After seeing X-Men: First Class, I'm abandoning my planned second review. It's irrelevant. Why? I loved this movie so much that I don't even care about the liberties this movie took with the X-Men characters and canon. Seriously, I forgive it for that. X-Men: First Class is so good that I forgive Fox for X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
This is my favorite X-Men film. I put it ahead of either of the first two X-Men films. Yes, I think it's that good. It's very well paced, well acted and surprisingly emotional.
I was ready to just shit all over the things they did with some of the characters. I was especially ready to crap all over January Jones and how I thought she was miscast as Emma Frost. Well, she was miscast. First off, Emma Frost is a British character. Considering the other actors and actresses they got for this movie, they couldn't have gotten a Brit for the role? Can January Jones not do an English accent at all? She was really wooden. I maintain that January Jones seems like she gets no joy out of acting. It's like she's just reading the lines and trying to get through it. She looks the part, but man, she can't pull the character off.
If they had only told this kind of story about Anakin Skywalker, the prequels would have been so much better. I say this because for me, X-Men: First Class is basically about how Erik Lehnsherr becomes Magneto, similar to how the prequels were supposed to be about how Anakin becomes Vader. Only, with X-Men, the story is so much more compelling and believable. And it only took them a single, two-hour movie to do it. Michael Fassbender is just fantastic as Magneto. They really could have made an entire movie about the first 30 minutes of his performance. It has such and awesome, retro, 007 feel to it that I was just so into it. I could see another movie about his character easily!
James McAvoy is great as a young Professor Xavier. I wasn't convinced when I heard about his casting in the role, but he really pulled it off. I thought he was just fantastic.
Jennifer Lawrence, who is pretty much my favorite young actress, is also great as Mystique. Although I'm probably a little mesmerized by her in general. I just can't take my eyes off her.
The rest of the casting was great as well. Rose Byrne was really well cast as Moira MacTaggert, but like with Jennifer Lawrence, I could look at Rose Byrne all day.
I've heard some complaints about Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw. I really can't fault anything about his performance. However, I can fault the motivation of how his character was written. I can't really blame that on Bacon though. Even reading the comics as a kid, I never really thought the character of Sebastian Shaw was all that interesting. The Hellfire Club, for me, was always about the Black and White Queen. Seems like they kind of didn't know what to do with his character and as a result, he seemed a little too out there as far as his motivation went.
The only thing cheesy about the movie is how they had to shoehorn some of the names and terms familiar to the X-Men universe. You'll realize what I mean when you see it. That's about it. The cheesy, shoehorning and the casting of January Jones as Emma Frost. There were some problems with the design (clothes and hair styles that aren't from the period) and I found it odd that Emma Frost's diamond skin power seemed to extend to the clothes she was wearing, but I blame that more of the design and effects teams.
I'm so buying this movie on Blu-Ray when it comes out! I would love to see another movie or two based in this universe with these actors and the same people behind it.
I give this movie my highest recommendation of the Summer season so far. Full price!!!