It was a chilly day yesterday, cloudy and cool. We got to the theater early to make sure we had decent seats. Boy oh boy, were we early. It was great. X-Men: First Class is a top notch film. I was a fan of the previous three X-Men films, to begin with. First Class, goes back to the root of the characters, highlighting the bond between Charles Xavier (Professor X, played by James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender), taking particular interest in the development of Magneto. I kid when I want to say their bro-mance was pretty hot and heavy ;) Anyways, the main story takes place during the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. As a tortured soul, seeking revenge for the death of his mother and the torture of his people in Nazi Germany, Erik makes a reference to being Frankenstein's monster. He wants to kill his mother's murderer (played by Kevin Bacon), the villain and the reason behind all the nuclear threats. A man known as Schmidt/Shaw, a mutant, himself, bent on the destruction of the human race, eager to start World War III and let play out the rise of the mutant generation. There was a great deal of emphasis on evolution and the inevitability of the extinction of the former, non-mutated species. It built up tension to the finale.
As a nice balance against the anger and passion of Magneto, Charles was mostly level-headed. It was refreshing to see, as he wasn't quite the staunch, bald professor yet, him try to pick up women and guzzle down copious amounts of beer, at the beginning of the film. Charles, also, brought heart to Magneto. You could tell they both have deep admiration for the other, even though they ultimately disagree on the role of the mutant. Not forgetting the rest of the cast, I enjoyed Mystique and her struggle to accept her appearance. Goodness grief, a woman thinking about her looks. Not only that, but trying to hook up with seemingly, any guy around her. She was the cliche of a woman with low self-esteem, searching for approval within the throes of a man.
That was a bit irksome.
Emma Frost played up her sexuality as well. I guess it was a sign of the times and a generalized view of women. A very funny scene is watching the Russian dignitary, who's thinking he's fondling Emma's scantily clad body, only to realize it was an illusion Emma planted in his mind while she sat on the couch eating crisps. Most of the team to make up the original 'X-Men' were young adults, not quite ready to fight any kind of villain, they seemed more content in the fact that they found each other. They were different and unique, and that brought a commonality to them. You had nice cameos from Rebecca Romain and Hugh Jackman. The movie was filled with the perfect balance of action, fun, heart and sadness. I say it was a sad ending to see that the efforts of Charles and his X-Men mean ultimately nothing to the fear and paranoia of all of the humans and the threat they feel from the mere existence of beings of extra-ordinary power.
And then, Professor X gets shot in the back by a ricocheting bullet.
James McAvoy's performance was brilliant. In the end, Magneto succeeds Shaw and dons an extremely baggy costume, making him look like a kid playing dress-up. The mutants are divided and the scene is set for what is to come. The film worked best because like the original comics, it highlighted relatable characters who cope with being out-casted, and not flashy, garish special effects and over-the-top action (Yep, I'm looking at you, Green Lantern trailer. I know I shouldn't judge before seeing the final product, but if you've been keeping up with our regular episodes, you know that I have and will probably continue to do so). I, also, want to note how awesome that Planet of the Apes trailer looked. Man, those monkeys were scary.
So, keep your damn, dirty paws off one another and check out X-Men: First Class. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm sure you'll be entertained, as well.