// There was never any doubt. X-Men: First Class delivers.
After two disastrous train smashes, I’m looking at you Last Stand(2006) and Wolverine(2009), it fills me with unprecedented amounts of joy to report that Matthew Vaughan’s re-boot is as sexy and suave as we’d hoped. In fact it’s so good, I may even go and see it again.
It’s not always the case, but putting a well-loved franchise in the hands of an exceptional director can usually mean good things. Look at the Batman franchise for example. In this instance Fox have played a blinder. Hot off the press from his critically acclaimed Kick Ass, Vaughan with his writing partner in crime Jane Goldman (Mrs.Jonathan Ross), were put to task in rebooting a franchise that, as I mentioned, needed a serious kick in the face. With the harness of creative restriction thrown in the bin they have rekindled the love we all had for these crazy mutants when they first arrived in X1 & X2.
X-Men: First Class charts, as the title suggests, the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, not a newly commissioned postage option as one friend suggested. The movie slowly reveals mutants to the world during a time of global conflict. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants to stop Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.
But what of the film? The direction by Matthew Vaughan is fantastic. He manages to squeeze every ounce of what we love about X-Men mythology, out of the 2 hour run time. He captures the swinging sixties perfectly and the global political tensions that were brought about by the Cuban missile crisis. The action of the film is well paced and at times relentless. Just when you think you can put away your adamantium claws, Vaughan insists that the danger is not yet over and throws yet another problem for our mutant heroes to contend with. The final scene being a perfect example of this. It also illustrates magnificently that despite their similarities, Charles and Erik would always be on opposing sides of the fence. Erik believes that they are ‘already the better men’ where as Charles sees it as his place to educate. As with all things in the world the human understanding of the mutants stems from fear. Sadly by the end of the movie you realise that each man will go on a separate journey in order to educate the masses.
However supporting Vaughan’s direction is the excellent script and acting talent. Jane Goldman I can only salute you again for such a great job on this. There are slapstick moments such as Banshee learning to use his mutant power to fly, sensitive moments between kindred spirits Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and some fantastic dramatic irony as the film plays on our inherent knowledge of the films characters and who they develop in to, “who knows, maybe I’ll start going bald next.” The movie isn’t too talky, neither is it too full of endless CGI sequences, it has a distinctive balance.
The cast all put in awesome performances. I highly rate Michael Fassbender as one of the most watchable actors currently plying their trade. He has a certain stage presence that can’t be matched by anyone else and in X-Men his character goes beyond anything Sir Ian McKellan ever delivered in the first two films. We really get inside Erik’s mind and see the brutality he was subjected to from a young age and hence the reason he has such a warped idea of the world. In addition, Kevin Bacon, welcome back. KB puts in one of his more memorable performances in recent years as the main antagonist (Sebastian Shaw) and his pronunciation of German and russian vocabularies is exemplary. His super power is so unique it’s difficult to tell how they will take him out. Emma Frost (January Jones) is hot damn, but also super bad ass. But over all for me.. Magneto steels all the show boat pieces and presents himself as the stand out mutant. There are some wonderful recruitment montages including a cameo by soldier ID: 458-25-243 – I won’t spoil the surprise.
If I were to have any criticism of the movie it would be that Vaughan has packed so many characters into the movie it feels a little over compensated for. You never really get your teeth into the wealth of characters. Magneto, Professor X, Beast, Mystique are all given lots of attention, but Jason Flemyng’s teleporting Azazel and Álex González’s wind creating Riptide are only seen breaking necks and cashing cheques. The later having a dangerously rubbish mutant power! I would also question why it was mandatory for everyone to wear grey jogging suits at Chateau Xavier?
However, these really are minor points and even if you disregard everything I have said previously all you need to know that X-Men First Class is worth every nugget. It’s what superhero movies should be like. Now if we can all just pray that The Green Lantern and Captain America won’t suck, we’ll have had a pretty solid super hero year.
thanks for reading.
View the trailer by clicking HERE
Check out the Five Gum promo
X-Men arrives in Australia today!