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X-Men Reviews 4

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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:21 am

http://quizmasterj.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/movie-review-x-men-first-class/

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class
Posted on June 11, 2011 by quizmasterj

Title: X-Men: First Class
Director: Matthew Vaughn (Produced Snatch, Lock Stock, Directed Kick-Ass)
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon

A midnight showing of a comic book movie can be fun. I will admit I enjoyed the movie overall, but there were good things and bad things about the film.

First, they start off a bit slow, using a bit too much footage from the original movie (Magneto as a child, concentration camp scenes). It led into some fairly good development behind why Magneto hates people in general.

The Cast – A 3-person job?

I listed only three actors above because they basically carried the movie in my eyes. The supporting actors were just fine, but every scene is stolen by one of these three, if they were as much as in the periphery.

Kevin Bacon is almost unrecognizable in the beginning of the movie. He is very convincing as a quiet, ruthless Nazi type. He goes on to use several different identities, all of them with subtle differences. He actually pulls off a convincing approximation of what it would be like to go through decades of time, adapting to whatever group serves his purposes.

Michael Fassbender plays Magneto, and gives us a powerful performance of a man tormented and obsessed. The early part of the film where he is running around getting revenge on the Nazi a-holes is quite good, well done, and doesn’t overdo his mutant powers. The rest of the film, his acting holds strong.

James McAvoy seems to be great in any role, and this is no exception. Very good, really held my attention in his scenes. Pulled off a young Charles Xavier with flying colors.

The Downhill Slide

The rest of the movie is where the film starts falling apart though. The rest of the actors are alright, but many of them were obviously cast because they are gorgeous. That’s not a bad thing, but I think some of their characters got too much screen time. I’ll admit that Zoë Kravitz is ridiculously beautiful, her power is flying around on bug wings. They show her WAY too much for how little she’s actually moving the story forward. Overall, several of the mutant powers were stupid, and it used up a bunch of time needlessly. Penny-Arcade kind of summed that part up perfectly.

The story was decent. The director, who’s work I loved in Kick-Ass, seemed to suffer a bit from not cutting out enough extraneous scenes.

Ugh – the makeup

The worst part of the movie would be the constant immersion-breaking that seemed to keep happening. An action scene is going on, and I could only think about how dumb Beast’s makeup is. I mean, it was REALLY bad.

First, some perspective. I was impressed how well Kelsey Grammer pulled off Beast in the earlier films:

He pulls it off big time. Not so for poor Nicholas Hoult:

Granted, the kid that plays Beast in X-Men: First Class is the kid from About a Boy, so he doesn’t have the facial structure to pull off a beastly image without a huge amount of makeup. He did a great job when he looked normal, his acting is actually quite good:

When he “talks” in blue-form it looks EXACTLY like a kid with a rubber face and blue makeup. It’s incredibly distracting.

All in all, a rough movie that could have used some more polish. I enjoyed it, because I’m a fan of X-Men, but they could have made better choices at nearly every turn from casting to more scenes on the cutting room floor. Not sure who is to blame, a director can only control so much. Maybe the studio fired his makeup crew halfway through the movie due to budget cuts or something. If the director or lighting buy did Beast’s makeup, then alright, fair enough.

My score: B- (Would have been a mid-C without the strength of the lead actors)
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:23 am

http://www.theuselesscritic.com/2011/06/review-x-men-first-class-plus-my-dates.html

Saturday, June 11, 2011
Review: X-Men: First Class (Plus my date's kissing)
We went to this amazing candy store, KFC and to see the new X-Men film. That's a movie, to you Americans.

I was quite sceptical about seeing it to be honest. I know my X-Men stuff. In my youth (two years ago) I was a bit of a comic book nerd. Let's face it, they are going to change things, and with good reason. Who can you find that looks like beast should? It sure isn't Nicholas Hoult. But hell, he plays the part excellently, and it's nice to see him playing an adult character, rather than a troubled child or drug-addled teen (as he was in the only other things I've seen him in.) All that said, it is a surprisingly nice representation of the franchise.

All the acting is top notch. Michael Fassbender plays a great Magneto, pulling off the dark and mysterious is he good/is he bad thing perfectly, so much so that even knowing how it would ultimately end because of the later cannon, he still had me wondering how it would play out.

The stand out performance for me though is James McAvoy. And damn right it should be, considering he got the lead of Charles Xavier. He is a believable genius with a cheeky side, delivering a range of lines impeccably well, with excellence in his more comedic quips.

And yes, there is an air of comedy to the film. And happily, it all seems to be at the expense of the X-Men. There are a few lines that had me laughing out loud. That said, you're only really going to get those jokes if you're familiar with the other X-Men films or comics.

In conclusion, it's a highly enjoyable film, that will have a bit of something to suit everyone, but indeed, it's best enjoyed if you are a comic book nerd. 8/10

Posted by Ryan at 7:39 PM
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:23 am

http://michaelam1978.livejournal.com/13210.html

Movie Review: "X-Men: First Class"

Rating: 5/5

In 1962, Oxford University graduate Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), the world's brightest mind in mutation, is sought out by the CIA after they discover that Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who is manipulating American and Russian forces involved with the Cuban Missile Crisis, employs the use of mutants. While assisting the CIA in an operation to catch Shaw, Xavier meets fellow mutant Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), who is seeking revenge on Shaw for the murder of his mother in 1944. They forge a respectful, if somewhat rocky, friendship, and Lensherr is convinced to help Xavier and a small team of young mutants help the CIA in their efforts to capture Shaw. But as they work together, a rift begins to form between the two friends: Xavier sees the good in humanity and wishes to help them, while Lensherr sees them as a threat to all mutants. Despite growing internal tension and questions of allegiance, the team nevertheless must combine their abilities and work together to prevent Shaw from triggering World War III.

In this quasi-prequel/reboot, we witness the origin of the fabled X-Men, starting out as a rag-tag team of young mutants with two powerful minds to lead them. Set during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the period recreation is spot-on and invokes a sense of early James Bond from time to time. As Xavier and Magneto, McAvoy and Fassbender are terrific. Their performances invoke those of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, respectively, who played older versions of the characters in the previous three films, but at the same time give their own takes. (And, in my opinion, Fassbender is a far superior Magneto than McKellan, whose performance always seemed somewhat aloof, as if his Magneto was just bored and doing things for his own amusement, whereas I found Fassbender's Magneto downright intimidating and a very believable threat.) Jennifer Lawrence is a standout as conflicted mutant Mystique, Xavier's childhood friend, Kevin Bacon is deliciously evil and clearing having a fun time as Shaw, and January Jones exudes femme fatale sexiness as Emma Frost. I wish she'd had more presence in the story. There's a venerable who's-who of a supporting cast, with the familiar faces of Oliver Platt, Ray Wise, Glenn Morshower, Matt Craven, James Remar, and Michael Ironside all popping up, and a great (not to mention hilarious) mid-film cameo that is sure to delight fans. The movie is very well-paced, even at just over two hours, the story offers some intriguing elements as the young mutants learn to control their powers and face their own personal struggles, coming to terms with who they are, the special effects are top-notch, and there are a number of exciting action scenes. The climax is an extended set piece off the coast of Cuba, where the mutants mount the final battle against Shaw using all their resources, and the action and suspense just never seem to let up.

I was not a fan of the previous movies (although the spin-off Wolverine was excellent), but X-Men: First Class is fantastic and one of the better comic book adaptations I've seen in recent years. It's an enjoyable film that gives the franchise a great fresh new start, and hopefully there will be more to follow.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:23 am

http://a99kitten.com/?p=9263

11
Jun
X-Men: First Class
by a99kitten
Comics, Movies

I saw X-Men: First Class last weekend. GO SEE IT! I loved it!!! Now, I am a lover of the X-Men comics. But they did a really great job with this movie so even people who know nothing of the X-Men can enjoy it.

They concentrated on the story and acting much more than most comic book movies. Obviously there were a lot of special effects but I never felt that they were the center piece of the movie. They were merely part of it like any other actor.

The Hellfire Club storyline is my 2nd favorite after the Dark Phoenix saga so I was very wary of them doing it well. They didn’t really fully flesh out the Hellfire Club as it is done in the comics. I can only hope they take it further if they do a sequel and not just jump into another storyline – that would be cooler I think. I was also very suspicious of Kevin Bacon being cast as Sebastian Shaw. I like Kevin Bacon. But this character is a certain way and his physical attributes kinda help make him. And Kevin Bacon doesn’t have those. But he was GREAT.

All of the casting was fantastic. James MacAvoy was a great young Charles Xavier. Hilarious that they showed him being a bit of playboy in college Smile Michael Fassbender, who plays Eric (Magneto) was, in my opinion, perfect. He plays the dark, handsome, super strong man who has his demons. Also = hot Smile If Daniel Craig ever wants to stop playing James Bond, the producers needs to look no further than this guy.

All the younger mutants (the “First Class” were good. They do veer from, or “re-imagine”, the X-universe. But that’s OK. They did it really well much like the new Star Trek movie did. There a couple surprise cameos in the movie which are fun. Yes, I do think they could have found a much better White Queen than January Jones but she looked the part and didn’t have to emote too much. Although if they did expand on the Hellfire Club storyline and needed the White Queen to do more – they might consider replacing her. Or getting her acting lessons.

The bulk of the movie is set in the early 60s which is a gorgeous time period for costumes. Mad Men (and James Bond before it) shows us how cool they are dressed back then! They set this around the drama with Cuba, Russia and JFK. It works as a good backdrop and a useful story.

I highly recommend the movie!

Also…Michael Fassbender = HOT Smile
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:24 am

http://www.india-forums.com/bollywood/hot-n-happening/20229-x-men-first-class-first-class-indeed-ians-film-review.htm

''X-Men: First Class'' - first class indeed! (IANS Film Review)
Saturday, June 11, 2011 | 4:45:47 PM IST (+05:30 GMT) Comments 1 Comments
Film ''X-Men: First Class''; Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence; Director: Matthew Vaughn; Rating: ***1/2

Americans in the absence of their own ancient mythology unlike the Indians, Chinese or Europeans, have developed a national mythology of a different kind where instead of gods and goddesses, they have their Anakin Skywalker, Darth Vader and Superman. 'X-Men - First Class', with its near perfect script, apt direction and some breathtaking visual effects, firmly enforces another mythological universe to this - those of the mutants.

Much before Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) fought at the opposite end of the fragile war and peace with inferior humans, they were best of friends, fighting for the good of humanity and mutants alike, in a world that did not know mutants existed.

When a powerful mutant threatens the world, the two working together develop a difference of perspective that will pit them against each other.

The film's focus is on Erik Lensherr or Magneto, beginning with the same scene that the first 'X-Men' opened to in a concentration camp. It moves through his hatred of the man that killed his father.

The character of Charles, almost Gandhi-like with his infinite love and belief in humanity, takes second fiddle. And that's all right. After all hatred makes for a better subject than love especially in a film with dark undertones like 'X-Men'.

Director Matthew Vaughn and his writers do an apt job in articulating the mutant universe, their fear and their need to belong. The metaphor is the insecurity of every geek or everyone different desperately trying to belong in a world hostile to them.

While Professor X chooses the path of love, Magneto chooses that of hatred, thus pitting them against each other in an eternal war.

The film thus navigates the many shades between black and white expertly, reaching in the end a point where both Magneto and Professor X, though being at the same end of spectrum with similar intentions, are nonetheless divided by the choices they make.

It is just like the rest of us find ourselves in life and the position we take and follow, which ultimately define us.

Magneto is also a perfect choice, and the good writing ensures that in the end he is made a tragic hero, on the lines of Prometheus of Greek mythology with the same angst, love and rebelliousness.

The main drawback of the film is that it is a little awkward and caricatures many situations in an attempt to be true to the other 'X-Men' films.

It also draws heavily from Zack Snyder's underrated masterpiece 'Watchmen' and though it refuses to go dense into the human, and mutant condition, it is a commendable effort.

Though the audience can predict the end, aware as they are of the other 'X-Men' movies, yet a good scriptwriting (consider handling so many characters and infusing life in them through good characterising) ensures that the entertainment and novelty values are not lost.

The casting is also almost spotless and all the actors revel in bringing out the angst and sublimity of their emotions.

'X-Men: First Class' in the scope of its story and its deft handling thus not just becomes the confirmation of a well-established franchise but the birth of a new one as well. Same when you consider an American mythology.

Posted by: India-Forums.com Staff
Copyright IANS
Date 6/11/2011 4:45:47 PM
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:25 am

http://kamranjawaid.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/animadversion-x-men-first-classreviewed-by-kamran-jawaid-and-farheen-jawaid/

Animadversion: X-Men: First Class–Reviewed by Kamran Jawaid and Farheen Jawaid

This post is the unedited, lightly updated copy of X-Men: First Class’s film review published Sunday June 12, 2011 in our film review column Animadversion (iMAGES on Sunday, Dawn Newspaper). The link to the published version can be found at the end of the post.

X-Men First Class - Blog
I Can Read Minds and Bend Steel… So What?!
By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Flashing back, briefly to a Nazi prison camp in 1944, a few years before pulp sci-fi labeled mutants as latex-skinned monsters or deformed aliens from B-movies, a young Erik Lehnsherr (Bill Milner) insentiently triggers his embryonic superhuman-genome and yanks open a barbed iron gate with his power of magnetism.

A brief beat later Erik’s world, directed with barebones shrewdness by Matthew Vaughn, is thrown into a tumult by the sadistically smiling, tea-sipping form of Kevin Bacon – named first as Mr. Schmidt and later as Sebastian Shaw – a mutant with the power to absorb and throw-back energy.

Shaw wants Erik to perform a simple magic trick: To move a coin without using his hands. Being a young mutant and not a magician, when Erik fails, Shaw decides on a catalyst and kills his mother. With his arms opened as wide as his gaping, unpersuasive scream, an angry out of control Erik demolishes the conveniently designed hack-saw torture room in a bland, unmotivated visual effect stunt and cries a puddle. Shaw, now ecstatic, mumbo-jumbo’s a line about “opening (his) gift with anger and pain”, pats the boy’s back, slips the coin into his hand and leaves the room and the film until 1962.

Now, this is where the scene’s logic slips me. Why torture a young lad into triggering his mutant ability and leave him standing, unless one has no intention of utilizing him as a member of his world-dominating mutant army (one which includes a sexily dressed January Jones as the mind-reader/future X-Woman Emma Frost nonetheless)? Doesn’t Shaw know that like all traumatized characters with parents killed by a sociopathic villain, young Erik will turn into a masculine-hunk (Michael Fassbender, “Inglourious Basterds”) who tracks down and kills on-the-run Nazi’s by the 1960’s (an early section perhaps worthy enough to star in their own feature)?

Anyhow, back to 1944 and a world of hurt away: a young Charles Xavier finds a young shape-shifting Raven (aka. the blue-skinned Mystique later played by Jennifer Lawrence) raiding his kitchen in the guise of his hard-hearted mother. He adopts the girl as a pseudo-sister (we don’t see how his family reacts when a young girl suddenly starts living in the house), and they live what I presume to be, happy, non-turbulent lives up until 1962. As the main plot-point (and a loose one at that), we now know that the Cuban missile crisis to be a work of mutant persuasion.

It’s not that the screenplay (by a handful of writers, including series instigator Bryan Singer and Mr. Vaughn) is uninteresting or uneventful. Mr. Vaughn’s scenes follow a strict-line of connecting the dots and is often too laid back to be spectacular. The pumped-up drama about racial – and facial – prejudice injected throughout the last three movies is tactfully (and statutory) pinned to Ms. Lawrence’s Mystique and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), whose only discrimination is by the high-school bully attitude he gets from fellow mutant Alex Summers (Lucas Till).

For a good while (and perhaps the film’s best unevenly laid moments) “First Class” pivots on a country-hopping vengeance bound Mr. Fassbender – a grown-up Erik, who is yet to acquire the name Magneto or his sharply designed mask. Then there’s his to-be antagonist Charles Xavier – the always dependable James McAvoy. Mr. McAvoy plays Charles with the likability factor dialed all the way up. With his legs still very much alive, Charles is a captivating college guy with a neat and nerdy pick-up line where he labels any eye-catching beauty as a by-product of mutation. One would think he has mutation for a brain, and even that wouldn’t be wrong (Charles connects and controls people via telepathy).

Charles and Erik eventually (and conveniently) team-up to help find mutants for the government thanks to Rose Bryne – Moira MacTaggert (formerly played by actress Olivia Williams). In the comics MacTaggert is a geneticist and one of Charles one-too-many love affairs; here, she’s a CIA operative whose only big scene is to strip off into a Victoria’s Secret lingerie and slip into the “Hellfire Club” owned by Shaw, who, like all James Bond-ish villains, plans world domination from a secret room in the back.

Despite Mr. McAvoy and Mr. Fassbender’s above-the-line sincerity as fraternal brothers with opposing views on the looming mutant crisis, “First Class” valiantly hobbles through Mr. Vaughn’s un-kinetic, 60-ish James Bond inspired take. Nonetheless, juggling submarines (and plot holes) aside, this is one ok movie.

Released by 20th Century Fox, “X-Men: First Class” is rated PG-13. Even with laid back, less urgent direction, thrown-together situations and pseudo-dimensional stock characters, “First Class” is way better than its horrid trailer/poster campaign. And it features intelligent cameos by Rebecca Ramojin and Hugh Jackman. You gotta give it points for that!
Second Op
By Farheen Jawaid

As the new part of an old franchise, “X-Men: First Class” does not take the viewers to the future; rather it takes them to the past. And not just one past. To establish the origins better, it takes everyone way back to the crisis torn Second World War and them brings them back to a more recent crisis in 1962 – the Cuban missile standoff between America and the U.S.S.R. Apparently Marvel Comics, the producers of “First Class” (Bryan Singer, Laura Shuler Donner and Richard Donner) and director Matthew Vaughn want us to believe that evil mutants and their agenda of world domination was the force that propelled the crisis. Ok, that’s stretching the reality a little too far, but I’ll go along for the ride; assuming that we do not take Mr. Vaughn along.

Now don’t get me wrong – “First Class” is a stalwart, lightly paced and less urgent addition to the franchise, with intelligently performed characters that are still in the need of slight retouching on the screenplay’s page. Michael Fassbender over-shines, James McAvoy goes cute-to-cute with whatever he was fed as an actor and Jennifer Lawrence was shunted in an awkwardly written part with little else to do but look stoic, while being sincere. Kevin Bacon, was all smiles as the villain Sebastian Shaw, while the remaining cast did what they were told by Mr. Vaughn whose indulgence in just barebones direction limited “First Class” to just an above average showcase. Well, at least it’s better than “Wolverine”.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:26 am

http://tmehollywood.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/xmen-first-class/

XMEN First Class
Posted: June 11, 2011 by TME (thats my e) in Movies, Reviews

By: Sean McQuillan

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Produced by: Gregory Goodmanm Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer

Screenplay by: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn

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

Music by: Henry Jackman

Studio: Marvel Entertainment, Dune Entertainment, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Donner’s Company

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Release date: June 1, 2011

Running time: 132 minutes

Rating: First class experience.

Set in 1962, this film reveals how Professor X and Magneto met and came into their own. We see the origins of the X-men team and many of its members. The X-men must work against another powerful group of Mutants called the Hellfire Club, to avert nuclear war. Set during the Cuban missile crisis, the world stands on the edge. Will knowledge of Mutantkind’s existence be the tipping point?

This movie hits the ground running and does not pull any punches. We see the vastly different childhoods of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr. You see their defining ideals clash and change as they meet and become friends. The movie is beautifully cast, and is led by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. I admit I was quite skeptical when I heard that McAvoy was going to be filling Patrick Stewart shoes as Xavier. I had only seen him in “Wanted”, but he does great work in this movie. Kevin Bacon also joins the cast as the primary villain Sebastion Shaw, and fits his role perfectly. As an added bit of fun, watch the movie and try to recognize all the actors playing members of the American or Russian Militaries. They are packed full of great actors you’ll recognize from countless movies.

The visuals in this movie are also top notch. It feels period appropriate, and the effects are just as good as ever. Jennifer Lawrence wears Mystique’s trademark blue makeup and is perfect as the young mystique. Sharp-eyed viewers will find a nod to Rebecca Romijn, the original Mystique, as well as countless other nods to other characters from the other movies. One point where I feel the effects differ is the brutality of some scenes, many of them by Magneto. While not gory per se, you should probably not take younger children.

The story is wonderfully constructed and introduces the characters organically. There is wonderful depth and character development for much of the cast, not just one or two. You see how Erik and Charles came to be friends, why they became like brothers, and how through it all they became two very different people. The movie does change some of the continuity from the comics, as we see Alex Summers introduced while in the comics he would be Scott Summers’ (Cyclops) little brother.

Should you go see it? Absolutely. If you enjoyed the first X-men movie you will certainly enjoy this one.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:27 am

http://athelstan.blog.co.uk/2011/06/11/the-last-few-days-11300943/

A WEEK'S ENTERTAINMENT

by Athelstan @ 2011-06-11 – 18:47:54

I went to see the new X-Men film on Monday. It's not Ingmar Bergman but if you want a couple of hours to sit back and enjoy a well made film about superheroes, this one is for you. James Macavoy and Michael Fassbender are excellent as the two individuals who form a bond, having discovered that they possess extraordinary powers. The effects are great but what I most like about the film is its emotional depth and its humour. The pair begin recruiting other mutants; they encounter Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in a bar. He just turns to them and says: "f&#! off!"
The story is neatly interwoven with the Cuba Crisis and there are some spectacular scenes.
Well worth a watch.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:28 am

http://stickyegg.com/2011/06/11/perfect-pairs/

Perfect pairs
Posted on June 11, 2011 by carlaspeaks\

I went to see X-Men: First Class Thursday at the matinee.

Not only did I discover I like X-Men films — it was my first and is seriously fun — but I realize the movie gods have officially created a new ‘hot guy duo.’

In my moviegoing lifetime, Robert Redford and Paul Newman were the original dynamic duo. Just look at the two of ‘em in this still from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid…

Sorry. Lost my train of thought.

George Clooney and Brad Pitt were the next duo worthy of official status. Seen here in a scene from Oceans 11, they both have the same classic good looks…and the good sense not to take those looks or their celebrity too seriously.

Oops. Drifted off again.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in X-Men are the newest breed of hot guy duo, and possibly the best actors to achieve this honor to date. They may not as be as classically handsome as their predecessors, but the camera loves them.

I do, too.

If you’re not typically a fan of the X-Men franchise or even this movie genre, I encourage you to give this one a look-see.

You’ll be carrying a torch for these two long before the final frame of film has unfurled.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:29 am

http://www.lostintranquility.net/blog/?p=86

X-Men: First Class (2011)
Saturday, June 11th, 2011 at 10:07 pm

X-Men: First Class can be considered as a boon to X-Men fans who have been disappointed with the last two entries in the series. The Last Stand focused more on the action and special effects and less on the characters populating the universe while Wolverine’s Origins felt like an unnecessary add-on even though it was competent in its own right. However, both those movies never reached the standards set by X-Men 1 and 2. With the release of First Class, fans can finally get down to erasing the bad memories of the third and fourth entries. X-Men: First Class can be considered as equal to the original two movies and features everything you would want in a superhero origin story – strong acting, a tight script, well-written central characters and lots of action and excitement. Though it doesn’t reach the heights of Batman Begins or Iron Man as far as origin stories go, it can be considered a very close second to those two.

It is no coincidence that all three of the positively received X-Men movies have a direct involvement by Bryan Singer. He was the director in the first two, but took a leave from X-Men to helm another genre effort in Superman Returns. First Class has him only in a story writing capacity but, no disrespect to Matthew Vaughn who is a very competent film-maker, this film feels like Singer movie, which is a resounding positive when you look at his resume.

First Class opens in the year 1944 in WWII Poland – with scenes that are directly lifted from the original X-Men – as we are introduced to a very young Erik Lensherr who loses his mother in tragic circumstances. Subsequently, a brief glimpse of Charles Xavier’s first meeting with Raven in his expensive mansion follows before we move on to the year 1962 which is where the bulk of the movie is set. Most people who have a basic idea of the cold war era will know why the year 1962 is significant in history. First Class puts an interesting spin on familiar events with the involvement of mutants in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), an ex-Nazi and leader of the Hellfire Club, is planning to set in motion events that will result in the USA and the Soviet Union destroying each other in a thermonuclear war leaving him and his mutant brothers to take over the world. He calls it “survival of the fittest.” As humans have overcome the more primal animals to become the dominant species on Earth, so should mutants by overcoming the lesser evolved species. Of course, once the C.I.A, through agent Moira MacTaggert (Olivia Williams), gets wind of the plan, they seek the help of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) who is an expert on genetic mutation. The rest of the movie revolves around Xavier’s attempts to hone the powers of Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), their clash of styles and philosophies, their attempt to bring together a team of equally capable mutants to stop Shaw, and Erik’s mission to avenge his mother’s death at the hands of Shaw. While that seems like a lot of threads to keep up with, the movie’s structure and writing is so good that it never becomes too overwhelming that it can be considered a negative.

Before moving on to what makes First Class such a good film, it is wise to spend time talking about the main turn-off – the secondary mutants. With the exception of Emma Frost/White Queen (a very good-looking January Jones) who represents a legitimate nemesis for Professor X, Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), the rest of the mutants have been selected from among the least-interesting X-Men characters. This decision, however, is understandable given the fact that this spin-off is planned as a new trilogy, and thus can be forgiven, but it is still worth mentioning as the only negative in an otherwise great movie.

Ignoring that aspect, what First Class does well, it does really well. The special effects are top-notch and, like all good superhero movies, are used sparingly and don’t overwhelm the human element even during the action-laden climax. However, the major plus lies in the portrayal of the three primary characters and their relationships. Charles Xavier is not the grumpy looking baldy on a wheelchair that we all know; he is pretty youthful and fun-loving before having the responsibility of mutant leader thrust on him. Erik Lensherr, having been scarred from past experiences, finds it difficult to trust anyone – mutant or otherwise. He believes that anger and vengeance are the only tools that unlock the full extent of his tremendous abilities before being shown his softer side by Charles. The relationship between them is one of the highlights of the movie.

Sebastian Shaw is the more straightforward super-villain and his goal, like all others, is taking over the world. The main difference between other antagonists and Shaw is the almost father/son relationship he shares with Erik. Erik feels responsible for his mother’s death at Shaw’s hands while the latter will always be the person who unlocked the monster within Erik. Though the film leaves a lot of aspects of their relationship open to interpretation, it is another noteworthy aspect of the movie.

If the primary characters are perfect, so is the casting and performances. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender have the least-enviable tasks of taking over from two of the best actors of the modern era (Two Knights of the Realm no less). However, from the moment we lay our eyes on them, we are no longer thinking about Sir Ian McKellen or Sir Patrick Stewart. They own their respective roles and their presence is so forceful that when they are on-screen, everything else recedes into the background. Michael Fassbender is especially deserving of praise given that his performance, much like the character he portrays, is magnetic and there is not one false note in it at all.

Kevin Bacon is one of those actors who never seems to have it in him to deliver a bad performance. He doesn’t produce one here. The interactions between him and Erik serve as special highlights in his portrayal of the megalomaniacal Shaw. One wonders whether Jennifer Lawrence, arguably the most well-known of the rest after her Oscar nomination for Winter’s Bone, will have more to do in the proposed sequels than she does here. The rest of the cast is rounded out by some well-known names and some newcomers, all of whom are competent enough not to drag the quality of the movie down. There are also some great cameos from well-known actors one of which, in spite of being uncredited, will bring out the biggest cheers.

It will be really interesting to see where Vaughn and Singer take the series from here because the ending almost guarantees the presence of a sequel. As it stands, this movie negates certain occurrences in the third X-Men movie. Many fans believe that there is still a lot of untapped potential in the X-Men universe. Given that they left out some of the more well-known mutants, one certainly hopes that the planned sequels justify that exclusion by ramping up the overall quality of the production. As for me, I will be a happy bunny if the next movie includes both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. Like Robert Downey Jr. with Iron Man, they are the real stars of this movie.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:29 am

http://letsgotothemovies7.com/2011/06/11/x-men-first-class-2011-review/

X-Men: First Class (2011) Review

We are taken back to the very beginning to see the stories of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr how they met and became friends. But also what made them take very different paths.

So we are taken on journey to help us understand more about the background of the characters we have seen on the big screen before. This allows us to have a little look into what they went through as children and young men. How being a mutant has affected their lives and how they overcome everything that was put against them.

We find out about Frost (Bacon) who is trying to get the American’s and the Russian’s to start world war three, or at least a war against either other. He plans on having the mutants take over the humans and pretty much rule the world. Having everyone doing what he wanted. Rik has history with Frost and that is something that even Charles cannot help with, it is something which Rik must deal with on his own.

As Charles and Rik discover how many people are mutants, they begin to recruit them into a team. A special team working with the American CIA. Obviously, we know that this is not going to work out as well as it first may seem. But we get questions answered on how the mutants came to find the other mutants who all thought they were the only ones who had the different gifts.

Charles (showing why opening a school was in his future) was very much involved in the training of the other mutants. Helping them to understand how to control their very special powers, and not letting it take over there lives. Showing them that it is possible for them to be accepted.

Another factor I liked about the story was that we found out how they decided on the X-Men names. How each person would have another name they could go by. Usually to do with the power they have, just thought it was an important thing to have in. Especially as it was the youngsters who came up with them. Just gave it all a very nice touch.

I enjoyed this film from start to finish, I was starting to worry that the good things I had heard about it would result in me being let down. That was far from the case, it was action packed and had a very good story. I was entertained from the very start until the very end. I liked the way the questions were answered to how everything was in the first X-Men film and the other parts of that franchise. After Wolverine they really did need to do something to reboot X-Men and this film really lived up to its name and was first class.

I thought James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender really done a fantastic job in pulling off the roles of Charles and Erik. Very believable as younger versions of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as well, which I think made it even better. Kevin Bacon does evil so well, you just could easily hate him in this film.

I will definitely be looking forward to seeing X-Men: First Class again, one of the must see films of the summer. A proper summer blockbuster!

This entry was posted on June 11, 2011.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:30 am

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X-Men: First Class
Filed under: Reviews, 4 Star by TheFilmLounge — Leave a comment
June 11, 2011

Or to be more specific… X-Men Origins: Magneto

Not a complete reboot but certainly a return to the start of the story for the X-Men. First Class brings director Matthew Vaughan and writer Jane Goldman together for their first movie together since the excellent Kick-Ass.

First Class takes us back to basics with Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr making their first steps towards becoming Professor X and Magneto in the 1960′s, played respectively by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender the movie puts the two together to face off against Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a Nazi who is now poised to bring the world to the brink of the Cuban Missile Crisis through his mutant powers.

The two work together to assemble the X-Men and bring the young mutants together to create the ‘First Class’ of the title. McAvoy is well cast as Xavier, he balances the playboy academic image created for him in the early scenes in Oxford with the patriarch bringing together his proteges in his impressive mansion house.

The script is strong and has something for newcomers and aficionados alike, although there are too many ancillary characters which make it sag in the middle, the film would have been much more effective with just Charles and Erik and their relationship, there is plenty of time to introduce the other mutants in the inevitable sequels.

That’s not to say that there is no quality in the supporting roles. Rose Byrne plays well as Moira MacTaggert, a government agent in a role which is never fully developed or explained and Nicholas Hoult shows a new dimension in his role as Hank McCoy.

The lead roles dominate this movie however, Kevin Bacon as the villain misses a few tricks and is never really evil enough for a man with a Nazi past intent on the destruction of the human race but inhabits the setting with a certain flair. Michael Fassbender however owns the whole movie. He is mysterious, strong, emotional and fraught, his control is exquisite and he may as well have got on the phone to Barbara Broccoli and booked himself in for the role of James Bond for the way he swaggered with 60′s spy cool throughout the movie.

It is a testament to the hard work of Matthew Vaughan and production designer Chris Seagers that the piece fits so well into it’s era. The 1960′s look of all the elements, down even to the retro outfits the heroes wear in act three, oozes atmosphere and the action set pieces fell contemporary while remaining true to the era in which they are set. It is a very significant achievement and makes a great argument for reboots to embrace a historical setting, it will be interesting to see if Marvel maintain this high standard with Captain America later in the summer.

X-Men: First Class is far from perfect, it is too busy and has too many sub-plots to be a truely great movie, but as a reboot of a falling franchise and as a star vehicle for it’s two leads it is one of the best superhero films of recent years.

****
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:30 am

http://www.ebuzztoday.com/2011/06/11/review-%E2%80%98x-men-first-class%E2%80%99/

Review: ‘X-Men: First Class’

Do you like Review: ‘X-Men: First Class’?

The mutants are back and what a comeback! Yes Matthew Vaughn’s ‘X-Men: First Class’ is a slick, spectacular and high-octane action thriller that will leave you asking for more, Zee News reports. Starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, the film also stars Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne and Jennifer Lawrence in major roles. ‘X-Men: First Class’ is a clever and well-thought-out sequel to the ‘X-Men’ franchise, which takes us down the memory lane and tells how the mutants came into being. The movie takes you back into the history where our mutants are at the centre of the Cuban missile crisis. Even though James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are no match to Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, the flick presents electrifying performances by the stellar cast. If McAvoy amazes you with his liveliness and unwavering nobility, Fassbender enthralls you with his wrath and pragmatism, which portend Stewart`s Professor X and McKellen`s Magneto avatar. The movie portrays Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender`s boyhood in the 1940s, highlighting their different upbringing which ultimately turns them foes from friends.‘X-Men: First Class’ traces Charles and Erik’s friendship in the early 1960’s when the two were a part of a CIA operation against Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a mutant who dreamt of setting off a nuclear war to wipe out humanity. And here enter other mutants – CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Havok (Lucas Till), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) and Angel (Zoe Kravitz), who ultimately change allegiances. A word on special effects, ‘X-Men: First Class’ offers spectacular visual effects and great design, which enhances the cinematic experience. So grab your popcorn bucket and enjoy this spectacular superhero film! Ratings: Four cheers for this one!
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:31 am

http://www.justsayitoldyouso.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class-movie-review.html

X-Men First Class - Movie Review
Posted at 8:31 AM


X-Men First Class
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Starring:
James McAvoy
Michael Fassbender
Kevin Bacon
Jennifer Lawrence
Zoe Kravitz

IMDB Summary:

Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-MEN. Written by Twentieth Century Fox.


Here's what I think:

Prequels are always interesting, you either love them or you hate them. They always come after several installments have already been released and devoured by the public, then they decide to tell you the back story (instead of telling you in the very first installment in the first place). The day before I saw X-Men First Class a guy in Best Buy (Reid) said "this is the best X-Men so far, it's awesome!" Guess what? I believed him, unfortunately.

I won't say I was entirely disappointed, but mostly. The plot was slow to thicken, the characters were so-so, and the climax was...well anticlimactic. While James McAvoy is adorable and he does bring the young Professor X to life, I just couldn't help thinking that the entire movie was completely unnecessary. The previous installments tell you that Professor X and Magneto were once allies, friends, buddies, compadres...you get the picture. So did we really need an entire movie to spell it out for us?? NO! It wasn't entirely horrible, just slow. There were a few action scenes that were cool, but nothing to make me oooh and ahhh. It just wasn't memorable for me.

If you are just plain old curious about how the "School for Gifted Youngsters" got its start by all means check out this movie. If you just don't really care, I suggest you wait for the video release.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 8:31 AM
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:31 am

http://criticalcinema.com/2011/06/11/x-men-first-class-review-2/

Posted on June 11, 2011
X-Men: First Class Review

20110611-111655.jpg

X-Men: First Class Review

Rating: PG-13

Actors: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, and Kevin Bacon.

Matthew Vaughn, fresh off of his more recent blockbuster, Kick-Ass (2010) takes over the X-Men franchise. He makes it much better than before. Kick-Ass with it’s recent hype has made Vaughn a big name in the action movie field. Thus a perfect choice for the prequel of the X-Men trilogy. X-Men has always has been a big superhero franchise, ever since the first comic book from Marvel came out, so it’s always known that they will make a movie about it, then another, maybe a third, and then a sequel. One will always be better than all the rest. Until this movie, it has been X2, now it’s X-Men: First Class.

X-Men: First Class is about the start of the Mutant society by Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender). Erik is a young Jewish boy put into the holocaust, and separated from his family. The army already knows about his powers and wants to use them as their own. He meets with Sebastian Shaw (Bacon) who poses a threat to him into his adult life. Charles Xavier is going to Oxford along with his friend and long companion Raven (Lawrence) better known to most as Mystique. When a government agent by the name of Moria (Rose Byrne) and asks him to work for the government to help stop Sebastian Shaw he can’t refuse. Using his Telekinesis, Raven’s shape-shifting, Erik’s Magnetism and other mutants powers, can they save the world from a nuclear war?

James McAvoy provides great acting for Professor X, formally played by Patrick Stewart. Along with Jennifer Lawrence taking over for Rebecca Romijn, and Michael Fassbender taking over for Ian McKellen (Big shoes to fill). They all do fantastic jobs as their younger counterparts. With steady performances by Rose Byrne as Moria MacTaggert, Zoë Kravitz as Angel, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, and January Jones as Emma Frost. X-Men: First Class is a good step up in the series, and one hell of a ride.

X-Men: First Class – 3 out of 4
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:32 am

http://tantheman88.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/film-review-x-men-first-class/

FILM REVIEW: X-Men – First Class

June 11, 2011 – 11:13

After the first “X-Men trilogy” ended on an action-packed high note (not many others I know liked the last one, but I thought it was pretty good fun at least!) and was followed by the hit and miss “X-Men Origins” film that told the story of Wolverine, we all wondered what could be done next to extend this comic book-to-screen franchise – and this is the end of result… “X-Men: First Class”. We finally get to see how Professor X came to live his life in a wheelchair (even though the first scene in “X3″ shows him twenty years previously walking perfectly fine), how he and Magneto went from friends to frenemies and where Magneto got that strange helmet from. And well, those are the main points of the story I guess! This is all woven into one big plot which revolves around an impending war (isn’t how all of these films are?) which I have no idea how or why it came about because I wasn’t paying so much attention to that, and seemed inferior to the main ideas of the story anyway…

I won’t bore you by the whole plot this time – you’ve either seen it already so will know, or I won’t spoil it for you. But I as said already, the plot is all quite secondary really anyway… Yet by the end of the film we are left trying to recall whether Wolverine was supposed to have stopped ageing at some point, which is why Hugh Jackman made a cameo appearance looking the exact same age we’ve known him to be at since the very first film. Also, upon a quick 2 second glimpse of the original series’ actress that played Raven/Mystique, we are then left puzzled as to whether her character underwent plastic surgery… Rebecca Romjin is clearly far more beautiful than the girl who played her in this film, and fast forward to the original series where she only looks about 10 or so years older, Erik and Charles were practically OAPs – oh yes I forgot, she can change her appearance anyway!

One more slip is Erik/Magneto‘s accent - he speaks in an almost unidentifiable accent which sometimes sounds American, sometimes like a southern English and more towards the end, Michael Fassbender‘s true Irish accent comes through, while Ian McKellen however, spoke in his unmistakably posh, “RP” English accent. Talking of accents – at least we get to hear Scottish laddy James McAvoy speak in that “posh, know-it-all boy” accent he did in Shameless (if you liked him speaking like that), but unfortunately Nicholas Hoult‘s poor attempt at an American accent was not as convincing. And just where did that romance between Xavier and the CIA agent come from? Nowhere! Who foresaw that coming?

Small, questionable “mistakes” or plot holes such as these (and others) aside though, and you have a thoroughly enjoyable and high-octane action film reminiscent of a Bond movie (but a lot more fun with powerful mutants and without a cheesy script, tuxedos or high-tech gadgets and weapons) with the main cast members definitely holding their own - especially Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy (they really needed two well-seasoned actors to match the legends that are Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, that’s for sure!). Most of the attention is given towards the great characterisation and the insight into each of their backgrounds so everyone has a better understanding of how it all began, and of course there are some great special effects too – although Magento‘s metal manipulating powers have never always looked that realistic and it’s understandably hard to make someone look like they’re made out of diamonds…

If a second instalment of “First Class” is made, I hope we get to see the introduction of Storm, Jean Grey (she was blates the best mutant in “X3″!) and other characters that were prominent in the original series…

Rating: 4/5 – What this film has in the way of plot holes and a few other downsides, it makes up for in well-casted lead roles, interesting and intriguing characters, plenty of “I wish mutants were real and I was one” moments and exciting action to set the standard for this year’s upcoming string of summer blockbusters… Oh and kudos to me for being able to understand nearly all the German spoken throughout the film without having to sneak peeks down at the subtitles – woop!
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:33 am

http://youredrippingegg.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/%E2%80%9Cx-men-first-class%E2%80%94michael-fassbender-tears-it-up-by-matilda-dixon-smith/

“X-Men: First Class—Michael Fassbender Tears It Up” by Matilda Dixon-Smith

Posted on June 11, 2011 by youredrippingegg

I’m almost scared to say it, lest I lose my Callous Lady-Tongue street cred. Oh heck, I’m just going to speak my mind on this one: I AM SATISFIED WITH THE OUTCOME OF THIS VENTURE.

When I discovered many months ago that they were rebooting the X-Men franchise (a comic-book series I have a long-standing engagement with), I was a little worried. There is a danger, I feel, in going down the rewarding Batman Begins road but not being able to handle it. In the final installment the 2000s trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand, cruel, selfish film-makers ruined the best story ever told in comics. Considering this, how could I be certain that X-Men: First Class would be any good at all? I mean, let’s not even mention Origins: Wolverine. Just don’t, it hurts too much.

Epic...no?

First Class begins in 1944, where Erik Lehnsherr (young Magneto) is being dragged from his mother by Nazis in a concentration camp. Fighting for his family’s life, Erik destroys a metal gate with his mind and is subsequently set on the radar of Dr. Schmidt (Kevin “Jump Back” Bacon). The Doctor does mean things in order to unleash the full extent of Erik’s powers, and we’re left with a feeling that Erik is going to be hell-a pissed at Kevin Bacon when he grows up. Oh boy.

Just pointing out that Fassbender and McAvoy have some MAJOR eyebrow going on in this photo...

In 1962, telepath Charles Xavier and shape-shifter Raven (James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence) are gallivanting around Oxford, Raven sulking and Charles trying to pick up lasses. Elsewhere, grown-up Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) is proving just how pissed off he can be by going around and killing a bunch of Nazis. The CIA, who are TOTALLY FREAKING OUT about the Cold War and bombs and stuff, ask Charles and his mutant buddies to help them destroy the Russians and bad-guy Sebastian Shaw, formerly Dr. Schmidt, A.K.A Kevin Bacon. Shaw’s sidekick is seriously breast-tastic January Jones, who portrays diamond telepath Emma Frost. Erik and Charles become mates and construct a team of young mutants to fight against Shaw and the Russian threat. The team includes Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy (later Beast) and Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira McTaggart (a non-mutant CIA officer who serves as Charles’ paltry love interest).

L-R: Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee, Michael Fassbender as Erik, Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique, Rose Byrne as Moira McTaggart, Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy/Beast, James McAvoy as Charles and Lucas Till as Alex Summers

First Class has a tonne more pizzazz than Brian Singer’s 2000s franchise, and a camp edge that feels like a throwback to the 1990s X-Men: The Animated Series. I feel that if there was one mistake made in First Class, it was in not fully embracing the fun and games of the cartoons and the comics. There is an element of fun in this film, yet it is sadly restrained. Regardless, First Class is—I just must say it—a CLASS ACT. It is graceful story-telling with delicate handling of some potent issues, though Michael Vaughn (director) and his team were a little heavy-handed with the overarching message: “I’m a Mutant, and I’m Proud.”

Being "proud". Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult (Raven and Hank)

The script has a playfulness that is highly endearing. Charles has some wonderful lines, including trying to crack on to a lass by calling a mutation “groovy”. The director/screenwriting team handle the fast-moving plot well, fitting in a WHOLE lot of comic-history and actual-history. There is subtlety in the manufacturing of the political subtext; one I wish existed in the aforementioned promulgations concerning “otherness”. The film has moments of true humour to combat an action-heavy final third. The rendering of the time period is kind of genius. Despite a couple of script hiccups (i.e. Zoe Kravitz’s devastating use of “daddio”), the 1960s vibe is created with less kitsch than you’d expect. Fantastic mod furniture and mini-skirts, the art direction team are clearly cashing in on the retro street-cred up for grabs at the moment.

Woops...Alex Summers is tearing it up.

There are lovely performances from some supporting actors. Hoult is very much how I would imagine a young Beast; earnest, reserved and gentle. Jennifer Lawrence is a good Mystique, giving her a sullen teenage edge and navigating the complicated relationship with Charles well, though she’s not quite a patch on Rebecca Romijn from the first X-Men films. A less impressive performance come from truly Dull City January Jones. I always hated Emma Frost in the comics but at least she had balls. Jones behaves in First Class as though she cannot act. Since she is fiery as Betty Draper in Mad Men, I find her apparent lack of zest difficult to comprehend. Perhaps her only directions were: “Push your t**s out, have a super-PMS look on your face always, look as much like Claire Danes as you can.” Also, Rose Byrne (whom I love) was not just Dull City, but Dull Universe as Moira McTaggart. Though I feel any really good actor can liven up a dull part, she was severely ham-stringed at having to fill the role of “Mutant Sympathiser/’Love Interest’” The ‘Love Interest’ thing is pretty dubious though, as she and Charles have zero chemistry. I’d say the standout (in the supporting performances) was Kevin Bacon having so much fun as Sebastian Shaw. Bacon is cool and funny as the playful villain.

Kevin "Jump Back" Bacon and January Jones (Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost)

Certainly, the special thing about the film is Charles and Erik’s engrossing relationship. As stand-alone protagonists, and as a troubled duo, McAvoy and Fassbender outstrip the other performers with startling and unexpected mastery. As Charles, McAvoy commands rakish, ego-fueled charm. Though Charles directs his troops with care and wisdom, his cheeky arrogance is quite enigmatic. I think his performance is overshadowed somewhat by a powerhouse Fassbender, but McAvoy portrays Charles with charisma, whimsy and understanding. Fassbender is nothing short of epic as the complex Erik Lehnsherr. He is lean and brooding, and his impressive output of emotion ranges from debonair cynicism to maniacal rage. Omigod, he’s such a babe, and though I respect that they didn’t have him undress unnecessarily one billion times so we could see him shirtless, you can tell underneath all those turtlenecks he has a rockin’ bod. He basically tears s$#! up on-screen, and his performance prickles with electricity.

Look, LOOK!

Curiously, the relationship between Charles and Erik, which you’d think the film’s creators couldn’t help but overdo, is achingly restrained. Their friendship blooms just as you’d expect, but what it manifests into is surprising. There is real tenderness between the two: Charles’ calm strength grates against Erik’s barely-contained agony. The old adage, explored in many stories like this one, is that power can corrupt, and it is the stronger individual who learns control. There is quiet desperation in Charles casting off his ego and scrambling to help Erik retain his humanity.

McAvoy and Fassbender (as Charles and Erik). Mmmm. Good.

The film moves at lightning pace and it could be hard to keep up, but it is well worth the effort. There is a tonne of action, but intelligent and engaging action (avoiding the Michael Bay bombs and boobs everywhere-fest). It is a small bliss in life that occasionally our favourite things are spared from ruin. Sure, they mucked up the Dark Phoenix Saga in X3. With First Class, all is forgiven.

X-Men: First Class is playing in cinemas everywhere. Grab a mate and get in to see it on the big screen while you still can!

The original, and the best!

In the meantime, share your thoughts on First Class, the X-Men comics and characters, or on other comic-book-film franchises below:
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:34 am

http://blog.bookmyshow.com/x-men-first-class/3986

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Posted on Jun 11th, 2011 in Critic - Rajeev Masand

X-Men: First Class is an intelligent, action-packed prequel that neatly ties into the events and the dynamics of the original movie trilogy. Most importantly, it provides the back-story for the legendary rivalry between Professor X and Magneto.

According to the new movie their relationship dates all the way back to the early Sixties, when they fight on the same side against Kevin Bacon’s super-evil mutant Sebastian Shaw, who attempts to start off a nuclear war between the United States and Russia so he can rid the world of the human race. James McAvoy does a fine job playing the morally unshakeable Charles Xavier, or the future Professor X. Even more impressive is Michael Fassbender as the strong, silent Erik Lehnsherr who will go on to become Magneto. Erik has an old axe to grind against Shaw, a former Nazi who murdered his mother in front of his eyes when he was a young boy.

To strengthen their side against Shaw, Charles and Erik round up and train a posse of young mutants who’re bound by their impressive skills and their outcast status. Unfortunately this talented cast of young superheroes-in-the-making is a tad overcrowded with some of the mutants getting lost in the shuffle. Those who register an impression however are Raven, the blue-skinned shape-shifter (played by Jennifer Lawrence) who will go on to become Mystique, and Hank, the nerdish tech-wiz with monkey feet (played by Nicholas Hoult), who literally turns into Beast when an experiment he performs on himself goes horribly wrong. Meanwhile, on his side Shaw has faithful icy blonde Emma Frost (played by Mad Men’s January Jones), who has telepathic powers that rival those of Charles.

The film works splendidly because it delivers thrilling action sequences without ever compromising on its characters’ integrities. And although there’s a little too much yak-yak on how the humans will never accept the mutants, even some of their sillier skills are fun to watch when they’re on display.

Director Matthew Vaughn delivers in-jokes and cameos to please the fanboys; yet he never loses grip on the smart script that wraps with Charles and Erik taking opposite sides. The film’s standout performance comes from Michael Fassbender who infuses into Erik both vulnerability and steely reserve, making him the most intriguing character in this adventure.

X-Men: First Class is that rare summer blockbuster that’s both smart and incredibly fun. So much fun, in fact, that you even go with the preposterous insinuation that the Cuban Missile Crisis was of an evil mutant’s doing!

I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for X-Men: First Class. Despite it’s running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, you will wish there was more!

Rating: ★★★½☆
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:35 am

http://dewesh.com/2011/06/11/x-men-first-class-review/
X-Men: First Class (Review)

June 11, 2011 9:26 am
deweshsingh

The film takes us back to the eary 60′s and the very beginnings of the X-Men. We pick up with the James McAvoy as Charles Xavier when he is still a young dude in London, hitting on girls at bar and drinking beer…and. that’s just one example how fun this movie can be. James McAvoy & Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. Magneto are great. You won’t even remember the old actors who played these guys once you see this movie. And they are really what makes First Class work. Off-course you get new mutants including Mystique played by Jennifer Lawrence. After Xavier & Magneto she is probably the most intresting character in the film. She is actually Xavier’s best friend, when we meet her and slowly throughout the course of the film we start to see what bring her to turn to the dark side.
Perhaps not well developed as a character is Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw) who is more cartoonish than the other characters in the film. He is interesting as he is a sort of proto-Megneto. He kinds of want the same thing that Megneto wants. And yet Megneto drives throughout the whole film to hunt down Sebastian Shaw.
There are plenty of other Mutants as well. We got Beast, Havok, Banshee, & Angel.
Director Mathew Ron is willing to go off doing his own thing and yet he is very mindful of what has come before. He is taking the good stuffs that we have seen before but not scarified the storyline either. Ultimately this is a great movie, really fun to watch. It is not as serious as a lot of superhero movies tend to be.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:35 am

http://www.kingstonhighlights.com/ae/2011/06/10/x-men-first-class-cast-second-class-film/

X-Men: first class cast, second class film

Magneto, Beast, Mystique, Havoc and Proffessor X all come to the silver screen in X-Men First Class.

June 10, 2011 • Cody Naccarato, Editor

Casting is almost everything in a superhero movie. There is a reason why Tobey Maguire played Spiderman, Jack Nicholson played The Joker, and Patrick Stewart played Professor X. When you have a good cast, it just makes the whole movie come together. But that doesn’t mean that the movie will be good just because the casting was good. X-Men First Class is a hard film to really judge on that premise.

The film focuses on the paths of Erik, and Charles. Erik was raised in Poland, before being taken to a concentration camp. The Nazis got a hold of him, and killed his mother before his own eyes. Erik learned his power to control metal were triggered by anger. At the same time, Charles was raised in wealth and comfort in his mansion in West Chester, New York. The two cross paths, because of a mutual goal. The situation becomes apparent to them, and they are tasked to find a mutant squad, willing to stop Shaw. Some twists and turns occur, with the climax being at the Cuban Missile crisis, where the story tells the mutant involvement.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are too very strong leads for this movie. They provide the stability, leadership, and connection that you know had occurred at one point between Professor X, and Magneto. They are also too very great actors that play their parts very well. My heart still goes out to Patrick Stewart, but as a representation of the characters it gives people the real picture. It shows people the reality. Magneto isn’t the bad guy, he’s just the antagonist in the X-Men universe. And his experiences show a very logical explanation to his bitterness.

Kevin Bacon plays Sebastian Shaw, the movies main antagonist (along with those damn Ruskies!) I don’t know what’s funnier. The fact that Kevin Bacon has nothing better to do these days, then star in an X-Men movie, or the fact that he plays a Nazi. I guess his performance is comparable to Footloose, if you take out the dancing, and include a metal helmet.

The movie exhibits some of the more well known mutants, such as Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Hank McCoy as “Beast” (Nicholas Hoult). It shows a romance, that I don’t necessarily remember… but hey, I guess I can’t know everything right? You also get to see Hugh Jackman, in a on screen cameo. It’s by far the funniest scene in the movie, and it lasts all of four seconds, as he tells Charles and Erik (Professor X and Magneto) to go “*Insert explicit word here* off.”

It also takes the time to show some lesser known mutants, such as Angel, Darwin, Banshee, and Havoc. I feel like the introduction of characters is similar to a John Steinbeck novel. You get a very great picture painted for you, very quickly. You have a good understanding of all the mutants, without having prior knowledge of them. You could walk into this film, unaware of what X-Men even is, and you’d be very content and able to follow the film.

As a film it makes me happy. It’s a good representation of the characters, their traits (both human and mutant alike) and really takes enough time to explain where each mutant’s position is on soon to come mutant war. It sets the stage for the universe we know ahead, but does it pay homage to what we all know and understand?

I don’t really understand some things about the movie. I don’t feel like it is a direct reflection of what was going on based on the comic books. I don’t feel like it represents the events correctly enough. To be honest, I didn’t think Havoc was with the original X-Men. I always thought he was there before Cyclops (his brother) but never thought that early. That’d make him considerably older than Scott, which doesn’t seem to make sense at all to me.

The quirks of the movie do irk me to no end. But it’s understandable that when you make a movie, that you have to just make sense on screen. Marvel makes some very great superhero films, and I think that’s what they hope to accomplish. At the same time, they have Stan Lee as an executive producer, so I can’t imagine that he lets them stray too far off from the path right?

The film focuses on the paths of Erik, and Charles. Erik was raised in Poland, before being taken to a concentration camp. The Nazi’s got a hold of him, and killed his mother before his own eyes. Erik learned his power to control metal were triggered by anger. At the same time, Charles was raised in wealth and comfort in his mansion in West Chester, New York. The two cross paths, because of a mutual goal. The situation becomes apparent to them, and they are tasked to find a mutant squad, willing to stop Shaw.

Overall, the film is good. I don’t absolutely hate it, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me from a superhero movie perspective. On a more, “Summer Blockbuster” kind of sense, it’s very enjoyable. Comics make me angry, as they always do. I guess I’ll never be completely satisfied. Just like Harry Potter fans will never be completely satisfied. Because of all these things and more, X-Men First Class gets 4 out of 5. I can’t condemn a movie for a standard, that the rest of the world is not ready to follow.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:37 am

http://www.huntersvilleherald.com/movies/2011/06/10/%E2%80%98x-men-first-class%E2%80%99/

‘X-Men: First Class’
Posted by CW Web Admin on June 10, 2011 in Movies |

by Tim Ross

(From left) Caleb Landry Jones, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy and Lucas Till

As Hollywood digs deeper for fresh ideas and moviegoers tire of filmmakers trotting out less-than-stellar sequels, the prequel has become a new way to reintroduce old products to audiences. Many prequels have done little to spark new interest in a franchise, but several recent successful origin tales do come to mind.

The Batman Franchise has been retold in fantastic fashion with “Batman Begins,” and “The Dark Knight,” the 2009 version of “Star Trek” is a fine origin tale and now “X-Men: First Class” can be added to that list.

Like its title, this X-Men genesis flick is a first class effort to answer many of the questions fans have about their favorite mutants and how their loyalties came into being. How did Magneto become a complex villain-­advocate for mutants? How did Xavier end up in a wheelchair? Why did Xavier and Magneto become adversaries and how did their associates choose sides?

Large questions like this and many smaller curiosities are answered in nifty fashion in “X-Men: First Class,” which also does what all the films in the X-Men franchise do best – it explores the pain and humiliation of discrimination.

Director Matthew Vaughn and screenwriters Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz know a good foundation when they see one, so they don’t mess with the formula all the X-Men films have shared. They mix incredible special effects and huge action scenes with careful examination of how all the major characters deal with life as mutants.

What’s the use of a superpower if you’ll never have love? Or children? Or a normal life? These are fascinating questions and Vaughn succeeds in striking a balance between answering them and providing the audience plenty of popcorn blockbuster action.

Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is a brilliant young mind who recognizes he’s different and that there are others like him. He sets out to find as many mutants as he can to help them understand who they are and how they can live in harmony with non-mutants.

One of his first discoveries is Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who can become the blue-tinted Mystique at will. Raven and Xavier travel the world in search of mutants and soon become aware of the powerful Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). Erik is different because his incredible power of manipulating objects with magnetism is fueled by anger.

Xavier knows all the mutants feel anger, shame or loneliness and works to help them control their powers and their view of themselves as monsters. He teams with a CIA researcher (Oliver Platt) who’s been studying mutants and together they streamline the search process. Their quest yields a batch of young mutants and Xavier’s budding enterprise of pupils begins to grow.

In the meantime, tensions build between Xavier and Erik over how mutants should assimilate, but their friendship remains. How that friendship devolves and sides get chosen is a fun and fascinating journey.

And all of this is set against a backdrop of a growing Cold War, the Bay of Pigs, nuclear dawn and the notion of the destructive effects of labeling others without understanding.

And Kevin Bacon’s in the mix as the first mutant villain, Sebastian Shaw. Bacon revels in the role and plays it with the verve and heightened realism of a James Bond villain. In fact, he has high tech gadgets, a secret submarine and a tall, blonde sidekick (January Jones), just like many villains from the Bond films. Even the credits evoke comparisons to the Bond franchise. That choice seems deliberate on the part of Vaughn and it works.

The acting is solid top to bottom and Jennifer Lawrence, who is currently filming “Hunger Games” in our area, is a 20-year-old superstar in the making.

“X-Men: First Class” is a thought-provoking summer blockbuster that takes itself seriously while also having fun with the popcorn movie genre. Enjoy the ride.

Grade: 3.5/4
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:37 am

http://blogs.woodtv.com/2011/06/10/review-high-marks-for-x-men-first-class/

Review: high marks for “X-Men: First Class”
June 10th, 2011 at 8:23 am by Laff at the Movies under Entertainment

”X-Men: First Class” has action, a good story, good acting, and its well made – its the best in the franchise since “X2″ (2003). Fans of the “X-Men” movie franchise will really like this movie, but die hard comic book fans already know that the movies in this franchise have been telling a slightly different story that what was on the pages of Marvel comics.

“X-Men: First Class” was a pleasant surprise with a solid storyline, good acting, and good character development that, sets up for more prequels or just connects to the originals.

(My spoiler-free review)

The story takes us back to 1944 where Erik (Magneto) and Charles (Professor X) have very different backgrounds that lead them to the point where they meet and ultimately why they disagree on human/mutant relations.

Director Matthew Vaughn clearly has a eye for developing characters, especially superheroes, giving the same kind of attention here to Erik and Charles and Mystique like he did with “Kick-Ass” (2010). Vaughn gets you to understand why Magneto believes what he believes and even makes him someone to root for in this movie… that’s an accomplishment considering how much of a villain he is in the other movies.

Between Michael Fassbender (Erik/Magneto) and Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw) we get some of the best acting performances we’ve seen in this franchise as both actors easily convey the many layers of their characters. James McAvoy is perfectly cast as Charles Xavier plus Jennifer Lawrence and January Jones were great choices for Raven/Mystique and Emma Frost.

There’s a good mix of story and action that makes the movie interesting enough to work as both a superhero movie and just a plain old action movie. However, one of my concerns with the story (and I know I’m not alone here) is that the story does start to feel a little long and the 2hour, 12 minute running time starts to become noticeable before we get to the final action sequence.

But this movie is a perfect chapter in the Marvel movies universe that is very respectable and not over-the-top/corny. The special effects are great, especially for the transporting abilities of Azazel. This chapter in the franchise also gets back to what made the first two movies so successful: the very relatable feeling for the young mutants that they didn’t fit in, the trademark moments of humor, a setting in the real world (during the cold war/ cuban missle crisis).

“First Class” also features one of the best/most effective cameos ever (a one line 3 word cameo from a Marvel Universe character) – if you’ve seen it you know what I’m talking about.
Being a big fan of the X-Men from the cartoon series (1992-1997) and the comics, but not a die hard original comic book fan I recognize that there will always be some things that are different than what you previously knew about the characters. And just like the last three “X-Men” movies I noticed a few things that didn’t fit the chronolgy of the story or didn’t fit what I knew about the character. We know that the studio had to adapt some things because they couldn’t fit all the characters into the first two movies, so some storylines were askew. But these kind of issues that I had with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009) or “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006) were not as significant this time around.

My issues were the noticeably long time it takes to get to the climatic scene… those of us that know the later relationship of Charles and Erik (or saw the first three movies) know where this is going to end up, but the story meanders a bit getting there.

This origin story explains a lot of things about the characters and ties things to “X-Men” 1-3:
* How Charles, Raven, and Erik meet
* The differences of opinion between Professor X (Charles) and Magneto (Erik) are highlighted in their childhood and early adult lives and this quote: (Erik:) “you believe they’re all like Moira”… (Charles:) “you believe they’re all like Shaw”.
* Raven (Mystique)/Hank (Beast) – feeling different because of appearance ties in well with “X-Men 3″
* Mystique’s age/appearance
* Beast’s appearance
* the origin of Magneto’s helmet
*Cerebro
*why Sebastian Shaw (of the Hellfire Club) is here
*Why Charles and Erik recruited mutants together
*Charles’ physical condition
*the beginning of Erik/Raven’s relationship
*the reasons Raven loses respect for Charles

THE BOTTOM LINE:

“X-Men: First Class” is a great addition to the franchise, the Marvel movies universe, and movies in general. Other than a little editing to make it shorter (this feels more like a director’s cut, although we know from the clips and trailers released earlier that parts of scenes were trimmed) … I give it 8.5 out of 10 … I definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of this genre or this franchise, and I mildly recommend it to everyone else, which is why waiting to rent may be best for some audiences.

“X-Men: First Class”

(2011) (rated: PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image)
(2 hrs, 12 min)

Starring:
James McAvoy as Charles Xavier
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw
Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven / Mystique
Oliver Platt as Man In Black Suit
Zoë Kravitz as Angel Salvadore
January Jones as Emma Frost
Álex González as Janos Quested / Riptide
Jason Flemyng as Azazel
Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy / Beast
Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy / Banshee
Edi Gathegi as Armando Muñoz / Darwin
Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok
James Remar as US General
Rade Serbedzija as Russian General
Don Creech as William Stryker Sr.
Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine (uncredited)

Director: Matthew Vaughn ["Kick-Ass" (2010), "Stardust" (2007), "Layer Cake" (2004)]

Genre: Action/Adventure/Drama Sci-Fi/Comicbook/Superhero

The Plot: In 1963, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.

So what did you think? Please post a comment!

.
“X-Men: First Class” poster courtesy 20th Century Fox
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:38 am

http://www.aaj.tv/2011/06/%E2%80%98x-men-first-class%E2%80%99-is-a-worthy-prequel/

‘X-Men: First Class’ is a worthy prequel
NEWYORK - 10th June 2011
By Monitoring Desk

The mutants are back and what a comeback! Yes Matthew Vaughn’s ‘X-Men: First Class’ is a slick, spectacular and high octane action thriller that will leave you asking for more.

Starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, the film also stars Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne and Jennifer Lawrence in major roles.

‘X-Men: First Class’ is a clever and well-thought-out sequel to the ‘X-Men’ franchise, which takes us down the memory lane and tells how the mutants came into being. The movie takes you back into the history where our mutants are at the center of the Cuban missile crisis.

Even though James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are no match to Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, the flick presents electrifying performances by the stellar cast.

If McAvoy amazes you with his liveliness and unwavering nobility, Fassbender enthralls you with his wrath and pragmatism, which portend Stewart`s Professor X and McKellen`s Magneto avatar.

The movie portrays Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender`s boyhood in the 1940s, highlighting their different upbringing which ultimately turns them foes from friends.

‘X-Men: First Class’ traces Charles and Erik’s friendship in the early 1960’s when the two were a part of a CIA operation against Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a mutant who dreamt of setting off a nuclear war to wipe out humanity. And here enter other mutants – CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Havok (Lucas Till), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) and Angel (Zoe Kravitz), who ultimately change allegiances.

A word on special effects, ‘X-Men: First Class’ offers spectacular visual effects and great design which enhances the cinematic experience.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:49 am

http://www.macguffinpodcast.com/macguffin-content/film-review-x-men-first-class/

Film Review – X-Men: First Class
Date: Fri, 10 Jun, 2011 at 09:58 AM | Author: Allen Almachar

Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class (2011) does everything you would expect in a summer blockbuster featuring super heroes and super villains. It’s actually kind of surprising the level of accomplishment that the movie reached, given the well-reported rush that the production went through. Think about it like this: Vaughn was not brought in as the film’s director until only about a year ago. To think that he was able to jump aboard this project and in about twelve months’ time produce a well-made movie is a borderline miracle, even though we can clearly see evidence of its quick assembly. However, the film is a highly enjoyable entertainment, bringing the series back to form after the disappointments of X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). I, for one, welcomed it with open arms.

As we all know by its title, the film acts as a prequel to the Bryan Singer film, X-Men (2000). One of the big pluses that this film had going for it was that Singer returned to the franchise as a story contributor. This time around, the film takes place in the 1960s, during a very troubling time in American history. One of the more interesting aspects was how the filmmakers wrapped the origins of Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), and their young students to the Cold War, the U.S. arms race with Russia, President Kennedy, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Who would’ve thought that the true nature of the Cold War and the possibility of WWIII were due to a few mutants harboring a superiority complex? Hopefully high school students won’t get their U.S. History lessons mixed up. But it works within the context of the film; interweaving the story with real world situations, the film feels a little more relevant. We see the connection between these mutants wanting to be accepted in to society with the real-world outcasts of the time more clearly.

Another strength that the film had was the development of the Erik Lehnsherr character. Erik (who will become Magneto) has always been one of the more fascinating characters of the X-Men universe to me. This is a man who has seen and experienced the very worst from mankind in his lifetime, and has been filled with hate and vengeance ever since. The opening of this movie harks back to the opening of X-Men, where we see a young Erik being torn away from his family in one of the Nazi concentration camps. We get to see more of his background here, and how his subjugation under the evil villain Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) fed his hate and pushed him to seek revenge on all those who would discriminate and torment others. Michael Fassbender has been a great actor for quite some time now, and I almost feel that this movie doesn’t really deserve his talent. But he uses his skill and charisma very well in his performance, allowing us to both fear Erik and sympathize with his plight. As he describes himself in the movie, Erik is Frankenstein in search of his maker.

His storyline is contrasted with that of a young Charles Xavier. A mutant with telepathic abilities, Charles is depicted as a young hotshot college graduate eager to enter the world of teaching. His wild ways are quickly ended when he is called upon by Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) and the CIA to help stop Shaw from collaborating with the Russians to send missiles to Cuba. Charles runs into Erik, hot on the heels of Shaw himself, and the two form a unique bond and friendship, with one man driven by anger and the other motivated by the possibility of equality between mutants and humans. The very best scenes are between these two men, and showing their recruitment of young mutants to help stop Shaw and find a safe place in the world for them to live. The two both try to fight for a certain goal, but are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Their relationship is developed and tested very well as the movie progresses, and during the final passages, when the two make their stands on where the mutant/human balance should lie, it’s very well executed.

That’s where the last couple of X-Men installments lacked, as they had less of a focus on character and story, instead concentrating on just effects. With the gist of this film being on Erik, Charles, and the young mutant team, the special effects and CGI really do not have as much bearing on the quality of the film. With the movie rushed in such quick production, a lot of the effects during the action scenes seem underdeveloped, and a lot of the mutant power abilities don’t feel very convincing. But Vaughn was able to make due with what he had, and because much of the action has a point and the stakes are well realized, I was able to forgive the movie of that.

There were other minor issues. Take, for example, the underdevelopment of a lot of the supporting characters, which has been an issue with all of the movies. With so many characters being introduced, there simply is not enough time to fully get to know all of them. This is most exemplified in the Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) character, the shape-shifting mutant who will become known as Mystique. Her arc throughout the movie felt poorly handled, and her relationships with Charles, Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), and, finally, Erik, simply did not feel real within its timeframe. It seemed the amount of people moving within this story and the choices they make felt compacted and shortened. There is certainly enough material here to warrant a number of other installments, but it seemed that the filmmakers wanted to get as much as they could in, while setting everything up appropriately to bring us back around to the first movie.

With those minor problems aside, X-Men: First Class still works as a very well made comic book movie, bringing life back to a series that was almost dead in the water. The action was well staged, the acting was good by most of the principle actors, and the dynamic between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr felt real and believable. For the most part, this movie was just a lot of fun. There was an air of enjoyment to it—not taking itself too seriously, but accomplishing what it sets out to do probably better than it should have. I had a good time while watching it; there was not one dull moment or a scene that was not entertaining. If you’re looking for a well-made popcorn movie to see in the theaters, let this one be it.

Final Grade: B+
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:50 am

http://www.azreporter.com/tt/index.php?id=1620

X-Men: First Class (20th Century Fox)

Reviewed for Arizona Reporter
By Harvey Karten

Grade: B+
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn
Written By: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, story by Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Oliver Platt, January Jones, Jason Flemyng, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Bacon
Screened at: Regal E-Walk, NYC, 5/31/11
Opens: June 3, 2011

Recall the way that Emperor Joseph II reacted to a composition by Mozart in "Amadeus" with the expression "too many notes," something similar might be said for "X-Men First Class," which has four screenwriting credits, and which comes across as overly stuffed with characters and scenes at the expense of coherence. One wonders whether each scripter threw in his or her favorites. But never mind. The production is exciting almost throughout, with the CGI folks throwing in everything but the kitchen sink to beat the audience into joyful submission. What's more, we learn something teacher never taught about the Holocaust and about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

For example, gazing at the opening of the story in a Nazi concentration camp in Poland, Auschwitz perhaps or maybe Birkenau, we find out a few things that we already knew. For example, Kevin Bacon takes on the role of Dr. Sebastian Shaw who, like Dr. Mengele is in no mood to cure the inmates. He shoots the mother of young Erik Lehnsher (Bill Milner) because, knowing that Erik has mutant powers that could be used in the future (such as by provoking nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union), he is disappointed that the kid is unable to move a coin across the desk. Erik, who survives the camp, is determined to use his magnetic powers to gain revenge against Shaw.

Years later Erik, now a charismatic adult (Michael Fassbender) meets fellow mutant Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). They decide to work together. Charles, a professor in England, is recruited by the CIA together with his sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) in a separate department of mutant powers, while Erik turns Nazi hunter. In the movie's best scene-superior because it's simple, down-to-earth, and filled with tension--Erik tracks two Nazis to an Argentine tavern and, using his powers to attract and deflect metals does them in.

We in the audience get to meet quite a few of these mutants, each with a special power. Emma Frost (January Jones), a sidekick of the evil Sebastian Shaw, has telepathic ability. She can also morph into a big, beautiful diamond incapable of being destroyed. Under CIA apparatchiks Dr. Moira Mac Taggert (Rose Byrne) and a man in black (Oliver Platt), mutants are trained to further develop their powers, including Hank (Nicholas Hoult), Alex (Lucas Till), Sean (Caleb Landry Jones), Armondo (Edi Gathegi) and Angel (Zoe Kravitz). They get their chance to shine during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the year that the world came closest to nuclear Armageddon, and given the fact that we're all still here, it would not be a spoiler to say that they succeeded but not until the visual folks give us some star-studded action involving missiles launched from American and Soviet ships.

Solid acting and stunning effects under the leadership of John Dykstra are enhanced by Chris Seagers, who creates a variety of awesome production designs, while Sammy Sheldon's costumes would win any Halloween contest and John Mathieson's sharp photography illuminate the entire production. Kevin Bacon shows his linguistic ability in German, Russian and English, using his trilingualism in his move to take over the world. In that sense he is with neither the Russians nor the Americans but as in familiar James Bond themes he represents a third force.

Could it be that "X-Men First Class" is making a civil rights statement as well? Some of the mutants are ashamed to be blue. That makes them different from other human beings. Each is convinced to "be yourself," though one wonders why those mutants who are insecure-principally young Raven Darkholme-could not simply abstain from turning themselves into blue people.

Rated PG-13. 131 minutes. © 2011 Harvey Karten Member: NY Film Critics Online.
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