Thursday, June 9, 2011
A Pretty Kickass First Class
Speaking of that 1960's feel, the film's plot puts the tensions of the timeline into good use; its major catastrophe deals with the missile crisis. As anyone who has seen the trailer should know, First Class takes place before the decades of all of the X-Men films that have been released to theaters. It's an origin story for certain characters, taking a look at the beginnings of two of the old-as-we've-seen-them main characters: Magneto and Professor X. We see Magneto (Fassbender) as a child, as he learns to move metals with his mind. In a different part of the world, Oxford, we meet Professor X (James McAvoy), who is a genius when it comes to genetic mutations and creatively uses this knowledge to try and pick up attractive girls at bars. Once the two characters meet, they realize they have a common (and ruthless enemy): a man by the name of Sebastian Shaw, in a role that Kevin Bacon looks like he is having fun with. With the way Shaw acts, shooting unarmed women and using his genetic mutation to absorb energy around him to powerful effect, it's no wonder that the CIA finds him to be an essential threat. So when the CIA recruits Xavier and the mutants that he has found to help stop Shaw (along with Magneto), high-tech gadgetry, violence, and humor ensue on a backdrop dealing with a potential world-ending event.
As I stated before, director Matthew Vaughn's previous film was last year's Kick-Ass, which was my 6th favorite movie of 2010. First Class isn't nearly as good as that film, but it is still packed with action, explosions and witty humor--just of the PG-13 variety. It's a serviceable comic-book action movie with flashes of brilliance, mainly due to the two lead actors and their respective acting prowess. But it also has moments of eye-rolling, with some of the interactions between the younger characters, the stupidity of the government portrayal, and the acting of January Jones coming to mind. But with a scandal breaking that director Matthew Vaughn had an affair with and impregnated Ms. Jones during filming, it sort of makes sense: who needs acting when you have a pair of tits like that? (B)