Jun 282011
Authors: Jason Berlinberg

Since “X2: X-Men United” was released in 2003, the quality of the “X-Men” franchise has been on the downhill.

Faced with the critical flops of “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “Kick Ass” director Matthew Vaughn decided to take the helm on a complete reboot of the franchise.

Vaughn’s “First Class” tells the origin story of Professor Charles Xavier’s first group of mutants who eventually became the famed X-Men.

Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, “First Class” nails the melding of real life events within a comic book world. Professor X and his team attempt to maintain peace with Russia, which ultimately culminates in a high-tension standoff at the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The movie feels fresh and progresses at a quick pace, thanks primarily to the youthful energy from the new Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender).

These new actors move around a lot better than Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen did, as evidenced by their characters jumping off of various ships and planes.  

The subtle intricacies of the beginning of their friendship are also interesting to see, especially as an “X-Men” fan.  Even from the start, the characters’ personalities clash –– something that the audience knows will usher in their eventual rivalry.

Another interesting element seen throughout is the use of Easter eggs alluding to later movies in the franchise, highlighted by an absolutely hilarious, albeit abrupt, Hugh Jackman cameo.

“X-Men: First Class” is a superhero movie made for superhero fans. Although it tries to cater to a wider audience with numerous action sequences and a fast-paced feel, viewers who don’t often enter the superhero realm and those who haven’t seen an “X-Men” movie before may feel a little lost.

But for those of you who have seen the other films in the series, I highly recommend “First Class.” It provides an excellent foundation for the rest of the franchise and is one of the best movies you will see all summer.   

Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at verve@collegian.com and can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonberlinberg.

 Posted by at 1:28 pm

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