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My Thoughts (Dull) And Your Thoughts (???) On "X-Men: First Class"

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act June 5, 2011 at 10:18AM

I really don’t quite get why this film has been praised so heavily by critics. It currently enjoys an 87% Fresh rating on movie aggregator site RottenTomatoes.com, with 149 out of 172 critics giving it a thumbs up. Seriously, why? Sometimes I feel like I must be living in a bubble or something, because my reaction to many recent studio films has been mostly apathy; in some cases, repulsion even.
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I really don’t quite get why this film has been praised so heavily by critics. It currently enjoys an 87% Fresh rating on movie aggregator site RottenTomatoes.com, with 149 out of 172 critics giving it a thumbs up. Seriously, why? Sometimes I feel like I must be living in a bubble or something, because my reaction to many recent studio films has been mostly apathy; in some cases, repulsion even.

I'm clearly in the minority when it comes to X-Men: First Class because I thought it was laughable, and definitely one of the worst in the X-Men franchise thus far.

The writing was weak; the acting more uneven than not (save for the two main leads in Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy); I just didn't buy Kevin Bacon as a menace, although I won't say it's entirely due to his ability, as it was just a poor casting choice, and direction; January Jones as the most boring Emma Frost ever, pretty much plays the same character she plays in Mad Men, except she has superhero powers here. And the rest of the cast is mostly forgettable, unfortunately.

What the hell was the point in having Edi Gathegi's character in this at all? He does absolutely nothing, barely gets to show his powers, even though, quite frankly, his character, Darwin's abilities are really some of the more interesting of the group, and worth exploring on film; his body automatically adapts to any situation or environment he is placed in, allowing him to survive possibly anything. He can even transform into pure energy, which makes his quick, and rather easy exit puzzling to me! His death didn't really bring about anything of significance, so why kill him off?

I suppose the argument could be made that his murder at the hands of Kevin Bacon's Sebastian Shaw was the motivation for the rest of the team to launch into action and avenge him? Meh... I think they already had enough reason, without Darwin having to die.

Ultimately, it's very much Xavier and Magneto's story - the beginnings of their relationship, and eventual ideological and physical separation. And, as I already suggested, Fassbender and McAvoy, both revered thespians, do their best with the material they are presented with.

There were a few what I’d consider “cool” special effects sequences scattered about, unexpected cameos that made me smile, and even a funny line of dialogue or two; but, much of it felt really hokey to me; the special effects not always as impressive as they needed to be; a 2nd rate production that lacked much oomph, and, as I said, easily one of the worst in the franchise, with X-Men: The Last Stand and the Wolverine origin story, both competing for the title.

The repeated speeches about accepting their differences, and being comfortable with who they are, started to wear thin, and I had to roll my eyes the 50th time the words were spoken, or the sentiment expressed. It felt more like a Disney channel special. So, maybe I wasn't in the film's target audience.

I was really unimpressed with the material, and just don’t get why it’s rated so damn highly with both critics and audiences.

What did I miss folks? Help me out here...


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