X-Men First Class was the origin story of how Professor Charles Xavier was paralyzed, and now in this installment, we learn how he lost his hair. Kidding! This installment is actually about the first mutant Apocalypse and his bid to rid the world of the weak to build a new world order. Also its about his quest to maintain his immortality.
Following the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, Charles Xavier is gaining headway in making peace between humans and mutants. His School for the Gifted is also making young mutants understand and control their power to use for good. Eric/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) on the other hand is safely hidden away in Germany, content to live a simple life with a wife and daughter. But in a single instant that he uses his power to save a life, it backfires and he is once again cast as a villain, dredging the pain of the past for this powerful mutant. All the while, Apocalypse is awakened from slumber and he begins to select powerful mutants to aid him in his goal of destroying everything and ruling what remains of humanity and mutantkind.
Because of the hype leading up to the movie, I was actually afraid to see it in the cinema for fear of disappointment so I opted to wait to see it. There were plenty of things I liked about this installment but there were also a lot of cheesy moments that took away from the overall impact of the film.
First, the casting of Olivia Munn as Psyloche was totally on point. It was like she literally stepped out of the comic book. Sophie Turner as Jean Grey had some highlights but I often got distracted by her accent (too much Sansa in there for me). Tye Sheridan didn’t look too much like his comic book counterpart Scott Summers/Cyclops but he did pull off the uncertain teen bit. His rapport with his brother Havok/ Alex Summers (Lucas Till) was quite adorable but eventually tragic (although it wasn’t how I remembered it to be in the comics).
My favorite X-men member, remains to be Quicksilver. His scenes are easily the best in the movie, because Evan Peters can do no wrong. Kidding. I just love how versatile and fun he can be on screen. Aside from the wisecracks, he also delivered a vulnerable side when he talked about his dad.
The film really went all out. Everything was large scale pedal to the metal. The death and destruction left no room for doubt that the new villains mean business. Decapitation, turning people and property into dust, deaths in this movie are definitely hard core compared to its predecessors. I liked how the use of the CGI didn’t take away the momentum from the excellent cast of characters, most especially Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. I wish I could say the same for Jennifer Lawrence but I felt that the script glorified the character of Mystique too much for it to believably be the way it was written in the original source. I think the film focused too much on the status of the celebrities in the cast rather than on dividing the highlights between all of the actors as should be the case in an ensemble cast.
Case in point, Mystique always being the catalyst that gets the mutant to take action. I mean, this scenario has been tackled already in the two previous films — She was already highlighted in the two movies so I don’t think she needed the spotlight again this time around. Its not Jennifer Lawrence’s fault, really but really?
Yet another case of focusing on celebrity was the prolonged and I mean prolonged wait for Jean Grey to take action. Its alright to establish drama but only up to a certain degree. Past that, the weight becomes tedious and annoying. It was a shame that characters like Storm, Archangel and the rest of mutants were only thrown scraps of moments throughout the movie, a wasted opportunity top establish the characters because they are after all, powerful mutants who become core members of the X-men.
On the other hand, giving Magneto redemption was an okay storyline because he never really got the chance to make up for all the destruction he caused in the previous movies. Its good for him and Charles to find closure.
All in all, it was pretty fluid movie — great pacing, great transitioning and wonderful cinematography. The film managed to the youth and the future that Charles wanted to nurture and at the same time balanced out the action and the dramatic parts of the film. It was a strong addition to the franchise that remained mostly faithful to the source material. It could continue the franchise of end with it. The ending is open to any possibility. Congrats Director Bryan Singer for setting the course for this movie.