The Intrepids & The Institution

These X-Men are really "First Class"!
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Author:  Zoser [ Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:20 am ]
Post subject:  These X-Men are really "First Class"!

This year has been a mixed bag so far in terms of film releases - on one hand there were amazing releases like Branagh's "Thor", on the other hand the "Stranger Tides" had me sink to new levels of boredom, frustration and disappointment. So I was a bit apprehensive when I sat down in my favourite seat (frond, middle) for the latest instalment of the "X-Men" franchise, which I had almost written off after the unspeakable mess (no relation to our cool Tank) that is "X3-Last Stand" or "Wolverine" which managed the feat to destroy with Wolverine and Deadpool two ultimate badasses in one film.

But I am now happy to say that the future of the "X-Men" has never looked brighter than with this dark, action-packed yet mostly character-driven roller-coaster ride of a film. While I had some minor problems with it, overall I was blown away and from the buzz in the audience when they filed out, I was not alone with it. IMHO this is the best X-Men yet, and it is due a place amongst Zoser's personal top 3 or 4 in terms of superhero flicks. I will now try to outline - without too many spoilers - why I like this one so much.

Using the "Cold War" era with the communist hunts and the Cuba crisis as a backdrop has proven to be a brilliant decision, not only because it is a logical choice if you want to see young Charles and Erik. But it also puts the character into this thoroughly unpleasant episode of human history with suspicion, intolerance and hate around every corner - while the US were commie-hunting they found out that there is more weird stuff going on. Also you do not have that much high-tech stuff about, even though Hank McCoy naturally has some nice gizmos to contribute.

While not original or new, the plot is interesting and well paced with some interesting twists in the process. I very much liked the well balanced mix of fictitious and real events - it felt like a real historic event, if you are willing to suspend some disbelief. The front-lines are re-drawn several times and allies become enemies in the blink of an eye - without it feeling arbitrary or stupid. The film has the audacity to expect it is talking to a thinking audience and it does not explain every single bit in baby-talk.

Of course this is a comic book adaptation so you can expect to see some Kick-Ass *wink* action in this film, but the directors understand that the important piece of a good film are strong characters the audience can relate to. While the perfectly cast Erik and Charles and to a lesser extent Sebastian Shaw naturally overshadow the other characters a bit, I still could relate to them. Where a Michael Bay clearly sees actors as a pesky necessity stringing together soulless CGI constructs and explosions, Matthew Vaughn understands that the audience wants to see people they can invest in.

This is of course kind of a repetition of the last point, but I believe it is justified as the relationship between these two iconic characters is the centre of the entire film - had it not worked, the whole thing would have collapsed. But McAvoy and Fassbender manage to make us believe in their friendship even though there is not much time to develop it considering the constraints of a film. Where the friendship of Anakin and Obi Wan in the Star Wars prequels never felt real, Erik and Charles very much do. There is one wonderful emotional scene that has me tearing up again just writing about it - and while it was beautifully written, you needed two guys like these to make it work.

Sebastian Shaw
Since I got away with it before, I decided to try again! :D But seriously, I was quite dubious about Kevin Bacon playing this character, since he looks nothing like the drawings. But he manages to become Shaw with apparent ease - and he is as menacing, charming, seductive and stone cold as the character should be. And boy is he cool! :)

Best. Cameo. Ever.
I don't want to ruin it - but I stand by this verdict. It is so well-made, funny and ultimately cool that I don't think it can be beaten!

No 3D
Yes, I am beginning to get very very tired of everything having to be in 3D these days, so seeing an exception here is always a good thing.

Zoser says "Do not miss!" and gives 9.5 out of 10 points for it!

Author:  Megumi [ Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: These X-Men are really "First Class"!

the one thing i missed in that movie ,like in most x men movies ,is the stan lee camio ^^

Author:  Betty [ Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: These X-Men are really "First Class"!

This is on my "must see" list :mrgreen: I enjoyed Wolverine, but then anything with a semi naked Hugh Jackman is a winner for me! :lol:

Thanks for the report Zos, i can always count on you.

Author:  Zoser [ Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: These X-Men are really "First Class"!

Hi Betty,

Glad you found this useful - and please let me see when you have seen it then - want to know what you thought. ;)

As for Wolverine, maybe I might have seen it differently if a shirtless Jackman had any allure for me ... *g*


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