X-Men: First Class - First Reaction
We're allowed to give our verdict on Matthew Vaughn's X-Men prequel! Spoiler: AMAZING.
Very excitingly, ScreenGeek has become one of a handful of bloggers allowed to reveal their verdict on X-Men: First Class!
I saw the film Friday morning, and while the rest of UK press is embargoed until 25th May, I can officially reveal that Matthew Vaughn's prequel is tremendous.
While I can't give a proper, detailed "review" until Wednesday, here are my (happy) thoughts.
First, X-Men: First Class is utterly exhilarating and unashamedly sexy. Like a classy Bond movie, with one eyebrow raised, it revels in the retro glamour of its era. Plus, with there's more than a little bit of Bond in Michael Fassbender's Erik, aka Magneto. We're talking wounded, intense Daniel Craig-Bond here, and he has an incredible bar scene that rivals his famous Inglourious Basterds moment.
Continuing with the Bond comparison, it's fair to say First Class has done to the X-Men franchise what Casino Royale did to the flagging, dated 007. To say it's been revitalised would be an understatement.
Adding to the gravitas Fassbender brings is James McAvoy's Charles, who becomes Professor X. The pair have great chemistry, and the development of their fractured relationship is moving - the film is devoted to it, alongside the action-packed storyline. McAvoy plays Charles as an outrageous, but rubbish, flirt with a twinkle in his eye, and his nurturing of the bitter, grieving Erik is believable.
First Class manages to introduce a shedload of characters and, amazingly, make you care about all of them. The stand-out is Caleb Landry Jones' Banshee, as the very first X-Men are assembled.
For all the dastardly shenanigans of baddies Kevin Bacon (revelling in his white-suited playboy) and Emma Frost (suitably conniving and, er, frosty, with some spectacular costumes), Vaughn has delivered on the action front. There are some spectacular set pieces, with a climactic battle in the ocean that genuinely delivers the goods. Erik has all the best action, and Magneto's metal manipulation skills are put to fascinating use, particularly in a nailbiting childhood scene.
With plenty of in-jokes for fans and a huge amount of warmth and affection for the X-Men world, First Class is an incredibly respectful piece of work. Relentlessly entertaining, with a cast of the finest actors working today, it's pure joy from start to finish. Way better than X2, and probably most recent blockbusters.