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X-Men, a first in their class



Although NICOLAS CALLEGARI is no X-Men fan at all, after watching X-Men: First Class, he left the cinema without any disappointment at all.
I’m not the world’s biggest X-Men fan.  I don’t know if it’s X-Men fatigue (having sat through three rather horrible movies and that steaming turd X-Men Origins: Wolverine we all decided to repress into our collective sub-conscious), but the comics never really did it for me either.  I’ve always been more of an Avengers geek than an X-Men geek.

However, when I saw that Matthew Vaughn (the dude who brought us the awesomeness of Snatch, Kick-Ass, Stardust and Layer Cake) was at the helm of Marvel’s latest attempt to woo new fans and bring old X-Men fans back, I had higher than normal hopes.

And I have to say that I was not disappointed at all.

X-Men: First Class is a clever, well-told, gripping and unapologetic take on the classic comic book story (based in the “Ultimates” universe of how Charles Xavier (aka Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (aka Magneto) discovered the increase in the world’s mutant population and began the famous crime-fighting crew that will eventually be called the X-Men.

Having read a few of the original X-Men: First Class comics, published back in 2006 – 2008, the first thing that became abundantly clear was that Vaughn opted to step away from the canon of the series in order to tell a better story.

He takes a lot of liberties with the source material, but I believe it’s for the better because what he managed to pull together is an origins story that works well.  It is just a story after all, and to take diversions from source material as seriously as some comic book anoraks no doubt would just be a waste of energy on hating something that is actually quite good.

X-Men: First Class is by no means an addition to the previous movies and really should be considered as a standalone movie.  Apart from two very appropriate cameos in the movie (I won’t ruin them for you), there’s no connection whatsoever to the previous movies.

On the whole, the special effects and sound in the movie were great, despite a few scenes looking overly CGI-heavy and artificial.

The makeup was generally good, with the exception of Beast who looked more like a a character from Where the Wild Things are and I thoroughly enjoyed the action for the most part.  The story is well-paced, makes sense in all the right places and never leaves you hanging with unanswered questions.  It really didn’t feel like a 2 hour and 12 minute movie, which is rare even for many superhero movies nowadays.

The performances In a nutshell:
I loved James McAvoy, Kevin Bacon and Michael Fassbender in their roles as Xavier, Sebastian Shaw (the main antagonist) and Lehnsherr respectively.
I liked Jennifer Lawrence and Rose Byrne as Mystique and Moira MacTaggert.
I thought January Jones and Nicholas Hoult were lousy as Emma Frost and Beast.
What Vaughn has managed to do with X-Men: First Class is something that is becoming a trend with super hero and comic book movies, and sci-fi as a whole in some cases: creating mass appeal.
For geeks like myself, we’re getting the movies we’ve always dreamed of, like Iron Man, Thor and Star Trek.  For the rest of the world, they’re getting really well-made and appealing sci-fi and action fantasy movies that are generally a pleasure to watch, and it’s thanks to the talents of director like Vaughn, JJ Abrams, Jon Favreau and Kenneth Brannagh who are able to think way outside the box that is created by the source material that they have to work with.  THANK YOU! (and I’m very patiently looking forward to Captain America and The Avengers.)

Watched at: Ster Kinekor Westgate
Running time: 1hr 12 mins
Age restriction: PG-13
Score: 9/10
Verdict: First and foremost, X-Men: First Class is a fantastic movie that’s generally a pleasure to watch.  It pushes all the right geeky buttons without compromising on story and will surly win a lot of new fans and bring back a bunch of X-Men-fatigued fans back from denial.

* Nicolas Callegari is a messaging architect, writer, blogger, sci-fi geek and comic book nut.  Find him at

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