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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 1:17 am

http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/life/XMen_First_Class/43708/p1/

X-Men: First Class
Thursday 9th June 2011
Simon Dillon reviews the film
X-Men: First Class

The increasingly popular origin story manifests itself again here, in this latest in the X-Men series. And despite the absence of Wolverine it's a surprisingly good concoction.

In the early 1960s, CIA agent Moria MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) uncovers a plot by mutants working with former Nazi scientist Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) to start World War III. After her bosses are unconvinced, she goes to a pre-wheelchair Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) for help. Elsewhere Holocaust survivor Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) is busy taking revenge on Nazis in hiding as he attempts to locate Shaw, who killed his mother during World War II. These plot threads come together to create a story of how the first X-Men track down Shaw and ultimately intervene in the Cuban missile crisis which Shaw has engineered. But the friendship that develops between Lehnsherr and Xavier is threatened when it becomes apparent their ideologies and methods are radically different.

Those steeped in X-Men lore know that Lehnsherr eventually becomes X-Men arch nemesis Magneto, so this inevitability is milked to tremendous dramatic satisfaction. From the very beginning, as Lensher indulges in unorthodox dental extraction with a Swiss banker hoarding Nazi gold, it is clear that he considers his path one of righteous vengeance, whereas the more idealistic Xavier believes that humans and mutant-kind will eventually be able to co-exist. This central friendship, and its ultimate breakdown, provides the backbone of the story, though the paths other familiar characters take (including Mystique, Beast, Angel and Azazel) also provide quite a bit of subplot. Perhaps a little too much.

Drawing inspiration from the Star Trek reboot and early James Bond films, Matthew Vaughn directs solidly, though without quite the same flair he displayed in Kick Ass last year. The cast are all good, including an amusing cameo that I won't spoil. The special effects are well done, as is the music score by Henry Jackman, and I have to say I rather like the Take That song on the end credits.

The mutant allegory has, of course, different meanings for different people, and can be taken as a statement about racial equality, sexuality, and so on. From a spiritual perspective, the whole being-true-to-what-God-has-made-you theme that was more prevalent in previous installments has been toned down in favour of a much stronger focus on the Darwinian aspects of the X-Men narrative. This is also the edgiest X-Men to date in terms of suitability for younger audiences, with more swearing and violence, and more in the way of sexual themes and scantily clad women.

There are some glaring flaws too, particularly in the logic of Sebastian Shaw's scheme to bring about a nuclear apocalypse (surely it would wipe out just as many mutants, who aren't necessarily impervious to radiation). Also, an odd (and utterly irrelevant) coincidence: Shaw shares his name with the actor who played Anakin Skywalker in the original version of Return of the Jedi.

The afore-mentioned flaws and caveats for younger viewers notwithstanding, I would rate this as the second best X-Men film after the near-perfect X-Men 2, and it is quite considerably better than the first and third installments. CR
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:17 am

http://www.syvnews.com/entertainment/movies/article_fae66166-9174-11e0-9124-001cc4c03286.html

Talented cast breathes new life into ‘X’ series
Jennifer Hudson | Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2011 12:00 am

With his offering “X-Men: First Class” director Matthew Vaughn (“Kickass”) finds a comfort zone in the sleek and entertaining prequel to the ongoing Marvel comics franchise.

Inspired by Stan Lee’s characters and constructed by a team of writers, the coming-of-age story outlines the origins of superheroes played in previous installments by older contributors including Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.

This time around an energetic and talented cast breathes some new life into the series allowing Vaughn to showcase the consistently nice work of Michael Fassbender, academy award nominee Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and Rose Byrne.

With a plethora of datelines and myriad international settings the story begins in a 1944 concentration camp and ping-pongs around a bit before finally settling in the 1960s which ultimately provides for some splashy visual doses of nostalgic camp in both costuming and set design.

Following the angst-ridden escapades of telepathic Charles Xavier/ Professor X (McAvoy) and a clan of mixed-up young adults who happen to be mutants armed with spectacular powers gives the film some fast-paced action scenes while also delivering snippets of background information on the various characters.

Professor X has a vision of creating a school of sorts for fellow mutants in which he helps them channel and control their cool but often dangerous “gifts,” thereby making coexistence with humans possible.

Gathering up his blue shape-shifting adoptive sister Raven/Mystique (Lawrence) along with a motley crew of abnormals with names such as Banchee, Beast and Havok, the optimistic Professor X tries to convince his best pal Eric/Magneto to join him in assisting a pretty CIA agent Moira (Rose Byrne) in her Cold War effort to preserve world peace.

With intense distrust of the government and humans in general, Magneto’s only interest is in avenging the death of his mother at the hands of a maniacal Nazi, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Attempting to work with Professor X and his team ultimately proves to be too much for the metal-bending Magneto and soon the quibbling mutants discover that along with being at odds with each other they are also at the epicenter of the Cuban missile crisis.

Bacon delivers another unbridled performance as he injects his characterization of an archenemy with an appropriately creepy mix of venom and joie de vivre. Other welcome additions to the cast include Oliver Platt, Zoe Kravitz and January Jones as Emma Frost a mutant who assists Shaw in his glorification of the dark side.

With enough on hand to satisfy Marvel fanboys as well as newbies to the genre, “X-Men: First Class” had no problem beating “Hangover Part Two” and bringing in an opening weekend return of $56 million to the box office, allowing for a jump start to what will likely be an early summer hit.

Longtime Valley resident Jennifer Hudson reviews films weekly for the Valley News. She can be reached at moviegoers123@comcast.net

Copyright 2011 Santa Ynez Valley News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in Movies on Thursday, June 9, 2011 12:00 am Updated: 7:14 pm.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:18 am

http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/x-men-first-class/content?oid=2257080

X-Men: First Class

By Jonathan Kiefer
More stories by this author...

This article was published on 06.09.11.

Director Matthew Vaughn’s franchise reboot or prequel or whatever it is has some artificial flavors—corn, cheese, Kevin Bacon bits—but also some natural advantages in James McAvoy as the learned telepath Professor X and Michael Fassbender as his tormented friend Magneto. It would be fine to spend the whole movie with just these two wily Brits, each well-adapted to the Ian Fleming-style espionage thriller being presided over by Rose Byrne’s CIA agent, who sets a certain tone by stripping down to lingerie in an early scene. But of course we have a class to assemble, and the professor’s and Magneto’s philosophically opposed styles of tutelage to discern. We have subplots and subcharacters to establish, mutant superpowers to demonstrate, and January Jones’ already baffling career to further enable. At least Jennifer Lawrence, as the reluctant shape-shifter Mystique, tags along for comely companionship and cliché mitigation. The 1960s setting clarifies the movie’s top priorities: apocalyptic brinksmanship and groovy clothes.

• • •

This is a short version of a longer review. You may also be interested in Jonathan Kiefer᾿s full review of X-Men: First Class.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:19 am

http://www.newsreview.com/reno/generation-x/content?oid=2265779

Generation X
X-Men: First Class

By Bob Grimm
bobg@newsreview.com

This article was published on 06.09.11.

In continuing with the origin stories that began with the widely panned X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class goes way back to show us the beginnings of Professor X, Magneto, Mystique and a few other mutants who aren’t half as interesting.

Director Matthew Vaughn (maker of Kick-Ass) does a fantastic job with the origin stories of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. Professor X and Magneto respectively. Charles is free of his wheelchair, with his head full of hair, and played with boatloads of charm by James McAvoy.

Erik gets his hellish start in a concentration camp and grows up to be a handsome, menacing revenge artist who can do a lot more than move coins with his mind. Michael Fassbender gives the future Magneto a core sadness that makes him quite the sympathetic badass. Both Fassbender and McAvoy do Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart proud in the roles the latter duo made famous.

Recent Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence lends a certain sweetness to Raven, a.k.a. Mystique (played in prior movies by Rebecca Romijn). The scene when Charles and Raven meet as children provides a nice background of understanding for the two. Who knew that Professor X and Mystique were once like brother and sister?

Well, comic book fans, I guess, unless this is just Bryan Singer and his scriptwriter friends using a little artistic license with the X-Men legacy. (Singer, who directed the first two X-Men films returns to the franchise as a producer and story contributor, his first in the franchise since X2.)

The story takes a sort of “Harry Potter at Hogwarts” approach to the younger mutants like Mystique, Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Havok (Lucas Till) and Darwin (Edi Gathegi). This portion of the story isn’t half as enjoyable as the Charles and Erik story.

Cleverly, the film uses some real history to drive its plot along, incorporating the Cuban Missile Crisis into the X-Men universe. Turns out, World War III was averted not due to the shifty strategies of John F. Kennedy and his military men, but to some meddling mutants trying out their wares for the first time.

Kevin Bacon tears into the part of billionaire Sebastian Shaw. An older-looking, German-speaking incarnation of Shaw terrorized Erik in the concentration camp, conducting experiments that made Shaw younger and more American in appearance. Shaw is also bursting with evil mutant energy and looks to wreak havoc upon the world. Bacon embodies pure evil in the role, giving fans of the franchise a villain that rivals the nasty greatness of Magneto.

Where the movie stumbles a bit is in the story of Mystique. H er character arc seems rushed, her final motivations a bit strange. Fans know that she becomes an evil mutant, but her switchover occurs in the last few minutes of the movie, and her decisions are hard to buy.

Perhaps the film’s biggest goof would be the casting of January Jones as Emma Frost. Jones, who looks incredible in her skimpy outfits, totally ruins the party whenever she opens her mouth. Surely, she is one of the worst actresses getting steady work these days. While Emma Frost often takes diamond form in the movie, Jones is as wooden as my desk.

I would rank First Class above X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine, but below the first two movies. For the record, I’ve enjoyed all of the X-Men movies, but thought the third, like this one, was a bit overstuffed.

As for where the franchise goes from here, it’s hard to say. First Class opened to the lowest box office of any X-Men movie, largely due to the absence of a big star draw. Time will tell if it holds its own, turns a profit, and warrants more X-Men movies. Something tells me that won’t happen unless Hugh Jackman shows up in a starring role again, or the likes of Brad Pitt signs on as Magneto.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:19 am

http://www.di-ve.com/Default.aspx?ID=71&Action=1&NewsId=83853&newscategory=2

New X-Men flick is first class
Mario Azzopardi by Mario Azzopardi - kritikutalfilms@gmail.com
Film -- 09 June 2011 -- 08:30CEST

"X-Men: First Class" had a solid No. 1 opening in US theatres over the last weekend, but the prequel chronicling the formative years of the comic-book mutants found smaller audiences than the franchise's first 4 big-screen adventures, which featured older versions of the X-Men.

Debut weekends for the last 3 "X-Men" flicks ranged from $85.1 million to $102.8 million. The original "X-Men" opened 11 years ago with $54.5 million, but that would amount to about $80 million today adjusting for ticket-price inflation.

"X-Men: First Class" presents a rising cast of new including James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Marvel Comics mutants Professor X and Magneto. These roles were originated by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the characters' older years.

The prequel follows their first meeting, early alliance and eventual falling out as they take opposite approaches in their dealings with ordinary humans fearful of the superpowered mutants.

This prequel is now showing in local theatres.

The previous weekend's top movie, the sequel "The Hangover Part II", fell to second-place.

The animation sequel "Kung Fu Panda 2" slipped from second- to third-place in its second weekend.

The following is the list of the top 10 films in the US as compiled by Box Office Mojo for the 3-day period that is from Friday, June 3, to Sunday, June 5. “The Hangover Part II”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”, “Thor” and “Fast & Furious 5” are now showing in local theatres.

1. "X-Men: First Class", $55.1 million

2. "The Hangover Part II", $31.4 million

3. "Kung Fu Panda 2", $23.9 million

4. "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides", $18.0 million

5. "Bridesmaids", $12.0 million

6. "Thor", $4.3 million

7. "Fast & Furious 5”, $3.2 million

8. "Midnight in Paris", $2.8 million

9. "Something Borrowed", $848,000

10. "Jumping the Broom", $845,000
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:21 am

http://flickeringmyth.blogspot.com/2011/06/second-opinion-x-men-first-class-2011.html

Thursday, 9 June 2011
Second Opinion - X-Men: First Class (2011)
X-Men: First Class, 2011.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Lucas Till, Zoë Kravitz, Caleb Landry Jones, Álex González, Jason Flemyng, Oliver Platt and Ray Wise.

SYNOPSIS:

Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) work together to try and prevent nuclear war in the epic beginning to the X-Men saga.


Flickering Myth ran a poll earlier in the year about which summer superhero movie people were most looking forward to. The contenders were surprise hit Thor, Green Lantern, Captain America: The First Avenger and this X-Men prequel, steered by director of Kick-Ass Matthew Vaughan. For me X-Men: First Class was the most anticipated of the selection by a mile.

The trailers promised a truly epic reinvention of a stagnating franchise. Vaughan went for a completely new look cast of mutants, with the exception of one comic cameo. Amongst this cast the partnership of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender takes centre stage, with the enormous task of matching and exploring the rivalry portrayed by thespian heavyweights Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the previous Bryan Singer films. For the most part, their youthful interpretations bring something different that really works.

The film starts off brilliantly with Fassbender’s Erik Lehnsherr and McAvoy’s Charles Xavier on separate paths. Xavier is a brilliant Oxford academic with a fondness for pubs and science heavy chat up lines, which seem rather redundant when he can read minds. Lehnsherr however is driven by revenge into stalking the globe in search of his enemy and his mother’s murderer, Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw.

We see both of our key protagonists as children. The film starts with the young Erik, played rather limply by Bill Milner, being threatened in a Nazi concentration camp, by a toying doctor who turns out to be Shaw, into manipulating metal by moving a coin. We see the young Charles, far more convincingly played by Laurence Belcher (who was also excellent in the Doctor Who Christmas special), finding a fellow mutant, shape shifter Raven, in his kitchen and taking her in as a sister.

Things really get interesting when Xavier has graduated as a Professor in genetics and the CIA come to call on him. He then demonstrates his mind reading telepath tricks in a variety of ways, until he is believed enough to get free rein to create a team of mutants to take on Shaw, who is engineering a nuclear war via the Cuban Missile crisis, which he hopes will leave only mutants as Earth’s dominant species. The best bit of First Class however, is Fassbender’s pursuit of his Nazi nemesis.

What really excited me, more than anything else, was the historical setting of this film. Fassbender has been championed as a future 007 in the past and there hasn’t been a review of X-Men: First Class that doesn’t praise the mini James Bond adventure within it. Adult Erik travels in stylish, suave period suits to banks in Switzerland to interrogate the keepers of Nazi gold for info, by painfully plucking out fillings with his powers, and to bars in Argentina in cool summer gear to kill hiding Nazis with flying knives and magnetically manipulated pistols. In all these locations Fassbender speaks the native tongue and oozes the steely determination of a complex and damaged killer. His quest is a snapshot of what a modern Bond set in the past, bilingual and faithful to Fleming’s creation, could be like.

Aside from the dreams of a reinvented Bond though, the Cold War setting is exciting and thought provoking for other reasons. The mutant situation mirrors the struggles at the time for civil rights for black Americans and other minorities, such as homosexuals (hinted at by the line “Mutant and Proud”). The whole film can make the most of the visual benefits of period costume, with fabulous suits and dresses, as well as period locations and set designs. The rooms on Shaw’s secret submarine resemble a villainous Ken Adam Bond set. And the ideological conflict between the US and Russia, echoes the differences in outlook between Xavier and Lehnsherr.

Despite rave reviews at first, respected critics have given X-Men: First Class an average rating. I think this is mostly because the film doesn’t live up to the enormous possibilities of its setting and doesn’t explore as well as it could the beginnings of the relationships in the X-Men. It is still a good film. For a blockbuster this is a slow burning watch, which I liked, but I admit that the action scenes could have been more frequent; even though a couple are terrific the film never really ignites. All in all Vaughan’s prequel is good but not as good as it could have been.

One of the reasons cited for disappointment is a lack of focus on the rest of the X-Men. It was a difficult balance to strike, with Xavier and Lehnsherr’s relationship proving so fascinating. I actually thought that characters like Beast and Raven were fleshed out more than I was expecting. A much criticised code name scene, in which the younger X-Men members sit around joking about what they’d like to be called, has been pummelled with criticism. I thought this scene was funny, as much of the film is, for not taking itself too seriously and entertaining for introducing the powers of the characters.

X-Men: First Class will divide audiences. Some will think it’s boring, others will love its action punctuated with character development and solid acting. Fans of X-Men will differ with some salivating over the explanations to Professor X’s wheelchair and Magneto’s helmet and others feeling letdown by the promise of so much more. Perhaps the most reliable fan base for this film is James Bond fans waiting for next year’s Bond 23. Fassbender’s literally magnetic and chilling performance is Bondian, as are the locations, the villains and babes on show like January Jones and Rose Byrne.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:44 am

http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20110609/ENT/106090320/A-Plus-X-Men-summer-s-first-action-treat?odyssey=nav|head

A-Plus for 'X-Men,' the summer's first action treat
2:24 PM, Jun. 8, 2011 |

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

After some major disappointments — "Thor" and "Pirates of the Caribbean," I'm talking to you — we finally have a summer action film worthy of the name. "X-Men: First Class" is a super-duper example of its genre: it's exciting, funny, smart and well made. Breathing new life into a series that faltered with the grim "X-Men: The Last Stand" and the pointless "Wolverine," director Matthew Vaughn's film is a deft reboot that deserves to launch a trilogy of its own.

It's the "X-Men" origin tale. We meet the young Professor X when he's a lonely 12-year-old telepath named Charles, growing up in a Westchester mansion — a lonely rich kid wondering if he's the only "mutant" on Earth. Meanwhile, the future super-villain Magneto is a traumatized boy named Erik, suffering unimaginable horrors in a Nazi concentration camp, where a sadistic doctor (Kevin Bacon) studies his ability to manipulate metal.

Jump ahead to the 1960s. Charles (James McAvoy) is a genius geneticist; Erik (Michael Fassbender) is a rogue Nazi hunter determined to punish his former tormentors, including the eerily youthful Bacon. Eventually, they join forces with a CIA agent (Rose Byrne) to combat a Cold War-era plot to trigger nuclear annihilation. There are mutants on both sides: The bad guys have, among others, a telepath of their own (January Jones of "Mad Men," dolled up like a vintage Bond girl), while the good guys recruit a cadre of young fighters, including the blue-skinned shape-shifter Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).

At its core, "X-Men: First Class" is a character-driven film, with the friendship between Charles and Erik at its center. Of course, we know that soon enough they'll become mortal enemies, but that only serves to make the relationship seem more important (and more tragic). McAvoy and Fassbender both give powerful, multi-layered performances that are far above the usual comic book fare. For example, a moment where Charles gets inside Erik's head to give him the peace he needs to fully harness his power is almost startling in its intimacy and emotional heft.

Yes, I know we're talking about a scene in which a superhero is trying to move a giant satellite dish with his mind. My point is that "X-Men" is so capably directed and acted, it transcends its genre, and then some.

Stars: * * * *
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:45 am

http://www.echoweekly.com/9026-X-Men%3A+First+Class.htm

X-Men: First Class

by Albert Desantis
June 9 - 15, 2011
X-Men: First Class does not exactly flip the X-franchise on its head. It sometimes leans on the same old X-Men thematic mainstay of “We're different and no one understands us!” But it is very well made and features numerous inventive sequences. The conflict between the two main characters is what makes First Class great even if it does tend to get a bit distracted. In the first three X-flicks basically the best stuff was the Magneto / Xavier scenes with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen which compromised about 20% of the movies. Up that to about 65% here and swap in James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. Still, ample awesomeness abounds throughout First Class.
Set in the early 1960s, Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (McAvoy) are superhuman mutants from very different backgrounds. Erik is a master of magnetism who is on the hunt for Nazis who killed his family (kind of like the Silence of the Lambs prequel Hannibal Rising but way better). Xavier is a rich son who manipulates minds. Soon Xavier, Erik, and some new mutants are recruited by the government and uncover a worldwide conspiracy by the secretive Hellfire club, led Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Shockingly, the Hellfire Club is pushing global superpowers to a crisis with missiles in Cuba which may lead to the end of the human race. The ‘60s setting puts the mutants in the middle of the nuclear cold war, giving it historical heft that can get lost in some of the kookier plotlines that sometimes overwhelm the series.
For hardcore X-fans, they may get irritated at minor continuity glitches with the previous instalments; the origin of Magneto's helmet, the appearance of Emma Frost, various details of Xavier's history, etc. Discrepancies like that crop up all the time in comics so it's forgivable but its little details that make some fans twitchy. There are message boards / medications for that.
The biggest hurdle in First Class was recasting Xavier and Magneto, mostly because they were embodied by master thespians Stewart and McKellen. Thankfully, both McAvoy and Fassbender fill in perfectly. McAvoy does a slight Stewart impression but mostly this is Professor X in his reckless days where he showed off his powers. Also McAvoy displays warmth, wisdom, and understanding that is critical to the character. As for Fassbender, he doesn't sound like McKellen but he does have the dangerous attitude. Erik spends most of the film as a man of few words, a coiled spring that strikes with sudden, terrifying violence but gets out a vintage Magneto “Us or them” monologue eventually. When young Erik is tested by Shaw’s tests his ability to move a coin it’s horrifying and the ending of the scene is kicks you in the gut. The coin comes back for the climax and, wowzers, the end result is crazy.
The minor mutants that make up Xavier's students are not as interesting as the leads and their storylines are basically retreads of stories from before. The movie cribs from various different eras of X-Men history to fill out its roster, the good freaks were used up two movies ago, so there aren't as many well-known mutants. Beast (Nicolas Holt) gets an origin story but it's the X-Men cliché of someone desperately trying to be normal again. The other kids are pretty much filler but they do get a good scene where they show off their powers. As Mystique, Jennifer Lawrence from Winter's Bone adds depth to a character that is a blank-faced monster in the first three films. There's even a rather logically incorporated cameo by the original Mystique, Rebecca Romijn. Speaking of cameos, First Class delivers a hilarious cameo by another X-alum that’s one of the movies highlights.
As for the Hellfire Club villains, January Jones has an inhuman blankness to her minor role as Shaw's supporting mutant telepath. There's a teleporting mutant at the centre of one of the movie's freakiest scenes as he zaps people into the sky, leaving them to splatter on the ground. The real baddie is Bacon’s Shaw who is responsible for Erik’s tortured childhood. Shaw relishes his evil, coming off as an elitist snob who can turn deadly instantly.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass), First Class features numerous jaw-dropping scenes. There's a good build to the action like when the teleporter first infiltrates the government sanctuary it's subtly implied by unexplained popping noises. The visualization of Shaw's mutant power to absorb energy is impressive; when he sucks in a rocket blast he lets it go in one building-shattering burst. Probably more than any film in the series the action has a sense of weight. It's not as much fun as Thor or Iron Man, X-Men are kinda dour folk, but the mutant's abilities here seem truly dangerous.
Superhero movie overload is a very real possibility but as long as the films are as good as X-Men: First Class there is still life in the genre. While it may have some creakiness around the edges, the core idealistic disagreement is compelling and it pays off in an action-packed finale. You don’t need more mutant creatures make it worthwhile, you just need good filmmakers. Simple, no?
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:47 am

http://www.oudaily.com/news/2011/jun/08/x-men-first-class-delivers-brilliant-prequel-chapt/

'X-Men' delivers a brilliant prequel to series

RJ Young/The Daily

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Michael Fassbender as "Magneto" in the movie "X-Men First Class." Photo provided

Telling the beginning of a story when the audience already knows the middle and end is a hard proposition. The storyteller has to accomplish the task of rekindling the same mystique and entertaining quality that once allowed the audience to suspend its notion of reality and, once again, delve into the fantasy the storyteller has created.

Director Matthew Vaughn accomplished that task and delivered on an even greater scale in “X-Men: First Class.” Using the talents James McAvoy (Charles Xavier a.k.a. Professor X) and Michael Fassbender (Erik Lensherr a.k.a. Magneto) Vaughn painted a bright and vivid picture of a 1962 world — full of mutants with extraordinary capabilities — that was believable and wonderful.

The story follows the rise of the first generation of mutants in the Marvel universe. Told through the eyes of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr we are witness to the rise of a new generation of man commonly known as mutants.

Xavier and Lensherr’s paths cross when they find they are pursuing a common enemy, an energy-absorbing villain called Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). In order to avoid what history has dubbed the Cuban Missile crisis — a devious plot hatched by Shaw — Xavier and Lensherr recruit a select group of teenage mutants to help them combat Shaw and end the start of nuclear war.

With the gross exemption of Bacon, casting for this production was light on star power and quite heavy on thespian skill; a welcome mutation in Hollywood and, perhaps, a mutation studio executives and casting directors should show the rest of us slower evolving humans more often.

The chemistry between McAvoy and Fassbender is outstanding, showing the arc between strangers, who became allies, allies who became friends and, finally, friends who became enemies.

Though the film depends largely on CGI and special effects fireworks that seem to rule the Hollywood film industry, the use of setting, props and costume were realistic and tres chic for the year 2011, let alone 1962. Many of the scenes feature McAvoy and Fassbender in the kind of garb that would make Don Draper jealous, including an artful scene where the two actors are playing chess on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, wingtips in full force.

The mansion used to depict Xavier’s home in Westchester, New York best resembles a quiet getaway fit for a king — let alone a school for gifted youngsters.

First class is an excellent film, complete with an emotional and captivating storyline, allowing the X-Men movie franchise to finally come full circle from its first occurrence in 2000. Comic book geeks already love it, but I suspect those with an appetite for a good popcorn flick will too.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:48 am

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/reviews/culture-club-xmen-first-class-12a-2294833.html

Culture Club: X-Men: First Class (12A)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

"There are too many superhero/comic-book movies."

JohnTheBean

"A few continuity errors, but loved it none the less."

Sy Mcilwaine

"Personally, I thought this was the best of the X-Men movies, both in terms of action appeal and on the strength of the acting. Those people I have read dismissing the movie have done so because the characters are comic-book characters. But this is a comic-book movie, so the characters should be evaluated on how well they fulfill their role within the genre as a primary criterion for their success – and not on how well the character would fit into Hamlet or Pride and Prejudice."

Michael Thigpen

"I've seen it. It's so boring."

Hamza Kachkoura

"An enjoyable adventure with polished performances from Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. January Jones does a great Betty Draper throughout!"

Colin Mehigan

"The problem nowadays is that Hollywood has run out of fresh ideas and keeps using the old ones to make more money at the loss of entertainment... Don't you think that sometimes they insult our intelligence by providing us with stupid and idiotic concepts?"

Tsakiri Stella

"First and foremost, good to see Bryan Singer back on the film crew. He has the ability to give characters their own story and bring them to life, which was lacking in X-Men 3: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This time around, a tight plot with excellent special effects constituted an X-Men prequel which exceeded expectations. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were brilliant, capturing the emotions of the characters. Above all, it leaves me wanting more. Well done!"

Hoe Jia Wei

"Entertaining. Glad they didn't choose to spoil it with 3D."

Mark Brown

"Profoundly enjoyed it – a lot more than I thought I was going to. Many continuity errors (no Cyclops; Banshee is a second generation X-Man and not an original; Havoc being Cyclops's younger sibling, when Cyclops was Xavier's first pupil; Angel being a woman and joining Magneto) but it seems that Marvel are taking the route of mixing the original universes with bits from the Ultimate Universe."

Andrew BloodDrunk Scarlett

"As prequels go, it was enjoyable, if you're a fan of the comic-book genre. James McAvoy overcame my doubts and is believable as Xavier, despite obvious physical disparities between him and Patrick Stewart. Worth seeing if you've seen the rest. Despite the swearing, the Hugh Jackman moment made us laugh the most!"

Tamsine Lee

"OK, good performances, but it lacked tension – you kind of knew how it would end up."

David Barlow

"It exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations"

Richard Taylor

"Mmm... it was OK. Hasn't excised the horror of Wolverine though."

John Michael

"Great film; I thought the backstory was good and loved how it explained Professor X's paralysis and how it tied in with the Cuban Missile Crisis!"

Darren Smith
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:49 am

http://www.anchoragepress.com/arts_and_entertainment/film_review/article_2df1eee4-9220-11e0-8dc5-001cc4c03286.html

Young mutants

'X-Men: First Class' feels like two separate films—one fantastic, one subpar

DF-15818 Michael Fassbender portrays Erik Lehnsherr, who has the power to control magnetism. Lehnsherr is determined to exact revenge on the monstrous evil who “created” him.

Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 2:32 pm

By Bob Grimm

X-Men: First Class continues with the origin stories that began with the widely panned X-Men Origins: Wolverine, going way back to show us the beginnings of Professor X, Magneto, Mystique and a few other mutants who aren't half as interesting.

Director Matthew Vaughn (maker of Kick-Ass) does a fantastic job with the origin stories of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, aka Professor X and Magneto. Charles is free of his wheelchair, with a head full of hair; he's played with boatloads of charm by James McAvoy.

Erik gets his hellish start in a concentration camp, and grows up to be a handsome, menacing revenge artist who can do a lot more than move coins with his mind. Michael Fassbender gives the future Magneto a core sadness that makes him quite the sympathetic badass. Fassbender and McAvoy do Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart proud.

Recent Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence lends a certain sweetness to Raven, aka Mystique (played previously by Rebecca Romijn). The scene where Charles and Raven meet as children provides a nice background of understanding for the two. Who knew that Professor X and Mystique were once like brother and sister?

The story takes a sort of Hogwarts approach to the younger mutants like Mystique, Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Havok (Lucas Till) and Darwin (Edi Gathegi). This portion of the story isn't half as enjoyable as the part focusing on Charles and Erik. In fact, the movie often feels like two separate films, with the story of the younger mutants feeling a tad incomplete.

The film cleverly uses some real history to drive its plot along, incorporating the Cuban Missile Crisis into the X-Men universe. Turns out World War III was averted not due to the shifty strategies of John F. Kennedy and his military men, but thanks to some meddling mutants trying out their wares for the first time. It is here that Vaughn and company keep the movie crackling.

Credit also goes to Kevin Bacon, who tears into the part of billionaire Sebastian Shaw. An older-looking, German-speaking incarnation of Shaw terrorized Erik in the concentration camp, conducting experiments that made Shaw younger in appearance. Shaw is also bursting with evil mutant energy, and looks to wreak havoc upon the world. Bacon embodies pure evil, giving fans of the franchise a villain who rivals the nasty greatness of Magneto.

The movie stumbles a bit in the story of Mystique. Her character arc seems rushed, and her final motivations a bit strange. Fans know that she will become one of the evil ones, but her switchover occurs in the last few minutes of the movie, and her decisions are hard to understand. The film hints at a romantic subtext between her and Magneto, but it's never fully explored. I'm thinking Vaughn left quite a bit on the cutting-room floor.

Perhaps the film's biggest goof is the casting of January Jones as Emma Frost. Jones, who looks incredible in her skimpy outfits, totally ruins the party whenever she opens her mouth. She must be one of the worst actresses getting steady work these days. She wasn't very good in the Liam Neeson thriller Unknown, and she is merely serviceable on Mad Men. (She was also awful as a Saturday Night Live host.) While Emma Frost often takes the form of a diamond, Jones is as wooden as the desk my computer currently rests upon.

The production looks sleek, for the most part, although Hoult looks like something straight out of Fraggle Rock when he shows up in his full-blown Beast costume; Emma Frost looks a little clunky when she takes diamond form, too. However, coolness reaches an apex when Erik/Magneto grabs a submarine out of the water while dangling from a helicopter.

In the X-Men movie canon, I would put First Class above the third film (X-Men: The Last Stand) and Wolverine, but below the Bryan Singer-directed first two movies. I've enjoyed all of the X-Men movies, but I thought the third, like this one, was a bit overstuffed. Wolverine was goofy, but Hugh Jackman made it worthwhile. His general absence from the latest installment is a little discouraging.

As for where the franchise goes from here, it's hard to say. First Class opened to the lowest box-office haul of any X-Men movie, largely due to the absence of a big star. Time will tell if it holds its own, turns a profit and warrants more X-Men movies. Something tells me that won't happen unless Jackman shows up in a starring role again-or someone like Brad Pitt signs on to play Magneto.

X-Men: First Class

Rated PG-13

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

20th Century Fox, 132 minutes

© 2011 Anchorage 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 1:49 am

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/ci_18232725

`X-Men' a first-class presentation of how it began
By Verner Rogers, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/08/2011 03:42:07 PM PDT

The "X-Men" series is using the formula that the "Star Wars" franchise enacted in the 1990s. Now that we have seen where it all ends up, let's take a look at how it all began.

Happily, "X-Men" takes a step back in time more successfully than "Star Wars."

"X-Men: First Class" focuses on how a budding race of humans with mutations that give them extraordinary powers discover each other and band together, but then break apart into two factions.

Long before Charles Xavier became a professor and provided sanctuary for these mutant humans, he was preceded by another, an evil person who was aware of these people. In league with the Nazis during World War II, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon, a gifted and versatile performer, can play likeable characters but also slides comfortably into bad-guy roles) was working to harness the gifts of these people. Among his test subjects/victims was Erik Lensherr, a boy whose family is ripped apart during the German invasion of Poland.

Shaw, either bloated with arrogance or incredible stupidity, does young Erik wrong, a foolish move given the boy's exceptional ability to move and crush objects when he gets mad.

Meanwhile, Charles Xavier, gifted with mind-reading abilities, as a child encounters the young Raven and takes her in as kind of a kid sister. As a young adult, Charles (James McAvoy) makes a name for himself in the field of gene mutations, gaining the attention of CIA personnel Moira McTaggert (Rose
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Byrne) and Man In Black Suit (Oliver Platt), who prove valuable allies in helping Xavier to round up other mutants throughout the world.

Xavier encounters a revenge-driven Erik, now a powerful adult (Michael Fassbender) bent on tracking down and killing Shaw - who now has three mutants under his command, including the beautiful and seductive Emma Frost (January Jones). Charles manages to convince Erik he cannot match up with Shaw and his cronies, that he should join Xavier's group, which has a better chance to take Shaw down.

Shaw has developed an ability to absorb energy which makes him lethal, and his Roman-like helmet blocks Xavier's ability to probe his mind. He is also setting in motion a diabolical plan that he believes will open the door to mutants ruling the world.

The screenplay, credited to four people (Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and director Matthew Vaughn), rewrites history and offers its own take on the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

By that time, Charles Xavier has rounded up a group of mutants and is concentrating on training them to hone and control their special powers. But Shaw's plans force them to expedite their training.

Advances in special effects really enhance "First Class," offering a stunning visual story. There also are touching moments - such as Raven's (Jennifer Lawrence) young love encounters with Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and the early friendship between Charles and Erik that we know is doomed.

McAvoy is superb as the young Charles, who embraces an optimism that mutants and humans can live in harmony, yet plagued by doubts.

Fassbender, a riveting physical presence, conveys Erik as a man tormented by a tragic past whose rage and resentment will put him at odds with Charles.

Lawrence, fresh from her stellar Oscar-nominated performance in "Winter's Bone," provides a lively but conflicted Raven, bent on blending in with humans while her "inner mutant" is eager to come out.

The intense and irrational reaction of the United States and Russian upon witnessing the awesome powers of the mutants seemed a bit over the top, although it did substantially hammer home the point that mutants were indeed outcasts, and also served to usher in the final conversion of Erik to Magneto and the breaking up of the mutant group into separate factions.

This group of young actors, particularly McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence, delivers promise on more from this already phenomenal franchise.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:50 am

http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/entertainment/movie-reviews/5120732/A-first-class-comic-adaptation

A first-class comic adaptation
REVIEWED BY NICK WARD
Last updated 10:46 09/06/2011

Happy, unorthodox,anti-miserablist film Love and cruelty under the big top Belief suspended in thriller Thor has roar and haw-haw Ensemble cast deliver rich drama Movie review: Sarah's Key Madcap tomfoolery from outer space Comedy bogged down in soft Sandler A sweet confection for tween-teen girls Cliches and overkill

The X-Men franchise appeared to be suffering speed wobbles with its first spinoff, the disappointing Wolverine, but it's taken a chance on another origins story and is firmly back on course.

First Class delivers plenty of energy and a decent amount of humanity while revisiting the motivations that drive the leaders of the mutant superhero factions – for the good guys, the psychic Charles "Professor X" Xavier (James McAvoy); for the bad guys, master of metal Erik "Magneto" Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender).

Set in 1962, it's the story of how Professor X, Magneto and the rest of their mutant superhero kin came to be, ramping up the fantasy factor by making them a central part of the Cuban missile crisis.

It begins in extremely grim fashion, with Magneto's origins as the subject of nasty Nazi medical experiments at the hands of fellow mutant Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon doing his best oily bad guy), who becomes a postwar supervillain in the James Bond mould, complete with fancy submarine.

Shaw also pulls the Bond supervillain trick of trying to provoke the Cold War superpowers into a nuclear war, as a means of allowing mutants to take over the world.

Xavier, meanwhile, is a young expert in genetics who is shoulder-tapped by CIA agent Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne).

His spook work intersects with Magneto's quest for revenge against Shaw. Although they work well together and recruit a team of young mutants, Xavier's idealism clashes with Magneto's anger and his cynical view (which is uncomfortably close to Shaw's) of mutants as the next step in evolution, destined to ultimately succeed normal humans.

And Shaw has his own cabal of mutants to help him, including hard woman Emma Frost (Mad Men's January Jones in retro white Nancy Sinatra garb).

Director Matthew Vaughn gave Layer Cake and Kick-Ass plenty of energy and pace, and does the same here – and while some moments flash past for the sake of advancing the story (especially the team's training), he also knows when to slow down a bit and let the essential emotional moments and thorny questions about acceptance and identity unfold.

Central to the film's effectiveness are McAvoy and Fassbender, who work well together as two driven men trying not to let their differences overcome their similarities. McAvoy's chirpy Xavier is a big contrast from the character's sagelike older self, played by Patrick Stewart in the other X-Men films, but Fassbender's brooding performance has some of the panache Ian McKellen brings to the older Magneto.
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There's plenty of action and destruction, of course, as events build to a climax off Cuba, but in this respect, First Class doesn't try to be louder and more spectacular than its predecessors. The human aspect of the X-Men – the relationship between "normals" and mutants and the questions this raises about prejudice and acceptance – sets it apart from other superhero sagas, and it's never far away here.

As expected, there's some tinkering with the X-Men world to satisfy Hollywood – blue-skinned shapeshifter Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, of Winter's Bone fame) is retconned as Xavier's adoptive sister to add extra emotional turmoil.

On the plus side, Beast is given plenty of time to show his human face. Wolverine doesn't join the X-Men for at least another decade, sorry – but Hugh Jackman does make a fun cameo.

His arrival, and that of other characters, should make future prequels just as enjoyable, if handled correctly. It's a big mutant world Marvel Comics has created, after all.

- Nelson
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:50 am

http://www.mercurynews.com/milpitas/ci_18232788?nclick_check=1

Latest "X-Men" has the feel of classic tragedy
by Ealasaid A. Haas
Posted: 06/08/2011 03:33:31 PM PDT
Updated: 06/08/2011 03:33:32 PM PDT

The latest installment in the "X-Men" franchise has wisely sidestepped the rebooting trend so popular right now by giving us a period piece exploring the history of Professor X and Magneto. Before they were arch-nemeses they were just Charles and Erik, and they were friends.

Michael Fassbender makes Erik Lehnsherr an action hero you can cheer for as he tracks down the Nazis who killed his parents and abused him to bring out his mutant powers. James McAvoy's Charles Xavier is a young man somehow both wise beyond his years and thoroughly idealistic. Watching their friendship develop even as the seeds of their future battles start to sprout is a lot of fun, and the film's best scenes are the ones between the two young men. It's becoming a tradition to cast talented actors as these two titans, and it's nice to see that continue here.

Charles, his childhood friend Raven (Jennifer Lawrence as the future Mystique), and Erik begin to track down other mutants, and slowly gather a group of youngsters to ally with the CIA and battle the villainous Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), once the bane of Erik's youth and now a free agent trying to start World War III. Shaw has his own band of mutants, though, and they're far better trained than the kids Charles and Erik have on their side.

The film has loads of cameos and references to the other "X-Men" source materials tucked into it, but manages to not make the film opaque to newcomers by doing so. This is a self-contained story, and
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while it rambles between the climax and credits, it's generally well-written, especially for a comic book movie. There are some surprisingly touching moments in it, and it draws out the complexities of Erik and Charles' stories as individuals and friends without sliding into scenery-chewing and melodrama.

There's a feel of the classic tragedy to their story although they start as friends, it is inevitable from the moment they meet that they will wind up as enemies. Erik is as cynical as Charles is idealistic, and no surprise: it's hard to believe in the innate goodness of humans when you spent your formative years as a lab rat for a concentration camp doctor. Charles, on the other hand, is capable of pleading for the lives of people who just tried to kill him, and does so with conviction. Both men want to bring mutants together and offer them safety and support, but because of the differences in their natures, their methods are diametrically opposed.

It's a pleasure to see this kind of tragic plotline handled well in what is essentially a big-budget action and effects flick. Those special effects are mostly impressive, though a massive crash sequence near the end was reminiscent of the early days of CGI and stood out amid the top-notch work in the rest of the film. It's hard to take fake-looking trees being flattened seriously when you've been watching a red-skinned guy with a tail vanish into wisps of red smoke, a beautiful blonde turn her entire body into diamond, and ordinary metal fly around the room or crumple in on itself like tinfoil.

Overall, "X-Men: First Class" is superb summer comic movie fare, and while fans of the other films (and, if they're open-minded, of the comics) will likely love it, it doesn't require any familiarity with the source material to be a lot of fun.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:50 am

http://www.journal-topics.com/movie_scene/article_ab3ffa6a-9218-11e0-9b4b-0019bb30f31a.html

Latest ‘X-Men’ First Class All The Way

Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 4:44 pm

By MICHAEL POULOS Journal Film Critic | 0 comments

"X-Men: First Class" (132 min., Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexuality including brief nudity and language). Rating: 8

Brief prologue to my review: Must we again endure another sequel - or prequel in this case - to another anthology-ridden comic book superhero movie series? "Batman" has gone through a reboot: the next one coming out next year is the 7th in the series since 1989. "Superman" is going through its second reboot: next year will be its sixth in the series. Need I bring up more "Spider-Man" movies under production now?

Critics see red in their eyes when it comes to any sequels, but comic book sequels are getting to be monthly - two more being released in June and July. But unless the product is good - and I mean "good" - critics sharpen the tips of their quills (old school talk there). From what I read about "X-Men: First Class", was that it was just okay and was being more severely criticized for its existence than for its contents.

Okay...now for my review: What a surprising, pleasant surprise "X-Men: First Class" is. That "8" you see at the top of this review stands for something - mostly quality. But it also stands for first-rate drama, attention to its genre without bending or pandering to standardization, presenting a competent storyline with flushed-out, engaging characters. In short, it's a good film, which I'm sure will be among the underappreciated films I list at the end of the year. I was challenged intellectually and moved emotionally by the character arcs that were wisely put far in front of the super-duper action sequences. It's a perfect prequel to the three "X-Men" movies that Bryan Singer co-wrote and directed. And he has his hands on this one too - it's based on a story he wrote and he co-produced it as well.

The film features an impressive cast led by James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oliver Platt, Rose Byrne, Kevin Bacon and January Jones. Mutants are genetic aberrations from humans who were born with special sills, the kind we're all familiar with in the comics. The two leads, as in the other "X-Men" movies, except for Wolverine, are Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik (alter-ego, Magneto, played by Fassbender), who once again go head-to-head, good versus evil, one righteous and benevolent to blend in with humans - the other twisted and given into anger. Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellen played those characters in the original films.

McAvoy occupies the Xavier role with stately dignity while Fassbender slowly unravels and succumbs to hatred as his mantra - and who becomes the deadliest of the mutants due to his ability to manipulate metal objects from great distances. In this film, which opens briefly in a 1944 Nazi concentration camp, as it did in the original film, has the young Erik demonstrating his unique ability to bend metal - but only when raged. It catches the attention of a sadistic Nazi scientist, Sebastian Shaw (Bacon) who plans to use the youngster for his own evil purposes - and to eventually own the world by populating it with mutants as the dominant species. Shaw, like Xavier, Magneto and many others introduced in this film, is a mutant and who possesses the power to absorb energy.

All of the action takes place in 1962, curiously when "X-Men" was co-created by Stan Lee, who in his 80s remains intimately involved in all the Marvel Comics movies. Leading up to the big showdown between the two superpowers of the day, U.S. and the Soviets, during the Cuban missile crisis, the lines between good and bad mutants aligning themselves to Xavier or Shaw are drawn. Erik is Xavier's close friend - at least up to now - but who remains haunted by the death of his mother at the hands of Shaw - and is extolling his rage against humans who prejudice against all mutants. He breaks free of Xavier's telepathic grip, confronts Shaw in an act of vengeance before establishing himself, along with a few of Xavier's mutant allies, to become the most powerful of all mutants - Magneto.

I can't praise the film more fervently than for its conviction - for staying true to its original premise, accurately portraying characters as they appeared in later films, and enveloping it all with a snazzy, intelligent script with impressive special effects and classy production values. All of its 132 minutes is used wisely - nothing is wasted. A ton of credit goes to co-screenwriter and director Matthew Vaughn and his three screenwriters for creating a suspenseful, serious-minded fantasy thriller that has more to do with humanity than superheroes - with a nice splash of early 60s "mod" behavior. What a stroke of ingenuity it was to blend the mutant struggle with Cold War paranoia that was running rampant at that time - not knowing that Xavier's "X-Men" were involved in preventing a nuclear war. This is good stuff.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:51 am

http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/article/20110608/ENTERTAINMENT/110609880/1015&parentprofile=1058

Making the extraordinary into the ordinary
Movie review: X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Lisa Miller

'X-MEN: FIRST CLASS'
Grade: C
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Oliver Platt, Jason Flemyng, Kevin Bacon, Caleb Landry Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Matt Craven
Fox//Rated PG-13//Fantasy//131 minutes

This fifth “X-Men” film installment is a prequel/sequel/reboot serving as an origin story for several X-Men, and X-Women. The script's first half engages viewers by depicting co-writer-director Matthew Vaughn's fondness for developing troubled mutants. However, during the story's latter half, he rewrites the Cuban missile crisis, and drops the bomb that shatters his screenplay.

The film opens in the 1940s at a German concentration camp where young Erik Lehnsherr discovers his telekinetic power for moving metal objects. He instantly becomes the prize research subject of Dr. Schmidt (a gleeful, eerily young-looking Kevin Bacon). A minute later, 20 years have passed when we meet the adult Erik (Michael Fassbender). He's destined to become Magneto, but first there's the nasty business of hunting down and killing the Nazi criminals responsible for the death of his parents. Erik's globe-trotting eventually brings him to both London and the U.S., where he hopes to find the escaped Dr. Schmidt, now reinvented as Sebastian Shaw.

A parallel story depicts the unlikely meeting of pubescent mindreader Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), and the shape-shifting Mystique (a surprisingly dull Jennifer Lawrence), when hunger drives her to make a late night appearance at the Xavier London Estate kitchen. Needless to say, the two mutants are peas in a pod and instantly bond.

We are firmly rooted in the 1960s when we find Dr. Schmidt/Sebastian Shaw, attempting to bring about the downfall of ordinary men. He employs his own mutant powers, and that of several recruits, to coerce politicians into orchestrating a nuclear standoff between Russia and the United States. On Shaw's team are lingerie-clad Emma Frost (January Jones), whose body becomes indestructible when she encases herself in a diamond coating, and the appropriately named Azazel (Jason Flemyng), a red devilish dude transporting enemies to distant destinations, simply by touching them.

For reasons that shall remain unknown to us and, I suspect, to the screenwriters as well, CIA Agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne wearing a perpetually concerned expression), is certain that those gifted with extraordinary powers walk among us. In pursuit of her quarry, she willingly parades around a men's club clad only in her skivvies.

With Moira's help, and that of her new CIA boss (Oliver Platt), Xavier soon gathers his own crew of mutants who voluntarily hole up in what appears to be a well-appointed employee breakroom, but is actually a protected location at the center of a heavily armored government facility. While passing time here, a condescending scene shows a half-dozen mutants playing a game of “I'll show you my power if you show me yours.”

Repeated mutant-on-mutant clashes become mind-numbing time-fillers, that have little to do with the film's mission. We are meant, after seeing this, to better understand Xavier's evolution into the guardian of good and right, while persecuted Magneto's anger transforms him into a crusader intent on bringing the human race to its knees.

Rewritten world event, innumerable disposable characters, repetitive action and a humorless script, are major detractions from what ought to be message-free fun. The strategy provides little new material to “X-Men” fans, and is unlikely to convert the rest of us.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:51 am

http://www.reporternews.com/news/2011/jun/08/good-mutations/

Good mutations: Evolution of 'X-Men' makes leap forward

By Aaron Wilder
Posted June 8, 2011 at 3:41 p.m.

'X-Men: First Class'

132 minutes

Rated PG-13; Three-and-a-half stars

Pros: The best the X-Men have been in years.

Some of the best action of the summer so far.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are incredible.

Cons: The first act doesn't flow as well as the second.

Even Darwin would've been confused.

Considering the X-Men's focus on the next step in human evolution, irony marks the series' degeneration. Like evolution in reverse, the slick, exciting franchise became plodding and uninspired, bottoming out in the halfhearted "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."

With that in mind, no one could blame you for shrugging off the latest mutant movie in theaters, "X-Men: First Class." I'm here to tell you, though — this movie is a whole new beast. Its genetic formula has seen some major improvements.

In fact, it may even stand out in this summer's blockbuster survival of the fittest.

Turning back the clock, "First Class" takes us to a time when Professor X is known only as Charles, Magneto is just Erik, and the two have yet to met.

Charles, having just earned his doctorate in mutations, is living quietly with his childhood mutant friend Raven. Erik is doggedly tracking down a man named Shaw, who violently unlocked Erik's mutant potential when he was just a boy. Turns out Shaw is now out to start a nuclear war. When the CIA brings Charles in to help deal with Shaw's mutant buddies, he and Erik's paths converge in one of the most iconic friendships in comic book history.

Charles and Erik, knowing they can't stop Shaw alone, set out to find fellow mutants willing to fight in humanity's defense. Their team is young, but full of talent. They all prepare to rescue a world that's on the brink of annihilation; a world that only barely accepts them.

Even if they manage to save the day, their battle has only just begun.

Set against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis, "First Class" is a more mature vision of the X-Men than anything we've seen so far. Simply put, the stakes are higher. Familiar themes like prejudice and acceptance are still present, along with moments of the theatrical brooding that's synonymous with comic book drama, but they're bolstered by a genuine historical threat to the world.

If they fail, it'll be more than an isolated incident. Hundreds of thousands of people will die, and the world will be plunged into a devastating war. Mutant pride and saving the world strike a compelling balance, and the movie is better for it.

Not to say that "First Class" forgets its roots. Taking full advantage of its position as a prequel to the earlier X-Men films, plenty of inside jokes await series and comic book fans.

Don't worry that the price of admission is a deep familiarity with the source material, either — the movie has a little something for everyone. Careful to avoid burdening itself with excessive gloom, feel-good moments and humor are applied in healthy doses. And of course, the action is phenomenal. From small mutant skirmishes to outright special-effect blowout superpower mayhem, it's been a while since the camera so perfectly captured every angle of the excitement. The final moments of the film, in particular, are exceptionally memorable.

Filling the roles played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender had quite the shoes to fill in portraying Charles and Erik, respectively. Watching their performances, you'd never think they were intimidated by the task.

McAvoy is the perfect picture of paternal wisdom and charisma. Fassbender, though, is a particular joy to watch. Taking you through Erik's pain, rage and heroism, Fassbender demonstrates just how complex a comic book character can be. Kudos to the rest of the cast as well, who all take to their roles with obvious dedication.

With a second act that's admittedly structured much better than the first, the first half is still much better than anything that the X-Men franchise has had on offer for years. Even the uninitiated are likely to find a lot to like about "X-Men: First Class." And comic book fans? Welcome home.

All in all, the film is a natural selection if you're looking for a great summer experience.

© 2011 Abilene Reporter-News. 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 1:53 am

http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20110608/LIVING/306089977/-1/NEWS?Title=New-8216-X-Men-8217-film-returns-series-to-its-former-glory

New ‘X-Men’ film returns series to its former glory
By Matthew Lucas

Published: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 1:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 1:40 p.m.

Despite its continued box office success, the “X-Men” franchise has been in somewhat of an artistic rut ever since Brett Ratner’s critically maligned “X-Men: The Last Stand.”

Want to see?

• ‘X-Men: First Class’ is directed by Matthew Vaughn and stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoe Kravitz and Oliver Platt. It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language.
• It is rated three out of four stars.
• Now showing at Carmike Cinema Eight in Lexington; Cinemark Tinseltown USA in Salisbury; the Grande 18, Carmike Wynnsong 12 and Carmike 10, all in Winston-Salem; Regal Palladium Stadium 14 and Regal Oak Hollow Mall 7, both in High Point; and The Grand Theatre Four Seasons, Cinemark Brassfield Cinema 10 and Carmike 18, all in Greensboro.
• Check out the movie news link under Entertainment at www.the-dispatch.com for show times and more information.

It almost seemed as if 20th Century Fox was beating a dead horse, even though the franchise has yet to live up to the heights it saw in its second installment, “X2: X-Men United.”

I stand by my belief that “X2” is one of the greatest superhero movies of all time. I’ve always found the X-Men to be among the most interesting superheroes because of their outcast status. They are mistrusted by humans, who seek to marginalize or destroy them. Their task is to protect those who would seek to do them harm. Their very existence is an allegory for all kinds of civil rights violations, be they racial, religious, political or sexual. The social commentary runs deep throughout the series, and as such they are often the most human of superheroes. Their powers are what make them vulnerable.

Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class” returns the series to its former, pre-Ratner glory. And even though it doesn’t quite reach the heights of “X2,” it’s still one of the strongest of the recent rash of comic book films. Taking a similar approach to the material as J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” reboot, “X-Men: First Class” recasts several of the principle characters from the series and explores their origins.

Part prequel, part reboot, “First Class” asserts its own personality while still acknowledging and honoring the films that came before it. It takes us back to the younger days of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) before he became Professor X and Eric Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) before he became Magneto. Xavier is a young scientist whose research into human mutations has led him to the discovery of a new step in human evolution, and he is looking for more people like him. Lehnsherr is a Holocaust survivor who endured horrific experiments because of his ability to control metal and is out for revenge against Sebastian Shaw, the evil scientist who destroyed his life.

Xavier takes a more conventional path, hoping to team up with the CIA to create a mutant task force to combat Shaw’s evil plan to pit the Soviet Union and the United States against each other in a ploy to wipe out humanity and usher in a new era of mutant rule. Lehnsherr, on the other hand, despite his hatred of Shaw, begins to sympathize with his ideas of racial cleansing to create a purely mutant society. As the two sides head toward a clash that will become the Cuban Missile Crisis, the seeds of what will eventually become the X-Men we all know are sewn. Friendships will be tested, loyalties will be questioned, lives will be lost, and the world will never be the same again.

Vaughn returns the series to its former glory by focusing on the story’s innately human elements while still delivering thrilling action sequences and dazzling visual effects. “First Class” is a smartly written and tightly plotted summer blockbuster with the gumption and drive to feature fully fleshed out characters, remarkably realized by a solid cast. While there may be some continuity issues with the other films, those are easily overlooked in light of how well it works as its own, standalone film.

There hasn’t been a superhero movie this wholly satisfying since “The Dark Knight,” and while I wouldn’t quite put it on that level of excellence, “X-Men: First Class” delivers both for fans and newcomers to the series. It’s a promising new start to a franchise I’d all but given up on.

Matthew Lucas, a student at Appalachian State University in Boone, is a correspondent for The Dispatch. He also has a blog site where he posts movie news, buzz and commentary at fromthefrontrow.blogspot.com.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:54 am

http://www.starpulse.com/news/Willie_Krischke/2011/06/07/a_lot_like_the_first_filmbut_in_all_th

'X-Men: First Class' A Lot Like The First Film... But In All the Right Ways
June 7th, 2011 3:38pm EDT

X-Men: First Class

Unlike most superhero/comic book movies, there’s an overabundance of story in “X-Men: First Class. There are points in its 132-minute running time when it feels far more like an epic miniseries than a summer blockbuster. It’s surprisingly willing to downplay its big action sequences in order to focus on character development; the action is there, but it just doesn’t feel terribly important.

And yet, for the most part, “First Class” doesn’t feel overstuffed and rushed, or overlong and talky. There are a lot of characters to introduce after all, though director Michael Vaughn wisely capitalizes on the fact that we’ve met most of them before, and so already know a little about their personalities. (This film has been talked about as a reboot; but there’s no reason it can’t function as a prequel to the existing films. Issues of aging are mostly handled by making aging not an issue for the mutants involved.) Of course there’s Charles Xavier and Magneto (played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively) and Mystique is back, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who actually allows the character to speak; the film never explains how she becomes mute by the later film; the fact that Rebecca Romijn-Stamos played her may be reason enough. We also meet, for the first time, Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy, Zoe Kravitz as Angel and Lucas Till as Alex Summers, among others.

They’re all angsty teenagers with abilites/mutations that make them freaks/superheroes, and this has been the hallmark of the X-Men franchise; it’s about waking up one morning and discovering you’re different from everyone else in the world. ”First Class” plays those themes in a way that may be overly familiar; the debates that go on in this film were awfully similar to the ones in the first film, with not much new added. At times, it feels like actors are just trading places, with James McAvoy stepping in for Patrick Stewart, arguing for peace and reconciliation, while Kevin Bacon plays Ian McKellen, insisiting that mutants are better and mankind is coming to an evolutionary end.

Speaking of Bacon, he leads the bad guys as Sebastien Shaw, a former Nazi who killed Magneto’s mother and thoroughly warped him into the villain he’s destined to become. And, much as in the first film, he’s flanked by mutant cronies who are quite deadly but don’t talk much. (One of them, red-skinned, quick as a cat, reminded me too much of Darth Maul.) The primary one — and the only one with actual lines — is Emma Frost, a telepath who can turn herself to diamond, though that ability doesn’t seem particularly useful. Bacon and January Jones seem borrowed from a Bond movie actually from the sixties; their world-domination plot is appropriately ridiculous, and Jones is as stiff and sexual as a Bond girl/villain. There’s a scene where she undresses and gets it on with a Russian dignitary, or at least a projected image of her does (she’s a telepath, BTW) while she sits and watches, disconnected, disinterested. This seems to be Jones’ approach to the entire film, and from what I’ve seen, to acting in general. Bacon, though, is excellent, playing his villian with lots of whispers and creepy closeness. He’s clearly having fun, and it’s fun to watch him.

“X-Men: First Class” stretches out like a serial comic book, knowing when to ramp up the tension momentarily, when to let things stretch out, and, ultimately, how to bring it all to a satisfying conclusion. It’s a great revamp for the “X-men” franchise, an entertaining and energetic film that reinterests us in characters that had grown stale and maudlin in the last few films. It’s clearly a setup for more sequels, and leaves me interested to see where things are going next.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:55 am

http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/greater_houston/entertainment/article_2958cf49-b3b8-50c9-a6dc-296d7a252f5d.html

‘X-Men: First Class’ appeals to fans and first timers

Sally M. Hill declares “X-Men: First Class” the most fun she has had at the movies in a long time.

Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 8:00 am | Updated: 4:43 pm, Tue Jun 7, 2011.

By Sally M. Hill

“X-Men: First Class” was yet another sequel, prequel, whatever that I was not really looking forward to seeing since the last two films in the franchise were so bad.

So even though I like the director and some of the cast I considered seeing “First Class” as a chore, but it actually turned out to be a delight.

It’s the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a long time, maybe since last summer. That’s the least that a summer blockbuster should be, fun. Of course, the good ones are so much more. The “X-Men,” created in 1963 by comic book legend Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, have always been about acceptance, embracing differences and having the strength to stand up for what is right. Those elements are stronger than ever here. Plus it has got good-looking guys dressed suavely, scantily clad women, exotic locales and a mad man plotting to rule the world. Why that sounds like a James Bond film to me. Heck, one of its stars, Michael Fassbender, would fit the Bond role very nicely.

“X-Men: First Class” is an origin story, taking us back to 1944 when young Erik Lehnsherr, who later becomes Magneto, learns about his mutant powers. We also briefly see how 12-year-old Charles Xavier, the future Professor X, lives and meets Raven, who one day will go by Mystique. Then the film jumps to 1962 and Charles is a brilliant student about to graduate while Erik has become a Nazi hunter. Before they become enemies, these very different guys are friends working together to defeat an old tormentor of Erik’s and the guy trying to kill all humans by starting a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the U.S. Who knew that it was mutants who caused the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Director Matthew Vaughn (“Layer Cake,” “Kick-Ass”) has a lot of material to cover and he does a pretty good job. The first half is immensely entertaining so it didn’t bother me when the story started getting jumbled and the plot holes larger. They could have left out some of the non-main characters; I don’t think anyone would’ve missed them. Erik and Charles are plenty interesting and very well played by Fassbender (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Jane Eyre”) and James McAvoy (“Atonement,” “Wanted”). This film should make Fassbender a star. It’s very fitting that his presence here is magnetic.

Kevin Bacon does what he can with his rather stock bad guy role. He does seem to be enjoying himself though. Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”) is as good as she can be in her role as Raven, but I wish she’d had more to do than just fret about her blueness.

I read a few of the comic books years ago, but can’t say I remember much, but I do bet fans will enjoy “First Class” and people who have never even heard of “X-Men” will too. Of course, if you’ve not seen any of the films you might not know why it’s so funny when Charles and Erik approach a hairy man in a bar while looking for mutants. Fun stuff!
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:55 am

http://www.thesetonian.com/pirate-life/school-is-in-session-with-x-men-first-class-1.2356546

School is in session with "X-Men: First Class"

By Melissa Murray

Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 09:06

the_setonian_6.7.11_X-Men

Photo from imdb.com

Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy star as younger Magneto and Professor X in "X-Men: First Class."

Just when it was beginning to fizzle, director Matthew Vaughn manages to revive the waning X-Men franchise with another movie that may surpass them all.

"X-Men: First Class" details the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr prior to them becoming Professor X and Magneto, proving to be a first class prequel to the four previous X-Men films.

Set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the film elaborates on the experiences that cause these two close friends to develop contradictory ideologies on the relationship between mutants and humans and become the archenemies so revered from the comics. The movie also establishes the origin of the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, two opposing groups of mutants that are the focus of the other films.

Due to the large cast, many of the secondary characters are underdeveloped. The mutants in the Hellfire Club and the Brotherhood of Mutants lack distinct personalities and only avid fans of the comics will understand the relationship between them. The casting of these characters was spot on except for that of the evil Nazi scientist and mutant Sebastian Shaw, who was played by Kevin Bacon. One can only imagine why the singing and dancing star of "Footloose" was chosen to play the villain. His portrayal of Shaw was neither supremely evil nor over-the-top.

What makes the film such a success is the casting of James McAvoy as Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Magneto. McAvoy creates a charming and flirtatious Professor X, while Fassbender is much more intense and domineering as Magneto. Both actors give their character a level of depth not seen in the previous films and the relationship between the two is so genuine and supportive that it is hard not to sympathize with both men.

While the film will greatly appeal to new viewers, current fans of X-Men will be pleased to see familiar faces from both the comic books and previous films, though many references are not completely accurate. Mystique and Beast are given adequate background stories and readers of the comics will be able to distinguish minor characters from the books. Hugh Jackman makes a hilarious cameo appearance as Wolverine.

"X-Men: First Class" is full of action and an intriguing plot that successfully provides those who are new to the X-Men franchise an introduction to its most significant characters, while still satisfying current fans with a descriptive origin story of their favorite rivals.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:55 am

http://www.motherwelltimes.co.uk/news/this_week_at_the_vue_1_1669156

This week at The Vue

Published on Wednesday 8 June 2011 05:28

THE latest film in the X-Men franchise is out now at The Vue in Hamilton as First Class takes the saga back to its roots.

X-Men: First Class tells the story of how the X-Men ended up with such mortal enemies in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

It’s 1963 and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is setting up an academy for humans with superhuman powers, known as mutants.

Star pupil is Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), the future Magneto, prepared to fight side by side with Professor X against evil.

So where did it all go wrong and how did the X-Men end up in such a struggle to the death with Magneto’s forces?

Every week the Times & Speaker and The Extra has three pairs of tickets to The Vue in Hamilton to give away.

For entry details see June 9 edition.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:56 am

http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/80056,news-comment,entertainment,what-a-marvel-return-to-form-for-x-men-first-class-prequel

What a marvel: return to form for X-Men prequel
Film of the week: James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender explore their mutant superhero origins
By Venetia Rainey
LAST UPDATED 12:27 PM, JUNE 8, 2011

Following the thundering failure of comic-book-cum-movie Thor just weeks ago, Marvel have been hoping that the latest offering from its franchise-happy film universe is a success. Luckily, it looks like X-Men: First Class, the fifth film about creator Stan Lee's mutant superheroes, may just live up to its name.

Set in the 1960s amid the televised speeches of John F. Kennedy and the Cold War, the film, which opens nationwide in the UK today, goes right back to the beginning of the X-Men story in spectacular fashion.

"It's X-Men meets the Cuban missile crisis meets James Bond," says director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake). "It's an interesting way of integrating the characters into recent history."

But the epic setting and context has not won everyone's approval. In fact, says Time Out's David Jenkins, Vaughn has merely tried to "shoehorn gravitas", making the movie feel "like it's been filched from the notepad of a GCSE History student".

James McAvoy plays a younger Professor X - remembered by most as a wheelchair-bound Patrick Stewart - while Michael Fassbender is Erik Lehnserr before he became the formidable metal-bending Magneto, played in the other films by Ian McKellen.

By all accounts it's Fassbender who steals the show, even if his accent does inexplicably revert to its original Irish during the film's final stretch.

Although the production is "baggy and chaotic", writes Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian, there is "the occasional flash of cold steel... These flashes come from the formidable Michael Fassbender".

Suggesting that "now might be the time to call it quits" for the X-Men series, Bradshaw adds that if Vaughn must make more, "then a solo effort with Fassbender's super-nasty Magneto would be the way to go".

Betsy Sharkey of the LA Times agrees. "It would take a brain far more telepathically powerful than that of Professor X to untangle what went wrong with X-Men: First Class, but misplaced and misplayed ambition, to say nothing of a massive misspent budget, comes to my non-mutant mind."

On the whole, however, critics have described the film as a vast improvement on the last X-Men movie to delve into the origins of the superheroes - X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was universally panned.

This film reclaims "the pop-operatic grandeur and insouciant wit so evident in the series' first two installments", writes Justin Chang in Variety. The result is a film that is "swift, sleek and remarkably coherent".

It may be just a little too packed with sub-plots and characters (including Kevin Bacon as evil scientist Sebastian Shaw, and Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence as young mutants), says the Daily Telegraph's Sukhdev Sandhu. However this does not stop it from being "a stylish, often violent, mostly entertaining prequel that never outstays its two hours-plus duration".

There may be some hope left for those inevitable sequels
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:57 am

http://www.newhavenadvocate.com/entertainment/movies/ht-film-reviews-xmen-first-class-blank-city-and-le-quattro-volte-20110607,0,1948128.story

Film Reviews: 'X-Men: First Class,' 'Blank City' and 'Le Quattro Volte'

6:28 p.m. EDT, June 7, 2011

* * * X-Men: First Class

Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Written by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn. With James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Kevin Bacon. (PG-13)

“Never forget — mutant and proud!” That's the rallying cry of X-Men: First Class, conflating Holocaust awareness and gay rights in a slogan as ungainly as the two movies it embraces, a reboot of a blockbusting franchise with a tween-friendly cast and an origins film for X-Men archenemy Magneto, now played by Michael Fassbender. The story, credited to Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer, originated in Turner's Auschwitz-based screenplay for X-Men Origins: Magneto, a casualty of the writers' strike and, perhaps, good sense. That backstory was based on the comics; this one sets Erik Lehnsherr on a quest for vengeance against the Dr. Mengele who cultivated his talents on the operating table. He says he is Frankenstein's monster searching for his creator, and as played by Fassbender as at turns a suave, multilingual James Bond, a coldblooded killer and a victim on an inexorable path to become the man who victimized him, he is the soul of the movie.

James McAvoy provides a smart, youthful foil for Fassbender as Charles Xavier, the future Professor X, who tries to save Erik's soul, and Kevin Bacon, as the Nazi doctor who reemerges, facelifted and accent-reduced, as the puppet master of the Cuban Missile Crisis, is the most chilling villain in a comic book movie since Heath Ledger's Joker. If the film were left to these three it would be exceptional, but then there are all those teenage mutants sitting around thinking up names for each other, and what some of their powers are I could not tell you. Do we really care about the budding romance between Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) when the Soviets are going to destroy the world and, more importantly, vengeance is going to destroy Erik Lehnsherr?

There is much action and, since this is an X-Men movie, much more talk about genocide and assimilation vs. aggression, Charles' Martin Luther King Jr. vs. Erik's Malcolm X, taking the comic back to its origins in the civil rights movement. But its best scene is in a tavern in Argentina involving a tailor and a pig farmer, low-key and expertly choreographed. Being magnetic has never looked so awesome.
The story goes that one day in the late '70s there was a guy selling Super-8 sound cameras on Houston Street, and from this was born the No Wave filmmaking scene that briefly flourished alongside bands like the Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and DNA. The ethos was punk — you didn't have to be a filmmaker to pick up a camera, or a guitar, or a paintbrush, and many of the people interviewed in Blank City did all three.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 2

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:57 am

http://businessofcinema.com/news.php?newsid=18485

Hugh Jackman does a cameo in X-Men: First Class
BUSINESSOFCINEMA.COM TEAM 08 June , 2011

MUMBAI: While X-Men: First Class is gearing up for release there is a surprise in store for all X-Men fans that were heart-broken over the fact that Wolverine was not part of the upcoming X-Men film.

Buzz is that actor Hugh Jackman has not let his fans down and is still very much part of X-Men: First Class. Jackman plays a cameo in the movie. The scene happens while Charles and Erik are on the hunt for new mutants, and they come across Wolverine in a bar.

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

X-Men: First Class is slated to release in India on 10 June in Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu.
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