Just got in at 3:30am from a day that had 5 theatrical screenings of feature films & 2 hours of Rehab, so I'm very tired, but I have got to write about Matthew Vaughn's X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. I'm not going to go whole hog into the nitty grittys of the story... In a nutshell you have the CIA kick start the movement that would later become the X-MEN - and then you have Sebastian Shaw doing some global deviousness. Two teams... shit goes down.
Infinitely better than the first X-MEN along with both of the apocalyptically dreadful and tedious X3 and WOLVERINE. The real benchmark is... how does it compare to X2? I personally feel that given multiple viewings I'm going to end up preferring X2, but I could be wrong. There's a lot to love about this new one. From the Silver Age time frame to every moment of Fassbender & McAvoy's Magneto & Xavier. In particular I'm rather delighted to see a bit of the swinging dick version of pre-Prof X. Fassbender is given the meatier role. It begins with his story arc - and he has all the best motivations for his actions. Chuck is more or less just getting started in many ways.
Kevin Bacon does a fine job of Sebastian Shaw... though I always had my heart set on Robert Shaw for that part... alas he's dead and even if he wasn't... he'd be way too old for the part, so that's kinda like one of those empty bitchings that we geeks are often noted for.
As a film, it is incredibly entertaining, there's two very strong emotionally resonant moments in the film that are pulled off exquisitely - and I will most certainly not ruin them. Best use of "FUCK" in a PG13 film in a real long damn time, if not the best. (Feel free to discuss the best single use of FUCK in a PG13 flick!) How much better are the FX compared to the last 2? Remember that real shitty diamond form of Emma Frost in WOLVERINE... in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS that continue that form of Emma, only this time... holy shit it's amazing to stare at. Just a beautifully realized version of the "power". Wow.
Every FX shot is better that anything in X1, X3 & Wolverine. I love that we get to see recruiting and teaching of how to use powers, plus awesome rec-room showing off. Plus fights!
It is one of the best Marvel films, but... what keeps me from going over the moon for the film is my far stronger love for the original comic material. I can put it aside, appreciate the film, love it as a "What If" kind of story... but the day FOX gets a great team to adapt the original Claremont run of X-MEN... Hell, I'd flat out begin it with the story from GIANT SIZE X-MEN 1 - and then play from there.
The hardcore X-fans should love what Vaughn has accomplished with this film. Bringing the series back from the edge of oblivion. Giving FOX a fantastic pair of leads for future adventures... but as they move forward, putting a team together that is made up of the right members... well, I'm just saying... it'd fucking mean the world to me and millions of others. This tone is absolutely note perfect, but a closer adherence to the characters would be nice. For example, Nicholas Hoult was nearly perfect as Hank McCoy / Beast - but he does have one, relatively simple problem that keeps him from completely being the character. Actually 2 things. 1st, dialogue. Beast needs to have the wittiest dialogue of any of the characters, he's brilliant scientifically as well as being a man of letters. They hint at it, but his dialogue is never quite sharp enough. Then in fights - he's the kind of character that you need to see moving amazingly throughout a long shot doing impossibly awesome gymnastic and mesmerizing movements that put any Martial Artist to shame.... and it needs to be amazing.
My fave new character given the live action treatmen is Caleb Landry Jones' Sean Cassidy / Banshee. He is just a delight to watch. For one, the optical rendering of his power is just so comic booky awesome that I get the giggles thinking about it. Plus - as a redhead, thanks for casting a real redhead & keeping the stripey squirrel wings.
The set up from where we go from this film is just perfect. We're going to see some greatness so long as the best screenwriters and directors get ahold of this property - and especially if they actually get the teams right. They should also not be afraid of getting a little more science fictiony and cosmic with X-MEN. Make this stuff even more grand.
Imagining how much better X3 would have been had Vaughn directed it will be the primary conversation amongst my friends for the next couple weeks. How about you?