Review: X-Men: First Class

This is an example of Hollywood’s worst commercial instincts and its continued decline from the heights of classic, original well-acted movies.

It features generational audience targeting – the mocking of Gen Y’s intelligence – and a moronic storyline sparsely dotted with good acting performances but excellent special effects.

Its interesting concept of human evolution that has been hijacked by crude cliques is a metaphor for the movie itself.

Emma Frost sizzles on screen as the gangster/Nazi mole but fails to register much depth. Michael Fassbender is emotionless and bland in a generic performance of Magneto, a character that needs raw emotion. His life dedicated to revenge on a Nazi doctor that could have been avenged on the spot was slightly unbelievable.

The sets can be compared unfavorably to 1960s Bond movies without their restrictions in technology and the A-grade acting from Connery to distract you. Though Emma Frost would have made a great Bond girl.

Supposedly set mostly in the ’60s, the retro is, well, plastic and not convincing at all. The use of real black and white video of JFK just does not work in the fake world the mostly two-dimensional characters inhabit.

James McAvoy, who plays Prof Charles Xavier, embarrasses most of his colleagues as one of the rare acting performances worthy of the fee.

Kevin Bacon is not a remotely scary villain, just an unlikable one. The performance of Heath Ledger as the joker in The Dark Knight just before he died has set the bar too high for mere mortals to create any meaningful menace.

If there was some comedy in it you could forgive its big shortcomings but inconceivably it takes itself all too seriously.

This is simply one big, very long and expensive advertisement for action figurines to be sold this Christmas.

2 stars – don’t bother.

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