‘X-Men: First Class’ (2011, 12A)

Another modern reboot of a  group of classic superheroes, is ‘X-Men: First Class’ a success or yet another failure?

Set in 1962 America, ‘First Class’ is the story of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) – a mutant with the power of telepathy – and his friend Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) – another mutant with the power to control metals. Both with very different childhoods and upbringings, they still manage to form a bond and go on the hunt for other mutants to form a group that can take on Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), an evil dictator trying to start a Third World War.

There aren’t many big action set-pieces that I usually look for in a superhero film, yet I still found I really enjoyed this film. It’s different from a lot of others in the genre with its 1960s origin and characters that haven’t been used in films before. The plot is really well written and thought out; not too complicated as I feared it might be but not too simplistic and it still leaves you with a sense of threat.

As mentioned before, there weren’t really a lot of action set-pieces. As with most superhero films, the most spectacular scene was the ending, but even that wasn’t as amazing to scenes in some of its competitor films such as my personal favourite ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (my review of which can be viewed here). However, that wasn’t necessarily as much as a drawback as it may seem. ‘First Class’ really focuses on the emotions of the characters and their relationships, notably that between Xavier and Lensherr. Both characters are portrayed excellently by McAvoy and Fassbender respectively, the audience really getting the sense that despite their clash of personalities and views of the world around them, they will always be friends.

The best part of this film, for me, was Fassbender’s Lensherr. I really liked him in ‘Steve Jobs’ (my review can be viewed here) and I think he does an even better job with the metal-manipulating hero. I wasn’t a big fan of some of the supporting characters as I felt they didn’t really have much of a part to play and weren’t particularly memorable. However, arguably the two main characters – Xavier and Lensherr – are brilliant and offer a different take on the classic characters.

Overall, I really enjoyed ‘X-Men: First Class’. Its gripping, exciting and quite different from other superhero films. However, lack of action and some underdeveloped characters means I’ll have to deduct a point and give ‘First Class’ nine-out-of-ten.



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