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Review – X-Men: First Class (movie)

6 June, 2011

Short Review: If you like superhero movies, go see this one.  The acting and special effect are generally first rate and even the plot works, mostly, and the pacing is superb.   James McAvoy does a brilliant young Xavier and Michael Fassbender is appropriately driven as Magneto.  Looking at the founding of the X-Men and the school that serves as their cover is a good choice and the execution is well done.  Note the best superhero movie ever but very good and it sets the bar higher than Thor for the rest of the summer’s superheroic movies.

Spoilerish comments and criticism follow:

Now, let me admit I have no patience for those who complain that this movie messes with “X-Men continuity”.  Marvel has seen fit to routinely violate, rewrite and ignore that for years, so why should someone making a movie even try?  The movie holds up internally and that is all you can ask.

So, my continuity complaints, naturally, focus on the history.

When Shaw attacks the CIA compound, he is shot by a LAW rocket . . . which was not prototyped until 1963.  This would have been a perfect chance to use that classic anti-monster weapon the bazooka and it was flubbed.

Yes, I know this is functionally an alternate history but . . . the US Military does not get to decide nuclear policy, especially not with other sovereign nations.  (Yes, historically 15 Jupiter MRBM were stationed in Turkey, they were not so close -and deliberately so- to threaten an unwarned first strike.)  The Soviets on the other hand, were very secretive about their military buildup on Cuba and the later blockade of Cuba was to get the weapons out, not to prevent them from arriving (and the Soviets would never have been foolish enough to risk their fleet by sending it to the Caribbean).  Now, dismantling launch site in Cuba might not have been as dramatic as the fleet confrontation, it would have made a lot more sense.

In non-history points,  while I liked Kevin Bacon as Dr Schmidt, I thought he was a terrible Sebastian Shaw.  Indeed, I disliked the entire re-envisioning of the Hellfire Club as just a throwaway front for the villains plans.  The effects for Shaw’s absorption of energy were pretty cool but if he absorbed kinetic energy (which is the Shaw of the comics ability) as was shown when he was being hit by bullets, why did he not absorb the force of the coin used to kill him?  Yes, it was moving slowly but it was still kinetic force.

Still, for all of its flaws, a fun movie and one I quite enjoyed watching.

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