This review of “X-Men: First Class” appears on KTKA-49.
The “X-Men” franchise has fallen on some rough times lately. A disappointing third movie and a “Wolverine” solo adventure that was all over the place may have alienated some of its fans in recent years. But with its former director Bryan Singer in the producer’s chair, the new prequel of sorts, “X-Men: First Class” puts it back on track.
“First Class” shows the public beginnings of the mutant-human conflict and sets it against the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis. Reframing a notorious historical event like this is a bold movie, but it also serves as an apt metaphor for the differing ideologies of its two main characters.
James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender play Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr–the men who would become Professor X and Magneto–and both actors carry the weight required to make them convincing, even with some pretty forced expository dialogue.
There are too many other mutants to mention, and some of them acquit themselves more admirably than others, but this is the first “X-Men” movie to contain some truly spectacular action/special-effects set pieces.
It also manages an epic feel and squeaks in a little sense of humor while it hammers home its central theme. It may not be subtle, but “X-Men: First Class” is a return to what made the series so good in the first place.