X-Men: First Class
Forget that other trilogy (with the exception of the fabulous second one) X-Men: First Class has placed itself as the de facto live action translation of the comic book series that we all know of. The writing will blow you away, the characters are true to form, and the production value is splendid especially the frame for frame comparisons of Magneto’s ordeal in Nazi Germany with the one from the original movie – to be blunt about it… there is no comparison.
Speaking of Magneto this may as well had been called X-Men: Rise of Magneto because Erik Lehsnerr aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender) not only steals the show, he dominates it and makes it his. Every shot involving this character was intense. You feel the deep sadness and darkness behind his stoic face and you understand his reluctance to play ball with Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). While I hate drawing comparisons (my first sentence was tongue in cheek), X-Men: First Class’s cast of characters fits in perfectly with the original movies. Young Charles, Erik and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) act very much like younger versions of the ones we saw on the trilogy. So no worries that this is an Incredible Hulk type of reboot, this will slide in neatly in front of your collection without disrupting the flow of the X-Men saga.
Notable side characters for me were Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and Emma Frost (January Jones), two complex characters in their own right and memorable after the credits roll. While Bacon does his trademark act of naughty evil, January makes you want to reach into the screen and give her a hug… It really does suck to be a mutant and the point is driven home more than a few times throughout.
[spoiler]Racial Side-eye: What’s the deal X-men? The one Latina is a stripper who sells out to the evil side and the magical negro dies first? I get it, you did that to get me and the other racially aware critics talking… or there was nobody dark on your team of writers to point this out… anyway I won’t go full on nerd rage about it. Good show. [/spoiler]
Folks this is the real deal and if you don’t leave the theater a die-hard Magneto fan then something is wrong. It makes you want a sequel versus thinking that they should leave it alone. The characters get developed successfully, it never becomes overkill like the rest. You end up liking and understanding the entire team, not just the redhead and the sociopath with claws. This is a movie about The Uncanny X-Men and you never forget it.
If you get a chance to see this larger than life and you’re a fan of X-Men comics, cartoons or movies of the past then there is no reason to hesitate. Take it to the theater, grab a large diet coke and come back after to thank me for the recommendation. It really is that good… It’s so SPICY!