Yeah, yeah, I know. I tweeted that my first official blog would consist of an article about “The Best Sports Movies ever” but after watching “X-Men: First Class” I felt compelled to get up and go. Now, I know I’m a bit late in doing a review of X-Men, considering it’s been out since June 3rd. Hey, I couldn’t help it. I was busy with the final preparations for my wedding, which was the next day. Anyway, I finally got around to it.
I have to admit, I didn’t realize X-Men would consist of so much story. I knew there would be some story with lots of action sprinkled throughout but story seemed to be about sixty to seventy percent of the film with action being a presence but just enough not to take way from the sharp writing. Then again when you think about it, “First Class” is the beginning, therefore a lot of story was needed to be told. Not to just satisfy the comic book viewer but also for the casual movie watcher as well. Not everyone knows the backstory of how Eric Lehnsherr and Charles Xavier or Magneto and Professor X came to be enemies who were once very good friends.
“X-Men: First Class” is a good prequel that helps set up future films that take place before the first X-Men movie. What I really enjoyed about it were the relationships, which really carried the film. The strongest being Charles, played by James McAvoy and Erik, played by Michael Fassbender. These two guys really help you understand their conflict with each other. It’s an issue that slightly pokes its head in throughout the film before rearing its full head in by the climax. Charles wants peace, Erik wants war. It’s as simple as that. However, their first conflict is with not each other. It’s with another mutant who wants to put an end to the entire human race altogether.
Introduce Sebastian Shaw, played very well by Kevin Bacon. He is the main villain of the story and on a couple different levels. His main goal is to eliminate the human race by having them go to war against each other. Nuclear war style. Enter the cuban missile crisis. A very important event in our world’s history. It was here where we almost blew the hell out of each other before cooler heads prevailed. In this X-Men story however, Shaw is the orchestrator of this whole thing. It’s his idea for russia to move missiles to cuba thereby instigating america into some sort of action. But he’s not alone, Emma Frost, Azazel and Riptide round out his gang of mutan who have things well in order before Charles, Erik and their newest group of young mutants intervene. However, his connection to Erik is a very strong and sad one. When Erik was younger he met Shaw who tried to force Erik to use his powers. When this did not happen Shaw killed Erik’s mother. Thereby causing a pain in Erik so large that the only way he would be satisfied was by killing Shaw.
This conflict comes to a head when Magneto and Shaw face-off at the end. It’s very dramatic and gripping because what Erik does goes against everything that Charles had been preaching to him throughout the entire movie. “Killing Shaw will not bring you peace” says Charles. “Peace was never an option” replies Erik. Good writing and great chemistry amongst these two actors.
Even though I mentioned action didn’t play the biggest role in the movie, when there was action it was very intense. Scenes such as when Shaw and his group infiltrate the compound where the young mutants are being kept. Watching Azazel teleport and take out every security guard reminded me a bit of Nightcrawler in “X2”. Not as intense but still kept you glued to the screen. The climax of the film, where the mutant war really begins, is just awesome. Watching Magneto pick up a sub and throw it on land, that pretty much blew my mind. Well done there and watching the mutants duke it out was very very cool as well.
I especially loved the little cameos in the movie. For example when Hank(Beast) is showing Charles cerebro and explaining what it can do(I did get a bit geeked out seeing a just built cerebro). By “jacking in” to cerebro, Charles can locate any mutant in any place at any time. This is how they seek out and build their team. Seeing cerebro through Charles eyes is very cool, we first see a young Storm followed by other mutants. But what stands out here is probably the biggest cameo of the movie. Wolverine. Now I have to admit, I read a spoiler confirming his cameo I just didn’t know to what extent. But here its short, sweet and keeps Logan…I mean Wolverine true to who he is. When Charles and Erik approach Wolverine they are greeted with a typical opening line from Weapon X. “Go F*** yourselves.” To which they look at each other and walk away. Pretty damn funny and very cool. Another thing I noticed was a small bunker which Charles has one of the young mutants use to practice his ability in. I think we can all agree its the future site of the “danger room”. A very important part of the X-Men mythos. Lets not forget about one other cameo which definitely caught me by surprise. While morphing into different people Mystique also morphed into her future self who we all know is Rebecca Romijn. Very short and surprising cameo. But nonetheless cool.
Now not all was great with this movie. I had some minor concerns with the acting. Specifically January Jones. She was a decent at best Emma Frost. I just didn’t buy some of her lines which happened to be at key moments in the movie. Another thing and this was probably my biggest gripe, the cheesiness of this movie. I could not believe how thick the cheese was laid on. It’s like my friend @JERM_EL said, “it’s like they used cheesy one-liners from Smallville.” Those of you who know me, know that I LOVE Smallville. But this is in no way a compliment. Cheesiness can be tolerated for a network TV show but NOT for a big screen big budgeted movie. It should not happen. Sadly a lot of scenes and lines left me cringing and waiting for the awkwardness to end.
Despite the cheesiness of this movie I found it overall entertaining and fun. Great performances from McAvoy and Fassbender, very good writing and a setup that should help future X-Men prequel movies. I’m very intrigued to see what Matthew Vaughn(if he stays on for the sequel)has in store for the “prequel-sequel”. Hey, I had to call it something.
FINAL GRADE: B
I hope you all enjoyed my first blog/movie review. Let me know what ya think, thanks.
AND IM OUT
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