X-Men : First Class

The X-Men franchise is hugely popular but I was never a big fan of theirs. Not the comics and not the movies. It didn’t hold that much of an appeal to me and the character of Wolverine was the only one that I really liked. Not in the movies because in the movies Wolverine is played by big dumbo Huge Jackass! So I didn’t really watch much of the franchise. However after a bunch of people recommended X-Men : First Class I decided to give it a shot and I am impressed. Impressed enough to give the whole franchise another chance.

Calling this a drama-action movie with Superhero elements is actually more appropriate rather than calling it a Superhero movie. It’s just got all the elements that you want & like in a drama-action movie. Using fresh blood and rebooting a franchise via a prequel – take lessons film makers. I’ve felt that reboots had become just a trend and a fad rather than actually giving new life for a franchise, especially in the Scifi genre but this is an case where not only was it needed but it actually adds a whole lot more to the franchise.

In this film the young Magneto who goes by the name Erik, a Polish Jew in a Nazi internment camp shows his abilities to bend strong metal with his mind. His mother is brutally shot dead in cold blood by the scientist Klaus Schmidt (Kevin Bacon) to provoke the young boy to fuel his anger and abilities. Schmidt plans to use to boy for studies on mutation and for his own own gains. Meanwhile in a posh New York estate  young telepath Charles Xavier meets young shape-shifter Raven, who stole into the house. Overjoyed to meet someone else “different”, he invites her to live with his family as his foster sister. The difference between the two main character’s lives – with Magneto played by Michael Fassbender & Prof. X by James McAvoy – is obvious even though there is a genuine friendship created when they join forces briefly and even a brotherhood.

With the elements of a Cold War on the verge of breaking out into a full scaled hostilties looming over them, the young superheros in the making must stop Schmidt, who now goes by the name of Sebastian Shaw, and his aides the telepathic Emma Frost (January Jones), and teleporting Azazel (Jason Flemyng). Erik’s chasing down of Shaw is for pure revenge & hatred which causes him to be rash and hasty, like when he tries to halt a powerful moving submarine using his powers. Xavier & Erik  recruits stripper Angel Salvadore; also, taxi driver Armando Muñoz, Army prisoner Alex Summers, and Sean Cassidy—who code-name themselves Darwin, Havok, and Banshee, respectively—while Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) names herself Mystique. Also with them is CIA agent Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne).

With Shaw looking to profit from a war between Russia vs The US, it’s up to the newly formed XMen to stop them. But Shaw kills Darwin and tempts Angel onto his side. Xavier takes everyone back to his family estate for training before stopping a possible war from breaking out. Erik & Raven bond and he advises her to embrace her mutant side rather than hide it. Young scientist Hank McCoy creates a cure to hide mutation and make the mutants look normal but his cure backfires on him and turns him to a leonine beast. Meanwhile in Moscow, Shaw compels the general to have the Soviet Union install nukes in Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis ensues, with U.S. President John F. Kennedy instituting a blockade to stop the tranfer of missiles to Cuba. Shaw, wearing a helmet that foils Xavier’s telepathy, accompanies the Soviet fleet to ensure the missiles arrive.

At the blockade line Xavier, Magneto & their team battle Shaw’s mutants. Magneto is able to take Shaw’s helmet and puts it on, thereby blocking out Xavier and then kills Shaw despite telling him that he shares his exclusivist view of mutants. In a tussle  Xavier keeps Magneto from destroying the fleets with their own missiles but a stray bullet hits Xavier on his spine, paralyzing him from the waist down. A rueful Magneto then leaves with Angel, Riptide, Azazel, and Mystique—who advises McCoy to “proudly” embrace his mutant nature. A wheelchair-bound Xavier and the mutants return to the mansion, where he intends to open a school.

This is a really good film worth watching many times over. You will really like Magneto’s scene in an Argentine bar where he looks for information on Schmidt/Shaw. The way he kills the men who attacks him is cool, brutal & awesomely maniacal  at the same time. Excellent casting and acting throughout. Loved oh so hot January Jones! Character actors Oliver Platt, Michael Ironside & Ray Wise also have small roles. Awesome movie, 9 out of 10!

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