X-Men: First Class (2011) - Theatrical Release Jun 5, 2011 20:36:21 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on Jun 5, 2011 20:36:21 GMT -5
Rebooting movie franchises has become the hot thing. I can't even call it the hot new thing anymore as it's been going on for several years now, but it is still the hot thing in Hollywood.
The latest franchise to get the reboot is the X-Men series with it's new movie First Class. The producers decided to go back to the beginning (starting where the first X-Men movie started, actually), and then showing how the X-Men and Charles Xavier's school for the gifted got started.
The setting is 1962 and the Cuban missile crisis plays a key role in the movie. Intercut with the movie are actual clips of President Kennedy (and, briefly, Premiere Kruschev). This gives the movie a little more weight, but at the same time since we all know that the world didn't end in nuclear destruction the suspense is removed a bit towards the end. The real suspense is in how the X-Men help avert a nuclear holocaust, which isn't as good as not knowing how the story will end, but there is still some suspense to be found in the movie.
Returning characters (albeit through new, younger cast members) include Charles (Professor X) Xavier, Erik (Magneto) Lensherr, Raven (Mystique), and Hank (The Beast) McCoy. The new cast members are generally fairly good, and in the case of Michael Fassbender (the new Magneto) very good.
James McAvoy also had some big shoes to fill in the role of Charles Xavier, and he does a good job, quite good in spots, but rather bland in others. He's never bad, just occasionally uninspired. Patrick Stewart is a tough act to follow - and it shows.
The movie's pacing is a bit uneven - it can go from exciting to compelling to dragging just a bit (at times). X-Men: First Class might have benefitted from some tighter editing (cutting about 5 minutes out of the thing would have worked wonders), but even so it's still an exciting, entertaining movie overall. It's just one that could have been a little better with a little tighter editing (and maybe one more draft on the script which may also have been part of the occasional problem).
This is a better movie than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but that one was more fun. Wolverine was more entertaining despite being the weaker movie substantively.
So what's the verdict? X-Men: First Class is a good movie. Very good in spots. It's never bad, even if it drags in a couple spots (just a couple). Overall, it is exciting and entertaining and is able to overcome it's relatively minor flaws (although those flaws do knock the movie down a peg from a potential classic comic book superhero movie to just a good one).