X-Men: First Class

Release date: June 13, 2011 

Witness the moment that will change our world.

Netflix. Oh how I love thee. With that love comes awesome flicks. When thinking of awesome flicks X-Men: First Class should be in that thought. And if it isn’t, you’re a jerk-face. So I sat down and streamed this little retro film from way, way back in 2011. Let me tell you guys, this one holds up to the tests of time.

First Class takes us all the way back; to the early years of Professor X and Magneto! A time before the X-Men crew we grew up watching on the big screen in the early 2000’s. This flick which borderlines as a period piece is directed by Matthew Vaughn who has directed other films like 2000’s Snatch and 2010’s Kick-Ass. James “Groovy” McAvoy, Michael “Kevin Smith think’s he’s bigger than Liam Neeson” Fassbender, Kevin “6-degrees” Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer “no arrows here” Lawrence Oliver “will always be Jimmy King to me” Platt, January Jones, and Nicolas Hoult all star in this non-Spike-Lee-joint.

The flick starts up with a shot-for-shot remake of the original opening to the 2000 X-Men film showing Magneto, a then young jewish Erik Lehnsherr being separated from his mother in a concentration camp in Nazi-Germany during the second world war. While struggling to stay with his mother Erik manipulates the metal gates until a wise guard gives him a stiff rifle-shot to the old brain-melon. The film picks up steam from there showcasing both the childhoods of Prof X and Magneto into young adulthood; setting this film squarely in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. From there Xavier and Erik meet while tracking down the man who killed Erik’s mother and the man/mutant the FBI reluctantly believes is trying to start WWIII. Turns out those persons are one in the same: Sebastien Shaw! After uniting, Xavier and Erik set out together to round-up other mutants like them and team up to take out Shaw and save the world from a nuclear war. Awesomeness ensues.

WHAT WORKED:

– The Story. First off, this is a direct prequel to the original trilogy, and unlike Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace it didn’t try to rape our childhood with a broken broom-handle. Here lies the awesome: when you can forgive minor discrepancies involving a linear timeline, Vaughn set up character arcs that pick up in the original trilogy. Why some characters interact with each other in certain ways is fully explained.

– The acting. Duh. You have a bunch of Grade-A famous people who are known for their acting prowess. No overacting. No sub-par performances. Just a bunch of thespians having a good time with cameras rolling. The only character/actor that straddles a dangerous serious/goofy line is Xavier/McAvoy; maybe one too many “groovies.”

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

Not much guys and gals. But here I go nerding out:

– The Helmet. Sebastien Shaw introduces a helmet to block telepathy which resembles Magneto’s helmet just a little too much. That resemblance is confirmed as the actual deal when we find out it is Magneto’s future helmet. Creating a small (Nerd-Huge) plot-hole when Magneto explains he made it in the first X-Men film.

– Cerebro. Copy-Pasting my previous rant here should do fine.

THE LOWDOWN:

This is a great film. It works as both a prequel and a stand-alone film. Keeping in mind that this is a sci-fi action period piece being used as a prequel, there are bound to have a few face-palm moments like when you see America’s version of a world map in the 1960’s. The action is solid. The CGI is crisp. And the story will keep you glued to your screen for the whole 132 minutes. It’s far from a bad choice next time you’re browsing through your Netflix queue because X-Men: First Class is Verified Awesome!

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