Wednesday, 1 June 2011
REVIEW: X-MEN-FIRST CLASS
12A, 131 Minutes. Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne.
January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoë Kravitz, Oliver Platt & Kevin Bacon. Director: Matthew Vaughn. Screenplay: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn
Taking the competition back to superhero-movie-making school.
Superhero movies have been taking off as a Summer blockbuster staple for many a season now. Still as ideas for popcorn movies get thinner in Hollywood (hey, they can only do so much) prequels and reboots seem to be trending more then a Charlie Sheen Twitter topic. Fashioning the time between the Spring ('Fast Five') and Summer ('Transformers: Dark Side Of The Moon') biggest blockbusters comes 'X-Men: First Class'. Following the success of the the terrific trilogy and the wonderful 'Wolverine' prequel comes another, beginning, 'coming of age' story from the 'Origins' series.
In this movie we are taken back to the old days (the 60's to be exact) when Kennedy was president and Professor X and Magneto where Charles and Erik and the best of friends, before they got old and ended up looking like Captain Picard and Gandalf. Before battling each other together they had to battle the threat of nuclear war, the humans acceptance of mutants and their own personal demons, not to mention Kevin Bacon and his meatier, meaner mutants . Most 'Wanted' Scottish actor James McAvoy and 'Inglorious Basterds' scene stealer Michael Fassbender play Xavier and Magneto respectively perfectly, with all due respect to the elder statesmen Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian Mckellen. Doing justice to the legendary actors they carve their own lasting legacy in this super Matthew Vaughn film. From classic Vegas to outstanding Oxford there is a timeless quality to this picture that is in all the right locations.
Bar a few mutated misfires and characters that look like the love child of Papa Smurf and the more hairier member of 'Harry and the Henderson's' this film, looks and feels great, almost tipping the trilogy (still, the 'Wolverine' movie claws the competition. From hilarious, classic cameos to homages to other movies like 'Basic Instinct' this has it all. Awesome action, engaging effects, sensational set-pieces, determined dialogues, fantastic fun, actual acting and helpings of heart. This 'First Class' picture is truly top notch.
McAvoy and Fassbender aren't alone. Bacon is brilliant as always in the villain role. While the beautiful wonder women in this hero piece almost take all the glory. Woman of the moment Rose Byrne (with this 'Insidious' and 'Bridesmaids' she played in three major back-to-back trailers recently) is sexy, stylish but most of all serious in a sublime role as a CIA agent. Even without a super-mutation her character still powers through. The born-for-the-big time January Jones is also getting better by the month, 'Mad Men' series' and movie with a classic femme-fatale character. Jennifer Lawrence also brings another, deeper side to Raven, while the rest of the magnificent mutants (acknowledgment also due to developed performances from Edi Gathegi and Jason Flemyng) are led by Zoë Kravitz. The daughter of Lenny rocks. We have another star in the making.
You don't have to be telepathic to tell I like this movie (and it took awhile for me to warm to this hot franchise) and a brotherhood of mutant fans would also tell you that this is a hell-fire, heaven sent movie that pays homage and respect to the classics from the celluloid's to the comic strips. Now if only they could make more like this. TIM DAVID HARVEY.