Monday, June 6, 2011
X-Men: First Class -- Choices and Differences
Director: Matthew Vaughn, 2011. (PG-13)
In the alternate world imagined by Stan Lee and the Marvel comic-book writers, mutants are all around us. But in the early 1960s era of the civil rights movement, the mutants relied on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” philosophy later made famous by the military’s approach to gay rights. They simply remained hidden, believing themselves alone and different. This atmosphere sets the scene for the bulk of this prequel.
It actually starts two decades earlier. In the prolog we see the origins of the two heroes, Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender, Inglourious Basterds), who will become Magneto, and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, Atonement), who will become Professor X. Their origins are as different as their characters’ personalities.
Revisiting footage from an earlier X-Men film, Erik is ripped from his mother’s embrace as Nazis push his parents towards the concentration camps, while he is destined for experimentation. In the lab, he meets a scientist who would become the powerful super-villain in the heart of this film: Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). It is the German Shaw who shows Erik how to harness his metal-manipulating magnetic powers: through his anger. But the first lesson comes at a painful cost, one that defines Erik forever.
Charles Xavier, on the other hand, grows up in a mansion in New York despite being British. It is here that he meets Raven, a young shape-shifting mutant who would become Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone). Meeting her provides both with the surprising news that there are other mutants. They are not alone, after all. She becomes a surrogate sister, though she has desires on him.
at 7:00 AM