peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2011 06 24 XMenFirstClass

X-Men: First Class

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At The Ritz at 3:15pm, upstairs in pokey theatre 6. I guess I should have hurried.

It was pretty much exactly what I was expecting: I could watch Fassbender all day, and McAvoy was fine, albeit not particularly American. (I didn't remember him from The Last King of Scotland.) Director Matthew Vaughn (of Kick Ass fame) is big on the titillation: we meet the forever fetching but implausible C.I.A. agent Rose Byrne running around in her undies, and all the girls henceforth are unzipped to the sternum (or lower). At times January Jones's anatomy is more convincing than her acting. I don't know if she's any good, I don't watch Mad Men, and it didn't help that her Emma Frost was totally M.I.A. from the second half; I figured she'd be somehow pivotal ala Jean Grey but she simply wasn't.

I liked the James Bond aesthetic-in-passing, another genre-revival gimmick that sat well with the whole genesis/reboot game. The arc was very similar to one of the earlier x-men movies, you know, the one where Magneto wants to mutanize everyone, Jean Grey does the black swan thing... err, yeah. Maybe there is only one plot and it is the same as the previous three or four, genocide on a flight of fancy, a franchise in a state of permanent reset. The problem is that follow-ups can only really innovate in the fighting scenes, the CGI, and the cast of mutant bit players, i.e. the relatively boring bits.

Dana Stevens reviewed it for Slate.