X-Men: First Class

Posted: September 8, 2011 by Micah in Movie Reviews

All right so now that our summer movies are coming full circle and making their way into our homes on those tiny wonder disks we call DVD’s I feel this is the perfect time to catch up on any movies I missed during the mad lemonade filled joy ride that we call summer!

And we’ll kick it all off with a big, bold lettered, multiple colon title called!!

Micah Reviews: X-men: First class.  

Don't you feel bad for that guy way in the back of this poster?

Story:

The X-men universe is a long and well storied place (this being the 5th movie in the series). But this time we’re going all the way back to the very beginning of the X-men, the 1960’s. And oh what a 60’s it is!!

The movie actually starts off in the 1940’s where we meet Eric Lensher. A Jewish boy being taken into a Nazi concentration camp. While he’s in there he meets that guy from Footloose. No not the new guy from the new footloose. The old guy… from the old footloose. Also known as Kevin Bacon. Kevin Bacon plays Dr. Somethingorother. Umm… Yeah I have no idea what his actual name was… in my defense I watched this movie like… four months ago and spent most of the time sitting there mentally mocking Kevin Bacon for having the word “bacon” in his name and somehow still not being awesome.

Anyway, Eric and Dr. Heimlich sit down and have a long talk in thick German accents. Eric gets angry and makes things float. Kevin Bacon continues to have a ridiculous mustache and we cut away to the 1960’s. Which is where the movie becomes good.

We’re introduced to Professor Charles Xavier, a telepathic typed person who spends the first twenty minutes of the film drinking heavily. To summarize all this in the shortest way possible: Charles and his sister Raven get recruited by the FBI to combat an organization of Mutants led by none other then Dr. Heimlich who has changed his name to something much easier to remember: Sebastian Shaw. (Shaw has stayed young because he absorbs energy which totally makes sense… yup… totally.) Anyway Charles forms the Super-friends… I mean X-men to combat Shaw and his band of merry men.

Among these X’d men is none other then Eric Lensher who is all grown up now and on a homicidal revenge spree against all the Nazi’s at his concentration camp.

The 60’s happen, some girl looks like a fly, a guy turns blue, and Kevin Bacon continues to not be very cool.

 The positives:

James McAvoy, who plays Charles Xavier, and Michael Fassbender, Eric Lensher, do brilliantly at portraying their respective characters. McAvoy plays an early, more edgy version of Xavier perfectly well and Fassbender really makes you empathize with the conflict that Eric is going through. The two actors absolutely carry the movie and do it with a calm, quiet brilliance that not only helps them, but makes the cast around them look a lot better (which, trust me here, is a very good thing).

The 1960’s setting for the film works really really well. Honestly a lot better then I originally thought it would. The whole “super mutant thing” is handled well enough to make it minorly believable that this was all going on behind the scenes and we just didn’t notice. In a summer with a lot of period movies (Captain America and The Help spring to mind) X-men seems to strike the best balance between not being tied down by it’s setting and staying true enough to it so that nothing feels weirdly out of place.

The Negatrons:

The supporting cast for this movie is sneakily horrible. Kevin Bacon tries way way way too hard to be cool. January Jones has her face permanently stuck in this sort of vaguely detached grimace…thing and the band of young X-men have all the diverse characterization of a slab of white washed fish. It’s slightly covered by McAvoy and Fassbender who fortunately are on screen about 90 percent of the movie but if you look past them the pickings are decidedly slim.

The opening sequence to this movie is really just… weird. And not just cause Kevin Bacon puts on a mustache and a German accent (neither of which fit him very well… rim-shot). Bacon’s big thing is that if Eric can’t move the coin then he’ll shoot his mom… Eric’s mom that is… not Bacon’s. That would be a horrible threat “Move that coin or I’ll kill my mom!!”… Anyway true to his word Bacon shoots Eric’s mom whereon Eric screams… for like five minutes. Just… screaming. Then he activates his powers, turns around and crushes the man who killed his mother!!

Oh wait… nope. No he doesn’t. Instead he chooses to spin around and kill two Nazi soldiers who were just sort of standing there. Not doing anything. Just chilling out. Now I don’t know about you but if someone had just killed someone I loved and I somehow found myself endowed with the power to crush a skull I would probably not use that power to kill someone sitting across the street at a Starbucks. No. I would use it to kill the person who had done said killing! Obviously the reason Bacon is left alive is cause they need him for the rest of the movie but for a film that had a decent plot the glaring oversight of a screamy little Eric Lensher murdering bystanders is a gaping open wounded puss filled zit. Yes. Zit.

My last point is fairly general and hard to really see a way around… I can’t help but get the feeling that we’re running out of cool mutants. I mean, this movie featured a male who’s powers was (and I’m being completely honest here) screaming like a girl. Another girl who sprouted fly wings and spit acid mucus at things (cause that’s attractive). A guy whose power was either creating whirlwinds or dressing like a prick (it was hard to tell). And no less then three characters whose powers were exact copies of someone else’s (telepathy, teleporting, and shooting laser beams).

In Conclusion: I liked this movie. It may sound like I don’t because there’s a long line of negatives up there but really it’s a tight movie that features a good storyline and some brilliant actors. The little script things, Kevin Bacon, and a weak supporting cast aren’t enough to run the train completely off the tracks but add some bumps to what would otherwise be a smooth ride.

I give it 3 X’s out of 5.

 

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