OK, I get it. Reboots are hip. Retelling superhero origin stories is popular Hollywood sport. I think I’m burnt out already and this is before we get a Spiderman reboot next year. Wait, weren’t there Spiderman and X-Men series out in the past ten years? Sigh. I digress. X-Men: First Class is a reboot. We have the retelling of the origin story. The biggest difference this time around is it’s set in the 60’s and starts with younger versions of the X-Men.I love the look of X-Men: First Class overall. The costumes are spot on, aside from Beast, who looks like a Thundercat raised in Fraggle Rock. The aesthetics were 60’s all the way, which made for a more compelling setting to watch a superhero origin story take place. Unfortunately, it’s an origin story for X-Men, a gang of characters that aren’t terribly interesting. The idea of X-Men, mutants, some of whom have great powers, living in our world is more intriguing than the X-Men themselves. And since there are numerous characters in the bunch, the time spent on any one is short, making it difficult to connect to any one of them.
Much like Captain America: The First Avenger, we have another wasted opportunity of superheros interacting with real history. We get a convoluted plot involving a former Nazi scientist, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who is responsible for the escalation of the Cuban missile crisis. Bacon plays a decent bad guy but that doesn’t change the fact that his character seems totally unnecessary.
The rest of the X-Men cast is solid, though limited by the screenplay and a general shallowness of the characters themselves. Each back story feels like a retread being told only to move us to the major conflict. The most fun I had was watching the X-Men come together to train and harness each of their individual powers. After that comes the obligatory big last battle and the tease for the follow up movie.
Another ho-hum 2011 superhero movie. Sigh.