While I did ultimately enjoy “X-Men: First Class” as a film, I found myself giggling at the very opening. I found myself giggling for the simple fact that we finally are given a biographical detailing of Magneto. You know, the one we were supposed to get with a feature film but never did? I love how the writers manage to sneak in his biography while also chronicling the story of two powerful gentlemen with vastly different ideals. Because at the end of the day, the real story behind “X-Men: First Class” is the brotherhood of ideas, and the views on mankind that separate us in spite of common goals.
With the final “X-Men” movie, it was only a matter of time until Marvel rebooted their flagship cinematic series and director Matthew Vaughn allows for a distinct flavor that garners his X-Men a European flavor with the same American gung ho action we all loved and appreciated with the first two films. Whether this is a reboot or just an introduction in to a new version, one can only tell for now, but “X-Men: First Class” is a film much too great to question purpose for. Filmed over the course of a year and with hasty production, it’s a shock “First Class” is such an elegant and down beat sort of picture that focuses primarily on the mutant agenda and views on civil rights. Of course Magneto and Professor X have always been statements for Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and here it’s made ever the more apparent, as the dueling idealists find themselves at a cross roads when it comes to the view of whether mankind deserves to live or die.
In the cusp of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the two men (McAvoy and Fassbender are remarkable) are forced to split loyalties and in the process so are their protégés, all mutants whom have experienced some form of pain and torment in their lives who have to battle with their own conflict of interests and watch the duo enforce their own form of justice on the new menace led by a diamond-like Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw. Both mutants of whom are planning on triggering the next steps of evolution, thus linking together the original X-Men with this one making for a proper continuous storyline and reasoning for Magneto’s entire plan with the statue of liberty and Rogue.
We grab a look at the formation of the X-Men, are given a bunch blink and you’ll miss it cameos, and even get a look at one moment in particular that will leave fan boys roaring with laughter. But the thrill lies in the wonder we get in the eyes of the young mutants and that’s something “First Class” excels at. I loved the dichotomy of Professor X to Eric and the splitting of sides and lines drawn in the sand all foreshadow “X-Men” lending it a depth and complexity that director Singer lacked originally. “First Class” is a marvelous achievement, and one that fixes the mistakes Bryan Singer made by highlighting only a portion of the mutant mass, and instead focuses on the thrill and plight of being different. Warranting multiple viewings, “First Class” is the comic book movie of the year and I doubt we’ll find one as deep and morally gray as this.