X-MEN: First Class = Review by ANIL RICKLY

...Long wait...indeed...is justice done...Charles and Erik...before they were enemies...they were brothers...

Follow Anil:
By Anil Rickly - 6/1/2011
ANIL RICKLY's X-MEN: FIRST CLASS review

Waiting with bated breath is an understatement for someone like me, who after seeing Singer/Ratner conspire to shed 3 X-films, yet not a single proper Sentinel arc, not an ounce of Cable, Apocalypse, New Mutants or Sinister, yes...I was cynical, skeptical...and would be one initially hard to please. FOX studios is one I have little faith in as despite attaining good casts, they attract directors who don't cut it to me, but basically, my ire is drawn by the poor scripts they draft and use for the comic-films, that tear to shreds a lot of comic continuity. Marvel Studios and WB have made alterations as it is impossible to stick to pure lore and canon but their original script changes and deviations as per "Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Thor and Nolan's Batman"...seem to be working more than fine shards of magic to pierce our comic-loving hearts. I don't attend films of comic book movies just to go and watch for watching a movie's sake...I love films totally loyal and mostly in some semblance loyal...to the books...as Snyder's 300 and Watchmen showed...and also if deviations occur, as seen in Vaughn's KICKASS, then make it count to impress. FOX deviates and butchers rawly and wryly, so I bear no ill will to fans who don't regard and hold them in high esteem...and after Wolverine Origins with Barakapool...well let's not digress...I took to that film...not...one...bit!

First Class manages to wrap a script echoed upon by a production/creative team consisting of Director Matthew Vaughn, and boasting Bryan Singer, Jane Goldman and Lauren Donner, just to name a few, and we see the X-Men tale revolve around the friendship of Prof. Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr. The restraint by Fox to utilize a better cast baffled me, but while befuddled, it was pleasant to see a director whom I liked helming, as his works before (ironically Branagh did Thor after Matt didn't finish the deal to work it) as director or producer, show he has talent, and Vaughn's arrival was seconded by the blessings of James McAvoy as Charles and Micheal Fassbender as Erik. This seemed the right concotion thus far to conjure restoration to a franchise I felt treaded upon needlessly and haplessly, and whether some sort of vanity or pride could be restored, well it was a stepping stone to exclamating that something good may be a-cooking. The 2 leads would no doubt be the pivot of this film, anchored by what seems an iffy supporting cast on paper. So with a decent enough cast and production team offsetting limitations and constraints, could they punctuate the fans' desires and regenerate what Marvel/WB have done recently? It's all in the writers and script...I humbly believe...

The task falls to Mcavoy who impresses as Xavier and dissipates a raw energy and naughty charm much not akin to Pat Stewart. In fact, it's differentiated with tinges of a Younger Womanizing Ultimates Prof. X if fans remember his early appearances as a voyeuristic eye on Jean and Emma Frost. This Brit (forget Wanted, and revel in the joy of Last King of Scotland) is an immense talent and he does relish and take charge as X, but it's Fassbender who commands the screen with a vengeance-hungry pain-disseminating Erik. Commandeering the role of villain or anti-hero is no strange thing to Fassbender (Inglorius Basterds, Jonah Hex, 300) etc as this CBM fave dominates the film, surpassing Mcavoy a lot at times, and it's imminent that this is their origins stiory. The plot intricately weaves over Erik lost, depraved and intimate with revenge on persecutive and past woes brought on by the tragedy-inducing Sebastian Shaw. Kevin Bacon does manage to irk out some semblance of a workable villain as Shaw but doesn't pose the charisma needed for this role, which fans would also see boasts bits and pieces of Ult. Sinister as well as 616-Sinister. His CGI, as is the special FX of the film, is potent and handled well, but would that prove enough to quell banter and deliver impeccable goods? Charles and a certain aide realise quickly the impact of an impending threat to a newfound growing community of mutants, leading to his peace-seeking aim crossing paths with Erik. Xavier sets out on a path of peace and funnily enough, doused in a scale of war, forges a friendship with Erik. Key to this relationship, and surprisingly not a bit part in this film, is Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. As pretty as she is, and despite sometimes weak CGI appearance with her, she falls flat at junctions but does manage at times to hit slightly impressive peaks. When she falters, the gape at her is still something relevant in that...well...she's fine as hell. Other than that, mediocre is too harsh, but good performance is a bit too much to say. She's average...and furthermore, Charles and his new calibre-mutant seeking unit run afoul of the CIA, and the team decides that to combat the new threat of a villainous Hellfire Club, they need a roster of their own.

Bacon is not usurped by any villainous performance, as his unit comprises of the one known as Emma Frost, whom January Jones plays the role of...cosmetic at best, Alex Gonzalez as the emotionless Riptide, and Vaughn's fave' Jason Fleming as Azazel (whom fans know of as Nightcrawler's father) whose role here is a serious injustice to the books. In fact, Shaw is good in spurts but for the likes of Emma to be so poorly done, well it's a tad unacceptable at this point that such a wooden cadre and caucus of villains were assembled.

With Charles aiding the CIA, and indirectly fueling Erik's hate, against the mastermind plot of nuclear war by Shaw and his weakly portrayed faction, it's quite astounding to see the cast used here...as it isn't faithful at all to the First Class in comics. It's weird to see Emma aged here but younger in Wolverine Origins, and I ask is this a prequel or a reboot? The continiuity factor is pain staking as we also see Havok, Scott's dad word is, shovel a stapled wooden performance, as well as a disastrous Angel Salvadore, whose ruse and shenanigans are lethally an epidemic of bundled lines on screen. With nuclear embargos approaching, one would think this film asks more of the cast but its muddled, sketchy and shaded in the mire, when Edi Gathegi's Darwin and Oliver Platt's character, prove to be of no surreal dramatic purpose, except a clichéd film fodder tool. I rather one read 'X-MEN: Deadly Genesis by Brubaker', as the choice on screen to not reboot and leave out Iceman, Angel and Jean/Scott...doesnt soothe me at all. Fragments of positivity are gained with Nicholas Hoult's impressive Beast/McCoy portrayal as he brings a serene sense of normality-yearning and acceptance-craving amid genius, coupled with a great looking character post-FX, that leaps out in bounds to warm you with empathy. Simone Bianchi's art is done Thundercat justice here! He does well and also, lends to a lot of the plans that Xavier's team use to combat Shaw and his machinations to start a new world war where mutants and humans are all collateral damage. The end-game of Shaw is very fallible and sometimes laughable as it seems the writers opted to stray from the books as much as possible, and while some deviations were average, the ones that fell flat...horrendously did so...as seen with Rose Byrne's atrocious Moira McTaggert...as this revisionary role is fumbled and trampled with some mediocre acting by her. Banshee by Caleb Jones though is most welcome, despite again not being Scottish, as his take on screen is done well...and believable...till a failure of a climax with him and a firefly. Xavier does try to mend and prostrate at Erik's feet to show him to avert the urge to ascend mutantkind ahead of humans, but it all comes down to their team...training and training...honing skills and powers...which is done decently on screen...with a fine soundtrack and cinematograpic card, as they look to avert nuclear power houses going toe to toe...it's all about preservation of all people. Well, so it seems...as the climax of the film offers no surprise but the way that certain lore is brought to the viewers' hemisphere is well done and welcome a perversion in instances, as the final third sees Fassbender commit to a believalby ticked Erik, and Xavier trying to repair broken arms. He's performance as Erik is mighty and penetrating as you do feel his pain, and Xavier proves a good foil as they have amazing on screen chemistry, but somehow the nefarious schemes and villains, just fail to utilise the best out of these 2 great leads, and that's where I think a weak script brings a shortfall. It's another bridge detonated here as I can't rank it highly as I'd like to, as that'd be me just basing it on good leads, and a few good supporting roles...when really and truly, the script is not impressively catching and falls flat a lot despite a 2 hr run time. It's shoddy dialogue apart from the leads, and an array of disappointing cast performances. Vaughn didn't do terrible but as a restart, they could have done much more and rehashed a lot better, even throw in more easter eggs...the potential was more than there but they hinged on trailers highlighting Erik and Charles, and seemed to go for more style than susbtance. It's hard to see hardcore X-fans liking this, but the average moviegoer would swoon and fall prey to the leads' charm on screen no doubt, as Fassbender/McAvoy more than manage to hold their own. PS - Brendan Fehr of Dawson's Creek makes a lame cameo but it's more than compensated for with a few X-Men we adore popping up here and there, as well as one or two villainous easter eggs, not enough for my blood, which crawls when I wonder if FOX is going to do Deadpool...not likely I think with Ryan eyeing $$$ on a Lantern sequel!!! I digres...

We end with a straighforward crescendo of Erik donning a path, with a kickass helmet whose origins are iffy, and carving a cape as he assembles a new brotherhood, to oppose homosapiens, while Xavier guides the homosuperiors to better and more lush grounds. On that grass, the wheelchair jokes and hair jokes reverberate nicely, but apart from depending too much on the main lead cast to carry the film, the film wasted a lot of potential to reinvigorate my taste in this franchise...but alas lil ole' me...I'm just an army of one. Similar to hating on Transformers, I'm not a popcorn flick fan, I love my comics and expect better translations and adaptations...and this was a bit too loose for my blood...and I felt the advent for reinventing the X-Wheel on film was more than missed here...and color me iffy and sketchy on whether I'm up for a sequel right now...

See it and judge for yourself...average effort and an okay film, but nothing to warrant a second showing for me...
and I saw Thor 4 times...just saying...RICKLYYYY OUTTTT!!!!!
PS = there's a sexy cameo from X1-3 to look out for...
DISCLAIMER: This article was submitted by a volunteer contributor who has agreed to our code of conduct. ComicBookMovie.com is protected from liability under "safe harbor" provisions and will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement. For expeditious removal, contact us HERE.
4
LIKE!
28 Comments
mk - 6/1/2011, 11:32 PM
Nice review anil.. still seeing it since im hopping it haha
LEEE777 - 6/2/2011, 1:17 AM
Excellent review!!!

This is more truer review that we should be expecting on this movie, anyone saying this is 5 out of 5 or 10 out of 10 should be ashamed to being a comic book fan and should never review a cbm film again, no kissing FOX's ass here!

Got to admit though, they finally made Mageneto's helmet look good after 3 films lol.

Very well done dude!

Can't wait for a proper MARVEL movie!

THE AVENGERS!



With most of the actual ORIGINAL team in it!

Also...

THOR II = FTW!
XK1D - 6/2/2011, 1:22 AM
I gotta be honest, I became a fan of the original animated series before the comics, in fact, I don't read comics, the few I have I bought simply for the art work, I don't follow the characters storylines from the books, but just like every book has it's own storyline, so do the films and nitpicking it would be such a waste for me so I rather enjoy the film for what it is instead of beating myself for what it could have been and I'm going to go with the majority here and say I cannot wait to see this film and I'm glad it's gotten, for the most part, great reviews.
ScottPilgrim - 6/2/2011, 1:34 AM
GREAT FILM ! ! ! !
EditNinja - 6/2/2011, 1:43 AM
Just saw it today. I was expecting it to be good, but it was great! Brisk pace, every actor was excellent, except Beast's makeup was a bit overdone, and the adorable Jan Jones was miscast. Aside from that, no complaints - 4/5 stars.

@AnilRickly - How many (outta five)stars would you give it?
TheMaster - 6/2/2011, 1:45 AM
"I love my comics and expect better translations and adaptations"... not enough to know that Banshee is Irish ;) Just teasing. I don't necessarily agree with some of your comments but you've written a good article, thanks.
Dickel - 6/2/2011, 1:50 AM
Excellent movie. Saw it today.
Looking forward to seeing it again.

I'd have to agree with the Emma Frost actress seemingly being miscast. I know they had originally hoped to get that other bird, but this sheila seemed a little wooden for the part. (I actually recall thinking that while watching her on screen) Then again, maybe she was going for a 'frosty' attitude and that is what I was seeing. Anyway, that aside, excellent job to all those involved.
connor110693 - 6/2/2011, 2:08 AM
well i saw thor once and have already seen x-men twice... and plan on seeing it more than that... difference of opinion i thought it was truely a 5 star film and thor was only a 3 just difference of opinion my friend :)
krypton38 - 6/2/2011, 2:42 AM
Terrible review mate. What's the point in bringing up the fact that it's not the original team once again when everyone knows that it's not. If you didn't like the original films for that reason, why bother inflicting your narrow minded opinion on other people and why bother going to see it. What happened to the 80% of people who were going to boycott this? I bet you were one of them.....maybe not, but I can tell you didn't watch this with an open mind and give it a fair chance. I've seen it and thought it was brilliant, much better than Thor (which I really liked) and will admit that like the previous installments it's not a great adaptation but like so many other films it's been changed with somebody else's vision in mind. Take "The Shining" for example, excellent film but the author, Stephen King, hated it because it changed a great deal from the book but it turned out to become a classic. Surely art is all about interpretations whether right or wrong, no? If you don't like this version of the Xmen then stop bitchin about it and stop watching it. By the way January Jones looks great but is terribly wooden and redundant half way through and apart from a few minor niggles it is an excellent movie. 4.5/5 P.S. HAS THE REVIEWER EVER HEARD OF A PARAGRAPH? GAVE ME A FUNKIN HEADACHE
croniccris - 6/2/2011, 2:53 AM
It took me almost a minute to read your heading cuz there were so many long pauses
krypton38 - 6/2/2011, 3:03 AM
Yea when you read it back it does sound kinda retarded. You're almost waiting to see the words MATT DAMON at the end of the heading.
deamon - 6/2/2011, 3:09 AM
Anil Rickly? After reading one thing - he's Avengers fan, yup?
MrSuperheromoviefan - 6/2/2011, 3:11 AM
Awesome review!!!
I hope you will not stop doing reviews!
hunterelf - 6/2/2011, 3:37 AM
half of what he wrote was kinda pointless, just start from the big chunk of text, that's the review of the movie... and also this guy should learn to use paragraphs...jesus look at that chunk of text !!!
marvel72 - 6/2/2011, 4:04 AM
@ anil rickly

good reveiw mate.

@ teabag

you are comparing rick jones to the original x-men line up.

okay,marvel has the right to change the origins & characters to how they see fit they created them,fox or the director don't even make the effort.

lets make galactus a black cloud,that wouldn't of happened if marvel was making it.

i'm not saying copy the comic word for word pannel for pannel,slight changes are fine.

but at least have say the original five vs magneto & work a story around that.

they put no effort into it whatsoever.

we're stuck with these characters maybe for another two films in a line up where i give a shit about three of the characters.

JDUKE25 - 6/2/2011, 4:10 AM
I don't think Thor is worth seeing that many times, I saw it once and went to see it again (drive-in 2 movie combo: Pirates 4 and Thor) and I couldn't make it through it the second time. Thor was a fine comic book movie, but not worth seeing over and over. IMO

Not sure what to think of X-men. I'll wait until I see the movie before judgement, but the reviews so far have been mostly good news for the movie. I'm just not in the X-MEN mood which is why I'm not really pumped for this movie like I am for Cap and Green Lantern. But with the movie getting mostly good reviews I have high hopes that it'll give us a good X-men film.

@LEEE that Avengers poster is BADA$$!!!
adamwham - 6/2/2011, 4:30 AM
I still don't understand why no one can grasp that the original 5 will be in a sequel. Plus honestly this review is bias because you apparently didn't expect much from the film to begin with. Thor was good not 4 times repeat viewing good.
JoshWilding - 6/2/2011, 4:37 AM
LEE: Have you even seen the movie yet? If not, I'm amazed that you can judge what people should and shouldn't be rating X-Men: First Class. Either way, I've seen a lot of idiots on this site, but you are the biggest.
thewanderer - 6/2/2011, 4:47 AM
considering the OP laid out in the opening paragraph that he wasn't going to like it no matter what, the actual review isn't even worth reading.
Yasn7 - 6/2/2011, 4:50 AM
If this was not as good as Thor than it must have been really bad. I thought Thor was ok not great like everyone else has been saying. Good review but ill reserve my judgement till I see it Friday
goatweapon - 6/2/2011, 4:56 AM
Just got back from seeing it myself. Very average.
Ceejay - 6/2/2011, 5:05 AM
@ teabag

Rick Jones is a perfect example of why you can't adapt comics to movies without exercising comic sense over blind fanboy love for the source material. Rick Jones is, was and always will be a superfluous character. He's been responsible for creating the Hulk, he's been in costume as the Bucky with Captain America as his sidekick, he's been given Superpowers to become the new Captain Marvel and he was alo in a team that caused the forming of the Avengers in the first place.

Granted comics are generally make-it-up-as-you-go orientated so new writers simply can't help adding to previous concepts and characters, but Rick Jones's history as a result is something your audience would laugh their heads of in its utter ridiculousness. Comics have no budget, the creative team can make up as much superfluous, non-essential supporting cast to fill as much of the story and comic as needed. Films do have a budget and an element as utterly contrived and pointless as a guy who happens to keep being in the wrong or right place through Marvel history is not something you want to waste your limited budget on even to please the fanboys who don't pay a second thought towards the vast differences in the mediums.
antariss - 6/2/2011, 7:35 AM
I'm with teabag all the way. Comics and Films are not the same and art is always an interpretative medium and part of the fun in comics or film series is new artists, writers,etc coming in and giving a fresh take on things. I saw XFC today (unlike a number of the irrational haters in this forum) and thought it was excellent, a second showing for me will confirm if it is 'awesome'. You will miss aspects of the source material but part of life is excepting change and your attitude to it. Remember folks, they can't change your comic stash so no need to cry ;-) Seriously, this is a brilliant X-men film which the sequel could easily include the original outstanding 4 if they go the reboot route...
krypton38 - 6/2/2011, 12:53 PM
Lets just face it. Anil Rickly is a major gobshite. Yes, have your opinion but if you're going to write a review at least be honest about the film and not repeat the same shit as before. I don't hear him complaining that Hawkeye and Black Widow are Avengers, or that Thor's other identity on Earth, Donald Blake has been scrapped and only briefly mentioned as more of a wink to the fans. What about when Jon Favreau decided to combine Whiplash and Crimson Dynamo? Did you completely write that film off?
What about Favreau creating SHIELD Agent, Colsen when they could have used a character from the comics. Comics for the most part are only templates that ALL studios use for their films including the great MARVEL STUDIOS.
By the way I love all those films I mentioned
BigK1337 - 6/2/2011, 7:33 PM
@BaneKill77
Yeah, until it becomes that person's opinion to think that movies like First Class doesn't deserve more than four stars.

Really, way to contradict what you said at the end of your comment: "Who the hell are you to say it shouldn't get this or that?? What wrong with people having different taste & opinion? We all aren't alike."
Ryguy88 - 6/2/2011, 11:26 PM
You saw Thor 4 times but you are "not a popcorn flick fan?" That's all I need to know. Also, Banshee is Irish, not Scottish. Looks like your review is straying too far from the comic now:)

Tea, semi conscious is the best kinda conscious;)

Lee, you kill me, never change.
comicb00kguy - 6/3/2011, 10:34 AM
Leee: I agree with you on many things, but I'm honestly NOT looking forward to the ultimates-excuse me-"Avengers" movie at all. I've seen almost nothing about this film that suggests that it is anywhere NEAR the 616 Avengers. But why wait? I've got my Avengers on every Sunday at 9. The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon is as close an adaptation of the Avengers as we'll ever see in any non-print medium. I'll take that over any movie. It just gets better every week. Can't wait for part 2 of Ultron!

Rickly: I always enjoy your thougtful and honest reviews. Thanks for taking the time and effort to present a different perspective on First Class.
Ven0m - 6/4/2011, 8:56 AM
The only idiot on this site is you JoshW you suck Foxs cock harder than anyone I know. You bashed this shit right along with the rest of us and then "changed" your mind. You sir are no true X-Men fan and dont call yourself one. If you were then you know this is not a true adaptation and its just a decent flick because of a pretty good cast. p.s. I saw the movie and it was ok. Kinda long and a bit slow at times. cast was good and story was good for a MOVIE, but this is not the best CBM ever and shouldnt be classifed as one. If you think it is then you obviously arent a comic book fan. Which I am finding most of the people here arent.

Please log in to post comments.

Don't have an account?
Please Register.