In lieu of all the prequels and sequels and franchise reboots, I was looking forward to X-Men: First Class the most. The short of what it’s about is the meeting of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, when they were friends. It’s all set in the same world as the other X-Men feature films, and First Class takes place in the sixties set against the Cuban Missile Crisis. *SPOILERS AHOY*
The good; James McAvoy does a great job as the young Professor X. This has in part to do with the writing as well, they wrote a young Charles that uses his telepathy powers to essentially pick up women, all the while studying the mutations occurring in human kind. Michael Fassbender as the young Magneto is wonderfully cast as well. In First Class we see how Erik became Magneto and why he hates humanity so much. We’re given a character at the edge of light and dark and we see his embracing descent in to the dark, boy is it dark.
With the X-Men movies, you really watch to see Professor X and Magneto go at it, but not physically go at it, it’s more of a battle of wits. In all the hype and spectacle of summer movies, you watch X-Men to see these two foes argue. I could care less about the other mutants in the movie
Moving on, another good thing about First Class is that it stands on its own. It’s a movie that’s not setting you up for a sequel, I absolutely love that, although it totally has a sequel. Matthew Vaughn does a great job of showing the backstory to familiar characters. Granted not all of them are accurate to the comic book. Allow me to geek out a bit – but the first class in comic books consists of; Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel, Beast, Ice Man and Professor X. Then there’s the “no-prize” Blackbird jet, luv it. Vaughn puts it all together nicely.
Then there’s Banshee, not really a fan of that mutant, but they made him work. There isn’t a lot of easter egg/fanboy moments in this film, I really appreciate that. There isn’t even a cameo by Stan Lee. There’s a montage! A MONTAGE! Love it.
The bad; Moira MacTaggert is American? Or at least she’s not portrayed as being anything else. She’s Scottish, she should have some accent, but in FC she’s a CIA agent. Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw… and January Jones as Emma Frost… in the comic books, they’re a big deal, they make up the Hellfire Club, they’re mis-casted in this movie. Jones’ acting is weak, she’s just something to look at.
Then there’s the other mutants that make up the good guys and the bad guys, I don’t really care for them other than Mystique and Beast. The others are just there, I looked up their characters, and they are real characters, but I don’t know them. And with the movie, I don’t care about these other mutants, I want to see Professor X and Magneto. Which brings me to this side note – Magneto merely takes the helmet from Shaw, which the Russians designed for Shaw to prevent someone from reading his mind, Magneto should design his helmet, seems off that he “steals” it.
Overall, quite enjoyable. Sure there are things that aren’t consistent with the other X-Men movies and of the comics, like; how Professor X becomes paralyzed, or that Beast is Blue now, or Moira MacTaggert’s age, or Emma Frost’s age… But at least it’s a good movie that stood on its own.
– and there isn’t a tag at the end of the credits. But we do get cameos from Hugh Jackman as Logan, and Rebecca Romijn as Mystique. “If” you pay attention, Cyclops and Storm are there when Charles uses Cerebro for the first time. Plus, we get Stryker‘s father.