The Footloose star has been cast as Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class, but Bacon refused to believe he was director Matthew Vaughn's first-choice to play the mutant villain - especially as his physique is nothing like the bulked up Shaw in the comic books.
He tells WENN, "I don't know if this says something about my self-esteem but the first thing I thought of when they offered me X-Men was, 'Who fell out?'
"The only thing I'm a little concerned about is I don't look anything like the comic book character. He is a gigantic muscle bound guy with a pony tail and dresses like George Washington in his britches. When I saw it I thought, 'I'm kind of a weird choice to embody him.' Obviously Matthew was going in another direction."
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
We have another new still from Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class showing January Jone’s Emma Frost and Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw. And you know what? Not feeling it. I don’t even think it's the blue (which there is a lot of) nor the headache inducing mirrors. No, my primary concern is the severe lack of January Jones cleavage. Seriously, this is like inviting Paula Dean over to make you a salad after you hid the butter. It just ain’t right.
Over the weekend, producer Bryan Singer talked to Ain't It Cool News about his and Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class, which is prepping to begin lensing August 31st, and he dropped a ton of juicy details about the upcoming film. I wouldn't consider any of this information to be spoiler-worthy, unless you really don't want to know anything at all about the movie. But it's exciting, so read on!
The first thing we learned is that First Class will take place during the 1960s, and the film will have a real 60s vibe through-and-through: John F. Kennedy is in the White House, Martin Luther King is leading marches in the South, and Malcolm X is in the news - all of which makes sense for a franchise that has always drawn parallels with the Civil Rights Movement. It's a time of intense cultural upheaval and there's a spirit of optimism in the air. That spirit extends to a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender), who meet in their late 20s and together dream of a future where mutants and humans will coexist. And we'll get to see the moment in which the two friends first come up with the idea for the X-Men and formulate their manifesto.
We also learned that the "feel" of First Class will be a real departure from the other X-Men movies; for the first time, we're going to get a true "Silver Age" 1960s comic adaptation, with more comic-bookish period costumes, 1960s technology inspired by the James Bond films of the era, and the introduction of the Hellfire Club - the Avengers-inspired international society for wealthy elites that functions as a front for the Club's real purpose: to influence world events to fit the villainous agenda of their Inner Circle. Emma Frost (Mad Men's January Jones) and Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) will be members. The film will begin with Xavier at Oxford University in the 1960s and will be filmed in the United Kingdom as well as the US, with a more Bond-like international vibe throughout. Although Singer hardly revealed all the film's set locations, we do know that parts of the movie will take place in the USSR.
Perhaps most importantly, we now know that James McAvoy's pate will be, despite abundant speculation to the contrary, decidedly hirsute. That's right folks - Xavier wasn't always so iconically bald, nor was he always wheelchair-bound. For the first time, we're going to be looking at Charles Xavier in his prime.
Singer says we should expect the first production pictures (of costumes and the like) from First Class within a month, though the word on the street is that Fox is preparing to release a bunch of images at New York Comic-Con this fall. Hollywood.com is going to be covering the event, so we'll be on site to get you those updates in real time come October. In the meantime, I have to say I'm pretty excited that Singer and Vaughn are taking the X-Men franchise in such a different direction. Just because Christopher Nolan has been hugely successful with his dark and gritty portrayal of Batman, doesn't mean all comic adaptations should follow the Dark Knight formula. By shifting the setting of the First Class prequel to the 1960s, director Matthew Vaughn has given himself room to explore a whole new world of cinematic possibilities that are closed off by adhering to the dark/realistic/modern aesthetic that Nolan is so fond of. Superhero movies can (and should) be fun, not just thrilling. Returning the series to its campy, Silver Age roots with flamboyant villains, sixties-era superhero costumes, and Bond-inspired gadgetry - all set during the era of the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War - strikes me as the perfect way to reboot and revitalize X-Men for a new generation.
Source: Ain't It Cool News