I just got back from seeing X-Men: First Class and all I can tell you right now is that it was worth the wait.
After two critical failures from X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine: Origins many fans and critics, including myself, were a little hesitant in jumping aboard to a new X-Men movie. I had my doubts that they could do anything to rebound from those two disasters and come up with something watchable.
Matthew Vaughn didn’t disappoint in his vision of the beginnings of the X-Men. As far as prequels go, this ranks up there with some of the best. With James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender leading the cast, it was a slam dunk when it came to their performances. Matthew Vaughn known for (Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass) was the perfect choice for revitalizing a somewhat critically dead series. Rounding out the cast are Rose Byrne, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon. There are a few surprise cameos in the film as well that harken back to the original X-Men films.
The film centers around the relationship between Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). It follows them as they discover their special abilities and learn how to control them. Along the way they meet people that will shape them into the men that they are known today. Watching these two on screen was a joy and probably was one of the best things about this movie. Having them struggle with competing ideals was interesting and they had some incredible dialogue together. The special effects and action scenes were up to par in my opinion, but I still go back to the meat of the story with Professor X and Magneto.
Unlike the previous X films, we got to know some of these mutants a little more. Dr. Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) plays a CIA Agent that introduces Xavier and Mystique to the CIA and inadvertently exposes mutants to the government. The story with Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) was a touching and informative piece of work centering on what is normal and accepting yourself for who you are.
Kevin Bacon plays Sebastion Shaw, leader of the Hellfire Club with his right hand Emma Frost (January Jones). Their story wasn’t that well written, but they were just there to set the tone and to be the antagonists for the main stars. It all ends with Professor Xavier and Magneto parting ways, knowing that they think at two different ends of the ideal spectrum.
While watching this movie, I began to think about what Magneto was saying and that humanity would never accept them. Sometimes people fear what they don’t understand. Professor X has always been an advocate for peace with mankind, while Magneto cannot fathom the thought of putting his trust in them. It all hearkens back for Magneto when his parents were put into a concentration camp in Poland. He has much disdain for people that persecute and murder others just because they are different.
As far as the movie goes, I found it to be quite entertaining. It had all the elements to make this a fantastic Marvel film and raises my hopes that they can continue this franchise if they stick with the same formula and fantastic writing.
I give this movie FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS.