So, now having seen this film twice, I think it's safe to say I'm pretty secure in my impression of it. For the time being at least. I must be honest that after the first viewing, I was a bit confused, not quite knowing how I felt. This was - oddly enough - actually my initial reaction to 'District 9' and though the comparison between the two films only goes that far, it's interesting they're for similar reasons: a confusion between how I actually feel and how I think I should feel.
To begin with, the film is pretty decent. The direction is excellent, the acting is superb and the score is more than adequate (so all three of my major boxes ticked). The effects don't always work well (eg. Emma Frost and Beast) but the film has enough energy that you don't really dwell on them when they get really bad. In fact, there were times I got rather caught up in the whole thing as it were. It is a film worth seeing.
As has probably been said elsewhere, Michael Fassbender came very close to stealing the movie for me. For starters, he has similar looks to a young Ian McKellen which makes him physically ideal for the role but he is also capable of generating a remarkable presence. He stands, stops short and moves like a man who knows every inch of his body, the measure of a mercenary. Apparently he was one of the actors along with Daniel Craig who was considered to be the new Bond and I can completely see why. Both he and Craig have this ability to physically inhabit the role of men who can kill up close and personal.
James McAvoy is also brilliant, though occasionally made me feel like laughing as he has a certain John Cleese manner in delivering some of his lines that reminded me of the 'How Not To Be Seen' sketch for some reason:
The chemistry between the two lead actors is terrific and the script was at its strongest when it came to their scenes. Or maybe it was just their acting. Probably the latter actually...
They were easily the best thing about the film - in fact, I could have watched a much longer character drama with a humbler plot and more subtle effects with just those two. The backstory that Magneto spends his youth hunting down Nazis would make an interesting film, though perhaps just too inappropriate. I must confess I can completely understand why people who feel the appropriation of the Shoah for what is little more than a B+ superhero flick to be outrageous. Now I tend to think about these things more deeply, it is more than a little bit uncomfortable for me as well.
Speaking of, Kevin Bacon is also good. I'd love to know if his German is at all convincing but I think he had the right tone and body language as Sebastien Schmidt though the transition between Schmidt and Shaw was a little sudden but meh. He carried it off well, I think. I also think Nicholas Hoult has to be acknowledged as the fascinating actor he is turning out to be. He was by far the best thing in Skins series 1, surprisingly awesome in a 'Single Man' and now this. He should have been Harry Potter. Anyway, I think he nails Beast - in fact, I think there should be more of his characteristics in Charles Xavier actually. For example, when they discover Shaw's plan to cause nuclear war in order to destroy humankind and leave mutants surviving, I really wanted Charles to go into pedant mode and inform everyone that that's not really how it would go down because, well, you know, genes don't actually work that way...
However, obviously the rest of the film I thought was pretty bad which led to the overall feeling of ( Read more... )
Still like I said, the score is amazing and the acting is all around fine, though January Jones is way outclassed by her colleagues, I'll admit. I might even see it again, just to get even more annoyed! ( Addendums (spoilers) )