Monday, June 6, 2011

X Marks the Spot

Last week was a week of movies in cinemas for me. Thursday was X-Men : First Class and Friday : Kungfu Panda 2.

Though I’m not much of a comic fan, I do enjoy watching movies of comic heroes in the big screen. Bryan Singer is back as Producer with Matthew Vaughn directing this franchise. This time the movie turns back the clock in time and tells the story from the main characters, namely Professor X and Magneto’s younger days. The focus of this movie mainly explored on the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lansherr – how they become friends and later enemies, each working on their own cause and belief.

X-Men started off by introducing Erik Lansherr (later known as “Magneto”) being taken away by the German soldiers during WW2.Young Erik’s anger being separated from his mother saw him bending the wire mesh and the steel gate by staring at the gate itself despite being pulled back by a few soldiers. This has caught the attention of a scientist (Kevin Bacon playing the role) who strongly supports Hitler. Young Erik is then being “persuaded” by the scientist to train and enhance his telekinetic power. Later on, we see Erik (Michael Fassbender – man, this guy really looks cool and has a great physique!) grown up into a young adult who hated Nazi and hunt down those who played a part in his tormenting upbringing. Meanwhile, his main tormentor, the scientist has reinvented himself and took on an identity of Sebastian Shaw who runs a Hellfire Club with hidden agenda (aka causing nuclear conflict between the Yankies and the Moscowites).

On the other hand, our beloved Charles Xavier (played by James McAvoy) is potrayed as a smooth talking Brit who is making a name for himself in his studies and works on genetic mutation. Charles’ vast knowledge in genetic mutation caught the attention of CIA and is being asked to help the CIA to prevent Shaw and his goons of baddies from instigating another World War off the coast of Cuba. While hunting down Shaw, Erik chanced upon Charles and soon these 2 became ally. Erik found out that Charles also possessed telekinetic power. Erik somehow reluctantly helped Charles in working with the CIA but remained deeply cynical about trusting the “normal” human beings.

X-Men First Class introduced to us a few new young mutants namely Mystique, Raven, Beast, Banshee and Havoc. Though Beast and Mystique have already been introduced in the previous edition of X-Men, the rest are making their maiden appearance in X-Men. Of course, the eye-candy in this X-Men is Emma Frost (Jennifer Jones) who possesses telekinetic power too and with a penchant for tiny clothing ala retro-look. The highlight of the movie I would say is when Charles Xavier uses his telekinetic power to reach out to the other mutants and try to bring them together under his umbrella. In one of the scene, you will see a cameo appearance by Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) whose foul-mouthed Charles escaped the Malaysian censorship board.

In all good vs evil stories, you already know who will win the battle. It’s interesting that this time around the plot plays more towards the human mutant’s emotions whereby they each have to decide which faction they want to follow : Professor X or Magneto. It also explained how Charles Xavier became wheelchair bound and we have some light-hearted moments when Charles tried teaching the young mutants how to put their mutants’ abilities to good use and enhancing their powers.

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