Viewed – 08 June 2011 Cinema
I didn’t get around to seeing the most recent X-Men movie, Last Stand, mostly due to poor reviews and a change of director from Brian Singer to Brett Ratner. Yet the other night, I did manage to catch about half an hour of it on TV, and thought it looked pretty decent. This was enough to re-educate me on all things mutant for this latest instalment. Following the story of how Professor X and Magneto first came to know each other, Patrick Stewart is replaced by James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender steps into the shoes of Ian McKellen. Joining them is also a wealth of new mutants, and some familiar faces, including a young Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence instead of Rebecca Romijn). Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughan also offers his considerable directing-chops this time around.
This origin tale certainly sheds new light on the characters we’ve followed over three previous movies and countless comic-books, and Fassbender delivers an intimidating and assured Ian McKellan impression throughout. McAvoy first threw me when he was announced as Professor X, as I had last seen him in Wanted, a very different movie, but here he is excellent and very convincing as someone who could eventually turn into Patrick Stewart, and along with main villain Kevin Bacon, who always nails ‘evil’, this is a great showcase for each actor’s obvious talents. As an X-Men movie it delivers some great action (with a stunning sea-battle) and only a few moments of ropey effects distract from what is otherwise a compelling and very enjoyable entry in the franchise. Jennifer Lawrence is great as Mystique, and very sexy … as is January Jones’ buxom Emma Frost . The rest of the cast however are a bit under explored and bland, with some mutant powers coming off as silly rather than cool (a fireball gobbing fairy?). Yet when Fassbender, McAvoy or Bacon are on-screen, this can often outclasses anything in the last three movies, and when you think this is actually the fifth movie (lets not forget the Wolverine entry) that’s some achievement.
Verdict: 4 /5