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X-Men reviews and spoilers

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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:25 am

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/movies/reviews/article_1643426.php/X-Men-First-Class-%E2%80%93-Movie-Review

X-Men: First Class – Movie Review
The origin story of the

The origin story of the "X-Men" franchise focusing on Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr as young men before they became Professor X and Magneto respectively. ...more

By Anne Brodie Jun 3, 2011, 22:20 GMT

This is the de rigueur origins prequel to the phenomenally successful but ageing X-Men franchise, and we are all excited to know where they came from. Here’s our chance to find out and the filmmakers’ chance to make it interesting.

This is how the X-Men team was envisioned and built and why, it’s about finding a place as mutants among humans and it’s about the Cold War and the CIA. There’s a lot to ponder and lots to see, thanks to a massive cast, spiffy art direction and memorable special effects.

The journey begins in Auschwitz. The young Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender – bears no resemblance to his future X-Men self) starts the future rolling as a response to extreme cruelty.

Kevin Bacon is Nazi official Sebastian Shaw a wicked and uni-dimensional villain who carries out experiments on hapless inmates. He murders Erik’s mother in front of him to raise a display of strength out of the horrified young boy.

Heightened emotion causes Erik to bend and manipulate metal, and he becomes magnetic. Shaw goads him into rage and he becomes his superpower, unleashing it, becoming Sa-Shaw’s number one science project.

His innate sadism and greed drive him to try to harness that power for himself and Erik’s anger builds and it shapes his future character.

Jennifer Lawrence brings her mighty gifts to Raven / the young Charles Xavier’s besty and makes the most of a thin role. Xavier is played by James McAvoy who doesn’t seem quite right in the part. It’s hard to imagine he’ll grow up to be the Patrick Stewart.

McAvoy brings a fogey-ish charm, but he just doesn’t seem iconic. Raven and Charles meet as children in Charles’ family’s massive seaside mansion, the one we see so often in future X-Men.

They are outsiders saddled with superhuman powers they don’t understand and that’s the tragedy of their lives. Their bond as adults is based on this other-ness and becomes strongly fraternal, not romantic but intensely supportive.

Erik and Charles meet in a cool way, and after a bumpy start, they become best friends – but not for long, eh, kids? It’s fun while it lasts; they get to test their powers together and find companionship as mutants/outsiders. Theirs seemed like a true friendship that would stand the test of time and trouble.

The huge cast is sheer eye candy and freaky enough to grab our attention, but there is little in terms of character development. We have to take each as the two dimensional beings we see – without personality, background, emotional spectrum or weight and that’s the film’s weakness.

It happens so often in sci fi franchises, in which the action, CGI and whoosh factor crushes the possibility of character development. Who mentioned sound and fury signifying nothing? I forget.

X-Men: First Class is an okay outing that’s stylish, flashy, cartoonish but flat, where men are men and women are sexualized. We know the characters to the extent that we need to, for plotting. But not enough for caring. A very brief, foul mouthed appearance by a future X-Men is much appreciated in a story that has no sense of humor.

Like any story drenched in created mythology, especially a filmed one with the chance of cross marketing and endless sequels, there is a little too much energy wasted in explication. Good versus evil, who is on what team and why and what have you. The fans will love it, others, not so much. It is after all, a comic book brought to life.

Visit the movie database for more information.

35mm sci fi adventure
Written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz et al
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Opens: June 3
Runtime: 132 minutes
MPAA: PG13
Country: US
Language: English

3/5
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:26 am

http://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/06/x-men_first_class_mutates_in_theaters_this_weekend.php

'X-Men: First Class' Mutates in Theaters This Weekend
June 3, 2011 | Movie Trailers

Twentieth Century Fox's "X-Men: First Class" grossed an estimated $3.4 million in its midnight run at the box office.

The prequel takes a look back at how Charles "Professor X" Xavier (James McAvoy) and adversary Erik "Magneto" Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) meet as young men, teaming up to battle an evil mastermind (Kevin Bacon).

Watch the trailer!

Hollywood Reporter says that Fox thinks "First Class" should open somewhere between "Batman Begins" and the first "X-Men," meaning $48 million to $55 million for the weekend.

Check out the "X-Men" mutant fest -- in theaters this weekend!
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:27 am

http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110603/ENTERTAIN/110609912/-1/NEWSMAP

‘First Class' great new start for X-Men

“You drive straight two miles until you see a Mobil station on the left, go through the light and ...” OK, Magneto's not really saying that. But the rebellious mutant leader, played by Michael Fassbender, does like to give directions in “X-Men: First Class.”20th Century Fox/Murray Close
By Tim Miller
tmiller@capecodonline.com
June 03, 2011

“X-Men: First Class” lives up to its name. It's terrific.

Among other things, it provides quite the history lesson. For instance, I never knew the X-Men played such a decisive role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. I didn't even know they were there!
NOW SHOWING

What: “X-Men: First Class”

Star rating: ***½

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon and Jennifer Lawrence

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Written by: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Vaughn

Running time: 130 minutes

Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content, including brief partial nudity and language)

Where: Entertainment Cinemas in Falmouth and South Dennis; Heritage Theaters in Sandwich; Regal Cinemas in Harwich, Hyannis and Mashpee; Wellfleet Drive-in

But, in the climactic scenes of this prequel, sure enough, there they are, doing their mutant thing while American and Soviet battleships square off in 1962. (There are even TV clips of President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev to make it all seem “realistic.”)

Following four “X-Men” movies, most recently the 2009 letdown “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “First Class” gives the franchise a major jump-start with a new cast, a new (old) era and a new edge.

We get the scoop on the backgrounds of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), who will become Professor X, telepathic leader of the superheroes X-Men, and Holocaust survivor Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), who will become Magneto, the powerful mutant enemy of humanity.

Previous “X-Men” films have made reference to Erik's concentration camp experiences, and how he relates the Nazi treatment of Jews to humanity's current treatment of mutants. Here we get a fuller picture of what he went through and a better understanding of why he would channel his bitterness and rage into violent action. Similarly, we get a better sense of why Charles, despite his privileged background, would be so sympathetic toward the soon-to-be Magneto, despite Charles' belief that mutants should work with, rather than against, humanity.

As you might guess, this is a thinking person's comic-book adaptation, and it maintains its high intellectual standards throughout. But it's also, in true summer movie/superhero flick tradition, just exciting and a lot of fun.

Charles and Erik aren't the only fascinating characters here. Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter's Bone,” “The Beaver”) plays Raven, soon to be Mystique, who has the ability to take on the appearance of others. She has a long-standing crush on Charles, who, despite her yearnings, sees her only as the equivalent of a younger sister. There's the nerdy, brainy Hank (Nicholas Hoult, the boy in “About a Boy”), who becomes the Beast (complete with references to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). And there's the truly evil Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon, chewing up the scenery in a very entertaining way), Erik's former concentration-camp tormentor, who, back on the scene in '62, comes across as the kind of criminal mastermind James Bond would lock horns with.

Despite the 130-minute running time, director Matthew Vaughn, who also made “Kick-Ass,” another action film that lived up to its name, moves the story along at a brisk pace, shifting focus from one mutant, or group of mutants, to another without cluttering up the works.

“First Class” represents a fresh start for the series, more of an introduction than a self-contained movie. There should be a lot more to come, and that's more than OK with me.
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:29 am

http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2011/06/03/last-minute-x-men-first-class-clip-reveals-one-of-movies-cameos/

Last-Minute X-Men: First Class Clip Reveals One Of Movie’s Cameos
Friday, June 3rd, 2011 at 3:30pm

by Kevin Melrose

Even as X-Men: First Class opens with an impressive midnight gross of $3.4 million, and heads toward a far more impressive first weekend, 20th Century Fox continues to bang the promotional drum, releasing a last-minute clip from the Matthew Vaughn-directed film.

This scene features Michael Fassbender’s Erik Lensherr, Jennifer Lawrence’s Raven Darkholme — striking the seductive, sheet-covered pose we’ve been shown many times already — and … a familiar face. If you’ve read many reviews, you probably already know about the movie’s cameos, but I won’t spoil them here.

Warning! If you don’t want to know one of the “surprise” guest stars, don’t watch the clip below! Don’t even scroll down, as you’ll see it in the frozen image on the embedded player!

X-Men: First Class, which opens today nationwide, also stars James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy, January Jones as Emma Frost, Lucas Till as Alex Summers, Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy, Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, Edi Gathegi as Darwin, Oliver Platt as the Man in Black, Jason Flemyng as Azazel, Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggart and Zoe Kravitz as Angel Salvadore.

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 Lehnsherr 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 prevent nuclear 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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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:31 am

http://culturemob.com/review-x-men-first-class-skepticism-lost-and-spoiler-free

Review: ‘X-Men: First Class’ – Skepticism Lost and Spoiler Free

by Allie Hanley | 06/03/11 |

X-Men: First Class opens today, and is positioned as the prequel to the X-Men franchise, which includes four previous films featuring characters from the Marvel Universe. This film is technically a prequel, but it’s also a re-boot of the whole franchise. X-Men (2000), and X2 (2003) achieved success for Marvel and fans ate them up, while the last few – X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), the weakest, and the not-so-bad X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) – were slow moving bullets shot into the ocean, and on a downward spiral practically drowning the future hope of anything worthy returning from the X-Men franchise.

Taking it all back in time to the beginnings of X-Men didn’t sound that exciting. Fan-sites and online blogs consistently jabbered away the past year with high hopes, but low expectations. Early peeks at costumes, character selections, and the ultimate bad guy designated to drive the story, frankly didn’t impress steadfast fans. Still, as a fan myself of movies based on comic books I still couldn’t help going to see if maybe – by chance – my expectations and many X-Men fans were going to be wrong.

My three hopes for the film (before seeing it) included Bryan Singer‘s involvement in the story, as he’s done fantastic work on X-Men, X2, Superman Returns, and is currently on pre-production for Battlestar Galactica with Glen A. Larson – as well as the casting of James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender.

This time out, X-Men: First Class isn’t a continuation of previous stories or a side-step to show us a character’s origin. Rather, this one takes us back in time. First to WWII and a German Concentration Camp where we see Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto as a child prisoner and the beginnings of his mutation realization. Nothing new, we’ve seen that before, but still good. Also, at the same time, Charles Xavier as a child and the forming of his future morals and ambition – a new touch on the story that later creates a fantastic dynamic between the two.

Then the story jumps 20 years forward and lands in the 1960′s during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Marvel’s X-Men universe is strong, and the characters vast. This film’s stand out characters include: Academy Award Nominee, Jennifer Lawrence as Raven / Mystique, who we will be seeing in The Hunger Games as Katniss and whose transformation from X-Men to future sidekick of Magneto is splendidly re-enacted on the big screen; James McAvoy as Professor X/ Charles Xavier, who with his turquoise blue eyes and acting resume I had the most faith in; and then Michael Fassbender, who thrilled in Fish Tank (playing on Netflix) Inglorious Basterds, and even among this fantastic cast, he is the best of the best with his cool, yet intense, persona.

Incidentally, he’s also been cast to play in the new Ridley Scott Film, Prometheus – that ambiguously takes place in the Alien films universe but is being hailed as no prequel or sequel.

As Magneto/Erik, Fassbender has the most dynamic material to work with, and he takes it to another level with his all-in-believability in the role. His acting persona is part of many reasons why this film works, but it’s also because of his chemistry with serious-yet-playful McAvoy. As Professor X, he’s confident, perhaps cocky, but McAvoy turns in a solid performance that breathes new life into the series.

Coming in with either weak material to work with, or just limited acting range, is January Jones, who all agree is lovely to look at but really doesn’t do a whole lot with her role as diamond-edged Emma Frost. She could have been stronger, but doesn’t necessarily detract from the final product. In addition, some scenes near the end with Banshee were a little of a turn-off, but in keeping with the title – spoiler free – I’ll leave that for you to see and decide.

X-Men: First Class reboots the franchise with solid material that’s been adapted into a decent story, a strong and talented cast, and many excellent choices in all production departments, and could easily be the strongest film in the series. With decent pacing, strong CGI effects, and a balanced storyline, X-Men: First Class goes top-of-class in the franchise.

B+
PG-13, 2 hr. 11 min.
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

by Allie Hanley | 06/03/11 |
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:33 am

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2011/06/x-men_first_class_review.php

Reviews For The Easily Distracted:
X-Men: First Class
By Pete Vonder Haar, Fri., Jun. 3 2011 at 9:30 AM

So It Looks Like Graham Allison Was Full Of s$#!: Now, now...let's not assume the worst. It's likely Allison, like most Americans, was simply unaware of the crucial role mutants played in resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis. Otherwise I'm sure he would've added a "Genetic Actor" model.

Rating Using Random Objects Related To The Film:

Three Nazi coins out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr (better known as Professor X and Magneto) team up to stop a megalomaniac mutant bent on starting World War III, that is until their differing approaches to human-mutant relations puts them at odds with each other.

It's sort of like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, only with more explosions and mutant boobs.

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Holocaust survivor Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) and newly minted professor/CIA recruit Xavier (James MacAvoy) cross paths in their pursuit of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a mutant whos sees nuclear war between the U.S. and Soviet Union as the quickest way to global mutant supremacy. Shaw also happens to be the scientist who experimented on a young Lensherr - under a different name - in a Nazi concentration camp.

What About The Other Mutants? Aside from Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), they're pretty B-team. Shaw's group consists of Azazel (teleporter), Riptide (wind guy), and Emma Frost (January Jones), a telepath who can also turn her skin into diamonds. On the other side, Xavier and Lensherr recruit Angel (winged stripper), Havok (plasma bolts), Banshee (screams really loud), Hank "Beast" McCoy (super-scientist with big feet), and "Darwin," who possesses the power of "reactive evolution," meaning he can instantly adapt to any environment.

I know, it's like reading dishwasher instructions.

"Critical" Analysis: I don't know how anyone unfamiliar with the X-Men can come away from First Class and not think Lensherr/Magneto is the protagonist of the film. Hell, I used to read the comics and I still think he's the good guy in this. It even feels like director/screenwriter Matthew Vaughn *wants* us to sympathize with Magneto, especially when compared to Charles Xavier.

Consider: as the movie opens in 1944. Lensherr is torn from his parents then forced to watch his mother murdered by a German doctor eager to exploit his mutant magnetism. This same doctor will go on to torture/experiment on the young boy. Across the Atlantic, young Xavier stumbles into his family's palatial kitchen to discover the shapeshifting Raven, and is so glad to find another "like him" he offers her a home.

Fast forward to 1962. Xavier is about to earn his doctorate (in genetics), yet mostly uses his knowledge of mutation to pick up girls. Lensherr is a man with a purpose, driven to find the man who murdered his mother and used him as a guinea pig. When the two inevitably join forces to stop Shaw, it is he who knows that Homo sapiens will eventually turn on Homo superior, while the privileged Xavier continues to believe in humanity's intrinsic goodness.

Their respective theories are put to the test when they team up to thwart Shaw's scheme to start a nuclear war (historians, please switch off your outrage meters as you sit through these scenes). Xavier continues to believe humanity will accept them when they see how willing mutants are to help. Lensherr, having seen mankind's capacity for atrocity firsthand, knows better.

Comic book philosophizing aside, First Class is at least a better film than either The Last Stand or Wolverine. The Mad Men era spin gives the leads an excuse to wear uncharacteristically groovy clothes, and there's a distinctly mod vibe to several scenes (the inevitable training montage, for one). Some of the set pieces, especially the climax as the American and Soviet fleets square off, are most impressive as well.

Even the scenes of McAvoy and Fassbender doing nothing but talking are powerful, and testimony to the strength of their performances. But Fassbender is the real find, here. Notable in films like Inglourious Basterds, every step of his character's journey is believable. s$#!, at the end I was pulling for him to...well, you'll have to watch it.

As for the other mutants...meh. Mystique's inner turmoil isn't entirely authentic, but she and Nicholas Hoult (McCoy) are the best of the lot. January Jones, on the other hand, was cast for two reasons, and they're on prominent display throughout the film. Emma Frost is actually one of the more interesting antagonists the X-Men have squared off against, but Jones couldn't act her way out of a bead curtain, much less a paper bag.

My biggest problem, honestly, almost feels like a similar issue you'd have in 1962: the extremely white, white composition of the good guys. [SPOILER WARNING] The one black mutant dies first, while the only other mutants of color - Angel and Riptide - also end up bad guys. After Mystique, the only remaining minority on Xavier's team, goes over to Magneto, he's left with all white males Havok, Banshee, and Beast (though now covered in blue fur). X-Men, indeed.[/SPOILER WARNING]

And while we know the friendship between Xavier and Lensherr is doomed. The question that remains is: with whom should we sympathize? The child of privilege who's never known want in his life and is the very personification of the naive optimism of the moneyed class? Or the political realist whose worldview was forged in the crucible or World War II and who understands human nature better than humanity itself?

See It/Rent It/Skip It: See it. Whatever its other flaws, Fassbender and McAvoy are that good.

And the submarine scene is pretty bad ass.

X-Men: First Class is in theaters today. See it with the evolutionarily inferior primate of your choice.
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:34 am

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/06/x-men-first-class-not-your-same-old-mutant-angst/

X-Men: First Class: Not Your Same Old Mutant Angst

By Charlie Jane Anders on June 4, 2011 at 4:40 AM

Are superpowers a blessing or a curse? Are mutants more like ethnic minorities, or queer people? For too long, TV shows and movies have been asking these same old questions, without really finding any interesting answers.

So it’s a pleasure to watch a movie like X-Men: First Class, which blows past these tired old questions, to give us some new ones. For the first time in eight years, the big screen versions of America’s favourite mutants feel like they have cool places to go.

Spoilers ahead!

The “are superpowers a blessing or a curse” thing is really overplayed, and X-Men: First Class mostly sidesteps this cliché. Instead, superpowers are just part of who you are, and they’re also skills, to be mastered and improved. It’s like asking if red hair is a blessing or a curse, or the ability to yodel.

So X-Men: First Class breathes new life into Marvel’s most overexposed set of characters by going back to 1962 and recounting the origins of Professor X, Magneto and their respective mutant followers. It mostly works, because of a strong focus on the characters, especially Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr. Where the movie doesn’t work, it’s because it’s trying to do too much in one film, or because the plot is a bit silly, or because some bits simply don’t work. But more on that later.

The movie’s focus on character development absolutely does work – because once you recognise that your superpowers are just a part of who you are, a strong focus on character is obviously the best way to talk about mutant powers. And especially when it comes to Charles and Erik, the film manages to explore the idea that they both have major blind spots, which are both character flaws and a hindrance in using their powers fully. Charles can read and control minds, but his own smugness keeps him from understanding people. Erik can control metal and magnetism, but his rage keeps him from using his powers properly.

And it’s definitely in the portrayal of these two iconic characters that the film shines the most. Any time James McAvoy (who plays Charles) or Michael Fassbender (who plays Erik) is on the screen, the movie just clicks. Michael Fassbender, in particular, has a few incredibly emotional scenes in which Erik’s grief and rage feel absolutely present.

The movie follows both men from childhood. Charles starts out as an overprivileged British kid whose biggest problem is an absentee mother, then goes on to get a PhD in mutantology from Oxford. Erik, meanwhile, gets sent to a concentration camp as a small child, only to watch his mother die at the hands of a sadistic Nazi. Erik becomes a totally awesome Nazi-hunter, while Charles becomes fascinated with learning about this fellow mutants. The two meet when it turns out the Nazi who killed Erik’s mother is also the #1 evil mutant.

The relationship between Charles and Erik has never been as fascinating – or as slash-ficcy – as it is here. They both help each other grow as people, and Charles especially helps Erik learn to work with others, and to find the space “between rage and serenity” where he can fully use his magnetic powers. McAvoy and Fassbender have amazing chemistry together, and their scenes involve a lot of tenderness and mutual understanding. You can really glimpse the potential for these two to become another Kirk and Spock, or maybe Luke and Han. The rise and fall of the Charles/Erik bromance goes way, way beyond a political alliance that splinters into disagreement.

After their first encounter with Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), the former Nazi and current genocidal mutant, Charles and Erik start tracking down other mutants, forming the first proto-team of X-Men. (You’ll hear the “Montage” song from Team America: World Police playing in your head a few times.)

And a lot of the middle section of the film has to do with preparing the newbie mutants to face their first real challenge. The interesting thing is, about half the mutants need to learn to master their powers. And the other half seem to have mastered their powers already, but need to learn to accept themselves as mutants. So the two tracks run simultaneously: learning to control your inner resources and strengthen your mutant muscles, and learning to accept who you really are, without hiding your true nature. So in a sense, mutant powers are both a skillset that need to be strengthened, and a form of identity that needs to be embraced. Like I said earlier, it’s a nice way around the same old questions about mutant powers that you tend to see over and over.

At the centre of the “accepting your mutant self” storyline is Raven, aka Mystique, who’s been Charles Xavier’s friend since childhood but is having a harder time finding her place now. She can make herself look like a normal girl, but her natural state is the blue spiky nakedness that Rebecca Romijn made famous in the first few movies. And even though Charles pays lip-service to mutant pride, he mostly wants Raven to keep her mutant awesomeness on the down-low. (And Charles, in keeping with his general smugness, doesn’t appreciate how lucky he is to have an invisible mutation.)

Meanwhile, Raven falls for the sexy nerd Hank McCoy, another mutant who also “pass” for normal – except for his big prehensile feet. The only trouble is, Hank is a self-hating mutant who wants to find a way to erase all outward signs of his difference while keeping his superpowers.

The absolute best thing about X-Men: First Class is that it doesn’t make any of this stuff look easy. It’s all a struggle, as some of the most powerful scenes in the film make clear. Like one great sequence where the young proto-X-Men watch helplessly as a ton of people are slaughtered in front of them. Or some of the scenes where Erik, Charles and Raven talk about whether it’s better to try and adapt to society, or make society adapt to you. Learning to be powerful and proud takes a lot of work.

There are other ways in which this film avoids asking the same old questions. For example, various characters talk about the idea that mutants are destined to drive humanity to extinction, in exactly the same way humans once wiped out Neanderthals. This is a notion that Grant Morrison bandied about in his New X-Men comics, but I don’t remember the movies dealing with it before.

So like I said, the movie mostly works. When it doesn’t work, it’s usually because the film is trying to cram too much X-Men continuity into one two-hour movie. Or because a few of the requisite speeches about the future of mutantkind feel a bit canned. Or because the actual plot, in which Kevin Bacon almost starts World War III by confusing a few generals, does not feel even remotely plausible. (Grounding this story in the real-life Cuban Missile Crisis actually works against this storyline, because you just can’t believe that Kevin Bacon orchestrated these events.) And there are a few outrageously cheesy sequences that try to prop up this storyline, including two separate “nuclear war is scary” montages where we see mushroom clouds and terrifying cartoons, trying to impress on us the danger of nuclear Armageddon. Oh, and now that Bacon has proved he can make a fantastic villain in Super, he doesn’t seem to feel any need to prove it a second time.

But those are mostly minor complaints – I’d say X-Men: First Class is three-quarters of a great movie, with a few wobbly segments sandwiched in here and there. And if you’ve ever been fascinated by the Professor X/Magneto dynamic and wanted to delve more fully into their complicated, intense relationship, then X-Men: First Class is a dream come true. Most of all, X-Men: First Class fuses action and character development, in a way that makes the tragically overused mutant angst feel full of excitement again. Here’s hoping this movie sparks a trend.
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:35 am

http://splashpage.mtv.com/2011/06/03/x-men-first-class-reviews/

'X-Men: First Class' Reviews Offer High Praise For New Mutants

Posted 6/3/11 4:31 pm ET by Terri Schwartz in Marvel, News

FROM MTV MOVIES: Now that we've introduced you to the mutants of "X-Men: First Class" and some "X-Men: First Class" Easter Eggs, movie reviewers are saying you might want to take that relationship to the next level. Heralded as the best installment in the franchise since the Bryan Singer-directed "X2," Matthew Vaughn's take on the "X-Men" story is said to be both smart and action-packed.

At the top of the pile of praise are leads James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, whom reviewers are commending for their roles whether they liked the film or not. The rest of the supporting cast, from Jennifer Lawrence to Kevin Bacon, are receiving plenty of love as well. Dissenters might find flaws with the movie's pacing or the way it strays from the previous films' and comics' mythology, but the underlying message is that this is the summer blockbuster that fans have been waiting for.
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:36 am

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1665110/x-men-first-class.jhtml

Jun 3 2011 2:59 PM EDT
'X-Men: First Class': The Reviews Are In!
'McAvoy and Fassbender are a casting triumph,' EW's Lisa Schwarzbaum writes.

By Terri Schwartz

Now that we've introduced you to the mutants of "X-Men: First Class," movie reviewers are saying you might want to take that relationship to the next level. Heralded as the best installment in the franchise since the Bryan Singer-directed "X2," Matthew Vaughn's take on the "X-Men" story is said to be both smart and action-packed.

At the top of the pile of praise are leads James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, whom reviewers are commending for their roles whether they liked the film or not. The rest of the supporting cast, from Jennifer Lawrence to Kevin Bacon, are receiving plenty of love as well. Dissenters might find flaws with the movie's pacing or the way it strays from the previous films' and comics' mythology, but the underlying message is that this is the summer blockbuster that fans have been waiting for.

The Story
"Fortunately for the film, the missile crisis puts an end to the dramatic lull. As soon as war threatens, 'X-Men: First Class' regains its momentum, and then some, with Strangelovian twists — a circular war room, a rogue vessel that can't be reached — and a climax that uses newsreel clips of President Kennedy on TV to lend credibility to an exuberant rearrangement of history. This fifth episode in the series isn't a masterpiece — one puzzlement is the uneven cinematography — but it's summer entertainment of a very high grade that leaves you with an appetite for more of the same with the same core cast. And a couple of uncredited cameos turn the neat trick of being revenants from the future." — Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

The Leads
"To get to the headline immediately, McAvoy and Fassbender are a casting triumph. These two have, yes, real star magnetism, both individually and together: They're both cool and intense, suave and unaffected, playful and dead serious about their grand comic-book work. I hope movie-studio telepaths reteam the two in the future." — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

The Legacy
"In fact, roughly the first half of this massive and very well-cast origins extravaganza is arguably the best hour of Marvel Comics-derived filmmaking among the torrent of it that's cascaded across screens in recent years. Audacious, confident and fueled by youthful energy, this is a surefire summer winner for a wide global audience." — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

The "Bond" Connection
"In all but name, 'First Class' is a Bond movie, from the Cold War scheming of rival superpowers to the script's plethora of glamorous or treacherous locations — right up to the end, with an animated credits sequence very much in the spirit of Maurice Binder's work on the Bonds. Above all, it [features] a handsome, platinum-jawed agent: Erik [Lehnsherr, portrayed by Fassbender], with Sean Connery's aplomb and Daniel Craig's ruthless determination. (In this context, the more thoughtful, sedentary Charles Xavier [McAvoy] is M to Erik's Bond.)" — Richard Corliss, Time

The Final Word
"It's remarkable how many things 'First Class' gets right, whether it's the decision to have characters speak different languages as the film's frequent globe-trotting dictates, or the casting of Fassbender and McAvoy, who bear no resemblance to their respective older counterparts (Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart) but perfectly capture Charles and Erik's symbolic might-vs.-right dynamic." — Justin Chang, Variety
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:41 am

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/06/03/x-men-first-class-review-revue/

June 3, 2011, 4:30 PM ET

‘X-Men: First Class’: Review Revue

By WSJ Staff

“X-Men: First Class” is the newest chapter in the mutant saga. The 132-minute film directed by Matthew Vaughn takes a look at the origins of the legendary team of superheros and super villains as they discovered and experimented with their powers.

The action-packed summer sci-fi flick stars James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as youthful versions of Prof. X and Magneto, who team up with their fellow mutants to prevent a nuclear war with the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

The styling of the film feels a little bit like a mash-up of “Mad Men” and “James Bond” with a sprinkling of superhero action. Thus far, critical reviews are very positive, which usually means a sequel is assured. Read some of the reviews here.

“The cast is top-notch, particularly James McAvoy as the calmly intelligent Charles Xavier/Professor X and Michael Fassbender as the intensely ruthless Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto. We get a sense of what motivated them and see their early friendship unfold. In style and spirt, this X-Men installment has more in common with James Bond movies than superhero capers.” [Claudia Puig, USA Today]

“Preaching mutant pride with endearing fervor, “X-Men: First Class” proves to be a mutant in its own right—a zestfully radical departure from the latter spawn of a sputtering franchise. This prequel draws new energy from supersmart casting, plus the shrewd notion of setting the beginnings of the X-Men saga in the early 1960s. [Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal]

“‘X-Men: First Class’ is a mutant movie, half fun and half fearsome. For those who have developed an immunity to fanboy hype, the contradictory traits may seem to weaken rather than strengthen this beast, but readers of the ‘X-Men’ comics will hail an origin story as satisfying as ‘Thor.’” [Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

“To get to the headline immediately, McAvoy and Fassbender are a casting triumph. These two have, yes, real star magnetism, both individually and together: They’re both cool and intense, suave and unaffected, playful and dead serious about their grand comic-book work. I hope movie-studio telepaths reteam the two in the future.” [Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly]
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:43 am

http://www.playbackstl.com/movie-reviews/10736-x-men-first-class-twentieth-century-fox-pg-13

X-Men: First Class (Twentieth Century Fox, PG-13)

Written by Matthew F. Newlin Friday, 03 June 2011 14:15

His threatening figure and cold-blooded stare give us a glimpse into the evil that will eventually lead him to becoming Magneto.

The success of the first X-Men movie in 2000 ushered in a deluge of comic book adaptations that has lasted for over a decade. Some of these have been good; most are bad. This mad rush for adaptations showed audiences that studios care less about the quality of their movies than they do about cashing in on the current trend. This summer alone will see no less than five movies based on comic books, including X-Men: First Class, the origin story of the team of mutants who started it all.

In the film, we meet a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), a brilliant geneticist and telepath who can read minds and manipulate thoughts. His oldest friend is Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), a girl who he met by chance when they were young and who possesses the ability to shape shift into any person she sees. Suspecting they are the only two in the world who can do what they do, they develop a close relationship.

We also meet a young Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) who, as a child, was forced to experience the horrors of the Holocaust. As a grown man, Erik has been circling the globe looking for the sadistic doctor who exploited his power, the ability to control any metal, and who stole his childhood and killed his mother. As a stark contrast to Charles, Eric is angry, violent, and focused only on revenge.

To give away any more would ruin the fun of the movie. And believe me, it is lots of fun to watch. Director Matthew Vaughn has given the film, set in the 1960s, the retro look of the era and has channeled the great Sean Connery Bond films as a model. The costumes and sets are wonderfully vivid without being too distracting. Vaughn, whose films include Layer Cake and last year’s Kick Ass, does a terrific job of not letting the action sequences detract from the story he is trying to tell.

McAvoy and Fassbender are absolutely perfect in their roles. This is quite an achievement considering the iconic performances by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan in the original X-Men trilogy. McAvoy balances young Charles’ brilliance with his egotism and occasional immaturity. As an actor, McAvoy can play comedy extremely well when it’s needed, but can quickly switch into being serious with little trouble.

However the show, as always, belongs to Fassbender. As one of the most talented actors working today, his performance is the one that you want to see in every scene. His threatening figure and cold-blooded stare give us a glimpse into the evil that will eventually lead him to becoming Magneto.

Vaughn and his team of screenwriters succeed in their work because they place the story above all else and manage to make it a character driven film instead of a mindless action extravaganza. First Class explores the roots of the mutants that many of us have been familiar with for a long time, but the filmmakers never force the relationships in order to set up later developments. Essentially, the X-Men have once again set the bar high for comic book adaptations. | Matthew Newlin
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:43 am

http://www.longislandpress.com/2011/06/03/x-men-first-class-opens/

X-Men: First Class Opens
By Carmen Bica on June 3rd, 2011

X-Men fans have something to be excited about with the release of “X-Men: First Class,” which takes a look at the beginnings of all of their favorite characters.

“X-Men: First Class” is the fifth X-Men movie to date. Set in 1962, the film takes a backwards look at life before they were X-Men.

The X-Men are genetically mutated humans outcasted by society and brought together by their unworldly powers.

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The movie, starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, opened on Friday and has already received rave reviews, according to imdb. The movie was filmed on Jekyll Island in Georgia.

The movie starts off in a concentration camp and has direct ties to the Holocaust, since one X-Men is separated from his family due to the Nazi occupation.

The movie is expected to come in first at 69 million this weekend, beating out “The Hangover Part II,” which is expected to make 34 million. The LA Times explains that even though it will top the box office, the movie will make less opening weekend than previous X-men movies.

The movie’s financers, Fox and co-financers Dune Capital Management and Ingenious Media, put in a total of 160 million dollars into the new film. However, the X-Men film that came even close to that amount in the opening weekend was “X-Men: The Last Stand” with an impressive 105.8 million dollars.

The movie deals with the enticing reality of being an outcast not only in a specific social circle but also in the world as a whole, which draws the characters together in an attempt at normalcy. The narrative adds a back story normally only seen from the character of Wolverine and allows for a connection with the characters present in all the films to the viewer.

The movie is very different from the past X-Men films released because the movie has an entirely new direction, a new cast and no Wolverine according to boxofficemojo.com. Although the film lacks a central character that had an entire movie dedicated to him (X-Men:Wolverine), the film has still done very well in its first day.
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:45 am

http://www.ivillage.com/x-men-first-class-movie-preview/1-a-354967

Weekend Movie Forecast: Will You See 'X-Men: First Class'?

The superhero prequel X-Men: First Class is earning stellar grades from critics -- but can it trump The Hangover?

Lindsay Hahn ON Jun 2, 2011 at 6:19PM

Which movies are fun for the whole family and which ones are treats just for you? Find out!

In theaters now:

X-Men: First Class
Short Story:
Sure, there have already been three X-Men films, but ever wonder how all those mutants got their crazy powers and banded together? Well, here you go! This prequel follows the journey of Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) before they become mortal enemies Professor X and Magneto. As they try to save humanity from the Cuban missile crisis, a clash between friends leads Professor X to partner with the X-Men to fight for good while Magneto and Brotherhood go on a road toward evil.

What They're Saying:
"The result is one of the best Marvel adaptations, packed with action, humor, retro 1960s style that's both campy and sexy, and a revisionist history lesson that puts the X-Men at the center of the Cuban missile crisis." -- Associated Press

"Entertaining enough for a Saturday night, and much more satisfying than the last X-Men offshoot, the woeful Wolverine." -- Boston Globe

Good for the Kids?
With rave reviews and an all-star cast, this is the perfect superhero flick for teenagers and adults to see on a hot summer day! With intense action sequences and a PG-13 rating, it's probably best to leave the little tots at home.

Watch the preview!
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:17 pm

http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Culture-Cafe/2011/0603/X-Men-First-Class-is-a-much-needed-injection-of-life

'X-Men: First Class' is a much-needed injection of life

After two poor entries ('X-Men: The Last Stand' and Wolverine) this franchise got a much-needed injection of life from 'X-Men: First Class' and director Matthew Vaughn. That doesn't make 'X-Men: First Class' a perfect film.

Plain-clothed X-Men look quite normal in Matthew Vaughn's 'X-Men: First Class.'

By Kofi Outlaw, Screen Rant / June 3, 2011

X-Men: First Class has been a controversial film ever since it was first announced. Comic book purists said that the filmmakers were straying too far from the source material with their interpretation. Film purists said that the production was being rushed and the movie would suffer – while fans of summer blockbusters remained unaware (or unmoved) by all the missteps in the movie’s flawed marketing campaign.

Screen Rant had a humble start back in 2003 as a place to rant about some of the dumber stuff related to the movie industry. Since then, the site has grown to cover more and more TV and movie news (and not just the dumb stuff) along with sometimes controversial movie reviews. The goal at Screen Rant is to cover stories and review movies from a middle ground/average person perspective.

Well, whether you’re a fan of the comics, the movies, or just summer blockbusters, X-Men: First Class has something to offer you. After two poor entries (X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine) this franchise is getting a much-needed injection of life from director Matthew Vaughn and all the talent surrounding him.

…But that doesn’t make the film perfect.

The story is pretty simple at its core, but slightly convoluted in its execution: We start with the childhood years of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, the men who will become Professor X and Magneto, respectively. Charles is raised in a world of wealth and privilege; Erik, on the other hand, has a horrific childhood in the Nazi death camps (a scene that pays homage to Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie), where his control over magnetic forces attracts the eye of a Nazi scientist/evil mutant named Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who pushes Erik to develop his power by way of trauma and pain.

Gallery: 2011 Summer Movie Sequels

Flash-forward to 1963 (an homage to the year the first X-Men comic book was released) and Charles (James McAvoy) and Erik (Michael Fassbender) are two young men on very different paths. Charles is now a prominent academic, while Erik is a haunted man, touring the world on a quest for revenge against Nazi war criminals and the mysterious Shaw. Meanwhile, the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union is intensifying, threatening to annihilate humanity in a nuclear holocaust – which is exactly what Sebastian Shaw and his cabal of evil mutants want. When CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) catches wind of Shaw’s plan, the CIA tasks Xavier to gather a team of mutants to battle Shaw and his henchmen, setting in motion a chain of events that will inevitably create the X-Men, as well as the lifelong rivalry between Charles and Erik.

Matthew Vaughn moves this multifaceted story at a brisk, controlled pace. With a runtime of more than two hours there’s a lot that happens, but thankfully the time passes quickly. Most of the attention is focused on developing the characters of Charles and Erik, their friendship and eventual falling out, and this is the glue that holds the film together. McAvoy and Fassbender are excellent in their respective roles and have awesome chemistry together; the most moving and interesting scenes in the film belong to them alone. Despite complaints from comic book purists about the liberties this film takes with the source material, it manages to present both Xavier and Magneto as fresh and rich characters who are both worth exploring.

This reinterpretation not only makes First Class interesting as a movie, but in my opinion (as a longtime fan of the comics) improves upon these characters’ backstories in ways the comics never have. Seeing Xavier as a naive man – who has not yet learned the tact and ethics that go along with mind reading – makes for some interesting themes and humorous moments. Seeing Erik as a sort of twisted super-powered James Bond is thrilling, and Fassbender brings an intensity that makes this another breakout role for the quickly rising star. The two leading men don’t try to mimic the performances of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen from Singer’s films – instead they make the roles their own.

Gallery: 2011 Summer Movie Sequels

However, while the Charles/Erik storyline is the main focus (and is worth the price of admission in and of itself), the title of this film would imply a story about a larger team coming together. This aspect of the film (the actual X-Men team) is not as developed or interesting, and some fans will have a major problem with that. We do meet a group of mutants in the film, but with the exception of the pivotal role of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), the rest of the mutants (good and bad) are mostly just there to fill out the action scenes – or in the case of Emma Frost (January Jones), fill out some ridiculous outfits (which the film does manage to justify… sort of).

For her part, Lawrence is great as Mystique, adding subtlety and depth to a character that was mostly eye candy in previous films. As with Charles and Erik, Vaughn manages to explore Mystique’s character in a way that is more interesting than either the films or comics have really presented her – even though we know where her arc will inevitably lead. The other performance of note is by Kevin Bacon, who makes Sebastian Shaw a charmingly menacing supervillain, without crossing over into campy or hammy territory.

Some people will be disappointed that the actual X-Men team members are little more than stunt actors in this film, but the battle scenes with the mutants are impressive. As with Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn proves that he is a fantastic director when it comes to action sequences, and First Class arguably has the best high-flying superhero action this side of X2 or Spider-Man 2. Whereas Singer’s films tended to fetishize every moment of mutant power use, Vaughn implements the powers (and the special effects to create them) into the film so matter-of-factly that it makes suspension of disbelief almost effortless (though seeing a blue-furred Beast still doesn’t feel quite right).

The ’60s aesthetic and historical footage are also blended into the film well, at once honoring that era, while still feeling modern enough as not to seem like a period piece. There are some wonderful stylistic tricks Vaughn employs at different points (first-person POV, split-screen montages); however, now and again the film feels a little unbalanced or unpolished in its editing (likely due to the rushed production schedule), though average movie fans are not likely to notice these seams sticking out.

Gallery: 2011 Summer Movie Sequels

Like most origin or prequel films, the nature of the story inevitably results in a truncated ending. The climax of First Class must fit all the players into their predetermined places, and the speed with which these transitions occurred felt rushed, even though Vaughn does capture some powerful moments in the dissolving of Charles and Erik’s relationship. The rest of the characters (literally) stand aside and then take sides, which again shortchanges them in terms of development or interest.

Thankfully, the rich Xavier/Magneto dynamic, fantastic action, and a handful of fun Easter eggs are enough to keep comic fans, movie fans, and summer blockbuster enthusiasts all sufficiently entertained by the majority of what this film gets right. Matthew Vaughn and Co. have definitely given the X-Men franchise a bright new future, and hopefully in the next film the actual team dynamic will be the nexus, rather than a distant secondary focus.

If you want to see more of the film, check out the X-Men: First Class trailer below, and be sure to hop over to our X-Men: First Class Spoilers Discussion to talk about the film once you’ve seen it.

Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:19 pm

http://www.popsugar.com.au/X-Men-First-Class-Movie-Review-Starring-James-McAvoy-Michael-Fassbender-Jennifer-Lawrence-17596174

X-Men: First Class — A Prequel to the Rescue
June 4, 2011 7:00 am by Shannon Vestal

In a movie season full of sequels, X-Men: First Class does more than live up to its franchise — it improves upon it. With a combination of great actors, a compelling story, and a fun, swingin' '60s setting, X-Men: First Class is an entertaining blockbuster that doesn't sacrifice any substance for style. Technically a prequel rather than a sequel, First Class visits the universe of the X-Men before they came into their own as superheroes. James McAvoy is the young Charles Xavier, a new professor studying genetic mutation, with his own to boot: telepathy. Michael Fassbender plays Erik Lensherr, a man who witnessed the murder of his family during the Holocaust as a boy, and who has spent much of his adulthood tracking down and killing those responsible. At his disposal is his own mutation: the ability to attract and manipulate metal like a magnet, eventually earning the nickname Magneto.

When upstart CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) is monitoring suspicious businessman Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his involvement with nuclear weaponry, she witnesses his alliance of mutant minions. Moira consults Charles for his mutant research, recruiting him to help in her investigation. Erik and Charles encounter each other while Erik is hunting Shaw, who happens to be the man who killed Erik's mother. Erik and Charles find that they have much in common and form a fast friendship. Though the plot is propelled forward by the pursuit of the villain Shaw, the real meat of the movie is in the origin story of the mutant characters and how they came to harness their powers as X-Men. It's an angle that breathes fresh new life into the series, and the clean slate is an opportunity that's not wasted by director and writer Matthew Vaughn.

Find out why I enjoyed X-Men: First Class so much when you read more.

After four other movies, the X-Men franchise felt like it was losing a bit of its spark, especially after X-Men Origins: Wolverine failed to reignite it. Perhaps that film's focus on one character was too limiting, because First Class' breadth gives you enough to chew on to keep your attention. Introducing us to several key characters and giving us the entire mutant story is much more effective.

The shared backstory is absorbing; using an invention of brilliant young scientist Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), Charles and Erik locate several mutants, each in various states of bewilderment over their mutations. Most prominently, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) suffers from the angst of being unable to accept her true, blue shape-shifting form, Hank has been ridiculed for his animal-like feet, and Alex (Lucas Till) lives in fear of hurting people with his fiery gift. Along with a few others, the young outcasts form a community for the first time, and Charles establishes a school for them at his home, training each of them to take control of their particular abnormalities. Eventually, they find their way, and new monikers: Mystique, Beast, Havok, Banshee and Professor X, to name a few.

Though the characters themselves are recognisable, the fresh faces playing them are newbies to the series, and most are new to the superhero genre itself. Fassbender, McAvoy and Lawrence are each known for their dramatic performances, and the combined acting chops are a boon in an action movie. The only negative takeaway I had was that I wanted to spend more time with the characters in their development and bonding. The relationships (and potential romances) among the mutants are far more interesting than Shaw's plot to incite a third-world war, even if it is necessary to explain how Charles and Erik came to be on opposing sides.

First Class finds a balance of drama and action that keeps it from being a mindless popcorn flick, while still retaining the high energy of one. The tone varies admirably; the movie can be tragic at times, but it also has plenty of lighthearted moments to prevent it from being a totally dark, dramatic take on X-Men. Charles has an affection for chugging beer and hitting on women, and Raven's adolescence makes her an incorrigible flirt. Likewise, Fassbender breezes into each scene with charm as murderous as his mutant skills. As cheesy as it may be, the fantastic cast and story can be summed up by its title: first class.
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:03 am

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Mightier--Smarter--Better/802045/

Mightier, Smarter, Better
Shubhra Gupta Posted: Sat Jun 11 2011, 02:42 hrs

Cbi double standards... - By FirehorseDmk condemns c.b.i - By ariyanHelpless old man - By bhaarathDmk's vain threat - By chandrakaladharDouble standard of c... - By Vaipar SankarComments - By raJatTn is not a personal... - By S.Balakrishnan
X-Men: First Class

DIRECTOR: Mathhew Vaughn

CAST: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult

Rating: ***

So here it is, the tale of how the mighty-but-flawed X-Men came into being. And let this be said, this is a better film than the previous one in which the X-ers were being very dull indeed.

The beginning is in a concentration camp at the fag end of World War II, where the young Eric Lensherr (Fassbender) comes under the evil gaze of Dr Schmidt (Bacon). The boy can bend metal to his will, and he finds out just how immense his powers are in the most tragic way imaginable: brought on by the brutal loss of a parent. We then take a leap twenty years hence. The world is in the throes of the chilliest period of the cold war, which culminated in the stand-off between the US and the USSR over the Cuban missiles crisis, and where, famously, the other guy blinked.

X-Men:First Class melds fact and fiction without too much trouble even though the effort slows the film down, with the inclusion of the documentary clips showing blond American presidents and their speeches about nuclear weapons and keeping the world free. With the help, of course, of a handful of superhero mutants: the Oxford professor who can read minds, Charles Xavier (McAvoy), the inky blue Mystique (Lawrence), the guy who has feet for hands (Hoult), Eric-who-can-can-tame-metal, and a couple of others.

All the mandatory super-power show-offiness is fun enough, as this bunch readies to take on the baddies who want to start World War III. McAvoy gets into his mind-reading act with great relish, and Fassbender has a couple of thrilling scenes all to himself, which gives him an edge. First Class can safely be watched by first-timers, but old faithfuls of the franchise will get a little more, tracing the origins of their favourite characters. A split-second appearance by Hugh Jackman, a star of the previous X-Men, raised a bigger cheer among the audience than anything else that happened in this film, both a testament to the durability of the franchise as well as a promise of more to come.
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:04 am

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\06\11\story_11-6-2011_pg9_14

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Movie Review: ‘X-Men: First Class’

The mutants are back and what a comeback! Yes Matthew Vaughn’s ‘X-Men: First Class’ is a slick, spectacular and high-octane action thriller that will leave you asking for more, Zee News reports. Starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, the film also stars Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne and Jennifer Lawrence in major roles. ‘X-Men: First Class’ is a clever and well-thought-out sequel to the ‘X-Men’ franchise, which takes us down the memory lane and tells how the mutants came into being. The movie takes you back into the history where our mutants are at the centre of the Cuban missile crisis. Even though James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are no match to Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, the flick presents electrifying performances by the stellar cast. If McAvoy amazes you with his liveliness and unwavering nobility, Fassbender enthralls you with his wrath and pragmatism, which portend Stewart`s Professor X and McKellen`s Magneto avatar. The movie portrays Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender`s boyhood in the 1940s, highlighting their different upbringing which ultimately turns them foes from friends.‘X-Men: First Class’ traces Charles and Erik’s friendship in the early 1960’s when the two were a part of a CIA operation against Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a mutant who dreamt of setting off a nuclear war to wipe out humanity. And here enter other mutants - CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Havok (Lucas Till), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) and Angel (Zoe Kravitz), who ultimately change allegiances. A word on special effects, ‘X-Men: First Class’ offers spectacular visual effects and great design, which enhances the cinematic experience. So grab your popcorn bucket and enjoy this spectacular superhero film! Ratings: Four cheers for this one! daily times monitor
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:04 am

http://nazareth.patch.com/articles/x-men-first-class-is-just-that-5

At The Movies With Kelly-Anne
By Kelly-Anne Suarez | Email the author | June 10, 2011

'X-Men: First Class' is Just That

The epic tale takes viewers back to when it all began.

No one can seem to make just one movie these days. Everything is a series. Is there any reason the “Hangover Part II” should exist? I thought the first one wrapped up the plot pretty nicely. Even ‘80s movies aren’t safe, anymore. You need to film another “Wall Street”? Really? Can’t you leave well enough alone? Apparently not.

So I had to roll my eyes, just a little, when I saw the preview for “X-Men: First Class.” Marvel is a movie-makers’ gold mine, having spawned dozens of features highlighting characters from the Hulk to Ghost Rider to The Fantastic Four.

The first “X-Men” flick was star-studded and well-received when it debuted 11 years ago. Since then, we’ve watched the mutants help save the president in “X2,” and debate a cure in a film ironically called “X-Men: The Last Stand.” By the time we got to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in 2009, the fuel tank was sputtering, and not even Hugh Jackman’s gruff sexiness could jump start it.

So what do you do when you’re lost? You go back to the beginning. And that’s exactly what “X-Men: First Class” does.

We see Professor X as Charles Xavier, a sweet-tempered young boy who happens upon a shape-shifting runaway named Raven (the future Mystique) in his kitchen late one night. You’re not alone, he tells her. “I’m different, too.”

And so begins the epic tale. And it is spectacular.

The writers cleverly center the gang’s creation around the real-life drama of the Bay of Pigs, and the natural parallels between the U.S.’s relationship with Russia and the humans’ relationship with the mutants adds depth to a film that easily could have been all special-effects flash and no substance.

After seeing the film, my husband commented that this movie does for “X-Men” what “Batman Begins” did for “Batman,” and I had to agree. Stripped of his gadgets and status, Professor X becomes a much more human and relatable character. Watching him grow from a flirtatious academic to the leader of a powerful mutant taskforce is fascinating, and James McAvoy is charming and heartwarming in the role.

But Professor X isn’t the real star of the show. That accolade goes to Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr, a Jewish man who, as a little boy, watched a Nazi doctor kill his mother in an attempt to extract Erik’s powers. With that back-story, it’s easier to see and understand why Erik transforms from Erik, friend of Charles, to Magneto, enemy of the X-Men.

Thanks to this film, I won’t be rolling my eyes next time I see an “X-Men” preview; I’ll be looking forward to opening night.

“Mutant and proud,” baby.

"X-Men: First Class" is playing at Regal Cinema during the following times:

12:00 p.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:20 p.m., 3:50 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 9:40 p.m. and 10:10 p.m.
In Digital Projection: 1 p.m., 4:20 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10:40 p.m.
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:05 am

http://www.eaglenews.org/fans-won-t-be-let-down-with-x-men-first-class-1.2599622

Fans won’t be let down with 'X-Men: First Class'

By Joel Morris

Staff writer

Published: Friday, June 10, 2011

Updated: Friday, June 10, 2011 17:06

Considering the last couple of installments, it would appear the X-Men series had stopped evolving. Leave it to "Kick-Ass" director Matthew Vaughn to give "X-Men: First Class" the boot in the rear the franchise needs. Set in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, "First Class" chronicles the first meeting and subsequent friendship of Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James MacAvoy), better known as Magneto and Professor X, respectively. They develop their bromance as they pursue the Hellfire Club—a rogue group of mutants' intent on triggering World War III.

The action and the acting are great, obviously with Fassbender and MacAvoy, but surprisingly from Nicholas Hoult, who plays Hank McCoy/Beast. Hoult manages to play a scientist who defies both the "mad" and "overly nerdy" stereotypes. However, despite the ultra-cool 1960s period feel, there are numerous moments that take the audience right out of the film. Some emotional scenes between Erik and Charles are overly cheesy, which is fine if you prefer comic book movies that way, it's just clear that it was not the filmmakers' intent.

Essentially, all the problems come from the dialogue, like the groan-inducing declaration of the birth of Magneto. In addition, while secondary characters Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast have even progressive character arcs, main character Erik has a sudden change of heart in the third act when he shows he has only regressed, despite his experiences. A minor spoiler is basically despite his great friendship with Charles; Erik just ditches him miles from reputable medical care, after the former is gravely injured by Erik's own hand.

Trying to fit this film in with the rest of the series will hurt your head, because the plot holes are everywhere and even within the film, the relationships are at odds with each other. Although, if you want some fun Sean Connery like action and a couple of cool cameos, "X-Men: First Class" isn't a horrible way to kill a couple hours.
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:06 am

http://www.tricityvoice.com/articlefiledisplay.php?issue=2011-06-10&file=story4.txt

June 10, 2011 > Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

By Jennifer Gau

Ignoring its lackluster sequel and lukewarm prequel, the latest Marvel movie property gets smart and stylish with "X-Men: First Class."

Hitting all the right marks in terms of character, story, and exciting entertainment, the movie opens in 1944 when Erik (before he is known as Magneto), is separated from his mother by guards at a concentration camp. We witness a weak boy who thinks he is the only one in the world with special skills, and learns to channel his anger into great power.

The bulk of "X-men: First Class", directed by Matthew Vaughn, is set in 1962 when U.S. President John F. Kennedy is grappling with the Soviet Union amidst the Cuban missile crisis. A grown-up Erik (Michael Fassbender) is helpless, revengeful, and lonely until he meets geneticist Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). Together, they assemble a group of young mutants to save the world from World War III.

Meanwhile, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is trying to locate mutants to oppose Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) who plans to starts a nuclear war, spreading radiation to create more mutants. He believes that as a result of their increased presence, society will accept mutants as normal. His dialogue sounds strangely familiar to Magneto's sermon in previous X-men movies.

Also similar to previous X-men movies, special effects are spectacular. Each character is able to demonstrate their special skills without interruption: training, fighting, or just plain showing off. Particularly noteworthy are Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), a young Mystique battling her own self-image who befriends Hank (Nicholas Hoult) who also fears his own image. Hank becomes a victim to his own vanity and transforms into the Beast.

In spite of a few minor flaws, the performances are spot-on making X-Men: First Class a total pleasure, hitting all the action beats

Runtime: 1 hour 12 minutes
Rated: PG-13
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:07 am

http://www.trivalleycentral.com/articles/2011/06/10/maricopa_monitor/news/doc4df26ede75d2f132742290.txt

Now playing: 'X-Men' (re)assemble
Published: Friday, June 10, 2011 12:32 PM MST
Print | E-mail | Comment (No comments posted.) | Rate | Text Size | Share
Image courtesy 20th Century Fox (via AP) (From left) Caleb Landry Jones, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy and Lucas Till star in “X-Men: First Class.”
*
Review by ERIC MUNGENAST
Staff Writer

There’s nothing wrong with starting over (or rebooting) a film franchise to help alleviate and eliminate reminders of sagging preludes; a new and better direction can spur a renewed interest in a flailing franchise, like “Batman.”
'X-Men: First Class' - Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 2 hrs. 12min. - Genre: Action - Reviewer’s take: 3-1/2 out of 5 stars.



Like it’s comic brethren, “The X-Men” – a cinematic series bogged down by a mediocre trilogy that ended on a disappointing note – has enough thematic potential to deserve a fresh start away from the grips of Brett Ratner.

So, allowed the chance to redefine a lucrative franchise, the makers of “X-Men: First Class” do just enough to slither away from the errors of its forefathers but whiff on the opportunity to reformat shattered potential. It’s a shame too, because the premise for “X-Men: First Class” is promising – the fraying of a friendship between two people from disparate backgrounds can lead to Oscar gold (see “The Social Network”).

In this situation, pals Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively) are divided by childhoods spent in either comfortable luxury (for Xavier) or, in the future Magneto’s case, within the horrors of the Holocaust.

But their friendship is forged by a desire to help their fellow mutants achieve their potential (including Xavier’s childhood friend Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence) and stop/seek revenge against Sebastian Shaw (an underwhelming Kevin Bacon) and his mutant posse, including psychic Emma Frost (“Mad Men’s” January Jones). Assisting the good mutants are CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) and the unnamed Oliver Platt.

All of this occurs during the swinging 60s, or at least the part where women are treated as little more than sirloins and the possible destruction of the known universe (the Cuban Missile Crisis) in the back/foreground.

It’s a lovely way to prompt a reboot, but consuming much of the joy of the “X-Men: First Class” viewing experience is the thick layer of laziness that runs through the script, starting with Magneto’s “Inglourious Basterds” (which is one of the few films to get the point of its own exploitation)-lite revenge on the Nazis who tormented his childhood and the film’s heavy-handed allusions (Nazism and the black power movement of the 60s). Exacerbating the story woes are underwhelming special effects and makeup (Beast looks like a blue version of the Grinch) and several lines of lamentably asinine dialogue. (No villain worth his or her salt should ever say “the world is primed for war and there’s no one to stop me” like Bacon’s Shaw does.)

Those are the moments where the film crawls backward to the roots planted by its ancestors, but “X-Men: First Class” takes enough steps in the right direction to make it at least tolerable; from the amiable rapport between McAvoy and Fassbender and Mystique’s nearly tragic portrayal by Lawrence (one of the better young actors around) to the mutant-power showcase during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which the film reinvents to become a battle for the existence of humanity and mutants.

Having a quality cast, decent premise and a solid action sequence moves “X-Men: First Class” a step above at least two of its predecessors, but the film’s multiple fumbles makes it little more than just fine.

Ask Away

Target audience: “X-Men” purists for sure, as well as male (and a few female) teens and pre-teens between 12 and 19.

Take the whole family?: “X-Men: First Class” has a surprisingly large volume of violence given the PG-13 rating, so it’s better to keep kids younger than 11 away.

Theater or Netflix?: The low-quality special effects negate any additional benefits of a theater screening, so a cheap rental works.

What will the sequel look like?: Possibilities – established in the first film – exist to allow the sequel to incorporate a new round of mutants (many foreshadowed established in this film) to fight against one another in the middle of another American crisis. (The end of disco, maybe?)

Can Michael Fassbender carry his own film?: He does possess the necessary elements – attractiveness, charm and talent – to do so, but he has such a strong knack for creating memorable characters from secondary roles it would be a shame to lose him if he stars in too many flops.

Article Rating (4 * = highest)
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:08 am

http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=Genesis+of+enmity&NewsID=291332

Genesis of enmity

Added At: 2011-06-10 11:18 PM

Last Updated At: 2011-06-10 11:18 PM

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: All those X-Men fans who have been following each and every instalment of the franchise have a special treat in theatres with the X-Men: First Class where they get to see where it all began. While they have been witnessing the battle between Professor X and Magneto, in this prequel they will know how a friendship turned into the biggest rivalry.

It begins with mutants in their childhood days where Dr Schmidt (Kevin Bacom) kills Erik Lensherr’s aka Magento (Michael Fassbender) mother when Erik is not able to show his mutant powers. And now Erik seeks revenge for his mother’s death with all the pain and hatred. While on the other hand, telepath Charles Xavier (James McAvoy ) meets homeless Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) who enters his home to steal food. And they grow up together and Charles publishes his thesis on mutation while his foster sister Raven is a waitress.

When the threat of a third world war looms large, help from the mutants are sought. CIA agent Moira MacTaggert realises that Dr Schmidt and his mutant friends have hands in provoking war, she seeks help from Charles to know more about mutants. He tracks down Dr Schmidt and also finds Erik who is trying to kill his enemy.

Then Charles and Erik come together in one team to stop the war, which is posing a threat to human kind.

With well executed scenes and action sequences, the movie is able to hold everyone’s attention throughout the movie. There isn’t any scene or sequence that will make you lose interest. Director Matthew Vaughn has balanced both the emotional and action scenes and thus has not stretched the action sequences to exaggeration just to show the super powers. The movie also has a few moments where you can afford to smile and laugh.

Most of all, the cast is simply great. McAvoy and Fassbender fit their characters, which are the lead characters, while Bacon is amazing in his negative role. All of them have been able to justify the comic book characters bringing them to life. But among all Fassbender stands out with his charismatic acting skills.

Special effects are another integral part of this movie and it has been used perfectly giving the whole story a special dimension. All the effect have been pulled out brilliantly and the audience can witness the beauty of technology through the special abilities that mutants have and the way they use them.

After you come out of the hall you will definitely feel like going through the earlier released movies which continue the saga of Professor X and Magneto.

X-Men: First Class

Genre: Action

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Kevin Bacon

Being screened at theatres near you
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:09 am

http://www.lodinews.com/lodi_living/arts_and_entertainment/jason_wallis/article_6e7dc58a-9380-11e0-b75d-001cc4c002e0.html

‘X-Men’ is worth getting excited over

Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender star in “X-Men: First Class.”

Jason Wallis

“X-Men: First Class”

★★★ 1⁄2 (out of four)

2011, Dir. Matthew Vaughn, U.S.,

PG-13

Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 9:32 am | Updated: 12:20 pm, Fri Jun 10, 2011.

We’re almost halfway through 2011, and so far this has got to be the most mediocre year for film in recent memory. Thus far, we have not seen many outright terrible movies — no more than in any other year, anyway. But it seems like every week brings yet another film that toes that uneasy line between the barely passable and the outright unacceptable — movies like “Fast Five” and “Thor” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” which are too intermittently entertaining to be called “bad,” but too lethargic and by-the-numbers to truly be worth your time and money.

It’s a privilege, then, to write about Matthew Vaughn’s franchise “pre-boot,” “X-Men: First Class.” At last, here’s a summer “event” movie worth getting excited about — one that thrills its audience not by overloading them with sound and fury and chaos, but by enveloping them in a solid story with interesting characters and deliberate, carefully measured action sequences. The result is, for my money, the best “X-Men” entry to date, and certainly the best live-action spectacle we’ve seen this year.

The “X-Men” franchise has followed roughly the same trajectory as the first run of “Batman” movies: Starting off with two accomplished works by an established filmmaker, the series descended into tongue-in-cheek silliness and, eventually, full-blown idiocy after the auteur was replaced by random studio hacks for parts three and four. And, like the “Batman” films, the “X-Men” series is now reborn under the supervision of a young and talented Brit with a legitimate artistic vision.

Now, Matthew Vaughn is no Christopher Nolan, and “X-Men: First Class” is no “Dark Knight.” Vaughn does not completely reinvent the genre here, nor does he dabble in philosophy and subversive themes, as Nolan does. Vaughn plays things relatively straight (a little homosexual subtext notwithstanding), but he assembles his old-fashioned picture with deft precision and confidence. Nolan wrote the book on how to completely retool a franchise from the ground up, but Vaughn deserves his own accolades for providing a template for how to resurrect a good-as-dead film series while still remaining true to the predecessors’ tone and overall style.

This is only his fourth film (after the British gangster throwback “Layer Cake,” the imaginative, family-friendly fantasy film “Stardust,” and the unspeakably awesome superhero riff “Kick-Ass”), yet Vaughn holds the viewer’s attention and engages their imagination with the apparent ease of a seasoned pro. The film never feels labored, as an increasing number of superhero movies do, but moves along at a brisk pace despite its two-hour-plus running length.

“X-Men: First Class” tells the origin story of future-archenemies Professor X and Magneto, and Vaughn and his fellow screenwriters make the interesting choice to place this narrative against an historical backdrop, circa 1962. The bulk of the plot follows mutants Charles Xavier (the future Professor X, here played by James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (later Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender) as they meet and decide to join forces to defeat the immortal, energy-harnessing mutant Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Erik, who has the telekinetic ability to manipulate metal, is on a manhunt for Shaw because he murdered Erik’s mother during the Holocaust. Charles’ motivations are more altruistic, as he uses his telepathic abilities to locate and enlist other mutants in their struggle against Shaw, who is in the process of triggering the Cuban Missile Crisis in an attempt to wipe out humanity in the name of mutant supremacy.

Thus begins the central tension at the heart of the “X-Men” saga: the ideological battle between those mutants who, like Charles, believe that human and mutants can peacefully co-exist; and those who, like Shaw and Erik, know that mutants will never be accepted in society — which therefore must be destroyed for the safety of the mutant brotherhood. Vaughn deals with this material in much the same way as the other “X-Men” movies have, but by placing it in a historical context (with the Cuban Missile Crisis angle, and some important early scenes set during the Holocaust), he lends the narrative more dramatic weight and credibility.

Yet Vaughn’s talent for juggling character-based drama and superhero-genre conventions would mean little if his cast failed to bring these characters to life. Fortunately, the film is populated by real actors giving real performances. The dialogue is sometimes clunky and the screenplay includes a few too many cutesy fan boy jokes, but actors like McAvoy, Bacon and Jennifer Lawrence (as a young, good-girl Mystique) do great things with what they are given.

McAvoy’s Professor X is, by design, a rather one-dimensional character, but that flatness is rendered moot by the character of Magneto. As written, this is a fascinating, nuanced anti-hero, driven to do good by an audience-friendly revenge motive. Personified by Fassbender — exhibiting a fiery intensity that makes lesser men cower — the role becomes something greater still. This is a spellbinding, star-making performance, and the clear highlight of an already impressive bit of comic-book escapism.
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:11 am

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/masand-xmen-first-class-is-incredibly-fun/158358-47-84.html

Masand: 'X-Men: First Class' is incredible fun
Rajeev MasandRajeev Masand , CNN-IBN
Updated Jun 11, 2011 at 09:19am IST

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence

Director: Matthew Vaughn

'X-Men: First Class' is an intelligent, action-packed prequel that neatly ties into the events and the dynamics of the original movie trilogy. Most importantly, it provides the back-story for the legendary rivalry between Professor X and Magneto.
Masand: 'X-Men: First Class' is incredible fun

According to the new movie their relationship dates all the way back to the early Sixties, when they fight on the same side against Kevin Bacon’s super-evil mutant Sebastian Shaw, who attempts to start off a nuclear war between the United States and Russia so he can rid the world of the human race. James McAvoy does a fine job playing the morally unshakeable Charles Xavier, or the future Professor X. Even more impressive is Michael Fassbender as the strong, silent Erik Lehnsherr who will go on to become Magneto. Erik has an old axe to grind against Shaw, a former Nazi who murdered his mother in front of his eyes when he was a young boy.

To strengthen their side against Shaw, Charles and Erik round up and train a posse of young mutants who are bound by their impressive skills and their outcast status. Unfortunately this talented cast of young superheroes-in-the-making is a tad overcrowded with some of the mutants getting lost in the shuffle. Those who register an impression however are Raven, the blue-skinned shape-shifter (played by Jennifer Lawrence) who will go on to become Mystique, and Hank, the nerdish tech-wiz with monkey feet (played by Nicholas Hoult), who literally turns into Beast when an experiment he performs on himself goes horribly wrong. Meanwhile, on his side Shaw has faithful icy blonde Emma Frost (played by Mad Men’s January Jones), who has telepathic powers that rival those of Charles.

The film works splendidly because it delivers thrilling action sequences without ever compromising on its characters’ integrities. And although there is a little too much yak-yak on how the humans will never accept the mutants, even some of their sillier skills are fun to watch when they’re on display.

Director Matthew Vaughn delivers in-jokes and cameos to please the fanboys; yet he never loses grip on the smart script that wraps with Charles and Erik taking opposite sides. The film’s standout performance comes from Michael Fassbender who infuses into Erik both vulnerability and steely reserve, making him the most intriguing character in this adventure.

'X-Men: First Class' is that rare summer blockbuster that’s both smart and incredibly fun. So much fun, in fact, that you even go with the preposterous insinuation that the Cuban Missile Crisis was of an evil mutant’s doing!

I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for 'X-Men: First Class'. Despite it’s running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, you will wish there was more!

Rating: 3.5 / 5
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Re: X-Men reviews and spoilers

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:14 am

http://www.joplinglobe.com/lifestyles/x2088984377/Benji-Tunnell-First-Class-saves-X-Men-series-with-great-story

June 10, 2011
Benji Tunnell: 'First Class' saves 'X-Men' series with great story

By Benji Tunnell Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — When last we left the “X-Men” series, Wolverine had just done his darndest to finally kill the franchise. Granted, Brett Ratner’s awful “X-Men: The Last Stand” did far more damage, but Hugh Jackman’s solo vehicle tried to finish the series off.

Fortunately for hardcore and casual fans alike, Fox and Marvel have decided to try to jumpstart the once mighty comic book heroes with “X-Men: First Class,” wisely ditching most all who were associated with the last couple of installments and veering from Wolverine’s origin story to the entire crew.

The results are far more satisfying.

The movie is set in 1962, when nuclear tensions between the Soviets and the United States are at their highest. A mad mutant genius, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), is intent on pitting the two superpowers against each other. It is up to Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and a group of mutant recruits to put a stop to his plans.

Along the way, they encounter Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), a fellow mutant and the future Magneto, intent on exacting revenge upon Shaw for executing his mother in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. He joins forces with the rest as they attempt to avert what would become known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Pretty heady material, really, for what is supposed to be light summer fare. Yet the execution of the story carries the audience through.

Director Matthew Vaughn, he of the overrated “Kick-Ass” and the equally underrated “Stardust,” does a fantastic job melding the story with the effects. Aside from a slightly amateurish look during one effects-heavy scene in the concentration camp, the effects are solid, blending in with the action almost seamlessly. Vaughn shows far more restraint this time than he did with “Kick-Ass,” and the result is a much better comic book adaptation.

The two leads, McAvoy and Fassbender, do the most to carry the movie. I am unfamiliar with the origins of their relationship in the comic books, so I cannot attest to the accuracy in relation to the source material, but I found their friendship to be believable, walking the line between strained and genuine.

Fassbender, so solid in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds,” plays simmering rage and vengeful pursuit flawlessly. Even though the viewer knows what his destiny is, he still does a fine job of eliciting sympathy for his character. As he breaks free from the rest of the group to pursue his own agenda, essentially embracing his dark side, his choice is fully vindicated and justified to the viewer.

McAvoy recovers from a pretty sleazy introduction to become the backbone, if you will, of the team. A friend likened his first arrival to that of Austin Powers, and it is an apt comparison. As the future Professor X uses his telepathic abilities to try to pick up women in bars, I couldn’t help but feel a little creeped out.

Maybe it was because this is the future Patrick Stewart, oozing pick-up lines to try to get women in the sack during the era of free love, but it left me feeling unsettled. But after that, McAvoy combines the nurturing with the seriousness required to transition the character from young turk to leader. The rest of the cast, save Bacon, seems to be mostly filler; the chance to introduce familiar characters to generate more interest from fanboys in the crowd. Each role touches on the mutant abilities and tries to establish a little personality, but really that’s it.

Especially disappointing was Jennifer Lawrence. I had hoped for more of a challenge to her in her first mainstream role since her Oscar nominated performance in “Winter’s Bone,” but the character of Raven just doesn’t have enough meat to justify her presence.

Bacon is, once again, the exception. Bacon hams it up as Shaw, and I mean that in a good way. He seems to be having a lot of fun playing a German scientist-cum-power mad mutant, and it lifts the film as a whole.

This is the film that may just save the “X-Men” franchise, at least for this generation. While I would argue with those who call it the best of the series, I would say that it is at least as good as the first film, and far better than the last two installments.

This is the origin story that “Wolverine” wanted to be, and hopefully all involved will sign on for any future sequels. Maybe the rest of the cast will even get a chance to act a bit more.



Credit where it’s due

I have been quick to criticize the local theater in the past, and deservedly so.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t also give credit where credit was due.

First, I was thoroughly impressed by Kyle, the manager on duty during the tornado. He skillfully handled a dangerous and potentially devastating situation (and even followed up after the storm to update me on the status of my favorite ticket taker after his apartment was hit).

Then this weekend I was pleased to see that the theater was offering a fundraising special, with all proceeds going to benefit the victims of the Joplin tornado. It was a selfless act, one that I’m certain impacted their concession profit for the weekend, and for that I think they should be acknowleged.
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