If you’re going to title a movie “first class” you better be sure it’s a good one. And the latest X-Men movie certainly is. I will probably always like the original film the best, because of Hugh Jackman and the relationship between Wolverine and Rogue. Still, X-Men: First Class is a very entertaining film, and I’m glad I saw it the first day without reading any reviews or spoilers.
James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender have no difficulty leading the movie with their charisma and intensity. They are both excellent in their individual scenes, and they have the necessary chemistry in their scenes together. I have to give a shout out to Laurence Belcher, who plays Xavier as a boy, because he’s such a good match to McAvoy. Jennifer Lawrence is great as Mystique; January Jones as Emma Frost is cool and distant, but at least she’s tough and smart. I appreciate strong female characters in this genre, ones who aren’t just dumb sex toys. The new faces playing the other young mutants are all enjoyable to watch. Kevin Bacon was obviously having a grand old time playing villain Sebastian Shaw. I can’t believe all the brilliant character actors who keep popping up in tiny roles, like Ray Wise, James Remar, and Rade Serbedzija. Another favorite actor makes an appearance, but mentioning his name would just be a spoiler, and you’d hate me. Matt Craven and Oliver Platt have bigger roles, and they are a treat, too. Brendan Fehr from Roswell, and more recently CSI: Miami and Bones, has a blink-and-you-miss-it part, as does Randall Batinkoff. Who’s Batinkoff? He appeared with Kellie Martin in the 1994 TV show Christy.
I do find it strange that a movie set in 1962 had almost no period details. The hair, makeup, costumes, and sets seem deliberately generic. Banshee has hair that would have gotten him stranger looks in 1962 than any genetic mutation. In other words, it looks totally normal for any time after 1968. I didn’t mind the lack of period details, really, but I do wonder about the decision to go in that direction for the film’s look. Another thing I couldn’t help noticing is that all the mutants except Angel and Darwin have blue eyes.
Without giving away any spoilers (and if you hate spoilers, don’t read this paragraph just in case I’m not obscure enough!) there’s one thing that happens early on that makes no sense to me, when young Magneto first faces Sebastian Shaw. I suppose it happens, or doesn’t happen, ”because if it didn’t, or did, there would be no movie.” (That classic plot device!)
As much as I enjoyed X-Men: First Class, I have no desire to see it a second time, at least not until it comes out on DVD in a few months. A key ingredient to a blockbuster hit is repeat viewings from loyal fans, so it will be interesting to watch the box office numbers over the coming weeks. I do want to go back and re-watch the original X-Men. I also want to see more of Michael Fassbender’s films. I’ve already seen just about everything James McAvoy has done, so it’s just a waiting game until he hits the big screen again.
Note: Comments are encouraged and welcomed, but I will not post any with spoilers.