X-Men: First Class (2011)
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Running time: 132 minutes
Hey hey folks, this week I was torn between reviewing X-Men: First Class or last year’s Buried, given I saw both of those films within the last week. They were both films I enjoyed, they both surprised me with how much I would enjoy them and I would love to talk about them. However, since X-Men is a newer film and is currently in the cinemas, then reviewing it will give my blog more traffic from Google so I decided to go with that!
Now Showing this week is film X-Men: First Class which is directed by Matthew Vaughn. The film revolves around the origins of the series’ previous head honchos Professor Xavier and Magneto. While they were arch enemies in the previous films, in this prequel they are two men who join together to combat that whole communist thing that was happening in the 1960s. Many of you may know this event to be called “The Cold War”. That’s right, the 60s weren’t all about the crazy, Austin Powers sex parties; there was some serious stuff happening too! Anyway, the film tells the story of how these two men met and formed a group of other mutants like them to help the CIA defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis. I shan’t say too much more for the sake of spoilers.
Now I was very skeptical of this film, what with the last two X-Men films sucking more balls than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The trailer also put me off somewhat, with that cheesy: “before he was Professor X, he was Charles” crap. But I must say, the film itself is really good. It has an interesting political story-line, awesome action sequences, a good sense of humour, as well as a thought provoking exploration into the tolerance/intolerance of abnormalities. The film wasn’t without its faults, but as a whole it is a good film.
The biggest bullet point for me being in favour of this film is the portrayal of Magneto (or Erik Lehnsherr). The film delves into his history as a holocaust survivor and it being the cause of his unlocking his magnetic ability. It fuels his rage and sends him on a vendetta to kill all the Nazis who tortured him, ultimately leading him towards Sebastian Shaw, the villain of the film. And Magneto’s internal conflict of both loathing but also agreeing with Shaw was wonderful to watch. Actor Michael Fassbender should be very proud of himself.
The other cast members also do great jobs as their characters. Xavier is rather enjoyable, as is Mystique in her younger days. In fact I enjoyed Mystique for the same reason as I enjoyed Magneto, she has this conflict within her as to whether she wants to be normal or if she wants to fight for her own acceptance. Her conflict makes us look at the 1960s and go: “god, they were naive bigots back then. She’d be fine now, cause we’ve grown up.” But then you really think about it and see how we behave exactly as the humans in the films did, and therein lies the thought provoking exploration I mentioned earlier. Once again, I was impressed by the intellectual depth of the film; I honestly wasn’t expecting it.
But there were some faults with the film. I didn’t like the secondary villains. There was Riptide, a dude who can manipulate tornadoes or something who basically had no speaking lines and was pointless. The guy named Azazel was basically Nightcrawler only red so he disappointed me as he never did any moves that were as cool as the opening sequence to X-Men 2. Also, some of the political retaliatory strikes seemed a bit far fetched and I could poke holes in them, but for the sake of spoilers among other things, I will say this: this is a superhero movie. We know the governments these days wouldn’t dispatch giant fleets, bomb entire beaches etc. just to take out six or seven people. But if these people were superheroes who could potentially defeat said armada in their sleep, then they probably would! So I can’t really say that the political retaliations were far fetched, because within the context of the reality the film is set in, they probably aren’t far fetched at all.
My apologies that this review hasn’t been very funny, it’s hard to be funny about something you like. But, go see X-Men: First Class, it’s a good film. It’s worth it just to see Hugh Jackman’s cameo, trust me! Also, see Buried as well, it is also amazing. Well, that’s it from me! See you next time.
p.s. if Mystique is around 20 in this film, that must mean she’s in her 60s in the main films! Sweet jesus, that just blew my mind!