Late Review, X-Men: First Class
I just recently got the chance to watch X-Men: First Class (2011, dir. Matthew Vaughn). On the whole, the movie is one of the better comic book movies I’ve seen, but there are serious flaws present that have plagued the X-Men film franchise from the beginning.
I like the visuals of the film. The spirit of the early 60s is excellently captured. The film is rather gorgeous visually.
The acting is a mixed bag. The main thrust of the film is the relationship between Magneto and Professor Xavier. From their first encounter to their budding friendship and their reluctant break, the film excellently captures that arc. And Michael Fassbender and James MacAvoy do phenomenal jobs as Magneto and Xavier.
My only issue with the Magneto-Xavier relationship is that more exploration needs to be done beyond a montage.
The problem with this film, as with most of the X-Men films, is the lack of characterization of the vast majority of the characters. Besides Shaw, Frost, Mystique, and Beast, none of the other characters have much in the way of characterization save for some montage and party scene.
Like I said earlier, this is an endemic problem of the franchise. X-Men has a lot of characters, but film is not the medium to introduce all of them.
Personally, I like the plot, but I am not sure if the Hellfire Club is the best choice as villain. Now, the Club comes out of the 60s and the old The Avengers television series. But, the Club itself should be more than just Shaw and his team. The Hellfire Club, done right, should look and feel more like the organization Quantum from James Bond.
Sebastian Shaw is an amalgam of two characters: Sebastian Shaw and Mr. Sinister. In personality and history, he is more like Sinister. Just in this case Sinister is a mutant with Shaw’s powers amplified. Now, I’m not opposed to this mash up. In fact, I rather like it.
The plot is good as it is. I just don’t see setting up World War III as something the Hellfire Club would do. Shaw’s villainy is that he sells out his own people for profit. After all, whose company produced the Sentinels?
At the end of it all, the universe of X-Men: First Class is not the mainstream marvel universe. It is something completely different with alternate takes on the various characters. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not.
First Class is a good comic book film, definitely in my top ten,taken by itself.
Keeping the movie theme running, I’ve got two other movie posts in the works. One about this year’s Oscars, and the other about a possible Bleach live action film.