X-Men: First Class (Matthew Vaughn, 2011)

For those who debate on whether the latest turnout from Marvel's Mutant is a reboot or prequel, will whole heartedly agree that it need to be better than the last dismal X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Hood, 2009). In fact the feral mutant feature tarnished the X-Men movie brand so badly, it needed Logan's superhuman healing ability to revive the X-Men franchise.

For that noble reason, we go back to the 1940s and 60s, where we find out more about the two pivotal mutants. Before the principal of X-Men known as Professor X, he was Charles Xavier; before Magneto becomes the magnetic field controller, he was Erik Lehnsherr. First Class tells the story of the early years of two most influential mutants, how the young Charles met the blue shape shifting Raven, who became his few and far between best friend; meanwhile somewhere in German concentration camp, Erik was one of million victims of Nazi's atrocious regime. 

Erik Lehnsherr AKA Magneto
20 years later, follow by years of Nazi's imprisonment, the vengeful Erik search and trackdown his all-powerful evil guardian Sebastian Shaw (played by the evergreen Kevin Bacon), Kevin played the new villainous Sebastian, the leader of another mutant group, known in the comic as Hellfire Club. Kevin Costner starred in Thirteen Days (Donaldson, 2000) may have presented a more historical accurate version of the Cuban Missile Crisis, First Class certainly re-creates the more intriguing alternate history by interlacing the involvement of the X-Men in the notorious Cuban Missile Crisis. The war between Homo Sapiens and Homo Superiors is always been the backbone of X-Men movies, the leaders of two mutant groups, who fight for the same course. i.e. to protect their own kind against the human's onslaught and discrimination. The subtext of skepticism in self-acceptance is even more noticeable in the subplot of Mystique and Beast. 

Charles Xavier AKA Professor X
Here in First Class, we witness the first of many to come encounters between Charles and Erik, mind you, it is not all sparks and flares when two of them met, by contrary, they share some of the tear jerking moments such as where Charles delves into the fond childhood memory of Erik in order to amplify his metal control ability. The truth is, there are more than enough material to make a feature length movie about Erik and Charles, let alone the inclusion of Sebastian Shaw and the first ever intake for Xavier's School for Gifted Youngster, hence bring us the movie title, X-Men: First Class. Rising stardom actors James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender wear the Cerebro device with ease as they handle their roles as the young Charles and Erik convincingly. Their hands are not tied by the need to impersonate the older counterpart characters in the movie sequel. However, rest assure that you will be able to relate them to Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as you re-visit the sequels.

Take my review with a pinch of salt if you only want to hear from a diehard comic X-Men fan, be that as it may, I do not have a faint idea whether this movie is faithful to the comic. All I knew is, in some aspect, it is slightly contradicted timeline in previous X-Men movies, does it matter to me?  No, when I witness the cameo which is many times funnier than Stan Lee The Marvel Comic God. Does it upset me when they contradicting the age of Moira MacTaggert as in X-Men 3? I forgot about it when I look at the amazing bar scene where Erik tracked down the Nazi "pig farmer" and "tailor", a heart pounding built up suspense before one of them makes the first move.

Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw
What makes First Class so special is, there is a collective of indie aura, a seductive 1960s vibe attach to it, suspiciously due to the teaming of director, the Brit Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman the co-writer. It reminds me of Vaughn's Kick-Ass (2010), another comic book adaptation movie whom leaps out of the big studio artistic confinement. It does not only rely on money shot climatic battle, the way Charles and Erik compliment other so well, I will watch it even without the the sub-plots of young mutants' recruitment and Sebastian Shaw orchestrating the nuclear war.

Unlike most superhero comic movies, It belongs to the same Superhero comic movie hall of fame, along side with Christopher Nolan's two Batman movies and Bryan Singer's double X-men. Yes, you heard me there, it is THAT inspiring! Hey, all the while I thought in a X-Men movie universe, it is a cardinal sin without Wolverine playing the main lead, well, I was gladly wrong. What happen next with this exciting beginning, there are lots of potential to be fulfilled, uncharted territory can be explored. Let us celebrate the re-born of the franchise, roll on First Class: Graduation Year.

1 star = Pathetic, SowYau feel ashamed of watching it
2 stars = Off the mark material, approach with caution
3 stars = Generally good, you should watch it if it's your favourite genre
4 stars = Excellent, strongly recommended
5 stars = A classic status? Only time will tell. But it is definitely in SowYau's Hall of Fame List

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