Tuesday, June 14, 2011

X-Men: First Class [2011]

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence
Genre: Science fiction/Action
Rating: General
Comment: "That's how you make an X-Men movie..."

Synopsis
In the early days in the X-Men universe, when genetic mutation is a new field of study, CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) inadvertently discovers that there is a group of people with extraordinary abilities as a result of these genetic mutations. She goes to the only person known to have an extensive knowledge about such matters, the young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). Together, they hunt down the group hellbent on starting World War III all the while crossing paths with the young Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), another mutant with a disturbing past.

What to Expect
1. A return to what made X-Men [2000] so good
2. A credible origin story
3. A James Bond-like feel to the movie
4. Pretty much a standalone movie

What NOT to Expect
1. An overwhelmingly emotional movie

Review
I was not immediately a fan of the X-Men movies, and it took me quite a while to warm up to the first installment to the series. After all, we've seen many times over what happens to superhero movies with too many characters with superpowers; instead of epic fightfests, we often see glorified toy commercials.

But X-Men [2000] wasn't like that, the depth of it astounded me and I was a fan right up until the second movie. X-Men: The Last Stand [2006] was a major disappointment, but First Class did more than enough to dispel the bad memories I have about it.


In essence, this is an origin story about how Professor X and Magneto parted ways, so it was really interesting to see how their conflicting ideologies turned them against each other. If you ask me, that is the core of the X-Men movies, that is what separates them from the usually superficial Good-vs-Evil superhero movies. Both Professor X and Magneto champion for the rights of mutants, but in very different ways. I bet that is something we can all relate to at some level?

However, it didn't get as interesting as I had hoped. For some reason I thought their battle of wits would have been a lot more intense. Can't say it's their fault though because the original Professor X and Magneto - Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, respectively - had an air of charisma that few can emulate.


But note that I'm not taking away any points because of that because well... it's a little unfair considering that First Class did a lot to distance itself from the previous installments, and what a good job they did. You see, they didn't just rewind the clock back about fifty years and tell the origin story for the heck of it. Instead, they took full advantage of what was going on at the time - namely the Cold War - and seamlessly fuse the history of mutants there.

Therefore I surmise that it's not coincidence that the movie had a lot of a James Bond movie feel to it, especially when it comes to this lil' fox;

I know... "Who let the dogs out", right? Garter belts are always hot
Is it just me or did January Jones played Emma Frost like a Bond girl?

Should you go see it?
Yes! The movie seemed to have learned from the past mistakes of the X-Men movies, and retained what made it work while adding some flavours of its own. Although I do feel like they rushed things a little bit, like there weren't enough drama to have turned two good friends against each other. But then again, it was said that this is the first film of a new X-Men trilogy, so in that aspect I'd say that they are off to a good start.

2 comments:

Zulfahmi said...

My friend told me that she was not satisfied with the movie because there's no new and awesome mutants... She has seen better mutant powers in the previous X-Men movies...

But I dont agree with her because I think Shaw's power is quite awesome... Besides that, this is my first time seeing Professor X being so cool and tough

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

I suppose it all goes down to how you approach the mythology of X-Men. Some see it as a Justice League-esque orgy of superheroes showcasing their powers.

Others - me included - see it as an allegory to actual human history. Discrimination, basic civil rights, all those things can be related to figures like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King or maybe even Harvey Milk.

And all that serves as the undertone for the X-Men movies, told through the dynamic relationship between Professor X and Magneto; they both want the same things, but in very different ways.

If an X-Men movie have all that, that's more than good enough for me. I don't need to see superpowers or an extensive roster of mutants all that much.

I bet you feel similarly :)

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