X-Men: First Class Review

Now with less Wolverine suckiness.

I had pretty high expectations going into this movie.  How could I not?  Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass), co-written by Brian Singer (X1 and X2), starring James McAvoy (Last King of Scottland) AND Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds), not to mention the sexy and sultry January Jones (Mad Men)!  Hell, this was a perfect storm of sheer awesomeness.  How could they go wrong?  I mean, come on, Hollywood.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day.  Please, after all the terrible “blockbusters” you’ve thrown at us over the years, please, please, PLEASE just get this one right.  And you know what… they TOTALLY NAILED IT!!

This is how Magneto fucking nails it.

I am going to try hard not to oversell this movie for all my readers out there, but I want you to see and love this movie.  You need to.  As a life long nerd and X-Men fan, I fell in love with the franchise all over again when they made the first movie.  I mean, they basically set the standard for all future comic book movies.  They showed the world that geek movies can have broad appeal when they’re done right.  And then Singer came back with X2 and blew my mind all over again!  Then, well, X3 and Wolverine happened.  It seemed as though the X-Men juggergnaut had blown its proverbial load, and had very little left to offer audiences.  Singer left to make Superman Returns (zzzzz…), Bret Ratner gave us a human porcupine in The Last Stand, and Gavin Hood showed us what metal claws could look like if a middle school computer class got to do Hollywood special effects.

Only slightly more watchable than the do-it-yourself version.

Long story long, First Class was so good I forgot about all that crap for 2 orgasmic hours of mutants done right.  Lets talk story.  Brilliant.  Yes, they obviously had to take some liberties with Marvel canon for a big screen adaptation.  And you know, so what?  Toad was a totally worthless character in the comics, and they turned him into a badass villain for the first movie.  The mutants they used in First Class just worked well together.  This story is about Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, friends, idealists, and two of the most powerful mutants the world has ever seen.  The story was beautifully crafted so that you see how two visionaries with such remarkably similar goals can end up having wildly different approaches.  The parallels between the Martin Luther King Jr./Malcolm X dynamic are obvious, and by the end you find yourself wanting to root for both.

Some questions just cannot be answered.

Character development was key.  You actually cared and felt for these people.  Havok, Mystique, Banshee, Beast, and on and on.  The casting was simply out of this world.  Can we talk about Kevin Bacon for a second??  God he was awesome.  Such a great bad guy.  From creepy Nazi scientist, to debonair aristocrat, to power hungry xenophobe, to megalomaniacal super villain.  Loved him.  Michael Fassbender playing one of the most iconic and conflicted bad guys of all time?  The guy just knocks it out of the park.  James McAvoy had some huge paraplegic shoes to fill as the psychic superhero, but  played the role with perfect mix of boyish charm and pensive wisdom.  And of course there’s January Jones who gets to play the incredibly sexy and powerful Emma Frost.  How can I best describe January’s particular thespian contribution…

That'll do.

And the cherry on top of the superhero sundae that is First Class?  Love.  Go ahead and laugh, but you could feel the love with which this movie was so expertly crafted.  The interwoven historical backdrop makes the story something remarkable.  The comedic elements were thoughtful and plot driven.  The attention to detail based on X-Men mythos was both ingenious and powerful.  The surprise cameos and easter eggs will shock and delight both hardcore and casual fans alike.  I seriously could not stop smiling watching this movie.  Go see it in all its silver screen glory.  And if you need someone to go with, give me a call.  Because I’m already looking forward to round 2.

Have you seen the movie?  What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!

~Jonny Green

7 thoughts on “X-Men: First Class Review

  1. X2 will always be my favorite. It has wonderful cinematography, an intense emotional element, a villain even Magneto doesn’t like, and the best opening sequence of all the X-Men movies (Nightcrawler attacking the president???? Yes).

    First class, however, certainly kept me smiling. Art direction: fabulous. Cameos: fantastic. Throwback appeal: for sure. I am an art history nerd, and despite some incorrect make-up and women who were WAY too skinny for the time, everything looked spot-on. Casting was also great (Magneto=hottie). I was also X-tremely pleased Banshee made a decent appearance; perhaps later on some interactions with Black Tom Cassidy? Havok was also badass.

    I’ll give it somewhere between 7.5-8 because some of my grins were due to snickers. I just couldn’t get over Beast’s ridiculous costume (WHEN will they just give in and CG an amazing Beast with cool fur effects?), Emma Frost’s nonexistent hip/butt/leg fat, some REALLY clumsy dialogue, and some over-use of location captions. Russian style building=Russia. We get it. Pacing was also off: the Magneto scene in the bar in Argentina? Awkward. The last 1/4 of the movie felt slow and unsatisfying compared to the great first half. Basically, there were moments that jarred me out of my usual X-scapism, and that brings down a superhero movie’s appeal.

    Despite some of the rhetorical clumsiness (and the weird additions of “Darwin” and the stripper with butterfly wings), I want to see it in theaters again—maybe Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver will be in the next one???????

    PS: Kevin Bacon was a nice surprise that will be hard to top this summer.

    • Kate, great synopsis! If you are interested in writing for the site, drop me a line:
      RyanLynch At 47LLC dot com.

  2. Wow! Knocked another one out of the park!! “Even a broken clock is right twice
    A day.”
    Of course you know how I felt. I was the one practically bouncing in my chair the whope time beside you. Very well said, JG!!!

  3. I could not agree with you more Jonny. When you texted me, I was in the middle of talking Amber into going with me. You were the straw that broke the camel’s back. Afterwards, we were both blown away. The movie could really only be topped by this spectacular review.

    (That image of homemade claws is hardcore!)

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