X-Men: First Class


Thrilling.  Entertaining. Thoughtful.  Successful.

This prequel is probably the best I’ve ever seen in a movie series.  Especially, given the last two failures in the X-Men film franchise.  X-Men: First Class is set in the creative context of WWII and the Cold War.  There was a whole lot of set up dedicated to character development and establishing relationships.  Even though this time was taken from action sequences, I appreciated the care placed in the origin story of X-Men.

Even more, the development of the story including Magneto’s experience in the Holocaust and the USA/Soviet show down provided really interesting insight into the rift between Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender).  Moreover, Magneto’s story makes you empathize with his future evil self.  You feel moved by his pain and you understand his perspective.  This makes for an interesting villain, although, he’s not really the villain in this story.  But what a great dynamic duo of good and evil.  Magneto and Professor X, first friends, but then dear enemies as a matter of principle.  Even as enemies, they treat each other with mutual respect and civility – I love how complicated it is.

Then there’s the relationship between Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Professor X – what a beautiful touch.  And oh – Hank McCoy – one of my favorite X-Men.  I was happy to see him materialized onto the screen.  Although Beast wasn’t nearly as handsome as I had hoped.  Sometimes action movie humor really grinds my gears, but these little jokes and cameos (Rebecca Romijn and Hugh Jackman) got me on my good side.

The action sequences are thrilling.  Director Matthew Vaughn had a great vision for the interpretation of the mutant powers – especially the Nazi villain – Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).  We all love to hate the Nazis.  Shaw can suck in nuclear energy and spit it out like fireballs – sweeeet!  I was a little disappointed in Angel Salvadore, Azazel, and Riptide – I wish the villains were more bad ass – but you can’t get everything, right?  And now for some gratuitous eye candy…

X-Men: First Class continues the socially conscious message of the film series that mirrors the Civil Rights Movement, it fits the time period, too.  This prequel showcases the young, teen-like angst of the cause.  These earlier X-Men still struggle with their identity and rebellion, wrestling with the decision to “pass” as “normal” or be proud of who they are (even in blue form).  I like purpose in my action films… $7

If you heart X-Men: First Class:

Recommendations from Yolkie:

Valkyrie
X2: X-Men United
The Dark Knight

OSCAR PICKS

In anticipation for the upcoming Oscars, the Fat Kids are making Oscar picks.  Here are the picks for the Mug.  They are RANKED in order from choicest pick at the top, to suckiest at the bottom.  The films that have not been seen are marked “N/A”.  And for the record, best leading actor should have gone to Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine.

BEST PICTURE

Black Swan

 

 

The Social Network
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
True Grit
Winter’s Bone
The Kids Are All Right
Toy Story 3
Inception
127 Hours (N/A)

ACTRESS IN LEADING ROLE

Natalie Portman

 

 

Nicole Kidman
Michelle Williams
Jennifer Lawrence
Annette Bening

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Colin Firth

 

 

Jeff Bridges
Jesse Eisenberg
James Franco (N/A)
Javier Bardem (N/A)

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Hailee Steinfield

 

 

Melissa Leo
Amy Adams
Helena Bonham Carter
Jacki Weaver (N/A)

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Christian Bale

 

 

John Hawkes
Geoffrey Rush
Mark Ruffalo
Jeremy Renner (N/A)

DIRECTING

Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan

 

 

David O. Russel for The Fighter
David Fincher for The Social Network
Tom Hopper for The King’s Speech
Coen Brothers for True Grit

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