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X-Men Reviews 5

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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:01 pm

http://blogs.southshorenow.ca/reviews/?p=379

Film Friday: ‘X-Men: First Class’ and ‘Midnight in Paris’
By: W. Andrew Powell, The GATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking at where the film ends, my guess is that X-Men fans can perhaps expect the sequel to follow the X-Tinction Agenda storyline from the comic books, but that’s just a guess. All I can say is that if you appreciated Bryan Singer’s X-Men films, you need to see Vaughn’s prequel.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:01 pm

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

Friday, June 3, 2011
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Plot:

Before Professor X he was Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and before Magneto he was Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender). First Class takes you to the early days of the two young mutants who became friends, both with different agendas to help young CIA Agent Mactaggert (Bryne) stop a sadistic mutant named Sebastian Shaw (Bacon) from causing a global nuclear war. Because Sebastian is so powerful, Charles and Erik must recruit other young mutants so that they can combine their unique abilities, even if it means exposing themselves to humans, who most feel is their enemy.

Reel Talk:

Right off, this was a good movie! I like how it takes you back to origin of the X-Men, how they were just learning their mutant powers and how to control them to their benefit. It takes you into the indifferences that would lead to the division between Charles and Erik that would lead to their future conflicts. The story is well told and the characters, to be younger, are more menacing than the characters that are portrayed in the other X-men films. This movie even comes off a little darker than the others, especially with Erik’s deeply scarred revengeful character and Kevin Bacon as the sinister Sebastion. Overall this is a good visually enticing, solid action movie well worth checking out.

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoe Kravitz, January Jones and Nicholas Hoult
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Rated: PG-13

I give it 4 corn dogs

By: Corn Dog – The Reel Hustler
at 11:46 AM
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:02 pm

http://www.popsugar.com/X-Men-First-Class-Video-Movie-Review-17621784

Watch, Pass, or Rent: X-Men: First Class

BuzzSugar / June 3, 2011 12:14 pm
The superhero prequel X-Men: First Class comes to theaters today with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender starring as younger versions of the Marvel mutants. But is the franchise's latest addition worth revisiting? Check out the video review to see whether you should watch, pass, or rent this action flick.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:03 pm

http://wedrinkyourmilkshake.blogspot.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class-review-she-said.html

Friday, June 3, 2011
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS review: She said

Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Written by Ashely Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kevin Bacon
Synopsis: During the Cuban Missile Crisis, fellow mutants, Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, join together with the US military to help stop evil mutant, Sabastian Shaw.

The problem with origin stories nowadays is the audience already knows the ending. Yes, it is interesting to find out how and why beloved characters came to be whether it's in a galaxy far, far away or in our own backyard during the Cuban Missile Crisis; however, it's very difficult to keep our interests peaked because at a certain point, most of the action is just filler because we know the climax. However, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS blows that stereotype out of the water.

To preface, I don't know much about the X-MEN world except for what I've seen from all four (yes, even the atrocious WOLVERINE) movies, and silly questions I would ask the more comic-savvy aficionados. So, I was the perfect candidate for the ole can-you-make-a-movie-work-with-such-rich-history-and-still-make-it-relevant-and-make-sense-to-the-semi-ignorant-masses trick. And yes you can.

We're greeted with the juxtaposed histories of Magneto, aka Erik (played by Fassbender) and Professor X, aka Charles (played by James McAvoy). We learn that Erik was a holocaust survivor, who lost his mother at the hands of the malicious Sabastian Shaw, played with such douchery by Kevin Bacon. Shaw wants to exploit Erik's metal bending powers, and he realizes the only way Erik knows how to use his is when he's angry. Erik grows up and resents this exploitation, rightfully so, and embarks on a journey to kill Shaw. On the other hand, Charles grows up with unlimited wealth and opportunities. He encounters a fellow mutant one night, Raven/Mystique (Lawrence) when she breaks into his house looking for food, and they become best friends.

All their paths cross during the 60s when the US is on the brink of WWIII with the USSR. You see Shaw has a chip, or something to that effect, on his shoulder, and he is playing a Risk game with both countries, so they will both blow each other to pieces, most humans would die, and mutants would become the dominant race and control the world. Also, he has a kickass power; he can consume energy, which keeps him young, and is able to release said energy at will. So our guys have their work cut out for them. While the main conflict plays out, the script lets the characters dive and explore universal themes of acceptance of not only a new "race" but of oneself, and the theme of fear, such as fear of the future of a race or fear of accepting one's power. With this exploration, the schism of ideals between Erik and Charles deepens, and we see how the relationship we witness in the first trilogy came to be.

Magneto and Professor X's story is the primary focus of the movie; however, the character arc of Mystique was the most intriguing. The Mystique in the first movies is a quiet, statuesque figure usually in the back ground looking ominous. I honestly can't even remember any dialogue she had, let alone a character traits. However, in FIRST CLASS, Mystique is shown as a self-conscious twentysomething with an incredible shape shifting power that she's scared to embrace because well, she's a young gal who cares and knows most people prefer their women the normal skin shade...not blue. She initially never stays in her true form not wanting to fully accept her uniqueness and toys with the idea of taking a serum that would hopefully make her always look "normal". Like all the other mutants with Charles and Erik's guidance, she slowly begins to learn to accept herself and harness her capabilities.

The action scenes live up to all the promise from the previews in the trailers. They're fast-paced, fun, and a submarine flies...it flies! There are some visual effects that aren't as realistic and crisp as some of the others, but those few moments can be easily overlooked. As exciting as the action is, the real fun of the movie is watching all the young mutants (Havok, Darwin, Beast, Angel, and Banshee) as they find each other, realize their not alone, and join together to learn the full extent in which they can use their powers.

FIRST CLASS is how you start the summer movie season. There was a lot stacked against this film from the beginning: will the director, Matthew Vaughn, stay faithful to the material, why are studios rebooting a successful franchise...again, origin stories are usually pretty bland, and how would fresh faces bring originality yet continuity to characters already iconic in superhero movie lore? It's a solid film without making any excuses. And like any franchise movie, overall it is better to go in knowing about the world or with seeing the other movies because then you're in-the-know on some of the more fun nuances, but this has a strong and clear enough story that fortunately for some, knowing the history isn't a necessity

Posted by Jonesy at 1:09 PM
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:04 pm

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

REVIEW: X-Men: First Class
June 3rd, 2011 by Matthew Fong

X-Men: First ClassJust like with the different X-Men comic book series, X-Men: First Class is a totally different style and tone than the other films in the franchise. Don’t expect a complete action film, it’s more like a dramatized biopic/documentary of the origin of the X-Men. I enjoyed it but I’m not sure if it’s because I’m an X-Men fan and love the stories and universe that Marvel created. The movie as a whole missed the mark in a lot of areas but all of the comic book tidbits and the ending made me a happy geek leaving the theater…I will actually enjoy watching this one again.

The movie is pretty much all introductions and back story. It begins during the Holocaust at a concentration camp in Poland 1944 where we meet the kid version of the infamous Magneto. Fly across the world and we’re introduced to the young Charles Xavier living in his posh mansion. From the beginning, they set the circumstances for the paths each of these men take. With this journey in time we also get to see a German Kevin Bacon and the cutest little Mystique (Morgan Lily) you’ll ever see. There are a lot of subtitles in the beginning of the movie, so prepare to read a bit…like a real comic book!

Jump a few years to 1962 and we see an older Xavier during his college years. We’re all used to the wise and calculated Professor but now we get to see him as the charming player picking up chicks at Cambridge bars. I really loved Xavier’s character played by James McAvoy…it made this movie so much more enjoyable. His character is similar to Tim Roth’s Dr. Cal Lightman in the TV series “Lie To Me” except more horny and instead of reading body language, Xavier can read minds! Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) is a Jew out for revenge and an older Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is looking for acceptance. These three and the relationships they have with each other are the basis of this film and the chemistry they all have is great. Close but still cautious and mysterious.
X-Men: First Class

Zoe Kravitz looking hot in X-Men: First Class

So much build up and background, what’s this movie actually about? Well, it a nutshell…it’s the formation of the first class of Xavier’s School for the Gifted Youngsters instigated by mutants trying to begin a nuclear war between the Russians and Americans via the Cuban Missile Crisis…it’s a history lesson with archival footage to boot! I always love when comics tie in to actual events and explain real stories with a fanciful twist. Our main villain is Sebastian Shaw who builds a small team with Emma Frost (January Jones), Azazel (Jason Flemyng) and Riptide (Alex Gonzalez). Magneto and Xavier team up with the CIA and agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) to find young mutants to build a team of their own. They find Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Havok (Lucas Till), Darwin (Edi Gathegi) and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult).
X-Men: First Class

Class Picture?

The kid aspect is so cool in this one. They are all teenagers with their rambunctious attitudes and naive view on the world. They’re all outcasts just discovering that there are others like them. I think this movie is going to touch a brand new generation unlike any comic book has done before. Plus, there are so many tie ins with the original story lines and characters that older comic book fans are going to rekindle their love for the X-Men. Again, if you’re a X-Men fan, I think you’re going to love this retelling of the origin of the crew. The recruitment of these kids are done through a montage that includes a sexy lap dance and ends with an awesome cameo. There’s then also a training montage where all of the X-Men hone their skills in preparation of what’s to come. However, both these scenes highlight some of the problems with the movie.
X-Men: First Class

The beginning of Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters

The tempo is slow. It’s all story building and then preparation with a few action scenes to tie you over. Many of the special effects as well as the direction in general seemed amateurish. This is a period piece set in the groovy times so a lot of the clothes, equipment and scenery are throwbacks but they still seemed to be missing something. I don’t want to feel like I’m watching a movie from that time, I want to feel like I’m watching a movie about that time. Also, some of the performances could have been a bit tighter. If director Matthew Vaughn could have change those things along with the music choices in this film, it would have been on another level and even more special reaching more than just avid X-Men fans. It’s almost exactly 2 hours long filled with dialogue and information but seeing how the roles of the characters evolved and then finally succumb to their natural destinies is incredible. School is in session and I’m ready for my next class!
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:04 pm

http://www.popcultureshock.com/james-bond-audition-reel-pcs-review-xmen-class/56347/

The Best James Bond Audition Reel Ever! (or The PCS Review of X-Men: First Class)

Posted by: Kayode Kendall on June 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoe Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult, Lucas Till, Caleb Landry-Jones, Edi Gathegi

Taking place in the 1960s, X-Men: First Class introduces us to a world that knows nothing about mutants. Powerful telepath Charles Xavier has just graduated from Oxford, while master of magnetism Erik Lensherr (aka “Magneto”) is a man on a mission, determined to hunt down the Nazi scientist that experimented on him as a child during the Holocaust. When the efforts of said scientist, now proprietor of the Hellfire Club, Sebastian Shaw, become of interest to the CIA, the two men are recruited to help avert a potential nuclear war, assembling a team of their own to do it.

One of X-Men: First Class’ biggest strengths is how much attention is paid to creating the world and using it effectively to tell the story. Incorporating the Cuban Missile Crisis in the film was a novel idea, showcasing the conflict between two nations, and how it relates to the fear of conflict between humanity and a whole new species. The shift in time also harkens back to the comic’s roots, the X-Men having been created during the early years of the civil rights movement. The young mutants in First Class are faced with similar issues, and the film captures this exceptionally. Seeing them train and learn to use their powers feeds into this, as Charles and Erik both strive to teach them not to be ashamed of who they are.

The 60s setting also serves to emulate the style, both visually and thematically, of a Connery-era Bond film. From the train of women wearing nothing but lingerie as they’re led into the exclusive Hellfire Club, to the inclusion of the CIA and nameless spies, such as Oliver Platt as “The Man In Black”, to the motivations and actions villains like Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost, who represent the Hellfire Club’s inner circle. However, it’s impressive to see it played with a noticeable degree of subtlety, balanced with the more stereotypically comic-bookish elements in the film, of which there are many. Either way, the film makes a strong case for Michael Fassbender to be placed on a shortlist of candidates to take over the role whenever Daniel Craig calls it quits!

Ultimately, it’s the characters that make X-Men: First Class as satisfying as it is. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles and Erik are nothing short of brilliant. Neither character is perfect, but cases can be made for both of them in regards to their opposing views on the future of mutantkind. With everything that Erik had gone through at the hands of the Nazis, sympathizing with him isn’t difficult, even when measure against his more extreme actions. Charles, meanwhile, believes that helping humanity on a grand scale would eventually lead to acceptance. It’s this question of faith versus experience that the film manages to ask in a very organic and believable fashion. This is in part due to Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Mystique. Her struggle to find a place in the world is that much more difficult than other characters, given her true appearance. Of all the X-films, this is the first time we’re truly seeing Mystique as a fully-realized character. Even with solid performances from the likes of Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Zoe Kravitz, and Lucas Till, First Class would be nothing without McCavoy, Fassbender, and Lawrence.

All things considered, Matthew Vaughn and Bryan Singer have created something special with X-Men First Class. Despite its lengthy run time (approximately 2 hrs and 20 mins) and slow pacing, the film fills every bit of screen time with something engaging for the audience, without ever overburdening them. Its insistence on playing rather fast and loose with the continuities of both the comics and the preceding films eventually becomes irrelevant when measured against the overall story that’s presented, and ultimately giving the audience an X-Men film that is truer to the ideas, themes, and aesthetics of the comics than any of the films that came before.

Verdict: A-
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:04 pm

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X-MEN FIRST CLASS: X hits the spot
06.03.11

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Directed Matthew Vaughn. Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne. 132 mins
Rating: Four/Five
In cinemas June 1

INTELLIGENT, CHARACTER-DRIVEN PREQUEL BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO X-MEN FRANCHISE

Someone get Matthew Vaughn the Nobel Prize for Directorial Medicine. After the horribly asinine The Last Stand and Wolverine: Origins, the X-Men franchise had a flashing neon D.N.R. sign above its head. But this intelligent, character-driven prequel manages to not only revive the franchise, but marks a much-needed return of the smart blockbuster.

Set at the height of the sixties’ nuclear arms race, newly acquainted Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) have their own war to deal with. Machiavellian mutant Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) is eager to exploit nuclear power to build a mutant army and eradicate the humans, and with their team of young mutant protégées, Xavier and Magneto are his only obstacle.

While McAvoy brings out a youthful egotism to the young Professor, it’s Fassbender’s superb turn as the tormented Magneto that’s utterly compelling. As a Holocaust survivor, his aggression towards the notion of identifying and controlling mutants is understandable, and he’s not presented as a villain in the making, but man trying to protect himself in the only way he knows how – continuing a cycle of violence and war.

The big, action-packed, power-focused battle sequences are here of course, but with allusions the Civil Rights Movement and ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, they always feel purpose-filled and considered, speared on not only by the political climate but the characters’ varied and complex motivations.

Intelligent and pacey with fantastic sets, First Class is entertaining and accessible enough for novices, while also containing enough great Easter eggs to keep fans happy. More impressive though is that First Class instantly improves the existing X-Men trilogy, as depth and context is added to Magneto’s already complex relationships with Professor X and Mystique (a fantastic Jennifer Lawrence). Many of the scenes could have been trimmed, and there’s a serious Hugh Jackman-shaped void in the comedy stakes, but overall, X really hits the spot.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:07 pm

http://www.theyoungfolks.com/review/film-review-so-many-things-to-love-about-x-men-first-class

Film Review: So Many Things to Love About ‘X-Men: First Class!’
June 3, 2011

The X-Men series had seemed to fizzle out. The last X-Men movie, Wolverine, wasn’t good, especially when compared to the great first 3 X-Men movies. Now, X-Men are back with a prequel. In X-Men: First Class, we are brought back to the beginning to see how the X-Men started. The story is set in the 1960s during the Cuban Missile Crisis. We meet Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), two individuals, two mutants that each has their own way of looking at humanity. Erik is out for revenge, and Xavier is trying to find a way for mutants to be accepted into the world. They unite to take out a common enemy, but again they have different reasons to go against Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Working together, they search and bring in a team of young mutants and teach them to use their abilities properly.

There are many things to love about X-Men: First Class. The cast is brilliant. When I first heard who was cast in this movie, my excitement soared. I am a fan of the X-Men movies (except for Wolverine, which I haven’t seen and never really want to), so knowing that actors like James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were going to star very much intrigued me. And McAvoy and Fassbender didn’t let me down one bit; in fact, their chemistry blew me away. Playing characters like Xavier and Lehnsherr need that chemistry and connection. They need to balance each other out, and McAvoy and Fassbender went above and beyond that. Watching the two interact was very entertaining. If you weren’t familiar with Michael Fassbender already, after seeing this movie, you’ll totally be sold on the fact that he’s truly one of Hollywood’s next great actors. (Michael Fassbender for James Bond? Yes/yes?)

The rest of the cast is also great. I loved Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Nicholas Hoult, Lucas Till, Caleb Landry Jones, and Zoe Kravitz acted well as the other young mutants. Kevin Bacon and January Jones worked pretty well as a team, trying to hatch their evil plan.

As for the plot, it remains strong and interesting throughout the film. The movie is a little over 2 hours and there wasn’t a dull moment in it. There’s a lot of rich character development, and that’s my main reason for loving the movie. As an X-Men fan, it is fun to learn about how many of the characters I’ve grown to care about started out. Director Matthew Vaughn put this story together perfectly.

X-Men: First Class is definitely one of the best movies of 2011. I recommend this movie so much, I’m urging you to just go and see it now! Trust me, you won’t regret it!

X-Men: First Class in now playing theaters.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:07 pm

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June 03, 2011
X-Men: First Class

starstarhalf
A movie review by James Berardinelli
X-Men: First Class

ACTION/ADVENTURE:

United States, 2011

U.S. Release Date:

2011-06-03

Running Length:

2:10

MPAA Classification:

PG-13 (Violence, Sexual Content)

Theatrical Aspect Ratio:

2.35:1

Cast:

James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Oliver Platt, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult

Director:

Matthew Vaughn

Screenplay:

Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn

Cinematography:

John Mathieson

Music:

Henry Jackman

U.S. Distributor:

20th Century Fox

Subtitles:

none

The easiest way to summarize my reaction to X-Men: First Class is with a shrug. The movie is competently made (and not in 3-D, thankfully), has some nice action sequences, tells its story with workmanlike efficiency, and will probably please fans of the comic books. None of these things, however, could chase away the feeling of indifference that settled over me as I watched the movie unfold. X-Men: First Class is not only a prequel to the popular cinematic series about Charles Xavier and his merry band of mutants, but it's an "origin story." And therein lies the problem. Origin stories, by their nature, are less about telling compelling tales than assembling all the pieces. In road trips, the journey matters more than the destination. In origin stories, the journey is irrelevant as long as, when it comes time for the end credits, everyone is where we expect them to be: Kirk in the captain's chair with Spock and McCoy by his side, Spider-Man swinging from New York City's skyscrapers, Superman soaring high over his adopted world, Batman giving the Bat Signal to Commissioner Gordon. When Bryan Singer made X-Men in 2000, he wisely dispensed with an origin story, deeming it to be unnecessary and constraining. He got right into the meat of the action. Now, some 11 years later (with Singer back on the team, this time functioning as a producer), we're paying for that decision.

After a brief opening in a Nazi concentration camp in Poland during World War II, the movie fast-forwards to 1962, which some have called the last year of American innocence. Sure, the Bay of Pigs was behind us, but JFK's assassination, Vietnam, and Watergate were still to come. X-Men: First Class interweaves established textbook history with comic book mythology, providing a new spin on events. Although not as radical as what Quentin Tarantino did in Inglourious Basterds, it's still intriguing. The bulk of the movie concerns the efforts of newly-minted professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), in his capacity as a CIA advisor working with agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), to assemble a collection of mutants capable of opposing ex-Nazi megalomaniac Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Xavier's most powerful ally is Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), whose magnetic control over metal needs some refining. Erik has a strong personal motivation for bringing down Shaw, who killed his mother. Erik doesn't much care whether his dish of revenge is served cold or hot, as long as it's served. And that's where he and the mild, peace-loving Xavier part ways in their personal philosophies. Xavier believes that, once Shaw is out of the way, humankind and mutantkind will be able to live in peace. Erik, on the other hand, embraces the necessity of violence and believes that a global war is inevitable.

Between special-effects heavy fight scenes (some of which echo some of the most outrageous action from the '60s James Bond movies), X-Men: First Class is laden with exposition, much of which will be of limited interest to the X-Men novitiate. It's a strangely talky motion picture that tries to advance several philosophical themes; these would have been more interesting if we weren't already aware of how they will play out in the "future" X-Men trilogy. There's the prequel/origin story curse again: we know what's going to happen, so it's difficult to surprise. It's tough to become immersed in a narrative when there's a checklist in the back of the mind of things that have to happen. Xavier losing the use of his legs... Check. Erik and Xavier going their separate ways... Check. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) aligning with Erik... Check. Erik donning Shaw's fetching helmet... Check. And so on... This impediment is not unique to X-Men: First Class. It's a universal prequel problem, and one of the reasons why superior prequels are hard to find.

With one notable exception, the characters are either boring or woefully underdeveloped. It's hard to assign blame to the miscast James McAvoy, who is a good actor, but his Xavier is uninteresting and will have viewers yearning for Patrick Stewart. It's difficult to develop a rooting interest in someone this dull. None of Xavier's students merit much interest, in large part because of the limitations of the already hefty (130 minutes) running time. Attempts are made at character building for Mystique, but they're perfunctory and not entirely successful. Everyone else, such as Havoc, Beast, Emma Frost, Darwin, Angel, is defined by their abilities rather than their personalities.

The exception is Erik/Magneto, whose presence is so forceful that he reduces Xavier to an afterthought. Michael Fassbender is magnetic; he captivates much as he did in Fish Tank and Jane Eyre, but with more force due to the epic scope. The underdeveloped father/son, mentor/pupil, creator/monster relationship between Erik and Kevin Bacon's Shaw represents the movie's most compelling dynamic; sadly, much of this is left unexplored as the movie stumbles around advancing Xavier's unremarkable backstory. Originally, this was planned to be Magneto's origin movie (along the lines of Wolverine). In retrospect, that might have been a better way to go. Fassbender's Erik could easily dominate a two-hour movie.

When the dust settles on 2011's crop of superhero movies, it seems likely that X-Men: First Class will end up somewhere in the middle, floating in a moat of mediocrity. A year from now, will anyone remember it? While X-Men fans will understandably line up to see this on opening weekend (and most will probably be pleased with the result), there's nothing about this prequel that demands a trip to the theater for those outside the die-hard circle. It's a perfectly serviceable superhero movie that hits the expected notes, but that's all it is. And it offers too little that's new, exciting, or interesting to earn more than a "wait for home video" recommendation from me.

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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:07 pm

http://playeraffinity.com/movies-reviews/x-men-first-class-review.html

News & Reviews
8.4
X-Men: First Class Review
By: Kieran Freemantle | 06.03.11 (2:51 PM)
Kieran's Rating: 9/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 8.4/10
(4 reviews total)

After two disappointing installments, "X-Men" fans needed some heroes themselves, people who could revitalize the series and luckily, we got that with the director of the first two films and the man who was originally picked to direct X-Men: The Last Stand. The Bryan Singer/Matthew Vaughn combo was able to give the series the kick it needed, making a fun and action-packed film.


In 1962, the privileged Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) has graduated from Oxford University with a PhD in Genetics and has a very close relationship with his adopted sister, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence). On the other side of the coin is Erik Lehnsherr (the always awesome Michael Fassbender), a Holocaust surviving, hunting Nazis around the world, overall badass. Both are recruited by CIA agent Moira MacTarget (Rose Byrne) to help stop the Hellfire Club, lead by Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his group of powerful mutants; Emma Frost (January Jones), Azazel (Jason Flemyng), and Riptide (Alex Gonzalez). As the Hellfire Club manipulates the United States and the Soviet Union towards nuclear war, Charles and Erik go on their own recruiting drive to train mutants for their team, including Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), Alex Summers (Lucas Till), and Angel Salvadore (Zoe Kravitz).



From what should have been a disaster of a film, Vaughn pulled it out of the bag and made a really fun summer blockbuster. Compared to Singer's whose X-Men movies were dark, in both story and style, Vaughn made his X-Men film a lighter and more colorful film, with a strong mix of drama and comedy, very much like Spider-man and Iron Man. Because of the quick production time some of the CGI is a bit ropey, but Vaughn proves himself a talented director with a great visual style, from his montages that interject comic book visuals to his action scenes. Vaughn ensures that there is plenty of mutant versus mutant action and just like in the Singer films, mutants use their powers logically. Some of the comedy is predictable, but still funny and the action scenes were tense, unlike Brett Ratner’s approach in X-Men: The Last Stand who broke up action sequences with humor.

The plot itself is very similar to the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, since it comes down to an outside force trying to start a war for their own ends. Continuing with the Bond film there is a certain feel in the early part of the film with Erik’s global travelling and the scene with Moira in bra and panties, which was very much like something from a Bond or even Austin Powers movie.

X-Men: First Class is a film that focuses on characters and relationships, a strength of any good action film, or as I see it, an X-Men film with action in it. There are strong ideologies being formed with Shaw taking the place of Magneto in this world. There are also ideas about how government circles and intelligence agencies would react to the discovery of a new breed of humanity. The Nazi Scientist was very much like the Emperor in Star Wars, pretty much saying “let the anger consume you”.


What X-Men: First Class needed in order to be successful was a strong chemistry between McAvoy and Fassbender, which we got. They have a yin and yang relationship as they share a goal but have two different ways about how to achieve it, yet you can still believe they are friends. Many of the supporting cast members were strong, Bacon is of course, intelligent and powerful with a sinister Southern accent and capably assisted by the beautiful January Jones. Some of the characters were sidelined, but I am sure they will be developed in the sequel.

As a fanboy, I could make a list of things the filmmakers got wrong from the comics and continuity with the first three films, but it was so well made as a stand-alone movie it doesn't really matter. Really, it’s just as much a reboot as it is a prequel. There are also plenty of cameos that will keep fans happy. X-Men: First Class is the best X-Men film since X2: X-Men United.


Rating 9.0/10

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

Other Player Affinity Reviews

Steven thought: "Oh, how badly this franchise needed a true origin story — and not Wolverine's. Although you could say this film was the "X-Men Origins: Magneto" that never happened, the key is the focus on the relationship between Erik and Charles aka Magneto and Professor X, portrayed with depth, power and chemistry equal to (but in different ways of course) Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart by Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. Easily one of the best superhero movie scripts ever behind "The Dark Knight" and the first couple "Spider-Man" films, the core messages that make the franchise one of the best Marvel has to offer shine through in the writing. The motivations behind these men and the differing ideologies that they develop about assimilation and human nature make "X-Men" so socially relevant and these ideas come across with great beauty thanks to this large and deeply talented cast. The breadth of characters results in few misfires (January Jones as Emma Frost) but most work and gain our sympathy. "First Class" is a rare superhero entry that's just as smart and convincing of you to invest emotionally in its characters as it is a solid action film." Rating: 8.5/10

Max thought: "For the "X-Men" franchise, I can safely say it's good to have it back, at least in a way that does not cause me pain when I pay $11 to see it. Despite several continuity issues (Havoc is not older than Cyclops, Mystique was never one of the original X-Men and who the hell is this "form" of Angel?!) "First Class" elevates the series back to its state of glory in the Bryan Singer days in terms of cast chemistry, story scope and ensemble balance. McAvoy and Fassbender have particularly great chemistry to the point you'd swear they were in love (if wishing made it so). Despite a few developmental misses in the script, namely Mystique and Moira Mactaggert, their respective actors do a fine job of presenting these characters in a manner that rarely feels flat. In the end, Vaughn and company are able to make an "X-Men" film that feels like their own with its overall style and (decent) sense of humor standing apart from its predecessors. It never feels overly heavy, like the original X-Men or ridiculous like "The Last Stand." Yet oddly enough, a hell of a lot more bodies are piled up in "First Class." The action is well executed and the end feels believable and open in the right sense. Much like the first film in the series there is a great foundation set here and the sky is the limit for a sequel. Please make it so, folks." Rating: 8/10

Julian thought: "Heading into X-Men: First Class, I was expecting a mediocre story with some nice visual effects. What I got instead, though, was a beautifully told story about acceptance and tolerance with some mesmerizing performances. Oh, and the visual effects were nice too. Just a heads up: the cameos are the most lighthearted moments in the feature, as “First Class” isn’t afraid to go to dark depths with its plot and characters. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are pitch-perfect as Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik (Magneto), respectively. They play off of one another excellently and bring to life the drastic flaws in each character. Unfortunately, Kevin Bacon makes for an extremely weak villain and ultimately is the real killer of the film. His introductory scene is perhaps one of the best “villain” scenes since 2008’s The Dark Knight, but all appearances afterward see him as a completely unthreatening antagonist. January Jones is far more intimidating as his sidekick Emma Frost. It might not have opened as well as previous installments of X-Men, and it might not make as much as any of the other films at the end of its run, but “First Class” is – for pun’s sake – a first-class film, perhaps the best in the X-Men universe." Rating: 8/10

Player Affinity Composite Rating: 8.4/10
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:09 pm

http://thefilmsmith.com/2011/06/03/x-men-first-class-gets-b-but-kind-of-hates-women-and-minorities/

X-Men First Class gets B- (but kind of hates women and minorities)
Posted on June 3, 2011 by The Filmsmith


The re-boot: what an intriguing concept. A production company just Etch A Sketches the previous narrative to start a new one. One motive is the hope of re-invigorating a franchise that’s hobbling along; both Spider-Man and X-Men got their re-boots (Spider-Man hits next year) after weak third installments. Or maybe you just don’t want to spend the money to maintain your now-expensive lead actors and directors. For the audience it’s almost like losing the lottery: you spend three films (over the course of a decade) investing in the characters and their narrative, only to be told you’ll have to re-invest (maybe that’s more like the stock market). Fortunately X-Men First Class offers some legitimate incentives to do so, but it’s not without its flaws.

“Before he was Professor X he was Charles,” says the promotional posters for the prequel/re-boot for the X-Men franchise, struggling valiantly to connect the old brand with the new one. It’s the early 1960′s and as the Cold War simmers, the first sparks of “the Mutant issue” reveal themselves. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is asked to help the U.S. thwart the evil deeds of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender as the future Magneto) meets Xavier on his hunt Shaw for crimes committed against himself and his family.

The greatest villain for the X-Men isn’t actually in the film, but behind it, as the writers lay a minefield of explosively terrible dialogue waiting for victims. Mind you, there are stunning, jaw-dropping moments where you’re getting your money’s worth, but through wizardry or sheer incompetence, others crumble into disarray due to poor guidance. Director Matthew Vaughn’s last work Kick-Ass had the same tonal issues, wherein the delicate suspension of disbelief is snapped and you’ve lost the audience to their own incredulous laughter. It represents an unfortunate pattern of lacking control over the film’s path to proper catharsis.

And if there’s a lady in the audience prepare to be turned off (or turned on, depending on your preference), as there’s a strict “Skirts short, necklines plunging” policy on set, with literally not one female character allowed to keep their clothes on. Look, I’m a guy, and I get it, I’m supposed to enjoy this, but when the manipulation is so blatant and the disrespect for women so obvious, it’s just gross. It would almost be better if this were an R picture so they could show the nudity and jettison the idea that they’re being subtle about it.

MINOR SPOILER, SKIP PARAGRAPH

Oh, and if you happen to be a minority, prepare for disappointment. The only black character (and the only mutant, save for a bad one) gets killed half-way through the picture just so we know what’s at stake. “Quick Professor X, they killed our token black guy, now we’re really pissed!” At least he wasn’t the only other minority in the film – he could have been the mixed race girl who strips for a living and sides with the bad guys.*

MINOR SPOILERS OVER

There are obviously a lot of problems with the film, but one item makes it worth seeing: Michael Fassbender. The hate that drives Erik’s quest is delivered by Fassbender with a quiet menace that will have you holding your breath. Expectedly, Fassbender leaves his mark on every scene, making this more Magneto’s film than an X-Men picture. Considering there was talk of doing a Magneto origins movie to follow X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I wouldn’t be surprised if that script made it to First Class, since Magneto’s story is easily the best developed – the rest of the story and characters are merely his fortunate groupies.

Given what they have to work with, the rest of the cast keep the film grounded and with a realistic tenor (when not getting maimed by aforementioned script issues). With little screen time to do so, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique manages to make her relationship with Xavier feel well established and Kevin Bacon totally rocks the house – a great match for Fassbender’s intensity.

I have some major reservations about the film, but it’s quite a unique picture. When the film isn’t tripping over itself tonally, it dives headlong into darkness no one has touched since The Dark Knight. Erik is a Holocaust survivor (and more, as we learn in the film), taught that pain and rage were the fuels both for his existence and his powers. His time with Xavier forces him to confront his demons and the choices he makes are simultaneously horrifying and yet completely understandable – he’s human. Erik is no longer some comic-book villain, but a living breathing entity. Regardless of the film’s failings, that’s a success it can claim.

[Fan poster via]

-Remington Smith

*Even if we don’t want to call it outright racist, you can’t deny that it looks pretty bad – especially for a film franchise that’s all about triumphing people who are different. It even makes a nod to the enslavement of blacks in the U.S. After you’ve done that wouldn’t you say to yourself, “Hey, we killed the only black character. Maybe that doesn’t send the right message”?
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:10 pm

http://celebritybeehive.com/blog/6311-movie-buzz-for-every-x-there-is-an-equal-and-opposite-reax.html

Jun 03
2011

6.3.11 -- Movie Buzz: For Every X There Is An Equal and Opposite Reax

Posted by: artemis on Jun 03, 2011

By Jason Adams

MyNewPlaidPants

It’s been eleven years since our first cinematic go-round with the X-Men in Bryan Singer’s introductory mutant-epic, and in X-Men: First Class, out today, we’ve spun back in time to the beginning before that – the Swinging Sixties, where what was apparently “Swinging,” who knew, was telepathy helmets and literal ice-queen self-crystallization talents. The history books are all wrong! James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender pick up the story where Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen left off as Charles Xavier (nee Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (nee Magento), their young and nubile-ish versions, seen here first forming a friendship that’ll soon be going sour. And how! At the sidelines, future Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence slips on the blue scales as a teenage Mystique – how I long to see her and Fassbender giggle-whispering to each other like two malevolent queens in a future installment; mega-twink Nicholas Hoult tries his hand at bear-dom by growing a manly cerulean pelt as the Beast aka Hank McCoy; and January Jones slinks around in ice-white go-go get-ups as Emma Frost. The reviews have been fairly solid, with special attention going to the casting department for landing such a strong batch of future stars slash serious young thespians to fill out the cartoon pack with something approaching actual humanity.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:11 pm

http://the330.com/on-screen/tedious-x-men-first-class-mired-by-multiple-plots-leaden-ancillary-players/

Tedious ‘X-Men: First Class’ mired by multiple plots, leaden ancillary players
June 3, 2011 by Dan

By Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES: It would take a brain far more telepathically powerful than that of Professor X to untangle what went wrong with X-Men: First Class, but misplaced and misplayed ambition, to say nothing of a massive misspent budget, comes to my nonmutant mind.

Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr and James McAvoy as Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class.

The latest edition of the sprawling action-comic-fantasy epic takes us back to the future with moments of greatness. But those flashes of amazing are fleeting, ultimately undone by a frustrating mire of multiple plots, overreaching special effects, leaden ancillary players and world-ending military standoffs that have all the tension of a water balloon fight.

The film stars James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, two First Class standouts, as Professor X and Magneto in the ’60s, when they were just a couple of mutants working through their power issues. But there is more, so much more … a back story about the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis; a subplot tied to an evil Nazi mutant (Kevin Bacon doing vile particularly well); a running teen coming-of-age bit featuring some X-Men mutant favorites; a CIA-in-conflict story; a U.S. colonel compromised by lingerie models; and a few more threads I’m probably forgetting.

The stories unfold in — deep breath — Auschwitz, New York, England, Argentina, Las Vegas, Miami, Moscow, somewhere outside of Moscow, Virginia, under the ocean, in the sky, on the ground, underground, under polar icecaps and in several undisclosed locations. At times it feels like someone was playing spin and point with an old globe of the world.

British director Matthew Vaughn somehow lets everything get away from him, which is unlike most of his well-calibrated early work, from his 2005 debut, Layer Cake, to 2009′s “Harry Brown,” which he produced. The script is from a team whose players included Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz, and Jane Goldman and Vaughn (they collaborated on “Kick-Ass” among others).

The film begins with such promise, a near perfect re-creation of the powerful Auschwitz scene that opened the original X-Men in 2000. It’s when Magneto was a boy heartbreakingly separated from his parents at the prison gates, his metal-twisting powers unleashed, but too late to save them. We get the next terrible chapter in that book now, which introduces us to Sebastian Shaw (Bacon) as a Nazi big shot with an operating room next to his office and a persuasive gun who presses Erik into service. It plants the seeds of revenge and mistrust that will drive Erik the rest of his days.

At the same time, across the world, things are a lot easier for Charles, living a life of ease in the Westchester mansion in upstate New York that will eventually become the school for “gifted” children. He has been awakened during the night and finds someone who looks like his mother in the kitchen, suspicious since she doesn’t cook. It turns out of be the shape-shifting Raven (Winter’s Bone’s Jennifer Lawrence), then just a little, lost blue girl.

In short order (though not short enough): Charles is teaching at Oxford, Erik is scouring Argentina for Shaw, Shaw is in his Vegas gentlemen’s club with diamond-queen Emma Frost (January Jones) trying to force Colonel Hendry (Glenn Morshower) to help with Shaw’s Bay of Pigs scheme, while new CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne, who is proving to be a versatile actress) strips down to black, lacy nothings to go undercover.

It’s a frenzied pace, but when Vaughn does slow things down, good things begin to surface. The excellent McAvoy (Atonement, Last King of Scotland) is a total charmer as the young genius already dedicated to protecting and forgiving the human race. The intense Fassbender (a darkly romantic Rochester in Jane Eyre) opens a window into Erik’s pain as well as his need for friendship. The actors play off each other in ways that make their emotional connection palpable. But before it can develop into something truly meaningful, the story is off and running again to a Russian outpost or the special CIA MIB compound run by Oliver Platt’s MIB (stands for man in black suit, a.k.a. men in black, get it?).

McAvoy, Fassbender and Bacon, continuing his good work streak, are a potent mutant trio locked in an escalating series of good-versus-evil battles. Those fights involve all sorts of large-scale special effects — the digital overseen by John Dykstra (“Spider-Man” and others); the physical created by Chris Corbould (“Inception” and more). Though he’s given a lot of massive action sequences to play with, cinematographer John Mathieson (“Gladiator”) makes the smaller, more intimate moments the most affecting. Sprinkled between the big and small are a series of clever nods to “X-Men’s” cinematic past lives and lore that are tongue in cheek, cleverly done and sure to be crowd pleasers.

Less pleasing are all the other mutants who will have to choose sides, a swath of young Hollywood talent badly squandered including Lawrence’s Raven, Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Havoc (Lucas Till) and the list goes on. As does the film, a tedious two-plus hours. There were such possibilities in the origins idea. Maybe if filmmakers had slipped on Cerebro, that mystical mind-enhancing, metal helmet, for a bit; it seemed to help everyone else.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:11 pm

http://www.hollywoodnews.com/2011/06/03/x-men-first-class-largely-a-hit-with-critics/

Fri, Jun 3 2011 | Published in *NEWS, CELEBS, HEADLINES, MOVIES/FESTS
“X-Men: First Class” largely a hit with critics
By: Sean O'Connell


By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class” opens in theaters today, rebooting Marvel and FOX’s long-running movie franchise with an installment some are calling the best of the series.

But while the film got off to a fast start with critics, boasting a 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes for its first few days, the score has leveled out and settled into a still-healthy 87% … still Certified Fresh, but not as over the moon as was initially believed.

Ann Hornaday at the Washington Post says the prequel “happily delivers on the escapism and rich narrative texture the best of its predecessors have promised.”

Lisa Schwartzbaum of Entertainment Weekly adds, “McAvoy and Fassbender are a casting triumph. These two have, yes, real star magnetism, both individually and together: They’re both cool and intense, suave and unaffected, playful and dead serious about their grand comic-book work.”

Not everyone is blown away, though. Roger Ebert Tweeted, “Not overwhelmed, not underwhelmed. Just whelmed.” He gives the movies two-and-a-half stars.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:12 pm

http://www.torontostandard.com/daily-cable/friday-film-x-men-first-class

Friday Film: X-Men First Class

Film | By Scott Macdonald | June 3, 2011

Michael Fassbender in X-Men:First Class

The new X-Men: First Class, which recounts how good-guy mutant Professor X and bad-guy mutant Magneto came to be on opposite sides of a war over mankind, is yet another demonstration that when it comes to superhero origin stories, less is more. While a certain amount of backstory is both useful and necessary — born on the planet Krypton, bitten by a radioactive spider, etc, etc. — we don’t want to know bloody everything that made the characters who they are.

If you’re a kid, it robs you of the opportunity to fill in the blanks with your imagination. If you’re an adult, it forces you to spend too long contemplating the utter implausibility of anyone donning a cape and tights to fight crime. Better to just throw the hero into the thick of some plot, rather than painstakingly detail how Bruce Wayne came to build the Bat Cave.

The original X-Men, directed by Bryan Singer, was practically alone amongst superhero movies in that it dispensed with origin stories almost entirely, save for one perfectly chosen fragment that opened the film: in the Warsaw Ghetto, a young boy who will grow up to be Magneto sees his parents dragged behind an iron fence by Nazi soldiers, presumably to the gas chambers. Held back by another set of soldiers, the boy reaches toward the fence, and the force of his anguish is enough to make the bars bend.

In X-Men: First Class, directed by Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Kick-Ass), we get this exact scene all over again, as well as a lengthy add-on in which a Nazi officer (a bit too campily played by Kevin Bacon) interrogates the boy about his metal-manipulating powers, then brings his emaciated mom back and threatens to shoot her if he doesn’t repeat the trick. Not only is the scene largely redundant, it’s unearned, taking the movie too far in the direction of glibness regarding the Holocaust. While Singer knew enough not to attempt more than a fleeting reference, Vaughn milks it for all it’s worth.

Meanwhile, we also get childhood versions of Professor Xavier and, lord help us, Mystique — Magneto’s deadly, blue-skinned second-in-command — who’s depicted here as a sweet, shy young girl whom Li’l Xavier befriends. Having been a fan of Mystique in the prior pictures — of all the mutant villains, she was the most mysterious — I could hardly bring myself to look at this completely defanged version. It’s like seeing a sickeningly cute kitten take the place of a ferocious jungle cat.

Fortunately, we soon jump ahead approximately 20 years to 1962, and for a while the movie improves. Magneto, now played by Irish actor Michael Fassbender, is out to get the men who killed his mother, embarking on a globe-hopping, one-man mission of vengeance that’s actually pretty entertaining. There’s a witty sequence of orthodontic terror (think silver fillings) in Sweden; a well-staged barroom brawl in Argentina; then a big nighttime showdown involving an ocean liner, a submarine, and a wayward anchor. Throughout, Fassbender adopts a dapper, ram-rod straight profile, like a gleefully murderous walking stick. He’s great fun to watch, as is the work of production designer Chris Seagers, who comes up with sets that are like your most colourful daydreams of the swinging ’60s.

But when Magneto’s mission becomes stymied, he teams up with Professor X, now played by James McAvoy, and Mystique, now played by Jennifer Lawrence, and they go about assembling a team of like-minded mutants to help the CIA avert the impending Cuban Missile Crisis (which turns out to have been masterminded entirely by Kevin Bacon). This is where the movie goes into origin story overdrive, and it never recovers. Not only are we introduced to too many bland, junior mutants, we spend too much time watching them learn to harness their powers in drawn-out training montages.

Meanwhile, the scriptwriters (Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, and Vaughn) go overboard filling in all the blanks between this movie and the other ones — how Magneto goes rogue, how Mystique goes bad, how Professor X ends up in a wheelchair, etc. — and it all grows rather dutiful and lumbering, not to mention humourless.

Granted, the best films in the series, the two helmed by Singer, got a little top-heavy with exposition at times. But Singer always maintained such a light, glancing touch perfectly in tune with pop, comic-strip material. Vaughn doesn’t do anything to match the visual highlights of X2: Magneto’s floating prison break; a razor-clawed henchman bleeding Adamantium tears; mutant children escaping a nighttime attack on a school. Instead, we get more obvious attempts to wow us with CGI gigantism, as in the finale when a naval vessel is lifted whole out of the water and sent crashing into a beach.

The best that can be said about X-Men: First Class is that, despite its flaws, it’s an honest attempt to tell a story involving characters and incident and all those other old-fashioned things. Compared with much of what passes for summer movie entertainment these days, it’s a legitimate step up.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:13 pm

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X-Men : First Class

By Brian Orndorf | June 4, 2011

Our Rating:
Release Date: June 2, 2011
Details: 140 mins, M, Action/Adventure
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Caleb Landry Jones, James McAvoy, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

Prequels are a dicey proposition, and most make it unnecessarily hard on themselves by trying to exhaustively satisfy a fan base that’s already an easy lay. X-Men: First Class is a feisty prequel effort, effectively restoring badly needed snap into the mutant franchise, breaking away from Wolverine to fiddle with a colorful community of heroes and villains. It’s also ludicrous beyond belief at times, madly searching for ways to establish connections between this origin tale and the four films that technically follow it. First Class works too hard to be clever, when all anyone is truly asking for is a restoration of the group dynamic that made the earlier pictures exciting and expansive.

Tortured in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII, Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender, forceful but underused) has matured into a killing machine, on the hunt for his diabolical captor, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Professor Charles Xavier (a charming James McAvoy) is a powerful telepath and a swinging bachelor, looking to put his gifts to proper use with the help of his associate, Raven Darkholme/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). When Shaw and his team of mutants, including diamond-skinned Emma Frost (a comatose January Jones), organize a master plan to initiate WWIII off the shores of Cuba, the C.I.A., including Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), reaches out to Charles, who assembles a squad of young mutants to help bring down Shaw. Training his adolescent outcasts while nurturing a tentative friendship with a frustrated Erik, Charles forms his “X-Men,” setting off to save a world clearly disturbed by this show of mutant force.

Perhaps the most satisfying feeling First Class offers is the return of the mutant squad, a team commotion solidified brilliantly in Bryan Singer’s X2: X-Men United. Singer returns here to nab producer and story credits, and his influence is felt all through the production, which welcomes a restart of the franchise by dialing back the clock to 1962, infusing the film with a cold war feel and a retro vibe, illustrating the mutant reveal while world politics head to the brink of global destruction.

The director here is Matthew Vaughn, who recently worked out a different set of comic book muscles with his disappointing comedy, Kick-Ass. First Class offers a more reflective opportunity for the filmmaker, who approaches the material with an eye for mutant melodrama, exploring the discomfort of these characters as they’re revealed to the world, exposing their secrets to those who judge harshly. Continuing the outsider theme of X2, First Class takes great pains to establish the mutants as vulnerable souls, unsure of themselves, looking to Charles for guidance and wisdom, imbued with a sense of purpose from a caring man. Scenes of self-discovery are played broadly, but Vaughn retains the mournful essence of the X-Men experience, sustaining an intimacy with the ensemble and their private desires, building a thrilling lift hill of gradual acceptance before the blockbuster theatrics kick in.

Instead of playing sleek, First Class is thrust into a pop world of 1960’s architecture and costuming, with period ornamentation providing an unusual personality to the picture, massaged well by Vaughn and his gifted crew. The film retains a lively visual design, which extends to the new group of mutants, including Zoe Kravitz as Angel Salvadore, Jason Flemyng as the demonic Azazel, and Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy/Banshee. Vaughn makes the most out of the gang, keeping displays of power and training montages in constant rotation, boosted by impressive special effects and competent performances, producing an atmosphere of varied personalities and striking powers, padding the widescreen space with a host of testy mutants learning to control themselves on the eve of war. The score from Henry Jackman lacks a proper hero theme to send the activities soaring, but the cast is quite energetic, with special attention to Nicholas Hoult, who makes a fine impression as budding mutant scientist (and creator of Cerebro), Hank McCoy/Beast.

What’s unexpected about First Class is how prequely it becomes, with the script dashing back and forth to create connections to the established storyline. The picture has an intriguing plot that’s best played on its own, with little touches of foreshadowing placed into the corners of the frame. Instead, First Class bends over backwards to remind viewers of everything that’s about to come, with Charles making bald jokes and Raven abruptly showing sexual attraction to Erik despite a clearly pronounced romantic development with Hank. The presentation of Magneto’s helmet and the introduction of Charles’s mansion as the X-Men safe haven is one thing, but do we need to see how the future Professor X loses his ability to walk? Is it crucial to witness the origin of the mutant code names? Must Charles and Erik have their dividing row immediately? First Class rushes the details or plays cutesy with them, cramming the essentials into a single picture instead of spreading the inside references around, building conflict over sequels to come in what looks to be a new start for the X-Men franchise. The absurdity is piled too high at times by Vaughn, who seems eager to please, though it often dilutes the feature’s dignity.

First Class is sure to please younger audiences and comic book believers, while the rest should also be heartily entertained. It’s a solid X-Men adventure with the fresh take on superhero concerns, but it also feels rushed, racing to hammer in its position as the first film of the saga, often forgetting to kick back and simply enjoy the vast mutant view.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:13 pm

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Movie review: ‘X-Men: First Class’ puts Marvel franchise back on track
Posted on June 3rd, 2011 at 8:19 am

After growing a bit shopworn and predictable in recent big-screen outings, a lucrative Marvel Comics franchise gets a smart, energetic reboot in “X-Men: First Class,” which scores far more strongly as an origin story than did the disappointing 2009 prequel “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”

Michael Fassbender

Technically the fifth in the film series drawn from writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby’s graphic superhero sagas, “First Class” essentially returns to the X-Men roots with a tale about Professor X establishing his team of powerful “mutants” and finding his philosophical foil in one with a dark, Nazi-tinged past.

Hip British director Matthew Vaughn (of the smart-alecky “Kick Ass”) is a clever choice to helm this revitalization project, and he opens with a shadowy World War II prologue in which child refugee Erik Lehnsherr (Bill Milner) suffers at the hands of a Mengele-like Nazi doctor (silky and sinister Kevin Bacon) who attempts to tap the boy’s amazing powers with torturous efficiency.

Leap ahead to the swinging ’60s – to the tune of Booker T. & the M.G.’s “Green Onions” – where the adult Lehnsherr (a tightly coiled Michael Fassbender) is on a rage-driven quest, employing his powers to bend, twist and propel metal, to hunt down and kill his Nazi tormentors. This jaunty but violent sequence invests the film with a retro-cool, Dr. Strangelove/007 vibe.

Soon enough, Lehnsherr comes to the attention of Charles Francis Xavier (James McAvoy, oozing playboy charm), a brilliant Ivy League academic with the power to read and manipulate human minds. He’s been recruited by perky CIA agent Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne of TV’s “Damages”) to assemble a team of mutants and stop arch-villain Sebastian Shaw (Bacon’s Nazi doc morphed into a Lex Luthor-style megalomaniac), who, with the Cuban Missile Crisis looming, is intent on triggering a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia.

Much time is spent on Xavier’s assembling and training of his mutant team, which robs the story of some momentum. And, truly, there are too many characters here for one film to deal with effectively.

However, a few future X-man (and women) emerge from the crowd in clear focus – including Xavier’s adopted sister Raven, a.k.a. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), a self-conscious shape-shifter who struggles to keep her natural blue-skinned countenance a secret; the bookish, chimp-footed science whiz Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), whose misguided search for a cure eventually gives rise to a beast within, and Shaw’s sultry henchwoman Emma Frost (January Jones of “Mad Men”), who exudes a diamond-cold villainy.

Others, such as sonic screamer Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), plasma-flinging Hovak (Lucas Till) and gossamer-winged Angel (Zoe Karvitz) are too thinly drawn. Perhaps they’re waiting in the wings for future episodes.

True to the comic books’ metaphysical foundations, the film is packed with social and political subtext – Xavier personifying the peaceful aims of Martin Luther King Jr. and Lehnsherr, a.k.a Magneto, embodying the revolutionary defiance of Malcolm X. But those symbolic flourishes are shorthanded in a film too jam-packed to slow down and philosophize very much.

Still and all, while “X-Men: First Class” feels overpopulated at times and marred by freshman enthusiasm, it packs enough action wallop and sassy panache to put the franchise back on the fast track and to offer entertaining hope of salvation for the secret mutants among us.

- Dennis King

“X-Men: First Class”

PG-13
2:10
3 stars
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Kevin Bacon
(Intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language)
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:13 pm

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X-Men: First Class – (Jon’s Take) Review

Posted by Jon Peters on Jun 3, 2011 in Reviews, Theatrical

After two ridiculously handled X-Men films from Fox, it wouldn’t take much to right the ship after the rushed fiasco that was X-Men: The Last Stand and the mind-numbingly stupid X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but X-Men: First Class just doesn’t right the ship, it thoroughly carves itself out as one of the finer examples of the power of comic book storytelling. Fox’s X-Men films has always had its only loopy logic in its handling of the comic stories and character relationships, but after First Class, comic book fans can easily put aside those groans for what is an intense, emotionally sophisticated film, that not only bests the prior X-Men films, but rivals nearly everything in the genre thus far.

Much like how The Dark Knight feels more like a crime thriller than a superhero blockbuster, X-Men: First Class feels like a great espionage film in the vein of From Russia with Love. This is not only helped by the film’s setting in the tense late Cold War 1960s, but in the incredibly deep performances by James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique, and Michael Fassbender as Eric/Magneto. There’s humor and weight, subtle ticks and high drama, that when placed against President John F. Kennedy’s Cuba Missile Crisis speech, elevates the film from being just a mere superhero movie into just a flat out great movie.

But as dazzling as the special FX are, as great as Matthew Vaughn’s direction is, it’s really the anchoring by Michael Fassbender’s performance that solidifies X-Men: First Class‘s greatness. American movie-goers might faintly recognize him from Inglourious Basterds or Jonah Hex, but it’s his work from Hunger and Fish Tank is where I knew his casting as Magneto was spot-on. You root for him, despite the knowledge of his future villainy, and while it isn’t hard rooting for a Jewish survivor from the Holocaust who’s hellbent on killing some Nazis, it’s the duality of the fine line Magneto walks as possibly the world’s strongest mutant and the decisions he makes, that easily outweighs what Sir Ian McKellen did with the role…three times. There’s was a time when a solo Magneto movie was planned, and at times you get the sense of what that was like here in X-Men: First Class.

Even director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake) has taken another leap forward in his career, which face it, after X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it was going to take a monumental feat to right this franchise. Vaughn has done just that. X-Men: First Class is so thrilling, it’s a shame Fox has come out and claimed that this prequel ties into those prior four films. There’s elements and story strands when thought hard on, don’t make sense when connected to Singer’s two X-Men films. It’s no fault of this film, as X-Men: First Class is as good as summer tent-pole films get. With some clever nods, winks and cameos, when Michael Fassbender at the very end states: “Call me Magneto“, X-Men: First Class revitalizes not only this franchise, but maybe even the genre too, and also our faith in believing the comic book genre – in all of its over-saturation as Hollywood money-making machines – is far from drained.

When’s the sequel coming?

Rating: ★★★★½
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:14 pm

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X-Men: First Class
June 3, 2011

X-Men: First Class – James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones and Kevin Bacon

I know its been awhile everyone so bear with me to get the ball rolling…For those who have been watching the trailer for this movie for the last 2 months none stop on tv are probably sick of seeing and hearing about X-Men considering nobody looks familiar and because how horrible the last movie was. Well i have good news for you naysayers, and i was one of them. The movie is a reboot of the entire X-Men series where Charles Xavier can walk, has hair and is young. Played very well by James McAvoy. Also a young Erik Lensherr that you would know him by his mutant name of Magneto played by Michael Fassbender from Inglourious Bastards, and he also does a very good job too! The movie starts with Lensherr and Xavier as young kids learning about their powers around World War 2. Like in the very first X-Men movie, if you can all remember back then, Erik and his mother were being processed for a concentration camp where his mother is taken away from him and he completely bends a gate with his magnetic powers. After that it shows the beginnings of main players in this movie and how everyone, at the end, is put together. Being a comicbook guy and of course judging EVERY minute of this movie…they did a pretty good job with a lot of the origin stuff. Couple of easter eggs out there for comic geeks and also for those who have seen the other previous movies. The one that got me laughing the most was a VERY familiar face…and his line, all he says is a line that if you know me, is a commonly used phrase. Overall this movie had its slow points but being a reboot i can only assume they wanted you to know where all the characters are coming from which is good for a reboot because there are a lot of people out there that only know these mutants from the other X-Men movies. McAvoy and Fassbender did a great job and the addition of “new to us” mutants like Banshee and Havok was a nice touch. Go check it out and no scene at the end so dont worry about sitting through the credits.

8 outta 10 wahoo’s
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:15 pm

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X-Men: First Class (2 1/2 Stars)
James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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"X-Men: First Class" Movie Trailer



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

Running time: 2:11.

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

Credits: Directed by Matthew Vaughn; written by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn; produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg and Gregory Goodman. A Twentieth Century Fox release.

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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:17 pm

http://wearethemovies.com/features/opening-this-weekend-at-dubai-cinemas-2nd-of-june-2011

Opening This Weekend at Dubai Cinemas (2nd of June 2011)
Date: June 3, 2011 | Author: Abdullah Y

We list’em, you pick’em

X-Men: First Class

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne and Jennifer Lawrence
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Genre: Action, Adventure
Running Time: 132 Min

Synopsis: In 1963, Charles Xavier forms a school and later a team, for humans with mutant abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.

What We Think: One of the most anticipated film of the summer, it is also of the best reviewed wide releases of this year. With an excellent director like Mathew Vaughn behind the camera, and with Fassbender and MacVoy, two of the most talented actors of their generation, leading a stellar cast, we really can’t recommend this enough. Our very own resident critic Faizan Rashid says in his review that “X-Men: First Class does precisely what the graphic novels and the first two films in the series did – make the story and the characters relatable”
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:19 pm

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03 Jun 2011

written by Michael
X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class is more than just a retro superhero film. It is a dramatic story of close friends finding different ways of battling the evil in the world.

X-Men: First Class
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence
Synopsis: Two men with extraordinary abilities and differing backgrounds must work together and raise a team of talented young mutants like themselves to prevent nuclear war in the 1960’s.
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Finally! Another X-Men movie that we can embrace! X-Men: The Last Stand had its share of problems, and Wolverine was terrible. First Class was amazing!

X-Men: First Class is a film that eludes a quick classification. At times, it looks like a smooth James Bond tale of Erik Lensherr (later to become Magneto) tracking down the man who treated him so horribly in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. At others times, the charm and grace of the two lead characters set in the 60’s easily call to mind the TV show Mad Men. And still other times, the movie capitalizes on the big special effects required for superhero films. Through it all, the friendship of Charles Xavier and Lensherr create a strong emotional tie to bring all of these plot elements together.

Both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender infuse this film with fantastic performances. Their motivations are always clear, and their relationship with one another feels genuine. Despite Xavier’s best intentions, Lensherr is a loose cannon, and he will not be controlled by anyone.

X-Men: First ClassThankfully, the film moved quickly through the “training the superheroes / heroes discovering abilities” parts of the film and focused on relationships as well as the political maneuverings of Sebastian Shaw (played by Kevin Bacon). Shaw is intent on nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia – later setting up the Cuban missile crisis – and the X-Men must do what they can to stop him.

X-Men: First Class somehow finds a balance between honoring the X-Men film franchise by setting up characters in a manner consistent with the previous movies (except for Wolverine, but let’s not count that one) and by using plotlines from the original comics. Even the settings from the first issue of the X-Men in the 1960’s are similar. Keep an eye out for a few cameos from actors / actresses from earlier movies in the franchise, and you comic book nerds (like me) can look for a few inside jokes and comic book references.

My only issue with the film came with the costumes. Ninety percent of the time, they worked and gave the characters a nice look. Unfortunately, there were those few moments when the blue fur of Beast or the diamond of Emma Frost looked a little hokey. Both Emma Frost’s and Beast’s look would certainly be a great challenge to bring to the screen, and most of the time the film succeeds, leading us to believe that superheroes could be possible in the real word.

Other than that small concern, I absolutely loved this film. X-Men: First Class is skillfully acted and directed, and it easily captures the best elements of the previous X-Men movies. I was initially reserved about seeing another X-Men movie this summer after the last two attempts, but I liked this one enough that I’ll likely see it again before it leaves theaters.
What About You?

Are you going to see the film this weekend? If you’ve already seen it, what did you think?

P.S. – Time-Saving Info – There is no clip after the credits, so you don’t have to stick around.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:19 pm

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hildren of the Atom

Bravo to "Kick-Ass" director Matthew Vaughn for the great achivement that "X-Men: First Class" turned out to me. A sequel can't be made fast enough for me. Brilliant casting! Loved Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Couldn't help but think that Michael Fassbender could of been Don Drapper in some alternate universe.

The one random thing was Moira MacTaggert being American. That's like Scrooge McDuck not having his Scottish accent. Guess they make up for it by having Rose Byrne running around in her underwear.

June 3, 2011 in
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:22 pm

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X-Men: First Class – 3 Buckets

June 3, 2011 by Danny Baldwin

James McAvoy stars in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS.A certain surprise cameo suggests that X-Men: First Class is intended as a direct prequel to the existing X-Men trilogy, but in effect, it’s actually a reboot, as its style is substantially different from (read: superior to) the prior three films. Hot off the success of Kick-Ass, his hard-R rated comic-book adaptation, writer/director Matthew Vaughn has turned his attention to the considerably more mainstream Marvel franchise and the results are nearly as great. Here is a movie with a pretty silly subject and not a lot of depth that nonetheless sustains a 2 hour and 12 minute running time with ease. Thanks to Vaughn and editors Eddie Hamilton and Lee Smith, the film is incredibly well assembled, both in terms of the action and actually letting the viewer get to know the wide ensemble of characters. Even though it doesn’t boast an 11-year-old swearing and slaughtering, X-Men: First Class is every bit the stylistic tour de force Vaughn’s last film was.

Part of what sets Vaughn’s X-Men apart from the rest is, despite a rather serious setting (which prominently features Nazi Germany and the Cuban Missile Crisis), the movie maintains a high level of energy that keeps it from taking itself too seriously. This, to me, was where Bryan Singer’s first two entries in the franchise ran amuck: they struck grave tones that made the presence of goofy mutant characters seem like a bad joke. While it may have been a wet-dream for the fanboys who actually view the saga as reality, it was alienating to a great many of us casual viewers. Vaughn, thankfully, better understands how to convey the source material’s campy spirit, without jeopardizing its sense of narrative consequence (the major risk in going ‘lighter’). For instance, there is a perfect sequence in which the cast of young mutants show off their powers to one another, just after meeting. They watch and respond with the same sense of wonder that a 12-year-old boy reading the comic-book would, conjuring up an infectious level of charm.

That said, the film’s often boyish tone does not defile Vaughn’s command of storytelling; the presentation is incredibly skillful, not cartoonish. This is a necessity because, while there is not a lot of depth to the material, it is quite complicated in that it deals with roughly a dozen characters that intersect over the span of two decades. We first meet Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) as kids in the 1940s, when they first come to terms with their mutant powers. While Charles lives a privileged life in an upstate New York mansion, only troubled by his secret telepathic abilities, Erik is traumatized in a Nazi concentration camp. The camp scientist (Kevin Bacon) tries to harness the young boy’s magnetic powers for evil, shooting his mother to punish him when he can’t move a coin as instructed. Eighteen years (distilled into a remarkably economical half-hour) later, their paths converge as part of an investigation being conducted by CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne). They discover that super-villain Sebastian Shaw, who is actually a de-aged version of Erik’s childhood tormentor (yes, he’s a mutant, too), is executing an evil plot that would have grave implications for the United States. Recruit an X-Men team to stop Shaw, they must!

Vaughn and his editors must have had an instinct for putting the movie together, because it flows so perfectly that it seemingly defies calculation. (That is, up until the last half-hour, discussed later.) The first act immaculately intercuts between Charles, Erik, and later MacTaggert over nearly 20 years, never confusing the viewer as it plows forth in history at a rapid pace. The second is even more impressive, as it must simultaneously introduce a handful of new mutants, develop the existing ones, and show Shaw’s plot unfolding. A lot of content is thrown at the viewer, but Vaughn ensures that it goes down easy. Not to mention, the special effects are integrated well, too; not only do they look great, per the current industry standard, they are also not overly showy. As opposed to many recent Hollywood spectacles, the characters and the action always drive the visuals in X-Men: First Class and not the other way around.

The performances across the ensemble are quite good, too, even if the characters are not the most three-dimensional. Fans of the series may find fault in comparing the characterizations to those of the original trilogy–after all, these are supposed to be the same people, earlier in time–but most casual viewers (myself included) won’t remember enough to do so. If one treats the movie as an isolated ‘reboot,’ as I proposed in the introduction, it’s tough to find fault with any of the casting. McAvoy gives Charles Xavier, the academic who will go on to run the school for mutants, the right blend of principle and smarts. Michael Fassbender, Hollywood’s new hot commodity after several great performances in smaller films, likewise delivers the appropriate amounts of determination and pent-up rage for the young man who will become Magneto. And of the secondary cast, recent Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence is downright luminous as Charles’ age-old mutant friend Raven (AKA Mystique), winning the viewer over both as the super-hot blue superhero and the charming girl next door. And the rest of the pack–from Bacon to Byrne to Oliver Platt to January Jones and more–uniformly deliver.

But the movie must run into a hitch somewhere, right? Unfortunately, yes. As hinted above, the last half-hour of X-Men: First Class is highly problematic. It attempts to set up the schism between Charles and Erik (a major part of the series) in a very small amount of time, all while the action finale is taking place. Given the skillfulness of his approach to the rest of the movie, Vaughn’s lack of elegance in weaving this in is confounding. Shoehorning the emerging division between the two characters into the conclusion, so as to create a hook for the next installment, could never have been an easy task. But certainly Vaughn and his co-writers did not need to handle it the way they did. The interspersion of this developing story-thread with the action ultimately causes both to feel convoluted, which is an awful way to leave the viewer, especially in light of the film’s earlier accomplishments. However, said accomplishments do make for a mostly great superhero movie that begs for a sequel, in spite of its last-minute challenges.

* * *

X-Men: First Class (2011, USA). Produced by Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, Stan Lee, Josh McLanglen, Tarquin Pack, Lauren Shuler Donner, and Bryan Singer. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Written for the screen by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn. Story by Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer. Starring James MacAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Oliver Platt, Álex González, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Caleb Landry Jones, Edi Gathegi, and Lucas Till. Distributed by 20th Century Fox. Rated PG-13, with a running time of 132 minutes.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:23 pm

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Review: X-Men First Class

Posted by Rodneyon 06. 06. 2011

Thanks for checking out our X-Men: First Class Review

Genre: Comic Book Action
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Staring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence
Released: June 3rd, 2011

THE GENERAL IDEA

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

THE GOOD

The setting is likely my favourite part of the movie. They really push into the 60s with an almost campy feel but never quite get into the over the top caracature of the decade as pop culture would remember it. Despite adding a totally foreign element into that decade, we are constantly aware that this is certainly in the 60s.

The twist to the Cuban Missle Crisis was a risky one but one that they pull off very well. They insert “unknowns” into what is already historically recorded to the event.

Every comic book film needs its villain, but with an origin story that villain cannot overshadow the development, and in this we get Sebastian Shaw, wonderfully played by Kevin Bacon. He is effective enough without being too much of the movie. Seeing Magneto oppose Shaw is delicious to watch as they illustrate how similar the two men are in their ideals about Mutant Supremacy.

Buf Fassbender steals this film and his portrayal of Erik Lensher is hauntingly foreshadowing Ian McKellan’s portrayal. And I wouldn’t be the first person to say that Fassbender could easily be the next Bond if Craig gives up the gig. This can also be said of James McAvoy, who easily fits the role of the caring nurturing father figure of the mutant race.

And all of this is just the icing on the cake for some great cinematic style action scenes. The special effects are incredible, and add more than just some beams of light and prosthetics. Really top knotch fun visuals here.

THE BAD

The supporting cast is great but the “first class” students are just window dressing and a purpose to showcase the creation of Xavier’s school and the relationship. I don’t mind these characters being so secondary as I would rather see the ProfessorX/Megneto relationship play out.

I didn’t like January Jones in this at all. Her costumes were attempting to be sexy revealing and just looked like they didn’t fit. And her acting was supposed to be cold and stern, but end up being stiff and flat. If they do more in this era, I hope she is recast.

Jennifer Lawrence still looks awkward to me. She might be a Mystique before the sex appeal, but still the character doesn’t work for me in this movie. Thankfully her “I just want to feel normal” contribution to the student’s theme in the film is more than fulfilled with Hank McCoy and his evolution into the Beast.

Most of the students are background noise, and just there to fill out the roster. Riptide had no character development at all. Maybe they an get more into these roles in future installments. Not an overwhelming bad thing, as this left room for the core character’s story.

OVERALL

Prequels tend to suffer from the “we know what inevitably happens” syndrome, but this film works WITH that and does it so well. This really works into the more current films and I really hope that they make more X-Films in this era.

Lots of action and fun, with some show-off moments and good character developement all make this film worth seeing.

I give X-Men:First Class a 9 out of 10 and is now my new favourite X-Film.
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