I think that by now it is obvious that I am a full blood sports nerd, and proud of it. In the nerd world there has always been a clear divide between sports nerds, science nerds, comic book nerds, video game nerds, and etcetera. Those who know what the sky hook is, the significance of the number 755, and participate in the Kobe vs. Lebron, Bird vs. Magic, and Jim Brown vs. Walter Payton arguments, generally look down their nose at those who know, that Neville Longbottom is as a big a hero in the battle against “He Must Not Be Named” as Harry Potter himself (spoiler alert), Zartan actually played both sides of the G.I. Joe vs. Cobra battles for his own financial gain, and that it’s odd that there was a preview for “Green Lantern” before “X-Men: First Class” (hint GL is DC comics, X-Men is Marvel,) the latter, the reason for this week’s column. I maybe a die hard sports fan, but I also know the joys of reading about and watching the aforementioned superhero/cartoon battles. Yes I too am a comic book nerd. Just because it’s a high possibility that I might weep tears of joy if the Falcons ever win the Super Bowl, does not mean that I don’t get a little teary eyed when I remember Optimist Prime dying in “Transformers: The Movie” (queue “You Got the Touch” by Stan Bush now please.) I would be just as happy to get an autographed Dominique Wilkins jersey, as I would be to receive a copy of “Spiderman” with Stan Lee’s John Hancock on it (even though technically it would decrease the value of said comic.) I was not the guy who collected comics growing up, who turned into a hip hop version of Jay and Silent Bob, mostly because I can still hear my dad’s voice in my head when the subject of purchasing comic books came up.
“I aint spending my money on that foolishness, and you aint neither,” or something like that, was his usual response. Luckily for me, my neighbor across the street was the Jay and Silent Bob model, and he let the kid across the street, me, read his comics. I’ve said all that to explain why an almost 40 year sports journalist would see a midnight showing of “X-Men: First Class” under the guise of writing a review of the aforementioned cinema.
It was AWESOME! I might have to say that it was the best of the X-Men movies. It was at least as good as “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, maybe better, I know some people may say “blasphemy,” but they just haven’t seen the story of the magnanimous Magneto’s matriculation through life, and the development of his friendship with fellow mutant Charles Xavier, the father of the X-Men. From their first meeting, when (spoiler alert) a fully upright Xavier saves, the yet to be named Magneto, Erik’s life, to the inevitable moment when the two become rivals, the bond between the two carefully captivates the audience, without being overly preachy or woefully mundane.
This movie could stand on its own with out the background of the comic books or previous X-Men movies. There was plenty of action, but it was balanced with enough in depth character development to make one truly invested in the story, whether he is a comic book, nerd such as me, or one just interested in a good action flick.
The drama that surrounds almost all of the mutants, before the world discovers their existence is almost a character unto itself. Each one of them, feels as if he or she is the only one, and is presently surprised to find that not to be the case. The battle between good and evil set against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis, is a well done, extremely interesting take.
Kevin Bacon as super villain, Sebastian Shaw, through no fault of his own, had me wondering the whole time, if they had just let him dance, would we be having these problems? He did a fantastic job, but he’s still Kevin Bacon, I kept looking for the mark on his forehead from when Elizabeth Perkins hit him with her coffee mug in “He Said, She Said.” Besides Kevin Bacon, being well Kevin Bacon, my only critiques were the lack of a Stan Lee cameo offset by (spoiler alert) THE GREATEST CAMEO EVER, and the one character most likely to be a movie theater talker, being the first to get killed, so stereotypical.
Overall I wish I had four hands for the sole purpose of giving two extra thumbs up. Go see it. I implore you, it is well worth the time, even though it’s well over two hours long, it never drags and it keeps you deeply invested whether you’re a die hard comic books lover, sports nerd, or a member of the “Sex and the City”/reality television crowd, this is a movie that you can sit down and enjoy.