Review - X-Men: First Class

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Post by Darkwing on Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:55 am

X-Men: First Class
Starring:
James McAvoy
Michael Fassbender


Introduction
I will admit that I was originally somewhat skeptical of First Class and wouldn’t have seen it had a friend not brought me to it. However, having seen it, I was incredibly wrong to be so skeptical of it before. First Class is definitely the best of the X-Men movies and one of the best Marvel films to date. Of course it has some downfalls and discrepancies between the franchise, however the best way is to simply treat this movie as the start of its own franchise existing outside of the pre-existing X-Men movies.

Acting
First up, an outstanding job by the two leading roles. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender bring so much character and life to their roles that in my opinion, are unmatched in the X-Men films. Not only do the primary cast do an excellent job, but the background roles as well are very well done, so much emotion and motivation that it helps keep you engrossed in this film and allows you to connect with the characters involved.
James McAvoy brings a new life to Charles Xavier beyond the stereotypical role best portrayed by Patrick Stewart. Though Stewart is an incredible actor, McAvoy brings a certain life and emotion to Xavier that even Stewart didn’t portray. We get the feeling that Xavier really does care for all life and that he’s there to help both sides. There is a real and legitimate compassion for all living things that I found very easy to connect with, making Xavier feel a lot more real then he previously has in other movies.
Probably the best role in the whole film is that of Erik, portrayed by Michael Fassbender. Fassbender allows us to explore the transition of Erik into Magneto much more closely and in a way not possible before. We can feel his anger, how he’s been hurt and best of all, how we can see him transform from being a good man, to becoming the villain. There is an intensity to the role that Fassbender brings that makes Erik a very fascinating character and one that you really keep your eye on throughout the entire movie.
Main roles aside, the secondary characters are just as and in some ways more important than the leading roles. These characters help define the paths of Erik and Charles and the actors all allow us to feel the changes inside of them, how allegiances could be swapped and most importantly, what each character desires. There is much transformation in the characters, none of them end up the same way they started which is fantastic. The actors give these characters depth, even if their role is small and subtle, you never feel like you’re being cheated or that a character is simply there to fulfill a plot device.

Cinematography
The thing that stands out the most in this movie along these lines is the music. The soundtrack fits each of the characters and the events that occur in this movie. Had the movie another soundtrack, some of the emotion and depth would have been lost. There is a lot of passion in the way the music portrays the characters and again much transformation, the music giving us hints of things to come and transforming with our characters.
Aside from that, the movie is well shot. Visually it’s a treat and the special effects are very cool to watch. That being said, the movie is not overrun by special effects and they are only used when needed really. This allows us of course to focus more importantly on the characters and story instead of simply seeing this as a flat film that looks good.
Again the key to this movie are the characters and the shots and editing to this film aid in that endeavour. The way the movie is filmed helps portray the caring of Xavier, the rage and conflict behind Erik, the loneliness felt by the other mutants and the fear the humans have of the mutants.

Story
There are two ways this story can be looked at. It can either be viewed as very strong, or somewhat week with a lot of inconsistencies. As mentioned earlier, the best way to view this movie is as if it were its own X-Men franchise. Trying to line it up with the other X-Men movies will detract from the good movie that it really is and probably result in a lot of confusion.
The story is mainly about the friendship of Charles and Erik and how the world comes to know of and fear the mutants, however beyond that, it’s a story of internal struggle, of how we try to make ourselves fit in a world that doesn’t allow us to. Most importantly it’s a story of how we try to accept ourselves when all we may see in us are our frailties and faults. Of course the story isn’t sappy or anything like that, it’s very solid with an excellent blend of character and action. The movie does focus a bit more on the character side, however the way it is blended together I couldn’t personally see any other way for it to be pulled off.

Conclusion
A very enjoyable film and without a doubt the best X-Men movie yet. This movie could work as a stand alone or have sequels, as long as the sequels are to the same caliber of this movie. This movie is definitely worth the money to see on the big screen and one of the better summer blockbusters thus far into the year.

8.5/10

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Post by agentaaa on Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:26 am

awesome. To be honest, I won't have a problem seperating it from the other X-universe made by the movies, because I didn't enjoy the bad writing in it.

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Post by Darkwing on Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:01 am

I kinda liked X2 some, but this movie way trumps the others

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Post by agentaaa on Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:14 pm

I didn't like X2 for one reason in particular, though there are others I could mention.
the entire thing involving jean sacrificing herself to stop the water was a big old plothole, because there is nothing restricting her from doing that from a different location. none. whatsoever.

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Post by Darkwing on Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:36 am

I guess you;re supposed to argue that she's not yet powerful enough. That and she sorta has to die so she can become the Phoenix...

But yes, I concur with you, it's just X2 i the best of the trilogy IMO

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Post by agentaaa on Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:57 am

That would be possible if not for the fact that we know telekinesis in this movie is not affected by things in front of her. there is no reason whatsoever that she could not have done it from within the safety of the blackbird, or at least levitated right above where the water had risen. None.

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Post by Darkwing on Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:12 am

But she had to die otherwise we couldn't have X3! Razz

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Post by agentaaa on Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:44 pm

orrrr, orrrrr... They could have come up with a plausible death. one less retarded.

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Post by Darkwing on Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:11 am

But that means more screen time and movie already is like two and a half hours. You really wanted to sit through another half and hour, just so she could have a plausible death?

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Post by agentaaa on Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:53 am

I prefer a long, good movie, over a short, bad movie. If I thought it went on for a little too long, I'd still find that better than a large spurt of bad writing.
Besides, it's not even like she necessarily had to add that much more time. there's plenty of possible death scenes for Jean that wouldn't have been impossible. It didn't even necessarily have to happen towards the end. Heck, the whole phoenix thing didn't entirely need her to die in the first place.

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Post by Darkwing on Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:01 am

But, you can't be a phoenix unless you die and rise fro the ashes Razz

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Post by agentaaa on Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:27 am

True, but it could always have been a mental or emotional death.
Not that it truly matters, after all, but it did somewhat hamper my enthusiasm for the series.

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Post by Darkwing on Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:33 am

Also I think I've run out of lame excuses as to why she had to die Razz

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Post by agentaaa on Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:42 am

Indeed. Though, I'll admit I'm somewhat not liking of the X-men series in general. They're watchable, don't get me wrong, but that's the extent of how good I think most of them are. The first X-men was good, the 2nd one was terrible, and the third one was average.
Origins: Wolverine wasn't half bad though

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Post by Darkwing on Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:56 pm

It's been nearly a decade since I seen X-men, so I barely remember it. I kinda like X2, mainly cause it focuses on Wolverine for the most part. Haven't seen X3, heard by most that its the worst of the franchise.

Wolverine was meh and makes no sense in any X-men timeline, so you kinda ignore it.

First Class is a stunning movie that sets up its own version of the franchise, much like JJ Abrams Star Trek

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Post by agentaaa on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:48 pm

Well, that sounds like the awesomest thing ever, then.
Also, Xavier and Magneto in dynamic and awesome roles that make the story focus on them is awesome.

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Post by Darkwing on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:58 pm

Yes, definitely yes. Especially Magneto, man, that's a really good character set-up done in this movie. You can connect with both him and Charles, it's great, the way the origin of a villain should be done

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