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<< Entertainment >>

New Movie Review

"X-Men: First Class"

Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/ Fantasy, Sequel and Adaptation. Rated PG-13. 132 minutes.

Photo © 2011 - Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Kevin Bacon and January Jones in X-Men: First Class

by Michael Stark
mjstark333@msn.com

|

Professor X meets Magneto for the first time and has to create the first group of X-Men to stop the United States from going to war with the Soviet Union in “X-Men: First Class.”

We first meet Professor X and Magneto when they are children. The film opens with basically the exact same scene as the first X-Men movie that involves a young Magneto being dragged away from his mother at a WWII concentration camp. While at the concentration camp, he learns more about his power. Meanwhile, a young Charles Xavier encounters an orphaned Mystique (played by Jennifer Lawrence), and becomes an older brother figure for her. All of these character believe that they are the only mutants in the world, but as they soon find out, they are wrong.

The cast is terrific. James McAvoy brings something new to the character of Charles Xavier, but still pays homage to what Patrick Stewart did in the original trilogy. Michael Fassbender is fantastic as Magneto, or Erik Lensherr. He is a movie star on the rise, He needs to play a cold hearted killer, then an action star, and then he needs to convey real emotion as somewhat of an anti-hero, and he pulls it off stupendously. I loved what he did in “Inglourious Basterds,” and he is an actor that I will keep a close eye on as he garners more roles.

Kevin Bacon plays the main villain, Sebastian Shaw. Bacon looked like he really had a lot of fun with the role. He came off as a classic, old school, over the top super villain. There was a little bit of camp in that performance, but it fit the character well. The younger actors that fill out the cast are solid, but no one really stands out, except for maybe Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy, a.k.a. Beast. He is given maybe the most important role. The audience needs to believe that there is a reason that mutants might not want to be mutants, instead just normal human beings. Every mutant seems to have incredible powers any of us would love to have. However, no one wants to have feet that look like oversized hands, or eventually turn into a giant blue creature. His conflict makes all of the mutant characters so much more interesting.

The real winner here is director Matthew Vaughn. He last helmed “Kick-Ass,” which was a great ride of a movie. He also took over this movie in May of last year. Which means he made this movie in about a year. That is impressive. He put together a big budget action movie with well crafted characters in a very limited amount of time. Brett Ratner was presented a similar situation with the third X-Men movie, and that tunred into a disaster. This is a great work of art.

There are a few issues I have with the continuity. This film clearly takes place in the world that we were introduced to with the original X-Men trilogy. However, there are some small inconsistencies with the continuity. The movie also needed more one-on-one time with Charles and Erik. It seemed like they only had a few brief moments on screen together. I really wanted to see that relationship explored further. Perhaps we will get that with subsequent sequels.

Bottom line: I still LOVED this movie. I hope it does not get lost in the summer superhero shuffle, because it might end up as the single best film of this summer. I especially loved a pair of cameos from some X-Men we are a little more familiar with.

OVERALL RATING: A-

 

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

X-Men: First Class movie poster

 

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