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What’s the Story?

Charts the early years of Professor Xavier and Magneto’s friendships, how Xavier started his school for the gifted, why Magneto and Xavier parted ways.

 

What’s the Problem?

After the debacle that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I didn’t have high hopes for First Class. Turns out, though, that whatever they did wrong in Wolverine they realised and fixed. Xavier – let alone Magneto – is far more edgy and a bigger jerk than Logan ever was in Wolverine.

That’s not to say that the film is all doom and gloom. It’s not. There’s the usual lighthearted hijinks that ensue from teenagers with superpowers, but there’s also a surprising amount of off-screen violence. Magneto crushes two men’s heads in with their helmets, stabs a guy through the hand, there’s executions and torture and whatnot, but it’s never graphic or bloody and it usually happens just off-screen, giving you the shock of violence without actually seeing the violence.

This is sort of a film about a superhuman tracking down the Nazi who tortured him. It was never going to be all puppies and rainbows.

Not pictured: Nazi hunting, torture, Magneto.

Continuity

The biggest problem from an if-you-care perspective is that the film doesn’t stick with the events established in previous X-Men films, where Xavier and Magneto are friends for a prolongued time (as seen when they both try to recruit Jean for Xavier’s school when they’re in their fifties); where Xavier met Magneto when he was seventeen, not thirty; where Magneto built a helmet to block Xavier after he helped build Cerebro; where Emma Frost (diamond-skin woman) is twenty in about 1980 (in Wolverine) and could just turn to diamond (rather than also reading minds); where… dangit, I can’t say that one. It’s spoliers.

None of them are particularly noticible unless you’re looking, and even then you can see why they did it. It wouldn’t make a very thrilling film if, at the end, they had to jump forward thirty years before the friends who we know are going to become enemies actually do so.

Okay, and according to IMDb, this is a reboot rather than a prequel, so they’re feeling free to change whatever they want for the sake of a good story. I’m down with that (but if I’d known, you could have been spared this rant… Sucks to be you!)

Pose like a team, coz shit just got real!

Time Period

Like Wolverine, this one is set in the past (1962 instead of 80-something), and like Wolverine this one doesn’t really seem to care. The fashions and such are either timeless or modern, because I wasn’t constantly reminded of the era of the film by what the characters wore. I get that they didn’t want it to be a period piece, but you’d think there’d be more of a nod to period than “Magneto wears a hat in one scene”.

Accents

Sometimes I’m not sure whether Michael Fassbender is trying to be English or American, but since English isn’t Magneto’s first language that kind of makes sense. Also I think Ian McKellen did the same thing (not that that matters, since it’s a reboot).

 

Worth Seeing?

Very much so.

This is probably the best X-Men film to date. There’s a good balance of all the parts, they pay homage to the established events without being constrained or restricted by them, and it’s worth seeing just to play “Spot the Actor”. There’s some decent cameos in this, and if you’re anything like me you’ll constantly be going, “Oh! That guy!” Of special note is The Russian Guy In Everything and [spoilers] and [spoilers].

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