So, last week I had the pleasure of seeing the latest addition to the X-Men franchise. You can read my full review over here at Arts Hub, but here's an extract to whet your appetite:
Three and a half stars from me, Margaret.
Set in the 1960s – the era in which Marvel Comics editor and head writer Stan Lee, together with artist Jack Kirby, originally created the X-Men comics – X-Men: First Class is a rollicking action movie, a thoughtful character study, a satisfying origin story, and a hell of a lot of fun.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass) the film focuses on the friendship between two young mutants, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, in the role created by Patrick Stewart) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender playing a young Ian McKellen), and explores the origins of the intense rivalry between them that will drive later (earlier) films in the series...
Briskly and efficiently told, X-Men: First Class feels a little disjointed and travelogue-like in its early scenes, but quickly settles down to tell its story in a way that is engaging for fans of the series and newcomers alike.
Possessing both genuine emotion (a scene between Charles and Erik in which long-buried memories of Erik’s dead mother are finally unlocked brought a tear to my eye) and moments of real exhilaration (such as the scene in which Banshee learns to fly), the film’s main fault is that it tries to pack too much into its 132 minute running time. Nonetheless, Vaughn successfully balances the many beats and plot elements of his story, capturing a swinging Sixties aesthetic and referencing some of the deeper thematic concerns of the more successful X-Men films along the way.