Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

June 11, 2011

Class act

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 12:01 am

June 10, 2011

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, January Jones

Director: Matthew Vaughn

X-Men: First Class is an intelligent, action-packed prequel that neatly ties into the events and the dynamics of the original movie trilogy. Most importantly, it provides the back-story for the legendary rivalry between Professor X and Magneto.

According to the new movie their relationship dates all the way back to the early Sixties, when they fight on the same side against Kevin Bacon’s super-evil mutant Sebastian Shaw, who attempts to start off a nuclear war between the United States and Russia so he can rid the world of the human race. James McAvoy does a fine job playing the morally unshakeable Charles Xavier, or the future Professor X. Even more impressive is Michael Fassbender as the strong, silent Erik Lehnsherr who will go on to become Magneto. Erik has an old axe to grind against Shaw, a former Nazi who murdered his mother in front of his eyes when he was a young boy.

To strengthen their side against Shaw, Charles and Erik round up and train a posse of young mutants who’re bound by their impressive skills and their outcast status. Unfortunately this talented cast of young superheroes-in-the-making is a tad overcrowded with some of the mutants getting lost in the shuffle. Those who register an impression however are Raven, the blue-skinned shape-shifter (played by Jennifer Lawrence) who will go on to become Mystique, and Hank, the nerdish tech-wiz with monkey feet (played by Nicholas Hoult), who literally turns into Beast when an experiment he performs on himself goes horribly wrong. Meanwhile, on his side Shaw has faithful icy blonde Emma Frost (played by Mad Men’s January Jones), who has telepathic powers that rival those of Charles.

The film works splendidly because it delivers thrilling action sequences without ever compromising on its characters’ integrities. And although there’s a little too much yak-yak on how the humans will never accept the mutants, even some of their sillier skills are fun to watch when they’re on display.

Director Matthew Vaughn delivers in-jokes and cameos to please the fanboys; yet he never loses grip on the smart script that wraps with Charles and Erik taking opposite sides. The film’s standout performance comes from Michael Fassbender who infuses into Erik both vulnerability and steely reserve, making him the most intriguing character in this adventure.

X-Men: First Class is that rare summer blockbuster that’s both smart and incredibly fun. So much fun, in fact, that you even go with the preposterous insinuation that the Cuban Missile Crisis was of an evil mutant’s doing!

I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for X-Men: First Class. Despite it’s running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, you will wish there was more!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

6 Comments »

  1. I loved the movie too but am intrigued by you seeing Charles Xavier as “morally unshakeable” as I thought the filmmakers seemed to make a deliberate effort to distance his portrayal from how Patrick Stewart played him in the earlier series, where he is indeed rather saintly. Xavier in this film not only seems to have no answer to his step-sister Raven’s accusations that he thinks her “unnatural”, but also shows a remarkable lack of concern where issues of consent are concerned. After all we are shown how he can and does, arbitrarily control and invade people’s thoughts, a power he seems to use equally to seduce women as to save the world.

    Comment by Rukmini — June 11, 2011 @ 2:24 am

  2. As said acting and direction were aces of the movies along side some special effects but story was week. Most of the times it was coinciding with Tom Clancy’s Sum Of All Fears. McAvoy’s potraital of Professor X was rather week, comparing his counter part Magneto potraited by Michael
    Fassbender(Who by the way was awesome in Band Of brothers.) But as far movie goes a good start for the franchise in comparison of Avengers. But I will still my bet on Justice League.

    Comment by Mahesh dhamane. — June 11, 2011 @ 8:33 am

  3. My rating would be somewhere between 3 and 3.5 .
    Its a good watch but wasn’t really as dark and effective as ‘The Dark Knight’ or even ‘Kick-Ass’ (Matthew Vaughn’s previous offering). I actually went in to watch this specially because of the fact that the director is known for his ‘Kick-Ass-direction!’ but i assume here he was chained down by that usual ‘Big-Budget-Producer-Shackles’.
    Nevertheless, a good and refreshing one time watch.

    Comment by Gopal — June 11, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  4. Now film makers actually inspired from Christopher Nolan’s The dark Knight. They work on better scripts and dialogues and emphasize less on action.

    65% drama + 35% action = Critics acclaimed budget super hit

    Comment by priyabrata — June 15, 2011 @ 12:53 am

  5. Actually i would rate it much higher.Cause the cast plays its role to perfection and has gasping for more.Really spell binding.Enough action and brilliantly developed story i would say.

    Comment by Muffakham — July 6, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  6. are you serious, 3.5 out of 5. This movie don’t deserve more than 1.5, boring movie. I don’t know what happen to hollywood. Seriously i don’t like it at all

    Comment by Himanshu — September 4, 2011 @ 6:26 am

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