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X-Men Reviews 5

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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:27 pm

http://www.entertainmentordie.com/2011/06/review-x-men-first-class-earns-a-solid-b/

Review: X-Men: First Class, Earns A Solid “B”
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A "Classy" Cast

The X-Men films, for me, have been perfectly competent, but nothing that made me feel passionately up or down about them. The grades I’ve given them over the years are what I’d call “Friendly C+’s.”

The new X-Men: First Class scores a bit higher, thanks to it being an “origin story” that answers questions about how, for example, Magneto became the bad guy who he is today and how Charles Xavier ended up in the pimped out wheel chair.

The film hits the ground running with a sequence early on showing how Magneto (the excellent Michael Fassbender, who was so great in “Inglorious Basterds”) was a Holocaust survivor whose talents were a prize the Nazi’s wanted to exploit. Kevin Bacon has a deliciously nasty villainous role, by the way, which adds to the fun. James McAvoy is also charming as Xavier and brings probably a bit more dewey eyed pathos than you’d normally expect from a super hero flick.

The plot line that takes us into the Cuban Missile Crises stuff was a little slow-pokey for me, but I liked the ensemble cast and the early 60’s setting. The first class gets an upgrade from the graduates—it earns a solid “B.”

Michael Fassbender as "Magneto." I love this guy!
This entry was posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2011 at 2:10 am
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:43 pm

http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/archives/movie_review_x-men_first_class/

movie review: X-Men: First Class

It’s risky to reinvent an established series with a new cast and a different setting than fans are accustomed to…but the folks at Marvel have gambled and won. Despite its flaws, X-Men: First Class is an effective reboot of the once-solid series that debuted eleven years ago.

Michael Fassbender as Erick Lehnsherr, aka Magneto in X-Men: First Class.

The company’s best decision was casting two solid actors in the crucial leading roles, young men who can fill the shoes eventually worn by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. James McAvoy is the Oxford professor (and mutant) who will eventually be known as Professor X, and Michael Fassbender plays the childhood victim of Nazi torture who is destined to become Magneto. The conviction of their performances, and the growing nature of their relationship, pulls us back on track more than once as we—

—follow this movie’s long and winding road.

That’s because the bloated screenplay, credited to six writers altogether, tries to cover too much ground and introduce a daunting number of new characters to the X-Men universe. Some of them, like Raven (the future Mystique), played by smart, appealing Jennifer Lawrence, are well-drawn, as is her budding love interest, a super-smart scientist (and mutant) played by the likable Nicholas Hoult.

James McAvoy is the powerful telepath Charles Xavier.

Others among the young people with “special skills” who are recruited by McAvoy and Fassbender don’t get enough screen time for us to connect with them on an emotional level.

As a former Nazi turned world-class evildoer, Kevin Bacon goes through the motions, but seems to be holding himself in check, not wanting to snarl or overact. Bacon is a versatile actor, but I can’t help thinking that a more naturally colorful or flamboyant performer would have made the character more fun to watch. January Jones is appropriately sexy as his mutating accomplice.

X-Men: First Class is nothing if not ambitious, attempting to weave its fantastic, comic-book characters into the realm of real life, opening in Poland during World War Two and winding up in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. I’m not entirely comfortable with the melding of these two worlds. Director Matthew Vaughn gets the most out of the material he has to work with, but there is something genuinely odd about the integration of historical crises and the fanciful nature of our mutant heroes—and a larger-than-life villain.

My taste runs towards a “less is more” philosophy, which obviously isn’t in line with the way Marvel makes movies. X-Men: First Class weighs in at two hours and twelve minutes, and I can’t help but feel it would have been better had the script been pruned and more tightly focused. But I don’t think fans are going to object, because the movie’s strengths—unusual characters, eye-opening visual effects, and commanding lead actors—ultimately outweigh its faults.

Leonard Maltin posted to Film Reviews at 12:42 am on June 3, 2011
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:43 pm

http://marvelousnews.com/index.php?itemid=14145

X-Men: First Class Movie Review
by Jay Cochran in Marvel at 11:07 PM on 2011.06.02

Look out Avengers, the X-Men are back in a big way this summer with X-Men: First Class. Telling the story of the origins for both Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) along with a depiction of the first mission of the X-Men, this newest movie directed by Matthew Vaughn stays very true to the first two X-Men movies. The movie even starts off just like the first X-Men movie with a young Magneto in the Nazi concentration camps of World War II.

The basic plot for this one involves an evil mutant named Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) bent on causing a war between the United States and the Soviet Union by instigating a little crisis known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. To combat this new menace and the threat of mutants in general, the CIA is forced to turn to a young expert in mutations, Charles Xavier who puts together a team of his own mutants including one Eric Lehnsherr, aka Magneto.

Both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender do a brilliant job playing younger versions of the characters originally played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. Although I initially wasn’t thrilled with the choice of characters for the first X-Men team, I must say the group pulls it off pretty well. As the team solidifies, Vaughn does a good job balancing the sense of loneliness felt by the mutants with the delight in their powers as they find acceptance. Bacon does a great job with the villain role for this one and, January Jones is convincing as Emma Frost. The movie also provides some nice easter egg moments including a special surprise guest-appearance. Although there are a few continuity potholes with the other X-Men movies (mainly with things established in X-Men Origins: Wolverine), it’s not enough to ruin your enjoyment of this film.

For those who panned the original X-Men movies for not being true enough to the comic book source material, you probably still will not be happy with this one, but if you were a fan of X-Men 1 and 2, I think are really going to enjoy this one.

Grade: B+
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:44 pm

http://northshoremovies.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/review-x-men-first-class/

Review – X-Men: First Class
Posted on June 3, 2011 by Daniel M. Kimmel

With James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, January Jones; Directed by Matthew Vaughn; Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language). 132 minutes.

Those looking to see how X-MEN: FIRST CLASS fits into the Marvel universe will have to look elsewhere. This reviewer, raised on DC Comics, has no opinion as to how this compares to comic books he never read. Coming at this prequel with no preconceptions or expectations, reactions may differ from the true fans. However after the relative disappointments of “The Green Hornet” and “Thor,” it seems sufficient to note that this is the best comic book superhero movie since “The Dark Knight,” and may turn out to be one of the best of the summer blockbusters.

Even if you haven’t read the comics, it helps to have seen the “X-Men” movies. The first two were quite good, but the series seemed to be running out of steam with the fourth film, exploring the origins of Wolverine. So what they’ve done here is go back to before the first film and create a prequel, where we see how Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Eric Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) met, became friends, and eventually ended up on opposite sides. If only George Lucas could have seen this film ten years ago, the “Star Wars” prequels might not have ended so many fans’ childhoods so unceremoniously.

Even if we know where this is going – Dr. Xavier will eventually create a school and safe haven for mutants and Eric will become Magneto, the mutant leader who believes that humanity’s day in the sun has passed – the filmmakers have come up with a character-driven story to tell. Xavier is an expert on mutations who is recruited into a CIA effort to battle Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), an ex-Nazi who conducted experiments on mutants and, in 1962, is ready to goad the United States and Russia into World War III.

Both Xavier and Shaw surround themselves with mutants with special powers, some of whom will be familiar to fans of the comics and/or movies, and others whom are new. Most notable is Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) a shapeshifter who will later become Mystique. Her character is torn between wanting to be “normal” and the desire to be accepted for who and what she is, a theme that has played out in the best of the “X-Men” films. Xavier, who has become a surrogate older brother for her, believes mutants and humans can work together for a common good. Shaw believes mutants will supplant humanity in ruling the Earth. We know where Magneto is going to come out on this, and yet his transformation across the film is both startling and dramatically satisfying.

Unlike the other Marvel-based films, the “X-Men” movies seem to have a political underpinning. The mutants are the stand-ins for the oppressed group of the moment, wanting to be accepted and lead their own lives but stigmatized as the “other” and forced to make a decision. Should they try to persuade humanity to accept them or should they accept the fear and hatred as their due and act accordingly? This core issue makes the films seem to be about something, rather than just guys in fancy outfits having special effects battles as in the “Spider-Man” and “Iron Man” movies.

There’s a solid cast here with McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence strong as the three principal mutants, and a wide range of performers turning in solid work. Kevin Bacon’s villain is apparently nothing like his comic book character, but one suspects only the hardcore Marvel fans will object. (Bacon is absolutely chilling.) January Jones is sexy and scary as Emma Frost, one of Shaw’s team, and Oliver Platt provides welcome support as a CIA agent who believes that working with mutants is inevitable.

There are more superhero movies to come this year, and some will inevitably disappoint. However, “X-Men: First Class” is the first great film of the summer season, and one that sets the bar high for the movies to come.•••

4/5
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:45 pm

http://ultimatereviews.co.uk/?p=3680

X-Men: First Class
– June 3, 2011

Year: 2011
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Genre: Sci-Fi/Action
Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review by: Allan Wood

“Fans of mutants should have a blast with this retro origin story and it does feature one of the best cameos in recent cinema history…probably. With luck this will lead to a new trilogy before the obligatory reboot of the franchise.“




Is it possible for the director of Kick-Ass to get rid of the lingering bad taste The Last Stand gave all X-Men fans?

The 1960s were a time of change, the most powerful countries in the world were playing a global chess game with weapons of assured destruction. People, once thought to be second class citizens, started to make their voice heard and mutants were discovered to be among us.

Telepathic Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) has a clear idea of how he sees his fellow mutants to be part of the greater good. Meanwhile Eric Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) is a holocaust survivor with a score to settle with the man who killed his mother simultaneously releasing his metal controlling powers. These two young men join forces in battling power absorbing Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) who when not killing birth givers is determined to get a third world war started.

Xmen1Eric and Charles begin to assemble a small team of teen mutants all dealing with their own powers and emotions. Along for the fun is Xavier’s friend since childhood shape-shifter Raven (Jennifer Lawrence). The girl who will become Mystique has her own identity crisis not helped by conflicting words of wisdom from the future Magneto and Proffesor X. Can these two remain friends with such differing ideologies?

First Class is an astounding accomplishment, it manages to embrace the previous trilogy of movies – for better (X2) or much worse (The Last Stand). As a period film it retains its own identity still keeping an eye on the overall story that familiar characters are taking their first steps towards. There is plenty of globe trotting and Fassbender could easily be mistaken for 007 as a cool killer during his initial hunt for Shaw. The scope of the film is epic but it never moves too far away from the characters. Jennifer Lawrence steps effortlessly into the figure hugging blue suit as Raven/Mystique and proves that Winter’s Bone wasn’t a fluke – the girl is going to be BIG. The rest of the cast are great and while some aren’t given much screen time they all have atleast one moment to shine. In addition they’re all part of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon now.

Matthew Vaughn is hard to pin down as a film-maker, he hasn’t made the same film twice and appears to be able to handle any genre thrown his way. It could be argued that he sticks a tad too close to the world created by Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2) and urinated on by Brett Ratner but when its such a great canvass why change it? It isn’t totally in awe with Singer and there are glimpses of originality – if you can call a montage original!? There is a harder, more brutal edge to the film – so parents should be fully aware of the point of a 12A certificate, blood, death and the F-bomb.

Xmen2This isn’t a Star Trek style alternate timeline, its the start of a much grander story we know the ending to. Influences aren’t just reserved to the Marvel Universe with a nod and a wink to Bond, James Bond also. The direction and script aren’t flawless yet like a standard summer blockbuster you’re having more fun watching than picking out plot holes. The same cannot be said for the visual effects, rush job springs to mind. On occasion they are jaw-dropping, but every now and again the shoddy CGI sticks out as bad as Fassbender’s shifting accent. Plus it doesn’t matter how good an actor you are, nobody can make Magneto’s helmet work other than Sir Ian McKellen.

In conclusion, fans of mutants should have a blast with this retro origin story and it does feature one of the best cameos in recent cinema history…probably. With luck this will lead to a new trilogy before the obligatory reboot of the franchise.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:46 pm

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/movies/reviews/2011/xmenfirstclass.html

X-Men: First Class
Reinvents a familiar cast of characters in what might be the standout action film of the summer.
Steven D. Greydanus | posted 6/03/2011 12:00AM

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[X-Men: First Class]

X-Men: First Class

Our rating: 3½ Stars - Good Y

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

Genre: Action

Theater release:
June 03, 2011
by 20th Century Fox

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Runtime: 2 hours 12 minutes

Cast: James McAvoy (Charles Xavier/Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto), Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw), January Jones (Emma Frost)

A dozen years ago super-hero movies seemed to be dead. Superman and Batman had each run four films, in both cases driving their franchises into the ground and exhausting whatever inspiration and goodwill they started out with. Stan Lee had been in Hollywood for the better part of two decades trying to get a movie made, any movie—Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America, you name it.

Then out of nowhere came Bryan Singer's mutant ensemble movie X-Men (2000), and it changed everything. It revitalized the super-hero movie and launched the current age of comic-book adaptations that, far from flagging, is still picking up steam. Yet few of the ongoing avalanche of Marvel and DC productions have been on a par with Singer's sharp little film. The genre has become routine, and few entries offer any surprises.

Even prequels and reboots are becoming almost routine: Counting Mark Ruffalo in the upcoming Avengers film, there have been three different Bruce Banners in ten years, and other characters—including Spider-Man, Superman, and Daredevil—are being or may be rebooted. Then there was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a tepid X-Men prequel partly set, like X-Men: First Class, in the later mid-20th century.

Yet, surprisingly, First Class, produced by Singer and directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) from a story co-written by Singer, isn't more business as usual. First Class does what few franchise films do today: It takes risks, offers surprises. Consider Thor and the latest Pirates of the Caribbean: both competently pleasant films, and short enough not to wear out their welcome, but not a surprise between the two of them. First Class is comparatively long, but it feels satisfyingly complete rather than overstuffed. By the time it's over, we know Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), and Mystique in particular as we've never known them before.

Casting is crucial, particularly for Professor X and Magneto. From the first scenes of X-Men, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen effortlessly created a sense of an old kinship gone tragically awry. Happily, James McAvoy (The Conspirator; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and Michael Fassbender(Jane Eyre; Inglourious Basterds) are up to the task.

McAvoy not only commandingly fills the shoes Stewart was never allowed to stand in, he persuasively reveals unguessed youthful follies in the telepathic Xavier's past—nothing as startling as Chris Pine's headstrong, immature James T. Kirk, but in that direction—that nevertheless illuminate the Xavier we know from later continuity

Even more surprisingly, the film reveals a touching history with the shape-shifter Mystique, or Raven Darkhölme, vulnerably played by Jennifer Lawrence (mesmerizing in last year's Winter's Bone and now tabbed to play Katniss Everdeen in the upcoming Hunger Games movies). In this telling, Raven becomes a kind of foster kid sister to Charles, though her feelings for him may go beyond that. From their youthful first meeting we see that Charles, a child of privilege, instinctively associates his privileges with responsibility, and naturally takes the initiative in helping others.

As effective as McAvoy is, it's almost Fassbender's film. The Irish-German actor gives a star-making performance as the metal-manipulating young man who will become Xavier's great nemesis. Erik's childhood, First Class reminds us by revisiting the concentration camp prologue to the original X-Men film, was as different from Charles's as could be. Yet when they come together, their relationship, though fractious, is at times genuinely touching.

First Class revisits that Nazi camp and reveals what happened afterward, putting Erik on a lifelong collision course with an evil mutant who may be as powerful as he is: Sebastian Shaw, played with gusto by a well-cast Kevin Bacon. A high-rolling playboy secretly bent on claiming the world for mutantkind, Shaw brings a Bond-villain flavor to the film, which, with its 1960s Cold War setting, international intrigue, and spy-movie spectacle, owes quite a bit to Connery-era 007 films.

Of course the civil-rights subtext—part of the X-Men lore since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created them in the 1960s—fits right in. (The gay-rights angle of Singer's films also shows up in lines like "You didn't ask, so I didn't tell" and "Mutant and proud.") Reimagining the Cuban missile crisis as a gambit in an evil-overlord scheme of conquest is an inspired bit of Bond-ishness that makes for a strong third act where origin stories since 1978's Superman, and even the first X-Men, have been wont to pace themselves for a sequel.

At times First Class owes a little too much to Bond, or perhaps it's simply following the comic books in filling the halls of Shaw's Hellfire Club with lingerie-clad exotic dancers. It definitely follows the comics too closely in putting Shaw's associate, telepath and almost-literal ice queen Emma Frost (January Jones of "Mad Men"), in gratuitous white lingerie. (Bizarrely extending the objectification of women into misogynistic territory, Xavier has a student use nude female mannequins for target practice.) Earlier films in the series understood that comic-book costumes don't necessarily belong in live action, but First Class sticks closer to source, even giving Xavier's team yellow and black flight suits echoing the original comic-book costumes.

There are some missteps—some comic-book geeky (Mystique's wardrobe, and later quasi-nudity, is a geek problem), others Hollywood cliché. (Killing off the token black man is a Hollywood cliché. Actually, after reading the character's Wikipedia entry, I suspect we could see him again in a somewhat different form, but still.) Nonetheless, First Class succeeds in doing in some measure for the X-Men what J. J. Abrams did for Star Trek two years ago: Not only does it bring new energy to a tired franchise, it reinvents a familiar cast of characters in unexpected ways, laying the foundations for the defining relationships and conflicts of later chapters, while telling a ripping story. That's enough to make it a standout among recent action fare, and possibly the standout action film of the summer.

Talk About It
Discussion starters

If you could have one of the "mutations" in this film, which would be your first choice? Your last choice? Why?
What would you like to do with a super power? How might it be misused? Would you be worried about temptations to misuse it?
What do you think of the decisions that the characters make in the end about parting ways? Are they all believable? Was it necessary, or could it have been prevented? How?
Have you ever parted ways with someone you were close to? Why did it happen? Under what circumstances, if any, would you part ways with a close friend, or turn away from a family member?
Magneto is understandably angered when Xavier tries to defend the officers in the warships by saying they were "just following orders." When is it okay to follow orders you disagree with? When does it become necessary not to obey orders?

The Family Corner
For parents to consider

X-Men: First Class is rated PG-13 for "intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language." The violence is mostly of the super-powered kind, but it's pretty rough—when bad mutants attack, they make full use of their powers, and there's a substantial body count, including one bad guy who suffers the equivalent of being slowly stabbed through the forehead. There's also the shooting death of a boy's mother. There's no explicit nudity, but Mystique briefly displays the same sort of scaly blue quasi-nudity seen in earlier films. The dissolute milieu of the Hellfire Club includes a lineup of strippers/prostitutes strutting around in lingerie and stepping behind curtains with male patrons. We briefly see a woman in lingerie astride a clothed man on a bed being pawed (although this turns out to be a psychic illusion and the real woman is sitting across the room). Language includes a few misuses of God's name and one use of the f-word.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:49 pm

http://spinningplatters.com/2011/06/02/film-review-x-men-first-class/

Film Review: “X-Men: First Class”

by Jason LeRoy on June 2, 2011

Caleb Landry Jones, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, and Lucas Till in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, January Jones, Kevin Bacon, Lucas Till, Caleb Landry Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Oliver Platt, Jason Flemyng, Alex Gonzalez

written by: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn

directed by: Matthew Vaughn

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

As is usually the case with Marvel movies and other films that tap into a larger nerd mythology of which I am largely ignorant, I will begin with my standard non-fanboy disclaimer: I am not the target audience for X-Men: First Class. I have seen (and enjoyed) the first two X-Men films, but only once. I have seen neither the third film nor the Wolverine movie. And I haven’t read any of the comics or graphic novels or whatever else may have been created within the X-Men universe.

So, I basically had no idea who anyone was supposed to be as I watched this new film. While many around me were laughing knowingly to themselves as characters were introduced and relationships were established, I just stared blankly (usually at Michael Fassbender, swoon). I was vaguely aware that Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) was the same character played by Patrick Stewart in the other films, but I had no idea what that really meant. And I inferred that Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) would grow up to be Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique due to her rather unmistakable appearance. Beyond that: no clue. So if you’re looking for the perspective of an X-Men novice, you’ve come to the right review.

X-Men: First Class opens with a prologue in which we are introduced to its two central characters: Charles Xavier (McAvoy), enjoying a privileged childhood in Westchester, and Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender), suffering a considerably more traumatic upbringing as a Jewish child during the Holocaust. While Charles is making the fellow-mutant acquaintance of young Raven, Erik is being torn from his mother and tortured by the villainous Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who wants to harness Erik’s mutant potential for his own evil use.

Flash forward to 1962. A federal agent named Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) accidentally stumbles upon the existence of mutants while investigating a potential nuclear threat that could trigger World War III. Sebastian Shaw, along with his own team of mutants, is one of the chief instigators. This leads Moira to Charles Xavier, who has become known for his mutation studies. They gradually begin assembling a group of mutants to help combat Shaw’s team, mainly consisting of young kids like Raven (Lawrence), Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Hank (Nicholas Hoult), Alex (Lucas Till), and Sean (Caleb Landry Jones). But they also enlist Erik, who has grown into a furious, violent man hellbent on avenging himself against Shaw.

First Class is basically a giant big-budget gift basket that’s been signed, sealed, and delivered to the X-Men fan base, although I gather it’s already pissed them off by rewriting parts of the origin story and switching around which characters were technically in the “first class.” But that isn’t my concern.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn (of the superior Kick-Ass), this is a competent but frequently ludicrous action film. It doesn’t quite conjure the same sense of gravitas as Bryan Singer’s first two X-Men films, while paying somewhat laughable homage to the kitschy ’60s spy movies that inspired Austin Powers (McAvoy’s habit of complimenting the “groovy mutations” of young lovelies doesn’t exactly fight this comparison). Much of the dialogue falls flat. The whole thing feels a bit rushed, as though Vaughn didn’t have enough time to really do it right. It certainly lacks the audaciously visceral charge of Kick-Ass.

Fortunately they’ve assembled a truly stunning group of actors on the verge of major stardom, probably the most auspicious cast of the summer. McAvoy and Fassbender make a remarkable and rievting twosome. In particular, the devilishly handsome Fassbender brings a great deal of power and square-jawed intensity to his performance. While few of the characters are written with much depth or dimension, Erik’s comes the closest, and Fassbender conveys every agonizing detail of his harrowing arc. Hopefully this will be the performance that turns him into the movie star he deserves to be.

The ladies make an excellent showing as well. Byrne, who is on quite a roll this summer between this and Bridesmaids, plays Moira with empathy and intelligence. Lawrence, for whom this is merely a speed bump before the Hunger Games juggernaut begins, succeeds at making Raven/Mystique far more humane and complex than was ever suggested by Romijn’s performance. And rather than bash poor January Jones’ turn as Shaw’s moll, Emma Frost, I will simply say that she does what is asked of her: remain expressionless while wearing a dizzying array of white leather pantsuits.

In addition to its cast, X-Men: First Class also features the beginnings of the thought-provoking assimilation vs. proud otherness conversation inherent to its mythology. This has been (and continues to be) a vital element of any marginalized group’s struggles when negotiating its relationship with the mainstream, and the X-Men films function thrillingly as allegories about this dialogue. First Class is a bit too hokey and undercooked to really do justice to the intentions of its story, but at least it’s entertaining and impeccably cast. I’m not sure how many new X-Men fans will be converted by it, but the fans will eat it up.
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:50 pm

http://blogs.bbcamerica.com/supernatural-saturday/2011/06/02/mcavoy-and-fassbenders-acting-superpowers-elevate-x-men-prequel/

McAvoy and Fassbender’s Acting Superpowers Elevate ‘X-Men’ Prequel
By: Leah Rozen Posted: Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

James McAvoy (left) and Michael Fassbender in 'X-Men: First Class'

Professor X is an Oxford man. That’s just one of the many nifty nuggets one learns watching X-Men: First Class, the wham-bam movie reboot of the Marvel comic book series about mutant superheroes.

A high decibel action-adventure film aimed at summer moviegoers, First Class, which opens today, is an origins story. It goes back to the beginning, showing us how the X-Men came into being, concentrating in particular on how mutant superheroes Charles Xavier (played by Scottish-born James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Irish-raised Michael Fassbender) teamed up and then eventually came to an ideological parting of the ways.

As X-Men viewers doubtless already know, Xavier eventually becomes Professor X, the wheelchair-riding savant who believes mutants and humans can co-exist, and Lehnsherr becomes Magneto, the helmet-wearing baddie who believes in mutant superiority and separatism. (In previous X-Men movies, beginning in 2000, Brits Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen played, respectively, Prof. X and Magneto.)

January Jones in 'X-Men:First Class'

The movie is set in the early 1960s and there’s a Mad Men vibe–lots of boxy suits for men and groovy women’s clothes–right down to the casting of January Jones as the va-va-voom mutant sidekick to First Class’ chief baddie, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). He is a power-hungry mutant who’s out to manipulate those Cold War enemies, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., into a war of mutual annihilation.

Xavier and Lehnsherr set out to stop Shaw, recruiting a squad of young mutants to help them (including Skins’ Nicholas Hoult, playing a geeky scientist whose feet resemble those of a primate). The movie jumps around the globe, with early scenes set at Oxford University as Xavier graduates and chats up a comely co-ed (The Tudors’ Annabelle Wallis) at the local pub. But soon the fledgling X-Men are training at a secret C.I.A. facility, and then at Xavier’s family home in Westchester, N.Y. Next, they’re off to stop the Cuban missile crisis, which was less the work, the movie would have us believe, of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev than of the nefarious Shaw.

As directed by Brit Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake and Kick-Ass), First Class is fanboy fun and serves up plenty of big action scenes, but it all feels a wee bit processed and familiar. That said, the presences of McAvoy and Fassbender go a long way toward keeping a viewer engaged. McAvoy, he of the dreamy baby blues, shows the intelligence and decency at Xavier’s core, while Fassbender is all raw emotion and intensity as Lehnsherr, not to mention as sexy when suffering as he was in Jane Eyre.

Will there be a Second Class if First Class rakes in bucks at the box office? Count on it. Let’s just hope, though, that no one makes McAvoy shave his hair off or Fassbender wear that silly helmet the whole time.

————-

Will you be seeing X-Men: First Class? For McAvoy or for Fassbender?
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:50 pm

http://mashwatch.com/news/19664/movie-review-x-men-first-class/

Movie Review: ‘X-Men: First Class’
06/03/2011 - 12:00 AM - Entertainment

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. 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.

Source: Los Angeles Times
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‘X-Men: First Class’: James McAvoy
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:53 pm

http://reviews.media-culture.org.au/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4769

Cinema: X-Men: First Class
Posted on Friday, June 03 @ 07:26:26 EST by Michael Dalton
PeterGray writes:

Reviewed by Peter Gray

Before Christopher Nolan made the Batman name Oscar-worthy and Jon Favreau turned Iron Man into a viable franchise, Bryan Singer (‘The Usual Suspects’) was legitimising the comic-book-turned-film genre with the release of X-Men in 2000, and it’s sequel, 2003’s X2, which arguably goes down as one of the finest comic adaptations in cinema history. Then X-Men 3 was released. Singer had jumped ship to work on Superman Returns, and the less respected Brett Ratner (the Rush Hour series) took the reigns as director and, despite all the cast coming back on board, it all went so horribly wrong that it almost appeared as if these mutants had heard their own swan song. But, if at first you don’t succeed, try a prequel.

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Set in the swinging 60’s, X-MEN First Class details the origins of two of the more prominent X Men, Professor X and Magneto. Respectively portrayed by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the modern trilogy, here they are presented as Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). A former friendship between these two was hinted at in the original films, and here we get to see how these bonded brothers slowly drift towards opposite sides, forming a mutant vs. mutant sensibility.

Xavier is on the verge of becoming a professor. He uses his mind-reading abilities mainly to pick up women, and he has a close relationship with young Raven (recent Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence), who we also know as Mystique, a blue skinned girl who can morph into anyone she pleases. Erik has had a far more difficult ‘upbringing’. His early scenes as a young child in the concentration camps during World War 2 introduce both his metal-morphing abilities and the sinister Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a mutant in his own right who can absorb kinetic energy and transform it into raw strength.

As it was Shaw who brought about the violent anger and sadness that harnessed his ability, Erik has spent a great deal of his life searching for him to seek out revenge. Killing a mutant like Shaw isn’t easy though, so it’s lucky Erik and Xavier cross paths. Also after Shaw, learning of his intentions to fuel Cold War tensions, is CIA operative Moira McTaggart (Rose Byrne) and together with Xavier, the two seek out other mutants to combat Shaw and his henchman, including right-hand woman Emma Frost (January Jones), a telepath who can change her body into diamond form.

Amongst the crew are Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hault), a scientist with ultra speed, and Alex Summers (Lucas Till), who can discharge blasts of energy. Avid readers of the comics will be only too aware of the connections these characters have in the X-Men universe, and it’s sly nods like that which allow the movie to be enjoyed on multiple levels, depending on who the viewer is. It should also be noted that there are two rather amusing cameos that remind us of the existing trilogy, which were met with particular delight from the audience.

With this being a prequel there’s a certain sense of inevitability that besets all the endeavours we witness. We know Erik will become Magneto and turn against humans, he even claims that no matter how many times mutants save the world, normal people will always see them as enemies, we know that Xavier is going to end up in a wheelchair, and just how will Mystique become Magneto’s right-hand woman when she is so attached to Xavier? Thankfully there’s still fun and surprise into how these foundations are laid.

With Bryan Singer on board as a producer and involved in the story process, ‘First Class’ is already more a part of the ‘X-Men’ series than the third one is, and Matthew Vaughn, who so easily impressed with his hard-hitting Kick-Ass last year, is clearly equipped to handle the comic book to film transfer. Everyone involved here is perfectly suited to their roles, even if McAvoy, who admittedly loses points for the amount of times he puts his finger to his temple to control minds, and Fassbender don’t share any resemblance to their eventual silver screen counterparts Stewart and McKellen.

They are excellent young performers, and Fassbender in particular shines in the role. Kevin Bacon continues to show his diversity in a glorious 007-esque villain turn that doesn’t get too hammy, Jennifer Lawrence is breathtaking to watch, and though she is too strong an actress for a comic book film, she turns in the goods, and Rose Byrne, with the less showy role as the sole human of the group, once again proves her strength as a performer having this, the horror film ‘Insidious’ and the comedy ‘Bridesmaids’ out almost simultaneously, proving a testament to her talents.

X-Men: First Class will undoubtedly please the fans of the series, and they can not only be rest assured that it’s better than ‘X-Men 3’, it’s one of the finest instalments in the Marvel catalogue. A prequel that doesn’t suck? Who would’ve thought!

X-Men: First Class

2011

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Screenplay: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn

Editing: Eddie Hamilton and Lee Smith

Cinematography: John Mathieson

Score: Henry Jackman

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne and Kevin Bacon
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Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:56 pm

http://kentonmagazine.com/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class
Misti Schindele | June 2, 2011

Much like “Batman Begins”, X-Men: First Class takes us back to the beginning and shows the origins of our favorite mutants (Dr. Hank McCoy/Beast, Mystique, Emma Frost, and Havok). We will also see how Erik Lensherr and Professor Charles Xavier started off as friends, but due to a difference in opinion, end up becoming enemies.

Set during the Cuban missile crisis, Xavier and Lensherr try to show the government that mutants are not the enemies by stopping villain Sebastian Shaw’s plan to help Russia provide missiles to Cuba.

Rounding out the cast for X-Men: First Class is: James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto, Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, January Jones as Emma Frost / White Queen, Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira MacTaggert, Nicholas Hoult as Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy / Beast, Jennifer Lawrence as Raven / Mystique, Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy / Banshee, Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok and Oliver Platt as The Man in Black.

X-Men: First Class is out nationwide on June 3, 2011.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:01 am

http://www.twincities.com/entertainment/ci_18191110?nclick_check=1

Movie review: 'X-Men: First Class' is X-cellent
By Chris Hewitt
chewitt@pioneerpress.com
Updated: 06/02/2011 03:02:19 PM CDT

There were so many super-heroes banging around in the previous "X-Men" movies that it was often hard to tell who we were supposed to care about. That's not the case in "X-Men: First Class," where Michael Fassbender yanks our attention to him like a magnet. And where, not coincidentally, he plays Magneto.

"First Class" is a prequel to the "X-Men" movies we've seen so far. Beginning when Charles Xavier (who was played by Patrick Stewart in previous films, but is James McAvoy here) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (previously Ian McKellen) were boys in 1944 and then jumping ahead to 1962, the film shows how they became aware there were other mutants like them with special powers. When an evil genius named Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) tries to move the U.S. and U.S.S.R. closer to nuclear war in the Bay of Pigs, the two join forces with other mutants, including Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, husky-voiced and witty) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult), to prevent world destruction.

That leaves room for lots of good stuff in "First Class," which plays more like a spy movie (secret passageways! code words!) than a superhero movie. There are several playful scenes with the young heroes meeting for the first time, gleefully demonstrating their superpowers to each other like freshman at a mutant frat party. There's an innocence in those scenes, before the mutants have figured out that governments will try to pervert or destroy their powers. And, now that our country's foes are so much more complicated, there's also innocence and nostalgia in the idea of the U.S.S.R. as America's biggest worry. (In that vein, it's intriguing to note that those two countries were once routinely called "superpowers.")

Director Matthew Vaughn gives "First Class" style and class that are a little bit James Bond, a little bit "Mad Men." Actually, I'd like a little bit less "Mad Men," since that show's blank January Jones turns up as a henchwoman to Shaw, exhibiting expressions that range all the way from "What's going on?" to "I really wonder what's going on." In general, the villains are not as good as they could be in "First Class" - Shaw isn't on screen enough to make much of an impression and Bacon is too lightweight to dominate a scene, much less the world.

You know who would have been a fantastic Sebastian Shaw? Fassbender, the first actor I've ever thought would be both a great James Bond and a great Bond baddie. But Fassbender is too busy blowing our mind as the electrifying, dangerous Magneto. The "First Class" script is meant to be balanced between the origins of Xavier and Magneto, but Magneto's story, which has its origins in Nazi-occupied Poland, is so much more wrenching and psychologically damaged than Xavier's that he inevitably dominates the film. Luckily, Fassbender's intelligence and depth make us root for Magneto when he's working for the good and help us understand why he might one day take a turn for the worse.

"X-MEN: FIRST CLASS"

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

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

Rated: PG-13 for lots of violence and brief strong language

Should you go? Yes. After "Thor," this makes Marvel Comics two-for-two so far this summer movie season. ***
Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender, left foreground) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, right foreground) lead Cassidy (Caleb Landry Jones, left), Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence), Dr. Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne), Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), and Alex Summers (Lucas Till) in a battle to prevent nuclear war.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:13 am

http://www.ecollegetimes.com/movies/review-x-men-first-class-1.2597705

Review: X-Men – First Class

By Roger Moore – The Orlando Sentinel

Published: Thursday, June 2, 2011

Updated: Thursday, June 9, 2011 13:06

X-Men, First Class

Murray Close, 20th Century Fox

Class is in session, mutants.

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Rated PG-13

Grade: B



"X-Men: First Class" is an homage to the James Bond movies from the '60s — you know, back when Bond was fun.

It's got The Cold War, an epic confrontation between super-powers and a super-villain in a submarine. Matthew ("Layer Cake") Vaughn sees to it that it's a generally light take on back-engineering the struggle between the future Professor X and the future Magneto. Well-cast, well-acted and scripted so that its message of tolerance is front-and-center, this is pretty much all you'd want from two hours and 12 minutes of summer escape.

James McAvoy is young Charles Xavier, the fellow who reads minds and stumbles into the girl (Jennifer Lawrence) Raven, who makes him realize that he and she are not alone. They are "the next stage in human evolution." It's the 1940s, and in the age of the atom, humanity — some humans, anyway — are mutating.

One of them is half a world away. That's where Erik Lehnsher (Bill Milner, then Michael Fassbender) is a Jew who survives the Holocaust because one Nazi in particular (Kevin Bacon) sees his talents and finds a way to train them.

Cut to years later, when Xavier is finishing up his degree at Oxford and Eric is chasing Nazis to the far ends of the Earth.

"Let's just say I'm Frankenstein's monster," Erik growls to a couple of German expats in Argentina. "I'm looking for my CREATOR."

Pity he isn't looking for Joseph Mengele. Fassbender is marvelously and malevolently focused. McAvoy gives Xavier a comical-clinical interest in his fellow mutants.

They only meet when they are given a common enemy by the CIA. It's the early '60s, and the former Nazi Sebastian Shaw (Bacon) is up to something, recruiting mutants. The most playful scenes in the movie follow Charles and Erik as they go mutant recruiting for the CIA — into strip clubs, for instance. Jason Flemyng, Nicholas Hoult, Alex Gonzalez, Zoe Kravitz and Edi Gathegi (from "Twilight") are among the mutants.

As the team is assembled, not-so-subtle reminders of what we're talking about, about these mutants with special powers who may displace humans, are tossed in. One guy hid his mutancy. "You didn't ask, I didn't tell."

Rose Byrne and Oliver Platt play CIA agents in charge of mutant relations. Vaughn peoples his supporting cast with veteran character players — James Remar is a general, Michael Ironside a Navy captain, Ray Wise a presidential adviser — and pays tribute, visually, to "Dr. Strangelove" and "Basic Instinct."

That last visual reference comes from January Jones. She plays the villain's mutant sidekick in early Sharon Stone-ish '60s white tart ensembles, and even has a "Basic Instinct" interrogation scene. She makes a scar-sexy villain herself. (The women in the movie wear miniskirts a few years before they became popular and the assembling cast of mutants drop colloquialisms a few decades out of place, but why quibble?)

But one cameo — complete with the movie's only perfectly placed "f-bomb" — reminds us where this one stands in the firmament. The digital ships, digital sets and digitally enhanced brawls lack a single moment as authentically cool as that first snowy meeting we had with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in the original film.

It's all silly summer cinema escape, and if you don't roll your eyes the first or tenth time McAvoy puts two fingers to his forehead to read somebody's thoughts you plainly got nothing out or "Everything Must Go" and "The Beaver."

But "X-Men: First Class" still sings the praises of Marvel Studios' marvelous quality control of comic-book movies. It's good, clean summer movie fun where the money they spent is up on the screen — with actors and effects — so that we won't mind spending our money on it.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:14 am

http://scenesofmildperil.co.uk/2011/06/02/x-men-first-class-review/

X-Men: First Class review
Posted on June 2, 2011 by James Butlin

X-Men has had its ups and downs. Starting with the ups and then ending with the downs in equal measures. Bryan Singer started the franchise solidly with two action-packed films featuring the most famous of the X-Men, Brett Ratner introduced The Juggernaut (bitch) and killed the franchise where it was standing (from what I remember). X-Men Origins: Wolverine tried to do the prequel thing, and managed to mess up Deadpool, one of the franchises favourite characters, alienating fanboys all over the world.

BUT then X-Men: First Class came along, they nabbed Jane Goldman to write it and Matthew Vaughn to direct. This is where it got interesting, the Kick-Ass writer and director on board for a ‘real’ superhero film and they’ve only bloody gone and made it really good.

James McAvoy stars as the young Professor Xavier, Michael Fassbender stars as Erik Lensherr AKA Magneto and they both have to fight off Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, the leader of The Hellfire Club, who wants to start the nuclear war between Russia and America and kickstart his jump to being leader of the entire world. Sort of like Hitler, but with the ability to absorb power and then shoot it back out. He has the likes of January Jones in a bra, Nightcrawler’s red-skinned dad Azazel and Riptide, who throws whirlwinds around, on his side.

McAvoy and Fassbender are tasked by the CIA to sort Kevin Bacon out and stop World War 3, but Fassbender has other issues with him and wants to kill him, which is well Magneto. McAvoy wants peace. So anyway, they enlist the help of a handful of other mutants that they find by a budget version of cerebro (the thing that Professor X uses in the first films). These are the likes of Angel (she’s got wings and fiery spit), Banshee (he’s so loud at screaming it makes him fly), Havok (big red rings of powerfulness fire from everywhere on him) and Darwin (he can protect himself). They also have Mystique, who Xavier met when he was young and Beast, who has been making stuff for the CIA.

Now, after that extended synopsis that I wrote for not much reason, here’s the verdict:

It was really brilliant, not perfect, but really brilliant and it certainly sets the franchise up for a brand new timeline with some fantastic actors. Michael Fassbender steals the show as the complex Erik Lensherr, he’s the one with the history and has a real reason to be hateful towards the human race, it grounds his villainy in a real way, and you can really see tones of Ian McKellen’s Magneto in him. He does drift into his native Irish accent on a number of occasions, but that could be down to the rushed schedule that the production was under.

James McAvoy drifts between cool hippie womaniser and logical professor, which at times does edge into the cheesy side of things, but mostly keeps along the straight and narrow. He doesn’t quite embody the character as fully as Fassbender, but Xavier is the voice of reason and McAvoy shows some signs of that, but doesn’t really stand out for me.

As with all X-Men films, the other mutants take a back-seat until they have their ‘moment’ where their power comes into the storyline. Beast and Mystique get an interesting love-story which plays on their appearance. Other than that, the rest don’t do much, especially January Jones, who just spends her time looking pretty.

The storyline infuses the history of the ’60s alongside the mutants very well. Taking key aspects of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis and adding an alternate timeline, much like Watchmen did. It isn’t overly complex, and has some fantastic action sequences which should give it the Summer blockbuster power it needs to top the likes of Transformers and Harry Potter.

We’re well into the blockbuster season and X-Men provides a solid stand to go up against the big boys in the next couple of months. So far, we’ve got the one to beat right here.

9/10
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:14 am

http://greenteamovie.blogspot.com/2011/06/movie-review-x-men-first-class.html

X-MEN FIRST CLASS (PG13)

Genre: Action/Adventure/Drama/Science Fiction
Release Date: 2 June 2011
Running Time: 133 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaugh, story by Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer, based on characters by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Chris Claremont
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon

Plot: "X-Men: First Class" charts the epic beginning of the X-men saga, which parallels the history of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants to stop Armageddon. Through the process, a rift begins, which initiates the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men.

Review: In the time when Hollywood goes back revisiting a movie franchise for a sequel, reboot, remake or prequel; it is important that it seldom ends up been a property that one will truly fall in love. Over the last few years, I thought that only Christopher Nolan's Batman reboot seems notably famous for a mention or two as one of those that defies the nature of Hollywood mistreatment on movie franchise. Probably and certainly, 20th Century Fox's attempt to run a prequel on the much tiring franchise of Marvel's X-Men may seems risky. Forget about the 'bad prequel' label that you probably want to slap at this movie, because it does not worth that label in the first place. Justice served and X-Men: First Class is one of the best we have seen.


In X-Men: First Class, the movie opens in 1944 somewhere in Poland. A young Jewish boy, Erik Lensherr sees his parents taken from him but his anger somehow enables him to bend the metal gates of the concentration camp. Sebastian Shaw sees his act and later asks him to do the same by asking him to move the coin on the desk. When he cannot moves it, Shaw shoots his mother and kills her. His rage boils up and causing his magnetic manipulation to manifest. Meanwhile, somewhere in the United States, the young Charles Xavier meets Raven Darkholme. They become friends while realizing that both of them are unique with their own mutant abilities.

The movie then switches to 1962. Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), now a grown-up man with dark pasts and full avenges on his shoulder, decided to hunt down all the ex-Nazi officers who have made him into what he is today. He finds that Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) is now in Florida. Meanwhile, Xavier (James McAvoy) publishes his thesis on genetic mutation and is given a professorship. His expertise in genetic mutation attracts CIA Agent Moira MacTaggart's (Rose Byrne) attention to help her to investigate the possible national security threats as the result of nuclear missiles confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. Realizing that the humanity is in danger, Xavier must assemble a team of mutants to tackle the crisis and to embark on a journey of friendship and alliance with Lensherr.


Surprisingly, X-Men: First Class is the best movie I have watched in its franchise, bettering the first movie by quite a margin. To be honest, my love for X-Men franchise has never been that strong. It feels all the way crazy how 20th Century Fox manages to make this one essentially correct. In its storyline department, X-Men: First Class presents the audience with a first class well-executed storyline to begin with. The excellent screenplay from the team of brilliant writers, with some story devising from Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer could not have received lesser applauds than any other brilliant movies we have seen this year. The new recipes this movie throws in are simply to put forward an easily digestible, strong and smart plot; while making the first half of the movie feels revitalizing, refreshing and distinctive to set itself apart from any other Marvel superhero movies or even on other instalments in this tiring franchise.


For the characterization, Director Matthew Vaughn blends in four totally different and uniquely detailed events to converge into a uniform struggle between the dilemma sets in the world of the mutants. These angles are examined exquisitely from the exploration of the platonic relationship between Charles and Raven, Erik and his solo 18 years revenge, CIA’s interrogation on the political and motivational behind the Cuban Missiles Crisis as well as a brief behind the gang of the Hellfire Club. Strangely enough, Charles and Raven have never been mentioned to have known each other since young, nor do they have any known affections. Also, probably you will realize that Magneto was actually born as Max Eisenhardt, not Erik Lensherr which he takes in his later life as a cover identity.

So to say, most of the fans may not find it easy to accept some of the alterations that this movie has imposed on its several character back-story. It may not be pleasant but the movie is not merely made to hold any realistic approach to faithfully adopt the source materials. Despite the tweaks, these alterations do not dampen the spirit of the movie at all, rather it strengthens the character development in which X-Men: First Class manages to explore a lot, save for two characters – Azazel and Riptide whom have no introduction at all. James McAvoy’s performance as Charles Xavier deserves something because he is spot on with the role. The equally stunning Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr also gives in a lot of chill and again another dead spot on role. Some top critics is comparing his performances to reminiscent the same persona as to James Bond, indeed they are right. Putting such element into the correct settings of the 60’s brings a whole lot memory about Sean Connery, after all!


These stand alone point of view stories bring us then to the middle stint of the movie, drawing instead on our attention on the mutant training, thus back into the familiar zone of been another Marvel movie. Charles Xavier is the maestro that brings in the perfect balance between the thinkable and unthinkable; having at some moment been able to tame the wild and raging heart of Erik Lensherr and becoming a good teacher to help the young mutants in controlling their abilities. The final part of the movie may not be as engaging or intensifying as certain action movies’ standard to go by, but still amasses enough piece of amazing action sequences to bring a satisfying end to the well-paced 133 minutes movie.

The movie plays a great tribute to the 1960s atmosphere is one of the most important elements in the movie, allowing the audience to experience the heightened of the intense moment during the Cold War and its significant that will change the life of the mutants forever. The other element is on how much the story reconnects the early days of the mutants to override the spectre of racism, social equality and social acceptance on that era. What is more important is that X-Men: First Class has everything from the drama side, the humor side, the dark side, as well as the action side playing into the movie all the time.


Unlike any other Marvel superhero movies, the special effects in X-Men: First Class appears to be the weakest link of all. I could not hide my discontent when I am looking at how cheesy certain effects appear to be. It seems that the rushed production may have taken the FX department into the toll. Certain effects look bizarre, though still believable! Just look at the point when the young Erik Lensherr first controlling the magnetism in Shaw’s room. Or worst, some may have a slight complaint on how cheesy Beast’s make up may have been. Out of all the characters, Beast is the one that does not look good at all. Despite been the weakest link, the special effects still manage to creep the essential feels and excitements on watching the movie, while the special effects are not all that bad after all, just could have been much better! Don't get me wrong, it is still an amazing job done.


In the end of the day, X-Men: First Class is undeniably an excellent prequel to one of the most talked about Marvel properties. The prequel holds a lot of potential in story expansion to fill the gap and void between this one and the recent modern trilogy. The prequel serves an amazing plot, believable character with true chemistry and something that you really cared about. Indeed, the best movie I have seen this year!

THE RATING:
Story: 4.5
Casts: 4.5
Cinematography: 4.0
Effects: 4.0
GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 17.6
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:15 am

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

Film Review “X-Men: First Class”

June 2, 2011 by Mike Smith

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hours 12 mins
20th Century Fox

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Poland. 1944. A young boy accompanies his parents along the fence of a foreboding compound. Suddenly, the boy is pulled away as the adults proceed inside. Desperate to be with them he struggles against the guards holding him back, reaching towards his parents. Without warning, the metal gates begin to bend, as if reacting to his grasp. At the same time in a well to do mansion in upstate New York, another boy walks into the kitchen for a snack only to come across a young girl raiding the fridge. Though they’ve never met he instantly understands her plight. “I knew I wasn’t the only one,” he tells her.

Based on the comic book series by Marvel, “X-Men: First Class” continues the popular trend of taking a popular storyline and revitalizing it by starting over at the beginning. I wasn’t reviewing films when the original “X-Men” film came out in 2000, but the three that followed (2 sequels and the stand alone “Wolverine” film) averaged a little better then three out of four stars for me. And I’m happy to say that this new film is worthy of those that came before it.

The film’s short World War II era prologue is just enough to whet our appetite for what is to come. Erik Lehnsherr (Bill Milner), the young boy in Poland, soon finds himself testing his skills at the behest of Dr. Schmidt (Bacon). He hones his talents but never forgets the horrors he has seen. Meanwhile, the young Charles Xavier (Laurence Belcher) respects his talents and those of others he encounters. When both boys become men, Erik (Fassbender) finds himself hell bent on revenge while Charles (McAvoy) finishes college and offers to assist our government in finding “others.” When Herr Schmidt, now calling himself Sebastian Shaw and having seemingly found a fountain of youth, resurfaces in an attempt to take over the world (bet you didn’t know that he was the cause of the Cuban Missile Crisis) the two become wary allies in a battle neither are prepared for.

If you aren’t familiar with Michael Fassbender, or if you just know him from his role in “Inglourious Basterds,” get used to it. Like Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale” or, staying in the genre’, Hugh Jackman in the first “X-Men” film, Fassbender leaps off the screen in what is sure to be a star making role. His character runs the gamut of emotions and Fassbender nails them all without a hint of pretense. McAvoy is also strong as the young Professor Xavier. And while we know that soon they will be better known as Magneto and Dr. X, the fun in the film is discovering the budding mutant talent soon to come. Mystique. Beast. Riptide. Azazel. One by one they reveal themselves, and their powers, to each other. Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”) gives a brave performance as Mystique, allowing the audience to understand the character and the choices she will later make. The film’s biggest bad ass just might be President John F. Kennedy. Shown in newsreel footage of the day, JFK draws the line in the sand (water) and dares the Russians to blink!

Director Vaughn, who delivered a different kind of super hero movie last year with “Kick Ass,” has a keen eye for both action and character. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the outstanding musical score that keeps the action, and the film, flowing by Henry Jackman (no relation, as far as I can tell, to the Wolverine that shares his last name).
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:17 am

http://www.moviecritical.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class.html

Thursday, June 2, 2011

X- Men: First Class
Year: 2011
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence
In My Own Words
I must say, I am an X- Men fan. I’m not normally one to nerd out on comic book characters or superheroes, but there is something I really like about X- Men. I like the idea of a group of misfits feeling like they truly belong when they are together. I also like how there is the underlying theme of accepting yourself for who you are. In the first X- Men film, it was Anna Paquin’s Rogue struggling with her identity as a mutant and in this film it is both Raven and Hank who have to come to grips with their visible mutations. Normally with Marvel comic movies, the recurring theme is always one of the unlikely hero proving that anyone can be a superhero. Yet in X-Men, it reaches down further than that and tries to teach people that what you sometimes believe is your weakness, can be your strength. I think we all need to remember this. Stop seeing what is wrong with yourself and turn it around so that you see that that is what makes you special. And of course, who can forget the romanticised theme of it is what is inside that counts.
Wow, it seems as though I am also becoming a motivational speaker as well as a film critic. That was deep! It would be great if we could all use our weaknesses to join in some superhero activities and go to Charles Xavier’s school, where education seems to be a lot more fun that sitting in Maths class each day!
These are my own words and here is my review.
Review
The 3rd of June is the day in which X- Men fanatics would have been holding their breath in anticipation for. With a killer cast, great special effects and a lot of answers to those questions that have been asked ever since the first X- Men film was released back in 2000, X- Men: First Class is an absolute thrill for X- Men fans. However, if you are not an X- Men fan or haven’t seen any of the previous films, un-fulfilment and boredom will be the order of the day.
X- Men: First Class is the prequel to the four previously released X- Men films. It takes you back to the very beginning when Professor X was Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto was Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), two mutants with extraordinary powers who are united in the fight against a common enemy, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Together they assemble a team of mutants, who feel outcast from society but like they belong with each other and fight against Shaw and his team of faithful followers.
Anyone who likes any of the previous X- Men films will love this film. There are many references to bits and pieces in the prior films and all the questions as to why things are the way they are are answered. It really is a suitable prequel to the series and is really quite interesting and definitely enjoyable enough. Those who are not X- Men fans are sure to 132 minutes too long for this film and may get restless quite a few times throughout.
What does differentiate this film from its predecessors (except maybe X- Men Origins: Wolverine), is that it is focussed more on the narrative rather than on the action. There really isn’t too much action until the end. Sure there are bits and pieces of impressive special effects and the odd rough and tumble here and there throughout the film, but there really aren’t any intense action sequences until the close to the end. This may be a long time to wait for those who have their heart set on seeing lots of explosions and gunfire. However, this scenes are worth the wait and as they are very impressive and suspenseful. The CGI is outstanding and the sound editing is also commendable.
And what a cast. Perfectly cast are all those who are involved. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender had hard roles to live up to as they had had the bar set so high by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. McAvoy’s performance reflected Stewart’s in his mannerisms and nature, but also bought something new to the role. McAvoy’s Charles Xavier grows from a cocky Oxford student into a leader throughout the course of the film and you can see how much the character changes from beginning to end. Fassbender is superb as Erik Lehnsherr. The raw emotion exhibited in his character shows how Magneto became the way he is and he demands pity from the audience.
Rose Byrne is very good in her role as CIA agent Moira MacTaggert and gets the most out of her role as she possibly can. Jennifer Lawrence shines as the young Raven who renames herself Mystique, again showing the growth in character over the film. The story of Mystique is one which people will enjoy as she has always been one of the great mysteries of the X- Men series. Kevin Bacon’s performance is good for the most part of the film, but the first scene in which he is in in the Polish war camp is brilliant. It would be an absolute treat to see him do a role like he was in that scene in a whole movie in the future. Nicholas Hoult is also very good as Hank, who later turns into Beast.
One of the best things about this film is that there is so much character development for each of the main characters. Charles, Erik and Raven are so well constructed and every question is answered as to who they are, where they come from and why they are the way they are. Also watch out for a hilarious cameo by Hugh Jackman!
It can’t be said enough that X- Men: First Class is a film which anyone who has seen any of the first four X- Men films will enjoy. There is a lot of fun to be had while you find out the history of the two men who started it all. Great for the fans, quite possibly tedious for those who are not.
7/10

Posted by nickis_movies at 8:32 AM
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:31 am

http://blog.dinoray.com/2011/06/01/a-pun-time-with-x-men-first-class/

A ‘Pun’ Time with ‘X-Men: First Class’
by dino-ray on Jun 1, 2011 • 6:50 am

I went to a screening of X-Men: First Class this morning and am holding off on the write-up to the movie until Friday. Instead, I had to share one of the best things about the movie: Michael Fassbender.

In the movie, he plays a younger Magneto — and he is an evil badass with an awesome ’60s Cuban Missile Crisis wardrobe. That said, it made me tweet the following:

@DinoRay: Michael Fassbender gives Magneto the swagger of a thousand men.

This made my friend Moye respond with:

@moye: he sounds magnetic. Get it?

Thus started a really cool Twitter conversation:

@DinoRay: OMG. You “read my mind”! HA HA HA!

@moye: I’m “rogue” like that.

@DinoRay: I’ve always known there was a certain “mystique” about you!

@moye: HAHAHAH you win

She then consulted with her husband…

@moye: Trying to think up X-Men puns for @DinoRay but B just keeps listing the names of characters. Not helping, dude.

I responded…

@DinoRay: Oh he’s such a “beast”! Hopefully he doesn’t wreak “havok”!

Perhaps this geeky (but totally awesome) conversation will continue tomorrow…
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:35 am

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

Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Film Review = X-Men: First Class
Directed by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon.
131 minutes 32 seconds.
12A.

***

The Cuban Mutant Crisis.


The new X-Men film has got all the things I love. It's got mutants! It's got Nazi scientists ('I'm sorry about what happened in the camp')! It's got Soviet Russia! It's got two of my favourite actors at the moment: James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender! It's got the Sixties! It's got Ray Wise! From Twin Peaks! In a mock-up of the War Room from Dr. Strangelove!

So why did bits of X-Men: First Class feel so leaden that Magneto could have moved them around with ease?

In the now fashionable Batman Begins/Casino Royale/Star Trek XI style, X-Men: First Class goes back to the beginnings of the heroes we know and love. In other words, the old series of films was getting a bit crap. No need to bother much with the plot: basically it's mutants in the Cold War.

The trouble with the X-Men films, as many critics have pointed out, is that it is X-Men rather than X-Man. There isn't just one Batman, there are at lesat half a dozen central mutants, with about a dozen more ancillary mutants: so many that there isn't room for any of the characters to breathe. Maybe in the comics (which I certainly haven't read) it works, because it gives you so many different characters with so many different story-lines to play with week after week. But confined to a film, they jostle for room. Even though X-Men: First Class is over two hours long, there isn't time to let the mutants develop emotionally, learn about their powers and what they mean to them, come out to other people. They just introduce themselves with a quick CGI stunt or some bad expository dialogue ('I have a gift. I absorb energy').

And just when I was thinking there were too many mutants in the film, an extra half-dozen irritating young ones were added to the pack. There's so many, somewhere in the middle I literally forgot about Rose Byrne's fairly important character, so that when she reappeared at the end it took me a moment to remember who she was. A lot of the mutants aren't even any good. A guy who makes small CGI tornados with his hands? A girl with fly wings who can spit really well? A boy who can shout so loud that he can fly? Don't care. Although Lucas Till with the exploding hula hoops can definitely stay.

Admittedly, the large number of mutants does allow for some mildly exciting ensemble battle scenes. But it also allows for an apparently endless mutant-training montage, during which I was almost too bored to fall asleep. And, incidentally, the script is just terrible ('With my feet and your natural blue form, we will never be deemed beautiful').

I'm afraid James McAvoy's Charles 'Professor X' Xavier came across pretty smug with all his mind-reading. Kevin Bacon is good fun, but he's playing a pantomime villain who wants to destroy the world for inadequately explained reasons. But Michael Fassbender (who is soon to be seen playing Jung opposite Viggo Mortensen as Freud in David Cronenberg's new film, about which I am ridiculously over-excited) is just great as mutant concentration camp survivor Magneto. Magneto nearly holds the whole film together as a film, but I wondered whether it would have been better if it had concentrated more on his character. Possibly the best scene in the film is when the super-magnetic Jew meets two men with funny accents drinking German beer in a bar in Argentina.

X-Men is less fun than the other comic-book film of the moment, Thor. It needs about forty minutes and about twenty characters cut out of it. But by the ending, I was caught up in it. And I just really like Michael Fassbender. Especially when he's moving metal with his mind. The best I can say about the film is that when I left the cinema, I felt like walking through the shopping centre pretending to be a mutant Michael Fassbender. And it doesn't come much better than that.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:36 am

http://www.sound-screen.co.uk/4screen/cinemareviews/cinema-x-men-first-class/

Cinema: X-Men: First Class

Posted by alasdair on 01/6/11 • Filed under Cinema Reviews,FeaturedContent,Movie out this week,Screen

Director – Matthew Vaughn

Screenwriter – Ashley Miller, Zach Stentz, Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman

Stars – James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne.

In 2000 Bryan Singer’s X-Men arrived in multiplexes and effectively kicked off the craze for superhero movies that has dominated the box office ever since. 11 years later and 38 years earlier, Singer is producing the film that goes back to 1962 to depict the origin of everyone’s favourite mutant team, and show just how Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr ended up on opposing sides. And it’s brilliant.

X-Men: First Class shows Charles and Erik as young men, the former (James McAvoy) downing yards of ale and chatting up hot undergraduates in Oxford, the latter (Michael Fassbender) hunting down the Nazi war criminals that killed his family in the Holocaust. A common enemy brings them together as they team up with the CIA to stop the dastardly Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his Hellfire Club from hijacking the Cuban Missile Crisis, with the help of their newly-recruited ‘first class’ of X-Men.

Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn has finally got his shot at an X-Men film since his near-miss with The Last Stand, and he runs with it from the word go. In fact, he seems to have got away with making a 60s James Bond film only with superpowers. The film is stuffed with homages to those classic 60s movies, with split-screen training montages, set designers running riot in evil lairs and the costume designers coming dangerously close to Austin Powers campery with Emma Frost’s outrageous get-ups. In fact, with Michael Fassbender striding purposefully across exotic scenery, switching languages at the drop of a hat and threatening torture and death to all enemies who cross his path, it could almost be an alternate reality 007 movie.

The film has a great visual style and dynamic energy to it. Some scenes, like the trailer money-shot of the submarine coming out of the sea, and an attack by Jason Flemyng’s teleporting Azazel, are flawless, but the film suffers occasionally from its brutally short production time, and a couple of the special effects look slightly unfinished. This never damages the film as a whole, but it couldn’t have hurt to give Vaughn a couple more months to finish polishing the edges.

The action sequences are exactly what we have all come to expect from a comic book movie. But what sets this above many of its peers is the cast and the script. Purists may moan that the line-up does not remotely resemble the comic book First Class, but each of the characters work perfectly within the film. The young mutants are all brilliantly cast and it’s only a shame that they don’t have more screen time together. Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence is the stand-out as the young, insecure Raven (before she became known as Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult is great as the awkward genius Hank McCoy, but struggles with his performance once he was under the heavy prosthetics that turn him into Beast.

As for the villains, Kevin Bacon has the most fun he’s had in years as the slick Shaw, and while January Jones’ Emma Frost was fun, she felt sadly diminished from her icy, masterful comic book counterpart.

But the film is really about those two iconic characters: Professor X and Magneto. James McAvoy is surprisingly charming and funny as Charles, reimagining the character as he was before he had the weight of the world dumped on his shoulders. At the same time, though, he still possesses that magnanimous intelligence in his eyes, and the first sparks of the great leader he will become. He is just narrowly outshone by Michael Fassbender, who has the benefit of playing the more interesting character. His Erik is layered and complex, sympathetic and damaged, dangerous and sexy, and, as with McAvoy, damn funny. Together, the chemistry between them is the heart of the film. Watching them hunt down mutants together, swigging champagne and sharing memories, you begin to hope that maybe Vaughn will deviate from the comics, and maybe Erik will decide that peace is an option after all, and that they’ll all live happily ever after as BFFs. Their friendship is touching, believable, and utterly doomed, the film is essentially a tragic love story.

X-Men: First Class goes beyond the standard action fare. It is laugh-out-loud funny, with more emotion and big moral questions than you’d see in most blockbusters. Vaughn continues to not put a foot wrong in his career, and his latest film raises the 2011 bar that was already set pretty high by Thor. One of the best films you’re likely to see this year.

By Abigail Chandler
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:38 am

http://popcornaddiction.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/x-men-first-class-2011/

X-Men: First Class (2011)

June 1, 2011 by popcornaddiction

Desperate to avenge his mother by killing the man responsible for her death, Eric Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) travels the globe dispatching the Nazis who had served under Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) in the concentration camps of his youth. In England, meanwhile, Oxford graduate Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is recruited by the CIA to help avert a nuclear war. Travelling to America with operative Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) and his childhood friend Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), Xavier soon encounters Lehnsherr and Shaw, founding the X-Men with the former after saving his life in the field. Where Charles teaches his new charges tolerance and humility, however, Eric believes that they shouldn’t have to hide themselves from humanity, that they are the next stage in human evolution and should take their rightful place in the natural hierarchy. When events result in a stand-off between the U.S. and Russian naval fleets, our small group of mutant heroes must put their differences aside if they are to defeat Shaw and avert war.

I must admit to taking my seat in the auditorium with a small degree of trepidation, what with all the early chatter regarding retcons and cameos, I feared a film which jeopardised established cannon in the blind pursuit of narrative freedom; the excellence of the first two instalments (and the adequacy of the third) being somehow undermined by a nifty new beginning where Charles Xavier says “groovy” and the sun inexplicably rotates the Earth. I needn’t have worried, however, with X-Men: First Class proving far less revisionist than director Matthew Vaughn might have had you believe. While he may take a few liberties with the extant franchise, they are – and this is where X-Men Origins: Wolverine went catastrophically wrong – for the good of the story.

Having successfully deconstructed the superhero genre with Kick-Ass, it is interesting to see how Vaughn handles his superpowers. Reconstructing the opening scene from Bryan Singer’s first movie, Vaughn and screenwriter extraordinaire Jane Goldman have endeavoured to tell an X-Men origins story of their own, albeit one that beautifully marries the 1960s setting with an expanding array of new and returning mutants, successfully imbuing the story with a freshness not felt since we were last introduced to Professor X and his merry band of mutants. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender make the characters their own – no mean feat considering the talent which preceded (or is it superseded?) them – while Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw, January Jones’ Emma Frost and Rose Byrne’s Moira MacTaggert provide delightful additions to the franchise.

Elsewhere, however, the newcomers are less impressive. While the original X-film was criticised for feeling like a teaser for adventures to come on behalf of its slim cast, it at least found the time to flesh out its ensemble (OK, maybe not Toad). First Class, on the other hand, feels overcrowded, with many mutants given little to do but change sides and fill out the two organisations – I for one don’t remember hearing Álex González’s Riptide speak once. With the most recognisable mutants still in nappies at this point, the buck falls to an array of dopplegangers and less-than-inspiring B-mutants to take their place. While Banshee, Havoc and Darwin have their moments, Azazel never escapes Nightcrawler’s shadow and Angel Salvadore treads foolishness as the wasp-like go-go girl with explosive vomit.

Other elements that don’t quite work are the split screen training montages (the entire third act rests on Beast having the most productive week ever), the plotting inconsistencies (Beast has created an antidote to his mutation that he doesn’t believe will affect his mutation, quite despite the fact that it is his abnormally prehensile feet that give him his abilities) and the relationship between Xavier and Raven. While this latter issue may resolve itself as they mature into a more organic friendship by movie’s end, the characters’ childhood introductions don’t quite sit right, whether due to scripting issues or the child actors themselves. It is a small gripe, but one that haunts the film’s opening act nonetheless.

First Class is a return to form, however, with the renewed focus on characters and a welcome prioritisation of substance over style (poor special effects can be forgiven, an over-reliance on set pieces cannot) acting as a reminder of how figuratively rich the X-series can be. In tying Nazi occupation and the Cuban missile crisis to a high octane superhero tale of world domination, Goldman has once again delivered a wholly fulfilling script with some well observed inter-character dialogue. That said, although First Class has commendable aspirations, the heavy-handedness with which the name-checking of literary behemoths Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde is dealt serves only to illustrate how derivative the medium can be; riffing off existing emotional truths rather than exploring its own. Now five movies in, the core messages of self-actualisation and societal acceptance – while timeless – are beginning to echo previous instalments. Far from the vacuousess of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, however, at least it stands for something.

All in all, X-Men: First Class heralds an exciting new dawn for a franchise steeped in qualitative discrepancy. While some of the plot points might creak as the writers attempt to retrofit the narrative to the original trilogy, and although a few of the characters may fall by the wayside, there is enough wit, innovation and genuine exhilaration to justify a new franchise, even if one less radical than the overhaul befalling Star Trek. That this is largely down to Fassbender and McAvoy – although Lehnsherr may suffer a somewhat severe case of accent ambiguity and Xavier’s preoccupation with his hair might wear a little thin (ahem) – is a reflection not only of the filmmakers’ combined talents, but the quality of the source material from which they draw.

4.5/5
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:39 am

http://www.theartsdesk.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=3786:film-x-men-first-class-movie-review&Itemid=27

Wednesday, 01 June 2011 00:00
Film: X-Men: First Class
Written by Adam Sweeting

Michael Fassbender as Erik, the man who will become Magneto Michael Fassbender as Erik, the man who will become Magneto

If there's one thing Hollywood hates more than people bootlegging its latest blockbusters on mobile phones, it's letting a lucrative franchise go to waste. Thus, after the initial three X-Men films and 2009's Wolverine spin-off, you are invited to roll up for the prequel, skippered by Brit director Matthew Vaughn, of Layer Cake and Kick-Ass fame.

The young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is a bright and breezy telepath, schmoozing the girls with his amazing intuitive powers in a supposedly 1950s Oxford University. By contrast, Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), whom the world will come to know as Magneto, is carrying the burden not only of his amazing telekinetic powers, but also of his hideous childhood as an experimental subject in a Nazi concentration camp.
'The sense that this is a cut-price X-Men skimping on the superstar budget grows stronger as it turns into a potboilerisation of the Cuban Missile Crisis'

The villain du jour is Sebastian Shaw, who just happens to be the same cackling maniac who abused poor Erik so vilely back in 1940s Poland. He's played by Kevin Bacon using one of Ernst Stavro Blofeld's old World Domination kits of menacing sneers, imperious stares and counter-intuitive tailoring, but even though he travels round the globe in his own sinister nuclear submarine, he's never quite spine-chilling enough (Kevin Bacon and January Jones, pictured below).

Kev__Jan_trimHis sidekick is the aptly named Emma Frost (Mad Men's January Jones), who's all white and blonde and leggy and can assume crystalline form when necessary. Yet take away her extraordinary mind-controlling abilities, and her breath-freezing froideur isn't a million miles removed from the uptight Betty Draper.

The story, stretched across a wristwatch-examining two and a quarter hours, follows the fortunes of Xavier and Lehnsherr as the CIA seeks to exploit the value of the super-powered mutants and put a stop to Shaw, though (in accordance with the series' familiar themes of prejudice and outsiderdom) many of the agency's top brass dismiss them disgustedly as a bunch of freaks and weirdos. Xavier and his cluster of would-be X-Men are taken under the wing of the "Man in Black", played by a sorely underused Oliver Platt, who runs the CIA's Division X.

Xavier puts his troupe, which includes the age-defying Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Nicholas Hoult's Beast, through a training regime to help them maximise their strange abilities, though it's clear that however sensitively he handles the conflicted Lehnsherr, there's a philosophical gulf between them that can't be bridged. McAvoy (pictured below) and Fassbender manage to evoke the duo's early relationship quite successfully, and Fassbender's tense, tightly wound performance is by far the best thing here.

McAvoy_trimBut there's a gaping hole where the combined charisma-juggernaut of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen isn't, and a jokey one-line cameo from Hugh Jackman as Wolverine serves only as a reminder of the missing cast members who made the earlier films memorable. The sense that this is a cut-price X-Men skimping on the megastar budget becomes harder to ignore as the yarn turns into a flaccid potboilerisation of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Shaw and Ms Frost having manoeuvred Russia and America to the brink of nuclear Armageddon apparently by the simple device of hoodwinking a gullible old Russian general. In the film's funniest scene, he gives a mind-projection of Frost a virtual grope while the real thing sits watching boredly from the sofa, muttering, "Pathetic!"

Ultimately, it feels more like a flashback to Seventies James Bond flicks or Christopher Reeve-era Superman than a glittering jump-start for an all-new X-Men. The effects technology may be cutting edge, but the screenwriting is crying out for a new typewriter ribbon.

X-Men: First Class opens today
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:39 am

http://www.trespassmag.com/review-x-men-first-class/

Review: X-Men First Class
By
Glenn Dunks
– June 1, 2011

After The Last Stand and Wolverine failed to recapture the X-Men franchise’s excellence, Marvel have decided to go back in time and show us the groovy beginnings of what would eventually become the “X-Men”. Or, as the case may be, not so groovy. Set in 1962, men and women of all creeds have begun to develop super-human powers. As the changing tides of the world’s social and political landscape take hold, these so-called mutants must discover their place in the world. They must choose either good or evil.

James McAvoy (Atonement) stars as Professor Xavier, telepathic defacto leader of the X-Men, who forms a bond with Michael Fassbender’s (Fish Tank) Erik Lehnsherr, a concentration camp survivor with the ability to manipulate metal. Mutants and non-mutants alike – including Xavier’s shape-shifting sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone) and CIA Agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne, Damages) – must align to stop Nazi businessman Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon, Mystic River) from sending the world into WWIII amidst the Cuban Missile Crisis. In between all the serious stuff there is a startling amount of January Jones (Mad Men) in her underwear. Jones’ cleavage is everywhere! Sadly, the same cannot be said about Michael Fassbender.

Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and Emma Frost (January Jones)

Despite its politically historic timeframe, X-Men: Back to the Future is still very much a fanciful science fiction film. Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) and co-writers Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz and Jane Goodman have delivered an action-packed prequel to the popular franchise that recaptures that spark of the earlier instalments, but have also turned in a much more dramatic-leaning film about self-discovery and acceptance. The film’s 1960s setting aligns its story more with the fight for racial equality, but this franchise has always felt like a parable for the LGBT movement. There are moments that feel like X-Men: Born This Way is a promotional tool for Lady Gaga’s latest album, so close are the characters to reciting dialogue like “you’re on the right track X-Men, you were born this way.”

X-Men: Knickers and Nazi’s period setting gives the costume and art departments a lot of fun stuff to work with, although there are times throughout X-Men: Groovy Mutants that feel far too modern. For instance, the characters of MacTaggert and Havok, played by the rather attractive Lucas Till, look like they walked in off the streets of 2011. Following the trend set by fellow Marvel movie Thor, the effects are refreshingly big, bright and colourful, although all the money in the world still can’t make flying look realistic. Why is that?

Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), Beast (Nicolas Hoult), Professor X (James McAvoy) and Havok (Lucas Till)

X-Men: Muppet Babies is a fun rejuvenation of the franchise and one that will surely have fans wanting even more. Coming soon: The X-Men mutate through the swinging ‘70s? We can dream.

X-Men: First Class is released in Australia June 2nd

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Nicolas Hoult, Edi Gathegi, Lucas Till, Caleb Landry Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Alex Gonzalez, Oliver Platt and Ray Wise.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:40 am

http://joelamoroney.com/2011/06/01/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class

Rated M

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones

There’s something about the 1960s which just strikes me as being sexy and cool. I remember as a kid being exposed to a lot of Get Smart, Rat Pack movies, the old school Batman TV show and of course Sean Connery as James Bond. The music, clothes, style and attitude will always be associated with a certain kind of cool. The Beatles were rocking the chart, London was the fashion capital of the world and JFK was in the White House. And in America, a small comic book company called Marvel Comics was beginning to make it’s mark. They already had hits with characters such as the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor and Spider-Man. And then came the X-Men.

The X-Men was a book truly ahead of it’s time. The X-Men was about a group of outcasts who were hated and ostracized just because they were born different. They stood up to protect a world that hated and feared them. This is what made them special. This is what made them unique. And the new movie X-Men: First Class takes us back to the beginning of the X-Men. Super powered mutant vs super powered mutant with a 1960s backdrop.

And the results are groovy.

X-Men:FC begins the same way as the X-Men movie from 2000. Magneto is a young Jewish boy experiencing the horrors of the Nazi internment camps. He also happens to have been born a mutant, a superhuman with the ability to control magnetism. The camps are an experience that will haunt him forever. He knows first hand what it means to be hunted and killed for being born different. When we meet Magneto as an adult in 1962 (played by Michael Fassbender), he’s managed to track down the man who experimented on him in the camps to study his abilities. And it turns out that this man Shaw (Kevin Bacon) is also a mutant. A mutant with a plan to start World War III and then take over the world.

Magneto joins forces with a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), a mutant telepath, and together to recruit a team of mutants to take on Shaw and save the world. But does the world want to be saved by mutants? Will the world see mutants as potential friends or just a threat that needs to be eliminated? The decisions made here will affect mutant kind for decades to come.

X-Men:FC is a great movie that works on so many levels. The 60s setting has a lot to do with this. For one thing, the Malcolm X/Martin Luther King Jr vibe that is inherent in the Magneto/Xavier relationship is enhanced by being set during the era these men are most associated with. This real world setting also provides us with the basis of climatic event of this movie: the Cuban Missile Crisis. Here the stakes are high yet surprisingly grounded. There are a bunch of people pushing the special effects budget to the limit with their super powered conflict, yet because this is set amongst a historical event, this doesn’t feel over the top. And the sets and costumes are constructed out of pure awesome. Shaw’s submarine just screams Swinging Sixties. Emma Frost’s (January Jones) costume choices look like something Emma Peel would have worn in The Avengers (the old TV show, not the upcoming superhero movie). Everything feels like it’s been ripped straight out of a 60s Bond movie with modern, big budget special effects thrown in for good measure. These are all fantastic things.

That doesn’t mean that there are no areas of concern. The 60s sensibility may be distracting for some, especially seeing January Jones spends most of the movie in her lingerie. The women in this movie are portrayed as being sexy and powerful, yet their choice of clothing may find some struggling. On a different note, some scenes may be too intense for some, as there is a certain element of horror in Magneto’s experiences in the Nazi camp, as well as his subsequent actions. However, these are minor cautions.

The X-Men, at their core, are a metaphor for being different and seeking acceptance. Over the years, the X-Men have represented anyone who feels like they are on the outside and persecuted because of their gender, race, sexual preference, disability. The Xavier and his X-Men call us to unite, stand strong and fight for acceptance. That even though you are attacked for who you are, prejudice should always be opposed. On the other hand, Magneto stands for something different. He believes that those who are different should unite and separate themselves. Form their own communities and live in seclusion. Or destroy anyone who opposes them.

What is the message here for Christians? Should we follow Xavier? Xavier would have us live amongst those who hate and fear us and seek to win them over with our good deeds. Or should we follow Magneto? Magneto would have us withdraw from the world and only associate with other Christians. And if the non-Christians make life too difficult for us, attack them.

The Bible calls us to live in this world. We are to live amongst those who don’t understand us. Those who are hostile towards God. Those who hate us because of who we represent. And we are to live in a way that honors God and points people towards him. “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1 Peter 3:13-16) Live such good lives amongst non-believers that they will want to know God. The Bible wants us to be X-Men.

I really enjoyed X-Men:First Class. It’s a movie I was really looking forward to and it certainly delivered. I’d even go so far to say it’s my favourite movie of 2011 so far. If you want to see an action movie that tries to do more than just blow things up, go see this film.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:43 am

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_movies_blog/2011/05/movie-review-x-men-first-class.html

Movie Review: X-Men, First Class
Uncategorized — posted by otownrog on May, 31 2011 5:30 PM

“X-Men: First Class” is an homage to the James Bond movies from the ’60s — you know, back when Bond was fun.

It’s got The Cold War, an epic confrontation between super-powers and a super-villain in a submarine. Matthew “Layer Cake” Vaughn sees to it that it’s a generally light take on back-engineering the struggle between the future Professor X and the future Magneto. Well-cast, well-acted and scripted so that its message of tolerance is front-and-center, this is pretty much all you’d want from two hours and 12 minutes of summer escape.

James McAvoy is young Charles Xavier, the fellow who reads minds and stumbles into the girl (Jennifer Lawrence) Raven, who makes him realize that he and she are not alone. They are “the next stage in human evolution.” It’s the 1940s, and in the age of the atom, humanity — some humans, anyway — are mutating.

One of them is half a world away. That’s where Erik Lehnsher (Bill Milner, then Michael Fassbender) is a Jew who survived the Holocaust because one Nazi in particular (Kevin Bacon) sees his talents and finds a way to train them.

Cut to years later, and Xavier is finishing up his degree at Oxford and Eric is chasing Nazis to the far ends of the Earth.

“Let’s just say I’m Frankenstein’s monster,” Erik growls to a couple of German expats in Argentina. “I’m looking for my CREATOR.”

Pity he wasn’t looking for Joseph Mengele. Fassbender is marvelously and malevolently focused. McAvoy gives Xavier a comical-clinical interest in his fellow mutants.

They only meet when they are given a common enemy by the CIA. It’s the early ’60s, and the former Nazi Sebastian Shaw (Bacon) is up to something, recruiting mutants. The most playful scenes in the movie follow Charles and Erik as they go mutant recruiting for the CIA — into strip clubs, for instance. Jason Flemyng, Nicholas Hoult, Alex Gonzalez, Zoe Kravitz and Edi Gathegi (from “Twilight”) are among the mutants.

As the team is assembled, not-so-subtle reminders of what we’re talking about, about these mutants with special powers who may displace humans, are tossed in. One guy hid his mutancy. “You didn’t ask, I didn’t tell.”

Rose Byrne and Oliver Platt play CIA agents in charge of mutant relations. Vaughn peoples his supporting cast with veteran character players — James Remar is a general, Michael Ironside a Navy captain, Ray Wise a presidential advisor — and pays tribute, visually, to “Dr. Strangelove” and “Basic Instinct.”

That last visual reference comes from January Jones. She plays the villain’s mutant sidekick in early Sharon Stone-ish ’60s white tart ensembles, and even has a “Basic Instinct” interrogation scene. She makes a scar-sexy villain herself. The women in the movie wear mini-skirts a few years before they became popular and the assembling cast of mutants drop colloquialisms a few decades out of place, but why quibble?

But one cameo — complete with the movie’s only perfectly placed “f-bomb” — reminds us where this one stands in the firmament. The digital ships, digital sets and digitally enhanced brawls lack a single moment as authentically cool as that first snowy meeting we had with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in the original film.

It’s all silly summer cinema escape, and if you don’t roll your eyes the first or tenth time McAvoy puts two fingers to his forehead to read somebody’s thoughts you plainly got nothing out or “Everything Must Go” and “The Beaver.”

But “X-Men: First Class” still sings the praises of Marvel Studios’ marvelous quality control of comic book movies. It’s good, clean summer movie fun where the money they spend is up on the screen — with actors and effects — so that we won’t mind spending our money on it.

MPAA Rating: PG-13,

Cast:James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr, Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique), Rose Byrne (Moira McTaggert), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw)

Credits: Directed by Matthew Vaughn, written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, story by Bryan Singer and Sheldon Turner, produced by Bryan Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner, Gregory Goodman and Simon Kinberg. A 20th Century Fox release. Running time 2:12.
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