X-Men: First Class: Best X-Men movie since the first one. Stylish, engaging and yet still good fun.
In my oft-cited contribution to the Why We Overthink thousand-post milestone on OTI, I defended my snobbery by saying “mere enthusiasm is not enough to make something Good Art.” X-Men: First Class supports my claim. While the stylistic choices don’t break any new ground – mirror-image cinematography, aping Mad Men style – they are, at least, stylistic choices. It’s done better than in the first movie, where the villains are a giant dressed like a drifter, a naked blue woman, a leapfrogging jester and an old guy in Nouveau Fasciste, who live in a cave off the coast of, well, never mind.
Of course, it’s by Matthew Vaughn of Kick-Ass, so it’s not perfect. Every female with more than two lines prances around in her underwear within 10 seconds of her first appearance. The movie’s got its share of attractive guys. I could practically hear Meghan biting her lip as Michael Fassbender struts around Argentina in a tight polo shirt, and Nicholas Hoult (Hank McCoy / Beast) is probably a fan favorite. But they all keep their shirts on like they’re embarrassed, or rather Vaughn is embarrassed for them.
The dialogue has the usual comic book kitsch: James McAvoy repeats all the important stuff twice per sentence, and Jennifer Lawrence does the best she can with a bad hand. Kevin Bacon must have loved showing up to work every day and the enthusiasm shows on screen. January Jones delivers her lines on cue, and Oliver Platt and Michael Ironside play themselves.
Check out the podcast if you want to hear more (SPOILERS). I may also have an OTI post next week on the subject. For now: highly recommended.