Monday, June 6, 2011

X-Men: First Class - A Modest Review

Went to see the new X-Men movie today and confess I had virtually no expectations, good or bad. I was reasonably pleased overall. It starts with scenes from the childhoods of Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto and Mystique. It shows how Erik was tormented by a mad scientist sort of Nazi, played by Kevin Bacon, to develop his magnetic powers. It also shows how Professor X grew up with his altruistic view of man and mutant. By 1962 the Nazi becomes Sebastian Shaw, head of the Hellfire Club, with his right hand being the mental mutant Emma Frost/White Queen (played by the very beautiful January Jones-now wouldn't that make an interesting comic character name?). Shaw is trying to get the Soviet Union and United States to go to nuclear war with one another to destroy the human race and leave the world open for mutants to take over. Erik (played by Michael Fassbender) is trying to kill Shaw for having killed his mother in front of him. Prof X (played by James McAvoy) is trying to work with the government to save the planet and bond with the human race. It all comes together in a re-invented Cuban Missile Crisis scenario at the end of which Charles is paralyzed from the waist down by a stray bullet. Overall I was pretty pleased with the movie and I think both fans of the X-Men and people who have never read one of their comics would find it appealing. Of course I do have some nits to pick - for example Angel in this version is a female stripper with butterfly wings and spits acid balls instead of being the blond haired male Angel of the comics. The Beast/Hank McCoy (played by Nicholas Hoult) eventually transforms and looks really good. Moira MacTaggert (played by Rose Byrne), instead of being a Scots lass is a CIA agent who assists Charles in more ways than one. But I have to say the whole confrontation between the Soviet and U.S. fleets was way out of perspective and some of the ships depicted were built 20 years later than the 1962 period they were wedged into. But then I'm a naval history buff and wouldn't expect hardly anyone else to know that. I did like that Hugh Jackman/Wolverine makes a cameo, but I didn't see Stan Lee, who normally appears in all Marvel-related movies. If he was there and I missed him and I welcome someone pointing out his appearance to me. Overall I would recommend the movie - it was a lot of fun and the characters did not seem out of character, although some of them were drawn a little thin.

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