Sunday, June 5, 2011
Written Review: X-Men First Class (2011) ....SPOILERS!
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, Lucas Till
Ever since I was a wee little tyke, X-Men was always my favourite Marvel comics title (well, besides Deadpool). Naturally, I was also a huge fan of the 90s animated series, X-Men: Evolution, and the first two Brian Singer movie (the third one sucked...kiss my ass, Brett Ratner!). Well, after hearing that they were making a Frist Class adaptaion, set in the 60s, I was pumped. Of course, I was a little let-down when I heard Cyclops (my favourite X-Men character) wasn't going to be in it, but my faith was reestablished when I heard that they casted none other than James McAvoy in the role of Charles Xavier. McAvoy has been one of my favourite actors since I saw Atonement a few years back, so I was naturally pumped for this movie. Well, after a patient year of waiting, I finally got back from seeing it on opening weekend. My thoughts? Fucking FANTASTIC!
First of all, the script is absolutely wonderful. It's tightly written and consistant (unlike X-Men 3), and it isn't overly cheesy (like X-Men Oranges: Tangerine...I mean X-Men Origins: Wolverine). The dialogue is brisk, clever, and memorable, and you can tell it was written by people who have a great love for the X-Men mythos and characters. I loved the plot, I loved how the Cuban Missile Crisis was integrated into it, and I loved the 60s setting. Overall, I have absolutely no complaints about the script, the writers did a superb job.
Matthew Vaughn's direction is the best this series has seen since Brian Singer left the director's chair after X-Men 2, and he's a huge improvement over Brett Ratner in X-Men 3 and Gavin Hood in Wolverine. Ever since he blew me away with his directorial works in Kick-Ass, Layer Cake, and Stardust, I've become a big fan of him. He brings in the same freshness and enthusiasm he used in Kick-Ass, and isn't afraid to take the movie to emotional moments or serious subject matter, which is perfect for a franchise like X-Men. Overall, fantastic directorial work from Vaughn.
The highlight of the movie, for me, is the acting. This film boasts some of the best acting of all the X-Men movies by far. First of all, James McAvoy was absolutely fantastic as Professor Charles Xavier. This Xavier is much different from the bald, wheelchair bound Professor X in the first X-Men trilogy. This Xavier is young, enthusiastic, suave, and full of life, and the perfection that McAvoy puts into all these characteristics make his performance the best in the entire movie. The climax when Xavier gets paralyzed is one of the emotional highlights of the movie, largely because of the intensity McAvoy puts into his performance. You really believe his pain as the bullet hits his spine, and you really believe the sadness he emulates when he realizes "I can't...I can't feel my legs". I might get hate for saying this, but I actually think James McAvoy did a better job playing Professor X than Patrick Stewart did.
Michael Fassbender was also a highlight as Magneto. He brings a very Timothy Dalton-esque performance to the table, and every scene with him lights up because of his screen presence. Jennifer Lawrence did alright as Mystique, but it's not one of her better performances. Nicholas Hoult is the best actor out of all the teenage recruits. His performance as Beast really makes you feel for his character, whose inner turmoil and longing to be "normal" is portrayed perfectly. Lucas Till was great as Havok, and Caleb Landry Jones is very funny and enjoyable as Banshee. Hugh Jackman also has a hilarious cameo as Wolverine, and has one of my favourite lines in the movie.
Overall, X-Men: First Class is the best movie I've seen so far this year, the best X-Men movie, and one of the best comic book movies since The Dark Knight. It's a great way to start off the summer movie season, and I highly reccomend it.