June 9, 2011

The Comic Book Joys of X-Men First Class


When I heard first heard about "X-Men - First Class" I was still recovering from the epic disappointment of "Wolverine." Was I ready to trust X-Men again? I loved "X2", shit, I kinda enjoyed "X-Men:The Last Stand" in a popcorn way, but another ensemble flick? I wasn't sure. Well, I can report that "X-Men:First Class" is ass kicking comic book film and highly effective piece of blockbuster entertainment.

Two of the integral pieces of the film are James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Professor X and Magneto. I've always dug McAvoy since the one-two punch of "Atonement" (yeah I saw it!) and "Wanted" where he was shooting holes in people's heads and using their bodies as shields. But Fassbender man, talk about living up to the hype. About I year ago I wrote about how badass he was in the under-appreciated genre film "Centurion,"and he continues to deliver with the menace/compassion combo. The combo of these two actors from across the pond are the heart and soul of the film. There climatic physical/mental/spiritual showdown (that's not a spoiler y'all) at the end is earned and awesome.

But what about everything else? The other members of team work well together, and the scenes of them hanging out and demonstrating their powers are cheesey fun. If I had to pick, I thought Lucas Til and Caleb Landry Jones as Havoc and Banshee were standouts. (Note, viewers might know Jones from this funny scene from "No Country For Old Men"). The action in the film is not as epic as director Matthew Vaughn's work in "Kick-Ass" but it's got enough Oh Shit Moments to keep me happy.

So in the super hero showdown of the summer 2011, I'm going to go ahead and put "First Class" above "Thor" if only because First Class has got the one-two punch of Fassbender and McAvoy, and "Thor" only has the hammer smash of Hemsworth. Check out "First-Class" it's high rate summer movie goodness with some decent substance and extraordinary (sorry, had to) leads at the helm.

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