|L to R: Banshee, Magneto, Mystique, Moira MacTaggert, Beast, Professor X, and Havok|
I have been mildly looking forward to Matthew Vaughn's 'X-Men:First Class'. I loved 'Kick Ass', and 'Layer Cake' is one of my favorite movies ever. EVER. This is the guy who jump started the illustrious career of Guy Ritchie as his producer on 'Lock Stock..' and 'Snatch', and helped Daniel Craig become the leading man that would become James Bond (you really have to see 'Layer Cake', it is phenomenal). This guy makes great movies. Point blank. But with the wide reaching cast and the inclusion of some questionable character choices over characters who SHOULD have been in the movie, I was worried that this would be the 3rd or 4th best comic book movie released THIS SUMMER... and that couldn't be further from the truth. 'Thor' was great, but pales in comparison to this wonderful movie. And if 'Green Lantern' & 'Capt. America' are going to beat this one out, we are in for two great fucking movies. This is as perfect a movie as one could expect to see.
|Best Friends, Future Enemies: Professor X and Magneto|
I know, I know... this seems like high praise. But know this: I do not say any of these things lightly. I am writing this while the movie is still super fresh in my head. I still can't believe HOW good a job they did on it. In classic CCD style, I am going to give you 5 things that the gang in 'X-Men: First Class' knocked out of the box. I will stay away from spoilers (I am a weirdo who still goes to midnight premieres like a teenager, and the movie opens wide today!). Here we go:
5 Great Things About X-Men: First Class
- The characters are younger and dealing with their new powers. Most of them are in their late teens or early 20's. Even Magneto and Professor X have a certain newbie sense to their powers even though they are older then the rest of the cast. Yet Vaughn didn't downplay this. He didn't make them perfect little characters who have no problem adjusting to their new found powers.Quite the opposite, they play up their fears and insecurities. This is especially true with Magneto, who Michael Fassbender plays magnificently. He is far from the confident Magneto we have seen Sir Ian McKellan portray so well.... yet their are shades of that future character that can be seen and it makes it awesome.
- The powers that these guys and gals display are awesome, but I have to give credit to Vaughn and the rest of the special effects crew for making this movie so visually stunning. I was super impressed with Banshee and Havok. These characters had costumes and powers that are IDENTICAL to their comic book versions, yet their costumes are made more practical. I loved how they showed Banshee's scream and I loved how Havok's energy blasts look very similar to Cyclops's (his brother) eye blasts from the past X movies, albeit it out of control (hence the name Havok).
- The villains in this movie are just so great. Kevin Bacon is really coming into his own as a villain. This guy has that sinister streak in him that made him such a great piece of shit as a child molester in 'Sleepers', and this is his second awesome villain role of the year (the first was in James Gunn's 'Super', in which Bacon plays an awesome drug lord). I also liked the way Vaughn worked in second and third tier characters like Azazel and Riptide. These guys are real villains from the comics (even if you do not know who they are) and were far better served then rehashing Toad, Blob or Sabretooth. And lets not even talk about the mesmerizing January Jones, who brought the lovely Emma Frost to life. She played her masterfully, and I thought she made the characters skimpy outfits seem very practical and provided some of the best lines of the movie.
- I also loved the characters that were chosen for this movie. Vaughn had talked about the continuity issues that have plagued this franchise, and he has said this was an attempt at rectifying as much of that as possible. So including characters like Azazel (who will later become Nightcrawler's Dad with Mystique) and Havok (Alex Summers, Cyclops's brother) seems to be a nod to how those characters will come to be in the X-Men movie universe. There was some criticism for including newer characters from the comic book like Darwin or Angel in a story set in the 1960's, yet I thought this was a genius move. These characters are supporting at best, and they were needed for the roles the play (no spoilers... I swear!). A main character couldn't have filled the roles these two did, so kudos for including a lesser known character to drive the story. At least they stopped making up random characters just for the movie despite the fact there are 100's of characters in the X-Men universe.
- Making this movie a period piece was genius. Pure genius. The swinging 60's are in full effect, from Xavier's drinking and womanizing one liners to the awesome short dresses and high boots of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Emma Frost (January Jones). I loved the clothing, the look of the CIA agents (black suit and tie, so uniform), and Sebastian Shaw's ever changing look (despite the fact he doesn't age, he changes his hair and dress quite a bit). I also liked the fact that Vaughn embraced the inclusion of alcohol in the movie. There is rarely a scene in which the characters are not drinking, and anyone who watches 'Mad Men' knows that the 60's was all about the scotch and martini's baby!!! I also liked the Austin Power-esque party going on at the Hellfire Club... very well done. The movie felt right, it never felt like it was shoehorned into the 1960's. That was the key to the film for me.
|Professor X & Magneto in a strip club with a mutant stripper? This ain't your daddies X-Men Movie!|