The latest movie in the X-Men franchise opened to theatres this week. X-Men: First Class promised to show us how the two older characters, Magneto and Professor X, originally met in their young age, as well as introducing a new set of characters (as well as bringing back some old faces). Set in the 1960's, the movie is intended to work as a prequel to the other three films. How did it fare on all these accounts? Hit the jump to see the full review.
While the two lead actors carry the weight of the movie and some of the best parts, it would be remiss of me not to mention Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, who plays one of the most conflicted roles in the movie. Raven is a whole mess of emotions, hormones, and conflicting feelings towards the people around her. She clearly has romantic feelings towards Charles, who just sees her as a young sister, which become convoluted once the charismatic Magneto comes in and makes her question her very identity. Added into the mix is also Hank McCoy (a.k.a. Beast) portrayed by Nicholas Hoult, who sees Mystique as a fascinating individual. This search for identity, love, and acceptance is paramount to the X-Men franchise, and Raven exemplifies all aspects of that equation in her quest to find what she really wants in life. Ultimately, the decision hers and hers alone, but it's very easy to identify with her, considering her situation.
The big villain of the piece is none other than Sebastian Shaw, portrayed by Kevin "Footloose" Bacon himself. Shaw is the leader of the Hellfire Club, an influential elite group that is acting behind the scenes of both the American and Soviet governments. Bacon's portrayal is suitably Machiavellian, though not necessarily very logical. His final plan is to create a nuclear holocaust, because he thinks that the use of atomic bombs will help kick-start the mutant gene. Once the numbers of mutants have swelled, he will (obviously) lead over them. Several things do not make sense here. First, if he believes atomic bombs make more mutants, shouldn't there have been a whole load of mutants in Japan? Second, even in 1962, there were plenty of atomic bombs on both sides that open warfare would have lead to a nuclear holocaust decimating all of Earth (enjoy ruling over a barren Earth, Sebastian). And finally, since Shaw had a TELEPATH on staff (Emma Frost), why did he bother with this incredibly complicated plan manipulating both sides, when he could have just had Frost mind control some high ranking officials and simply declare war?