At the heart of X-Men: First Class is the push and pull between Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, excellent as always), who can read minds and control the thoughts of others, and Erik Lehnsherr (the riveting Michael Fassbender, who will be a huge star after this), who can make metal do his bidding. Here, we witness their first meeting and the beginning of what is almost instantly a powerful friendship and complementary working partnership, though they are in contention instantly as well. A mutant baddie, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon, never more villainous or having so much fun with it), is attempting to manufacture a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union in order to wipe out the “normal” humans and accelerate the mutagenic process and create more people like him and his friends. The year? 1962. Director Matthew Vaughn has given us an X-Men movie that’s less like his superhero sendup Kick-Ass and more like his elegant crime drama Layer Cake. This is a groovy, cinematic, and iconic 1960s we get here, stylish and snazzy to look at but also effortlessly cool in attitude. It’s not all serious. The overall sense I’m left with after First Class, for all its heaviness, is of a film that’s sweet, funny, and pleasingly fast-paced. X-Men: First Class treats its characters with such wonderful admiration, even the most complicated and hard-to-like among them, that you utterly and instinctively sympathize with them. It’s not Shakespeare, but, as breezy, thoughtful summer comic-book movies go, it’s almost there.
Official Site: www.x-menfirstclassmovie.com
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz
Producer: Gregory Goodman and Simon Kinberg
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Oliver Platt and Kevin Bacon
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