Knee-jerk review: "X-Men: First Class"

1. It's way better than the ads suggest. We went in thinking it'd be about a 6. It's actually a 9.
2. It may not be as solid as the top-notch X-Men 2, but it's certainly way better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which we'd stupidly deluded ourselves into liking two years ago. First Class definitely has a place in the pantheon of A-plus superhero movies
3. As one critic put it, it's a James Bond spy caper with superpowers. As in, the bad guy has a yacht with a secret submarine in the hull. It's that kind of movie.
4. January Jones, Rose Byrne, and Jennifer Lawrence in miniskirts and knee boots? Yes, please.
5. As always with the X-Men movies, there's some fairly sophisticated subtext about racism and self-acceptance, xenophobia and empathy. The mutants serve as perfect stand-ins for any oppressed group. Which makes us wonder: what would the world do if a group of people turned up with superhuman abilities? Odds are they wouldn't get a ticker-tape parade. Probably end up in Guatanamo Bay.
6. Brilliant idea, setting the movie in the 1960s against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Energizes what had sort of become a rather stale franchise. Honestly, other than Hollywood accountants, who was really clamoring for another X-Men movie?
7. The gimmicky cameo that 20th Century Fox surely thought would amuse the popcorn masses is actually, to us, rather cheesy and wholly unnecessary. As for the other cameo, we barely recognized her.
8. As hot as she may be, Hollywood, please... no more January Jones. We cry uncle. She's always stiff and uncomfortable. Blech.
9. But James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, on the other hand, dynamic and engaging. Why isn't Fassbender a movie star yet?
10. Moreso than in any of the previous X-Men movies, it's very easy here to see Magneto's point of view and understand his suspicion and mistrust of humanity.
11. By the way, Thirteen Days - about Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis - is one of our favorite movies.
12. There are gruesome ways to kill the villain... and then there's the gruesome way this movie kills its villain. Wow.
13. Some icky 9/11 allusions in a scene where people fall to their deaths with loud crashes ala the Twin Towers. And this got a PG-13 rating, people.
14. Go see it.

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