Rating: 3.5 of 5
In some ways, this was a great movie and in some ways it was uneven (though not nearly as uneven as X2). But the easy stuff first:
I wasn’t thrilled with Kevin Bacon as the villain. In theory I thought it was great, but in execution it made his whole storyline a little campy. Which is where the movie loses it’s balance. Xavier and Magneto’s stories are so authentic and grounded it feels odd to cut back and forth from their track to Kevin Bacon. Plus, I didn’t like the montage of Xavier and Magneto gathering the mutants. I get that they had to do a lot in a little bit of time but it stood out as discordant.
But James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were fantastic! It was so interesting to watch their characters and the complexity of who these men were and who they became and their friendship. Great emotional substance in a super hero film.
In being serious, however, the story didn’t lose any of it’s fun. The thing that ranks this and the first half of X2 at the top of my X-Men list is watching these people use their powers casually, in every day life and how do they inherently change that life, and instinctively in a fight, how is their power a part of them rather than just something they can do. It’s funny and serious and understands that the fun is in watching them use their powers
Here’s my ranking of the X-Men movies:
1 – the first half of X2
2 – X-Men: First Class
3 – X-Men
4 – the second half of X2
5 – X-Men: The Last Stand
(and yes, I totally can split X2 into two movies, tonally it’s practically two movies anyway).