X-MEN: FIRST CLASS is a smart superhero
film- a credit to all of the writers who worked on the script. The 1960s
setting is fully realized as you get to feel the cold war and racism metaphors (because the mutants are different). The actions of the characters drive the story. The
conclusion is a little rushed and most of the X-Men team is thinly realized. I
would have loved to see the team bond more and get trained more while the first half of the film neatly introduces Charles
and Erik. Yet the characters the film does develop fully are Charles, Erik,
Raven, and Sebastian Shaw. Moira MacTaggert starts out as a character that
is developed only to act more like a character that Charles can play off at times.
This X-MEN prequel is unlike many superhero
films. It feels like a 1960s spy thriller mixed in with a little of James Bond films (I think scriptwriters Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz may have had a hand
in writing the film into that feel). Matthew Vaughn is able to direct a
film that is different from his previous two that you wonder what can he not direct.
He is a solid film director. He has assembled a good cast of actors including
three or four that stand out from the rest like James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, and Jennifer Lawrence (who
may will soon know as Katniss in next year's adaptation of THE HUNGER GAMES).
Also watch out for a certain cameo by a certain X-Men in one of the humorous moments of the film . McAvoy shows off the idealism of Charles while Erik is driven by revenge and his mistrust for
humans. Erik believes mutants are the next step in evolution and humans
are inferior. Michael Fassbender makes you believe that Erik only does
things if it fits in with what he needs to do to get to his goal of revenge. Erik
and Charles start out as friends only to see their ideas divide them.
I know there is a division of where the
next X-MEN film should go- Matthew Vaughn wants a film to take place in the 1970s while others may want a sequel to X-MEN:
LAST STAND. I hope they can follow up with the events of X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
as you see Charles develop his school to teach the mutants. This
prequel has re-energized the X-MEN series and it all due to a combination of factors of a good cast, script, and director. I want to see the series to continue in that direction.
X MARKS THE SPOT Viewing Mode allows you
to view special feature content by clicking on the X while watching the movie.
CEREBRO: MUTANT TRACKER gives brief featurettes
on the various mutants in the X-MEN series with clips from all the movies each mutant was in.
CHILDREN OF THE ATOM (70 minutes) - an
eight part documentary (the first two parts are also available on the DVD). The
documentary shows the attention director Matthew Vaughn put into making the bets of the X-MEN series and it is unfortunate
he had to bow out of his first chance to direct an X-MEN film (the flawed X-MEN: LAST STAND which went to director Brett Ratner):
SECOND GENESIS- the origins of FIRST CLASS
BAND OF BROTHERS- casting of FIRST CLASS
TRANSFORMATION- the make-up work on Beast, Mystique, and Azazel
SUITING UP- the costume design of FIRST
CLASS. the costumes are more faithful to the comics than previous X-MEN films
NEW FRONTIER: A DOES OF STYLE- production design. Many 1960s sets had to be built and
they were inspired by the 1960s James Bond films and other 1960s films like DR. STRANGLOVE.
The X-Jet set was built to rotate and tilt as many times as they wanted. They
flew over some of the original mansion sets to help match the X-Mansion up with the other films.
PULLING OFF THE IMPOSSIBLE- special effects
of FIRST CLASS
SOUND AND FURY- music of FIRST CLASS
an epilogue hints at where the sequels
could go and the actors reflect on the movie
13 deleted and extended scenes (over 14
minutes of scenes) show more training scenes and a cut subplot dealing with the love life of Charles.
Also included in the combo pack (exclusive
to Target) is the DVD of the movie and a digital copy of the film (and a code to download 10 free X-Men digital comics.
FINAL ANALYSIS: X-MEN FIRST
CLASS is the finest of the X-MEN films and I hope they make a sequel very soon . The deleted scenes and making-of
documentary are the best extras. I wish they had an audio commentary or two recorded for the movie or reasons why the
deleted scenes were cut.
this review is (c)9-14-2011 David
Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org