Movie Review – X-Men: First Class (2011)

X-Men: First ClassDirector: Matthew Vaughn

Cast:
James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkholme / Mystique
Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw
Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira MacTaggert
January Jones as Emma Frost
Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy / Beast
Jason Flemyng as Azazel
Zoë Kravitz as Angel Salvadore
Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok
Morgan Lily as Young Raven Darkholme / Young Mystique
Oliver Platt as Man in Black
Edi Gathegi as Armando Muñoz / Darwin
Ray Wise as Secretary of State of the United States
Bill Milner as Young Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy / Banshee
Álex González as Janos Quested / Riptide
Demetri Goritsas as Levene
Laurence Belcher as Young Charles Xavier

Story:
In 1962, at the height of the Cold War, two men from different backgrounds pool their resources to bring attention to the plight of those with genetic mutations, some that give them extraordinary powers, others that make them look different. Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is an academic in genetic mutations, while Erik Lehnsherr (Mike Fassbender) is a Holocaust survivor bent on getting revenge against those responsible for his parents’ death in the concentration camps. In particular, he’s after Klaus Schmidt (Kevin Bacon) who years later has turned up as a wealthy power broker known as Sebastian Shaw, who has become involved with playing both sides of the conflict between the United States and the Soviets.

Enjoying an X-Men film seems to be taboo, but I have been a fan of the previous X-Men movies for what they were. I was excited going into X-Men: First Class. You had Bryan Singer coming back to the franchise and producing the film while bringing in Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) to direct. Together, they have created a movie that fits well into the context of the other films which brings us a very satisfying sequel.

I have always been a fan of superhero origins, and while this film did not really deal much with the origins o the heroes themselves, they did deal with the creation of the X-Men as a whole and especially dealt with the relationship of Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) and Professor Charles Xavier. The dynamic between both of them was spot on from the outset of the film to the eventual turn of Magneto. The casting was done perfectly for those roles. They could not have done much better than having James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender playing the roles made famous by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

Two of my favorite comic book characters were in this movie, which made me extremely happy. I have always been a huge Mystique fan and especially an Emma Frost fan. Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkholme aka Mystique was another great casting job. To see Raven come into her own in this film was a nice treat. And, as far as looks go, January Jones was a splendid choice for Emma Frost. Let’s face it, Emma Frost is smoking hot and January Jones is as well. Outside of the look though, I would have loved to see a little more done with Emma.

Surprisingly, the most questionable part of the casting was Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw. He was not exactly reminiscent of the Sebastian Shaw from the comic books. Kevin Bacon seemed somewhat our of his element with his character and performance in this one.

Now, actually on to the film. I was extremely satisfied with how it turned out. The story was handled well and the action scenes were exceptional in most all of the instances. The film remainded very character driven and with such a diverse cast of heroes and villians, there were endless scenarios played out throughout the film. The action scenes gave the film that epic feeling that we were hoping from in this film.

I know that a lot of people are checking this one out with reservations, but you should not hesitate on catching X-Men: First Class. It is an action-packed Marvel superhero film with an abundance of action and exceptional characters. I think that most people will be pleasantly surprised once they see this one.

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  • First Class doesn’t have the dramatic depth of X-Men or United, but it’s a fun, funny and exciting summer experience. It’s a shame the flaws of The Last Stand or Wolverine may have soured folks on mutant cinema and scared them away from this one but if you enjoyed the first two films at all, you should definitely give this one a look.

  • Lots more coming this summer that I am excited about so this was a great start to the season.

  • Great review, and very good movie. I really enjoyed watching Magneto change over the course of the movie. The action scenes were good. I am not too familiar with the character Bacon played, but I thought he was fine along with the acting overall. So far the summer movies haven’t been too bad!