I’ve stated this numerous times, in numerous ways, while wearing numerous capes — I am not a Marvel Comics guy. My son is, however. He has left the fold of Star Trek for Star Wars and DC for Marvel. I am trying to be okay with that, but I thought I had raised him better. Nevertheless, I allow him to drag me to the late shows on Thursday to see each and every movie. Well, something like that.
2011’s X-Men: First Class was a surprise hit. I truly enjoyed it because it was for the uninitiated as much as it was for the true believer. Much of the central cast as returned for the sequel-tie-in-reset-reboot of the previous Bryan Singer films. Indeed, Singer, embroiled in a bit of a controversy at the moment, has returned to helm this one. He missed the third X-Men movie, seeing as he was directing the failed relaunch Superman Returns. With him comes the older Professor X, Patrick Stewart (my son thought he looked like Captain Picard), and the older Magneto, as well as Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in a non-cameo rule this time around. Indeed, at times it felt like a sequel to last summer’s The Wolverine.
It was an action movie complete with time travel, superheroes, and philosophical dilemmas. How do we as humans seeks to preserve ourselves amongst a changing society. The storyline, taking place at the end of the Vietnam war, fits neatly into this paradigm of the fear of change. In something familiar to many today in religious circles, the fear of change produces what we might understand as a fundamentalist and legalist reaction to anything “impure” so that what was once a noble endeavor to restore humanity becomes the killer of our species. The only thing that saves us, and the characters, in the end is the saving of a life, even a life so wretched and diseased none of us in the theater would’ve been upset to have seen it snatched away.
There is some language, the (somewhat-)nude Mystique (played by the ever annoying and childish Jennifer Lawrence), heavy amounts of violence, and some adult humor. The cast, except for Jennifer Lawrence who should stick to the Hunger Games, and only the Hunger Games, does a remarkable job of acting like the parts are theirs. James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart are a great, time stretched, couple playing the same person. The former’s younger Prof. X is powerful reminder of sacrifice and love while the latter is able to show exhaustion, fear, and loss. As always, Michael Fassbender’s performance steals the show. If it were possible, he should have his own staged play, as Magneto, where he gives philosophical siliques.
The only thing left is to pre-order my copy.