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X-Men reviews and spoilers

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Post by Admin on Sat May 21, 2011 7:41 pm

http://www.thisisfakediy.co.uk/articles/film/initial-x-men-first-class-reviews-appearing

Posted 21st May 2011, 8:02pm
Initial X-Men: First Class Reviews Appearing
Bloggers giving the first verdict on the prequel, and it's glowing.
Posted 21st May 2011, 8:02pm

We'll be bringing you our verdict on X-Men: First Class on Wednesday, but lucky bloggers in the UK have been allowed to broadcast their views on the prequel.

The opinion looks to be 100% glowingly positive so far. Director Matthew Vaughn teams up with his Kick-Ass screenwriter Jane Goldman for this origins story, which stars James McAvoy as Charles, young Professor X, and Michael Fassbender as Erik, aka the future Magneto. We see the very first X-Men assembled, which includes Jennifer Lawrence as the young Mystique.

X-Men: First Class is released on 1st June. Here's a round-up of what's being said in blogger land:

ScreenGeek:
"It's fair to say First Class has done to the X-Men franchise what Casino Royale did to the flagging, dated 007. To say it's been revitalised would be an understatement."

HeyUGuys:
"Vaughn’s ability to direct action, and sense of humour run through the film, while the film still feels very much like a part of the world Singer created in his movies."

Blogomatic3000:
James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence and director Matthew Vaughn deserve much credit for bringing X-Men up to date, refreshed, while, ironically, taking it back in time."

Bleeding Cool:
"First Class contains some of the briskest and most efficient storytelling I’ve seen in any recent blockbuster."

Den Of Geek:
"So despite all the ropey posters and off-putting promo material, X-Men: First Class manages to be a summer movie with something to say."

Synopsis:
X-MEN FIRST CLASS charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.
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Post by Admin on Sat May 21, 2011 7:42 pm

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/900573/xmen_first_class_spoilerfree_verdict.html

X-Men: First Class spoiler-free verdict

Michael Leader

X-Men: First Class manages to be a summer movie with something to say

We're not allowed to bring you our full X-Men: First Class review yet. But we have got the green light to tell you what it's like...

Published on May 21, 2011

Please note: this is not our full review (which we're not allowed to run yet). In terms of story, we only talk about what's already in the public domain, and up to the starting credits.

X-Men: First Class has a tough job on its hands. After the surprisingly-positive critical and box office reception that greeted Thor, and its own confused, occasionally terrible marketing campaign, anticipation for the superhero prequel is understandably mixed. Its hopes lie with writer-director Matthew Vaughn, whose Kick-Ass was not only last year’s surprise cult smash, but also 2010’s best costumed-hero flick.

Kick-Ass showed that Vaughn (and co-writer Jane Goldman) knows how to deliver superhero thrills while still maintaining style, wit and a strong emotional core. And it is this mixture of strengths that he brings to X-Men: First Class, which consistently works on a number of narrative levels - be they origin story, period epic, super-powered action, thematic subtext or character drama.

After the awkward dead-end of the last two X-films, we flash back to earlier in the lives of Professor X and Magneto, when they were known as Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). An expertly-executed pre-titles sequence deftly defines these two characters, their powers, and their differing perspectives on mutant life.

Calling back to Bryan Singer’s first X-Men film, we see Erik, a child in the Warsaw Ghetto. However, in parallel, we are introduced to Charles, living in leafy upstate New York, waking in the early hours to find a mysterious, shape-shifting girl rooting around in his kitchen. As Erik twists the metal gate that separates him from his parents, and Charles holds out a hand to his fellow mutant, their opposing worldviews are cemented, two character traits that anchor the film: the conflict between compassion and trauma-induced paranoia.

Jump forward to the 1960s, and First Class is underway. At the height of the Cold War, the CIA are on the track of the Hellfire Club, an organisation, led by Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), which is exerting influence on both of the world’s superpowers. The Club, it seems, has super-powers of their own, which leads agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) to Xavier, now a young professor - and world expert in mutants - at Oxford University.

The film takes great enjoyment in its period dressing, revelling in the fashion, music and little details of the 1960s, from catsuits to colourful War Room maps. Throughout, Vaughn balances style and story, indulging in crucial moments of undercutting humour, fan service Easter Eggs, and splash-page spectacle, yet always reining in the action to the film’s core duo, and the discussion they act out across the narrative’s two hours.

For Charles and Erik started as friends, and not simply of convenience, or due to common enemies. McAvoy and Fassbender sell this tentative, yet tender relationship completely. They do not channel their older English counterparts, but they succeed in making the characters their own. This is especially true of Fassbender, whose lithe, turtle-necked Erik resembles James Bond, as played by Blade Runner-era Rutger Hauer.

It is just a shame that the supporting characters rarely receive such attention. While it is a joy to see the X-Men in nascent form, not all are fleshed out. Worryingly, the film’s female characters are immaterial, defined by either their vanity, or by showing up in lingerie at some point.

However, if the supporting cast seem at all weak, thinly-drawn or unfamiliar, then that merely primes the stage for the chess-game between Charles and Erik. This conflict, the result of which is certain from the start, is developed and executed without a hitch, evoking the Star Wars prequels not only in its narrative inevitability, but in how it triumphs where Lucas failed.

So despite all the ropey posters and off-putting promo material, X-Men: First Class manages to be a summer movie with something to say. Let’s just hope they don’t run this one into the ground, too, because I dread seeing an X-Men: Economy Class down the line.

Our full review will follow later in the week. X-Men: First Class will be released in the UK on 1st June.

X-Men news, images and articles are here.
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Post by Admin on Sat May 21, 2011 9:01 pm

http://www.iamrogue.com/news/movie-news/item/3742-iar-screens-x-men-first-class.html

IAR Screens 'X-Men: First Class'
Saturday, 21 May 2011 16:03 Written by Jami Philbrick

If the world does end today that would be just fine with me because ... I just saw X-Men: First Class!

This morning I had the rare opportunity, along with a select group of fellow journalists, to attend an advanced screening of the highly anticipated prequel on the Fox lot. While I don’t want to spoil the movie for you and say too much, I can tell you that I really enjoyed it and think it could be one of the best films in the series. Fans of the X-Men comics and film franchise will be pleased because it is a faithful adaptation that pays respect to what’s come before it in both mediums. All of the actors are great in their respective roles and bring a fresh perspective to familiar characters.

The film tells the story of how Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) first met and eventually created the X-Men. Both actors are great in their roles but Fassbender is especially badass as the future Magneto. There is a segment in the movie that almost plays out like a Magneto revenge-film and Fassbender really shines in those scenes. Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) definitely stood out as a young Mystique and brought a lot of depth to the role. Director Matthew Vaughn did an exceptional job of setting the tone for the film. In stead of trying to make the elements from the comic books fit the real world, like the first few films did, I felt like Vaughn made the real world fit the comic books with this installment. It was fun seeing a young Professor X before he was in a wheel chair and McAvoy kind of played him like a womanizing drunk.

The movie makes an attempt to connect to the previous films, which is nice to see but really X-Men: First Class is so good it almost doesn’t need it. I know it’s supposed to be a prequel but I’d rather think of it as a re-boot because I think it’s different and in some ways better than the others. I was really impressed with how much of the film is a character study. You really get a chance to know the main characters, Magneto, Xavier, Mystique, and Dr. Hank “Beast” McCoy (Nicholas Hoult). Kevin Bacon (Footloose) plays the villain Sebastian Shaw and is very convincing in the part. He’s almost a precursor to what Magneto becomes in the other films. January Jones (Mad Men) plays Emma Frost and I just wish she could have been in more of the film. She’s a great character and they did a fantastic job with her mutant effects.

In fact, all the visual effects were great and looked really believable. The costumes and look of the production design was perfect and definitely reflected the comics. I loved that the movie was set against the Cuban missile crisis and used real world events to shadow the war between the mutants. The look of the ‘60s really worked well in the world of the X-Men movies and it gave more of a comic book appearance while still believable. It almost had a Mad Men feel to it. The best part of X-Men: First Class is we get to see how everything came together and they pull it off really well. We find out where Magneto’s helmet came from, how Xavier got in the wheel chair, how the team first formed and where the mansion came from. The whole film is filled with Easter Eggs for fans, more so than any of the previous films and they all work. They don’t feel like they were forced into the story. It all feels very organic.

There are two completely unexpected and brilliantly executed cameos in the film that I will not spoil for you but I thought they were very nicely done. The score is the same classic X-Men film theme and fits in the ‘60s setting well. I was just really impressed with this movie. The film touches on relatable issues that anyone can follow while keeping it fun and action-packed. I was actually surprised how much action there was, and it all looked really good. In the end, I can’t imagine that this movie won’t be a huge hit and spawn a whole new franchise. The story by original X-Men director Bryan Singer, who also produced the film, was a great concept for this new chapter in the series. This movie made me really interested in these characters and invested in them, more so than any of the other films. The movie definitely ends in a way that makes me feel very hopeful for a sequel and I look forward to seeing these actors in these great roles once again. I thought X-Men: First Class was cool, stylish, fun and extremely entertaining. This is one movie that is sure to please long time comic book fans and mainstream audiences alike.

X-Men: First Class opens in theaters on June 3rd.
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Post by Admin on Sat May 21, 2011 9:04 pm

http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/motion-captured/posts/first-reaction-x-men-first-class-offers-sleek-smart-superhero-thrills

First reaction: 'X-Men: First Class' offers sleek, smart superhero thrills
By Drew McWeeny - Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence shine in strong ensemble

Saturday, May 21, 2011 7:45 PM

First reaction: 'X-Men: First Class' offers sleek, smart superhero thrills

Michael Fassbender's turn as Erik in 'X-Men: First Class' might be the thing that finally turns him into a full-feldged movie star, and deservedly so.
Credit: 20th Century Fox

I am happier overall with "X-Men: First Class" than with any other film released so far in the "X-Men" franchise at Fox. And I suspect that when I see it again before my full review, I may find even more to like about it. Right now, I'm still sort of in shock at how much of it works, and how ambitious the entire thing is.

I'll have a full review of the film closer to release, and in that, I might get a little spoilery. But my first impressions of the film are so strong that I want to share the big points without spoiling anything for you. First, there's the style of the world, the way the mutants are built into reality, and I think one of the things that makes this such a success is the confidence that's part of every choice made by Matthew Vaughn and his creative team. The film is set in the '40s and the '60s, and while I wouldn't call it realistic, I think the impressionistic take it offers on period is even more fun than if they did it as complete realism. The powers are so matter of fact, so much a part of the world, that it never feels like the film stops to show off. "Hey, look, this guy teleports!" Well, no duh. That's the sort of movie this is. People teleport. The film just takes that as a given, and so action scenes erupt without too much labored exposition or set-up. We learn how things work as the film needs us to, and not before. Characters are still discovering their own abilities, still learning how the world around them works.

Michael Fassbender emerges from this one a movie star, no doubt about it. He's a great Erik, a great nascent Magneto. He spends the first third of the movie auditioning for James Bond, and as far as I'm concerned, he can have the job whenever Daniel Craig's done with it. He is a hunter, his powers turned to one effort for his whole life. There's someone he wants to find, someone he wants to kill. When he finally crosses paths with Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), he's a raw nerve, totally unable to imagine trusting anyone, never even imagining that there might be more people like him in the world. Xavier is already hard at work trying to find a way to incorporate mutant society into the mainstream, and he's starting to make real headway. He's working with Moira McTaggert of the CIA (Rose Byrne), which is what puts him in the right place at the right time to meet Erik. It's not some cute little wink and a nod, either. Like the rest of the film, the stakes are high in that first meeting. There is an urgency to everything these people do that makes this feel like a more significant story than the average comic book movie.

In fact, there's nothing that I would really call "average" about this. It uses your expectations about the genre to set you up one way, then time and again, reaches for something a little bit more perverse or a little bit more eccentric or a little bit more heartfelt. "X-Men: First Class" is almost desperately sincere, and I mean that in a good way. Everyone in the film plays it like they're holding nothing back. Jennifer Lawrence, for example, is just as dedicated here as Raven, the blue shape-shifting mutant who has lived as a sort of pseudo-sister to Charles since childhood, as she has been in any of the indie films she's done so far. The way relationships evolve in this film is particularly heartbreaking, because it makes later configurations of people resonate in different ways. You look at who's hanging out with who in Singer's "X-Men" films now, and it hurts. Nicolas Hoult has been carving out a very strong career for himself since "About A Boy," and he turns the difficult-and-potentially-ridiculous role of Hank McCoy into something touching and smart.

I like the way history folds into the movie and it is clever without being annoying. It all makes nice thematic sense, and I think it's well utilized. I was afraid it was going to be very "Forrest Gump," but it's actually pretty simple and direct. I think Sebastien Shaw (Kevin Bacon) is a pretty tremendous bad guy, and the way he pushes Charles and Erik to further define their own moral codes makes him more than just This Movie's Magic Power. He's not "just" a bad guy. He is, in essence, the thing that forces Charles and Erik to figure out who they really are. January Jones doesn't have much to do as Emma Frost, but she wears the heck out of some costumes.

Between Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer, Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, and Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz, this has not been an easy birth, but I am happy to report that it is a successful one. And this isn't a case of managed expectations, either. "X-Men: First Class" is a genuinely good movie, not just a good superhero movie. Big and bold and aggressively told, it feels to me like this is the first film in a brand-new franchise, and even the few very wicked and enjoyable references to Singer's films that are hidden in this one don't tie it down. This is ground zero, and I think Fox just got it right, really right, in a way I can't say it feels like they have on any of their Marvel films so far. With the right support, and with this film's key creative team onboard, a sequel to this could well be the "X-Men" epic we've been waiting for since day one.

For now, this is one hell of a start.

"X-Men: First Class" will be in theaters June 3, 2011.
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Post by Admin on Sat May 21, 2011 9:07 pm

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/05/21/ive-seen-x-men-first-class-and-want-to-tell-you-about-it/

I’ve Seen X-Men: First Class And Want To Tell You About It
Submitted by Brendon Connelly on May 21, 2011 – 1:00 pm

While the big press screenings for X-Men: First Class are yet to take place, I am lucky enough to have seen it already. Embargoes being what they are, I can’t exactly review the film right now, but I’m going to go ahead and tell you about it anyway, and I even promise a nice clear answer to the basic question “Is it any good?”

I’m going to assume you have a working knowledge of how the film is set up and what it’s about, but if you would like some background on the film, I suggest you catch up on our earlier posts – there’s lots of trailers and clips and posters and so on, but also interviews with some of the stars and a nice scoop or two.

So, here are Five Things about X-Men: First Class, ahead of a full review. If you have any absolutely burning questions, please put them in the forum and if I can, I’ll address them soon.

1. It’s The Spiritual Prequel To X2

Not only does this film fit very snugly into the continuity of Bryan Singer’s two X-movies (more snugly that we can even talk about, for now), it also seems to really belong in the same set. Which is to say, after I’d been bowled over by X2 and its blend of big fun and big ideas, I wanted more. And now, eight years later, I’ve got more.

And now, I want even more. X-Men: Sophomore Year, please.

2. It’s Full But It Doesn’t Burst

First Class contains some of the briskest and most efficient storytelling I’ve seen in any recent blockbuster. An awful lot happens, and awfully quickly at times, but it’s all clear and while some nice moments might be over in the blink of an eye, this can only reward repeat viewers.

There’s a sequence later in the film, from which much of the material for the “character trailers” was gathered, that actually uses split screen to crack the pace up one more notch. This film does not hang around – and at over two hours of running time, that’s a virtue, because when nothing drags, and the audience don’t get bored, the minutes just whistle by.

There are some characters who get short shrift and aren’t allowed the space, or focus, that would have allowed them to really come to life – Riptide and Azazel, definitely, and Darwin, perhaps; and Moira McTaggart sort of fades away for a while, but while she’s around, some of her scenes are great.

An amazing amount of the characters are sketched out most deftly. It’s that efficiency again.

3. James McAvoy Nails it

I don’t think you can really call the star of a film a scene-stealer, but McAvoy is the best thing in more or less every sequence he’s in, which translates to more or less all of the film. He even gets the opportunity to pull off some great little comedy bits and, when necessary, packs just enough emotional punch.

I don’t know how much McAvoy studied Patrick Stewart to prepare for the role, but I know this: I didn’t once think of Patrick Stewart while watching the film. I just thought of a young Charles Xavier, what he believed in, what he stood for, what would drive him, and how he could sometimes trip himself up.

Similarly, the two actors to play Erik Lensherr – Bill Milner and Michael Fassbender – both bring the appropriate gravitas and rage, and the character, ultimately, attains the necessary hint of serenity.

More on the cast in my full review. Lots of them do interesting things.

4. How True Is It To The Comics?

I don’t really know how true the film is to the comics, if I’m being honest. There’s an awful lot of comics, and they seem to contradict themselves an awful lot. There’s some interesting work done in making sense of bits of disparate comics continuity within this one new framework, and a lot of “grounding” of things that might go unexplained on the page. The jumpsuits everybody wears are completely sensible, for example, and there’s even a range of reasons that explain why Emma Frost is always dressed the way she is. Fun details that will make for some nice, chewy debates.

5. So… Is It Any Good?

Oh, hell yes. I really would recommend you go see it.

X-Men: First Class opens officially on Wednesday June 1st, in the UK, and Friday June 3rd, in the US. I’ll be shading out more of the light and dark in my full review, which you’ll be able to read as soon as the embargo lifts later in the week.
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Post by Admin on Sat May 21, 2011 9:15 pm

http://www.blogomatic3000.com/2011/05/21/x-men-first-class-kates-spoiler-free-view/

‘X-Men: First Class’ – Kate’s (Spoiler-Free) View

X-MEN:FIRST CLASS – MY (SPOILER FREE) VIEW
By Kate Atherton

This Friday I was fortunate indeed, I was among the first to see X-Men: First Class. While we’re not able yet to publish my full review of the film (that will come on 25 May), we can at least give a taster of what you can expect when the film opens at the start of June. Without doubt, I can assure you that it is well worth the wait.

After an original, two sequels and an offshoot, you’d be forgiven for assuming that you know what to expect when walking into a theatre to see the latest in the X-Men franchise. You’d be wrong. X-Men: First Class does not forget what came before, in fact there are nods to it throughout, both fun and terribly sad, but fresh faces have breathed new life into familiar characters and their battle for acceptance has an added touch of humanity. For the first time, and I realise I may be more immune to superheroes than most, I warmed to the X-Men. James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique) and director Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, Stardust) deserve much credit for bringing X-Men up to date, refreshed, while, ironically, taking it back in time.

X-Men: First Class takes us back to Oxford in the early 1960s and the efforts of Professor Xavier to bring together an academy of mutated humans, starting with his adopted sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), known to us as Mystique, and friend Erik (Michael Fassbender) or Magneto. The misfits are a likeable, if high maintenance bunch, including Nicholas Hoult’s Beast, Zoë Kravitz’s Angel, Edi Gathegi’s Darwin and, a particular favourite of mine, Caleb Landry Jones’s Banshee. Watching these superheroes, or superhumans, embrace their mutations with stumbles along the way, quite literally, makes for a fun first half of the film. And then we have the next act and everything reaches a whole new level. Responsible for this is Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw, whom Magneto met during Europe’s darkest days. This twisted relationship between Erik and the man who is, in effect, his creator, is enormously powerful and, setting everything else aside, rings true.

There is all the excitement, pace and spectacle that you would expect and want from an X-Men film, but what makes X-Men: First Class a film that I can’t wait to see again is the people in it. Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) is one of the true marvels. Vulnerable and fierce, Lawrence’s Mystique has extraordinary depth and much of it is portrayed with no need for words. Whether blue and proud or white and ashamed, this Mystique reflects better than most here the blur between good and evil. But alongside Lawrence we also have fantastic performances from James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon to name just three. For creating this new X-Men world, from which one sequel at least should be demanded, we should be grateful to director Matthew Vaughn.

I can’t wait to tell you more about X-Men: First Class…

X-Men: First Class opens in the UK on 1 June and in the US on 3 June.
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Post by Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 3:09 am

http://www.slashfilm.com/early-reaction-matthew-vaughns-xmen-class/

Early Reaction: Matthew Vaughn’s ‘X-Men: First Class’

Posted on Saturday, May 21st, 2011 by Peter Sciretta

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to see Matthew Vaughn‘s X-Men: First Class. Over the last year, we’ve heard about how the film had morphed from the original concept of X-Men Origins: Magneto into a prequel/reboot in the same style of what JJ Abrams did for the Star Trek franchise. I can confirm that the completed film is exactly both of these things. It fits right in with Bryan Singer’s first two X-Men films and is probably the second best film in the series next to X-Men United. And I say that with a certain but of nostalgia for the sequel, as it came out at a time when comic book adaptations didn’t strive to be anything more than popcorn fun. But the more and more I think about it, the more and more I think Vaughn’s film might have surpassed it.

Going into the film, I had so many expectations (most of which were set-up by the trailers). I had assumed that the advertising was being packed with all the moments in an effort to sell a action-less origin story, but I was surprised at how much action was actually the film. I don’t think anyone will see this movie and come out disappointed. It strikes a great balance of being accessible to non-comic book fans and packing some pretty cool easter eggs that comic geeks will love (I will keep this vague as I don’t want to spoil any of the fun).

While I have read a lot of X-Men comics in the 1990′s, I’m not really clear on the origins on some of these characters and what events in the comic universe led to certain situations. So while I’m unable to assess how faithful it is to comic book canon, I will say that everything is handled quite nicely. Picky fans might notice some continuity nitpicks and possible timeline issues (especially if you look at this as a prequel to the film series), but nothing major

And Vaughn adds his trademark style to the series in all the right moments, without making the cinematography feel out of place in the period setting. For example, one such moment (and I wouldn’t consider a spoiler in any way) is Hank McCoy’s transformation into Beast. Vaughn handles the sequence like a werewolf transformation, but shot in a way I’ve never seen it before, from Hank’s POV. It is very cool. There is a bit of cheesy dialogue, especially in the scenes that focus on the younger mutants. But at the core, this is a story about Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (played brilliantly in this film by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender), two best friends who will become enemies at the center of the mutant revolution.

We can’t really go into specifics at this time, so I’m trying to keep everything general. I recorded a short video blog with Frosty from Collider, joined by /Film’s own Germain Lussier. Watch it now embedded after the jump.

Video blog reaction:
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Post by Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 3:16 am

http://collider.com/x-men-first-class-review/92032/

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS Reaction (Video Blog)
by Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub Posted:May 21st, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Earlier today I got to watch Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class. While we’re not allowed to write a review, we’ve been given permission to write our initial thoughts.

If you were nervous the latest chapter in the X-Men franchise might disappoint, I’m happy to report it’s a huge home-run. Everything from the great script to the awesome performances by the entire cast (with special mention to James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) makes this X-Men film my favorite in the franchise. Also, the film is loaded with incredible action and a ton of Easter Eggs for the fans. Even the sets and costumes are great. Trust me, as soon as the movie is over, you’re going to wish the next chapter was coming out next week. Hit the jump for more.

Even though I have a lot more to say, I’m late for another screening, so I’ll have to let the video blog I did with Germain and Peter from Slashfilm do most of the talking. I’ll update with more thoughts later tonight.
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Post by Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 8:28 pm

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/news/?a=37730

Jonathan Ross gives his take on X-Men: First Class and the X-Men in general

The TV Presenter/Radio Show host/Comic Book geek with his not entirely un-biased views on the latest X-Men film - which was co-written by his wife Jane Goldman, who also wrote the screenplay for Kick-Ass.

I was lucky enough to visit the set of the new X-Men prequel a couple of times and see some of the footage - and it looks amazing.

I saw some of the incredible special effects and the cast is phenomenal too.

Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and James McAvoy are awesome. And I think Michael Fassbender is going to blow everyone away as the young Magneto.

On one occasion, January Jones was walking past in lingerie!

Yes, I can confidently say this is going to be a great movie. But then my wife, Jane Goldman, did co-write most of it.

Even before she met me she was a comic fan. But when she got the job I brought down a pile of about 20 of my favourite X-Men comics for her to read.

As a huge fan, I was driving her mad with ideas - they were all terrible - but it's all her own work.

I'm doubly excited because it's directed by Matthew Vaughn, who is almost single-handedly supporting the British movie industry, and it's mostly filmed here.

The X-Men are like all the great anti- heroes. It's a classic idea, they're outsiders who have been judged wrongly.

That's their enduring appeal, I think, because young people identify with them.

At the heart of the X-Men, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, is the brilliant characterisations that make the stories stand out.

They are like a family soap opera. You have the troubled father figure, Professor X, trying to deal with his unruly children; the straight arrow, Cyclops, trying to keep everyone in line and being branded uncool and so on.

They're basically a dysfunctional family but when they fall out and fight they have superpowers.

And those powers also help explain why the X-Men are still popular.

Professor X and Jean Grey have extraordinary telepathy and telekinesis; the Beast is strong, acrobatic and a genius; Cyclops is like a rock star wearing his sunglasses indoors but when he takes them off he has laser vision. They are all remarkable.

The movies have succeeded where others failed because they didn't make them before the technology was able to deal with the special effects.

They could replicate what comic book art can do so they look brilliant.

The casting was amazing from the start - Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Ian McKellen as Magneto and Patrick Stewart as Professor X.

Plus, from the beginning, the first director, Bryan Singer, made the wise choice to make it quite a grown-up movie - he didn't play for laughs, it wasn't camp or kitsch.

That's why this is now the fourth in the franchise and why there's every chance of more based on the amazing amount of great comic books they haven't yet touched.

The link below also has an interview with January Jones where she briefly mentions X-Men: First Class

Source:
The Sun

Jonathan Ross gives his take on X-Men: First Class and the X-Men in general
The TV Presenter/Radio Show host/Comic Book geek with his not entirely un-biased views on the latest X-Men film - which was co-written by his wife Jane Goldman, who also wrote the screenplay for Kick-Ass.




I was lucky enough to visit the set of the new X-Men prequel a couple of times and see some of the footage - and it looks amazing.

I saw some of the incredible special effects and the cast is phenomenal too.

Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and James McAvoy are awesome. And I think Michael Fassbender is going to blow everyone away as the young Magneto.

On one occasion, January Jones was walking past in lingerie!

Yes, I can confidently say this is going to be a great movie. But then my wife, Jane Goldman, did co-write most of it.

Even before she met me she was a comic fan. But when she got the job I brought down a pile of about 20 of my favourite X-Men comics for her to read.

As a huge fan, I was driving her mad with ideas - they were all terrible - but it's all her own work.

I'm doubly excited because it's directed by Matthew Vaughn, who is almost single-handedly supporting the British movie industry, and it's mostly filmed here.

The X-Men are like all the great anti- heroes. It's a classic idea, they're outsiders who have been judged wrongly.

That's their enduring appeal, I think, because young people identify with them.

At the heart of the X-Men, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, is the brilliant characterisations that make the stories stand out.

They are like a family soap opera. You have the troubled father figure, Professor X, trying to deal with his unruly children; the straight arrow, Cyclops, trying to keep everyone in line and being branded uncool and so on.

They're basically a dysfunctional family but when they fall out and fight they have superpowers.

And those powers also help explain why the X-Men are still popular.

Professor X and Jean Grey have extraordinary telepathy and telekinesis; the Beast is strong, acrobatic and a genius; Cyclops is like a rock star wearing his sunglasses indoors but when he takes them off he has laser vision. They are all remarkable.

The movies have succeeded where others failed because they didn't make them before the technology was able to deal with the special effects.

They could replicate what comic book art can do so they look brilliant.

The casting was amazing from the start - Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Ian McKellen as Magneto and Patrick Stewart as Professor X.

Plus, from the beginning, the first director, Bryan Singer, made the wise choice to make it quite a grown-up movie - he didn't play for laughs, it wasn't camp or kitsch.

That's why this is now the fourth in the franchise and why there's every chance of more based on the amazing amount of great comic books they haven't yet touched.

The link below also has an interview with January Jones where she briefly mentions X-Men: First Class

Source:
The Sun
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Post by Admin on Mon May 23, 2011 5:16 pm

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/2011/05/23/first_reactions_to_x-men_first_class_suggest_its_the_summer_home-run_weve_b/

First Reactions To ‘X-Men: First Class’ Suggest It’s The Summer Home-Run We’ve Been Waiting For

Since the start of the year, we haven’t been shy about our opinion that “X-Men: First Class” seemed to be the most promising of the four superhero entries landing this summer. The cast is great, Matthew Vaughn looks ready to step up a level, and the trailers have been among the best-cut of the year. But things haven’t all been rosy: rumors of a lengthy, chaotic shoot have been rife, and the posters have been as bad as the trailers have been good, while the most recent clip for the film seemed rushed and weightless.

Well, the film’s done, and is starting to screen to select members of the geek press and, while we won’t breathe easy until we catch the film for ourselves, it seems like there’s reason for optimism. While reviews are embargoed until Wednesday, Fox have allowed those who’ve seen it to publish “initial reactions” (no, we don’t know the difference either, although it seems to come down to writing “this is not a review” at the top), and the word is uniformly positive, with some even calling the film superior to “X2: X-Men United,” which is so far something of a high watermark for both the franchise, and for Marvel-derived movies in general.


The film, which Collider calls “a mixture of a reboot and a prequel” akin to J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek,” doesn’t have a less-than-enthusiastic notice against it yet. Geektown calls it “the long-awaited phoenix from the ashes of a flailing franchise,” while Drew McWeeny at HitFix goes so far as to say “I am happier overall with ‘X-Men: First Class’ than with any other film released so far in the ‘X-Men’ franchise at Fox… Right now, I’m still sort of in shock at how much of it works, and how ambitious the entire thing is,” and Blogomatic 3000 says that, like “Star Trek,” the film ties nicely into the franchise while also breaking some new ground: “‘X-Men: First Class’ does not forget what came before, in fact there are nods to it throughout, both fun and terribly sad, but fresh faces have breathed new life into familiar characters and their battle for acceptance has an added touch of humanity.”

At the heart of most of the praise is the aspect that, for us at least, has always been the central draw: the pairing of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as the young Charles Xavier/Professor X and Erik Lensherr/Magneto. Opinion differs as to the film’s MVP, with Bleeding Cool going for McAvoy, saying that “I don’t think you can really call the star of a film a scene-stealer, but McAvoy is the best thing in more or less every sequence he’s in, which translates to more or less all of the film. He even gets the opportunity to pull off some great little comedy bits and, when necessary, packs just enough emotional punch.” Meanwhile McWeeny highlights his opposite number, saying that “Michael Fassbender emerges from this one a movie star, no doubt about it. He’s a great Erik, a great nascent Magneto. He spends the first third of the movie auditioning for James Bond, and as far as I’m concerned, he can have the job whenever Daniel Craig‘s done with it.” And I Am Rogue calls the Irish-German actor “especially badass as the future Magneto.”

One of the younger cast members, “Winter’s Bone” Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence, comes in for plaudits as well for taking over the role of shape-shifter Mystique from Rebecca Romijn—Blogomatic 3000 says that the actress is “one of the true marvels. Vulnerable and fierce, Lawrence’s Mystique has extraordinary depth and much of it is portrayed with no need for words. Whether blue and proud or white and ashamed, this Mystique reflects better than most here the blur between good and evil.” HeyUGuys concurs, saying that the future “Hunger Games” star “holds her own as Raven. The close, fraternal relationship she shares with McAvoy’s Xavier in the film may well upset the dribbling fanboys, angry at any change to canon, but also serves as a strong counterpoint to the interplay between McAvoy and Fassbender, and she is very much the emotional heart of the film.”

One of the few recurring criticisms is that, while the Xavier/Eric relationship is the successful beating heart of the film, some of the other characters in the hefty ensemble fare less well: Bleeding Cool writes that “There are some characters who get short shrift and aren’t allowed the space, or focus, that would have allowed them to really come to life – Riptide and Azazel, definitely, and Darwin, perhaps; and Moira McTaggart sort of fades away for a while.” Den of Geek goes further, “It is just a shame that the supporting characters rarely receive such attention. While it is a joy to see the X-Men in nascent form, not all are fleshed out. Worryingly, the film’s female characters are immaterial, defined by either their vanity, or by showing up in lingerie at some point.” Objectified female characters in a comic book movie? Surely the fans will never stand for that…

Still, failing to provide convincing female characters aside, Vaughn seems to have nailed it. HeyUGuys says that the director “manages to stay on just the right side of camp, keeping his tongue firmly out of his cheek, but also reserving the real sincerity for the relationships between the characters,” but also melding the series with producer Bryan Singer‘s earlier entries: “Vaughn’s ability to direct action, and sense of humour run through the film, while the film still feels very much like a part of the world Singer created in his movies.” Den of Geek adds that “‘Kick-Ass’ showed that Vaughn (and co-writer Jane Goldman) knows how to deliver superhero thrills while still maintaining style, wit and a strong emotional core. And it is this mixture of strengths that he brings to “X-Men: First Class,” which consistently works on a number of narrative levels - be they origin story, period epic, super-powered action, thematic subtext or character drama.”

HitFix concurs, saying that “I think one of the things that makes this such a success is the confidence that’s part of every choice made by Matthew Vaughn and his creative team. The film is set in the ‘40s and the ‘60s, and while I wouldn’t call it realistic, I think the impressionistic take it offers on period is even more fun than if they did it as complete realism,” and it’s this period setting that seems to have helped give the mutants renewed vigor. Den of Geek goes on to say that, “The film takes great enjoyment in its period dressing, revelling in the fashion, music and little details of the 1960s, from catsuits to colourful War Room maps. Throughout, Vaughn balances style and story, indulging in crucial moments of undercutting humour, fan service Easter Eggs, and splash-page spectacle.”

So, for the moment, we seem to have something of a triumph on our hands: /Film concludes that “I don’t think anyone will see this movie and come out disappointed. It strikes a great balance of being accessible to non-comic book fans and packing some pretty cool easter eggs that comic geeks will love,” and HitFix adds that “‘X-Men: First Class’ is a genuinely good movie, not just a good superhero movie… I think Fox just got it right, really right, in a way I can’t say it feels like they have on any of their Marvel films so far.”

It’s worth noting that everyone reviewing here is firmly in the target audience, some are prone to a certain degree of post-screening breathlessness, and that early reactions to “Thor” were almost as glowing—and that film, while decent enough, wasn’t all that in the grand scheme of things. Still, we’re hopeful that the early buzz will convert into a film that even those of us with superhero fatigue can take to our hearts. “X-Men: First Class” hits Europe next Wednesday, on June 1st, and follows up in the U.S. on June 3rd.

Oliver Lyttelton posted at 9:02 am on May 23, 2011
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Post by Admin on Mon May 23, 2011 5:32 pm

http://www.tvandmovienews.com/2011/05/x-men-first-class-early-reviews-are-raves/

"X-Men: First Class" Early Reviews Are Raves

Though full reviews won't be coming out until later this week (mine will hopefully be up before the weekend), early word on "X-Men: First Class" is that it may not only be the best in the franchise, but the best Marvel movie to date.

Drew McWeeny of Hitfix has been very outspoken of Fox's handling of the franchise in the past, and with good reason. Here though, he says "I am happier overall with "X-Men: First Class" than with any other film released so far in the "X-Men" franchise… This is ground zero, and I think Fox just got it right, really right, in a way I can't say it feels like they have on any of their Marvel films so far." He also professes his love for all things Michael Fassbender - sigh, I know that feeling all too well.

Hitfix's own editor, Greg Ellwood, is a man whose cinematic taste I admire a lot and is certainly no over eager fanboy when it comes to comic movies. His reaction? "Even better than Spider-Man 2, Iron Man or any Marvel movie so far in my opinion. Ambitious, smart and when it's good, it's very good. Not Nolan level though."

Meanwhile to get you revved up there's a new TV spot out today with a lot of explosive action in it:

This entry was posted by Dark Horizons on May 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm,
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Post by Admin on Mon May 23, 2011 5:33 pm

http://www.filmmisery.com/?p=7204

Review Round-Up: Fanboys Love ‘X-Men: First Class’

Monday, May 23, 2011

X-Men: First Class, one of the most anticipated comic book adaptations of the summer and the only superhero movie that I am personally very excited for, was screened for a select number of website owners over the weekend. None of them were allowed to post a full review yet because of a studio embargo but they have all come online with the first batch of “reactions” and the initial word is very positive. I’m not sure any of the individuals who screened the film would consider themselves film critics, but they are knowledgeable about geek culture and comic books, so they essentially represent the target audience.

Peter Sciretta of /Film was one of the first to post a reaction via Twitter. Not unexpectedly he was over the moon:

X-Men First Class is better than you think. It does for the X-Men franchise what JJ Abrams did for Star Trek.

Jami Philbrick of I Am Rogue expresses how he definitely thinks the film is great, although he does not completely articulate why. He does state that with the new cast and director, the film feels more detached than its predecessors.

The movie makes an attempt to connect to the previous films, which is nice to see but really X-Men: First Class is so good it almost doesn’t need it. I know it’s supposed to be a prequel but I’d rather think of it as a re-boot because I think it’s different and in some ways better than the others. I was really impressed with how much of the film is a character study.

Steve “Frosty” Weintraub of Collider posts his reaction via a video blog. His introduction to the video is hugely complimentary of Matthew Vaughn’s effort on the film:

If you were nervous the latest chapter in the X-Men franchise might disappoint, I’m happy to report it’s a huge home-run. Everything from the great script to the awesome performances by the entire cast (with special mention to James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) makes this X-Men film my favorite in the franchise. Also, the film is loaded with incredible action and a ton of Easter Eggs for the fans.

Drew McWeeny of HitFix posts a reaction that is about as close to a review as it can get. He gives major props to the performances and takes especially highlighting James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence:

It uses your expectations about the genre to set you up one way, then time and again, reaches for something a little bit more perverse or a little bit more eccentric or a little bit more heartfelt. “X-Men: First Class” is almost desperately sincere, and I mean that in a good way. Everyone in the film plays it like they’re holding nothing back. Jennifer Lawrence, for example, is just as dedicated here as Raven, the blue shape-shifting mutant who has lived as a sort of pseudo-sister to Charles since childhood, as she has been in any of the indie films she’s done so far.

Ben Mortimer of British blog HeyUGuys says that the new film succeeds in exactly the same way as Bryan Singer’s original, which is what makes it truly great:

It’s rather pleasing then, that X-Men: First Class takes the series back to its roots, both figuratively, in terms of the character-focused drama, and literally, as we open with an almost shot-for-shot recreation of the beginning of Bryan Singer’s first X-Men film. In doing so, the film makes itself instantly familiar, and also, instantly engaging.

I am going to reserve my excitement until full reviews start coming in and we hear from some of the more mainstream critics (i.e. not fanboy sites). X-Men: First Class will be released in the United States on June 6, 2011.

[Source: The Playlist]
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Post by Admin on Mon May 23, 2011 5:42 pm

http://horrorthon.blogspot.com/2011/05/x-men-first-class-pretty-awesome.html

Monday, May 23, 2011
X-Men: First Class pretty awesome?
Posted by JPX

From slashfilm, On Saturday, I had the opportunity to see Matthew Vaughn‘s X-Men: First Class. Over the last year, we’ve heard about how the film had morphed from the original concept of X-Men Origins: Magneto into a prequel/reboot in the same style of what JJ Abrams did for the Star Trek franchise. I can confirm that the completed film is exactly both of these things. It fits right in with Bryan Singer’s first two X-Men films and is probably the second best film in the series next to X-Men United. And I say that with a certain but of nostalgia for the sequel, as it came out at a time when comic book adaptations didn’t strive to be anything more than popcorn fun. But the more and more I think about it, the more and more I think Vaughn’s film might have surpassed it.

Going into the film, I had so many expectations (most of which were set-up by the trailers). I had assumed that the advertising was being packed with all the moments in an effort to sell a action-less origin story, but I was surprised at how much action was actually the film. I don’t think anyone will see this movie and come out disappointed. It strikes a great balance of being accessible to non-comic book fans and packing some pretty cool easter eggs that comic geeks will love (I will keep this vague as I don’t want to spoil any of the fun).

While I have read a lot of X-Men comics in the 1990′s, I’m not really clear on the origins on some of these characters and what events in the comic universe led to certain situations. So while I’m unable to assess how faithful it is to comic book canon, I will say that everything is handled quite nicely. Picky fans might notice some continuity nitpicks and possible timeline issues (especially if you look at this as a prequel to the film series), but nothing major

And Vaughn adds his trademark style to the series in all the right moments, without making the cinematography feel out of place in the period setting. For example, one such moment (and I wouldn’t consider a spoiler in any way) is Hank McCoy’s transformation into Beast. Vaughn handles the sequence like a werewolf transformation, but shot in a way I’ve never seen it before, from Hank’s POV. It is very cool. There is a bit of cheesy dialogue, especially in the scenes that focus on the younger mutants. But at the core, this is a story about Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (played brilliantly in this film by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender), two best friends who will become enemies at the center of the mutant revolution.
at 6:30 AM
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 8:14 pm

http://www.heyuguys.co.uk/2011/05/25/x-men-first-class-review/

X-Men: First Class Review
May 25, 2011 By Adam Lowes

Cast your mind back to those grossly-misjudged attempts to weave together a Darth Vader origin story, where events, history and character arcs fully ingrained into the previous mythology were awkwardly shoe-horned in to the latter installments, with scant regard for establishing any continuity and emotional connection between the eras. With that in mind, it comes with much relief to confirm that X-Men: First Class is everything those films wished they could be, and has far more in common with J. J. Abram’s rip-roaring Star Trek reboot then the shallow exploits of team Jedi.

We’re greeted with an opening which is pretty much a facsimile of the Nazi death camp environment of the first X-Men feature. This time however (and almost as a subconscious nod to the larger canvas being created here) we’re privy to what happens to the young man named Erik Lehnsherr after that initial burst of power is revealed. Placed into an inhuman and potential devastating situation by a wicked, Josef Mengele-type doctor (a deliciously evil and smooth Kevin Bacon), his latent powers are finally unleashed in a genuinely terrifying display of metal-crunching fury. We’re then brought 20-odd years into the future where the skills and expertise of a young Professor, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) are called on by a CIA operative (Rose Byrne) who has uncovered dastardly mutant activity within the walls of a seemingly innocuous swinging sixties, high-end men’s striptease and poker establishment called The Hellfire Club.

Its proprietor, Sebastian Shaw, (Bacon) has moved on from his past life and previous guise and, like the previous films, his feelings towards man and mutant very much echo’s Malcolm X’s rhetoric. Assisted by diamond-encrusted henchwoman Emma Frost (January Jones, helping to whip up a little Mad Men-vibe and the heart rate of the male audience) he is attempting to further exacerbate tensions between east and west in an already delicate and tumultuous period in world history. Following a botched assassination attempt on Shaw by the now grown-up Erik (Michael Fassbender), the man who would be Magneto is rescued by Xavier and welcomed into the new CIA-backed underground mutant taskforce. Initially reluctant to join, he’s persuaded by the telekinetic one to assist him in assembling a team of fellow X-Men to take down Shaw before he becomes the catalyst for starting World War Three.

The talented screenwriting duo of Jane Goldman and director Matthew Vaughn have made a fantastic effort here to bring the 60’s age of civil unrest and cold world paranoia successfully into a comic book milieu, and weave what is essentially a period, character-based (a term which don’t normally spring to mind in such a genre) espionage thriller with big action spectacle thrills. While very much an ensemble piece, the two actors at the heart of it, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, are pivotal to the film’s success. McAvoy is much looser and playful here than Patrick Stewart’s measured turn, and if his character has a worryingly Austin Powers-esque side which bubbles up near the beginning (he uses “groovy” a little too many times for comfort), he soon settles into the part. His unwavering capacity for helping and encouraging his fellow mutants to see beyond the alienation they’re become accustomed to, makes for some especially stirring onscreen moments.

Fassbinder’s initial trajectory, which follows his globe-trotting escapades on a quest to find and kill the man who took his life away, has an almost a rogue James Bond-type quality (a lovely 60’s-flavoured guitar twang which can’t help but conjure up memories of 007 in that era). He certainly isn’t averse to eliminating any other war criminals that cross his path either, and although the film is blood and gore-free, his quest for vengeance is still pretty violent and unflinching.

The odd couple strike up a very believable and warm friendship (again, this is something Lucas couldn’t established between Anakin and Obi-Wan during the course of three whole films) and while Fassbender is all coiled-up rage and anger, McAvoy does his best to act as a calming influence. This never once feels contrived or rushed and that supportive (if, at times, strained) comradely atmosphere is even more painful for the audience to get behind, as you’re constantly aware of how it all ends. Another standout is Jennifer Lawrence as a young Mystique. Strong-willed and determined not to be a casualty of her ‘gift’, she acts as a nice counterbalance to Charles and Erik’s conflicting ideologies. Without giving anything away, the film also features one of the greatest cameos and rebuttals in all of cinema. The figure in question is completely unexpected and is an absolute delight.

There’s a lot to pack in here but Vaughn and his team do a heroic job themselves with the tight pacing and plotting. He even manages to prevent quite a lengthy training montage sequence a third of the way though from slowing down the narrative drive, and uses a neat split-screen device (another homage to that period) in helping to ensure this.

There are some casualties here however, which is perhaps inevitable when you’re trying to tell such a heady and epic tale. Both Oliver Platt (as a friendly CIA man in black) and Rose Byrne aren’t given much to do really. Vaughn regular Jason Flemyng isn’t particularly stretched either, although his bad guy mutant character Azazel (apparently daddy to Nightcrawler) is involved in one of the film’s most striking sequences, where he dispatches of multiple CIA members by literally dropping them from the sky! Some of the effects are a little underdone too, but this must surely be attributed to the herculean task the makers were faced with in trying to bring the film to cinemas screens in such a limited time window between production and release date.

Like The Dark Knight before it, the film has far-reaching ambitions outside of the normal comic book world, and by Vaughn insisting on making sure the very human and entirely relatable interplay between characters is allowed to breathe, and more importantly, develop in amongst some impressive action beats, the audience is fully engaged right through to the huge (yet somehow intimate) ending, which delivers a devastating and emotional punch seldom seen in films of this nature.

Easily up there with the second feature, X-Men: First Class should hopefully eliminate the nasty, lingering aftertaste of the thoroughly underwhelming third installment (incidentally, a film which Vaughn was mooted to direct at one point) and the anemic Wolverine spin-off. Fox are now in the enviable position (like the aforementioned Star Trek) to essentially start afresh and embark on another series. Let’s hope they stick to this template in the future, whether it’s for another X-Men film or any comic book adaptation for that matter.

If the rest of this season’s high-profile superhero features get anywhere close to matching what Vaughn has done here, we could be in for a thoroughly satisfying summer of escapism.

(4.5/5)
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 8:22 pm

http://entertainment.ie/cinema/news/Early-Word-On-X-Men%20-First-Class-Is-Ecstatic/71685.htm

Early Word On X-Men: First Class Is Ecstatic

24 May 2011

Early word on Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class is pretty ecstatic, with some well respected web journalists praising the prequel.

Drew McWeeny of Hitfix.com was one of the first journalists to voice his opinion on the film saying, "I am happier overall with "X-Men: First Class" than with any other film released so far in the "X-Men" franchise… This is ground zero, and I think Fox just got it right, really right, in a way I can't say it feels like they have on any of their Marvel films so far." He also praised Irish actor Michael Fassbender saying he will be a true movie star in the aftermath of the film. Another critic Greg Ellwood from the same publication spewed that it was "Even better than Spider-Man 2, Iron Man or any Marvel movie so far in my opinion. Ambitious, smart and when it's good, it's very good. Not Nolan level though." Vaughn has now made 4 films as a director; Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick Ass and now X-Men: First Class - it's the best run of form I've seen from a director since David Fincher.

The film press screens in Dublin this Friday, so I'll have a review that day. It opens around the country on June 1st.
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 8:30 pm

http://www.thisisfakediy.co.uk/articles/film/x-men-first-class1

Posted 25th May 2011, 1:00am
X-Men: First Class
Honestly gives The Dark Knight a run for its money in the "best superhero movie ever" stakes.
Posted 25th May 2011, 1:00am in Film | By Becky Reed

Released in cinemas 1st June 2011.

Who would've thought the director of the perfectly fine but vastly overrated Kick-Ass could take the fifth film in a flagging franchise and create a near masterpiece?

For X-Men: First Class honestly gives The Dark Knight a run for its money in the "best superhero movie ever" stakes. It's rare to see a film so confidently and assuredly executed in tone - director Matthew Vaughn gives the viewer everything they could possibly wish for in an "event" movie, and then some.

Starting literally where Bryan Singer's X-Men began, we again see young Erik Lehnsherr (Son of Rambow star Bill Milner) lose his mother in a Nazi concentration camp. Except this time we get to see what happened next - a dramatic, rage-induced bout of metal-manipulation in the office of an evil scientist who changes Erik's life forever. It's the first of many breathtaking moments that combine intense power and sheer entertainment.

Meanwhile, in upstate New York young Charles Xavier is excitedly encountering a unique intruder into his stately home. There begins the sweet and innocent bond between shape-shifting, blue-skinned Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence) and telepathic Charles (James McAvoy), which continues through the soon-to-be professor's PhD at Oxford.

It's now 1963, and the grown-up Erik (Michael Fassbender) and Charles are going to meet in spectacular fashion. With the help of CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) they form an alliance of fellow mutants against a common enemy: suave, war-mongering megalomaniac Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his glamorous and powerful sidekick Emma Frost (January Jones). Set during the height of Cold War paranoia, the fear of Communism and the threat of nuclear war is prevalent throughout.

There's plenty of fun and games to be had as the first ever X-Men show off their powers, when the sharp-suited Shaw carries out his dastardly deeds with champagne in one hand, and the debut of the extremely foxy Hellfire Club. But what makes First Class is the fascinating origins of the relationship between Charles and Erik.

Fassbender and McAvoy are polar opposites, but equally terrific. The former plays Erik like Daniel Craig's Bond, but with more history and intensity. Every single moment he's onscreen something jaw-dropping occurs, whether it be a dramatic Western-style showdown in a bar, or his mindblowing attempt to take down a cruise liner, or his icy-cool extraction of information (and other things). Although his accent is all over the place, as the young Magneto, Fassbender gives one of the most, um, magnetic performances of the year that will have men and women worshipping and swooning in copious amounts.

This incarnation of Erik is such a powerhouse of a role, it took a second viewing to fully appreciate McAvoy's clever portrayal of the future Professor X. A slightly rubbish but utterly adorable flirt (his chat-up lines are a riot), he has great fun with the in-jokes about his appearance. He's responsible for most of the humour, but his compassion leads to an incredibly tender breakthrough with the constantly wound-up Erik. Both actors have a firm grasp of the opposing ideologies of their characters - the genesis of the first films - although it's subtle and superbly written (by Vaughn and his regular collaborator Jane Goldman).

There's such an onslaught of elaborate and fantastic action sequences, it's a remarkable feat by the writers that First Class has such a strong human angle. It boasts more memorable set pieces than most films of its kind, which tend to have one or two "money shots". You could go home content you've had your money's worth of awesome after 20 minutes, let alone 130.

So what of the supporting cast? X-Men wise, Lawrence's Raven is well-written and nicely set up for her transformation into Mystique, focusing on her insecurities and the reactions to her true form from Charles and Erik. As Hank/Beast, Nicholas Hoult makes for a semi-tragic figure, and his performance is suitably sensitive and endearing. Caleb Landry Jones (The Last Exorcism) is a memorable and fun Banshee, but Havok (Lucas Till) and Angel (Zoe Kravitz) are slightly pushed to the sidelines.

A revelation is how well Emma Frost is handled. Blatant fanboy eye-candy, the skimpily-clothed and overtly sexual character is shown to be a strong survivor in Jones' hands. There are some brilliant moments of manipulation and deception, but First Class throws in some deliberate touches of sexism to remind us of the period. This is most true of Byrne's Moira, which is a frustratingly underwritten character. It's hard to figure out how she managed to work her way into such high profile missions when she's constantly reminded she could get sent back to the typing pool at any moment. It's the only criticism of the film, however, and it's petty when you consider how well Vaughn and Goldman have juggled the huge ensemble to allow the characters to shine. Bacon's baddie does really well to feel anything but a Bond villain parody, despite the suits and the yachts. In fact, you almost find yourself understanding him.

Aside from its disgracefully attractive cast, there hasn't been a film this elegantly beautiful and exhilarating since Inception; another perfect marriage of drama and inventive action. The sets are extraordinary, the Sixties costumes divine, and the photography sharp. Vaughn uses split screen and fish-eye lenses discreetly for that retro feel, but it's never gimmicky or tacky. It's heavenly to watch, the script is concise but never skimps on plot, and it's packed full of warmth and wit. First Class is drenched in spine-tingling X-Men reverence but manages to be unlike any other entry in the franchise. An absolutely magnificent film, let alone summer blockbuster. Unmissable for anyone who loves the spectacle that is cinema.

Rating: 9/10
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 8:34 pm

http://www.blogomatic3000.com/2011/05/25/review-x-men-first-class/

Review: X-Men: First Class

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Review by Kate Atherton

Stars: Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Alex Gonzalez, January Jones, Kevin Bacon, Jason Flemyng, Nicolas Hoult | Written by Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz | Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Matthew Vaughn was supposed to direct X-Men 3. It almost happened – he’d even completed the storyboards and script. But Vaughn left the project because Fox hadn’t given him enough time for it. Rather ironically, he ended up directing X-Men: First Class instead, for which he was given even less time. How glad I am. Instead of completing what someone else started, Vaughn was able to begin again, with fresh actors, and show us how these characters, with their fantastical names and powers, became who they were. All set against the real events that unfolded during the early 1960s and the Cold War.

X-Men: First Class is an extraordinary feat for a fourth film in a series and a fifth in a franchise. It can’t forget what came before because, of course, the earlier films are portents of what is to come, but now Professor X, Magneto, Mystique and the others are put into a real and familiar world, albeit one in the past. Here they have the benefit of youth and, in Professor X’s case, the ability to stand up and walk. There is something more human about these X-Men despite their superhuman powers, glamour, and energy. Whereas in the earlier films, the battlelines were firmly drawn between X and Magneto, in First Class the lines are blurred, decisions have yet to be made as each goes through that painful experience of accepting their mutation and learning to control it.

From the very beginning, X-Men: First Class pulls you in with raw emotion, recreating the opening scenes of the first film, in the concentration camp with the young boy Erik, bending bars and gates with a power brought on by sheer emotion. In this case, the torment of being separated from his parents. First Class takes us through those camp gates and lets us see what happens there as Erik falls under the control of a man who is effectively his creator – Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Shaw is the epitome of the Nazi experimenter. His relationship with Erik is complicated because it is based on the manipulation of power. From this corruption, Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is born.

Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), by contrast, is born into money, he has the arrogance to go with it and his goal is to become a teacher. It is much easier to empathise with and like Magneto than it is with a man like Professor X. There is a way in, though, and that is through Mystique or Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), a young girl who hides her blue skin behind a white front, and becomes Charles’ sister, protected by him. The raven kept under his wing.

As Charles builds his academy of mutants (including Nicholas Hoult’s Beast, Zoë Kravitz’s Angel, Edi Gathegi’s Darwin and Caleb Landry Jones’s Banshee), with the help of Dr Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) and the Man in Black (Oliver Platt), we see the developing power of Shaw and his opposing group (including January Jones’ Frost and Jason Flemyng’s Azazel). It’s all set against the growing threat of the Cold War, culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis. We know from our knowledge of the first X-Men movie what is in store for several of these characters. X-Men: First Class lets us watch as these destinies unfold. Certain things need to happen during the course of this film. The fascinating achievement is partly how that is done.

Matthew Vaughn’s obsession here is Magneto. Vaughan told us during an interview on Sunday that Magneto was inspired by Bond – both the Bond hero and villain. Fassbender pulls off this role with the sophistication and charisma of a Bond – but he doesn’t need the car or the gadget. His performance also presents a rather pleasant conundrum. In scenes shared by McAvoy and Fassbender, it is difficult to know where to focus. Vaughn picked Fassbender to play opposite McAvoy because of their chemistry together. It is a big success of this film.

Chemistry is also seen in the pairing of Jennifer Lawrence and McAvoy. Lawrence conveys the deep inner frailty of Mystique with the skill one would expect from her performance in Winter’s Bone. The actress’s youth possibly makes Mystique’s struggle, unhappiness and finally pride much easier to empathise with. It is true that if I have one criticism with First Class it’s in the lesser realised X-Men. I barely noticed Álex González’s Riptide for example and he wasn’t alone. Nevertheless, with characters such as X, Magento, Mystique and the most gorgeous crystal beauty of Frost on the screen, they barely mattered.

With McAvoy and Fassbender both managing to shake off Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, one would have thought this would be an achievement enough for First Class, but there is the addition of Kevin Bacon’s performance as Sebastian Shaw. Shaw is known from the comic world as ponytailed and cravat-wearing, a world away from Bacon’s portrayal but Shaw here is a monster, truly belonging in Europe’s darkest days, born from the Holocaust. Interestingly, Vaughn revealed at his interview with us that Bacon had not been his first choice for the role. That honour had gone to Colin Firth – in the days before The King’s Speech. It didn’t happen because Fox was counting the number of Brits in the film. Firth was a Brit too many (a reason why Dexter Fletcher was also not cast in the film). It seems unfair now to compare these two actors for the role because Bacon chills as Shaw, perfectly.

Vaughn has hit on a winning partnership with screenwriter Jane Goldman, with this film following on from their success in another more unusual contribution to the superhero genre Kick Ass. While Vaughn prides himself on his devotion and dedication to structure – once fixed it will not be changed – together they have created a vividly realised world, full of 1960s’ misogyny, prejudice and privilege for the few.

With a supporting cast that includes Oliver Platt, this is a film of quality that will occupy you with every scene. The action sequences are spectacularly presented, perfect foils for the fascinating inner conflict we are shown by this superb cast. Combine this with a fine script, direction, cinematography and soundtrack (Henry Jackman), and we have the finest X-Men movie of the four. A prequel that makes us want more. Vaughn said to us on Sunday that he doesn’t believe in sequels unless they are as least as good as what went before. It’s almost as if Wolverine never happened. Admittedly, Take That close the film but then it wouldn’t do to make First Class too perfect. One needs to leave room for the sequel.

X-Men: First Class hits cinemas on June 1st.
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 8:48 pm

http://www.badassdigest.com/2011/05/23/x-men-first-class-blazes-its-own-awesome-continuity

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS Blazes Its Own Awesome Continuity
By Devin Faraci | May 23, 2011

Bryan Singer’s X-Men films will one day be regarded as important. They were the earliest shots of the superhero movie revolution, and they helped pave the way for progressively better, more comic book-y movies based on four color characters. But they’re not particularly good; a recent revisit to X2 left me actually stunned at how bad the film is. There are a couple of strong sequences, but the movie in general feels half formed, cheap and poorly put together. It was hot s$#! in 2003, but I think most of us were just psyched to get a hint of Phoenix in a movie.

After laying fallow for years (not counting the unbearable X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Marvel mutantverse is returning to screens next month with X-Men: First Class, a prequel that tells the origins of the X-Men and the story of the fractured friendship of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, aka Professor X and Magneto. And get this: the movie is awesome.

Like, really, truly awesome. Big, fun, great looking and with wonderful characters played by cool actors – X-Men: First Class is everything you kind of hope a superhero movie would be when they started making these things. It’s a film that embraces the goofy fun of Silver Age comics while taking itself exactly seriously enough. In a lot of ways it has a Grant Morrison vibe, a feeling of pop adventure fun (although without Morrison’s trademark weirdness).

But if you’re watching X-Men: First Class and trying to reconcile it with the previous four X-Men branded movies, you’re going to be in big trouble. That may be the most comic book-y thing about it – the film brazenly breaks continuity from the previous films (for example Emma Frost is a grown up ten years before she appeared as a child in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) while still trying to fit with that continuity. The opening scene, with young Erik at Auschwitz, is an almost shot for shot recreation of the same scene from X-Men (including the music), so it isn’t like the movie is hiding its ties to the original.

I don’t think this is a big problem for the movie; Matthew Vaughn and his small army of writers navigate the continuity waters well enough. And the movie is so good that anybody spending time worrying about the continuity nitpicks is probably just an asshole.

But if the film spawns a new franchise, as Fox is hoping (and me too), continuity could eventually get tangled up. More than that, the new series could find itself stuck with crappy versions of great characters – nobody needs the Vinnie Jones version of Juggernaut to be canon. And the new franchise will also be unable to touch other established characters, since they’re spoken for. We won’t get to see Alex Summers – Havok – talk to his brother Scott, aka Cyclops, because Cyclops is maybe a fetus in 1962 according to the timeline previously established. We’ll never get to have Wolverine hang out with this group because of the strictures of his movie continuity.

So f&#! it. Fox should simply toss the original continuity and walk away from it. Nobody’s going to care if the events of the first three X-Men films get retconned out of existence. What people are going to care about is seeing the great mutant characters reborn in a more robust, fun and frankly satisfying context. I understand – from a business standpoint – why Fox is hedging their bets on rewriting their continuity (Wolverine sucked, but at almost 180 million dollars domestic it’s a very profitable movie), but they can throw out the bathwater while keeping the Hugh Jackman baby. Again, nobody’s going to care if the events of X-Men: Second Class contradict the events of X-Men Origins: Wolverine as long as the next movie is as good as the first one.

James Bond did it. Batman did it. Fox has let the X-Men halfway do it, but going forward from here (and if there’s justice X-Men: First Class will be a huge hit and spawn at least two sequels), the studio needs to go all in and remove these swinging 60s mutants from the shackles of the other four movies.
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 8:49 pm

http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/20648/-x-men-first-class-early-reviews-are-raves

"X-Men: First Class" Early Reviews Are Raves

By Garth Franklin Monday May 23rd 2011 02:52PM

Though full reviews won't be coming out until later this week (mine will hopefully be up before the weekend), early word on "X-Men: First Class" is that it may not only be the best in the franchise, but the best Marvel movie to date.

Drew McWeeny of Hitfix has been very outspoken of Fox's handling of the franchise in the past, and with good reason. Here though, he says "I am happier overall with "X-Men: First Class" than with any other film released so far in the "X-Men" franchise… This is ground zero, and I think Fox just got it right, really right, in a way I can't say it feels like they have on any of their Marvel films so far." He also professes his love for all things Michael Fassbender - sigh, I know that feeling all too well.

Hitfix's own editor, Greg Ellwood, is a man whose cinematic taste I admire a lot and is certainly no over eager fanboy when it comes to comic movies. His reaction? "Even better than Spider-Man 2, Iron Man or any Marvel movie so far in my opinion. Ambitious, smart and when it's good, it's very good. Not Nolan level though."

Bleeding Cool raved about James McAvoy's performance and says the film "contains some of the briskest and most efficient storytelling I’ve seen in any recent blockbuster," though admits some of the minor characters "get short shrift" like Riptide, Azazel, Darwin and Moira McTaggart to a lesser extent.

Meanwhile to get you revved up there's a new TV spot out today with a lot of explosive action in it:
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 8:54 pm

http://www.totalfilm.com/reviews/cinema/x-men-first-class

X-Men: First Class

Matthew Vaughn gives Marvel's mutants their mojo back...
4 Stars

By Rosie Fletcher | May 25th 2011

Kevin Bacon as a mutant Nazi! Rose Byrne in her pants! Nicolas Hoult done up like Sully from Monsters, Inc! And these aren't even the best things about Matthew Vaughn's vibrant, sprawling, ensemble origin story (well, maybe the Bacon bits...).

A franchise reboot reminiscent of JJ Abrams' 2009 Star Trek overhaul, this is the fifth film in the X-Men canon and even if it can't quite match Bryan Singer's X2 (among the finest of its kind) First Class is still fast, fresh and fun.

It's intelligent and emotionally resonant, explosive and eye-dazzling. Factor in a zeitgeisty, hot-list cast and First Class is likely to be one of the summer's best biggies. It sure as hell razes Brett Ratner's disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand (which Vaughn was slated for a one point) and Gavin Hood's time-waster Wolverine.

Poland, 1944: a young Erik Lehnsherr is separated from his parents in a concentration camp; meanwhile, in an affluent but isolated stately home in New York a young Charles Xavier happens upon a strange blue little girl who's able to disguise herself as other people.

Eighteen years later, Erik (Michael Fassbender) and Charles (James McAvoy) have matured into powerful, charismatic men with opposing agendas.

Their paths cross in the pursuit of former Nazi Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a ruthless mutant supremacist plotting to use the Cuban Missile crisis to provoke a war among humans.

Extensive globe-trotting (Argentina, Russia, America, Switzerland, Poland, the UK) in a Cold War context lend this the feel of a '60s espionager.

Bromantic tension

But at heart First Class is the story of how close friends become bitter enemies and of how Charles and Erik become Professor X and Magneto.

Heard this one before? Whether it's Clark Kent and Lex Luther or Peter Parker and Harry Osborn, the 'frenemies' angle is a well-worn superhero staple. But strong, sympathetic performances and bromantic chemistry between dashing, dangerous Erik and compassionate humanist Charles inject fresh heft.

An early scene sees Erik in an Argentinian bar toasting then torturing two Nazi associates of Shaw with a single-minded menace reminiscent of Inglourious Basterds' opener.

Yet the sequence occurs before he's ever met Charles, and the possibility of redemption that this relationship brings is all the more affecting when played to its conclusion.

Dramatic irony works less in the favour of the Cold War plot, yet the stylish production design - the sleazy, sexy Hellfire Club, the yachts, submarines and covert military bases conjure a James Bond glamour.

Meanwhile, the sea battle that crescendos the action doesn't fail to thrill.

As for the supporting cast... it looks like the Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon game just got a whole lot easier. Jennifer Lawrence (Oscar-nommed, just snagged the lead in The Hunger Games) brings vulnerability and Winter's Bone stoicism to shape-shifting future-Mystique, Raven, while Nicholas Hoult (BAFTA-nommed, the lead in Singer's next film Jack The Giant Killer) adds sensitivity then rage to brainbox-turned-Beast Hank.

Caleb Landry Jones (stand-out in The Last Exorcism) supplies humour as gobby baby-Banshee Sean Cassidy, and Zoe Kravitz (daughter of Lenny, star of festival hit Yelling At The Sky) gives the winged Angel Salvadore a hard-faced worldliness.

Her intro is a highlight too, with a pissed-up Erik and Charles checking her out in a strip joint.

Talk about Kevin

Strangely, it's the mutant enemies who feel underplayed.

Vaughn regular Jason Flemying's devilish Azazel, weather-bothering Riptide (Alex Gonzalez) and even Mad Men sizzler January Jones as icy Emma Frost are denied a backstory - and in the case of Flemying and Gonzalez any real dialogue.

Thank God for scene-stealing, scheming, chocolate-munching, sociopath Shaw. Bacon makes effortless a larger-than-life role that evolves from guffawing Nazi sadist to slick Bondian baddie.

There's a lot of ground to cover to give the gang a chance to stretch their legs (wings, feet, etc), but fortunately Jane Goldman's tight script and Vaughn's zip and pacing (abundantly in his brilliant anti-superhero Kick-Ass, where he also teamed with Goldman) mean the balance between big set-pieces and character business is deftly held.

If First Class doesn't quite achieve the anarchy and irreverence of Kick-Ass it's partly because this is a different beast - not lacking in charm and wit, but occasionally in danger of veering towards broader laughs.

This isn't one for tots, though - carrying the same 12A rating as The Dark Knight, it mirrors Christopher Nolan's unwillingness to shy away from scenes of cruelty too bleak for infants.

"Mutant and proud!" asserts a naked, blue Jennifer Lawrence, in the closest X-Men: First Class gets to a catchphrase. She could be talking about Vaughn's film, which takes DNA from Singer (back in the fold as producer) and Marvel and mixes it with Bond and Batman, bromance and coming-of-age angst to create a cool, character-driven actioner with a social conscience that's something to be proud of. Top class.


Verdict:

A classy edition to the X-series that expertly establishes a hoard of characters, navigates a Cold War plot and squeezes a tear for a friendship failed. Dream-team casting and quality FX make this the summer blockbuster to beat.

Read more: X-Men: First Class review | TotalFilm.com
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 10:57 pm

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/903732/xmen_first_class_review.html

X-Men: First Class review

Simon Brew

X-Men: First Class is, at it turns out, only five minutes shorter than Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, yet it feels half the length, so energetically does it move along.

Matthew Vaughn recruits Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, and breathes fresh life into a franchise that had long since lost its way. Here’s our review of X-Men: First Class….

Published on May 24, 2011

Let's be clear about this from the start: at its best, X-Men: First Class is a Batman Begins-level putting back together of a cinematic franchise, one that many had fallen firmly out of love with after the double hit of Brett Ratner's vacuous X-Men: The Last Stand and Gavin Hood's relentlessly downbeat X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

By going right back to basics, First Class not only finds interesting things to say at the very beginnings of the X-Men story, but it might just make you believe in origin stories all over again. And while it doesn't quite sustain itself across its entire running time in the manner that Nolan's Batman reboot managed, director Matthew Vaughn come far closer than you might expect. Make no mistake, it's a triumph.

The film gets off to a flying start in a pre-title sequence that introduces the terrific Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, and the young Erik Lehnsherr. It's a dark start for a film that doesn't spend much of its time in the doldrums (it learns the lessons of the Wolverine spin-off, certainly), but it convincingly sets up the drive that underpins the older version of Erik, played by Michael Fassbender, and the unflinching nastiness of Shaw. Furthermore, the film from the off has a strong, rounded antagonist, and it helps it enormously.

X-Men: First Class, in fact, makes the hopes and fears of all of its core characters entirely understandable, without bogging its narrative down. Thus, Charles Xavier is a genius, whose upbeat demeanour covers his understanding of mutations and his desire to help those who have to hide their differences. Raven is troubled by her appearance, and finds herself spending energy just to blend in. And then there's Nicholas Hoult as Hank, fighting his mutation, and applying his intelligence to find any kind of cure for it.

Inevitably, not every character gets the same level of attention, but X-Men: First Class does at least ensure they all have a reason for being there, and as such, everyone in the ensemble gets a welcome step into the spotlight. Heck, it even bothers to show the group of youngsters enjoying their unusual powers, rather than continually living in shame of them, which proves pivotal when the inevitably cracks start to appear. It all feels natural, too, even when this group of teens start dishing out the iconic names for their mutant selves.

But the beating heart of the film, and when it's at its absolute best, is when Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are on screen. Because First Class is, ultimately, their story about how two friends drift to differing sides of the fence.

Both actors are terrific, too. Fassbender is intense, has hints of darkness, and a concentration about his character that few in blockbuster cinema could match. If you had any doubt that he was both a future Oscar winner and a James Bond in waiting, let First Class dispel it now.

Yet, it's arguably McAvoy who has the tougher role here, with Charles Xavier, balancing intelligence, training his new charges and being the focal point for the mutant population. McAvoy nails it, and nails it brilliantly, convincingly shifting mood and tone, while never being anything less than compelling to watch. The moments where Erik and Charles do little other than talk to each other are absolutely magnetic, no pun intended, and Fassbender and McAvoy deserve a lot of credit for making them so.

The rest of the cast are no slouches, mind. I've already touched on how strong a villain Kevin Bacon is, with his character never overshadowing the movie, but always being a sinister threat. I warmed, too, to the performances of Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence, in particular, as Hank and Raven, and theirs is the relationship, outside of Charles and Erik's, that's given the most screen time.

On the downside, female characters as a whole don't come out too well. January Jones, terrific in Mad Men, struggles to hold her own here as Emma Frost. And while Rose Byrne has more luck as Dr Moira MacTaggart, she's down to her underwear within minutes of meeting her, and most of the women in the film follow suit at some point. The film has a lingerie budget far in excess of any blockbuster in recent memory.

But then the filmmakers would, no doubt, argue that they're capturing the spirit and essence of the 1960s setting, and there is at least an argument there. Because, to their credit, the decision to underpin the film with the nuclear threat of the Cuban missile crisis is a brilliant one. The period detail of the era is superb, for starters, but it's the political backdrop that proves to be an inspired foundation for the film's driving plot.

The hero of the piece, though, has to be director Matthew Vaughn. His directorial career is now four out of four from where I'm sitting (following Layer Cake, Stardust and Kick-Ass), and X-Men: First Class can't help but leave you wondering just what he'd have done with X-Men: The Last Stand, had he not walked away from that particular project.

The Last Stand's loss, though, is ultimately First Class' gain. Vaughn juggles ensemble character development, a dose of comedy (the film's one F-bomb will bring the geeky house down) and some generally terrific actions sequences, rarely letting the momentum of the film drop.

X-Men: First Class is, at it turns out, only five minutes shorter than Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, yet it feels half the length, so energetically does it move along.

There are mild grumbles. Just before the film closes in on its third act, you could argue that the tempo just starts to ease off a little too much, and one or two of the effects sequences don't entirely convince. But they're only noticeable because everything else here is really so good.

Ultimately, part of the reason that X-Men: First Class feels so fresh and enjoyable is perhaps because this is a franchise that's long since appeared to run out of steam. Part of it, also, is that it remembers to inject a sense of fun alongside the underpinning messages that it so skilfully gets across.

But all considered, the main reason is that, at the sheer heart of it, X-Men: First Class is a compelling, interesting, entertaining and very, very good piece of big screen entertainment.

Following hot on the heels of Thor, and against initial expectations, 2011 may just go down as a very strong year for the comic book movie. Whether that happens or not (and the gauntlet has been firmly thrown down for Green Lantern and Captain America), Matthew Vaughn has just managed to make X-Men, once more, one of the most compelling movie franchises on the planet.

4 stars
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 11:00 pm

http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/notw/nol_showbiz/nolcelebrity_movies/1306021/Movie-review-X-Men-First-Class.html

X-Men: First Class
Verdict: This X is on fire
By Robbie Collin
May 24, 2011

THERE are 14 different ways to make a superhero movie, and the first 12 are all absolute rubbish.

Because if your main character's preferred pastime is squeezing into dayglow leggings and jumping off the Empire State Building, you need to make a special effort to ensure the audience don't think he's a bit of a twanny.

The 13th method, which works nicely, is Marvel Studios' preferred tactic - most recently seen in Thor.

In which you make a virtue of the fact your film's about a hammer-twirling, inter-dimensional Space Norwegian, by having a bit of a laugh about it.

3 stars
Certificate 12A
Running Time 131 mins
Director Matthew Vaughn
Cast James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence
Release date Out Wednesday

And the 14th - and hardest to pull off, by far - is what Christopher Nolan did with his Batman movies.

Find the essence of what people love about the character, strip away all the faff and sidekicks, and dump them in a plausible setting that allows them to be super in a truly cinematic way.

That's what Nolan did with the Dark Knight, to brilliant effect.

And glory be. It's exactly what Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn's done with the X-Men.

The film begins, as did the first X-Men movie, during the Second World War. A young Jewish lad called Erik (Bill Milner) is torn from his mother's arms at the gates of a concentration camp.

In a burst of rage, Erik twists the camp's metal gates with the power of his mind alone - which brings him to the attention of a sinister doctor called Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).

Fast-forward to Oxford in the 1960s, where silver-tongued boffin Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), and his adopted sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) have also evolved special powers.

Charles can read minds - a talent he mainly uses to get women into the sack. And Raven can change her appearance at will - a talent she mainly uses to look like Jennifer Lawrence.

Charles's research into the mutated genes that gave him and Raven their powers brings him to the attention of the CIA, who are investigating the sudden appearance of more highly-evolved humans around the world.

Humans like the now-grown-up Erik (Michael Fassbender) - who's scouring the world for the doctor who took him from his mother, so he can have his revenge.

Concentration camps? Mummy-son issues? Kevin Bacon speaking German?

Unlike the last two X-Men films, First Class is not the multi-coloured, wham-bam spandex-fest you might be expecting.

It's all the better for it, though. Instead, it's shot and paced a lot like an early James Bond movie.

There's a globe-trotting storyline, a cast who dress immaculately at all times - not to mention some explicit shout-outs to the likes of Scaramanga's mirror maze in The Man With The Golden Gun in the set design.

And then there's First Class's very own Pussy Galore. Shaw's sparkling right-hand woman Emma Frost.

Frost's played, as an eye-goggling 1960s femme fatale, by January Jones. By my count, the hottest January on record. An actress named after the amount of time I'd like to be snowed into a log cabin with her.

Although she's far from the only cast member to give me special tummy feelings.

In fact, the entire line-up's on great form - from the younger mutants played by Nicholas Hoult and Zoe Kravitz, to Bacon's sizzling villain act, to Rose Byrne's plucky CIA agent.

And most of all, the pair of legends-in-the-making that are McAvoy and Fassbender, whose bittersweet friendship gives the film heart and soul to spare.

I'm not saying X-Men: First Class is as good as The Dark Knight, because it isn't.

But it IS as good as Batman Begins, and Vaughn and his writing partner Jane Goldman - surely two of the best pairs of ears for blockbuster dialogue in the business - could easily wring a franchise out of this, if they so wish.

When you come out of a superhero movie raving about the special effects, that's one thing. But when you come out raving about the cast's chemistry, the storytelling, and how much damn FUN it was, that's another thing entirely.

First Class? Yep. I'd say that's just about the measure of it.
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 11:02 pm

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/x-men-first-class-first-191727

X-Men: First Class': First Reviews Say Prequel Is 'a Huge Home Run'
The Matthew Vaughn-directed film comes out June 3.
May
24
8:56 PM 5/24/2011 by Borys Kit

Marvel
"X-Men: First Class"

The first reviews of X-Men: First Class are starting to emerge and the word is bordering on astonishing.

After X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, who could blame anyone for thinking this was another cheap cash-grab that was going to not be very good, to put it mildly. Apparently we should all act like Daredevil and have no fear, is the message that is telegraphing out.

“It’s a huge home run,” says Collider.

HeyUGuys actually compares the movie to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot and says, “The talented screenwriting duo of Jane Goldman and director Matthew Vaughn have made a fantastic effort here to bring the '60s age of civil unrest and cold world paranoia successfully into a comic book milieu, and weave what is essentially a period, character-based (a term which don’t normally spring to mind in such a genre) espionage thriller with big action spectacle thrills.”

And you can’t leave out Hitfix’s very thoughtful first, um, thought: “It uses your expectations about the genre to set you up one way, then time and again, reaches for something a little bit more perverse or a little bit more eccentric or a little bit more heartfelt X-Men: First Class is a genuinely good movie, not just a good superhero movie.”

Many sites are singling out James McAvoy as Professor X, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Raven and Nicholas Hoult as well; it seems like almost everyone is getting some love from some quarter, showing audiences could end up having their favorite moments and character.

The movie comes out June 3.
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 11:03 pm

http://www.obsessedwithfilm.com/reviews/review-x-men-first-class-60s-bond-inspired-triumph-fantastic-entertainment.php

Review: X-MEN FIRST CLASS – 60′s Bond Inspired Triumph, Fantastic Entertainment

May 25, 2011 12:00 am
Mark Clark
1 Comment

Rating: ★★★★☆

Sometimes I really hate reviewing movies. Of course that’s not saying I’m trying to bite the hand that feeds me, just that there are times when you have the privilege to watch something before anyone else and you just want to sit back and enjoy – to forget the note-taking, the analysis, trying to keep yourself one step removed from complete fan-boy abandonment. Admittedly when it comes to genre movie-making, and in particular our current love affair with comic book movies it’s usually more difficult. What can I say, I’m a fan. Which of course makes poorly made comic book movies all the more disappointing, all the more crushing after all the expectation.

With X-Men: First Class, Marvel’s 60’s set re-invigoration of the X-universe after the less than stellar X-Men 3: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I hardly even bothered to take notes after the first 15 minutes because frankly, I was just enjoying myself too damn much. Matthew Vaughn, producer turned director of Kick Ass, a man with a chequered X-men past after walking away from director duties on X-Men: The Last Stand, has grasped this early days strand of the saga and created a fantastic, faithful piece of entertainment. The fact that the man on producer duties is that other X-Men alum Bryan Singer makes the triumph all the more sweet.

Primarily a story about the beginnings of the complex relationship between Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) before they take on their more familiar mantles of Professor X and Magneto, Vaughn and his writing partner Jane Goldman have managed to combine elements encompassing revenge, loyalty, prejudice, self-discovery, hatred, and the danger and destruction of ideals. And yeah, the Cuban Missile Crisis. All without sacrificing a slick, narrative drive, and what amounts to satisfyingly grown-up comic book movie-making.

It all begins back where we were in Singer’s original with Lensherr and his parents separated at a concentration camp and Erik’s fury twisting the camp gates into scrap metal, but here we get a glimpse of the immediate aftermath, and Erik’s horrifically life-changing meeting with the Nazi Doctor Schmidt. A man whose eugenics research causes him to understand, and to delight in, the young Lensherr’s mutation. It’s the beginning of Erik’s fractious view of humanity and his vengeful path that eventually crosses with Charles and his more privileged existence. Albeit an existence that includes time-freezing, mind-control, a shape-shifting adopted sister called Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), and ensnarement by the CIA and its secret Division X.

Before all that Charles is simply a charmingly itinerant academic in Oxford, using his powers to pick up women and seemingly without any inclination to greater responsibility, beyond making sure Raven doesn’t follow his example in the drinking stakes. The difference between Erik’s and Charles’ activities spelled out by their respective use of a gun, and a yard of ale.

Eventually of course the focus of Erik’s vengeance and Charles’ Division X backed adventures come to a head when both become engaged in pursuing the enigmatic Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), an energy manipulating mutant and patently more youthful Dr Schmidt, a mutant with his own Hellfire Club, including the telepathic Emma Frost (Jennifer Jones), the whirlwind creating Riptide (Alex Gonzalez), and the dimension hopping demon Azazel (Vaughn’s good luck charm Jason Flemyng). Shaw has already decided that integration with their homo sapiens brethren is a lost cause and escalates the burgeoning conflict between the US and the USSR over missile installations in Cuba in order to bring about mankind’s destruction. It’s a great conceit – never letting humanity off the hook for its own stupidity (and believe me the human powers that be in First Class are genuine idiots), but adding a layer of fantastical complexity. As Vaughn himself has said, mutants manipulating governments into acts of self-destructive lunacy actually makes more sense than them just doing it themselves.

As for the (yet to be called) X-Men, after convincing Erik to join him in bringing down Shaw, Charles uses Cerebro 1.0, designed and built by Division X’s Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), to find other mutants for their side, eventually gathering together Havok (Lucas Till), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Angel (Zoe Kravitz), and Darwin (Edi Gathegi). Rounding out the team (and the instigator of the Shaw investigation) is CIA agent Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne). It’s a great mix of smart casting and generally well-rounded characters; as Raven/Mystique, Jennifer Lawrence has her own descent to the dark side and a sweetly effective relationship with Hank McCoy that underlines the theme of societal acceptance of those that are different, and the desire to hide, to blend in. But there is an inevitable disparity between the rest of the cast and the double-act of Lensherr and Xavier.

That combination of Fassbender and McAvoy is the granite core of First Class, to the point where it’s already practically impossible to imagine anyone else playing those roles.

It’s a difficult trick creating younger versions of already established personas, but Vaughn and his actors wisely made the choice to start from scratch and to eschew any reference to previous performance. These are after all Erik’s and Charles’ raw, unformed selves, sharpening the paths they’ll take, paths will cause their friendship to fracture.

As Xavier, McAvoy is both mature and impish, pragmatic and impulsive, charming, and often frustratingly naïve when it comes to the inclinations and focus of his fellow mutants. It’s a whole new side to Professor X, and you almost forget the physical tragedy he’s going to ultimately suffer. How can this active, mercurial Xavier ever be brought so low.

The real casting coup though is Fassbender. He is, if you’ll excuse the pun, magnetic. He literally holds the screen in any scene he’s in; the contretemps in the Argentinian bar is one of the most enjoyable I’ve seen this year. His Erik is a damaged, razor-sharp entity of revenge, managing to convey a combination of effortless cool, and barely supressed fury. He is tragic, and heroic, and like the best characters, flawed, fighting the good fight against Shaw, not because Shaw’s plans are universally evil but because Shaw is Erik’s personal embodiment of evil. No-one, not even Charles, quite understands what he thinks, or wants.

Fassbender also seems born to play in the 60s playground created by Vaughn and production designer Chris Seagers. It’s a brilliant scenario of deliberately Bond-esque design and architecture, mixed with the thankfully non 21st century infused morality of Ian Fleming and TV’s Mad Men, making the movie’s inhabitants seem more, well, human.

Vaughn has often expressed his desire to make a Bond film, but here he’s gone one better, crafting a superior, exciting, and intelligent comic book movie around an anti-Bond, who’s just as cool, just as calculating and necessarily cruel, but existing in a parallel universe where the fantastic is born from genetic mutation and not Q’s laboratory.

But perhaps Vaughn’s best trick is infusing a real emotional core within X-Men: First Class’s expected stylish action and special effects. Leaving us on a tropical beach with the last vestiges of Erik’s humanity disappearing, like blood running into the sand.

X-Men: First Class is a triumph and lives up to the early films of Bryan Singer and is a reboot gamble that hopefully pays off for Fox. Look out soon for more OWF writers to give their own take on this movie and also for a lengthy discussion I took part in with Matthew Vaughn on how his X-Men movie came together…

X-Men: First Class opens in the U.K. on June 1st and in the U.S. on June 3rd.
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Post by Admin on Tue May 24, 2011 11:04 pm

http://uk.screengeeks.com/2011/05/x-men-first-class-review/

X-Men: First Class Review
Posted on May 24, 2011 by Jack Gregson

X-Men: First Class PosterDirected by Matthew Vaughn
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne & Kevin Bacon.

Can it really be 8 years since the great X2: X-Men United was released? Shocking, I know but that was the last time it seems anyone enjoyed an X-Men movie, until now. This franchise was dead in the water, X-Men: The Last Stand was a mess of a movie whilst X-Men Origins: Wolverine was one of the dullest action movies of the decade, what could it take to bring this franchise back to the former glory of the first two movies? The team behind Kick-Ass and an all round awesome cast; that should just about do it. The film charts the early years before the first 3 movies and sometime during the fourth (I guess, but who knows with the timeline of that movie), showing the audience what made Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender) the men we know today.

X-Men: First Class begins with a shot for shot remake of the opening scene from X-Men with young Magneto (Bill Milner) being escorted into a Nazi death camp. This is almost a stamp of approval showing us that we are going back to what made X-Men such a fine franchise to begin with, real story with great characters (not just throwing as many mutants at the screen as possible and hoping something sticks). The underlying theme of prejudice is still as strong as ever and is nicely surrounded by the 1960s background, the idea of America being so on edge over the Cuban missile crisis that they are willing to attack anything they don’t understand works superbly. The villainous plot of Sebastian Shaw (Bacon) is nothing new to the series, it’s a simple “erase all the humans” storyline but the way he executes the plan alongside actual historical events is what makes it so appealing. The main plot here though is how the X-Men came to be, the development of both Erik and Charles is wonderful to watch, Charles growing from ladies man to teacher when he realises he has something to offer the world and Erik’s love of Charles but hatred for what he stands for is very nicely set up. The plot lags a little in the middle which does feel a lot like a training montage from an 80s movie but there is a spirit of fun that which makes you forgive the movie.

The real strength this movie has is that it is a comic book movie through and through. Unlike Iron Man and The Dark Knight that have tried to shake away the cheesy comic book backgrounds by placing their heroes in very realistic worlds (well, semi realistic for Iron Man), X-Men: First Class embraces its heritage with dialogue that sounds like it might have come straight from the pen of Stan Lee and direction that is very reminiscent of comic book panels (lots of side shots and use of actual panel shots that were once sneered at when over used in Hulk but fit in perfectly with the tone of this film). Director Matthew Vaughn and writer Jane Goldman have a real love for comic books, they understand that they need to be over the top and campy but at the same time offer something relevant and stunning and here they do that, by capturing the same tone of the X-Men comic books of the 60s and 70s and never feeling too bogged down in nostalgia. This film was famously rushed into production but the only point where it was ever noticeable was some of the make up effects which didn’t look perfect, especially on the character of Beast (Nicholas Hoult) who didn’t seem to have the ability to close his mouth. It seems clear that in the rushed months of production that Goldman and Vaughn were hard at work on what the movie would be about and how it would look and left the effects for later (something Brett Ratner and Gavin Hood could probably learn from).

One of the reasons this film is such a success comes in the form of its splendid cast. McAvoy and Fassbender are both perfect in their roles as Xavier and Erik, never once do we miss Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as whenever our two new leads are on screen together it bubbles with charisma and chemistry, despite the lack of time spent on building their relationship within the film, we believe in it so strongly because both actors give tremendous performances. Fassbender has a wonderful scene in a bar where every line is delivered in German, which makes us remember why we loved him so much in Inglorious Basterds. The new kids are fun too, the stand out being Jennifer Lawrence, who proves that what she brought to Winter’s Bone wasn’t a fluke, the girl is destined to be a star, not to say her performance is as strong as Winter’s Bone but the role is not as intense, but we do get a real sense of inner conflict from her performance about where she wants to be in the world. Kevin Bacon seems to be having a ball playing a scenery eating villain, playing both a Nazi who later becomes a tycoon style villain, Bacon pulls both these styles off masterfully, proving to be a worthy foe to both Charles and Erik. It’s a shame to see talented actors like January Jones, Jason Flemyng, Oliver Platt and Ray Wise given very little to do, but at least they have filled out the cast with talent instead of getting any hack to do the job.

This is one of the strongest super hero movies in years; it’s definitely the one that feels the most like a comic book offering fun and action to its audience. The film is a prequel and takes advantage of this to throw in some in jokes for fans, though this never cheapens the film, it reinforces how strongly tied to the first two films X-Men: First Class is. Vaughn has once again shown that comic book movies do not need to be all doom and gloom; instead they can offer great entertainment whilst still getting across a message. After the lacklustre Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and the worthwhile but missing something Thor, this is now the new summer blockbuster to beat, Green Lantern and Captain America: The First Avenger had better bring their A-game otherwise they’ll be long forgotten in the wake of this resurrected franchise, which is (for lack of a better joke) first class all the way.

5/5
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