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X-Men Reviews 2

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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:15 am

http://movies.ndtv.com/movie_review.aspx?id=630&albumname=Review:%20X%20%20Men:%20First%20Class

Review: X Men First Class
Anupama Chopra, Consulting Editor, Films, NDTV
Friday, June 10, 2011

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Bill Milner
Director: Matthew Vaughn

X-Men: First Class is smart and sexy and thankfully, accessible even to the uninitiated.

You don’t have to be an expert on the Marvel Comics’ mutant franchise to enjoy this origins story, set in the early 1960s. Actually, the film begins even earlier in a concentration camp, where Erik, a young boy with magnetic powers is separated from his parents.

The evil Dr. Schmidt, played by Kevin Bacon, kills his mother and unleashes upon the world, a damaged superhero, or as Erik describes himself: Frankenstein’s monster.

Meanwhile, his future nemesis Charles, played by James McAvoy, is at Oxford using clever lines about genes to pick up pretty women. Charles and Erik, played by Michael Fassbender, soon become part of the CIA mutant division and find themselves in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis.

In this version of history at least, World War 3 was avoided only because the mutants intervened. X-Men: First Class is a furiously busy movie.

There are half-a-dozen location shifts, an equal number of characters that we must pay attention to and reams of plot, all layered with life-lessons on being different and fitting in. But director Matthew Vaughn manages to hold the narrative together.

The solid story-telling is enhanced by strong performances, especially by Fassbender, who is at once, furious, fractured and tragic. Fassbender and McAvoy have great chemistry.

X-Men: First Class is a nicely done, industrial strength, summer popcorn movie. I strongly recommend that you check it out.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:31 am

http://www.craigdailypress.com/news/2011/jun/10/movies-x-men-first-class-now-session/

At the Movies: ‘X-Men: First Class’ now in session

By Andy Bockelman

June 10, 2011

“X-Men: First Class”:

4 out of 4 stars

132 minutes

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

There are many things you can learn from “X-Men: First Class.” For example, never trust a girl who can change the color of her eyes and perhaps more seriously, don’t traumatize a kid with godlike abilities without expecting major repercussions.

In 1962, things are changing across the globe. New music, new fashions, new species …

The prevalence of human beings with mutations is becoming impossible to ignore, a fact not lost on Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), an Oxford University graduate student in genetics, who happens to be a mutant himself and a powerful telepath. When he is approached by CIA Agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) to debrief the government about mutants, he sees it as an opportunity to bring about a better understanding of the world’s newest kind of human.

But, other mutants aren’t quite so altruistic, with the fiendish Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) already hard at work in a plot to establish mutant supremacy. Caught in the middle is angry young mutant Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), who has a history with Shaw going back to the Holocaust and hopes to kill him at any cost with his power of controlling metal in all forms.

With some cajoling from Charles, Erik reluctantly becomes part of a more peaceable mission to find, recruit and train mutants around the planet, but as Shaw makes his move, their small team of students may have to save the world despite the fact that most of the population despises their kind and everything for which they stand.

As the energetic young man who will eventually grow to be a wheelchair-bound Patrick Stewart, McAvoy excellently captures Professor Xavier’s humanitarian spirit and his sense of hope that humans and mutants can coexist. It’s up for debate how much of a sense of humor the character had in his early days, as well as his propensity for heavy drinking, but “X-Men” nuts such as yours truly can tell you with full confidence that Xavier has been bald since adolescence.

Likewise, there’s some futzing with Magneto’s background, with Fassbender dropping his European accent off and on as Erik, whose days in a concentration camp have formed him into a vengeful living weapon capable of taking out the wrong person without pause. Ian McKellen may have made his mark as the elder Magneto, but Fassbender is no less capable.

Bacon plays up his role as Shaw, the first truly evil villain to appear in the “X” movies, desiring nothing short of world domination, ready to exploit the animosity between the U.S. and Soviet Union to trigger a nuclear war as part of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

As for those who have potential to be good or bad, Jennifer Lawrence fits in very well as Charles’ adopted sister and best friend Raven, known better in her natural form as the blue-skinned shape-shifting beauty Mystique, endeavoring to accept herself the way she is rather than the façade she is forced to present to look normal. Also hoping for some tolerance is Nicholas Hoult as wunderkind scientist Hank McCoy, who’s forced to hide his oversized simian feet, eventually resorting to experimentation to try and acquiesce into society.

Of course, that turns out well.

Possessing beauty, brains and a fair amount of brawn is January Jones as the scantily-clad and appropriately named Emma Frost, Shaw’s right hand woman, who can revert to diamond form at will, allowing her to enhance both her strength and intellect, giving Xavier a run for his money as a mind-reader.

There’s no shortage of mutants making appearances here, as we’re introduced to the likes of Angel (Zoë Kravitz), an exotic dancer who can sprout pixie-like wings, and Darwin (Edi Gathegi), whose power of “reactive evolution” allows him to develop gills underwater or armored plating when he’s about to be struck by a blunt object.

Sonic screamer Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) and energy conduit Havok (Lucas Till) fit in well enough, but there are more familiar faces waiting, too, bub.

Though very few of these characters actually appeared in the earliest pages printed out by Marvel Comics, their anachronistic presence is uncannily valuable as new director Matthew Vaughn puts his skills to good use, having formed a dominant poise in the superhero and fantasy genres working on movies like “Kick-Ass” and “Stardust.”

But, under the tutelage of former series director Bryan Singer — who also produced and receives story credit — Vaughn takes “The Children of the Atom,” as Shaw christens mutantkind, back in time only to leap forward to a considerable extent compared to its forerunners.

The look and feel of the sexy, swingin’ ‘60s is outstanding, enhancing the original intent of juxtaposing Professor Xavier and Magneto as the Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X of their particular minority, respectively, one fueled by love and hoping for unity while the other is shaped by hatred but capable of great leadership and phenomenal achievements. And yes, that means something more noteworthy than pulling out a former Nazi’s fillings or levitating a submarine from the sea to hold it in mid-air.

Although the latter is admittedly pretty cool.

With a notably different color palate, excitement quotient and speed, “X-Men: First Class” is the best of the five films thus far. Though Singer’s entries are hard to top, the dual efforts of both filmmakers create a feature that functions among the best of the comic book collection, such as “The Dark Knight,” “Spider-Man” and the first two “Superman” movies.

Just doing away with the stupid black leather outfits from Singer’s movies alone puts it a few notches up.

Now playing at the West Theatre and Steamboat Springs’ Metropolitan Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:32 am

http://www.theaquarian.com/2011/06/10/kam-on-film-x-men-first-class-spork-and-whats-new-in-theaters/

Kam On Film: ‘X-Men: First Class,’ ‘Spork’ and What’s New In Theaters

—by Kam Williams, June 10, 2011

X-Men: First Class

20th Century Fox

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality and brief profanity.

Classic “Origins” Prequel Reveals Roots of Mutants’ Superpowers

The release of a prequel is normally a sign that a franchise is running out of steam. But that isn’t the case with X-Men: First Class, a very worthy extension of the Marvel Comics franchise. This classic “origins” episode is devoted to the derivation of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr’s (Michael Fassbender) superpowers and to these archenemies’ emergence as Professor X and Magneto, respectively.

The film opens during World War II inside a concentration camp where we find Erik, a suspected mutant, being pressured at gunpoint by a Nazi scientist (Kevin Bacon) to demonstrate his ability to move a coin with no hands. When he fails to comply, the sadistic Dr. Shaw callously shoots the boy’s mother to death right on the spot.

Enraged, Erik is suddenly able to summon his superhuman magnetizing skills to kill a couple of guards but Shaw manages to escape. Understandably, the trauma of witnessing the murder leaves the kid obsessed with exacting vengeance on the murderer.

At the same time of Erik’s internment, Charles is growing up in New York City with a silver spoon in his mouth. There, the orphaned, 10-year-old heir to a family fortune has been learning how to harness his own special gift, namely, mental telepathy.

Fast-forward a couple of decades and Erik is still trying to track down Dr. Shaw on a trail that is taking him from Switzerland to Argentina to Miami. Meanwhile, Charles is just returning to the States after earning a Ph.D. at Oxford where he majored in Mutantology.

Their paths intersect soon after the CIA seeks Dr. Xavier’s advice about assembling a top-secret team of genetic anomalies to neutralize the efforts of an evil counterpart bent on world domination, none other than the diabolical Dr. Shaw. This initially makes pacifist Professor X and revenge-minded Magneto easy allies, until the former’s peaceful nature comes in conflict with the latter’s personal agenda.

Unfolding against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis, X-Men: First Class takes considerable cinematic license with the truth, though very cleverly weaving myriad Marvel characters into factual events in a most entertaining fashion. The upshot is a fanciful, revisionist history suggesting that mutants might have played a pivotal role in the resolution of an infamous Cold War incident.

In this regard, the film is reminiscent of Inglourious Basterds, a Quentin Tarantino tour de force, which had Hitler assassinated by an interracial couple in a movie theatre instead of committing suicide in his underground bunker. What’s next? How about a flick where the D-Day assault on the beach at Normandy is led by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I probably shouldn’t be giving Hollywood these ideas for free.

Excellent (4 stars).

In English, French and German with subtitles.

Running time: 132 Minutes.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:33 am

http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/screen/capsules/X-Men-First-Class-123625424.html

"X-Men: First Class" Suffers From Overcrowding
By Sean Burns
Posted Jun. 10, 2011

Grade: C

Opting for a top-to-bottom reboot after Brett Ratner’s disastrous X3: The Last Stand and the even more dreadful X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Marvel Comics’ most allegory-friendly franchise sets the wayback machine to the shagadelic early 60s for this diverting, if pointless, prequel.

A surprisingly credible James McAvoy plays the young psychic Professor Charles Xavier, while perpetual up-and-comer Michael Fassbender seals his fate as a natural-born movie star, filling in for Ian McKellan as embittered Holocaust survivor Erik Lehnsheer, aka Magneto. Cobbled together from several different scripts and rushed into production on a jaw-droppingly truncated 10 month schedule, X-Men: First Class is a chintzy rush-job that has a few moments just good enough to make you wish it was better.

Directed by Kick-Ass helmer Matthew Vaughn with his camera set to maximum leer, the movie revels in Playboy club fashions, scantily clad co-eds, and in Fassbender finds one of the only straight guys who can look cool in a turtleneck. Recruited by a CIA agent with a thing for lacy lingerie (Rose Byrne,) Professor X’s ragtag band of misunderstood mutant adolescents find themselves knee deep in the Cuban missile crisis, saving the world not just from nuclear annihilation, but also Kevin Bacon’s dazzling array of sinister ascots.

Bacon is having a ball as a Josef Mengele-ish mutant villain. Indeed, the best parts of the movie play like a slightly tasteless, superpowered Bond picture, with Fassbender’s proto-Magneto hunting down Nazi war criminals in exotic locations and overly mod art-designed lairs. Less successful are the new gang of kids recruited by Xavier, with Winter’s Bone star Jennifer Lawrence painted blue and leading a pack of subpar performances and awkward stabs at social relevance. “You didn’t ask, so I didn’t tell,” says one closeted hero. “I’m mutant and proud,” Lawrence announces ad infinitum. Yes, but will she say it loud?

Suffering from a severe case of overcrowding, First Class doesn’t even get around to the obligatory training montage until over 90 minutes in. Much like Bryan Singer’s original X-Men, by the time everyone is done explaining their origins, it’s already time for the climactic action scene.

On the upside, Mad Men’s January Jones is never not in her underwear. On the downside, she boasts the most amaturish line readings of any actress outside of the adult film industry. Overall, a mixed bag.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:34 am

http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2011/jun/10/x-men-prequel-at-head-of-class/

X-Men prequel at head of class

By Richard Carter
Posted June 10, 2011 at 8:48 a.m.

Photo by Murray Close/Twentieth Century Fox Before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, left) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men who became the closest of friends. Here they enjoy a game of chess — the first of many they will play over their long and evolving history.

Photo: Murray Close

Photo by Murray Close/Twentieth Century Fox Before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, left) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men who became the closest of friends. Here they enjoy a game of chess — the first of many they will play over their long and evolving history.

Before Professor X and a Magneto, the two mutants had real names and actually teamed together to stop a nuclear war.

"X-Men: First Class" is the prequel to the popular X-Men movie series, and it's actually my favorite film of the bunch.

Sure, Wolverine is only on screen for a minute or so in this summer action adventure blockbuster, and his is a humorous bit, but the prequel is still worth the price of admission for a number of reasons.

For one, the casting is first-rate. James McAvoy plays the Oxford genetics doctor, Charles Xavier (later Professor X), with charm and an honest dream that mutant powers can make the world a better place.

The excellent Michael Fassbender brings to life the much darker Erik Lehnsherr (later Magneto), who after surviving a concentration camp doesn't trust any humans — especially in how they treat people with differences.

The prequel begins when both men are children.

The wealthy Xavier meets the shape-shifting Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) breaking into his parents' kitchen one evening and they become friends.

The quite evil Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) is the villain of the movie, a mutant who discovers Lehnsherr's powers during the waning moments of World War II and breaks him down in a most ruthless manner.

The movie then forwards to 1962 during the building Cuban Missile Crisis, and it turns out Shaw is behind the world hurtling to nuclear apocalypse — partially because he can absorb energy, partially because he's insane, and ultimately because he wants to wipe out humanity.

With his hench gal, the chilly and telepathic Emma Frost (January Jones), Shaw gets the U.S. to put missiles in Turkey and also gets the Soviets to send nukes to Cuba.

CIA officer Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) discovers his plan and meets Xavier to talk about genetics at the CIA. There Xavier and Raven meet mutant scientist Hank McCoy (Nicholaus Hoult), who helps Xavier telepathically find mutants, including Angel Salvadore (Zoe Kravitz), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) and Havok (Louis Till).

Xavier also comes across Lehnsherr, who wants to kill Shaw and has powerful mutant allies of his own.

In an annoying split-screen montage, Xavier trains the mutants to focus their powers to stop the end of the world. But not only must the mutants save the day, they also have to not alienate the CIA and the American and Soviet military.

The movie is fast paced, features action sequences that look impressive enough, and casts actors who bring to life major and several minor characters that audiences will care about.

Jones brought the chilly Frost to the screen well with that '60s cool thing going. Also of note is Lawrence's Raven, who suffers from her alienating blue-colored skin, and Hoult's nerdy McCoy also strikes an emotional chord.

A number of the mutants make no impact besides whatever skills they have and use during their battle scenes.

This film could have easily been a disaster, and the trailers did not look impressive. Some inspired casting, a decent enough script and good pacing make "X-Men: First Class" worthwhile.

I hope they plan on using this cast again for another film. McAvoy and Fassbender are really good, and I would like to see them go against each other again.

Rated PG-13 for sex, nudity, violence, gore, profanity, alcohol, drugs, smoking and frightening and intense scenes.

© 2011 Times Record News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:34 am

http://www.speroforum.com/a/55296/X-Men-First-Class-reviewed

X Men: First Class, reviewed
Flash! Never before on the silver screen! Original, enjoyable and impressive fifth instalment of Marvel comics superhero franchise!
Friday, June 10, 2011
By Ronan Wright

X Men: First Class. Director: Matthew Vaughn. Starring: James McElvoy, Michael Fassbender.

I wasn’t really fussed about seeing X Men: First class. I thought the first two in the series were decent but the third was disappointing and at times laughable. So you’ll forgive my reservations about buying into Hollywood’s green, recycling approach to cinema. Greenpeace might approve but I’m no tree-hugger. I honestly couldn’t envision a happy ending for this particular mid-week movie ritual which didn’t involve me surgically removing the film-loving genome from my DNA with a jagged hunk of stale popcorn, so that I could live without the torture of having to endure any more nauseous cinematic regurgitations. An image of me exiting the cinema wishing Hollywood would evolve into a better version of itself seemed all the more likely.

Imagine then my surprise when in the run up to the opening weekend of X Men: First Class – which did something in excess of US$56 million dollars, as expected – nearly all of my favourite review sites were only just shy of raving about it. Not a bad first impression for number five in a franchise which is bound to warrant a few more mutations before they run out of superhero powers to computer generate.

One enthusiastic reviewer insisted “This film is to X Men 2 what Godfather 2 was to the Godfather. Seriously...” Can’t argue with that can I? Well, I could. Fan boys have a tendency to overstate. I should know. I’m one of them. Having said this, I felt pretty confident that if the fan boys liked it we might actually be onto something here.

When the lights came up at the end of film (just before that obligatory conversation with the person next to me, something along the lines of “well, what’d ya think?”, which is really just an excuse for me to share my own opinion) I could tell by the wife’s expression that X Men: First class was a real shot in the arm for the franchise and had evolved X Men into something entirely unexpected and impressive.

It actually managed to be a film about intolerance and identity, as well having an impressive bounty of effects which can boast Magneto raising a U-Boat out of the ocean. Which looks every bit as cool as it sounds by the way. Rather than just another garden variety Marvel comic adaptation (a look-what-my-superhero-can-do-and-doesn’t-it-look-cool-in-3D-a-thon) this really is a first class X Men movie.

This was very nearly everything director Matthew Vaughn said it would be: a grown-up take on an overcooked ready-made movie formula, for those who like to call comic books “graphic novels”. “Here, I got my cake and ate it, managed to do an X-Men movie, and a Bond thing, and a [John] Frankenheimer political thriller at the same time”. Everyone’s a winner. It really did feel that way walking back to the bus stop afterwards... a film entertaining enough to watch more than once, with a relevant message that wasn’t preachy, delivered with just the right balance of character nuance and plot intrigue in a setting more at home in a Raymond Chandler novel, appropriately realised by a superlative cast. What’s not to like?

It was funny too. I mean laugh-out-loud funny. On discussing the film with the guys at work the best compliment I could think of was to say that X Men: First Class doesn’t take itself too seriously, a tricky and all too common obstacle which the third film crashed headlong into. There are a few funny cameos and well-timed references which give the film a more developed sense of humour and lends the franchise some of the perspective its weaker counterparts had lost. This is a film with its big hairy mutated feet firmly on the ground.

Charles Xavier/Prof. X (James McAvoy) is all about overcoming division through understanding. Erik Lensherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) - who suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazis - is more about proving he’s a “better man” by dispatching foes with metal objects. In increasingly imaginative ways. So it’s a morality tale from an unlikely source but it’s also an exemplary addition to the action genre. Not bad for a superhero movie.

Imagine you could take someone you know pretty well and were able to beam back about 30 years into their past to witness first-hand the circumstances and events which helped to make them the person they are. Or the mutant they are, in this case. That’s basically what Vaughan has done here. What’s interesting about the whole “learning to accept difference and respect others” plot thread, is that in striving to be accepted as they are, the X Men discover that it’s all very well wanting others to accept you, but you have to accept yourself first. Just as you are.

Ronan Wright blogs about films from Belfast at Filmplicity .This article is published by Ronan Wright, and MercatorNet.com under a Creative Commons licence.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:35 am

http://www.cambridgefirst.co.uk/what-s-on/film_review_x_men_first_class_1_917079

Film Review: X-Men: First Class

Friday, June 10, 2011
9:58 AM

2011– 132mn – 12A

Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult. Review by Walter Nichols.

This X-Men sequel, set in the 60s, tells the story of how Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) met and befriended each other as young men, before taking their lives and politics in different directions: Xavier becoming Professor X and leader of the goodies, the X-Men; and Lensherr becoming Magneto, hell-bent on destroying mankind and establishing mutants as the master race. But all this is in the future. In the film’s present, Charles and Erik team up to stop fellow mutants Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his helper Emma Frost (January Jones), who are plotting to start World War Three.

Directed by Kick-Ass and Layer Cake’s Matthew Vaughn, the film benefits from its strong young cast, and it’s a clever idea to pit them against an experienced hand like Kevin Bacon (January Jones, as good as she looks in her skimpy outfits, is the only one whose acting skills disappoint, in often embarrassing and cringe-worthy ways). Fassbender and McAvoy, two of Britain’s finest actors, have great chemistry, and suit their characters perfectly.

The 60s setting is slick and stylish, clearly inspired by old James Bond films and their classic Ken Adams production design – although the film too often slips into parody, and the Bond vibe dramatically turns into Austin Powers. But the time period is a good fit for the gay and minority rights subtext natural to the X-Men universe (mutants are a minority reviled and feared by “normal” people, and Charles and Erik represent the differing Martin Luther King and Malcolm X schools of protest). The film feels bold, audacious, and fresh.

Where it lets itself down is with its story. There are many great moments but an equal number of dreadful ones. The second half is overlong, clunky, and poorly put together, and squanders most of the excitement generated by the set-up. And as enjoyable and competent as the film is as pure summer entertainment, it isn’t intelligent, insightful, or original enough to rise above pure popcorn fare the way great comic book movies – such as The Dark Knight, the two original Superman films, or indeed Bryan Singer’s first two X-Men films – have done.

Star rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:35 am

http://www.thespectrum.com/article/20110610/ENTERTAINMENT02/106100351/One+magnetic+mutant+really+helps++X-Men++First+Class+

One magnetic mutant really helps 'X-Men: First Class'

Bruce Bennett • "X-Men: First Class" 3 Stars • Published: June 10. 2011 4:55AM

Fans who like the back stories of their big screen superheroes should love "X-men: First Class," a prequel of sorts that spends a lot of time introducing the characters that formed the basis for the first three films. Nothing earth shattering here to disclose and even the character based storyline isn't all that revealing, save the performance of one particular mutant.

Yet there's something to be respected about a film that doesn't spend most of its time in mindless action - in fact the only extended action sequence comes near the end of "First Class."

A lack of action could be the demise of a superhero film, and there will be some audiences that may not appreciate the films exposition-heavy script brought to life stylishly by director and co-writer Matthew Vaughn ("Layer Cake").

Unless you're a serious fan of the comic books you practically need a score card to keep track of all the characters involved, but here goes:

The film starts at a concentration camp in WWII where we learn why young Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender, "Jane Eyre," "Inglorious Bastards") will spend his life avenging the brutality of Nazi megalomaniac Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). His anger coupled with his magnetic powers are in stark contrast to the gentler, telepathic Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) who, fast forward to 1962, as a CIA adviser is assembling a team of other similarly skilled mutants to combat Shaw and his plans for nuclear Armageddon.

The other mutants, including Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Darwin (Edi Gathegi), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Havoc (Lucas Till), Beast (Hank McCoy) Angel (Zoe Kravitz) have lesser roles and along with deliciously beautiful but non-emotive villain Emma Frost (January Jones) don't get much character development despite the film's rather long running time: 2 hours, 10 min.

In an origin-based story line, underdeveloped characters could be a problem but Fassbender's Erik/Magneto performance is so compelling and dynamic that it becomes clear why the filmmakers chose to focus on his character. (Early scripts had this installment as his origin story much like the underrated X-Men fourth installment that focused on Wolverine who, by the way, makes an unforgettable, two word cameo here).

Even with Fassbender's terrific portrayal, some excellent film work, a thrilling soundtrack and globe hopping venues, "X-Men: First Class" may not get better with age. It covers important territory to be sure but a lack of memorable action sequences in a film of this genre reduces, for many, the demand for multiple viewings.

Rated PG for intense sequences of action and violence some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language. Agree or disagree? Email Bruce Bennett at Madaboutmovies2@aol.com.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:37 am

http://www.cdapress.com/news/entertainment/article_d936f50a-ea0b-5baf-85e0-62a1997c5566.html

'X-Men' an exciting reboot to franchise

Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 10:39 am, Fri Jun 10, 2011.

By TYLER WILSON/Staff writer

Finally.

After two lousy installments in the Marvel Comics franchise, "X-Men: First Class" delivers everything a good comic book movie should. It's fun, character-focused and led by a couple of commanding leading performances.

The sorta prequel takes a closer look at the friendship and rivalry between Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), the mutants who will become peace-loving telepath Professor X and villainous Magneto, who can move and manipulate all things metal.

Don't worry if none of this makes sense. The movie does a good job introducing the mutant premise to those unfamiliar with the franchise.

Set on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Lehnsherr is a Holocaust survivor on a mission to find the Nazi soldiers responsible for killing his mother. Rage commands his mutant abilities until he meets Xavier, who has been recruited to help the government hunt down a dangerous rogue mutant (Kevin Bacon in a surprisingly potent bad guy role).

Xavier encourages Lehnsherr to use his power for things other than murder, and together they recruit a squad of young mutants. Lehnsherr remains skeptical of their shady government employers, while Xavier believes mutants and humans can live peacefully alongside each other.

Xavier and Magneto have debated this topic in three previous films, but "First Class" adds depth to the conversation by incorporating more detailed character backstories.

McAvoy and Fassbender are dynamic together, and their scenes provide "First Class" with one emotionally charged scene after another. The young cast of recruits are equally compelling, notably Nicholas Hoult as agile genius Hank McCoy and recent Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence as the shape-shifting Mystique. Both deal with insecurities involving their physical appearance.

"First Class" touches on similar thematic ground as the other "X-Men" movies, but the general message of "Be Yourself" is handled more nimbly than the third film, "X-Men: The Last Stand" and the more recent "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." The sincerity is more in line with the franchise's first two installments, which spent just as much time exploring the psychology of being a mutant as it did showing off their cool powers.

The '60s setting also allows for some of the cheeky fun that made the early comics so popular. Characters boast puffy haircuts, yellow supersuits and fur accessories - common items in comic books that rarely translate to modern live action.

Directed with sharp attention to character and pacing, Matthew Vaughn (the man behind 2010's off-kilter superhero adventure "Kick-Ass") has brought the "X-Men" franchise back from mediocrity. It even takes a revisionist approach to the Cuban Missile Crisis, involving flying submarines, teleporting devils and a kid who can fly just by screaming.

It doesn't sound like it should work, and it hasn't since 2003's "X2." Finally, though, "X-Men" is back.

Grade: B+
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:39 am

http://www.lompocrecord.com/entertainment/movies/article_189bbeb8-92fb-11e0-ba40-001cc4c002e0.html

Movie Review: An X-citing beginning

By Brad Memberto/Staff Writer bmemberto@lompocrecord.com | Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 12:00 am

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

I have never seen any of the original series of “X-Men” films, so with the opening of “X-Men: First Class,” I was curious to see the latest edition.

The film starts from the beginning of the story and after enjoying the “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in 2009, starring Hugh Jackman, I wanted to see how it all began.

Long before Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen played Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), they had to meet. That is what “First Class” is about. It tells the tale of how the two met and rounded up several of the mutants, who would become the X-Men.

James McAvoy plays Charles, with Michael Fassbender playing Erik. Charles as a child meets Raven Darkholme, who will eventually become Mystique. They are the best of friends, but Raven, played here by Jennifer Lawrence, has stronger feelings for Charles than he realizes.

Meanwhile, Erik suffers great trauma during World War II by the hand of Sebastian Shaw, played quite menacingly by Kevin Bacon.

Fassbender, known for appearances in “Inglourious Basterds” in 2009 and the HBO mini-series “Band Of Brothers,” is very good as the future Magneto. He has one purpose in life, and that is to repay Shaw for all of his misdeeds. McAvoy has done some excellent work in several films, including “The Last King Of Scotland” in 2006 and “Atonement” in 2007. He is good here as the young professor, who wants to reign in the mutants to do good.

Other X-Men Universe characters introduced in the film are Emma Frost (January Jones), Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Alex Summers/Havok (Lucas Till), Angel Salvadore (Zoe Kravitz), Azazel (Jason Flemyng), Riptide (Alex Gonzales) and Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne).

Several of the characters in “First Class” are not featured in the X-Men films up to this point, but the main story here is how things ended up between Charles and Erik.

The main plot is about the mutants teaming up with the CIA during the Cuban missile conflict to stop Shaw from starting a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia.

There are some terrific action sequences, as well as a few hokey ones. But director Matthew Vaughn — who directed the very under-rated “Layer Cake” in 2005 and also helmed “Kick Ass” in 2010 — does a good job of keeping the pace moving.

Lawrence, nominated for an Oscar last year for “Winter’s Bone” is outstanding as the young Raven/Mystique. She is conflicted with her feelings for Charles and the hope of being accepted by society for what she is. This all leads to a tough choice she must make at the end.

Hoult does a nice job as Hank, who desperately wants to be a normal human being. Bacon is great as the bad guy and Jones, once again, proves that an actress can be beautiful and get away with acting like she is a statue with a wooden delivery and blank expression.

Look for a funny cameo by a future X-Man and a quick glimpse of a grown-up Mystique.

Several of the X-Men or Brotherhood of Mutants depicted in this film are not featured in the original series, but this film is primarily an exploration of the relationship between Professor X and Magneto. And it sets up the constant struggle for supremacy between the two.

Not really knowing much of the mythology of the X-Men comics, I was still entertained. And now I am curious to see other films from the story, which began with “X-Men” in 2000.

“X-Men: First Class”

Rated: PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image.

Running time: 132 minutes

Score: B on the Brad-O-Meter

Copyright 2011 Lompoc Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Movies on Friday, June 10, 2011 12:00 am
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:40 am

http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/entertainment/movies/article_d148bb96-ed0f-5851-a436-ed0c79193cb4.html

Review: 'X Men' prequel hits the spot

By Bruce R. Miller bmiller@siouxcityjournal.com | Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 12:00 am

Murray Close From left, Caleb Landry Jones, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy and Lucas Till team up as the new "X Men" in the prequel "First Class."
Review

'X-Men: First Class'

Stars: 3 1/2

Rated: PG-13 for profanity, violence.

Bruce's take: This is fun stuff, particularly when the students start putting what they learned into practice.

The best new film of summer goes back to basics -- no 3D here -- and comes away with a franchise that could pop in more ways than you could imagine.

The film is "X-Men: First Class," a seemingly cheap way to reboot the "X-Men" series.

This time, though, the writers have crafted a story that no only explains the mythology it also preys on our desire for concrete villains. Here we don't get some nebulous corporation, determined to rule the world. Here, we get Kevin Bacon on some mad megalomaniacal streak that makes you hate everything he does. He's part Nazi, part machine -- all bad.

Set in the '60s, the film shows how a bunch of mutants come together to fight this heinous guy. First, though, they need a leader. That's where Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) comes in. He's a kid in a concentration camp who exhibits a unique ability to bend all things metal. When officials catch wind of this, they send him to Bacon who, immediately, tries to figure out how he can use it to further his goals.

Flash forward some 20 years and Lehnsherr is a young man bent on his own kind of revenge. He catches up with a professor who has written about mutant qualities and the two set out to find others.

Both, you realize, are the future Magneto and Professor X (James McAvoy). Here, though, they don't have superhuman powers, just a hint of them and a shared desire.

One by one the team builds until it's ready to take on Bacon. He, meanwhile, is one of those ultra James Bond villains -- traveling in luxury and moving in lairs. January Jones (who's stiffer than Tippi Hedren) plays his henchwoman, a cool piece of work who's just as calculating. They marshal their forces; the "good" guys align theirs.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, "X-Men: First Class" has the look of a classic thriller. Its music is intense; its sets and costume, very old school.

Toss in some fine acting (Fassbender has great potential; McAvoy is a sturdy hero) and that crisp, clean script and this is a summer film just waiting to be savored.

Even better? "X-Men" fans get a couple of cameos that should please.

Jennifer Lawrence does a nice job, too, as the blue-skinned Mystique. She battles her own demons and befriends a guy they come to call the Beast (Nicholas Hoult).

Even though comic book heroes are more plentiful than mosquitoes this time of year, this group has real bite.

If this is the first act, imagine what's possible in the third one.

Rated PG-13, "X-Men: First Class" features profanity and violence.

On a scale of four stars, "X-Men: First Class" gets: 3 1/2 stars

Copyright 2011 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Movies, Local on Friday, June 10, 2011 12:00 am Updated: 6:32 pm.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:53 am

http://bgdailynews.com/articles/2011/06/09/features/features3.txt

Latest in X-Men franchise able to transcend comic book genre

by Michael Compton, The Daily News
Thursday, June 9, 2011 10:04 AM CDT

After a couple of missteps, the X-Men franchise returns with a vengeance in the latest prequel, “X-Men: First Class.” This is a smart and entertaining film, able to transcend the comic book genre and evolve into a good Cold War thriller.

“First Class” tells the origins of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), better known as X-Men leader Professor X, and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), X’s soon-to-be archnemesis Magneto.

The film begins with Erik’s mother being killed in a German concentration camp by a ruthless soldier named Sebastian Shaw.

Flash forward to 1962, and Shaw continues to be a merciless tyrant. His latest plan centers on trying to start World War III while secretly assembling an army of mutants to help overthrow humans.

Charles is recruited by a government agent (Rose Byrne) to gather his own group of mutants, with Eric eventually joining forces with the group. While Charles sees this as a chance to promote peace and unity between mutants and humans, Eric has other ideas - he intends to kill the man who killed his mother.

With the Cuban missile crisis as the backdrop, director Matthew Vaughn does a good job of making this more than just another comic book film. Vaughn, who also directed the underrated Daniel Craig thriller “Layer Cake,” carefully crafts a tense and intriguing spy film that, like “The Dark Knight,” elevates the source material to another level.

McAvoy and Fassbender also give the film a boost of credibility, with Fassbender bringing a silent rage to his character in a memorable, star-making performance.

While “First Class” obviously aims higher than the standard comic book film, that doesn’t mean fans will be disappointed. The film is full of cool mutants, ranging from Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence as a young Mystique to Nicholas Hoult’s amusing, nerdy turn as Hank McCoy, who eventually becomes Beast.

The film even makes good use of the usually uninteresting January Jones, taking her rather dim personality and transferring it into a fun villainous turn as Emma Frost.

Kevin Bacon is very good too, providing the perfect foil for the film’s heroes.

“First Class” also offers a few surprise moments that fans will appreciate, but it’s probably a little too intense (and violent) for younger audiences (Vaughn also directed “Kick-Ass,” so that shouldn’t come as a surprise).

The film does get on the acceptance soap box a little bit, but not nearly as badly as the last two in the series. It’s a minor flaw in an otherwise first-rate film. We’re still only a month into the summer blockbuster season, but “First Class” has risen to the top of the class - setting the bar high for future potential blockbusters.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:54 am

http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/jun/09/this-x-marks-the-spot/

‘First Class’ prequel shines as finest film in X-Men franchise
Michael Fassbender stars in a scene from “X-Men: First Class.”

Murray Close/20th Century Fox, AP

Michael Fassbender stars in a scene from “X-Men: First Class.”

By Scott A. May

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Will wonders never cease — “X-Men: First Class” is not only the best thing that has happened to this flagging franchise; it might be the most cohesive Marvel comic adaptation to date.
‘X-Men: First Class’

out of 5 stars

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

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Rating: PG-13 for violence, language, sexuality

Theaters: Stadium, Forum

A prequel to the existing series, you don’t need to know the characters to understand or enjoy the show. In fact, I would recommend nonfans completely ignore the previous “X-Men” films and wait for a full series reboot.

The story opens in a Nazi prison camp, circa 1944. There, evil scientist Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) murders the mother of young Erik Lehnsherr, sending him into a rage and triggering the boy’s mental powers to move and bend metal. Shaw is delighted as the boy swears revenge. Elsewhere in America, a young telepath named Charles Xavier meets his first fellow mutant, a young shape-shifter named Raven, who comes to live with his family.

Cut to 1962, where an adult Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) travels the globe hunting down former Nazis, hoping the trail leads him to Shaw. In England, Xavier (James McAvoy) has just graduated from Oxford, with his adopted sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) still by his side. He’s contacted by CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) to help stop Shaw’s scheme to incite nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union.

The bulk of the film finds Xavier teaming with Lehnsherr — later known as Professor X and Magneto — to recruit and train fellow mutants in their fight against Shaw, whose mutant cohorts include the White Queen (January Jones), a seductive telepath whose powers equal Xavier’s. The ending is a bit hackneyed, overloaded with CGI effects and leads to a very “Harry Potter”-ish showdown between good and evil. I also disliked the ease at which some characters arbitrarily switched allegiances and thought it devalued the drama.

Four writers contributed to the film’s convoluted script, led by partners Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (TV’s “Fringe”) along with Jane Goldman (“Kick-Ass”) and director Matthew Vaughn (“Layer Cake”). Miller and Stentz give the story density — a far cry from the fanboy fluff of previous Marvel efforts — while Vaughn gives it strength of character.

I absolutely loved the authentic retro look and feel, a dead-on tribute to spy thrillers of the early ’60s Cold War era, integrated with real TV footage of JFK and the Cuban missile crisis. At its best, the movie evokes a classy, old-school milieu that’s almost breathtaking. Then again, sometimes the James Bond-inspired sets, funky costumes and sneering villains come dangerously close to an “Austin Powers”-style parody, but in the end, it sparks an undeniably fun mixture of thrills and cheesy laughs.

The main cast is excellent, with Bacon — no stranger to villainous roles — chewing up the scenery and savoring every bite. He even looks good in his swanky mod clothes, dropping the word “groovy” with ease. You’ve got to love this guy, to the sixth degree.

Elsewhere, McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence grapple with the deeper meanings of being mutant and how best to coexist with normal humans, whose first inclination is to destroy what they don’t understand. That’s the basic building block for the X-Men’s long-standing quandary, and this film lays the foundation well.

The large supporting cast ranges from straight to comical, a good mix of young unknowns and recognizable veterans in bit parts, such as Oliver Platt, James Remar, Michael Ironside and Ray Wise. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss the film’s funniest inside joke, featuring a quick cameo by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Fans of the series will find it hilarious. Nicely plotted and smoothly executed, “X-Men: First Class” turned out far better than expected, making it the summer season’s first bona fide hit.

Reach Scott A. May at scottmay4@mchsi.com.
This article was published in Go! Magazine on page 4 of the Thursday, June 9, 2011 edition of The Columbia Daily Tribune with the headline "This ‘X’ marks the spot." Click here to Subscribe.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:54 am

http://wcfcourier.com/entertainment/movies/reviews/article_b662d245-d010-5594-b975-e9282c989a61.html

X-Men' prequel delivers one-two punch of story, action

By ALAN SIMMER, alan.simmer@wcfcourier.com | Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2011 3:00 pm

'X-Men: First Class'

Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Run time: 132 minutes

Rated: PG-13

4/5 stars

Logan who? The new "X-Men: First Class" does just fine without the signature adamantium claws of Wolverine, the lead in the previous trilogy of films centered on a band of mutants.

Everyone in this prequel is just so ... charming, on the whole. James McAvoy's cheeky Charles Xavier uses his mind-reading abilities to pick up women at bars. January Jones' Emma Frost has a cool detachment that is somehow alluring. Even Nicholas Hoult's Hank McCoy has a certain nerdy appeal.

The central relationship is, of course, that between Charles and Erik (Michael Fassbender), the future dueling mutant leaders Professor X and Magneto.

Charles comes from privilege, while Erik struggled to survive as he was experimented on during the Holocaust. While they become fast and deep friends, Erik's inner darkness is always at odds with Charles' good-natured outlook.

This all comes to a head during the hunt for Sebastian Shaw, played with a twisted sense of evil by Kevin Bacon. Shaw is bent on destroying the world and eliminating the human race, playing Soviet Russia and the United States against each other to incite nuclear war.

The writers did indulge in a little historical revision, of course. I don't remember mutants averting World War III around the time of the Cuban missile crisis. And there may well be some X-Men canon revision, but my fiefdom in the Kingdom of Geek does not extend far enough into comic book territory to say for certain.

Setting the genesis of the X-Men against a backdrop of real-world events does bring the drama closer to home. It's easier to recall the panic of the Cold War era than to get excited about a made-up conflict.

Buried in all this is a back-and-forth about the relationship between mutants and humans, a story of ignorance and discrimination that colors the story and gives it a little more punch than a standard discussion about a superhero operating outside the law.

Character growth really drives "First Class" more than the explosions do, which is always refreshing to find in a summer blockbuster. But the explosions are pretty cool, too, and add a little oomph to a well-balanced picture.

Copyright 2011 wcfcourier.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Reviews on Thursday, June 9, 2011 3:00 pm Updated: 10:54 am.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:04 am

http://www.koimoi.com/reviews/x-men-first-class-review/

X-Men: First Class Review
June 9th, 2011 by Mrigank Dhaniwala

Mutants Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr take on the evil scientist, Sebastian Shaw, who wants to trigger a nuclear holocaust between Russia and the US. Read the review of X-men: First Class for more.

X-Men: First Class Review (X-Men: First Class Movie Poster)Business rating: 2.5/5 stars

Star cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Kevin Bacon.

Plot: Mutants Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr take on the evil scientist, Sebastian Shaw, who wants to trigger a nuclear holocaust between Russia and the US.

What’s Good: The racy screenplay; the well-executed action sequences; the engaging drama in the second-half.

What’s Bad: The performances could have been better; the love angle in the film doesn’t work.

Verdict: X-Men: First Class is an entertaining film which will do good business at the Indian box-office.

Loo break: None.

Watch or Not?: Watch it if you are an X-Men comic fan, or want to join the group.

Marvel Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation’s X-Men: First Class is the prequel in the X-Men series of films, which are dominated by the war between two groups of mutants led by arch-rivals Professor X and Magneto.

During World War II, Erik Lehnsherr, a young Jewish refugee in a concentration camp in Germany, is taken into custody by a Nazi scientist, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Shaw knows that Erik is a mutant who has the power of magnetism. In order to trigger Erik’s latent power, Shaw murders Erik’s mother in front of his eyes.

Meanwhile, in New York, Charles Xavier, a young mutant boy who has the power of telepathy, meets a young, shape-shifting girl mutant named Raven. Both are happy to find out that they are not the only ones of their kind.

After two decades, a freed Erik (Michael Fassbender) is in search of Shaw so that he can avenge his mother’s death, while Charles (James McAvoy), an Oxford graduate, has become an expert on mutation. A CIA agent, Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne), finds out about the existence of mutants when she sees Shaw and his minions torturing a US Army officer. MacTaggart then seeks Charles’ help to convince her bosses. After the CIA bosses are convinced about the existence of mutants, Charles and Raven are taken to a covert facility. There, Charles is able to access Shaw’s mind and learn of his evil plans by using the CIA’s superior technology.

In the meantime, Erik attacks Shaw, and when Shaw escapes in his submarine, Erik tries to stop him, but Charles stops Erik and saves him from drowning. Soon, Erik joins hands with Charles to locate mutants from the world over and recruit several of them to train to stop Shaw.

In the meantime, Shaw plans to trigger a nuclear war between Russia and the US by starting a missile crisis in Cuba. As the US president institutes a naval blockade, and the Russians send in their own fleet, Shaw’s evil designs are nearly accomplished. But Charles, Erik and their group of mutants attack Shaw’s submarine at the last hour in a brave attempt to avert the impending disaster. What happens next? Are the mutants able to save the day? What happens to Shaw? Why do Charles (Professor X) and Erik (Magneto) finally split ways? The rest of the film answers these questions.

X-Men: First Class Review (X-Men: First Class Movie Stills Wallpaper)
X-Men: First Class Review – Script Analysis

X-Men: First Class is the extension of the comic book story, where the story-writers (Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer) have created back stories for the comic’s characters. While there are several references to real-life incidents (the World War II, the Cuban missile crisis, etc.), in order to add authenticity to the story, the plot primarily revolves around the relationship between Charles and Erik. As such, the other parallel stories (Shaw and his evil plans) or the love angle between Raven and another mutant, don’t really work. However, since the screenplay (by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn) is racy and impactful, the viewer has little to complain about.

The sequences where the newly-discovered mutants are trained to control their special powers by Charles, as well as the climactic action scenes, are very well-executed. Fans of the X-Men franchise will definitely find the film a rewarding experience. Others, who are not familiar with the concept, will also find the film to be an engaging experience.
X-Men: First Class Trailer

X-Men: First Class Review – Star Performances & Direction

James McAvoy does well but he has been miscast in the role of Charles. Michael Fassbender is okay as Erik. Kevin Bacon does an average job is Shaw. Jennifer Lawrence (as Raven) acts well. Rose Byrne, January Jones (Emma Frost), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Lucas Till (Havok) and Oliver Platt (officer) fill the bill.

Matthew Vaughn’s direction is effective as he manages to maintain the pace of the drama and choreograph the action sequences in an exciting manner to make the film engaging. Henry Jackman’s background score is appropriate. John Mathieson’s cinematography is very good. Visual effects are excellent. Editing, by Eddie Hamilton and Lee Smith, is fine.
X-Men: First Class Review – Verdict

On the whole, X-Men: First Class is an engaging and entertaining fare in spite of a few flaws in the story. Expect it to do well at the Indian box-office.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:06 am

http://auburnpub.com/news/opinion/blogs/citizen_pop/article_49970a68-92a6-11e0-a11a-001cc4c03286.html

Slick action, Fassbender hold together 'X-Men: First Class'

David Wilcox / The Citizen | Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2011 10:07 am | (0) Comments

The Associated Press Michael Fassbender stars as Magneto in "X-Men: First Class."
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The Citizen's David Wilcox checks in with his thoughts on all things pop culture - movies, music, TV, video games, celebrity and more.

Poll
What did you think of "X-Men: First Class"?

Best "X-Men" movie ever
Middle of the pack for the series
I've never hated mutants more

At times it's too emotive, other times not at all emotive, but "X-Men: First Class" finds the Marvel mutant movie franchise regaining solid footing.

The movie is set all over the world in the early 1960s. Familiar characters Professor X (James McEvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) are in their mid-20s as the mutant phenomenon just begins to confront humanity. The three team up with a fledgling squad of mutant recruits under CIA supervision to take down Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a powerful mutant who aims to cook Cold War tensions into nuclear armageddon.

I said "too emotive" because much of the young mutants' venting about their pariah status can feel quite whiny. Mystique's character is the flashpoint for a debate between embracing mutant superiority and running from it; her conversations with Magneto and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) each pull her in a different direction. And it's still an innately compelling dilemma. But it's not much fun to witness it mapped out in so plainly straightforward a manner. The poor writing finds another of its worst examples in the laughable advice Professor X repeatedly gives Magneto to help control his power over metal: "Find the point between rage and serenity."

I said "not at all emotive" mostly because of the cast's biggest weakness: January Jones as Emma Frost/The White Queen. How such a beautiful woman can fail to light up the screen in such a sexualized role is beyond me. Wood is a more appropriate material than diamond to describe her character's texture. There's also a general glibness toward the racial themes that made the comic series, and to a lesser extent the first few "X-Men films, so compelling. It was disappointing to see those themes pared down to half-potent slogans like "mutant and proud" and "by any means necessary."

The story of "First Class" is also choppy, slightly sexist and heavily out of continuity with earlier "X-Men" movies, but you know what? It's summertime. And if you want a steady string of fights, explosions and vulgar displays of mutant power, you got it. Bacon is also fun to watch ham it up as a total jerk of a villain. And Fassbender gives audiences more than enough reason to make a cheesy magnetism joke or two with respect to his performance. The actor is astoundingly charismatic as the mutant supremacist, even with the oversized new helmet (though the effort to design it more like the comic book version is appreciated).

As long as Fassbender's Magneto anchors any future "X-Men" movies, this class is welcome back.

"X-Men: First Class" is now showing at both Auburn Movieplex and Fingerlakes Cinemas.

-David

Copyright 2011 AuburnPub.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Citizen_pop on Thursday, June 9, 2011 10:07 am Updated: 10:44 am.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:07 am

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/movie-reviews/english/X-Men--First-Class/moviereview/8789570.cms

X Men - First Class
Nikhat Kazmi, TNN, Jun 9, 2011, 08.04pm IST
Critic's Review
Readers' Reviews(13)

Critic's Rating:
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Kevin Bacon
Direction: Matthew Vaughn
Genre: Action
Duration: 2 hours 22 minutes

Story : The film is a prequel to all the X-Men films and traces the beginning of the mutant world. It's 1962, the year of the Cuban missile crisis when America and Russia almost threw the world into a nuclear war. CIA agent, Moira (Rosie Byrne) hires telepathic Professor Charles Xavier's/Professor X (James McAvoy) and a bunch of fellow mutants to work as a special force and avert the crisis which has been precipitated by the evil Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). The super army also includes Holocaust survivor Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) who seems to have his own motives for teaming up. He still hasn't forgotten his bitter childhood memories....

Movie Review : Most action films may boast of loads of action but go low on story and character growth. Here's where X-Men: First Class scores. The ka-boom stuff is all there, in heavy doses too, but it comes only when the characters have told their story and expounded their reasons to explode. What's more, the film may be a fictional superhero story but it beautifully blends history with superpower histrionics. So much so, you actually believe -- if only for a single, soppy moment -- it was these special people who flew the nuclear missiles back and forth the American and Russian ships to avert a nuclear disaster. Ah! The power of cinema.

The film opens in a riveting manner with a young Erik being forced to display his special metal-bending powers in a concentration camp in Poland. When he fails, he faces disastrous consequences which plague him all his life. But this tragedy also unleashes the full fury of his super powers. Cut to 1962, when a beleaguered President Kennedy struggles to avert a nuclear crisis. Enter, the colourful band of mutants which include the enigmatic, blue-skinned Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), a shape-shifter, a tempest-tosser, a fire-thrower, an adapter, a beast and several more. Of course, the team is headed by the seniors, Professor Xavier's and Erik who begin as the best of friends but end up as arch rivals, as the series progress.

Great action, riveting drama, real dilemmas and interesting characters, X-Men: First Class is fun all the way.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:07 am

http://www.kingstonthisweek.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3162972

X-Men First Class is non-stop action, riveting film
By Paul Peterson
Posted 1 hour ago

Things are not exactly unfolding as we thought although they are doing exactly what they do every summer. There are all these movies that, in theory, look great. They roll them out and as often as not they're a whole lot less than that.

Thor was terrific but too smart for the superhero squad and Hangover 2 was mean spirited and nasty at the expense of its predecessor's charm.

The break out hit so far this summer is Bridesmaids, which is looking to be the X-rated version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding in terms of a movie slaying with word of mouth.

So in the middle of all of this comes the first great movie I've seen this year. Of course I'm from the '60s so I don't remember last night let alone the films I've seen this year. But I digress.

X Men First Class is one of the best adaptations of a comic book in a long while. It's a prequel which is the new Hollywood gimmick and it really works here.

If you know nothing about X Men or Marvel comics it's still incredibly entertaining. There's some great casting. Kevin Bacon is absolutely Machiavellian as Sebastian Shaw, the evil genius who wants to lead an army of mutants against mankind. The movie opens with Shaw forcing a young Magneto to use his ability to move metal objects with his mind, and it's a jarring, shocking launch into what is non-stop action for over two hours. There isn't any wasted time between the lines.

The film traces the rise of Charles Xavier, played with the right mix of smarm and charm by James McAvoy, who will eventually become Professor X. Michael Fassbinder plays Erik, or as he prefers to be called, Magneto.

I tried to get people to call me by my transformer name Kool-a-tron and it just never stuck but I can't even roll a bus down a steep hill. Tiny mind syndrome.

There are some interesting story arcs in this film and under less skilled direction it would be a mess but the story never suffers for its complications.

It's the buildup to the Cuban missile crisis and Shaw wants the super powers to go to war so he can use his power to absorb and then redirect energy. The lure of a nuclear attack has him all jacked up. He has recruited and trained a handful of mutants, including the always lovely January Jones (Mad Men) who is Frost, the telepathic ice maiden.

As the world lurches towards Armageddon, the clowns at the CIA are trying to come to grips with mutants who want to help mankind.

As a sidebar, I like that there is no time wasted explaining how there are mutants. There just are.

Charles and Erik are friends but a revenge-driven Magneto is clearly on a collision course with his associate. As the boys recruit other mutants and they learn how to control their powers, the lines are drawn and we know where this is going to end up.

It's smart and credible and I was riveted. This movie held me all the way through. I know that comic book films are usually the domain of pasty nation and the magic playing basement dwellers but this has widespread appeal. The ending is one of the best action scenes I've encountered in a long time. Story usually suffers for special effects but not in this case.

I think it's a little dark for young kids. Spoiler alert: The film opens with Erik's mom getting shot.

But this film cuts a pretty wide demographic. I liked it and I don't like much of anything. I suspect this film will find an audience. It's just that good.

As always, other opinions are welcome but wrong. That's it for this week. The cheque's in the mail and I'm outta here.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:08 am

http://www.halifaxnewsnet.ca/Entertainment/2011-06-09/article-2571044/XMen-First-Class-a-step-backwards/1

X-Men: First Class a step backwards

Published on June 9, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW

Topics :
The Green , Nazi Germany , Oxford

By Dylan Aucoin

X-Men: First Class

2 ½ stars out of 5

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Screenplay and screen story by: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Bryan Singer, Sheldon Turner

Cast: Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Oliver Platt, Jason Flemyng, Alex Gonzalez, Rade Serbedzija

“X-Men: First Class” follows “Thor” in the line of summer 2011 Marvel Comic adaptations. The film is directed by Matthew Vaughn who directed “Kick-Ass,” one of the very best films of last year. It also features the return of Bryan Singer after setting the bar for superhero films in the first two X-Men pictures. There are flashes of the great cinematic eyes these men have, but the film displays little personal style, but rather the mentality of a director picking up a paycheck ala Michel Gondry’s mishandling of “The Green Hornet.”

The film begins juxtaposing the upbringing of Charles ‘Professor X’ Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik ‘Magneto’ Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). Xavier grows up a child of privilege, as where Lehnsherr witnesses the atrocities of Nazi Germany first-hand in a concentration camp presided over by super-mutant Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) As we track their formative years into the 1960s, Xavier studies mutation at Oxford and Lehnsherr becomes a Nazi hunter (A curious plot point as Fassbender was in ‘Inglourious Basterds.’) As the two men grow, their paths cross, they recruit others like them and prepare to do battle with Shaw as he pushes the world closer to nuclear Armageddon.

Michael Fassbender is one of my favorite actors and he absolutely embodies Lehnsherr. Kevin Bacon has always been a smart actor and here he plays the role exactly right by hamming it up and infusing Shaw with an arrogant streak.

James McAvoy has done strong work in the past, but he is simply too baby-faced to be a contemporary of Fassbender’s. Jennifer Lawrence, who was stellar in ‘Winter’s Bone’ last year is under-utilized as Mystique.

The film attempts to shoot for the bold themes of the first two films, but comes up short by pacing the film poorly and cramming in too many set pieces. What made the first two ‘X-Men’ pictures so strong was the subtext of homophobia underlying the subject matter. It was very subtle in those films, as where here it is frankly, condescending. Last year, ‘Inception’ showed us that mainstream blockbuster audiences are intelligent and can follow intricate plots. This seems like a step backwards.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:08 am

http://www.illinoistimes.com/Springfield/article-8748-x-men-prequel-good-and-awkward.html

Thursday, June 9,2011
X-Men prequel good and awkward
By Chuck Koplinski

Michael Fassbender stars as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto in X-Men: First Class. -

Much like its teen protagonists, X-Men: First Class straddles the line between grace and awkwardness. There are moments in which it contains some of the best scenes in the mutant series, if not the superhero genre itself. And at others, it is a laughable parody of itself as well as a myriad of films from the 1960s, not self-aware enough to be campy; it’s just plain awful. The fault lies with director Matthew Vaughn who fails to achieve a consistent tone. Thankfully the well-executed moments outweigh the bad. Buoyed by an intelligent script and solid performances, this prequel delivers enough crowd-pleasing moments for the series’ rabid fans and will engage the curious who aren’t quite aware of what all the mutant fuss is about.

Vaughn wastes little time as he rapidly gives us a thumbnail sketch of Charles Xavier’s and Erik Lensherr’s background. While the former grew up in a world of privilege, knowing early on that his ability to read minds and control others telekinetically was unique, his counterpart had his life shattered early on, seeing his parents slaughtered in Nazi concentration camps, unable to help them despite his ability to move and manipulate metals. Still, these two end up on a collision course. Fate leads them to both pursue Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a former Nazi who’s manipulating the American and Russian governments, hoping to trigger a nuclear war.

To combat this, Xavier and Lensherr set out to find other mutants like them to combat this threat. Having already discovered Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and the Beast (Nicholas Hoult), they track down Angel, a young woman with a handy set of wings (Zoe Kravitz), Banshee (Caleb Jones), who can shatter glass with his voice, Darwin (Edi Gathegi) who can adapt to survive any situation and Havok (Lucas Till) who has seemingly unlimited atomic power.

Those familiar with the X-Men mythos will be pleased to see how the origins of these characters have been rendered on the screen and at times expanded upon. There’s a natural chemistry between all of these young performers and each effectively reacts with confusion and wonder at their character’s gifts, yet retain a sense of youthful exuberance that makes them appealing and sympathetic. Most of the film’s fun comes from their interaction and they provide a nice counterbalance to the rest of the movie’s more serious matters.

These occur between Xavier and Lensherr as played by James McEvoy and Michael Fassbender respectively. They’re able to bring the right degree of gravity to their characters and their perspective. While Xavier longs to nurture others like him and hopefully present them as an ally to society, Lensherr knows they’ll be treated with scorn, derision and the possibility of annihilation once they’re outed. Issues of acceptance, both by others and themselves, are the basis for the series’ subtext and that’s never been more prevalent than it is here. Feelings of self-loathing are the millstone around most of these characters’ necks. It’s easy to draw correlations between the X-Men and any group that’s been ostracized.

The early scenes with Fassbender, when he hunts down the Nazis responsible for his parent’s deaths, are among the best. They have an early James Bond feel to them and the actor dominates the screen with his passion. The film lags whenever he’s off screen during the first hour. There’s no question he’s a star in the making. However, as good as these are moments in which Bacon is in full villain regalia, which come off as outtakes from a lost Austin Powers film, and special effects that fail to capture the wonder of some of the character’s powers, give the film an amateurish feel that nearly undermines the entire enterprise. Thankfully, a rousing climax and Fassbender’s charismatic turn save the movie, providing the series with a prequel good enough to reboot this enterprise, allowing for many, hopefully better, films to come.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:09 am

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/430674/marcus-eger/2011-06-09/movie-review-x-men-first-class-reboots-magic-was-lost

Movie Review - "X-Men: First Class" reboots the magic that was lost
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Submitted by Marcus Eger on June 9, 2011 - 8:56am Reel to Reel

Starting over - Going backwards can be a tricky thing in Hollywood, as all too often producers will try to reinvent the present with the past. Sometimes it works, but other times its met with a host of controversy and skepticism, as George Lucas can attest after releasing "Episode I - III" as the prequel to his legendary "Star Wars" franchise. Sure, Lucas found success eventually, and for the now younger generation of "Star Wars" fans, these films were perfect, but it just showed how difficult it can be. So, when I first saw anything about "X-Men: First Class," I was hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.

What's it all about? For most fans of the comic, they already know this story, but for anyone people like me who never picked up one comic book to read or even thumb through, this was all new. And while it's hard to pick up at first, this entire story centers around the rise of mutants in the early 60's, otherwise known as X-Men. At the helm was a young telepath by the name of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), later dubbed 'Professor X.' Upon convincing the CIA to create a special 'Division X' with all his mutant friends craving for some purpose, Xavier and his good friend Erik Lensherr, a.k.a. Magneto (Michael Fassbender) enlisted other mutants to join their "training" program. Professor X felt that with the rest of the world going nuclear, the newly formed Division X could become quite useful, only he never expected to run into an enemy like Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Hell-bent on taking over the world, Shaw never accepted anything but the best, which might explain why his mutant powers might have been the most powerful. Able to absorb kinetic energy for possible redirection, Shaw was ruthless in his attack on the world. So ruthless in fact, that he empowered other mutants like Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Azazel (Jason Flemyng) and Riptide (Alex Gonzalez) to join him in his plight resulting in a conclusion that leaves quite a few questions to mull over until the next piece to this reborn series.

Who was in it? For the common fan or even moviegoer, this cast is relatively unknown with the exception of Kevin Bacon and maybe James McAvoy. Sure, Jennifer Lawrence was there, but unless you were one of the four people that watched "Winter's Bone" this past Oscar race, this is the first time seeing her as the young Mystique. Same could be said for Michael Fassbender, who outside of being a part of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious *****s" a couple years ago is in his first major role. I was impressed and frankly could have had more of Fassbender's ruthless emotion and struggle becoming Magneto, which seemed to take forever to get to. Who knows, had they spent a little less time around Kevin Bacon's character, which I'll admit was good, we could have had more Magneto and Xavier, the core of what this story was built upon. Because James McAvoy was great, and when I say great, I mean with a capital G. I've always like McAvoy, but he transcended a young Charles Xavier in a way I thought was not possible, so kudos to him for bringing it all home. Too bad the same couldn't be said for January Jones, who played Emma Frost. Whatever accolades I gave director Matthew Vaughn with this cast, I almost stripped him of with the casting of Mad Men's popular blonde. Jones is terrible and no one can convince me otherwise, as I couldn't wait for her character to either turn into ice or simply be silenced.

Holding onto nothing - As hard as it might be to believe, the expectations for "X-Men: First Class" are only so high. And that's mostly due to the fact this franchise was in crisis mode after "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" came and went. So, I'll give it to the producers for at least realizing that, as going any other direction but this one would have been a huge mistake. Sure it wasn't perfect, but it's not supposed to be and for what it was, I liked it. The story was decent, the action was right on par with the first two films and the cast was better than I would have thought. That's good enough for me when my expectations were buried. Plus for fans of this franchise, you get all sorts of cameos and what I like to call "subtle hints" to prior films. So, credit director Matthew Vaughn for ensuring that happened, as not doing it would have been a huge mistake. And for Vaughn, this marks the second superhero flick he has directed, the first one being last year's mildly successful "Kick-*****." Pair that film with this one and you got quite the dynamic duo, but all kidding aside, Vaughn showed that with a little effort, this series can be respected again, which in the end is all I had hoped for.

Bottom Line - At the end of the day, only time will decide if "X-Men: First Class" is what this franchise needed to breathe life again. Because let's face it, superhero flicks are not what they use to be thanks to the masterful work by Christopher Nolan, who unfortunately has raised the bar for everyone else in this widely overcrowded genre.

B-
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:11 am

http://www.chicoer.com/entertainment/ci_18237333

He Said, She Said: 'X-Men: First Class' blast with a past
By ALLEN LUNDE and MICHELLE MacEACHERN - Correspondents
Posted: 06/09/2011 05:26:09 AM PDT

MICHELLE: UmmÉ I didn't actually see this film. But I had a good reason.

ALLEN: Something came up and she couldn't go.

MICHELLE: It would be more accurate to say I had something about as attractive as ebola virus, yet no actual Exorcist scene took place. And you know I like the X-Men movies.

ALLEN: I know, but you couldn't go and we had to review something.

MICHELLE: You could have reviewed the Panda movie. You didn't have to go to this particular movie.

ALLEN: But our readers want to see the latest.

MICHELLE: FineÉ but I get to see it this weekend.

ALLEN: Anyway, it turns out this film is good enough to see twice and I'm sure some day it will be part of our Blu-ray collection. This time we have a whole new cast, and a few new characters all set in the groovy '60s. The film was directed by Matthew Vaughn who did "Kick Ass." I wanted to mention that because that was one of my favorite recent filmsÉ

MICHELLE: Me too. I hate you.

ALLEN: And also because I get to say "Kick Ass" again in the paper.

MICHELLE: You're a genius.

ALLEN: The film has a Mad Men-with-superpowers vibe. Michael Fassbender takes over the role of Magneto from Ian MacKellen. MacKellen is my favorite actor, so it's hard for me to like anyone replacing him, but Fassbender has a James Bond quality to him that's a lot of fun.

James McAvoy plays the young, swinging, Professor X. The two are friends at the time the film takes place. Much of the film's emotion
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comes from the interaction between the idealist played by McAvoy and the vengeful Fassbender.

MICHELLE: It sounds great. I wish I could have seen it.

ALLEN: Jennifer Lawrence takes over for Rebecca Romijn as Mystique. Romijn did a good job but Lawrence is a much more versatile an actor.

We learn that Professor X and Mystique were raised as siblings when Mystique was taken in by Xavier's parents. Mystique spends the movie battling to accept her own appearance. Lawrence has only been in a few films, but has already been nominated for an Academy award.

Thank God Hollywood has learned superheroes have real emotions and require real actors.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:13 am

http://www.wharf.co.uk/2011/06/review-x-men-first-class-12a.html

Review: X-Men: First Class (12A)
By Giles Broadbent on June 9, 2011 10:50 AM

Read Giles Broadbent's review of X-Men: First Class below

REVIEW
X-Men: First Class (12A ,132mins)
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon
3/5

James McAvoy gives a remarkable performance in this film as a raffish young Charles Xavier.

Not Oscar-worthy, nor scene chomping (the scenes cost a zillion bucks each so director Matthew Vaughn could do without the distraction). But remarkable. For these two reasons.

Firstly, there's nothing new here in terms of themes. The mutants = good / human = bad brouhaha has been played out to death in all the X-Men movies and their pale offshoots.

And we know what's going to happen eventually because we read the last page back in the year 2000. That McAvoy treads old ground as if fresh and without boring us and with a glint in his eye is a tribute.

Secondly he towers over Michael Fassbender as Magneto. And the thing is, Magneto is meant to be the dark heart of the plot.

From the (affecting) open sequence in a concentration camp - a metaphor for man's inhumanity to (slightly different) man - to his brooding battles with demons within and without, Magneto has all the best stuff to do.

Meanwhile, Xavier skips along a home-spun line of peace, love and charity, sweeping up young mutants into his embrace and saving the world via his Mensa-baiting temple.

He should be a dull prig. Yet he does it with a certain panache and lightly-worn intensity that he deserves the Basil Exposition Medal for Gallantry.

The movie, set against the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, is an unwieldy thing as it tries to plait together several storylines.

The Xavier v Magneto friend-and-foe-athon is the emotional heft of the piece but has to elbow its way to the forefront against the setpiece action and other distractions (a phalanx of underling mutants all disappoint reminding me of the Mystery Men wannabes - Supervac Man, Waffler, Spleen et al).

The whole thing has the potential to be bad Bond via ropy Shakespeare. From the smirking pantomime villain (Kevin Bacon) to the subs-out-of-ship gadgetry to the Cold War rhetoric all jumbled up with a psycho drama of good v evil and brother v brother, tragic flaws and power plays ... boy, if we stopped and thought about it for a minute, the illusion would shatter into laughable shards.

But something comes along within that minute to distract and we're back in the moment. The action sequences are grand and authentic and everything looks 60s fabulous and everyone is sincerely committed to their various roles and causes.

Vaughn's done a job of work and pushed this unwieldy and inconsistent franchise back on track.

X-Men: First Class is showing at Cineworld West India Quay. Go to cineworld.co.uk for times and prices.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:14 am

http://pressrepublican.com/0500_what_to_do/x1678754409/X-Men-prequel-worth-your-time

June 9, 2011
'X-Men' prequel worth your time

STEVE OUELLETTE, Movie Review Press-Republican

The "X-Men" franchise had done the requisite sequels. It had broken out one character ("Wolverine") with a film of his own. Being far too soon for a remake, there was really only one way to bleed more money out of the superhero conglomerate: Here comes the prequel!

While not the strongest entry in the "X-Men" world, "X-Men: First Class" tells an interesting story and has enough strong performances to make it at the very least a better option than "X-Men: The Last Stand."

"First Class" takes the viewer, briefly, back to the 1940s to show the beginnings of mutant leader Charles Xavier/Professor X and his arch-rival, Erik Lenhsherr/Magneto. Then it's quickly off to the 1960s, where we get to see a version of the Cuban Missile Crisis that the history books never showed.

The strongest element of the film is James McAvoy ("Last King of Scotland"), who plays young Xavier with a lively twinkle in his eye. This version of Professor X is not wheelchair bound; he's an energetic Oxford grad who uses his powers of persuasion and his fab hair to charm hot co-eds at the local pub.

He's still very empathetic, however, and both concerned for/excited by the recently discovered mutant minority population. His constant companion is blue-tinted young Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, unrecognizable for those who saw her in her Oscar-nominated role in "Winter's Bone").

McAvoy has real acting chops — as did Patrick Stewart in the previous "X-Men" films — and helps give the proceedings a serious feel. He also meshes extremely well with Michael Fassbender's younger Magneto.

Fassbender's Magneto is more emotionally conflicted than the older version. The victim of Nazi experiments, he wants revenge on mutant mastermind Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) but has his anger and impulsiveness tempered by Xavier, who becomes his partner and close friend.

Fassbender ("Inglourious Basterds") is given more complexity and character to work with than Ian McKellen ever had in the previous "X-Men" films, and he does very well. The character comes across emotionally much like Wolverine (who gets the movie's biggest laugh in a brief cameo).

The movie also introduces a young crop of mutants — Darwin, Angel, Havok, Banshee and Hank McCoy/Beast — who are necessary but don't particularly do anything to distinguish themselves. "Mad Men's" January Jones is typically icy as Emma Frost, a sexy mutant for the bad guys.

"First Class" has a few solid action scenes, but it could probably use more fun. It's earnest and somber, with very little humor — a bit of a surprise coming from director Matthew Vaughn ("Kick-Ass").

Still, for those of us who wondered — just a little — how the X-Men story really began, "First Class" is not a waste of time.

Rental Recommendation: James McAvoy got to do lots of deadly cool stuff in 2008's "Wanted." Grade: B
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:15 am

http://www.acadvertiser.co.uk/entertainment-airdrie-coatbridge/entertainment-news/2011/06/08/movie-review-x-men-first-class-65864-28835089/

Movie Review: X-Men - First Class

Jun 8 2011 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Best X film so far

X-MEN: First Class is a sixties-set prequel telling how mutant friends Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) became future enemies Professor X and Magneto, respectively.

Charles searches for humans with superhuman abilities but he and Erik also have both the ongoing Cold War and mutant villain Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) to worry about.

The X-Men film series lost its way after the superb X2, one of the best comic book movies ever.

X-Men: The Last Stand was fun but flawed and X-Men Origins: Wolverine was deeply disappointing.

Thankfully, X-Men: First Class is a stunning return to form that resurrects the franchise.

The film goes down the Batman Begins/Casino Royale reboot/origin story route and it results in a fresh, fun, emotion and action-packed ride that sets the bar for the soon-to-arrive summer blockbusters.

Brit Matthew Vaughn directs after giving the comic book movie a fresh, pulpy makeover wit h Kick-Ass and he strikes the perfect blend between fantasy and reality.

The story cleverly uses real-life events from the time period and the Cold War presents a perfect climate of fear for the mutants to tap into/try to counter.

The ‘Swinging Sixties’ are superbly recreated, with scantly-clad ladies, cars, archive JFK footage and soundtrack immersing us in the past.

McAvoy and Fassbender are magnificent. They don’t simply impersonate previous role-holders Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen and bring their own spin to Professor X and Magneto.

A charming and funny McAvoy goes from university womaniser to born leader. Fassbender channels pent-up rage with a great mix of a desire to do the right thing and anger at the changing world.

Bacon makes for a top-notch villain, starting out as a creepy Nazi doctor and evolving into a dangerous playboy-type.

Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult (Beast) impress among the supporting cast but glamorous villainess January Jones (Emma Frost) is a bit bland.

The sets and locations are huge and Vaughn uses wide and low-angle shots to put across his expansive world.

Erik’s powers offer the best action moments as he controls missiles, barbed wire, an anchor and, most memorably, a coin.

Set-pieces including a CIA attack with ‘raining people’ and climactic battle that takes in air, land and sea are truly memorable.

But it’s not all about the action. There’s plenty of heart too. And raw emotion. This film more than many others makes it OK for grown men to cry.

Criticisms? There are too many characters and some make little impact. A split screen training montage with the team wearing matching grey sweat-suits is a little cheesy too.

But make no mistake about it, X-Men: First Class is a near-perfect blockbuster that leaves you wanting more.

Oh, and keep an eye out for the ‘X-cellent’ cameo.

Rating - 8 out of 10.
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