X-Men: First Class (MPAA rating: PG-13)
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Caleb Landry Jones Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
The Muties are back! In this prequel to the very successful X-Men series, we step back to the first appearances of mutants on the global stage. Set during the beginnings of the cold war, and specifically during the Kennedy presidency, X-Men: First Class builds such a great foundation for the series that anyone who hadn’t seen X-Men 1 thru 3 and the Wolverine spin-off will definitely be interested now. We are introduced to the tormented relationship between X-Men founder Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, Wanted) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender, 300, Inglourious Basterds), how their very different childhoods lead them to differing views of the mutant/human world, and how their onetime friendship morphs into their becoming lifelong enemies. McAvoy does well as the idealistic and debonair Xavier, and Fassbender’s Magneto is full of vengeful drive and haunting memories. As we chronicle their friendship, we learn how they came to their opposing philosophies – defending mankind in the hopes of acceptance, as is the Xavier way, or rejecting mankind in defense of their own. It is this theme that permeates the entire Marvel Comics mutant canon. This movie gives the audience a taste of the parable without sounding trite.
Vaughn directs this piece in a way that allows us to remember the characters as their older selves, yet injects just enough new energy to make them his own. The large cast of fellow mutants make for great fight scenes and nostalgia – an old comic favorite, Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) makes his first appearance, and we see the origins of the blue Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and the shape shifter Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). There is a notable cameo by Wolverine, and if you know his story, it shouldn’t surprise you at all that he was played by none other than Hugh Jackman, no youth-inducing CGI magic needed. Vaughn and company do a great job juggling the cast and making them real, though they fall into two cliché hollywood traps which shouldn’t be ignored: Did the only black character really have to be the first to die, and did the only Latina character really have to be a stripper? Really? On the bright side, Kevin Bacon as the sinister Sebastian Shaw just made me smile. Bacon as a mega maniacal super-villain – Now THAT’s range!
The effects are great in the movie, as is expected for an early summer blockbuster. There are some really violent scenes, especially as Shaw’s henchmen rid themselves of some pesky humans , so be warned for the tiny ones. But overall, you should use any super power you have, like the ability to load up the daddy mobile, and see this movie.
Your Daddy Time: Wasted or Worth it? Worth it! 3.5/5 Stars
The Worth It/Wasted Rating System is for dads who need to know one thing- Is this movie WORTH IT to:
* Pack up the kids, bags, etc and trek to the theater – or
* Find a babysitter so Dad can have a date night – or
* Cash in brownie points with the Mrs. so he can go with his buddies
If it doesn’t fit these simple criteria, the movie gets the WASTED rating, which means – don’t waste the precious time you have, wait for video/cable when you can squeeze it between chores, work and sleep.