Continuing the trend of how much of Rose Byrne we can take in a week/making up for seeing maybe 3 movies total in 2010, Jay and I went to see X-Men: First Class last night. I can’t really review it from a comic book fan’s point of view because I don’t know how it stands up as a faithful origin story, but I can talk briefly about it from the average movie-goer’s perspective.
Simply put, X-Men: First Class was a great time. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on any part of the experience by not knowing anything about the X-Men mythology that I didn’t learn from seeing the first 3 movies & Wolverine. The origin story moved along quickly and the plot was pretty straight and to the point: The mutants discover that they are not alone, gradually come together thanks to Charles Xavier and then add a bunch more degrees to Kevin Bacon as they fight his evil mutant character Sebastian Shaw from trying to begin nuclear war a la the Bay of Pigs’ Invasion (JFK, vindicated.). I think that superhero/adventure movies that focus on characterization and two central plot points work way better than muddled messes like X3, Spider-Man 3, or Pirate of the Caribbean 3 that try to do way too much at once. There’s fighting! There’s friendship! There’s revenge! There’s awesome cameos! There’s superb use of the “one F-bomb” in a PG-13 movie!
X-Men: First Class was originally supposed to be the origin story for Magneto’s character but evolved (pun intended?) into a tale of the beginnings of the X-Men. With the exception of January Jones, everyone was well-casted and did a great job acting. Kevin Bacon was a fun, campy yet seriously evil villain. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy were FANTASTIC as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto and Charles Xavier/Professor X. They were, to me, 100% believable as younger versions of Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. After seeing her as young Mystique, Jennifer Lawrence has given me total faith that she can pull off the role of Katniss now. Loved the Rebecca Romjin cameo. I thought the entire ‘First Class’ of X-Men did a great job and yes, I recognized Rose Byrne immediately in this movie, haha [see: Bridesmaids review].
I’d have to say that the only real downside to this movie was January Jones. Sure, she was pretty damn hot as Emma Frost, but there should have been a spoiler alert that we were going to learn who Betty Draper’s alter-ego was. Seriously, January? You couldn’t have tried to put some inflection in your voice while telling two U.S. government agents that fighting against mutants would be an unequal war? You didn’t even try to act sexy when you were supposed to be seducing people! I felt like January Jones just opened her mouth and yawned the entire time she was supposed to be acting. According to iMDB, there were a lot of different actresses who were considered for the role of Emma Frost [here & scroll down to see the others]. Not to be mean, but given that there’s a whole bunch of different rumors out there that January’s knocked up by the director of the movie, Matthew Vaughn, the only plausible explanation for her being casted in this movie is that she opened her mouth in a different way during the audition.
But it’s late and I digress. In a nutshell: X-Men: First Class is a fun freaking movie. It helps to know a little bit of the back story (forward story?) of the characters but you don’t need to in order to enjoy it. I totally dug it and I’d recommend you see it if you like superhero/action movies. Just don’t make the mistake that we did and wait until the end of the credits. There’s nothing after them!