Albeit a bit late, this review is coming before the release of X-Men: First Class on DVD, so it is definitely not too late!
If you pay attention to the reviews and reception of movies when they come out, then you know that this movie did extremely well in the box offices and on critics’ notepads. With a lot to expect from such numbers and scores, this movie successfully came through.
The cast that this movie put together is really quite astonishing. With your one-two punch of male leads, Michael Fassbender playing the metal controlling, concentration-camp-nightmare driven Magneto, and James McAvoy playing the telepathic leader who will do anything to help mutants. Fassbender (300, Inglorious Bastards) gets what is likely his biggest, truest role in a movie yet, and he delivers powerfully. His next few years of acting are going to be incredible after this, so keep him on your radar. McAvoy (Atonement, The Last King of Scotland) has had success in the past, and is great as Professor X.
The rest of the cast lines up pretty good along the leads. Kevin Bacon is your bad guy, which everybody loves to see. Jennifer Lawrence (lead of Winter’s Bone), and then we have the beautiful and provocatively dressed January Jones (Mad Men), who I’m thinking will bring a lot of new viewers to her main-line acting performance, the main character’s wife in Mad Men. With other greats sprinkled into the mix of this movie, the cast alone is enough to guarantee a good time.
Then there is the production value. Again, this movie brings it. The editing, the camera shots, the direction, the make-up, and the special effects are all top-notch and come together in a great way. Your eyes and ears are always intrigued by what you are perceiving throughout the movie. I don’t think any of the production is going to win awards, but there are really no weak points, which is pretty much just as good.
Last, and absolutely not least, there is the story. I am absolutely no expert on the history of X-Men, having never read a comic book in my life, but I am pretty sure that it gets the characters and their backgrounds correct. The movie takes place in the critical Cold War time in history, and it puts an interesting spin on mutants’ involvement in what was almost WWIII. It is sensible in the universe in which it takes place, and does a perfect job of giving us the beginning of a very popular work of fiction.
3.5/4.0 – Fast paced, action packed, and with little to nothing to detract from it, X-Men: First Class is a nearly perfect comic book movie prequel with great production and a young and exciting cast.