X-Men: First Class (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass)
Starring: James McAvoy (Atonement) Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds) Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) Kevin Bacon (Footloose) January Jones (Mad Men) Rose Byrne (Brides Maids)
As a true fan of the X-Men comic book series, I was hesitant about this film. The characters who were listed were not the original five (except for Beast) and there were characters held no importance in the mutant world like Darwin. I was excited however that they were using Emma Frost one of my favorite female comic book characters ever, and I was excited to see how they developed the relationship between Professor Xavier and Magneto. The director Matthew Vaughn also did an amazing job with the comic book adaptation of Kick Ass (2010) so I went in with somewhat reserved expectations (as a comic fan). This is actually the first X-Men film I have seen twice in the theaters (and would go go see it a third).
The film starts in 1944 with a young Erik Lensher (Magneto) in a concentration camp with his family. After he moves the metal fence he comes face to face with Sebastian Shaw a mutant so powerful he can harness energy. Shaw kills Erik's mother in front of him thus creating a tale of vengeance. Meanwhile in the United States a young Charles Xavier meets a young Raven Darkholme (Mystique) in his kitchen as children. The film then jumps to 1962 and develops into film about the discovery of the existence of mutants, a war between the USA and the USSR, and war between Shaw's people and this new group of mutants that works with CIA agent Moira McTaggert. There are things that are changed in the film from the comics, and I will not be a real fan boy and point them out, but they do not take away from this great film.
Vaughn did a great job helping to tell the story (or a re-imagination) of the birth of both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Bryan Singer helped produced this film and did a great job as the director and visionary of the first two films that were made. The acting was great, Michael Fassbender steals the film as Magneto. Fassbender is a star on the rise, and this film will help him. McAvoy and Lawrence gave the next best performances. Each of their stories was the meatiest. I liked and didn't like the visual effects. Throughout most of the film, most of visual effects seemed real, but there were things as Magneto was moving that room around as a child and Emma Frost's diamond that just didn't click. Overall another good comic book movie for the year of 2011!