MUTANTS ARE BACK!
X-Men: First Class was not very high on my list of anticipated movies of 2011. I just couldn’t fathom a reboot of the franchise without Wolverine. Still, as the ‘many’ trailers emerged, I warmed to the idea of Professor Xavier with hair and Mr. Adamantium himself M.I.A.
The hype continued to build once I started skimming through a few reviews online. Is First Class really the best X-Men movie? I couldn’t wait to find out. Now that I’ve seen it, the answer is simple:
IT’S THE BEST X-MEN MOVIE EVER.
It just took a while before I realized it. Ensemble movies like X-Men are tricky to pull off. It has to be extremely difficult to balance so many amazing characters while still telling a singular coherent story.
The first hour of First Class is exactly what you would expect. One by one, you get to meet a ton of powerful mutants and get a sense of their individual stories. What surprised me was how well each of these introductions fit into the bigger picture. Director Matthew Vaughan did a fantastic job re-establishing the world of X-Men.
However, I thought it took a little too long to finally get Magneto and Professor X together. I say that because the second they meet, the film turns into one hell of an entertaining ride.
X-MEN = ACTION
I think my main concern about this film and the approach they were taking was too much story and not enough action. I was completely wrong. The final hour of this movie easily surpassed any other mutant action we’ve seen in the series thus far. At one point, I felt myself lean back and just enjoy the show.
So many movies like this tend to take way too long to setup a grand finale and then rush through it. (The Iron Man movies come to mind.) That’s where First Class shines. The last hour alone made it my favorite X-Men movie period. Mutants fight mutants, mutants fight humans, humans fight each other, mutants fight each other and submarines fly. Sweet.
Upon further reflection, I think my favorite part of the film was and Professor X and Magneto’s relationship and NOT the action. We already know they become enemies eventually so the suspense is gone but the relationship is actually very interesting. Again, they didn’t rush things and the final payoff is far from a let down. (Think about how quickly Darth Vader turned in Episode 3. That always bugged me.)
My only real complaint was Kevin Bacon. I never bought him as a villain here and the movie suffered a little bit as a result. He was far more interesting as an evil Nazi doctor than a mutant trying to spark a third world war.
There were a couple annoyances and cheesy lines here and there as well but X-Men: First Class is still a winner because it’s FUN. Plain and simple. It’s a great X-Men movie, a great comic book movie and a fine addition to this year’s summer blockbusters.
PS: There are a couple great cameos in the film too. One is very easy to guess… I hope he shows up in the sequel. I just realized I’m excited for First Class 2! Nice.