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Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

One of the things I hate about watching hyped-up, highly-praised movies is that I'm fairly certain it will not be as good as everyone is saying, and then I'll have to put my two cents in about how not fantastic it is. Alright, so I actually enjoy that part.

I'm not a huge X-Men fan. I've seen all of the movies, I watched the animated show when I was a kid (and liked it), but I wasn't excited to see this, despite the good things I've heard. I was expecting to like it, but not love it, and that's what happened.

For starters, I liked it best before Erik and Charles met. I liked badass Erik (Michale Fassbender) going after his overdue revenge by himself with no one to tell him what to do. I also liked Erik a ton more than Charles (James McAvoy). Charles is a dick. At first. He seduces young co-eds and drinks while arrogantly prancing around and being smarter than everyone else, which isn't that hard to do when you can read everyones' minds. That's just an unfair advantage. He's also not the best "brother" to Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), a mutant he befriended when they were little tykes. He loves her like an adopted brother would, but he can't accept her for how she truly looks, and he's oblivious to her feelings and insecurities. Or maybe he just doesn't want to deal with them. So it's no wonder that she is so uncomfortable in her own skin that she uses her energy to disguise her blue skin and red hair all the time. It's also no surprise that she ends up going to "the dark side".

There's a good cast here. Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult (that kid in About a Boy), and others. It was nice seeing Kevin Bacon playing an evil character. It suits him. I like Rose Byrne, but she was bland in this. I preferred her in Bridesmaids and Insidious. January Jones is also present. It's really a shame that she's not a better actress. I would love to see this character played with charisma and personality, both of which are missing. Perhaps Emma Frost was meant to be played this way, but either way, it was a flaw in the film. Does she have more than one facial expression? Or acting talent? I haven't seen her in anything else, so please tell me if she sucks as much as I think she does, or if she really does possess some grain of ability as an actress.

Another issue I had was the cheesiness. From the plopped-in cameos (I did like Hugh Jackman's, but it was obviously just meant for kicks and didn't entirely make sense) to the references to future goings on. And the nicknaming. I mean they actually sat around and decided what everyone's mutant name should be. I was hoping for something more clever.

Another little flaw: this is the 60s, right? So why do characters like Angel look and act so modern? Everything about her seems 21st century.

I ended up being underwhelmed, but I liked it well enough, and I liked the way it turned out. Well, mostly. I didn't care about all of the characters, including Charles Xavier, so I would have been indifferent if he had died. He was better when he was Patrick Stewart! No offense, James McAvoy.

My grade: B


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