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X-Men reviews and spoilers

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Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2011 4:06 am

http://hausofmatt.blogspot.com/2011/05/spoilerama.html

Thursday, May 26, 2011
Spoilerama
There is exactly one week left until X-Men: First Class comes to theaters. In other terms, a very Matt-specific rapture is occurring on June 3rd, 2011: this movie is, pretty much, the second coming of Christ to me. I'll be in my seat in the theaters and then suddenly I will literally float up to the screen. Probably at the sight of this woman:

I am, really, one of the biggest X-Men fans on the face of the earth. While I like most superheroes (except for Superman), there's just something about X-Men that has always set it apart for me from everything else. Maybe it's the team dynamic or the diversity in the grandeur - there's not just one guy with superstrength; instead there's psychics and shapeshifters and masters of magnetism and a blonde woman who can read your thoughts and turn into diamonds oh god. Naturally, following the absolute disappointments that were X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (I hate Wolverine and the movie did nothing aside from s$#! all over the franchise), I was desperate for anything. Imagine my excitement at the announcement of a prequel / reboot, a la Batman Begins. I've been waiting for this movie ever since I heard about it first being in development over a year ago. I pretty much died every single time a casting announcement was given (James McAvoy! Michael Fassbender! Kevin Bacon is the villain, what? January Jones! ...oh my god January Jones is Emma Frost). With every bit of new footage in the new trailers my heart started beating like crazy.

And then the commercials started showing up on television. I immediately shushed my family and watched even though I seem to have only seen the same one over and over again. With a week left until the movie comes out, the reviews have begun flooding in, and I'm overjoyed to hear that the reception is fantastic, and that it is, allegedly, on par with The Dark Knight (which I, too, consider to be the greatest comic book movie ever made). With the reviews came spoilers.

I actually know nothing of the plot. Okay, that's a lie: I know it's the origin of the friendship (and that relationship's subsequent demise) between Xavier and Magneto; I know they create the first group of X-Men; I know they somehow have a falling out. Aside from that: I know nothing. The creators have changed the "first class" completely - instead of it being Cyclops and Jean Grey among others, it's now Banshee and Havok and Beast and Mystique, an integral villain in the original trilogy. They've put the action of the plot in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. There's the Hellfire Club as villains, too. I don't know how it all comes together, and that's exciting to me.

I started reading spoiler after spoiler. I know that one of the characters dies - I'm not heartbroken, I could tell by their relative unknown status and lack of appearance in the released footage. I read about a massive cameo.. and then another.. and then a third. I literally threw my computer when I started to read about how Xavier gets crippled (okay we all know it happens) as an act of desperate willpower. It's so damn hard to avoid spoilers! I've ruined movies in the past by reading absolutely everything about it thereby ruining the wonderment of finally seeing it in the theaters.

I have, therefore, taken a vow to avoid everything with any connection to X-Men: First Class until I am sitting in a theater Friday night (or Thursday at midnight, if my city provides the show). I've limited myself to watch only one promo clip aside from the trailers - naturally, the scene with Emma Frost at the window as pictured.

My vow hasn't gone on without a hitch just yet. I just saw a commercial which, I think, ruined the "money shot" of the movie. If you've seen anything and can recognize it when I say "missiles" - well, it showed the missiles shot I'm familiar with from the trailer, and then some. Damnit, FOX!

Just bring on June 3rd. I'm literally dying.

UPDATE: In the words of Ke$ha, I blow-ooooh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oooooh. NOOOO! So naturally I completely disregarded my vow the moment I woke up and I am now reeling from the punishment of knowing 1. how Xavier gets crippled, 2. what happens to some of the villains, and 3. that one of the characters is mind-wiped in the end. I repeat: NOOOOOOOOOOO! I get what I deserve. I have, therefore, deleted every X-Men related website from my browser. Maybe in knowing I'll have to type the entire address out will be a deterrent.
Posted by Matt at 7:38 PM
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Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2011 4:09 am

http://www.saltypopcorn.com/first-class/

XMen First Class: A Review
May 26th 2011 21:57
: Sensational
Category: Reviews
What a great night - got to catch up with good friend Steve and head into the very secure screening of the new XMen film. We had to sign everything in - phones, bags, and I am pretty sure they were after my pants because they beeped under the metal detector - those kinky security guards .

But after the screening I would have given them the shirt off my back to sit in that film. I haven't been so excited and impressed by a film for a LONG LONG time. It is easily the best prequel ever made on equal grounds with Batman Begins.

Matthew Vaughn delivers one of the most solid films of the year with a perfect cast. Vaughn has brought us such sensational films as Kick Ass (love him already), Stardust, Snatch and Layer Cake. The guy is a genius! But NOW he brings us what I think is his best work. To turn a dying franchise into a film this successful is an amazing feat and I am so impressed I am seeing it again next Thursday when the film releases and am hoping they have already started on the next one. I would even go boldly and state First Class is the best XMen film in the entire franchise.

In 1962, at the height of the Cold War, two men from different backgrounds pool their resources to bring attention to the plight of those with genetic mutations, some that give them extraordinary powers, others that make them look different. Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is an academic in genetic mutations, while Erik Lehnsherr (Mike Fassbender) is a Holocaust survivor bent on getting revenge against those responsible for his parents' death in the concentration camps. In particular, he's after Klaus Schmidt (Kevin Bacon) who years later has turned up as a wealthy power broker known as Sebastian Shaw, who has become involved with playing both sides of the conflict between the United States and the Soviets.

When I am enjoying a film the trick for me is to try and find the things I do not like in the film and there was only one minor thing - the use near the start of a lot of women in the lingerie - it just seemed a bit tacky and really - this is being picky, especially since most guys who see this film will get a little excited at this scene . Besides that the film, for me, was absolutely faultless.

It has so many successes and the three strongest are easily the cast, the screenplay and the pacing. I will start with the pacing and the screenplay, it is non stop and perfectly balanced. There is so much action, mixed with personal stories, back stories, touching moments, combinations of sad moments and great humour and characters you will genuinely care about. I had so many of those "WOW" moments when I was shown how things happened to the characters to make them the way they are. For example, how Beast came to be Beast was touching and filled with so much back story and emotion that was told subtly but explained a lot and instantly bonded me to the character (it did help having Nicholas Hoult play Beast - LOVE HIM). Then there was how Professor X ended up in the wheelchair. Why was Magneto such a psycho? And so on. It was just endless "OMG".

And the casting of this film is close to the best selected ensemble cast I have seen. I liked every single character and actor and they all worked well together. Starting with seeing Kevin Bacon back on the bigscreen as Sebastian Shaw was thrilling. Out of all the characters though Shaw is probably the weakest, he was much better in Nazi Germany, but without his powers he is kind of boring.

And then the characters just keep on rolling out. There are so many new characters that weren't in the original films that I am now curious as to where they all went. I know this is set in the 60's so it is quite possible a lot of them were too old by the time of the originals or they were killed in battles that take place in the bridging time. All of the characters are really young in this film and this explains why Xavier is so old in the originals. It explains why the sensational Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence from Winter's Bone and the upcoming Katniss in The Hunger Games) is still young and beautiful in the originals. Michael Fassbender was brilliant as Magneto/ Erik and I was originally unsure of this as I had no idea who he was. He put that to rest and his relationship with Xavier is just great and now I understand the close friendship and reason why Professor X will always battle him. McAvoy was the perfect pick as the Professor and he is the one responsible for training and bringing out all the mutant powers - my favourite part of the film was seeing all the mutant powers develop and seeing their training.

January Jones as Emma Frost is, of course, just stunning - she is so beautiful it is scary. I didn't even recognise Jason Flemyng as Azazel, nor realise that it was Lenny's little daughter Zoe as Angel. I love Lucas Till (Battle LA, Hannah Montana movie and Walk the Line) as Havok/ Scott Summers - I only just discovered he was Cyclops's younger brother (I just let out a little squeal at this as originally Steve and I thought he could have been Cyclops). Alex Gonzalez as Riptide is just OMG HOT and Caleb Landry Jones (Friday Night Lights, the psycho brother from The Last Exorcism) is awesome and quite humorous as Banshee/ Sean Cassidy.

The film takes a little while to get to the best part, assembling the mutants but the whole thing was discovery and explanation for me - I never read comics growing up so learnt everything from the film, and I loved all the moments of the film and the explanation and getting to the assembling was just as exciting as the rest for me. The film may annoy die hard comic fans, I don't know as to how accurate it is but for a non comic reader it was flawless. And once the assembling of the team begins then the film hits high gear and grows from strength to strength. And OMG - best 10sec cameo of all time!!

Most definitely the best Origin Film I have seen and on equal par for best prequel ever made - it is non stop AWESOME from go to woe and I recommend you bring the whole family to this one if they loved the first ones because this one is brilliant and has drawn the line for best film of the Blockbusters this year. Excluding Harry Potter me thinks this could be the biggest film of the year. Worth a rare 10 out of 10 for Salty Pocorn. Out next Thursday 2nd June. Bring on more of them NOWWWWWWW.

May your popcorn always be salty .
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Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2011 4:24 am

http://www.unitedstatesofgeekdom.com/2011/05/counterpoint-reasons-x-men-first-class.html

Counterpoint: The Reasons X-Men: First Class is Gonna OWN
Labels: Counterpoint, Rick G, Summer movies, X-Men
Rick here in response to Jedi Master Excalibur's article.

I am not going to argue that he makes some valid points in his article because he does and I have noted the inconsistencies that he has mentioned. Regardless, it is still early so don't knock the flick until you see it. I predict this one will be one of the top ones to see this summer and here is why:

Reason 1: It is NOT X-3 or X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Both of those movies stunk up the theater so bad that I almost swore off the entire franchise. This one at least looks like it has captured the spirit of the first two movies.

Reason 2: It is directed by Matthew Vaughn. Why is this guy important? I can tell you that he has done two prior comic to film adaptations that I dearly love. Stardust is underrated, funny, romantic, and has one of the most original swordfights I have ever seen in a movie. Kick-Ass was one of my favorite movies of last year. When it comes to comic adaptations, Vaughn can do no wrong by me.

Reason 3: Vaughn is a hardcore X-Fan. He loves the source material. Every frame that I have see of this flick shows that this is a work of passion for him.

Reason 4: The cast. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Xavier and Magneto respectively alone give some weight to the movie. They are both very talented actors who will have no problem pulling off the roles. January Jones as the White Queen is perfectly cast and she is very talented as an actress. The rest of the X-Men are virtual unknowns which works to the advantage of the movie.

Reason 5: Kevin Bacon is in this movie. I think nothing more needs to be said here.

Reason 6: Blue and yellow spandex. They are going for authenticity here folks!

Reason 7: It's set in the 60s. Which means it will be true to the source material in the sense that the original story took place in this era as well.

Reason 8: No Wolverine. I will likely get flamed for this one but I don't care. As much as I love the character, he is over played and overused. Wolverine is not the be all end all character of the X-Men. There are far more compelling characters than just Wolverine. Which brings me to...

Reason 9: The Characters: We get Banshee, Angel Salvadore, Azazel, Havok, and a host of other characters that have never gotten some screen time. The footage of Banshee was enough to get me geeking out harder than I could have EVER anticipated!

Reason 10: They took their time: This flick was not rushed out. One of Vaughn's provisos for making this movie was that he get to do things his way. He dropped out of X-3 because of the unwanted studio meddling. This time, the studio basically said, go nuts. He did and I hope it shows for the better.

At first I dismissed this movie but as more and more footage has been trickling out, I am getting more excited. X-Men First Class has promise to be one of the best movies of the summer. Here's hoping they don't disappoint but considering the above, I don't think that will be an issue.
Posted by Rick G at 8:15 PM
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Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2011 4:26 am

http://www.maticulousmusic.com/x-men-first-class-uk-review.html

X-Men: First Class UK Review
May 25th, 2011 nuriska

Thе X-Men films hаνе become thе Tim Burton Batman movies οf thе 21st century — wе remember thеm perhaps tοο fondly thаn wе ѕhουld. Sure, thеу hаd thеіr moments, аnd thеу wеrе a hυgе раrt οf thе evolution οf thе superhero film thаt gοt υѕ tο whеrе wе аrе today. Bυt іf here’s one thing thаt уου take away frοm boss Matthew Vaughn’s brilliant prequel/reboot X-Men: First Class, іt’s јυѕt hοw antiquated thе first three films seem today.

Vaughn, whο wаѕ originally meant tο helm thе third X-depiction a half decade ago before tumbling out аt thе last minute, eventually сυt hіѕ teeth іn thе genre wіth Kick-Ass. Bυt First Class іѕ far removed frοm thе punkier edge οf thаt superhero film, bringing υѕ аll thе way back tο thе origins οf Professor Xavier аnd hіѕ gang іn thе swinging sixties.

Watch thе X-Men: First Class trailer.



James McAvoy thе thе boards a Charles Xavier thаt іѕ аll bυt foreign tο υѕ. Walking, drinking, womanizing — wіth hair! — hе’s given υѕ аn Xavier whο’s less staid аnd noble аnd serious аnd more, well, human. McAvoy’s take οn thе man whο wіll bе Professor X someday іѕ ѕο refreshing thаt, аѕ thе film works іtѕ way towards іtѕ finale аnd more familiar aspects οf thе character ѕtаrt tο surface, wе саn’t hеlр bυt feel јυѕt a bit disappointed. Hе’s half thе wits whу thіѕ film works.

Thе οthеr half іѕ Michael Fassbender аѕ Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. Magneto. Fаѕсіnаtіnglу, Vaughn really ѕtаrtѕ thе film wіth a recreation οf thе opening οf thе original Bryan Singer X-Men, аѕ thе child Erik first finds hіѕ powers whеn trying tο save hіѕ mom іn a Nazi concentration camp. It’s a ballsy gο — dοеѕ Vaughn really want tο weigh himself down аt thе gеt-gο wіth аn 11-year-ancient vista thаt wе′ve watched over аnd over again? — аnd уеt hе mаkеѕ іt hіѕ οwn, аѕ Erik’s traumatic origin tаlе іn thе camps іѕ further explored аѕ thе film progresses.
Erik аnd Charles

Whеn wе meet thе adult Erik, hе’s a globetrotting, multilingual Nazi hunter wіth a splash οf James Bond аnd perhaps a bit οf Hannibal Lecter іn hіѕ blood аѕ well. Hе’s οn a single-minded mission tο find аnd rυіn thе man whο mаdе hіm whаt hе іѕ today — Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw, a fellow mutant whο taught thе young Erik thаt οnlу through torture аnd pain саn hе fully manifest hіѕ powers.

Of course, Xavier іѕ thе polar opposite. Hе’s аll аbουt peace, lіkе аnd harmony, аnd whеn hіѕ аnd Erik’s paths cross, thеу form аn instant bond despite thеіr differences. Thеу аrе, аftеr аll, two οf thе mοѕt powerful beings οn thе planet, bυt wе come tο see thаt іt’s more thаn thаt аѕ Xavier shows Erik thаt here аrе options οthеr thаn dеѕріѕе аnd rаgе аnd bloodlust. Fassbender аnd McAvoy share one οf thе film’s best scenes whеn Xavier uses hіѕ telepathy tο unlock a memories οf Erik’s thаt hе hаd аll bυt forgotten — a рlеаѕеd image οf hіѕ mother. It brings a tear tο Erik’s eye, аnd nearly tο thе viewer’s tοο.
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Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2011 4:29 am

http://www.scifinow.co.uk/reviews/review-x-men-first-class/

Review: X-Men: First Class
by James Hoare
Roll back the clock for the X-Men origin extravaganza

Review: X-Men: First ClassReleased: June 3
Certificate: 12a
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenwriter: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Running Time: 131 mins

What’s Matthew Vaughn’s superpower, do you reckon? Some sort of chimerical ability to make a beautiful, visual feast of a film that leaves its viewer Easter egg empty, or possessor of the much sought-after ability to reinvent staid sub-genres (cockney gangster flicks with Layer Cake, Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, or post-modern superheroes with Kick-Ass) for a demanding new era of high expectations and low attention spans?

Perhaps a dose of the former and a touch of the latter, and maybe that’s just what’s required to massage that last little burst of excitement from the empty car battery of enthusiasm that greets the increasingly stale X-Men movie franchise.

Channelling the aesthetics of the Sixties spy thriller, down to the dancing dolly birds and Dr Strangelove war rooms, antagonists plotting global war from the white leather recliners of a submarine that detaches from a yacht in a display of pure Bond excess, X-Men: First Class is having a great deal of fun without entering the Austin Powers-like realm of absolute, irredeemable silliness. The return to the harrowing holocaust scenes which opened 2000’s X-Men results in a The Boys From Brazil style Nazi-hunt, and there’s some brilliant faux-retro effects too; TV serial split-screens during the training sequence, and a kaleidoscope effect for Xavier’s first big display of telepathy. Vaughn has clearly been raiding his Blu-rays and rolling around in cliché.

All creations carry the watermark of their age – and the X-Men are without doubt children of the Sixties, their whole existence a stark metaphor for civil rights and nuclear terror, of enemies within and women’s liberation. But while the Cuban Missile Crisis is never lurking too far off screen, and holds the plot firmly in its rocket fingers, little else is touched on, and few parallels are drawn. Where Iron Man wrung its hands over the defence industry and war in the Middle East, X-Men: First Class contents itself with a single black character, who alludes to problems beyond his membership in Homo Superior, and then promptly gets killed off. Similarly, while Rose Byrne’s FBI agent Moira MacTaggert (no connection to the character beyond the name, fanboys) is threatened with a return to the typing pool, the opportunity to embrace the allegories the whole series was built on way back in 1963 is largely ignored. Mad Men’s January Jones, who does nothing much of anything as Emma Frost, seems as decorative a presence in the cast as her character is in the villain’s retinue. Look, look, it’s the Sixties everyone!

If X-Men: First Class didn’t have to be an X-Men movie, it would be far better off, because it’s in the demands of the canon where this muscular romp starts to atrophy, beyond missed opportunities and into actual weaknesses. In failing to learn from The Last Stand (which he nearly directed, so he really should have been paying attention), there’s a mess of ensemble characters who might as well be dogs in little coats for all the resemblance they bear to their comic-book counterparts, cluttering up valuable screen time with their Glee-like bleating about being special/different (try not to sick on your popcorn when you first hear the phrase “Mutant, and proud!”). There’s some increasingly stodgy dialogue, and ludicrous decisions and plot developments quickly crammed into the last half-hour in a joyless and mechanical attempt to move things from raucous period thriller to some point prior to the first movie – possibly a result of the film’s hectic production schedule. The transition from the narrative open field of the film’s beginnings, where anything seemed game, to the heavily formulaic, traditional X-movie fare of the conclusion where Good Mutants and Bad Mutants face off, and overcome where they previously failed by working as a team, before trading self-righteous, valedictory speeches, is as stark as crossing from West to East Berlin.

The relationship between Xavier (James McAvoy, not doing a Patrick Stewart impression thankfully) and the man who would be Magneto (the craggy Michael Fassbender) is complex and genuine, which only makes the last 30 minutes even more absurd – would you really defend the terrified bigotry of mankind by saying “They were only following orders” to a holocaust survivor? Dude, seriously, are you trying to turn him into a supervillain?

Kevin Bacon’s steely sadist Sebastian Shaw is a delight. Despite occupying full Bond villain territory, complete with his gimmicky, monosyllabic sidekicks, who when lurking in their submarine are slightly reminiscent of the rogues gallery in the 1966 Batman movie – again dogs in little coats using the names of characters from the comic – he’s supremely menacing, conveying power without CGI (although there’s plenty of it), his whole shtick an ominous foreshadowing of Magneto’s own campaign of messianic terror on behalf of mutantkind.

From the yapping huddle of dogs in little coats comes a beautifully understated performance from Skins’ Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy, the sophistication of his insecure genius standing in direct contrast to Jennifer Lawrence’s Raven ‘Mystique’ Darkholme, whose heavy handed ‘issues’ are on a par with Anna Paquin’s performance in the first X-Men film, and a definite catalyst for a Glee-style song and dance number.

In a year in which Marvel have given us Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger is lurking on the horizon like the silhouette of the flag going up over Iwo Jima, it would be easy for X-Men: First Class to be just another superhero movie, but against the odds it carves out its own little corner of the world, with its own tone and delicious style.

If Matthew Vaughn’s power is of mesmerising illusions, then the fact that he at least made us forget we were hurtling toward such lyrical gems as “Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning?” and “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” is good enough. That it comes with a real sense of charm, warmth and fun – long since strangers to this particular franchise – is a bonus.

Review: X-Men: First ClassReview: X-Men: First ClassReview: X-Men: First Class
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Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2011 4:30 am

http://www.obsessedwithfilm.com/reviews/review-x-men-first-class-outstanding-comic-book-movie.php

Review: X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Outstanding Comic Book Movie

May 25, 2011 12:16 pm
Ed Whitfield
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Rating: ★★★★☆

(Our second glowing review of the film)

X-Men: First Class is not a good comic book movie; it’s an outstanding comic book movie. A common criticism of panel to frame adaptations is the infantilising of the material. Theme and character have all too often been sacrificed for sensation, with very few filmmakers understanding that comic books, though part of the iconography of childhood, are in fact sumptuous allegory factories; an alternative literature that uses fantasy as a tool to explore pertinent social questions.

Matthew Vaughn understands this very well. His origin story, arguably the franchise’s strongest, embodies the question on which X-Men pivots, namely reactions to intolerance, in the form of a young Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr. This, fundamentally, has always been what this series is about, the notion of whether you overpower fear and hatred with more of the same, thereby losing your moral authority, or meet the challenge with understanding and optimism, hoping to effect by example. This, we’re reminded, in a series of vignettes, is not a simple choice, not least because whatever the differentiation from the default norms that make us all, strictly speaking, beige, we’re all human and consequently enslaved to a destabilising and polarising nature.

The film, set in 1962, plots the formation of two groups of Mutants familiar to fans of the series; the brotherhood, a supremacist movement headed by Holocaust survivor, Magneto, intensely realised by Michael Fassbender, and the titular heroes, lead by moderate Oxonian, Professor X, charmingly played by James McAvoy. This dichotomy is created against the backdrop that informed the creation of the comic books; nuclear proliferation, humanity ideologically divided with clear lines of demarcation between the Superpowers, profound and painful social upheaval, particularly in the United States, a country feeling the full weight of the civil rights movement and a world still subordinate to the legacy of the Second World War.

Bryan Singer’s original X-Men movie skipped over this in a single cut, so Vaughn’s represents something of a restoration; he starts where Singer started, with an identical Auschwitz prologue, going on to tell the story that arguably should have been told all along.

The result is a movie that wears the trapping of a sixties espionage thriller like a well tailored suit, from cold war skulduggery, to ships that house submarines, to a war averting climax, while carefully teasing out the themes that preoccupy the characters. Consequently the balance between crowd pleasing action and characterisation is a tenfold improvement on Gavin Hood’s perfunctory and listless Wolverine movie, and whisper it quietly, Singer’s originals.

First Class might even be too good for its predecessors’ comfort. An unintended consequence of its sure handed grip on character is the retroactive tarnishing of the original films. Jennifer Lawerence’s Mystique, here given real voice and a conflicted psyche, makes psychological mincemeat of her on screen predecessor (or successor if you wish to be pedantic). In contrast, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is lifeless; a naked, blue woman for teen erections.

Beast, who in a neat allusion to Jekyll and Hyde (Frankenstein also gets a nod), inadvertently brings about his own full and monstrous mutation, is, in the hands of Nicholas Hoult, a vulnerable and timid character, struggling with his identity. Kelsey Grammar’s incarnation is frivolous by comparison. Fans of the series will no doubt see this a long overdue correction but there’s undeniable collateral damage to the original trilogy which will be immediately apparent when, inevitably, someone sits down to watch them in chronological order.

Previous X-Pictures have suffered, when they’ve suffered, from a surfeit of characters but little interest in most, bar the headline acts. First Class fares better, not least because the screenwriting quadruplet of Ashley Miller, Zack Stenz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, are far more adept at integrating the characters’ back stories and using those interactions to construct their outlook. Nothing just happens in this movie; characters are advanced through experience, shaped by events. Inevitably, given such a large cast, some mutants are relegated to supporting roles, but given this is the first of an intended trilogy, there’s no reason to suspect that’s permanent.

There’s no doubt that those sequels deserve to be made. Perfectly paced and laced with good humour, plus a merciful absence of heavy handed allusions to future events, X-Men: First Class is a cerebral, well made blockbuster, anchored by two strong leads and a pulsing score by Henry Jackman; it’s a movie that plies it wares with great confidence and imagination.

WETA, who provide the movie’s often impressive visual effects, the Cuban Missile Climax being a standout, are still no Industrial Light and Magic but they’re catching up fast. Rendered wizardry gives the film plenty of scope and an evocative sense of period. Bond-eque histrionics, sans the misogyny and the racial stereotyping, make for a very sweet confection; a movie that evokes classic cold war thrillers but feels fresh and relevant to a modern audience.

X-Men: First Class opens in the U.K. on June 1st and in the U.S. on June 3rd.
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Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2011 4:30 am

http://theglobalherald.com/x-men-first-class-from-auschwitz-to-cuba/16916/

X-Men First Class: From Auschwitz to Cuba

X-Men First Class is the prequel to the hugely popular X-Men series. The new film delves into the complex history of Professor X and Magneto – leaders of the mutants.

Against the backdrop of the cold war, the mutants first start to notice their powers. A charismatic and privileged young Charles Xavier meets the driven and battle-hardened Erik Lehnsherr. At first the young men enjoy the novelty of their powers in the grounds of Xavier’s extensive family estate. However, their extraordinary abilities soon bring them both face to face with the greatest threat humanity has ever known – the Cuban missile crisis.

Playing, Sebastian Shaw, the sociopathic force behind the nuclear stand-off is Kevin Bacon. He calls the setting a “cool way” to set up the X-Men history:

“Shaw’s plan is to escalate the Cuban missile crisis, to get Russian ships and submarines into the Bay of Pigs, and have the Americans and Russians fire at each other – triggering a nuclear war that will eradicate humanity and allow mutants to take over the world. It’s a fantastic plot device. It was an incredibly tense moment in world history.”

The story behind Magneto’s rage also becomes apparent as the movie explores the young Lehnsherr’s experiences at Auschwitz and his quest to hunt down the Nazi scientist who experimented on him. His fond friendship with Charles is overshadowed by his bloodthirst. The need to bring Dr Schmidt to justice soon weighs on the amicable pair.

Michael Fassbender, who played the young Lehnsherr, explains:

“There is a very strong bond between Charles and Erik, and a deep respect. But from the beginning, their ideologies are at odds. Erik is very wary of new elements in his life and of getting close to someone again. He does so with Charles as much as he can with anyone. We wanted to have a believable journey to the point where their devastating rift begins. When Erik and Charles have their parting of the ways, audiences will realize that great things could have happened if they had joined forces forever.

“Erik is quite Machiavellian; he believes the end justifies the means. He has no regard for humans, and feels they’re inferior. He is totally driven; if Charles or anyone gets in his way, he’s going to put them down.”

The film provides an introduction to many of the best known mutants. Charles meets a blue-skinned mutant named Raven, who has superhuman agility. In later films she becomes Mystique and joins forces with Magneto in the battle for mutant survival. The Banshee also finds his voice in the film – especially useful in the acoustic battle against submarines off the coast of Cuba.

Fans also get to meet the first version of the Cerebro – which was ingeniously reverse-engineered by production designer Chris Seagers to look like a prototype of the device seen in later films. The shape was also inspired by the observatory domes that can be seen on the estates of some stately homes in England. He also designed more than 80 sets at Pinewood Studios to give the film its sixties backdrop:

“That era was groundbreaking in terms of design. Everything was new. Color, shape, and modern lightweight materials like plastic burst onto the scene. We were starting to see these new materials in the architecture. Matthew Vaughn was also very keen to inject some of that James Bond-ian style into the look of the film, while preserving the somewhat darker landscape of the X-Men world.”

The X-Jet model was based on the XB-70, a prototype long-range, supersonic bomber developed in the U.S. in the late 1950s. Englefield House, a Tudor mansion in Berkshire, England, was chosen as the site for Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

X-Men First Class is released in cinemas in the US on 3rd June 2011 and throughout June in other territories.

Copied from: X-Men First Class: From Auschwitz to Cuba | The Global Herald http://theglobalherald.com/x-men-first-class-from-auschwitz-to-cuba/16916/#ixzz1NdMvRWqF
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Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2011 4:33 am

http://disordermagazine.com/xmen-class/random/

It’s hard to decipher what people want to talk about more – the demise of the X-Men franchise or the prowess of the seemingly unstoppable Vaughn/Goldman team, but it’s safe to say that, yes, after Brett Ratner’s swollen and laborious X-Men: Last Stand, First Class shifts the struggling comic-cum-billion dollar endeavor to seek and find refreshingly higher levels.

There’s not too much you can say doesn’t work in First Class, but the occasional set up – such as the newly discovered mutants showing off what they can do in a kind of homage to teenage kicks – come across as decidedly clunky. Dialogue is mercilessly shoehorned in and although these scenes are necessary to the rule of a prequel’s how/when/why, it doesn’t stop it from feeling like the film stops to tie its shoelaces on a pair of cement boots. The cameos and obligatory montage also feel remarkably tossed in – true geeks will whoop for joy, for the rest of us it’s little more than a few minutes of strategic orchestration.

Where X-Men: First Class does come into earning respect is with its two leads – Magneto/Erik (Michael Fassbender) and Professor X/Xavier (James McAvoy) – from their first meeting to the bittersweet destruction of a short-lived friendship. Opening with a powerful pre-title sequence around Erik’s loss of his mother to the Nazi’s and Kevin Bacon’s nasty, but nattily dressed villain, Sebastian Shaw, from then on the film’s 132 minutes literally sprint past, making Vaughn’s handling of the Erik/Xavier relationship masterful, managing to retain emotive realism and a quiet, dignified core even as the action explodes and orbits around them.

This level of concentration means even staples such as Raven/Mystique, Hank/Beast, get slightly left by the wayside. Their characters are only loosely explored, and given the simple theme of ‘fitting in’ to anchor them to the cause and divide that Erik and Xavier are focused on. With such a large ensemble cast and what is essentially three tightly woven plot strands, dialogue is thinly divided and characters simply get downsized as the film moves towards conclusion; Shaw’s mutant henchmen get to do plenty of CGI but don’t have a line among them bar January Jones’ diamond skinned telepath, Emma Frost, whose storyline eventually falls off the radar without warning.

Thus it falls squarely onto the shoulders of Fassbender and McAvoy to demonstrate the origins of struggle, anger, fear and isolation of being a mutant, not just within themselves but for every single mutant that we’ve seen and connected with in the previous films. It’s a tall order but both actors excel. Magneto, always far too camp with Ian McKellan sneering and eyebrow-arching like a panto dame in the role, is at last played with the fearsomely intense and barely disguised rage that allows you to comprehend his later actions.

Fassbender runs the gauntlet of victim, hero and villain without breaking a sweat, his charisma and class almost unseating the well-seasoned and always entertaining Kevin Bacon. McAvoy, as evidenced in his tightly wound performance as Wesley in the Jolie/Freeman dog ‘Wanted’, can do unassuming and quietly powerful like it’s second nature but Vaughn/Goldman have wisely written Xavier’s transition from young man to mutant leader with less Professor X-ism’s, infusing it instead with shy humour. It allows McAvoy’s genuine warmth to radiate right off the screen even as he’s gently building the loyalty and trust that allows him to hold his own against alpha male Fassbender.

X-Men: First Class has two other secret weapons, production designer Chris Seagers and cinematographer, John Mathieson. The sets are flawless as they move from the 40s through to the 60s, effortlessly aiding the importance of the political landscape that shapes the plot, while Mathieson is in keeping with the era, mixing an almost plastic lightness and sheen of America with the gritty greys and reds of Cold War Russia. Unlike previous X-Men, which featured dark sets and murky palettes, First Class plays with wide expanses, blue skies and a tangible feeling of freedom and new horizons, which, in a very real way, is exactly what Vaughn has done with the franchise. Here’s to a new liberty.

4/5

words by Taylor Glasby
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Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2011 4:33 am

http://worldenter.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/x-men-first-class-first-reviews-say-prequel-is-a-huge-home-run/

‘X-Men: First Class’: First Reviews Say Prequel Is ‘a Huge Home Run’

25 May 2011

by Asad

The Matthew Vaughn-directed film comes out June 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The movie comes out June 3.
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Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2011 11:16 pm

http://blogs.coventrytelegraph.net/thegeekfiles/2011/05/film-review-x-men-first-class.html

Film Review: X-Men: First Class
By David Bentley on May 28, 11 03:59 PM

AFTER four X-Men movies, you might wonder where the franchise could possibly go next and, more to the point, if there's really any mileage left in it.

On the strength of the brilliant new film X-Men: First Class, the simple answer to the last question is: Yes!

Hollywood has become obsessed with prequels and reinventions and here is one example where it works to dazzling effect. The franchise has been reborn.

The X-Men comics first hit shelves back in the early 60s and, fittingly, it's to that era that this new film returns. The mutants have gone back to their roots in a tale with style and substance as well as spectacle.

Matthew Vaughn has delivered a First Class film, not only serving as a loose origin tale to the existing movies but also taking things in an exciting new direction that feels like a vibrant relaunch for the series.

With prequels, the danger is that you know how the story ends but First Class defies that and reinvigorates the big-screen version of the X-Men in a surprising way.

It does for the superpowered mutants what Casino Royale did for Bond and what 2009's new Star Trek movie did for that ailing franchise. And there are a lot of 007 elements deliberately woven into the story.

With Bryan Singer - director of the first two X-Men movies - back on board as a producer, it really does feel like a return to the earlier and more thoughtful values of this series.

Singer came up with the story and left it in the capable hands of director Matthew Vaughn, who brings his own edgy, sexy, colourful splash to the proceedings.

It's a winning combination, aided by Vaughn's frequent collaborator Jane Goldman (Jonathan Ross's crimson-haired wife) on writing duties along with Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller who worked on Marvel's recent Thor movie.

The story centres on the early years of Xavier and Magneto - how they first met and worked together and the devastating events that led to the disintegration of their friendship.

Singer cleverly uses the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis - the closest we've yet come to World War 3 - as the backdrop. Such a real-world historical event enhances our connection to the story and gives it a sense of realism, weight and of something great at stake.

James McAvoy plays Charles Xavier, a wealthy, educated man whose telepathy gives him insight into the thoughts and turmoils of others and who dreams of a golden age where man and the newly-emerging mutants can live together in peace. In his younger years, we see he's far from saintly or monastic though.

Events bring Xavier into contact with metal-manipulating Erik Lehnsherr, the man who will become Magneto. He is a Holocaust survivor driven by grief, bitterness and revenge.

Together they discover the horrors of war are far from dead and must work together to stop the plans of the nefarious Hellfire Club, led by Kevin Bacon's evil Sebastian Shaw.

Shaw's cohorts comprise icy-but-sexy Emma Frost (Mad Men's January Jones), a scantily-clad telepath who can also turn into a diamond-like form; red devil Azazel (English actor Jason Flemyng), who has the power to teleport; and tornado-twirling Riptide (Spanish actor Alex Gonzalez).

With the help of the CIA, Xavier and Magneto gradually discover and assemble their own band of mutants, consisting of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), insect-winged Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), supersonically-wailing Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), energy-blasting Havok (Lucas Till) and environment-adapting Darwin (Edi Gathegi).

X-Men First Class poster Fassbender.jpgBut such fantastical comic book elements are only part of the story. This is far from your standard superhero fare, as the film rises above and beyond to explore the characters' human struggles and conflicts in a story whose prime focus is drama and emotion.

It's not all deadly serious though, as Vaughn adds moments of fun and comedy, sometimes with the help of some special guests.

Much of the brilliance of the movie is in the dramatic tension. Unless you have been foolishly spoiling yourself with every piece of information you can find out online, you won't know what will happen next and how things will turn out. It makes for mesmerising viewing packed with suspense as we move towards the epic climax.

And for those who are sticklers for the comics and for the accurate adaptation of their decades of ever-changing stories, there is plenty to enjoy.

Magneto's helmet is exactly as in the comics, as accurate a representation as it's ever been. Banshee flies on his sonic shockwaves with the aid of glider wings straight from the original artwork. Emma Frost struts about in lingerie and leather just as she does on the printed page. Several classic cameo appearances acknowledge the existing X-Men world. Indeed it feels exactly like an X-Men movie and yet so much more than just a comic book adventure.

If there are any nitpicks, I'd like to have known more about why Emma Frost and Azazel have chosen to fight alongside Shaw. Hopefully this can be expanded upon in any further films.

However, the various henchmen have been similarly treated in previous X-Men movies and this is a minor quibble in an ensemble film that needs to juggle so many characters.

Among the excellent cast, Michael Fassbender was the stand-out star, bringing brooding gravitas (as well as impressive multilingual skills), even though his Irish accent seems to creep in during some of the final scenes. Overall, he was simply magnetic, with a dark intensity that perfectly counterbalances McAvoy's lighter portrayal of posh, principled idealism.

Fassbender's admission that he studied the comics version of Magneto to find every possible nuance and detail of his tormented character gives him geek credentials galore and even more points on screen.

Matthew Vaughn, at one time set to direct X-Men: The Last Stand before Brett Ratner stepped in, proves he can capably manage the challenges and complexities of the X-Men's long-established world and, crucially, the underlying themes of the story.

Best film so far this year and well worth the rapturous applause it earned at the preview screening I attended. I can't wait to see where the story goes next.

X-Men: First Class is in UK cinemas on Wednesday, June 1.

Running time: 131 mins. Rating: 12A

Rating: 5/5
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Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2011 11:18 pm

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/249430/Film-review-X-Men-First-Class

FILM REVIEW: X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

X-Men: First Class 4/5

Sunday May 29,2011
By Henry Fitzherbert

THE BRITONS have conquered the comic-book blockbuster. Hollywood crown prince Christopher Nolan revived Batman and is producing a new version of Superman; Kenneth Branagh directed a surprisingly entertaining Thor and now Matthew Vaughn has delivered X-Men: First Class, an accomplished blockbuster that revives the rather moribund series with panache.

A prequel to the original X-Men films directed by Bryan Singer, the picture benefits from a fresh young cast, several of them British, including leads James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, and cleverly combines comic-book fun and fantasy with a Sixties-set, real-world espionage thriller that recalls James Bond.

In an ambitious story that spans several countries and cleverly integrates the Cold War chills of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vaughn adroitly blends action, humour and emotion, while introducing a large cast of characters and maintaining a keen pace. A wrenching prologue depicts the future Magneto (Ian McKellen in the previous films) as a young boy, Erik, being separated from his mother in a Second World War concentration camp. The sequence establishes his hitherto undiscovered “mutant” power, telekinetic skills unlocked by anger, and introduces the film’s memorable villain, Nazi doctor Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) who, like Erik, is also a mutant: highly evolved humans with a unique, often disfiguring talent.

After also meeting the young Charles Xavier, (the future Patrick Stewart) we flash forward to the Sixties when Charles and Erik (now played by McAvoy and Fassbender) cross paths in a mission to thwart Shaw, a megalomaniac mutant supremacist plotting nuclear armageddon between America and Russia. It’s a very Bond-like plot and Bacon’s Shaw is a very Bond-like villain, with a crazed, red-skinned mutant henchman (Jason Flemyng) and alluring female sidekick, Emma Frost (January Jones).

The real duel, however, is between Charles and Erik as their contrasting philosophies evolve during their quest to vanquish Shaw, the amiable, professorial Charles advocating trust and accommodation with humans, the aggressive Erik much more militant.

It’s a rehash of familiar themes from the earlier films but the actors inject it with fresh vigour. McAvoy is very engaging as the young Charles, a sparky and good-hearted soul with a twinkle in his eye, while Fassbender commands as his tough-talking foil. Happily, the picture never takes itself too seriously and has plenty of fun with the supporting characters, especially the team of young mutants recruited to the CIA’s new “mutant division”.

It’s slightly overlong and its message of “geek empowerment” feels overfamiliar but for fans X-Men: First Class delivers with aplomb.
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Post by Admin on Sun May 29, 2011 9:34 pm

http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts-ents/film-tv-reviews/x-men-first-class-12a-sunday-herald-view-1.1103675

X-Men: First Class (12A) - Sunday Herald view

Film of the week X-Men: First Class (12A) Reviewed by Demetrios Matheou

29 May 2011

My favourite part of superhero films is always the beginning, the moment when our heroes discover their powers and embark on being super: Peter Parker testing Spider Man’s web, Tony Stark inventing Iron Man’s first suit, Bruce Banner realising that the Hulk needs a new tailor.

These “origins” stories are the fun part, while also containing the seeds of the character’s psychological trauma.

The X-Men series has been back-to-front in this respect, opening in 2000 with the mutants Professor X and Magneto already as adversaries, their powers and those of their supporters in full flow. The producers were holding something in reserve. They started tapping into that potential with the mundane X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In contrast, X-Men: First Class is the real deal; with British director Matthew Vaughn at the helm (full of beans after Kick-Ass), not only is it a near-perfect example of the “prequel”, it’s also my favourite of the series so far.
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Post by Admin on Sun May 29, 2011 9:38 pm

http://geeksyndicate.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/review-x-men-first-class/

REVIEW: X-Men: First Class

Posted by montoc1701 on May 30, 2011

X-Men: First Class

DIR: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, January Jones

Writers (Screenplay & Story): Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer

Out this week

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

Before I go into full review mode I want to set the scene here. When they first announced this movie my first thoughts were “not another prequel”. X-Men Last Stand was just dire and had hardly any redeeming features, Wolverine was better but still a bit of a mess in places, but then some details emerged about First Class that made me think it might not be all bad. Bryan Singer was back in the captains chair as Producer and looking at a specific story set in the 60’s, then Matthew Vaughn came on board as the Director. So far so good. I like Singer and have loved Vaughn’s movies so far. Not far behind was Jane Goldman to help with the screenplay and after her great work on Stardust and Kick Ass I was getting excited.
Then the cast started to come together with James McAvoy announced as Charles Xavier, this is where I new I had gotten my hopes up to high. I was not a fan of McAvoy and have never been impressed with his work. A few other cast members were announced that did not install confidence in me so with this in mind I quietly pushed X-Men: First Class to the back of my mind.

Over the past month or so the marketing department at FOX have been going not just full throttle but warp speed with their marketing. But not in a good way, there was some confusion when the first poster was released and it should not have been, then other posters came out that looked just dire with what looked like photoshop heads on body’s. Then we started to get trailers, not one, not two but many and at last count there have been about 18 trailers and TV spots, most of which have not really done their job. Sure they showed off some set pieces and some dark moments but nothing to make you go WOW this looks great.

So with my frame of mind firmly in place it must be time to get back to the review. The Odeon Leicester played host to a packed crowd and after a short introduction from FOX the film started. In the first few minutes we are treated to what looks like a scene for scene recreation of the Erik Lensherr metal gate bending sequence from the first film. You know right away that we are in familiar territory and that it is trying to fully embrace what has come before (or after in chronologically terms). From here we start to see the back history of both Charles and Erik from childhood to adulthood. Although this is done in a short space of time Vaughn has made you believe that you have just had 30 minutes of back story in 10. Included in this first part of the movie is our introduction to a very young Raven, who would later go on to become Mystique and also Sebastian Shaw played by Kevin Bacon. In this first part of the movie we are treated to more character development than the whole of the 3 X-Men movies.

I will eat my words and say that I was mesmerised by McAvoy’s take on Xavier, who is in his prime and cocky and also a bit of a ladies man. Every word he spoke seemed so right and I started to really enjoy both the character’s take and McAvoy’s performance. We are also treated to a before now unknown relationship between Charles and Raven but not in the way you might think. Raven/Mystique is played by Jennifer Lawrence and for me was one of the most interesting characters in the movie apart from Xavier and Erik. Lawrence displayed a range of emotions that really started to tug at the old heartstrings.

Michael Fassbender was a great choice for Erik, I was not aware of his work prior to this film but I cannot imagine anyone else in the role of young Magneto. We are treated to his journey from a young boy to a man out for revenge and then to a man with hope and beyond. I am quite sure now that there will be no Magneto Origins movie as this film has done it and I would hate to see it go to waste.

During the course of the movie we see Charles and Erik recruit and round up their team while working with the CIA. It is here that we start to see the team assembling but we also start to see more of the humour coming through. In previous X-Men films we have only had touches of humour but here we have a whole new level which is just subtle enough to be enjoyable and fun. The team are made up of some fine young actors the weakest of which is Zoë Kravitz as Angel. I would to have preferred some more screen time for the team but they all get their chance to shine, shout and fly. A shout out must be given to Nicholas Hoult who does a fine job as the young genius Hank McCoy and it really does flow neatly into the Beast we know from X-Men Last Stand.

On the opposition we have the Hellfire Club lead by Bacon’s Shaw and supported by the lovely January Jones as Emma Frost and her many revealing outfits. Bacon managed to straddle the line between camp Bond villain and super powered maniac well. Supporting the rear are Jason Flemyng as Azazel, who could possible be Nightcrawler’s dad, and Álex González as Riptide. The shame here is that Azazel and Riptide hardly got any development or words for that matter but their presence was strong on screen. Other supporting characters include Oliver Platt as a CIA agent along with Rose Byrne as the faithful ally of Xavier Dr. Moira MacTaggert but here just a young CIA agent.

Director Matthew Vaughn has said he wanted to make a kind of early Bond X-Men and he certainly pulls this off. The 60’s style and setting just shines on screen and Henry Jackman’s score is very entertaining and not what you would expect from an X-Men movie. This falls in line with the spirit of the film and the gentle humour. The CGI is kept to a minimum which is perfect and the finale has enough to please the comics and blockbuster crowd.

This film also has one of the geekest moments I have seen in a long while that had the whole cinema cheering and clapping, even me. However a real shame there was no post credit scene which is kind of expected these days in most movies and there was one scene that could have been pushed back. Yes I’m looking at you Ms Frost and Erik.

The only real concerns on this film for me were the plot holes regarding when Xavier could have used his memory swipe power and also the effects on Beast just did not seem as good as they were on X-Men Last Stand. Also the CIA would have known that Xavier owned a huge estate so not really a secret. Apart from that this is my movie of the year so far and is one of best Super Hero movies out there. See below the slideshow for our GS rating

X-Men: First Class is first rate and the story is top of its class in not just comic book movies but movies full stop.

GS Rating: 4/5

SOURCE: X-Men: First Class site

GS Reporter: Montoya
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Post by Admin on Sun May 29, 2011 10:17 pm

http://pcbunny.co.za/2011/05/29/x-men-first-class-2011-review/

X-Men: First Class (2011) – Review
Posted by grandpagohan on May 29, 2011

In 1963, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.

Director

Matthew Vaughn

Stars

James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence

Running Time

130 min

Genre

Action | Adventure | Drama

Age Rating

PG – 13

Release Date (South Africa)

3 June 2011

The X-Men films have become the Tim Burton Batman movies of the 21st century — we remember them perhaps too fondly than we should. Sure, they had their moments, and they were a big part of the evolution of the superhero film that got us to where we are today. But if there’s one thing that you take away from director Matthew Vaughn’s excellent prequel/reboot X-Men: First Class, it’s just how antiquated the first three films seem today.

Vaughn, who was originally meant to helm the third X-picture a half decade ago before dropping out at the last minute, eventually cut his teeth in the genre with Kick-Ass. But First Class is far removed from the punkier edge of that superhero film, bringing us all the way back to the origins of Professor Xavier and his gang in the swinging sixties.

James McAvoy plays a Charles Xavier that is all but foreign to us. Walking, drinking, womanizing — with hair! — he’s given us an Xavier who’s less staid and noble and serious and more, well, human. McAvoy’s take on the man who will be Professor X someday is so refreshing that, as the film works its way towards its finale and more familiar aspects of the character begin to surface, we can’t help but feel just a bit disappointed. He’s half the reason why this film works.

The other half is Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. Magneto. Interestingly, Vaughn actually starts the film with a recreation of the opening of the original Bryan Singer X-Men, as the child Erik first finds his powers when trying to save his mom in a Nazi concentration camp. It’s a ballsy move — does Vaughn really want to weigh himself down at the get-go with an 11-year-old scene that we’ve watched over and over again? — and yet he makes it his own, as Erik’s traumatic origin story in the camps is further explored as the film progresses.

When we meet the adult Erik, he’s a globetrotting, multilingual Nazi hunter with a splash of James Bond and perhaps a bit of Hannibal Lecter in his blood as well. He’s on a single-minded mission to find and destroy the man who made him what he is today — Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw, a fellow mutant who taught the young Erik that only through torture and pain can he fully manifest his powers.

Of course, Xavier is the polar opposite. He’s all about peace, love and harmony, and when his and Erik’s paths cross, they form an instant bond despite their differences. They are, after all, two of the most powerful beings on the planet, but we come to see that it’s more than that as Xavier shows Erik that there are options other than hate and rage and bloodlust. Fassbender and McAvoy share one of the film’s best scenes when Xavier uses his telepathy to unlock a memory of Erik’s that he had all but forgotten — a happy image of his mother. It brings a tear to Erik’s eye, and almost to the viewer’s too.

Meanwhile, Bacon and his brood of evil mutants — they’re kinda/sorta the Hellfire Club from the comics — are planning to spark a nuclear war between the United States and the USSR. Suffice to say that the thinking behind this agenda is very comic-book-esque, but it works and it also serves to give us real stakes as our heroes fight the good fight. They’re out to save us during the Cuban Missile Crisis, for chrissakes!

But first, a new mutant recruitment drive is undertaken, as will happen in an X-Men movie, with this particular batch proving to be the most memorable yet — which is remarkable considering that the comics versions of many of these characters are sort of the second stringers of Xavier’s class. Nicholas Hoult is great as the Beast, who suffers from an inferiority complex despite being super-smart, super-fast and super-blue. Also blue (in more ways than one) is Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, the perennial hot baddie of the previous X-films but a baby-faced good girl here who is Xavier’s closest friend. Zoe Kravitz is Angel — much sexier than the Warren Worthington variation — Edi Gathegi is the ever-evolving Darwin, Lucas Till is the uncontrollable Havok and, almost stealing the show, is Caleb Landry Jones’ sonic-screaming Banshee. Rose Byrne acquits herself ably in the potentially thankless role of the plain old human Moira MacTaggert — albeit a plain old human in lingerie when we first meet her.

Speaking of lingerie, Mad Men’s January Jones is as icy as ever as Shaw’s telepathic, diamond-plated sidekick. Her unique form of un-acting seems perfectly suited for the White Queen. Shaw also keeps a couple of other eye-candy mutants around — Jason Flemyng’s bamfing Azazel and Alex Gonzalez’s tornado-minded Riptide are more special effects than characters, which is just fine in what is a movie that is perhaps too jam-packed with goodness.

As heady and grave as the situations these characters find themselves in are, X-Men: First Class also manages to be a really fun picture too — Xavier’s nights partying in London and telling potential hook-ups that their mutation/hair color is “groovy,” the X-kids fooling around as only young mutants can, the stylized take on the era that Vaughn creates here, even the playful twinkle in Erik’s eye when he’s not otherwise occupied with becoming the scourge of humanity.

Vaughn (and his various and sundry scripters) manages to keep this film connected to the previous films while also launching it as its own franchise. There are several quick but great moments that are undeniably of that former X-universe. But at the same time, First Class is never hamstrung by continuity; who did what when with whom does not dictate this film’s story. As it should not. That may turn out to be a lesson that Marvel will learn the hard way as its Avengers films become increasingly intertwined.

X-Men: First Class is a big, ambitious film that bites off a lot more than most superhero movies could ever hope to chew. It rarely stumbles — some might say it’s overstuffed, but hey, repeat viewings to take it all in are what fanboys like us are made for — it frequently excites, and it also feels. It’s finally just the story of two men and their friendship, which is doomed from the start. We know that story so well, and yet somehow Vaughn has made it feel fresh and new again.

Source: IGN
Story
Acting
Visual Effetcs
Soundtrack
Overall
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Post by Admin on Sun May 29, 2011 10:31 pm

http://andcutfilm.blogspot.com/2011/05/review-x-men-first-class.html

May 29, 2011
Review — X-Men: First Class
Fassbender doing a nice loom as the young Magneto.

What a superb difference an origin story makes to this series. When we had grown tired of Halle Berry's eyes clouding over and James Marsden requiring protective eyewear 24/7, X-Men: First Class takes you back down memory lane to the swinging 60s and the beginnings of Professor X (at the time, simply Charles Xavier, and played by James McAvoy), Magneto (at the time, Erik Lehnsherr, played by the in-demand Michael Fassbender) and Co., before the factions split and s$#! got real.

The beginnings of the life of one Erik Lehnsherr provide a powerful opening to a film that isn't as Hollywood as you might suspect. A troubled child in World War II Germany, ripped apart from his family as they're sent off to a death camp, the young Magneto discovers a power within himself to will objects (but particularly metal) to do his bidding. His abominable treatment as a post-War lab rat and the cold-blooded murder he's left in the shadow of create an unwavering lust for revenge, his thoughts impenetrable until he meets Charles many years later.

One of the most pleasing elements of this film, which presents us with an alternate history that ties in with the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, is the willingness to deal with the emotional truths that lead each of the characters to their forms in X-Men (2000), or not (some don't appear in X-Men at all).

Most surprising to those who haven't read the comics may be the friendship between Charles and Raven/Mystique (played in a very naturalistic way by Winter's Bone star Jennifer Lawrence), who first meet as children; however, her DNA and ability to change her appearance mean she continues to look far younger than her best friend. We meet the duo again in Oxford, Charles is teaching and she, masquerading as his sister. His cheesy pick-up lines allowed us a guffaw or two and it's apparent that the writers and cast are both here for a rollicking good time.

However, the film does have a few minor flaws. The pacing, whip-fast for the most part, seems to overuse titles to orient the story and tell the audience where the hell they are, even though most of the settings are fairly obvious (who doesn't know what some of the famous momuments in Washington, DC look like?). Sebastian Shaw's multilingual ability (there were at least four) tiptoe towards the edge of unlikely scenarios, although Kevin Bacon is most evil as Sebastian Shaw; Emma Frost (January Jones) appears to have forgotten her clothing in most every scene. Crikey, if that's what people meant about this having similarities to a Bond film, then sure.

All jokes aside, Fassbender and McAvoy have a strong screen chemistry, which works best when Xavier's kind, gentle nature prevails to bring out the best in his friend. The big action set pieces are well executed (if not heart in your throat spectacular) and Vaughn and Co. have overall delivered an entertaining, well constructed film packed with solid performances from a mixed lolly bag of seasoned actors and newcomers. Tasty.

X-Men: First Class is a definite return to form for the series and can sit comfortably on Director Matthew Vaughn's shelf of otherwise worthy accomplishments in the geek genre: Stardust and Kick-Ass—the same applies for his co-writer on all three of the most recent projects, Jane Goldman. We think we'll use Professor X and Magneto to demonstrate how we felt about the film on the whole.

"Pip pip, old chap." "Yes, bloody well done."
***1/2
Posted by Katia Nizic at 6:25 PM
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Post by Admin on Sun May 29, 2011 10:38 pm

http://www.pedestrian.tv/entertainment/news/x-men-first-class-review/44611.htm

X-Men: First Class REVIEW May 30, 2011

Marvel are in the challenging position today where their films have to satisfy die-hard aficionados of the comic series as well as cater to fans of the film franchise. X-Men: First Class is the prequel to the X-Men series of films and is set predominantly in 1962, as it pays homage to the release of the first X-Men comic (in 1963). The retro setting works well, and there's a lot there are a nice touches for fans - most obvious being the classic blue & yellow uniforms. The film is aided by providing real-world events such as World War 2, Bay of Pigs and speeches by JFK as a backdrop to the story. Apart from The Watchmen, it doesn't seem like many comic book movies are firmly set in a particular time- I seem to remember a previous X-Men beginning with 'In the Near Future'. The time-stamp and context help to drive the plot and also brings focus to the film when it, at times, whips along at too brisk a pace.

This is director Matthew Vaughn's second foray into the comic book film world- the first being the fantastic Kick-Ass. Vaughn is an engaging and exciting director- incidentally this film is only 5 minutes shorter than Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides (which I saw the night after) but feels about half the length- thanks to the pace and plot-driven storyline. Fans will be happy to note that Bryan Singer also returns as co-writer and producer which could be part of the reason why this film is a return to form for the franchise.

The driving force is undoubtedly the friendship (and its eventual demise) between Professor X and Magneto, portrayed brilliantly by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. The actors had big shoes to fill, playing the roles made famous on screen by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, but they delivered. Even for 'non-fans', it makes for a spine-tingling moment when you realise what is to become of the two comrades. Fassbender steals the film- he is commanding and charismatic (delivering quite a few laughs), as you learn what lies behind his insatiable appetite for revenge. Just a slight side note, but I'm still lost as to why his character suddenly became 'Irish' (Fassbender's native tongue) in the last 20 minutes of the film.

Jennifer Lawrence (read: Winter's Bone girl) is also strong as Mystique. She manages to draw interest and adds complexity to a role which is fairly one-dimensional: 'I want to look normal!' vs 'I should embrace myself as I am, right?' January Jones delivers a largely lifeless performance as Emma Frost. Sure there's eye-candy as she traipses around lingerie-clad, like a mod-ish Bond girl but there's zero sass. It seems all too convenient that the filmmakers thought they could just pull Betty Draper from her 60s housewife setting to the 60s world of the X-Men. As she announces momentously "I wouldn't call it a war exactly, that suggests both sides stand an equal chance of winning", she sounds a bit like it's the fiftieth take of the day, and the 'war' in question is the furthest thing on her mind.

The too-many-characters problem is felt in the film with some of the minor mutants given little more than tidbits of screen time. In fact, the films biggest weakness is it's rushed nature, some scenes and character plot lines left me unsatisfied and wondering if they were really necessary. A larger focus on the relationship of Professor X and Magneto would have really tipped the film over for me, but it's still all you might hope for in this blockbuster and there's definitely enough to get you excited about the series again.

(Look out for a show-stopping cameo too!)
3/5
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Post by Admin on Mon May 30, 2011 3:19 pm

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hollywood/news-interviews/X-Men-First-Class-gets-critical-acclaim/articleshow/8648562.cms

X-Men: First Class gets critical acclaim
Renuka Vyavahare, TNN | May 30, 2011, 04.47pm IST

While 'X-men : First Class' is inching closer to its release, we have a great piece of news for fans of the action franchise.

The 5th of the highly successful X-Men saga is already acquiring great critical acclaim!

Early screenings across the globe are attracting very positive reviews from noted critics, with the film being described as "very entertaining" and "possibly the best film of the franchise"!

Apart from the movie and the story, critics are also appreciating the star cast of the film. "A very entertaining film with a great young cast," commented a trade source, while another exclaimed, "I thought it was really good with a great cast!"

Directed by Matthew Vaughn & starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Becon, Rose Byrne and January Jones amongst many others, the film takes you back to where it all started. The storyline of the movie revolves around the friendship between Charles Xavier a.k.a. Professor X and Erik Lensherr a.k.a. Magneto before it evolved into an eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-men.

The 1960s setting for this film, coupled with outstanding special effects, brilliant action sequences & powerful characters is sure to thrill you like never before. While promos of the film seem promising enough we now have critics noticeably welcoming the movie into cinema houses!

For this X-men flick we just cannot wait! Catch it in theatres on 10th June in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu!
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Post by Admin on Mon May 30, 2011 3:38 pm

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/x-men-first-class-movie-192965

X-Men: First Class: Movie Review
12:00 AM 5/30/2011 by Todd McCarthy

A first-class production that excitingly reenergizes a flagging franchise.

Opens: Friday, June 3 (20th Century Fox)

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Oliver Platt, Jason Flemyng, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi, Kevin Bacon, Caleb Landry Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Matt Craven, Alex Gonzalez, Rade Sherbedgia, Glenn Morshower

Director: Matthew Vaughn
A first-class production that excitingly reenergizes a flagging franchise.



Much as Casino Royale rebooted the James Bond franchise in a fresh and dynamic way, X-Men: First Class injects new blood into a franchise that, for all its profitability, had become blandly anemic. 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.

The spectre of Bond actually hovers over this British-flavored production in a number of ways, all of them beneficial: The 1962 setting shot through with Cold War tensions conjures up the political moment at which 007 was born cinematically, the hardware and style harken back to an earlier high-tech era that looks quaintly beguiling today and Michael Fassbender as Erik, the future Magneto, cuts a dashingly ruthless figure that can only have been patterned on Sean Connery in the early Bonds. First Class is comprised of an enormous stew of elements and influences but head chef Matthew Vaughn has stirred things so as to make them not only digestible but quite tasty.

Departing from the backstory of the comics, the new yarn, devised by Sheldon Turner and original X-Men director Bryan Singer and written by Thor co-scenarists Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz along with Jane Goldman and Vaughn, pivots on an alluringly fanciful proposition, that the real events of the Cuban missile crisis had a shadow history involving manipulations by figures whose super powers put those of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. to shame; it's as if JFK, Khrushchev, Castro, the CIA and the combined armed forces of the East and West were mere puppets doing the bidding of unsuspected Olympian gods, the most spiteful of whom desire nothing less than human extermination.

Not inaptly, then, it all begins (as did Singer's original 2000 X-Men) at Auschwitz, where young Erik, challenged to display his “magnetic” powers, sees his mother gunned down by the heinous camp doctor (Kevin Bacon), an event that dictates all his actions from then on. In the more benign setting of Westchester, New York, two kids, Charles and Raven, exhibit odd characteristics of their own that, nearly two decades later, will put them in the forefront of the mutant movement.

Like the most peripatetic of 1960s globe-hopping thrillers, the early stretch of First Class hardly stays put for more than a moment, jumping all over the world—Geneva, Oxford, Las Vegas, Argentina, Miami, Washington, D.C.--in the service of introducing an enormous number of characters and delineating their unique powers. Under the circumstances, director Vaughn impressively maintains a strong focus dedicated to clarity and dramatic power; while Erik scours the world for stray Nazis (his confrontation with two of them in a tavern on the pampas is an early highlight), Charles (James McAvoy) achieves academic prominence and, with Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), is recruited by the CIA with the eventual aim of assembling a “Division of Mutant Powers.”

Even though a lot of the early material is set-up, it nevertheless develops surprising momentum and tension. The malevolent doctor Erik remembers from the concentration camp now resurfaces as Sebastian Shaw, who has developed an extraordinary capacity to absorb, harness and deploy energy, while his fabulously sexy partner in crime, Emma Frost (January Jones), not only has extreme telepathic ability but possesses an optional indestructible diamond veneer. When Erik tracks them down on board their yacht and seems on the verge of fulfilling his vengeful 18-year quest, his quarry escape in a manner befitting the best of the Bonds.

Once the loner Erik decides to join forces with Charles under the auspices of an offbeat CIA honcho (Oliver Platt) and an adventurous agent (Rose Byrne), the film takes on more the air of a standard-issue Marvel effort as mutant youngsters are trained in hiding to master their unusual powers; they are Hank/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Alex/Havoc (Lucas Till), Sean/Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Armondo/Darwin (Edi Gathegi) and, for a while, Angel (Zoe Kravitz). The problem here is not only familiarity but that, unlike the other characters, these kids seem resolutely 21st century, not early 1960s; one of them even says “whatever.” Another drawback, a likely victim of an overcrowded roster of characters, is that two swarthy henchmen of Shaw's are not even given the benefit of an introduction, much less anything to play.

Still, once Emma Frost penetrates the inner sanctum of the Soviet military and the enormity of Shaw's scheme becomes clear, the film takes off again with a fantastical rendition of an American/Soviet naval confrontation off Cuba trumped by the manipulative antics of battling telepathic mutants on board an ultra-futuristic plane and a stealth submarine.

Vaughn orchestrates the mayhem with a laudable coherence, a task made easier by a charging, churning score by Henry Jackman that, much as that of his mentor Hans Zimmer did in Inception, helps smooth the connections among rapidly changing locations and events. A few of the effects in the climactic section don't quite measure up, but the visual effects by veteran wizard John Dykstra are mostly terrific. Top-drawer contributions are also delivered by production designer Chris Seagers, costume designer Sammy Sheldon and cinematographer John Mathieson.

The cast is almost absurdly easy on the eyes and is most powerful at the top, thanks to the intense Fassbender, who will now need no audition if Daniel Craig decides to give up Bond after another picture or two. McAvoy is forced to spend a bit too much time with his hand to head summoning telepathic signals but nonetheless conveys the intelligence and sobriety required for the future Professor X. Bacon is formidable as the former Nazi who aspires to far greater power than Hitler could ever dream of, while Jones dazzlingly projects the arrogance of maximum beauty and invulnerability. As the naturally blue-skinned, red-haired and yellow-eyed Raven/Mystique, Lawrence is at her most appealing when conveying an ashamed insecurity about her natural looks, which she can conceal with a human facade. A vulgar cameo by a certain hirsute character provides a hearty laugh.



OPENS: June 3 (20th Century Fox)

PRODUCTION: Bad Hat Harry/Donners' Company, Marvel Entertainment, Dune Entertainment

CAST: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Oliver Platt, Jason Flemyng, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi, Kevin Bacon, Caleb Landry Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Matt Craven, Alex Gonzalez, Rade Sherbedgia, Glenn Morshower

DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughn

SCREENWRITERS: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn; story, Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer

PROUCERS: Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Gregory Goodman

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Stan Lee, Tarquin Pack, Josh McLaglen

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: John Mathieson

PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Chris Seagers

COSTUME DESIGNER: Sammy Sheldon

EDITORS: Lee Smith, Eddie Hamilton

MUSIC: Henry Jackman

VISUAL EFFECTS DESIGNER: John Dykstra

PG-13 rating, 132 minutes
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Post by Admin on Mon May 30, 2011 3:50 pm

http://www.shadowlocked.com/201105301863/reviews/x-men-first-class-review.html

X-Men: First Class review
Monday, 30 May 2011 19:14 | by Lewis Bazley

The malcontent mutants have regained their cinematic power in this stunning prequel...

X-Men: First Class (2011)

It’s best to get the Batman Begins comparisons out of the way because, as adept as Christopher Nolan’s film was in reviving a tired franchise, the bar for reboots has been just been raised by Matthew Vaughn and co. Stylish, superbly written and with a winning mesh of action and emotion, X-Men: First Class isn’t just the best Marvel-related movie in years; it’s one of the best films of 2011.

An extremely poor poster campaign aside, it’s a remarkably successful film in every department, with the casting, Jane Goldman’s pacey and layered screenplay and Henry Jackman’s score all impressing. And it’s with no small amount of pride that British film lovers can see how this sceptred isle has provided the key personnel behind restoring the X-Men to the glory of the Bryan Singer years after the disappointment of Brett Ratner’s stinker and the underwhelming Wolverine prequel.

Singer’s role in the franchise, indeed, proves crucial in X-Men: First Class’ appeal. Goldman’s script comes from a Singer story concept and is laden with nods to his two contributions to the series, including a look at the early design for mutant detection machine Cerebro, and an updated take on the emergence of the young Erik Lensherr’s powers in a concentration camp. There’s also a doozie of a cameo appearance and a deeply poignant climax, both of which inform, rather that detract from, the first two X-Men films.

X-Men: First Class is very much its own beast, though, rather than an entertaining yet unnecessary addition to a filmic canon (ahem, Iron Man 2). Like JJ Abrams’ wonderful Star Trek – and, hopefully, Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man – First Class makes you ashamed for ever doubting its worth.

From a surprisingly dark and uncompromising opening through a breathless assembly of a mutant team in the second act to an outstanding finale framed around the Cuban Missile Crisis, X-Men: First Class repeatedly provides thrills and spills with a healthy dose of human – or mutant – emotion behind the smoke and mirrors. One genuinely moving sequence sees Charles Xavier (the ever-engaging James McAvoy) explaining to his hot-headed ally Erik (Michael Fassbender, more on whom later) that the key to unleashing the full might of his mutation lies in finding the middle ground ‘between rage and serenity’, and doing so by telepathically accessing a deeply hidden memory of Erik’s late mother. Jennifer Lawrence’s spirited portrayal of Raven Darkholme (the young Mystique) , meanwhile, and Nicholas Hoult’s take on the self-loathing of Dr Hank McCoy (the nascent Beast) serve as well-handled reminders that, at its heart, the X-Men stories have always been about prejudice and alienation.

It’s not all emotional turmoil and navel-gazing though, with the young mutants especially injecting a sense of fun into a franchise that had grown overly gloomy with X-Men: The Last Stand’s nod to the Dark Phoenix saga and the episodic vengeance arc of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. One set-piece sees Lucas Till’s Havok attempting to control his powers in what appears to be an early Danger Room and a training montage manages to avoid the genre clichés lampooned by Team America. Lawrence’s shape-shifting antics also raise a laugh, with the ‘evolve to survive’ talent of Darwin (Twilight’s Edi Gathegi) intelligently handled and Caleb Landry Jones’ immensely likeable as fledgling flyer Banshee. The villains of the piece are no one-trick ponies either, with Vaughn ever-present Jason Flemyng menacing as shape-shifter Azazel and the big bad of the piece Dr Sebastian Shaw (a swaggering Kevin Bacon) wielding a terrifying – but undeniably exciting – ability to absorb and release energy used against him. There’s eye candy for both sexes, too, with January Jones’ omnipresent cleavage and Lawrence’s curves a match for Fassbender’s polo-necked cool.

Not every aspect of this definite ensemble piece entirely works, with Jones’ Emma Frost given little to do other than display her décolletage and Rose Byrne and Oliver Platt a little underused as Dr Moira MacTaggert and ‘The Man in Black’, respectively. A nicknaming scene among the young mutants also feels patronisingly aimed at newcomers to the series and has a needless echo in the film’s cheesy final line.

But these are relatively minor quibbles for a film that succeeds as more than just a comic book film, thanks largely to Vaughn’s growth as a director – he’d be a fine choice to take on Bond, and after giving the franchise Daniel Craig, may just have found his successor in the masculine and dangerous Fassbender – Goldman’s expertly paced script and two nuanced performances from McAvoy and Fassbender. McAvoy is a charming and level-headed team leader but Fassbender is the undoubted star of the show, whether he’s malevolently torturing a Swiss banker and issuing death threats in fluent French, taking bloody revenge on exiled Nazis or finally allowing his heart to rule his head, with tragic consequences.

While the Cuban Missile Crisis backdrop feels like a tacked-on piece of subtext, X-Men: First Class is a taut and undeniably cool blockbuster. There’s never a dull moment as Goldman’s globetrotting tale zips through a tale of discovering, refining and unleashing superhuman abilities, with well-timed laughs, appealing heroes and dastardly enemies along the way.

Of course, you already know what the future holds for Professor X and Magneto. But thanks to this heroically entertaining film, joining them on the next stage of their battle will be irresistible.

X-Men: First Class goes on general UK release on Wednesday 1st June

5 stars
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Post by Admin on Mon May 30, 2011 3:56 pm

http://www.thereelbits.com/2011/05/30/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class
Posted by Richard Gray and Sarah Ward on May 30th, 2011

X-Men: First Class - Charles Poster (Australia)Like many of Marvel’s iconic superheroes, the X-Men were created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in the 1960s, a time when the world sat under the threat of nuclear war and the United States were being torn apart by civil rights unrest. Unlike some of its contemporaries, also born out of the nuclear age, the series has remained fresh and current through thousands of comic books, several animated series and four highly successful X-Men feature films. With the sour taste of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film still in the mouth of fans, the only place they could put it to muffle their cries of anguish, the X-series is rebooted by Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn.

On the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, recent doctoral recipient Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, Gnomeo & Juliet) is approached by CIA’s Dr. Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne, Insidious) to help track down potentially super-powered mutants behind the growing threat. Charles is also a mutant, with telepathic abilities, and uses his powers to scour the country for other beings with unique abilities to help them fight the good fight. Joining him in this task is the troubled Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender, Inglourious Basterds), a Holocaust survivor with incredible powers over metal, intent on bringing his own brand of justice to Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon, Elephant White).

Richard says:

Matthew Vaughn has made no secret of the fact that he was displeased with the direction of X-Men: The Last Stand, the third film in the principle X-Men series, particularly after he withdrew from that film and was replaced by Brett Ratner. Later claiming that he “could have made something a hundred times better than the film that was eventually made”, fans tended to agree. Vaughn proved himself in the comic book world with his adaptation of Kick-Ass, a take-no-prisoners assault on the senses, and with that victory under his belt he has been able to return to the comic book world. While set in the 1960s, the film does not stick strictly to the canon of the time, or the historic X-Men lineup, nor does it take its story from the 2006-2007 “X-Men: First Class” comic mini-series of the same name. Instead, Vaughn and his team of screenwriters – who included Zack Stentz and Ashley Edward Miller, the boffins behind the big-screen adaptation of Thor – take the series in its own direction, neither wholly indebted to the comic nor the film series that increased its popularity in recent years. It is surprising, given this rather liberating set of circumstances that the writers have found themselves in, that the film opens with a virtual shot-for-shot remake of the concentration camp scene from the original X-Men.

Unlike the majority of recent superhero films, the X-Men have always been distinct as being ensemble pieces. While this is true of this latest installment - with the inclusion of some excellent supporting cast in Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), Rose Byrne, the sensual January Jones (Unknown) and the Man in the Black Suit Oliver Platt – it is McAvoy and Fassbender’s relationship that is the key to unlocking X-Men: First Class. The inevitable clash between the future Professor X and Magneto, played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the earlier films, hangs over all the events of the film, and McAvoy and Fassbender make worthy successors to the classically trained masters. While it is this same air of inevitability that inhibits some of the drama, and leads to a few “and that’s the origin of that” moments, it doesn’t inhibit some of the awesome set-piece action sequences that quite literally blow the previous films out of the water. Yet the film’s drastically reduced budget, with an estimated $100 million cut from the X-Men: The Last Stand budget (and $30 million less than Wolverine), shows in otherwise mundane scenes, such as the strangely failed makeup on Nicholas Hoult’s beast. If this were the first X-Men film, it may just be a modern masterpiece, but as a reboot, it will have to settle for being a great start in a new direction.
The Reel Bits
Vaughn creates his own vision of the X-Universe in a clever, well-paced action film. It doesn’t reach the dizzying heights of X-Men 2, but it provides adds a capable cast and an Bond-esque impressive period setting for a promising reboot to the franchise.

X-Men: First Class

Sarah says:

Films that make it as far as a fifth outing are rare in modern times, with series that continue to impress as they proliferate rarer still. Add the comic book genre to the mix, and the incredulity at increasingly entertaining offerings is amplified, particularly when a once mighty, now faltering franchise such as X-Men is thrown into the mix. Yet, after Bryan Singer’s applauded initial efforts (X-Men and X2), Brett Ratner’s trying third take (X-Men: The Last Stand), Gavin Hood’s wholly unnecessary hirsute offshoot (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), and years of conjecture about other possible continuations (including the rumoured X4, the besieged The Wolverine and the delayed X-Men Origins: Deadpool), Matthew Vaughn returns to the director’s chair after abandoning efforts to tackle the second sequel, and instantly achieves the impossible. Re-booting Stan Lee’s iconic series with an origin-centric prequel about the two characters that form the compelling centre of the mutant versus human struggle, the Layer Cake and Stardust director and his capable scribes craft a bona fide blockbuster that combines style and spectacle as well as intelligence and emotion.

With more than a few knowing nods and cheeky winks to fans of the source material and ardent viewers of the first four installments (including a mid-film cameo that won’t stay secret for long, and the appearance of other familiar faces), X-Men: First Class returns the franchise to its roots. Whilst the battle between the two protagonists is as much of a foregone conclusion as the Cuban missile crisis that provides the story’s dramatic impetus, the film instead focuses on the genesis of relationship shared by the James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender’s Eric Lehnsherr, rather than the inevitable antagonistic outcome. Accordingly, the feature offers an examination of boys from different backgrounds that become beings with contrasting ideologies, yet are linked by a commonality and respect that proves stronger than blood. The casting of consummate talents McAvoy and Fassbender is key to the translation of the tale and the themes of acceptance, understanding and fraternity threaded within, with both excelling in complex parts. Indeed, in shared scenes the dynamic duo are simply outstanding, channelling their predecessors with ease whilst making the iconic roles their own. The remainder of the cast also acquit themselves well (with Kevin Bacon’s effective nemesis cancelling out January Jones’ standard one-note portrayal) in an enjoyable and entertaining, riveting and resonant addition to the X-Men canon.
The Reel Bits
In an inspired round of casting that lifts Matthew Vaughn’s fifth incarnation of the comic book series to another level, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy steal the show as X-Men: First Class delivers exactly the type of stylish sequel the series needed two films ago.

X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class is released in Australia on 2 June 2011 from Fox.

The Reel Bits is the cinema arm of DVD Bits. DVD Bits can be found on Twitter@DVDBits and The Reel Bits @The_ReelBits. DVD Bits is a thttp://www.dvdbits.com.
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Post by Admin on Mon May 30, 2011 3:58 pm

http://fanthefiremagazine.com/blog/film/film-review-x-men-first-class/

Film Review: X-Men: First Class
posted by Martin Roberts
categories: film, reviews
30th
May 2011

X-Men: First Class is the fifth X-Men film since 2000 and yet, in the wake of Pirates 4’s tedious rehash, it serves as a pleasant reminder that remoulding a familiar formula can be successful if the individual elements are strong.

And that’s the case with X-Men: First Class, a film which many, including myself, feared had come too soon. With the exception of one or two unnecessary (though admittedly satisfying) cameos this is a reworking of the franchise which eschews everything we saw in the trilogy Bryan Singer started in 2000. The film also stands alone outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is building up to The Avengers next year, and as such doesn’t suffer from the same narrative qualms seen in Iron Man 2 and, to a lesser extent, Thor.

Though many of the characters will be familiar, the screenwriting team (which includes director Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman) have wisely decided to shift the central focus away from Wolverine (who isn’t involved here) and onto Charles Xavier and Eric Lehnsherr, Professor X and Magneto respectively. The advertising campaign suggested their relationship would be at the film’s core and the storyline establishes itself nicely around it.

It’s the 60s and villainous Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) is attempting to manipulate US and Soviet forces into clashing in order to bring about World War III, thus leaving the path clear for mutants, the “next stage of human evolution” to take their rightful place. Xavier’s and Lehnsherr’s reactions to the question of whether mutants should integrate with ordinary humans or set out on their own have always been at the heart of the X-Men canon, and here the dilemma is posed again. But don’t let those alarm bells put you off, because there is new life in this reboot.

The film’s opening reel has a lot to do and not much time to do it in, as it flits about between time zones and locations, establishing connections and motivations for the various characters. Fortunately, though it’s fast-paced and jumpy, the strands don’t feel disconnected and, once the film settles down, it’s easy to understand the necessity for such a compact and efficient beginning. Crucially, the script manages to keep the motivations and anxieties of its many characters pretty much in check, even if some are obviously sidelined in favour of others. Though the script handles them well, those character nuances, so important to ensembles like this, would have been lost were it not for the efforts of the cast. In particular, James McAvoy (as Professor X) and Michael Fassbender (as Magneto) bring pleasing weight to their roles. Watching the professor attempt to guide his friend to turn a satellite dish (in a scene reminiscent of The Empire Strikes Back) with his burgeoning powers is heartfelt rather than hammy.

Around them, the young cast do well in truncated roles. Newcomers Havok, Angel, Darwin and Banshee aren’t given a huge amount of screen time, but that allows the film’s primary subplot, concerning Mystique and Beast, to come through strongly. Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult do well to establish their relationship in such a short time and their youthful concerns about fitting in and being normal are believable, even if the storyline is thematically familiar and bears some similarities to the previous trilogy.

In terms of spectacle, the film doesn’t disappoint. Vaughn handles his mutants carefully and the action scenes in general are well choreographed and edited. Shaw’s mutant followers include lesser-known mutant Azazel (Jason Flemyng), a teleporter who provides some of the best moments, even if his jumping antics can’t quite match the bravado opening scene of Singer’s X2. In general the film looks great, though there are a few CGI weaknesses here and there, most notably the sound waves emitted by Banshee, Riptide’s tornadoes and White Queen’s crystal form. Also, I never quite came around to the design on Beast’s full blue form, but you can’t have everything.

Although every film should be judged on its own merits, it is inevitable that people will compare this to the recent trilogy. For my money, First Class is closest to X2 in terms of overall quality (though it doesn’t equal it) and it crucially doesn’t feel recycled (take note, Pirates 4). It’s far from perfect, though. At times the dialogue becomes quite exposition heavy and some of the motivations, particularly those of the military in the climactic scene, feel a little forced. It also suffers from a desire to resolve all the issues it thinks the audience are expecting to be resolved in the space of one film. As I said, the film in general handles its narratives well, but it does feel like the screenplay wants very much to get everything in place for a sequel by the time the credits role. There will almost certainly be a sequel in the coming years, possibly two, but after seeing First Class I find myself actually looking forward to that prospect rather than dreading it, which was my fear before I went in.

★★★★★
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Post by Admin on Mon May 30, 2011 4:00 pm

http://yaplog.jp/tiffany1/archive/519

X-Men: First Class REVIEW
May 30 [Mon], 2011, 16:57
Marvel are in the challenging position today where their films have to satisfy die-hard aficionados of the comic series as well as cater to fans of the film franchise. X-Men: First Class is the prequel to the X-Men series of films and is set predominantly in 1962, as it pays homage to the release of the first X-Men comic (in 1963). The retro setting works well, and there's a lot there are a nice touches for fans - most obvious being the classic blue & yellow uniforms. The film is aided by providing real-world events such as World War 2,wholesale ed hardy clothing and wholesale urban wear apparel for all major brand names. Bay of Pigs and speeches by JFK as a backdrop to the story.you will find perfect replica shoes to complement your favorite outfit for a night out on the town in our collection.lacoste shoes are considered a glorious beacon of intelligent design. Apart from The Watchmen, it doesn't seem like many comic book movies are firmly set in a particular time- I seem to remember a previous X-Men beginning with 'In the Near Future'. The time-stamp and context help to drive the plot and also brings focus to the film when it, at times, whips along at too brisk a pace.

This is director Matthew Vaughn's second foray into the comic book film world- the first being the fantastic Kick-Ass. Vaughn is an engaging and exciting director- incidentally this film is only 5 minutes shorter than Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides (which I saw the night after) but feels about half the length- thanks to the pace and plot-driven storyline. Fans will be happy to note that Bryan Singer also returns as co-writer and producer which could be part of the reason why this film is a return to form for the franchise.Buy ed hardy shirts of high quality and low price now and get fast shipping to you within one week.

The driving force is undoubtedly the friendship (and its eventual demise) between Professor X and Magneto, portrayed brilliantly by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. The actors had big shoes to fill, playing the roles made famous on screen by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, but they delivered. Even for 'non-fans', it makes for a spine-tingling moment when you realise what is to become of the two comrades. Fassbender steals the film- he is commanding and charismatic (delivering quite a few laughs), as you learn what lies behind his insatiable appetite for revenge. Just a slight side note, but I'm still lost as to why his character suddenly became 'Irish' (Fassbender's native tongue) in the last 20 minutes of the film.

Jennifer Lawrence (read: Winter's Bone girl) is also strong as Mystique. She manages to draw interest and adds complexity to a role which is fairly one-dimensional: 'I want to look normal!' vs 'I should embrace myself as I am, right?' January Jones delivers a largely lifeless performance as Emma Frost. Sure there's eye-candy as she traipses around lingerie-clad, like a mod-ish Bond girl but there's zero sass. It seems all too convenient that the filmmakers thought they could just pull Betty Draper from her 60s housewife setting to the 60s world of the X-Men. As she announces momentously "I wouldn't call it a war exactly, that suggests both sides stand an equal chance of winning", she sounds a bit like it's the fiftieth take of the day, and the 'war' in question is the furthest thing on her mind.

The too-many-characters problem is felt in the film with some of the minor mutants given little more than tidbits of screen time. In fact, the films biggest weakness is it's rushed nature, some scenes and character plot lines left me unsatisfied and wondering if they were really necessary.These comfortable coach shoes inject that same elegant style into your casual look. A larger focus on the relationship of Professor X and Magneto would have really tipped the film over for me. But, it's still all you might hope for in this blockbuster and there's definitely enough to get you excited about the series again.
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Post by Admin on Mon May 30, 2011 4:03 pm

http://joshwinning.blogspot.com/2011/05/x-men-first-class-2011.html

Monday, 30 May 2011
X-Men: First Class (2011)
Origin stories are tough nuts to crack. Just ask George Lucas. Or X-Men Origins: Wolverine director Gavin Hood, whose 2009 fling with the X-verse endeavoured to fill in knuckle-clawed Wolvie’s back story, but met with more howls than hurrahs.

Could X-Men: First Class be a case of second time lucky, as Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn takes a root through the X-Men’s, uh, roots? Or is history doomed to repeat itself? Well, hardly. Vaughn’s X genesis is easily the classiest, most entertaining X film since X2. Impeccably cast, incisive in its splicing of history with an alt mutant narrative, and neatly balancing its spectacle with its story beats, it's a stunning achievement – especially considering Vaughn had only a year in which to deliver.

It starts with the script. Kick-Ass screenwriter Jane Goldman all but throws out the kid-friendly First Class comic, retaining the title alone and penning a daring historical mutation that pitches the Cold War at a sci-fi tilt. The year is 1963. Bit of rough Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) is hunting former Nazi Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who killed Erik’s mother when he was a child. Meanwhile, cheeky boffin Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) has just gotten his doctorate. When the paths of these two figures cross, you better hold onto your hat – especially after they encounter CIA Agent Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne), who’s tracking the mysterious Hellfire Club, which involves Shaw and his mysterious sidekick Emma Frost (January Jones).

Foregoing the barbed, post-modern bite of Kick-Ass, Vaughn and Goldman have forged a sophisticated period superhero film that fits right in with the aesthetic of Bryan Singer’s two X outings, despite its historical setting. That’s mostly because the ‘60s influence is never exploited as a miserable, Austin Powers-style gimmick, Vaughn instead hand-picking period aesthetics to weave together something richly tangible.

That most stylish of eras permeates every detail; the set design is extravagant (the deliciously sleazy Hellfire Club) and the costumes to die for (Emma Frost’s bustilicious white fantasy get-up). There's even playful split-screen edits, hilarious throwback dialogue (“groovy,” burrs McAvoy), not to mention a twangy, achingly cool score that recalls the best of old school Bond.

Speaking of, Bond is an obvious touchstone. Vaughn once wanted to reboot the spy franchise but never got the chance, and here he seizes the opportunity to position Magneto as a roguish smooth operator (“I basically moulded a young Magneto on a young Sean Connery,” he’s said in interviews). Easily 007’s equal in the charisma stakes, Fassbender rises to the tricky task of speaking in his native German and Russian (though at times fudging an English accent), and positions Magneto as a powerful, volatile force to be reckoned with.

His relationship with Charles/Professor X was always going to provide the, uh, meat of the story, and the boys don’t let us down. McAvoy in particular excels in this incarnation of the well-known Professor (most memorably played with stoic poise by Patrick Stewart), both endearingly emotional and surprisingly flirty - as unstuffy as he is warm and funny.

What of the young mutants promised by that ‘First Class’ subtitle? All are spirited additions, with Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique getting the most screentime, though she’s often sadly lumbered with self-hate issues that err on the side of repetitiveness. That said, Nicolas Hoult’s Beast is enjoyably nerdy, while Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee gets all the laughs. And the FC's obligatory training montage is also one of its standout moments - a fun, flashy segment that zings with energy.

The involvement of the younglings, though, means that the typical X-movie niggle of short-changing secondary characters is still present and correct. Falling prey to the ‘ensemble movie’ curse are villain sidekicks Riptide and Azazel, who barely utter two words between them, while Emma Frost is a fantastic evil Bond girl who’s given no backstory whatsoever. Still, it’s a miracle that Vaughn has managed to create something as coherent as this without sacrificing more of his players. Everybody gets their moment – including the one-dimensional Azazel in a fight-scene reminiscent of X2’s zippy opening.

Vaughn summed it up best himself when he called First Class “X-Men meets Bond”. With Kevin Bacon something of a revelation as a preening, mad baddie, and McAvoy and Fassbender sharing near nuclear levels of chemistry, it’s a busy, gratifying return to form for the X films that ends in a gut-punchingly effective climax. As the credits swirl in a giddy ‘60s motif to the reverberating drawl of those Bondian guitars, you’ll be begging for a sequel. Yes, this X prequel really is (groan) first class. 4/5

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Post by Admin on Mon May 30, 2011 4:04 pm

http://www.filmdetail.com/2011/05/30/x-men-first-class-review/

X-Men: First Class
By Ambrose Heron On 30/05/2011

The Marvel franchise finds new energy and charm with a stylish 1960s period setting, well staged action and fine performances from an impressive ensemble cast.

Opening with the same scene as the 2000 film, an extended prologue explores the formative years of Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence), as they discover their special powers.

Moving forward to the early 1960s, we see how the original X-Men group come together as a CIA agent (Rose Byrne) recruits Xavier and a team of mutants to help them fight the mysterious Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who seeks to exploit Cold War tensions for his own gain.

Along the way they recruit Lehnsherr (for whose deeply personal reasons for joining the mission) and several other mutants (Nicholas Hoult, Caleb Landry Jones and Zoë Kravitz), whilst Shaw has his own team of cohorts (including January Jones, Jason Flemyng).

The most striking thing about the film is the way it erases the bad memories of the shambolic Wolverine prequel – X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) – and the unsatisfactory third film – X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) – which both suffered from the absence of director Bryan Singer (who went off to do Superman Returns instead).

He was back on board as producer here and although the screenplay is credited to four writers, director Matthew Vaughn wisely taps into the vibe of Singer’s first film, which effectively blended issues, emotions and action.

That in turn reflected the original comics, which were forged in the social tumult of the 1960s, so there is something appropriate about seeing these characters brought to the screen in the decade which gave birth to them.

Despite the large ensemble cast, the heart of this film is the relationship between Eric (the future Magneto) and Charles (the future Professor X) and the casting of Fassbender and McAvoy is inspired.

Making the roles their own, they bring surprising levels of gravitas and emotion to their superhero bromance, elevating the material above most comic book adaptations and providing a solid foundation for the wider story.

The supporting cast is also good, with Lawrence (as the future Mystique) standing out in particular and there is a nice smattering of veteran actors from genre movies in cameo roles, including Rade Serbedzija, Ray Wise, Michael Ironside and James Remar.

Moving at a healthy pace, the story takes its cues from classic Bond, with globe-trotting action set-pieces linked to a narrative involving a super-villain, which ends up in a climactic showdown.

Although the action and visuals are handled well, it says a great deal about the film that the most effective thing is the relationships that lie at the heart of the film.

The villains are a little one note at times (especially January Jones) and Bacon too much like a Bond villain for comfort.

But overall the conflicts are well played, whilst the ethical dilemas of the mutants (should they join or fight a suspicious society?) hover effectively in the background.

It doesn’t approach the heights of X-Men 2 (2003), still the best of the series, but fans of the franchise might notice the narrative parallels between this prequel and Singer’s first two films: a rouge outsider joins forces with other mutants to fight a common enemy; and opposing mutants band together despite their differences.

My main reservation plot wise was something that happens at the climax (which I can’t reveal for spoiler reasons), suffice to say that a particular character develops a bit too early.

The period detail is impressive, although in keeping with a stylised fantasy version of the 60s, and the production design effectively channels the Cold War era, with films such as Dr. Strangelove (1964) and You Only Live Twice (1968) being a marked influences on the design.

There is a distinct influence of Mad Men in the air with casting of Jones, the 1960s setting and the resulting costumes, although it never overpowers the material itself.

Blending the Bond influence with the events of Cuban missile crisis also feels appropriate given how often 007’s adventures were inspired by Cold War intrigue.

As you might expect for a film of this scale, the production design, costumes and visual effects are impressive, although at times (especially the climax) the CGI is a little over used.

Plus, for a film so faithful to the original trilogy there appears to be a continuity error so glaring, I’m assuming it must be deliberate (email me for further details, as it is firmly in spoiler territory).

In an age of prequels, sequels and remakes, perhaps the best thing about X-Men First Class is that it feels like a fresh spin on the comic book formula.

There is enough here for both the mass audience and experienced comic book geeks to enjoy (one ‘Easter Egg’ cameo is sure to bring the house down).

When this project was first announced, it seemed like Fox was just rehashing a cash-cow franchise, but credit must go to the studio for trusting filmmakers to revisit the essence of the original comics and translate them into a deeply satisfying summer movie.

X-Men First Class opens on Wednesday 1st June
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Post by Admin on Mon May 30, 2011 4:08 pm

http://www.theartsdesk.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=3786:film-x-men-first-classs&Itemid=27

Monday, 30 May 2011 01:05
Film: X-Men: First Class
Written by Adam Sweeting

Michael Fassbender as Erik, the man who will become Magneto

If there's one thing Hollywood hates more than people bootlegging its latest blockbusters on mobile phones, it's letting a lucrative franchise go to waste. Thus, after the initial three X-Men films and 2009's Wolverine spin-off, you are invited to roll up for the prequel, skippered by Brit director Matthew Vaughn, of Layer Cake and Kick-Ass fame.

The young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is a bright and breezy telepath, schmoozing the girls with his amazing intuitive powers in a supposedly 1950s Oxford University. By contrast, Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), whom the world will come to know as Magneto, is carrying the burden not only of his amazing telekinetic powers, but also of his hideous childhood as an experimental subject in a Nazi concentration camp.
'The sense that this is a cut-price X-Men skimping on the superstar budget grows stronger as it turns into a potboilerisation of the Cuban Missile Crisis'



The villain du jour is Sebastian Shaw, who just happens to be the same cackling maniac who abused poor Erik so vilely back in 1940s Poland. He's played by Kevin Bacon using one of Ernst Stavro Blofeld's old World Domination kits of menacing sneers, imperious stares and counter-intuitive tailoring, but even though he travels round the globe in his own sinister nuclear submarine, he's never quite spine-chilling enough (Kevin Bacon and January Jones, pictured below).

Kev__Jan_trimHis sidekick is the aptly named Emma Frost (Mad Men's January Jones), who's all white and blonde and leggy and can assume crystalline form when necessary. Yet take away her extraordinary mind-controlling abilities, and her breath-freezing froideur isn't a million miles removed from the uptight Betty Draper.

The story, stretched across a wristwatch-examining two and a quarter hours, follows the fortunes of Xavier and Lehnsherr as the CIA seeks to exploit the value of the super-powered mutants and put a stop to Shaw, though (in accordance with the series' familiar themes of prejudice and outsiderdom) many of the agency's top brass dismiss them disgustedly as a bunch of freaks and weirdos. Xavier and his cluster of would-be X-Men are taken under the wing of the "Man in Black", played by a sorely underused Oliver Platt, who runs the CIA's Division X.

Xavier puts his troupe, which includes the age-defying Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Nicholas Hoult's Beast, through a training regime to help them maximise their strange abilities, though it's clear that however sensitively he handles the conflicted Lehnsherr, there's a philosophical gulf between them that can't be bridged. McAvoy (pictured below) and Fassbender manage to evoke the duo's early relationship quite successfully, and Fassbender's tense, tightly wound performance is by far the best thing here.

McAvoy_trimBut there's a gaping hole where the combined charisma-juggernaut of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen isn't, and a jokey one-line cameo from Hugh Jackman as Wolverine serves only as a reminder of the missing cast members who made the earlier films memorable. The sense that this is a cut-price X-Men skimping on the megastar budget becomes harder to ignore as the yarn turns into a flaccid potboilerisation of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Shaw and Ms Frost having manoeuvred Russia and America to the brink of nuclear Armageddon apparently by the simple device of hoodwinking a gullible old Russian general. In the film's funniest scene, he gives a mind-projection of Frost a virtual grope while the real thing sits watching boredly from the sofa, muttering, "Pathetic!"

Ultimately, it feels more like a flashback to Seventies James Bond flicks or Christopher Reeve-era Superman than a glittering jump-start for an all-new X-Men. The effects technology may be cutting edge, but the screenwriting is crying out for a new typewriter ribbon.

X-Men: First Class opens today
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