Friday, June 3, 2011

Review - First Class

X-Men. Children of the Atom. Four movies have been made about them. Now comes a fifth movie. But this one is not a sequel. It’s a prequel. Which means the story is set earlier, before all three X-Movies and the Wolverine movie.

X-Men: First Class is the title. Referring to the first few mutants Charles Xavier took under his wing. Unfortunately, this is one of the many liberties the filmmakers take in this movie. The first class of mutants that Xavier taught were Jean Grey, Cyclops/Scott Summers, Hank McCoy/Beast, Bobby Drake/Iceman and Warren Worthington/Archangel (as pictured below). Only Beast shows up in this movie.

So the story goes like this. Erik Lensherr was a survivor of the Holocaust. His parents were murdered and he himself was tortured and experimented on. When he grew up, he sought revenge against his tormentor, who has now gone under the name Sebastian Shaw and is running the Hell Fire Club.

Charles Xavier was studying genetics and grew up with Raven Darkhome. Moira MacTaggert, CIA, is investigating a possible terrorist threat and chanced upon the Hell Fire Club’s mutants. So she sought Xavier’s help to understand the threat and also to make her superiors aware of the looming danger.

Sebastian Shaw has an agenda of getting Russia and America in a nuclear turmoil so that more mutations would develop faster and normal humans would be eradicated. It is up to Xavier and a bunch of young mutants under Xavier’s wing to stop a nuclear war from occurring. Meanwhile, Lensherr is tagging along to exact his vengeance upon Shaw, not caring about the imminent nuclear war.

The acting in this movie is not bad. At first I thought James MacAvoy could not possible embody Charles Xavier but he proved me wrong. Or was I just indifferent? Anyway, Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr? Wow. Genius. He was really good. Not just because he did not wear underwear while wearing a track suit and you can kinda see his ‘weapon’, hehe. But he was actually awesome at portraying the vengeful and hurting Magneto.

Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar nominee for Winter’s Bone, has it easy with Raven / Mystique. She was not required to do much but just to be pretty and sometimes blue.

The other supporting characters were quite good as well. Rose Byrne was okay playing Moira MacTaggert, although Moira’s Scottish lilt completely disappeared. January Jones was perfect playing the White Queen, Emma Frost. She really looked the part. Although her diamond state was completely weird. It looked like she turned into a human tin foil instead of diamonds. But that’s not her fault.

Kevin Bacon was deliciously evil as Sebastian Shaw, without being overly creepy or overly gross or even overly campy. I was thinking that he was not as big and imposing as Shaw in the Saturday Morning cartoons, but it worked out nicely. Guess Bacon has a natural flair for playing a bad guy like he did in The River Wild.

Watching this movie as a regular layman, First Class is really awesome. It has action, hunks, babes, superpowers, drama, a bit of comedy, heroes and appropriately bad-ass villains.

Watching this movie as a comic book nerd? It is still awesome. Plenty of mutants and powers on display. Lots of pop culture reference, especially of the X-Men mythology and lore. They even have cameos by Rebecca Romijn and Hugh Jackman. Who wouldn’t wet their pants?

But then again, as a self-proclaimed comic book nerd, I did not like the liberties they took with the characters and the storylines. Maybe it’s just me. But I hated the second Transformers movie with a vengeance! The robots took a back seat and some of the more bad-ass robots were made lame and easily disposed off. What the…?!

Like the Phoenix storyline in the original trilogy… that was also a WTF moment for me. Guess this really can’t be helped because they needed to make the story cohesive and kinda foreshadow the original trilogy. But some things they could’ve not done. For example: Emma Frost’s diamond state. If I am not mistaken, she only got that secondary mutation after a trip to space where she was exposed to the same radiation that empowered the Fantastic Four.

First Class takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis and is not even close to when Emma Frost can turn into a walking diamond. But I guess only die-hard nerds would care about this stuff. I am sure the people who have not read the comics did not know/care about it. *shrugs*

For the comic book nerds, just check your knowledge and memory at the door and just enjoy the movie. I know I did, even when I forgot to check my brain at the door.


thanezra said...

"For the comic book nerds, just check your knowledge and memory at the door and just enjoy the movie"

I did that..tapi kekadang still kecewa gak..xpa least finally got to see Havok & Banshee on the big screen...tapi aku still emo kenapa amik Angel..she's a dumb character in the comics to begin with..nasib lah Beak xda sekali..klu tak....

The Wan And Only said...

maybe Angel tu dia amek utk lawan Banshee... flyer ngan flyer...

thanezra said...

logic, but rasanyer would be better if they'd picked Pixie...Angel cam tak masuk dlm core X-Men team, xpalah overall agak best..first class ni

The Wan And Only said...

Pixie ek? Menarik gak... tp Angel kan in the end masuk team Magneto... Pixie kan baik dan comel dan tak mungkin masuk team Magneto... takkan yg baik lawan ngan yg baik...