X-Men: First Class

9 Jun

Prequels are flawed in their concept as they suffer from the feeling of predictability. This can weigh down a film if it isn’t one that gives its viewers a ride of a life time. X-Men: First Class not only stays afloat, but shines at that with some thrilling action/emotions, a tight script, fantastic chemistry between the lead actors and excellent special effects.

First Class was always about establishing the base to the original trilogy but the way this was done is remarkable. The movie starts out with a prologue staged during WWII that shows the childhood of Charles Xavier (Laurence Belcher) growing up in the comforts of home in New York while discovering his power and a little sister/friend in the form of Raven (played by Morgan Lily), and Erik Lehnsherr (Bill Milner) locked up in a concentration camp where he meets doctor Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) who kills Erik’s mother to force a magnetic reaction out of him fueled by rage.

The X-MenFast forward to the 1960’s with the Cuban Missile crisis around the corner, Charles (James McAvoy) is en-route to becoming a professor of genetics while Erik (Michael Fassbender) is clawing his way towards Shaw for revenge. What follows next are a series of events that results in Charles saving Erik’s life. Thus begins the drama between the two lead characters that is the heart of the movie. The chemistry they share with their humorous interaction, their clash of ideologies and their general perspective of the future is beautifully scripted.

Beginning of the chess tradition

The character transition from a proud but naïve Xavier to selfless Professor X; an angry and confused Erik to a powerful Magneto and an unsure Raven to a proud mutant Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is handled with utmost care and aptness. The casting was spot on with all three actors delivering a convincingly flawless act.

Jennifer Lawrence & Nicholas Hoult sharing their uncertainty

Support comes in the form of Hank McCoy aka Beast (Nicholas Hoult) whose constant struggle (along with Raven) to undo his physical mutation for better acceptance into the society is a shot at how humans perceive, alienate and fear anyone with visible or invisible abnormalities. Nicholas Hoult as the geeky super intelligent Hank is believable and it was great to see this child artist mutate into a full grown actor. Him as Beast was a letdown as the makeup seemed to be a hindrance for dialogue delivery plus his act wasn’t as convincing as Kelsey Grammer in X-Men: The Last Stand.

Lucas Till

Moira MacTaggert (Rose Bryne) is the sole human connection in the movie who believes that there is indeed something good that can come from the mutant race. Sean Cassidy/Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) is the nervous teenager unable to channel his powers and unsure how he could use it to do any good. Caleb looks and acts the part though his action scenes were a little unimpressive. Alex Summers/Havok (Lucas Till) is the volatile one due to the lack of control over his powers. Not much acting was required from Lucas apart from making sneer comments and looking pretty, which he did quite well. Armando Muñoz/Darwin (Edi Gathegi) was a short act and Edi impressed.

Kevin Bacon with January Jones in the submarine nuclear chamber

Moving on to the dark side, Sebastian Shaw through money, mutant powers and fear, puppeteers the American and the Russian governments/army to make moves enraging each other towards an eminent nuclear war that would destabilize humankind. Kevin in the opening scene as the doctor in the concentration camps is manically brilliant with what sounded like perfect German. Unfortunately his character as the *energy sucking* mutant was a ‘typical super hero film villain’ but then that is what he was.

Jason Flemyng & January Jones

Emma frost (January Jones) as Shaw’s mind reading crystallizing side-kick was like watching a plank with curves. Her lingerie scenes make up for the eye candy of the film and that’s about it, there’s nothing more to her character. Janos Quested/Riptide (Álex González) and Azazel (Jason Flemyng) were Shaw’s henchmen; lots of mutant action but not much say, which was a waste of two good actors. Riptide didn’t have a single line in the whole film. Angel Salvadore (Zoë Kravitz) was the ‘good girl gone bad’ mutant who wants to stop hiding. Apart from being an angry/abused girl there wasn’t more to her character either.

Michael Fassbender & James McAvoy

As expected, there are plenty of action scenes in the film, giving each character enough time to show off their powers. The graphics and visuals are spectacular as well, though the soundtrack takes a backseat in comparison. There are a couple of cameo roles in the film, one of which induces big laughs from the audience through a one-liner.

Michael Fassbender transformation into Magneto

Director Matthew Vaughn’s choice to give utmost importance to the relationship between Xavier and Erik; their verbal battles and inevitable differences has managed to make this movie more than just a comic book action film. Even the uncertainty Hank and Raven share is a nice side story that makes you feel their anguish and connection. Vaughn’s ability to create a whole new universe with a mixture of facts and fiction makes you wonder what really happened in reality. Kudos to him for bringing this stale franchise back to life.

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