Another day, another X-Men: First Class TV spot.
Just three days ago I posted an article here about the sheer number of television spots (over ten!) being tossed out by Fox prior to the release of the movie on June 3rd. And yet, here is another one.
But thankfully, this one showcases the action in a way that the previous spots have failed to do. It looks like the film may just have a lot more action in it than the trailers have lead us to believe.
As if that wasn’t enough to wet your whistle for the movie, today the first reviews have come out for the film, and they are generally positive!
Here’s what they say:
First Class contains some of the briskest and most efficient storytelling I’ve seen in any recent blockbuster. An awful lot happens, and awfully quickly at times, but it’s all clear and while some nice moments might be over in the blink of an eye, this can only reward repeat viewers.
There’s a sequence later in the film, from which much of the material for the “character trailers” was gathered, that actually uses split screen to crack the pace up one more notch. This film does not hang around – and at over two hours of running time, that’s a virtue, because when nothing drags, and the audience don’t get bored, the minutes just whistle by.
X-Men: First Class takes the series back to its roots, both figuratively, in terms of the character-focused drama, and literally, as we open with an almost shot-for-shot recreation of the beginning of Bryan Singer’s first X-Men film. In doing so, the film makes itself instantly familiar, and also, instantly engaging.
Indeed, it is in the treatment of the characters, and their relationships that the film really triumphs. Wisely Fassbender, McAvoy and Lawrence don’t even attempt to mimic the performances given by Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Rebecca Romijn in the earlier films in the franchise. Instead, Fassbender’s Erik feels almost Bond-like, both in his intelligence, and in his drive to get the job done, while McAvoy plays Xavier as a charming but conceited version of TV illusionist, Derren Brown. This creates a beautiful interplay between them, and their relationship, both the close friendship, and the underlying tension, is believable and immensely enjoyable to watch.
The other key relationship for the film is that between Singer and Vaughn, and frankly it’s seamless. Vaughn’s ability to direct action, and sense of humour run through the film, while the film still feels very much like a part of the world Singer created in his movies.
After an original, two sequels and an offshoot, you’d be forgiven for assuming that you know what to expect when walking into a theatre to see the latest in the X-Men franchise. You’d be wrong. X-Men: First Class does not forget what came before, in fact there are nods to it throughout, both fun and terribly sad, but fresh faces have breathed new life into familiar characters and their battle for acceptance has an added touch of humanity. For the first time, and I realise I may be more immune to superheroes than most, I warmed to the X-Men. James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique) and director Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, Stardust) deserve much credit for bringing X-Men up to date, refreshed, while, ironically, taking it back in time.
There are some characters who get short shrift and aren’t allowed the space, There is all the excitement, pace and spectacle that you would expect and want from an X-Men film, but what makes X-Men: First Class a film that I can’t wait to see again is the people in it.
Going into the film, I had so many expectations (most of which were set-up by the trailers). I had assumed that the advertising was being packed with all the moments in an effort to sell a action-less origin story, but I was surprised at how much action was actually the film. I don’t think anyone will see this movie and come out disappointed. It strikes a great balance of being accessible to non-comic book fans and packing some pretty cool easter eggs that comic geeks will love (I will keep this vague as I don’t want to spoil any of the fun).
While it is a joy to see the X-Men in nascent form, not all are fleshed out. Worryingly, the film’s female characters are immaterial, defined by either their vanity, or by showing up in lingerie at some point. However, if the supporting cast seems at all weak, thinly-drawn or unfamiliar, then that merely primes the stage for the chess-game between Charles and Erik. This conflict, the result of which is certain from the start, is developed and executed without a hitch, evoking the “Star Wars” prequels not only in its narrative inevitability, but in how it triumphs where Lucas failed. So despite all the ropey posters and off-putting promo material, “X-Men: First Class” manages to be a summer movie with something to say.
“X-Men: First Class” is a genuinely good movie, not just a good superhero movie. Big and bold and aggressively told, it feels to me like this is the first film in a brand-new franchise, and even the few wicked and enjoyable references to Singer’s films that are hidden in this one don’t tie it down. This is ground zero, and I think Fox just got it right, really right, in a way I can’t say it feels like they have on any of their