Monthly Archives: October 2011

X-Men: First Class – Home entertainment

(Rating: 12A, 132 mins) Written by Zen Terrelonge

Starring – James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Bacon, January Jones.

For those of you that are unequipped with the Marvel-ous history of the X-folk, let’s suit up!

A group of X-traordinary young people discover that they have amazing talents far beyond the realm of plate spinning and tap-dancing. Instead, think mind-reading, metal manipulation, superhuman strength and agility, you name it someone is undoubtedly packing it.

To date there’s already been a hugely successful X-Men trilogy created, which begun in 2000 and ended in 2006, but if you want to get technical, there is a fourth film, a prequel released in 2009 centered on the wild man favourite, Wolverine.

However, this First Class fan boy dream marks a new dawn on the horizon, set in the swinging 60s, it’s a gem of a prequel to the super-powered franchise and it couldn’t have a more different spin on it.

Seeing the younger incarnations of the good Professor X and silver fox Magneto were what I was particularly excited to see on screen.

The film starts right at the beginning, we see just exactly how two of the biggest mutant faction leaders Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Fassbender) went from firm friends to animosity-filled adversaries in a heartbeat.

McAvoy absolutely brings the formerly enigmatic Charles Xavier to life and so we, the viewers, get the opportunity to penetrate his mind for a change.

From a young age, it’s very clear this privileged boy had some impressive control of his power. And by chance he even discovered a fellow homosuperior to share his unusual childhood with… A colourful sister figure, shall we say.

Surprisingly he was actually a cool cat to start, he enjoyed a drink, used his powers to impress the ladies and with good looks and limitless intelligence he was a man to be envied. That swiftly changes though and the transition to the subdued Professor X we know in our present day becomes apparent.

As for Erik Lensherr, he is on the other side of the tracks, seeing his mother murdered as a boy in a Nazi concentration camp, he is hell-bent on revenge.

Whilst Fassbender puts his own unique brand on the human fridge magnet, as with the original trilogy, we see a powerful, dangerous being.

Now we see exactly what changed him from an innocent, scared child in to the bitter, rage-fuelled, power-hungry man we know as Magneto.

The two comrades meet by chance when pursuing a common enemy, Hellfire Club leader, Sebastian Shaw (Bacon), and if you think he looks familiar, he ‘shaw’ should do, just picture him with glasses and a tache. Oh and speaking deutsch.

This leads the two new companions to begin an X-Factor style audition process across America, seeking out gifted youngsters, like themselves, to join their cause.

It’s a truly impressive visual affair that not only nails the sci-fi genre it’s a child of but it also slots perfectly into the thriller bracket too. There’s an array of international travels in the film, unlike its predecessors, and it keeps the film jogging along at steady pace for the duration much like a Bourne or Bond spy tale.

You can feel the suspense building up to a huge climax, though instead of silenced guns, the weapons of choice are a lot more original.

While some extreme Marvel-ites see fit to grumble because it’s not as accurate to the comics as it could have been, I believe that’s called creative licensing, and in this case it pays off.

There are some great inside nods to the future for fans of the franchise with an unexpected cameo and references to what will eventually become the bald bonce of the Prof, these touches just add to the films brilliance.

With director Matthew Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman teaming up again as they have done for Stardust and Kick-Ass they can do no wrong in my eyes and I cannot wait for what is going to be a hugely anticipated sequel.

Vaughn has already stated that unlike most sequels he only intends to have one additional character, one that can rival Magneto and be seen as his equal.

In the words of Charlie X – Very groovy!


X-Men: First Class is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.