X-Men: First Class

One thing I like about our Regal Cinema is there are never any crowds. We have been going to see movies on opening weekends and we never have to stand in a line… not to buy tickets… not to buy concessions. We have our pick of seats in the theater and never have to rush to get there early.

This week we saw X-Men: First Class on opening weekend. Apparently it isn’t offered in 3-D, which is fine by me. I’m pretty much over watching movies in 3-D and paying the premium. I have enjoyed all of the installments of the X-Men movies, including Wolverine, and the cameo appearance by Wolverine in this film was an unexpected treat. I really liked the idea of a prequel for this franchise because the other story lines had pretty much run their course. This was a welcome addition to explore the relationship between Charles (Professor X) and Eric (Magneto). I like the character developments between them and the tension – friends and enemies at the same time. They have to constantly balance their respect for each other without compromising their own ideals, and we see how that started from the very beginning.

I thought the plot and story were very clever, even though it follows the same overall theme as all of the movies. Using the Cuban missile crisis and the backdrop of the 60′s was well thought out and integrated into the overall story line very well. It wasn’t just a gimmick, it was developed throughout the whole movie by giving behind the scenes looks at what was going on every step.

The special effects were really good… not to the extent of something like Transformers… but they fit the story and were not meaningless attempts to show outrageous special effects. The battle scenes were not overly drawn out to the point where you were hoping someone would die just to end them. Even so, there were some slow spots in the movie. I didn’t like the casting of Kevin Bacon for his part. Most of the scenes involving him directly were yawners for me, and he seemed completely out of place. I think they would have done better using someone unknown or fresh like most of the rest of the cast. In addition, I don’t feel like they took advantage of the supporting cast very well. We were briefly introduce to their powers, but we never really learned much of anything about them as characters. I realize the emphasis was on Charles and Eric, but I think the movie would have been better if some of the time had been diverted from Kevin Bacon to exploring the backgrounds of the other characters a bit, especially since other than Raven, these were not characters we see in the later movies. I do think it leaves the door open for another movie to show the beginnings of the other major characters like Storm and Cyclops, much the same way as they did for Wolverine.

Overall, I really liked the movie, not as much for the action as for the interplay and background between Charles and Eric. We already knew some of Eric’s beginnings, but learning about Raven and how Charles was paralyzed added a lot to the X-Men lore in the movies.

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