‘X-Men: First Class’ is Just That – A Movie Review from Cinema Static

by on June 3, 2011

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Welcome to another everyday-Joe movie review from Cinema Static on Brusimm of X-Men: First Class!

'X-Men First Class' with Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Lucas Till, Jennifer Lawrence and Caleb Landry Jones

X-Men: First Class is produced by Bad Hat Harry Productions and distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

This movie takes this kind of genre movie and steps it up and out of its niche in film. Yes, I used the word film, not movie. Instead of a movie with characters based around the glitz of super powers, this movie has created characters whose parts of their personalities happen to be super powers. This was a great feature that brought a story to the screen and all I wanted to do was see what was coming next and what would happen to whom.

Most folks who aren’t fans of X-Men or comic book franchise movies are probably looking at the idea of this movie as another “summer blockbuster” and waving it off in their heads. They’re also making a mistake of some sort. Sure, this is a movie about mutants with unique and fascinating abilities… super powers if you will. But what I wasn’t prepared for is how wonderfully portrayed the development of each character was and how they were put into a real-world story-line that pulled you out of the sense of comics and added a new dimension to this entertainment.

Of course, I always say that the success of any movie is the result of a team as a whole. And so be it.

Screenplay writers Ashley Edward Miller (Thor, Fringe, Terminator: TSCC); Zack Stentz (Thor, Fringe, Terminator: TSCC), the brazen red-haired Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Stardust) along with writer/director Matthew Vaughn (The Debt, Kick-Ass, Stardust) pulled together a story that merged the canon of the X-Men franchise with historical details from 1963 that rooted this supposed genre movie into the reality of the world. They took some liberties with the story that core fans might not like, but the average movie-goer or casual fan will have no problem with.

James McAvoy in

When you add the wonderful portrayal of characters by James McAvoy (The Consipirator, Wanted), Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre, Inglorious Basterds), the deliciously evil Kevin Bacon (Elephant White, Super), Jennifer Lawrence (The Beaver, Winter’s Bone) you get yourself a well translated film that makes you think twice and doubting if this is a genre comic-book movie!

Yea, they hit it out of the park with this one, X-Men: First Class.

The movie shows us just what we expected, the beginnings of the X-Men, specifically focusing on the young & idealistic Charles Xavier (McAvoy), and the how and why about Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto (Fassbender) is the way he is. (So extremely pro-mutant) We were also given wonderful background and motivations for both Mystique (Lawrence) and Hank McCoy aka Beast (Hoult).

Kevin Bacon and January Jones in

Of course every hero needs their cause, or foil. In this case, the evil-minded villain is Sebastian Shaw, played most eerily by Kevin Bacon. Damn he’s good at these roles.

To be honest, it would be hard to describe the opener of this movie. As with most movies, the opening scenes set the tone, pace and introduce us to the characters of a film. Imagine the first half of a 2 hour and 20 minute film being like that, and not being boring. Instead, it was intriguing. But for me to say that we start out watching the early, youthful years of Xavier and Lehnsherr, and learned what formed their personas, would be a good start. We then start to encounter the other primary characters and their impact on these two.

I’m not a comic X-Men fan… but the movies kept me interested at a level above curious and placated. This new X-Men movie took the genre and turned it into a dramatic vista of drama. The special effects didn’t really seem CGI and well, the ending was what it was. This is the beginning of all future stories we’re about to be told once again. If we have future X-Men movies, I hope they can retain most of the cast because they’ve already grown on us. And I seriously hope they retain the writing team, who has proven they know the franchise, the characters and the fans of these movies. They pulled it all together and gave us something fans can all embrace.

January Jones in I also wish to make notable mention, in addition to the above mentioned cast, Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult and more delivering X-Men in a grand fashion. Though I was a bit disappointed in Rose Byrne’s role. Her character, a CIA operative, had a decent enough part of the story up front, but through most of the movie, I almost forgot she was there. Also, there is the team of mutants. Aside from the obvious focus of Prof X and Magneto, the rest of the team were almost fillers. They had their roles, but they were smaller than expected. Then again, we had to focus on Charles and Erik’s relationship and development.

Aside from that, it was a pleasure to catch veteran or other genre actors that had smaller roles such as Ray Wise, Brendan Fehr (I thought that was him!) & Michael Ironside. And let’s not forget that classic, right in the middle of the movie, 30-second scene with… naw, I’ll let you discover that for yourself… AND DON’T SAY ANYTHING HERE in the comments! Please.

Oh… and there is no extra nugget scene during or after the credits. Just so you know.

I loved watching how the characters traversed from their original perspectives in the beginning of the movie and how they became who we know today. I enjoyed the aspects of the story that were a wonderful mix of detail and action. And to be honest, if you think there are too many trailers out there for the movie, don’t worry. There aren’t. They barely scratch the surface and leave plenty to be freshly enjoyed.

Oh but how do I rate/rank this movie? Does it transcend my popcorn scale and belong in the dramatic measure? Or….

X-Men: First Class was an excellent popcorn movie and I think, only because there was so little explored in some of the secondary characters and how they were more or less left as place-holders, then I’m going to have to say that it stays in my popcorn category.

Popcorn Movie Review Score 10I say that X-Men: First Class is a popcorn-10! (Which is a 8 on my dramatic scale. And that is perfectly where it belongs.)

If you’re a fan of superhero movies, this is a must-see. If you’re on the bubble about these kinds of movies, I don’t think you’ll mind trying this movie out. If you’re not a fan of genre movies, but like good stories, you just might like this movie.

But what do I really mean? You’ll love it!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jimmie Ray Giboney June 6, 2011 at 7:46 am

Hi Paul! Oh, I saw those movies too. But it has been so long since I’ve seen “Animal House”, I’m not sure if my memories are of it, or of “Delta House”, the “ABC” sitcom based on the movie. As for “Footloose”, I have the LP soundtrack of it. But I don’t have the movies mentioned in any format. As for Kevin Bacon himself, I’ve seen him do so many interviews by now, that I only think of him as himself, regardless of the character. I can remember “Sebastian Shaw” here, because I read it recently. Otherwise, don’t ask me the names of his previous characters! 😉

Paul June 6, 2011 at 7:08 am

Never seen the Hollow man , I always think of Kevin Bacon in Footloose or Animal House.

Jimmie Ray Giboney June 5, 2011 at 8:27 pm

You’re welcome Bruce! By now I’ve sent to you the line in question. To Paul, hey, I never noticed that he was supposed to have a German accent when he wasn’t speaking German! Then again, was he meant to have one? I probably thought of him as being foreign to Germany. Also, since I knew he was Kevin Bacon, I never thought about his character’s name. Instead, because he was playing another villain, I was comparing this part to the part in “Hollow Man”, the first time I ever saw him play a villain. This is my second time. But anyway, for Bruce and Paul, we now have another title for playing the Kevin Bacon Game with! P.S.: I do have a Website, but it seems to always be under construction, as I am no the one who made it.

Paul June 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Just got back from seeing this. I really enjoyed it!
Kevin Bacon really was evil in it, even if his German accent was terrible!

It kept moving along and had some good references to the comics and the other movies.

I agree with your score..Now where do I buy my poster of Emma Frost for my office!

Bruce Simmons June 4, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Thanks for the kind words Jimmie. I appreciate it and the editorial help. (Gads, I need an editor! LOL)

Jimmie Ray Giboney June 4, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Hello Bruce Simmons! Even though you misspelled “canon” and “fans”, I prefer your review to Roger Ebert’s marginal thumb’s down! Yours makes much more sense than his does. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who enjoys those cameos! Keep up the good job!

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