X-Men: First Class – 132Min – PG-13
While I was walking out of the movie I overheard some people saying “Sheesh! Can’t they get any comic book movie right?” Before I jump into the review I just wanted to point something out to the hardcore fans. Movies will never be just like the comic books. They are stories that are used as a starting point for films. There are so many different factors that go into making a movie that it is almost impossible to use the original storyline as an exact blueprint for films. You can read more about that later in the Movies IMHO blog. For today, I am just going to write about X-men.
X-Men: First Class tells us the story of the origins of Professor X and his school. It takes us back to the beginning even before the Professor was a professor. Learning about how the movie universe started was a good step in setting down the two different versions of the X-Men. Yes this movie takes liberties from the comic books, but it does do a good job of going back and laying out some of the past history between Professor X and Magneto. I liked watching the foundation of the war between the humans and the mutants. We see the development of the relationship and friendship that brings Charles and Eric together and how they worked with the same goal but from two completely different motivations. From an entertainment standpoint, this movie gets a green light from me. I know that some aspects were changed from the comic book but it was still an entertaining movie. Go and see it if you enjoyed any of the previous films.
We start this movie off back at the concentration camp where we see Eric Lensherr (Bill Milner) as a boy use his powers for the first time. It’s important to see the back ground of how Magneto (Michael Fassbender) became the person he is. We see how his life has shaped his outlook on life. Charles Xavier (Laurence Belcher) has a completely different origin and it’s interesting to see how the dynamic between these two friends evolves. Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto started a mutant movement with one ideal in mind but have two different concepts on how that should be accomplished. This movie also shows us the creation of the rift between friends and between mutants and humans. I see this movie as not an attempt to bring it closer to the books but more of a prequel to the movies’ storyline.
We also get to see how some of the other characters get their start, we see Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) or Beast as he is know in the X-men, Raven or Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) gets an introduction, Kevin Bacon plays Sebastian Shaw the leader of the Hellfire Club. All of the performances were done well and the casting was great. Some of the characters they highlighted were either obscure or unknown to me. Azazel (Jason Flemyng) was a small character in the books. And I had never heard of Riptide (Alex Gonzalez). Angel was played by Zoe Kravitz and she was great, but I never heard of her character before.
The Director (Matthew Vaughn) did a good job of bringing this story to life. I have seen one of his other movies, Kick-Ass and enjoyed it. As far as an adaptation for a comic book story goes it was pretty spot-on for most of the movie’s elements. They had a great cast and a director who had a clear vision of what he wanted to relay. Vaughn’s cinematic timing is also good, we did not have an over use of mutant powers at the beginning of the film they build to a climatic end. John Mathieson who has been the cinematographer on several great movies is at the camera on this movie and it proves to be a good investment. Matheson’s eye for composition is great. One of my personal favorite films of his is K-PAX. Loved it.
I am going to go over some specific scenes that I really liked in the movie but I am hiding them under this Warrning Link below so I don’t give away any spoilers.
WARNING!! THERE BE SPOILIERS HERE!!One of the most touching scenes and makes me feel almost bad for Eric is when Charles shows him how to tap into his power. The way they did that was really good, it allowed us as viewers to get behind Eric’s tough exterior and let us see how much pain he is still in.
One of the others is sticking with me is how close Raven and Charles were, I have not followed the books but I think this is a huge departure from the comics. I liked watching her start out with the ideals of Charles but ending up facing the reality that Eric presented her. Again, it gave me more of a connection to her as a person than just a bad guy.
Rose Byrne did a great job as the token human in the group; she played a CIA agent who is a characterization of who she was in the books, but still an advocate for mutant human relations. I did not want to mention her in the main review I thought her new role would have been a spoiler for some.
There are others but I just wanted to test out this feature incase I really wanted to talk about the movies in detail and still keep the spoilers away from people who do not want them.
Ok this week’s question is going to be, what side are you on, do you side with Magneto and side with The Brotherhood of Mutants, or are you with Professor X’s X-Men? Let me know what team and why in the comments.