X-Men: First Class. The prequel which “introduces” the mutants of Marvel’s highly popular team of superheroes, the X-Men. First Class tells the origin story of Professor X and his colleagues and beloved team. After three X-Men movies that either were tremendously fantastic, or tremendously failed (depending on your point of view), and a horrific origins story entitled Wolverine, X-Men: First Class entered the theatrical franchise with big expectations to meet in the hearts and minds of fans everywhere.
The storytelling for this origin tale set in the 1960s is superb and unique. At times it is as if X-Men: First Class is not even a superhero film (in the sense of the cheesy-ness of others past: Wolverine, Spiderman 3, Fantastic Four 2, etc). Director Matthew Vaughn (Snatch) and Screenwriters Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (both wrote for Thor) excelled in the depiction of the mutants, their beginnings, passion, strife, and their powers. With so many characters involved, the amount of time spent to develop each of the primary characters is neither too much nor insufficient. The comradery/rivalry between Xavier and Magneto, the background of Mystique, Beast’s origin, and more! Get ready to either 1-learn more about the X-Men that you never knew, or 2-enjoy the story you may already know, except on the big screen in a way never told before!
But any movie can have great storytelling and be ruined by a second-class cast in place. Major congrats to the casting directors and their choices! Am I the only one who ever came up with a cast for an X-Men movie before any of the films ever came out? (Come on! Many of you did before or after X-Men released!) It is somewhat easy to pick the cast of actors for the characters as we know them, but to pick accurate actors to play the characters as they were decades before what we knew them to be…talent!
Take a look:
- James McAvoy/Charles Xavier: Uncanny!
- Michael Fassbender/Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto): Astonishing!
- Kevin Bacon/Sebastian Shaw: Delightfully Evil!
- Jennifer Lawrence/Raven (Mystique): Full of Character!
- January Jones/Emma Frost: Chillingly Cool!
- Additional Cast and Characters: Completely Appropriate
Major kudos though to the first three: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Kevin Bacon. McAvoy as the idealistic and almost stoic Charles Xavier makes the future Patrick Stewart’s version even more believable/understandable. The same goes for Fassbender’s Magneto. However, Michael Fassbender truly shows off his acting prowess as the mutant with mommy issues and magnetic personality! Bacon performs his most enjoyable/memorable role for the first time since 2003’s Mystic River, or perhaps even 1995’s Apollo 13! A great job by all.
The film revolves mostly around Magneto and Xavier’s beginning plight and story, which it should. However, it does miss out on covering more of the other characters. While Beast, Emma Frost, and Mystique receive ample attention, the additional members of the class: Havok, Banshee, Azazel, Darwin, Angel, and a few others, missed out. While perhaps, not necessary or possible in 132 minutes, comic book fans will appreciate the inclusion of the characters, but also may remain slightly disappointed with the focus remaining mainly on characters we have already seen, known, and read about.
Several “TRUE” X-Men fans may still complain over certain details not being “accurate” as they may claim to remember them to be from the comic book. My statement to that: Who cares? This movie remains fantastic! It pays tribute to the first X-Men movie very well; the action is not lacking nor does it overpower the story; the story is told in a manner that is understandable and keeps the attention; the main characters are developed sufficiently; the attention to detail in setting the film in the 60’s is noteworthy; the special effects, cinematography, and musical score remain impressive; the cameos are fun; and it is just plain good!
X-Men: First Class earns a good grade from TheScarletSp1der!
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy Watching!
–TheSp1der’s Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars for “X-Men: First Class”