X-Men: First Class Movie Review

Now THAT’S how you do a superhero origin story!

They finally did it right! That just felt solid all around. Now, I’ll admit, when I saw the first trailer, I thought to myself “Oh Christ, another one…” Especially after X-MEN Origins: Wolverine, I figured Hollywood had essentially given up on good X-MEN stories knowing that it’s a cash cow, and just felt it needed milking. The first trailer didn’t look too impressive either, and I didn’t think the actors much looked the parts. Let’s face it, I don’t think anyone was looking forward to a Charles Xavier with hair; even if it is as fancy and wavy as James McAvoy’s. But even if you judged the book by its cover, like I did, you’ll see why they were casted.

Plot: In a time that mutants remained hidden from the world, a nuclear crisis was threatening the nation. With the US government investigating the threat, Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne) discovers a powerful mutant, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), pulling strings and seeks out the assistance of Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), a powerful telepath and specialist on the mutant genome. Xavier finds and builds a team, leading them to stop Sebastian Shaw from igniting a third world war. As fate also has it, Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), a Nazi camp survivor, meets and befriends Xavier, who attempts to calm and save his tortured mind.

First things first: The casting was excellent. The acting was excellent. Everyone brought just the right flavor for each character. Michael Fassbender surprised me the most. I wasn’t familiar with any of his previous works, but you can really tell that in some powerful scenes, he really had to pull something out from within him to get just the right reaction. The moment you see “Erik” smile– you know it’s real. And Kevin Bacon as Sabastian Shaw? What a great villain to chose, and what a perfect actor for him. They missed his signature mutton chops, but you know what? That’s okay. ‘Cause he was just fantastic.

Apart from all the excellent acting, the writing was fantastic. It wasn’t a fluff piece, like I had expected. From start to finish, you can see some real development between all the characters. There might be a moderately corny line here and there, but it’s few and far between, and the character relationships develop in an incredibly natural way. No “just hitting plot points” in this movie. It’s said that whenever one is writing a story, the characters tend to write it for you. Knowing your characters very well, generally depict the natural flow of events. Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer certainly knew exactly what their characters were like. The flow of development and the turns they took were amazing. Not to mention, being able to incorporate this entire fictional plot line into real historical events? Absolutely incredible. It really added a realism to the film that’s unmatched in any other superhero film.

The balance of everything in the film I thought was well portrayed. Major kudos to Matthew Vaughn. For someone with so few directing credits, he sure as Hell knows how to do the job. Every one of his films was solid. This was no exception.

I know Bryan Singer really led the way with the X-MEN series, really setting the tone in his own way. So anything following would be a good challenge. Bryan Singer did leave his presence in the writing, but Matthew Vaughn really stepped up to the plate. He did a “marvel”ous job following suit (oh yeah– bad puns!). This was by far the best X-MEN movie released to date. I know a lot of people are probably going to miss their favorite clawed Canadian, but…with this movie? No Wolvie? No problem. Trust me. You’ll get your fix 😉 Go see this movie!!!

4.5/5