Wednesday 1 June 2011

X-Men: First Class (2011) - Matthew Vaughn

I'll put this out there straight away: this is the best X-Men film.

Not that it was hard.  The previous three films were mediocre action films at best - I distinctly remember falling asleep during X2.  And I didn't even bother with X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

But First Class wipes the slate clean with a refreshed origins story.  Vaughn proved in Kickass he knows how to handle a great comic book film - here, he successfully merges reality and fantasy.  By setting it during the Cold War, the film has a grounding in reality and a greater sense of credibility.  It's an alternative reality that is easily believable, despite the mutant powers.  The prologue contrasts the childhoods of the central figures - Xavier and Magneto - establishing the basis for the story at large.  There's a little too much exposition, but a multitude of characters needs to be introduced, culminating in an awesome final battle.  Sure, there are some cheesy moments and the music is pretty melodramatic.  But after all, this is based on a comic book.  They even have the infamous yellow suits.  Coupled with the spectacular special effects and set-pieces, the film has everything you could want from a summer blockbuster.  It's wholly entertaining and bloody cool.

It does prove a little unsatisfying as the open-ending poses more questions than the film answers.  What will become of the newly founded 'X-Men'?  And which new characters will be introduced?  Hugh Jackman's short cameo is not enough.

But this was inevitable.  First Class is an honorable start to a sensational new franchise.

Shame there's no Gambit though...