[Movie Review] X-Men: First Class

Peace was never an option.

Here’s the good news.

I do not need to whip out The Memorial Paul F. Chabot WTF Movie Award for X-Men: First Class.

Instead, I can highly recommend X-Men: First Class and say X3 and Wolverine are a long forgotten memory that Fox Studios is trying to atone for and so far, so far, they’re moving in the right direction.

X-Men: First Class is a reboot of the franchise after ten years and keeps some of the continuity in place. The overall plot remains the same Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr meeting. After that, a fresh plot, after being attacked by unknown mutants they form a group of rag tagged mutants to stop the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both of them are polar opposites, Charles played by James McAvoy being the MLK figure while Eric played intensely by Michael Fassbender is the Malcolm X figure.

And, both actors hit it out of the park just like Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellen. Erik hunting down surviving Nazi was perfect while Charles going the route with the CIA seemed perfectly too.

Once you get away from the two figure heads the straying of the pathos begins in spits and spats. Some good, some bad. The first is the accents, except for the main characters are nowhere to be found and judging from IMDB Trivia, the director Matthew Vaughn requested the accents be dropped.

Vaughn, after handling Layer Cake and Kick Ass handles the X-Men Franchise rather well and one has to wonder: If Fox hadn’t pushed to get X3 out and if he had had time to film it, would it be a completely different set of circumstances.

The one thing First Class has going for itself where the original X-Men Movie lacked is the fact Magneto does not exist and instead you have something else in it’s place: Kevin Bacon playing baddie Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club. And, he’s a baddie because he wants to start WWIII and eradiate people with atomics so everyone is a mutant. He has four mutants at his side: teleporting Azazel, wind spinning RIptide (we call him this movie’s Toad but he has no lines and no pizzaz like Ray Park) and telepath Emma Frost. Emma Frost played by January Jones and her bodice just show up, the rest of Shaw’s mutant cadre is rather faceless except teleporting Azazel who will turn out to be Nightcrawler’s dad once he and Mystique get together.

Everyone has mentioned January’s acting and I not going to beat a dead horse but the character on a whole could have been a great road block for Charles since he similar to the Doctor where his mind can almost get him out of everything but Emma Frost should have been deadlier and instead we get cardboard acting and bad wardrobe choices. The white catsuit would have been fine, personally since her outfit in the comics is totally unbelievable even in the comics.

Mystique played by Jennifer Lawrence plays the Rogue’s role of sorts, trailing after Xavier as they each grow up. She’s given more than most in the movie besides McAvoy and Fassbender and it makes her believable. There’s a moment when there’s a shout out to the first movie and it’s nice to see the first two movies have not been completely forgotten.

The rest of the team is enjoyable, forgettable and could have had more screen time. Havok, Banshee and Beast are great together while Angel played by Zoe Kravits all but disappears once she switches sides from Charles to Shaw. The amount of rebooting that’s happened in recent years and the amount of fans remembering which team roster is which, you have to turn off your inner X-Men geek and just enjoy the movie.

Overall, besides the few speed bumps the movie is worth seeing, just for Hugh Jackman’s one line/one scene cameo because it’s pure Wolvie (cigar an’ all) I hope if they continue with this group they move the next movie into the 70’s.

Oh, and there’s no need to wait for the credits, there is not special scene at the end like Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and the like…

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