Thursday, June 9, 2011

X-Men: First Class

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his gang: Azazel, the tornado guy, and Emma Frost (January Jones) push their agenda for world domination through intimidation and mind control, pushing the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of a nuclear World War. Meanwhile, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence) discover the existence of other mutants as they struggle to form a CIA-backed elite team to stop the said event. Along the way they meet Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), a metal-bending mutant with a lot of emotional baggage out for revenge.

Judging from both Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn’s respective cameos and the extended Auschwitz scene from the first movie in the franchise, X-Men First Class seems to be positioning itself as a prequel to the previous four. It actually is a good precursor in terms of characterization in that it really helps a lot in understanding why the characters think and act the way they do in the Marvel movie universe, with emphasis on the word movie. Another noteworthy observation would be the various references to the origins of some important items that successfully link this movie to the others such as Magneto’s Helmet, the Blackbird, and Cerebro, to name a few. However, there are just so many inconsistencies in plot and timeline to link this one to the four earlier sequels. You would probably have to declare several of them as non-cannon just for the others to work. The perfect example would be Emma Frost.

At least in this movie she gets to display her kick-ass mental gifts strong enough to rival Xavier’s, although the producers just could not seem to get enough of her ability to turn into diamond just because it looks good on screen. In the Wolverine movie, we see her portrayed by a younger actress who meets Charles Xavier while escaping from captivity. The problem is, that particular Xavier was Patrick Stewart. In this movie she is played by January Jones, a lot older and almost the same age as Xavier, portrayed by McAvoy. So unless you would argue that McAvoy is actually the older version of Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier, then it just does not make any sense. Besides, the Emma Frost character in the Wolverine movie could have easily been cut from the storyline because she was really useless in it and just served as a display, again in diamond form. But even with this subplot removed there are still a lot of inconsistencies left.

Again, this movie is just a perfect tool for understanding the motivations behind each character’s actions and philosophy in the other X-Men movies, for example: Magneto’s lost trust in mankind, Mystique’s loyalty to him, Xavier’s paralysis (his baldness was not explained but alluded to), etc. But then again, most comic book purists must already be squirming in disgust right now for the many adjustments made just to accommodate the whims of Hollywood movie producers and the desperate attempt to connect the movie to the other four in the series.

Acting seems to be the strong feature of this movie. The bromance between bald head and magnet guy is heavily backed up by the good rapport between Fassbender and McAvoy. Lawrence delivers an honest performance as the blue freak despite being the exact opposite in real life. Tell me that she actually feels ugly off-screen and I will hit you with my laptop. Even Kevin Bacon is menacing and creepy enough as the evil mastermind who steals energy to use as his own weapon. This movie is worth it. Watch!


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