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There’s a fine connection between superhero movies and locally produced action films, I believe. The latter juggles the typical elements of an underdog protagonist, a bombshell of a female lead, a climax from, it seems a 1960s Bollywood movie, and a confrontation with the enemy that lasts for like – just tick the trigger for chrissake. Not to mention the irresponsibly late police figures in the end.

It’s a classic Pinoy action film, and when it comes to superhero movies; the drift seem obvious every time: same elements and factors, with different super powers and a tight-colored costume. Whatever happened to variety huh?

But the latest installment of a comic flick, the X-Men First Class is most certainly not one of those.


Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-MEN. IMDB.com

To start with, First Class’ leads seem utterly perfect for the role.

Michael Fassbender as Erik spells anger and bitterness with adorable angst. His bona fide presence cuts through his action scenes sleek and sharp; one of my favorites is the Tarantino-esque cowboy scene where he had his ala-James Bond moment. Silent and prevailing, he made the future Magneto worth the empathy.

Meanwhile, James McAvoy is amazingly charming as Charles Xavier. As the young Professor X, he immediately brushed off images of the old bald, perhaps sexless professor. Instead, Charles is as enigmatic, bold and daring as Erik coupled with a lot of sweetness. Also, his genuine attempts on healing Erik from his trauma are beautifully crafted.

Worth mentioning is the ever-present dilemma of the teen mutants embracing their supernatural identities; as the prevailing message for the youth audience, the line “Mutant and proud” rings from the start until the end of the film. Although a related subplot, and a stronger one at that, is Mystique’s gradual acceptance of her true (blue) self. Her agonies are very well depicted, not to mention Jennifer Lawrence is captivating for the role.

I found the story incorporated in the Cuban Missile Crisis cool; seriously, how many superhero stories can jive with world history. Plus, it gives sense to the kinda low-tech special effects in big scenes (given that it’s a comic flick).

Of course the movie still has some fair share of bad points. For one, January Jones’ acting is bland as Emma Frost. Sure, she looks like Barbie, but she acted like one too. It was disappointing to see her very beautiful but impassive face in moments of power or misfortune. And I found Kevin Bacon’s casting as the anti-hero a little bit off.

But the most off-putting thing about FC perhaps is the lost connection with the other X-Men films or the actual X-Men comics by itself. Although I wasn’t in any way disappointed by this, as I am no X-Men fan and I have no X-Men X-pectations, it is quite obvious how the FC storyline doesn’t go well with the other films/stories. Just by the short cameo of a former X-Men character (oh but I love the cameo), one can see that the character histories are a little messed-up at the least.

Above all else, the winning point of the film is Charles and Erik's relationship. It was wonderful seeing how their friendship deepened with every challenge they conquered. Short yet intense, their relationship overshadowed any pairing present in the film, even each of the other's romantic subplot.

So when the grand inevitable of Charles and Eric's falling out came, it was tearing. You see these two engaging, strong-willed individuals, the least one can hope for is a truce. Unfortunately, I won't be getting any of that. At least not for the long haul.

With its sharp storylines and superb casting, X-Men: First Class definitely didn't fall short of its name.

X-Men: First Class. 9/10