Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cinema - X Men: First Class

This is one of those movies that I wanted to see because there were a bunch of hot guys in it. Okay, I know that sounds really vain and teenage-girly, but my goodness, seeing my #2 favourite hot guy Nicholas Hoult on the big screen? It was too great of an opportunity just to turn down. But seriously, I was one of the ones who went nuts over the first trailer that came out. And then I basically just ignored the rest of the advertising that came after that. Because, really, I felt so guilty only wanting to see this movie because I'm in love with Nicholas Hoult (yeah, he's like my Justin Bieber) and I have a mad girl-crush on Jennifer Lawrence. I haven't even seen any of the other X-Men movies, but I will next week. And no, I didn't have much trouble understanding this movie, because the background knowledge I gathered from Wikipedia really helped.

Anyway, since every man and his dog has reviewed this movie, I won't go into plot details that much. As you probably know, this is the movie that tells us all about the mutants before they became the 'X-Men', as such. There's Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), a telepath, who has a sort-of adoptive sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who can change her form. Then he crosses paths with a CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), who is eager to find out more about what mutants Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), Emma Frost (January Jones) and Azazel (Jason Flemyng) really are, and what they are doing. Through Moira and an unnamed 'Man in a Black Suit' (Oliver Platt), Xavier first meets Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), who wants to kills Shaw, using his magnetic powers; and a young genius called Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), who is later revealed to have big feet and desperately wants to change his appearance, like Raven does. Hank sends Xavier and Erik on a scientific journey which brings them a lot of other mutants, like Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Darwin (Edi Gathegi), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) and Havok (Lucas Till).

First of all, there are a lot of characters in this movie. I know why there are lots of characters, and I thought it would bother me that there were so many, who were around all of the time, but it surprisingly didn't. Sure, you could say that some of the characters were really two-dimensional, but those were only the ones who kinda faded into the background, like Darwin. Otherwise, I was really impressed with how real they made the mutants. I especially loved how Raven and Hank struggled to deal with the way they were, and how because of their appearance they will never be accepted into society. Which is when the audience can almost feel guilt-tripped into thinking that it really doesn't matter what's on the outside. Even though mutants don't exist, and if they did, we'd all fear them because we don't know exactly what they are capable of. But really, some of them are just big, insecure teddy-bears inside who just want to be normal in their way.

With X-Men: First Class, director Matthew Vaughn is again trying some new stuff out and this is far from similar to his other works. Here he really puts humanity on show through the mutants, which is great, and while he gets the audience thinking about all of these morals, he has also created some grand entertainment. Sure, he did well with his Brit drug flick Layer Cake, tried his luck with family entertainment in Stardust, and created a bright and colourful action/comedy called Kick-Ass, but Vaughn has truly solidified his place as one of the better modern movie directors around here. You can see that he was trying to go for more of a The Dark Knight sort of feel instead of swaying towards mindless action, and it really works. The first scenes are really the only major letdown, as they bugged me to no was such a sombre way to start off a fun film. However, Vaughn has made a solid superhero flick, which has it's fair share of exciting action sequences, but most of all, it has a different style to many: that brilliant 60's Bond flair. Now that was why this movie was so kick-ass, because being set in the 60's just made everything cooler.

While Vaughn's direction is a major highlight of this film, most of the epic entertainment comes from our stars. Sure, everyone was great. Jennifer Lawrence provided some much-needed sympathy for her character, and it was great when she finally accepted that she was "mutant and proud". Nicholas Hoult was hot really interesting in his role, as most of his power didn't come from being a mutant, he was just really smart but unable to deal with normal social situations well. Kravitz, Till and Jones rounded out a nice lot of mutants. Rose Byrne was nice enough as one of the only humans. Kevin Bacon was superb as the villain...I swear, I could see the ice forming on that guy. The only one that really annoyed me was January Jones. She looked bored out of her brains in this. It was like she was forced to wear slutty white clothes and turn into diamonds. She should have been great, but she just looked like a marketing ploy.

When you have an ensemble cast like that, though, the leads have really gotta step up their game. Was this a problem for James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender? No. These two pretty much made the film, with their undeniable man-chemistry and genuine awesomeness. McAvoy was really good, as he usually is, and it's his charm and wit which gets him through the movie. He's smart, he's jovial, he means business, but he also has a good heart. McAvoy plays that out perfectly. Hey, he may be awesome, but Michael Fassbender completely steals the show here. Can I just point out that I've found my true love now? Fassy was bad-ass in this movie, turtleneck and all. His performance, I have to say, was one of the best I have ever seen in a superhero movie. He just played the angry guy so well, that it's hard not to fall in love with him. Even if you're a guy, because I have heard of a few men who confess to man-crushing on Fassy after seeing this one. He is just brilliant. So brilliant that I have to use italics just to stress my point.

Anyway, X-Men: First Class is grand entertainment. The running time is a little too long for my liking, and the ending is a little strange, but I had a good time watching it. It's a fantastic addition to the league of superhero flicks taking over Hollywood at the moment, and certainly one of the most stylish around.

THE VERDICT: From it's 60's styling to it's fantastic direction to it's brilliant performances, X-Men: First Class proves that it is a superhero movie to beat. It's not perfect, but it's a good time.

What I hoped for:

What I got:


    (I'm copyrighting that term.)
    I loved the film... will review it soon, except I really feel like doing it in a girl point of view thing...this film was too much for me, too much I tell 'ya!

  2. This was far better than I was anticipating. I'm not a fan of the franchise so I was very surprised at how much I liked it.
    Kevin Bacon was his usual reliable self and I lied him in the bad guy role. January Jones has copped universal condemnation and I think she was bloody mediocre to say the least. She is there just to provide some cleavage I'm afraid!
    I like Jennifer Lawrence but I felt she was under utilised and her real acting talents somewhat passed over.
    But still a very solid movie which had all the potential to be awful.

  3. I really, really, want to see this movie

  4. I really want to see this movie too.

  5. You have swayed my opinion into seeing First Class now. (And the italic point made me laugh.)

    Though I like the X-Men comics, I have always been more of a Wolverine fan (thanks to The Best of Wolverine comic), so the X-Men as a whole, kind of escape me (though the Phoenix issues are amazing, art wise.)

    Anyway, enough of my nerding out now. Though 'Fassy' is in this one, I was still kind of wary of it, and from what I have heard at work as well. Still, I am probably gonna give it a go. Matthew Vaughn after all. Kick Ass. Need there be more to be said?

  6. Italics do stress things. Let's just hope we don't reach the need for bold, lest we all perish in the ensuing panic.

    I want Fassy to be in everything ever.

  7. I think calling some of the ancillary characters two dimensional is crediting them one dimension too many. It's an ensemble piece that completely fails at making a gripping ensemble. So many of these characters are just there and I found that so endlessly frustrating, especially when the bolder characters clearly are underdeveloped.

    This was a huge letdown for me.

  8. Nikhat - I HAVE FASSY FEVER! It's not healthy :P
    Can't wait to see your review. I was going to make this all formal and shit, but I was like, stuff it, I'm just gonna say that this movie had a whole lot of hot guys in it and that's why I liked it so much.

    Brent - It could have been awful, but luckily it wasn't. I really enjoyed it. Apart from January Jones. I mean, she wasn't that great. I would have preferred Rosamund Pike or Alice Eve in the role.

    dirtywithclass and James - I hope you enjoy it if you do!

    Cherokee - I get that there will be a lot of haters. It's by no means great at all, but it's really solid. And Fassy is the man! Matthew Vaughn is pretty awesome too. This ain't as good as Kick-Ass (can you get much better?) but he's gonna be huge soon.

    Simon - Bold is too much. But Fassy needs to be in like 100 movies over the next year because I am already suffering withdrawal symptoms

    James - I can see your point, but I liked it all the same.

  9. Great write up

    Glad to see that the Fassbender love is going strong.


  10. Thanks! The Fassy love will probably keep going strong for a while!

  11. The same what I thought about Fassbender: he steals the show. And this movie was so great overall. I didn't expect it to be.

  12. I have a lot of faith in Matthew Vaughn, so I did have some reasonable expectations for it. Fassy was so great in this movie too :)

  13. X-Men First Class was very entertaining.

    Fassbender and Kevin Bacon were excellent. Loved their confrontation towards the end. Very suspenseful!


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