After alot of speculation and uncertainty from the loyal and large fanbase that graphic novel/comic books tend to generate, the Brit-influenced version of the cult X-Men mutates onto the silver screen...
Backed by the original first two films director, Bryan Singer,Vaughn, who gave us Stardust and Kick-Ass, returns to the franchise he was set to direct (the poor X-Men: Last Stand) for a beginnings story.
Along with his screen-writer once again (Jane Goldman), he delivers the "how and why" behind Professor X and Magneto in a flurry of locations, set-pieces and "aimed-at-diehard-fan" in-jokes.
This becomes the films double-edged sword that will either shine or slay for the individual watching it. Vaughn and Goldman's recent work has seen a rare commodity - a kind of improvised, human heart feel to the characters and their interaction with each other - that, without you realising it, grabs ahold of you and doesn't let go until the end credits roll. Here, with First Class, that feeling is fleeting rather than constant.
This may be because there is alot of history that they felt, or were pressured into, depicting upon the screen from the comics and the films that have been released. An origin story is a thankless task - ask George Lucas - but some can overcome - J.J. Abrahms' Star Trek - and First Class sits somewhere inbetween. Maybe the wondrous nature of the pairs' previous efforts leaves a tough act to follow, but this feels at times kind of clinical and somewhat detached from a warmth and a glow that would have helped no end.
Now, do not mis-understand - there is plenty of pulse-racing set pieces and anticipation as you watch who will side with who, but the laughs and tension-relieving sequences are somewhat few-and-far-between. When they do appear though, they are sublime and feel like what you would expect from the director and the writer - the 60's split-screen search for mutants montage; the young mutants shyly and boldly showing off their powers; and this years best cameo involving probably the best use of the "F***" word for 2011 - but they stick out whereas they should have blended in more. The massive location-hopping aspect of the movie and break-neck pace puts a clamp on audience engagement to a degree but, just like Burton's Batman, the most memorable, and deservedly so, character is the villain - Fassbender's Magneto/Eric. Deliciously wanna-be evil and sexy to boot, he leads the way in the sexy 60's vision of the film. If you don't end up wishing for the mini-skirt and long boots after seeing this, you're mutated beyond all hope.
Long live the next X-Men movie and may it be Brit-isied without compromise!
UK release date: 01.06.11