X-Men: First Class (2011)

Posted in Reviews by - July 19, 2014
X-Men: First Class (2011)

Another X-Men origins story, quite campy in parts and much lighter than the others. This may be due to the Kick-Ass team (writer Goldman, director Vaughn), although as a similar comic book tale of youthful angst and courage it doesn’t quite deliver the irreverence of their former hit, and the busy narrative often falls into a box-ticking exercise in exposition. Essentially we have another spin off disguised as a prequel as a means of hiring a fresh cast of hot new talent: Jennifer Lawrence as a younger and more rounded (ahem) Mystique, and Fassbender and McAvoy as Magneto and Xavier respectively. Set in the early ’60s, the latter has become a mind-reading Oxford don believing in the cohabitation of mutants and humans, and the former is a multilingual telekinetic hothead on the hunt for his mother’s killer, Sebastian Shaw (Bacon, channeling both Austin Powers and Dr Evil). Shaw is a Bond-esque villain who utilises the brilliantly robotic telepathy skills of January Jones (plus a teleporting kung fu devil and a guy who can create bad weather systems) to essentially cause the Cuban missile crisis and bring the world to the brink of nuclear war. Xavier forms a mutant revolt, teaming with the CIA (operating from a Dr Strangelove-style war room) and teaching a bunch of junior mutants how to fully harness their powers. The film never quite settles and key character motifs appear like contrivances. It’s also particularly light on physical action, reveling more in large scale CGI battle sequences. But it is still a spirited adventure which doesn’t suffer too badly from the big Wolverine shaped hole.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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