Saturday, June 4, 2011

X-Men: First Class

I usually don't bother writing any kind of movie review or write-up unless the words just happen to jump out to me. But it's funny, I feel compelled to write about this movie, despite not really have much of anything coming to mind.

I guess I'll start off by saying to lower your expectations. The movie was certainly good, but it didn't nearly live up to my admittedly ridiculous expectations. It's quite possibly the best of the X-Men franchise thus far, maybe about on par in quality to the first two in the series. But it still didn't feel like everything was quite clicking into place.

This is the origins story for the X-Men franchise as a whole. We see just a little of Charles Xavier's and Mystique's origins, but most of the early focus is on the birth of Magneto. That was one of the biggest selling points for me. After all, the rumored X-Men Origins: Magneto was one of my most anticipated movies, but I guess it wasn't easy trying to put together a superhero based Holocaust movie, so we're getting his origin story here instead. However, the big scene from Erik's childhood comes off as really corny and over-dramatic, which was a bit of a let down.

The stand out performances come from James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and especially Michael Fassbender, who does a tremendous job playing a young Magneto. These two light up the screen every time they appear, which frankly isn't often enough. Yeah, they're in most of the movie, but when the focus shifts to other minor character, the film tends to drag at times.

It's not that the supporting cast is horrible or anything. I think it's just that there's too many other characters, and as a result, we don't really get a chance to see them develop and care all that much about them. So when the focus does shift to these characters, like I said, the movie just becomes a little less interesting. But on a slightly related note, the cameos in this film are fantastic!

It is a good thing that McAvoy and Fassbender share most of the film, though, because these two put on some tremendous performances, and have great chemistry together. I wish we could have seen more of them in scenes together, and possibly seen more of their developing friendship, as it truly is the bond between these two characters that keeps this movie afloat. They have such vastly different ideals, yet there's a sincere respect between the two that never falters, even when their ideals force them to part ways.

One of the things that sort of let me down about this movie was that it just didn't feel all that epic, which was kind of odd considering the world altering stakes that were at hand. The previews made this look to be the biggest epic to come out of Marvel yet, but while the effects were mostly good and the set pieces were decent, I never really got that big sense of scale that I'd expect from the premise.

Now I said the effects were mostly good, but they weren't all winners. Beast especially looked horrible. And considering how good they made him look in X-Men: The Last Stand five years ago, it's just unacceptable to see him look so bad this time out. I also wasn't a big fan of the way his character was portrayed, though it's supposed to be a much younger version of the character, so I can forgive this one.

A funny thing about this film is the continuity issues with the rest of the series. It makes several references to the other four films, yet there's several moments in this movie which contradict certain events that are supposed to take place in those films. This isn't really a knock against the movie so much as just something you might notice. And none of it is anything too major, assuming you're able to just ignore it and not give it much thought.

This film brought its own fresh style to the X-Men franchise, which works for the most part. Overall, while it wasn't what I was expecting, it was still a pretty good, enjoyable film. And hey, look at that, I actually had a lot more to say about this film than I thought!

1 comment:

  1. I love this movie a lot. Considering how much I abhor X3, this is a bright spot on the X-Men movie franchise. I wonder what they are going to do next, now that X-Men: First Class is out.