The heat index was flirting with a perfect 100 degrees or I would never have ventured outside my comfort zone to attend this film; now I must bless that hellishly hot day for my initiation into the fantastic world of mutants, telepaths, “angels” and “demons”. Oh, what a baptism it was!
This was a maiden voyage, virginal in its ignorance: knowing nothing of the comic book or past films. From the commencement I was gloriously entertained. A prime example of mindless, thoughtless escapism, unadulterated fun; why we go to the movies. The villains are just as delicious as the heroes; the forces of positivity and negativity; their duels dynamic and compelling.
Riveted from the first scene: it it the waning years of WWII; a concentration camp where the supernatural talents of young, Jewish, Eric Lehnsherr, are extorted and propagandized by the quintessential amoral Nazi, Sebastian Shaw (brilliantly captured by the inimitable Kevin Bacon. He masks his mendaciousness with a veneer of sleazy, irascible charm.)
“X-Men:First Class” is prescient in blending fact and fiction. The majority of the film revolves around the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis (I remember as a teenager not doing my homework; why bother if the world was going to evaporate?). Eric, (Michael Fassbinder, sensational, believable; captures the intensity required of a man denied, raped of his natural future) revenge, hatred controlling his every deed until he encounters Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, another touch of genius casting) who gifts him friendship and guides, nurtures his psyche to discover the difference between rage and serenity.
Beautiful but frozen January Jones (Emma Frost), Jennifer Lawrence ( a complex Raven), are the pneumatic, nubile , ladies with transformative powers; Rose Byrne, (Dr. Moira Mac Taggart) a woman of skill, maneuvers her male counterparts with intelligence and ingenuity.
In recent years digital technology has moved so far beyond the realm of actuality (“Inception”, “Avatar”) ; believability is erased, principals, protagonists mimic emotions; the audience experiences the wizardry of the machine, the actors, puppets, faking reactions to implausible events.
Matthew Vaughn has given viewers a visual experience which is majestic; the digitalization does not obstruct the reality, it is a magnificent blend of scenario, individual, mutant and the alchemical powers of science. The scintillating seduction, succumbing to the fantasy is the vital key to the success of “X-Men:First Class”.
THREE STARS!!! (OUT OF FIVE)