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X-Men Reviews 6

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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:03 am

http://www.asbigo.com/movies/review-x-men-first-class-starring-michael-fassbender-james-mcavoy/

REVIEW: ‘X-Men: First Class’ Starring Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy …
Posted in Movies by asbigo

By James Luxford on Tuesday 31st May 2011

Huge expectations met from X-Men start tale…

Spider-man may have made it profitable, but just over a decade ago Bryan songster’s 2000 show X-Men made the comic book/superhero a viable bureau for studios, significance every year since the box bureau has been cluttered with super powers and comic adaptations. Every superhero possible has either got a show or had one in development, and as we wait patiently for the unavoidable cross-over in subsequent year’s The Avengers, we go behind to where it all started, with the prequel X-Men: First Class.

The film follows the journeys of dual organisation – Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), a abounding Oxford tyro with the energy to review and control minds, and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), a pyre survivor who uses his turn (bending and determining metal) to transport the universe harsh punish on the organisation who killed his mother. The span accommodate when on the tail of a perilous mutant, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a male with a tie to Erik’s past who tact to lead his kind to take over the universe by starting the Cuban Missile Crisis. With a organisation of younger mutants (Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult), the organisation join a CIA user (Rose Byrne) to stop Shaw, but will Charles and Erik’s opposite thoughts on how humans and mutants should get along get in the approach of saving the world?

Reckon about it, can anyone name a unequivocally fantastic prequel? Well, you can now! Director Matthew Vaughan has channelled 60’s James Bond cinema to move a slick, sexy show. An brightly crafted plot and book adheres to the songster cinema (rather than the comic books), making a desirable comment that slots elementary into the cinematic cannon. The effects are brilliant, as is the use of the Cuban Missile Crisis as a backdrop to the action, underlining the film’s themes of distrust and paranoia. Core to the comment is the evidence between Erik and Charles – either it is improved bargain towards a cold outward universe is improved than fighting glow with fire. The book is so constrained that you aren’t definitively hard-pressed either way, so vouchsafing the conference choose (always the best march of action).

A fantastic expel is spearheaded by the element duo, in refined Fassbender, who is shining as the destiny Magneto. Cold as ice yet with a distracted dignified antithesis within, the actor is fantastic to watch and this may be the show that announces him as a genuine show star. McAvoy is glorious as Xavier, no meant attainment given Patrick Stewart was so decisive in the role. Before a live assembly as a rich, well-importance romantic (as opposite to Lehnsherr’s bitter, malicious persona), it’s not as grandstanding as Fassbender’s opening but no reduction necessary. An peculiar choice for a villain, Kevin Bacon gives a fantastic comment for himself, going from Nazi torturer to seducer megalomaniac in a surprisingly seamless way. Somewhere else, Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence are likeable as the young mutants, and Rose Byrne gives a energetic opening as the CIA representative following the tip war. Mad Men star Jan Jones may be totally overwhelming as Emma Frost (remember, her face is adult there!), but the aesthetics are met with a rather wooden performance, nonetheless this is the difference in an differently fantastic ensemble.

A shining instance of reviving a informed authorization and still bringing something new to the table. Vaughan’s instruction is aided by extraordinary performances, quite from McAvoy and Fassbender. Far from using out of steam, X- Men: First Class will leave you inspired for more.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:04 am

http://hoopla.nu/films/xmen-first-class/xmen-first-class.html

X-Men: First Class
X-Men: First Class Poster Year: 2011
Country: USA
Writer: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon


stuart

mark

imdb

official site

trailer



Stuart:

After the shockingly disappointing double of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn tries to bring new life to Marvel's mutant franchise.

One has to remember that Bryan Singer's original take on the X-Men can pretty much take credit for the current superhero blockbuster trend.X-Men: First Class Whilst Blade may have proven that comic book movies could actually be good (something that hadn't happened since Batman Returns), it was X-Men that showed Hollywood just how profitable the genre could be. Thus, First Class comes from an impressive pedigree, and has to fight an uphill battle, comparing itself with Singer's creation.

This perhaps does First Class a disservice. For Vaughn's feature is much more... comic booky... than Singer's two attempts. Where Singer had taken the mutant premise and tried to make it as realistic as possible, Vaughn's film is well within the realm of comic book fantasy. Thus, the emotion, the narrative twists and the wholesale destruction aren't quite as impressive as they should be.

Set in the 60s, First Class tells of the meeting of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), and the first time that the US government is alerted to the presence of mutants in society. We have a villain by the name of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) on the scene also, and much like the Magneto of the future, he has a grand and horrific vision for mutantkind.

First Class has an awesome cast. It's wonderful seeing Bacon in a blockbuster again (it feels like ages since he last appeared in such a big-budget setting), and he's fantastic as Shaw. Michael Fassbender perfectly portrays Erik (and indeed, looks a lot like a young Ian McKellan). James McAvoy's performance as a young Professor Xavier oscillates between great and distracting, as if he's trying too hard to emulate Patrick Stewart. Rose Byrne is present (and skinnier than ever) though she doesn't get much to do apart from strip to her underwear, whilst Oliver Platt is similarly under-utilised (though, alas, doesn't strip to his underwear). As you'd expect, the rest of the cast is made up of young 'uns. Jennifer Lawrence (who got my vote for best performance of 2010, in Winter's Bone) excels as the young Mystique, whilst Nicholas Hoult plays Hank McCoy magnificently. The rest of the 'kids' are a mixed bunch, and none of the others really get to show off any acting prowess.

The film does suffer from an over-abundance of mutants. Whilst it doesn't try too hard to give everyone's backstories, having so many superpowered folks does mean we're never in awe of their powers, as we were back in 2000 with X-Men. The concepts behind the big, bombastic moments are beyond the reach of the special effects budget, which means that there are half a dozen occasions when the CGI is simply… embarrassing. The climactic scene, in particular, lacks a sense of scale. There are some inspired moments, to be sure, but then again when we see Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) fly, it looks idiotic.

First Class makes use of its 60s setting to a certain extent, being wrapped up in one famous international incident and otherwise having a James Bond feel to the costumes and settings, but I wanted it to be MORE infused with the relics of that era.X-Men: First Class I think the costumes should have been more extreme, the technology noticeably older. It's a minor quibble, but if the whole film had had an exaggerated, Austin Powers-type art design, I think I would have been happier. That being said, it's hard to shake the feeling that having a prequel was simply an excuse for all the female cast to be young, especially when they're required to take their clothes off so often. Apart from Rebecca Romijn's presence, I don't remember the original films looking quite this much like Ralph Magazine.

The greatest crime committed by First Class would have to be the redux of X-Men's opening scene. Not only does this feel like it's riding on the coattails of the first film, but this speedier, shorter version has none of the original scene's power. It's beyond me why this was considered a good move, especially considering there's a subsequent scene that would have made for a much better opening.

Matthew Vaughn's film is great entertainment, but it doesn't really reach the heights of Singer's X-Men films, nor indeed Vaughn's own Kick-Ass. If it had featured fewer characters and more refined action scenes, it would have been a stronger feature. It's disappointing that, rather than take its time with the relationship of Erik and Xavier, the two very quickly descend into the same arguments they did in X-Men 1 and 2. This doesn't bode well for any future sequels, which are going to have to work hard to strike out in original directions.
X-Men: First Class is released 2nd June 2011
Rating: Gold StarGold StarGold Star
Review by Stuart Wilson, 30th May 2011
Hoopla Factor: Gold StarGold StarGold StarHalf Star
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:05 am

http://www.bollywoodchaska.com/news/X-Men-First-Class-already-a-rage_6366.html

X-Men: First Class already a rage!
Published on 31-05-2011 by

While ‘X-men : First Class’ is inching closer to its release, we have a great piece of news for fans of the action franchise. The 5th of the highly successful X-Men saga is already acquiring great critical acclaim!

Early screenings across the globe are attracting very positive reviews from noted critics, with the film being described as “very entertaining” and “possibly the best film of the franchise”!

Apart from the movie and the story, critics are also appreciating the star cast of the film. “A very entertaining film with a great young cast,” commented a trade source, while another exclaimed, “I thought it was really good with a great cast!”

Directed by Matthew Vaughn & starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin

Becon, Rose Byrne and January Jones amongst many others, the film takes you back to where it all started. The storyline of the movie revolves around the friendship between Charles Xavier a.k.a. Professor X and Erik Lensherr a.k.a. Magneto before it evolved into an eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-men.

The 1960s setting for this film, coupled with outstanding special effects, brilliant action sequences & powerful characters is sure to thrill you like never before. While promos of the film seem promising enough we now have critics noticeably welcoming the movie into cinema houses!

For this X-men flick we just cannot wait! Catch it in theatres on 10th June in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu!
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:05 am

http://www.emotionallyfourteen.com/2011/05/x-men-first-class.html

Tuesday, 31 May 2011
X-Men: First Class
X-Men: First Class
Starring: Rose Byrne, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy
Director: Matthew Vaughn
20th Century Fox
In Cinemas from Wednesday 1st June
Review by Charlotte Barnes

X-Men: First Class charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

Before I even entered the cinema to watch this release I had this burning question: is this a reboot or a prequel? Is it going to be like the new James Bond or Batman series? Is it going to be radically different or is it going to be an extension of the first two movies and the Wolverine spin-off (I refuse to acknowledge the abomination of the third X-Men film as having anything to do with the franchise)? After two hours in the cinema I still could not tell you the answer to the question. There are a lot of call backs to the other films, such as the repeat of the sequence where Magneto discovers his powers for the first time or the cameo of Rebecca Romijn as an older Mystique. There were, however, too many discrepancies for it to be a prequel, such as the orgin of Magneto’s helmet, the invention of Cerebro, a new female version of Angel with butterfly wings (does not exist in the comics) and, last but not least, Michael Fassbender’s emulation of Sir Ian McKellen needs work, especially the accent.

As a standalone film, it is excellent. The casting is fantastic, the acting is outstanding and the special effects are brilliant. There was a fantastic variation in mutant powers, (some I was incredibly jealous of). The addition of Nicholas Hoult was a welcome surprise as he just keeps getting better and better (handsomer and handsomer). Finally, the combination of comics and Kevin Bacon (a lifelong crush of mine and on my “Allowed to Do” list if I ever meet him) made me nearly wet my knickers. You do not need to have seen these films or read the comics to understand what it is about, which makes this a very approachable film to watch. The problem is this is not a standalone film, it is too close to be ever seen as a re-boot but too far away to be considered a prequel.

This is the first time I have come across Michael Fassbender in a film and although I can see he is very talented, to be able to speak several languages with such prowess is commendable. All I have to say is Michael, choose an accent and stick with it, for god sakes. Magneto maybe a German with an English accent, but at no point should he slip from German, English and then into Irish within a sentence.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Violence: Fully action packed; some amazing mutant heavy fighting as well as your usual gun based murder.
Sex/Nudity: Some, nothing to write home about...the skirts were fairly short in this movie.
Swearing: None of note.
Summary: An interesting addition to the X-Men franchise, fantastic acting and brilliant special effects (I am really glad it was not made in 3D). However, you have to judge whether you feel it stands up as a reboot or prequel to the series. 7/10
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:06 am

http://blaze.gaynewsnetwork.com.au/film/x-men-first-class-004548.html

X-Men: First Class

Written by Colin Fraser | 20 June 2011

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

“Don't touch the hair,” says a wry Professor X (James McAvoy). Such knowing scenes set the tone, and there are many in Matthew Vaughn's highly enjoyable addition to the X-Men franchise.

This is where it all began, how X met Magneto (spunky Michael Fassbender) and what forces shaped them. It explains the helmet and the wheelchair as well as the articles of faith that form the X-Men backbone.

It has long held universal appeal, however the homosexual subtext of caution, acceptance – 'Mutant And Proud' – comes centre stage.

First Class turns on the Cuban missile crisis as Shaw (Kevin Bacon in delicious Bond-villain form) is pushing American and Soviet forces beyond the brink of nuclear war to eliminate humankind.

Ideological opponents X and Magneto engage to stop him, but it's not that simple. For one thing, the former Nazi mentored Magneto's 'talent', plus there's the niggling problem about mother.

The stage is set for a battle of religious proportions. Fortunately, Vaughn is up to the job, staging scorching action scenes with considerable skill, while tempering the X-Men's cause with sufficient and probable motive.

It may not reach the benchmark set by Bryan Singer, but it comes close: a polished, clever superhero movie. And you don't get to say that very often.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:08 am

http://mike-forreels.blogspot.com/2011/06/review-x-men-first-class.html

Monday, June 20, 2011
Review: 'X-Men: First Class'
As you may recall, I was a bit skeptical when the inital trailer for X-Men: First Class made its debut. Mainly because the only member of the original first class of the X-Men who makes an appearance in the film is Beast. To go further, the film takes even more liberties with the source material by completely eliminating the nationalities of many characters, such as Scottish Moira MacTaggert, Irish Banshee, and English Sebastian Shaw. Despite these glaring differences, I found X-Men: First Class to be an extremely fun movie that kept me highly entertained the entire time.

The main focus of the movie isn't the first class of mutants themselves as much as it is the exploration of the relationship between Professor Xavier and Magneto. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender play these respective roles marvelously, conveying an equal balance of friendship and animosity throughout the entire film. Newcomer Jennifer Lawrence also does a remarkable job as everyone's favorite naked blue chick, and Kevin Bacon makes a creibly menacing Sebastian Shaw.

While these performances are great, no superhero movie is complete without action sequences. The action is handled brilliantly and is, in my opinion, the highlight of the experience. Each mutant's powers are put on incredible display, and the fast-paced action keeps you on the edge of your seat. The movie clocks in at just over two hours, but feels much shorter, which is a great thing.

I unfortunately have not been to the movies in a while, which is why I saw this film later than I had anticipated, but this did not hamper the experience one bit. All the praise this film has recieved is well-deserved, and should be experienced by anyone who enjoys a truly exciting adventure, X-Men fan or not.

Final Verdict: 9/10
The film takes quite a few liberties with the source material, but thankfully, this doesn't ruin the experience at all.
Posted by Mike DiChiara at 10:09 PM
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:09 am

http://darkknight2029.blogspot.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class-review.html

Monday, June 20, 2011
X-Men First Class Review

X2 is one of my favorite comic movies ever made, and I was quite disappointed in the last two X-Men movies. Enter First Class to go back to the roots of Professor Xavier, and Magneto and the early state of the X-Men. This movie reclaims the series on the top of the comic film world, and is going to be one of the best movies of the summer when it's all said and done.

The story is focused on Charles Xavier(James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr(Michael Fassbender) meeting each other and helping each other's cause. Erik is in pursuit of Sabatian Shaw(Kevin Bacon) for killing his mother during WWII, and Charles is trying to find mutants and help them with their struggling. The government becomes interested in Shaw later in the 1960's and him tampering with Russia during the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The story is well woven into dealing with actual history and not coming off cheesy.

The story is well done, but the heart of the movie is the characters and how they are handled. Beast, Emma Frost, and Mystique are just a few of the characters in the here. Seeing what all the characters can do is what makes the X-Men such an interesting franchise. The scenes where Magneto really gets to show off his power are some of my favorite scenes. Kevin Bacon's character really steals the show though. He can absorb powers and explosions and unleash them, and it leads to some interesting scenes. I really wish he would have had a scene where he really gets to unleash his power, but it's fine that it doesn't.

The visual effects are well done here. The last half hour shows the strength of them quite well. The score is handled well, and never gets in the way. Some things were altered from the comics, but they are done well and even fanboys will not mind. The acting is a strong point here, and with most of the cast unknown, I was impressed with it. This movie also has one of the best cameos in a movie i've ever seen, it caught me off guard.

My problems with the movie are pretty minor. I wanted to see more of what Bacon's character could do. He was such a powerful villain, and he is underused. I would have liked to see the pace slow down a bit and explain each character a bit, These are minor complaints, I know, but....ya know.

X-Men First Class is the second best X-Man movie in my opinion, right behind X2. They get the feels of the characters down pat, and the powers they do. This is a must see summer movie, and will be in the front of the pact at the end of the summer.

4/5

Posted by DarkKnight2029 at 8:19 PM
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:09 am

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

Monday, 20 June, 2011
X-Men: First Class (2011)

After the disaster of X-Men 3: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox brings the X-Men franchise back on the right track.
In the 1962, the world doesn't know that mutants, human beings with particular powers, exist. Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), a CIA agent, investigates on a conspiracy from the Hellfire Club. This secret society led by Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a former Nazi scientist who leads a group of mutants, wants to turn the USA and the USSR against each other in a Third World War.

MacTaggert seeks the help of Charles Xavier (James MacAvoy), a mutant who can read people's mind or control it. Xavier also asks his sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), a shape shifter, Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), a mutant who can control metal and create magnetic fields, and other mutants to join the fight against the Hellfire Club. Unfortunately, Xavier and Lensherr will become enemies.

Although this film, which is supposed to reboot the X-Men movie franchise, it recycles an old material: the rivalry between Xavier and Lensherr. Given its simplicity, one might find the story somehow thin, because it's only at the end of the film that Erik Lensherr finally develops his abhorrence for human beings. Most of the time, the film focuses on Xavier's team being in a hurry to stop the threat to world peace. Nonetheless, the film's story slowly and marvellously shows, with few action scenes, the failed attempt by Xavier to convince Lensherr that peace can be achieved.

Besides, given that this film is a reboot of the X-Men franchise, its story paves the way for interesting upcoming adventures. For a summer film, X-Men: First Class is also quite entertaining.

Rating: 4/5

Origin: USA (2011)
Length: 132 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi
Screenplay:
Ashley Miller, Zack Stenz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Rose Byrne
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:10 am

http://jen-blessthismess.blogspot.com/2011/06/review-new-x-men-movie.html

Monday, June 20, 2011
Review - The new X-men Movie!!
Last Friday night Scott and I escaped to the local movie theatre to watch the new X-Men Origins First Class movie! Just fyi, my husband is a big fan of comic books, from the time he was a little snapper. So, there is a knowledge base there, he knows the background information. I have become a fan of the superhero genre since our marriage. Having four boys has only helped this along. Needless to say, there were some hopes and expectations in this new movie.

A brief recap of the movie - the characters of Magneto and Professor X are visited as children, both with very different backgrounds. Magneto survived the death camps of WWII, and Professor X lived a life of privilege, also rescuing a young mutant known as Mystique. Flash forward a few years later, and the two come together against a mutual foe during the Cuban Missile Crisis. They gather together a group of young mutants to defeat their enemy, also a fellow mutant.

The casting of Michael Fassbender as Magneto and James MacAvoy as Professor X was great! Michael Fassbender is very captivating as the tortured anti-hero, and I really saw his point of view. If I had been in his place, I would have been hard pressed not to make the same decisions. James MacAvoy gave a wonderful performance as Professor X, even as a young man he gave the impression of authority and a strong moral centre. The other young actors were equally good as the side kicks, with great back stories and training scenes. Kevin Bacon was horribly good as the villain. I think this movie was a great retooling of a franchise. It was very clean, good storytelling, and felt more like a cold ward spy thriller with people who just happened to have super powers. The costume design was very fun, I loved all the sixties style fashion.

For parents with younger children, I know they're all going to want to see this very badly, but I wouldn't recommend it. Some of the themes are very intense, in particular the ones dealing with retribution and vengeance. There is some sensuality, and one scene in which there is foul language. It also is very violent. I know it's a superhero movie, but it's not for children.

I enjoyed the ethical struggle between Professor X and Magneto, despite their strong feeling of brotherhood to one another. This movie really leans towards the side of Magneto, and helps you to understand both he and Mystique, making them much more interesting as villains.

I really liked this movie a lot, and I'm looking forward to future installments in this line.
Posted by Bless This Mess at 7:13 PM
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:13 am

http://www.yssman.com/beta-base/2011/6/20/x-men-first-class-bow-before-me.html

X-Men: First Class, Bow Before Me
Monday, June 20, 2011 at 11:06 PM Brad

What can I really say about this film that won't seem downright uninteresting now that it has been out for a while and impressed enough people to keep Fox happy enough to make a sequel. It is a damn-good film, not only as a comic book based property, but as a piece work in of itself. In a nutshell, First Class is a reboot of the X-Men franchise for Fox. After the absolute disaster that was X-Men: The Last Stand, in my mind, the franchise was desperate for a reboot. The thing is, however, is that Fox is not being entirely clear if they are going to treat it as a reboot or not. If they do, I'd deem it to be an absolutely fantastic idea. If they don't, well, life will go on.

I'll skip the majority of the plot details and just say that the film is set in 1962, right around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis of the late summer and fall of that year. As a Political Scientist (I can say that if I have the degree, right?), this is one of the most-fascinating times in American history. We are wealthy beyond belief, we have set our eyes on the moon, the world is literally at our fingertips. And yet, the youth are in revolt, civil rights have yet to be addressed, and the Cold War is always on the verge of going hot. The X-Men have always been a side-note to civil rights issues in comics. Whether you were of a different race or religion, sexual orientation, or just an 'outsider,' the X-Men were relatable and often addressed those issues in a way that wasn't exactly overt, but never really hid from the issue either.

What I enjoyed most about First Class was the way in which they were able to play the roles of Charles and Erik off of one another. Both want to see a world where mutants and humans can co-exist, however, the way in which they get there is entirely different. Charles wants to play through the system and gain an acceptance of mutants through trust and hard work. Erik wants instant results, demonstrating the power of a new race, establishing themselves through fear. It is a set of circumstances that will continue to flow in the later films, I assume, and it is one that I am quite excited about. The performances done by Michael Fassbender as Erik and James McAvoy as Charles is beyond anything I would have expected. The work done by Fassbender alone demonstrates his ability to include an immense amount of depth in his acting, and at times, it really showed with the issues Erik faces as he eventually grows to become Magneto.

But, what really excites me more than anything is that it gives X-Men fresh legs to stand upon. Despite the inclusion of some really lackluster characters in the film, ultimately, they give me a lot of hope for the continuing series. Without getting into spoilers, we know that some of the important characters that everyone loves exist within the continuity, and will likely have a place in the near-future should a sequel be made. If the internet rumors are true, and that if the next film picks up in 1963, I am very excited indeed.



But lets discuss the big thing here for me...

First Class goes to show that you do not need Christopher Nolan to create a grounded, character-driven narrative that relies more on story and less on action, to be a great film. Although I would continue to contend that The Dark Knight is rather unquestionably the best of the comic book films, First Class is definitely a very, very close second. What is most impressive is that, when taken into consideration with its ho-hum predecessors, X-Men had otherwise been lost in the woods. The film goes to show that ridiculous things are not necessarily needed in order to produce a great film. Let the story do the work, place it in the context of our universe (Marvel always does a good job with that), and let everyone else go for a ride. Spot-on, Fox. Spot-on.



For those who are wondering about my comic book film list of lists:

The Dark Knight
X-Men: First Class
Iron Man
Batman Begins
Thor
The Incredible Hulk
X2: X-Men United
V for Vendetta
Iron Man 2
The Watchmen

The wild card will be Captain America come July.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:16 am

http://lancestrate.blogspot.com/2011/06/magneto-question.html

Monday, June 20, 2011
The Magneto Question
So, I thought I'd just say a few words about the recently released film, X-Men: First Class, which is the 5th film based on the Marvel Comics series originally launched in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It's also the second prequel, and essentially relates the origin of the X-Men.

Now, I'm not going to go all fan-boy on you and write about whether the films are true to the original comics in their depiction of characters and plot lines, whether they diverge for reasons good or bad, etc. As an old, old time comics reader, I have mixed feelings about all that, but as a media scholar I think it clear that when it comes to film adaptations, original texts are nothing more than raw material.

And comics in general, have served as quite a productive laboratory for raw material, as numerous authors have worked and reworked the characters and narratives over half a century, or more. There is a wealth of material to draw on, and the task becomes one of developing a coherent and captivating narrative and spectacle without entirely losing the connection to the original, the character's integrity, the basic story's key elements, etc.

So, X-Men: First Class emerges out of the comics own reworking and revising of its own material, its back story and history, as X-Men leader and mentor, Professor Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, was originally nothing more than an enemy to Magneto, the supervillain and leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (yes, that is what they called themselves!). But for more sophisticated times, their early history was re-imagined as one of friendship, leading to a split, as along the lines of Martin Luther King and Malcom X. So Professor X and Magneto, or Charles and Erik, are at once colleagues, friends, rivals, frenemies (to use a recent coinage), and foes, and the film, while featuring a legion of superpowered mutants, focuses on their early relationship, as can be seen from at least some of the trailers:

The main theme of the X-Men comics, especially for the past several decades, has been bias, stereotyping, prejudice, scapegoating, oppression, etc., directed at mutants. As alluded to above, one source for this is the civil rights movement, and the history of African-Americans in the United States. The opposition between the nonviolent leadership of Martin Luther King and the militant stance of Malcom X, central to Spike Lee's 1989 cinematic masterpiece, Do the Right Thing, is played out in a less threatening, more distanced manner, through the conflict between the two mutant leaders.

This requires a shift in the way Magneto is portrayed, from pure villain, an evil mutant, to something significantly more ambiguous. He becomes the realist to Xavier's idealist, the defender of his people, a classic hero trait. Indeed, over the past few decades, the comics have shifted wildly in their portrayal of this character, at some points turning him into a reformed criminal, a genuine superhero, and at other points making him out to be a terrorist and mass murderer.

No doubt, this reflects some of our own ambivalence about terrorists. As much as we abhor them, especially after 9/11, there is the difficult lack of clarity about how to define a terrorist. Back when Reagan was president, I remember how many of us found it ridiculous when, in one of his speeches, he spoke about fighting terrorists while supporting freedom fighters. What a case of semantic confusion! And given our nation's birth in revolution, within American culture we identify with the freedom fighters, the rebels and revolutionaries, fighting against the evil empire (another Reaganism). Our anti-authoritarianism supports all that anti-government politics that, most recently, has taken the form of the Tea Party (back in Boston, a revolutionary, and anti-authoritarian action). And it leads us to make heroes out of outlaws, e.g., Jesse James, Al Capone, etc. Magneto, then, moves into the outlaw-hero mode, at least at times.

Another, more recent, source of inspiration is the gay rights movement, as for example the line, "Mutant and Proud" is repeated several times in X-Men: First Class. Along similar lines is the theme of scientists developing a "cure" for mutation, and forcing it on mutants who may not want it. This appears first in comics, and then makes its way to the movies, for example the most recent of the sequels, X-Men: Last Stand:

Here we see Magneto as militant leader and as terrorist, most dramatically in the destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge.

But there is a third major source of inspiration that cuts close to the bone for me, and that's Jewish history, especially in the 20th century. The Holocaust is a major touchstone for any discussion of prejudice and scapegoating, and the theme of genocide comes up repeatedly in the comics, as well as actual images of concentration camps (often in alternate future scenarios where anti-mutant sentiment is carried out to its extreme).

But there is more than metaphor at work here, as Magneto is depicted as having been sent to a concentration camp as a child, losing his parents there, and being shaped by the traumatic experience. This is shown in the first X-Men movie, at the very beginning, where we see Magneto as a boy, reacting to the loss of his parents with an initial, sadly limited display of his magnetic powers. The same scene is shown in X-Men: First Class, now fleshed out as he suffers at the hands of a mutant-obsessed Dr. Mengele-type Nazi doctor, whose brutality permanently scars the young Erik. That same doctor becomes the villain of the film as the action shifts to 1962, eventually intersecting with JFK's Cuban Missile Crisis.

Interestingly, I've come across a fan-film on YouTube, put together from scenes from the first X-Men movie and its sequels (but not X-Men: First Class) in 2009 that's called X-Men Origins: Magneto Trailer. It's intended to give a sense of what that sort of movie would look like, and in a sense that's what X-Men: First Class really is, but it's useful in this context because it brings together key moments from Ian McKellen's portrayal of the contemporary, old Magneto from the first 3 films:

You might note that, apart from the Holocaust setting, there actually is nothing Jewish about this character who is presented to us as Jewish. If anything, Ian McKellen provides a very British counterpoint to Patrick Stewart, as does Michael Fassbender as the young Magneto (he was raised in Ireland) to James McAvoy's young Xavier (he was raised in Scotland). I mean, absolutely nothing Jewish about him, aside from the fact that he is identified as Jewish, and sent to a concentration camp. Being Jewish, then, is reduced to a symbol, first of being a victim, then of the idea of never again (the slogan of the Jewish Defense League founded by extremist Meir Kahane, who some saw as a terrorist), of an "Old Testament" (from a Christian point of view) eye for an eye approach in contrast to Xavier's turn the other cheek (no crucifixion in this instance, but he does lose his ability to walk, the wheelchair having been a symbol of leadership in the postwar era, as FDR's disability became widely known), of going too far. And I can't help but wonder if his character doesn't, in this sense, reflect the negative view that all too many hold of the State of Israel today, of employing unnecessary force, disproportionate responses, occupying territory and oppressing the inhabitants, etc.

Is Israel like Magneto? No, of course not. But the contemporary character of Magneto reflects, in certain ways, popular negative views of the Jewish state, misconceptions and ignorance about the historical, cultural, political and military context of the Middle East, and ironically enough, bias and prejudice against the Jewish people (some of which is held by Jews themselves, a not uncommon phenomenon among groups subjected to this sort of treatment). You know, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, Jews were seen mainly as victims, and the question everyone seemed to be asking was, how could you (meaning us Jews) let it happen? And specifically, how could you let them march you off without a fight to the concentration camps to be killed? There was not only incredulity in the way the questions were posed, but also a hint of ridicule.

At that time, it was not well understood how manipulate the Nazis were, how deceptive they were about where they were taking their Jewish captives, and how weakened the Jews were by a prolonged prelude of deprivation. Nor was it well known that there were some groups that did take up arms and fight against the Nazi war machine. But as far as I can recall, no one praised the Jews for our long history of nonviolence, as they did in making a secular saint out of Mahatma Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, or countless Christian martyrs and clergy. Maybe people only esteem nonviolence when it's successful? Or maybe that's the problem with prejudice, whatever you do or don't do, you're wrong.

Back in the days when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, both Jewish, were making the Marvel Universe from scratch, Magneto was not Jewish. He was a concentration camp survivor, yes, but Jews were not the only ones who were interned there. He was not Jewish, but you can understand that the character reflected some aspects of Jewish experience, as did Spider-Man (early on identified as Woody Allen turned superhero) and the Fantastic Four's The Thing, aka Benjamin Grimm (a rough and tumble lower east side type), as did Superman earlier on, and The Spirit, and much of the comic output at mid-century. But there were no characters identified as Jewish until recently, in some ways reflecting Jewish reticence (keep a low profile, and one bag packed for that matter), no doubt also the feeling that the mainstream reader could not relate to or sympathize with Jewish characters, but maybe perhaps too the sense that prejudice would distort the message that the characters are meant to convey.

Truth be told, we have not figured out how to deal with Jewish characters in these kinds of popular narratives. Comedy, yes, no problem, and drama, sure, we can work with that. But adventure, science fiction, fantasy, horror, not so much. I should note, though, that Marvel Comics did introduce a good Jewish mutant back in the 80s, a young girl named Kitty Pryde who has the power to become intangible. Here's an image from Marvel's Ultimate line of comics, a more recent reworking of their original, ongoing universe, one where her Star of David is more frequently and prominently seen:

Kitty does appear make a brief appearance in one or two of the X-Men movies, I don't recall which off hand, but anyway she is never identified by name, let alone religion. I also want to honorably mention Willow Rosenberg, from the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

I only saw an occasional episode of the series on reruns until just recently, when I've been going through the entire run, and just started on the 7th and last season. So, early on, Willow mentions the fact that she's Jewish on occasion, but that's about it. She still uses crosses to ward off vampires, becomes a witch and therefore identified as a Wiccan in later seasons, and that, along with being a lesbian, dominates her identity. Oh, I should add that Joss Whedon clearly draws on the X-Men comics at the end of season six, when Willow loses control and becomes Dark Willow, a reference to the well known (in the comics world) Dark Phoenix character and storylines. That happens after Willow's lover is murdered, so I guess that makes her a bit like Magneto, after all.

So, what's the point of all this. To be honest, I'm really unsure, and to be honest, I'm not altogether comfortable in bringing it up, but I did feel that I should say something about my discomfort with Magneto's Jewish identity. Maybe I'm overly sensitive as the child of Holocaust survivors myself, but Magneto is a murderer, whatever else he may be, and I don't know, maybe it's happened, but have you ever heard of a Holocaust survivor murdering anyone? I tried googling it, but all that I saw coming up, in an admittedly cursory search, were news stories about survivors being murdered. So for me, this new back story just doesn't ring true.

Maybe it's just that being Jewish works well for the storyteller, we really have been telling some all time great stories for the past four thousand years, but when it comes to being characters in other people's narratives, well, that's where the trouble begins, the bias and the scapegoating, that's when they prick us and we start bleeding, profusely. Maybe.

Or maybe it's just that, for me, when it comes to the movies' Magneto, the character just doesn't hold any attraction?

Posted by Lance Strate at 10:47:00 PM
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:17 am

http://thepopcornbitch.blogspot.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class-director-matthew.html

Monday, June 20, 2011
X Men: First ClassDirector: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender

Just putting it out there, I am a massive fan of X-Men. I saw the third one at the movies three times. Being that the third one has a pile of tripe in place of a plot, that's true commitment. I even enjoyed the hackneyed, overblown Wolverine spin off, although that might have been because of the triple leading-man whammy of Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber. When I heard Matthew Vaughn was following up last year's reboot of the superhero genre, Kick-Ass, with this, I pretty much actually wet my pants.

Vaughn, of course, is a fan of muscular violence and gritty realism, something which was much-missed from the last X-Men movie. And from the very beginning, he whips us into a fully-realised world. It's the 1960s, but not as we know them (actually it looks nothing like the 1960s, even though James McAvoy does say "groovy"), Professor X and Magneto don't yet exist, or rather they exist only as Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, young men struggling to hone their mutant powers. Both are recognised archetypes: Lehnsherr a brittle and emotionally-scarred Holocaust survivor, hooked on vengeance as he travels the world to find the Nazi who killed his mother. McAvoy is the foppish and affable young professor, arrogant with success and always capable. It was a real stroke of casting genius to ask two character actors to ham it up like this: their budding friendship and mutual appreciation provides the beating heart to the film, and they look like they're enjoying not starving to death in an Irish prison or suffering from gangrene on the beaches of Normandy. In fact, their chemistry is so palpable and their charisma so awesome that really, it would've been better if there had been no other characters in the film, save for Kevin Bacon's multilingual baddie. The other mutants, which clearly exist for the fan boys alone; the sometimes sloppy CG effects, a dull subplot involving Beast's burning desire to be human and Rose Byrne's boring love interest should really all have taken a backseat to the development of these guys' powers. Instead, we are left with a rather cluttered plot which, despite cleverly incorporating the Cuban Missile Crisis and being helmed by Vaughn, never feels truly real. When your current competition in the superhero canon is Christopher Nolan's Batman and Vaughn's own Kick Ass, realism is essential. McAvoy and Fassbender shine when they're allowed and when Fassbender remembers to drop his native Irish accent, and the rest of the time is just filler between the sometimes tense, sometimes touching scenes involving these two.

However despite this, it's still X Men. Did I mention it's X Men? I am happy to ignore all its faults because, well, it's X Men...

Posted by Evey at 6:27 PM
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:18 am

http://eveymercedes.blogspot.com/2011/06/movie-of-week-x-men-first-class.html

Monday, June 20, 2011
Movie of the Week: X Men: First Class
Movie Of The Week: X Men: First Class
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender

Just putting it out there, I am a massive fan of X-Men. I saw the third one at the movies three times. Being that the third one has a pile of tripe in place of a plot, that's true commitment. I even enjoyed the hackneyed, overblown Wolverine spin off, although that might have been because of the triple leading-man whammy of Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber. When I heard Matthew Vaughn was following up last year's reboot of the superhero genre, Kick-Ass, with this, I pretty much actually wet my pants.

Vaughn, of course, is a fan of muscular violence and gritty realism, something which was much-missed from the last X-Men movie. And from the very beginning, he whips us into a fully-realised world. It's the 1960s, but not as we know them (actually it looks nothing like the 1960s, even though James McAvoy does say "groovy"), Professor X and Magneto don't yet exist, or rather they exist only as Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, young men struggling to hone their mutant powers. Both are recognised archetypes: Lehnsherr a brittle and emotionally-scarred Holocaust survivor, hooked on vengeance as he travels the world to find the Nazi who killed his mother. McAvoy is the foppish and affable young professor, arrogant with success and always capable. It was a real stroke of casting genius to ask two character actors to ham it up like this: their budding friendship and mutual appreciation provides the beating heart to the film, and they look like they're enjoying not starving to death in an Irish prison or suffering from gangrene on the beaches of Normandy. In fact, their chemistry is so palpable and their charisma so awesome that really, it would've been better if there had been no other characters in the film, save for Kevin Bacon's multilingual baddie. The other mutants, which clearly exist for the fan boys alone; the sometimes sloppy CG effects, a dull subplot involving Beast's burning desire to be human and Rose Byrne's boring love interest should really all have taken a backseat to the development of these guys' powers. Instead, we are left with a rather cluttered plot which, despite cleverly incorporating the Cuban Missile Crisis and being helmed by Vaughn, never feels truly real. When your current competition in the superhero canon is Christopher Nolan's Batman and Vaughn's own Kick Ass, realism is essential. McAvoy and Fassbender shine when they're allowed and when Fassbender remembers to drop his native Irish accent, and the rest of the time is just filler between the sometimes tense, sometimes touching scenes involving these two.

However despite this, it's still X Men. Did I mention it's X Men? I am happy to ignore all its faults because, well, it's X Men...
Posted by Evey at 6:25 PM
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:22 pm

http://popculturejunkie.blogspot.com/2011/07/movie-review-x-men-first-class.html

Sunday, July 3, 2011
Movie Review: X-Men: First Class
The X-Men movie franchise has had it rough lately. X-Men: The Last Stand showed a great drop in quality after the pretty good first two X-Men movies: director Bryan Singer had decided to bail on the series after X-Men 2 to direct the very disappointing Superman Returns. He left the reins to Brett Ratner, a man with a reputation for making generic blockbusters and Ratner created a rambling mess of an X-Movie, losing a lot of goodwill for the series. X-Men Origins: Wolverine also underperformed, sinking plans for X-Men Origins: Magneto. The project was morphed into X-Men: First Class.

It shows how the X-Men team first came together in the sixties and how Magneto and Charles Xavier went from being friends to being enemies. In the comics – and in the continuity set by the first two movies - these two were friends for a very long time, but here it doesn’t seem more than a few weeks. It’s symptomatic of how the movie takes the continuity of the previous X-movies, gives cheeky nods to it and then just as easily disregards elements of it. Very funny blink-or-you’ll-miss-it cameo’s by Rebecca Romijn and Hugh Jackman tie the movies together, but for each bonding moment, there is an incongruity to push the movies apart. By the end of it, I still wasn’t clear on if I had been watching a prequel or a reboot of the X-Men movie continuity.

Magneto is well-served by the story and is acted well by Michael Fassbender. His traumatic childhood in a concentration camp (which ‘borrows’ the first scene from the first X-Men flick) and the ensuing hunting down of his Nazi tormentors make for some of the most interesting scenes in the movie. Maybe Magneto is a bit too sympathetic even, as I think you are supposed to be on Xavier’s side by the end of the story, but you may well end up on Magneto’s. Charles Xavier is entertaining as played by James McAvoy though I have trouble picturing his version of Xavier physically and mentally changing into Patrick Stewart. Other characters of note getting an origin here are Beast and Mystique.

Yes, there are a lot of other characters here as well, but frankly most of them don’t have much of an impact. The X-Men comic universe is a grab-bag of mutants both good and evil, but the grabbing here was oddly random. We get Alex Summers as Havok, in comics lore Cyclops’ younger brother and a much later member of the X-Men, but here one of the first to join with no mention or sign of his elder sibling. We get Banshee and Emma Frost, the sonic scream and diamond form respectively not translating particularly well to the big screen. The sparkly features of Frost never fail to look like an intricate but unconvincing special effect. Darwin and Angel – a different Angel than the one from the first trilogy – have no apparent purpose, are not especially personable and could have been any number of more interesting characters. The bad guys underwhelm: Riptide is mute and occasionally lets rip with bursts of air by waving his hands and Azazel looks like Nightcrawler painted red, which makes sense if you know he will end up being his father, but most viewers won’t know of that comic book connection. Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw – leader of the evil pack – is more smarmy than intimidating.

The sixties’ setting of the movie and the tying in of the Cuban missile crisis are interesting, but certain more touchy aspects of the era – sexism and racism – are conveniently ignored, making it feel more contemporary than perhaps it should. There are the usual plot holes and inconsistencies along the lines of: ‘Hey, if he could do that earlier, how come he doesn’t do this now?’ For instance: Magneto can rip apart a boat with an anchor, but can’t rip a hatch off a submarine and sink it? And why didn’t Magneto kill his main tormentor when he clearly had the opportunity to do it as a kid at the beginning of the movie?

Now, all of this sounds like I didn’t enjoy the X-Men: First Class, but despite the nitpicks I did. I got more excited about it than about Thor in any case. Though it barely holds together in some spots, there is a lot more going on and there is more of an interesting moral grey area, plus the standard, none-too-subtle outsider metaphor to work with. Being pretty familiar but not entirely up-to-date with the comic book version of the X-Men I had fun trying to unravel the messed up continuity and figuring out where they would be going with all these remixed elements. I am curious if they will follow up this movie with a sequel to the prequel – which could be good, if they ditch a lot of the dead weight – or an actual X-Men 4. I would probably prefer that, as it could wash away the bad taste of X-Men: Last Stand and maybe give the saga a proper ending.

Final nitpick (SPOILER): I defy anyone to explain to me how Xavier and Co. managed to escape off the besieged island at the end of the movie.

Geplaatst door Steven van Lijnden op 7:18 PM
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:27 pm

http://pritishsirkar.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/the-demon-and-the-saint-ref-x-men/

The Demon and the Saint (ref. X-Men)
July 3, 2011

Written by The Clairvoyant

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Recently I went for this movie, X-Men-First Class. It was a wonderful movie and I had a superb time. There were two main characters in the movie, Dr. X and Magneto, played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender respectively and in one of the dramatic scenes, McAvoy encourages Fassbender to use his special powers and move a gigantic metallic structure. It was then that McAvoy tells Fassbender that, “Focus lies somewhere between rage and serenity”. At that point of time, I completely agreed with what was being said in the movie and that kind of reminded me of the epic saying “With great powers, come great responsibilities” from Spiderman.

Nevertheless, after giving it an astute thought, I now believe that focus does not lie somewhere between rage and serenity but it lies with you when you have both rage and serenity at the same time. Rage and serenity are like a demon and a saint who live inside you. Its essential that you become the master of both for if you let either one of them take control of you, you would be likely to find yourself in a very difficult set of circumstances.

The logic that I am offering is simple. If you have rage but lack serenity, you would be likely to go berserk and mad and on the other hand if you have serenity alone, you would surely be complacent in life and end up being an underachiever.

Give it a thought and if you agree with what I’m saying, trying enslaving both the demon and the saint. If you have rage and serenity at the same time i.e., you are determined, ambitious, aggressive and enterprising (because of rage) and calm, composed, patient and willing to endure (because of serenity), at the same time, you would be unstoppable.

These words of mine also remind me of a quote my favourite ‘Guru’ (I’m not going to name him here) once told me. He said while saying a lot of other things, “………revenge is the dish which tastes the best when it is served cold…..” I guess there is some connection with what he said and what I learned from the movie.

So control your rage but don’t do away with it.

Good night.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:31 pm

http://unclecritic.com/2011/07/03/review-x-men-first-class/

REVIEW: X-Men First Class
Posted on July 3, 2011 by Uncle Critic

There’s a couple ways you can look at the new X-Men movies, you can concrete on the bad, or you can look at the good. The best thing to do is probably to just break it down in two parts. I’m just going to mention things here but not go too far into it; otherwise this could end up being a twelve page rant. First the good, it’s directed by the same man that directed Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon all do great jobs; they were the highlights of the movie, no question. Magento going on a hunt to kill Nazi’s was pretty damn badass. And there’s a great cameo appearance that I won’t spoil. That about covers the good stuff, no onto the bad. The biggest problem was timeline and character stuff. Some of the mutants in here were not around in the time that this was taking place, or were not a member of the original team, or a member of the team at all. I could go on for days about this but I’ll just leave it at that. Another thing that annoyed me here was Charles Xavier was a super pimp ladies man, which was fun for a minute but seemed to be totally out of character. As the main bad guy you’ve got Sebastian Shaw, which is pretty insane. I never considered him a big time baddie, or even that great of a character, luckily they were smart and got Kevin Bacon for this, but that still doesn’t change the fact that your main villain was some minor sap. This movie was leaps and bounds better than I thought that it would be, and it’s miles ahead of the other X-Men movies, but you can’t ignore the fact that it was a bad movie. They still have yet to make a good X-Men movie in my eyes. If you’re a super hardcore X-Men fan go see it because I know you have to. If you know nothing about the X-Men you’ll probably enjoy this. But if you know the comic and feel the need to see it, save yourself some time.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:33 pm

http://issacmj.blogspot.com/2011/07/152-x-men-first-class.html

Sunday, July 03, 2011
#152: X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class is the fifth in the series of X-Men movies that date back to 2000. 11 years after thrilling the world with their first offering, this year's X-Men: First Class is the the prequel to all the four movies that have came so far- the Genesis, if you like. It is obvious that the franchise has a loyal following and the studios want to leverage every bit of history that can be thought of. What the producers / studios have very smartly done in this case is that while individual origins of the key characters can continue ( Wolverine, Magneto...), a version that preceded everything would not only increase the fan base immensely but also reduce sequel attrition that is likely to hit the subsequent versions.

So this one is not about any specific character but about everyone who was around when the mutants had started their race on planet Earth in the early 1960s. The writers also place the story in the context of the Cuban Missile crisis thus very deftly integrating a universal theme with the main characters. The protagonist is the man after whom the term X-Men is coined, Professor Xavier, effectively portrayed by James McAvoy. James' Xavier, a sharp thinker and a man inscrutably above board, who believes that mutants and mortals can co-exist on earth. His best friend Magneto played by Michael Fassbender doesn't believe that the co-existence will ever be a reality. Even as they are brought together by the CIA to assist in the delicate missile crisis, where the CIA suspects mutants are involved, that difference of opinion between the two becomes a irreconcilable divisive point. Bad man Kevin Bacon never seemed sinister enough to destroy the world and yet he as Sebastian Shaw, is the man who is out to instigate a nuclear war between Russia and U.S. In terms of acting apart from McAvoy there's little else that's convincing. Fassbender's motive of revenge for his mother's death is a cliche that fails to cut ice and his lifeless expressions fail to evoke empathy.

But where the movie delivers is the gripping action between the divisive groups. The frenetic pace of the story is such that there are no dull moments. The sub-plot of Magneto's revenge is weak in concept but executed well. Similarly, the climax where U.S. and Russia are brought to within touching distance of a nuclear war is nail-biting stuff. As in all good superhero movies, the special effects are mind-boggling and in spite of being the fifth movie in the series, the novelty factor is still around to elicit for those 'wows'.

The best thing about X-Men First Class is the fact that anyone can watch it and believe, in spite of four other pre-existing movies, that this was the beginning. It was important thus for the filmmakers to make you buy into the concept of mutants and entice you enough to look forward to the future installments. Achieving one of those mandatories would've made it a good movie and achieving both would earn them a fan. Suffice to say, I've become a fan.

Rating: 7.2/10
Posted by IssacMJ at 9:33 PM
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:37 pm

http://jveclectic.blogspot.com/2011/07/x-men-beginning.html

Sunday, July 3, 2011
X-Men: The Beginning


X-Men: First Class is an entertaining prequel/re-invention of the X-Men saga (it's Batman Begins, X-Men style). Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Kick-Ass), the story follows the parallel development of James McAvoy's Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr (who later becomes known under a more familiar name). After a brief prologue showing the childhood days of Xavier & Lensherr, this well-made film follows the formation of the X-Men team, during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. It's an exciting movie that's equal parts science-fiction, spy thriller & slam bang action.

McAvoy does a good job as Professor X, with an interpretation of the character that's a little different from the Patrick Stewart version we've seen before. Fassbender is excellent as Lensherr, who develops into the character X-fans know as Magneto (played by Ian McKellen in the earlier X-films). Kevin Bacon is deliciously evil as the villainous Sebastian Shaw, with January Jones (Mad Men) assisting him as the beautiful but deadly Emma Frost. We see some familiar characters among the team of mutants that Xavier assembles, and a few new ones as well. There are also memorable cameos by two cast members from the previous X-films (though you may miss one because it's so brief). There are also a lot of familiar faces in the supporting cast, including Oliver Platt and Michael Ironside.

To say too much about the story would spoil the fun, but the film mixes fact and fiction as Bacon's villain tries to start World War III at a time when tensions between the U.S. and Russia were high, and the there was a real threat of nuclear war. One of the co-writers and producers on the film is Bryan Singer, who directed the well-received X-Men and X-Men 2 (but not the less successful X-Men: The Last Stand), so that helps the film, even though some of the X-history is re-written a bit. The action sequences and special effects are first rate. X-Men: First Class is one of the best of the recent slate of superhero films, and is fun for fans and non-fans alike.
Posted by John V at 11:26 AM
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:46 pm

http://docuniverse.blogspot.com/2011/07/review-x-men-first-class-2011-by-th.html

Sunday, July 3, 2011
Review: X-Men: First Class (2011) by TH
Posted by TheHrunting at 4:50 AM

The X-Men in groovy training pants

Marvel Comics and its embodiments have been rearranging and manipulating the past and present to include how super-heroes would have done it differently since the golden days of Captain America punching the lights out of Hitler. Fast forward to the early '60s and we get revisionism of the Cold War by splicing fantasy and realism to include a look at where "mutants"--super-humans with odd mutations in their DNA giving them special abilities--fit in to society. Is the world ready to accept these flukes of nature even if it's to save the Kennedy/communist era world from nuclear war on the brink? Well, at the center of the story involves two men who look at the dilemma quite differently: an idealist junior professor from a handed down wealthy background and another man who survived from the ground up in the bleak Nazi concentration camps.

The beginning of X-Men: before distinct suits and names, before mutants collectively showed their ugly or beautiful side--however you want to look at it--for fear of ridicule, misunderstandings and unequal treatment. Think back to when glasses, fat kids and braces got the giggles and swirlies in the john, except the characters here instead transform certain flawed characteristics into epic super powers that would cause the normal person to stand still in their tracks and not quite possibly believe their eyes. Professor X: a telepath with persuasion; Riptide: wind control; Banshee: voice projection; Azazel: instant teleportation. These are just some of the select super heroes and villains before they knew everything about what it is to truly being one.

Where there are specially gifted spread out, they all have something in common and the story brings them closer together to either destroy or save humanity. Some mutants still find it in them to do good, others say the heck with the regulars who won't except them for who they are, and then, of course, there are the true villains who exploit their powers for gain. As a boy Erik (Michael Fassbender) was introduced to Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) due to being sighted as talented in the dreary concentration camps of Poland in 1944. Erik's powers of controlling metal objects only came out with extreme rage, so Shaw being the nice Nazi he is callously disposes of someone to see this come out. This creates a tormented vendetta against the man who unlocked his hidden abilities but also took something that can't be given back. By now Shaw is a little harder to get ahold of with a strong group of mutants behind him. He uses them to press a political agenda to pit Russia and the United States against each other, while he reaps the reward of the fallout.

What made "X-Men: First Class" work was there was a layered story that was dramatic while not missing out on a constantly moving adventurous side. Since this squeezes numerous characters, frequent location and language changes, not to mention two battling nations in one reasonably lengthened movie, some things do fall a little too in place to benefiting the story all coming together in one big related catastrophe at the same time. Some complex inventions and training sessions came a little too conveniently, but when are they ever realistically shown? While the mutants are at the forefront, the regular humans miss out on depth and range. Their personalities go from completely wooden to just tentatively going along for the ride to nail it home that they're utterly closed-minded to push a definitive persecution tone without question.

This is an entertaining experience that's both for comic book fans and regular cinema goers as it takes it all a little more seriously than other massive budget popcorn pictures by measuring out fantasy and injecting realism--including violence and people that "actually" die in a comic book story--to make one's imagination crack wide open and put in the direct moment. That is till someone has to go back to the day-to-day grind where they might daydream of stopping that bully, taking out that robber and if there was a power to give themselves a raise at work, I'm sure they'd do that to.

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne
Website: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1270798/
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:48 pm

http://fandommenacepodcast.com/2011/07/03/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class is a 2011 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios super hero action film and is based off the Marvel Comics series of the same name. It is a reboot of the X-Men movie franchise that started in 2000 with X-Men, and was followed by two sequels: 2003′s X2 and 2006′s X-Men: The Last Stand, and a prequel/spinoff film in 2009 with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. X-Men: First Class was released in 2D only.

This film stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Academy Award Nominee Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Lucas Till, Caleb Landry Jones, Zoë Kravitz, Jason Flemyng, Álex González, with Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon.

The music is written and composed by Henry Pryce Jackman.

The film is produced by 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios, Donners’ Company, Bad Hat Harry Productions, and Marv Films. It is distributed by 20th Century Fox.

it is directed by Matthew Vaughn.

All right, X-Men: First Class is without a doubt the best movie I have seen this year (even though it’s only June). I haven’t enjoyed a comic book film this much since 2008 when DC‘s The Dark Knight hit theaters in July. YES IT’S THAT GOOD IN MY OPINION!!! Just about everything was right with the movie.

The overall story was extremely impressive. The setting of the 1960s and the Cuban Missile Crisis was the perfect backdrop for this movie. Director Matthew Vaughn really used everything he could to his advantage, including reshooting the opening scene to X-Men to use for his movie.

Every actor did an impressive job in their roles, but the true highlights of the film have to be James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Kevin Bacon. Each one of these men definitely brought their A games to this movie. McAvoy’s portrayal of Charles Xavier was truly exceptional. His cocky and superior attitude was such a breath of fresh air for the character. It was such an awesome experience to watch the character mature on screen into who we would all eventually know the character to be. The same can be said about Fassbender and his portrayal of Erik Lensherr is just perfect in my eyes. He took what the great Ian McKellen started with the original film and made it his own completely. The friendship between Charles and Erik is an amazing thing to see on the screen. While you hear about their friendship in the other films, seeing it actually play out was something else all together. And finally, KEVIN BACON!!! As the villain, Sebastian Shaw, Kevin Bacon was a force to be feared. With the huge pompous attitude, Italian suits, and power to absorb energy, Sebastian Shaw is one of the most badass characters to ever come out of the X-Men universe. Kevin Bacon played the character with such ease that he was able to just have fun throughout the entire movie.

All the other characters felt like complete individuals, even the ones that didn’t get a lot of screen time (There wasn’t one of them that felt like they needed more, and at the same time, none of them felt like they were just shoe-horned into the movie just to have more mutants in the movie.

The score for the film was written by Henry Jackman, who is a relative new comer to the scene. However, my personal feelings about this…he killed the music in the film. This is (at this time) my favorite score of the year. Every song perfectly fit the scene it was playing in. A personal shout out to the recruiting scene, training montage, and raising the sub!!!

Matthew Vaughn proved to Fox why not letting him direct X-Men: The Last Stand was the worst decision that they could have made (especially since they replaced him with that hack Brett Ratner). Everything from the story, to the actors, to the special effects were just spot on. And with a budget of only $120M…I think Fox is kicking themselves in the ass over Brett Ratner and Gavin Hood, especially considering X-Men: The Last Stand cost a whopping $210M and X-Men Origins: Wolverine cost $150M, and both of those movies were just plain awful.

Honestly, the one complaint I can say about this movie is that I didn’t think it was long enough, even with a playtime of about 2 hours and 20 minutes. I would have loved to have seen a longer training montage (just because I’m a fan of training montages), maybe some more time with the recruiting scenes…things like that.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there are two EXCELLENT cameos in the film.

With all of that said, X-Men: First Class (as of the middle of the year) is my favorite and best movie of the year.

a 9 out of 10

(release date: 3 June 2011)

~ by Matt Whitfield on July 3, 2011.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:55 pm

http://btr.michaelkwan.com/2011/07/01/movie-reviews-canada-day-edition/

Movie Reviews: Canada Day Edition
July 1st, 2011 by Michael Kwan

First off, I’d like to wish a very happy Canada Day to all of my fellow Canucks. Today, we celebrate the 144th “birthday” of our great nation and what better way to celebrate, aside from eating bacon and maple syrup, than to slouch into a comfortable chair and catch a movie? Here are a few that I’ve watched recently.

Originally, this movie was supposed to be a follow-up to X-Men Origins: Wolverine and it was supposed to be called X-Men Origins: Magneto. That project didn’t quite pan out, but they expanded beyond the Magneto origin story to include the origin of the X-Men too.

And so, X-Men: First Class was born. Initially, I expected Hollywood to butcher the concept, but as the trailers started to make their way out into the world, I saw glimmers of hope that soon become flashes of genius. I wouldn’t say that X-Men: First Class is particularly brilliant, but it does do a very good job at keeping you entertained while still offering some powerful moments related to how the X-Men came to be.

The exchanges between a young Charles Xavier (Professor X, played by James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender of Inglourious Basterds fame) are particularly powerful. The scene where Xavier tells Lensherr (who hadn’t yet “evolved” into the Magneto character) that the greatest power “lies somewhere between rage and serenity” is particularly enthralling, really building up how this relationship really is built on friendship and mutual respect before it disintegrates due to difference of opinion.

Yes, the script exercises a fair bit of creative license (Havok and Darwin are definitely not original X-Men members), but I’m okay with that. Overall, the presentation is well done, the action and storytelling keep you captivated, and X-Men: First Class provides a happy “comic book movie” treat for everyone.

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Post by Admin on Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:56 pm

http://feedthevoices.blogspot.com/2011/06/got-class-thanks-charles.html

Thursday, June 30, 2011
Got Class? Thanks, Charles
"Shut the f&#! up!" I shouted into their soft, pasty-white teenage/twenty-something faces.

The whole theatre turned to look at the commotion. There I stood in the middle of about a hundred and fifty people, face red with rage, yelling at these two pricks. I gave them my best approximation of The Look that was supposed to show that I meant business. That I was ready -and more importantly, willing- to start some s$#!. I thought that through sheer will alone I could overpower this pair of idiots.

I was wrong.

They laughed. Told me to shut the f&#! up and sit back down. Gave me the finger. Threw their popcorn in my face. Before those golden clusters had time to bounce off my face and reach the ground I had already hopped over my the back of my theatre seat and right on top of these assholes. Tactically I may have had the upperground, though I wasn't sure if Ryebone and my brother-in-law had followed me into the fray or not. It was too late now anyway.

It was satisfying the see the smug little smiles wiped from their soft, pink faces replaced by terror. One of them tried to escape, but I grabbed him by his shirt collar and reeled him back in. Fight or flight. Flight had failed, so he took a big, clumsy swing at me. Who the f&#! do you think you are? Wolverine? I easily brushed aside his pathetic attack and responded in kind. Jab. Liver. Cross. Right over the edge and into the next row of seats. Patrons scattering like ants.

The other geek -seeing his friend in serious trouble- grabs me around the neck in some kind of vain attempt to put me into a choke hold like the kind he'd undoubtedly seen on TV. Pathetic. As I turn around I bring my elbow up, striking him in the face. Hard. He reels backwards, and I notice how his glasses somehow stay on. He lands hard half on the seats, half on the floor and immediately I'm on top of him with my hands around his throat. And it feels so f#%@#&! good when I squeeze. The fall took the wind out of him and I think his shoulder is out of joint so he doesn't put up much of a fight. He flops around like dying fish trying to get back to water. His eyes are bloodshot now and seem to be popping out of his head. He stares up at me with some vain hope in his eyes, like if he concentrates really hard he can shoot a blast of optic energy at me like Cyclops. No such luck, hombre.

I squeze even harder and I can feel my thumbs digging deeper into his trachea and his lips are a strange shade of blue now and all I can think is His f#%@#&! glasses are still on? How is that possible? His eyes are rolling back in his head and I hear myself saying something like:

"Maybe next time you won't talk through the whole movie, you f#%@#&! douche bag!"

And it feels so satisfying.

Unfortunately (for me) it didn't go down like that at all. Instead I sat through X-MEN: FIRST CLASS seething, choking back my rage while the two morons behind us delivered their running commentary through the whole f#%@#&! movie. And not even whispering either. It was regular conversation volume.

What a piss-off.

Then there was the group of kids sitting at five o'clock about halfway back in the theatre with their own special kind of annoyance. Overall it was one of the worst movie-going experiences I've ever had despite the latest X-MEN flick being a decent movie. After reading the beginning of this article you might be asking yourself several things:

1) Why do I seem like such and angry, violent person?
2) Why didn't I turn aroud an say something to these assholes who talked through an entire movie?
3) Am I some kind of pussy? (a corollary to 2)
4) Would anybody else in the theatre have actually testified against me had I followed through with my violent fantasy?

Well first off, no I'm not really that angry of a person. But sometimes The Rage builds up inside me and one way of dealing with my rage is through violent fantasies usually involving my percieved wrongdoer. I assume this a natural way of dealing with my anger without actually walking around punching people in the face which would be counterproductive and also really hard on my knuckles.

Secondly I didn't turn around to confront these knob gobblers for two (what I assume are) very good reasons. Or at least valid reasons. The first reason is because no matter how the scenario played out in my head, no matter what I would have said or done to the commentators, I could only foresee the situation escalating to a point I wasn't willing to go to. And the second reason was because if I had turned around my Rage was at the point where I almost certainly would have precipitated an escalation (see: the first line of this article). And anyway we're socially programmed to avoid confrontation, which was probably a good instinct in this case. I've never actually witnessed a movie theatre "incident" so I have no idea if it is ever possible to diffuse a situation with assholes of this calibre. If you have then kudos to you and I'd like to hear your insight on the situation.

Thirdly, I might be some kind of pussy. I don't know. (If you lick me, do I taste like fish? (I've never actually thought pussy tasted like fish, but that's the cultura reference people tend to understand.)) Sometimes I get this clear vision of what needs to be done and te corresponding burst of will to do it, and sometimes I feel contrained by the power of my social programming to just shut the f&#! up and ignore s$#!. Just blend in. Another space monkey. It tends to be easier not to enter into a confrontation, because if you do you might have to follow through. Honestly, I didn't think asking a couple of guys to shut the f&#! up while I watched the movie was worth A) Potentially having the tables turned on me and getting caught up in their s$#! and maybe getting kicked out of the theatre along with them or B) Potentially entering anescalating conflict which culminated with me having to lay the beatdown on a couple of ubernerds.

Fourthly I can only speak to my own personal feelings about the matter, but if a couple of assholes who were making my night shittier by the minute were subsquently confronted and beaten to bloody pulps, not only would I not testify in a court of law against said Hero, but I would also build a shrine to him and pray to it semi-annually from now until the time I forgot. I can't think of anyone who would side with the douche bags except other douche bags who, sadly, have multiplied like rats over the past couple of years and have now become one of North America's leading house pests.

It was unfortunate that my viewing of X-MEN: FIRST CLASS was sullied by such douche baggery as Matthew Vaughn did a really good job with this film. I'm torn about Vaughn because the same guy who gave us the underrated (?) yet totally awesome LAYER CAKE also delivered the stinking heap that was KICK-ASS (and before I get any responses outlining all the reasons KICK-ASS did indeed kick ass, let me break it to you: the movie sucked). Plus with poor showings like the even stinkier and best-forgotten heap of s$#! X3 and the only slightly better X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE I did not have high hopes despite Ryebone's willingness to bet his collection of celebrity urine that I would indeed "love the bitch."

In my mind Vaughn has more than made up for KICK-ASS. FIRST CLASS is an excellent addition to the X-Men movie mythology (a point of order for hardcore comic book geeks) and a solid stand alone movie in and of itself. Now for me this movie wasn't quite as good as Bryan Singer's first two X-Films, but still a movie I would actually consider purchacing.

I won't bore you with the plot, but if you've seen the trailers and/or been on the internet in the past year you'll pretty much know the basic plot. The focus is on Charles Xavier (AKA Professor X) and Eric Lehnsherr (AKA Magneto) and how they became frenemies, and how the original X-Men came to be formed and then mixed up in some key events in the Cold War way back in 1960-something. All that'snot really important, because you can go and watch the f#%@#&! thing yourself so you don't need me to regurgitate the thing for you. Needless to say the plot is smart and cohesive and "makes sense" in the colloquial sense.

One of the main threads that ran through the movie that I thought was interesting was Eric Lehnsherr's backstory which picks up with the first scene of 2000's X-MEN in which he's a young man in a Nazi concentration camp seprated from his parents and doing funky s$#! with metal. Almost immediately after this he meets none other than... Kevin Bacon, who for some reason still feels weird to see in a movie like this. Don't get me wrong, he did a great job, it just doesn't seem like his kind of vibe. Of course this played right into Ryebone's (sometimes frightening) obsession with that game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon which was popular back when I was still in high school and which to this day Ryebone takes so seriously he still refers to it as a "contact sport." After the movie was over he looked at me and in all seriousness told me that a blockbuster movie like this with so many new connections to Kevin Bacon would change the game forever, and to make it more challenging might have to be changed to Four Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and I could tell by the fervour in his eyes that he would brook no dissent on the matter. His intensity kind of scared me and I wisely deferred to him on all things Bacon-related.

While X-MEN: FIRST CLASS is an X-Men movie that follows a team of mutants trying to save humanity (again for the first time!) the core of the film is really the relationship of pre-Professor X and Magneto, which was surprisingly complex. The movie really could have been called CHARLES AND ERIC. A large part was the tighter writing in this installment, and a lot of props also go to the actors -James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender- who brought a lot of pathos to the roles (Charles and Eric respectively). I don't reall seeing McAvoy in anything before, but he was a pretty solid choice to portray a younger version of the character made famous by Patrick Stewart (do I smell a Star Trek: The Next Generation reboot in the works?). I guess the balance you have to maintain in the case of a prequel like this is not having the younger version of the character totally the same as his older self, while not being comletely different either. The young Charles Xavier in this movie is just finishing up his doctoral thesis (on mutation, what else?) and although seems a lot more mature for his age (30-ish?) he's also a bit of a womanizer, which is pretty cool. Mutants need to get laid too, right? Fassbender did a kick-ass job as young Magneto as well and his character focus in this movie was rage. It was kind of cool to see the character arc starting to form from Fassbender's pure rage and revenge to Ian McKellan's cold, calculating mission to further the rights of mutants the world over. I didn't realize until later that I was already a fan of Fassbender's having witnessed his exploits in both 300 and INGLOROIOUS BASTERDS.

One of the coolest things that FIRST CLASS added to the mythology for me was regarding Professor X's powers. I mean, we already knew he had telepathy, and mind control, and he can make people see what he wants them to see, and in general cloud the minds of men, and maybe even kill someone if he thinks about them too hard. What we never really saw were the personal consequences of using his powers. In FIRST CLASS there are a couple of really cool scenes were Charles devles into Eric's mind and while he's in there the connection is -at least in part- mutual. When Charles goes through all the s$#! Eric had to go through what with the Nazi's and the brutal murder of his mother and whatnot, there's actually an emotional connection and he literally feels Eric's pain. Which kind of makes sense. I mean, you're melding with somebody else's mind, there must be a line where the distinction between the two minds becomes blurred and... sounds really f#%@#&! nerdy, like I'm actually debaing the logistics of telepathy like it's actually a real thing. Oh god, what have I become.

Other major plot points involve a young Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) in a sort of love triangle with Charles and Eric, Beast (Nicholas Hoult) becoming the big blue Beast we all know and love, Emma Frost (January Jones) psychically humping some Russian general and Michael Ironside trying to stop the Cold War from going hot. We also get to see this mutant called Azazel who -like Nightcrawler- has the ability to teleport, which on the surfac doesn't seem that great, but in the context of the X-Men films seems to be one of the coolest powers you could ever want to have. One of the best action scenes of X-MEN 2 was the first scene where Nightcrawler fucks s$#! up in the Whitehouse and shows how uber-powerful he really is. In FIRST CLASS Azazel has not one but two totally awesome action scenes one of which again shows ho a teleporter is just like a one man army. Fans of either comic books or comic book movies also get rewarded with a lot of cool s$#! like a prototype 60's-style Cerebro, a bevy of mutants like Havoc and Banshee, and pretty kick-ass X-Men uniforms with a colour-scheme that channels the classic look in the comics. You get your standard training montage where Charles Xavier (with a little help from Hank McCoy) helps everyone reach his or her full potential. There's also a cameo by a certain clawed mutant (OK, it's Wolverine) making sure that there will be no X-Men movie ever made that doesn't feature Hugh Jackman. At the end of the movie you also get to see Fassbender in full Magneto getup which is pretty awesome.

Before I wrap this s$#! up, I have to make mention of one one of the best and worst parts of the movie. If you've ever watched Mad Men then you will immediately recognize January Jones in the role of Emma Frost. Now, in that show I always found Jones kind of... I think "stiff" is the right word. Unable to emote. Is there a single word for that? I think for Mad Men this style works because her character is supposed to be emotionally and sexually repressed and supressed. Then I saw Jones in UNKNOWN, and she seemed to be acting (and I use the term "acting" very loosely in her case) exactly the same as she did in Mad Men. Then I saw her "performance" in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and I finally realized what the problem was: January Jones can't act. She simply recites her lines mechanically with the exact same inflection every single time, like some kind of script-regurgitating robot with a really nice rack. Unfortunately for her having nice t**s will not help her acting, and unfortunately for audiences having nice t**s will undoutedly help her acting (regurgitating) career so I'm sure we will be forced to endure more of her s$#! for years to come. I think Ryebone's take was that she seemed like she was just reading cue cards or something that somebody was holding for her behind the camera, which is really what it seemed like she was doing.

The other (slightly) annoying thing here was trying to populate the movie X-Universe with a back-catalogue of characters. I mean, I'm not a hardcore comic book reader and most of knowledge about the X-Men comes from that awesome 90's cartoon, so I know the main characters like Cyclops, Beast, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Storm, Rogue, and Gambit. It just seems like in FIRST CLASS they're scraping the bottom of the barrel. I mean I kind of knew about Havoc and Banshee, but then there's characters like Darwin, and the weird alternate-Angel. Then there's the one bad guy -I don't even know what the f&#! his name was- but he was basically Tornado Man, and he was pretty much a tool. Even the main villain Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon. I wonder if Wendy's has to pay him royalties for using the name Baconator for one of its sandwiches...) I had to look up. The problem is they really blew their load in the first two films, went completely f#%@#&! insane in the third film, and then they set this movie forty years in the past before mostof the other characters from the first movies were even born really painting themselves into a corner.

But anyway. Although I had to endure an entire feature-length commentary from a couple of douche bags in the third row I was still able to enjoy X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. And if you liked the other X-Men movies (except X3) then you'll enjoy this one too. I give X-MEN: FIRST CLASS a 7.5/10 = One Head Slowly Being Labotamized By A Magnetically Controlled Quarter.

Posted by NAH at 8:26 PM
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Post by Admin on Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:58 pm

http://www.screenmachine.tv/2011/07/01/x-men-first-class/

Review: X-Men: First Class
by James Douglas - published 01/07/11

Although any and all think-pieces on the state of contemporary film (or the ‘here’s what wrong with film today’ article) are detestable, I’m going to propose to you that there is a crisis in contemporary action filmmaking, and that Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class is a form of relief.

Spearheaded by filmmakers as diverse as Michael Bay, Paul Greengrass and Peter Jackson, the contemporary action sequence is generally marked by spatial disorganisation, incoherence in shot structuring and sequencing (often passed off as ‘kineticism’) and an unmotivated emphasis on spectacle. Basic rules of thumb dictating that action should be motivated by character and grounded in conflict result in tediously arbitrary obstacles in these sequences (we have to get to that MacGuffin through this burning building!) and embarrassingly schizophrenic characterisation (I cannot go with you through this burning building!).

Vaughn, throughout his brief four-film career, has demonstrated an innate understanding of the primal dynamics of action cinema, aided by a crack conductor’s sense of tempo and pacing. He knows that the best action scenes are at heart equations of cause and effect, with events breeding inevitable and escalating consequences, and logistical problems, where character’s established capabilities can be activated at pre-ordained moments but only with already intuited limitations and nullifications. More importantly, he and his writers (frequent collaborator Jane Goldman, I think, deserves a lot of credit) understand that these rules cannot be shoe-horned post-conceptually, but must grow organically out of the demands of the narrative and the characters. He also knows that upping the stakes of an action sequence is not the same as upping the antics – a single bullet fired, if grounded in a moment of revelation for the character, is worth a thousand exploding buildings.

This is all just a long way of saying that my enthusiasm, both emotional and analytic, for the climax of First Class, is boundless. The film is cleverly structured as a giant coming out party both for mutant characters and for mutant-kind in general, as they take up or test their abilities and enter onto the world stage. The opening salvo of the climax and big-money moment, familiar from the trailers, has Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (played by Michael Fassbender) levitating an entire submarine out of the sea and dumping it on a Cuban beach. The moment connects both as a galvanisingly cathartic character beat (the film is in part the story of Lehnsherr’s ascension into his full abilities) as well as an appalling display of power that sets the course for the fate of the mutants throughout the close of the narrative.

The rest of the climax unfolds, to my mind, as a model of what all superhero films, or indeed all action films, should aspire to. Multiple groups of adversaries (here including Navies both American and Soviet, and mutants both good and evil) confront each across a spatially well-defined arena of conflict, and as sub-groups split off to conduct their own battles, Vaughn and his writers carefully and speedily collapse these sub-conflicts until all parties are drawn inexorably together into one final showdown. The axis of the arch-conflict shifts cleanly as these sub-conflicts are dispatched, obstacles arise, are overcome, and are re-formed (an admirable amount of business is found, particularly, in the mechanics of where and when James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier can extend his telepathic abilities). By the time the whole thing comes to a head the orientation of individuals and parties, as well as the consequences of the entire conflagration, has shifted perceptibly in a way that’s thrilling, emotionally resonant, and motivated by character. It’s kind of structurally perfect, and a joy to watch, and proof that Vaughn and his collaborators just plain get this kind of filmmaking on a cellular level, and have a sure grasp on the principles which are otherwise misused and abused by their contemporaries.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:59 pm

http://www.willistonobserver.com/this-weeks-popcorn-%E2%80%9Cx-men-first-class%E2%80%9D/

This Week’s Popcorn – “X-Men: First Class”
June 30, 2011 By ally
More like a close second

By Michael S. Goldberger
Special to the Observer

When I was young, a look back at how one of my superheroes began his life of noble and illustrious deeds always tickled my fancy. But, as “X-Men” is not among those comic books I read under bedcovers via flashlight late into the night and, alas, I have now reached the age of majority, “X-Men: First Class” holds no special place in my heart.

Still, judging director Matthew Vaughn’s action-filled back-story solely on its individual merits, sans the devotional baggage of a card-carrying enthusiast, well, it’s not half bad. Nevertheless, while agreeably acted and astutely filmed, it doesn’t veer very far from the typical template of its genre. While I view this from the perspective of the Great Unwashed, as equipped to discern its historical accuracy as I am likely to hear a silent dog whistle, a steady stream of witty references and paeans to the franchise should win fan approval. Whether all the minutiae and canonical postulations are there, I respectfully leave to their Sanhedrin.

Insofar as its role as a sci-fi piece is concerned, it smartly does what’s expected. That is, tell the truth. Let’s face it. The real truth is in fiction, between the lines, uncompromised by interests that make it harder and harder to get the real skinny on things, especially if money is at stake. Science fiction is storytelling’s philosophical, moral-spouting cousin.

The lesson taught in this recollection of how the league of human mutants known as X-Men came to be is nothing less than tolerance. In the first scene of the first act, we are transported to what surely must be an example of the least merciful venue of all time. In Auschwitz, Eric Lehnsherr, a Jewish teenager, captures the interest of Dr. Schmidt.

Violently torn from his parents during initial incarceration in the Nazi German death camp, young Lehnsherr displays his ability to act as a human magnet, invisibly tugging at the gates that divide his family. Embodying the madness of genetic experimentation, Dr. Schmidt figures he can tap into the phenomenon and, of course, rule the world.

Meanwhile, in peaceful contrast to that evil, the camera pans to a pastoral, castle-like estate in Westchester, N.Y. There, fortunate and telepathically privileged, James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier meets Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), the female mutant who will become his Platonic soul mate, also to be referred to as Mystique.

Fast-forward and Kevin Bacon’s Dr. Schmidt, ever young looking thanks to mutant gene inspiration and now known as Sebastian Shaw, is instigating international bad vibes that will ultimately foment the Cuban missile crisis. This megalomania isn’t lost on Erik (Michael Fassbender) who, with Nazi hunter zeal, travels to Argentina to settle a score.

Skip a beat or two and certain parties within the CIA are in on the scene, figuring how they can harness this new power to work on their behalf. Naturally, not everyone is in concert on the potential, albeit convincingly promoted by Oliver Platt’s glibly portrayed insider known simply as Man in Black Suit.

Even so, the mysterious operative invites Erik and Charles to his Virginia installation in a sort of hip variation on the Manhattan Project. There, they meet boy genius/jet plane designer Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) who, unbeknownst to the CIA, just happens to be a fellow mutant. They have the beginnings of a team, and set out to recruit others.

Now bear in mind, if you’re going to truly imbibe this stuff, every mutant has a specific super attribute and some are given two names. Among those gathered at the secret compound, for example, Armando Muñoz (Edi Gathegi), also known as Darwin, can adapt to any environment.

Dig it when he sticks his head in an aquarium and grows gills. Others drawn to campus are, Sean Cassidy/Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), who screams supersonically (don’t want your kid emulating him); Alex Summers/Havok (Lucas Till) grows plasma rings from his body; and Angel Salvadore (Zoë Kravitz), previously an exotic dancer, sprouts wings and spits acid. Boy, wonder who inspired her character.

Unfortunately, these neophytes quickly show that they aren’t quite ready for prime time heroics. And it couldn’t come at a less opportune time as the components that make for summer blockbuster success kick in here like gangbusters. This means endless battles, lots of loud music, special effects and whatever else it takes to obscure sensible thought.

Happily, the basic ethos survives the perfunctory cataclysms well enough to explain the eventual rift among X-Men and lay the foundation for events to follow in films we’ve already seen. Thus, in addition to pleasing adherents, “X-Men: First Class” also serves as an introductory course for daring viewers curious to learn what all the shouting is about.

“X-Men: First Class,” rated PG-13, is a Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation release directed by Matthew Vaughn and stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. Running time: 132 minutes
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Post by Admin on Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:16 pm

http://www.geekachicas.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=first-class-not-a-reboot.html&Itemid=55

First Class: Not a Reboot

Posted by: Darth Sweetums on Jun 29, 2011 Print PDF

Darth Sweetums

The hip thing to do with comic movies now seems to be the reboot. They’re doing it with the Superman and Spiderman universes, in spite of the very recent and successful movies previously made. The theme seems to be, new producers and directors = reboot comic book movie franchise.

I know what you’re thinking. Some of the reboots have been more successful than their original predecessors, such as Batman (If you touch it, I’ll murder you) and the latest attempt at The Incredible Hulk.

Setting all of those aside, let’s think about the genre of comic book movies as a whole for a second. Over the past decade, we’ve basically been bombarded by at least one comic book movie during the summer movie seasons. This summer I counted seven, including those based on graphic novels. When I was thinking about writing this, I found myself wondering what kicked that off originally.

We have older super hero movies with the ever beloved Christopher Reeve as Superman, and the amusing yet questionable attempts at the Batman universe after the Adam West television show. But that was basically it aside from the other television shows and cartoons back in the day.

So, what started the massive box office insanity of the modern comic book movie, with budgets that would make me faint and actors that manage to do the same? (Yes, that’s yours Hugh, and a bit for Chris Hemsworth. Okay, and have you seen Michael Fassbender?)

If you’ll remember, the first live action X-Men movie directed by Brian Singer, and released in the summer of 2000, was one of the first modern comic book movies that not only captured the essence of what we loved about the characters, but made the story and the idea real enough that it didn’t appear campy or head-tiltingly awkward.

This summer, over a decade later, we got our fifth X-Men in X-Men: First Class. (Yes, I counted Wolverine. But don’t be miffed by that. Be miffed by the fact that they’re making another one.) Some may consider this to be a kind of a reboot for the X-Men series, and a much needed one at that. After the last two movies, the franchise that started the comic-book-to-movie insanity that we’re seeing now was left starving, clawing desperately in the dark for its “precious” fan base (and some fresh fish).

But, is it a reboot at all? It may be, but more in the way that Terminator Salvation was a reboot for the Terminator series.

Moving away from that pointless debate, X-Men: First Class is equal to its first two predecessors in story, casting, characterization, humor and everything else we loved about those movies. It doesn’t overwrite them, and that’s important. I would say that First Class hits audiences even more realistically than the first two X-Men. Because it is a prequel by definition – it takes place forty plus years in the past, in the early sixties – one of the main jobs of this movie was to take the characters we already love, and help us as the audience to know them better through their past experiences.

This was achieved magnificently, especially in the main two characters, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto/Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender). The story, of course, mainly focused on these two, bringing in their pasts, and how it influenced the decisions they made when they were older, thus leading to their separation, and well known debate on “mutant superiority” carried out by the talents of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the earlier movies.

That idea was portrayed the most fluidly in Magneto. In First Class Magneto/Erik is a sympathetic character, almost more so than Xavier. Together, they balanced each other out as characters, and as actors – so much so that we looked forward to further scenes with the pair of them. Though it was close to a “Hey, by the way, Anakin becomes Darth Vader.” ending – the curse of the prequel – there was still hope that somehow, they would remain friends, and Xavier might actually help Magneto further out of his own darkness.

I won’t spoil it more than that for those who have not yet seen it.

As for the rest of the movie, there were your typical comic book takes; there was a very single-minded villain, Shaw, played delightfully by Kevin Bacon, and a massive risk of the destruction of the human race caused by said villain. I won’t go into it much more than that. My attempt to describe it would only cheapen it, and it wouldn’t be accurate at all.

Instead, I’ll move on to something that struck me personally, as a fan of science-fiction/fantasy in general. Actors who cannot act as though they are using their powers, gifts, or magic wands convincingly have irritated me since I was a kid. That is why I appreciate the adults in all of the Harry Potter movies so much. First Class is no exception either. Each actor did a fantastic job in “acting out” their powers. Again, I was deeply impressed with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in particular. (Kevin Bacon did an excellent job as well.) When you’re given an invisible ability to portray that will only be seen in when the digital effects are added to the film, I can understand that it would be a difficult task. McAvoy acting in such a way that he knew everything that was going on once he entered a room was wonderful. Fassbender, straining, and breaking out into a sweat as he tried to “move” an enormous metal object made me want to applaud in the middle of the theater.

First Class is a great movie with emotion, action, humor, (Two words: Bald. Jokes.) and very talented actors. When you do see it, don’t think of it as a reboot. Think of it more as a continuation of a universe and characters that deserve to be portrayed so well. That is exactly what it is.
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