there is only so much movie to work with here. Kevin Bacon's Sebastian Shaw channeled classic Bond villainy, including a secret sub, global war ambitions, and a white... oh, wait, that was Emma. Shaw's lackeys aren't really given any back story (though one is Nightcrawler's dad in the comics, and could be in the movie timeline).

There are a lot of little touches that will appeal to the comic geeks, such as the Blackbird, or the origin of the black and gold uniforms ("Do we have to wear these?" "Since none of our mutations cope with high-G stress or being riddled with bullets, I would say so").

Part of me hopes they make another, but really I think they could leave well enough alone. Because we know where Charles and Eric are going after this movie.

4.5 of 5 mutant-gened flying monkeys.

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