The X-Men are back with their latest edition X-Men: First Class, a prequel to all of the other X-men films showing us the origins of the gang. Rest assured that walking into this film you can spit out the awful taste of Wolverine and be excited take everything First Class has to offer. The quite film obviously has a much stronger script, they managed to gather a stellar cast of real actors, and did a brilliant job of controlling the chaos that comes with so many story-lines and characters that make the X-Men films so great. Though I’m not quite as keen as some of my fellow critics on this film, there’s not doubt that this is a great summer film and quite possible the best action film you’ll see this year (though I’d love to be disproved). Let’s find out why…

The Players:

  • Director: Matthew Vaughn
  • Writers: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
  • Story: Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer
  • Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence
  • Cast: Nicholas Hoult, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Zoë Kravitz, Laurence Belcher, Bill Milner, Edi Gathegi, Caleb Landry Jones, Jason Flemyng, Álex González, Oliver Platt, Morgan Lily, Beth Goddard
  • Music: Henry Jackman
  • Cinematographer: John Mathieson

The Good:

  • Fassbender: As my fellow ScreenCraver Damon Houx said, “Michael Fassbender is officially a movie star now.” He literally just chews up this role and fascinates and intrigues you in every shot he’s in. He looks great on screen, he’s immensely talented and he has the ability to completely captivate a room. Watch out Pitt, Fassbender has officially made it.
  • All the Acting: The same goes for James McAvoy who gives an equally strong performance – though he isn’t getting as much recognition because he doesn’t get to play the fun bad-y and it’s always harder to play the good guy in a film like this. And supporting the fine lead actors were numerous other grand actors Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and numerous other faces you’ll recognize such as Ray Wise, James Remar and Michael Ironside.
  • Cameos: Don’t worry! I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that they have some well placed, well timed cameos for fan of the series to enjoy.
  • Tackling the Characters: There are a LOT of characters and emotional twists in this film, and it’s imperative to the film that you be invested in each individual. Luckily, they did a great job of giving every character their moment and balancing all of the different characters stories.

The So-So:

  • Kevin Bacon: Now I love me some Bacon as much as the next person, but for some reason he never transcended his own body and became the character. It may have been a better role for someone, who much like the rest of the cast you know, but isn’t quite as “known”.
  • January Jones: No one can pull off a diamond bikini better than her, but man oh man would it be nice to see her as something different than play the overly simplified, sexy blond. Someone get some dirt on her and make her cry goddammit!

The Bad:

  • The Camp: Now I love me a campy movie, but this film is not campy, it’s strong, powerful, dramatic, with some comedic moments. When they took the comedy over the edge and added those cliched campy moments it somewhat cheapened the rest of the film.

Overall:

This is most likely one of the better if not best action films you’ll see this summer (I will see Super 8 soon and see if I have to take this back). It’s not completely perfect and loses some steam (though I’m getting picky with that) in the last act, but it has a hell of a set up and ending, the acting in it would win awards if they were in an emotional drama and not a summer blockbuster, and there is plenty of razzle dazzle to keep everyone entertained. There’s plenty for both the boys and the girls of all ages in the film — it’s really an amazingly fun, accessible piece of cinema.

Rating: 8/10