Sunday, June 12, 2011

X-Men First Class Movie Review: Inglorious Mutants!

X-Men First Class

Just dug the far-out new groovy mutant movie, X-Men First Class!  On one hand, I loved it, mainly because of the 1960s era setting.  The sets (inspired by many classic films) and time period were very cool and it had some of the best actions scenes out of all the X-Men movies to date.  James McAvoy as young Professor Xavier and Michael Fassbender as young Magneto brought extra dimension to each character.  It was wonderful to see some of the mythology that Chris Claremont had developed in this movie.  I loved the cameos, especially the one in the middle with the curse word that helped attain the PG-13 rating.  Seeing Alex Summers was great and his costume with the circles on the chest was a throwback to Neal Adams’ early design.  No idea who Azazel was until this movie, but I see that he was created by Chuck Austen to be Nightcrawler’s father.  The Banshee was a riot and I got a kick out of seeing how his screaming power enables him to fly.

The one big casting downer was January Jones as the White Queen.  Dammit, the White Queen needs to be played by a woman from the UK, there’s no way around it!  Rosamund Pike would have been perfect, but I guess she must have been busy?  I also didn’t like how the White Queen is subservient to Sebastian Shaw.  Getting him ice for his drink?  No effing way.

A lot of people are talking about Jennifer Lawrence like she’s the next big actress, but I found her to be wooden in a number of scenes.

SPOILERS from here on out.

A number of problems with this movie:
  • Xavier lived with Mystique for 20 years and never had any attraction for her?  Not even when she morphed into Angie Dickinson?  Come on.
  • Rose Byrne (as Moira MacTaggert) sees a Hellfire Club meeting in Vegas and decides to strip down to her underwear and infiltrate?  Pretty nice lingerie she happened to be wearing too, with garter belts and everything. 
  • Why is Rose Byrne’s character even called Moira MacTaggert if she’s not a scientist?  They tried to play off a romance between her and Charles but either it didn’t work or was left on the cutting room floor.
  • Darwin’s death—they chose the wrong X-Man.  Darwin can survive the naked vacuum of outer space for crying out loud, he could have digested that energy cocktail!  Cool effect on his skin surface though.
  • The Beast isn’t attracted to Mystique?  Come on.  She beats the heck out of Vera any day.
  • The Beast’s transformation: how come they didn’t show it all?  Less is more sometimes but this would have been great to see.
  • How did the Beast get to the airplane hanger?  You mean he can drive a car with those giant furry paws?
  • When you finally see The Beast he looks pretty dorky in the airplane hangar, wearing those horn rimmed glasses.
  • The X-Men were in a real terrible situation on the island at the end.  Magneto very intelligently found a way out of there.  But what about Xavier’s crew?  They needed to hightail it out of there fast, but it was never explained how.  Professor X has to keep his students safely hidden, but he would have needed urgent medical attention and I can’t see any way but for the military to pick them up.  Did Xavier mind wipe every military person who picked them up?
  • The lowest blow comes from Professor Xavier mind-wiping Moira at the end.  That is really destroys whatever they were trying to create between humans and mutants, let alone the trust developed between the two characters.  Moira did a lot to help out Charles and she gets rewarded by losing months of her memory?
  • It’s not exactly the feel-good ending of the year is it?  A downer ending and yet Magneto picks up your spirits a bit in the very last scene.

Despite all this, still a good popcorn flick and I love it for the 60s references alone.  While it doesn’t really tie directly into any early 60s X-Men stories, it was neat to see a comic book film set in the time period the characters originated.  Michael Fassbender as Magento really makes it worthwhile, especially the first third of the movie where he hunts down retired Nazis.  Now here is a film I wish could be made: take Michael Fassbender and put him in a Magneto movie written by Quentin Tarentino where he assembles a team of mutants to take out evil humans around the globe.  A mutant version of Inglorious Basterds.   Nuff Said!

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