Tuesday, June 7, 2011

X-MEN FIRST CLASS



Matthew Vaughn's followup to Kick Ass doesn't have the same inventive, original storytelling he infused in last year's surprise R rated hit. In that film Vaughn took Nicolas Cage and reinvented the Hollywood superhero movie for our modern era of graphic violence. Then again tackling the origins of X-MEN won't necessarily qualify as high art or a daring realization. Vaughn wants to seek the origins of these popular mutant heroes, where they come from and what shaped their destinies. It works -or at least most of the time- and is a sheer delight to watch. Sure there are flaws but why quibble when the fun comes in plenty of mutating forms. Predictability starts to creep in as the film reaches its final third but X-MEN FIRST CLASS is what a summer movie should be all about- brainless fun.

Of course some may be disturbed by the holocaust themed revenge story that is at the center of our main protagonist Erik's struggle for revenge -a solid Michael Fassbender. I dug it but others might not. Erik saw his mom shot to death by Nazi Sebastian Shaw in the Warsaw Ghetto of 1939. Sensitivities will most likely get touched but I found it wholeheartedly intriguing ditto Kevin Bacon as the bad ass Nazi lieutenant. Vaughn has taken the origins of the X-Men comic books and possibly made the best movie in the series. before this bad boy, 2002's flawed X-MEN United took the crown as best. I'm not an X-Men fan but I couldn't help but be taken by these freaks and their pursuit for acceptance, in fact I rather like them more as hipster young ins from the 60's rather than their current, perfected forms.

This doesn't have the landmark fingerprints Sam Raimi brought to his great Spider-Man 2 or Christopher Nolan brought to his masterful The Dark Knight. One might go as far as to say that those movies had an auteuristic feel to them, which is what gave them their finely tuned edge. Vaughn isn't an auteur, he's just a filmmaker that wants to entertain. His movie won't move mountains or change the way we watch movies like Nolan and Raimi's films did but instead it's just there, an entertainment that does justice to the comic books and is a welcome relief from the failed comic book adaptation that was Thor earlier this summer.

★★½ or ★★★

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