Thursday, June 9, 2011

X-Men: First Class

As a massive fan of Marvel's X-Men comicbook series and its adaptations, I had extremely high hopes for the latest installment of the franchise. The first three movies were quite a bit dissapointing, in the sense that they didn't live up to the demanding legacy they were trying to aspire to. Luckily, it would seem as though a prequel was all that was needed to reignite the series' esteemed position in the comicbook universe.

A huge part of X-men: First Class' appeal lies in it's refreshing approach, as Director Matthew Vaughn (Lock, Stock and Two smoking barrels, Stardust, Kick-Ass) shows its audience where everything began, focussing heavily on the development of the complex relationship between Magneto and Charles Xavier, played by James McAvoy (Atonement, Becoming Jane). The most intense and moving scenes however originates from the very 'attractive' Erik Lehnsherr himself, masterfully played by Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre, Inglorious Basters, 300). Magneto's lust for revenge not only humanizes this villain, but it also gives a new level of depth to the X-men saga. In fact,  a viewing of First Class enhances viewings of the previous series installments with new levels of profoundness.

"Magneto's lust for revenge not only humanizes this villain, but it also gives a new level of depth to the X-men saga."

The other really interesting side to the film is the relationship between The Beast and Mystique, as they battle with their fears of social rejection, in a world where they are clearly out of sorts. In truth, the discussions they have stand as a striking parralel to anyone who has faced social prosecution at the hands of others. The ensemble cast's acting in general is very impressive for this type of movie, with special mention to baddy Kevin Bacon, the beastly Nicholas Houly, shapesifting Jennifer Lawrence and the only really noteworthy human in the cast, Rose Byrne.

But please don't let the above discussion concern you – Inbetween all the scenes of fantastic dialogue and acting is a great balance of amazing action sequences with new and old mutants, showing off their powers by means of spectacular CGI effects. Some scenes in particular will leave you gasping, mainly due to their sheer awesomeness. Whilst some mutants' powers might leave you more confused than impressed, most will have you jealous of what they can do with as little as a swing of the hips.

It's this impeccable balance between drama & action, light & dark as well as the brilliant pace that makes X-men First: Class the best of the series and also one of the best superhero movies I have had the pleasure of seeing.

Target practice gone wrong, horribly.
Highlight: A riveting final confrontation at sea results in more than a few 'WOW' moments.

Rating: 4-and-a-half Meerkat Tails out of a possible 5