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X-Men Reviews 4

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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:50 am

http://sqt-fantasy-sci-fi-girl.blogspot.com/2011/06/movie-review-x-men-first-class.html

Thursday, June 09, 2011
Movie Review: "X-Men: First Class"
**Spoilers Included**

Sequels, prequels and remakes seem to be the rule of movie-making these days and it's often hard to dredge up any enthusiasm for films you feel like you've seen before. But X-Men: First Class interested me thanks to a new cast and some very good trailers.

Like the last "Star Trek" movie, "X-Men: First Class" goes back in time to the younger days of well-known characters to establish the back story and flesh out the foundations of the relationships we're already acquainted with. The movie opens with the same scene from the first "X-Men" movie in which we see Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) being held back as he is separated from his parents as they are being escorted into a concentration camp and the subsequent awakening of his powers. This time, however, we are allowed to see what happens to Erik after his mutant abilities are revealed and his manipulation by a man known as Dr. Schmidt-- who would study and exploit Erik's power.

The story then cuts to a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his first meeting with Raven Darkholm/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). Unlike their adult characters Raven and Charles are very close as youngsters and grow up much like brother and sister thanks to their shared experiences as mutants. But Raven and Charles grow apart as they get older because of Raven's desire to fit in, and her inability to do so because of her striking natural appearance.

Charles and Erik's paths cross after Charles is approached by the C.I.A. to help them investigate a man known as Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon)-- who just happens to be the same Dr. Schmidt that terrorized a young Magneto. Erik's anger has fueled his desire to hunt down Shaw, but it has also impeded his ability to fully develop his powers. Charles sees Erik's struggle and helps him to control his anger and the two become friends as they begin to recruit young mutants into their group as they begin to find out what Shaw's larger plan is for his own group of mutant accomplices.

The plot of "X-Men: First Class" is surprisingly similar to the other films in the series. The theme never really wavers from the division among mutants into groups who trust non-mutant humans and those who are certain humankind will only mistrust and fear them. What makes "X-Men: First Class" interesting is the evolution of Charles and Erik's relationship and the early glimmers of what will become the Charles Xavier school.

"X-Men: First Class" is a hard movie for me to classify. Do I recommend it? Well, yes and no. This is a movie that when it works, it's great; when it doesn't work, it lands with a thud.

The movie shines when it focuses on Charles Xavier. James McAvoy not only has a wonderful charisma, but he is also very believable as a young Charles. Unlike the portrayal of Captain Kirk in the prequel version of "Star Trek" you never feel like McAvoy is doing an impersonation of Patrick Stewart. I liked how the young Charles was presented as a smart but slightly egotistical flirt whose relationship with Raven is much defined by his failure to understand her. There are times when the script gets hokey in trying to portray Charles' 'wisdom,' like when he spouts some nonsense about Erik finding his focus somewhere "between serenity and rage"-- which sounds like a bunch of meditative gobbledygook to me (don't all emotions fit somewhere between the two?). Though I'm sure many will think it's the height of enlightenment.

Fassbender is good as Erik as well-- though I can't say the character developed much beyond his need for revenge against Shaw. The story arc between Shaw and Erik is intriguing because much of Erik's beliefs regarding humans mirrors that of Shaw. It's never spelled out explicitly, but it is assumed that Shaw had many years to imprint this philosophy onto a young Magneto who didn't reject those early lessons despite his hatred of Shaw.

Kevin Bacon is great, as always, and he definitely seemed to enjoy playing the villain-- the early scenes in the concentration camp are especially gleeful. There are endearing moments with the rest of the cast as well, though the overall effect was sometimes uneven. Lawrence, as Mystique, alternates between sweetly wistful and sullen brooding, but she doesn't have the edge I've come to associate with the character. Zoe Kravitz, as Angel, was also generally flat throughout, though the award for most wooden acting has to go to January Jones as Emma Frost. I couldn't figure out if she was trying to convey a coldness in keeping with her character's ability to turn to diamond form, or if she was just boring. For an evil henchman (or henchwoman) Emma should have seemed to be something more than indifferent, but she never got there.

But the biggest failure has to be the lack of consistency in the script. The good parts are very good. The movie isn't afraid to be smart and it doesn't shy away from presenting moments of genuine horror. One scene in particular evokes the terrible moments caught on camera during the 9/11 attacks and the awful reality of what a falling body sounds like when it hits the ground. I don't know if it was the intent of the filmmaker to remind the audience of that day, but it was what came to my mind. But I won't say I find that objectionable; it fit with Shaw's character to terrorize his enemies that way. There were nice moments of humor and the Wolverine cameo made me laugh out loud. And I would say that I was thinking this movie was a sure-fire purchase until it got to the climatic sequence.

Where the script falls apart is the moment that it assumes humanity will destroy all mutants at the first opportunity-- no hesitation. Despite the defense Charles puts up for non-mutants, the story itself doesn't back him up. It's like every movie that has the friendly alien being chased and exploited by evil government forces. Or any script about the noble savage and the ignorant white man. There are no shades of gray and very little nuance, which is annoying when you consider that the audience for an "X-Men" movie is likely to be pretty open-minded to begin with. I couldn't figure out, when the moment came for the mutants to be betrayed, whether the writers were trying to make a statement of some kind, or whether it was just a convenient sequence of events. Either way, I was so irritated that I was fully taken out of the movie and what would have been a largely positive review was instantly turned around.

If it hadn't been for that one-note turn of events, I would be an enthusiastic cheerleader for this film. I'd say that despite some slightly cheesy special effects and wooden acting, it had charm and flair. I'd say it was fun and an encouraging harbinger of a better movie season. But that one scene... What to do with that? It deflated my enthusiasm faster than I would have thought possible and I don't know whether to recommend the film or not. That's a first for me. I'm also not sure if I would be open to seeing a sequel or not-- I am that much on the fence.

And that leaves me presenting the most ambivalent review I've ever written.
Posted by SQT at 6/09/2011
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:51 am

http://www.fadedglamour.co.uk/2011/06/film-review-x-men-first-class-2011.html

Thursday, June 09, 2011
Film Review: X-Men First Class (2011)
'X-Men: First Class' (UK Release: 1 June '11) // Words: Ced Yuen

'X-Men' has been saved. It never quite reached the painful lows of the 'Batman' franchise under the misdirection of Joel Schumacher, but after the last two distinctly average outings, the franchise faced an uncertain future. Not anymore: X-Men has been restored to its former glory. 'X-Men: First Class' is to X-Men what 'Casino Royale' was to James Bond - rejuvenation.

The film occupies the perfect spot between fan service and accessibility. There are things that long-time X-Men fans will recognise and appreciate, and for them these geek snippets will enhance the overall experience. However, these references are never laboured. Blink and you’ll miss them. Newcomers never feel as though they are outsiders - this is the perfect jumping-on point.


Forget 2009's 'Wolverine' – this should have been called 'X-Men Origins', because that’s exactly what it is. It is about a young Charles Xavier and his fascination with human evolution. It is about young Erik Lehnsherr and his desire to avenge the death of his family in the Holocaust. This is the story of how they become Professor X and Magneto.

It’s not about super powers. There are a lot of them, but that’s not the point of the film. The focus is primarily on the characters. They’re not superheroes and supervillians just yet, they’re just people, trying to deal with mutations – which is far more interesting than explosions and fights.

The mutants have differing attitudes towards their ‘gifts’. Some are proud while others are ashamed. There is a sense that these mutations really affect the lives of some characters. Mystique, seen in previous films as a sassy and confident shapeshifter, is revealed to be sensitive and highly insecure. The mutants are much less one-dimensional and, as a result, more real.


The depth of these characters is complimented by the outstanding acting. Michael Fassbender is sublime. There have been comments about his Bond-like performance and while this is true, it is a gross oversimplification of his character. He perfectly straddles the line between good and evil, between rage and serenity. His performance has such depth that it is easier to empathise with him than to condemn him for his crimes.

Look past his bitterness and violence, and it is possible to see a confused, tortured soul simultaneously seeking peace and vengeance. Fassbender’s Magneto is an interesting character, so impressively portrayed that it actually makes Ian McKellen seem dull by comparison.

James McAvoy does a great job as a naïve, arrogant version of Charles Xavier. His character is not as interesting as Fassbender’s, but that has more to do with Matthew Vaughn’s decision to focus on Magneto’s development. Nonetheless, McAvoy and Fassbender have great chemistry, resulting in a double-act reminiscent of 'Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid'.


Their performances are strong enough to cover up the weaker acting, most notably from January Jones, who is wooden and vacant. She relies greatly on her revealing costumes, but they fail to distract from the fact that she blinks more than she acts.

With a well-written story and impressive lead acting, 'First Class' is an excellent film in its own right. However, it is praiseworthy that Matthew Vaughn has managed to make a film of this quality that also ties in with the pre-existing films. The X-Men franchise could end here, with this instalment as a perfect background for Bryan Singer’s ‘future’ efforts.

Alternatively it could carry on, and, judging by the strength of this one, nobody would complain. Very rarely does a follow-up challenge its predecessors in terms of quality or intrigue, but 'First Class' is such a film. In fact, it may be the best 'X-Men' yet.

9.0/10

'X-Men: First Class' is on wide release throughout UK cinemas now.
Posted by FADEDGLAMOUR at 16:00
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:52 am

http://processedgrass.blogspot.com/2011/06/i-am-just-different.html

Thursday, June 9, 2011
I Am Just Different

X-Men: First Class (Vaughn, 2011)

By and large, I think of the first X-Men film to be one of the paramount movies to usher in the recent comic book movie craze, and I have actually enjoyed all of the X-Men films I have seen up to this point. Sure I skipped out on what looked to be an abysmal spin off entry with the recent X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but with a cast that bolsters Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence, a script from Bryan Singer, and at least an experienced hand orchestrating everything in Matthew Vaughn I was excited to go back in time and really see the characters who set this universe in action. But, given my adverse reaction to Vaughn's previous film, Kick-Ass, I entered with tempered expectations, hoping for more, but expecting little outside of another run of the mill origin story.

And in many ways X-Men First Class acts as the ultimate origin story. The audience is not given one, two, or three origins, we are given about five or six. Now of all superhero films it is generally agreed that the origin entries are the most boring because nothing of note happens, and while there is a ton of talking in this movie, I think the larger problem that I have is that too much happens. We know that Charles Xavier is going to become Professor X, that Magneto will be his primary threat, and that Mystique will eventually split from Xavier. So why exactly do we need the Kevin Baker character? Perhaps it is to set up that splits could occur within the mutant community, but if that is the case, and the film is more interested in exploring the different philosophies of X and Magneto in a world that will not accept their kind, then spending too much time on a villain who the audience knows will be taken care of by the end of the film makes for a needlessly bloated script.

But I am not here to do a re-write of the movie, what I am here to do is inspect exactly what worked for me and what needed improvement. At the core of the film the four 'primary' characters (Beast, Mystique, Xavier, and Magneto) were all fleshed out really well. Now a lot of that has to do with what each actor brings to the character, but the intensity between Magneto and Xavier could be felt, the delicate friendship that was always close to shattering. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when we see Xavier begin accepting some of the more questionable techniques that Magneto employs to help the newer recruits begin to control their powers. The moment is small, but along with Magneto's decision to not kill that crystal lady the film begins to prod at that area of grey that is largely ignored for the rest of the movie. Even the romance between Mystique and Beast is executed well, even if a majority of it is done through a needlessly cheesy script that is packed with way too many winks and nods to the audience.

Despite being bloated, being trite, being needlessly cliche at points, the movie is at least entertaining. Watching the primary mutants show off their powers is interesting, seeing Xavier and Magneto assemble a group of youngsters is fulfilling, and Magneto's quest for revenge is conceptually intriguing. Granted many of these are shot in Vaughn's overly flashy style, and at times the film seems to lose its sense of identity which really is a damn shame, because this movie really had the potential to be more than just a solid comic book film. Instead, what it becomes is an entertaining, but fairly simple piece of filler. First Class definitely aspires to more, but for me it takes the easy way out too often. I mean I get that we are, on some level, dealing with racial tensions, or at the very least needless discrimination. But when Kevin Bacon's character assault's Xavier's mansion he asks the remaining mutants if they want to be enslaved. A second later it cuts to a close up of the African American character, who also gets killed only a few minutes later. If you're going to do that, cut to Mystique. Then we get the more subtle commentary on the oppression of women, and it works better with her character. Vaughn has these chances for a more complex film, even in the constrains of the traditional superhero formula, but he rarely capitalizes.

X-Men: First Class is definitely worth it for the big four actors. Seeing Nicholas Hoult, who I know as Tony from the UK series skins put on a convincing American accent is fun. Watching Lawrence battle her dialogue is interesting, though her best moments come when she remains silent and simply emotes. James McAvoy brings an engaging aloofness mixed with a notable seriousness to Charles Xavier. And damn if Michael Fassbender, who between Hunger, FISHTANK, and Jane Eyre has been on quite a roll lately, is not a Hell of a force in this film. X-Men: First Class is not a perfect film, boasting such cringe inducing lines like "You're not the G-Men, you're the X-Men" and "To feel normal!", and seeing the missed potential frustrates me beyond belief, but I'm also happy to be able to enjoy superhero films again. And between the enjoyable, but rather rote, Thor, and the more complex, but incomplete First Class, Marvel seems to be getting on track again, and I'm at least satisfied.

Netflix Rating: ***/*****

Rich

Comments are welcome and, for anyone with a literary mind, I encourage checking out my poetry blog filled with all original works for your reading pleasure. Or if video games are more your thing, I have a blog dedicated to all gaming news, reviews, and opinions.

Posted by Rich Thorne at 7:41 AM
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:52 am

http://tolucantimes.info/section/entertainment/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class
By Tony Medley on June 9th, 2011 Printer-Friendly

X-Men: First Class

Run time 130 minutes
(including credits)
OK for children.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender star as the young Prof. X and Magneto before they became adversaries in “X-Men: First Class.”

Prequels often fall flat; witness all the Star Wars efforts. This, however, is one of the best prequels ever filmed. While the previous films starred Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Charles (Prof. X) and Erik (Magneto), respectively, and had them as adversaries, this film shows how they came to be. Instead of Stewart and McKellen this film has youngsters James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles and Erik before they took their X– Men names, and presents them as working together.

Although I went into the film expecting something dismal, the quality of the cast indicated that maybe this was to be a horse of a different color, and it is. This one shows how the mutants got together and how they came to be adversaries.

Set with a background of the Cold War at its coldest with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis as the climax, it’s a James Bondian-type adventure–thriller. One could say that this is James Bond meeting The Dirty Dozen, but I won’t stoop to such an analogy.

Lots of people, like me, don’t get swept up in stories about mystical superhumans with superpowers, and try to stay away — far away — from films like this. If they stay away from this one, they will be missing a highly entertaining film, because it is essentially an adventure film with the metaphysical powers secondary to the plot.

The story is that the bad guy, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a mutant himself, wants the Soviets and Americans to destroy all humans by inciting a nuclear war, so he manipulates the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s up to Charles and Erik, who has a history with Shaw dating from Shaw’s time running a Nazi extermination camp, to thwart him.

Although the runtime is daunting, the script is very good and the special effects are spectacular. Most films based on comic books, like the Spiderman movies, are not my cup of tea. This one, to the contrary, is a special blend that is quite to my liking. Directed by Matthew Vaughn with a script (by four people, including Vaughn, and the story credited to two other people; so many people involved with the script usually spells disaster) that makes as much sense as a movie based on comic book characters can, this held my interest throughout.

Kevin Bacon gives a fine performance as Sebastian Shaw, the smiling bad guy, against whom both Charles and Erik unite, as do both Fassbender and McAvoy.

Although X-Men fans will find this especially interesting because it not only delves into the hitherto unknown relationship between two people who became known as Prof. X and Magneto, but it explains lots of things that were just assumed in the prior films. However, one needn’t be familiar with the other film to enjoy this, because it stands on its own. In fact, it might inspire those who haven’t seen the other films to go see them now. This one is clearly set up for sequels.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:53 am

http://www.popbunker.net/2011/06/review-men-class/

[Review] X Men: First Class
By
Icy Sedgwick
– June 9, 2011Posted in: Movie Review, Movies
X Men: First Class

Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr

If you were anything like me, you would have enjoyed the first X Men movie, loved the second, and wondered what the hell went wrong in number three. As a result, you might have been somewhat sceptical about another X Men film – and a prequel to boot. Xavier, without his chair? No Wolverine? In the Sixties? Well check your doubts at the door, sit down, and enjoy.

There’s a lot to love about this movie. Beginning in 1944, we see the young Erik Lensherr discovering his power over metal in a concentration camp, while privileged Charles Xavier encounters the young Mystique foraging for food in the kitchen of his family’s home. Fast forward to 1962, and the world stands on the brink of nuclear war between the US and Russia. As ever, there is also a war brewing between mutants – those who wish to defend the humans, and live among them, and those who don’t want to have to hide. On one side is Xavier, a gifted telepath whose research into mutation brings him to the attention of the CIA. On the other is Sebastian Shaw (a fantastically campy Kevin Bacon), a mutant able to absorb any kind of energy you can throw at him.

As with every X Men movie, there are undercurrents surrounding the persecution of anything deemed as “different”, as well as the continual struggle for self-acceptance, which is played out beautifully between Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique and Nicholas Hoult’s Beast. The strength of the film lies in the fact that it doesn’t rely on the same mutants that we see in every X Men outing. There is no Rogue, Storm, Cyclops or Jean Grey. Instead, we have the likes of Havok (Cyclops’ younger brother), Banshee, Azazel and Emma Frost (always surprising she was absent from the earlier films). They don’t come encumbered with expectation as they’re not familiar to non-comic book fans, meaning the audience get to discover the characters at the same time that they’re discovering themselves.

I thought it would be almost sacriligeous to see actors who weren’t Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellan playing Xavier and Magneto but it’s a testament to James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender that they pull it off so well. McAvoy lends an air of cheeky charm to the normally po-faced Xavier, and Fassbender brings a depth and range to Magneto that elevates him from just “villain”. There has always been that air of deep friendship between them, despite their differences, and here you get to see why.

Besides all of this, it’s a gorgeous period piece, full of fun Sixties costumes and music. More than one reviewer has expressed the opinion that Fassbender should be the next James Bond and I couldn’t agree more. Sure, the film might not be a hardcore adaptation of existing origins stories but considering the myriad of comics available, doing any kind of faithful adaptation is difficult at best. Full of sparky dialogue and impressive set pieces, this X Men movie truly is First Class.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:55 am

http://www.yorkvision.co.uk/scene/scene-film/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class

This prequel to the blockbuster-film franchise ticks all the boxes for Jasmin Willis.
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by Jasmin Willis 09 June 2011, 13:17 BST

As someone normally sceptical of prequels, sequels, or any kind of artificial extension to a franchise, I was more than surprised at just how good this film turned out to be. Admittedly, the basic ingredients for a successful addition to the X-Men series were already in place in the form of James McAvoy – as distinguished professor Charles Xavier – and newcomer Michael Fassbender as baddie-to-be Erik Lehnsherr. Their intriguing back story, only hinted at in the original trilogy, left many fans eager for more, so it was only a matter of time before a director stepped up and fulfilled this demand.

Set in the middle of the Cold War, the film depicts the relationship between the two figureheads of the X-Men films as they unite against common enemy Sebastian Shaw (played by a convincing Kevin Bacon), then ultimately separate from each other.

Many well-loved characters from the original trilogy have their origins explored in the film, including Mystique and Beast, played here by Jennifer Lawrence and Nicolas Hoult. Unfortunately, unlike the main protagonists, these newcomers have little to offer; they’re given very little back story, and no explanation for their motivations. They do, however, provide the necessary light-hearted, comic violence that runs throughout the X-Men series.

It’s Michael Fassbender, though, who ultimately steals the show. His back story is certainly the most fascinating; brought up in Nazi occupied Poland, his fall from child prodigy to troubled antihero is depicted in the film’s opening. His portrayal of this descent is both realistic and sympathetic, and we naturally wonder why anyone wouldn’t be on his side. His plan to take revenge for his mother’s murder reaches its climax towards the film’s close, where Fassbender’s true talent really comes through – he evokes equal degrees of reverence and horror from the audience in this last scene. Honestly, if the film were simply 131 minutes of Michael Fassbender, there would not be a problem.

The same can’t be said for James McAvoy. Die-hard fans may be disappointed by his interpretation of Professor X, not least because of the absence of his trademark bald head. He adds a certain vivaciousness – even, at times, flirtatiousness – to the character that the older Patrick Stewart definitely did not, and this can sometimes be jarringly out of character. Nevertheless, his brilliance shines through as the all-knowing, ever-wise professor.

All in all, the film is more than a worthy extension to the series. You’d think that, seeing how many films the X-Men franchise has churned out, the idea would feel forced or overdone by now; but actually, here, it’s quite the opposite. X Men: First Class feels entirely separate from its predecessors, and this is where the success of the film lies. Of course, the fantastic cast, fresh plotline and great character development don’t hurt, and all of these elements come together to form what can only be described as a first class film
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:57 am

http://www.ethicsdaily.com/x-men-first-class-cms-18037

"X-Men: First Class"

By: Mike Parnell
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 6:44 am

When Religion Becomes Lethal
We enter this reboot of the X-Men franchise with a group of people being herded into a concentration camp.

As they enter the gate, a mother and father are separated from their teenage son. The parents turn around and try to reach back for the boy as he stands screaming for their reunion, held back by Nazi soldiers.

As he screams, he reaches out his hands. When he does, the metal of the gate begins to buckle and move. Soldiers run to him, attempting to stop whatever is going on, but he continues to bend the metal. Then a soldier comes behind him and knocks him out, breaking the link.

So it begins.

There have been four other movies made based on the X-Men comic book series from Marvel, but this is the reboot and prequel to the others.

That opening scene shows us the budding power of the mutant that will become the villain Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Here he is as young Erik Lensherr, a person with the power to draw metal to himself.

The movie shifts over to America and the estate of the Xavier family, where young Charles (James McAvoy) must employ his mutant power to read minds. He crosses paths with a mutant shape-shifter called Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who eventually becomes his adopted sister.

"X Men: First Class" follows Erik and Charles and their strikingly different views of humanity. Erik knows the human race is capable of terrible things. He has experienced genocide firsthand and believes that humans need to be eliminated.

Charles, on the other hand, believes in the goodness of humanity. He thinks mutants should use their powers to protect and help humankind.

This movie deals with whether humanity is fully depraved. Erik thinks yes, that humans are nothing more than less-thans. Evolution passed them over and mutants are the new ruling species. Humans will do anything, in his mind, to top the evolutionary ladder.

Charles disagrees, and that's the conflict of vision that stands at the core of the X-Men storyline.

"X-Men: First Class" is a fine reboot of a franchise. Director Matthew Vaughn crafts a movie that is well paced and easy to follow. Even those who haven't read the comics or seen the other movies can enter this universe and enjoy the ride.

Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.

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

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writers: Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn

Cast: James McAvoy: Charles Xavier; Michael Fassbender: Erik Lensherr/Magneto; Jennifer Lawrence: Raven/Mystique; Kevin Bacon: Sebastian Shaw; Rose Byrne: Moira MacTaggert; January Jones: Emma Frost.

The movie's website is here.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:58 am

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

Jun
09
2011
Movie Review – X-men : First Class
by don

If you’ve given up on the X-men movie franchise following the lousy X-men : The Last Stand and X-men : Origins Wolverine, I wouldn’t blame you. Frankly, I had no interest at all in seeing this movie. I didn’t even understand why they were making it. So I was shocked and amazed to discover that this is easily the best X-men movie ever, better than any of the other 4. I know a lot of commericals like to say that the newest movie in a franchise is the best, but here it actually is. This movie is on a different level from the other films. This is most likely a result of a new Director and a new cast. This isn’t just a great Superhero movie, it’s a great movie period.

X-men : First Class is a prequel to the other X-men films. It takes place mostly in 1962. At first I thought that this was just a gimmick, but the element is worked into the story so well, that I have to salute the filmmakers. They didn’t overdo the 60s fashion and atmosphere and the way the story integrates the Cuban missle crisis is both inspired and seamless. In some ways, it even feels like an old James Bond movie, not only because of set design and the villain’s weapons and high tech and luxurious environments but in the very cinematic style as well.

Of course the most important aspect of any movie, regardless of subject matter or genre is the story, acting, energy and emotion. This movie delivers that in spades. It is rare that I see a movie that has such raw emotion and energy. There are great performances all around. With some stand-out acting from James McAvoy (Wanted, The Last King of Scotland) as Charles Xavier and Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw. But the actor who really steals the show is Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) playing Erik, who will later become Magneto. He really makes a complete character out of him and you understand his motives and why he becomes Magneto. The best villains aren’t the stupid greedy shallow ones. The best villains are the smart ones who have a real philosophy and case to back up their motives. The ones who make you question your own attitudes and understanding of situations. The director, Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) has a great hand at both action scenes and dramatic ones and even throws in some humor. One of the really nice techniques he uses is to bring out the complete performance of an actor by simply having the camera hug the actor’s faces at important moments where the actor can say more with a look than words could ever achieve.

The story is on one hand easy to follow and on the other ties together many characters and storylines in a satisfying way that makes a complete movie that doesn’t need a sequel. Of all the movies I have seen recently, this is one where I would really like to see sequels. It is a much better foundation than the last X-men trilogy had. After the movie was over, I couldn’t help but wonder how good that the Star Wars prequels could have been had they been even a fraction as good as this movie. Sure you know the outcomes for some of these characters but unlike the Star Wars prequels, X-men : First Class has plenty of new characters that you have no idea what their fate may be. That gives this movie mystery and suspense. And even with the characters that have pre-determined fates, the acting, dialogue, emotion and energy level had me completely engrossed and interested in what was going to happen next. Unlike the Star Wars prequels whose only purpose was to lead up to Episode IV, this X-men movie has its own story that really matters and is worth caring about. Another miraculous feat this film accomplishes is that Erik and Charles have to meet, form a strong believeable friendship and then part ways based on philosophical differences by the end of the movie. That is no easy task, but this movie does it and does a great job.

The movie also has a beautiful musical score by Henry Jackman. And the cinematography has great style : excellent composition and amazing to look at, dynamic during the action scenes, and clearly lays out what is going on in each scene so it is very easy to understand what is happening. On top of being a great movie, this is a dynamic audio and visual experience. I am definitely going to see this movie again. In a summer of sequels, prequels, reboots etc. this movie stands above the rest with no qualifications. Do not miss this movie.

See my other movie reviews at : http://www.youdontknowjersey.com/category/moviereviews/
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:59 am

http://katielabovitz.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/back-to-the-beginnings/

June 9, 2011
Back to the beginning(s)
Posted by katielabovitz

X-Men: First Class was AWESOME. Now, I haven’t read any of the comic books, but I’ve seen X-Men, X-Men 2 and X-Men: The Last Stand a bajillion times apiece. (I also saw Wolverine… but I consider that to be one of the worst movies of all time and also not really important to the X-Men film series since it really only has to do with Logan/Wolverine and not really any of the other X-Men characters we were introduced to in the original trilogy…). And even though X-Men: First class is a prequel (or perhaps rather a reboot) of the series, and therefore was not restricted to go along with anything established in the original trilogy, it still felt like it was part of the series. And it “introduced” us to the characters we’re already super familiar with… but this new (for me) back story was completely fascinating, told in a fairly coherent and “believable” manner, and really set up some of the key players in the X-Men canon.

Since I don’t read the comics, I especially appreciated this movie because I was always interested in how Professor X and Magneto first came to meet, befriend each other, and then split off into opposing teams of mutants. I thought this film’s plot was great – albeit very, very historically inaccurate (at least I’m pretty sure that mutants had nothing to do with the Cuban Missile Crisis Wink ). But I enjoyed seeing how the X-Men came to be, the beginnings of Cerebro, as well as the introduction of some pretty kickass X-Men.

I was way more invested in this film than I thought I was going to be. I won’t spoil anything for you, but it’s common knowledge that in the original trilogy, Professor X is in a wheelchair. In X-Men: First Class, he isn’t… but you totally find out how he gets put in one. And that scene (among others between Professor X and Magneto) really got to me… as it, it evoked real feelings from me. As in, I was on the edge of my seat and audibly said, “No!”.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were PERFECTLY cast as Professor X and Magneto, respectively. Their on-screen chemistry was really brilliant and both are very, very capable dramatic actors and that really enhanced their performances in this film. And I really liked Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult (Beast) too. Very fine young actors… also good casting.

I walked away from the movie super content with how it turned out. I also wondered to myself why Michael Fassbender and Christian Bale have never been cast as brothers in anything yet… they totally look alike and both are amazing actors.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:00 am

http://500.the400club.org/?p=6551

X-Men: First Class
Published on June 10th, 2011

By Ystyn Francis

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence
Length: 132 min.

If we pretend that X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Gavin Hood 2009) doesn’t exist, the X-Men franchise remains the hottest, smartest series of comic book adaptations on offer after Christopher Nolan and his Dark Knight. I have approached each new X-Men installment with trepidation, cynically assuming that the bubble will burst this time, and yet each episode only serves to strengthen a strongly established mythology while also representing fantastic blockbuster cinema to boot. X-Men 2 might remain the pinnacle of the quadrilogy thus far, but X-Men: First Class is a polished addition, and offers a unique perspective on characters we already thought we knew well.

Much like Neil Gaiman’s cult graphic novel 1609 which reimagines the 17th Century as a world populated by many of today’s classic superheroes (including the Uncanny X-Men), the Cold War era serves as a backdrop for this origin story. Seeing the beloved characters entrenched within infamous historical moments is very cool. After watching trailers for The Green Lantern (Martin Campbell 2011), Captain America (Joe Johnston 2011) and Transformers 3 (Michael Bay 2011) prior to my screening, it became clear how tired a subplot terrorism is in comic book movies; discrimination, however, still proves vital and fresh throughout the X-Men films. This is most likely because discrimination has had many guises over the centuries, and can be approached from many different angles in intriguing ways.

The fact that First Class is confident to compare mutant liquidation with the acts of Nazi Germany – and does so in an inoffensive way – demonstrates that the subject matter has been carefully considered, and illuminates the sad reality that discrimination of any sort – be it about race, religion, or sexual orientation – will continue well beyond our lifetimes, possibly until the end of humankind. Without this apt socio-political context, the X-Men movies might resemble intellectually cheap and empty blockbuster fodder like Thor (Kenneth Branagh 2011).

James McAvoy as Charles/Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Erik/Magneto (inheriting roles played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen respectively in the previous films) are excellent, bringing gravitas rarely glimpsed in this genre. They’re ably supported by Kevin Bacon, who has the evil douche routine down (see The River Wild (Curtis Hanson 1994), Sleepers (Barry Levinson 1996), Hollow Man (Paul Verhoeven 2000), and even The Woodsman (Nicole Kassell 2004)). The gargantuan supporting cast provides plenty of enjoyable ‘hey, isn’t that guy from …” moments, even if many famous faces appear only in one or two short scenes.

Consistent with the preceeding films, First Class avoids resorting to perfunctory action film staples, instead orchestrating spectacular set pieces that boggle the mind while retaining some sense of believability within the fantastical conceit. Conversely, more intimate character-driven scenes, like the one in which young Erik is threatened in the office of Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw, are particularly memorable thanks to smart stylistic decisions such as the simple switch of a camera angle.

Like the television shows Mission: Impossible and M.A.S.K., the X-Men franchise has the capacity to draw upon an infinite supply of intriguing characters (inventing each mutant’s mutation must be a kick), potentially spawning a limitless series of films. After the blistering way this franchise has begun, this notion inspires, for once, fervent anticipation of further creative collaboration rather than dread at corporate cash-grabbing.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:00 am

http://malapropist.com/2011/06/10/x-men-from-mayfield/

X-Men from Mayfield

“[A]s “First Class” roars to its final climactic scene, it appeals to an insidious suspension of disbelief; the heroic mutants of America, bravely opposing bigotry and fear, are revealed as not so much a spectrum of humankind, but as Eagle Scouts from Mayfield. Thus, “First Class” proves itself not merely an incredible film, but an incredible work of American historical fiction. Here is a period piece for our postracial times — in the era of Ella Baker and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the most powerful adversaries of spectacular apartheid are a team of enlightened white dudes.”

– Ta-Nehisi Coates, from his NY Times op-ed about X-Men: First Class. First Class is solid summer fun; it’s told with ruthless narrative efficiency and features excellent performances from Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon, among others. It combines ultra-modern CGI with charming pseudo-vintage SFX. It even includes my personal favorite X-person, the bouncing blue Beast. It’s also, as Coates observes, a bizarrely white movie, given its driving themes.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:02 am

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

X-Men: First Class Review
June 9th, 2011 | Author: Jason Beaudry

X-men: First Class is simply fantastic. Strong emotion and explosive action. The acting is top notch. Delivery from every actor is at it’s best. The story is more character based than action, however the action sequences are still superb. I can easily say this without feeling any regret.This is without a doubt the best X-Men movie created. Yes, i know that most of you “X2″ fans will be throwing your hands up in the air. X2 was the best of the original trilogy, in my opinion. It was the perfect mix of fan service and crowd pleasing. But let me explain why I think this one is better then X2. First off, the character development in this movie is amazing. Director Mathew Vaughn does an incredible job of making every single good character likable, and every bad character hate-able. Watching a young Professor Xavier get drunk and hit on women. Watching a young Magneto cover the globe killing Nazis……And since we’re on the topic of Xavier and Magneto…..if, you thought the original combination of Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart was amazing, wait until you see the combo of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. No, I’m not saying that this duo is better, but I’m not saying it’s worse either. Never in my wildest dreams did i think anyone could compete, but these two are really something special to watch on screen. Even before they cross paths. Their characters alone could make an entire picture. Especially Michael Fassbender as Magneto. In my opinion, he’s the one who stole the show. Mathew Vaughn really has delivered a rarity in Hollywood a prequel that not only outperforms the original film, If you really want to enjoy the subtleties of First Class you should see at least the first two X-Men first. It’s certainly not necessary because this films stands up all on its own but it makes it even more interesting.

In short, Just like X2, First Class is a film classic that will endure and resonate for years to come. Bring on the Next Class!
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:03 am

http://www.pinkraygun.com/2011/06/09/x-men-first-class-mutant-and-proud/

X-Men First Class: Mutant and Proud

I still haven’t seen the Wolverine movie beyond a scene or two here and there on cable while waiting for something else to start. With each scene, I ask the same question: “Did anyone working on the movie care about it?” Then I’ll happily turn it to Iron Chef Japan reruns because watching Chairman Kaga bite into that bell pepper is far more believable drama.

After X-Men 3 and the Wolverine debacle, X-Men First Class was a hard sell for me. All that emo X-Men whining and a prequel? Forget it.

But, we saw it yesterday after work and, holy crap, that was amazing.

This is what I liked:

Mutants Going Big: For several movies, Wolverine was the only mutant who got to shine. All the other mutants were so small scale on what they were shown doing: Iceman made an ice wall. Storm made it foggy in San Francisco. Magneto moved a chair. In First Class, everyone is doing awesome stuff all the time.

Kevin Bacon: Everything Kevin Bacon does is perfect, anyway, and this is no exception. He’s obviously having a hell of a lot of fun as Sebastian Shaw and plays him in a way that’s campy while still being serious and dangerous.

Emma Frost’s Costumes: Especially that giant, white fur hat.

Charles Xavier’s Science Nerd Come-Ons

The 1960s: It was so much easier for superheroes and James Bond types back then. The enemy was clear. They didn’t have the internet or cell phones. People were much more well dressed.

Montages: A split-screen training montage to 1960s spy music. Charles and Erik recruiting the team to 1960s spy music.

MIchael Fassbender: My new movie boyfriend. I would have liked him to have been as scantily clad as Emma Frost.

Fun, Instead of Emo Journal Navel Gazing: It has it’s moments of personal mutant inner conflict, mostly with Hank and Raven, but the “No one understands! I’m so different!” tone that dominated the other movies is pretty much non-existent. These mutants embrace their abilities. I loved that scene with the kids in the CIA compound, thinking up code names and showing off. It was the kind of exuberance that’s been missing from this movie franchise.

And much, much more. There was only one thing about X-Men First Class I wasn’t crazy about: January Jones.

I’ve never been an Emma Frost fan, anyway, but oh my god Jones was terrible. She was pretty much a plank of wood in a series of costumes. But, Jones wasn’t so much of a factor that she took away from the movie. Mostly, her presence was countered by Kevin Bacon.

Overall, X-Men First Class was an incredibly fun movie. Most importantly, it wasn’t embarrassed to be a comic book movie, didn’t shy away from its comic book nature. And that’s something to be proud of.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:04 am

http://moviefy.senzafineonline.net/review/moviefy-review-x-men-first-class/

Moviefy Review: X-Men: First Class

Despite its minor flaws X-Men: First Class is high quality film that brings back the smart and intelligent storytelling that made the X-Men films give a new birth for comic book adaptations. X-cellent is another way to describe it.

X-Men: First Class Review

Remember those days when the X-Men films meant a lot more than fanboy atractions and were actually trying to tell a deep story? Such was the case with the first two film directed by Bryan Singer, a man who had an exceptional ability to handle several characters and still makes us care for them, and at the same time put social ideas into his films.

Then he decided not to return for a third film and the X-Men franchise quickly descended into mindless action films aimed at shallow teenagers eager to see more colorful characters and costumes.

X-Men: First Class is a most welcomed return to form for this franchise, thanks in no small part to the return of Bryan Singer, who acted as a producer and contributed to the film’s story. Bring in Matthew Vaughn, director of films like Stardust and Kick-Ass, who know how to combine entertainment with heart and you got a promising team to recover what was lost.

As the film begins in 1944 we relive the first moments from X-Men with a young Erik Lensherr just discovering his powers at the concentration camp where he’s separated from his mother. Dr. Schmidt observes everything an later on forces Erik to unleash his power or else he’ll kill his mother. Driven by anger and pain he ultimately nearly destroys the office and the lab his in, while a joyful Schdmit acting as an expectator.

Meanwhile (and we get a lot of those moments) Charles Xavier befriends a shape-shifting mutant named Raven who enters his mansion trying to steal some food.

Fast forward to 1962 and our two central characters have grown to become very different men. While Erik (Michael Fassbender) is looking around the globe for Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), the man who killed his mother, Charles (James McAvoy) is obtaining the grade of professor in genetics thanks to his extensive thesis on mutation. He’s soon recruited by a CIA agent called Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne) to help her track the Hellfire Club, a group of mutants lead by Shaw who’s bent on provoking World War III.

Eventually Erik and Xavier join forces in their quest and become friends who respect each others power and character. Together they search and recruit all the mutants that are willing to join a team to help the US government stop an apparent Russian nuclear attack.

There’s so many great ideas thrown into X-Men: First Class is easy to forget there were two lackluster films bearing the name before this one.

And while the story is smartly intertwined to connect the early days of the mutants appearance with a historical episode between the US and Russia the real golden treat is the two lead characters in the piece.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are excellent in their portrayals of Xavier and Erik, without trying to copy what Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen did for those characters, they gives us more insight into their lives and why they became the men who they are later on.

Charles lived a wealthy life, with no complications and never having the problem of hiding his mutation because it’s not manifested physically, so he can’t understand they pain and frustration of his friend Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who to her own eyes is hideous and always has to be in disguise hiding here true self. Life’s been good to Charles and that made him the optimistic, if only shy a bit way from arrogant.

Erik on the other hand has grown amidst violence, pain and anger, and he has no faith on the human race anymore. He comes to understand that mutation is not a disease but something to be proud of. To him, mankind won’t ever accept mutants, or anything different that they don’t understand.

It is strange to think that he shares a way of thinking with Sebastian Shaw, the man he’s trying to get revenge of. Shaw is in appearance a diplomatic, and thus rather than showing publicly he’s a mutant, prefers to make human nations fight against each other in war that only mutants will remain alive.

These three characters and the actors who play them are the thing that makes the excellent story work the way it does.

Too bad I cannot say the same for most of the rest of the cast, and if the film fails anywhere is in that area.

Raven, who eventually becomes Mystique was written in a deep way, kind of reminding of Rogue’s story from the earlier films, but Jennifer Lawrence never manages to live up to that idea. While we have some nice cameos here and there, including Michael Ironside as U.S. Navy Captain, Hugh Jackman delivering in one line his best performance as Wolverine since X2 and Rebecca Romijn as Mystique, the young cast looks too unexperienced and insecure, but not in the way the story requires. And definitely January Jones has little else going as Emma Frost other than good looks.

Then there’s the camp stuff thrown in that was present in Vaughn’s Kick-Ass, but that shouldn’t exist in an X-Men film. While Bryan Singer took all of that and made it a down to earth, Vaughn seems to have embraced it, even including a “comic book” panel scene slightly reminiscent of Ang Lee’s Hulk.

The score by Henry Jackman continues the trend of great music in X-Men films, with the ominous theme for Magneto a highlight in the music and skillfully adapted to the many different situations and places the film goes to. Even a piece of the score by Michael Kamen is reproduced in the opening sequence. But I have to say, was that horrible song playing at the end credits necessary?

Despite its flaws X-Men: First Class is high quality film that brings back the smart and intelligent storytelling that made the X-Men films give a new birth for comic book adaptations. X-cellent is another way to describe it.

Moviefy Grade: Must-See
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:04 am

http://endacunningham.ie/x-men-first-class-2011.html

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cert: 12A
Duration: 2hrs 15mins

MATTHEW VAUGHN (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake, Stardust) takes the helm for this latest instalment in the X-Men franchise, another reboot prequel, a thoroughly entertaining romp which is deserved of its summer blockbuster status.

Initially set against rhe backdrop of a concentration camp during World War II, we first meet a young boy called Erik, who has the power to move and manipulate metals – a gift which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the evil Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon quite visibly in his element).

At the same time, a young Charles Xavier first meets Raven, a mutant who has the ability to morph into other human beings, but is also desperate to conform to society and normality.

Years later, against the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis and with nuclear war becoming highly likely, a team of mutants is put together by Xavier (James McAvoy), initially with the help of Erik (Michael Fassbender), who has become more embittered and is hell-bent on revenge against Shaw for killing his mother.

But Shaw himself has put together his own team of mutants, each with their own unique powers, including Emma Frost (January Jones). Shaw will stop at nothing to prompt nuclear war, and in the process, pave the way for a world dominated by mutants.

At two-and-a-quarter hours, X-Men: First Class certainly fits an initial requirement for a box office blockbuster, but it’s Vaughn’s surprising talent for giving the audience what they want that is immediately apparent.

He manages to deliver the backstory to the characters, lesser characters are not written into insignificance, and he tells what is essentially a mumbo-jumbo action plot with an enjoyable flair and pacing.

Michael Fassbender (on a sidenote, whose strong Irish accent is very noticeable in his final scene) and James McAvoy are unarguably the stars here, delivering a surprising depth to their characters, their struggles, yet without detracting from the fact this is an action film.

And Vaughn deserves real credit for combining that, a retro ambience, and impressive CGI effects which are never over-the-top.

Thoroughly likeable stuff.

Star rating: 4/5
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:05 am

http://www.yournorwin.com/norwinstar/article/x-men-franchise-transforms-good-prequel

X-Men' franchise transforms into good prequel

by Ronald Ladick Columnist
June 9, 2011

3 stars

There is a desire to call "X-Men: First Class" not so much by its rightful title as, perhaps, "When Charles Met Erik."

For those not "in the know" with their X-Men lore, Charles would be Professor X and Erik would be his nemesis, Magneto.

For it is their individual and collective stories that allow this film to serve as a prequel of sorts to the "X-Men" film trilogy of the previous decade. "First Class" even gives a hip nod to last year's "X-Men" spin-off, "Wolverine."

Even as a child, Charles Xavier knew that his highly advanced mental capabilities set him apart from his peers. Although a mutant, Charles refused to believe that he was one of a kind and his belief would be vindicated one evening when he surprises a shape-shifting mutant who is raiding his family's refrigerator.

The two become friends and grow into young adulthood with Charles (James McAvoy) pursuing advanced research studies into genetic mutations while his mutant, shape-shifting friend, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), supports his efforts as sort of a surrogate sister. Their humble beginnings together serve to contrast sharply against the unsettling childhood of Erik Lehnsherr.

With his family sentenced to life in a Nazi concentration camp, an overwrought young child bends the gates of the camp when he is separated from his mother. Sebastien Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a Nazi researcher, is intrigued by this boy's power to bend metal with sheer thought and consequently removes the boy from the camp so as to study him further.

It is not beneath Shaw's ambition to torture the young Polish boy to bring forth his incredible abilities so that Shaw can find a means by which to exploit them for his own personal gains.

When that boy, Erik (Michael Fassbender), becomes an adult, he dedicates his life to revenging himself upon the man who destroyed his.

It is Erik's journey of vengeance that leads him to cross paths with Charles. A tenuous friendship, one built upon mutual admiration, shared discriminations and sharp political differences is born. At the same time, however, it seems that Shaw is plotting nuclear annihilation (via the Cuban missile crisis) in which only mutants will survive.

"X-Men: First Class" is a rousing entertainment that transcends its pulpy source material while touching on issues of civil rights, vigilantism and teen angst. It's great as a stand-alone feature or as a complementary piece to the "X-Men" cinema mythology.

The film is wonderfully realized by director Matthew Vaughn, injecting new blood and new life into a series that presumably had run its course. This new energy comes courtesy of a truly phenomenal cast of actors.

This is especially true of Fassbender, as clearly, "X-Men: First Class" serves as his star-making turn. Fassbender takes command of his role with a charisma and talent that makes him nothing less than riveting when on screen.

Fassbender is able to be just as convincingly passionate and vengeful as Magneto as he is wounded and tragic as Erik. Yet he also plays very well off his fellow actors, particularly McAvoy.

This is a very good thing because if McAvoy could not hold his own against Fassbender on screen, then the relationship between Erik and Charles — its bond and its tensions — wouldn't work. The same sense of commitment to their roles holds true for the other actors, as well, regardless of how large or small their parts might be.

Only Bacon comes closest to being an exception, as one gets the impression he's fighting to resist an urge to inject cheesiness into his role rather than presence.

"X-Men: First Class" also is the beneficiary of the vision and talents of special-effects maestro John Dykstra. His effects work generates a sense of wonder and amazement that works in concert with the film.

Aside from being slightly longer than it should be, "X-Men: First Class" ends up being a lot of fun without being silly.

That it also has depth and a logical place in the canon of "X-Men" history only helps make it that much more enjoyable.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:10 am

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

'X-Men' delivers a brilliant prequel to series

RJ Young/The Daily

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First class is an excellent film, complete with an emotional and captivating storyline, allowing the X-Men movie franchise to finally come full circle from its first occurrence in 2000. Comic book geeks already love it, but I suspect those with an appetite for a good popcorn flick will too.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:14 am

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

REVIEW: X-Men: First Class (2011)

by Daniel Roos on Jun.08, 2011

So I saw X-Men: First Class this weekend. I entered with remarkably low expectations. They were slightly exceeded by a remarkably low margin. It’s the origin of Magneto, Professor X, and the first class (duh) of X-Men. Other than true original Beast, the first class is decidedly made up of X-overs (X-Men leftovers) like “Darwin,” “Banshee,” and “Havoc.”

The filmmakers jam entirely too much story into the peripheral characters for it to have any impact. For example, we are introduced to Havoc as a prisoner who prefers solitary confinement. His path to redemption is that he joins the X-Men and is only mildly rude to the others. If there’s no time for Havoc’s character arc, why bother showing him in prison and telling us he is unable to coexist with others?

The primary focus is on the young Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). As Magneto, Michael Fassbender absolutely steals the show. His cold, steely Magneto is superior to the great Sir Ian McKellan in my view. The scene early on where Magneto tracks down two of the Nazi’s responsible for murdering his parents is the moment where I sat up in my seat, okay, this could be really good. And there are many solid moments throughout, mostly courtesy of McAvoy and Fassbender.

The other notable performance is the admirably scene-chewing Kevin Bacon as the villain Sebastian Shaw. Also a great positive, X-Man Cyclops is now only one degree of separation removed from Kevin Bacon!

Sadly, the film doesn’t hold up. There’s so much silliness – Banshee learning to fly through screaming; Beast’s idiotic, life-risking experiment to make his feet look normal (a lifetime without being able to wear sandals! the horror!); and the irritating subplots with Mystique.

Worth seeing? Eh, maybe. If you love the X-Movies, I’m sure you’ll dig this too. If not, stay away!
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:15 am

http://darkfaerietales.com/movie-review-xmen-class.html

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

June 8th, 2011

Title: X-Men: First Class

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Producer: Gregory Goodman and Bryan Singer

Genre: Action, Fantasy

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Series: Prequel

Release Date: June 3, 2011

Format: Standard

Runtime: 132 Minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Caleb Landry Jones, and Lucas Till

Synopsis (Product Description):

Set in the era before Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr became mortal enemies as Professor X and Magneto respectively, director Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class follows the two former allies as they lead a powerful team of mutants on a mission to save the planet from nuclear annihilation. Charles (James McAvoy) and Erik (Michael Fassbinder) were just young men when it began to appear as if the world was careening toward destruction. And as the Doomsday Clock ticks faster toward midnight, the time comes to take action. In the process of saving humanity, however, Charles and Erik clash. In the years that followed, Professor X would lead the X-Men in the fight for good, as Magneto and the Brotherhood spread chaos and destruction through land.

The Review:

Fresh from the success of last year’s phenomenal Kick Ass, Director Matthew Vaughn brings us X-Men: First Class, which is the best X-Men movie to date. First Class is not just a good comic book movie, but an excellent film. Period. Stars James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender play the young Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, whom we will come to know as Professor X and Magneto. First Class is the story of how Magneto and Professor X met and formed the X-Men and how these two friends wind up as enemies. Rather than being a comic book movie driven by the spandex clad superhero alter egos of the X-Men, First Class is a character driven piece about people with super powers. It’s a subtle, but important distinction. It’s no small feat to make a compelling movie centered around characters with cornball names like Magneto. The writers and directors of First Class have counter-intuitively rejuvenated a series and made it edgier by going backwards to the 1960s, a supposedly simpler time.

The success of this superhero film renaissance that began with Spiderman in 2000, and reached new heights with Batman Begins and Ironman in 2005, has come from humanizing superheroes and supervillains. For example, Magneto is a survivor of the Nazi death camps. He has seen humanity at its very worse and his experience in World War 2 is why he eventually becomes the militant leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants. That he will eventually seek the extinction of humankind is an irony probably not lost on the very cerebral Magneto, vividly brought to life by Michael Fassbender. The key to understanding Magneto is that he doesn’t see himself as a villain. He’s fighting for his people in a war. You’ll find yourself rooting FOR Magneto. This moral ambiguity has always been present in the X-Men movies more so than any other superhero film franchise. But fear not. That highbrow stuff is the icing on what’s also an amazing action blockbuster.

First Class presents a scenario in which flying men, telepaths and shape shifters seem perfectly natural within the setting of the coldest parts of the Cold War. It’s a testament to the creative team and the film’s stars that they were able to put such a realistic edge on a completely fantastic premise. McAvoy and Fassbender are filling the shoes of Patrick Stewart and Ian McClellan, two heavy hitters of stage and screen, and they do so with great skill. These younger incarnations of Professor X and Magneto have the added advantage of being able handle a lot more action than their older predecessors. It’s a good thing too because the villainous Sebastian Shaw is more powerful than all the X-Men put together and unlike Magneto, there is no moral ambiguity with Sebastian Shaw, played pitch perfect by Kevin Bacon. Shaw is a cold blooded murderer and he has genocide on his mind. There is almost as much superhero action in this X-Men movie than in the entirety of the first three films. That the film makers could also include Schindler’s List and Munich levels of pathos ups the ante for the superhero movie genre. If you have even a fleeting interest in the X-Men and superhero movies, then go see X-Men: First Class.

FTC Advisory: We purchased our own tickets.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:16 am

http://filmjunkie25.blogspot.com/2011/06/cinema-x-men-first-class.html

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Cinema - X Men: First Class

This is one of those movies that I wanted to see because there were a bunch of hot guys in it. Okay, I know that sounds really vain and teenage-girly, but my goodness, seeing my #2 favourite hot guy Nicholas Hoult on the big screen? It was too great of an opportunity just to turn down. But seriously, I was one of the ones who went nuts over the first trailer that came out. And then I basically just ignored the rest of the advertising that came after that. Because, really, I felt so guilty only wanting to see this movie because I'm in love with Nicholas Hoult (yeah, he's like my Justin Bieber) and I have a mad girl-crush on Jennifer Lawrence. I haven't even seen any of the other X-Men movies, but I will next week. And no, I didn't have much trouble understanding this movie, because the background knowledge I gathered from Wikipedia really helped.


Anyway, since every man and his dog has reviewed this movie, I won't go into plot details that much. As you probably know, this is the movie that tells us all about the mutants before they became the 'X-Men', as such. There's Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), a telepath, who has a sort-of adoptive sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who can change her form. Then he crosses paths with a CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), who is eager to find out more about what mutants Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), Emma Frost (January Jones) and Azazel (Jason Flemyng) really are, and what they are doing. Through Moira and an unnamed 'Man in a Black Suit' (Oliver Platt), Xavier first meets Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), who wants to kills Shaw, using his magnetic powers; and a young genius called Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), who is later revealed to have big feet and desperately wants to change his appearance, like Raven does. Hank sends Xavier and Erik on a scientific journey which brings them a lot of other mutants, like Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Darwin (Edi Gathegi), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) and Havok (Lucas Till).


First of all, there are a lot of characters in this movie. I know why there are lots of characters, and I thought it would bother me that there were so many, who were around all of the time, but it surprisingly didn't. Sure, you could say that some of the characters were really two-dimensional, but those were only the ones who kinda faded into the background, like Darwin. Otherwise, I was really impressed with how real they made the mutants. I especially loved how Raven and Hank struggled to deal with the way they were, and how because of their appearance they will never be accepted into society. Which is when the audience can almost feel guilt-tripped into thinking that it really doesn't matter what's on the outside. Even though mutants don't exist, and if they did, we'd all fear them because we don't know exactly what they are capable of. But really, some of them are just big, insecure teddy-bears inside who just want to be normal in their way.


With X-Men: First Class, director Matthew Vaughn is again trying some new stuff out and this is far from similar to his other works. Here he really puts humanity on show through the mutants, which is great, and while he gets the audience thinking about all of these morals, he has also created some grand entertainment. Sure, he did well with his Brit drug flick Layer Cake, tried his luck with family entertainment in Stardust, and created a bright and colourful action/comedy called Kick-Ass, but Vaughn has truly solidified his place as one of the better modern movie directors around here. You can see that he was trying to go for more of a The Dark Knight sort of feel instead of swaying towards mindless action, and it really works. The first scenes are really the only major letdown, as they bugged me to no end...it was such a sombre way to start off a fun film. However, Vaughn has made a solid superhero flick, which has it's fair share of exciting action sequences, but most of all, it has a different style to many: that brilliant 60's Bond flair. Now that was why this movie was so kick-ass, because being set in the 60's just made everything cooler.


While Vaughn's direction is a major highlight of this film, most of the epic entertainment comes from our stars. Sure, everyone was great. Jennifer Lawrence provided some much-needed sympathy for her character, and it was great when she finally accepted that she was "mutant and proud". Nicholas Hoult was hot really interesting in his role, as most of his power didn't come from being a mutant, he was just really smart but unable to deal with normal social situations well. Kravitz, Till and Jones rounded out a nice lot of mutants. Rose Byrne was nice enough as one of the only humans. Kevin Bacon was superb as the villain...I swear, I could see the ice forming on that guy. The only one that really annoyed me was January Jones. She looked bored out of her brains in this. It was like she was forced to wear slutty white clothes and turn into diamonds. She should have been great, but she just looked like a marketing ploy.


When you have an ensemble cast like that, though, the leads have really gotta step up their game. Was this a problem for James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender? No. These two pretty much made the film, with their undeniable man-chemistry and genuine awesomeness. McAvoy was really good, as he usually is, and it's his charm and wit which gets him through the movie. He's smart, he's jovial, he means business, but he also has a good heart. McAvoy plays that out perfectly. Hey, he may be awesome, but Michael Fassbender completely steals the show here. Can I just point out that I've found my true love now? Fassy was bad-ass in this movie, turtleneck and all. His performance, I have to say, was one of the best I have ever seen in a superhero movie. He just played the angry guy so well, that it's hard not to fall in love with him. Even if you're a guy, because I have heard of a few men who confess to man-crushing on Fassy after seeing this one. He is just brilliant. So brilliant that I have to use italics just to stress my point.


Anyway, X-Men: First Class is grand entertainment. The running time is a little too long for my liking, and the ending is a little strange, but I had a good time watching it. It's a fantastic addition to the league of superhero flicks taking over Hollywood at the moment, and certainly one of the most stylish around.

THE VERDICT: From it's 60's styling to it's fantastic direction to it's brilliant performances, X-Men: First Class proves that it is a superhero movie to beat. It's not perfect, but it's a good time.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:18 am

http://criterioncast.com/2011/06/09/catherine-reviews-matthew-vaughns-x-men-first-class-theatrical-review/

Catherine Reviews Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men First Class [Theatrical Review]
By Catherine Stebbins on June 9, 2011, 12:13 am

When it was announced that X-Men: First Class was being made, many including me, groaned. After X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the prospect of being put through a likely awful prequel was disconcerting. Luckily, the result is surprisingly good; director Matthew Vaughn puts forth an uneven but fresh and pulpy experience that delivers on multiple levels. My experience with X-Men is limited to a few volumes of Ultimate and Astonishing X-Men, the previous films, growing up with the animated show and their general pop-culture presence. So this review will not be looking at the film from a comic-driven perspective. That can be left to those much more knowledgeable and experienced with the comics.

The film starts by giving us insight into Erik’s (Bill Milner) childhood. In 1944, Erik and his mother are separated in a concentration camp. When Nazi doctor Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) sees Erik’s power he calls him into his office, asking him to repeat his abilities. When he cannot, Erik’s mother is shot. From then on, vengeance and anger drive him into adulthood. In the meantime, young Charles Xavier (Lawrence Belcher) meets a blue and scaly young girl named Raven (Morgan Lilly) with nowhere to go, and the two form an instant bond.

As an adult, brilliant and somewhat arrogant Xavier (James McAvoy) is on his way to becoming a professor with best friend Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) at his side. Erik (Michael Fassbender) travels the world looking for clues to Shaw’s whereabouts, set on revenge. Shaw and his Hellfire Club have a nefarious plan to trigger war between the US and Russia. Then we have CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), who learns there are mutant powers and asks Xavier for help. Once Erik finds his way to Xavier, the film tracks their initial friendship, the gathering of other mutants via Cerebro, and their efforts to stop Shaw and his potentially catastrophic plan.

Clearly, the most successful aspect of X-Men: First Class is the friendship between Xavier and Magneto. Both actors, particularly Fassbender, are outstanding and lend considerable gravitas to a popcorn summer flick. Their friendship is doomed from the start but their conversations are really what these films are about. Questioning the capacity of humanity to accept differences as well as the inherent isolation that comes with feeling disconnected from society, no matter what the cause. Are humans worth the trouble it will take to work together with them? Every X-Men film has these conversations and they always hit the same beats. The film conquers the repetition with the great acting at its center and by keeping future events looming over the conversations.

The two seemingly simple tasks that First Class succeeds in are that it is both consistently entertaining and emotionally satisfying. The breakdown of Xavier and Erik’s friendship actually has impact. The understanding that Erik’s rage will always define him has impact. I felt involved, and that level of investment in this genre is an almost entirely new feeling to me. Xavier’s first encounter with Cerebro left me with an almost giddy aftertaste. The scene when Xavier allows one of Erik’s memories to resurface is genuinely affecting. The same can be said for the way McAvoy plays the realization of his paralysis. Finally,watching just how desperate Xavier is to delay the inevitability of Erik’s desertion, is not just something the audience sees but feels. Yes, all of these examples involve Xavier and Erik, but their dynamic is at the center of this film, and it is enough to anchor any mediocrity or even flaws it is surrounded by.

As for consistently entertaining, many other films in this genre fall apart in the third act. This one does not. The uses of the mutants’ powers are imaginative. The set-pieces worked and the film is well-performed outside of January Jones who, between this and Unknown, is continuing to leave me flabbergasted by how Matthew Weiner is able to brilliantly uses her on “Mad Men”. The establishment of character relationships and seeing how everything starts is a treat as well. In short, it is entertaining.

Striving to give Raven an arc is inspired, but her final decision is lacking in believability. How does a girl with a strong and lifelong sisterly bond with Xavier end up becoming Mystique? X-Men First Class attempts to answer that question, and does so rather well, or so it seems. Every scene with Raven is meant to make us understand why she chooses to go with Erik by the end. She sees her mutation as a physical deformity. As Raven matures into an insecure woman, Xavier is unable to give her the kind of assurance she needs. Her interactions with Hank (Nicholas Hoult) confirm her need to be told she should not have to hide. Xavier misreading what Raven wants to hear, in addition to Erik telling her what she does want to hear, affect the way she views mutants place in the world. I wish Raven’s arc functioned more as the groundwork for her switch to Magneto’s side as opposed to fitting everything into one film. As groundwork, it would have been successful; as it is, something felt lacking by the end. The “mutant and proud” line did not exactly help matters.

As for some of the flaws, the film is somewhat tonally inconsistent. There are camp elements seeping in from the edges during certain scenes, and there are other times where that sense is nowhere to be found. The film could have also used violence more intelligently. The film plays as the tamest PG-13 action film imaginable. Violent things happen, but we never see them. This would be fine, but Vaughn is incapable of making those moments have any punch without showing violence. Thus, those moments promote an indifferent and passive audience reaction. Despite my somewhat negative opinion of Kick-Ass, the action scenes were executed wonderfully there. None of that punch can be found here.

X-Men: First Class is the kind of rare superhero film that mostly works. It is a joy to watch, and it manages to ‘preboot’ a franchise whose last two films were laughable. It fuses story with character, making sure each is of equal importance, and that prioritizing is part of what makes X-Men: First Class a rewarding time at the movies.

June 9th, 2011
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:22 am

http://pfangirl.blogspot.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class-film-review.html

Thursday, June 09, 2011
X-Men: First Class film review

Slick, smart and mostly satisfying, X-Men: First Class is a strong return to form for the superhero franchise that kicked off the comic adaptation boom of the last decade… and then slipped into disappointment territory with the release of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Well, X-Men 1 and 2 helmer Bryan Singer is back as producer for First Class, and Kick-Ass’s Matthew Vaughn is in the director’s chair, and together these 2 men have crafted an engaging prequel that manages to feels natural and comfortable despite cramming in multiple characters, events and explanations.


Set in 1962, First Class examines the emergence of the first generation of superpowered mutants, who have found their evolution accelerated by the emergence of nuclear power. While some, like telepathic professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy providing a decidedly "groovier," more relatable version of the character) are happy to work with the US government, and optimistic that cooperation will ease mutant acceptance in society, others are more sceptical. Having survived the Holocaust, Charles’s friend Erik Lehnsherr AKA Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has experienced genocidal discrimination first hand, and has seen the dark heart of humanity. Still, there is a third group of mutants, calling themselves the Hellfire Club, who are not merely distrustful. They’re intent on manipulating the US and USSR into starting World War III to exterminate the human race once and for all.

Let me say upfront that Daniel Craig is an excellent James Bond, but should he ever step down, First Class makes a massive case for Fassbender. He’s old school 007 here – tall, sleek, dashing and deadly; capable of switching from charismatic to ice cold with the blink of an eye, and a flash of his teeth. It’s a standout performance in a film where all the actors are actually very convincing in their respective parts.

You can think of Magneto as the Wolverine of First Class. He’s the movie’s badass, hands down, and nowhere is this more evident than during his tense bar confrontation in Argentina. Much like Hugh Jackman’s Logan in X-Men 1 and 2, Erik has suffered a torturous past, has been used by authorities, is enraged, and kills with ease. It’s only when he is befriended by cheerful Charles that he begins to find some kind of inner peace, and learns to explore the full scope of his abilities. For the record, for several years there were plans to make a Magneto Origins film, and that concept seems to have been heavily utilised here in First Class.


There is a lot that is impressive about X-Men: First Class. The film’s 60s setting is a masterstroke. While admittedly some of the characters feel more contemporary than others, by placing events against the backdrop of the highly turbulent Swinging Sixties – or rather, on the cusp of the Swinging Sixties – the film is able to strike that difficult balance between being simultaneously believable and comic book-like. Characters are allowed to dress more flamboyantly, and it’s credible. Not silly. Gone are the generic black leather body suits of 21st Century-set X-Men 1 – 3. Instead we’re treated to costuming and a world with much more distinct, colourful comic flavour.

Speaking of credibility, it’s a pleasant surprise how well the “first class” of young mutant recruits interact in the film. Although they aren’t especially well developed for the most part (Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique and Nicholas Hoult's Hank McCoy/Beast are exceptions) the young adults have a very convincing camaraderie, and quickly endear themselves to the audience. I put this down to Vaughn’s involvement, as he has already proved with Kick-Ass he knows how to extract and highlight the warm and believability of such simple interactions.

There’s also a pleasing logic to X-Men: First Class. The film provides answers to several questions that have been ignored until now in the X-Men films. The movie could have felt convoluted trying to accommodate them all, but the explanations are expressed in a satisfyingly natural way. The same goes for the happy surprises that are the film’s 2 major cameo appearances from the other X-Men movies.

It must be said at this point that First Class isn’t especially deep or complex. The film doesn’t raise thought-provoking questions or have the edginess of The Dark Knight for example. Instead it prefers to trot out the same message the series has always conveyed – even if you don't fit the social norm, you should be “out” and proud of who you are – without building on it or adding ambiguity to the issue.


In terms of complaints, I was a bit disappointed in Emma Frost AKA White Queen. This isn’t the fault of January Jones, who completely looks the part, and radiates bored disdain for everyone and everything around her. Rather, it’s the way the character is treated onscreen. In the comics, Frost is arrogant and powerful enough to lead alongside, not under, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon in this film). She’s a headline villain in her own right. In First Class her character seems more like an attempt to foreshadow Mystique’s “right hand woman” relationship with Magneto, and it doesn’t do the character justice. Emma here is a head-cocking fembot who disappointingly disappears in the second half of the film with her potential untapped. This said, the character’s diamond transformation is stunning, and I think First Class has a very good chance of landing an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects early next year.

Other quibbles about the film include the fact that Banshee should really have been Irish, even if I was otherwise very impressed with Rupert Grint-lookalike Caleb Landry Jones in the role. The same can be said for Holt’s portrayal of McCoy/Beast, although I’ve never been a fan of the feline character design lifted from more recent comics. I much prefer the make-up applied to Kelsey Grammer in X-Men 3.

In all honesty, I can’t say I’m dying to see an X-Men: First Class sequel. I’m worried that the filmmakers will screw it up, and sour the experience of this movie, which already so perfectly explains so much. If, or more likely, when, they go ahead, I hope they treat Singer’s X-Men films (1 and 2) as canon and completely ignore The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, just as Superman Returns blacked out Superman III and IV.

Right now X-Men: First Class is not only this year’s big superhero adaptation to beat, but it’s also one of the most enjoyable fantasy blockbusters of 2011. Definitely one to watch for lovers of intelligent escapist fare.

Posted by Pfangirl at 9:05 AM
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:22 am

http://benpeek.livejournal.com/828829.html

X-Men: First Class

Jun. 9th, 2011 at 4:24 PM

At the end of X-Men: First Class, Magento sides with Nazi ideology.

Much of watching the film and Magneto's slide from revenge fueled mutant loner to super villains plays out like a bad internet argument, in which Nazis are mentioned early, and influence the rest of the plot to the point that no one can say another word and you expect Steven Spielberg to appear on set at any moment. If you can ignore that, however, the film isn't actually that bad.

The film, set around the Cuban missile crisis, follows a young Charles Xavier, his secretary Raven, and their involvement in the CIAs creation of a mutant team to fight Kevin Bacon and his mutant power of chewing on the scenery. Well, okay, that's not his mutant power, but it might as well be. Along the way a token black man will die, a token Hispanic woman will turn evil, another vaguely Hispanic man will be evil and say no words, a dude looking like the Devil will be kinda cool, and Samantha from Bewitched will appear in what can only be described as a screen presence that feels more than a little demeaning to women. I mentioned the Nazis, right? Yeah, I did at the start. Also, someone drops Olivier Platt from a very great height, which may or may not be your particular fantasy.

Yet, as a whole, the film is only slightly below the standard set by the first X-Men film, and while certainly below the very enjoyable second, it is nowhere near the waste of space that the Wolverine film was and is. Partly, it is lifted by a good performance from Michael Fassbender as Magneto and a more subtle performance by Jennifer Lawrence (from the excellent Winter's Bone) as Mystique, and a performance that owes nothing to Patrick Stuart from James McAvoy as Xavier. If any of the three hadn't delivered in the way that they did, the film would have been a lot worse, though I must admit, I did miss Rebecca Romjin's more confident and controlled performance in the first two X-Men films (I'm just ignoring anything that took place in the third film--I mean, really, what was that, punishment for anyone who saw Superman Returns?). But, regardless of that, watching the three, and their interactions with each other, were the largest part of the charm. Every time Xavier ordered a Coke for Raven, you almost wanted to reach out and strangle him for treating her like a child.

Still, there is that unfortunate vibe of the Nazi ideology that runs through the film, hunting you like a bad internet argument. It becomes particularly distasteful when you realise that the first mutant to die is black and named Darwin.

But that, as always, is one of those things people will or won't take away with them. I thought it was alright. My intelligence rebelled. I told it to be quiet and it was, mostly, and I was able to chill for a couple of hours.
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:22 am

http://moviemusereviews.com/review-x-men-first-class/

Review: X-Men: First Class

June 9, 2011 12:26 AM
Steven

Superhero movies have been thriving in both Hollywood and public consciousness for almost 10 years now, and one of the biggest reasons has been the origin story. “Spider-Man” in 2002 revealed how the emotional power of a superhero’s motivation can humanize even those characters with the most extraordinary powers. “X-Men: First Class” provides this oh so necessary background to a franchise whose last two film entries sacrificed depth of character for mutant and superpower pageantry. Wolverine might be the most popular character from the “X-Men” world, but the story of how Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr developed two different ideologies and became Professor X and Magneto encapsulates the comics’ core. “First Class” recognizes this all the way.

When the action-packed but unmoving “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was announced, it came coupled with the hiring of a writer for “X-Men Origins: Magneto.” “First Class” essentially gives us that story. This is a film about Erik’s decision to become Magneto and Michael Fassbender revels in the spotlight as the powerful metal-bender who eventually leads what becomes the Brotherhood of Mutants. Fassbender will continue to be an acting force to reckon with in the future as he brings incredible depth to a character already written so well.

“X-Men: First Class” has to be the best-written superhero film since “The Dark Knight” and maybe ever behind the first two “Spider-Man” films. The script is loaded with thematic insights into the notion of being an outsider — the very notion that’s made this comic so universally loved. The fascinating complexity of Magneto and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) gets abundant attention and even the minor characters exude that feeling of learning to embrace and understand their powers and differences for the first time.

The film opens with a scene directly from the original 2000 “X-Men”: a young Erik at a concentration camp gets separated from his mother and bends a metal gate. A Nazi doctor takes note of this ability and meets with Erik, eventually killing his mother in front of him as to provoke the anger that triggers Erik’s powers. That villain happens to be a mutant himself, one who in the ’60s becomes known as Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Erik’s one goal is to avenge that death and seemingly the other horrors of the Holocaust as they’ve radically affected his perspective. This background alone, that of a Holocaust survivor, makes Erik such a challenging character for an audience. In his pursuit of Shaw, Erik meets Charles (James McAvoy), whose own quest to find other mutants with the help of a young CIA agent named Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne) also has him tracking Shaw. As it happens, Shaw’s plan is to incite the Cuban Missile Crisis and start a nuclear war, setting the stage for mutant supremacy.

Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart are tough shoes to fill, but Fassbender and McAvoy make those characters their own while commanding the screen much like those venerated talents. Despite the film leaning heavily toward Magneto’s story, McAvoy impresses here as a rallying leader figure. He has a youthful charisma that a bald wheelchair-bound Professor X never gets the luxury of wielding in the original films, but he demonstrates a maturity we’ve never gotten to see from McAvoy, who’s always playing teenage or 20-something characters thanks to his boyish looks. The chemistry between him and Fassbender echoes that between McKellan and Stewart but in a much different way. With this film now in the “X-Men” canon, I think revisiting the original trilogy would actually make the original films’ Magneto-Professor X subplots more powerful. That’s how well the writing team captures their relationship and story despite the many other things going on.

Director Matthew Vaughn strikes a nice balance between the grittiness of a “Layer Cake” and the superhero fun of “Kick-Ass.” Vaughn milks the most he can out of a PG-13 rating as some gruesome deaths are left to the imagination or shown simply without the blood. Graphic enough or not, “First Class” keeps a dark tone with the exception of all the teenage mutants learning to control and showing off their powers. Even then, they remain firmly rooted in the script’s core ideas and messages.

“First Class” forces you to keep track of several mutants, but only a couple feel hollow or ineffective. Despite being a comic book icon, Emma Frost appears to be nothing but a fembot as played by January Jones. A telepath like Professor X but with the ability to turn her skin into diamonds, she serves Shaw with seemingly no regard for her own interests, whatever they may be. Jones provides no edginess to the character, who essentially serves the same purpose as Mystique in the original films as the faithful but alluring evil “assistant.”

Lawrence as Raven aka Mystique and Nicholas Hoult as Hank aka Beast represent an effective use of subplot. Both play young mutants who possess powers that exhibit physical characteristics. As young people, they wrestle with questions of fitting in or embracing who they are, which echoes the larger Erik/Charles storyline on a smaller scale.

Regardless your thoughts on “X-Men: First Class” as a stand-alone film, it unquestionably does great justice to the power of the “X-Men” story as a whole and reminds us why this message has universal qualities that all can identify with. Not only are there the questions of conformity, but also of human nature. The climax reminds us of one of the major differences between Charles and Erik: one has faith that humanity will come to accept mutants and the other doesn’t. Although we’ve been trained to agree with Charles since Bryan Singer’s first film in 2000, “First Class” helps us come to realize the power of Magneto’s argument, proving he’s not so much a villain, but a character with a darker and perhaps more realistic world view.

The talent runs very deep in this retro-fitted backstory to the “X-Men” universe that refocuses the franchise for the better. The potential for another trilogy holds promise in the idea that Magneto and Professor X will continue to be the main characters, not simply “the old guys.” The entire “X-Men” story is a battle back and forth of who’s right and who’s wrong, hence the chess metaphor that so perfectly captures their relationship. The entire team behind “First Class” sees the power of this story and it reflects in the work of this fun yet thoughtful and moving blockbuster.


4.5/5 Stars



X-Men: First Class
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn (screenplay), Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer (story)
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne
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Re: X-Men Reviews 4

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:23 am

http://www.thinkofmovies.com/x-men-first-class/

Thursday, June 9, 2011
'X-Men: First Class' Finishes First At Box Office

The superhero prequel outclasses sequels 'The Hangover Part II' and 'Kung Fu Panda 2' in the weekend's box-office tally.
By Ryan J. Downey

Michael Fassbender in "X-Men: First Class"
Photo: 20th Century Fox

"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" may have been the big winner at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night, but when it came to drawing people to theaters over the weekend, no film beat "X-Men: First Class." The superhero reboot/prequel came in first in the latest box-office tally with a $56 million debut. And while the mutant movie's estimated opening is the worst of the franchise, "First Class" bears the distinction of being the best-reviewed "X-Men" flick since 2003's "X2: X-Men United."

While the first "X-Men" movie took in less than "First Class" when it debuted in 2000, with adjustments for ticket-price inflation it fared better than the new film. Eighty-eight percent of critics liked "X-Men: First Class," according to film-review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. 2009's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (aka "X-Men 4"), in comparison, sits at 37 percent on the Tomatometer.
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