Monday, June 6, 2011
Class is in session
I caught X-Men: First Class over the weekend and enjoyed it. There's a terrific, memorable sequence showing the 1960's era Erik Lehnsherr (pre-Magneto) catching up to some Nazi war criminals hiding out in Argentina, as well as quite a showdown off the coast of Cuba involving the American military, the Soviet military, the X-Men, some mutants lead by Kevin Bacon's villainous Sebastian Shaw, and scores of missiles. Acting and effects are top-notch throughout the movie.
The one thing I could have done without, though, is the endless discussion between James McAvoy's Professor Xavier and Michael Fastbender's Erik Lensherr about the political state of mutantkind. As we've already experienced in three or four X-movies before this, Xavier again endlessly goes on about mutants needing to forge a lasting trust with humans, while Erik again endlessly dismisses that view and asserts that mutantkind must be ever wary and, in fact, should probably just dominate and rule humankind before humans try to control and enslave all the mutants. Back and forth, back and forth, the two characters chatter and chatter. What's more, several government types join the debate, too! Sheesh.
I understand that this philosophical argument has to be a part of any X-Men movie, but does it have to be front and center all the time? For once, I'd love to see an X-Men film where there's a colorful villain who has nothing to do with the political and social issues of mutant/human relations, and just wants to rob Fort Knox or something. The X-Men comics do that all the time: break up the heavier stories with occasional tales featuring good old-fashioned high adventure, and even a alien invasion here and there.
Having said that, though, I still recommend X-Men: First Class. In the end, despite my minor gripes, it's still a good time at the movies, stylish and fun. I just could have done with less of the point/counterpoint on the whole "can't we all just get along?" issue.