X-Men: First Class

Let me start by saying, it’s ok, you can breathe, it doesn’t suck. While it’s not X1 or X2 good, it’s waaayyy better than X3.

Writing: Bryan Singer (who directed X1 and X2) helps as part of the writing team for story development. So the story is solid. I grew up collecting the comic and had some very early versions in there with the originals, so it was cool to see these characters brought to life cinematically. There’s some fun moments as the mutants are teenagers mostly, so they have a youthful energy that works well on screen as well as through the dialog and their personalities. With the story, there’s some strong character arcs as all the mutants are thrown into the middle of war where they all mature pretty quickly.

The only place this fell short for me writing wise was that the story was cut up way too much. It jumps from scene to scene a lot, especially in the first 2/3 of the movie. I wish they would’ve slowed down long enough for more lengthy exchanges between the characters. You get quick bursts but the emotion of each scene is just getting started by the time the cut to the next scene happens, it’s kind of frustrating. I would’ve especially like to have seen more exchanges with some of the other classic mutants like Havoc and Banshee. Basically some time to breathe would be good.

The actors are great, for me it’s what saved this movie, this could’ve been a real train wreck but the casting kept things on track. The only downside is that I thought Angel Salvadore was unnecessary as well as inaccurate as her character isn’t introduced until much later in the chronology. Sorry, my geek came out. The same is true for some of the other characters in here but I won’t split hairs.

Each actor brought their A-game and really put on some engaging, fun, passionate, and at times very sexy in a shagadelic kind of way (the 60-s Dr. No sheik is much fun) performances. The lineup includes: James McAvoy (Prof X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw), January Jones (Emma Frost), among many others as this was a huge production.

Aside from my above complaints, Matthew Vaughn does a good job in the driver’s seat. The film is stylish, fun, and at times exciting. For some reason he said that Twilight Fans would love this: no they won’t. This film does have some brains to it and isn’t a soap opera, it requires some focus to follow the storyline since it’s so abrupt.

The effects are top notch and the overall design is well done. Some of the action sequences were a bit cookie cutter when I think there could’ve been some more intensity added, which is one of the key things for me that made the film OK but not outstanding.

This is one of those movies that would be cool to watch in the mall while my wife was shopping but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it instead of waiting for the Blu-ray.

reviewed by Sean McKnight