I don’t typically go to theaters to watch movies, but I made an exception for the latest offering from the X-Men franchise. I never read any comics growing up, but I did watch a lot of cartoons on Saturday afternoon. That was my exposure to X-Men and every other “comic book” movie that has been released over the past decade or so (Batman, Spiderman, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Iron Man, etc). Forgive me if I do not know enough of the actual basis for the X-Men beyond the cartoon. However, since the cartoon never really delved much into the origin of the X-Men, I guess a “reboot” was a good idea, especially if you make it as enjoyable as X-Men: First Class.
Per the above linked definition of reboot, I suppose that this movie was not truly a reboot in that sense of the word. They don’t disavow the presence of the previous four movies in the series (including an appearance by Logan/Wolverine to try to make up for that horrible movie*), and merely expand on the origins of two leaders who would come to lead teams against each other in later years, Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto). One’s good and one’s bad. I’m sure you know who is who by now so I won’t bore you with details.
*The only redeeming part of the movie was Wade Wilson/Deadpool, then Ryan Reynolds ruined it by making Green Lantern. I’d be surprised if we ever see the rumored Deadpool movie now.
Anyway, so these two guys meet each other, they both have powers, and they join forces to stop a bad guy with even bigger powers, played by Kevin Bacon. The only character besides the main two that are really in the other movies a lot is Mystique, though Beast does appear in one of the other movies, though I am having a hard time remembering which one right now. There are a lot of new/old X-Men that show up, and hopefully, they will make another few sequels that will eventually link this “First Class” of Professor Xavier’s school with the others from the first set of movies, but that remains to be seen. Rumors say that this movie is the first of a planned trilogy, so I guess we will have to wait and see.
Compared to the other X-Men movies, I was not as familiar with the characters, so it was fun to just sit back and watch the story, instead of expecting certain things based on the cartoons, i.e. the love triangle between Logan, Jean Grey and Scott Summers from the first movie, which played out in the cartoons. Kevin Bacon played the role of the all too powerful Dr. Shaw very well, making you hate him from the beginning of the film. While I missed Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier, the younger version of him, James McAvoy, worked out well enough, though I am still trying to figure out why a boy from upstate New York has an English accent. Michael Fassbender also did very well as Erik Lehnsherr, channeling Ian McKellen a bit once he becomes Magneto. Great performances all around by the rest of the cast as well, and I do hope that they continue onto the other potential movies because of it.
Overall, I would probably rate the movie 8.5 out of 10. It was enjoyable for sure, but it did drag a bit. Of the five X-Men movies, I would probably rate it just below X2 as the second best of the franchise, which would place it ahead of the first X-Men movie, though not by much. If you are a fan of X-Men, I recommend that you see the movie, though it is not super necessary to run out and see it in theaters. The next movie that I plan on seeing in theaters is the last Transformers movie, so hopefully that one can be a little better than the first.
Until next time…
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