First class? You bet­ter be­lieve it

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

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.

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