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X-Men Reviews 3

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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:27 pm

http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/Review+First+Class/4880726/story.html

Review: X-Men: First Class

By Katherine Monk, Postmedia News June 3, 2011

Children scare us, mostly because they have jam-hands. But here are 10 kids who would give anyone a good reason to run for their lives.

Children scare us, mostly because they have jam-hands. But here are 10 kids who would give anyone a good reason to run for their lives.
Photograph by: Handout, Handout

Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake) directs an all-star cast of next-gen stars including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence in this dramatically ambitious prequel to the X-Men movies. It's not easy addressing the Holocaust in a comic book franchise, but the whole thing works a mutant magic as Vaughn finds the human dimensions of intolerance, and paints a universal picture of outsiders with sympathy and historical depth.

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

Rating: Three and a half stars out of five

Believe it or not, the world wasn't crying out for the X-Men backstory. Like most comic book franchises to get a big screen birthing, the appeal of an X-Men movie lay in the physical embodiment of the familiar characters -- not a David Copperfield-styled biopic.

For instance, we all knew Wolverine -- and we liked him -- which made Hugh Jackman's X-Men character an easy page-to-screen transition: He was well-defined, easy to understand and his special mutant power of fast-healing and super strength (combined with high-tech weapons grade metal implants) made him completely cinematic.

Professor X and Magneto may not have the same narrative sex-appeal given one is in a wheelchair, and the other shaded under a prophylactic chapeau, but they are the two poles that hold the X-Men universe in position, and in this prequel, we find out how these former mutant allies became enemies.

If you're already enrapt by the premise, this X-Men movie is a must-see because dramatically speaking, it's probably got the biggest ambitions of any X-Men spectacle to date.

After all, it deals directly with the Holocaust, complete with scenes of concentration camps, people in striped clothing and cold-blooded killing.

Marrying systematic mass murder and comic book sensibilities is a big challenge, but one director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake) handles with relative ease as he tapers the story down to two charismatic characters: Professor X and Magneto.

The most magnetic of the two is Erik Lehnsherr, which is where our story begins: Young Erik has just been separated from his family by Nazis when he demonstrates an unusual talent for bending metal. The show proves so compelling, he's recruited for experiments by a creepy camp doctor named Shaw (Kevin Bacon).

The only problem for young Erik is his lack of control. He can't command metal on a whim. He needs emotional urgency to access his mutant gift, which means the Nazis use his family to conjure emotional responses of the worst kind.

While Erik is being emotionally tortured by Shaw, young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is living quite comfortably on the English countryside in a mansion. Rich, privileged and well-educated, Charles is a blue sky thinker who also has the curious ability to read minds. Charles always figured he was alone in the universe, but one day, a shape-shifter appears in his kitchen.

He can read her mind, and in an instant, Charles and Raven (later known as Mystique, played here by Jennifer Lawrence) become best friends and spiritual mutant siblings.

Flash forward to the height of the Cold War circa 1960. Charles Xavier has just graduated from university, where he was a clear winner with the ladies thanks to his opening line: "Hey gorgeous! That's a groovy mutation you've got there... "

Erik (Michael Fassbender), meanwhile, has been hunting down Nazis, hoping to trap and kill his arch-enemy Shaw.

These two central mutants are on opposite tracks. One is focused on killing. The other is dedicated to teaching the world to embrace mutant differences. War versus peace, love versus hate, mutant versus human: It's drama on an epic scale and Vaughn renders the players with a loving hand -- and plenty of frame time.

McAvoy plays out the part of privileged hero with an almost Kennedy-esque persona -- one that is both noble, and just a tad scandalous, at the same time. Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) hands in such an emotionally driven performance, he may actually reduce the audience to tears -- which is no small feat in a Hollywood action reel.

Lawrence's role isn't as big as those of the two men, but she proves her Oscar-nominated turn in Winter's Bone was just the beginning of a flowering dramatic career as she carves out the conflicted heart of the turncoat Mystique.

Mystique is the symbolic core of First Class because she's struggling with self-acceptance. Ostracized and alone as a result of her blue skin and yellow eyes, she's learned self-loathing.

She wants to be like everyone else. She wants to be "normal," and that's where this movie makes its most articulate points as it challenges our human propensity to judge all books by their cover.

Only Erik has the depth of experience to understand the importance, and the beauty, of individual difference. When he looks into Mystique's yellow eyes, he sees someone worth loving for who she is -- which makes Erik surprisingly attractive, despite his hate-on for just about everyone and everything.

X-Men: First Class handles all these themes with just enough gravitas to bring the emotional moments home, without sacrificing the kitsch appeal of a story about mutant superheroes and their connection to such historical events as the Bay of Pigs crisis.

Vaughn balances the whole precarious assembly with grace, but there are still some glaring problems -- namely, January Jones and Jason Flemyng. Jones is altogether comatose for the duration as a mutant Ice Queen with diamond flesh, while Flemyng plays a mutant with a devilish appearance -- red face, pointy tail and all.

The diamond special effect is kind of lame, and the red makeup for Flemyng is downright comical. Then again, it's an X-Men movie: Its central mission is entertainment, and on that score, it delivers.

That First Class also offers up a decent narrative about the importance of self-love, family bonding and friendship gives it extra dimension -- even if the overall dramatic range only goes X to Z.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:28 pm

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/06/02/2042120/need-a-summer-escape-try-x-men.html

POSTED: Thursday, Jun. 02, 2011
Need a summer escape? Try 'X-Men: First Class'
ROGER MOORE - THE ORLANDO SENTINEL

"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 perfectly placed "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 tenth 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"

Director: Matthew Vaughn

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

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

Length: 132 minutes

Playing: Bellis Fair
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:29 pm

http://www.accessatlanta.com/atlanta-movies/review-x-men-first-965378.html

Movies 2:03 p.m. Thursday, June 2, 2011

By David Germaine

Associated Press

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.

In this film publicity image released by 20th Century Fox, James McAvoy portrays Charles Xavier in a scene from "X-Men: First Class."

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.

After Singer left, the trilogy wrapped up with a dud, followed by a limp spinoff chronicling the origins of fan-favorite mutant Wolverine.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

"X-Men: First Class"

Grade: 3 out of 4 stars

Genres: Action

Running Time: 130 min

MPAA rating: PG-13
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:32 pm

http://www.southbendtribune.com/sc-mov-0531-x-men-first-class-20110602,0,1936109.column

In a crowd, one stands out
Michael Fassbender lends gravitas to a predictably middling X-Men prequel -- 2.5 stars

Michael Phillips Movie critic

10:03 a.m. EDT, June 2, 2011

Primarily for dues-paying "X-Men" club members in good standing, rather than anyone wandering by a multiplex wondering if the prequel stands on its own, "X-Men: First Class" settles for moderately engrossing second-class mutant superheroism. Plus it includes January Jones as Emma Frost, here depicted as Austin Powers' dream shag, and Rose Byrne as a perpetually aghast CIA operative.

Mainly, though, the film features Michael Fassbender in a pivotal role. That's enough to lift it above the mechanics of the routine.

If you don't know the name, you may know the face. Recognizable from "Hunger," "Inglourious Basterds" and the recent "Jane Eyre," the German-born, Irish-bred Fassbender brings a dash of authority and brio to every assignment. In "X-Men: First Class" there's a moment when his character — Erik Lehnsherr, survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, a so-called mutant who can bend metal at will — tests out his long-distance ability to rotate, counterclockwise, a massive satellite tower. Fassbender's required to strike "the pose," i.e., fingers on both hands spread out in Zap Position, ready to perform the magnetizing feat of wonder, furrowed brow in full furrow, gaze intent.

It's the kind of bit that can make even a skilled actor look like an idiot. Yet Fassbender does not look like an idiot. He looks as if he's been bending hunks of metal with his mind regularly, just for practice.

Directed with bland efficiency by Matthew Vaughn ("Kick-Ass"), "X-Men: First Class" juggles a massively full roster of mutants as it heads toward the finish line and the answer to the question: What really happened to provoke, and then narrowly avert, the 1962 Cuban missile crisis? When Fassbender, in the role played by Ian McKellen in earlier "X-Men" outings, is allowed some elbow room, you notice and appreciate what's at stake. And when the many-hands screenplay lets him match wits with future nemesis Charles Xavier, played by James McAvoy, the film snaps into focus.

The story, cooked up by Bryan Singer, exploits both the Holocaust and the Cold War for its own ends, as did the Marvel Comics originals. The evil mastermind behind the Cuban missile gambit starts out, a generation earlier, as a Mengele-like Nazi doctor introduced by the movie in a 1944 concentration camp prologue. Both iterations of the character are played by Kevin Bacon in full ferret mode. How does this material square with the funsy '62-set training sequences, where we see the proto-X-Men and -Women testing out their various transformational and destructive abilities? Not very easily.

First under CIA tutelage (Oliver Platt plays their overseer) and then in the confines of Xavier's remote mansion, the mutants must learn to marshal their abilities. I confess I find it hard to keep everybody's superpowers straight with this franchise. It's like learning the names of every one of your child's classmates. The good mutants include cobalt-blue Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), the boy-man with hands for feet known as Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and many others. The story hops and skips from Moscow to Vegas to England to Cuba. The film improves on the heavy-spirited "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" of two years ago. Still, the deadliest single element in this film can be traced not to Bacon's character, but to composer Henry Jackson, whose music seems determined to kill us all with waves of dramatic nothingness.

mjphillips@tribune.com

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

Cast: James McAvoy (Charles); Michael Fassbender (Erik); Kevin Bacon (Sebastian/Dr. Schmidt); Rose Byrne (Moira); January Jones (Emma Frost); Oliver Platt (MIB); Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique)

Credits: Directed by Matthew Vaughn; written by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn; produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg and Gregory Goodman. A Twentieth Century Fox release. Running time: 2:11. Opens Friday.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:33 pm

http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/06/03/movies/x-men-first-class-review.html

X-Men: First Class (2011)
Murray Close/20th Century Fox

From left, Michael Fassbender, Caleb Landry Jones, James McAvoy, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence and Lucas Till in "X-Men: First Class." More Photos »
Born That Way, and Proud of It
By MANOHLA DARGIS
Published: June 2, 2011

After a close call with franchise death (diagnosis: anemia), the X-Men film series has bounced back to life with its fifth installment, rescued with a straight injection of pop. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, “X-Men: First Class” reaches back to the early 1960s for an origin story of mutants, mad men and mods that takes some of its cues from James Bond and more than a few costumes from Austin Powers. Like “Mad Men,” this new “X-Men” 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).

Like the first “X-Men,” this one opens in the 1940s in a Nazi concentration camp, where a young Erik Lehnsherr tries to destroy a metal gate that’s separated him from his parents with what appears to be the power of his mind and his anguish. It’s a futile endeavor, but one that attracts the attention of a tea-sipping sadist first called Dr. Schmidt and later Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon, enjoying himself), whose venality earns Erik’s wrath. His anger and Shaw’s evil drive a story that leaps from World War II to the cold war when, as the United States and the Soviet Union play a rigged game of chicken, the adult Erik (Michael Fassbender) will brood across a chessboard at a future nemesis, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy).

“First Class” relates how these dreamboats became the antagonists who were played by Ian McKellen (a k a Magneto) and Patrick Stewart (Professor X) in the first films and, with the rest of the characters, were eventually swamped by ever noisier special effects. Written by Mr. Vaughn with a clutch of others, the new movie is lighter in tone and look than its predecessors, and appreciably less self-serious than those directed by Bryan Singer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it also feels less personal, though Mr. Vaughn gets satisfying performances and copious tears, along with sex appeal, from his leading men. Mr. Vaughn doesn’t bring conviction to the story’s identity politics (say it loud, I’m mutant and I’m proud), but he gives Mr. Fassbender and Mr. McAvoy room to bring the brotherly love.

After parallel introductions of the young Erik and the young Charles (in Westchester County, where Charles is joined by Raven/Mystique, played as a teenager by Jennifer Lawrence), the scene shifts to 1962. A few cranks of the plot later, and assorted fiery and smoking-hot mutants with handles like Angel (Zoe Kravitz) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) are soon walking on and flying over a world stage alongside Soviet generals, American men in black and Shaw, now fortified with superpowers and a cool number, Emma Frost (January Jones, sullen, bosomy). Mr. Vaughn, whose last movie was the modestly scaled “Kick-Ass,” keeps the mutants, locales and narrative elements from blurring together and sometimes gives the proceedings a nice jolt, as in a forcible tooth extraction seen from inside a gaping mouth.

The defining virtue of the first X-Men movies was the seriousness that Mr. Singer brought to this saga of mutants uneasily sharing fates and plotlines with humans. His signature unsmiling approach at times tipped into overkill, like cement shoes on a drowning bunny. Yet his moody lighting and characters also worked as a countervailing force to the camp that has often clung to comic-book movies ever since George Clooney ran amok in a Bat codpiece. Movies like the original “X-Men” turned the ethos that shaped what’s been called the Dark Age of comic books into blockbuster gold (“Spider-Man” and the rebooted “Batman” shortly followed) and fed harder-edged small flicks like “Kick-Ass” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” which push and pull between comic-book super-parody and super-solemnity.

“X-Men: First Class” is plenty serious, mostly in its ambitions for world box office domination. With its spy-on-spy globetrotting, old-fashioned villains (we’re back in the U.S.S.R. for a few scenes), flirty but prematurely swinging minis and fan-boy bits (look for an eye-blink-fast tribute to “Basic Instinct” and a cameo from the cult actor Michael Ironside), the whole enterprise has an agreeable lightness, no small thing, given its rapidly moving parts. The weighty themes — post-Holocaust defiance and post-Stonewall pride — are still in play but less laboriously. “Never again,” vows Erik, raising the freak flag. It’s a gesture that the “X-Men” faithful, already schooled in the rights of man and mutant, can dutifully nod at while they and everyone else groove to the sounds of “Green Onions” and the sight of the former Mrs. Don Draper on ice.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Opens on Friday nationwide.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn; written by Mr. Vaughn, Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman, based on a story by Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer and the Marvel Comics series by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby; director of photography, John Mathieson; edited by Lee Smith and Eddie Hamilton; music by Henry Jackman; production design by Chris Seagers; costumes by Sammy Sheldon; produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, Gregory Goodman and Mr. Singer; released by 20th Century Fox. Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes.

WITH: James McAvoy (Charles), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw/Dr. Schmidt), Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert), January Jones (Emma Frost), Oliver Platt (MIB), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Hank/Beast), Zoe Kravitz (Angel Salvadore/Wings), Jason Flemyng (Azazel), Lucas Till (Alex Summers/Havok), Caleb Landry Jones (Cassidy/Banshee), Alex Gonzalez (Janos Questad/Riptide) and Edi Gathegi (Darwin Armondo).

A version of this review appeared in print on June 3, 2011, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: Born That Way, and Proud Of It.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:44 pm

http://www.reelzchannel.com/article/1374/5-reasons-x-men-first-class/

5 Reasons: X-Men: First Class
By Sean Gandert

It's easy to feel underwhelmed by the news of another X-Men movie. After all, we'd be more than happy to pretend the last two never happened. Luckily, it seems that the studio agreed with us and stopped moving into the disappointing future of the series and has instead kicked things back into the past. It's not quite a re-boot, it's not quite a spin-off, but X-Men: First Class promises to bring us back to the good old days of X-Men, which we're excited about for the following reasons.

Brett Ratner has absolutely nothing to do with X-Men: First Class — That's right, the man who ruined the franchise has been allowed absolutely no input about where it goes from here. We've been assured that any ideas that even remotely sound like Rattner's have been banned from the premises in an attempt to make a movie that doesn't suck so much. We can't guarantee this will result in a masterpiece, but with him firmly out of the way at least there's a chance.

Michael Fassbender stars as Magneto — Ian McKellan was the perfect choice for Mangeto, imbuing him with the power and charisma the role really needs. We thought there was no way of casting a young Magneto who would do him justice… Then they cast Michael Fassbender in the part and we realized how wrong we were. He even looks a bit like McKellen if you squint really hard and imagine his face melting.

Emma Frost/Moira MacTaggert/Mystique — Our Summer 2011's Comic Book Hotties article was dominated by entries from X-Men First Class and, to put it lightly, Emma Frost has never been noted for piling on layers of clothes.

The Hellfire Club — The three (three-and-a-half?) X-Men movies of the last decade had some definite high points, especially in X2, but part of their downfall was that they began to feel pretty same-y. Magneto was always stirring up some trouble, Wolverine always had to have a dual, etc. But First Class pulls away from that by basing its story around the much more modern Hellfire Club, something that's finally a new element in the X-Men flicks. This is a welcome change that promises to effect the movie perhaps even more than its 1962 setting.

Matthew Vaughn — With Kick-Ass Vaughan already proved he understands how to make a superhero movie that works… and that was even without having any superheroes around. Now that he's being given a whole toy chest full of them and crazy amounts of cash, we're anxious to see what he can do with them.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:45 pm

http://www.mlive.com/movies/index.ssf/2011/06/x-ceptional_prequel_gives_x-me.html

Exceptional prequel gives 'X-Men' series new life
Published: Thursday, June 02, 2011, 1:00 PM Updated: Monday, June 06, 2011, 8:47 PM
James Sanford By James Sanford

X-Men.jpgHandoutOn a mission: Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender, left foreground) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, right foreground) lead Cassidy (Caleb Landry Jones, left), Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence), Dr. Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne), Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), and Alex Summers (Lucas Till) in a battle to prevent nuclear war in "X-Men: First Class."

In the same way that Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” and J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” gave those once-fading franchises an invigorating jolt of energy and imagination, “X-Men: First Class” reinvents the popular Marvel Comics-inspired series.

The series peaked with 2003’s crackling “X2” and more or less sputtered out with the so-so “X-Men: The Last Stand” and Hugh Jackman’s mostly mediocre “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” “First Class” is an origins story as well, although it’s far more exciting, absorbing and stylish than “Wolverine.”

It’s apparent that director and co-screenwriter Matthew Vaughn (who collaborated on the story with Jane Goldman and “Thor” authors Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz) is a man on a mission.

The first half-hour of “First Class” juggles flashbacks to 1944 that give us early glimpses of the boys who will grow up to become Professor Charles Xavier and his nemesis, Magneto, with almost frantic hopscotching around the globe, circa late 1962. The pieces eventually will fall into place, and when they do, “First Class” truly lives up to its title.

FILM REVIEW

’X-Men: First Class’

3.5 out of 4 stars

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

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

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Run time: 132 minutes

The Cold War is nearing a chilly peak as American and Soviet forces flex their military might. While Vaughn celebrates the styles of the Camelot era, including pencil-thin charcoal-colored ties and go-go dancers in fringe tops and skimpy skirts, he doesn’t use the backdrop as an “Austin Powers”-style camp playground.

Instead, “First Class” turns its eyes toward the early James Bond movies and the “Avengers” TV series, feasting on the Continental chic of the days of swinging London and the jet set.

It’s an early indicator that this is something more than your standard superhero story. As in the previous “X Men” installments, much is made of the tension between the Mutant population and the “normal” people; putting this theme into a pre-Civil Rights, pre-hippie time when conformity and “blending in” was of paramount importance gives the concept extra sharpness and sadness.

Raven (the wonderful Jennifer Lawrence), the shape-shifting young woman who will grow up to become Mystique, despises her naturally azure skin and amber eyes. When she meets the brilliant but shy Hank (Nicholas Hoult), who tells her “you have the most incredible cellular structure I’ve ever seen,” Raven practically radiates joy. Mutants, apparently, have to take their compliments where they can find them.

Hank (who has hairy, super-strong hands where his feet should be) and Raven are two of the gifted teenagers recruited for a new training program by the telepathic Xavier (James McAvoy) and telekinetically talented Erik Lehnsherr (charismatic Michael Fassbender), the German concentration camp survivor fated to transform himself into Magneto.

Other soon-to-be students include Alex (Lucas Till), who hurls rings of deadly fire; Sean (Caleb Landry Jones), capable of using his otherworldly voice to shatter glass; and Angel (Zoe Kravitz), able to sprout oversized dragonfly-like wings whenever she feels like it. When the group sits around, comparing talents and sharing stories, Vaughn infuses the scene with dry humor that makes it seem like a warped outtake from MTV’s “The Real World.”

Xavier and Lehnsherr need the youngsters to sharpen their skills in order to battle Lehnsherr’s old enemy, a former Nazi associate who now goes by the name Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and has learned to absorb raw power in order to keep himself eerily youthful.

While the potential nuclear war between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. terrifies most of the world, Shaw and his partner, Emma Frost (a suitably sultry January Jones), see it as a delicious opportunity to create havoc and sow dissent among the future X-Men.

“You can stay and fight for people who hate and fear you,” Shaw tells the conflicted kids, “or you can join me and live like kings and queens.”

In addition to generating a fair amount of solid suspense, “First Class” does an impressive job of constructing compelling backstories for its major players, most notably Lehnsherr, whose slow journey to the darker side is both gripping and startling.

McAvoy and Fassbender establish strong, complex personalities that carry much of the film, and Bacon plays Shaw not as a cackling, flamboyant super villain but as a savvy, opportunistic psychopath whose ability to remain calm in the face of calamity makes him an unnerving presence.

While there are plenty of superb special effects in “First Class,” Vaughn and his cast never lose sight of the drama as friendships are formed and broken, alliances are established and destinies are determined. That gives the movie the kind of thrills no digital wizardry could ever match.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:45 pm

http://www.examiner.com/film-in-cleveland/movie-openings-for-june-2-2011

Movie Openings for June 2, 2011

June 2, 2011 12:51 pm ET

Mario McKellop

X-Men - First Class: Layer Cake and Kick Ass director Matthew Vaughan resurrects the X-Men film franchise with this Batman Begins meets Mad Men take on the long running Marvel comic book series. The film, which is in continuity with Bryan Singer's earlier 2000's movies, tells the story of Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto's (Michael Fassbender) formation of the first group of X-Men in Kennedy’s America. At first blush, this film held little appeal for me. While Singer's film's were entertaining and pleasingly shot – there was a wonderful sense of Kubrickian dread in his mis-en-scene – they were more than a little pretentious and haphazardly plotted. A return to that universe, especially after Brett Ratner's franchise derailing X-Men: The Last Stand seemed a like misstep. But then as the film's release date grew closer and the film's promotional showed it to be a more political film with strong lead performances, I found myself more and more intrigued by it. I still have my reservations, such as lead actress January Jones' replicant like lack of emotion, but Vaughan has proven himself a talented action director and watching the X-Men disarm Communist missiles in midair is more appealing than watching them struggle against awkward metaphors for homosexuality. Also starring Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon and Oliver Platt.
Advertisement

Fun Fact: British boy band Take That will provide the film's official song, a track called “Love Love”.

If thundering superhero action isn't your thing you can always check out the latest offerings from Cedar Lee Theater. This week they'll be featuring Incendies and Winter in Wartime. Icendies is a Québécois film that was a 2011 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film about a brother and sister who are faced with a host of mysteries after there mother dies and the find out that they have a heretofore unknown sibling and their presumed dead father is alive. It was one of the most critically acclaimed movies of last year and definitely worth a look. Trailer. Winter in Wartime is a 2008 Dutch film about a young boy who tries to cope with the effects the second World War has on his small town. Trailer. Who needs mutants when you can watch the best of world cinema in a venue that serves beer?
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:46 pm

http://theweek.com/article/index/215862/x-men-first-class-a-summer-blockbuster-done-right

X-Men First Class: A summer blockbuster done right?
Most critics are heaping praise on the surprisingly nuanced and retro-stylish prequel to the popular comic book franchise
posted on June 2, 2011, at 12:48 PM
"X-Men: First Class," starring James McAvoy, takes moviegoers back to the early 1960s days of mutant bonding.

Best Opinion: Toronto Star, AP, Boston Globe

Another summer weekend, another bloated-budget franchise flick opening at the multiplex. This Friday, it's X-Men: First Class, the prequel to the popular X-Men trilogy. While most summer action-movies aren't even expected to deliver a coherent plot or affecting performances, critics are praising the work of director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass), the X-Men: First Class cast — lead by James McAvoy (Atonement) and Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre) — and the story, which recounts the early days of the superhero mutants set against the backdrop of the 1960s and the Cold War. Is this a summer tent-pole movie done right for once? (Watch the movie's trailer.)

It's far better than it has to be: In a typical "summer of blah sequels and pointless remakes," X-Men: First Class shows that "even cash cows can moo intelligently," says Peter Howell in the Toronto Star. Director Matthew Vaughn brings a fresh vision to the stale franchise, and stars McAvoy and Fassbender — two of the "top young actors of their day" — elevate the sometimes-absurd material. This is an "all-too-rare thing": a "brainy blockbuster" that gets you thinking between explosions.
"X-Men: First Class: Brainy blockbuster"

And one of the best Marvel movies yet: "Packed with action, humor, retro 1960s style that's both campy and sexy, and a revisionist history lesson," this is "one of the best Marvel adaptations" ever, says David Germain for the Associated Press. Despite the large cast, the story is focused and coherent, and the art direction is a big-budget riff on the cheesy look of early Bond movies. If the studio can assemble the same talented team for the next installment, this new X-Men prequel trilogy could overshadow the original.
"Review: X-Men prequel is first-class affair"

Please. It's not that good: This "is perfectly fine summer folderol," says Ty Burr in the Boston Globe. It's "epic enough on its own terms" and "much more satisfying than the last X-Men offshoot," but unlikely to transform its genre or engage moviegoers who eschew "characters who spit gobs of flaming phlegm." Despite strong casting, the movie's treatment of actual historical events, namely the Holocaust and the Cuban missile crisis, is dubious, "disingenuous and occasionally unsettling."
"X-Men: First Class"
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:47 pm

http://www.hollywoodoutbreak.com/2011/06/02/a-view-to-a-thrill-x-men-first-class-delivers-slam-bang-sublime-entertainment/

2Jun2011

X-Men: First Class, a compelling character study disguised as high concept summer entertainment, is an origin story that should entice viewers to revisit the first three X-Men films. To use that oft-quoted T.S. Eliot line, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Directed by surefooted filmmaker Matthew Vaughn, X-Men: First Class delves into the deep bond between Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) and Charles “Professor X” Xavier (James McAvoy), diametrically opposed men who, during the early 1960s, forged a formidable alliance to take down Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), the mutant who engineered the Cuban Missile Crises.

Shaw’s connection to Erik begins in WWII, when he violently attempts to mold the youth’s powers, killing the boy’s mother in the process. Twenty years later, Erik is now a multilingual assassin (and yes, the globetrotting action sequences prove Fassbender should be the next 007) bent on slaying the Nazis doctors who enslaved him, with Shaw serving as his final target. Erik is marked by tragedy, and his only mode of survival is to pretty much rage against the dying of the light (or in his case, anyone who stands in the way).

Charles is born into a life of privilege. Blessed with telepathic powers, the Oxford grad spends his days studying genetics, with his best friend, fellow mutant Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) by his side. Always eager for connection, Charles is a nurturer and teacher who believes humans and mutants can co-exist peacefully. When CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) uncovers Sebastian Shaw’s plan to start World War III, she enlists Charles to help her stop Shaw and educate her higher-ups on the existence of mutants.

During a botched operation, Charles crosses paths with Erik, and the two, aided by a high tech government head-piece named Cerebro, gather a group of superhuman teenagers to help them harness their powers. In a span of minutes, we are introduced to Sean “Banshee” Cassidy (Caleb Landry Jones), whose sonic screams gives him the power of flight, Alex “Havok” Summers (Lucas Till), a youth who emits circular energy waves of destruction, Darwin (Edi Gathegi), an individual who can adapt to any environment, and Angel (Zoe Kravitz), a waif blessed with insect-like wings.

Shaw, however, has his own crew of troublemakers (they’re called the Hellfire Club), with telepath Emma Frost (January Jones) serving as his right hand woman and teleporter Azazel (Jason Flemyng) and whirlwind creating Riptide (Alex Gonzalez) providing muscle as his henchmen. The two teams come to a head during the Cuban Missile Crisis, an incident which serves as a profound and galvanizing moment for each of the mutants. When the dust is settled and the mission is accomplished, the mutants have to choose their leader: Professor X or Magneto.

The film’s strongest asset lies in the chemistry between Fassbender and McAvoy, both pitch perfect as leaders who realize that, even in future confrontations, their bond will never be broken. It is Charles who teaches Erik to summon all aspects of his personality, and not just anger, to fully harness and control his immense powers. Though generous in spirit, Charles is also a flawed figure, never fully accepting Raven in her pure blue form. While Charles and Hank “Beast” McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) are bending over to be accepted by humans, Magneto convinces Raven that any shape or color, as long you’re a mutant, is beautiful. For the first time in her life, Raven (aka Mystique), is empowered, and her eventual split from Charles is actually understandable.

Magneto is bent on leading his mutants into a world that will never answer to humans. He has seen the evil that men do, and even though Professor X is his best friend, the battle lines are drawn. Thanks to X-Men: First Class, yet another Grade-A feature from Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake, Stardust), that war is far from over.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:51 pm

http://www.straight.com/article-395782/vancouver/xmen-first-class

X-Men: First Class is fresh, mutant fun

X-Men: First Class delivers an entertaining mutant history lesson in which the tortured past of Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is revealed, which explains his future self.

Back to the early days of Charles Xavier and Magneto—and the swinging ‘60s—X-Men: First Class is fresh, mutant fun.
By John Lekich, June 2, 2011

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence. Rated PG.

Hard-core fans of the popular X-Men series can breathe a welcome sigh of relief. X-Men: First Class is easily the freshest take on the Marvel comic book saga in years. In this prequel set around the Cuban Missile Crisis of the early ’60s, director and cowriter Matthew Vaughn makes the most of a vibrant young cast. Best of all, you don’t have to be slavishly addicted to the series to appreciate this latest offering. In fact, you can go in knowing absolutely nothing about the complex back story and have a perfectly marvellous time.

It would be unfair to give away more than a hint of the plot. But the story focuses on the early days of fellow mutants Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), before they became sworn enemies. Blessed with their own special superpowers, each of them has a very different destiny. McAvoy’s Professor X—aka Charles Xavier—is a charming, morally upright intellectual who longs to use his mind-reading abilities to benefit mankind. Magneto’s tortured past as a young mutant named Erik leaves him obsessed with killing the evil Sebastian Shaw. (Kevin Bacon at his weaselly best.)

The nimble screenplay manages to work in a number of characters and relationships with an admirable sense of balance. There’s not a weak link in the entire cast. But—along with genuinely appealing performances from McAvoy and Fassbender—Jennifer Lawrence is particularly effective as Raven, a shape-shifting mutant struggling to come to terms with her status as a social outcast.

There’s plenty of fun to go around, ranging from impressive special effects to the kind of ’60s-flavoured eye candy that flirts with early James Bond. But the real accomplishment is how utterly convincing everything feels. With so much preening self-parody out there, X-Men: First Class deserves congratulations.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:05 am

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/movies/young-and-mutant-in-x-men-first-class-1.2920484

Review: "X-Men: First Class"

Plot: The Cold War origin story of the mutant superheroes.

Bottom line: Fun, fast and stylish; extra points for smarts, too.

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

When/Where: Opening Friday at area theaters, with some midnight showings Thursday night.

Length: 2:10
Young and mutant in 'X-Men: First Class'

Originally published: June 1, 2011 4:10 PM
Updated: June 2, 2011 12:00 AM
By RAFER GUZMÁN rafer.guzman@newsday.com

Quick ReadThe Cold War origin story of the mutant superheroes.
Erik (Michael Fassbender), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Charles

Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film/Murray Close | Erik (Michael Fassbender), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Charles (James McAvoy), Moira (Rose Byrne), Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and Havok (Lucas Till) join forces to prevent the greatest disaster the world has ever known in "X-Men: First Class."

Marginalization, persecution, assimilation -- are these themes too weighty for a summer superhero flick? Not for "X-Men: First Class," the first such film since 2008's "The Dark Knight" that has something on its mind other than lavish effects and high decibels.

"X-Men: First Class" rewinds to the Cold War 1960s -- the era in which the comics launched -- to show us the mutant superheroes in...
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:14 am

http://www.littlewhitelies.co.uk/theatrical-reviews/x-men-first-class-15240

X-Men: First Class review
Released
June 1 2011
Directed By
Matthew Vaughn
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon
Jonathan Williams
Thursday, June 02 2011 11:29 GMT

Matthew Vaughn must have taken some small measure of satisfaction watching the poorly constructed shambles of X-Men: The Last Stand, the film he (wisely) walked away from. That satisfaction might have turned to nervousness when he agreed to take on X-Men: First Class and fix up, what was, by anyone’s standards, a moribund and cynical franchise.

Somehow, however, he’s managed to turn the tide. While not the phoenix like rebirth the X-Men needed, First Class is certainly a shot of adrenalin to the heart.

First Class documents the origins of mutants in the world and the X-Men as we know them, and Vaughn takes every opportunity to confound expectation without straying too far from the established canon of the films and comics. Seeing Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) as a slightly nerdy but flirtatious student, hitting on girls around campus, is a fun start and sets the tone for a surprisingly comical film.

Various famed mutants are slowly revealed, including fan favourites, Mystique, Azazel and Beast (a surprisingly refrained, pitch-perfect performance from Nicholas Hoult), but it’s with the introduction of Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender) that the film really takes hold.

Together, McAvoy and Fassbender form the axle that First Class pivots around and perfectly switch from comedy double act (best demonstrated in a delightful round-the-world-montage) to the conflict that’s the sub-text of the movie.

The X-Men as allegory for racial/religious/social prejudice and hatred has always been crudely exploited in previous movies, never getting beyond overtly sign-posted parallels and cheap platitudes. But with actors of Fassbender and McAvoy’s calibre to play with, Vaughn goes some way to exploring the issue with more subtlety.

As the characters’ differences grow within an increasingly uneasy alliance against a mutual foe – a wonderfully extravagant, Bond-style villain, only missing a white cat to stroke – you start thinking this a pretty good comic book movie. And it is, until you remember the high bar set by The Dark Knight and see that First Class isn’t really in the same league.

And that’s a shame. The X-Men universe is filled with philosophical and political ideas that would make great cinema. In First Class Vaughn takes welcome, tentative steps in to that world, but this should still be seen as a missed opportunity.

This review has been updated to reflect the fact that we got the title of X-Men: The Last Stand wrong. D’oh.
Anticipation:
Kick-Ass with super powers? Anticipation Score
Enjoyment:
Great performances just about bring this one home. Enjoyment Score
In Retrospect:
Second class at best. In Retrospect Score
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:20 am

http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-06-02/entertainment/29627433_1_michael-fassbender-matthew-vaughn-emma-frost

'X-Men: First Class' review: Franchise prequel offers engaging introductions to familiar superheroes
BY ELIZABETH WEITZMAN
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, June 02, 2011

Prequel exploring the origins of Professor X and Magneto. With James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender. Director: Matthew Vaughn (2:12). PG-13: partial nudity, sexuality, violence. At area theaters.

The kind of movie that goes great with extra butter, Matthew Vaughn's entry in the "X-Men" canon is a popcorn flick deluxe. It's big, bright, savvy and so expansive you'll undoubtedly leave feeling you got your money's worth.

That's a valuable gift in a season that's already brought formulaic follow-ups to "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Hangover." Still, it's hard to ignore the nagging feeling that "X-Men: First Class" doesn't quite live up to its title.

What this fifth installment does, however, is offer some engaging introductions. While you may already know Professor X and Magneto from the previous films, this is our first chance to meet them as Charles and Erik, friends who bond over secret powers.

Even as a student, Charles (James McAvoy) is the voice of reason, a telepath who encourages Erik (Michael Fassbender) to use his magnetic strength for good. But as the former victim of a sick Nazi doctor named Shaw (Kevin Bacon), Eric has seen too much pain to share Charles' peaceful views.

In the 'X-Men: First Class' prequel, fans meet Professor X (James… (Murray Close)

Shaw's goal is to push humankind to destruction, leaving mutants to rule. So in 1962, he and Emma Frost (a blank January Jones) arrange a nuclear face-off between the Russians and Americans. In response Charles gathers a team of students, including those who will eventually become Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Angel (Zoe Kravitz) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult).

Alas, while the mutants represent a superior state of existence, the movie never evolves to that higher level.

Of all the big-screen superhero franchises, this one arguably has the most soul, the most potential to make grander statements even while blowing stuff up. In contrast to original series director Bryan Singer, though, Vaughn isn't interested in political subtexts. He's interested in seeing his actresses in lingerie and his actors surrounded by cool effects.

Still, while most of the cast makes little impression, the wonderful McAvoy is a perfect leader, simultaneously calm and charismatic. And a scenery-chewing Bacon provides a wickedly entertaining villain. The preparations for their battle are well-plotted if predictable, with the meeting itself suitably explosive. What's better than guns and grenades? A guy who can turn each on his enemy at will.

So even if it never rises to its own challenge, this chapter is an entertaining visit with some fascinating characters. And as soon as it's over, we start wondering when we'll get to see them again.

DON'T MISS: The recruitment montage, in which Charles and Erik go looking for other mutants, includes an amusingly unexpected candidate.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:21 am

http://www.watoday.com.au/entertainment/movies/inside-info-from-the-xmen-prequel-20110601-1fg41.html

Inside info from the X-Men prequel
Los Angeles
June 1, 2011

X-Men flies in First Class

X-Men: First Class finally delivers the great comic book cinema that this franchise deserves.

Actor James McAvoy has warned comic book fans to expect the unexpected when they watch X-Men: First Class - one scene in the prequel even sees his mentor character Professor Charles Xavier don drag.

The Last King of Scotland star, who portrays a younger version of the mind-reader previously played by Patrick Stewart, admits director Matthew Vaughn had an oddball approach to making the film and came up with a number of "weird" and "ridiculous" ideas.

"(Vaughn) goes, 'Eh... let's have you dress as a prostitute.' And I'm like, 'I play Professor X'. (It's) weird, weird s**t. It's not like dangerous filmmaking or anything, but it's fun, it's irreverent, and it's not what you'd expect... You have to commit, to try and believe it even more, maybe because it's so ridiculous," he told New York Magazine.

But McAvoy insists the superhero mutant movie will be worth the wait. The Scottish star recently admitted he and co-star Michael Fassbender had their reservations about the final cut of the film, but were relieved when they realised it was actually good.

"I phoned Michael within a half hour (of seeing it) saying, 'Dude, you've got to see this movie really quick because you're gonna be relieved'," he told WENN.

"We were worried because sometimes these things are a nightmare to make and it's well documented so there's no point in hiding out but it turned out really good. I think we always thought it could either be really different and really brilliant or really bad and really different."

Meanwhile actress Jennifer Lawrence turned to Rebecca Romijn before taking over her role in the film - and asked for tips on how to deal with sitting in make-up for hours on end.

The Winter's Bone star plays blue-skinned shape shifter Mystique in the prequel, a role which Romijn made famous in the first three movies and requires the actress to be spray-painted blue every day.

And Lawrence asked the Ugly Betty star for advice on how to feel less restricted by the role's heavy cosmetics - with Romijn telling her to ignore all the strict warnings given by the make-up artists.

"Her advice was mostly just kind of, 'Don't worry about it. Don't listen to what they tell you'," Lawrence told The Washington Post.

"Because they tell you not to drink alcohol or eat spicy food, because they remove the make-up with alcohol. And she just said, 'Don't listen to that. It will drive you crazy.'"

WENN
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:21 am

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/320936/mutants-and-some-history-geekery-xmen-spinoff-first-class

Mutants and some history geekery in 'X-Men' spin-off, 'First Class'
By JULIEN MERCED C. MATABUENA
June 2, 2011, 2:46pm

The famous mutants, before difference in beliefs caught up with them (Photo by Murray Close/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

MANILA, Philippines – New “X-Men” film, “X-Men: First Class,” is sure to be a hit not only to its fans but among 20th century-history buffs.

The entirety of this prequel film runs parallel to real events in world history, beginning with the Nazi occupation of Poland in the mid-'40s continuing throughout the whole Cuban Missile Crisis between the US and Soviet Union during the Cold War in the early '60s.

Without giving out spoilers, the whole film is about the young life of Professor Charles Xavier (later Professor X, played by James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (later Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender). It tells how, despite having polar back stories (the typical “one had it easy, the other had it otherwise”), the two met and end up as – surprise – close friends.

Other than that, “First Class” relates how Xavier and Erik joined forces to track down their very first batch of young mutants, took them under their wings to train, only to split into two groups (the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants) later on when the two men severed ties due to a major difference in their beliefs. We also get to know how Professor X ended up on a wheelchair and how Magneto acquired his "silly hat."

As a bonus, we also have a glimpse of some of the more familiar mutants like the then-kid Storm when Xavier tried on Dr. Hank McCoy’s (later Beast, played by Nicholas Hoult) mutant-tracker invention Cerebro for the first time. There are also a couple of surprise cameos by actors who were in the previous “X-Men” films, one of which actually drew a loud collective “Whoa!” from the audience.

Of course, not everyone who will watch "First Class" is an “X-Men” fan who knows the entire story by heart. However, it’s safe to assume that a huge chunk of the population has at least heard of these awesome fictional mutants. Disregarding the “what-could-haves,” “what-should-bes” and “it-should-have-been-retained,” as is usual of diehard fans to point out when their favorite comics/books are adapted to the big screen, this second “X-Men” spin-off is a good one.

At some point while watching the film, the involvement of mutants in the almost nuke-war between the two warring nations feels as if what can be seen onscreen is actually some sort of well-guarded secret by the CIA that's only being revealed to the world for the first time after almost 50 years. It's as if what we knew all along, what we'd been taught in our history classes, had been part of a conspiracy theory instead. The line between truth and fiction is easily blurred here, indeed.

More, the use of aired speeches by then US President John F. Kennedy contributed to the realistic feel of the movie. But as long as you know your world history and you're not iffy with it getting a bit "modified" for movie/aesthetic purposes, you're good. If not so much, well, one would still be able to enjoy the film if they're expecting well-executed CG effects perfectly meshed with good plot.

According to online reports, “First Class” is said to be the first movie in a trilogy that would focus on the beginnings of “X-Men.” If we’re going to base it on “First Class”’s ending, it seems we do have a possible follow-up film to look out for.

Rounding up the cast of “X-Men: First Class” are Rose Byrne (CIA agent Dr. Moira MacTaggert), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw), January Jones (Frost), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven Darkholme/Mystique), Zoe Kravitz (Angel Salvadore), Caleb Landry Jones (Sean Cassidy/Banshee), Lucas Till (Alex Summers/Havok) and Edi Gathegi (Armando Muñoz/Darwin).

Directed by Matthew Vaugh (“Kick Ass,” “Stardust”), “X-Men: First Class” hits local theaters beginning June 2.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:23 am

http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/edulis/2011/06/13/x-men-first-class-a-political-philosophers-summer-blockbuster/

‘X-Men: First Class’: A Political Philosopher’s Summer Blockbuster?
by Ezra Dulis

X-Men: First Class had virtually everything going against it in pre-production– series fatigue (it’s the fifth entry in Fox’s X-Men saga), none of the original actors in starring roles, 1960s period costumes–on paper, it seemed like the ultimate studio cash-in, only to be outdone by the inevitable X-Men in Space: Electric Space Boogaloo from Space (in 3D!). Fortunately, it’s nothing of the sort.

Despite many flaws common to the superhero genre, First Class is quite possibly the best film in the series, not because it’s chock full of impressive special effects and action, but because broiling beneath its main characters’ performances are ideas–not just any ideas, but the central political and philosophical questions of the film’s time period whose minutiae our modern pundits still grapple over. This is not so much a review as a jumping-off point for discussion, so beware of spoilers ahead.



There's really one one person here worth caring about.

First Class focuses on young Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Professor X (James McAvoy), at this point known as Erik Lehnshnerr and Charles Xavier, framing their worldviews through their respective experiences of World War II. Magneto is a Holocaust survivor forced to watch his own mother gunned down by Sebastian Shaw (a scenery-chewing Kevin Bacon), while X, though British, lives untouched by the war in New York, comfortable and affluent. As such, Magneto manifests the deep cynicism of Europeans, who decades before the first world war prophesied that civilization would make war a thing of the past, and X embodies the optimism of his young, victorious, prosperous nation.

If the film has one fatal flaw, it’s that McAvoy’s Professor X is a monstrously one-dimensional good guy–perfectly empathetic, perfectly charismatic, perfectly humble. He’s given a few humanizing moments of triviality in the first act, but once the central conflict kicks in, he merely serves as the angelic foil to the deeply tormented, deeply human, and deeply moving Magneto. Michael Fassbender, best known for his brief turn in Inglourious Basterds, deserves an Oscar nomination for his work here. He takes charge of the role with intimidating physicality, harnessing intense emotions into subtle shifts in Magneto’s inevitable path to top-hat-and-cape-wearing, mustache-tweaking evil. Yes, though we know exactly where he’s going, Fassbender injects suspense into the actual mechanics of the transformation; we care about him, sitting mortified but silently cheering when he gets his moment of revenge.

And that is the central drama of First Class: it’s not the Cuban Missile Crisis, stopping the madman Sebastian Shaw, or the shoehorned attempts at modern political salience (one a lame Patriot Act dig, the other a tired “Baby, you were born this way!” after-school special monologue)–it’s that the protagonist, for a reason we completely sympathize with, is making a horrendous, morally bankrupt choice. And this is where the politics kick in: Despite the film’s attempt to morally equate the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., Magneto’s arc shows the fundamental difference between the political philosophies behind the Soviet Union and America.

Young Erik Lehnshnerr suffers at the hands of Nazis, those who used superficial traits as justification for declaring certain human beings ontologically inferior to themselves, while Charles Xavier flourishes in the wealth of Americans, whose nation was founded on the idea that God creates common men no differently than kings. I hesitate to continue referring to it as American vs. Soviet ideology; it really is served best by the terms of Mark Levin’s bestselling book: Liberty and Tyranny. This contrast screams at the audience in a central dialogue scene wherein X and Magneto discuss their betrayal by the mutant-phobic CIA. Trying his best to dissuade revenge, X remarks, “We have it in us to be the better men.” Magneto coldly retorts, “We already are the better men.”

The heart of tyranny is the belief that one knows better than another how he should live his life (or whether he should live at all) because somehow the one is superior over the other. Of course, Magneto is a lot more powerful than the average human–able to control metal with his mind, pull a submarine into the air and all that–but power does not equal righteousness, which X was telling him in the first place. In the film’s climactic action scene, Magneto decides that it would be best to start a nuclear war between America and the Soviets, wholly embracing the eugenicist ideology that killed his mother. That kernel of tyranny, the belief in his own ascendancy, becomes the justification for genocide.

But the heart of liberty is the belief that each person, though they may sometimes get it wrong, ultimately has their best interests at heart, and that self-interest should be respected. Charles Xavier realizes that his self-interest–meeting, grooming, and uniting mutants around the world–is not inherently at odds with the interests of humans, so his progress does not have to come at others’ expense, as Magneto has decided. The parallels between our metal-tossing protagonist and the real world are sadly spot-on. The authors of the Frankfurt School, thankful as they were for the shelter and freedom America provided as they fled Nazi Germany, soon propagated the same insidious ideology that brought about Nazism: that some humans are more equal than others, and those more equal should revolt and take away the way of life enjoyed by those who are less equal.

These philosophical undercurrents give X-Men: First Class the heft that its predecessors strained for but never reached. Whether director Matthew Vaughn intended them as subtext or not, the clashing ideas of Magneto and Professor X constitute the primary political conflict of the 20th century stripped to its basic arguments. Coupled with Fassbender’s can’t-miss performance, this is one summer blockbuster that’s gonna stick with me for a little while.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:23 am

http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/3302/%E2%80%98x-men%E2%80%99-prequel-very-inventive

‘X-men’ prequel very inventive
By: Jordan Mari S. De Leon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
4:50 am | Monday, June 13th, 2011

Who would have thought the world-changing events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War had mutants involved?

In “X-Men: First Class,” a loose adaptation of the comic book of the same name, not only did mutants, led by director Matthew Vaughn, had a hand in rearranging historical events in human history but they also breathe fresh life to this superhero franchise which has produced two so-so films the past years. With a terrific cast, superb performances, a strong narrative, and well-executed special effects, the film evolves into a mutant itself—raising the bar for comic book-based superhero films and, in effect, giving the franchise more of a reboot rather than a prequel.

Set in a time when mutants are still coming out of the world, the film takes the viewer back to the 1960s when Professor X and Magneto are simply known as Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), respectively, and are still learning their powers. Together, they lead a group of young mutants to stop Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a villainous mutant, from igniting World War III.

First-class take

Just like the first “X-Men,” the film begins with a clip showing a young Erik Lensherr forcibly separated from his parents in a Nazi concentration camp. But the film goes further and explains how Lensherr was not always an evil guy as he was actually pushed over the fence by a manipulative Sebastian Shaw who was then planning to start a global war.

Twenty years later, Lensherr seeks to exact revenge on Shaw, but he crosses paths with a young Charles Xavier, who is tapped by CIA agent Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne) to stop the mutant villain as well.

Seeing the onscreen team-up of two iconic mutants who are future sworn enemies is not only a treat for geeks, but also for moviegoers who simply want to be entertained.

What follows is a whirlwind sequence around the globe—Las Vegas, Miami, Argentina, Oxford, Washington DC—as the duo attempts to recruit young mutants to help them fight Shaw, who has recruited superhuman friends of his own (there’s a surprising cameo here).

But while the film seemingly can’t stay put, it does maintain its focus on the most important aspect: the relationship between Charles Xavier and Magneto, which sets forth the formation of the X-Men and the Brotherhood, and which, not to mention, is the movie’s driving force.

Here we are shown how they were once best friends who share their deep love for their mutant kind until they differ and break up over the question of mutant assimilation.

Without a doubt, this is Fassbender’s coming-out role. He effortlessly eases into his role as easily as he can bend metal. While the past “X-Men” films have us loathing him as the villain, here we find us cheering for him as a hero after seeing his sad origins.

McAvoy does a laudable role as a sleek, smart Xavier. Also impressive is Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Mystique. Her story in the film, not to mention her chemistry with Xavier onscreen, dramatically reveals how she used to be much more than Magneto’s future sidekick.

New mutant breed

While most fans of the comic books may have mixed reactions about the different lineup of characters in the film (in the comics it was Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Girl and Professor X), the new characters inject new blood into the film as a whole. The new mutants—Havoc (Lucas Till), a female Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) together with a young Beast (Nicholas Hoult)— make notable debuts but receive too little screen time for us to become really familiar with them.

But they’re involved in arguably the film’s coolest scene—donning (with Magneto) the original X-men costumes.

The finale, as expected, lays the groundwork for Xavier and Magneto’s future enmity. But the way “X-Men First Class” ends —underdeveloped characters, loopholes, and Fassbender’s potential to really develop Magneto’s character—just makes us beg for a “first class” sequel.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:24 am

http://carsonnow.org/story/06/12/2011/moview-review-x-men-first-class-hot-and-heavy-fantasy-film

Moview Review: 'X Men: First Class' a hot and heavy fantasy film
Submitted by Sam Bauman on Sun, 06/12/2011 - 1:23pm

I missed a couple of the "X Man" interations so I can't offer much in the way of comparisons, but world opening audience size was down from the last version. That said, 'X Man: First Class," now screening at the Fandango Galaxy multiplex in Carson City, is a film of its times, a melange of fast cuts, amazing technology which reveals its comic-book birthright with fantasy and some fact.

Seems that there are mutants among us (That's news? Not really, but never mind.) and Prof. X (James McAvoy is out to round them up. He's assisted by Eric Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) (he's also Magneto, founder of the good mutants' s society) although they have differences. Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw is the bad guy, a former Nazi scientist whose powers have enabled him to remain youthful and determined to have his own mutant society out to destroy us plain old humanoids without mutant powers. He was the one who discovered Prof. X's powers as a youth and has now founded the Hellfire Club, the bad mutants who want to take over things as opposed to Prof X's good mutants.

Then there's the mutants themselves, such Lawrence as Raven who can change from a nifty blonde to a nifty blue-skilled, pimple-ridden beauty at the drop of a director's cue. There's more, one with hands for feet (Rave's eventual boyfriend), another who can unless torrents of fire or raw power. There's more but let;s not get too complex.

The CIA gets involved with Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira MacTaggert who falls for Prof. X. (Forgot to mention: this all takes place in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis and in a stunning battle scene with the U.S. Navy blockading Cuba as a Soviet freighter with missiles heads for Fidel-land.)

So the X men and women in a radical jet plane (looks like the RF-81 to me) are on the scene pursuing Kevin Bacon's mighty submarine. Big confrontation on a beach as missiles, Navy shells and rockets fly about (the pictures of the Navy fleet suck, poorly done amid all the other technical excellence) but mutants on both sides send the barrage going back and forth.

Prof. X heads the guilty here, but he's fun, even when he's thinking; he shows he is doing this with a forefinger cocked against his temple. Dah. (Lawrence Belcher is the youthful Prof. X.) Bryne as the CIA agent is charmingly normal amid all the kooky types. Fassbender makes a fine hero-type and Bacon a nice enough villain. All the women are beautiful, wise and strong.Director Matthew Vaughn keeps the wheels turning and on the w. Technical stuff is pretty terrific and it isn't in 3-D.

If you like your action fast and fantastic, settle into one of the Galaxy's comfy lounge seats and enjoy. OK, so it's comic book level. All those millions of comic book readers (viewers) can't be all wrong.

— Sam Bauman

Cast and Crew
James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier / Professor X : The telepathic leader and founder of the X-Men and one of Magneto's best friends until conflicts of opinion create a rivalry between them and their teams. McAvoy admitted that he did not read comics when he was a kid, but added that he was a fan of the cartoons from the age of 10. While he describes the older Charles Xavier as "a monk... a selfless, egoless almost sexless force for the betterment of humanity and mortality," he says that the younger Xavier is a very different person, "It's quite fun because the complete opposite of that is an ego-fueled, sexed up self-serving dude. And not going too far with it, but he's definitely got an ego and he's definitely got a sex drive as well." McAvoy admitted he felt that there was a comparison between Professor X/Magneto and Martin Luther King Jr./Malcom X stating, "A lot of the time... in the comic books, Erik comes and goes; he goes back and forward really in what he believes and how he is going to achieve it. And in this film it's sort of like meeting them at a point where they are still finding out who they are and you are still seeing some of the events that shaped them, not through their early life, but some of the key events in the sort of equal rights or civil rights struggle that helped shape them."

Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto: The leader and founder of the Brotherhood of Mutants and one of Professor X's best friends until conflicts of opinion create a rivalry between them and their teams. Fassbender said that Matthew Vaughn saw him in an audition for one of his other films and just thought that he would be right for this film. After Fassbender read the script, he said he liked it and then he tried to convince the producers that he was right for the part. When reading Magneto's history (he admitted that he did not know that much about the X-Men) he said to himself that he thought the story was going to be really interesting work. When asked if he was a good guy or bad guy at this point he said that he doesn't really think in those terms. He saw Erik as a Machiavellian character. Fassbender also admitted to watching Ian McKellen's performances to get a flavor of what Magneto was like (while also stating that he liked it) but decided to "paint a new canvas" of the character, stating, "So I did my homework and preparation and you want to respect what someone else has done, especially because the fan base really liked what Ian McKellen has done with it. But while I could have gone and studied him as a young man and brought that to the performance, I don't think Matthew is very interested in that. So I'm just going my own way and working with whatever is in the comic books and the script."

Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw: A scientist and the leader of the Hellfire Club, a secret society bent on taking over the world. Shaw is a mutant who can absorb kinetic and radiated energy and redirect it.
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven / Mystique: A shape-shifting mutant and Charles Xavier's childhood friend.
Morgan Lily as Young Raven (10 years)
January Jones as Emma Frost / White Queen: A telepath who can also change her body into diamond form; also a member of the Hellfire Club. Alice Eve was originally announced to play Emma Frost.
Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira MacTaggert: A CIA agent and love interest of Charles Xavier.
Nicholas Hoult as Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy / Beast: A former scientist and political activist who transformed into a frightening looking mutant in an attempt to cure himself, but is kind at heart. Broadway actor Benjamin Walker was previously cast as Beast. He turned down the role to star in the Broadway musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
Oliver Platt as The Man in Black: A CIA agent and head of Division X, a government agency working with the X-Men.
Ray Wise as the United States Secretary of State
Zoë Kravitz as Angel Salvadore: A mutant with housefly wings and acidic saliva.
Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy / Banshee: A mutant capable of ultrasonic screaming used in various ways including as a means of flight.
Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok: A mutant who has the ability to absorb energy and discharge it as blasts.
Edi Gathegi as Armando Muñoz / Darwin: A mutant with the power of "reactive evolution."[
Jason Flemyng as Azazel: A Hellfire Club member who teleports.
Álex González as Janos Quested / Riptide: A mutant with the ability to create powerful whirlwinds from his hands.
— Glenn Morshower as Col. Hendry
— Matt Craven as CIA Director McCone
— Rade Sherbedgia as Russian General
— Michael Ironside as a U.S. Navy Captain
— James Remar as a U.S. General
— Don Creech as CIA Agent William Stryker Sr.

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Produced by: Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner and Bryan Singer
Screenplay by: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Story by: Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer

Based on Characters by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Chris Claremont
Music by: Henry Jackman
Cinematography by: John Mathieson
Editing by: Eddie Hamilton, Lee Smith
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox (United States/Worldwide) Release date(s) June 1, 2011 (United Kingdom)
June 3, 2011
Running time: 132 minutes
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:26 am

http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/entertainment/movies/%22X-Men%3A-First-Class%22

"X-Men: First Class"
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon

Updated: Sunday, 12 Jun 2011, 3:36 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 12 Jun 2011, 11:36 AM EDT

Sy Becker

Rated PG-13
2 hour 10 minutes

(WWLP) Have you ever noticed that whenever an adventure series runs out of steam, the studio keeps it going with a prequel? "X-Men" takes us back to when the now decrepit mutant heroes, Magneto and Professor X were young and virile and torn between embracing the human race or becoming angry renegades.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are fearful of super villain Kevin Bacon, a slimy character, who hopes to mutate his way to world domination.

The elaborate adventure revolves around the "X-Men" choosing sides during the Cuban missile crisis during the 1960s. Up to now Fassbender's been a good guy, but mistrust and low self-esteem have been known to bring out the villain in the best of us. He's now become a danger to more than himself.

Never say never when the studio's prolonging the life of a superhero franchise that was beginning to show wear and tear. The young stars help refresh "X-Men: First Class" into a generally enjoyable visual epic. Especially the super talented Jennifer Lawrence, who’s got much more to offer than the comic strip character she plays in this series.

"X-Men: First Class" may not be the best adventure you've ever seen, but it's a solid crown pleaser as summer blockbusters go, and this one's got to be glad it's getting 3 stars. Now let's see how many sequels they can spin off this one.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:26 am

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/6394/x-men-third-class/

X-men: Third class
June 12, 2011

It seems impossibly difficult to make a movie based on existing material that isn’t a book. Comics, video games, toys all make for bad script, cardboard acting and clichéd emotions. Or at least, that’s what Transformers, Bloodrayne, Prince of Persia and now X-men: First Class lead one to believe.

Plot: Directed by Matthew Vaughn(of Kick-Ass fame) the movie finds us in prequel mode. The setting is the 60s, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, with a brief glimpse of World War 2. Primarily the movie focuses around two characters, Charles Xavier and Eric Lenshher/Magneto and how the world initially comes to grips with the existence of mutants among regular humans with looming international crisis points in the background. The movie takes a few liberties with both the source material and history.

Cast: An all-new cast is led by James McAvoy as the young Charles Xavier(formerly played by Patrick Stewart) and Michael Fassbender as Magneto (formerly played by Sir Ian McKellan). McAvoy and Fassbender are both accomplished actors. Their chemistry in the movie is superb. Many have drawn comparisons between McAvoy’s Xavier and Fassbender’s Magneto to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. The other charecters -Mystique, Beast, Banshee, Havoc, Angel Salvadore, Azazel, Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw, Darwin and Riptide - however, are just sad. Many have just a couple of lines at most and those too of “So what’s your power?” variety.

Costumes & CGI: In a word, bad. Havoc’s plasma beams are like red hula hoops around him. Mystique is ugly and Beast is a cheap stuffed toy. People were actually chuckling when Beast first showed up. Riptide’s whirlwinds are two Tasmanian Devils from the Looney Toons gang. Azazel’s face is a Halloween mask. All of which is confusing because the budget was around $150 million and they got these things right in the previous movies.

What was somewhat laudable was how the film used the period setting to its advantage. Since the events shown are set in the 1960s, there’s a lot of beehive-hairdo action, gratuitous dropping of the word “groovy”, old-school cars and even decade-appropriate furniture.

Adaptation: As an X-Men fan, I understand there were bound to be changes. It isn’t possible to incorporate the exact storyline and even when that is done the result isn’t necessarily good cinema, example: Watchmen.

However unnecessary changes just made X-Men: First Class cheesy. Particularly ridiculous were additions like crazy scientific explanations to justify super powers and cliched training montages (in which Xavier helps his associates develop control over their powers through one week of magic pep-talks). If not for McAvoy and Fassbender’s screen presence and the genuine depth to their characters, the movie would be a total write-off. As it stands now, it came across as just somewhat better than the horrible X-Men (3): The Last Stand. X2 remains the best of the series.

Verdict:

If you’re a fan of the comics and cartoon series, 6.5/10.

If you’re a newbie or only watch the movies, 7.5/10.

Watch only if you genuinely loved the movies and have already seen Kungfu Panda 2.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:27 am

http://uppereastsidetheater.blogspot.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class.html

Monday, June 13, 2011
X-Men: First Class

Five writers are credited with the screenplay and however they collaborated, they got it right. Director Matthew Vaughn takes a great script and translates it into a truly first class film in every respect.

The X-Men have always been sort of the "Anti-Avengers", much more serious in their own corner of the Marvel universe. This is a smart script that takes itself seriously and reboots the "X-Men" franchise. All the comic book mythos is there but the film works even if you are a casual fan or even unfamiliar with the other films. Of course if you are new to this franchise, you will miss the pleasure of two great cameos.

Coupled with a strong story, Mr. Vaughn brings a deft hand to the action sequences and molding the story to the real life Cuban missile crisis of the '60's brings plenty of gravitas to a film that could have gone in a completely different direction. He makes you believe that mutants forced the Russian's hand and almost set off World War III.

The casting is first class as well with James McAvoy as the young Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Michael Fassbender as the young Erik Lensherr (Magneto). Mr. Fassbender, in particular, is outstanding as the mutant balancing good and evil mixed in with a strong revenge motive. Rose Byrne has fun with her CIA operative role, as does Oliver Platt. Jennifer Lawrence moves on from "Winter's Bone" and takes on the role of a young Raven/Mystique. January Jones is perfectly cast as yet another "ice queen", playing Emma Frost (an important figure in X-Men lore) and rounding out the major cast is Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, the central villain of the film.

With so many superhero sequels constantly bombarding us, it's refreshing to have the original idea of a "prequel" that really jumpstarts the franchise. Smart, action packed and fun from start to finish.
Posted by 30 Second Critic at 11:59 PM
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:35 am

http://www.interaksyon.com/article/5686/jessica-zafra-x-men---first-class-and-the-outcast-fantasy

JESSICA ZAFRA: 'X-Men-First Class' and the Outcast Fantasy
14-Jun-11, 10:40 AM | Jessica Zafra

We have always loved the X-Men. How could we not? It is the ultimate outsider fantasy: You mock me, you persecute me, but secretly you fear me. In your darkest hour, only I can save you.

If I feel like it.

It is a concept that appeals to nerds, gays, the people who look different, the socially-inept, anyone who was unpopular in high school. Face it, no one really leaves high school—you go through the rest of your life saddled with the issues you had at age 15. Some people turn their adolescent traumas into motivation for personal achievement: success as a form of revenge. Some people spend the rest of their lives consumed by bitterness over past maltreatment, unable to adjust to the larger world. And some of us have made outcast rage into careers.

The marketing term is “branding” and as brands go “outcast” is solid. Witness all the celebrities claiming to have been friendless and ostracized in their youth. We would advise them to proceed with caution—the outcast brand is a literal brand, like Cain’s, a mark that can be seen by those who know how to look.

Besides, claiming to have been well-loved in order to be liked makes sense, pathetic as it may seem. Claiming to have been rejected in order to be liked, courting the pity of strangers—it’s a sneaky approach, building power by emphasizing your weakness.

Admittedly it is an effective tactic in the Philippines, where we like to be able to say, “Kawawa naman si kuwan” (Poor whoever). It makes us feel so virtuous, so churchy, even as we establish our superiority to the object of pity.

In X-Men: First Class, directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) and co-written by Bryan Singer (who directed the first two X-Men movies), there are two schools of outcast thought. There is the school (which becomes a literal academy) of Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), who wants to identify, control and develop mutant abilities so that they may be of use to “regular” people and thus gain general public acceptance.

Then there is the school of Erik Lensher/Magneto (Michael Fassbender—I saw him first, go away), who rejects the idea of acceptance. Regular people will always fear and hate mutants, he argues; there is no point in trying to fit in. The mutants should band together in order to defend themselves and destroy their enemies—even if the enemy is the human race.

Their opposing views were formed by their personal histories. Charles Xavier is the son of wealthy, distant parents; while growing up in a vast estate in Westchester, New York he discovers that he has the ability to read and control other people’s minds. Thus begins his interest in evolutionary biology and genetics. He graduates from Oxford and is all set to have a brilliant academic career when the FBI finds him and puts him to work in the Cold War.

Erik Lensher and his parents are Polish Jews; as a boy he is interned in a Nazi concentration camp, where he discovers that he is essentially a very powerful magnet. X-Men: First Class begins the way the first X-Men movie did: Erik, forcibly separated from his parents, destroys a steel gate from a distance. Erik is taken under the wing of an ambitious Nazi scientist (Kevin Bacon), who in a harrowing scene determines how to unlock the boy’s abilities. The trigger is rage.

Erik is inseparable from his rage: after the war he goes after the Nazis who killed his parents. The scientist—renamed Sebastian Shaw—is now working with the Soviets, but his real goal is to start World War III. As Xavier and the FBI are also after Shaw, Erik allies himself with them.

The movie places the two original mutants and their earliest recruits in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, when the world was on the brink of nuclear war. They prevent World War III, but in doing so they unite the Americans and the Soviets against a common enemy: Mutants.

So in this round, Erik Lensher/Magneto is correct: accommodation is impossible, the humans have turned against the mutants. However, as Scientific American has pointed out, he is incorrect in saying that the mutants are the next phase in human evolution, superseding the obsolete homo sapiens. The newly-named X-Men are still human—they are too different from one another to be a specific phenotype.

Points of evolutionary biology aside, we love X-Men: First Class. It is our favorite of all the X-Men movies. (The first was good—we like the way the mutant problem was equated with the race issue in America. The second was terrific—when Jean Grey saved the world we burst into tears. The third was an abomination that should be blotted from the memory of all X-Men fans. We don’t think of Wolverine as an X-Men movie.)

We’re not that surprised at the report that X-Men: First Class had the lowest opening grosses of any X-Men movie. This is a movie that totally identifies with the outsider. (And my friend Noel notes, gay people—watch out for the lines “Mutant and proud” and “You didn’t ask, so I didn’t tell.”) “Normal” people comprise the general audience and they still want to fit in, no matter what happened to them in high school. This is a movie that goes beyond the “Everyone is beautiful in their own way” platitudes about tolerance. The message in this movie is: We are coming to get you.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:35 am

http://filmmafia.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/byrne-and-fassbender-save-the-day/

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS **1/2

Thank goodness for the brilliant actor Michael Fassbender (INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, FISH TANK, HUNGER) because without him this prequel to the X-MEN franchise would be a fizzer. He plays the young man who will eventually become Magneto (Ian McKellan in the other films) and his performance is way more powerful and intriguing than we are used to seeing in a superhero movie. The main thrust of the film concerns his alliance with, and then divorce from, the young Professor X (James McAvoy, playing a young Patrick Stewart), and this is the meat of the film, and relatively compelling. The whole, expensive thing, however, is set off its rails by the necessary inclusion of a raft of young “mutants”, gathered by these two to help them deal with their societal differences. It would not be fair to single out the actors, for these characters are given dialogue not a third as rich as that given to the two men; they are also burdened with pretty silly, bordering on boring, powers; even worse than that, they are expected to lift the whole film’s dramatic weight by discussing – in facile terms – how they relate to the world at large, and in doing so we are meant to experience all sorts of reverberations – of the Holocaust, gay rights, indeed the entire world history of prejudice against minorities. Suffice to say, any film that includes a scene where a bunch of kids take on new, “super-hero” names while showing off their assorted butterfly wings and gorilla feet cannot bear this sort of meaningful association: THE PIANIST, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN or TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD this ain’t. In his defense, outstanding British director Matthew Vaughn (who made the best “superhero” movie of them all, KICK-ASS) keeps the mood outlandish when he can, utilizing a fair amount of fun 60s-kitsch (the film, uncomfortably, is set in the heyday of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and uses that as its dramatic backdrop), best embodied by January Jones (MAD MEN), who, in a James-Bond-style white catsuit, probably sums up the tone of the film as it should have been the whole way through. Rose Byrne plays it straight and once again brings a touch of class to her unfortunately ludicrous role as a top-flight CIA operative.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:37 am

http://maccent.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/x-men-first-class-2011/

X-Men: First Class (2011)
June 13, 2011

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, January Jones
Director: Matthew Vaughan (Kick Ass)

Quick Thoughts: X-Men: First Class breathes fresh air into the X-Men franchise. The original series of films was mostly acclaimed with the possible exception of Brett Ratner’s messy X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006, giving this film some pretty high standards to live up and it easily blew those expectations away. Matthew Vaughan’s First Class manages to stand on its own while simultaneously giving enough nods to its predecessors that it works as both the start of a new franchise and a prequel to those earlier movies.

First Class takes a look into the lives of our favorite mutant heroes before they became established forces of good and evil. Set in the 1960s and amidst the Cuban Missile Crisis, the film focuses largely on Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender), and how they developed into the alter-egos we now know them as: Professor X and Magneto. Xavier is a young academic brought in by the government due to his excessive knowledge of the mutation gene and to help them against a potential new threat: a band of possible mutants, led by Sebastian Shaw (Bacon). Lehnsherr is after the same man, but for different reasons; Lehnsherr was a prisoner of war and his mother was murdered by Shaw and the Nazi regime. Upon meeting and realizing they have the same mutual enemy, Xavier and Lehnsherr team up, with backing from the United States government, to form the first class of X-Men, utilizing Xavier’s telepathic abilities to recruit other mutants across the world.

When I first heard about the concept behind X-Men: First Class, it seemed like a good idea, but the last X-Men movie was so underwhelming that my interest in the franchise was pretty moot. Fortunately, this movie is absolutely fantastic. From the story, to the casting, to the action sequences, all the way down to the music, this movie blew me away. I was on the edge of my seat and entertained throughout its entirety. The pacing was great and the character arcs of Xavier and Magneto are so well developed that the film exceeds its status as a pure action flick and dives into the territory of great film-making.

Though James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender aren’t complete unknowns, neither of them are stars. However, the casting in both cases is simply genius. McAvoy is charming, funny, and entertaining as Charles Xavier, turning a character I’ve always found mostly boring into someone compelling. While McAvoy is great, Fassbender as the future Magneto is the star of this film. Fueled by vengeance, Fassbender’s Erik Lehnsherr goes through the full development, reasonably transforming from a conflicted, anti-hero into the next big supervillain. The chemistry between the two actors is notable and its easy to see why, years later, Professor X and Magneto can sit down for a friendly game of chess despite their conflicting–and often deadly–differences. Magneto really is a fascinating character. One of the few villains in the superhero universe whose motives aren’t completely corrupt and self-fulfilling. While Xavier plays the eternal and sometimes naive optimist, Magneto arguably fights for the rights of his people. He’s almost like a violent Martin Luther King, Jr. This film really does a fantastic job of giving a believable identity to that character. Jennifer Lawrence is also great as Mystique.

At this point, you have to credit director Matthew Vaughan for knowing how to make a good action movie. Last year’s Kick-Ass was just the warm-up and this movie exceeds all sorts of expectations. It’s easily the best entry into the X-Men franchise and surpasses Bridesmaids as the most entertaining movie of 2011 to date.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: I’m looking forward to seeing it again and will definitely buy the DVD.
Sequel Potential: This film works not only as a prequel to the previous X-Men movies, but also as the first installment in a new series altogether. I’m looking forward to seeing this portion of the story continue.
Nudity: None… but damn, Jen Lawrence, January Jones, Rose Byrne, and Zoe Kravitz all look fantastic.
Grade: 9/10 (Potential Classic)
RottenTomatoes Scores: Critics: 87% Audience: 88%
IMDB Rating: 8.2/10
Recommendation: At the time of publishing this, Bridesmaids is easily the best movie I’ve seen this year. A very charming and funny comedy with breakout performances from Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy.
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