X-Men: First Class. The best comic book to screen origin story I’ve seen, and a more than adequate potion to help erase the farce that was X-Men 3: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
I had my doubts after the last two failures, and taking it back to the 60s, telling the story of a young Magneto and Charles Xavier and intertwining the story with the Cuban Missile Crisis seemed like an extremely ambitious undertaking by Matthew Vaughn, but all in all, he’s made it work, and then some!
Ah, Michael Fassbender, my new mancrush. Fassbender is fantastic as a young Erik Lensherr / Magneto, and his character is written very well the whole way through. His scenes in the first third of the movie feel like they could be out of a James Bond flick, and his two relationships—one with Xavier, played splendidly by McAvoy, and a wonderfully evil turn by Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club—are at the crux of what makes this film so good. Oh, the chills, when he puts on that helmet towards the end, and the symbolism and hope of what it could mean for the future of this trilogy.
On the flipside of Fassbender’s Magneto comes January Jones’ very rigid Emma Frost. I’m disappointed. Emma Frost, the White Queen, could have been so much more, and while there’s still hope, I just can’t see Jones switching gears. I expected seductive and manipulative, like Mystique from the previous trilogy, but the outfits looked terrible at times, and the delivery, I don’t know, it was just off. Seeing how things ended, I’m scared that she could ruin a sequel, given her potentially large role.
I hated, and cringed at the bestowel of names on each of the characters. You know, why not just NOT go there? It was forced, with the barest semblance of an explanation, and every time I heard another X-Men name come up, I died a little inside. Terrible, lazy writing for the minute or two of screen time that it took up.
Another gripe. Apparently it isn’t an X-Men movie unless you have some useless mutant that becomes part of the central group of characters. Meet Angel Salvadore. Honestly, why? A weak character that got progressively worse. Riptide, I didn’t mind, and I loved Azazel, mainly because I love Nightcrawler so much. Interesting that Havok, Cyclops’ younger brother was written in too; I was really hoping he’d go crazy towards the end and let loose with some plasma blasts. Next time it is!
These gripes however, are minor, and try as they may, do nothing to affect the quality of First Class. Vaughn has created a great Magneto origin story and X-Men prequel, and I can only pray for a quality sequel that’s in the X2 ballpark.
Oh, and that moment, when the whole audience will burst out in laughter, yeh, it’s awesome!
I foolishly decided to start a thread in /r/movies, and am currently getting a tad flamed, so head on over if you want.