Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr weren’t always the famous[1] Professor X and Magento. This is their origin story, the origin story of the original X-Men. Set in the 1960s with the Cuban Missile crises at boiling point, the pot of tensions is being stirred further by Sebastian Shaw, a mutant who has been doing the rounds since the 1940s. He believes that mutants are the superior race, and that they must destroy the inferior human race in order to take their rightful place as masters of the earth. Lebensraum and all that.

X-Man First Class

I didn’t think I’d enjoy this film, I wasn’t a huge fan of The last stand and I didn’t enjoy that much of Wolverine. The first two films in this franchise I loved however, and this was much more like them.

Too much so on occasion, but lets deal with the positive first.

The story itself was entertaining. Eric’s opening scenes, some of which are the same as in the first film, I found extremely powerful. However that may because the mention of the holocaust brings so much awfulness with it. But you really do feel for young Eric in that situation, as you would for anyone, for those who did actually suffer and die in those terrible places.

Charles on the other hand comes across as an overly smart, privileged kid who really doesn’t know anything about the world. And that is really how his character stays the whole way through the film.

I really enjoyed a lot of the interaction between the mutants, although I do wish that we had slightly more motivation or even character for the bad guys, it seems as though they were only there to the badguys with cool-ass powers. Apart from Shaw, but then again Bacon usually delivers. No matter what he is in.

But the real star of this film was Fassbender. He owned the screen whenever he was on it. And his was the character that I empathised and agreed with. I have to say that Charles is a bit of an eejit in this film, too much bumbling-Hugh-Grant-ness, not enough actual thought and intelligence, apart from the bookish sort. And have to say that Magneto sold me much more than Prof X did, I think I’d’ve been on his side.

I am forced to question why on earth the film makers took the totally stereotypical Show Spoiler ▼

I mean, come on! Can you get any more cliched and predictable than that?!

I also thought that Emma Frost was underused, possibly because her acting chops weren’t up to much. It is hard to judge from this film where all she had to do was wander about, mostly in her underwear, and look purty. Jennifer Lawrence, as Raven/Mystique I thought did a fair job. Not exceptional, and definitely not as “other” as the Mystique we got with Rebecca Romijn. But I guess the character has to develop in that direction a bit yet.

So all in all a thoroughly enjoyable film, yes, it rehashed ground that we already saw covered in X-Men but it passed the time, and also had a wonderful cameo appearance.

IMDb ; Other reviews: Den of geek ; Very aware ; Geeks of doom ; Psychology today

Linknotes:

  1. or infamous

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2 Responses

  1. Harlequin says:

    Agree totally. Team Magneto all the way. Maybe it's just my hatred for McAvoy or the fact that Charles comes across as hopelessly naive but Fassbender is just wonderful and Erik is so much more compelling as a character. The backstory! The Simon Wiesenthal/James Bond stuff! The stuff he said to Mystique! THE SEXY! Brilliant stuff. I'd quite like to see more of these X-Men.

  2. Carl V. says:

    Didn't do much but skim this because I have plans on seeing it, but glad to see you liked it well enough. I don't expect it to be THE movie of the summer for me, but since I've missed seeing several of the movies I thought I'd see due to other things going on, I am hoping to at least enjoy it.