First class? You better believe it
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Jason Flemyng. Screenplay by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. 132 minutes, rated M (violence, offensive language). Showing at Reading Cinemas Porirua, Light House Pauatahanui.
X- Men fans would have been forgiven for thinking all hope was lost following the slap in the face that was X-3, and the adamantium claw to the balls that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
But God bless him, English director Matthew Vaughn has made mutants cool again.
It’s somewhat ironic a franchise centred on the next step in human evolution should reach to the past to get its mojo back, but in mining the comic book’s rich mythology – particularly the complex bond between Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) – Vaughn and his co-writers (including his Kick-Ass companion Jane Goldman) have rekindled the flame that burned so bright in Bryan Singer’s X-Men movies.
Friendship, philosophy and the burden of being different have returned to the fore, and the main characters are given room to develop. The most enthralling scenes in First Class are not of Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) flexing their mutant powers in epic battles, but of them sharing a beer; finding common ground in their quest for mutant acceptance, and the heartbreak when Erik opts for mutant superiority.
Much is being made of the swinging-60s setting and Vaughn certainly uses it to his advantage, both in the aesthetic look of the picture, and its playful tone.
CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) infiltrates a gathering of a secret club of power mongers in Las Vegas by stripping down to her bra and panties, before stumbling upon the secret lair of turtle-neck-wearing nasty Sebastian Shaw ( Kevin Bacon) via a jazzy trap door.
I half expected Austin Powers to pop up and say ‘‘ Groovy, baby!’’. But don’t fear, the tone here is early James Bond, not the camp 1960s Batman show.
Good to be back: Magneto (Michael Fassbender) stretches his muscles – and some metal – in X-Men: First Class, a playful and powerful addition to the X-mythology.