228th Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

{note: This movie opened in the Philippines on June 2}

X-Men: First Class

Matthew Vaughn’s huge effort helps First Class become the best X-Men movie yet

Returning to its roots, First Class feels like it could’ve been the first movie made as the film allows new X-men enthusiasts to comprehend what had happened way before Wolverine joined the cast and before Charles Xavier went bald and sat on a wheelchair. It educates us about the relationship between Professor X, Magneto (Then Erik Lehnsherr), Mystique (Then Raven) and other mutants who were among the first to be witnessed by mankind.

Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-MEN. -20th Century Fox

The movie is set in 1963, when the world was in the brink of another World War. Sebastian Shaw, a powerful mutant, was among the first people who sought for other mutants, but his mission was to dominate the world. At the same time, Xavier (James McAvoy), and his childhood friend Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) visits the CIA upon the request of Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne). Together, they work as a team to stop Shaw’s evil intention and in the process finds Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) during a mission to capture Shaw. Lehnsherr is avenging for the death of his mother in the hands of Shaw, but Xavier prevents him from attempting a suicide mission and controls his anger. Lehnsherr eventually joins Xavier’s team and tags along as they search for other mutants that could help them.

I’m gonna cut the story short in case you wanna see the movie with your own eyes, but me writing this summary even when I’m busy just shows how intelligent and irresistible the plot is.

The movie has everything you want from a summer blockbuster. Action, drama, romance and a little comedy here and there. The occasional laughs (plus a cameo by Hugh Jackman) made the movie lighter even when the film starts bombarding you with information you may not recall in the future. It wasn’t confusing at all and the storyline can be followed by everyone and even the kids, but in a way that it doesn’t dumb down the dialogues.

From the left: Erik Lehnsherr, Moira MacTaggert, Emma Frost, Azazel, Hank McCoy, Havok, Angel Salvadore, Raven, Charles Xavier

The cast was a little small for me at the start considering that the film was intended to be an “Origins” movie involving many mutants, but I can see why director Matthew Vaughn did that. Each mutant was given ample time for the viewers to learn about them and their character progression wasn’t left out. And don’t forget the stellar cast involved in this movie. Michael Fassbender was amazing in his role as the young Magneto, and we saw the playboy side of Xavier through James McAvoy, who was emanating a some sort of “Hero” vibe all throughout the movie. Oscar Nominee Jennifer Lawrence was better than Rebecca Romjin as Mystique. Her hotness filled the role quite perfectly without making her character emotionless. Nicholas Hoult was also a fresh face to look at as Hank McCoy aka Beast. And of course, Kevin Bacon made quite an impression as the villain of the movie. He looked so helpless at the end though (spoiler!)

However, not everyone was great in my opinion. There were some forgettable performances in the form of Havoc (Lucas Till), Alex Gonzalez (Riptide), Jason Flemyng (Azazel), Zoe Kravitz (Angel Salvatore), Edi Gathegi (Darwin). Mad Men favorite January Jones’ (Emma Frost) acting chops were nowhere to be seen. She pretty much just wore underwear throughout the whole film (and trust me, it wasn’t appealing). Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee had the potential to become a bigger star, but the little screen time he was given wasn’t enough to make him flourish. As for Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert), she was okay, but not sensational.

Aside from that, the only negative thing I have to say about this movie was that the transition between scenes at the start were a little too fast and it didn’t give the audience more time to absorb the setting. Other than that I have nothing else to complain.

This movie is not only the best X-Men movie out of the five, it’s also the best movie of the year so far. I won’t be surprised if it won’t end up being the highest grosser in the franchise, but I bet people will be talking about this film for weeks to come. Ladies and Gentlemen, Matthew Vaughn has just revived the greatness of this captivating and rich franchise.

GRADE: A-

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