What’s it About?
Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) — the future Professor X and Magneto — are best friends dedicated to harnessing their powers and promoting the education of fellow mutants during the turbulent 1960s.
X Men: First Class
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
8 out of 10
It’s amazing how popular and influential the Wolverine character can be. That character’s inclusion in the original X-Men series caused a lot of the others to be largely ignored. Professor X, Magneto, Cyclops, Iceman, and many others were barely glazed over, much less explored in any satisfying way. In fact, Wolverine was such a popular character that Fox gave the green light to a $150 million budget for his own film (and sequel) and origin story. So, with “X-Men First Class,” and no Wolverine to be found (except for maybe the quick funny cameo), how would an X-men film fare?
Well, it turns out to be the best in the entire series. A lot of the credit for that goes to director Matthew Vaughn ( Kick-Ass, Stardust) who makes sure action never comes at the expense of plot and character development. Each of the primary characters in the X-Men First Class are perfectly cast and fleshed out in a way that makes us care what happens to them.
I remember when I watched the first 3 flicks in the series that I thought they were all well-made films but none ever engaged me enough to truly care what happened to any of them. The effects were great, the action was great, and the plots were decent. However, many other comic book films made since have caused me to ignore them. The first two Spider-man films, “Batman Begins,” “Dark Knight,” and the Hellboy films are all better. I suppose the difficulty with the X-Men series is that it never truly lended itself to a two hour movie format.
There’s just too much back story, too many characters, and too big a world to explore that it’s impossible to explain it all, especially to the non-comic book readers. That’s where “X-Men: First Class” gets it just right. It takes a step back and allows us to slowly get initiated into the world and character relationships to the point where all the other films will make a lot more sense. Is it on par with the greatest comic book films? No, but it’s a lot of fun and works even for those that may have never even opened a X Men comic book.
Great review Brian. I should prob check this out before going into Days of Future Past, eh?
I would, yeah! 🙂
Glad you liked Brian’s review, Tom! Hope you enjoy the movie.
Thanks for stopping by, man! I really appreciate it!
I still haven’t seen this one (though I intend to change that soon). I don’t think I’ve ever read a negative review for it. Glad yours isn’t the first. 🙂
Great review, X-Men First Class is a really good film, like how it explored the early years of the X-Men. Considering how much history these character have, I think this film got the balance just right, reinventing the franchise and basing the story in a more realistic setting. Awesome cast as well. Can’t wait to see Days of Future Past.
Good review Brian. After the disasters that were Origins and X3, I’m just glad this one didn’t totally blow. However, it was still a solid blockbuster nonetheless.
I recently rewatched First Class and liked it more than the first time. The relationship between Prof. X & Magneto and all the Magento scenes are the highlight for me. I liked Kevin Bacon in this too. Good review.
Great thoughts! I agree totally. The character work, dynamics between everyone, their past and bitterness lends so much credence to, not just their motivations in the movie but even in the comics ( if you completely ignore continuity ).
The first X-Men trilogy kind of expected us to understand the previous friendship and current rivalry between Magneto and X, implied the coolness of the school without the implications of mutants in the world as a gradual process.
Thanks for stopping in, Shah! I’m glad you liked Brian’s review. I felt that the way the characters were developed in this film was very detrimental to the story, history and mythos of the complete X Men universe. It’s why I really respect this entry.
Thanks for checking in, man. Much appreciated!
It really is a wonderful film. It takes the concept into a different direction and really pulls you in with the characterization. Who knew?
Great review, Brian! I also enjoyed First Class, although I think X2 was somewhat better. However, like you said, First Class, among all X-Men movies, developed its characters the best, and I think James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are perfect casting choices for younger versions of Charles Xavier and Magneto. I can’t wait for Days of Future Past!