Editor’s note: We all love movies, but rather than ask a syndicated columnist who has never visited our beautiful High Desert, we commissioned our own movie critic: Nolan P. Smith to review films and give us a local perspective. Enjoy.
(Victorville)–Marvel Comic’s children of the atom are back like you have never seen them before.
The first thing I should say about this movie is this: if you haven’t seen an X-Men movie yet, it might be for the better. X-Men: First Class comes out the door with guns blazing, bringing the merry mutants to the forefront once again. Gone are all the familiar actors (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, among all the rest), even the writers and directors. The flick welcomes a younger cast lead by James (Wanted) McAvoy and Michael (Inglorious Basterds) Fassbender into a film that takes place before any of the previous X-films.
Set in 1962, the film is right in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis, with the rising mutant faction the Hellfire Club smack dab in the middle. Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) is the leader of this group of evil mutants, and is the driving force of the flick. Professor Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender) meet under violent circumstances and grow into a friendship that was bound to fail. The actual X-Men are composed of an odd array of mutants: gone are Cyclops and Wolverine, in their places rises Havok, Banshee, Beast, Darwin…wait, I know, who? As a comic fan, I know who all these mutants are, but for someone who may not be familiar with the comics, you might be put off by the little known cast. Don’t be: this young cast pulls off something the older could not in three films: they made the team feel like the X-Men.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn of Kick-Ass fame, the film hits every right point for comic fans. Magneto actually feels menacing, unlike the Magneto of the former films (no disrespect to Ian McKellan), Xavier uses his powers for a lot more than the good of mutant-kind (he is a guy after all), and the students feel like…students. I place this film at the top of the X-franchise, as well as one of the best comic book movies to be made. Period.