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X-Men Reviews 6

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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:55 pm

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-Men: First Class (2011) - Movie Review
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After a disappointing sequel and a miserable prequel, the X-Men franchise returns to the big screen with a new cast, a new time period and a new look. From director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass), X-Men: First Class is an edgy reboot that entertains but fails to live up to expectations set by its predecessors.

X-Men: First Class is set in 1962 amidst the Cold War and looks at how Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) first met, formed the X-Men and became the mutants Professor X and Magneto. Opposing them is Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a powerful mutant who is determined to destroy all of humanity.

The movie looks and feels significantly different than the other X-Men movies. It plays out more like an international espionage thriller than a superhero movie; Vaughn jumps between a dozen locations in fast clips, barely stopping to breathe as he attempts to develop his multitudes of characters while maintaining an entertaining storyline.

X-Men: First Class is entertaining, and thanks to its fast-paced nature never comes close to being boring. It has a few good action sequences and rests on the strong performances by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. Kevin Bacon makes for a deliciously fun bad guy. It's also cool to see some new mutants, including Banshee, Azazel and Banshee.

The movie has a quasi-retro appearance to it, though Vaughn doesn't embrace the 60's fully; he could have done more to take advantage of the different decade, and other than the plot setting the characters don't behave like they're of a different generation. Frankly, though, Vaughn treats this big budget action thriller like Kick-Ass, and that's not good.

Kick-Ass is a wickedly entertaining and irreverent little film, but X-Men: First Class shouldn't be. It should be big, polished and powerful. Instead, the movie is rushed and raw, rough around the edges. With Kick-Ass, Vaughn could simply shrug these issues away, blaming them on the budget and story he's telling. With X-Men, the flaws are glaring. The special effects are adequate but plain, not representative of the reported $120 million or $160 million budget.

The bigger problem - and really the only problem that matters - is the screenplay. The movie attempts to do way too much in two hours; frankly, I was stunned to see so many story arcs completed in this film. By the end of the movie, Magneto has turned bad, Mystique (played by Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence) has aligned with Magneto, Professor X is paralyzed and the lines of war have been drawn.

Vaughn had the opportunity to make an epic trilogy, but instead tried to accomplish multiple and massive character arcs while simultaneously packing in tons of plot developments and action. Vaughn bites off more than he can chew, and it shows.

I rarely understood, let alone believed, many of the decisions the character make throughout the movie. Magneto and Professor X are supposed to be best friends, but they hardly spend enough time together to become such. Their relationship isn't convincing. The most convincing relationship is the one between Mystique and Professor X, yet when he is horribly injured she leaves him within minutes. A romantic relationship forms between Professor X and Moira (Rose Byrne), but they don't spend a single tender moment together until the very end; when Xavier makes his fateful decision, it isn't at all powerful or emotional. Other developments are strange as well, such as Angel's sudden change of allegiance.

Few if any of the characters are fleshed out to their potential, which is a real shame because Vaughn was in the perfect position to do so. Had he taken his time, had he been willing to delay some of these critical moments to later films, he could have made something great. Instead, he made something that is simply satisfactory.

X-Men: First Class is a good movie. It's entertaining and at times exciting. But given what it could have been, the movie falls far short of expectations and its potential.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:56 pm

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
X-Men: First Class
X-Men: First Class (Rated PG-13)

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

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Plot: Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr develop a friendship and bring together fellow mutants to battle a powerful foe in the time before they themselves would become enemies.

I was feeling pretty burnt out on this movie by the time it was finally released, and I wasn't even really looking forward to seeing it at midnight opening night. The publicity was almost more than I could take.

However, I have to admit, I really enjoyed the movie. I thought they did an amazing job tying together the mythos put in place in the first films with some new characters. James McAvoy does an excellent job as a young Professor X already intent on helping the mutants and hoping that one day they will be able to live in peace with humans. Michael Fassbender is also very good as a young Magneto torn between his friendship with X and his desire seek out revenge on those who wronged him as a child. Jennifer Lawrence continues to impress after her Oscar winning turn in Winter's Bone. Kevin Bacon is superb as an evil Nazi who is still intent on taking over the world two decades later. There are also a couple of awesome cameos that made the movie even more worthwhile.

X-Men: First Class is definitely a step in the right direction to relaunch the series. While I'm not an X3 hater, I absolutely detested Wolverine, so here's hoping the franchise continues along this route. I'm not a big reader of the comics either, so I wasn't upset with the inconsistencies in the film. I had a friend telling me how the comics were different afterwards, but even he enjoyed the movie.

X-Men: First Class touches on man's fears of people who are different. These themes are more fully explored in the earlier trilogy, but the movie lays the groundwork for what's to come. I really enjoyed the alternative history timeline which took the Cuban missile crisis down a completely different path.

Matthew Vaughn continues to grow as a director. From his start with Layer Cake up through last year's Kick-Ass, Vaughn shows that he has learned to mix humor with some darker elements. X-Men: First Class isn't perfect though. The movie is a little long and the incredible first half of the film loses some of its potency as the second half of the movie devolves into your standard super hero fare.

*****
Dad Suitability - While it has it's quiet moments, there's plenty of action to keep Dad entertained.

Kid Suitability - Rated PG-13 for violence and one F-Bomb (totally worth it), I wouldn't have a problem taking my near 9 year old to the film.
Posted by MovieDad at 3:32 AM
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:58 pm

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

Monday, June 6, 2011
"X-Men: First Class"
X-Men: First Class - Directed by Matthew Vaughn, written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, and Vaughn, story by Bryan Singer and Sheldon Turner, starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kevin Bacon - Rated PG-13

Cuban Missile Crisis, Nazi hunting, Fassbender as Magneto? Rock on!

The summer of superheroes, sequels, and prequels marches on but this prequel stands out because it works as a standalone film. X-Men: First Class still plays fan service enough to please the devotees but newcomers to the series are likely to enjoy this prequel as well. The film is a mixture of history, humor, and action that stands leaps and bounds above the previous prequel, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

While the last film in the series explained the origin of fan favorite Wolverine, this film leaves that character aside to explain the complicated friendship between Professor X/Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), all set to the background of the Cold War. The Cold War aspect works perfectly as an origin story to the X-Men universe as the original three films are basically about a cold war among mutants that eventually turns into a real war. These comic book characters have always been ripe for comparison to American history, from civil rights to Communist fear-mongering. First Class keeps that tradition alive by actively implanting the mutants in the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

The film isn’t just a about history, though. It’s primarily a film about how Magneto and Xavier met, became friends, and eventually ended up on opposite sides of a war. Fassbender and McAvoy are the glue that holds the film together. They work great together and if anything, there are not enough scenes featuring the duo. To be honest, Fassbender stands out a bit more than McAvoy, and his early Nazi-hunting scenes were interesting enough to be a movie on their own.

But First Class also has to give the background on some other characters like Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Emma Frost (January Jones), Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and many others. There may be a few too many characters, actually, but it’s not much of a problem for the film. The adversarial role goes to Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, a kind of precursor to Magneto in the later films, helmet and all. Bacon adds a bit of fun to the movie as the evil, Hugh Hefner-esque villain.

The inclusion of so many characters means that there is a lot of ground covered by the film and most of your questions about the original films will most likely be answered, though First Class will likely leave a few attentive viewers scratching their heads because some things mentioned in the previous four films are kind of ignored or flat out contradicted. It’s all pretty harmless stuff in the larger scheme of things but dorkier audience members might cry foul.

All comic book issues aside, First Class is successful in summer blockbuster terms as there are plenty of laughs and the action is compelling and easy to follow. Oh, and it wasn’t in 3D, which is very refreshing for a big summer movie. Some of the effects and costume choices might look a bit goofy to some, but when you factor in the 1960s setting, it all adds up and gives the film a distinctive style that sets it apart from other films in the series (something Wolverine failed to do.) It seems like director Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass) was just what the series needed.

First Class isn’t without its faults, however. As stated earlier, the film would have been more interesting had the focus been squarely on Fassbender and McAvoy. For instance, there were some great moments in a training montage in the second half of the film; if there had been two or three more scenes like that that the film would have been improved. To make room, the side story between Beast and Mystique could’ve been excised, since that storyline had already been covered with Rogue and Ice Man in the third film. Also, not all of the acting is top notch, January Jones is once again a weak link (as she was in Unknown), even though her role is to basically just sit around and look pretty. These are petty problems in an otherwise awesome movie, though.

X-Men: First Class should be enjoyable for fans and newbies alike. It does what a prequel should for the fans: it makes re-watching the original film a richer experience. Also, the film features one of the most crowd-pleasing cameos I have ever witnessed and that short scene alone makes it worth watching for any fans of the series. Those not in the know will most likely enjoy this film that has all the action and humor you could ask for in a summer blockbuster, along with a compelling story of friendship and war. Don’t worry that it’s the fifth film in the series or that it’s a prequel; X-Men: First Class is its own film and it’s a pretty good one at that.


Random Thoughts (SPOILERS)

Here are some inconsistencies I noticed. Moira’s appearance: she shows up as Olivia Williams in the post-credit scene of X3 as a nurse, so how does it make sense that she's a CIA agent in her twenties in the 1960s?

Xavier seeing the helmet: if you watch the first film again, Xavier seems surprised that Magneto has a helmet that blocks his ability, yet he had to have noticed the helmet at the end of this film.

The ages of Xavier and Magneto: Xavier claims, in the first film, that they first met when X was 17. I know Xavier is a genius and all, but you can't tell me that he is supposed to be 17 in this film.

Emma Frost was in Wolverine and appeared to be younger even though that film takes place after this one.

The Wolverine cameo was definitely one of the highlights of the film and an excellent use of the sole f-bomb in the film, but it does cause problems. Both Magneto and Xavier seem unaware of Wolverine in the first film. I suppose it could be argued away because they were visiting many mutants and never really got a good look at Wolvie, but it seems like they should have a bit of memory about him.

Speaking of Wolverine, remember at the end of Origins, when that weird CG-young Patrick Stewart shows up, bald and standing? Xavier can't walk at the end of the this one and he still has his hair, so that's messed up now.

For the record, I am completely fine with First Class ignoring the timeline of Wolverine. The fact that that film is contradicted so much seems to say that Marvel has kind of discredited it. Not sure if it's even meant to be counted as part of the canon anymore. I'm okay with leaving it out. Especially since that film messed with some characters as well, like Sabretooth, who went from a cool, wise-cracking Liev Schreiber to a mute wrestler/actor Tyler Mane.

I am sure I missed some issues, but the point is this film stands on its own in many ways, including it's place in the canon.

Finally, I am serious. I want to see Michael Fassbender in Erik Lehnsherr: Nazi Hunter.

Posted by Eric Harris at 6:26 PM
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:59 pm

http://www.thelocalq.com/blogs/movie/2011/06/reviews-%E2%80%9Cx-men-first-class%E2%80%9D

REVIEWS: “X-Men: First Class”

YATES: Film meets expectations

Summer is officially here with the arrival of the first big action blockbuster film in “X-Men: First Class.” After three chronological films and the successful spinoff “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in 2009, Marvel returns with a prequel that explains the early friendship and origins of the rivalry between Professor X and Magneto. The film is the fifth film in Marvel Comics billion-dollar franchise and sets the stage for the previous films by revealing when the line between mutants was drawn and how Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters was founded.

Before Professor X and Magneto battled as hardened rivals, they were close friends. In 1963, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, “Wanted”) sets about finding other mutants in an effort to help the U.S. government stop mutant Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) from starting World War III and creating a mutant revolution. Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. Magneto, (Michael Fassbender, “Inglourious Basterds”) is on a lifelong quest to avenge the murder of his mother by Shaw, and inevitably joins forces with Charles. The two recruit and train the “first class” of mutant students to train in an effort to thwart Sebastian and his group of rogue mutants. The film’s rising action sets up a large scale clash between the two mutant groups with the Cuban Missile Crisis as the backdrop, with the future of man and mutant-kind at stake.

Though the premise of the film is similar to its predecessors, the fantastic cast sets this film apart from the others. McAvoy shines as a young Professor X, and Kevin Bacon steals the show in a James Bond-esque villainous role. McAvoy and Fassbender do a great job of building the on-screen relationship between Professor X and Magneto while allowing their differences to simmer just below the surface. After all, this broken relationship is what drives the X-Men series.

Director Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass”) does a nice job of balancing on the tight rope between somber and humorous subject matter. The film itself was quite fun, despite the themes of revenge and deceit during period settings of World War I and the Cold War. The juvenile hijinks of the young X-Men, led by Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”), helps keep the mood light, and the film has plenty of comic relief from start to finish. Be ready for a great cameo by Wolverine that fans of the series will love.

Overall, “X-Men: First Class” meets the expectations of the big-budget summer action film, while chronicling the beginnings of an epic saga. It does come off as a bit cheesy at times, but somehow seems to fit within the flow of the plot. There seems to be some debate whether this is a prequel or a reboot, but either way it successfully elucidates the complicated relationship between two iconic superhero characters in Professor X and Magneto.

Though comic reboots are as old as the art itself (how else could the heroes still fit into those suits?), the process of rewriting classic characters for the screen is fraught with peril. Aim correctly, and Bruce Wayne is saved from the campy hell of “Batman And Robin” by Christopher Nolan, But beware, for every “Batman Begins” there is a misfire like 2003’s “Hulk.”

Good or bad, one thread that connects all recent superhero re-ups is the choice to bring the protagonist into the present day. The reasoning is sound – it’s great watching Spider-Man websling his way across New York City, but placing Peter Parker and co. into a post-9/11 Manhattan is more interesting and emotionally resonant to an audience. And given that the heart of Marvel Comics’ X-Men series has always been the struggle — both internal and external — of those who felt unnatural and excluded, the theme is one that makes as much sense now (when it’s often read as a LGBT text) as it did then (when the parallels with race relations were more prescient).

“X-Men: First Class” bucks tradition and makes the excellent decision to renew its franchise by traveling backward to 1962, and manages to strike a balance between the universal elements of any good superhero story and the sheer delight of an early James Bond flick. As any good retro piece should be, it’s impeccable in its design, and weaves in the nuclear-age fears of the JFK presidency with a story about mutants more easily than one might ever imagine.

The paths of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr are so widely disparate, it seems only sensible that they wound up being archrivals. Charles (James McAvoy, utilizing his on-screen charm judiciously) is wealthy and untroubled throughout youth, and enjoys the luxury of having a mutation only on the inside — his telepathic ability only aids him in getting laid, while his adopted sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) must constantly shape shift to hide her natural blue form.

Meanwhile, Erik (Michael Fassbender, whose work here is more akin to his recent performance in “Jane Eyre” than many comic nerds might want to admit) survives the Holocaust only by revealing his knack for manipulating metal, and is taken under the sadistic wing of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). “First Class” catches the pair at the moment when their destinies led them to work alongside each other, and explores the way the brief months spent side-by-side led each man to become the characters X-fans now recognize.

It is at this point that I have to confess my ignorance as to the “X-Men” source material. All the characters I know, I’ve learned from the previous film trilogy – which is why featuring some lesser-known mutants in the titular “first class” was a solid choice by the writing team here. Defying all expectations, I was actually much more intrigued by the training of a junior-level hero like Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) than I might have been watching Wolverine work his claws. (This is overlooking “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” which really, everyone should.)

Given the immense focus on McAvoy and Fassbender (with the main B-plot being the tentative romance between Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult’s nerdy scientist/mutant character), it’s unsurprising that the development of other characters is ignored with a waved hand. Rose Byrne has little to do as the X-Men’s CIA contact. January Jones was obviously recruited as Emma Frost due to her work as the resident ice queen on “Mad Men,” but her performance remains rigid beyond belief. Even villainous girlfriends need a spark.

Director Matthew Vaughn (previously of the underrated graphic novel adaptation “Kick-Ass”) makes the very most of the stylistic flourishes the retro setting allows him — one sequence is meshed together using onscreen comic-style panels, and there are several slapsticky moments that might have been lifted from a “Get Smart” episode. It’s more than a little fantastic to see an evil genius outlining his plans for world domination not on a futuristic screen, but by moving around little rocket-shaped stickers on a paper map.

While the trysts into a full-on 60s motif can sometimes slide into the ridiculous (Jones peering into a submarine sonar panel while dressed like Twiggy looks like a scene from “Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery”), Vaughn sticks the landing completely. By the close of “X-Men: First Class,” Charles and Erik have become Professor X and Magneto, the people they’ll be for the duration of the series. Not only has the film given the character progression the destined feel it deserves, but it closes with a gigantic sense of anticipation. It seems this might be the beginning of a beautiful retelling.

Anna Wiegenstein
This entry was posted by jmartin on June 6, 2011 at 9:30 pm
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:59 pm

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X-Men: First Class Review
Posted by Sean on June 6th, 2011 Filed under: Action, Books/Comics, Featured, Movie Review, Sci-fi

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

Bryan Singer’s first X-Men film may no longer be remembered as one of the best comic book movies ever made, but it certainly opened the floodgates for an entire decade of superhero-themed summer blockbusters. Eleven years later, the X-Men franchise is now in a “rebuilding” phase of sorts. After Singer abandoned the series to take on Superman instead, Brett Ratner came on board to bring a disappointing end to the trilogy. A Wolverine spin-off went even further off the rails, leaving the property in dire need of new creative direction. Fox was faced with two choices: prequel or reboot. Somehow X-Men: First Class manages to fall into both categories.

Although Singer seemed eager to return to the X-Men once again, he was no longer in a position to breathe new life into the series. Instead, he ended up staying on board as a producer and wisely stepped aside for Matthew Vaughn, who had once been attached to direct X-Men 3 and has since proven his comic book savvy with Kick-Ass. Taking the name of the X-Men: First Class comic series, Vaughn chose to craft a story set in the 1960s, making it very clear that he was aiming for a fresh and unique take on the characters. Still, fanboys were uneasy about the flurry of casting announcements involving young unknowns. Would it still be faithful to the comics or would it pander to tweens? Rest assured, true believers, this is easily the strongest and most mature X-Men movie we’ve ever seen on the big screen to date.

The story picks up with the U.S. caught in the icy grip of the Cold War. The CIA is investigating the Hellfire Club, an elite social club run by Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and frequented by various politicians. Agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) catches a glimpse of people with superhuman abilities within the club and seeks the help of a young grad student named Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), who is working on a masters thesis about mutation. He soon joins the CIA’s top secret “Division X”, helping to recruit other mutants including Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), a mutant with magnetic powers who has also been tracking Sebastian Shaw for his own reasons. Shaw is building an army with the intention of orchestrating World War III, turning humans against each other and giving way for mutants to rule. The newly formed “X-Men” spring to action — even though they don’t all see eye to eye about how and why he should be stopped.

X-Men: First Class sets itself apart from so many of the other mediocre comic book movies by being articulate, focused and well thought out. This is not like the multitude of loud, bombastic summer blockbusters that ultimately become an incoherent mess, and in a lot of ways, it doesn’t feel like a summer movie at all. The characters are fleshed out, the performances are on point and the writing is razor sharp. Who would have thought that one of the most subtle comic book movies in recent years would come from the same guy who directed Kick-Ass? I love Kick-Ass, but this feels like the work of a much more mature filmmaker.

While it does feature a retelling of certain origin stories all over again (a problem we’re starting to come up against with many reboots), it manages to keep things fresh by reworking them in unexpected ways. Perhaps the most brilliant thing about the movie is how it deftly weaves the X-Men origin stories in with real world historical events. Setting the film in the ’60s was not just an excuse for some hip fashion choices, but it also brings it back to a political climate that suits the radical nature of the conflict between mutants and humans. It also adds some intrigue and a little bit of a James Bond vibe. The alternate history angle is a lot of fun, and it’s one of a few ways in which X-Men: First Class reminded me of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (Michael Fassbender’s mere presence being another).

The movie avoids feeling like a rehash by introducing quite a few new X-Men characters who have never been seen on the big screen before. Admittedly, more casual fans may wonder who some of these third and fourth-string mutants are (Havok, Azazel, Banshee, etc.), but many of them simply serve as eye candy (special effects or otherwise). Not all of the characters are as developed as others, but the movie is fairly impressive in how it manages to divvy out screen time efficiently and effectively. It’s true that we don’t have big names like Wolverine, Cyclops and Jean Grey this time around, but this gives the Professor X / Magneto relationship plenty of room to take center stage. In a way, this is what the X-Men have always been about. Mystique and Beast also get a fair amount of attention, and deservedly so.

The casting is solid, and although a lot of the actors may not be huge draws, they definitely elevate the material in ways that we haven’t seen before. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender shine, as does Jennifer Lawrence in her first big role post-Winter’s Bone. Kevin Bacon is a lot of fun to watch as a villain, and it’s actually his third time in such a role this year after both Super and Elephant White. The one weak link is January Jones as Emma Frost, who looks the part but brings absolutely no personality to a character that could have been great.

With so much focus on character development, the action in the movie does take a bit of a backseat at times, which may disappoint some viewers. However, there are some key sequences that are both intense and riveting, including a raid on the Division X compound that is somewhat reminiscent of the raid on the school in X2: X-Men United. The special effects are occasionally sketchy, but much of the action is more violent than expected and there is always something at stake.

The one major thing that I could see this movie being criticized for is its predictability. We know where most of the characters will end up, and even though the movie builds to an impressive finale, the minor twists aren’t enough to offset the overall lack of surprise. The movie also adopts a workmanlike style and doesn’t feel as fun as maybe it should (aside from one particular cameo that drew audible gasps from fans). Still, regardless of whether or not it fits the summer blockbuster mold, X-Men: First Class is still a compelling drama that hits all the right notes for an X-Men film. A continuation with the same cast could be even better, and that alone is reason enough to get out there and see it. I guess Fox just needs to decide if this is a prequel or a reboot. — Sean
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:00 pm

http://www.moviepie.com/component/content/article/1-in-theaters/2462-x-men-first-class

Written by Vickie June 06, 2011

Genre Action & Adventure • Drama • Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Year 2011
Country USA
Director Matthew Vaughn
Actors James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoë Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult, January Jones, Jason Flemyng, Álex González, Caleb Landry Jones, Edi Gathegi, Lucas Till
MPAA Rating PG-13
Official Website http://www.x-menfirstclassmovie.com/
Now THAT’S the kind of summer movie I’m talkin’ about!

Packed as much with action and special effects as it is rich in story and detail for fans and newbies alike, X-Men: First Class delivers a summer-movie experience more on par with X2 than the muddled and tepid X-Men: The Last Stand.

And, as far as origins stories go, this one is pretty great.

Set against the taut, panic-stricken backdrop of the Cuban Missle Crisis, the film chronicles how brilliant genetics professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) met vengeful mutant Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), and how the joint paths their lives took for a while eventually diverged into good and evil. Though, to be fair, that should be “evil” with an asterisk after it, since Erik/Magneto’s back story reveals enough about his tortured past that his actions later on in life are at least somewhat excusable, if not mildly forgivable.

Because, you see, Erik was tortured. It was, as previous films briefly explained, in a WWII concentration camp and at the ruthless hands of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon in a deliciously nasty turn). And, as an adult therefore, Erik is seriously pissed. Though he escaped Shaw’s clutches, Erik never really gave up the profound desire to exact sweet revenge, so when he, Charles and a gaggle of other young mutants – including Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Angel (Zoë Kravitz) and Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) – are recruited by government agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) for a mission against Shaw and the Russians, it’s fully “game ON!”

For me, as a fan of the X-Men films, the fun here lies in seeing how everything began for all these characters – how they met, who they were, which friendships and relationships existed between them – while knowing what that future is. Even better, watching them all discover and shape their powers, learn how to hone their skills and, as geeky as it sounds, seeing how they all decided upon their mutant names.

Though the film is more than two hours long, it never lags and never sputters. The story moves briskly but in such a way that it is still saturated with detail. There are clever throwaway lines and asides, and even a couple of get-the-audience-cheering surprise cameos, that further add to the overall experience… making it that much better. The casting works across the board, and even the normally bland January Jones perks up for her role as Shaw’s right-hand gal, Emma Frost.

Better still is the fact that director Matthew Vaughn’s appropriately kick-ass installment in the franchise opens up all kinds of new doors through which, one hopes, these engaging and exciting younger incarnations get to walk through in a subsequent film.

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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:00 pm

http://www.toplessrobot.com/2011/06/tr_review_x-men_first_class.php

TR Review: X-Men: First Class

By Rob Bricken in Comics, Movies
Monday, June 6, 2011, at 3:03 pm

​Let me run a theory by you guys. People are wondering why X-Men: First Class only did all right at the box office this weekend, as opposed to something like Thor, which did damned good. The question is why would an unknown quantity such as Thor succeed better than a known and proven movie franchise like X-Men. The easy answer is, of course, that the last two X-Men movies were f#%@#&! terrible (that's X-3 and Wolverine, of course), which probably soured a lot of people. However, that ignores the fact that both those movies, while being totally f#%@#&! awful, still made a s$#!-ton of money anyways. Movies don't have to be good to be popular and make a lot of money; Transformers 2 was proof enough of that. And X-Men: First Class is pretty good (I swear I'll get to that in a second).

Here's what I think the problem is: It's that all the X-Men movies are always about Magneto. Folks don't get tired of Spider-Man because he fights a new crazy villain each time. Meanwhile, Magneto was the bad guy doing the same s$#! in X-Men 1, 2 and 3, more or less. And now, First Class is like, "You watched three movies of Professor X and Magneto fighting... here's a movie about when they first started fighting!" I don't think mass audiences are that intrigued, especially when they can see something new like Thor, or Green Lantern here in a couple of weeks.

Which is a shame, because again, X-Men: First Class is pretty good. I think it drags in the first half in a lot of places, but everything from the initial training montage through the final battle is swell. James MacAvoy is delightfully dickish but charismatic as a young and extra cocky Professor X; Michael Fassbender does a s$#!-ton of fassbending as the younger, more tortured, not-quite-evil Magneto (actually, I saw a ton of tweets over the weekend saying that Michael Fassbender should be the next James Bond, then I saw the movie, where Fassbender is pretty much a magnetic James Bond for the first quarter). Kevin Bacon is a goddamned delight as Sebastian Shaw. Jennifer Lawrence is pretty good as an oddly central Mystique, and Nicholas Hoult is good as Beast, although neither of them are the deepest characters. Actually, none of the kids or other villains are, but it's not that big a deal. It is, however, worth noting that January Jones is a terrible f#%@#&! actress. She's not quite Channing Tatum level -- who is? -- but her utter refusal to act or show even the barest hint of a human (or mutant) emotion is quite astounding.

But all in all, I liked Thor better than First Class. This maybe because I'm more of an Avengers guy anyways, but I really think it has to do more with the Professor X/Magneto fatigue, really. It's a shame, because MacAvoy and Fassbender have a great chemistry together, and the scenes where they're recruiting mutants is a joy (and not one of the movie's draggy parts; I'd have happy just watched them smarmily meeting mutants all day). The '60s setting -- which is distinct but not obtrusive -- makes for a nice twist from the other X-flicks, too, which helps, too. But in the end, I still just liked the movie, and that's it.

Okay, two last things: 1) I think, if you ignore the existence of X-3 and the Wolverine movie, First Class actually fits works with the continuity of the first two X-Men flicks... I think. Obviously, all good people should ignore the existence X-3 and Wolverine anyways. 2) There are two cameos in the film which are really, really worth seeing before they get spoiled for you. If you have any interest, watch it sooner rather than later.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:01 pm

http://www.genevievevalentine.com/2011/06/ten-things-you-should-know-about-x-men-first-class/

Ten Things You Should Know about “X-Men: First Class”
posted in Movies, Picspam, Questionable Taste Theatre

So, last night I saw X-Men: First Class.

First of all, I would like to thank the filmmakers for taking me up on my offer to storyboard X-Men: The Last Spring and believing in the vision of a gay love story that also has one million explosions in it. The market needs more of those!

Secondly, to all those who have pointed out that James McAvoy and/or Michael Fassbender is/are hot and/or a good actor: welcome! Lo these many years I have been sitting in my basement, slowly losing my eyesight to the television, following the careers of these actors and many score more. In my case, it was Children of Dune in 2001 and Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking in 2004, respectively, that made me an ardent fan of these gentlemen’s work, though James also appeared in Band of Brothers in 2001, whose supporting case included Michael Fassbender! (He was very good, but I recommend Sherlock to really appreciate his early stuff.)

One of the benefits of never leaving your house because you’re staring at a TV screen is that you tend to catch people early in their careers, and then you get to watch with mixed feelings as they go gangbusters and star in sh*#&% movies with Angelina Jolie, and Megan Fox, and eventually, with each other. (I’d like to thank my long-suffering British friends who have been emailing me DVD burns of their TV movies for a decade – clearly, Hollywood noticed, and it’s paid off!)

Thirdly: people will tell you this movie is good. I am not sure where those people are coming from. Here are ten things about X-Men: The Last Spring that you should know.

1. This gay love story is no joke. The chemistry between James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender is intense, the script has written in so many moments of tense standoffs and confessions that Bogie and Bacall would blush, and there were at least six moments of matching manpain single-tears before I lost count. It was either an attempt to canonize many decades of subtext, or Michael and James took one look at their lines and said, “They can’t be serious. Let’s play this as gay as we can and see when they stop us.” AND NO ONE DID.

It’s pretty amazing.

2. As discussed, each of these actors is quite good. However, James spends the beginning of the movie as Charles that Gross Guy who Hits on Women Poorly and Then Gets on His High Horse Like a Big Dickweed as Soon as Things Get Serious, while Michael Fassbender spends the beginning of the movie speaking four languages, beating the s$#! out of Nazis, and looking like a walking Da Vinci statue with a death wish. This means that when they finally meet up, you have an emotionally crippled war-vet commando and the total dink who’s trying to teach him life lessons. Good luck making that plot work out for you!


3. Not that there is any consideration paid to the plot whatsoever. Young Erik is tortured by a Nazi doctor (Kevin Bacon, revealing he is not super great at speaking German), and spends his adult life searching for him. Then Bacon is Sebastian Shaw, who somethingsomething the Hellfire Club something Cuban Missile Crisis something! And then the CIA recruits Charles and allows a superpowerful weaponizable mutant offsite for some fun times and hilarious montaging! Then Shaw kills everybody at the CIA offsite and then everyone gets serious and more hilarious funtime montaging with antics! Meanwhile Cuban Missile Crisis something, something endless fight scene on a beach oh the inhumanity of humanity something! (This movie is too busy lining up cameos and having two men stare meaningfully into one another’s eyes to pay any attention to little things like plot.)

4. I am guessing a lot of people did not care, given that the biggest audience reactions at my showing were during the reveal that the young British telepath kid was Charles Xavier (guy behind me: “OH s$#!!”), the hilarious tennis volley of nuclear bombs back and forth that got a series of gasps, and the Wolverine cameo that, I will admit, made me smile.

5. Speaking of things no one paid any attention to, Fassbender sails through the movie with an Irish accent broad enough to drive a truck through. Nobody stops him.

6. I am not even going to get into the Russian stereotypes in this movie, because I just cannot even. I will say that in a first-season episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Olek Krupa rose above his material. He has done so, often, since. He did the same as the Russian naval captain here. I wish someone would give him something to do.

7. Speaking of which: Edi Gathegi is in this movie! You didn’t know that? I’m not surprised. (See if you can find him in this cavernous collection of promo stills!) He gets about five lines before he perishes, in one of the movie’s most face-clawing moments. (See below.)

8. This movie wants its ladies like it wants its salad dressing – on the side.

Emma Frost, superpowerful telepath with morph and projection abilities, runs Shaw’s errands, including the smexy ones. At one point she seems mildly annoyed that he stops telling her she’s pretty and orders her to get him some ice for his drink, but that is the entire winter of her discontent, and it really saps her of her menace. (That and the awful bra tops she wears. Real Emma would never shop Victoria’s Secret, you guys.) Things that do not help this character: January Jones is an awful actress. They can keep her in Mad Men because it’s probably too late to recast, but she’s always been pretty iffy there, and she’s just a mess here. My favorite thing about Kevin Bacon’s performance is that he gave total Ham-Off at every moment except when he was talking sweet nothings with her, when he sounded mildly offended. “Soon you’ll see, my…love…?” (Don’t look at us, dude, you signed on!)

Angel, nonsense mutant played by the soporific Zoe Kravitz, is introduced in a strip club. When Shaw offers his hand, Zoe minces right over. (Since no reason is given other than “I hate when people stare,” I guess she just really liked Kevin Bacon’s cravat.) Even worse, Edi Gathegi immediately stages a one-man op to get her back. It doesn’t work (Deadville), and it’s made worse that he totally ignored her wishes doing it. I mean, she’s half-asleep, sure, but she’s making a choice, dude! Damn!

(This is a trend. Moira McTaggert, a CIA agent because who needs a lady scientist anyway, gets mindwiped by Charles so she won’t give them away to the feds. NICE. Also, she’s the reason Charles is paralyzed, I guess? I was clawing my face really hard, I couldn’t tell if he went numb below the waist only after she pulled the bullet out of his spine…the bullet she shot at Magneto, because apparently she didn’t think he could deflect bullets despite watching his enormous powers in training. And I guess now we see why Charles thought she might be a liability. THIS IS JUST GETTING WORSE.)

9. Jennifer Lawrence manages to turn in a likable performance, even if the script gave short shrift to someone whose journey could have been a central emotional arc. Also, they sculpted her blue prosthetics out of Play-Doh, which didn’t help.

As Charles’s earliest childhood friend (and only friend, because he’s a dink), she “passes” until they start collecting more mutants with visible changes, and she has to face whether it’s a defense mechanism or a symptom of a broken system. Since this is the movie it is, this struggle is entirely reflected in her looks – Charles thinks she’s an icky naked blue girl who should stop being so blue and naked (and girl), while Erik would be more than happy to bang her, but only if she’s as proud of herself as he tells her she should be. (Feminism!) Later, on the beach, when Magneto asks for linecrossers, she minces right over the body of her fallen bestie and joins up. (That’s THE SECOND TIME, movie. You must be joking.)

That said, Jennifer rocks every emotion they let her, including this one, when Charles uses Cerebro for the first time, and is struggling with the pain of it all just as the machine starts to work:

I DUNNO, I JUST LIKE HER FACE SO MUCH. (I have seen Winter’s Bone an obscene number of times.)

10. That beach scene also includes actual Erik-Charles cradling, weepy confessions of regret, and longing parting glances. I cannot stress enough how canon this love affair is. And while there’s a certain pathos to it that tries its hardest to be compelling, the mutant choosing of sides looks remarkably like an awkward moment during the beach excursion at the Lenscherr-Xavier Family Reunion Weekend where everyone had a big fight about nothing, someone shoved somebody else way too hard, and they’re deciding who will go home in the Early Van to cool off for a couple of hours before kickball tomorrow morning.

(It’s okay, though. They made up over chess. Just like they’d be doing decades later when they turned into Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, their love undimmed.)

I read the comics for a while in that little golden age between 11 and 13 when they were still doing few enough crossovers that it didn’t outstrip the money I made babysitting and I could afford to catch up. I quit at some point when some of them were doing gladiatorial combat on another planet and some were defending the home base and some were teaming up with X-Factor to get the rescue and I had started to realize how much I dislike children and had stopped babysitting. If I had seen this movie in that sweet spot, I would probably have loved it. I was not even immune to some of the bits this movie provided – my inner preteen smiled when I realized that they were angling for Magneto and Mystique, even as I realized it was a last-ditch effort to insert some ladies into a man-love sandwich, and there’s no way you can actively dislike a performance by either of the leads. It’s just one of those movies that tried to do everything, botched elements in turn, and succeeding at last only in giving us X-Men: The Last Spring.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:02 pm

http://thehomeworld.net/blog/2011/06/review-x-men-first-class/

Review: “X-Men: First Class”
By Christopher Baggett
Posted June 6, 2011 10:58 am | Last updated June 6, 2011 10:59 am

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

Director Matthew Vaughn

Writers Ashley Millar, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer

Rating: ★★★★½

It’s hard to believe, but just over a decade ago Marvel’s Merry Mutants ushered in a wave of comic book movies that hasn’t yet stopped. The hype leading up the original film was indescribable, with sly marketing and an A-list cast leading anticipation into a fever pitch. Whether or not the film continues to hold up today is hotly debated amongst fans; some, like myself would argue it’s improved with age, while others would argue it’s a throwback to a time when everything wanted to be like The Matrix. But no matter how you feel about the original X-Men film or it’s three sequels, it’s undeniable that they took the ball handed to them by Blade (arguably the first decent movie based on a comic book property) and ran with it screaming to turn comic book movies into the summertime staple we’ve now become familiar too.

Amidst a summer which has more comic book movies planned than ever before, X-Men: First Class is a refreshing change of pace from the films we’ve gotten so used to. Functionally, the film is both a prequel and a reboot: bits of the first films are acknowledge, bits have been revamped, for the better ultimately. However, it also acknowledges that we know who all these characters are. While we spend a few moments getting to meet the characters, we are thrown right into the heart of the story, any origins being told quickly and efficiently to get us right into the action.
X-Men: First Class

The first class of Xavier's school come together in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Set during the 1960s, the film follows a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) as he realizes there are more mutants in the world than he originally believed with the discovery of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), an evil mutant who is attempting to manipulate Russia into an all out nuclear war with the United States. Also in pursuit of Shaw is Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), who is on a roaring rampage of revenge against the Nazi officers who killed his mother and attempted to turn him into a weapon. While we do eventually meet other mutants, the bonding and friendship of Xavier and Lehnsherr is the movie’s focal point, and justly so. McAvoy’s Xavier is sympathetic and intelligent, showing the intellect and kindness the older Xavier we’ve seen possess, while still ultimately being a flawed individual who is in far over his head, while Fassbender’s Lehnsherr is easily the best part of the movie, a richly layered character whose turn to evil is accentuated by the level of badass oozing off of the character. No, seriously, Michael Fassbender is THE best thing about the movie, and if a sequel was just about him reading a paper and talking about how it was wrong, it would probably be an even better movie.

We do focus on the so-called “first class” somewhat briefly, but not enough to really touch on their characters. Only Beast and Mystique get real character development, and that’s to cover his third act transformation. Havok and Banshee in the movie are very cool characters, but remain fairly one-dimensional: Havok is cocky, almost like the jock on campus, and Banshee seems brash but very awkward. The characterizations are spot on from the comics, and it’s very cool to see them on screen, but new viewers aren’t given much to go on beyond that. Fellow team mate Angel gets an attempt at character development, but I believe she’s the worst of the bunch, largely thanks to her somewhat annoying and callous nature. Over on the “evil” side, we get Azazel, who does lots of cool stuff but gets maybe 2 lines, and Riptide, who isn’t even named in the film. There’s also Emma Frost, who is built up as a formidable opponent for Xavier, but otherwise January Jones seems like she might just be going through the motions.

This is all relieved for the villains with Bacon’s performance of Sebastian Shaw. He’s always a cool, calculating character, moving from scene to scene quietly. He shows a large sphere of influence and lots of guts, but never raises his voice, and usually has a smile on his face. Bacon was a surprisingly good choice for this role, playing Shaw without any ham or narm, instead lending an air of credibility to Shaw’s threat. When he finally lashes out into an all out attack, it has significance, and serves as a turning point for the film’s tone.

If I have any complaint about the film, it would be the pacing. Lehnsherr’s heel turn to Magneto feels rushed; understandably so, given the the filmmakers were likely unsure they’d be able to get a sequel. The best bits of the film are when he and Charles are discussing their philosophies, and how they affect mutant-kind, but when you consider Erik has known about other mutants for a whole 48 hours, it kind of hurts things. There’s also the idiot ball Beast is given, attempting to cure his appearance but cure his mutation, which is fine for Mystique, but worthless for Beast, who’s mutation is his appearance.

While the tone of the previous films toed the line between cheesy comic book movie sci-fi/action film and comic book film. X-Men: First Class is no exception, but seems to shed the implied shame of it’s comic book. This film embraces everything a comic book movie should be, combining action, drama and humor into an exciting and enriching blend. The story is deep and layered, the performances exciting and fresh while still holding an air of the performances from the previous films, and the film itself is just a damn fun film. Shocking, despite it’s terrible marketing campaign and the many initial concerns of fans, X-Men: First Class is easily the best in the franchise since X2, and has us looking forward to it’s inevitable sequel.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:02 pm

http://geek-life.com/2011/06/06/movie-review-x-men-first-class/

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class
Posted by Dan on Jun 6, 2011 in Arts and Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | 3 comments

X-Men: First Class

Genre(s): Action, Superheroes
Rating: PG-13
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, and many others
Description: In 1963, Charles Xavier starts up a school and later a team, for humans with superhuman abilities. Among them is Erik Lensherr, his best friend… and future archenemy.


I am an avid consumer of superhero comics of all kinds, but the X-Men were my first love. The first comic I ever bought was an X-Men comic. I went through school feeling like an outcast, different from the other kids, partly, I thought, because of my strengths. It is perhaps no wonder I latched on to these angsty mutants, each special in their own way. I was in the “gifted program” at school, and they went to “Charles X. Xavier’s School for the Gifted.” While X2 was, for many years, my favorite superhero movie ever (probably until The Dark Knight), and I even saw the highly flawed X-Men 3 three times in theaters, I was, shall we say, displeased after the Wolverine movie. When a new X-film was announced I groaned, wondering what new horrors would be perpetrated. However, the choice of Matthew Vaughn (fresh off Kick-Ass) as director intrigued me, and as more and more material came out I started to get more and more excited.

The thing about X-Men: First Class is that no matter how many details it changes, it feels the way I want my X-Men to feel. It tells a kick-butt origin story that somehow felt fresh. Most prequels suffer from the persistent problem of the audience knowing exactly how they end. Somehow First Class manages to use this to its advantage… having to put certain pieces into place frees it to tell a story a little more emotionally epic than the typical Hollywood mold. It’s stylish and fun, and though it, yes, has way too many characters, it pretty much keeps track of them all throughout. At no point does anybody point to a random character and say “Richter, use your seismic blasts,” leaving us thinking “who the eff is Richter?” And it’s a historical piece, set in the early 1960s.
X-Men 5

Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy play Magneto and Professor X, who round up the first version of the X-Men in "X-Men: First Class". Behind them are Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne), Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Havok (Lucas Till).

The emotional center of First Class is the friendship between the young Charles Francis Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender). Both actors are at the top of their games, lending even the silliest action bits a certain amount of gravitas. Though they’re the elder statesmen of the group they’re much more youthful than you might be used to… if you ever wanted to see Professor X chugging a beer bong, this is your movie. Jennifer Lawrence, coming off an Oscar nomination for Winter’s Bone and currently filming the role of Katniss in The Hunger Games, does a very good job as the shapeshifter Mystique, torn between the two men. Filling out the cast, for the most part, is a roster of second tier mutants from the comics, folks like Banshee and Havok. If you’re willing to let go of the continuity from the comics, these appearance are all very enjoyable… yes, Banshee loses his Irish accent, but when he starts flying I felt like I was watching Banshee flying, and it was very cool. I think that there are be loads of little touches to keep the hardcore fans interested: we even get halfway convicing explanations for things like the X-Jet, those old-fashioned yellow outfits, and Cerebro. Not to mention the fact that about halfway through this movie there is the single greatest unexpected character cameo in the history of comic book movies, about which I will say no more.

Oh yeah, and the bad guys are the Hellfire Club, and they are pretty cool. Kevin Bacon, of all people, plays Sebastian Shaw, and he has a good time doing it. Shaw’s ability to absorb energy and redirect it always seemed a little nebulous to me in the comics, but on-screen it looks great. His somewhat put-upon right hand gal is Emma Frost, played by Mad Men’s January Jones. She is the full-fledged Emma Frost: a powerful telepath in white underwear who can turn into a diamond when she wants to. She’s one of my favorite characters from the modern comics, and I enjoyed the way she was written here. Ms. Jones doesn’t really bring much to the role, though, so that prevents her appearance from being more memorable than it is. Their plan essentially involves manufacturing the Cuban Missile Crisis, which results in some fun tweaks both to real history and to the history of mutants. That’s how Rose Byrne gets involved as one Moira McTaggart, CIA operative, who at times bears a striking resemblance to Emma Peel if Emma Peel had gotten herself mixed up in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

You get the idea: First Class throws a lot of awesome stuff at the wall and much of it sticks. There are actually plenty of very impressive action beats that were completely left out of any trailer I saw… a major rarity these days. Vaughn is comfortable with the action… he knows when to speed things up and when to slow things down. Considering how many disparate threads and characters the film involves, it is perhaps an even bigger feat that he seems to have figured out the pacing… where past X-Men films have generally struggled to pack in all the cool mutants they want to showcase, Vaughn makes it seem easy. He pulls off a couple of brisk and memorable montage sequences that help everybody get their due. Sure, there was not really a reason for Darwin to be in this movie, or a stripper-fairy-person we decide to call “Angel” played by Larry Kravitz’s daughter Zoe, but they never really feel as shoehorned in as they might. All of them seem more fleshed out than, say, Kitty Pryde in X-Men 3.

If you’re a fan of Beast, one of the original X-Men who was given short shrift in previous films, he does have a fairly major role in this one. He’s played by Nicholas Hoult, who you may not have heard of before unless you’re a fan of the original UK version of Skins. However, he’s slated to be a great big star soon enough… he’ll play the lead in Bryan Singer’s upcoming Jack the Giant Killer. Like all X-stories, this one deals with feelings of being an outsider and even body image, and the storyline Beast shares with Mystique explores this in some interesting ways. The X-Men work because everyone feels a little bit like an outsider in their own way, whether they’re a member of a racial minority, or gay, or just not one of the cool kids. Beast has always been a great conduit for those kinds of issues and the film puts him to good use.

In some ways, I do wish I could have gotten a movie like this with Cyclops, Jean Grey, et al in the roles of the kids, and the fact that some of those classic characters are nowhere to be seen does hold this one back a little. For that reason I still might rank First Class below X2: X-Men United as my favorite of the series. But while the film was happening I was enjoying seeing a story that I hadn’t read in the comics (though I’m sure its been done) come to life on the screen: the story of Professor X and Magneto meeting, becoming chess buddies, and preventing nuclear war in the swinging sixties. That story was well-told by a confident director and a cast that overall work very well in their roles. This may be the summer of superheroes at the box office, but so far the movies are two for two.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:05 pm

http://hi.baidu.com/denver_space/blog/item/770d1d0e7ea3add27bcbe1fd.html

2011-06-06 05:22

X-Men: First Class

By JUSTIN CHANG

Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy star in Fox's 'X-Men: First Class.'

Read other reviews about this film

A 20th Century Fox release presented in association with Marvel Entertainment and Dune Entertainment of a Bad Hat Harry/Donners' Co. production in association with Ingenious Media. Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Gregory Goodman. Executive producers, Stan Lee, Tarquin Pack, Josh McLaglen. Co-producer, Jason Taylor. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Screenplay, Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Vaughn; story, Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer.Charles Xavier - James McAvoy
Erik Lensherr - Michael Fassbender
Moira MacTaggert - Rose Byrne
Raven/Mystique - Jennifer Lawrence
Emma Frost - January Jones
Hank/Beast - Nicholas Hoult
Man in Black Suit - Oliver Platt
Azazel - Jason Flemyng
Alex Summers/Havok - Lucas Till
Darwin/Armando Munoz - Edi Gathegi

Sebastian Shaw - Kevin Bacon

After undergoing some unfortunate mutations in recent years, a beleaguered Marvel movie property gets the smart, stylish prequel it deserves in "X-Men: First Class." Reclaiming much of the pop-operatic grandeur and insouciant wit so evident in the series' first two installments, director/co-writer Matthew Vaughn imagines the rise of Professor X, Magneto and their earliest mutant disciples as a '60s-set origin story, steeped in Cold War paranoia and served up with a delightful Rat Pack swagger. Strong word of mouth, franchise popularity and the public's seemingly inexhaustible appetite for comicbook fare should keep "First Class" at a high B.O. altitude worldwide.

The series' spluttering 2009 foray into how-it-all-began territory with "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" may have tempered audience anticipation for "First Class," and Vaughn handily exceeds expectations with a picture that may rile Stan Lee purists but should prove entirely engaging for franchise newcomers as well as viewers familiar with the series' mythology. Both constituencies, however, may be surprised by the degree to which Vaughn manages to invest this unabashedly commercial product with a unique stylistic identity.

Providing a major assist in this regard is Bryan Singer, who hasn't been involved with the series since he so assuredly directed the first two installments, and who returns here as a producer and story writer (with Sheldon Turner). Singer's touch is apparent in the film's very first shot, which expands on the Auschwitz-set prologue of 2000's "X-Men," extending the fascination with Nazi iconography Singer evinced in "Valkyrie" and "Apt Pupil."

When he learns that young camp refugee Erik Lensherr (Bill Milner) has the power to bend metal with his mind, Mengele-like Dr. Schmidt (Kevin Bacon) attempts to harness the boy's abilities in horrifying fashion. The tragic outcome of this unpleasant, rather ill-advised episode instills in Erik a lifelong thirst for revenge and renders him incapable of summoning his gifts without channeling his rage.

In contrast to the bitter, brooding Erik (played as an adult by Michael Fassbender), dashing Oxford academic Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) envisions a utopian world order in which mutants are able to control their superhuman gifts and coexist with the rest of mankind. Possessing astonishing telepathic abilities and, for now, the full use of his legs, Charles is delightfully presented as a ladies man who turns scientific observations into pick-up lines, to the loving exasperation of his adoptive sister, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), a shape-shifter who struggles to keep her natural blue-skinned appearance under wraps.

Suspecting malevolent outside interference in the escalating U.S.-Soviet conflict, plucky, pretty CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) recruits Charles despite the agency's hostility toward these strange new beings called mutants. This uneasy alliance ushers in the story's most dramatic development, in an emotionally surging scene that brings the future Professor X and Magneto together for the first time. Though the ideological differences between Charles' optimistic empathy and Erik's cynical superiority couldn't be more pronounced, the men's mutual respect leads to friendship, and they band together to build a stronghold of young mutants.

At this point, "First Class" almost comes to resemble a 1960s heist picture by way of a James Bond caper as Charles and Erik assemble their motley crew, hitting up strip clubs, pubs, prisons and other unlikely joints in sequences that thrum with period atmosphere. In setting the classic "X-Men" parable of intolerance and suspicion within a context overshadowed by nuclear paranoia and the Cuban Missile Crisis (which undergoes a major historical rewrite), Vaughn takes full advantage of the milieu's expressive opportunities. Lenser John Mathieson reinforces the film's retro orientation with canted camera angles and tracking shots that show off the richness of Chris Seagers' production design, whether it's a louche Las Vegas nightclub or a submarine commandeered by Bacon's renascent villain, now calling himself Sebastian Shaw.

Having taken the superhero subgenre to smart-alecky extremes in "Kick-Ass," Vaughn shows how much more he's capable of when he plays this sort of material straight. Helmer tosses off the recruitment and training sequences with panache, especially an extended montage detailing the rearing of such future X-Men as the plasma-blasting Havok (Lucas Till); sonic screamer Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones); the endlessly adaptive Darwin (Edi Gathegi, too little seen); and bookish, big-footed Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult). It's a captivating sequence that honors one of the consistent thrills of the superhero origin story: the combination of ingenuity and instinct by which an individual unlocks his or her extraordinary potential.

The coming-out metaphor implicit in "X-Men's" mutants-among-us premise is made overt here, in dialogue that often hits its points too emphatically ("You didn't ask, so I didn't tell," Hank mumbles when queried about his background). The film's prosaic bluntness is matched by a sometimes forced quality to the characters' emotional and philosophical progressions; certain tough decisions facing Erik and Raven in particular feel more expedient than inevitable.

Still, it's remarkable how many things "First Class" gets right, whether it's the decision to have characters speak different languages as the film's frequent globe-trotting dictates, or the casting of Fassbender and McAvoy, who bear no resemblance to their respective older counterparts (Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart) but perfectly capture Charles and Erik's symbolic might-vs.-right dynamic.

While their brief physiological transformations limit their expressiveness, Hoult and Lawrence register poignantly as two young individuals trying to figure out their unique place in a hostile world, while "Mad Men's" January Jones makes her blank affect work to her advantage in the role of Shaw's cold-blooded deputy, Emma Frost. Two veteran "X-Men" thesps also make brief, amusing cameos.

Despite a somewhat hefty 130-minute running time, "First Class" feels swift, sleek and remarkably coherent; an even longer, more fully fleshed-out version would not have been unwelcome. Visual effects designed by John Dykstra are smoothly and imaginatively integrated, and Henry Jackman's score provides fantastic forward momentum.
Camera (Deluxe color prints, Panavision widescreen), John Mathieson; editors, Lee Smith, Eddie Hamilton; music, Henry Jackman; production designer, Chris Seagers; supervising art directors, John Frankish, Dawn Swiderski; set decorators, Sonja Klaus, Erin Boyd; costume designer, Sammy Sheldon; sound (Dolby Digital/Datasat), Simon Hayes; supervising sound editors, John A. Larsen, Craig Berkey; sound designers, Matthew Collinge, Robert Prynne, Berkey; re-recording mixers, Chris Burdon, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill; visual effects designer, John Dykstra; visual effects supervisors, Guy Williams, Greg Steele, Jay Barton, Nicolas Aithadi, Matt Johnson; visual effects, Weta Digital, Rhythm & Hues Studios, Digital Domain, MPC, Cinesite Europe, Luma Pictures; stunt coordinators, Jeff Habberstad, Tom Struthers; associate producer, Tom Cohen; assistant directors, Kim Winther, Josh Robertson; second unit director, Brian Smrz; casting, Lucinda Syson (U.K.), Roger Mussenden, Jeremy Rich (U.S.). Reviewed at 20th Century Fox screening room, London, May 27, 2011. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 130 MIN.With: Caleb Landry Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Matt Craven, Alex Gonzalez, Rade Sherbedgia, Glenn Morshower, Bill Milner. (English, German, French, Spanish, Russian dialogue)
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:05 pm

http://undesirablenumber1.blogspot.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class-review.html

6 June 2011
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS- Review
Last time we were here, it was for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a cartoonish mess that I should have been less fair to when it was originally released. To pique my interest in X-Men after that catastrophe, it would take a total reboot of the series that went back to character-based storylines and had a level-headed director like Matthew Vaughn at the helm. Well, two out of three ain't bad.

In principle, X-Men: First Class is a prequel, covering the formation of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. Charles Xavier is a telepathic Oxford professor who's roped in by the CIA to battle Sebastian Shaw, a Nazi war criminal and a powerful mutant in his own right, and prevent him and his Hellfire Club from inciting the Cuban Missile Crisis, and then World War III. This path brings Charles into contact with Erik Lensherr, a Holocaust survivor with powers of magnetism, who has his own score to settle with Shaw.

Original X-director Bryan Singer returns here, in the capacity of a producer, and as with his Superman Returns, this one is in selective continuity with the previous films. Specifically, the film discounts X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine in its timey-wimey adjustment, but respects X-Men and X-Men 2, Singer's films. The Singer-less X-Men films suck, so I've no particular problem there, but it's a half-measure, again like Superman Returns.

The Last Stand and Wolverine rammed the series into a brick wall, so I personally went into this one hoping for a full-on reboot, and not the semi-prequel that X-Men: First Class turns out to be. It's also another 20th Century Fox X-Men movie. At its heart, that means it's a bid to keep the rights to the characters from reverting to Marvel Studios, who are doing a roaring trade with their own movies right about now. And so, around a year ago, this film hardly existed, except in long-gestating plans to make a movie about Erik Lensherr.

The work put into that is what shines through best in First Class, with Michael Fassbender turning in a truly star-making performance in the role. I'm not the first to compare this film to one of Sean Connery's James Bond movies, but as someone who's been watching Sean Connery's James Bond movies all year, I have to agree wholeheartedly. Kevin Bacon and January Jones serve as Bond villain and Bond girl, but it's made extra cool because we get the super-powered equivalent of how Blofeld would have fared against Daniel Craig's Bond. Fassbender's Erik is damaged and righteously angry and, damn me for saying it, a magnetic screen presence.

And because his arc was best developed, you'll find it impossible to escape the feeling that the mooted solo Magneto movie would have been a better shot in the arm for the series, post-Wolverine. James McAvoy fares almost as well as Charles Xavier, making the sage professor we remember into a cheeky and flirty young man, whose epigram about mutation from the first two films now serves as a nifty chat-up line in Oxford bars. When watching Fassbender and McAvoy together, the latter earns his place in this version of Erik's story, which is more than the rest of the ensemble cast manage.

The capacity is definitely there in the source material for an ensemble film, and yet all the X-Men films before this one have foregrounded Wolverine. Seeing as how this one is sort of lacking in the Hugh Jackman stakes, Fassbender easily, even if unintentionally, takes the lead. 20th Century Fox have essentially marketed this film as Another X-Men Film, with posters that look identical to those of the previous four films. Although that says nothing of this film's innovations, some of it is borne out in the way that the supporting cast loiter around the same way they appear to loiter on the poster.

Although Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence are hugely impressive as Beast and Mystique respectively, all of their fellow classmates are less well-known X-Men, and so the X-Men Babies side of the film really bogs down the narrative. I've speculated many a time that the top brass at Fox are to blame for all of their films' problems, and it's never more apparent than when you see formula and narrative obviousness obfuscate a film that could generally have been much better.

Hats off to Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman, who've pulled all of this together in less than a year and made a stylish and intelligent film that has tantalising glimmers of a five-star effort throughout. The shift from the other films' "not too distant future" to a recognisable period setting is pretty much the making of this far superior effort, but it veers too close to coming undone when it runs into unpolished lumps of dialogue and confused sub-plots. Eventually, it doesn't supersede X-Men 2 as the series' high watermark, because these problems slow the film right down.

It almost feels churlish to complain that X-Men: First Class isn't as good as it could have been when it came together so quickly and more importantly, so well. Unfortunately, certain pivotal character moments are fully exhausted by the time the credits roll on this one, making the plot is the most rushed part of a very zippy production. However, it does great service to Erik Lensherr, the most interesting character in the comics, with a phenomenal turn by Michael Fassbender. Imagine what Vaughn could have done with two or three years, if he did this in just one.

X-Men: First Class is now showing in cinemas nationwide.
----------------------------------------------------------------
If you've seen X-Men: First Class, why not share your comments below? And y'know, January Jones' Emma Frost was indeed like Pussy Galore. A walking lingerie exhibition who should have been a more feisty and intelligent female character...

I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.
Posted by Mark at 08:30
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:05 pm

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

Sunday, June 5, 2011
X-Men: First Class - Movie Review

This was kind of an interesting day for me. I call it a lesson in keeping an open mind on a film you have strong feelings about. Just before seeing this movie, I was having a burger and talking to my friend, Janelle, about this movie. I was telling her how I was planning on writing two reviews for this movie: One, a normal review based solely on its merits as a movie and, Two, a review from a biased, X-Men comic reader's perspective.

After seeing X-Men: First Class, I'm abandoning my planned second review. It's irrelevant. Why? I loved this movie so much that I don't even care about the liberties this movie took with the X-Men characters and canon. Seriously, I forgive it for that. X-Men: First Class is so good that I forgive Fox for X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

This is my favorite X-Men film. I put it ahead of either of the first two X-Men films. Yes, I think it's that good. It's very well paced, well acted and surprisingly emotional.

I was ready to just s$#! all over the things they did with some of the characters. I was especially ready to crap all over January Jones and how I thought she was miscast as Emma Frost. Well, she was miscast. First off, Emma Frost is a British character. Considering the other actors and actresses they got for this movie, they couldn't have gotten a Brit for the role? Can January Jones not do an English accent at all? She was really wooden. I maintain that January Jones seems like she gets no joy out of acting. It's like she's just reading the lines and trying to get through it. She looks the part, but man, she can't pull the character off.

If they had only told this kind of story about Anakin Skywalker, the prequels would have been so much better. I say this because for me, X-Men: First Class is basically about how Erik Lehnsherr becomes Magneto, similar to how the prequels were supposed to be about how Anakin becomes Vader. Only, with X-Men, the story is so much more compelling and believable. And it only took them a single, two-hour movie to do it. Michael Fassbender is just fantastic as Magneto. They really could have made an entire movie about the first 30 minutes of his performance. It has such and awesome, retro, 007 feel to it that I was just so into it. I could see another movie about his character easily!

James McAvoy is great as a young Professor Xavier. I wasn't convinced when I heard about his casting in the role, but he really pulled it off. I thought he was just fantastic.

Jennifer Lawrence, who is pretty much my favorite young actress, is also great as Mystique. Although I'm probably a little mesmerized by her in general. I just can't take my eyes off her.

The rest of the casting was great as well. Rose Byrne was really well cast as Moira MacTaggert, but like with Jennifer Lawrence, I could look at Rose Byrne all day.

I've heard some complaints about Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw. I really can't fault anything about his performance. However, I can fault the motivation of how his character was written. I can't really blame that on Bacon though. Even reading the comics as a kid, I never really thought the character of Sebastian Shaw was all that interesting. The Hellfire Club, for me, was always about the Black and White Queen. Seems like they kind of didn't know what to do with his character and as a result, he seemed a little too out there as far as his motivation went.

The only thing cheesy about the movie is how they had to shoehorn some of the names and terms familiar to the X-Men universe. You'll realize what I mean when you see it. That's about it. The cheesy, shoehorning and the casting of January Jones as Emma Frost. There were some problems with the design (clothes and hair styles that aren't from the period) and I found it odd that Emma Frost's diamond skin power seemed to extend to the clothes she was wearing, but I blame that more of the design and effects teams.

I'm so buying this movie on Blu-Ray when it comes out! I would love to see another movie or two based in this universe with these actors and the same people behind it.

I give this movie my highest recommendation of the Summer season so far. Full price!!!
Posted by Erik at 9:33 PM
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:08 pm

http://geekactually.com/2011/06/06/film-actually-ep134-x-men-first-class/

Jun 11
6
Film Actually Ep134 – X-Men First Class

Hosts: David McVay & Josh Philpott and guest Richard Gray

This week David and Josh are again joined by Richard Gray from TheReelBits.com and DVDBits.com. This week, a review of “X-Men First Class” and a look at some entertainment news including a couple of new trailers and the Old Spice Guy wants to be Luke Cage. This plus a brand new Lists of Five: Five Political Films, so put on your Cerebro helmet (come on, you know you’ve got one) and enjoy the show. Film Actually is the official movie podcast of geekactually.com.

If you are an iTunes user, please leave a review. Your comments (good or bad) help us improve the show. This show carries an explicit tag due to infrequent coarse language.

Make sure you check out our other fine podcast Geek Actually for all your tech and geek culture needs.

Film Actually is recorded live every Saturday. Go to http://geekactually.com/live for the schedule and to watch it. Your show notes and links follow:

Feature Film Review

‘X-Men First Class’ directed by Matthew Vaughn and written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn based on a story by Bryan Singer & Sheldon Turner and based on the Marvel Comics characters. It stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult and Oliver Platt.

Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-MEN. - Source: 20th Century Fox

Our Verdict: A split panel this time. Richard and David thought it was an enjoyable, solid film that is missing the “wow” factor. Josh didn’t enjoy the film and placed it into the same category as “X-Men The Last Stand”. One thing we all agree on is that Michael Fassbender is a star and one to watch.

Watch the trailer here: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/fox/xmenfirstclass/

Entertainment Buzz

David Fincher’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” gets a first teaser.
http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo/trailer

David O. Russell leaves “Uncharted” claiming creative differences…
http://www.showblitz.com/2011/05/russell-bolts-drakes-fortune.html
and takes his script and star with him…
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2011/05/uncharted-drakes-fortune-mark-wahlberg-david-russell-nathan-fillion.html
and the fans rejoice!

“Sharks in a Supermarket”…no sorry that would be “Bait” in 3D!
http://geekactually.com/2011/05/30/trailer-bait/

“The Hobbit” films pick up titles and release dates.
http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/titles-and-release-dates-announced-for-two-part-hobbit-prequel/story-e6frfmvr-1226066952228

The new “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” trailer.
http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1810204226/video/25421173/

Paramount picks up DC Comics’ “The Mighty”, isn’t DC owned by Warner Bros?
http://www.deadline.com/2011/06/paramount-acquires-dc-comics-the-mighty/

Isaiah Mustafa (he’s on a horse) wants to play Marvel’s Luke Cage.
http://www.dailyblam.com/news/2011/05/28/mysterious-promo-video-shows-isaiah-mustafa-in-action-as-the-marvel-superhero-luke-c

Lists of Five

This week our Lists of Five: Five Political Films. Listener Matt (listen to last week’s show) suggested this list and considering the slightly political nature of “X-Men First Class” we thought we’d do it this week. Matt, this list is for you.

Just a reminder, because we never like to just make things easy on ourselves, our lists are not necessarily top five lists, they are more or a less a list of film recommendations within the theme of the list.

Listen or download it here or subscribe to it on iTunes

Send feedback for this show to feedback@filmactually.com or leave us a voice mail message to play on the show at (Sydney number) 02 8011 3167 or Skype ID: geekactually (you can also send us an mp3 file if you’d prefer).

Join us on our Facebook Fan Page: facebook.com/GeekActually - Follow David on Twitter: @davidmcvay – Follow Josh on Twitter: @Dogm3at - Get your Geek Actually swag at cafepress.com.au/geekactually - David’s “My Year With Movies” blog is on Tumbr - Check out Nicholas McVay’s Lego animations at YouTube.com/NickyMcVay - Our show logo is by Josh Spencer over at Spencer Cartoons at http://attackninja.blogspot.com

Friends of the Show

Listen to Reel Junkies podcast by going to weekendronin.com

Charlie and Brad (formerly of the Movie Fan House) are back, check them out at ReboundRadio.com

Rachelle is over at The Funky Film Show, Thursdays on Radio Freemantle 107.9 FM or radiofreemantle.com

Find more of Richard Gray at theReelBits.com and DVDBits.com or follow him on Twitter @DVDbits

Find out more about Josh’s other show, DLC Live, and Movember go to rawDLC.com

We are finishing the show today with a track from John Ottman’s Score to “X-Men 2”. It is Track 1 “Suite from X2”.

This entry was posted on June 6, 2011 at 11:28 am
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:08 pm

http://wheelingrampage.blogspot.com/2011/06/spotlight-x-men-first-class-james.html

Sunday, June 5, 2011
Spotlight: X-Men: First Class (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Rose Byrne)

Hello everyone I saw X-Men: First Class last night and let me tell you for a prequel to the original trilogy it is amazing. Let’s get into the review, warning this may be a long review as I want to give each actor credit where it should be given.

X-Men: First Class was directed by Matthew Vaughn, who directed Kick-Ass last year as well as produced movies such as Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. This movie was produced by the same men who did the original X-Men movies, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner, and Bryan Singer as well as Gregory Goodman who has produced Gulliver’s Travels and The Day The Earth Stood Still. This film was made by such studios as Marvel Entertainment and Bad Hat Harry Productions. Please excuse the extensive cast list that comes before the summary and review. These actors really do deserve some props:


James McAvoy (Wanted, Atonement, The Last King Of Scotland) plays Professor Charles Xavier, Laurence Belcher plays the young version of this character.
Michael Fassbender (Band Of Brothers, Inglourious Basterds, Hunger) plays Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto, Bill Milner (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Son Of Rambow) plays the young version of this character.
Kevin Bacon (The Woodsman, Apollo, Murder In The First) plays Sebastian Shaw a leader of a group of hostile mutants, named Hellfire Club, as well as being a scientist.
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone, The Burning Plain, The Poker House) plays Raven/Mystique, Morgan Lily (2012, Flipped) plays the young version of this character.
January Jones (Mad Men, Anger Management) plays Emma Frost/White Queen who is part of the Hellfire Club.
Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, Insidious, Get Him To The Greek) plays Dr. Moira Mactaggert.
Nicholas Hoult (Clash Of The Titans, A Single Man, About A Boy) plays Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy/Beast..
Oliver Platt (2012, Year One, The Big C) plays The Man In Black, the CIA agent who is head of the agency working with the mutants.
Zoë Kravitz (Californication, Assassination Of A High School President) plays Angel Salvadore, a mutant with the wings of a housefly that also spits acidic saliva.
Caleb Landry Jones (Summer Song, The Social network, The Last Exorcism) plays Sean Cassidy/Banshee, a mutant who has the ability of supersonic screaming and flight.
Lucas Till (Battle: Log Angeles, The Spy Next Door, Walk The Line) plays Alex Summers/Havok, a mutant who has the ability to absorb energy and discharge it as blasts.
Edi Gathegi (Twilight, Crank, My Bloody Valentine) plays Armando Muñoz/Darwin, a mutant with the power of “reactive evolution.”
Jason Flemyng (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Mirrors, Stardust) plays Azazel, a Hellfire Club member who has the ability to teleport.
Álex González plays Janos Quested/Riptide, a mutant who has the ability to create whirlwinds.
Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn also make cameo appearances as Logan/Wolverine and Mystique.


This movie first takes place in 1944 as we see Erik Lensherr being forced by Sebastian Shaw to use his magnetic powers. When he is not able to use them Shaw kills Erik’s mother, which leads to Erik using his anger to kill two guards and destroy the room. During the same time we also see Charles Xavier meeting Raven, he invites her to live with his family as he is happy to meet someone “different” like himself. The rest of the movie is based in the year 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, as Shaw tries to start World War 3. Xavier and Raven are employed by the government to try to help them with Saw and the Hellfire Club and he ends up helping and meeting Lensherr. They then start up a mutant division in the CIA and also recruit other mutants they can find by using Cerebro, which was made by Hank McCoy. They recruit Angel Salvadore, Armando Munoz, Alex Summers, and Sean Cassidy. I think this is enough of a spoiler….

First off I’d like to say that this movie was very well done, it had some problems but it was good. The special effects were awesome and the visuals were amazing. I really liked how they made this movie and how they showed how Xavier and Magneto’s relationship began. I really liked the part when Xavier training the mutants to be their best, the multiple video went well with this part and it made it look amazing. Many of the lines were very witty and there was many comical lines that would only be funny to a fan of the series. Erik’s early life was well shown and would make you emotional when he loses his mother. I have heard that this movie did miss some points that should have been addressed. One was the fact that Mystique and Azazel never began any sort of relationship, since they are the parents of Nightcrawler. This may come in the sequels though, so it isn’t too much as a fault as it could be for now. I guess since it would have made for a longer story, they changed the way that Xavier came to be wheelchair bound. I think the original reason was because of the confrontation with the Shadow King, as I have read online, but I have also heard it was because of an incident with Juggernaut. Either way I know the way they showed in the film was just a quick way to show it happened. Although this movie had some parts that weren’t exactly to the comics, it is a very good movie and you should all go see it. I give it a 4.5 because although this is the beginning of the X-Men, they could have made it a little closer to the comics.

Posted by Wheeling Rampage at 9:04 PM
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:09 pm

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

Sunday, June 05, 2011
X-Men: First Class

Here's what I liked about X-Men: First Class: Michael Fassbender's charismatic performance, and a plethora of attractive actresses (Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Zoe Kravitz, and January Jones, even if Jones can't act). Here's what I didn't like about the movie: almost everything else.

I can usually tell when a movie isn't working for me by how often I check my watch, and I was checking it almost every ten minutes. This film was a dull slog, and is actually worse than Brett Ratner's third installment, which makes it the worst of the lot. It's bad for different reasons, though--it's just plain boring.

I haven't been overwhelmed by any of the X-Men films, and to take away the one breakaway star of those films (as he was in the comics) Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, is a fatal misstep (he appears in a very short, amusing cameo). First Class is full of so much exposition, so much "who are you and what is your power" that the director and screenwriters almost forgot to include any action scenes.

This is a prequel, an explanation of how Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr (James McAvoy and Fassbender) became acquainted as allies, and then became enemies under the names Professor X and Magneto. Some other familiar X-Men are on hand, such as Beast, Mystique, Emma Frost and several others who, while doing some Wikipedia work, I see all exist in the Marvel Universe. But like X3, there are so many of these dang mutants, some of them with vague powers, that it all becomes a blur.

The action is set in 1962, and the villain is Sebastian Shaw, a powerful mutant played by Kevin Bacon, chewing the scenery as if he were the baddie in a bad James Bond film. He is able to manipulate the Americans and Russians into the Cuban missile crisis, in the hopes that normal people wipe each other out and leave the Earth to mutants. It seems like a badly-thought out plan, and I couldn't help but wonder where he was getting his money to build his own custom submarine.

Fassbender and McAvoy team up to stop him, and the climax at the blockade line around Cuba has some nice suspense, as does the final showdown between Fassbender and Bacon. But it's a long wait to get there, with a lot of empty "be who you are" stuff. I've always maintained that the writers of the X-Men comic books were substituting mutants for homosexuals, and that was reinforced by hearing Hank McCoy (who becomes the Beast), say about his mutantism, "You didn't ask, I didn't tell."

Some of the special effects work, but some of them are unbelievably cheesy. The Beast's makeup is atrocious, and he looks like someone in a bad blue werewolf Halloween costume.

Fassbender is terrific, though, and I continue to be impressed by his presence. He would make a great James Bond. I did wonder, though, why a man from Eastern Europe has an Irish accent.

My grade for X-Men: First Class: D+

posted by Jackrabbit Slim @ 8:57 PM
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:09 pm

http://www.sassisamblog.com/2011/06/06/review-xmen-first-class/

Review: X-Men First Class (2011)
Written on June 6, 2011 by Sassi Sam in Film & TV

Keeva Stratton

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones

The latest installment to the X-Men franchise has arrived on the big screen. X-Men First Class has fans quivering with excitement and anticipation, while simultaneously being seized with bouts of anxiety as to whether or not this eagerly awaited movie will live up to the hype and expectation.

The film can be described as a reboot of the series, a strategy we have seen quite a bit in recent times, with Nolan’s deft reclamation of the aforementioned Batman series, Bryan Singer’s fresh take on Superman, J.J. Abrams’ re-imagining of the Star Trek franchise, and even with Casino Royale as a revitalisation of the Bond films.

A prequel, X-Men First Class revolves around the friendship and eventual estrangement between Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), as two young men coming to grips with their mutant abilities in the 1960s, in a world that increasingly becomes shaped by escalating conflict between mutants and humans. Charles and Erik, of course, later go on to become Professor X, the serenely calm (and attractively bald) leader of the X-Men, and his rival Magneto, the intensely broody yet charismatic leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants.

Let’s not delay any further in casting judgement: the film is good, and lives up to expectations quite comfortably. At my media screening, there were unrestrained whoops of joy from various quarters at appropriately cultish moments, where bits of the story clicked nicely into place (Hugh Jackman’s five second cameo appearance as Wolverine garnered an enthusiastic response), and also heartfelt applause from a significant portion of the audience at the end.

Importantly, you don’t necessarily have to be a devotee of the X-Men franchise to get into and enjoy the film. X-Men First Class, to its credit, does not simply rely on spectacular action sequences (although they are certainly present and come across fantastically well). The film ultimately finds its success in actually being a beautifully paced, character-driven movie – driven by tight plotting, fine performances from a range of talented actors, and the nicely developed story arcs of the characters.

X-Men First Class is helmed by director Matthew Vaughn, who last year collected a whole swag of raves for directing the vibrant superhero send-up, Kick-Ass. His take on X-Men, however, veers more closely towards his earlier film, the stylishly elegant crime drama Layer Cake. X-Men First Class effortlessly exudes a sleek, unrestrained cool throughout its 60s settings, much like a superhero version of a Bond film, or a mutant action-drama take on the Mad Men television series.

Appropriately, the film of course, borrows January Jones from Mad Men, and her role as the telepathic, sometimes diamond-skinned Emma Frost, unfortunately will provoke some mild grumbles about X-Men First Class. A few of the characters – especially the female characters – don’t really have much to do, and some are not as fully developed as we would like. Rose Byrne, as the CIA agent Dr Moira MacTaggart, also doesn’t have much to work with.

But these are minor quibbles. The two leads, McAvoy as Charles Xavier and Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr, are well equipped, and the interplay between the two is particularly well done. McAvoy manages to convey intelligence, a suave charm, and emotional depth, while Fassbender does a riveting job of portraying Erik as a driven but fundamentally sympathetic figure, grappling with his own dark personal turmoil. Jennifer Lawrence also does wonderfully well in playing Raven, Charles’ earlier mutant discovery and childhood friend, who later (as we already know) shifts allegiances to Erik and becomes known as Mystique.

This film has blockbuster written all over it – and don’t take that as a negative. X-Men First Class is a welcome return to form for the franchise, providing compelling, story-driven big-screen entertainment for casual audience-goers as well as hardcore fans.

X-Men First Class is in cinemas now.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:10 pm

http://cynicritics.com/2011/06/05/review-x-men-first-class/

REVIEW: X-Men: First Class
Posted on June 5, 2011 by matterspamer

X-Men: First Class
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Written by: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, & Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kevin Bacon

Following up his post-modern polarizer Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn has decided to make an actual superhero movie. Not only that, but he also decides to make an origin story. It’s hard not to doubt his sincerity, because he had such gleeful fun deconstructing the genre in his blood-splattered last feature.

X-Men: First Class is nowhere near as bleak and melancholy as the original two films directed by Bryan Singer. It takes place in the 60s at the height of the Cold War, with its groovy suits and groovier language. James McAvoy seems to be the only one equipped with that vocabulary, though. Waltzing onto the university scene as a physics professor who also takes shots in the bar with his students, this isn’t the dry, wheelchair-confined Professor Xavier that you’re used to.

Most of the other mutants recruited in First Class don’t make it to the other films, except of course Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). Vaughn earns major indie cred with his casting choices for those three main mutants.

Fassbender is fast becoming the next big thing, and his performance as Magneto brings touches of much needed menace and rage. Watching him in a bar in Argentina as he attempts to track down the Nazi (Kevin Bacon) who killed his mother, you can see both an action star and a gifted dramatic actor as he sits at a table with two former members of the Third Reich and dismantles their wits and then kills them with his metal-moving power.

Lawrence is also a gifted star on the rise. Even behind the thick layers of make-up as the blue transformer Mystique she achieves a performance that sticks with you. She displays more of an emotional range if less restraint than she did in Winter’s Bone, but also shows us that she may be ready for the Hunger Games films.

Aside from those three leads, the rest of the mutants are sadly forgettable or too campy. You can tell Kevin Bacon had a ball playing the main villain, as he overdoes it to such an extent that many may think this is the self-mockery of Kick-Ass on display. Sadly, it’s not. Until Magneto decides that he’s had enough playing by the humans’ rules in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the movie doesn’t get the villain it deserves, and then it’s pretty much over.

Vaughn doesn’t necessarily resurrect the franchise from the dissappointing third film and the even more disappointing “Origins” one. However, he does inject a welcome amount of pathos back into the franchise. He returns the X-Men films back to films that are principally based on ideas: ones that members of society who are different should be accepted. This is done amidst an atmosphere of war and destruction that mirrors the ideological debate even if sometimes that meaning can be lost.

First Class operates as the beginning of an alternate Civil Rights struggle, and it would be interesting to see another movie with both theirs and the African American one going on side-by-side. The Watchmen-esque idea that superheros are integral parts of history is an idea that First Class embeds somewhat convincingly into its story. Watching John F. Kennedy speak after the Missile Crisis, it’s hard not imagine him covering up the mutants’ near-extermination at the hands of the Soviets and the Americans.

Thankfully, the Cold War paranoia that many superhero films have been unable to shed even in modern settings (Iron Man 2 comes to mind first) takes a backseat in a movie that actually takes place in that time period. The Soviets get almost equal time on the screen during a critical scene where they and the Americans may both be destroyed.

It’s notes of sincerity like that that help elevate this film above mediocrity. Watching the struggles of Mystique and Beast, two mutants whose appearances are affected by their mutations, contemplate if it’s worth changing their looks to fit in may not be subtle, but it’s no less affecting.

First Class may star Mad Men’s January Jones and share its time period, but the restrained subtly of that show is largely lost in favor of a blunt social message injected with scenes of summer action. Aside from Fassbender’s startlingly good performance and some wonderfully done visual montages, Vaughn plays it by the book. At least it’s a comic book.

Grade: B-
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:10 pm

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

Monday, June 6, 2011
X-Men: First Class
( Movie review )


Rated: PG-13
Genre: Action, adventure, superhero
Running Time: 2 Hours 13 Minutes
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon

"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." - 20th Century Fox


Verdict: This is definitely the best installment of the X-Men film series. It's well written and executed. Director Matthew Vaughn did what the other directors of the series didn't manage to; he made it genuinely epic and entertaining, and it's done without having Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to carry the show. Perhaps the only downsides of the film are the minor storyline flaws, and lead actor James McAvoy. I thought he didn't perform that well as protagonist Charles Xavier/Professor X.

Favourite scene/quote: (SPOILER BEGINS HERE) Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman): "Go f&#! yourself." (SPOILER ENDS HERE)

Minor flaws: (SPOILER BEGINS HERE) It's sad to say that Wolverine's hilarious little cameo appearance is the perhaps most obvious flaw in the movie. It wasn't mentioned that Xavier & Magneto had approached him before in the original film. Also, Xavier has known Mystique almost his whole life but why didn't it seem that way at all in the original trilogy? (SPOILER ENDS HERE)

Lacks of emotional engagement: (SPOILER BEGINS HERE) Xavier was portrayed as an intelligent flirt who doesn't even use his ability to get chicks. He's so full of himself, he doesn't even wanna shave his head even when he was asked to. So how come he doesn't seem devastated at all when he lost the use of his legs? Not sure if we should blame the director or the actor for this. (SPOILER ENDS HERE)

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Second opinion: "I liked the movie. Normally I'd be bored watching this kind of shows but this one was actually good." - Iris Loong
Posted by toninkush at 2:12 AM
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:11 pm

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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:11 pm

http://scarletsp1der.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/the-first-class-earns-an-a/

X-Men: First Class. The prequel which “introduces” the mutants of Marvel’s highly popular team of superheroes, the X-Men. First Class tells the origin story of Professor X and his colleagues and beloved team. After three X-Men movies that either were tremendously fantastic, or tremendously failed (depending on your point of view), and a horrific origins story entitled Wolverine, X-Men: First Class entered the theatrical franchise with big expectations to meet in the hearts and minds of fans everywhere.

The storytelling for this origin tale set in the 1960s is superb and unique. At times it is as if X-Men: First Class is not even a superhero film (in the sense of the cheesy-ness of others past: Wolverine, Spiderman 3, Fantastic Four 2, etc). Director Matthew Vaughn (Snatch) and Screenwriters Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (both wrote for Thor) excelled in the depiction of the mutants, their beginnings, passion, strife, and their powers. With so many characters involved, the amount of time spent to develop each of the primary characters is neither too much nor insufficient. The comradery/rivalry between Xavier and Magneto, the background of Mystique, Beast’s origin, and more! Get ready to either 1-learn more about the X-Men that you never knew, or 2-enjoy the story you may already know, except on the big screen in a way never told before!

But any movie can have great storytelling and be ruined by a second-class cast in place. Major congrats to the casting directors and their choices! Am I the only one who ever came up with a cast for an X-Men movie before any of the films ever came out? (Come on! Many of you did before or after X-Men released!) It is somewhat easy to pick the cast of actors for the characters as we know them, but to pick accurate actors to play the characters as they were decades before what we knew them to be…talent!

Take a look:

James McAvoy/Charles Xavier: Uncanny!
Michael Fassbender/Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto): Astonishing!
Kevin Bacon/Sebastian Shaw: Delightfully Evil!
Jennifer Lawrence/Raven (Mystique): Full of Character!
January Jones/Emma Frost: Chillingly Cool!
Additional Cast and Characters: Completely Appropriate

Major kudos though to the first three: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Kevin Bacon. McAvoy as the idealistic and almost stoic Charles Xavier makes the future Patrick Stewart’s version even more believable/understandable. The same goes for Fassbender’s Magneto. However, Michael Fassbender truly shows off his acting prowess as the mutant with mommy issues and magnetic personality! Bacon performs his most enjoyable/memorable role for the first time since 2003′s Mystic River, or perhaps even 1995′s Apollo 13! A great job by all.

The film revolves mostly around Magneto and Xavier’s beginning plight and story, which it should. However, it does miss out on covering more of the other characters. While Beast, Emma Frost, and Mystique receive ample attention, the additional members of the class: Havok, Banshee, Azazel, Darwin, Angel, and a few others, missed out. While perhaps, not necessary or possible in 132 minutes, comic book fans will appreciate the inclusion of the characters, but also may remain slightly disappointed with the focus remaining mainly on characters we have already seen, known, and read about.

Several “TRUE” X-Men fans may still complain over certain details not being “accurate” as they may claim to remember them to be from the comic book. My statement to that: Who cares? This movie remains fantastic! It pays tribute to the first X-Men movie very well; the action is not lacking nor does it overpower the story; the story is told in a manner that is understandable and keeps the attention; the main characters are developed sufficiently; the attention to detail in setting the film in the 60′s is noteworthy; the special effects, cinematography, and musical score remain impressive; the cameos are fun; and it is just plain good!

X-Men: First Class earns a good grade from TheScarletSp1der!

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy Watching!

-TheSp1der’s Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars for “X-Men: First Class”
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:16 pm

http://www.ok4me2.net/2011/06/05/movie-review-x-men-first-class-2011/

http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/06/03/movies/x-men-first-class-review.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Born That Way, and Proud of It
By MANOHLA DARGIS
Published: June 2, 2011

After a close call with franchise death (diagnosis: anemia), the X-Men film series has bounced back to life with its fifth installment, rescued with a straight injection of pop. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, “X-Men: First Class” reaches back to the early 1960s for an origin story of mutants, mad men and mods that takes some of its cues from James Bond and more than a few costumes from Austin Powers. Like “Mad Men,” this new “X-Men” indulges in period nostalgia as it gazes into the future, using the backdrop of the cold war (and its turtlenecks) to explore how the past informs the present (while also blowing stuff up).

Like the first “X-Men,” this one opens in the 1940s in a Nazi concentration camp, where a young Erik Lehnsherr tries to destroy a metal gate that’s separated him from his parents with what appears to be the power of his mind and his anguish. It’s a futile endeavor, but one that attracts the attention of a tea-sipping sadist first called Dr. Schmidt and later Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon, enjoying himself), whose venality earns Erik’s wrath. His anger and Shaw’s evil drive a story that leaps from World War II to the cold war when, as the United States and the Soviet Union play a rigged game of chicken, the adult Erik (Michael Fassbender) will brood across a chessboard at a future nemesis, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy).

“First Class” relates how these dreamboats became the antagonists who were played by Ian McKellen (a k a Magneto) and Patrick Stewart (Professor X) in the first films and, with the rest of the characters, were eventually swamped by ever noisier special effects. Written by Mr. Vaughn with a clutch of others, the new movie is lighter in tone and look than its predecessors, and appreciably less self-serious than those directed by Bryan Singer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it also feels less personal, though Mr. Vaughn gets satisfying performances and copious tears, along with sex appeal, from his leading men. Mr. Vaughn doesn’t bring conviction to the story’s identity politics (say it loud, I’m mutant and I’m proud), but he gives Mr. Fassbender and Mr. McAvoy room to bring the brotherly love.

After parallel introductions of the young Erik and the young Charles (in Westchester County, where Charles is joined by Raven/Mystique, played as a teenager by Jennifer Lawrence), the scene shifts to 1962. A few cranks of the plot later, and assorted fiery and smoking-hot mutants with handles like Angel (Zoe Kravitz) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) are soon walking on and flying over a world stage alongside Soviet generals, American men in black and Shaw, now fortified with superpowers and a cool number, Emma Frost (January Jones, sullen, bosomy). Mr. Vaughn, whose last movie was the modestly scaled “Kick-Ass,” keeps the mutants, locales and narrative elements from blurring together and sometimes gives the proceedings a nice jolt, as in a forcible tooth extraction seen from inside a gaping mouth.

The defining virtue of the first X-Men movies was the seriousness that Mr. Singer brought to this saga of mutants uneasily sharing fates and plotlines with humans. His signature unsmiling approach at times tipped into overkill, like cement shoes on a drowning bunny. Yet his moody lighting and characters also worked as a countervailing force to the camp that has often clung to comic-book movies ever since George Clooney ran amok in a Bat codpiece. Movies like the original “X-Men” turned the ethos that shaped what’s been called the Dark Age of comic books into blockbuster gold (“Spider-Man” and the rebooted “Batman” shortly followed) and fed harder-edged small flicks like “Kick-Ass” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” which push and pull between comic-book super-parody and super-solemnity.

“X-Men: First Class” is plenty serious, mostly in its ambitions for world box office domination. With its spy-on-spy globetrotting, old-fashioned villains (we’re back in the U.S.S.R. for a few scenes), flirty but prematurely swinging minis and fan-boy bits (look for an eye-blink-fast tribute to “Basic Instinct” and a cameo from the cult actor Michael Ironside), the whole enterprise has an agreeable lightness, no small thing, given its rapidly moving parts. The weighty themes — post-Holocaust defiance and post-Stonewall pride — are still in play but less laboriously. “Never again,” vows Erik, raising the freak flag. It’s a gesture that the “X-Men” faithful, already schooled in the rights of man and mutant, can dutifully nod at while they and everyone else groove to the sounds of “Green Onions” and the sight of the former Mrs. Don Draper on ice.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Opens on Friday nationwide.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn; written by Mr. Vaughn, Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman, based on a story by Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer and the Marvel Comics series by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby; director of photography, John Mathieson; edited by Lee Smith and Eddie Hamilton; music by Henry Jackman; production design by Chris Seagers; costumes by Sammy Sheldon; produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, Gregory Goodman and Mr. Singer; released by 20th Century Fox. Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes.

WITH: James McAvoy (Charles), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw/Dr. Schmidt), Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert), January Jones (Emma Frost), Oliver Platt (MIB), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Hank/Beast), Zoe Kravitz (Angel Salvadore/Wings), Jason Flemyng (Azazel), Lucas Till (Alex Summers/Havok), Caleb Landry Jones (Cassidy/Banshee), Alex Gonzalez (Janos Questad/Riptide) and Edi Gathegi (Darwin Armondo).

A version of this review appeared in print on June 3, 2011, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: Born That Way, and Proud Of It.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:16 pm

http://www.lcnn1.com/2011/06/new-x-men-is-first-class-entertainment.html

New X-Men is First Class Entertainment
June 5, 2011 3:04 AM | No TrackBacks
2011_x-men_first_class_017.jpg

Release Date: June 3, 2011
Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Superhero, Prequel
Run Time: 132 min.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Actors: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Edi Gathegi
Like many long-running movies franchises, the X-Men series was beginning to feel a little stale.

Perhaps, sensing the same need for creative revival, an origins story featuring Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) showed up in 2009. But aside from the sheer scariness of those magnificent claws, the story simply lacked spark. If anything, Wolverine only helped Ryan Reynolds' future superhero prospects. Thanks to a standout performance as the film's resident baddie, not to mention the fruits of spending many, many hours at the gym, Reynolds landed his own Deadpool spin-off, which is slated for release in 2014.

But as the old adage goes, good things come to those who wait, and X-Men: First Class is definitely a huge step in a promising new direction. It's not Dark Knight good, mind you, but when compared to the snoozefest that was 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, it's downright revolutionary. In fact, several scenes even recall X-Men's glory days, back when Bryan Singer (Valkyrie) was in director's chair.

Beyond the inspired execution of British writer/director Matthew Vaughn (Kick As-), some of First Class' genius lies in the casting, particularly of James McAvoy (Gnomeo & Juliet) as the future Professor X, a.k.a. Charles Xavier. The goody two shoes yin to Erik, the future Magneto's (Michael Fassbender, Jane Eyre) revenge-driven yang, Xavier longs for peace and tranquility in a world that's anything but. Still, he doesn't mind using his telepathic powers for selfish gain every once in a while, namely hitting on the ladies at the local watering hole--one of the script's comedic highlights.

Meanwhile, it's also uncovered what makes Erik's extraordinary talents kick in for good. After fellow mutant Sebastian Shaw (an amusingly evil Kevin Bacon), the leader of the Hellfire club, murders his mother right in front of him, the concentration camp survivor's anger unleashes a fury Magneto never knew he possessed. Determined to inflict some serious pain on Shaw, who moonlights as a Nazi manipulator, Magneto ultimately believes that revenge will help soothe the wounds from losing his mother.

Fast forwarding several years, Professor X and Magneto eventually meet because they share that common enemy, Shaw, who's also been recruiting mutants for less than noble causes. It's here where the rest of the motley crew comes together, too, and we're introduced to the young Mystique (a standout Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone), Emma Frost (January Jones, Unknown), Angel Salvadore (Zoe Kravitz, It's Kind of a Funny Story), the delightfully nerdy Beast (Nicholas Hoult, The Weather Man) and Darwin (Edi Gathegi, New Moon).

What happens next is the stuff of great summer popcorn movies. Filled with plenty of madcap action, state-of-the-art special effects, flirty romance and even a fun play on history where the Bay of Pigs invasion is reimagined as a thrilling mutant showdown, X Men: First Class is an opportunity to sit back, suspend your disbelief and enjoy the early journeys of these beloved characters.

Click here to continue reading

SOURCE: Crosswalk - Christa Banister
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:17 pm

http://movie0girl.livejournal.com/1962.html

Review: X-Men: First Class

This was a pretty damn good X-Men movie. FINALLY. I actually thought that Last Stand was alright-ish (it was the first X-Men film I saw, and it was a decent introduction since the first and second were better---weird logic, I know). But X-Men Origins: Wolverine was obnoxious (I'm still mad about Deadpool!). Now I know this movie took tons of liberties with the comic continuity, but since I'm a very casual comic book fan, I was much more worried about how this stood up by itself as a film. I have to say it held up pretty well.

30-Second Recap: Nazi Concentration Camp, Germany, 1944: Poor little Erik Lehnsherr bends a metal fence out of desperation when he gets seperated from his mother upon entering the camp. Then a sinister Dr. Schmidt (Kevin Bacon) emotionally tortures and manipulates him into using his powers again. Westchester, New York, 1944: Little British-accented Charles Xavier meets little Raven (Darkholme, but the film doesn't mention her last name) when she breaks into his family's mansion, and he takes her in. Europe, 1962: Charles (James McAvoy) is working on his thesis and Raven, later Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has accompanied him to Europe posing as is sister (which she basically is here), while Erik (Michael Fassbender) is busy hunting down his Nazi tormentors---his last target is Dr. Schmidt, whose real name is Sebastian Shaw. It's the middle of the Cold War, and Shaw is trying to start World War III during the Cuban Missile crisis with the help of his associates, including Emma Frost, the White Queen (January Jones). CIA agent Moira McTaggart (Rose Byrne) recruits Charles and Raven to help fight Shaw, and then Charles saves and recruits Erik while he's trying to attack Shaw. Charles and Erik team up, become friends, and recruit other mutants, including Hank McCoy, "Beast" (Nicholas Hoult); Alex Summers, "Havok" (Lucas Till); Sean Cassidy, "Banshee" (Caleb Landry Jones); and one familiar face who says "no" in a hilarious cameo. They form a proto-X-Men squad to stop WWIII, and everyone has issues controlling their powers and their mutant-human-relationship philosophies, all to an epic soundtrack with some engaging action sequences.

Gut Reaction:

1. Little!Mystique is adorable, continuity be damned.

2. Kevin Bacon scares me. Never thought I'd say that.

3. Michael Fassbender = HELL YEAH! Just...in general.

4. I know this Mystique/Charles Xavier friendship is not canon, and when I first heard about it, I thought it sounded really weird, but for this movie, it works. They're cute, and Xavier is very in-character-ly Xavier (all logical, mentor-ish, and practical).

5. Hank's "coming out" scene made me giggle. It was sweet and fairly well-handled, but the parallel was so glaringly obvious.

6. Fangirl moment: I love villain-shipping in this series---first Magneto/Mystique and now Shaw/Emma.

7. 1960s Cerebro is awesome/adorably kitschy!

8. Beast's transformation is rather sad.

9. [SPOILERS] I wanted more Magneto/Mystique.

10. [SPOILERS] I hate that Magneto has to become what he hates. I know it's necessary, but it's paradoxical and tragic. I still love him anyway though.


Analysis Goggles:

It has to be extremely hard stepping into the shoes of Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, but James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender manage it wonderfully. In fact, I'm super-disappointed that X-Men Origins: Magneto got scrapped because Fassbender's performance was the most powerful in the movie and he definitely could have carried a film by himself as Magneto. His Magneto is tortured and sympathetic, but never pathetic or pitiable, and he already has a ruthless streak, but there is still some good in him, which makes his storyline so tragic. McAvoy's Xavier has less depth, but that due to the writing and the innate nature of the character, not his performance, which is also spot-on. The rest of the cast is great, too. Kevin Bacon surprised me the most: in the trailers, I thought Shaw looked pretty lame, but Bacon managed to put a charmingly sinister spin on what is a fairly straightforward, rather flat comic book villain. What I love about this recent rash of comic books movie is that while yes, the casts tend towards the ridiculously attractive, they can, in fact, act. So at least the casting directors aren't just grabbing the prettiest people in the room and praying it works out. Oh hi, Fantastic Four!

While that is clearly one of its greatest strengths, the film does have a few problems. Mainly, I think the pacing is too quick: this origin story should have showed the characters' development together over the course of months or years, not a week, which makes all these changes seem too abrupt and not completely believable. Also, the political, Cold War side of the story is a bit too heavy: if they'd eased up on that, we could have gotten a lot more Xavier/Magneto bromance, which is what I was really looking forward too. And again, Shaw is a pretty flat villain when you come right down to it---he has very similar motives to Magneto, but Magneto has a sad, sympathetic backstory that endears us to him, but Shaw has none of that: he just likes to cling to people with political power and manipulate them into doing whatever he wants, and that's it. I just think it's a little disappointing that when Magneto isn't the Big Bad, the villains are rather one-dimensional.

The 1960's style also has pros and cons. It looks great and feels really cool, but it feels very familiar---nothing new about the time period is introduced, but I guess that's not the point. Honestly, my favorite parts with the '60's style were the ones where Magneto set out to take revenge on the Nazis (and gave those wacky Inglourious Basterds a run for their money in that department). They were slick and stylish, but also the most emotionally involving parts of the movie, as we see the remnants of WWII that still remain in that world. That part of the movie felt like something out of the James Bond series (sort of like Connery meets Craig), but once Magneto meets Xavier, that subplot fades, unfortunately.

While it has its issues and flaws, X-Men: First Class is definitely one of the strongest entries in the series and it is a ton of fun, though I felt like an outside observer instead of directly involved in the action (which is how I felt when I saw Thor). Still, I think this movie proves that less Wolverine = better movie.

Summer Movie Rankings:

1. Thor: Better characterization; felt extremely epic.
2. X-Men: First Class: A close second; flawed but fun.
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: An extremely distant third; felt obnoxiously lazy.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:17 pm

http://www.cosmodaddy.com/2011/06/05/film-review-x-men-first-class/

Film Review: X-Men: First Class
Posted on Sunday, June 5, 2011 in comics, culture, films

Very much a prequel and not a reboot, Michael (Kick-Ass/Layer Cake) Vaughn’s first stab at a Marvel film is hugely enjoyable. Subtly concocted, aware of the need to fix the damage done by X3, the film focuses on the relationship between Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), and explains how their friendship was forged, as well as how their diametrically opposing worldviews led them into opposing paths. It’s not without it’s faults – McAvoy definitely plays second fiddle to Fassbender, some of the effects are needlessly ropey, and some of the mutants’ changes in allegiance are downright baffling, but its strengths more than outweigh its weaknesses. I should add though, that this is a very character-driven piece – most of the action is in the back half of the film, and I can imagine that not knowing that in advance could lead to disappointment for some.

First thing I should say is that this isn’t Kick-Ass. Although it seriously glamourises the villain of the piece, it’s a very conventional film. Set in the 60′s, it’s a romp through the early X-corner of the Marvel Universe (can Marvel please retrieve the rights to the X-films please?), and the cute period touches work well. The fashion of the time is noted, the politics underpin the film’s plotline, and Sebastian Shaw’s Bond villain-esque lair was a well considered sarcastic touch. The heart of the film though is Michael Fassbender and his transformation from Lehnsherr into Magneto. The script by Miller, Stentz, Goldman and director Vaughn never loses touch with the reasons for Lehnsherr’s hate-filled worldview and Fassbender makes it very easy to empathise with him. Towering above his co-stars, this is very much his show, but whilst that may be hugely entertaining, it causes let-downs elsewhere. McAvoy’s countervailing Xavier never really convinces – he has the lines but doesn’t give them the punch needed, and similar problems occur throughout the nascent X-Men team. Nic Hoult’s Hank McCoy is brilliant, but his Beast is downright awful (this is largely not his fault – the make-up/effects are woeful). Zoë Kravitz’s Angel may be a welcome, off-beat, street-based character, but her reasons for switching sides are never properly developed, and we never really find out much about Havok or Darwin. Disappointing too are some of the effects, particularly the miniatures – whilst they’re clearly necessary in most action movies, someone should have noticed that if it’s abundantly clear that the trees are toy trees, the entire credibility of the scene could be completely wiped out.

The confrontation with (and backstory behind) villain Sebastian Shaw is well developed (Kevin Bacon is unexpectedly brilliant), putting the Xavier/Magneto confrontation at the heart of the Cold War is even more clever, and the formation of the X-Men as a result of both is dramatically satisfying. But the film suffers from confused priorities – Fassbender’s mission of vengeance is a taut, nasty and compelling thriller, which doesn’t sit easily alongside the conventional X-superheroics which the franchise demands. McAvoy’s Xavier must then bridge the divide between plotlines, and for either script or acting reasons (it’s ultimately hard to tell), he never really manages; only after the character loses the use of his legs does he start to resemble Patrick Stewart’s Xavier. This opening outing though is full of knowing and enjoyable moments, from the links to the future (you’ll have to see them for yourself) to Fassbender’s clear joy at playing Lehnsherr/Magneto, and it’s well worth your time. If the plot had been built up entirely through the prism of Xavier/Magneto, and had been played against the parallel social changes happening in America at the same time, it could have been as great as X2. It’s not too far off though.

8.5/10
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