“X-Men: First Class” is a $160 million excuse to make James McAvoy one degree away from Kevin Bacon.
At this point, most people are familiar with the X-Men. They’re a bunch of mutants with special powers who run around either trying save the humans from a bunch of other mutants with special powers who are trying to kill the humans. It’s been mentioned in previous films that Professor X, the leader of the pro human mutants, and Magneto, the leader of the anti human mutants, were once good friends. “X-Men: First Class” is the story of their friendship.
As a young man, pre getting Christopher Reevesed, Charles is bold. He grew up as a child of privilege; using his powers as a telepath to get what he wanted, including women. He’s kind of like the main character in “What Women Want” but instead of wanting to destroy the jews he just wants mutants to be accepted.
Erik Lehnsherr(Michael Fassbender) discovered he had the ability to control metal while under extreme pressure at a concentration camp. The man running the camp, Sebastian Shaw(Kevin Bacon), noticed Erik’s ability and decides to help him harness it. Sebastian, being a Nazi and all, doesn’t use the nicest tactics in getting the young boy to embrace his powers. When Erik is older, he turns his sights on tracking down the people who wronged him in the past. Sebastian Shaw is top of the list and during one of his attempts to defeat Shaw, Erik meets Charles.
The bulk of “X-Men: First Class” takes place during the 1960s. For the most part, they did a really good job of capturing that era. Close attention is paid to details and the plot even ties into some historical events. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon all fit in, but I felt like the younger mutants just didn’t look like they were from the 1960s. There’s one training scene in particular where one of the kids had the sleeves cut off of his sweat suit, and it just stuck out and bothered me.
James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender give really nice performances. Any time they’re on the screen is fun to watch, which is a good thing because they have to carry the film. Kevin Bacon is good as well he’s much closer to being the “let’s turn invisible and rape people” guy from “Hollow Man” than the “let’s get drunk and dance” guy from “Footloose”.
“X-Men: First Class” is a fun super hero movie that at times feels like a spy movie. All the fights and special effects are pretty exciting and the stakes of the final battle were ratcheted up by having it tie in with actual events. It does falter a bit when it attempts to show the origin of some of the monikers the characters became known as, but over all, you should nap before so you don’t miss any of the cool action scenes.