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X-Men Reviews 2

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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:20 pm

http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/movies/2011/06/new-x-men-first-class

New ‘X-Men’ is first class

By: Rossiter Drake 06/03/11 10:15 AM

Special powers: In “X-Men: First Class,” Michael Fassbender makes an impression as Erik Lehnsherr — Magneto — who is determined to exact revenge. (Courtesy photos)

Ah, to be young and a mutant. To be able to read minds, to soar high above the clouds, even to shape-shift into a supermodel one lonely night at the bar. Sounds like a blast? Think again.

The genetic anomalies of “X-Men: First Class” are a conflicted bunch, initially baffled by their superhuman gifts and, ultimately, persecuted because of them.

They are feared, reviled and misunderstood, but when the world seems to teeter on the brink of nuclear holocaust, as it did during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, they prove uniquely talented as peacekeepers.

Some of them, anyway. The mutants fall into two camps — those like Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) who envision harmonious co-existence with ordinary mortals, and others like the reptilian Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) who regard man as an enemy yet to be vanquished.

Xavier, better known to “X-Men” fans as Professor X — and played in the saga’s first three installments by Patrick Stewart — has typically been portrayed as the very embodiment of benevolence, a soothing father figure to mutants seeking to live in the world rather than dominate it.

Here, he’s a dashing cad, dropping witty, well-rehearsed pickup lines over a glass of scotch, but in McAvoy’s ever-curious clairvoyant, we witness the rise of a born leader.

It’s inevitable that Xavier and best friend Erik (Michael Fassbender, a formidable talent) will part ways, their youthful bond eventually severed by clashing philosophies.

Embittered by the horrors of a childhood in Auschwitz but still less jaded than Magneto, the super villain he will become, Erik channels his powers best in anger. That he casts a disdainful eye on humanity is unsurprising, but here, in an origins tale heavy on exposition, he is less monster than misguided soul.

Together, for different reasons, he and Erik take on Shaw, who plans to accelerate the extinction of mankind by playing Russians against Americans at the height of Cuban missile crisis paranoia. (Bacon, as the sociopathic puppet-master, is delightfully slimy, and too little seen in the movie’s later passages.)

Despite director Matthew Vaughn’s audacious attempt to cram volumes of backstory into a perfectly sturdy stand-alone adventure, “First Class” never feels labored or constrained by Marvel mythology.

Thanks in part to a cast of hungry, energetic stars with presence to spare — and to a story, co-written by Vaughn, that never stops gathering momentum — it is a winning slice of fantasy fiction.

After a perfunctory “Last Stand” (2006) and the overall sloppiness of “Wolverine” (2009), it’s exactly what the professor ordered to make the heroes of “X-Men: First Class” seem super again.

MOVIE REVIEW

X-Men: First Class ★★★½


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

Written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Rated PG-13

Running time 2 hours 12 minutes
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:21 pm

http://blogs.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2011/06/03/mcavoy-and-fassbenders-acting-superpowers-elevate-x-men-prequel/

McAvoy and Fassbender’s Acting Superpowers Elevate ‘X-Men’ Prequel
By: Leah Rozen Posted: Friday, June 3rd, 2011

James McAvoy (left) and Michael Fassbender in 'X-Men: First Class'

Professor X is an Oxford man. That’s just one of the many nifty nuggets one learns watching X-Men: First Class, the wham-bam movie reboot of the Marvel comic book series about mutant superheroes.

A high decibel action-adventure film aimed at summer moviegoers, First Class, which opens today, is an origins story. It goes back to the beginning, showing us how the X-Men came into being, concentrating in particular on how mutant superheroes Charles Xavier (played by Scottish-born James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Irish-raised Michael Fassbender) teamed up and then eventually came to an ideological parting of the ways.

As X-Men viewers doubtless already know, Xavier eventually becomes Professor X, the wheelchair-riding savant who believes mutants and humans can co-exist, and Lehnsherr becomes Magneto, the helmet-wearing baddie who believes in mutant superiority and separatism. (In previous X-Men movies, beginning in 2000, Brits Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen played, respectively, Prof. X and Magneto.)

January Jones in 'X-Men:First Class'

The movie is set in the early 1960s and there’s a Mad Men vibe–lots of boxy suits for men and groovy women’s clothes–right down to the casting of January Jones as the va-va-voom mutant sidekick to First Class’ chief baddie, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). He is a power-hungry mutant who’s out to manipulate those Cold War enemies, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., into a war of mutual annihilation.

Xavier and Lehnsherr set out to stop Shaw, recruiting a squad of young mutants to help them (including Skins’ Nicholas Hoult, playing a geeky scientist whose feet resemble those of a primate). The movie jumps around the globe, with early scenes set at Oxford University as Xavier graduates and chats up a comely co-ed (The Tudors’ Annabelle Wallis) at the local pub. But soon the fledgling X-Men are training at a secret C.I.A. facility, and then at Xavier’s family home in Westchester, N.Y. Next, they’re off to stop the Cuban missile crisis, which was less the work, the movie would have us believe, of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev than of the nefarious Shaw.

As directed by Brit Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake and Kick-Ass), First Class is fanboy fun and serves up plenty of big action scenes, but it all feels a wee bit processed and familiar. That said, the presences of McAvoy and Fassbender go a long way toward keeping a viewer engaged. McAvoy, he of the dreamy baby blues, shows the intelligence and decency at Xavier’s core, while Fassbender is all raw emotion and intensity as Lehnsherr, not to mention as sexy when suffering as he was in Jane Eyre.

Will there be a Second Class if First Class rakes in bucks at the box office? Count on it. Let’s just hope, though, that no one makes McAvoy shave his hair off or Fassbender wear that silly helmet the whole time.

-------------

Will you be seeing X-Men: First Class? For McAvoy or for Fassbender?
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:21 pm

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43240329

'X-Men' prequel is first-class affair
Promising new trilogy could be better than the original three films

By DAVID GERMAIN
updated 6/1/2011 3:09:19 PM ET

REVIEW

Mutants, it seems, are only as good as the creators assembling their chromosomes. And the mad scientists behind "X-Men: First Class" are real artists in the laboratory.

Director Bryan Singer's first two installments of the "X-Men" trilogy were superior adventures, about as smart and provocative as comic-book adaptations are likely to get.
Story: 5 things to know before seeing new 'X-Men' film

After Singer left, the trilogy wrapped up with a dud, followed by a limp spinoff chronicling the origins of fan-favorite mutant Wolverine.
Video: Stars discuss 'X-Men: First Class' (on this page)

Now Singer's back as a producer and idea man for "First Class," a prequel that presents a clever, cohesive, exhilarating big-screen take on how those Marvel Comics mutants came together on opposing sides in the evolutionary battle.

Matthew Vaughn, another filmmaker adept at blending smarts and action ("Stardust," "Kick-Ass"), was wisely recruited as director and co-writer.
Story: Meet the mutants of 'X-Men: First Class'

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

The young cast led by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender is no match for Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and the rest of the grand ensemble Singer enlisted for the first "X-Men" flick in 2000.
Video: 'X' marks the spot for James McAvoy (on this page)

Yet McAvoy has playful energy and unshakable nobility, while Fassbender captures slow-burning wrath and unflinching pragmatism, which nicely prefigure Stewart's august Professor X and McKellen's dogmatic Magneto.

Despite a jumble of screenwriters that includes Vaughn, writing partner Jane Goldman and "Thor" scribes Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz, "First Class" is a focused, coherent story.

Quick facts
Three stars out of four

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Run time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language

That's all the more admirable given the large cast, whose stories are woven together with enough immediacy and clarity that even Marvel newcomers can follow along without a playbill.
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We're introduced to McAvoy's telepath Charles Xavier and Fassbender's Erik Lehnsherr, who can manipulate magnetic fields, as boys in the 1940s. Their vastly different upbringings underscore the differences that eventually will turn them from best friends to bitter rivals.

Charles grows up in a rich, privileged home, believing he's a freak of nature, the only one of his kind, until he meets shape-shifting mutant Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), the future Mystique character originated by Rebecca Romijn in the "X-Men" trilogy.
Slideshow: Summer's upcoming blockbusters (on this page)

Raven and Charles forge a foster-sibling relationship, while Erik, a Polish Jew, suffers unspeakable tragedy during the Holocaust as the Nazis try to unleash the boy's power to control metal.

Charles and Erik team up in the early 1960s as part of a CIA operation against Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a mutant who can absorb explosive energy and aims to set off a nuclear war to wipe out humanity so his kind can inherit the Earth. Bacon's a lot of fun, clearly having a blast playing the U.S. against the Soviets as puppetmaster of Armageddon.

Shaw is aided by bad girl telepath Emma Frost (January Jones, who's stunning in her skin-tight Bond girl-style outfits and adopts a suitably icy demeanor).

Among those initially fighting for the good guys are intrepid CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), her nameless team leader (a sadly under-used Oliver Platt), and mutants Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Havok (Lucas Till) and Angel (Zoe Kravitz).

But allegiances change, and the point of the prequel is to spell out who switched sides and why. At the heart is the break between Charles and Erik, and the filmmakers, clearly plotting a prequel trilogy, leave plenty of loose ends to tie up and a lot of room to introduce more X-Men mutants down the line.
Video: 'X' marks the spot for James McAvoy (on this page)

The story also leaves off around the time the civil-rights movement starts to pick up steam, so the franchise's parallels between human racism and bigotry against mutants are bound to gain new resonance.

Many key questions about the mutants — Magneto's helmet, Professor X's wheelchair and his telepathic-amplifying machine — are explained. The film also features a couple of amusing cameos by stars from the "X-Men" trilogy.

The visual effects are solid, though nothing spectacular. Where the film really shines is in the design, taking the cheesy aesthetic of early James Bond films and doing the '60s up right with all the glam today's big studio bucks can buy.

If the studio can keep Singer, Vaughn and the rest of the "First Class" team together, there's a chance that this "X-Men" trilogy could evolve into a better one than the original.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:33 pm

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/lifestyle/the-arts/review_x_men_first_class_12a_1_3444059

Review: X-Men: First Class (12A) ****

By Damon Smith
Published on Friday 3 June 2011 02:53

ON general release

VERY good things come to those who wait.

British director Matthew Vaughn, is behind this exhilarating, action-packed prequel based on the hugely popular Marvel Comics.

Vaughn delivers a sleek and satisfying opening chapter that establishes the mythology of the iconic characters.

The film opens in Poland in 1944 with young Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) unlocking his devastating power of magnetism.

At the same time in Westchester, New York, young telepath Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) meets shape-shifter Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence). Fast forward to 1962 and Erik is hunting down the commandant to exact revenge for his parents.

At first Charles and Erik work together but a rift opens between the mutant leaders, lighting the fuse on the brutal and bloody war between the X-Men and Magneto’s brotherhood.

X-Men: First Class is a terrific reinvention, adhering closely to the comics to appease fans while entertaining cinema audiences with a tight script, snappy editing and directorial brio.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:36 pm

http://www.phillyburbs.com/entertainment/local_entertainment/saga-of-young-mutants-could-use-more-action/article_a7361737-03b7-5c97-ac9d-6788e531b519.html

Movie review: ‘X-Men: First Class’ Saga of young mutants could use more action

Murray Close

Michael Fassbender portrays Erik Lehnsherr in “X-Men: First Class.”

Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 4:58 am | Updated: 1:01 pm, Fri Jun 3, 2011.

By Lou Gaul
Staff writer

Grade: B

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, January Jones and Jennifer Lawrence; screenplay by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman; produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, Gregory Goodman and Bryan Singer, based on characters by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Chris Claremont; directed by Matthew Vaughn

Running time: 137 minutes

Parental guide: PG-13 (strong violence, profanity, unsettling images, some sexual content including brief nudity)

Young mutants just learning how to use their diverse powers are the new kids on the Marvel superhero block in “X-Men: First Class.”

Like J.J. Abrams’ successful reboot of “Star Trek,” this PG-13 fantasy, directed by talented Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass”), goes back to the beginning of the “X-Men” series when Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender”), who can hear the thoughts of others and can control metal objects, respectively, meet as young men. Due to the prejudice toward mutants whom humans blindly fear and describe as “genetic mutations,” the two take steps to gather the teens together and give them a safe place to experiment with their talents and learn from each other.

In the $120 million “X-Men: First Class,” that plan has potential, but for Lehnsherr, who becomes the villainous Magneto, life is a nightmare due to watching his mother get arrested by Nazis and then shot in 1944 by the hateful Dr. Schmidt (a miscast Kevin Bacon), who seeks to harness the mutants’ abilities. After the war, the film jumps to the 1960s, when Lehnsherr hunts the evil doctor who destroyed his family and eventually suffers a psychological meltdown that causes him to declare war on humans.

The benevolent Xavier believes Lehnsherr’s actions could result in all mutants being hunted down and destroyed and never achieving the equality so many desire.

“X-Men: First Class” certainly has some strong messages, which are often repeated, about civil rights, and the 1960s setting allows Vaughn to work in an anti-nuke subplot about how the United States and Russia almost destroyed each other during the Cold War.

The material, based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Chris Claremont, is rich enough to include still-timely messages about mankind being in danger of destroying itself. The film stumbles because the talky script overplays those themes at the expense of the young characters, who provide moments of energy before disappearing.

Especially impressive is recent Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”), who brings some snap to the shape-changing Mystique. Poor January Jones, best known for her role in “Mad Men,” doesn’t fare nearly as well due to her flat line readings as unexplored villain Emma Frost.

As the first step in a new franchise, “X-Men: First Class” takes some interesting baby steps, but if the series continues, comic book fans may demand more action and less talk.

Postscript: “X-Men: First Class” is the fifth film in the successful franchise, which includes “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” The titles have a global gross of $1.5 billion. Bryan Singer, who directed the first two “X-Men” hits, contributed to the story, was a producer for “First Class,” and is credited with adding the political elements about civil rights and the Cold War.

© 2011 phillyBurbs.com . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:41 pm

http://wplj.com/Article.asp?id=2203600&spid=36852

X-Men: First Class Opens

Class is in session this weekend at your local movie theater. X-Men: First Class, a prequel in the Marvel franchise set in the 1960s, is the only film opening in wide release on Friday, June 3rd. It takes a look at how Professor X, the leader of the X-Men, and the villain Magneto became rivals as they worked together to prevent a nuclear Armageddon. James McAvoy plays a young Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X, while Michael Fassbender plays the young Erik Lehnsherr, who becomes Magneto.

X-Men: First Class also stars January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon and Rose Byrne. The film is rated PG-13.

Check out what Movie Guy Leo Quinones has to say in his review of the latest adventure by our favorite mutants:

Video: KLOS

Portions provided by ABC News Radio

Nikita Palmer (@CitadelNow) for Citadel Digital © 2011
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:43 pm

http://www.assignmentx.com/2011/movie-review-x-men-first-class/

Movie Review: X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
The best of the four X-Men movies also brings a little bit of 1960s James Bond intrigue to the mix of this 1960s set prequel
Grade: A-

COMMENTS (4)
By CARL CORTEZ / Contributing Editor
Posted: June 3rd, 2011 / 09:52 AM

Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Kevin Bacon,Nicholas Hoult, Jason Flemyng, Edi Gathegi, Zoe Kravitz, Oliver Platt, Lucas Till
Writers: Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz, Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman, based on a story by Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer, Jeff Parker, Jamie Moss
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 3, 2011

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND and X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE didn’t set the bar very high for any future X-MEN related films, then along comes X-MEN: FIRST CLASS that wipes the slate clean and proves to be the best of all the X-MEN films.

Originally envisioned as a reboot, this is more of an origin story for the X-Men organization as a whole. It’s set in the 1960s as a young Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and the troubled Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender) befriend each other and try to navigate a brave new world overrun by mutants like them and what it means for the human population as a whole.

It’s a great story to tell, and it sets up many story elements – most importantly using the real life Cuban missile crisis as the focal point for bringing the X-Men together as a full-fledged team for the first time, but also putting them severely at odds with the U.S. and Russian governments who see them as a huge threat.

The villain here is Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a mutant with the power to harness any form of energy and relay it back at his victim. His goal is to become the major superpower of the world by collecting a motley crew of his own mutants and engineering the whole Cuban missile crisis to begin with to start a war to wipe out mankind. He’s assisted by the gorgeous Emma Frost (January Jones) and he’s instrumental in crafting philosophies that later make Magneto the threatening shades of gray bad guy that he ultimately becomes.

For Professor X, he wants to find a way for mutantkind to peacefully co-exist together and he brings together his own crew including Raven aka Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) who has become like a sister to him since they were young, Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) who later becomes Beast, Sean Cassidy aka Banshee (Caleb Laundry Jones), Armando Muñoz aka Darwin (Edi Gathegi), Alex Summers aka Havok (Lucas Till) and Angel Salvadore (Zoë Kravitz).

Many of the plot points of this film feel like 1960s era James Bond machinations (and if the Bond producers were smart they’d nab Matthew Vaughn to helm a future 007 flick). It’s a wonderful mish-mash of styles, but it works brilliantly and gives X-MEN: FIRST CLASS the kind of look and feel we’ve never seen before in a superhero movie. It’s fresh and fun.

Visual effects-wise, this film has also advanced leaps and bounds since the first X-MEN movie a little over a decade ago. This has allowed characters like the diamond-encrusted Emma Frost and the winged Angel some really cool CGI tricks to make them look quite impressive when they start to transform.

Storywise, this is also one of the cleaner X-MEN films. The metaphors (once again involving acceptance) may feel familiar, but it’s wrapped into a fresh new package. Some of the cheesiness of the other X-MEN movies has also given way to a sharper sense of humor which Vaughn excels in (I love the 1960s music-driven montage as X and Erik search for new mutants).

Plus, the sexy factor has been amped up, with some nice lingerie-clad moments for Jones, Byrne and Kravitz.

There are some troubles with the film too. In trying to synch the film up to the other four films, they have to go to great expositional pains to explain why Raven is friends with Professor X and appear to be largely the same age, except in the X-MEN movies the character hasn’t aged in tandem with Professor X. There’s also a cameo by a familiar X-Men that doesn’t make much sense either, but not being steeped in all the various X-Men mythologies and character rules, maybe there’s something I’m missing.

Cast-wise, there’s something to be said for hiring basically unknowns for all the major leads. It gives the movie a fresh face-lift and allows you to fall in love with the characters and not allowing any previous baggage a familiar actor brings to the role.

Of course, that’s great for Bacon, who is the most famous name of the bunch and brings a great Bond-ian villainy to the role. He’s smooth, suave and looks super-cool in his 1960s garb. In fact, I’d say he’s one of the best villains James Bond never had – being a mutant notwithstanding.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS is a gloriously complex and fulfilling summer superhero movie. It has smarts, depth and scope – and it clearly blows all the other X-MEN movies out of the water. Sometimes simplicity is keen, and by telling a more innocent story, set in the 1960s, it brings a fresh face-lift to a series that after the terrible WOLVERINE spin-off.

I’d love to see more of the adventures of these new mutants – it would be a great way to continue to franchise and do something different from it. With THOR and now this, the superhero bonanza of the summer of 2011 has kicked into high gear. Can’t wait to see what D.C. has in store for us with GREEN LANTERN and Marvel with July’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.

AGREE? DISAGREE? Let your voice be heard – COMMENT BELOW!

Click on link: for AX’s X-MEN: FIRST CLASS movie review

Click on link: for AX’s Professor X of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Magneto of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Mystique of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Beast of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Havok of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Banshee of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Angel Salvadore of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Sebastian Shaw of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Emma Frost of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Azazel of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Darwin of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Moira MacTaggert of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know

Click on link: for AX’s Riptide of X-MEN FIRST CLASS – Things You Need to Know
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:43 pm

http://austinist.com/2011/06/03/the_summer_cineaste_x-men_first_cla.php

The Summer Cineaste: X-Men: First Class [Review]

"You didn't ask, so I didn't tell." So proclaims Dr. Hank McCoy, AKA Beast, to his boss at the CIA after being unwittingly outed as a mutant. Since the X-Men debuted in 1961, their narrative has always served as a colorful metaphor for civil rights struggles and xenophobia. And while X-Men: First Class clearly embraces that theme, it also aims to deepen it. Following Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) on their divergent paths to becoming Professor X and Magneto (the respective mutant Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X), the film is able to stay true to the now more-than-familiar ideological and personal struggles that first defined Marvel Comics while also treating its characters like, well...human beings.

X-Men: First Class is based on neither the original comic's '60s debut nor the 2006 comics reboot of the same name. Rather, it assimilates into the preexisting framework of Bryan Singer's films (let's just all try and forget that third one), but director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Kick-Ass) is not a filmmaker to be content merely painting-by-the-numbers to another director's style. With 2000's X-Men, Singer revolutionized and re-legitimized the superhero genre with his serious and proficient treatment of the titular heroes, but while his classic Hollywood tone lent the films credibility, it also left (at least the second) feeling a little dull.

At nearly two and half hours, one would assume First Class would run the same risks, but Vaughn manages to maintain the grandiosity of the originals while imbuing his own pop sensibility. The marriage of the two styles keeps the movie simultaneously grounded and fresh; epic but fast-paced. There's no question the stakes are high this time around -- the plot follows Xavier after he's approached by the CIA to help stop an evil mastermind (Kevin Bacon in full-on smirking villain mode) from engineering what we now call the Cuban Missile Crisis -- but the focus is all character. Vaughn uses his bouncing style to introduce our beloved heroes one-by-one without ever falling prey to the sort of fanboy-pandering roll call that plagued, for instance, X-Men 3. By folding each character's significance into Xavier's perspective, it's possible to geek out without feeling guilty about it. It's also possible for split-screen sequences, POV shots, and modern pop music to feel right at home, even in a period piece with war and civil rights on the table.

The X-Men themselves are fabulously conceived -- for one, McAvoy and Fassbender breathe new and exciting energy into characters we usually see as old men (who knew Xavier was such a smooth-talker?). Their charm and talent is addictive, to be sure, but their ability to communicate deeper emotions with their faces alone anchors them firmly at the film's center. Their teenaged protégés also carry their fair share of thematic relevance (Mystique's obsession with her appearance/Banshee's scruffy-haired skater look), but Vaughn is wise enough to play their high-school insecurities against his leads' more adult dilemmas. The resulting ensemble interplay works incredibly well with the film's pop drama style. A character-driven story with a doubly modern and classic aesthetic, peppered with inspired set pieces and the fate of the world at stake -- this is what made Marvel great from the start. I'll go ahead and say it: "Best. X-Men movie. Ever."

X-Men: First Class is currently playing in wide release. It is rated PG-13.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:47 pm

http://www.midhurstandpetworth.co.uk/lifestyle/cinema/film_review_x_men_first_class_12a_1_2737552

FILM REVIEW: X-MEN: First Class (12A)

Published on Friday 3 June 2011 09:00

Very good things come to those who wait.

After the sinking ship of Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and the pounding headache of The Hangover Part II, the omens were distinctly ill for this summer season.

Thankfully British director Matthew Vaughn, who lifted spirits last year with the deliciously foul-mouthed Kick-Ass, repeats the feat with this exhilarating, action-packed prequel based on the hugely popular Marvel Comics.

After the lukewarm reception to spin-off X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Vaughn delivers a sleek and satisfying opening chapter that establishes the mythology of the iconic characters and provides tantalising glimpses of where the series can go next.

The film opens in Poland 1944 with young Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) unlocking his devastating power of magnetism thanks to the provocation of sadistic concentration camp commandant (Kevin Bacon).

“We unlock your gift with anger!” he cackles.

At the same time in Westchester, New York, young telepath Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) meets shape-shifter Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence) and they become close friends.

Fast forward to 1962 and Erik is hunting down the commandant to exact revenge for his parents.

“Let’s just say I’m Frankenstein’s monster and I’m looking for my creator,” he tells a henchman.

It transpires that the German officer has re-invented himself as power-hungry globe-trotter Sebastian Shaw, who intends to spark nuclear war between Russia and America aided by mutant sidekicks Emma Frost (January Jones), Azazel (Jason Flemyng) and Riptide (Alex Gonzalez).

Standing in his way are Charles, Raven and five gifted mutants - Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Darwin (Edi Gathegi) and Havok (Lucas Till).

At first Charles and Erik work together to defeat Sebastian, their common enemy.

However, a grave rift opens between the mutant leaders, lighting the fuse on the brutal and bloody war between the X-Men and Magneto’s brotherhood.

X-Men: First Class is a terrific reinvention, adhering closely to the comics to appease fans while entertaining cinema audiences with a tight script, snappy editing and directorial brio.

McAvoy and Fassbender are assured actors, capable of heartbreaking emotion, and there are plenty of tears here as nuclear war looms.

The only quibble is Fassbender’s wavering accent, which jigs from Europe to County Kerry and resonates so strongly of the Emerald Isle by the closing frames that you have to question if the Polish prologue was fantasy.

Supporting performances, particularly Lawrence and Hoult, are compelling and Bacon is a suitably boo-some pantomime villain.

A hilarious cameo by an X-Men favourite results in the film’s only swear word, and there are some tongue in cheek references to the future, like when Charles quips, “The next thing you know I’ll be going bald!”

We await his shiny bonce with feverish anticipation in the inevitable sequel.

:: SWEARING :: NO SEX :: VIOLENCE :: RATING: 8/10

Released: June 1 (UK & Ireland), 131mins
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:47 pm

http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/features/kevin-carr%E2%80%99s-weekly-report-card-june-3-2011.php

Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card: June 3, 2011
Features By Kevin Carr on June 3, 2011

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr brushes up on his world history by studying the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. He learns how multiple mutants were involved in not only escalating it but also trying to solve it.

Surely an education by Hollywood will help him out when he takes his GED next month.

After spending hours reflecting on January Jones’s boobs, he took the rest of the day trying to move things with his mind, which led to an emergency room visit after bursting a blood vessel from concentrating too hard. Thank god there was only one movie opening wide this weekend.


Want to hear what Kevin has to say on the Fat Guys at the Movies podcast? Take a listen below as Kevin is joined in the Magical Studio in the Sky by Chris Spears, formerly of the Imperial Holonet Radio Podcast.

Download this Episode

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Studio:Fox

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

Starring: James MacAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones and Oliver Platt

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

What it’s about: In this fifth film of the X-Men series, director Matthew Vaughn takes us back to their origins. We follow the lives of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, two mutants with extraordinary powers. Charles lives a life of privilege and is helping the CIA bring together mutants for government operations while Erik is seeking revenge against the Nazi scientist who killed his mother. Together, they find themselves united in an attempt to avert the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

What I liked: I’m a huge superhero fan, and I will always give props to the original X-Men for kick-starting the latest onslaught of superhero movies more than a decade ago. On the whole, I’ve enjoyed all the X-Men films, even The Last Stand and Wolverine to a degree. (Yeah, those had their problems, but the whole series is a guilty pleasure of mine.)

X-Men: First Class goes back to the roots of what made the X-Men films great, namely the sympathetic character of Erik Lehnsherr, later to be known as Magneto. Just as Ian McKellan played the role with lots of empathy, Michael Fassbender owns this movie. Rather than being a straight-up bad guy, Erik is a character who sees himself doing the right thing… and often he is doing the right thing. In many ways, Erik is more grounded than Charles Xavier in this film, and that makes the audience get behind him.

Plus, Fassbender manages to take the role seriously enough to counteract some of the inherent campiness of the other actors, namely James MacAvoy as the swinging version of Charles and Kevin Bacon as the Bacon-esque former Nazi.

While this is a big summer action film, it does not rely solely on the action to make the movie work. Instead, the film has its most powerful moments when characters face off rather than when s$#! gets blown up.

Not being a reader of the X-Men comic books, I cannot say how close this follows the source material, but speaking as someone who has enjoyed the previous four movies to varying degrees, I found it to work well into the constrains of this franchise.

And let’s not forget that it’s the fifth freaking movie. How often do we get this jump in quality when a franchise hits number five? Compared to the Jason-less Friday the 13th: Part 5 – A New Beginning and the nonsensical Leprechaun in da Hood, this movie is beyond genius.

What I didn’t: As good as X-Men: First Class is, the film is not without its flaws. Most of them I found relatively forgivable, though. Like any film that is not only a fifth in a series but also a prequel, it gets weighed down with some awkward pacing and exposition. There’s plenty of moments where the movie tips its hat at the other films. Sometimes these work, but sometimes they don’t.

Also, because it is set in the 60s, the film is loaded with anachronisms, mostly in terms of style and slang. In one scene, Charles uses the term “groovy,” though it’s done so in a humorous respect. The reality is that these “far out” phrases were far more common than what we hear in the script. But I understand the need to tone that down. Otherwise, it would have played like Austin Powers 4: Groovy Mutants.

Finally, the acting isn’t excellent across the board. In fact, it’s really hit-and-miss. Sure, Fassbender rules the film, and Bacon is silly fun as the villain. But James MacAvoy phones in his performance, falling into the cliche of holding two fingers to his temple whenever he uses his psychic powers. I keep expecting Burton Guster to come running onto set followed by Carlton Lassaster.

And then there’s January Jones, who is attractive and has marvelous boobs. But her acting is atrocious. Yeah, she looks good on a movie poster, but damn!

Who is gonna like this movie: Fans of the big summer superhero movie.

Grade: A-
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:56 pm

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700141014/X-Men-First-Class-is-good-clean-summer-fun.html

'X-Men: First Class' is good, clean summer fun
Published: Thursday, June 2, 2011 10:00 p.m. MDT

By Roger Moore, The Orlando Sentinel

"X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" — ★★★ — James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon; PG-13 (intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language); area theaters

"X-Men: First Class" is an homage to the James Bond movies from the '60s — you know, back when Bond was fun.

It's got The Cold War, an epic confrontation between super-powers and a super-villain in a submarine. Matthew ("Layer Cake") Vaughn sees to it that it's a generally light take on back-engineering the struggle between the future Professor X and the future Magneto. Well-cast, well-acted and scripted so that its message of tolerance is front-and-center, this is pretty much all you'd want from two hours and 12 minutes of summer escape.

James McAvoy is young Charles Xavier, the fellow who reads minds and stumbles into the girl (Jennifer Lawrence) Raven, who makes him realize that he and she are not alone. They are "the next stage in human evolution." It's the 1940s, and in the age of the atom, humanity — some humans, anyway — are mutating.

One of them is half a world away. That's where Erik Lehnsher (Bill Milner, then Michael Fassbender) is a Jew who survives the Holocaust because one Nazi in particular (Kevin Bacon) sees his talents and finds a way to train them.

Cut to years later, when Xavier is finishing up his degree at Oxford and Eric is chasing Nazis to the far ends of the Earth.

"Let's just say I'm Frankenstein's monster," Erik growls to a couple of German expats in Argentina. "I'm looking for my CREATOR."

Pity he isn't looking for Joseph Mengele. Fassbender is marvelously and malevolently focused. McAvoy gives Xavier a comical-clinical interest in his fellow mutants.

They only meet when they are given a common enemy by the CIA. It's the early '60s, and the former Nazi Sebastian Shaw (Bacon) is up to something, recruiting mutants. The most playful scenes in the movie follow Charles and Erik as they go mutant recruiting for the CIA — into strip clubs, for instance. Jason Flemyng, Nicholas Hoult, Alex Gonzalez, Zoe Kravitz and Edi Gathegi (from "Twilight") are among the mutants.

As the team is assembled, not-so-subtle reminders of what we're talking about, about these mutants with special powers who may displace humans, are tossed in. One guy hid his mutancy. "You didn't ask, I didn't tell."

Rose Byrne and Oliver Platt play CIA agents in charge of mutant relations. Vaughn peoples his supporting cast with veteran character players — James Remar is a general, Michael Ironside a Navy captain, Ray Wise a presidential adviser — and pays tribute, visually, to "Dr. Strangelove" and "Basic Instinct."

That last visual reference comes from January Jones. She plays the villain's mutant sidekick in early Sharon Stone-ish '60s white tart ensembles, and even has a "Basic Instinct" interrogation scene. She makes a scar-sexy villain herself. (The women in the movie wear miniskirts a few years before they became popular, and the assembling cast of mutants drop colloquialisms a few decades out of place, but why quibble?)

But one cameo — complete with the movie's only F-bomb — reminds us where this one stands in the firmament. The digital ships, digital sets and digitally enhanced brawls lack a single moment as authentically cool as that first snowy meeting we had with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in the original film.

It's all silly summer cinema escape, and if you don't roll your eyes the first or 10th time McAvoy puts two fingers to his forehead to read somebody's thoughts, you plainly got nothing out or "Everything Must Go" and "The Beaver."

But "X-Men: First Class" still sings the praises of Marvel Studios' marvelous quality control of comic-book movies. It's good, clean summer movie fun where the money they spent is up on the screen — with actors and effects — so that we won't mind spending our money on it.

"X-Men: First Class" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language; running time is 2:12.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:00 pm

http://www.examiner.com/movie-in-baltimore/movie-review-x-men-first-class-10-out-of-10-review

Movie review: X-men: First Class, 10 out of 10

June 2, 2011 7:01 pm ET

Tom Clocker

Baltimore Movie Examiner

‘X-men: First Class’ has an excellent shot at claiming the title of Best Summer Movie of 2011, or at the very least, Best Comic Book Movie of the year. This film is a prequel of sorts taking the franchise back about 40 years, showing us some X-men when they were much younger and introducing us to a group of new mutants. As far as summer comic book movies go, ‘First Class’ brings a story more interesting than most that will even cater to those with little or no knowledge of the comics. The cast and selection of new mutants are excellent choices and the mix of action and story is near perfect.

Any spoilers will be clearly marked so you can avoid reading them if you so choose.

NOTE 1 – I am far from a diehard comic fan, so this review will have very little discussion as to the continuity between film and comic book. As a matter of fact, I have an ‘in house’ geek that I consult on a regular basis so I sound like I know what I’m talking about. Feel free to discuss these things in the Comments Section below, but please mark spoilers and format your comment so people can avoid reading those.

NOTE 2 – There is NO scene at the end of the credits.

X-Men: First Class opens in Baltimore on June 10, 2011.


The Good

X-men: First Class is a rarity in the comic book movie genre because it is an all-around excellent film. Generally, comic movies make a few sacrifices or concessions as they try to cater to the most people and bring in the most money. This can be in the form of a superficial story, shallow characters, cheesy or overused dialogue, over-the-top computer generated action, and so forth. ‘First Class’ really avoids all of these traps (ok, there are a couple of cheesy lines, but, we love them). The movie has a very interesting story with very deep, multi-dimensional characters. It is well acted with a great selection of players. And, best of all, director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) nails that crucial balance of story and action.

What I like about the choice of mutants is the fact that they are not as well-known as the ones in the previous X-men films. I actually enjoyed looking them up when I got home and finding a little more about them and who they are related to and such. That is where the diehard comic geeks may have a few issues. The writers do take a couple liberties with the timeline, putting a handful of mutants in the 1960s with younger Professor X and Magneto. But, the majority of people won’t have a problem with it.

The action in the film is really well done too. There are several long sequences that showcase some really cool mutant powers. The CGI (computer generated imagery) is quite good for the most part. There’s nothing ground-breaking or unbelievable, but it is a good use of modern technology.
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The story is pretty standard comic book fare, but where ‘First Class’ sets itself apart is in the character depth and interaction. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are excellent as Charles Xavier and Erik LehnSherr (Professor X and Magneto). It is very easy to relate to their friendship and their struggle as they try to figure out how to coexist with the ‘regular humans.’ Kevin Bacon seems like a very odd choice for Sebastian Shaw, but he does a fine job with it. I think I would have preferred someone else in that role, but that is more or less nitpicking. Rose Byrne has had quite a run lately and does fine with her smaller role. The rest of the young cast of mutants does fairly well, only showing their inexperience a few times but mostly just looked like they were all having a lot of fun.


The Bad

Personally, I think the make-up for Beast in this movie is pretty awful. It looks like it is half CGI and half ‘blue Grinch’ costume from the Jim Carey movie. I thought Kelsey Grammer looked a lot better in the previous film.

There were a few times that Fassbender seemed to slip into what I like to call the ‘Batman voice.’ You know, like the times when Bruce Wayne is in the Batman suit and purposefully makes his voice deep and raspy. I thought that was a little unnecessary for Magneto and Fassbender may have done it unintentionally. Who knows.


The Bottom Line

Go see this movie! Not a fan of comic book films? Not a fan of those ‘summer popcorn flicks’ that are designed to make money but have no real substance? Not a fan of all these negative lead-in questions? Go see X-men: First Class anyway. I won’t say that it completely breaks the mold in the genre, but it is way better than most comic movies. Just like how Batman Begins revitalized that franchise with a new crew and new direction, ‘First Class’ is giving the X-men series some serious CPR. I’m hoping we get a couple more of these earlier setting stories as Professor X builds up his school and the X-men start expanding. Parents, this film is PG-13 but is a pretty standard summer comic movie. It has the one permissible ‘F-bomb’, stylized violence, a few deaths, but only one shows any real detail and it does not have much blood or gore.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:01 pm

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/blogsmoviecricket/51934775-66/director-drama-mutant-candy.html.csp

Friday movie roundup: "X" hits the spot
image
Michael Fassbender portrays Erik Lehnsherr in a scene from "X-Men: First Class." (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, Murray Close)
Published on Jun 3, 2011 09:32AM

A surprisingly good week at the movies, led by a bunch of young mutants.

"X-Men: First Class" is as good as the franchise's previous best, "X2: X-Men United," as it brings us the origin story of Marvel Comics' band of mutant superheroes. Young telepath and genius Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and metal-moving Erik Lensherr, a k a Magneto (Michael Fassbender, pictured), are on the same side, battling a nasty mutant (Kevin Bacon) who wants to start nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis. Director Matthew Vaughn ("Kick-Ass") does the effects right, and sifts through the several mutant stories without losing the drama and humanity of these characters. Jennifer Lawrence is especially good as the shape-shifting Raven, alias Mystique.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:02 pm

http://www.bigshinyrobot.com/reviews/archives/28299

Andy Wilson
By CitizenBot
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REVIEW: X-men First Class (part Deux)
Friday, June 3rd, 2011 at 9:28 am

I love Swankmotron. He has great taste in movies, even if I don’t share all of his prequel love or absolute hatred of Pirates of the Carribean. Generally, he’s pointed in the right direction on movies. And he was right on in his review of X-men First Class (which you really should’ve read), with a couple of exceptions I take with his effusiveness over this summer geekfest.

This is undoubtedly the summer of the geek: Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern, Super 8, Cowboys and Aliens. . . and the film I was most worried about was X-men First Class. This franchise has faltered in its last two outings (X-men 3: The Last Stand and X-men: Origins: Wolverine: The Search for More Colons and Subtitles) Both of those films had good things to offer, but both ended up kind of flopping limply into mediocrity.

Contrast this with my love for 2000′s original X-men and X2: X-men United, which rank in my top 10 and #2 favorite comic-based movies of all time, respectively. The summer of 2003 I went to the movies at least once a week, and before or after every other movie I saw, Id try to walk in to screenings of X2 just to catch another 5-10 minutes of it, always trying to get another look at the mansion fight, Colossus armoring up, Wolverine going all berserker rage, the opening break-in to the White House, the fight in the jets, etc. I went to see it total at least a half dozen times in the theater on top of that.

X-men: First Class is a return to greatness for this film franchise. One must first credit Producer Bryan Singer, who was able to bring a story and a feel much more in line with his first two outings. Second, you have to tip your hat to Matthew Vauhn, the director, for delivering and being able to pack more heart and guts into a superhero movie than we’ve had in a long while. Third, this script is amazing. A lot of humor. A few sly winks at the audience and fans, but ones that don’t present themselves so obviously as “Ah? Eh? See what we’re doing? That’s for you, fanboys!” It’s much more subtle. This script is all killer no filler. Even after seeing this movie twice (once at a press screening and once at the premiere midnight showing) I could not pick out any part that was padded or filling– a true rarity for a summer blockbuster action movie that clocks in at over 2 hours. Every scene has a purpose, every purpose is a note, or a beat, or a character point, or pushes the plot forward with amazing action. And fourth and finally, this cast, with few exceptions, delivers the goods. A few words about them:

Stepping into roles played by greats like Ian Mckellen, Patrick Stewart, and a bad guy like Brian Cox in X2 sets an incredibly high bar. And don’t get me wrong here, I still think Ian Mckellen > Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart > James Mcavoy, and Brian Cox > Kevin Bacon. I really have to disagree with Swank’s proclamation that Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw in his first scene is near as good as Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds. Very similar, and there’s room for comparison, but this Sebastian Shaw is more Bond Villain than evil sociopath Jew hunter Nazi. And in that he is perfect. It seems silly nowadays that a villain would want to irradiate the gold supply like Goldfinger, but Bacon’s Shaw is the kind of megalomaniacal genius who would come up with an audacious plan to start a nuclear war between the US and Russia in order to kill off most humans, leaving behind only mutants whom he could rule over. Nowadays Bond villains are so much more subtle, but in the 60′s, you had to have an audacous plan. Perfect execution on this point and a pitch-perfect performance by Kevin Bacon to deliver on this without making Shaw either too campy and over the top or sinister.

And I mentioned that Ian Mckellen > Michael Fassbender and Patrick Stewart > James Mcavoy,but somehow in this film Fassbender + Mcavoy > Mckellen + Stewart. These two young actors have almost a bromance, and it’s really fun to see them as friends, and it’s really painful to see them at their most vulnerable and then at each others throats. Fassbender puts on the best performance in a movie of this type of the year. And inasmuch as Shaw is a Bond villain, he plays someone both suave and efficiently brutal enough to be James Bond out of Fleming’s novels. If Daniel Craig decides to retire as Bond, Fassbender would make a great replacement.

So? What else is good? Charles Xavier trying to be suave, talking about “groovy” mutations. The 60′s vibe and how it blends with modern sensibilities, especially in a few exposition spots brilliantly told through historical footage or through faux 1960′s educational/propoganda films: especially the one where Sebastian Shaw explains his big plan. Great use of period music, especially a scene featuring Keith Mansfield’s “Junior Jet Set”... except it feels and sounds much more like the sampled version Gnarls Barkley used in “Run,” again mixing old and new.

THE ACTION SEQUENCES. We got to see a tiny snippet of how brutal and amazing a fighter a teleporter could be with Nightcrawler in X2. But Azazael, including his red skin, is all demon, all killer, all brutal. Amazing.

GREAT cameos: an all-too-brief appearance by Ray Wise as Secretary of State Dean Rusk. And Swank alluded to the best use of the “f” word in a PG-13 movie ever: spot on- and I won’t spoil that any more that that.

And little allusions to future civil rights issues: Charles Xavier and Eric play chess on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where, ostensibly, a few years from now Martin Luther King will proclaim he has a dream. Wordplay around “don’t ask, don’t tell” and “mutant and proud”, which may as well be, “I’m black and proud.”

What wasn’t so good? January Jones. She sticks out like a sore thumb. I don’t even understand why people think she’s that attractive, and you could’ve done much better with other girls to fill out that Emma Frost White Queen outfit. Beast’s final costume. When a lot of the fiasco that happened over promotional material coming out, one of us robots (I think Jerk Bot) said that Beast looked “rapey” and like he was about to tell the Scarecrow and Tin Man to put up their dukes– and I think he still looks rapey, and he looks and talks like a cross between a blue Teen Wolf and Cornelius from the 1960s Planet of the Apes. His mouth just doesn’t move correctly, like Cornelius. By contrast, the X3 version of Beast looked better, frankly. HOWEVER, he ended up being one of my favorite characters in the film, and certainly has among the most interesting character journeys of the film. So, the Oscar for makeup and costumes should not go to Beast, but extra props to Nicholas Hoult for trying to act under all of that and still doing a great job. So there’s a silver lining to this cloud, the same way as the silver lining to the Emma Frost cloud is she just doesn’t get much screen time. Thank. You.

This film is a perfect summer movie. Now, to you comic book nerds and continuity hounds, just forget everything else. YES, this is not the First Class of the comic books. Yes, there are some things that contradict stuff from the other movies. That’s fine. Just like Batman Begins was not the same as Batman: Year One and just like it changed the Batman origin story from the Tim Burton Batman movies, this is a reboot. Relax and have a great time. Save the continuity nitpicking for the comic book store, where I’ll gladly meet you and tell you what a great film X-men First Class is.

3 1/2 stars
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:06 pm

http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2011/06/review-x-men-first-class

Review: "X-Men: First Class" Gives Mutants Their Swag Back Tenfold
By Matt Barone, | Jun 3, 2011 | 11:17 am

An odd thing happens once X-Men: First Class draws to a close. For a little over two hours, director Matthew Vaughn’s triumphant revival of the mutant superhero franchise provides more than enough visual splendor, in the form of elaborate action sequences powered by airtight and expectedly lavish special effects. One hero uses a yacht’s anchor to slice through the massive ocean liner like a kitchen knife through American cheese; later, the same character, Erik “soon to become Magneto” Lensherr (played by acting powerhouse Michael Fassbender), caps off a CGI-laden climax—during which he lifts a submarine out of the ocean using his magnetic powers—by controlling airborne missiles like a mad puppet master.

complex-review-x-men-first-class-1Yet, by the film’s end, those aren’t the scenes or components that resonate; rather, the lively characters, revelatory performances, and ambitious script are what sticks in the mind. In that sense, X-Men: First Class is a thinking man’s summer blockbuster, hitting all of the prerequisite eye candy beats without distracting itself from telling a rich story through intricate characterization.

In other words, it’s nothing like the property’s last endeavor, the soulless, Brett Ratner-directed, 2006 disappointment X-Men: The Last Stand, and everything like the first two installments, X-Men (2000) and X2 (2003), both helmed by Bryan Singer (a producer on X-Men: First Class). And, in even more words, it’s exactly the shot intelligent life that the long-running Marvel Comics brand needed in order to reclaim big screen superhero glory.

X-Men: First Class Takes The Mutants Back To The Essence

Wisely, Vaughn (following up last year’s subversive anti-superhero treat Kick-Ass) and screenwriters Jane Goldman (who wrote Kick-Ass, as well), Zack Stentz, and Ashley Miller have rewound the X-Men saga back to its fascinating origins. After a brief yet darkly rousing preface set in a Nazi-run Polish death camp, X-Men: First Class jumps right into 1962 to show the polar opposite lives of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and the aforementioned Lensherr; while Xavier finds life to be “groovy” as he completes his collegiate duties and bags women using his mind-reading abilities, Lensherr’s a humorless badass seeking vengeance against the ageless and all-powerful mutant, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon, delightfully hammy), who killed his mother back in Poland.

The CIA catches wind of Xavier’s mutant studies and recruits him to help apprehend Shaw, who’s weaseling his way into the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is how he crosses paths with Lensherr. Together, they form a renegade mutant task force of sorts, comprised of young mutants in need of training yet all highly effective with their respective abilities. There’s Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Xavier’s longtime best friend who can morph her body to resemble anyone she makes contact with; Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), a Doogie Howser-like scientist embarrassed by his oversized ape feet; Sean/Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), a snarky kid whose high-pitched inhuman screams help him to fly; and Alex/Havok (Lucas Till), a tough guy who can hurl giant sonic-boom rings.

X-Men: First Class atones for the sins of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

There are others, as well, but the lines of allegiance to either good (Xavier’s crew) or evil (Shaw’s posse) are quickly blurred, all while Lensherr himself quietly nurtures a hatred for humans that could potentially make him the next Shaw, once he kills the son of a bitch, of course. With so many characters in play and several subplots alongside the overarching stop-Sebastian-Shaw mission, it’s highly impressive how well X-Men: First Class balances the lot.

Some storylines are weaker than others, namely a budding romance between Raven and Hank, though that’s not the fault of Lawrence and Hoult (both immensely talented newcomers), but rather the schmaltzy approach to their flirtations—it’s borderline Twilight cheese. But, fortunately, the Raven/Hank bits are minimal, ultimately registering as secondary to the contrasting dynamics of Xavier and Lensherr’s unstable friendship. X-Men: First Class thrives when it's focused on their inevitable falling out, which, as any self-respecting comic book head knows, leads to the rivaling identities of Professor X and Magneto.

Still Don't Know Michael Fassbender By Name? That's About To Change

The slowly tearing bond shared by Xavier and Lensherr would’ve been intriguing for X-Men fans regardless, but under the mutually expert control of McAvoy and Fassbender it’s the a hefty reason why X-Men: First Class is the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight in 2008; yes, it’s even better than Thor, which we loved.

Both actors are magnificent, leaping off the screen in different ways. McAvoy, perhaps the movie’s biggest surprise, plays the young Professor X with an undeniably cool suaveness; Fassbender, tasked with portraying a tortured soul who’s equally sadistic and vulnerable, goes the opposite route, embodying the future Magneto with a sturdy disposition.

complex-review-x-men-first-class-2In the end, though, X-Men: First Class is a Fassbender showcase, being that he’s given the most crowd-pleasing scenes, such as a Quentin Tarantino-esque bar fight during which he does some rather gnarly things with a knife. Having already proven that he’s by far the best “new” actor in Hollywood, with his scene-stealing work in big-time fare like Inglourious Basterds complementing phenomenal indie work (Hunger, Fish Tank), the Germany-born thespian shows that he’s no slouch in glossy blockbusters, either. Dude’s officially a star.

As is X-Men: First Class director Vaughn, who manages to mesh a blockbuster’s popcorn necessities (sick effects, genuinely funny comic relief) and brainy appeal (i.e., a story that doesn’t insult the audience at every possible turn) with the panache of, dare we say, Christopher Nolan. The English filmmaker treats the material as more than a superhero movie; enlightened by the script’s revisionist Cuban Missile Crisis history, Vaughn takes pleasure in capturing the intrigue and debonair action of the best James Bond flicks of old, which sets X-Men: First Class apart from its Comic-Con-pleasing predecessors and peers.

Who Needs Another Wolverine Movie? We Want A Second Class, Pronto!

X-Men: First Class is by no means flawless. A few of the performances, in fact, are at times distractingly off, the worst being that of January Jones; as Sebastian Shaw’s telepathic sidekick Emma Frost/White Queen, the physically hot Mad Men star plays a character who’s authoritative and dominant in the comic book series with robotic vapidity. Yes, she’s a delight to look at, frequently clad in nothing but white two-piece lingerie, but Jones downgrades the character into X-Men’s version of an Austin Powers Fembot.

But, like the mishandled Raven/Hank portions, the film’s few examples of unimpressive acting can’t take away from the overall victory that Vaughn has reached with X-Men: First Class. Without totally disregarding the previous X-flicks (two smartly inserted cameos interlock First Class with its precursors), the origin story fans have needed since ’03’s X2 set the X-bar seemingly out of direct-sequel’s reach, rewards those who’ve been down with the mutants from day one, broadens the material enough to welcome in unknowledgeable viewers, and atones for the sins of X-Men: The Last Stand and 2009’s horrifically botched spinoff X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Finally, it’s once again cool to f&#! with the X-clan in multiplexes.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:06 pm

http://www.sheknows.com/entertainment/articles/832711/x-men-first-class-movie-review

X-Men: First Class Cast Is First Class

Posted on Jun 03, 2011 7:24 AM by Joel D. Amos

X-Men: First Class has fans abuzz and with good reason. The X-Men franchise gets a reboot of sorts with the latest film starring James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender as the man who would become Magneto.

We would be remiss without starting with the astonishing work of Michael Fassbender. The actor wowed in Jane Eyre earlier this year and proves he is a talented force of nature as he tackles the role of Erik Lehnsherr, who becomes Magneto after meeting up with his fellow mutants led by Professor Xavier (James McAvoy). Fassbender gives the pop culture legend a depth unseen in both page and screen.

X-Men: First Class has arrived

Kevin Bacon is an everyman whom audiences pull for regardless of the film, from Footloose to Frost/Nixon. Yet in X-Men: First Class, he personifies evil incarnate. Bacon has always excelled in every single one of his roles, but in X-Men, he devours the screen inhabiting a character bent on world destruction.
X-Men: When Charles met Erik

When the film commences, director Michael Vaughn gives us the only background we need in a scene echoed in earlier X-Men films, with Erik Lehnsherr in a Nazi concentration camp as a young boy forcibly separated from his parents. The emotional turmoil that ensues is what first clues audiences into the fact that this character has supernatural powers. Meanwhile in America, a young Charles Xavier realizes he is not alone in his own gifts that defy reality.

Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy in X-Men: First Class

Where Bryan Singer, director of the first two X-Men movies, went for gloss, in X-Men: First Class, director Vaughn brings emotional power that comes with an attachment to characters that are equally deep and delicious. The earlier X-Men films presented the world as a given, whereas this latest incarnation delivers mystery, mayhem, sizzling suspense from beginning to end and, most importantly, a palette of character colors that run the gamut.

The big question on many a moviegoer's mind is whether this film is more than a geek fantasy come to life. Is X-Men: First Class a popcorn summer movie franchise simply trying to reboot? Hardly... it fires on all cylinders, forgetting completely in the most delightful of ways that it’s a genre film.

The creative team behind it, accompanied by a stellar cast operating at their best, have produced a movie worthy of the must-see title, regardless of the season of its release -- summer, winter or otherwise!

There is no weak link in X-Men: First Class, yet we do wish there was more for Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence’s Raven/Mystique to utilize her vast talents. The new star of The Hunger Games and ingenue from Winter’s Bone has the tough task of, in many ways, centering the film. Lawrence’s character represents the good that mutant power can provide to humanity and the feeling that humans may choose to destroy or disintegrate them once the mutants' presence on earth is discovered.

Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men: First Class

The backdrop of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis adds a layer of suspense, realism and groundedness that only enhances Vaughn’s storytelling. Whether a potential for a history lesson or a simple backdrop for a blockbuster, taking the X-Men characters back to the beginning circa 1962 is a stroke of genius. Two superpowers had their weapons of mass destruction pointed at each other. The reality that the world could end was palpable. X-Men: First Class navigates this landscape by both paying tribute to another time while simultaneously sending off a franchise on the cusp of a resonant rebirth.

X-Men: First Class is the rare film in a franchise that could easily be seen as its best when it is the latest. Between the questions that get answered (Why is Xavier in a wheelchair and how did the X-Men mutants come to be?), the film is a fortune trove of information meets thrilling plot for fans and newbies alike.
X-Men: First Class review

Out of five stars...

starstarstarstarstar
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:08 pm

http://www.periscopepost.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class

The fifth X Men movie receives a first class reception.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender

The fifth installment of the X Men franchise is set in the early 1960s, and seeks to explain the origins of the mutants. The story shows how Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) became the antagonists who were played by Ian McKellen (Magneto) and Patrick Stewart (Professor X) in the first films.

Oxford academic Xavier wants to create a society in which young mutants can harness their powers and coexist with humans. This doesn’t sit well with Lehnsherr, a Holocaust survivor, who’d like to see humans heel to mutants. But for now, the boys must unite against Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), and play a vital role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sounds ridiculous? That it ain’t.

At the New York Times, Manohla Dargis described the new film as “like Mad Men,” when it “indulges in period nostalgia as it gazes into the future, using the backdrop of the cold war (and its turtlenecks) to explore how the past informs the present (while also blowing stuff up).” According to Dargis, the defining virtue of the first X Men movies was that the director, Bryan Singer, brought a great deal of seriousness to “the saga of mutants uneasily sharing fates and plotlines with humans.” However, his approach occasionally tipped into overkill, “like cement shoes on a drowning bunny.” New director, Matthew Vaughn, has managed to add an “agreeable lightness,” to proceedings. “The weighty themes — post-Holocaust defiance and post-Stonewall pride — are still in play but less laboriously.”

What’s the only thing worse than a sequel? Usually, a prequel. But not this time said HolyMoly’s Beccadap, who described First Class as “ a snazzy, sexy 60s reboot.” McAvoy and Fassbender give “flawless performances that drive the whole thing.” While the supporting cast are also “largely brilliant.” Mad Men’s January Jones is uber-bitch Emma Frost, and newcomer Jennifer Lawrence is a young Mystique “perfectly, stripping away the sexy, over confident character given to us by Rebecca Romjin-Stamos in the earlier films, and playing her with a great deal of vulnerability and fragility.” The non-mutant, CIA agent Moira McTaggart (Rose Byrne) is “a joy to watch, with her non-mutant power of being seriously ballsy.”

Not quite first class. In the Independent, Anthony Quinn briefly explained: “Amid marvels of telepathy and teleportation, the film’s basic premise is that the X Men did nothing less than save the world during the Cuban Missile Crisis.” It’s not “First Class”, in Quinn’s opinion, “it’s OK.” But it’s a shame that promising young actors such as Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult “have been burdened with silly characters and even sillier make-up.”

At Variety, Justin Chang praised Vaughn for having managed to reclaim much of “the pop-operatic grandeur and insouciant wit so evident in the series’ first two installments.” He has also created a film that will prove “entirely engaging” for franchise newcomers as well as viewers familiar with the series’ mythology. At times First Class almost resemble” a 1960s heist picture by way of a James Bond caper as Charles and Erik assemble their motley crew, hitting up strip clubs, pubs, prisons and other unlikely joints in sequences that thrum with period atmosphere.” And Chang enthused that it was “remarkable” how many things First Class gets right: “whether it’s the decision to have characters speak different languages as the film’s frequent globe-trotting dictates,” or the casting of Fassbender and McAvoy, “who bear no resemblance to their respective older counterparts but perfectly capture Charles and Erik’s symbolic might-vs.-right dynamic.”

A badass summer movie. And Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers enthused: “Vaughn delivers a fireworks display of action, smarts and fun, plus a touch of class from actors who can really act.” Daniel Craig should certainly watch out as Fassbender “dances to an irresistible James Bond vibe”. Ok the plot is a little bit “out there,” and there are a few too many young mutants for any to register, but “who cares about plot holes and a few tacky effects? Go, mutants! You just made this summer movie the badass place to be.”
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:11 pm

http://www.examiner.com/movie-in-macon/movie-review-x-men-first-class-review

Movie Review : "X-MEN:First Class" (video)

June 3, 2011 10:51 am ET

Brett Martin

Macon Movie Examiner

The Marvel Comic movies keep coming…this time its the XMEN. For fans of the series and even folks who know nothing about it, I have some good news. Fresh young faces join together to make one of the best prequels in recent memory. Buckle up and get ready for the "X-MEN" like you have never seen them before.

Its the XMEN, younger, cooler, better.
In this fifth installment, which is a prequel, we meet a young Professor X (James MacAvoy) and young Magneto (Michael Fassbender) before they become mutant superheroes and turn into enemies. The setting is the 1940's through the 1960's…in the middle of the cold war. This is the set up for X-MEN:First class. This movie has all the elements of a big summer movie. Great action sequences, nice special effects, and a wonderful human element that makes this film even that much better.
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It is really a perfect summer movie with young actors, retro costumes, and top notch action. The Flick-o-meter gives "X-MEN: First Class" five out of five. This film is exactly what the franchise needed. There is a good chance that this will be one of the best films of the summer. So now you know before you go.

Please see my review on this page or click on this link HERE.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:12 pm

http://torontoist.com/2011/06/in_revue_some_first_class_neighbours_and_a_princess.php

Now on Screen: X-Men: First Class,The Princess of Montpensier, Good Neighbours

Because Toronto's more movie obsessed than a Quentin Tarantino screenplay (yuk yuk), Torontoist brings you Now on Screen, a weekly roundup of new releases.

Do you like mutants? Do you like French costume dramas? Do you like serial killer/rapists on the loose in Montreal? Then you're in luck, friend! Because this week we've got movies about all three. And, even better, they're all pretty okay. (Though Jacob Tierney's Good Neighbours, the killer/rapist one, leads the pack.) Bon cinema!

Directed by Matthew Vaughn
3 STARS

X-Men: First Class
Directed by Matthew Vaughn

In Marvel’s sprawling comic (and now, cinematic) universe(s), the X-Men have always occupied a weird place. Their world, in which humans have genetically mutated into a hyper-powered super-class, rubs uncomfortably against the rest of Marvel’s superheroes. Why should we care if a freak radiation accident leaves some dorky photographer slinging webs if there are thousands of others just like him? Despite this tension, the X-Men comics have long been Marvel’s most thematically rich: using their misfit mutants as playthings in arcing allegories for racism, governmental authority, and the pangs of adolescence.

In Fox’s new prequel, set in 1962, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his class of gifted youngsters stand as children of Atomic Age, scions of a the Brave New World heralded by the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, much as they were originally conceived in the comics. Allegory-wise though, Vaughn and his staff three other writers (five if you count story credits) overload the film, which changes tone more frequently than the shape-shifting Mystique. (Sorry. It's true, though!)

Laying tracks for the existing trilogy (and spin-off Wolverine film, down to the requisite Hugh Jackman cameo), First Class follows Xavier as he falls in with lovely CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne)—who is Scottish and a geneticist in the comics, but whatever—as he recruits an elite team of teenage mutants to butt heads with the nefarious Sebastien Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his also-mutated squad of warmongers. Xavier also enlists Eric “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), a Holocaust survivor and master o’ magnetism with a personal score to settle with Shaw.

McAvoy plays Xavier with a pleasant bit of swagger, years away from the Bic-bald, wheelchair-bound Yoda we’re accustomed to. But it’s Fassbender who leads the pack, strolling through the movie with daring conviction. (It’s as if he has no idea that it’s beneath him.) Watching him, early on, chasing down escaped Nazis and leaving a trail of twisted metal in his wake proves exceptionally fun. Ditto Magneto and Xavier recruiting their team like they’re a pair of cocktail-swishing, Connery-era James Bonds. Trouble is, all the Nazi-hunting and Holocaust-flashbacks, instructive though they may be for helping us understand Magneto’s motivations, stand in stark contrast to the movie's other shades of camp and Harry Potter-ish fantasy about uniquely talented teens discovering their powers.

There’s a handful of nice moments in First Class, mostly between Xavier and Magneto as their ideological schisms begin to strain their friendship, but also between Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Hank “Beast” McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) as they debate the merits of curing their mutations. We’ve seen a lot of this stuff in the previous films though, which all seem to have been bundled up, instead of pared down, for the prequel. Vaughn pulls off a handful of action set-pieces, and Bacon proves a competent villain (his ludicrousness only helps things), but at 131 minutes, First Class feels stretched-out, overburdened by its underdeveloped ensemble cast and the half-dozen allegorical pokers it drives into the fire. The clever casting, including redeeming cameos from Verhoeven veterans Ray Wise and Michael Ironside (playing his 95th barking military commander) keeps the film afloat. But just barely.

X-Men: First Class opens Friday, June 3 in wide release. Click here for showtimes.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:12 pm

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_18186046

Review: Magnetic power of "X-Men: First Class" pulp will pull you in
*** 1/2 stars | Comic-Book X-cellence
By Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post Film Critic
Posted: 06/03/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT
Updated: 06/05/2011 10:30:19 AM MDT

"Slumdog Millionaire " proved it's possible to begin a feel-good movie with a scene of torture.

Quentin Tarantino pulp-fictionalized the Holocaust with his revenge fantasy "Inglourious Basterds ."

Now comes "X-Men: First Class," the finest comic-book flick since 2008's "The Dark Knight."

The saga of how the famed mutant superhero posse came to be opens in a concentration camp in Poland in 1944. A boy is separated from his mother. Restrained by guards, he screams, reaching out for her. The barbed-wire gate begins to quiver. Observing this hint of magnetic power is eugenicist Dr. Schmidt, portrayed with reined-in sadism by Kevin Bacon .

He offers the boy a chance to rescue his mother. Their negotiation is
Michael Fassbender plays Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), who can control magnetism. Lehnsherr seeks revenge on the doctor who "created" him in the prequel "X-Men: First Class." (Provided by 20th Century Fox)
tense, unfair, tragic. When the camera shifts position, a glass-walled laboratory of pseudo-medical misery is revealed.

This is what made Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto tick — and what keeps him so ticked off.

Inglourious Mutants? Not quite, but this prequel reboot of the "X-Men" franchise based on the Marvel comics takes seriously the possibilities of pulp entertainment. It's spirited and serious, full of angst and rebellious energy.

While Erik (Michael Fassbender) travels the globe hunting Schmidt (who along the way changes his identity to Sebastian Shaw and picks up some stylish suits and mutant powers of his own), future X-Men founder Charles Xavier (James McAvoy ) is studying genetics at Oxford.

Charles and Erik's first mutant inductees are young and "closeted." And "First Class" gives self-doubt, sulking and fantasies of invincibility room to breathe. It may be more glum than "Glee" about these matters, but it's just as committed. The strongest subplot about acceptance belongs to Xavier's adopted sister, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who longs to be seen as her blue-skinned self, not as her fetching illusion.

These are the achy tensions that draw the teens among us — and those still residing in some of us — to the superhero genre in the first place.

There are bemused nods to the "X-men" flicks that came before (or is that after?). And Xavier makes a passing crack about his hair; Professor X is famously bald. But this film plays taut and tight. Perhaps because so much is at stake.

The action unfolds during the most tenuous moment in the Cold War — as the U.S. and the Soviet Union face off in the waters off Cuba.

Shaw makes nice and manipulates the Soviets. The mutants have joined forces (sort of) with the CIA. It's an uneasy alliance with a couple of notable exceptions. Rose Byrne portrays sympathetic agent Moira MacTaggert . Oliver Platt does typically jocular work as a CIA outlier.

That "First Class" is top-flight shouldn't come as such a surprise, though quality tent-pole movies always are.

Director Matthew Vaughn and writing partner Jane Goldman , who did sweet work with the underattended fantasy "Stardust" and provided wonderfully profane pleasures with last year's "Kick-Ass," have a rare gift for combining fantasy vigor with tenderness.

Production designer Chris Seagers captures the hipness and bureaucratic fussiness of the 1960s without overstatement, except perhaps the plunging neckline of Emma Frost 's white form-fitting get-up (we're not complaining). January Jones ("Mad Men") channels every James Bond femme fatale, then adds a little something wavering.

Casting gives this outing its rock-solid infrastructure.

McAvoy makes Charles' deepening friendship with Erik believably astute. Sure, you'd expect this from a telepath, but his attempt to heal Erik's trauma is a beautiful thing.

Fassbender is no longer a well-kept indie secret ("Fish Tank" and "Jane Eyre") but a bona fide presence. He makes Erik and the future anti-hero Magneto worth our empathy.

From the youngsters that Charles and Erik recruit to the battleship commanders teetering on the edge of nuclear war, not a character is wasted.

Vaughn, editor Lee Smith ("Inception" "The Dark Knight") and what likely was a legion of F/X whizzes deliver action that is at times impossibly, impressively fluid. Which doesn't mean story is an indentured servant to flash.

Sure, the movie's title doesn't refer to its quality. But this "X-Men" is absolutely first-class.

"X-Men: First Class"

PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language. 2 hours, 11 minutes. Directed by Matthew Vaughn; written by Vaughn, Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman; photography by John Mathieson; starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Oliver Platt, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult , Lucas Till , Caleb Landry Jones, Zoe Kravitz . Opens today at area theaters.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:13 pm

http://www.thegate.ca/reviews/09814/film-friday-x-men-first-class-and-midnight-in-paris/

Film Friday: ‘X-Men: First Class’ and ‘Midnight in Paris’
By W. Andrew Powell • June 3, 2011

The cast of X-Men: First Class, including Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy

Opening in a theatre near you this weekend: James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender star in the comic book reboot, X-Men: First Class; Owen Wilson stars in Woody Allen’s latest romantic comedy, Midnight in Paris; plus a look at the dramedy, Submarine.

X-Men: First Class
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Rated: 8/10

Comic book adaptations have come a long way since Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie debuted in 2000, and while there have been a lot of great comic book movies since then, if I’m going to be honest I would have to admit that X2: X-Men United is by far my favorite comic book movie, based primarily on the fact that Singer knew how to tell a story about vivid characters.

The X-Men franchise hit a snag though with the release of the third film, which was sub-par to say the least, so nothing short of a reboot was really going to revive the franchise. Thankfully, as a long-time fan of the X-Men comic books, Matthew Vaughn has created a reboot that has it all: action, sex appeal, and laughs.

Starting out exactly like the first X-Men film, with a reshot opening set in 1944, we meet a young Erik Lehnsherr who is being held at a concentration camp where one man, Sebastian Shaw, played by Kevin Bacon, is forcing the boy to use his powers by threatening Erik’s mother.

From there, we float back and forth between Erik’s hunt for Shaw to meeting CIA agent Dr. Moira MacTaggert, played by Rose Byrne, who is investigating the Hellfire Club, where Emma Frost, played by January Jones, is currently playing host to a United States general and Shaw, who is essentially trying to start a nuclear war for his own gains. As Moira sneaks into the club, she inadvertently witnesses a display of mutant powers, sending her off to find an expert who can help her prove to the CIA that mutants exist.

That search leads her to Professor Charles Xavier, played by the über talented James McAvoy. As a boy Charles discovered he had the power to read minds, which led him to become a professor of genetics so he could better understand his own condition. By Charles’ side is the beautiful Raven, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who has a secret of her own–she’s a shapeshifter who can make herself look like anyone, and she’s been the professor’s best friend since they were children.

Joining with Moira when Charles realizes that there are dangerous mutants in the world, the trio gathers a team of mutant cohorts as they meet the head of Division X, played by Oliver Platt, where they also join forces with Erik.

Using the intrigue of the Cuban Missile Crisis of the sixties as a backdrop, X-Men: First Class is stylish, witty, and funny, and features a number of cameos, including a brief glimpse of Rebecca Romijn as Mystique, not to mention an equally quick moment with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

Vaughn’s film hits all the right points to not only be a fun summer blockbuster, but also a film that fans can appreciate since it very, very faithfully recreates the characters from the original comic books, all the way down to the costumes, and even Beast’s transformation from a brilliant scientist with ape-like feet to a big, blue creature.

Most importantly though, Vaughn has put together a fantastic team of actors, with some of the best casting I could imagine for these characters. McAvoy and Fassbender in particular are the perfect duo to lead the film, and Kevin Bacon plays, at times, a scenery-chewing villain worthy of being a big-screen nemesis. I also loved Lawrence as Mystique, and Jones plays a good Emma Frost, despite the fact that her role is more about looks than acting.

The only major complaint with the film is that the overall script is weak, with a plot that needed to be tightened up, especially in the second half, and the film feels ragged as we jump between story lines. X-Men: First Class is still a fantastic first film in this new trilogy, one that is in fact better than the original X-Men, but I hope the sequels have tighter writing and storylines.

Looking at where the film ends, my guess is that X-Men fans can perhaps expect the sequel to follow the X-Tinction Agenda storyline from the comic books, but that’s just a guess. All I can say is that if you appreciated Bryan Singer’s X-Men films, you need to see Vaughn’s prequel.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:14 pm

http://www.examiner.com/comic-books-in-philadelphia/movie-review-x-men-first-class-review

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

June 3, 2011 10:07 am ET

Jordan DesJardins

Philadelphia Comic Books Examiner

I want to start this review by saying that I gave up on the X-men film franchise the minute I walked out of the theatre after having watched X-men 3. That said, X-men: First Class easily ranks within my ‘Top 10 comic book movies ever made’ list. You could stop reading this review now to just go watch the film, but I implore you to read on so that you fully understand why this film was as amazing as it was after the last two films in this franchise were underwhelming at best.

This film had every reason and every right to be terrible. I myself personally found lots to complain about the moment the first trailer leaked online. This is set in the 60’s yet they have the technically advanced Blackbird stealth jet? Why is this the ‘first class’ when the only original member present from the comics is Beast? Speaking of who is there, what the hell is Azazel doing here? He’s a character that was used in one storyline ever, and he’s not even a mutant; he’s a demon (and in the comics, Nightcrawler‘s father). But walking into the theatre, I set all these petty things aside, kicked back and watched the film with an open mind. What I experienced was easily the best film in a franchise that I had already written off as dead. So what was it that made First Class such a great film? Did any of my initial doubts prove relevant by the time the credits were rolling? And finally, does this film warrant the continuation of this series as a film franchise, or should they let it end here with this grand beginning as its final sendoff?

As far as the story of the film goes, we get what we expect to see from this movie- the origins of Charles Xavier, Magneto, and of course the X-men themselves. Without giving away too much or ruining anything for you, the story we get is VERY different from the comic book origins. While the film strays very far from the original stories of the comics, it also pays the most respect to its source material out of any film in this series to date. For as much as they changed, every fit together just as well as it should, and felt incredibly natural and believable as it went. Many of the characters felt like those we know from the comics, so their origins being a little bit altered feels a little less hard to accept because they still feel the way we expect them to.

We see Magneto (Michael Fassbender) go from being a child in a Nazi concentration camp to being the master of magnetism we all know from the comics. In a way this feels like the movie we expected from the Star Wars Prequels; you know Magneto is going to be a bad guy by the end of this, but its how he gets there that keeps you invested in him. We also see Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) graduate from college as playful young man who drinks often and uses his gifts to fraternize with women in bars before becoming the esteemed Professor X and leader of the X-men. You get to watch as the two of them bond over their gifts, becoming the closest of friends while also gradually growing distant and becoming he worst of enemies; two people fighting the same war from different perspectives.

The real meat of the story revolves around Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his small crew of mutants, the Hellfire Club. Sticking with what you could have surmised from watching the trailer, Shaw is trying to start a nuclear war to wipe out humanity so that mutants can reign over the world (plot hole: assuming that the mutants would all somehow survive a full on nuclear war?). So now the CIA has left it up to Xavier and his merry band of freshly recruited mutants to save the world from certain disaster. I really don’t want to keep talking about the storyline and give away key plot points, so I’m going to leave that off by saying that while this origin tale is a lot different than the one we already knew from the comic books, it is told incredibly well from this new perspective.
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The majority of the liberties that were taken with the story here revolve around the timeline the story is set in and the fact that many of the characters used don’t show up in the comic books until many years later. But none of their being there felt incredibly forced like it had in many of the previous films (seriously, can someone give me a legitimate reason why Gambit was in Wolverine: Origins?). Every character involved in the film had their role to play, and they all fit perfectly into the story that was being told here. I would love to pick apart the inclusion of characters like Azazel or Angel (not Warren Worthington, but rather the female Angel Salvadore who has insect-like wings from the more recent X-Men books of the past decade), but they all felt like they belonged in the story that was being presented to us. Yes, Cyclops’ brother Havok is featured in this film even though it is set years before Cyclops meets up with Xavier, but if you’re able to look past the small differences like that you’ll really enjoy the film.

Enough about the story, lets get to the cast. X-Men: First Class had one of the better complete casts I’ve seen in a film in a long time. There really wasn’t a weak member in the entire cast aside from maybe a few of the smaller roles; and even with those, it wasn’t the actors fault as much as the writers (sorry Riptide!). McAvoy and Fassbender were phenomenal as Xavier and Magneto. Fassbender especially stood out in his early scenes while he was still running solo as the Nazi-hunting madman before joining up with the rest of the mutants. He stole the show throughout the entire film and I eagerly await seeing him continue this role in future films if they should decide to keep making them (and after this, how could they not?). Other standouts from the cast were Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy (aka Beast) and Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy (aka Banshee) who both did great jobs! I’m looking forward to seeing both of these young actors continue their careers outward from here.

I do regret that a few of the characters weren’t utilized as much as they could have been, I would have loved to see more of Lucas Till’s Alex Summers (aka Havok) and Edi Gathegi’s Darwin; but the writers didn’t do a whole lot with them. I felt that Jason Flemyng was a little over the top as Azazel, but again that could have just been the writers. His only real role was ‘teleport all over the place and stab people’, but even that felt a little like he was trying too hard; not to mention that his character carries around two cartoonishly large blade weapons with which to stab people.

Taking a note from the comics, X-Men: First Class is best described as a Phoenix of sorts; the film rises from the smoldering ashes of a dying franchise and manages to shine brighter than the previous version. The film was well written, expertly directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) and perfectly cast; hopefully setting up for a whole new series of films to come. When you can learn to let go of the films separating from the exact storylines from the comics, what you get is one of the best comic book movies ever made. X-Men: First Class is setting the new standard for action adventure comic book movies. Is it The Dark Knight? No, but it doesn’t need to be. First Class is a different kind of comic book movie, powered more by the heart of its source material than by gritty realism; and there isn’t much more you can ask for.

Rating- 9.5/10
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:14 pm

http://www.nwherald.com/2011/05/31/new-x-men-starts-from-the-beginnning/ajoe7o7/

Created: Friday, June 3, 2011 9:37 a.m. CDT
Updated: Friday, June 3, 2011 9:40 a.m. CDT

New 
‘X-Men’ 
starts from 
the beginnning
By GREGORY KATZ – The Associated Press

Michael Fassbender portrays Erik Lehnsherr in "X-Men: First Class."

Quickcast: June 10, 2011

They are a merry band of mutants, at least when the director is away and the hard 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 – and, with global release just a few days away, they think they’ve nailed it.

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 such masters as Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, venerable English actors who carry the title “Sir” in front of their names.

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, humanity be damned.

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.

The closest thing the cast has to eminence is Hollywood veteran Kevin Bacon, who plays evil mutant Sebastian Shaw with villainous glee.

Fassbender, a talented actor of German and Irish descent, said he did not feel hemmed in by earlier portrayals of Magneto, even if his approach doesn’t appeal to fans of the earlier movies, which turned the old Marvel comic into a lucrative international film franchise that started with “X-Men” in 2000.

“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. You’re trying to make decisions that you think are justifiable and you have to forget about that or you can end up not making any bold choices. And I think we all made bold choices and took risks.”

McAvoy, his voice still carrying a heavy hint of his native Scotland, said that means the new cast is to blame if the movie bombs – a fate that would sink plans for two additional “X-Men” prequels and a chance for the franchise to continue a few more years at least.

“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.” ‘’If it doesn’t work, we take full blame.”

He said his approach to Professor X was to show how different the character was as a very young man just discovering the range of his phenomenal telepathic powers. Director Matthew Vaughn had made it clear at the start of filming that 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 for the characters, and playing them in the turmoil of youth, when their personalities are still being forged.

Fine, but isn’t it a bit absurd working out a complex inner life for comic strip characters? A case of overkill in the motivation department?

No way, said Bacon, who handled Sebastian Shaw’s sociopathic tendencies with care.

“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 gotta be.”

The film takes place in the 1960s — the height of the original Marvel comics era — and gives Bacon’s character a key role in a highly fictionalized version of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. The plot device gives the director a chance to use actual footage of President Kennedy and Soviet hothead Nikita Krushchev, remembered for banging his shoe on a table during a spirited United Nations debate.

The ‘60s setting is exploited by the set and costume designers — the cleavage-boosting outfits worn by January Jones as Emma Frost are the most obvious examples — but they also provide a wistful quality to the mutants as they search for themselves.

“A lot of the characters are more innocent,” said McAvoy. “Certainly my character is much more innocent, he’s not tainted.”

The youthful rebellion of that era is mirrored to some degree by the mutants, who can’t decide whether to trust or obliterate the humans who seek their help.

Fassbender said the fans identify with the mutants’ struggle for identity and respect. The new film shows how the young mutants find one another — and bond out of deep relief that they are not alone.

“It gives them hope to find other people are experiencing the same thing as they are,” he said. “You know, it’s a horrible feeling to think, oh my God, I’m on my own. I’m going through this by myself. But no, there are actually other people going through the same thing.”

He said the genetic mutations are “the handicap that can actually become a special quality.”

McAvoy’s take is that the mutants all have terrible lives, full of angst and rage, but also find they are terribly special because of their secret abilities.

“That’s the thing about every mutant, isn’t it?” he said.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:15 pm

http://www.shorehamherald.co.uk/lifestyle/entertainment/film_review_x_men_first_class_12a_1_2737552

FILM REVIEW: X-MEN: First Class (12A)

Published on Friday 3 June 2011 09:00

Very good things come to those who wait.

After the sinking ship of Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and the pounding headache of The Hangover Part II, the omens were distinctly ill for this summer season.

Thankfully British director Matthew Vaughn, who lifted spirits last year with the deliciously foul-mouthed Kick-Ass, repeats the feat with this exhilarating, action-packed prequel based on the hugely popular Marvel Comics.

After the lukewarm reception to spin-off X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Vaughn delivers a sleek and satisfying opening chapter that establishes the mythology of the iconic characters and provides tantalising glimpses of where the series can go next.

The film opens in Poland 1944 with young Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) unlocking his devastating power of magnetism thanks to the provocation of sadistic concentration camp commandant (Kevin Bacon).

“We unlock your gift with anger!” he cackles.

At the same time in Westchester, New York, young telepath Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) meets shape-shifter Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence) and they become close friends.

Fast forward to 1962 and Erik is hunting down the commandant to exact revenge for his parents.

“Let’s just say I’m Frankenstein’s monster and I’m looking for my creator,” he tells a henchman.

It transpires that the German officer has re-invented himself as power-hungry globe-trotter Sebastian Shaw, who intends to spark nuclear war between Russia and America aided by mutant sidekicks Emma Frost (January Jones), Azazel (Jason Flemyng) and Riptide (Alex Gonzalez).

Standing in his way are Charles, Raven and five gifted mutants - Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Darwin (Edi Gathegi) and Havok (Lucas Till).

At first Charles and Erik work together to defeat Sebastian, their common enemy.

However, a grave rift opens between the mutant leaders, lighting the fuse on the brutal and bloody war between the X-Men and Magneto’s brotherhood.

X-Men: First Class is a terrific reinvention, adhering closely to the comics to appease fans while entertaining cinema audiences with a tight script, snappy editing and directorial brio.

McAvoy and Fassbender are assured actors, capable of heartbreaking emotion, and there are plenty of tears here as nuclear war looms.

The only quibble is Fassbender’s wavering accent, which jigs from Europe to County Kerry and resonates so strongly of the Emerald Isle by the closing frames that you have to question if the Polish prologue was fantasy.

Supporting performances, particularly Lawrence and Hoult, are compelling and Bacon is a suitably boo-some pantomime villain.

A hilarious cameo by an X-Men favourite results in the film’s only swear word, and there are some tongue in cheek references to the future, like when Charles quips, “The next thing you know I’ll be going bald!”

We await his shiny bonce with feverish anticipation in the inevitable sequel.

:: SWEARING :: NO SEX :: VIOLENCE :: RATING: 8/10

Released: June 1 (UK & Ireland), 131mins
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:16 pm

http://www.hotpress.com/features/filmreviews/7944704.html

X-Men: First Class
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy

03 Jun 2011

Rating: * * * * *
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