X-Men: First Class, formerly known as X-Men Origins: Magneto… watching this film… this near perfect comic book movie… I hear the echo. Placed so perfectly in hand with another film series that walked in the footsteps of the Cold War. Taking in the film’s scenes of Erik in his quest, you can’t help but think back to James Bond (and indeed the filmmakers used 007 as a base for their Cold War feel) and his 60’s super-spy cool.
Many have touted this film as “The Best Comic Book Movie.. Ever!”, well, unfortunately you’re wrong. This is a top 5 all time comic film, on par with past hits such as ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘Iron Man’ and is easily one of the “best” Marvel Comics films to date (Captain America not having debuted yet) but for me, for a comic book movie to be a “best” it should contain more than it’s fair share of comic book accuracy (and like the previous X films, it definitely sh!ts on continuity). As a film, action or sci-fi, this movie is excellent. The story is tight, well paced and backed by an incredible score which carries you on the journey from beginning to end. Bryan Singer (who had to step down as director but took over production) obviously left his fingerprints in mentoring Matt Vaughn for this film.
The Story of Erik and Charles is beautifully woven into the background of Cold War 1962 (pre-dating X-Men issue #1) and does its part to enrich that historical backdrop as well. Sure, comic book origin wise we’re off base here (and don’t look to a previous X film for setting.. for your own sanity) but the script is so solid and holds well for the most part that you’ll over look it, especially in those retro uniforms. Sure, some scenes are too easily set up/wrapped up and are a bit cliché feeling… but they’re few and far between. This film also revisits one of the best opening montages on film and contains, easily, the best Marvel Comics cameo (sorry Samuel L. Jackson) to date. The sequel is already in the works and looks to be another Singer/Vaughn collaboration with a possible ‘X-4’ for Singer (to hopefully erase ‘X-3’), so I hope a settling of ‘X’ productions (much in how Christopher Nolan has settled Batman and now Superman productions) means a continued course that ‘First Class’ has started us upon.
You will need to see it twice… between the pacing, the action and the story dynamics dripping in Henry Jackman’s score move incredibly well and you want to take it all in. This film hits on all cylinders and reaches film epic nevermind comic book film epic. Grab some popcorn and no bathroom breaks.