Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Film Review: X-Men: First Class

Synopsis: The touching portrayal of young love between a magnetic man and a telekenetic egghead.

For the latest X-Men installment we venture into the past to explore the origins of Professor X (McAvoy), Magneto (Fassbender) and a selection of mutants. Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) this film does indeed kick ass, blending action, storyline and characterisation, with standout performances from Fassbender, and particularly, McAvoy. His Professor X is confident without being cocky, possibly because of McAvoy's innate charm, but also the touching finale where he suffers the paralysis-inducing accident, "I can't feel my legs... I can't feel my legs..."

Fassbender broils as Magneto, one time friend then enemy of Professor X, who helps temper his friend's anger towards out-and-out baddie Sebastien Shaw (Bacon) - Magento's 'mentor' in the Nazi camp (a flashback to the metal gates being pulled apart harks back to the original). And Bacon is Bacon, and proves to be enough of a badass before his predictable demise.

The central plot revolves around Prof. X, Magneto and Shaw, but the secondary plot is also an interesting one, showing the birth of humankind's hot-and-cold relationship with the mutants in spectacular fashion, the two arcs coming satisfyingly to an explosive conclusion.

Fans will enjoy seeing the character arcs of the younger mutants, notably Mystique and the Beast, who both go through more than just their physical transformation. The other supporting mutants do a decent enough job, though Emma Frost's icy transformation always looks too CG. Wolverine makes a momentary appearance sure to raise a smile.

Matthew Vaughn is proving himself to be a talented director, combining action, drama and comedy elements into tightly drawn scripts with pitch perfect tone and tempo. For me, this was more enjoyable than the previous X-Men films, so fans will not be disappointed.


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