RAW: Film – X-Men: First Class – 3K

Re-establishing movie franchises has become a common trend in Hollywood, and after seeing the trailer for X-Men: First Class I was confident that First Class was going to follow suit. The casting of James McAvoy (Last King of Scotland, Atonement) as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Barsterds, 300) as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto, and the story of their friendship seemed to be a strong premise for the film.

And the film begins strongly with the contrast of the origins of the two central characters. Magneto a young boy whose powers are discovered and abused by the Nazi’s in a concentration camp, and Charles who although is ignored by his parents, sees an easy upbringing in a mansion and eventually goes to Oxford University.

It is at this point however that the story becomes messy and convoluted. The introduction of more and more characters, their backgrounds and powers ill explained, all works to distract the audience from the central premise. Kevin Bacon seems lost and confused playing bad guy Sebastion Shaw, who moves from being Nazi scientist to sleazy American mob boss, with out one wink of an explanation. It is as if a scene explaining the character had been edited out at the last minute, leaving a hole in the plot.

The entire plot surrounding Shaw and his scheme to start a Soviet/American World War Three is something straight from James Bond. And not good, Golden Eye or Casino Royale Bond, but horrible Timothy Dalton, Die Another Day Bond.

The movie builds towards a final battle scene, which is in essence impressive, but suffers due to the lack of build up and setting of context.

The flow of the narrative is all over the place. Characters come in and out and are then forgotten, as well as the subplots that surround them. The first half of the film seems as if the writers had recently been watching Inglorious Basterds, and then for the second half Dr. Strangelove and any Bond film starring Roger Moore.

All this is disappointing as McAvoy and Fassbender deliver as expected in their title roles. McAvoy displays a young ambitious Xavier, who despite his extreme intelligence is naïve. Fassbender plays Magneto in contrast to Xavier’s naivety, he has witnessed the worst of men and is convinced of their inherent evil. Bacon does the best he can, but his character fails because of the reasons already mentioned.

All over X-Men: First Class does not live up to expectations, even with the efforts from the cast. First Class allows itself to be bogged down with the original X-Men story lines, rushing to establish characters, relationships and in-jokes that reference the cartoon and original movies, all of which bury the more significant and interesting plot lines.

Kryztoff Rating  3K

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