Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Running Time: 132 mins
X-Men: First Class is an American film and tells the origins story of the main members of the X-Men: Charles Xavier, Magneto, Mystique and others. In this edition of the series, the group is created by Xavier after he is called upon by the US government to help prevent the Soviet Union from sparking WW3 by way of The Cuban Missile Crisis.
Just to say, I went into this film having a very basic knowledge of this franchise, but never having seen a film, however I was welcomed fantastically to the series, with a film that easily introduces the characters, and by the end, I felt as if I knew everything about the main men of the franchise.
Of course, not everything, but I have to say that if you’re a newcomer to X-Men, don’t hold back, because this film is hugely exciting, intelligent, set amidst an intriguing, although exaggerated, historical context and manages to keep you enticed in its fascinating story from start to finish.
I am not the biggest advocate of the superhero genre. I think that it’s usually very cheesy and impossible to believe or truly enjoy just because of these cool powers, and although I did have a few moments like that in this film, it changed my outlook on the genre, as it brings a very serious note to the concept of superheroes and their characters/alter egos, while also maintaining a partly comical note to keep up the fun.
There’s some fantastic character development in this film, and along with an enthralling screenplay, you really get to know the main men of the X-Men well, from their emotional and physical strengths and weaknesses, to their fascinating, but largely strained relationships with various other protagonists.
And there’s also some brilliant action here. What it does so brilliantly is keep a good blend between dialogue and calmer scenes as well as big blockbuster action sequences, which are, especially in the case of the climax, usually thrilling and hugely entertaining to watch, never seeming relentless and boring, rather extremely entertaining.
On the whole, this film has all the right elements to make not only a good comic book movie, but simply a very solid film, however there’s one smaller thing that really cements it, and that’s James McAvoy’s performance as Charles Xavier.
Having seen the odd clip of Patrick Stewart being the telepathic professor, I know of the main elements of the character, and McAvoy absolutely cracked it, bringing together Xavier’s genius as well as his simple desire for peace to make him a character right up there with the sci-fi greats, at the heights of Yoda even, which was great to see.
Overall, this gets a 7.7, because it had a great, intelligent and exciting story, with lots of good action, and a fantastic central performance.