Thursday, June 16, 2011

X-Men: First Class

Although I missed Thor at the cinema (I'll catch it on DVD later in the year), last night I managed to get to see X-Men: First Class whilst here in Glasgow. And, in summary, it was very good. I wouldn't say I was absolutely wowed by it but it was certainly an excellent story, had great SFX, was well-acted and fit in well with the other X-Men films (even X-Men 3: The Last Stand though not so much with Wolverine - which was probably a wise choice).

Telling the early tale of Erik/Magneto and Prof Xavier, this film concentrated on showing us how the two of them came together and how they subsequently fell apart. Both were played extremely effectively by Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy - for me, McAvoy was the standout as the affable, empathic professor who has a way of displaying a little dry humour.

What was refreshing about this film was that it didn't try to overload the viewer with the back histories and 'origins' of all the characters. It was only really Magneto's and Prof X's backgrounds that were revealed - with a little of Sebastian Shaw's and Mystique's, I guess - but someone like Emma Frost was simply introduced with hints that she'd had a bit of a history with Shaw. Heck, I think poor old Riptide didn't even get to say anything, let alone an origin!

Thankfully, Azazel (supposedly Nightcrawler's father from the Draco storyline) was kept as a background lackey and a generic mutant with very little to say.

There were also some very amusing cameos in there as well!

Of course, things weren't perfect. Shaw's power was played a little loosely for my liking - he could absorb any energy and seemed to be able to release that energy in a variety of ways (small balls of energy, slamming a foot into the ground, etc). Though one wonders why couldn't absorb the kinetic energy of a moving coin near the end? Why would a CIA agent hire a young, very recent Oxford graduate in genetics as an expert on 'mutants' and not, say, his lecturers or some scientist in America (or is Xavier supposed to be the only genetics expert there is?). Also, I assume Xavier is English, and that his family's mansion-like home is in England - does this mean he starts his first school for mutants in England? The CIA let Hank/Beast construct these wonderful inventions (including a VTOL Blackbird) but, I assume, didn't keep the designs for them?

Anyway these were tiny, minor issues in an otherwise very enjoyable film - and one that, in many ways, is actually better than it's predecessors.

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