A funny thing has just happened. I’ve just now, not but two hours ago, finished watching X-Men: First Class, and I haven’t the faintest idea what happened during any of it.
Let me clarify. The movie wasn’t confusing, nor was its narrative structure convoluted or elaborate. So why can’t I remember damn near anything about it? I wasn’t inebriated it any way, unless, of course, you consider boredom a drug, in which case I was wasted.
So there it is, X-Men: First Class, like the majority of this summer’s blockbuster counterparts, is boring. As all hell. You’ll check the time, you’ll shuffle your feet, you’ll reposition yourself in your seat, and you’ll leave the theatre asking yourself why you bothered in the first place.
Here’s what I can recall: Kevin Bacon as a mutant Nazi, James McAvoy as a charming, walking, fully haired Professor X, Michael Fassbender as an angry, youthful Magneto, Lenny Kravitz’s kid with butterfly wings, Jennifer Lawrence cashing in on her post-Oscar nomination glory, January Jones as Betty Draper with sparkly skin. There’s some talking, some shooting, some Fassbender foreboding, some mutant training, a lot more talking, and a final phoned-in battle which basically asserts that, if it were not for mutants, Russia and America would’ve blown each other to hell via nuclear missiles.
What’s with all these contemporary action franchises making the order of their films more confusing than the actual films themselves? X-Men: First Class follows X-Men Origins: Wolverine which was a prequel to X-Men 3: The Last Stand which was a sequel to X-Men 2, but X-Men: First Class takes place before X-Men Origins: Wolverine… I think. So, what does it all mean? Who the hell knows, and more significantly, who the hell cares?
When I’m on the fence of apathy – a strong cocktail of equal parts boredom and indifference – my go-to grade is a C-, which, in my mind, is being kind here. X-Men: First Class is worthy for two reasons, one more prominent than the other. Since The Last King of Scotland, James McAvoy has proved that, unlike the majority of American actors his age, he deserves to be taken seriously. Likewise Michael Fassbender, who after a scene stealing performance in Inglourious Basterds and a game-changing performance in Hunger, is slowly taking the reigns as the most underrated actor of his generation. If there is a sequel to X-Men: First Class, which there undoubtedly will be, then I’ll see it because of those two. Until then, I’ll be busy trying to find a mutant power that combats boredom.