THE PLOT THUS FAR
In 1962, the United States government enlists the help of Mutants with superhuman abilities to stop a malicious dictator who is determined to start world war III.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
Set within the political context of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960’s, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is an up-and-coming Professor whose life is drastically altered when he is introduced to the other members of society who also share the same mutant gene as himself that supplies them with super-human abilities and traits. After stumbling upon the shape-shifting Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) within his mansion, the telepathic Xavier then encounters Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), the son of Jewish parents who were murdered during the holocaust by the narcissistic former Nazi scientist, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Erik, who can manipulate all metal objects around himself, wants retribution and nothing more from Sebastian who is now a successful and evil underground figurehead who commands a team of mutants (Azazel, Emma Frost and Riptide) to do his bidding for him. But, once his plan for world domination is revealed, they find that it far exceeds the constraints of humanity, and Xavier, Erik and a rag-tag band of young, hide-away mutants (Havok, Beast, Darwin, Angel and Banshee) who were discovered by Charles, must combine their powers in one last attempt to stop Shaw from destroying the planet and humanity as a whole.
There are plenty of big action scenes throughout but it’s the first half of the film that really impresses. Establishing these characters and the entire universe is done remarkably well and in a remarkably moving manner. This new spin on familiar “bad guys” Magneto and Mystique does give the actions and emotions for the characters a new level of appreciation and helps give them so much more depth and pathos. Both sides of the fence (Xavier’s vision and Magneto’s contempt) are advanced and the brilliance of the plot is that both sides are understandable and relatable. The viewer can simply sit and watch it unfold but also be emotionally invested in the journey. During the second half, plot threads move towards resolution and action picks up. Xavier is a shining example and his journey throughout the film matches that of Erik.
First Class never undermines the audience nor talks down to them and does all that is expected of it. It delivers great action, humor, effects and a strong connection between heroes, villains and those developing in between. The retro design is suave and making this a period piece gives it a cool and unique flavor. The collaboration between Singer and Vaughn apparently was a perfect blend. Vaughn did a brilliant job and Singer’s vision from the first two films stayed in tact and was enhanced. I have to add that the score had a perfect heroic theme but was also moving and very well done. The overall impact of this film leaves you with a great sensation of a job well done. Fast paced yet filled with depth, spellbinding visual effects and a gripping finale. In the end, they succeeded in re-establishing these characters in a superb and interesting manner. There is more to offer and more depth to appreciate. I certainly can’t wait for a sequel and inclusion of Scott and Jean from the original trilogy.
The Blu-Ray comes with a Digital Copy and over two hours of special features. Plus, you have a little insert inside of the case that allows you to download 10 Digital Comics from Marvel’s new comic library thing. It’s a mix of issues that are loosely tied to the characters shown in “First Class”, but it’s a fun means to show off the larger world of the X-Universe to neophytes. There’s also a PiP track that pops up to give you a proper way to filter what’s going on and explain the X-Men Origins to you. However, the real treat is to be found with Michael Fassbender’s mental gender bending in the deleted scenes. Throw onto that a solid 1080p transfer and a reference quality DTS-HD 5.1 track to make this one of the best discs of the last few months. I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!