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X-Men reviews and spoilers

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Post by Admin on Tue May 31, 2011 9:16 pm

http://entertainment-focus.com/film/articles/x-men-first-class

X-Men: First Class
Submitted by Jason Palmer on Wed, 06/01/2011 - 01:09
X-Men: First Class

Cast: Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, Nicholas Hoult, Jason Flemyng, Oliver Platt Álex González, Zoë Kravitz, Caleb Landry Jones, Edi Gathegi, Lucas Till
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Release Date: Wednesday 1st June 2011
Running Time: 132mins
Certificate: 12A
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Buy it now:

Young Oxford University graduate Charles Xavier (James McAvoy – Starter For Ten) is asked by CIA Agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne – Insidious) to aid her with a conspiracy case that involves mutants. It’s something so potentially threatening it could even ignite a third world war. Along the way Charles meets Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender – Centurion), a man looking for the person responsible for his mother’s death at a Nazi concentration camp. After finding out that they are after the same man, Charles and Erik team up and begin assembling a special team of mutants who can challenge Sebastian Shaw’s (Kevin Bacon - Footloose) bid for world domination. But as their lines are drawn for battle it becomes clear that Erik and Charles have very different ideas on the future of mutant evolution.

X-Men: First Class has defied the odds and comes in as one of the most accomplished comic book films I’ve seen in years. It achieves this level of success through deep characterisation, stunning attention to detail and an encompassing story that somehow links perfectly to the original trilogy whilst managing to make X-Men: First Class very much its own movie. This is a major triumph from start to finish and left me in awe of a franchise that I thought was long since dead.

The success of the film lies squarely with Matthew Vaughn’s masterful direction and an ensemble of acting talent that really push themselves to the limit. James McAvoy is finally getting the big gigs to reflect his talent and he thoroughly enjoys channelling Patrick Stewart’s portrayal of Charles Xavier in his performance. McAvoy’s naturalistic talent of delivering effective dialogue helps make the young Xavier someone you instantly like and genuinely want to know more about. He shares a wonderful camaraderie with the entire cast but his central relationship with Erik is where the film really shines.

Michael Fassbender has always been a great character-actor and now he is starting to get noticed on the grandest stage of all. Fassbender’s Erik Lehnsherr is the biggest star of X-Men: First Class and he makes Magneto’s rise to prominence both tragic and heartfelt. As good as Daniel Craig is, Fassbender has to be the next James Bond. He just personifies cool, calm and collected whenever he is onscreen and his versatility as an actor makes him perfect for 007. The sequences in Switzerland and Argentina evoke strong comparison to Connery’s Bond era and Fassbender does an amazing job here. Fassbender and McAvoy spearhead all that is right with this franchise and the rebirth of The X-Men. I sincerely hope we get to see them acting opposite one another again soon, they share a great chemistry.

The large supporting cast are all excellent with Kevin Bacon stealing all of his scenes as the creepy Sebastian Shaw. The opening sequence finds him threatening a young Erik at a Nazi concentration camp. It’s chilling, especially Bacon’s mastering of the German dialect. Speaking of dialect, Jason Flemyng continues his trend of working on all of Matthew Vaughn’s films and once again hands-in a stellar performance as Azazel. I don’t know why this guy isn’t a bigger star; Flemyng has incredible range and is a top guy to boot. His subtle influences in the background of a scene make him such a great character-actor. He utilises these well-observed traits to really flesh out his supporting role, making sure Azazel is more than just window dressing.

Oliver Platt pops up in a brief but pivotal cameo role and Twilight’s Edi Gathegi does well as the good-natured Darwin. And if that wasn’t enough, there are 3 truly stunning women on show who all really do a wonderful job. The always superb Rose Byrne continues to stake a claim as one of the hardest working actresses in Hollywood. She is perfectly cast as Moira alongside up-and-comer Jennifer Lawrence as a young Mystique. Mad Men's January Jones completes the heavenly trio as Emma Frost, a woman who can turn into diamond. She may not have a lot to do but she wears some amazing costumes throughout. Actually the costume design of X-Men: First Class is superb and really evokes 60’s style through understated suggestion.

The film is full of memorable in-jokes, knowing nods to the original trilogy and cool cameos (I won’t spoil it but one was just superb fanboy heaven). X-Men: First Class likes its grand spectacle and delivers some truly immense action set-pieces. Having the film work with a real-life event (The Cuban Missile Crisis) grounds the story and makes the fantastical seem plausible and effective. The soundtrack is awesome and plays to the subtleties of the marvellous script and the dedication to the source material will keep die-hard comic book fans very happy.

Marvel Comics have had a very successful run lately with Thor being a massive hit globally. X-Men may fall under 20th Century Fox’s remit (as opposed to Marvel Studios) but their universe is fast becoming the only comic stable to look out for. Batman is a monster that no-one can touch; such is the genius of Christopher Nolan. Apart from The Dark Knight’s trilogy of adventures, DC Comics are in disarray with fresh problems arising from Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, the cancellation of Wonder Woman before it even got to a full TV series and big question marks looming over the tone of Ryan Reynolds’ forthcoming feature Green Lantern.

Marvel, by comparison, know exactly how to handle their characters on the big screen. Along with Captain America, we have Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Hawkeye, S.H.I.E.L.D and The Avengers to look forward to in the coming years. And that doesn’t even include their biggest name - Spider-Man - who is returning to cinemas (via Sony Pictures) in 2012. X-Men: First Class shows sceptics (myself included) that Marvel can do more than just the standard superhero caper – they can actually craft a decent drama when they want to. X-Men: First Class will be a huge success and this will no-doubt spawn a sequel or two putting even more pressure on DC Comics to come good quickly.

This is as close to The Dark Knight as Marvel Comics are going to get. X-Men: First Class does the impossible and breathes a new lease of life into this dead franchise whilst making mutants cool once again. X-Men: First Class is a real statement of intent from Marvel and a film you simply cannot afford to miss. Definitely one of the highlights of 2011.
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Post by Admin on Tue May 31, 2011 9:38 pm

http://www.muveez.com/reviews/2026/review-x-men-first-class-starring-michael-fassbender-james-mcavoy-january-jones-kevin-bacon-jennifer-lawrence-nicholas-hoult-rose-byrne

By James Luxford on Tuesday 31st May 2011
REVIEW: 'X-Men: First Class' Starring Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, January Jones, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne

Big expectations met from X-Men origin story...

Spider-man may have made it profitable, but just over a decade ago Bryan Singer’s 2000 movie X-Men made the comic book/superhero a viable pursuit for studios, meaning every year since the box office has been cluttered with super powers and comic adaptations. Every superhero imaginable has either got a movie or had one in development, and as we wait patiently for the inevitable cross-over in next year’s The Avengers, we go back to where it all began, with the prequel X-Men: First Class.

The film follows the journeys of two men - Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), a rich Oxford student with the power to read and control minds, and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), a holocaust survivor who uses his mutation (bending and controlling metal) to travel the world exacting revenge on the men who killed his mother. The pair meet when on the tail of a dangerous mutant, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a man with a connection to Erik’s past who plans to lead his kind to take over the world by starting the Cuban Missile Crisis. With a group of younger mutants (Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult), the men join a CIA operative (Rose Byrne) to stop Shaw, but will Charles and Erik’s different ideas on how humans and mutants should get along get in the way of saving the world?

Think about it, can anyone name a really great prequel? Well, you can now! Director Matthew Vaughan has channelled 60’s James Bond movies to bring a slick, suave movie. An intelligently crafted plot and script adheres to the Singer movies (rather than the comic books), creating a smooth narrative that slots easy into the cinematic cannon. The effects are brilliant, as is the use of the Cuban Missile Crisis as a backdrop to the action, underlining the film’s themes of mistrust and paranoia. Core to the narrative is the debate between Erik and Charles - whether it is better understanding towards a cold outside world is better than fighting fire with fire. The script is so compelling that you aren’t definitively pushed either way, thus letting the audience decide (always the best course of action).

A great cast is spearheaded by the principle duo, in particular Fassbender, who is brilliant as the future Magneto. Cold as ice yet with a raging moral paradox within, the actor is fantastic to watch and this may be the movie that announces him as a genuine movie star. McAvoy is superb as Xavier, no mean feat given Patrick Stewart was so definitive in the role. Playing as a rich, well-meaning idealist (as opposed to Lehnsherr’s bitter, vengeful persona), it’s not as grandstanding as Fassbender’s performance but no less necessary. An odd choice for a villain, Kevin Bacon gives a great account for himself, going from Nazi torturer to playboy megalomaniac in a surprisingly seamless way. Elsewhere, Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence are likeable as the young mutants, and Rose Byrne gives a spirited performance as the CIA agent following the secret war. Mad Men star January Jones may be completely stunning as Emma Frost (remember, her face is up there!), however the aesthetics are met with a rather wooden performance, although this is the exception in an otherwise great ensemble.

A brilliant example of reviving a familiar franchise and still bringing something new to the table. Vaughan’s direction is aided by startling performances, particularly from McAvoy and Fassbender. Far from running out of steam, X- Men: First Class will leave you hungry for more.
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Post by Admin on Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:40 pm

http://www.zimbio.com/X-men+First+Class/articles/9HW3jH2u0HF/X+Men+First+Class+Review+Round+Up

X-Men First Class: Review Round Up
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Written by adwenger on Jun-1-11 6:46pm

'X-Men: First Class' photocall 'X-Men: First Class' photocall held at The Dorchester Hotel . (Bauer Griffin)more pics » Michael Fassbender (Bauer Griffin) X-Men: First Class hits theaters this Friday, June 3, and if Rotten Tomatoes is any idicator of how well a movie will do, the reboot of the Marvel Comics franchise should be a smashing success. As of today, the film has received 98 percent favorable reviews.

The popular website, which brings together all the most relevant reviews the world has to offer, has this to say about the film: "With a strong script, stylish direction, and powerful performances from its well-rounded cast, X-Men: First Class is a welcome return to form for the franchise."

Here's a quick round up of some of the more memorable (and relevant) reviews from across the world, and interweb.

1. Salon: This online magazine chose to run against the grain and give the film one of its few bad reviews. Here's a snippit of what critic Andrew O'Hehir had to say:

"There's something a little depressing about all the hype and excitement surrounding X-Men: First Class, the new Marvel-Fox product that's expected to be among the summer's biggest hits."

O'Hehir felt that the film was well produced and exceptionally executed, but that ultimately the story was long-winded and dull.

2. Boston Globe: Critic Ty Burr enjoyed the film, though he's not gushing over it: "Entertaining enough for a Saturday night, and much more satisfying than the last X-Men' offshoot, the woeful Wolverine."

3. Variety: Critic Justin Chang really loved it. He found it "remarkable how many things [the film got] right," from the casting to the decision to let the characters speak different languages as they hopped around the globe to different locales.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:22 am

http://www.dailyevergreen.com/story/34658

'X-Men' surprises audiences
The newest installment far from mutates the genre

Jeff Cote

The Daily Evergreen

Published: 06/06/2011

Comic book adaptations have been a staple at the box office for much of my lifetime. The latest film of this type is director Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class, a prequel and reboot of the popular X-Men film series that began in 2000.

The film stars Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr, a metal-bending Holocaust survivor who vies for revenge against Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), an ex-Nazi who led cruel experiments on Erik to strengthen his mutant powers. James McAvoy also stars as Professor Charles Xavier, a telepathic professor who joins in the fight against Shaw, a character who is later revealed to be the leader of a malevolent group of mutants with questionable intentions.

With the abundance of comic book adaptations out these days, not many are able to stand up as well-written, commendable pieces of work. First Class comes much closer to meeting this goal than expected. Though the WWII and Cold War-era themes seem out of place at first, they end up flowing well with the narrative. Even more impressive is how the screenwriters were able to take a colorful, somewhat campy source material and turn it into something sleek and exciting.

Surprisingly enough, the screenplay is fun, engaging and entirely comprehensible. Despite a slew of secondary characters, the writers are smart enough not to get bogged down by ravenous fan-boy demands. The main characters are given the perfect amount of exposition while the secondary characters don't interfere with the action too much. To put it simply, it's written like a film is supposed to be written. The screenplay's theme of indifference is also smartly done and passes by without being overly cheesy.

There are only a few noticeable problems. Despite how well-paced everything is in the first two thirds of the film, the conclusion feels rushed. The final sequences are a bit hectic. However, the biggest mistake was the decision to include romantic subplots. The love between characters isn't given much time, so it's fairly awkward when people who showed little sign of previous affection for each other are suddenly shown kissing. Tacked-on romances don't work, and frankly, they just shouldn't be in a film about mutant superheroes. X-Men: First Class genuinely surprised me. Though it took me a while to get into the film, my apprehension eventually turned into delight. I sometimes succumb to the misconception that wide release franchise titles can't also be well-made. I would like to thank Mr. Vaughn and the writers of this film for putting that thought to rest. First Class is an entertaining addition to the franchise and far outshines its predecessors. I would willingly see the next film in the series of my own accord. Grade: B+
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:28 am

http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=resources/movies&id=8172033

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Where the stars are

(06/05/11 ) - The X-Men Reboot is Uncanny

Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new) to prevent nuclear Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men.

With the first three installments of X-Men, we learned a great deal about Professor X, Magneto and their respective teams of good and misguided evil. In this reboot, we learn how it all started. As Nazi German Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) learns of the magnetic personality of Erik Lensherr, he wants to exploit it for his own benefit. Shaw also puts together his own crew of mutants in search of what else but power on a world level. He seeks to eliminate humans so that mutants of course are the ones left to reign supreme. Standing in his way are some mutants we know, and a few we don't.

We watch these mutants grow and learn their full potential thanks to a young professor X. Even with this prequel set mostly in the 1960's Director Mathew Vaughn manages to stay fairly true to the era and still provide modern day enthusiasm. Vaughn was the original choice for the third X-Men installment "The Last Stand" which would have undoubtedly given us a much better X-Men Trilogy. With Vaughn on board with his honest understanding of all the characters, this is undoubtedly the best X-Men film. As good as it is however, it seems that the necessity to tell the back story on the X-Men and the Brotherhood took a little excitement from an otherwise action-filled comic adaptation. Sure there will be lulls in action in any film like this but it should feel necessary not as if it were superfluous.

I for one am completely intrigued at whatever comes up next for this franchise.

3 out of 4 Buckets

(Copyright ©2011 WJRT-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:30 am

http://www.examiner.com/film-in-newark/x-men-first-class-mutant-and-proud-review

‘X-Men: First Class:’ Mutant and proud

June 5th, 2011 1:24 pm ET

Brian King

“X-Men: First Class,” directed by Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass”) is an engrossing, witty and taut action saga filled with exceptional acting performances that brings the franchise back to top form.

The film opens in much the same way 2000’s “X-Men” did, in 1944 Poland at a Nazi concentration camp, where a young Erik Lehnsherr (Bill Milner) discovers his ability to manipulate metal objects after he is forcefully separated from his parents. He is then taken to see a sadistic Nazi doctor later known as Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who, realizing young Erik’s powers can only be accessed by pain and anguish, tortures the boy both mentally and physically.

Meanwhile, in an upstate New York mansion, a young Charles Xavier (Laurence Belcher), with the ability to read minds, awakens to the sound of strange noises emanating from the downstairs kitchen, he goes to investigate expecting to find burglars, instead he finds young Raven (Morgan Lily), a shape-shifter with blue skin. Charles happy to find another mutant invites her to live with his family.

Fast forward to 1962, Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) and Xavier (James McAvoy) are both after Shaw for different reasons. Lehnsherr is on a mission for revenge and will not rest until Shaw is dead, while Xavier, an expert on genetics, has been recruited by CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), to stop Shaw and his team of mutants from starting a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Realizing Shaw is more powerful than anyone had imagined, Xavier and Lehnsherr join forces and assemble their own team of mutants. Members include Raven (Jennifer Lawrence); Dr. Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), a scientist with abnormal-sized feet and beast-like strength; Sean Cassidy (Caleb Landry Jones), who possesses a supersonic scream; Armando Munoz (Edi Gathegi), able to transform himself to fit any situation; and Alex Summers (Lucas Till), with the ability to shoot blasts of energy.
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The film is full of great performances. Bacon (“Mystic River,” “Frost/Nixon”) embodies the slimy and sadistic nature of Shaw flawlessly. McAvoy (“The Last King of Scotland,” “Wanted”) plays Xavier as a charismatic sweet-talker, fascinated with genetics, who desires peace between mutants and non-mutants. But it is Fassbender (“Hunger,” “Inglourious Basterds”) who owns this movie. He puts in a magnetic performance as Lehnsherr, a volatile, vengeful man haunted by tragic memories.

Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”) once again showcases her talents as Raven, a young woman struggling to come to terms with her mutant skin. Hoult also does a good job as Dr. McCoy, a scientist who just wants to fit in.

Vaughn and cinematographer John Mathieson with the help of CGI give us some awe-inspiring visuals, the best of which involves Lehnsherr willing a submarine out of the ocean and suspending it in midair.

Accompanying the excellent acting and visuals is Henry Jackman’s dark, moody and heroic musical score.

If a clever story, stunning visuals and great acting is your idea of a summer blockbuster, “X-Men: First Class” is definitely one not to miss.

(“X-Men: First Class” is rated PG-13 for violence, language and sexual content. It can be seen at Newark Screens and other nearby theaters.)
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:31 am

http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=246277

Judge 'X-Men: First 'X-Men': a whole other kind of Cold War superpower
05 June 2011, Sunday / ANN HORNADAY, THE WASHINGTON POST

Judge "X-Men: First Class" not on the color of its mutants' skin but on the content of its characters. In Matthew Vaughn's eagerly awaited prequel to the filmed adaptations of Stan Lee's iconic comic books, even the strangest-looking genetic outliers take on disarmingly human frailties, quirks and admirable qualities.


Charles Xavier, whose benevolent persona was channeled by a paternal Patrick Stewart in previous "X-Men" movies, turns out to have been a bit of a Carnaby Street Lothario back in the swingin' London of the 1960s. Raven, also known as Mystique, was once just a teenage girl with skin that tended to break out (albeit in blue scales). And who knew that Magneto -- Xavier's nemesis -- could be worthy of not just understanding, but sympathy?

Actually, "X-Men" fans probably know all this, and they're the ones who will be best served by "First Class," which begins, like the comic book series itself, in 1944. That's when a young German boy named Erik Lehnsherr watches his parents being hauled off to Auschwitz. In a fit of fear and rage, he bends the metal gate separating him from his family, commanding the attention of a scientist eager to harness young Erik's telekinetic powers.

Twenty years later, the grown Erik (Michael Fassbender) contemplates his revenge against the man who went on to ruin his life, and who now goes by the name of Sebastian Shaw. Meanwhile, the genially telepathic Xavier (James McAvoy) is earning his doctorate in genetic research at Oxford, with his shape-shifting friend and surrogate sister, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), by his side.

Then what? Things happen, taking "First Class" on a whirlwind tour of Las Vegas, Argentina, Russia, Miami and finally the waters just off Cuba, where -- what do you know -- Shaw turns out to be a shadowy Cold Warrior. (Making it all the more appropriate that his primary factotum is an ice queen named Emma Frost, played by January Jones.) While Erik obsessively hunts down Shaw for his own vengeful purposes, Xavier meets an attractive CIA agent named Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), who enlists him to recruit genetic mutants to help her bosses stop Shaw themselves.

That recruitment sequence, by the way, is one of the funnier passages in "First Class," featuring a cameo that will surely qualify as the movie's most hilarious (and profane) takeaway. Mostly it's a chance to see some otherwise little-known X-Men in their younger incarnations, including Darwin (Edi Gathegi), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) and Angel (Zoe Kravitz), whose web-like tattoos sprout real wings, allowing her to buzz and hover like an ethereal dragonfly.

Its subtitle notwithstanding, though, "First Class" is less about the rag-tag group of disaffected teen "freaks" whom Xavier must discipline into fighting form than about the psychodrama between him and Erik, whose experience during World War II has made him more militant than the accommodationist Xavier finds comfortable. A by-any-means-necessary separatist when it comes to genetic identity, Erik doesn't trust mainstream society to accord mutants full human rights. Xavier -- whose telepathic powers are more a function of extreme empathy than supernatural gifts -- believes that assimilation is not only possible but imperative.

It would all be so much fantasy-land hoo-ha were it not for the actors Vaughn has enlisted to bring the characters to life: With his thumb poised along his limpid blue eyes, McAvoy aptly embodies Xavier's pensive humanism. Lawrence, last year's breakout star in "Winter's Bone," proves to be a voluptuous and compelling screen presence as Raven/Mystique, developing a thoroughly believable chemistry with another fresh face, Nicholas Hoult, as a young CIA researcher named Hank McCoy. (Jones, whose impassivity has bordered on the inert in similarly '60s-kitsch "Mad Men," here wears Frost's white-boots-and-bras with a fembot's stony aplomb, in another instance of pitch-perfect casting.)

In all honesty, though, "First Class" belongs to one actor, and that's Fassbender, whose Erik/Magneto emerges as one of the most nuanced, conflicted, genuinely antiheroic protagonists in recent comic-book-movie memory. As a transparent and eminently watchable vessel for contradictory impulses -- vulnerability and superhuman strength, victimization and destruction, discipline and reckless rage -- Fassbender's Magneto is not unlike Bobby Sands, the IRA activist he portrayed in the 2008 film "Hunger." His penultimate set piece, when Magneto singlehandedly raises a submarine out of deep waters through sheer force of his will, is one of those rare instances when an authentic screen performance isn't drowned out by sheer spectacle.

For the most part, that's true of the rest of "First Class," which skitters between locales and languages with sometimes confounding, scattershot speed. Still, "First Class" happily delivers on the escapism and rich narrative texture the best of its predecessors have promised. With action, atmosphere and mixed feelings to burn (not to mention a few jokes about shaving Xavier's head), it seems well on its way to giving the well-traveled "X-Men" franchise a resuscitating breath of genetically superior, nuclear-powered life. The Washington Post 2011
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:32 am

http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/archives/2011/06/05/my_thoughts_dull_and_your_thoughts_on_x-men_first_class/

My Thoughts (Dull) And Your Thoughts (???) On “X-Men: First Class”

I really don’t quite get why this film has been praised so heavily by critics. It currently enjoys an 87% Fresh rating on movie aggregator site RottenTomatoes.com, with 149 out of 172 critics giving it a thumbs up. Seriously, why? Sometimes I feel like I must be living in a bubble or something, because my reaction to many recent studio films has been mostly apathy; in some cases, repulsion even.

I’m clearly in the minority when it comes to X-Men: First Class because I thought it was laughable, and definitely one of the worst in the X-Men franchise thus far.

The writing was weak; the acting more uneven than not (save for the two main leads in Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy); I just didn’t buy Kevin Bacon as a menace, although I won’t say it’s entirely due to his ability, as it was just a poor casting choice, and direction; January Jones as the most boring Emma Frost ever, pretty much plays the same character she plays in Mad Men, except she has superhero powers here. And the rest of the cast is mostly forgettable, unfortunately.

What the hell was the point in having Edi Gathegi’s character in this at all? He does absolutely nothing, barely gets to show his powers, even though, quite frankly, his character, Darwin’s abilities are really some of the more interesting of the group, and worth exploring on film; his body automatically adapts to any situation or environment he is placed in, allowing him to survive possibly anything. He can even transform into pure energy, which makes his quick, and rather easy exit puzzling to me! His death didn’t really bring about anything of significance, so why kill him off?

I suppose the argument could be made that his murder at the hands of Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw was the motivation for the rest of the team to launch into action and avenge him? Meh… I think they already had enough reason, without Darwin having to die.

Ultimately, it’s very much Xavier and Magneto’s story - the beginnings of their relationship, and eventual ideological and physical separation. And, as I already suggested, Fassbender and McAvoy, both revered thespians, do their best with the material they are presented with.

There were a few what I’d consider “cool” special effects sequences scattered about, unexpected cameos that made me smile, and even a funny line of dialogue or two; but, much of it felt really hokey to me; the special effects not always as impressive as they needed to be; a 2nd rate production that lacked much oomph, and, as I said, easily one of the worst in the franchise, with X-Men: The Last Stand and the Wolverine origin story, both competing for the title.

The repeated speeches about accepting their differences, and being comfortable with who they are, started to wear thin, and I had to roll my eyes the 50th time the words were spoken, or the sentiment expressed. It felt more like a Disney channel special. So, maybe I wasn’t in the film’s target audience.

I was really unimpressed with the material, and just don’t get why it’s rated so damn highly with both critics and audiences.

What did I miss folks? Help me out here…

tambay posted to Review at 6:18 pm on June 5, 2011
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:35 am

http://blog.pennlive.com/filmclips/2011/06/film_clips_with_paul_hood_x-me.html

Film Clips with Paul Hood: X-Men: First Class
Published: Sunday, June 05, 2011, 4:35 PM Updated: Sunday, June 05, 2011, 4:51 PM
Paul Hood By Paul Hood

Self control, revenge, discrimination; just a few social elements used in what has become the visual metaphor that reveals Marvel Comics beloved heroes in villains created from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's prolific imaginations. In the latest adapted effort of the iconic X-MEN series, we are delighted to see how the Xavier School for Gifted Children came to fruition.

X-Men: First Class, thanks to great performances by James McAvoy (Professor-X) and Michael Fassbender (Magneto), is undoubtedly fun to watch, part espionage thriller, part science fiction, part action adventure, First Class is an undeniable thrill- ride filled with a surprisingly rich sub-plot that begins with the infamous Magneto as a young boy. Magneto, also known as, Erik Lehnsherr, a victim of the Jewish holocaust, is horribly separated from his family, and his powers are soon discovered by the evil Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), Erik is held captive so he can later become a part of Shaw's mutant army. But as years pass and Erik becomes a young man consumed by anger and an insatiable need to avenge the destruction of his family, he escapes and vows to avenge his mother and eliminate the diabolical Shaw.

Meanwhile years later at prestigious Oxford University a young Charles Xavier-a considerable and brilliant telepath-is already conducting research on people with special genetic gifts and powers. As Xavier, James McAvoy is nothing less than perfect. Charming and persuasive and wise, he portrays Professor X with passion and zeal, and is instantly likeable.

Later when Xavier and Magneto meet you can feel the tension between them immediately as Xavier, level headed and peaceful, becomes a teacher to Magneto who only has his mind on one goal: to catch and destroy Shaw. But things do cool off between the two impending enemies, and they momentarily place their disagreements aside to fight for the same cause: to stop the threat of nuclear war between the Americans and Russians. But not without the help of a few other gifted, young men and women such as Havoc, Darwin, Banshee , Angel, and the loveable genius, Beast; other Characters include the quiet, yet enigmatic Riptide, the alluring and conniving Emma Frost, and the Lethal Azazel (who has some of the film's finest choreographed fight scenes). Although fun to watch, as a team these eventual allies are never quite fleshed out within the overall story and true Marvel die-hards may feel let down; but nonetheless they serve their purpose and offer the film a suitable platform to showcase Xavier's ability to lead and teach youngsters with other-worldly genetic mutations.

X-Men: First Class, directed by Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Kick Ass, and Snatch) is fun and void of cheesiness and over-acting. There are a few surprises in regards to the depth and meaning behind the story, which will make cerebral Marvel fans happy. With a strong cast and story X Men: First Class, is, well, first class.

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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:54 am

http://www.eastoregonian.com/community/always-remember-mutant-and-proud/article_d6830e78-8f80-11e0-86cd-001cc4c002e0.html

‘Always remember: Mutant, and proud’

‘X-Men’ prequel brings series back to life

AP photo by 20th Century Fox, Murray Close
Film Review X Men First Class

James McAvoy portrays Charles Xavier, left, and Michael Fassbender portrays Erik Lehnsherr in a scene from “X-Men: First Class.”

Posted: Sunday, June 5, 2011 7:28 am

Dominic Baez
At the Movies | 0 comments

Separation. Manipulation. Murder. Anger. Vengeance.

And that’s just during the first 10 minutes.

“X-Men: First Class,” an origin story revealing the beginnings of two of the most vaunted X-Men in Marvel’s cache, exerts such an inescapable magnetic force, such a riveting and moving story, you can’t help but think maybe mutants were responsible for the Cuban missile crisis. And with mutants galavanting across the globe, wielding laser-beam, shape-shifting and telepathic abilities to smite their foes in explosive detail, running alongside the story of the legendary, and ill-fated, friendship of Charles Xavier (aka Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (aka Magneto), “First Class” is easily the best comic-book movie since 2008’s “The Dark Knight.” And after the tragedies that were “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” that’s saying something.

“First Class,” both an origin story and a prequel directed by Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass,” “Stardust”), spans two decades of the lives of some of the most influential mutants to ever exist.

The movie opens, “Inglorious Basterds”-style, in a concentration camp in war-torn Poland in 1944. A young man is forcibly separated from his mother. In his anguish, he runs to her, only to be blocked by Nazi guards. Struggling, reaching, screaming, the young man bends the very metal sequestering him from his mother. But it’s not enough. And having revealed his power to Dr. Schmidt (the gleefully sadistic Kevin Bacon), he’s offered a way to save his mother, though the terms are cruel, tragic.

What happens next is so traumatizing, so life-altering, it forever changes the trajectory Erik Lehnsherr follows. It is what makes him who he is today.

Fast-forward 18 years. It’s 1962. John F. Kennedy is president. The threat of war with Russia looms.

We’re shown Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, “Atonement”) in London, studying genetics at Oxford. Having befriended another X-Men staple, Raven (aka Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”) at the same time Erik was dealing with Nazis, the two consider each other family, both hiding their true abilities.

This is where the confluence of Charles and Erik begins: In an effort to better understand genetic mutation, CIA agent Dr. Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne, “Bridesmaids”) seeks Charles to help explain the intricacies. Erik (a brilliant Michael Fassbender, “Jane Eyre”) is on the hunt for Schmidt, now known as Sebastian Shaw, seeking to exact revenge. Their paths cross when Charles and Moira run into Shaw at the same time Erik does. From here, a friendship blooms.

Now trying to prevent nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia (with Shaw and his mutant friends pulling the strings), Charles and Erik team up to locate other mutants to bolster their own ranks. The goal: preventing total annihilation by a madmen bend on reigning supreme.

Along pop up some familiar faces, some not so much. But all are young, all are still hiding who they are.

This theme of acceptance, of wanting either to belong or be apart depending on the person, is a theme that runs through the entire “X-Men” series, and it’s no stranger in “First Class.” But here, the self-doubt, the sulking, the insecurities strike a chord so resonate it reminds us why we fell in love with the superhero genre to begin with.

As Xavier builds his first, unofficial class of mutants, he simultaneously sets on an endeavor to calm the storm in Erik’s heart, working tirelessly to unlock the hidden potential of his conflicted friend. His attempt to heal the hate-induced trauma, the ever-present scars is a beautiful thing, and it’s no wonder they forge such a deep bond, one that transcends their differences.

It seems director Vaughn and writing partner Jane Goldman have a predilection for combining fantasy with tenderness. And while “First Class” is plenty serious, there are humorous nods to the main trilogy that will satisfy the fanboys.

As the series of escalating events transpires, each step bringing the world’s two superpowers closer to war (the height of the action occurs at the most tenuous moment in the Cold War — in the waters off Cuba), it’s almost heart-breaking to see how the philosophical differences between Charles and Erik become too much. One wants peace and acceptance, the other revenge.

And although Charles becomes the force for good, with each passing moment, each agonizing sequence of events that inevitably leads to Magneto’s antihero status, you would be hard-pressed to leave the theater and not sympathize with the metal-controlling Erik.

Origin stories have the distinct issue of dealing with an established story. It’s less about what happens than how it happened. But sometimes, just sometimes, the beginning of the journey is far more intriguing than the destination. “First Class” falls into this category. The weighty themes — post-Holocaust defiance and post-Stonewall pride — are still in play, but what matters most is the human aspect.

“Never again,” Erik vows, raising the flag for all those who have ever being mistreated, ostracized, maligned for just being who they are. And in the end, you just can’t help but rally to his call, consequences be damned.

Four stars out of five, and a critic’s pick.

Dominic Baez is the copy editor/paginator for the East Oregonian. Follow his movie blog, Silver Screening, for the latest trailers, clips and extras at silverscreening.wordpress.com.

© 2011 East Oregonian. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:55 am

http://azstarnet.com/entertainment/movies/article_2906c99a-5d35-5473-8278-0964fbe743fc.html

'X-Men' prequel gives a detailed back story

By Gregory Katz The Associated Press | Posted: Sunday, June 5, 2011 12:00 am

20TH CENTURY FOX Kevin Bacon portrays Sebastian Shaw and January Jones plays Emma Frost in a scene from "X-Men: First Class," which opened this weekend.

LONDON - They are a merry band of mutants, at least when the director is away and the work is done.

They've been given a task - concoct a "prequel" that will satisfy longtime fans of the "X-Men" series and bring in new moviegoers as well.

Much of the cast gathered in London recently to boast about the film - tastefully, of course - at a round-table discussion that focused on the challenge of creating a credible early life for comic-strip characters already portrayed successfully in four films by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

This time, it's a much younger cast playing the mutants in their formative years, when they were still discovering and honing the special powers that set them apart from what they view as the rather drab human race. As a result, "X-Men: First Class" is filled with soul-searching identity crises as the mutants wrestle with a central dilemma: to downplay their differences in order to be accepted by humanity, or to celebrate what makes them unique.

Instead of McKellen and Stewart in the key mutant roles of Magneto and Professor X, it's Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, starting off as allies but ending up as bitter foes. Hollywood veteran Kevin Bacon, who plays evil mutant Sebastian Shaw.

Fassbender said he did not feel hemmed in by earlier portrayals of Magneto.

"I think we all realize there's a massive fan base out there, and we definitely want them to like it," said Fassbender, seen in 2009's "Inglourious Basterds." "They are the first sort of go-to audience, but there has to be a certain amount of disrespect for them as well, because you're trying to do something new."

McAvoy said that means the new cast is to blame if the movie bombs.

"It is intimidating because the four films made a lot of money, so clearly people like the characters enough to go and see them," said McAvoy, who starred in "The Last King of Scotland" and "Atonement."

Director Matthew Vaughn had made it clear he did not want McAvoy and Fassbender to simply portray younger versions of Stewart and McKellen.

Vaughn's approach meant developing an inner life and a back story.

"You can never have too much back story," he said. "For me, at least, if there's no back story in the movie, then you look for some kind of source material, and if there's no source material, you make it up. You sit there and you write it: 'I was born in this town and this is what my daddy did, and here's my playlist of songs I like to listen to.' For me, that's what it's got to be."

Copyright 2011 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Movies, By-gregory-katz on Sunday, June 5, 2011 12:00 am
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:56 am

http://gulfnews.com/arts-entertainment/film/movie-review-x-men-first-class-1.817591

Movie review: X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class is well worth every dirham

By David Tusing, Deputy tabloid! Editor
Published: 00:47 June 5, 2011

When director Matthew Vaughn took on X-Men: First Class, he went where many men have unsuccessfully gone before. The blighted world of sequels – or prequels in this case – is slippery ground. And when you take on an already successful film franchise with characters based on a popular comic book series, the risk multiplies.

Yet Vaughn comes out trumps in this two-hour-plus action-filled superhero outing. Fresh off the enjoyable Kick-Ass (2010), he gives this franchise such a punch right from the start that you are left engrossed right till the last minute.

There are many characters here and many stories to tell. Yet Vaughn keeps a tight reign, letting the narrative flow like a well-oiled machine with just the right dramatic bumps to push it along.

X-Men: First Class is Vaughn’s imagination of how the mutant superheroes first came together. He opens the film in Poland in 1944 where a young Erik Lensherr first displays his magnetic power when his mother is killed in a concentration camp by the evil Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).

The movie then cuts to the sixties where Oxford academic Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), who possesses telepathic abilities, is about to publish his thesis on mutation. He is tracked down by CIA agent Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne), who informs him that Shaw and his team of mutants were hatching a plan to take over the world.

Together with his adopted sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who has the power of shape shift, Charles joins hands with the CIA to track down and stop Shaw. En route they meet a grown Erik (Michael Fassbender) also hot on the heels to track down, and destroy, Shaw and the pair join hands to destroy him and stop the then USSR and the US from starting a World War III.

For this, they build their own army: Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), Alex Summers (Lucas Till), Armando Munoz (Edi Gathegi), Sean Cassidy (Caleb Landry Jones) and Angel Salvadore (played by Lenny Kravitz’s little girl Zoe).

Each of these characters’s superhero names and powers are eventually revealed as the movie progresses. All the while there’s an impending world war and the tension builds as Erik and Charles close in on Shaw and his team of mutants.

And this is where Vaughn’s genius lies. Right from the time the first gun is fired in the opening scenes to the one in the end when Fassbender as Magneto stops (and sends back) hundreds of nuclear missiles mid-air, he holds your attention. Despite the multiple stories and characters, he is coherent all through. There’s humour too, all tucked in at the right places, and is most funny when a certain well-loved X-Men character makes a cameo.

Fassbender, much touted as Hollywood’s next big thing, is one to watch as his character, constantly in disagreement with best friend Charles (Mc Avoy’s character) about the mutants’ purpose, evolves into the future (evil) Magneto. McAvoy, perfect as the future Professor X, lends that right dash of sophistication.

But underneath all the amazing special effects and well-cast, goodlooking characters, Vaughn manages to also reveal a very human side of these super humans. They struggle with their identities, some will go to any length to suppress it and some, like Hank, will unsuccessfully try to change it.

X-Men: First Class is well worth every dirham and Vaughn’s fresh take might have just given this tiresome franchise a new lease of life.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:00 am

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2011/jun/03/review-x-men-first-class/

Review: ‘X-Men: First Class’
More Like Remedial Mutant Class
Mutant and Proud... "X-Men: First Class."

Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Above: Mutant and Proud... "X-Men: First Class."

By Beth Accomando

June 3, 2011

Marvel's "X-Men" franchise wasn't doing too well moving forward so they decided to go back in time for "X-Men: First Class" (opening June 3 throughout San Diego) to see how Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr met.

"X-Men: First Class" is a prequel/origin kind of film. The "X-Men" franchise had an intriguing start in 2000 with Bryan Singer at the helm but went completely in the toilet with the Brett Ratner film "Last Stand" in 2006. So the best way to revive the series seemed to be to either reboot or go back in time so you could have a complete recasting of the roles and even a revisiting of which characters to highlight. The choice was to go back in time for a prequel.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles Xavier and Erik Lehsherr respectively.

Twentieth Century Fox

Above: James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles Xavier and Erik Lehsherr respectively.

The film chooses to set the story of Charles and Erik in the turbulent social times of 1960s America. There was even talk of how the Martin Luther King, Jr./Malcolm X relationship would inform the relationship of Charles and Erik. All this was fitting to a comic that was infused with issues of prejudice, conformity, social unrest, racial tensions, and a government trying to deal with a restless and sometimes rebellious populace. All this made me look forward to the new "X-Men" film in a way I hadn't with the others. I didn't read the comics as a kid but I watched the old TV show with my son and read some of the Wolverine comics. I had always been partial to Beast as the character I enjoyed most, not only was he appealingly fuzzy and blue but he was prone to quoting Shakespeare and hanging by his feet. So I felt cheated that Beast never figured prominently in the previous films and that the previous films seemed to deal only tangentially with the more serious themes raised by the comics and cartoons.

So I went into "X-Men: First Class" with a hopeful sense. Sadly, though, I was disappointed. First of all it starts during World War II with the Nazis (can't Hollywood think of any other type of villain?). The opening title is, oddly, a flipped coin that has the Nazi insignia on one side and then the "X-Men: First Class" logo on the other. Not sure what that's trying to say or convey but the coin comes in handy later on. In the concentration camps, there is a harsh scene involving the death of one character's mother that some little kids might find upsetting.

Then when the film jumps to 1963 [okay it has been pointed out that the Cuban Missile Crisis was 1962 but I swear a title in the film stated it was 1963 but I can't remember], rather than focusing on the social unrest of that decade, the film was more interested in the international conflict with Russia and centered the story on the Cuban Missile crisis. Yes, the Cuban Missile crisis was orchestrated by -- and resolved by -- mutants! But this is less interesting than the idea that there is now a mutant race that is trying to figure out a way to coexist with humans. If that were the prominent backdrop then the Malcolm X/King dynamic could actually play out effectively. But those intriguing dramatic elements fall by the wayside in favor of a more conventional and formulaic action film. Oh but we do get a cutaway to the black actor playing Darwin when baddie Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) talks about enslavement. Talk about being blatant and obvious. There's also a slogan, "Mutant and Proud," that harkens back to something the Black Panthers might have coined.

Michael fassbender and James McAvoy lead the new young X-men (and women).

Twentieth Century Fox

Above: Michael fassbender and James McAvoy lead the new young X-men (and women).

But the seeds of that drama are the best thing in "First Class" and I wish there was more of the relationship between Charles and Erik, played to perfection by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. Fassbender is especially good, giving us a sense of depth to a character that is not all that well-written. Like Sam Worthington in "Avatar" and "Termination: Salvation," Fassbender brings dimensionality and interest to formula elements. We get a nice contrast between them and their upbringings, with a hint to social, economic, and class differences. When they come together we get a sense of how those differences can play out and their brief discussions are fun and interesting. They are the heart of the story and they make the film feel real. Now you may say that this is a comic book fantasy film and it doesn't need to be real but every film needs to create a credible world in which it operates. McAvoy and Fassbender do that and create characters that I believe and care about. It's the rest of the film that has problems. Even if I check my brain at the door I have trouble buying into the world of this X-Men film.

Matthew Vaughn brought the comic book "Kick-Ass" to vivid life on screen but in the case of the "X-Men" comics he has more trouble connecting to the source material. In fact, that connection is so bad that it drove my friend and fellow critic Ian Forbes off the deep end. Check out his review at Sobering Conclusion for a devout comics' fan's review of "X-Men: First Class" and of all the film's errors in adapting the comics. Since I haven't read the comics, my disappointment came for different reasons. For one, Vaughn not only fails to use the social unrest of the 60s but he also fails to get any period details right. Jennifer Lawrence's Raven gets to wear mod 60s fashions but no one else really has much of a 60s sense of fashion. Same thing goes for the sets and visual style of the film.

Before: Jennifer Lawrence as Raven.

Twentieth Century Fox

Above: Before: Jennifer Lawrence as Raven.

And after: Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Does that design remind you of the non-skid stickers you put on the bathtub?

Twentieth Century Fox

Above: And after: Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Does that design remind you of the non-skid stickers you put on the bathtub?

Then there are the special effects, which are anything but special. Each time Raven transformed into Mystique I felt myself pulled out of the film because the make-up looked like someone in blue body paint with blue bathtub anti-skid stickers strategically placed on top. And January Jones' Emma Frost never looked like anything but a badly done CGI effect. The transformation scenes looked and felt like the way it was done back in the 1940s when Lon Chaney, Jr. transformed through a series of dissolves from human to werewolf. Now if Vaughn was a more stylish director he could have made doing the transformations in a retro, old school manner part of the film's style. You get a hint that maybe that was part of his thinking when you see some of the deliberately cheesy maps he uses. But the effects too often just seem lame and lazy rather than designed to recall a bygone era. There are a lot of big effects scenes and a lot of blowing things up but none of it plays with much impact or conviction. I always felt that I was watching a movie rather than being transported to another world like Guillermo Del Toro did in the "Hellboy" films.

Once again a comics adaptation proves frustrating because there are good elements that go to waste and a resistance to what is actually good in the source material. Vaughn and his co-writers Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, and Jane Goldman can't seem to differentiate their good material from bad. So each time we start to settle into the scenes between Charles and Erik, we get pulled out for the lame teen drama amongst the "first class" of young X-Men or the half-baked Nazi villainy of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon needed better direction so he could either be seriously evil or over-the-top hammy). The film also tapped into one of my pet peeves regarding superpowers, and that is that characters are often made invincible to start with and then, when the script calls for it, can suddenly be subdued by a punch. I hate when superpowers seem inconsistent because -- like the bad make up -- it pulls me out of the film and reminds me that I'm watching a movie.

"X-Men: First Class" (rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language) is better than the last "X-Men" sequel but that's not saying much. But McAvoy and especially Fassbender do make the film worth seeing. They give it a genuine emotional core that is interesting but ultimately wasted. Maybe the more accurate and descriptive title might be "X-Men: Special Ed" or "Remedial Mutant Class" so you don't go in with high expectations.

BTW: There is a funny cameo by Hugh Jackman who, appropriately, gets to drop the only f-bomb as Wolverine.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:08 am

http://calitreview.com/17292

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class
by Brett Davinger
June 4th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz

James McAvoy as Charles Xavier
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert
January Jones as Emma Frost
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven / Mystique
Oliver Platt as Man In Black Suit
Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw

How long is X-Men: First Class? 132 minutes
Motion Picture Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality, and a violent image.
CLR Rating: ★★★★☆


The Rarest Creature: A Decent Prequel

X-Men: First Class Trailer

The prequel is a tricky endeavor. Often plagued with errors, inconsistencies, and annoying references to future films, most prequels end up failing on many levels. Even what is generally considered the best prequel of all time — The Godfather, Part II — is mostly sequel. And, of course, the world is still suffering, and hopefully learning, from those prequels.

The advertisements for the set-in-the-1960s origin film to the Snyder/Ratner trilogy, X-Men: First Class played heavily on the prequel aspect of this film. Already a proposal met with some hesitancy, constantly reminding us who Charles and Erik will become (not Professor X/Magneto but Patrick Stewart Professor X/Ian McKellan Magneto) could reasonably worry potential audience members and comic fans alike. You throw the franchise-destroying, trilogy-ender X-Men: The Last Stand (Dark Phoenix was NOT Batman & Robin Bane and the last stand should not have been 60% tertiary characters from the first films) and 2009′s not-well-received prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and the X label comes with a lot of questionable will.

That’s why it’s a shame that X-Men: First Class bears the prequel label. Director Matthew Vaughn’s (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake) take on the franchise does not just stand on its own, but surpasses its future predecessors in many ways. It even holds references to its cinematic future to two cameos, both well done, one exceedingly so.

Cast: X-Men: First Class

Set in the early 1960s, X-Men: First Class shows how telepath Charles Xavier’s (James McAvoy) School for Gifted Youngsters came together. As Holocaust survivor/metal-controller Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) seeks vengeance against energy-absorber Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), the Nazi officer who killed his mother, Charles is finishing his thesis on the next evolution in humans at Oxford University. While in England with adopted kid sister/shapeshifter Raven (Jennifer Lawrence, later to become Mystique), CIA Agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) seeks Charles out after witnessing real mutants at the Shaw-led Hellfire Club. Shaw’s evil team includes tornado-creating Riptide (Alex Gonzalez), demon-looking transporter Azazel (Jason Flemyng), and Emma Frost (January Jones), another telepath who can turn herself into diamonds. Learning about Shaw’s plan to create World War III through the Cuban Missile Crisis, Charles and Erik decide to work together along with the CIA to stop him. They go about gathering a team that consists of Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Angel Salvadore (Zoe Kravitz), Sean Cassidy/Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Alex Summers/Havok (Lucas Till), and Armando Munoz/Darwin (Edi Gathegi).

Cast: X-Men: First Class

The most (and greatest) difference between this film and its previous sequels are the characters. As a series based on “team,” obviously not everyone is going to get the attention they deserve but X-Men: First Class balances this inherent difficulty much better than the first three films. Practically every character gets decent moments and everyone on the Team X is instilled with not just a personality, but a humanity. There’s a pleasure in the performances as well as the relationships.

Charles and Erik: X-Men: First Class

The relationship between Charles and Erik is of crucial importance, and the one around which the movie revolves. The chemistry between McAvoy and Fassbender (two of the best younger actors working today) is undeniable and one wishes that they had more screen time, if only to see the two work off one another more. You immediately get a sense of their remarkable connection and why their eventual separation is tragic. Charles clearly knows where Erik’s mind is and where it will lead him, but you can tell that he hopes against hope that opinions will change. While Erik’s anti-human/pro-mutant crusade might come across as somewhat of a MacGuffin in the first films, with X-Men: First Class you understand where Erik comes from and how and why his philosophy formed. Handled infinitely better than the Kenobi/Skywalker split, expect this pairing to star in a lot of future slashfic.

Charles and Raven: X-Men: First Class

Both Charles and Erik also share a special connection with Raven. Though the original Raven/Mystique (played by Rebecca Romijn) had a closeness with Magneto, she didn’t really rise up as a character like she does in X-Men: First Class. In fact, Raven is probably the third most important character in the entire film (or fourth depending on where you place Shaw). Originally found by Charles Xavier when they were both young children, the two develop an older brother/younger sister relationship that works surprisingly well, and the deep affection between the two outcasts drives both the characters. Raven also serves the important role of the character torn between two worlds. She hates having to hide in plain sight (so to speak), wants to be honest about who she is, but knows the world won’t accept a blue person. Even Charles seems uncomfortable when she’s in her real skin. Erik lets her, possibly for the first time, know that she should be proud of who she is.

Her insecurities about being normal-normal and mutant-normal might seem similar to what Rogue dealt with during the first films, but Lawrence gives this conflict a lot more weight and allows us into this turmoil better than Paquin did.

Hank McCoy: X-Men: First Class

Raven also finds a comrade in Hank McCoy. Super intelligent with super agility but animal-like feet. Hank considers his deformity (and Raven’s blueness) a flaw. However, unlike Raven who wants to maintain her hue, he wants to look “normal.” He attempts a cure to retain abilities while curing the appearance of his feet. It doesn’t work.

Beast McCoy: X-Men: First Class

Nevertheless, I want to give a special commendation to Nicholas Hoult. who is probably best known as the boy in the Hugh Grant movie About A Boy. As the super-geeky McCoy responsible for much X-technology, the appealing Hoult easily shares the screen with, and holds his own against, his Academy Award-nominated/should be Academy Award-nominated costars. (Watch Fassbender in Hunger.)

Suits: X-Men: First Class

Aside from the characters, the film holds back tremendously from the seriousness and mopiness that dragged down a lot of the Snyder/Ratner films. While the mutant rights struggle still remains an obvious allegory for various different human rights movements, it’s significantly less overbearing than in the original trilogy. The look Matthew Vaughn brings to the series is vastly different too. Gone is the darkness of the first three films and those dumb padded leather outfits. X-Men: First Class is brightly filmed with an appreciation for a 1960s style and features suits that hearken back to the group’s first appearance in September 1963.

First Issue X-Men comic

In the world of the mainstream superhero movie, X-Men: First Class shares a place alongside the first Iron Man. Quirky, enjoyable to comic fans and non-comic fans alike, and most importantly confident in itself, X-Men: First Class succeeds in understanding that the key to these films is making us want to spend time with the characters rather than wait for the next action set piece.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:15 am

http://www.hollywoodlife.com/2011/06/03/x-men-first-class-review/

June 3rd, 2011
Sofia Says: 5 Reasons To See ‘X-Men: First Class’ This Weekend!

If you love comic book movies and secretly believe that the world would be cooler with mutants running around (like me!) then ‘X-Men: First Class’ is the movie for you!

Though I have never picked up a comic book in my life, I was hooked when Marvel began turning to the X-Men series into movies in 2000, and could not wait for the new prequel!

In the film, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender play the young Charles Xavier and Erik, who later become infamous mortal enemies Professor X and Magneto! For the first time in the series we actually experience their friendship, and I love it! But there’s other reasons to see the flick, too!

Here are my five reasons why YOU should go see ‘X-Men: First Class’ this weekend!

1. Brand new information! Did you know that Mystique and Professor X used to be friends? This a shock to me! In the other X-Men films, they only focus on the former friendship between Professor X and Magneto, but apparently Professor X and Mystique were best friends, too! Say what?! Now I need to go back and re-watch ALL the other films to look for clues!

2. The X-Men film franchise easily balances between a serious world domination plot and funny one liners and awkward moments. If mutants really existed, there would be no power struggle –us little ol’ humans would have been enslaved or dead a while ago. So to keep it light, they add in a cheesy split screen montage of all the young mutants training to become X-Men, and cameos of Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn, favorites from the previous movies.

3. There are great leads! I have to say I was very impressed with the choice of the two man characters in this film, Professor X and Magneto (James and Michael). Though they weren’t given a lot of time to develop their relationship, it still seemed very believable. It was a bit of a tear jerking moment).

4. The special effects are amazing! In X-Men, the effects become more and more realistic. You won’t believe your eyes!

5. They re-worked historic events to fit the film’s story! The Cuban Missile Crises is used as the platform for the plot, citing it as the moment when Mutants would be revealed to the world.

X Men: First Class hits theaters today and it is a MUST see! So brush up on that comic book knowledge Hollywoodlifers because trust me this is not one you’ll want to miss!
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:17 am

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/news/?a=38766

X-Men: First Class: A Review
I went back on my word and saw it.

Ok. I caved. I saw X-Men: First Class. The decision to see it was not an easy on e though. For the past few months, I have written editorials and left comments on articles about the film, saying why I thought it would be bad. However, as of late, I had been questioning my stand on it, and felt that there was no way to know whether it was good or bad without actually seeing it. I also did not want to pay to go see it, because giving money to FOX is encouraging a badly behaved child to behave in a n even worse manner. Fortunately, I had an AMC gift card, so I figured I may as well go and kill 2 and a half hours.

The story is about how Charles Xavier and Eric Lensher formed a bond and how that bond was also destroyed. In the process, they also form a team of mutants to fight a more sinister team of mutants called the Hellfire Club, who are trying to prevoke the United States and Russia into igniting the Cold War, so that humanity can wipe itself out, leaving only mutants behind. It was a cool story, not a great one, but also not horrible either. The movie has an almost James Bond like quality to it, just with mutants added in.

As for the performances, James McAvoy did a good job of playing the ever optimistic Charles Xavier. Just like in the comics, and the original X-Men films, Charles is always doing everything he can to promote mutants and humans living together as one society, and making sure that neither side resorts to violence. The real star of the show is Michael Fassbender as Eric/ Magneto though. Just as Charles is ever the optimist, Eric is constantly playing devil's advocate, and although, he does fight alongside Charles, you really get the sense that he was never fully on board with Xavier's ideals or agenda. By the end of the film, you will know exactly where he stands, and needles to say, it is no longer along side Xavier. On a side note on Fassbender's performance; while I absolutely want to see Daniel Craig continue as Bond for as long as he can, Fassbender should absolutely be the man to take over for him when the time comes. Nicholos Holt is also very good as Hank McCoy, and looks great as the fully transfrmed Beast. He does a good job of conveying Hank's shame of his feet and his further mutation into Beast, and he's a pretty good nerd too. Jennifer Lawrence is also good as Mystique. I'm not going to get into the rest of the team, because just like in all of the other movies, they seemed like they were there for filler. Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw played a pretty standard villain and really was nothing to write home about, and January Jones really did not seem to have enough to do at all as Emma Frost. The rest of the Hellfire Club seemed like filler too. There were a few nice cameos though. At one point before bedding Eric, Mystique briefly morphs into Rebecca Romain from the original trilogy, and I got a good laugh out of Hugh Jackman's cameo as Wolverine.

So how does the movie fare? Simply put, if you are a hardcore fan of the X-Men, this movie gets very little right, and what itdoes get right is twisted and altered way too much. This movie skirts between the line of a prequel and a reboot a lot, and I honestly wish, that if they were going to go so far in their own direction, even not really adding up to the first trilogy, that they had just went all the way and did a real reboot with the real first class. If you can look at this movie as an all together alternate take on the X-Men, then you will probably get some enjoyment out. Plus, having the Cold War as the backdrop, gives it a nice spin on American and world history.

Let's get one thing clear here. A lot of critics and other folks have been holding this movie in a very high position, saying it the best CBM ever, or the best one since The Dark Knight. At the risk of sounding arrogant, let me tell you that those people are all wrong. This movie does not come come close to Nolan's Batman series or Iron Man and the rest of the line up from Marvel Studios laeading up to The Avengers. Those movies were able to retain a lot of what made the comic books great and still appeal to non comic books lovers. This movie though, does not. So call it a good movie if you must, but not a good CBM.

So in conclusion, X-Men: First Class is a good way to waste 2 hours, and that is all it is. Matthew Vaughn has directed a somewhat entertaining movie, but nothing really memorable.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:18 am

http://www.dailytarheel.com/index.php/blog/dive/2011/06/movie_review_x_men_first_class

Movie Review: X- Men: First Class
Updated: 06/04/11 5:15pm

3.5 stars

Resurrecting a franchise that hit a dead end, X-Men: First Class follows Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Eric “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) as they assemble a team of mutants to protect the United States during the Cold War.

Delving into the childhoods of both characters, this “prequel” gives a thorough but fast paced explanation of the X-Men’s beginnings. Comprehensive enough to satisfy comic book fans, and fresh enough to thrill casual moviegoers. From a young Magneto pushing to survive a concentration camp in Poland to the scene highlighting the search for a team that would become the foundation for what is a legendary comic, viewers are sure to get more than their fair share of chills.

First Class fits nicely into the X-Men franchise, feeling less like a reboot and more like a new chapter. The creators wisely dug into the franchise’s vast catalogue of characters to showcase less familiar mutants not featured in previous films.

Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a laughable villain, is the only handicap of the film’s 1960s setting. Equipped with submarine, neck scarves, and bland side-kick, Shaw screams “cheesy James Bond character,” more than anything else.

Due to their drastically differing childhoods, both Xavier and Magneto hold stark convictions with regards to the role of mutants in society. The duality between Magneto’s separatist views and Xavier’s cooperation-oriented position provide for a growing tension that is a wonder to witness.

The suspense of Xavier and Magento’s looming split serves as the greatest antagonist in the film. After a disappointing X-Men 3 and a mediocre Wolverine origin film, the X-Men brand of movies seems primed on the path to redemption thanks to First Class
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:19 am

http://www.kens5.com/video/featured-videos/X-Men-First-class-123163478.html

MOVIE REVIEW: 'X-Men First Class' is first rate

Michael Fassbender portrays Erik Lehnsherr in a scene from "X-Men: First Class." (Credit: AP Photo/20th Century Fox, Murray Close)

Posted on June 4, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Updated yesterday at 3:55 PM

(CBS) Director Matthew Vaughn does what he was charged to do : successfully revive the X-Men series, bring back some much needed spark and add a healthy dose of star power to the Marvel comic book franchise. And, addi a whole league of fans while he's at it.

Originally a movie series created a decade ago, "X-Men : First Class" takes us back to the beginning, the origin of the X-Men, showing audiences how Professor Xavier and Magneto first met.

The film reprises much-talked-about images from the original film's opening scene - outside the barbed fence of a Nazi death camp. Erik Lehnsherr is a Polish child torn from his parents by Nazis in 1944 and dragged towards the entrance of the camp.

In a flash of rage, he stretches out his hand and, harnessing the powers of his mind, twists the gates at the entrance. Watching from afar is a subversive Nazi official, who seeks to use the boy's power's for his personal gain. In a brutal scene, he has the boy dragged into his office and kills his mother when the child is unable to manipulate a coin on the table. After witnessing the boy's fury, he takes him under his wing to "develop" the young child's latent abilities.

Fast forward two decades and Lehnsherr (Fassbender) is all grown up, living during the rebellious '60s. He has honed his ability to bend metal with his mind to a new level and now he's out for revenge - intent on hunting down his mother's killer. The killer, meanwhile, resurfaces after the war with a new alias - Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) - and an all new accent to go along with his persona.

In England at the time is Professor Xavier (James McAvoy ), a young , not-so-nerdy newly minted Oxford genetics instructor with an eye for pretty women and a novel pick-up line.

He's telepathic. The only person who knows his secret is Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), a young girl with a unique "genetic mutation" of her own that allows her to shape-shift. The two met as children and the professor took her under his wing.

The film is cleverly set during the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis, which makes for an intriguing, if sometimes frenetic, plot and sets the stage for all the shenanigans these unruly, headstrong "mutants" plunge headlong into.

The action goes into overdrive when Professor X is called upon to assist the military in a top-secret mission against the Russians. He recruits an "army" of mutants, each with a predominant genetic mutation that gives him superpowers. The group forms an uneasy alliance and after Professor X saves Fassbender's life, the two become friends. Fassbender earns the name Magneto.

Fassbender is exceptional as an enraged young man, out for revenge. Flashes of brilliance alternate with flashes of cold hard steel to give us an insight into the fire that rages within his Magneto, as he and the brilliant professor devise a plan to go after Shaw and bring him to justice.

One scene, in which he walks into a Swiss banker's office with a bar of Nazi gold, is riveting. With all his panache and ability to morph easily into other languages (German and French) Fassbender makes you think you're watching a really good Bond film, not just another super-hero comic flick. He is the real super star of the film.

Bacon delivers a believable performance as the Nazi operative, who reinvents himself. He had to learn several accents for the part and, though not as convincingly able to switch over into German as Fassbender, he does a respectable job. Along for the ride is his bedazzling sidekick, January Jones, in skin tight 1960s go-go girl attire and icy/hot demeanor.

Both James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence also deliver strong performances. He, as the brain of the X-Men operation, and she, as a conflicted young woman trying to decide between hiding her nature or embracing her real form. The other X-persons add the needed mix of entertainingly bizarre characters, all pulled together by their weird yet interesting differences.

At a little over 130 minutes in length, the film would have done well with some streamlining, but I, for one, was thrilled with the decision not to jump on the 3-D bandwagon. It wasn't needed and it wasn't missed. The action sequences were compelling enough on their own and the inevitable showdown between Erik and Shaw is pretty amazing.

The stage is definitely set for a follow-up to this prequel if the audience and ticket sales demand it. For once, I hope they do.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:20 am

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/news/?a=38748

A deep analytical review of X-Men First Class. FAIL OR PREVAIL?
By the end of this film, you’ll want to join Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants!!!
B+

4/5

SPOILERS

Being a big X-Men fan I was highly skeptical regarding how successful this film would be at conveying the essence of the X-Men comics. The arrogance of the film makers using the title ”First Class,” when in actuality the events in this film take place BEFORE Xavier even begins his life as a teacher, just gave me fears of another disaster like X-Men 3 and the Wolverine Origins film. X3 was a complete abomination and Wolverine was a complete failure at conveying the “animal” that Wolverine was supposed to be. I’m glad to say that this film stands hugely apart from those mediocre attempts and really showcases Bryan Singer as an excellent storyteller. His interpretation of the X-Men mythos actually improved upon some of the attributes of that myth. While First Class is poorly named, it contributes more to the X-men Saga, rather then just trying to milk it.

Right off the back the cinematography was great and very similar to Mathew Vaughn’s films Stardust and Kick Ass. The cinematographer utilized colors brilliantly and this is indeed the most colorful of the X-men films.

Mathew Vaughn’s directing was decent, although at times it feels that we jump around too much without taking time to let certain events marinate, something Singer did well in X1 and X2. Also at times certain scenes feel too stylized and stick out like a sore thumb when compared to the rest of the film. However great scenes such as Hank McKoy’s transformation into the Beast and the juxtaposition of multiple scenes at once (something Ang Lee did in The Hulk, which I liked) were an awesome contribution from Vaughn. I must also commend Vaughn at his scene recreation of the opening of X1, something that isn’t easily done. I was breath taken by the impeccability of how exact it was. Outstanding job!

The acting was hands down a grand slam, with a few exceptions. Michael Fassbender was born to play Magneto and is the heart and soul of this film. He is our emotional anchor and his story does a great job at making you sympathize for him. By the end of this film, you’ll want to join the brotherhood of mutants!!! James McAvoy was also amazing. I totally believed he was a younger version of Xavier and he pulls off all his performances flawlessly. Him and Fassbender have great chemistry and their performances are a milestone in film, just like their older versions Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. I enjoyed seeing dramatic performances from Magneto and Professor X’s characters. Whenever the film switches focus to the hellfire club or Banshee and Havoc, you just want them to get back to Xavier and Magneto as quick as possible. Another excellent thing about this film that should be noted is that this is the most dramatic of X-films and also the most violent, something adult X-Fans should relish in.

Kevin Bacon also did an excellent job, playing a better Sebastian Shaw than the one in the comics, who was never one my favorite villains. Here Shaw’s malice and evil feel more deeply rooted. Initially I was resistant towards the idea of Shaw being the X-Men’s first villain but Singer made a brilliant move making him the former Nazi officer who killed Magneto’s mother. January Jones as Emma Frost was decent. She played a very deceitful and quiet role. She completely captured the look of Emma Frost. Also seeing the transformation of Beast was great. The contrast between the scientist and animal was done brilliantly and completely pays off in a scene where he grabs Havoc by the throat and savagely questions him. Moira MacTaggert was also played well. Although they changed her role from a scientist into a CIA agent, I still feel her essence in the character and the actress looks almost just like her in a way. Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique was a mixed bag. I would have liked to have seen her perform a more cold hearted back stab on Xavier. It felt like she kind of “went along” with Magneto, rather than felt the same conviction as him for the cause 100%.

There were some wasted opportunities in some of the characters, particularly Havoc and Banshee. We never get to know much about the characters and at times it feels as if they are simply there just to use their powers and be utilized for action scenes. These guys join Xavier without revealing any back story, something all the X-Men films fail at. In the comics and TV shows we deal with issues such as child abuse and abandonment and it feels corny to see Havoc and Banshee join Xavier with no back story. Where are these guy’s parents? Why is Havoc a danger to himself and others? What happened? Why are they alone? I would have much rather have had time dedicated to these questions rather than exposition on comedy relief. Banshee and Havoc scenes provide some more light hearted moments but I would have rather used that time to deal with some of their own personal stories, like they did with Beast and Mystique. I would have loved to see Azazel more developed as a character too because he feels like he’s just there to bank on Nightcrawler’s success from X2. The best thing the character Darwin did was die fast. I was glad they got his character out of there because it gave Magneto and Professor X more breathing room. The character of Angel was a mixed bag. First of all she tells people her “stage name” is Angel, when in the comics he real name is Angel and her codename is Tempest. Why did the film makers overlook this? It totally disrespects a certain iconic character in the X-Men saga, Angel, Warren Worthington. Again when Tempest deflects to Shaw’s side, it feels too casual because we aren’t emotionally invested in the characters, not even in the slightest bit. The worst part of the film was the recruitment and codenaming scenes. They feel corny and out of place with the rest of the film and made me cringe. Hugh Jackman saved that sequence because he said EXACTLY how I felt. When the young mutants were figuring out codenames I began to fear that the film would go downhill, something I also experienced watching X2 during the Iceman and Rogue scenes. Luckily Fassbender and Xavier carried this film on their shoulders out of the few weak moments of the film and into greatness.

The end of this film is what made it a winner for me. The moment Magneto grabs Shaw’s helmet I felt chills on my skin and I began to see Fassbender literally transform into the iconic character right before our eyes. It was like seeing Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne turn into Batman or Jack Nicholson turn into the Joker; a perfect transformation between the actor and the role, a perfect synchronization. The idea that Singer came up with, to have Xavier turn into a paraplegic by Magneto’s hand, was BETTER than the comics. In the comics an alien named Lucifer crushes him with a boulder but Singer’s idea is far superior, creating an emotional arc for Magneto and Professor X that will echo more throughout X-Men mythology than the original idea from the comics. Years from now, when you think of Xavier’s origins, people won’t mentally refer to the Lucifer incident but to this film. This film did something remarkable. It improved on the mythos, much like Batman Begins improved on the Batman saga by giving us a more definitive origin story. Even though it would have been great to see Xavier and Magneto have their first meeting in Israel like in the comic, and have a better title than First Class, this film is a must see for all X-Men fans and the ending will leave you MOUTHWATERING for a sequel, just like Batman Begins did….I hope we’ll finally get to see the REAL First Class; Cyclops and Jean!!!!
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:20 am

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/TheFortress/news/?a=38744

'X-Men: First Class' Review
My thoughts on the infamous Mutant's big screen outing!
Plot Summary:

X-Men: First Class charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals the secret history and origins of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr long before they took on the names Professor X and Magneto, a the time when they were still friends and followed the same path and mankind was still ignorant to the existence of mutantkind.

Now firstly I’ve got to say like many of you I was prior to all the recent footage we’ve all seen I was expecting and hoping for the worst, so in some fantasy land Marvel would retain the rights. But, after this that’s clearly not going to happen for a while yet. Frankly, First Class blew me away, I’m surprised how much I enjoyed it. Hell, I’m willing to say I enjoyed it more than Thor, and it is undoubtedly the best X-Men film to date! End of the day, it’s not the X-Men film I wanted, but it is undoubtedly very entertaining. But forget my rambles, with my review I’ve tried to keep it as spoiler free as possible so please don’t give me a bitch fit if you feel there are any spoilers here.

Now, to me the main thing that made me love the movie so much was the relationship between Charles and Erik. Quite frankly, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy were perfectly cast. It’s that simple. Both are essentially polar opposites to one another, but it’s due to their strong performances that I felt these characters were real and their bond also felt real. With McAvoy though, I have to give him particular praise; it was just really fun to see a young, ‘hip’ Professor X, it primarily helps in grounding the character and makes him more realistic and also likable. Just one of the many interesting character developments I really approved of, and Mike has Magneto? Epic, he made him very sympathetic, and likable whilst also making him a total badass! If Mike is given the chance at Bond, from his performance as Magneto, I would love to see him give it a spin!
Another breakout star from this movie for me though has to be Jennifer Lawrence. Fair enough, I too have made jokes about her big Mystique forehead, but frankly she’s a solid actress, and I really liked seeing her character develop in this movie. As for the other characters, to me, personally it felt a bit as if they needed a bit more screen time, as most of the other mutants are literally around just to fuel the action sequences and nothing more, but overall solid performances all round. As for Kevin Bacon, overall I thought he was pretty good. There were a few moments were he seemed to almost emanate Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor but other than he plays a suitable role as the villain of the piece, taking the role to some very dark places at times.

As for the look of the film, one of the things I really liked was the swinging 60’s vibe to it, but to me initially due to the historical context of the film, I thought it might be borderline camp, but quite frankly Mathew Vaughn perfectly manages to ground this universe and make it appear realistic enough to fit in with Singer’s predeceasing movies. This is carried on with the costumes, rather than Singer’s ‘black-ops’ look, the yellow and blue feels appropriate for the setting, and the inception behind them also feels very natural and well integrated. Initially though, it has to be said, I’m not too sure why Fox settled with Vaughn as a director, I mean sure he’s done good movies, really liked Layer Cake and Kick-Ass was cool, but tonally there are very different films from First Class. Whatever though, end of the day the decision paid off and the X-Men series does feel pretty rejuvenated.

Overall, personally I really enjoyed X-Men: First Class. It had this very classic, old school action/adventure almost ‘James Bond’ feel to it and had a perfect balance of action, drama and humour. My only real criticism of the film is near the end it felt a bit too ‘comic booky’ (I won’t be spoiling it for anyone, but it’s in regards to Magneto), and characters like Moira McTaggart felt very underdeveloped. Also, as for the cameos within the film, I just have to say, I’d be happier without them. I mean I know First Class isn’t a reboot or a prequel, but rather more a retcon, but personally I think this was a nice point to maybe start from scratch, and get rid atrocities like mind wiping bullets once and for all, but hey, maybe I’m just nit-picking here… Either way it’s a solid, entertaining film, so be sure to check it out!

My Rating:

4.5 out of 5!
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:21 am

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=43935

X-Men: First Class
A summer movie with something on its telepathic mind.
by John Hayward
06/04/2011

After a few disappointing installments, the producers of the X-Men movie franchise decided to reboot the series with a prequel, telling the story of how benevolent telepath Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) met the angry magnetic powerhouse Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) and formed the X-Men – a team of superhuman genetic mutants who would go on to become Lehnsherr’s nemesis, after he declared war on the human race and became the villainous Magneto.

Prequels often feel like creatively bankrupt attempts to cash in on backstory that was better left in the background. The early days of Anakin Skywalker were much more interesting when the audience was left to imagine what a “Clone War” might be like. X-Men: First Class is a delightful, exhilarating, and thought-provoking exception. As with the equally creaky Star Trek franchise, a prequel was exactly the right way to go.

If you’re a novice to the world of the X-Men, or even if you don’t like superheroes in general, have no fear. This is a perfectly accessible movie that works as a grand emotional drama, without being the slightest bit pretentious. It will politely ask you to suspend your disbelief occasionally, and if you play along, you’ll revel in the giddy pleasures of a kid who can fly by screaming at the ground, and a man who can raise a submarine from the depths with a wave of his hand.

This prequel is set in the 1960s, specifically during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which turns out to have been an even more sinister event than your history books led you to believe. It was actually the work of Sebastian Shaw, a veritable Swiss army knife of a villain – he’s a Nazi scientist, an invincible monster, and a James Bond nemesis rolled into one, and played with marvelous relish by Kevin Bacon. His evil scheme is executed with devilish, carefully cultivated treachery, but his goals are admirably straightforward. If you ever made a bar bet that Kevin Bacon would play one of the best screen villains someday, it’s time to collect.

The 60s setting is used to charming effect without becoming overwhelming. A supercomputer running reel-to-reel tape is viewed without irony as a marvel by the film, because the characters see it that way. There are lots of little references to the other X-Men films (and one that is both huge and drop-dead hilarious) but if you’re not familiar with them, you’ll never feel like you’re being left out of an inside joke.

One reason the period setting is so important is that it elevates the power and importance of the four senior mutant characters: Xavier, Magneto, Shaw, and Shaw’s telepathic henchwoman Emma Frost (January Jones.) The humans of the Sixties have no knowledge of mutants, and no effective way to defend themselves against these four titans. The arsenal of mankind is a chest of fragile toys to Magneto and Shaw. Xavier and Frost could become the secret masters of the world in a matter of weeks with their telepathy, if they joined forces.

This sets the stage for a much larger moral conflict than the earlier films’ focus on mutants as proxies for outsiders, misfits, individualists, or minorities. That theme is still present, but the main story of First Class is driven by the moral conflict between the four mightiest mutants, who can essentially do anything they want. Humans cannot stop them. They can only be thwarted by one another, or by their personal codes of honor. Look beneath the groovy Sixties exterior, and you can see something like a Greek tragedy about the passions and weaknesses of a quartet of gods, striding through a world that is just beginning to learn how to fear them.

This is really the tale of Magneto’s descent into a terrible destiny he can see coming for his entire life, as Xavier tries to save him from becoming the monster Shaw intended him to be. Fassbender went into this knowing he would be called upon to show the audience how a Holocaust survivor could become the brutal champion of a new master race, which he sees as “the next step in human evolution.” He pulls it off by finding Magneto’s tragic flaw – the total, willful absence of the compassion his best friend Charles Xavier has in such abundance.

“I have been at the mercy of men who were just following orders,” Magneto tells Xavier, at the climax of the story, in the moment when he casts aside the possibility of grace. “Never again.” He will spend the rest of his life believing he’s trapped in a war he didn’t start, against an enemy he can never afford to show mercy, because he can’t bring himself to accept Xavier’s offer to join the human race. Thus does a man who could have been anything choose to become the adversary of mankind.

Of course, the mutant heroes are people too. We never learn much about the villains, but this inaugural class of X-Men comes with a great assortment of little character beats that make them sympathetic and approachable. (Once again, George Lucas take note.) The girl who can instantly change to look like anything she wants nevertheless has body image issues. The guys regard their powers the way regular teenagers feel about their hot rods. We discover there is a perfectly understandable reason why Erik Lehnsherr is willing to run around calling himself “Magneto.” The smartest young man in the world misses the most obvious signals from the young woman who adores him. Xavier realizes that telepathy is exceptionally useful for picking up chicks.

X-Men: First Class is an exciting, funny, beautifully realized story about the power of moral choice, and the importance of empathy. It cares enough about its audience to execute many of its special effects the hard way, and uses the dense layers of backstory in the X-Men universe the same way the original Star Wars used its epic setting. So much is implied that you’ll be hungry for more, even though it’s over two hours long.

If you’re not a big comics fan, think about Nighcrawler from X2: X-Men United, look at the cast of First Class, and see if you can guess who his parents are. I suspect you’ll leave the theater wanting to know the rest of that story, and so many others.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:22 am

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/Dustin03Comics/news/?a=38742

Comedian Reviews: X-Men: First Class
Click here to read my take on what many are saying is the best X-Men film so far, and some going as far as calling it the best comic-book movie we've gotten yet. Do I agree? Maybe...

Ok I'll admit, like most people out there when I first heard about X-Men: First Class I hated the idea of it, I thought it was going to be another fail like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and now like most people out there, I'm eating my words. Normally I'm not a fan of Matthew Vaughn, that's right folks, I didn't enjoy Kick-Ass, but he really brings us something amazing with First Class, I think he finally gives us the X-Men movie we've all been waiting for.

I'll start off by talking about what I didn't enjoy about the movie, to get it out of the way before I get to the amazing parts which is basically 90% of the rest of the movie. January Jones as Emma Frost, in my opinion the worst casting choice of the entire film. I'm not sure if it was the way the character was written or just what Jones personally brought to the role but I found the character rather bland and quite drull. She seemed extremely cold and emotionless throughout the entire film, I constantly felt like she was just standing there reading her lines off a teleprompter. I would've preferred someone who could really bring some life into the character, and January Jones was definitely not that person. The next issue on my list is Beast's makeup, when I was seeing all of the promo pictures and various TV spots I thought he looked great, I loved it, but seeing the character in action on the big-screen, I felt like I was watching some guy in a cheap blue costume running around on screen. There were still some shots where he looked awesome, like when he was flying the jet he looked cool as hell. Mainly it was just in a couple of the close of face shots and full-body shots that I felt he looked a little bit silly. One minor thing that kind of annoyed me was near the end of the movie, it seemed like Michael Fassbender was having a hard time hiding his thick accent, he went the entire movie sounding perfect, but at the end battle scene it started to slip and it kind of caught me off guard and distracted me at times.

The next and probably biggest problem I have with this movie is one I already knew going into the movie, make no mistake friends, this is 100% the Charles & Erik movie. The movie goes into great detail to get us to understand and be interested in the characters of Erik & Charles that I felt it didn't do enough justice to the other interesting characters like Havok, Banshee, Riptide, Angel. It spent so much time developing Charles & Erik that throughout the rest of the movie and during battle scenes, I couldn't bring myself to really care about what happened to the other characters. My last issue kind of goes hand in hand with the last, the dynamic between Charles & Erik is absolutely amazing, Vaughn makes the whole situation believable. However, I think the friendship, and eventual downfall of their friendship is something that should have been spread out over a sequel or trilogy. I always got the impression and Xavier and Magneto had been long time friends before their split, where as in this movie it felt like they knew eachother for about 2 weeks. So here's hoping for some more character development in the sequels (which I'm looking forward to).


Ok now that we have my whining and complaining out of the way let's get on with the good stuff. First off the setting, Matthew Vaughn manages perfectly to deliver a "what if" scenario while at the same time making a 60's era film. I've seen many movies attempt to do the same thing and they almost always fail miserably, I'm not entirely sure how Vaughn did it but I can assure you, he pulls it off. The thing is, I knew the movie took place in the past, but never once did I feel like I was watching a 60's era movie, Vaughn makes a perfect balance of nostalgia while at the same time keeping things very modern and interesting. I'm sure by now you've all heard about the two cameos featured in the film and in case you haven't I wont spoil them for you but I'll tell you this, they fit perfectly. I find when most directors try to put in cameos it comes off as "Hey Look! Look There!See what I did!", but Vaughn didn't give us that, the 2 cameos fit in perfectly with the scenes they were featured in, they didn't seem forced. The first cameo in the movie definitely got a lot of laughs in my theater whereas the second cameo, a lot of people didn't seem to even notice to be honest.

One of the things Matthew Vaughn gives us with First Class that in my opinion was lacking in the previous X-Men films, is the team dynamic between all of the characters. Yes, as I stated earlier there wasn't much time spent on other characters but when all of these guys are thrown into action, they work as a team, they play off one anothers powers to get the upper hand. It's not just a bunch of mutants fighting and doing their own things and the only way you know they're a team is because they're wearing the same clothes. There was a great team dynamic here, I really believed this group of misfit mutants could really band together to overcome such a major obstacle like Sebastion Shaw.

Lastly, because I don't want to make my review too long and boring for you guys, is the cast. Let me assure you right now, besides January Jones, this cast is amazing, it doesn't matter if the character only has 2 minutes of screentime, every actor chosen for their respective roles was absolutely spot on. McAvoy and Fassbender brought something to the table that I don't think can be rivalled. I know you've heard it before "Fassbender and McAvoy steal the show blah blah blah", but the reason you keep hearing it is because well it's 100% true! These guys are amazing, before they even share any screentime you can tell that these guys are going to be the highlights of the movie. Their on screen chemistry is outstanding, I'm sitting here trying to think of another great on screen duo that I can compare them too but frankly I cant, they're just that good and I'm excited to see more of them in the sequel.

The rest of the supporting characters were completely amazing as well. Nicholas Hoult made an awesome young Hank, before this movie I'd never even heard of him, but I'll be keeping an eye out for his future movies because this kid can act. He brings an entirely new dynamic to the character, more in-depth, we understand the character more, something we never truly got with Kelsey Grammar's Beast. I found it a little hard to enjoy Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, I'm not sure why but I did, as the movie went on I learnd to like her though and although I don't like her look as Mystique, she brought a lot to the character, she did a great job of showing us this very naive and self-concious Mystique. The rest of the cast, as I said was amazing, Till as Havok was spot on casting and he's one character I really hope to see more development for and screentime in the sequel. Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee was great, although he didn't have the accent, it never bothered me, Jones did a great job of keeping the character interesting enough to just not care about his accent. I wont bother going into detail on the rest of the cast, but trust me, they all were absolutely outstanding, Azazel especially, I loved that character, he was so menacing and vicious, I cant wait to see him in the sequel.

My rating for X-MEN: FIRST CLASS - 7.5/10
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:22 am

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/hammervision/2011/06/movie-review---x-men-first-class-out-of-5.html

Movie Review - X-Men: First Class (**** out of 5)
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John Hammerle on 06.04.11 at 1:55 PM

X-Men: First Class. 138 mins. PG-13. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Written by Ashley Miller & Zach Stentz and Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn.

The new X-Men movie, First Class, does what every questionable reboot of a fading franchise needs to do in order to shut up its detractors: it's good. Really good. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by the quality on screen. After punishing audiences with The Last Stand (which I actively disliked) and Wolverine (which I downright hated), Fox has wisely brought Bryan Singer back into the fold, and, even better, handed the directing reins to Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass). The result is a smart, confident, and briskly paced action movie that truly delivers the goods.

Taking a page from the Star Trek playbook, X-Men: First Class takes many of the characters we know and love, and shows us their origin. The 2009 reboot of Star Trek is a great comparison - First Class gets many of the same things right as that film. Though it stays faithful to the X-Men movies that preceded it, First Class definitely signals a break and a new direction. Set in 1962, amidst the Cuban Missile Crisis, the movie focuses on the early development of the X-Men and the combustible friendship between Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Professor X (James McAvoy).

The smartest move First Class made was casting those two actors. Fassbender and McAvoy rule the screen - you can't take your eyes off either one. Their scenes together, as they bond and bicker over the nature of humanity and mutation, are just dynamite. It is so wonderful to see two excellent actors treat comic book material so seriously and just elevate it with their performances.

Fassbender is particularly mesmerizing. After memorable roles in Inlgourious Basterds and Jane Eyre, and many more coming soon, Fassbender is poised to break out in a big way. I, for one, can't wait to see more of him. My favorite scene in the movie features Magneto at a bar in Argentina, laying waste to three former Nazis in seriously efficient, no-nonsense manner.

The rest of the cast is stuck playing second fiddle to those guys, which is good because nobody else is quite as compelling. Kevin Bacon does a nice job as the main baddie, Sebastian Shaw, who aims to start up World War III. Jennifer Lawrence plays a young Mystique, and she's pretty far from her Academy Award-nominated performance in Winter's Bone. Here's hoping she proves more impressive in The Hunger Games films.

The big weak spot is January Jones as Emma Frost. Ms. Jones is beautiful, yes, and I don't doubt the filmmakers' reasoning in casting her as the ice queen who sometimes resembles a crystal robot. Her dead-eyed, monotone delivery doesn't do the movie any favors though. Her outfits, on the other hand, do.

Vaughn is on a roll now. Now that the mediocre Stardust is safely behind him, between this and Kick-Ass, he has officially become one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. He adds real style and charm to the movie. The pacing is better than any of the other X-Men films. Each scene moves along at a clip, never boring the audience, always moving on to something new and interesting. There are several montages devoted to training and gathering up the mutants, and all of them ramp up and pay off in big ways, including an awesome cameo featuring one of the most judicious uses of the f-bomb in a PG-13 rated film in recent memory.

The '60s setting offers a unique visual style to the movie that sets it apart from other comic book films. It gives the movie a mod feel, what with all the early CIA dealings, horn-rimmed glasses, Dr. Strangelove-type war rooms, and black-and-white televisions with JFK on them. Mad Men fans will certainly enjoy it. So will fans of the Sean Connery-as-James Bond years. Very shagadelic, baby.

Other than Ms. Jones' performance, my issues with First Class are few and far between. The mutant characters switch allegiances often and a little too easily for my taste, and the film sets up the inevitable sequels a little too patly. I would have preferred to see Professor X and Magneto's friendship develop a bit more in another sequel before they settle into their established roles, as they do by the end here.

Still, all things considered, this is the best X-Men movie yet, taking over the mantle previously held by X2. And it will likely be one of the more satisfying moviegoing experiences we'll have this Summer. I recommend signing up for this Class.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:23 am

http://www.purplerevolver.com/movies/reviews/121610-x-men-first-class-review.html

X-Men: First Class review
by Matt Barden. Published Sat 04 Jun 2011 18:57, Last updated: 2011-06-04
Click here for more Purple Revolver videos

X-Men First Class is director Michael Vaughn’s version of the rebooted world of the Uncanny X-Men.

Set during the backdrop of the 1960s and the Cold War, comic geeks are given the full back story into the turbulent relationship of Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), aka Magneto, and the beginnings of Marvel’s mutant superhero team; the X-Men.

The film opens in the 1940s and shows us the parallel lives of Charles and Erik, which shapes their ideology for the mutant race. Xavier is a well off upper class child, who goes on to use his psychic ability to graduate from Oxford. Erik is used as a lab rat by the Nazis after he and his family are held at a concentration camp by the sinister Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).

Moving forward twenty years and Shaw has recruited his own band of not so merry mutants in an attempt to cause enough friction between the US and the Soviets to start WWIII.

Erik is hunting the former Nazi to avenge his mother’s death and crosses paths with Charles, who is aiding the CIA in thwarting Shaw. Bonding over their mutant outcast status, the two gather a team of mutants to help stop the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Urged to not shy away from their mutant abilities and join Professor X and Magneto are; Hank McCoy (Skin’s Nicholas Hoult), Havok (Lucas Till), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Angel (Zoe kravitz) and Banshee (Caleb Jones).

The film is witty, stylish and intelligent, even if it does try to cram a lot of back stories and mutants into its 2 hours and 11 minutes run-time.

McAvoy is brilliant as Professor X. He adds a funny and, at times darker side, to the much wiser version we know and love from the comics. The on screen chemistry between him and Fassbender makes the film and sheds a lot of light onto one of the most interesting and conflicting relationships that exists in the Marvel universe.

There is plenty of action and great fight scenes to keep the junkies happy, but mixed in with a little history and a shining spotlight on social rights and prejudices.

The film opens up a lot of questions. Magneto can no longer be seen as just another super-villain and it leads the audience into making their own decision; whose ideology is right, Xavier’s or Magneto’s?

The relationship that Vaughan has built between the two lead characters will give him plenty to build on for future films and should make the X-Men legacy much more interesting.

First Class has a lot more substance than other recent superhero films (Thor and The Green Hornet anyone?) and proves that you can take lesser known comic characters and provide just as an entertaining movie as their more famous counterparts.

Vaughan has created a superhero movie that relies just as much on explosions and fantasy as it does on drama and character relationships, and has given Marvel fans a film that they can sink their teeth into and really be proud of.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:23 am

http://www.cleveland.com/sun/intermission/index.ssf/2011/06/post_109.html

Dawn of 'X-Men' is first-class effort
Published: Saturday, June 04, 2011, 1:06 AM Updated: Saturday, June 04, 2011, 2:33 PM
John M. Urbancich, Sun News By John M. Urbancich, Sun News

Who knew that mutants were the heroes of the very scary Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962? Wish someone would have told us as much on that real and fateful October morning, when we were holding our breaths and expecting the nuclear worst as we walked scared witless from our ninth-grade English class.
xmen1st1a1.jpgBeast-ly good: Hoult's Dr. Hank McCoy displays his mutant powers to, from left, McAvoy's Charles Xavier, Lawrence's Mystique and Fassbender's Erik Lehnsherr.

X-Men: First Class: PG-13: intense action/violence, sexual content, brief nudity, language; 2:12: $ $ $ ½

Seriously, the historic Naval blockade episode is part of the clunky fun told in “X-Men: First Class,” a mostly decent prequel to the films and comic books that introduced us to suspicious associates Magneto and Professor X, played as young men here by the intense Michael Fassbender and the terrific James McAvoy, respectively. Back then, these X-Men movie stalwarts were known as Erik Lehnsherr, tortured by his troubled past but with the power to control magnetism, and Charles Xavier, the brilliant and rich Oxford student with incredible telepathic skills.

Actually, the whole thing plays like a long and pretty good episode of “The Man from U.N.C.L. E.” That later ’60s TV series focused on cool Cold War spies and campy villains, and the “First Class” bad guy here is ex-Nazi Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), whose ruthless ambition to destroy humankind keeps things moving through some slower spots.
xmen1st2a1.jpgJanuary indeed is
one Frost-y lass.

The latter moments mostly occur simply because director Matthew Vaughn (“Stardust,” “Kick-Ass”) has tackled a heavily credited script with too many specially-equipped mutants for anyone but serious franchise geeks to love. Newcomers who grow up to be Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Riptide (Alex Gonzalez), Lucas Till (Havok) and Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), to name but a few, get lost in discovery, training and action sequences that often also include CIA types played by Rose Byrne and Oliver Platt.

Thankfully, the co-star with most of the screen time becomes Oscar-nominated Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”), proving her acting worth as the blue-skinned Raven (before she’s called Mystique) and doubling as Xavier’s flirtatious best friend.

On the other hand, “Mad Men” ice queen January Jones gets typecast once more as the aptly named Emma Frost, a villainess henchwoman who gets to show off her skinny charms, as well as some of the film’s best special effects
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