Movie Review: X-Men First Class

There are only two words that accurately describe this film: freaking awesome.  It has been a long time since I felt the desire to see a film a second time in the theater, but this one definitely qualifies.  (Xavier Institute image courtesy of the Marvel Comic t shirts)

I will admit I approached this flick with a certain amount or trepidation.  I feel like I have been abused by the trend towards prequels over the last few years.  I know they make good Hollywood sense (reboot the franchise, hire younger, cheaper actors, get all the fan boys back in the theater, etc.) but it seems like they are all an excuse for directors to give a big F-you to the fans while spraying their musk all over the francise like a dog marking it’s territory.  It started with the whole Star Wars Episodes I-III and has declined from there.  Most recently we have had the joy of the latest Star Trek (sorry, but if you loved that movie because of the acting, casting, and special effects than you are a class one idiot and not a true fan.  The story was amateurish at best and aneurysm inducing at worst, ruining 40 years of true Star Trek history in the process.  J.J. Abrams, bite me) and then with Wolverine: Origins, a movie whose script resembled (and probably started off as) used toilet paper.

But, like a battered housewife returning to her abusive, alcoholic husband, I come back to yet another prequel, hoping against hope that it won’t kick me in the balls for the temerity of wanting to like it, because really, I do want to like this film.  Miracle of miracles, it is indeed likable.

I don’t want to get into the story in too much detail, as if you are reading this than you will most likely see it soon.  It starts with a recreation of the heartbreaking opening scene of Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) being separated from his parents at Auschwitz in the first movie.  It follows his and Charles Xavier’s development as young adults in 1962.  They crowbar in Mystique as Professor X’s adopted sister somehow.  Anyway, Magneto is gung ho to kill the doctor who experimented on him in the concentration camp while Xavier is running around being a good guy.  They team up and recruit a bunch of other mutants.  Mutant hijinks ensue.  There is a great training montage and generally cool stuff happens.  Overall the story flows well, is exciting, and not written for the idiots who loved the last Star Trek movie.

As always stars first.  Comic book movie.  One star.  Great story that didn’t completely destroy any of the known comic book “history”.  Two stars.  All the actors (and I mean every single one of them) was brilliantly cast and acted extremely well.  They all stayed true to the character.  Three stars.  Decent CGI and special effects, but not forced in like certain moronic directors who’s names rhyme with mucus.  One star.  They had a brief cameo by Hugh Jackman as Logan but didn’t feel the need to force him or any of the more modern X-men into the story.  One star.  Kevin Bacon as the super villain.  One star.  Honest to god character development for Magneto, Mystique, and Professor X.  Two stars.  Moira McTaggart is in it and is played by the super hot Rose Byrne, whom I gave a nod to recently for her role as Helen in Bridesmaids.  She looked hotter here.  One star.  Rose Byrne manages to find a legitimate excuse to run around in her underwear for ten minutes.  One star.  The plot had no holes that I could perceive, and none of the decisions or motivations aggravated or puzzled me.  One star.  With a few exceptions they didn’t try to modernize the story to make it more palatable for our soft American brains.  One star.  The subplot around Beast was really cool.  One star.  They didn’t shove a cheesy romance story down our throat in a pathetic attempt to make women like this movie more (there was a little undertone between Mystique and Magneto, but that was more foreshadowing of what was to come).  One star.  One more bonus star for general awesomeness.  Total:  a whopping 18 stars.

Now the black holes.  (Yes, even this gets a few.  If I gave a movie all stars and no black holes that would diminish what little credibility I have, or something).  They tweaked the Mystique story in order for her to have an emotional connection with Charles Xavier.  One black hole.  I’m sorry, but I don’t care how far advanced your personal technology might be to the rest of the world, no one in 1962 is making wheelchairs out of billet aluminum.  One black hole.  The managed to turn a bunch of slacker teenage mutants into the highly trained X-men in just a week of training (elapsed time).  One black hole.  If you are going to hide from an agency who already knows your name your ancestral estate doesn’t strike me as the best place to do it.  One black hole.  Total: 4 black holes.

14 stars!  Truly amazing.  Also, the four black holes I gave it were super duper nit picky, so feel free to disregard those and run with the original 18.  Probably my favorite movie this year.  If you don’t go see this you will miss out and a great experience.  Biggest screen you can find.

By the way, it is of course several months in the future but I have decided towards the end of the year I will do my own personal Best Film or Worst Film of the year.  Kind of like the Academy Awards, only without all the celebrities hanging out in my office (who want’s that?).  I need to think of a name for my awards, like Nerdy’s or whatever.  Also, amusing award titles are needed, like “Most IBS Inducing Fight Sequence”.  All suggestions will be gratefully considered.  Feel free to post a reply here or email me at david@nerdkungfu.com.  Thanks


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