X-men First Class

Posted by ron On June - 3 - 2011

Wouldn't have the same effect if Prof X & Magneto played scrabble now would it?

From Winter's Bone Jennifer Lawrence played Mystique who was not only the franchise's centerpiece but also the most developed mutant to date.


During a time of change, idealism collided with reality as young men and women charged with a gift to change humanity must decide to continue supporting it or establish a new world order in X-men First Class. Loosely based off the Marvel Comic book property, X-men First Class’s over convoluted spy plotted nearly overshadowed the tremendous performance of the Oscar nominated, Jennifer Lawrence as the shape shifter Mystique. Stuck between two mentors, a young flawed idealist Charles Xavier and deeply troubled fascist Eric Lehnsherr she struggled for acceptance not only in the world but also within her evolved species. Sounds familiar? She could easily be mistaken for a black woman rejected for the color of her skin amidst the talk for equality. By far, Mystique was the film’s most developed character and clearly the centerpiece of the Fox produced X-films to date. By the end of the film, she was no longer an unsure, timid girl hiding behind Xavier’s manipulative coddling but a sure, strong woman able to step from a shadow and make her own decisions. Racial prejudice has always been the strength and most relatable concept of the uncanny X-men. While Lawrence’s beauty still shined through blue make up and selectively minimal scales, the audience easily accepted the concept that her character should be as repulsive as a bad case of blue shingles.

What made the X-men property such a hot topic were the all too human flaws of these characters that made the film more identifiable with the source material. James McAvoy’s passive Charles Xavier jutztapozed against Michael Fassbender’s aggressive Erik Lehnsherr served as the film’s lynchpins. One character compensated for the other’s shortcomings as they challenged each other. The rest of the mutants were undeveloped. Havok, Banshee, and Angel Salvadore had no material from which to carve some kind of identity from. Gone Baby Gone’s Edi Gathegi’s talents were wasted in a character that should have worn a red ensign Star Trek uniform with with an X. Similar problem with Emma Frost. January Jones had no material to work with besides fetching Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw a sandwich.
Rose Byrne didn’t have a mutant power but she disappeared quite a bit. As Moria MacTaggert upgraded to CIA agent, we never got a good impression of what was her stake in this conflict. Where were her loyalties? It’s all a jumbled mess except Lawrence’s Mystique whose brief scenes with Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy were decent transition points before he dressed in a horrible Bill the Cat meets cookie monster outfit and piloted the Blackbird.

Director Mathew Vaughn created a sophisticated look of a film that didn’t feel like it was in the 60s outside of the JFK speech delivered. Much like the first X-film, every scene felt self-contained, while X-2 remained the strongest because it was one seamless story with an objective. The plot of the film was ridiculous involving a sub ran by well-dressed mutants plotting to start a nuclear war of divide and conquer. Only problem, what kind of world full of radiation would be worth ruling over? Slight oversight made the film falter in the last third especially in a scene where both the Soviets and USA fire ammunition on the beach thinking that it was the opposing side. Alas, it was all in an effect to construct one loud and impressive crescendo of a final conflict. While it might get a pass from non-comic book fans, fan boys who never needed a play book to keep up could easily see a gaping hole to its design. In the end, X-men First Class wasn’t so much about making a seamless film but a prelaunch that would attract old fans of the films and new ones.

X-men First Class rates as a decent tasting beer but nothing more than a cold one that is tasty but nothing I would want to do again.

Where's my straw goddam it?


Cheers,
Ron

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Thoughts on Cinema is dedicated to film reviews. An uncompromising opinion on the intellectual, artistic, and entertainment value to the consumer. With rising ticket prices, we dedicate ourselves to present to you content regarding what you should or should not be viewing. -Ronald H. Pollock Founder and Editor in Chief

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