Sunday, June 12, 2011

X-Men: First Class
Starring: Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Rose Byrne
Directed by: Mathew Vaughn

In 1962, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with super human abilities. Among them is Erik Lensher, his best friend.....and future archenemy.

There's a lot of story to get through in First Class, and although some people have said it felt a little rushed in parts, i personally thought it all flowed nicely and the pacing was surprisingly more fast paced than i expected.
The great thing about First Class is that as an origins film, it establishes the characters and relationships perfectly. There's a lot of links between all of the X movies that join it together to create a cohesive universe, and with so many characters involved in the X films, it could have been a messy delivery, but it all works well in First Class.
Director Mathew Vaughn has separated the more meaningful relationships away from the smaller ones to reconnect the dots to the previous films. The main storyline in FC is centred around Magneto and his revenge story on the man who killed his Mother during World War 2. That then opens up the doorway for the second storyline which serves more of a purpose to the previous X films, the relationship between Magneto and Xavier and how they helped each other to create the first class of X-Men mutants. There's also a smaller, yet still important 3rd storyline which revolves around the early friendship between Mystique and Xavier, and how Magneto later became her mentor and drew her away from Xavier's plans for the future. Although i would have liked to see more scenes establishing Xavier and Magneto's friendship further, there's still enough emotional pull within the story to make up for any minor short comings.

Casting wise, everyone delivered their roles on point. Jennifer Lawrence was great as a young Mystique, not only re-capturing Rebecca Romijn's natural sex appeal from the previous films, but also giving Mystique a layered story arc. Next to Magneto, she pushed the emotional aspect of the story the strongest. Her search for inner acceptance between Xavier, Beast and Magneto felt very genuine. For me, she's the most interesting character from the X films.
Nicholas Holt as Beast also did well with his role, especially with his mutation struggle being mirrored with Mystique's and January Jones was believably dangerous as Emma Frost.
Acting wise however, the film belonged to Michael Fassbender as Magneto. Not only was he threatening and powerful, but the amount of emotion he brought to the character opened up his performance 10 fold. It's not easy to make audiences feel a connection with a villain, but Michael's portrayal of struggle was one you couldn't help but stand by. He completely carried the film.

There's a return to quality with First Class that reminded me a lot of what made the first 2 X-Men films so fantastic. I personally still enjoyed X-Men 3, but it did have it's flaws and Bryan Singers absence as the director was felt. First Class brought back a bit more elegance to the franchise. The story was rich, the characters were well developed and you really connect with the universe on screen. There were also a few cameos in the film featuring actors from the previous movies that were really fun to see unexpectedly pop up during the movie, loved those.