Thursday, June 2, 2011

X-Men: First Class [ Movie Review ] ★★★1/2

The Pitch

After the first trilogy of X-Men movies, 20th Century Fox decided to continue the franchise with prequels. The first one put Wolverine in the front seat and the other one will focus on the relationship between the Professor X and Magneto during their formative years.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine wasn't critically well received and personally, it was the worst installment of the X-Men movies. Could the early adventures of Professor X and Magneto turn things around for the franchise?

And can they do it without the wildly popular Wolverine? Not forgetting that it's set during Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s. Might not exactly be the cup of tea for movie goers these days.

It seemed like a tall order for Matthew Vaughn (who had notably left the directing duties for the third X-Men movie), James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon and the rest of the cast. But when the trailer for X-Men: First Class hits the internet, it felt like they have gotten it right.

The care and attention that were spend on establishing the characters and their power felt like a lovely homage to their comics roots (even though it wasn't exactly what happened to the first X-Men in the comics history). James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender slipped on the roles of Professor X and Magneto nicely. Their friendship and conflicts look tense and ready to rip at any moment. Last but not least, the 1960s setting gave the movie a great aesthetic feel and weaving the Cuban Missile Crisis into the X-Men mythology was a intriguing move. movie review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

My expectation is riding high on this one and I hope it won't be a letdown after watching this movie.

The Plot

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS unveils the epic beginning of the X-Men saga – and a secret history of the Cold War and our world at the brink of nuclear Armageddon. As the first class discovers, harnesses, and comes to terms with their formidable powers, alliances are formed that will shape the eternal war between the heroes and villains of the X-Men universe.

Plot Outline from X-Men Movies Facebook Page.

The Perspective

Let's put it this way. X-Men: First Class definitely has it's great moments that the trailer had promised and added plenty insightful elements to the X-Men movie mytho. But it felt like the movie was covering too much ground within the 2hrs odd time frame (same problem as the Wolverine movie) and it had difficulties gelling the various well constructed moments of the movie together.

The movie started well in comparing and contrasting the childhood of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr. It did well to point out the roots of their eventual stance as Professor X and Magneto. Erik Lensherr's sad childhood created a sort if sympathy and understanding for his future villainous decision. It's a pity that the movie didn't flesh out more characterization from their past and rushed to create a chance meet up between these two.

The rush job on the story telling was also felt on how Charles Xavier's first class of mutants was formed and how the Cuban Missile Crisis was worked into this movie. The flow here felt rather uneven. The whole idea of forming and training the mutants felt like an afterthought made after discovering the main plot crisis. movie review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

I really like to embrace this movie but while I love parts of it, it didn't add up for me. The pacing and story flow of X-Men First Class just didn't work for me. If there's any way to remake this movie, I would wish that the focus would be more on the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr and removed the entire supporting mutant cast. It was one element too many. It's still an essential part of the X-Men movie franchise but it felt like it didn't fully achieve it's potential. It might get better when I rewatch it on Dvd but that's another review all together.

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