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X-Men: First Class

At the end of X-Men: First Class, Magento sides with Nazi ideology.

Much of watching the film and Magneto's slide from revenge fueled mutant loner to super villains plays out like a bad internet argument, in which Nazis are mentioned early, and influence the rest of the plot to the point that no one can say another word and you expect Steven Spielberg to appear on set at any moment. If you can ignore that, however, the film isn't actually that bad.

The film, set around the Cuban missile crisis, follows a young Charles Xavier, his secretary Raven, and their involvement in the CIAs creation of a mutant team to fight Kevin Bacon and his mutant power of chewing on the scenery. Well, okay, that's not his mutant power, but it might as well be. Along the way a token black man will die, a token Hispanic woman will turn evil, another vaguely Hispanic man will be evil and say no words, a dude looking like the Devil will be kinda cool, and Samantha from Bewitched will appear in what can only be described as a screen presence that feels more than a little demeaning to women. I mentioned the Nazis, right? Yeah, I did at the start. Also, someone drops Olivier Platt from a very great height, which may or may not be your particular fantasy.

Yet, as a whole, the film is only slightly below the standard set by the first X-Men film, and while certainly below the very enjoyable second, it is nowhere near the waste of space that the Wolverine film was and is. Partly, it is lifted by a good performance from Michael Fassbender as Magneto and a more subtle performance by Jennifer Lawrence (from the excellent Winter's Bone) as Mystique, and a performance that owes nothing to Patrick Stuart from James McAvoy as Xavier. If any of the three hadn't delivered in the way that they did, the film would have been a lot worse, though I must admit, I did miss Rebecca Romjin's more confident and controlled performance in the first two X-Men films (I'm just ignoring anything that took place in the third film--I mean, really, what was that, punishment for anyone who saw Superman Returns?). But, regardless of that, watching the three, and their interactions with each other, were the largest part of the charm. Every time Xavier ordered a Coke for Raven, you almost wanted to reach out and strangle him for treating her like a child.

Still, there is that unfortunate vibe of the Nazi ideology that runs through the film, hunting you like a bad internet argument. It becomes particularly distasteful when you realise that the first mutant to die is black and named Darwin.

But that, as always, is one of those things people will or won't take away with them. I thought it was alright. My intelligence rebelled. I told it to be quiet and it was, mostly, and I was able to chill for a couple of hours.


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Jun. 9th, 2011 07:05 am (UTC)
I don't know who he is, but this line, "Also, someone drops Olivier Platt from a very great height, which may or may not be your particular fantasy." made me very happy.
Jun. 9th, 2011 07:32 am (UTC)
he used to be in a lot of films, but this is the first one i've seen him in for a while. but it was pretty funny.
Jun. 9th, 2011 07:10 am (UTC)
Yes, there were inklings of a better film under all the Hollywood Comic Adaptation Franchise dross. I saw a definite "You become what you hate the most" message in there, and I'm so used to being disappointed by franchise installments I was just happy to walk out of the theatre having been entertained.

Darwin was definitley a bad call in terms of Dead Bro Walking, dying like he did. The way he kept morphing, I was hoping he'd reveal some new superpower like Jack-Jack from the Incredibles. People have pointed out some poor editing choices utilising him, ie: When Kevin Bacon mentions slavery there was a rather ham-fisted cut to his face!
Jun. 9th, 2011 07:34 am (UTC)
yeah, it was a bad call. the moment you saw him walk on screen you were like, well, you're a dead man. hell, i was surprised he even got out of the cab.

but yes, for a film that could deal so well with minorities, it just didn't.
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