Recently on the Midmoclub Podcast I mentioned that out of the dozens of superhero movies coming out this year I was looking forward to X-Men First Class the least. I said that the characters didn’t inspire me, I was unhappy with the inconsistancy of the X-Men in Marvels universe, and nothing I’d seen in the trailers for the movie had made me excited about it.
Well it’s time to eat my words. X-Men First Class was bloody awesome.
First of all, the characters were absolutely spot on. Michael Fassbender was fantastically intense as Magneto and James McAvoy suitably pompous as Professor Xavier. Like Jeff I had a few problems reconciling the movies version of Mystique with the character that appeared in the earlier films, but to be honest I much preferred this one and I make a point of fastidiously ignoring X-Men 3 anyway. The only person I found to be a bit dull was Emma Frost – but I’ve never really got her character anyway. She always seems to be wearing far too little clothes.
There were enough explosions in the film to keep me happy, but this film was far more than a mindless action flick. I very much enjoyed how they intertwined the plot with the real life events of the Cuban missile crisis; and the regular X-Men themes of prejudice and genocide reverberated throughout the movie and provided thinking material long after the closing credits had rolled.
There were some very amusing moments too, not least the fantastic cameo which was almost worth the price of admission itself.
Ian mentioned over on twitter that people had been talking about the movie as being comparable to Nolan’s Batman films. While I certainly wouldn’t go that far, I do understand where they are coming from. X-Men First Class is a superhero movie that works on both a popcorn and a cerebral level, and you can’t ask for much more than that.