X-Men: First Class is Matthew Vaughn‘s newest film, written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt, January Jones and Michael Ironside.
Erik (Michael Fassbender) survived the Nazi concentration camps, mostly because he has the power to move metal and scientist Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) wanted to study him. After the end of the war, Erik starts continually hunting down Nazis, trying to get at Shaw.
At the same time, Charles (James McAvoy) is a leading scientist in the field of genetic mutation – and himself a telepath. He is approached by CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) who saw Shaw with a couple of mutants and tries to figure out what’s going on. Charles and his adoptive sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who can take on the form of other people, start working with the CIA and pretty soon the cross paths with Erik.
Despite their different backgrounds, Erik and Charles start working together to find other mutants – and to get at Shaw.
X-Men: First Class is not a perfect film – but it’s pretty damn close. The performances are mostly amazing, the script is intelligent, the action is wonderful and there is a lot of fodder for discussion.
Just to get the obligatory things out of the way: Michael Fassbender is freaking hot. And he’s got this smouldering thing going (as always) that works amazingly well with James McAvoy. Genevieve Valentine really was spot-on, as usual… (While we’re on the subject of being spot-on: Xavier is a dick.) It doesn’t work that well for me with Raven, but it never really crossed the line to creepy.
But generaly speaking the cast was brilliant. Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult are extremely likeable and talented actors. The supporting cast was great. [SLIGHT SPOILER] I would have liked to see more of Oliver Platt, though. But there were also the awesome cameos by Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn that just completely made my day. [/SPOILER] The only one who really can’t act worth a damn is January Jones. And Kevin Bacon’s German was surprisingly Swiss and far from accent-free.
The battle between Erik and Charles is explored nicely here – their worldviews collide over and over again, both have good arguments and it’s fascinating to follow their discussion and maybe even decide on which side you’ll end up yourself. In the end it’s a film that wants you to discuss it.
Matthew Vaughn has a good sense of pacing and as a result the movie never ends up boring for even a single moment. It really is an extremely satisfying thing.