Author: Hughes, Paul
Date published: July 6, 2011
* X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Whether by default or design, X-Men: First Class somehow manages to get a shitload right in recapturing the feel of the original X-Men -a very 1960s series, built on themes of prejudice, racism, and teen alienation. If you can forget the thousand or so violations of X-Men canon here (Charles Xavier was bald even as a young man; he set up his school in Westchester, New York, not England; Mystique and Xavier weren't quasi-siblings; etc., etc., mother-fucking ETCETERA), it's hard not to love the beauteous '60s-ness of director Matthew Vaughn's creation. The music, the clothes, the furniture, the go-go dancing, everything. Unfortunately, eventually X-Men: First Class is forced to actually, you know, advance a narrative-in this case, a patched-together alt-history in which an evil mutant (Nazi Kevin Bacon!) somehow (I'm still trying to figure this out) instigates the Cuban Missile Crisis, complete with archival JFK newsreel-and as the plot holes begin to multiply, the action gets more formulaic and disjointed. In the cinematic firmament of X-Men movies, X-Men: First Class probably doesn't glow quite as bright as the first two, but it's certainly better than anything since. (PAUL HUGHES)
HORRIBLE BOSSES Opens Fri July 8 in wide release. ZOOKEEPER Opens Fri July 8 in wide release. THE CHAMELEON Opens Fri July 8 in wide release.