Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: X-Men: First Class

Grade: A+

In 1944 in Poland, a young Erik Lehnsherr is forced to use his mysterious powers in order to move a coin by a Nazi officer who then kills his mother. At the same time in Westchester, New York a young Charles Xavier encounters a mysterious blue girl named Raven with the ability to change her appearance. 18 years later, the CIA is investigating possible communist activity when agent Moira MacTaggert witnesses a woman turn into diamonds and a man teleport hundreds of miles in an instant. She decides to track down Charles Xavier, who is now a genetics expert, and asks for his help. At a meeting with top government agents, Charles and Raven out themselves as mutants then help them track a man by the name of Sebastian Shaw, who is attempting to start World War III. It is there that Charles and Erik meet for the first time and decide to work together in order to find other mutants and to stop Shaw.

X-Men: First Class is a great addition to the X-Men franchise. It manages to allude to the other X-Men movies while creating a whole new story and movie experience. I was worried about this movie at first because I kept hearing about how Fox was rushing this movie into production, which is rarely a good thing. However, they hired director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Stardust) and it seems as though he managed to pull together a great movie. In this movie we find out how Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, and Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto, first meet and become friends. You can’t think of this movie as a prequel to the other X-Men movies because while some parts of the movie play right into those films they also change just as much in order to create a new series of movies. The movie brings back many of our favorite mutants from previous movies and introduces some new ones. It is a great movie and I love how it plays with the history of the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis.

James McAvoy (The Conspirator, Wanted) plays the role of Charles Xavier. I have always like McAvoy but I have to say, he is excellent in this movie, it might be my favorite role of his thus far. He plays a young Professor X perfectly by being a great leader for the rest of the mutants, teaching them how to master their powers, while also being very intelligent and insightful. Michael Fassbender (Centurion, 300) plays the role of Erik Lehnsherr. I haven’t seen much of his work but he is spectacular in this movie, extremely enjoyable. The scenes where he is training to better control and use his powers are really great stuff. Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) plays the role of Raven, a young Mystique. She is relatively new to acting in movie, but she is quickly on her way to being one of the greatest actresses of her generation. She is amazing in this movie and really manages to pull the role off extremely well. Kevin Bacon (Super, Death Sentence) plays the role of Sebastian Shaw. He has been making a bit of a comeback lately and I wholeheartedly support it. He is great as Shaw, truly evil and devious. The movie also features performances by Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt, January Jones, Jason Flemyng, Zoe Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult, Lucas Till and more including some awesome cameos.

X-Men: First Class is an excellent and extremely enjoyable movie. You don’t have to have seen the other films in order to understand it either. I would have to say that this movie is right on par with the first X-Men but isn’t quite as good as X2, in my opinion. I for one can’t wait to see more X-Men movies and stories like this one, which won’t be too far off as they have mentioned that they want this to be the start of a new trilogy.

Great quote: “I have found that true focus lies between anger and serenity.”

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