wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)
Once again, the "good" mutants fight the "bad" mutants for the clueless humans. They absorb you in how they do it with mind-games and special effects. And this is despite the loud background score and an anti-climatic end. Action film lovers will love it. Those who question the basic concept, can forget enjoying it, of course.Read more
- meeta, a part of the audience
They are creating a world so imaginary, that they can do whatever they want with it. Yet, in the world they create, they stick to some laws, even if they've established those rules themselves. So, here they create mutants, deformed people, but their deformity only makes them more powerful and thus more scary. It's when they break their own rules or deviate from them, that they distract us from what they are trying to do or say. Whether it is the special effects, the moral dilemma, or the mirror they hold to us as a society. X-Men: First Class successfully avoids such digressions and has a gripping story to tell.
My issues with the X-men series has mainly been (even X-Men and X-Men 2 and more so in The Last Stand and Wolverine) - this deviation. Mutant-powers being redefined as per convenience. Like say, all mutants suddenly developing an exaggerated sixth sense. The beauty of the concept was that what one mutant can do, the other cannot. It is annoying then, when Wolverine can start hearing/smelling/sensing stuff he cannot see, just because it moves the script along. The other complaint I have had is that the characters were too black and white.
That and the lame one-liners - those were the two things that made me really skeptical about a FIFTH film in the series.
Fortunately X-Men: First Class consumes you. There's so much going on in terms of mind games and special effects that you have already pardoned the absence of attempts to act.
That and it has witty dialogue and some of the pauses are brilliant entertainment.
So yes, you fear Shaw, you empathize with Magneto, you feel for Mystique and you wish Prof. X could give his head a rest from his finger. But that's more about the characters and how they've developed over the last decade for you. And has barely anything to do with the performances.
Interestingly (assuming that you've seen the earlier films in the series), you know how the main characters in the film are going to end up. But, there's enough going on to make you wonder and wait for "how".
As usual, the set-up is to display what our mutants are capable of and it is all building up to a humungous showdown. Given the cool things that our newly introduced mutants are capable, I felt a little letdown by the climax. As if some one ran out of $-power. Or rather the money was all consumed by the thumping, loud background music.
Even so, it is nice to see Xavier, the sacrosanct, use his power to flirt. It is a welcome surprise to see Magneto's human side or Mystique's feminine one.
Their dilemmas are only mutant. But their prejudices are human. The "bad" mutants are racists. The "good" mutants patronize humans in the evolutionary process, like we in real life want to keep tigers from going extinct.
The sides they have to choose between mirror what real life is all about. The communist/capitalist divide or the fight between races or even religions. Yep, there is a token religious symbolism thrown in too. This is the kind of deviation that is unnecessary and makes the film that is going well look over-ambitious and even wannabe.
But, the point is this - at the end of 2-odd hours, I came out a satisfied, thriller-action-junky customer. And this is despite wanting a little more in terms of super-power display. X-Men: First Class is just one of those places where the whole adds up to more than a sum of the parts.
Warning: Some scenes were obviously censored (I saw it in Pune, India) - either beeped words or scenes cut out.
- meeta, a part of the audience
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Good mutants fight against bad mutants who want to fight against humans.