Wednesday, 1 June 2011

161: Review - X-Men: First Class (spoiler-free)

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

X-Men: First Class poster

X-Men: First Class (Spoiler Free)
01 June 2011. Location: Cinema

Rose Byrne and January Jones? Marvel, you're spoiling me! Go on, then.

Matthew (Kick Ass, Layer Cake) Vaughn is at the helm for the fifth X-Men movie, and as usual, it's on the grittier side of comic book adaptations. The movie opens with a very faithful reshoot of the beginning of 2000's X-Men, set in a Nazi concentration camp as a young Erik Lehnsherr is separated from his parents, kickstarting his super-powers. After that, we quickly skip through the formative years of Erik and his future-partner/nemesis Charles Xavier, and on to a fairly lengthy series of introductions to the rest of the cast.

Speaking of the cast, once you get past the fact that Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy neither look, sound nor act like Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, they do an excellent job in their portrayals, as does almost* everyone else on-screen.

The Good: With the exceptions of what's listed below, everything about this film falls into the good category. Great acting, great script, effects, score, camera work. They've even addressed a couple of continuity spikes rather nicely, and if I'm not very much mistaken, Rebecca Romijn (Mystique from the first three X-Men movies) has a fleeting cameo appearance, although she doesn't seem to be credited for it. Speaking of cameos, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine makes a brief appearance during the recruiting sequence, and his three-word scene made me guffaw out loud. Maybe cover the young ones' ears, though? First time I've heard that in a 12A cert movie.

The Bad: * I'm not feeling the love for the very young Xavier and Mystique, played by Laurence Belcher and Morgan Lily, respectively. They're not awful, but child acting is rarely on-par, and X-Men: First Class is no exception. Young Magneto is spot-on, but his storyline has a little more drama than Xavier, so he has more to work with. Also worth mentioning, although not necessarily bad, Charles Xavier seems to turn into Austin Powers when he chats up women (and he does chat them up).

The Ugly: Continuity issues, I'm afraid. I won't go into them here, but after I've watched the film again in a few days, I'll do a second-pass review all about them.

All in all: Excellent work all round. Considering it's the fifth movie in the franchise, it's also an excellent place to start for those who haven't seen any (perhaps arguably better that way, anyway?). If you like your heroes to be a bit philosophical, and have a sense of humour without being silly, this movie is for you.

No cameo by Stan Lee in this one, and no bonus-scene after the credits. I'll take the second one if it means having the first ;)


• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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