Thursday, June 2, 2011

X- Men: First Class

X- Men: First Class
Year: 2011
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence
In My Own Words
I must say, I am an X- Men fan. I’m not normally one to nerd out on comic book characters or superheroes, but there is something I really like about X- Men. I like the idea of a group of misfits feeling like they truly belong when they are together. I also like how there is the underlying theme of accepting yourself for who you are. In the first X- Men film, it was Anna Paquin’s Rogue struggling with her identity as a mutant and in this film it is both Raven and Hank who have to come to grips with their visible mutations. Normally with Marvel comic movies, the recurring theme is always one of the unlikely hero proving that anyone can be a superhero. Yet in X-Men, it reaches down further than that and tries to teach people that what you sometimes believe is your weakness, can be your strength. I think we all need to remember this. Stop seeing what is wrong with yourself and turn it around so that you see that that is what makes you special. And of course, who can forget the romanticised theme of it is what is inside that counts.
Wow, it seems as though I am also becoming a motivational speaker as well as a film critic. That was deep! It would be great if we could all use our weaknesses to join in some superhero activities and go to Charles Xavier’s school, where education seems to be a lot more fun that sitting in Maths class each day!
These are my own words and here is my review.
The 3rd of June is the day in which X- Men fanatics would have been holding their breath in anticipation for. With a killer cast, great special effects and a lot of answers to those questions that have been asked ever since the first X- Men film was released back in 2000, X- Men: First Class is an absolute thrill for X- Men fans. However, if you are not an X- Men fan or haven’t seen any of the previous films, un-fulfilment and boredom will be the order of the day.
X- Men: First Class is the prequel to the four previously released X- Men films.  It takes you back to the very beginning when Professor X was Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto was Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), two mutants with extraordinary powers who are united in the fight against a common enemy, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Together they assemble a team of mutants, who feel outcast from society but like they belong with each other and fight against Shaw and his team of faithful followers.
Anyone who likes any of the previous X- Men films will love this film. There are many references to bits and pieces in the prior films and all the questions as to why things are the way they are are answered. It really is a suitable prequel to the series and is really quite interesting and definitely enjoyable enough. Those who are not X- Men fans are sure to 132 minutes too long for this film and may get restless quite a few times throughout.
What does differentiate this film from its predecessors (except maybe X- Men Origins: Wolverine), is that it is focussed more on the narrative rather than on the action. There really isn’t too much action until the end. Sure there are bits and pieces of impressive special effects and the odd rough and tumble here and there throughout the film, but there really aren’t any intense action sequences until the close to the end. This may be a long time to wait for those who have their heart set on seeing lots of explosions and gunfire. However, this scenes are worth the wait and as they are very impressive and suspenseful. The CGI is outstanding and the sound editing is also commendable.
And what a cast. Perfectly cast are all those who are involved. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender had hard roles to live up to as they had had the bar set so high by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. McAvoy’s performance reflected Stewart’s in his mannerisms and nature, but also bought something new to the role. McAvoy’s Charles Xavier grows from a cocky Oxford student into a leader throughout the course of the film and you can see how much the character changes from beginning to end. Fassbender is superb as Erik Lehnsherr. The raw emotion exhibited in his character shows how Magneto became the way he is and he demands pity from the audience.
Rose Byrne is very good in her role as CIA agent Moira MacTaggert and gets the most out of her role as she possibly can. Jennifer Lawrence shines as the young Raven who renames herself Mystique, again showing the growth in character over the film. The story of Mystique is one which people will enjoy as she has always been one of the great mysteries of the X- Men series. Kevin Bacon’s performance is good for the most part of the film, but the first scene in which he is in in the Polish war camp is brilliant. It would be an absolute treat to see him do a role like he was in that scene in a whole movie in the future. Nicholas Hoult is also very good as Hank, who later turns into Beast.
One of the best things about this film is that there is so much character development for each of the main characters. Charles, Erik and Raven are so well constructed and every question is answered as to who they are, where they come from and why they are the way they are. Also watch out for a hilarious cameo by Hugh Jackman!
It can’t be said enough that X- Men: First Class is a film which anyone who has seen any of the first four X- Men films will enjoy. There is a lot of fun to be had while you find out the history of the two men who started it all. Great for the fans, quite possibly tedious for those who are not.

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