What you need to know about this movie before you go and see it. 1. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are superb. Each one, alone, would have made the movie terrific, but together? Forgetaboutit! Every step of the way, every scene, every emotion, these two men own the movie and watching their bromance is a treat from start to finish. Make no mistake about it, even when the world is on the brink of utter destruction what really matters is how these two men relate to one another. And when you watch the movie, you will care. 2. Everyone in the cast is good.
Kevin Bacon has never been better, and Jennifer Lawrence is wonderful. Rose Byrne and January Jones aren’t given much to do, Ray Wise and Michael Ironside only have a few short lines, but – across the board – the entire cast are a delight. 3. The story is tight. You’ve got a bad guy with a plan, which he sets about executing in A/B/C fashion. Against him, the good guys work together. Their motivations are different, of course, but they pretty much want him stopped so they unite. That’s it. 4. Charles and Erik are fascinating characters. They debate. And viewers can debate endless about them, and about who is right, etc. As you watch you desperately wish they could stay friends, but you understand why they ultimately can’t. Even if they themselves, in these early days, don’t understand it yet. To have that so perfectly captured in a Summer Blockbuster movie is part of what makes this a treat and a future classic. But, aside from their relationship to each other, the movie takes time to make each of them interesting in his own right. We get to see Charles as a teacher, for instance, and come to understand how he impacts upon the lives of those he tutors. Some of Erik’s best moments (away from Charles) are in his comments to Mystique about her appearance, making it clear that this man has more to him than the shadow of his past. 4. Most supporting characters have very little screen time. But that’s okay, since this isn’t THEIR story, really. Of the bunch, it is Mystique and Beast who are best served. Both have terrific character arcs that – in a lesser X-Men movie – might have been the highlight of the film.
Here, their stories serve as quality background material to the main event (Charles and Erik). Beyond that, we just learn enough about everyone to know what they can do and like them a little bit, mostly through their banter and most obvious character traits. Once scene where most of the supporting characters are clearly terrified will certainly go a long way towards making you care about them for the rest of the movie. On the downside: Shaw’s two henchmen don’t get ANYTHING to do except use their powers, and at the end of the story we know as much about Emma Frost as we did at the beginning. But these are the exception, not the rule. 5. Visually, this movie is a treat. The FX are good, no surprise, but – much better – the actual sets/costumes are beautiful. Whether it’s a remote CIA lab or a lap-dance club, whether it’s the Magneto helmet or Mystique’s everyday clothes, you are always admiring ‘the look’ of what’s on screen. 6. There are action scenes all during the movie, but – having said that – the movie builds as it goes. The first half is more story-heavy/character-heavy so that when the action REALLY starts we care about everyone. And, again, it works. Even with the scant details given their characters, when Banshee and Havok (for example) go into battle you are invested in them to a certain degree. 7. There are surprises. Deaths, betrayals, cameos and name-dropping. But, as well as being cool, all of this makes perfect sense for the story/universe of the movies. Superb! Rock-solid script, two amazing lead performances (the film is basically a bromance). Haven’t been this excited about the X-Men franchise since X2: X-Men United.