Wednesday, 1 June 2011

X-Men: First Class (2011)

'Mutant and proud'

Running Time: 132 mins
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn
Starring:  James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jason Flemyng, Lucas Till
Screenplay: Jane Goldman, Zack Stentz, Ashley Miller, Jamie Moss,
UK Release Date: Officially 1st June 2011

Quick Plot: It's 1962 and mutants are unknown to humans. With the evolution of human cells, more mutants are discovering their powers like Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lansherr did back in the 40s. Mutant Sebastian Shaw and his team of mutants are using their powers to their advantage to try and bring the human world to a standstill and let mutants reign. Overseen by a secret US government organisation, Charles and Erik join forces with other young special individuals, in hope that their new team can stop Shaw and Frost.

Review: 5 stars? Yeah sure why not, I enjoyed it, loved it and it's a new favourite film. Read on to see why.
 If you read my review of Thor you know I love Marvel. Marvel films for that matter, I have yet to read more comics. Even so, the stories and the superheros fascinate me. The X-Men trilogy are my favourite Marvel films and I'm not just saying that. I was never fond of Spider-man (although all that will change I'm sure..) and Iron Man and the Hulk are fantastic but it's X-Men that I've obsessed over for a few years now. Sadly as most of us know, X-Men Origins: Wolverine wasn't exactly the prequel film us Marvel fans wanted (I liked it because of Wolverine but it wasn't a good film) but I'm typing this as a proud Marvel fan: this is the film we've been waiting for. It's fast, exhilarating, classic X-Men humour, the characters are so sophisticated and yes the action is all there.
Matthew Vaughn is, in my opinion one of the most fantastic directors of today. Kick Ass, Stardust and Layercake are incredible and come on, you really can't get much more of a wider genre than that! Unless of course his next film is maybe a musical, horror or animation. His partnership with Jane Goldman is a beautiful team in it's self. Stardust, Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class are all partly written by Jane Goldman who I'm going to be honest, I want to be. The way the story on screen is much more deeper and passionate than you first think really grabs the plot line for the audience and makes this collaborative film duo's final product perfect. Vaughn has a way of filming his films, with so much, power (hey maybe he's a mutant too?) and brilliance I even noticed a few actions were shot, edited and acted out in similar ways to Kick-Ass which you know has got to be good. Some of my favourite scenes were edited like Hulk was, as a comic book, with parallel editing (my media knowledge edging it's way in here) which I found more establishable with the superhero theme because you soon forget that at first after entering the film.
The thing I liked about this film is that it wasn't in 3D. Thor was and even in 2D I could tell from the scenes that would have powerfully been in 3D would have been good but X-Men: First Class still didn't need this. Vaughn isn't one for huge amounts of money, it's about making the cinematic experience for the audience worthwhile. A few months back I was reading an interview with Matthew Vaughn in Empire where he said that he didn't want to cast actors who looked like Sir Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart instead cast people who he felt were Erik Lansherr and Professor Charles Xavier which of course is the right way to cast actors. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy take the iconic characters and take them back to where they originated. Why Magneto has so much anger, why Professor X is so kind and grateful to humans. The one thing I certainly enjoyed was their bonding. Erik and Charles are like any usual best friends, even brothers, but in First Class there was always that uncomfortableness between them on screen because of course deep down one is good and one is bad. But Fassbender's portrayal of a character I have always been weary of made me love his history, his sensitive side and the determination he has to be unique, to be iconic and use his powers to the best of his ability. Fassbender has certainly got a great career going, his small role in Inglorious Basterds was great as was  his fantastic role in the 2009 film Fishtank. But it's no wonder that I'm fascinated by James McAvoy as Charles Xavier. I've had a little McAvoy obsession going in the past few weeks after watching the delightful Starter For 10 and the surprisingly incredible Wanted, he really does have a talent. I bet that on the set of X-Men: First Class, without the effects and computer generated images, reading people's minds was tough. (Haha) To end this awkwardness..the lead roles are fantastically portrayed and Fassbender and McAvoy have done justice to the characters.
The younger actors were my favourites! Jennifer Lawrence for all you film fans out there must have by now heard the news of the truly great casting for her to be Katniss Everdeen in the great book trilogy The Hunger Games. Lawrence was even nominated for an Oscar last season for her fantastic role in Winter's Bone which she deserved just as much as Natalie Portman did for Black Swan I think. Mystique/Raven has been a character in X-Men I've never liked, I've hated her arrogance, her way of misleading genuinely nice characters and being the biggest suck up to Magneto but after X-Men: First Class I've got to be honest- she's my favourite character in the film. Her story is emotional, typical and it works so well but it's all down to the way Lawrence plays her, so passionately and effortless as if she's known her tale for a long time. Her bond with Professor X, Magneto and Beast/Hank McCoy really are beautifully crafted and delicate. This film really did make me like the later evil characters. Nicholas Hoult as Beast and even Lucas Till as Havoc were perfect. All the younger cast for that matter, perfectly fit their mutations and had their own individual minds that I think is sadly lost amongst most films nowadays.
I could go on and on about how I loved the cast, probably one of my favourite casts for a film this year in fact! But I'd be here all night. I've still got to mention the cameo. The other week my cousin and I were discussing what cameos we thought would be in it. My cousin decided on a very, very famous X-Men character that I wasn't really sure about but yes you guessed it- my cousin was correct. I'm sure you know who I'm talking about if you're reading this anyway, but let me not spoil it for those who have kind minds. Let's just say, the packed screen I was in, myself and my Mother were laughing..a lot. It's very smart and is wait it is..the best cameo of a film this year.
X-Men films have a reputation for being funny. Not laugh-out-loud-comedy-superhero-film-that-is-stupid but my type of funny. Reference funny. I can't repeat the lines without spoiling the film, but Charles Xavier, Magneto and all the other characters who later go on to appear in X-Men 1,2 and 3 make small references which are hilarious if you're a fan. Going back to my review of  The Hangover: Part II I said that it made too many jokes about the previous film and couldn't stand alone, you could say X-Men did this. Especially with the cameos, jokes and characters but X-Men: First Class can stand alone. The secondary characters and the fondness of the newly discovered mutations are the funny side of it and I heard a lot of adults laughing in the cinema laughing. If you're a fan you're obviously going to love it, it's a great new X-Men story, a fantastic prequel and who knows? Maybe an incredible start to a new trilogy but don't go mad if you haven't seen the previous films. You don't need to, this film stands alone and I hope it will forever be standing alone and not grouped up with the other films.
Yes the effects were a little dodgy (mostly on Beast) and yes the film isn't exactly the best way of telling the bromance of Professor X and Magneto, instead it travels slightly off task and plays it in a safer way than going all on on an extravagant storyline but it's excellent nonetheless. As a fan, I knew how the film was going to end but I didn't want it too. In my ideal world, X and Magneto would have become bestest friends forever and ever. Everyone would live happily ever after and humans and mutants would live in harmony. But this is a superhero film and nothing can ever be this ideal. Of course I wouldn't have really wanted it any other way.
Am still unsure about whether or not I would want another trilogy, I would probably be happy with it if it was Vaughn and Goldman but if this precious story gets into the wrong hands I will be very angry.
Thor and X-Men: First Class have set a level for Captain America and Green Lantern. I wonder if they'll even come close to being as good.

Everything you want a prequel to be. Funny, moving and a great storyline. The characters are unique and it's perfect for any X-Men/Marvel fan. But if you don't like superhero films. Don't watch it. Simple.

X-Men: First Class official Teaser Trailer
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  1. yes! I knew it was going to be good! ok so that was looong but it didnt matter because all was X-men and nothing hurt...Im going to deceive someone to go see it wiht me this friends usually know I know about the good movies but we end up watching sucky movies or just meh, not the ones I wanted..anyways this is just perfect and no one should tell u it isnt...GREAT review..oh and I know what is the cameo I think I ruined it for myself..

  2. Brilliant story telling on par with the Dark Knight. The Actors are all amazing after the X-Men Trilogy which in my opinion was lacking terribly. What a breath of fresh air breathed back in the series


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