X-Men: First Class – Review
X-Men: First Class should really be called X-Men: Rise of Magneto. Actor Michael Fassbender stole the spotlight from every other actor as Erik Lehnsherr also known as Magneto. He was absolutely brilliant as a character and it showed that he took the role extremely seriously. It goes without saying that James McAvoy was also an extraordinary character as young Charles Xavier. But I was completely smitten and taken aback at how well Fassbender played Erik/Magneto. Fassbender also starred in the critically acclaimed movies Hunger and Fish Tank. Another movie in which Fassbender appeared was Inglourious Basterds. I vaguely remember him from Inglourious Basterds (he was one of the English guards trying to pretend to be a German officer) but Fassbender will prove to be unforgettable as young Magneto. Mark my words…
X-Men: First Class begins with a dramatic introduction of both Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr as two young 12 year-old boys in 1944, both with two very different lives. One, Erik, is a Jewish boy taken to a concentration camp by the then in control Nazis. Upon forced separation from his parents, he grows enraged and using his mutant abilities, pulls the gate off the fence that they are behind. This draws attention from a man by the name of Sebastian Shaw portrayed by Kevin Bacon, who turns out to be a real bad guy. The other boy, Charles Xavier, lives in a mansion and has the ability to read people’s minds as well as control their thoughts and “freeze” them in place. He lives the “good life” and meets a young Mystique then known as Raven. These two form an inseparable bond and become known as brother and sister. The introduction really sets the tone for the rest of the movie in that it really makes the audience aware that this will be a completely character-driven type of movie as opposed to all action or no substance type of film.
X-Men: First Class takes place in the sixties, right in the heart of the Cold War and revolves around the Cuban Missile Crisis and builds its story from there. The movie uses actual historical footage and presidential addresses to get its point across. As history reminds us, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union and the United States are at a standoff. Character Sebastian Shaw, the leader of the Hellfire Club and mutant, weaves his little charismatic agenda, playing with both countries to get them to start a nuclear war. It is here where both Xavier and Erik, join forces to eliminate him. I had no idea going into the movie that actor Kevin Bacon was going to play such an important role in this film. The trailers barely showed him at all so I thought I was safe to assume that his role would be minimal. I was wrong, however, and Kevin Bacon proved to be a seriously good bad guy as the infamous Sebastian Shaw. The scenes with Erik and Shaw are intense, raw and hella good.
January Jones plays the intrepid Emma Frost or White Queen. She is a telepather much like Charles Xavier but she is a bit different in the sense that she has the ability to transform herself to diamond or crystal form, which strengthens her telepathic abilities. Emma Frost is a great character but January Jones does not do her justice. I honestly believe that January Jones is a robot. I understand that she is beautiful-blue eyes, blonde hair, perfect body- but every role that I have seen Jones play, is completely emotionless, without character, stale, and unbelievably boring. How is it even possible to play a mutant character such as Emma Frost, so frigid, so to speak. See what I did there? January Jones has the perfect physical physique to be Emma Frost but that’s it. I would have loved to see her played by a more dynamic actress even if the actress is not well known.
Some interesting parts in the movie were the recruitment scenes, the training scenes and any scene in which Azazel appeared. Azazel is one bad-@$$ motha! His character was played by Jason Flemyng, he barely spoke and he was entirely action-packed. In fact the movie as a whole, was entirely action-packed. There wasn’t one moment in the theater where I remembered I was in a theater. I was completely consumed by the story, by the characters and I was eagerly anticipating anything and everything that came next. Again I especially loved the recruitment scenes of Havoc, Darwin, Angel, and a surprise uncredited cameo by someone I will not name. I will say this: the cameo was absolutely worth it.
I wish there would have been more interaction with Xavier and his first class of mutants. I felt like, if the movie was going to be called X-Men: First Class, I better as hell see the First Class in lots of action. Which there was, don’t get me wrong but I felt the story and plot revolved more around Magneto’s revenge. In any case, go see this at the theater. You will not regret it. Also word of advice, don’t wait until the end after the credits. No previews, no “what’s to come”- just the end credits.