Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review of X-Men: First Class / And The Fassbender Factor

Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr, aka, Magneto

I believe that at least once in everyone's life, we feel like a mutant because there is some aspect about our appearance, personality, high intelligence, or lack of, and idiosyncrasies that makes us different, or really stand out at times from others. So I think when we watch X-Men: First Class, we can understand why some mutants do not like humans, and why some will continue to work hard to befriend them and ease their fear of mutants. As a long time fan of the X-Men films (including Wolverine!), I have sat neatly on the fence in my support for Charles Xavier's passion to strive for solid and compassionate human and mutant friendship, while also rallying behind Magneto's insistence on rounding up all mutants so that they can conquer humans and take their spot at the top of the evolutionary pedestal.

X-Men: First Class was a fantastic film which helped me have a better understanding of the development of Charles' and Erik's friendship and their mutant powers. They both helped each other in ways that no one else could, and they understood each other perfectly well in ways that no one else could. First Class not only had it's superhero comic moments, but there were times that if you successfully suspended reality, and historical accuracy, what you got was a highly entertaining and legitimate plot that made mutants more sensible and empathic than the humans.

Now I get to Michael Fassbender who was perfectly cast as Erik Lehnsherr. The first 20 minutes that featured Michael, it felt like a test screening for James Bond, and I echo the sentiments expressed throughout the internet that Michael need not audition for the part, but just merely wait by the phone for the call. Until Erik met Charles, wonderfully and smartly played by James McAvoy, he did not have full control over the potential of his powers which basically made him the most powerful mutant on the planet. During Erik's pre-helmet days, Charles was able to telepathically unlock in Erik's mind and tame the blind anger and hurt that was dimming the magnitude of Erik's power. And as long as the target of Erik's hatred was alive, an evil mutated Nazi who killed his mother during the Holocaust, played by Kevin Bacon, Erik only had revenge on his mind and it was to kill Dr. Shaw. The introduction of some very young mutant characters slowed the film down a little, and that's only because the Charles and Erik plot was just so much more interesting, and that's a testament to their star power and caliber of acting. Had these two characters been played by actors who were not as strong actors as James and Michael, the movie would have suffered and only been saved by the special effects and 60's style lingerie on ample display.

Based on how well First Class does, there will be at least two more X-Men films with Michael and James, and they have done an outstanding job in fleshing out the younger versions of Prof. Xavier and Magneto. I will see this for a second or perhaps a third time and that's because of Michael. He really steals the film and you cannot wait until he's on the screen again.

Grade: 5 stars

The Fassbender Factor

On June 3rd, Fassinating Fassbender had record visits to the blog, and we're grateful to the new visitors and welcome all the new fans. I have been reading just a few twitter comments that have been brought to my attention and many of them made me laugh, and beam with pride that so many people are in complete awe over Michael Fassbender, for the FIRST time. I've been reading articles at high profile industry blogs and news websites praising Michael in X-Men, and some of them even daring to list a Top 5 things about Fassy list. Even though their sweet ignorance made me blush, I'm just boggled that it took them so long. I mean, hello, 'Jane Eyre' and 'Centurion' both have been released in the past six months on this continent. And the year before that he was in 'Inglorious Basterds', and on the UK side he's been in loads of stuff. But because of a comic book superhero baddie, many Americans are just now being exposed to him.

 Michael filming Eden Lake

So really, that's what it took? Playing a guy who can manipulate metal and hates humans? Will those same people want to add 'A Bear Named Winnie' , 'Eden Lake', or 'Angel' in their Netflix queue? Maybe some of them have seen '300' but do not remember Michael in it. And many of those same people are trying to see if Michael is on facebook or twitter to follow him, gravely mistaking and again assuming that he is like so many other attention grabbing celebrities. He is not. He is an actor, and a damn good one. He is not on twitter or facebook, or anything like that - it's not his style. And I thank a thousand angels that he's not, and that's what I like about him. He doesn't seek out or want the crazy fame that swallows up the sanity of many celebrities who are at the cusp of superstardom like Michael is, and use/misuse social media to constantly keep themselves relevant in the public domain.

To the new people... don't quickly believe the really crazy, unsavory gossip about Michael that you have been reading in the past week. Keep in mind The Timing of gossip. This stuff always seems to happen when a film comes out, but most of  the tolerable stuff is part of general PR that every celebrity has to deal with. It's not a coincidence. However, especially be careful of the crap that 'comes from a source', 'a source confirms', 'a close source says'... blah blah blah. If Michael doesn't say it, or you don't see him actually doing it... don't believe it. I read something about Michael a few minutes before writing this blog entry and it was very offensive. Of course I did not believe it. But if I didn't know Michael Fassbender, like a lot of new fans, I would be disheartened by that alleged quote I read.  If you are mesmerized by Michael Fassbender, then do yourself a favor and just focus on the long established Michael Fassbender fan sites that come up quickly on your search results. If you deviate from that, you will read unresearched, regurgitated crap. If you care about him and are genuinely interested in him, take the time to research websites that respect the man and go to great lengths to share with you fair commentary, accurate information about his career - past/present - and what's going to happen in the future with his career.

Today is the first day of the rest of Michael's career and I look forward to seeing it continue to flourish and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you all here. If you have a question or want my opinion on something in private, please just email me. Thanks!


Oriana Russo said...

X-Men First class: just spectacular!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah it's really weird, I never really knew anything about this guy but I thought he was so good in X-Men, just really intriguing so I started reading stuff about him and now I am apparently contributing to the June 3rd phenomenon you're seeing

I don't really remember him in 300 or Inglourious Basterds but I also just sat through X-Men thinking the woman who plays the CIA agent looked so familiar and until I checked Rotten Tomatoes I didn't realize she was the one who played Helen in Bridesmaids even though I just saw that LAST WEEKEND

I am now really looking forward to A Dangerous Method because it's another lead role for Michael and the story seems to have a lot of potential

Ceren said...

"He really steals the film and you cannot wait until he's on the screen again". I totally agree with you Simone xD

I'm glad and proud to say that I knew Michael before X-Men xD. He is the best =)

Simone said...

Glad you enjoyed the film Oriana! :)

goatpug - Welcome to FF! You don't remember him from '300' eh? Please check it out again and you'll say, 'Oh, duh, how could I have missed him'! LOL! Welcome to the fanbase.

Ceren - it really does feel good to know that we have been fans long before X-Men. But better late, than never.


Anonymous said...

Hi Simone, for what it's worth, Roger Ebert agrees w. you about the "so this is what it took" phenomenon!
The contrast between "A Bear named Winnie" and
"Centurion" (very under rated film) and "Hunger" shows MF's amazing range. " got so big!" But what makes him a great person is his ability not to be swept away by fame. I share your hopes that Michael will survive the tsumani of insanity that comes with media attention. Eventually it will crest and pass as his work finds its new rhythm. No matter what it's good to know that you and us FF fans have his back! Good luck Michael !

xo beth

Simone said...

I haven't read Ebert's review yet, but I'm glad to hear that he calls out on Michael getting attention only after a popcorn blockbuster flick opens.

I'm sure Michael will strive to keep a level head and keep on doing exactly what he has done thus far.

Talli said...

Loved Fassbender's performance. He's an actor I have been watching for a while (I actually met him at a screening for Fish Tank). He's definitely a top 5 on my list of great actors. But as bad ass as he was, I think McAvoy stole the show. I loved his charm and his ease. It seemed like McAvoy was really having fun and taking great relish in Xavier's dialogue...whether it was trying to pick up chicks or talking to the ignorant CIA headbosses. I loved the cadence he spoke with.

Anonymous said...

Fassbender was X-men imo. Brillant!