The X-Men are back in “ X-Men The First Class”. The first three X-Men movies were average at best. Yes, even the third one. It was not great by any means, but it was still a decent entree into the series. Then they go and ruin everything with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”(that is easily one of the worst Marvel movies ever made). That movie left the series dead in the water. So when I heard that they were making another prequel, I was expecting another awful one. Then I started to hear some positive things. Matthew Vaughn is going to direct the movie, this is the guy who brought “Kick-Ass”, a very funny movie. Then I heard that James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were going to be playing the young Professor X and Magneto. Also, Jennifer Lawrence was going to play Mystic (she was fresh off her Oscar nomination for “Winters Bone”). So I dragged myself to see it, and I was surprised. It was not fantastic, but it was certainly the most fun I have has while watching an X-Men movie.
“X-Men: First Class” charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants(some familiar ones, and some new ones), to stop Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened. Witch began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men. The plot also involves many attempts by CIA agent Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne) to use Charles to fight Sebastian Shaw(Kevin Bacon), who has become a very great threat.
The acting was pretty good throughout, save for January Jones. She was the only one who didn’t seem to try at all, I don’t think she wanted to be their (that is what it seems like while watching her acting). Jennifer Lawrence didn’t seem like the ideal Mystic to me, but she still does a fine job. Kevin Bacon is surprisingly good as the villain, I wasn’t expecting such a great performance from him. Even though his performance is great, the villain itself is a pretty empty one. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy both do a great job and were perfectly cast. It is their movie, and they manage to carry it through all the ups and downs. Those two were perfectly cast. The other actors who play the mutant teenagers they recruit are not bad, but their nothing special. Hugh Jackman has a small cameo, and he nails it. It is the funniest thing in the movie.
The movie suffers by having way to many characters. Some movies can juggle a lot of characters, this one can’t though. I wish it focused more on Charles and Erik, and not wasted time on other characters that we don’t reall care about, and were poorly developed. The teenage mutants are not developed in the least, and in the end they all come off as filler characters. They wasted Mystic as well. She is a great character, but the way they use her here just ruins what could have been. I mean she is not completely wasted, but she had a lot more potential. The relationship between Charles and Erik was handled excellently well. There should have been more scenes between them, that aspect of the movie was the most interesting thing by far. Making them the only really main characters, and then adding just around three or four other small developed characters in the mix would have made a way better movie. I mean the movie keeps throwing extra characters at you when you just want to focus on the main five.
The special effects are top notch here. All the battles are great, and they keep us very engaged for the most part. The only bad special effects in the entire movie was Beast. He looked like he was wearing a rug suit. I don’t know who thought that looked cool, but this could have easily been changed to look better.
I said I was surprised at how good it was, and I was. But after that wears off, there is both disappointment and surprise. Yes, it is the best X-Men, but everything here could have been so much more. There are plot holes, too many undeveloped characters, the script and directing could have used work as well. I hope the sequel fixes some of these problems (of course there has to be a sequel, it will probably become a trilogy). Aside from all the flaws though, this is still very entertaining movie.