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X-Men Reviews 6

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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:21 pm

http://www.workingauthor.com/x-men-first-class-2011-review

X-Men: First Class (2011) Review
5 June 2011 | One Comment Print Print | Email Email
X-Men: First Class (2011) Review

Origins Everywhere!

By: René S. Garcia, Jr.

Working Author

Ever since Hollywood special effects have caught up with the visual demands of comic books, the superhero film has been a reliable revenue generator for studios. Comic book characters already have well-crafted, satisfying stories and an audience that wants to experience them on the big screen. While comic book films aren’t always executed well, the X-Men brand seems to be widely well-received by fans of the source material as well as newcomers. X-Men: First Class maintains much of the appeal of the previous films, adding much more that audiences will enjoy, while also keeping just a few bits that may annoy.

X-Men: First Class is less of a character origin story than it is an origin story for the mutant conflict. Taking place largely during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) teams up with Eric Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) to stop Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) from starting World War III. Shaw wants to accelerate mutant evolution by spreading radiation around the world via a nuclear war. In order to save humanity, the CIA teams up with Xavier and Lehnsherr, allowing them to recruit a team of young mutants, including fan favorites Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult). Unfortunately, the team is young and inexperienced and taking on Shaw and his mutant cohorts will challenge more than the fledgling X-Men group’s resolve, but also their morality.

Irrespective of how well the film adheres to X-Men lore, audiences should leave the theater satisfied. First Class has all the action and visual effects that viewers will expect from a comic book film. Moreover, most of the action is handled wisely and there are plenty of scenes that will elicit nods and smiles at how clever some of the characters use their powers. One mutant who can teleport instantaneously grabs victims, teleports into the sky and then drops his prey to their deaths. Some powers just aren’t handled with the same flair, however, like the mutant who flies by screaming and keeping himself aloft on sound waves. During the climactic battle, audiences will have to endure watching him flit about the screen for uncomfortably too long while hoping the movie will get back to more interesting mutants doing more interesting things.

Since superhero backstories are typically full of tragedy and strife, it’s a shame that there isn’t more drama in First Class. Audiences get to watch the origin of Magneto – the film even recycles some footage from the first X-Men – but only get a small taste of what he had to endure to become the angry villain he is. Chalk this shortcoming up to one of the problems of team superhero movies: more characters means less character development. On the other hand, a few characters do get fleshed out and it’s fun to watch a young Xavier when he drank surprising amounts of beer, picked up on chicks and still walked.

The film is appropriately grandiose, offering an alternate version to the Cuban Missile Crisis, but some of the confrontations could have been bigger. For instance, the showdown between Lehnsherr and Shaw seems very small for a fight between a man that can control metal and another man who just absorbed the power from a nuclear reactor. Nevertheless, audiences will rightfully marvel when a submarine is yanked out of the water or when a salvo of missiles is stopped in midair.

Fans of the previous X-Men films will appreciate the visual style of First Class. While the filmmakers did a solid job of bringing the characters and the world to life, the film doesn’t quite reach the necessary grittiness to feel real. The movie never shakes its “movie feel” and only does the bare minimum to convey its 60’s timeframe. This isn’t necessarily a criticism since the film seamlessly fits in with the other X-Men films, but audiences should be aware that new ground isn’t being broken here.

Overall, X-Men: First Class is a solid, fun time and all audiences should enjoy it. The strong violence is kept mostly off screen and there’s only one major swear word, so parents can bring their kids without being too nervous. The actors all take their roles seriously – even when their powers aren’t that cool – and the leads carry the film effortlessly. Make X-Men: First Class the next film you see; it’ll be some of the best money and time you spend in the theater this summer.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:27 pm

http://www.movietrailerreviews.net/home/index.php/2011/06/04/movie-reviews/middle-of-the-class/

Middle of the Class
June 4, 2011 By Joseph Leave a Comment

As another weekend bursts into full swing, another new movie is out for review. Today’s movie is the 20th Century Fox movie X-Men: First Class. The Movie, rated PG-13, features an ensemble cast which includes James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, and January Jones. This has been a fairly maligned film, because no one has been too sure what to make of it. You have a group of people who love it and claim that it’s the best movie ever. There are others that think it’s a horrible movie and deserves to be wiped from memory. Which one do I fall under? Let’s find out.

The movie begins in 1944 Poland with a young Erik Lensherr being separated from his parents and Nazi scientist Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) discovering that little Erik has a big secret…a secret that’s exacerbated when Dr. Shaw killed his mother in front of him. Concurrently, a young Charles Xavier discovers a young girl named Raven (who would later become Mystique) scrounging around for food in his home. Thrilled to meet someone different like him, he then invites her to live with her family. Later, an adult Erik (Michael Fassbender) has set forth a plan to avenge his mother’s death by killing all of the former Nazis that were involved in his capture and the experiments foisted upon him. Meanwhile, Charles (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) are in Oxford where Charles is studying for his PhD. Around the same time, CIA Agent Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne) is looking to find a corrupt officer involved in the Hellfire Club, with Sebastian Shaw as its leader and the enigmatic Emma Frost (January Jones) as his second in command. Charles and Erik reluctantly decide to join forces with the CIA and work towards stopping Shaw and the Hellfire Club, as well as trying to help stop the onset of World War III.

So…what worked about this movie? First of all, the cast was pretty much fantastic. McAvoy and Fassbender in particular really convinced me they were Charles and Erik, and their chemistry was excellent. The cinematography was spectacular and the CGI was phenomenal. The flying scenes in particular were a sight to behold. The story flowed smoothly, and they integrated historical images and video in seamlessly with the story they were telling onscreen.

What didn’t work? Well, one of the things that didn’t work was January Jones. Sure, I said the cast was fantastic, but the lone exception to that is January Jones. She’s a great looking woman, but she’s not necessarily a good actress. I’m sure she is okay in Mad Men, but she wasn’t too good in this. The other thing that really didn’t work was something that affects movies of this caliber as a whole. That problem being that it’s not an easy thing to create a prequel for something that’s already been established. In fact, I think the smarter thing would have been to consider this movie a reboot.

The movie was directed by Matthew Vaughan, and he is looked at as a bit of a geek favorite seeing what he did with Kick-Ass. There is a bit of a framing issue from time to time due to his love for wide shots, but it’s a beautiful looking movie. The score was done by Henry Jackman, and it sounds good for the era it’s based in. It’s powerful enough when it needs to be, and subtle when the scene calls for it. On a whole, the cinematography was fluid and the story was decent.

Despite the positive flow, I don’t really know how to feel about this movie. Like I mentioned above, it’s getting a myriad of reviews. It was great to some, horrible to others, and still those who are in between. As for me, I tend to fall right in the middle of that spectrum. Some parts of it worked for me, and others didn’t. On the whole, I’ll consider this a decent matinée, and I can competently recommend watching this in the theaters at least once. It may not get highest marks, but it’s certainly not a remedial effort.

After all, it could certainly be worse.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:28 pm

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

Friday, June 3, 2011
X-Men: First Class - Movie Review

I absolutely loved the first two X-Men movies. They, in my opinion, were great personal stories as well as fantastic action movies. The Nightcrawler scene from X2 remains one of my favorite action scenes in a superhero movie. These two great movies were followed by two very sub par predecessors; X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And after first hearing that a new X-Men movie was in the works, I was skeptical. But after hearing more and more about it and hearing that Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) was set to direct it, I was slowly but surely getting more excited for this prequel. And now, my most anticipated superhero movie of the summer has arrived and here's my review.

X-Men: First Class charts the 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 (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead the best 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.

In this movie, most of the attention is focused on developing the characters of Charles and Erik and this is the glue that holds the film together. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are excellent in their roles and have really good chemistry together; the most moving and interesting scenes in the film belong to them and I just couldn't get enough of them. Director Matthew Vaughn moves this story at a brisk, controlled pace. With a runtime of more than two hours there’s a lot that happens, but thankfully the time passes pretty quickly.

The reinterpretation of characters and story not only makes First Class interesting as a movie, but in my opinion, improves upon these characters’ back-stories a lot. Seeing Xavier as a naive man – who has not yet learned the true skills that go along with mind reading – makes for some interesting themes and pretty funny, memorable moments. And Seeing Erik as a sort of a James Bond-esque type of character is really cool, and Fassbender brings an intensity that made him my favorite performance in the film and maybe my favorite part about the movie in general. The two leads don’t try to mimic the performances of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen from the original trilogy either, which is great because I've seen that done in many re-castings/ reboots before and I hate it – instead they make the roles their own and I really appreciated that.

While the Charles and Erik's storyline is the main focus, the title of this film and its trailers imply a story about a larger team coming together. This aspect of the film is not really developed or interesting, and I can see some fans having an issue with that. I didn't have a huge issue with it but I was expecting a story more focused on that aspect of building a team. We do meet a group of mutants in the film, but with the exception of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), those mutants are mostly just there to be shown off in the action scenes – or in the case of Emma Frost (January Jones), just act as eye candy and not much else.
For her part, Jennifer Lawrence is great as Mystique, adding a little something different to a character that was mostly eye candy in the original trilogy. As with Charles and Erik, this movie manages to explore Mystique’s character in a way that is more interesting than in the other movies – even though most know where her arc will eventually lead. The other performance worthy of a mention is Kevin Bacon, who makes Sebastian Shaw a charmingly menacing supervillain, without crossing over into campy or exaggerated territory. Personally, this Nazi war criminal doesn't really seem like a Kevin Bacon role to me but hey, he was still good. I mean, he's Kevin Bacon.

Some people will be disappointed that the actual X-Men team members aren't really the stars of the movie, but the battle scenes with the mutants are really impressive, though. As with Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn proves that he is a fantastic director when it comes to action sequences, and First Class arguably has the best superhero action I've seen in quite a while. The previous films tended to have this sort of overwhelming tone every time a mutant's power was used, but Vaughn implements the powers into the film in a different way that makes the suspension of disbelief almost a lot easier (P.S. I feel like these movies STILL haven't gotten Beast right).

There are some stylistic tricks Vaughn tries out at different points such as first-person P.O.V. and split-screen montages which don't quite work out. Every now and then the film feels a little unbalanced or unpolished in its editing which is likely due to the rushed production schedule. Most likely, the average movie-goer is not going to notice these kinds of things but it stick out to me every once in a while.

Along with a few other nit-picky things being taken into account, as you might guess, this movie isn't perfect. Like most origin or prequel films, the story inevitably results in an abrupt ending. The climax of First Class has to fit all the players into their predetermined places, and the speed at which these things occurred felt rushed, even though Vaughn does capture some powerful moments in the deteriorating friendship of Charles and Erik. The rest of the characters stand aside and eventually take sides, which just seemed awkward and brought up even more problems I had with their lack of development.

Thankfully, the fantastic Xavier/Magneto dynamic, great action, and one brilliant cameo is enough to keep comic fans, movie fans, and summer movie-goers all sufficiently entertained by the majority of this film. Matthew Vaughn and everyone else behind this great superhero movie have definitely given a much needed return to form for the X-Men franchise.
I'm going to give X-Men: First Class an 8.5/10
Posted by Charlie Morse at 10:56 PM
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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:31 pm

http://www.christiancinema.com/catalog/article_info.php?articles_id=7883

X-Men: First Class
Not Dove Family Approved

Theatrical Release: 6/3/2011

Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter
Source: Theater
Writer: Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz
Producer: Gregory Goodman
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Genre: Action
Runtime: 132 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring: James McAvoy, Laurence Belcher, Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender

Synopsis:
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 Lehnsherr 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 prevent nuclear 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.

Dove Worldview:
Every epic series has a beginning and this movie is about the origins of the characters of the X-Men saga. The production values are first-rate with super special effects and fine actors which include James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw), Michael Fassbender (Erik or Magneto) and Rose Byrne as Moira. The movie makes a point about mutants and how those who are different have something special to offer. Some of the characters make good choices and some do not, such as one particular one who is bent on revenge.

It's interesting to watch the mutants as they begin to believe in their unique abilities and the viewer is reminded that all of us have choices to make as to what we do with our gifts and abilities. There is also an intriguing tie-in with true life events in the early sixties with Cuba and the missile crisis and we see President John F. Kennedy in archived historical footage as he appeared on TV. Unfortunately, the movie hits a five rating in the language department, not to mention a three in the sex category and therefore regrettably we cannot award our Dove Seal to the movie as a family-friendly film.

Content Chart & Description

Sex: Kissing; a few innuendos; a man kisses woman's chest; implied sex between unmarried couple.

Language: GD-3; G/OMG-3; J-3; H-6; "Hellfire Club"-2; F-1; B-1; A-2; D-1; Bloody-1
Violence: A man uses his mental powers to make another man slap himself; a character is stabbed in the hand and another in the stomach although it is not graphic; a character is stabbed in the back; guns pointed at people; shootings; explosions; ship and plane crashes; a woman is shot point blank but it is not a graphic scene; fights; character uses powers to send fire at enemies.

Drugs: Drinking in several scenes; bar scenes; talk of having a drink; beer and champagne; the smoking of cigarettes and cigars; a man is in a beer drinking contest.

Nudity: Strong cleavage; women in lingerie and skimpy clothing; blue skinned woman and outline of breast clearly seen; female manikins with breasts and rears showing.

Other: Disagreements among characters; evolution is mentioned on several occasions.

Copyright © 2010 - The Dove Foundation - all rights reserved
Review syndication authorized for ChristianCinema.com
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:08 am

http://www.screened.com/x-men-first-class/16-194705/staff-review/

X-Men: First Class Reviews (2011)

4 star rating THE Screened Review by Matt Rorie

Feeling sympathy for the devil has rarely been easier, or more enjoyable.

It’s a hell of a time to be Marvel. They’re possessed of some of the most beloved properties in comics, have a spate of well-received and highly-profitable films under their belt, and now have the marketing and merchandising muscle of Disney behind them. And yet, one of the feathers in their cap, the X-Men film license, is more or less permanently in the control of Fox. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; X-Men and X2 were watershed films that helped convince mainstream audiences that comic book cinema could not only entertain but also convey actual emotions beyond mere thrills. After the successful but somewhat poorly-received X-Men: The Last Stand, they’re returning to the proverbial drawing board with X-Men: First Class, boldly shifting the time frame for the franchise back to the middle of the Cold War. Anchored by some superlative performances and imaginative direction, it’s the kind of entertainment that’s nearly impossible to dislike. It’s not all perfect, but it’s enough of an achievement to be easily recommendable.

By now the story of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr is well-worn, familiar even to those that have never picked up a comic book in their lives: they’re old friends who, possessing radically different views on the worth of humanity, become sworn enemies. There’s always a grudging respect between them, with a lurking suspicion that if the argument can be framed correctly, the other might be turned to their side. That relationship is the core of First Class, or at least the core of its best parts, as we come to see how the pair first meet, and, of course, first disagree. There’s an awful lot of other material packed into the film’s 130 minutes, and it's almost all pleasing, though it’s hard not to feel just the slightest uptick in energy when the pair’s relationship becomes the focus of a scene. And, with all respect to James McAvoy as Xavier, that’s largely due to the presence of Michael Fassbender.

Fassbender’s performance as Lehnsherr is stunning. Magneto is done a favor here by not being the primary villain, allowing us to feel a bit of sympathy for the devil, and sympathetic he is. The child of concentration camps and emotional torture used by the Nazis to bring out his latent mutant powers, we come across Fassbender a good fifteen minutes into the film in full Nazi-hunting mode. He’s a beautiful man, but possesses a control over his looks that allows him to convey an almost operatic rage that’s just barely constrained, without veering into the excesses that, say, Christian Bale as Batman sometimes affects. Righteous vengeance is something that audiences understand implicitly, but it's still something of a wonder that the film, and Fassbender, invite us to take Magneto’s side even as he becomes someone willing to condemn all of humanity to the ash pile. It’s a transfixing performance; one only wishes that there were more of it to watch.

Of course there must be other characters, and there are indeed many of them. There are at least a dozen mutants in the film vying for screen time, each of which must be introduced, have their powers demonstrated, and ultimately be given enough action to justify their inclusion. Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, leader of the Hellfire Club, steers the villainous contingent of mutants as he seeks to maneuver the U.S. and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war; you need not worry about sympathy for this particular devil, however, as he comes across as somewhat more of the cackling villain than you might expect (or hope). His motives are understandable, when explained, and Bacon tries to play him off as possessing a suave kind of preening confidence that borders on psychopathy, but he and his band of mutants seem a bit too...well, comic book-y, for lack of a better term, especially when compared to the realism with which the film treats the Magneto/Xavier relationship/rivalry.

That duo must, of course, recruit the titular first class of mutants to help in the fight against Shaw, and thus we’re introduced to a merry band of teens with a varying amount of shame and pride and control over their abilities. It’s here that the script probably could’ve used a bit of paring down; some members of the younger force seem a tad unnecessary, with the abilities of Banshee and Angel coming across as particularly silly when transferred to film. None of them are given the kind of backstory that’s provided for Xavier, Magneto, and Mystique, and they're poorer for it, but the performances of some of the actors, especially those portraying Beast and Havoc, help sell their characters despite the shortcomings in the writing behind them.

Matthew Vaughn also seems to spread his wings a bit behind the camera, with some engaging directorial touches; a lot of credit has to go to the production design, as well, which nails a lot of the pomp of the '60s without delving into parody. Vaughn seems a bit constrained by the PG-13 at times, especially with his use of Azazel, who effectively possesses the same powers as Nightcrawler did in the earlier films. Nightcrawler’s entrance at the beginning of X2 was a breathless and tense affair, but Azazel is never quite used to the same effect here, especially when he winds up somehow managing to slice and dice countless soldiers without ever shedding a drop of blood. Vaughn also veers into comic-book-style frames for some scenes, such as a mid-film training montage, although he lacks the boldness with which Ang Lee exploited the technique for Hulk.

He’s on much surer footing when dealing with CGI, which he uses to create some immensely clever and fun moments, especially when it comes to Magneto’s powers. It’s therefore a shame that pieces from the last half-hour of the film were shown in the trailers; Magneto’s manipulation of a submarine should be, beyond just an emotional moment given what comes before it, also a moment of immense cinematic awe, and while it retains a lot of oomph, it would’ve possessed even more had the entire audience not known precisely when it would happen. You can’t fault Vaughn for that, and you can’t even fault the marketing team for selling the film with one of its most stunning images, but it’s still hard not to feel that the moment would’ve had more impact had it not been shown beforehand.

The first film in a comic franchise always suffers from the weight of introducing characters and explaining powers and establishing villains. First Class suffers from some of those problems, but well more than makes up for it with some superlative performances and a surprising emotional payload. The flipside to that first film problem is, of course, that the foundation that is built often leads to bigger and better second films. First Class is already an engaging and immensely assured production, and the thought of something even better coming along in a few years is a tantalizing one.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:09 am

http://moviebuzzers.com/2011/06/03/movie-review-xmen-class-worth-price-admission/

Review: ‘X-Men: First Class’ is Definitely worth the price of admission
by Melissa Hanson
03, June 2011Movie Reviews0 Comments

As soon as the movie started, they had me. Hook, line and sinker. What can I say? I didn’t even realize how much I was looking forward to it. X-Men: First Class is the prequel to the other X-Men films and what’s special, is that whether or not you have seen the other films is irrelevant to the enjoyment of this one. So if you haven’t seen it, here’s the low down. There are people in the world with special abilities who call themselves mutants. Charles (James McAvoy, Atonement) is a university grad student studying genetic mutation. He and others are called upon by the U.S. Government to help stop a rogue mutant (Kevin Bacon!!!) from instigating war between the U.S. and Russia in the 1960s.

The cast was simply amazing. I hadn’t really seen anything with James McAvoy, but I can certainly see his appeal now. He is charming without being smarmy. Michael Fassbender as Erik, aka Magneto, was so dreamy, uh, I mean very intense and dark. (Yeah, he’s a celebrity crush of mine.) He really was good though. The only person that didn’t really impress me was January Jones as Emma Frost. I didn’t quite understand her. She seemed very cardboardy and just another pretty face. Jennifer Lawrence was a little flat as well. I wanted more emotion.

Erik (Michael Fassbender), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Charles (James McAvoy), Moira (Rose Byrne), Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and Havok (Lucas Till) join forces to prevent the greatest disaster the world has ever known. Photo: Murray Close - TM and ©2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

The style of the film is also what got me. Sure, it’s the 1960s, but they didn’t go crazy with the wardrobe. (Well, Emma Frost is dressed like a go-go dancer, but it actually worked.) It was just enough to put you in the 1960s, and didn’t take you out of the moment. It was more 1960s inspired that straight up 1960s.
The score really elevated the entire movie. It was grand and intense when it needed to be. It’s always a good sign when you don’t notice the music because it perfectly matches the tone of the film.

Can Michael Ironside be considered a cameo? How about Oliver Platt? James Remar? There are so many great tiny roles that are given to great actors. I loved it. There are plenty more, and it’s so awesome for those of us who spot them. Fantastic.

It did run a little long, but honestly, I didn’t care. I wanted more. I could have watched it for another hour. It’s wonderful how the genre is elevating. I love this new breed of director that is able to give us great superhero movies that are smart and really enjoyable. So excited for The Avengers now. Thank you, Matthew Vaughn. Thank you.

Rating: Go see it, you won’t regret it. 8/10
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:10 am

http://www.filmireland.net/2011/06/03/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class

Fri, Jun 3, 2011


DIR: Matthew Vaughn • WRI: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn • PRO: Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer • DOP: John Mathieson • Ed: Eddie Hamilton, Lee Smith • DES: Chris Seagers • Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence

The X-Men franchise has seemed to be on its last legs for ages now, but somehow it’s managed to lumber on and has produced a prequel, something all franchises do eventually. The prequel granted James Bond a stay of execution, but it also consigned Star Wars to a slow, painful death. This prequel also brings the X-Men into an emerging sub-genre: the period super-hero movie (see Jonah Hex or the upcoming Captain America). Will it all be enough to restore the ailing series?

We follow the early lives of telepathic mutant James McAvoy (a highly irritating young boy grows up into a slightly less irritating student) and magnetic mutant Michael Fassbender in the 1960s. Fassbender’s story is by far the more exciting as he tracks down the Nazi doctor who experimented on him 20 years ago to exploit his super powers, he’s charismatic, very impressive in the fights, and fits easily into the cynical outsider role played by Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in the earlier movies.

Kevin Bacon has a lot of fun as his prey in full-on ’60s Bond-villain mode complete with his hidden lairs and his submarine and his hidden lair inside his submarine (seriously). He has a variety of henchmen, January Jones getting the most screen time as Emma Frost, who wanders around Russia in a mini skirt and a furry hat – coz you know, it’s cold out there. And he has a plan to orchestrate the Cuban missile crisis in order to bring about the end of humanity. It’s all very camp, but that’s no bad thing. The film is at its most enjoyable at these tongue in cheek moments when it plays with its period setting.

It disappoints when it shies away from it. In the original comic the X-Men’s status as mutants was used as an allegory for the civil rights movement. And there are one or two moments where the film goes for similar territory (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell gets a brief allusion), but while it forms a background it’s never brought to the fore. The character of Beast (Nicholas Hoult), a self-hating mutant, is well done, although I would have liked to have seen more of him. Darwin (Edi Gathegi), however, as an African American in the mid-sixties might have had a very interesting take on his mutant identity, but sadly no one asks him. The plotting in general can be similarly lazy (characters are dispassionately killed off as hastily as they were introduced) and it suffers a bit from Revenge of the Sith syndrome in the final moments as the writers rush around to put everything back where they found it.

While this might be disappointing it is in no way less than what your average summer blockbuster offers and to be fair on that level it succeeds. It’s all good, fun stuff. The actions scenes work, although the final one is a bit of a Bay of Pigs style flop. It might even be enough to restore the series to health, but will the next movie follow on from X-Men 3 or be a sequel to this one? I’m hoping for the X-Men do Watergate.


Geoff McEvoy

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
X-Men: First Class is released on 3rd June 2011

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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:10 am

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

Review: X-Men: First Class
Friday, June 03rd, 2011

Genre: Sci-Fi | Action | Adventure

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writers: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Bryan Singer

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Oliver Platt, Álex González, Jason Flemyng, Zoë Kravitz, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Caleb Landry Jones, Edi Gathegi, Lucas Till

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Synopsis:

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.

Runtime: 132 min

View the trailer HERE

“A new species is being born. Help me guide it, shape it, lead it.” – Charles Xavier

Director Matthew Vaughn‘s first foray into the X-Men universe, starts in 1944 with a virtual shot-for-shot recreation of the scene in the original X-Men, which shows a young Erik Lensherr (Bill Milner) in a concentration camp being torn from his parents and displaying his mutant power for the very first time.

The film then flashes to a young, mind-reading Charles Xavier (Laurence Belcher) meeting a young, shape shifting Raven Darkholme (Morgan Lily) for the first time. This is not the only deviation from film or comic book X-Continuity in the film, but all are really quite forgivable. After watching this film, the best advice I can give you is to view it as an alternate X-universe of sorts, much in the same way J.J. Abrams’ version of Star Trek rewrote that franchises history to a degree, but not in an absurd, nor disrespectful way.

If you are worried about the performances of James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, or Michael Fassbender as Erik Lenherr, let me set your mind at ease. These two actors did an outstanding job of portraying the younger versions of these characters. Watching a young Charles become a professor, while seeing a young Erik obsessively travel the globe, hunting Nazis from his past is fantastic, and Fassbender could not have played the anti-hero any better than he did.

One of the other great things about this film, is seeing just how, and why Charles and Erik came together and became fast friends. It’s also quite powerful to watch Charles attempt to pull Erik away from his anger and hatred at times, and struggling to do so throughout the film. McAvoy’s ability to portray the emotional desperation of Charles trying to save his new-found friend from himself, and Fassbender’s ability to volley his emotions between anger for those who did him wrong, and compassion for Charles, knowing that he does truly care for him, is pretty wrenching at times.

January Jones as Emma Frost was passable. She lacked the personality that I’ve always imagined from that character via the comics, but she looked the part, her mutations (diamond skin & telepathy) were done very well and she did portray a flat-out, emotionless bitch quite well, if that was what she was going for. Because I have always been a huge fan of Nightcrawler, I was really looking forward to seeing Jason Flemyng‘s portrayal of Azazel, the man who would become Nightcrawler’s Father in the future (if they followed the comics). The effects they used for Azazel’s teleportation were essentially the same cool effects that were used for Nightcrawler in X2 (only red instead of blue), his makeup was fairly decent and the combat scenes with him were totally badass, but he did not have one single line in the film, which was quite the disappointment.

Álex González as Riptide had a few cool displays of power, though again had no lines and no personality. Kevin Bacon plays Sebastian Shaw, who is the main villain of the story, and was really quite cool. His mutation is the ability to absorb and then use energy from other sources, whether that’s a barrage of bullets fired at him, or the explosion from a hand grenade. Aside from his powers, Bacon played him as an awesome 1960s villain. He pulled off both the look and gravitas of a legendary Bond villain of that era. After so many serious, dramatic roles, it was great to see Bacon having fun in a genre film for a change.

I have to admit that the inclusion of Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok, rather than having the young version of Scott Summers / Cyclops in the film did bother me a bit at first, and though Till did do a really good job with the character, I still would have preferred that he, or someone else had played young Cyclops instead, though I do understand the film makers desire to distance themselves from the past films, to a degree.

Jennifer Lawrence did a good job as the young Mystique, Nicholas Hoult was virtually perfect as the young Hank McCoy, and there were things I both liked and disliked about the makeup/effects used when he transformed into Beast, although Hoult’s performance made that easy to overlook, and it would really be nitpicking anyway. Caleb Landry Jones‘ portrayal of the young Banshee was pretty cool, and he offered a few moments of comic relief in the film that were entertaining. Edi Gathegi‘s portrayal of Darwin was ok at best, though it’s not his fault, as his screen time is so limited that his character is really a non-issue of sorts. Zoë Kravitz did a great job playing Angel Salvadore, she’s beautiful, her mutation effects were awesome and she has a really cool aerial dogfight in the film. Watching two flying mutants battle in the air for a bit on the big-screen was pretty cool.

While some of the lesser mutant’s back-stories were left behind, and the more prominent mutants, along with the relationship between Charles and Erik were the main focuses of the film. Vaughn, Goldman and their co-writers managed to pull off a superhero film with a pretty large amount of character development, along with great action, emotion and a message, not unlike those contained in Bryan Singer’s past X-Films, that are still applicable today.

While they may be alternate histories in a sense, aside from the character’s origins, seeing the origins of things like Magneto’s helmet, The (Blackbird) X-Jet, Cerebro and even the X-Men moniker itself, were nice touches. Also, being able to witness the early beginnings of Magento’s Brotherhood of Mutants, the opening of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, along with the moment that placed Xavier in a wheelchair, though maybe not comic book accurate, were (if you’re not totally jaded) still fanboy smile inducing.

In my final assessment, I will say the same thing that I thought as the credits started to roll at the end of the film. Bravo, Matthew Vaughn! You managed to direct one of the best X-Men movies to-date, and you were actually somehow able to make a great Marvel movie without 20th Century Fox screwing it up in the process.

I give X-Men: First Class Four out of Five Stars
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:11 am

http://www.statepress.com/2011/06/03/x-men-first-class-of-failures/

“X-Men: First Class,” of failures

By Jonathan Fortner June 3, 2011 at 11:35 am Print This Post Print This Post

“X-Men: First Class”
1/5 Pitchforks
Staring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Rated: PG – 13
June 3, 2011

Incorporating the storytelling aspect of a “prequel” – a story or movie containing events that precede those of an existing work – seems to almost be common place these days in cinema, particularly when adapting for the big screen the convoluted and near soap opera-like mess that most comic book and super hero storylines are founded upon.

In spite of popular opinion, hindsight does not always come equipped with twenty-twenty vision. The thought that simply adding a “prequel” to any story will somehow bring clairvoyance to the plot at hand (or even those to come) needs to be unmasked as the fallacy it has become. The new film “X-Men: First Class,” which opens Friday, looks to do just that.

In what proved to be a massive waste of time, “X-Men: First Class” attempts to convince the audience that this beloved cast of characters, harking all the way back to the beginning of this alternate branch of reality that Marvel Comics created, is composed of individuals worthy of the big screen. These are real people suffering through real physical and emotional torment, but they’re mutants too. Mutant, yet proud – they need you to understand, and for some, to fear them.

As is the plot – or every plot within these X-Men “movies,” living with the plight, and delight – of mutanthood, while all the while longing to “just fit in” as well. With “X-Men: First Class” we are yet again thrown several different characters going about their day-to-day routine of either how to manipulate young college women (Charles Xavier, of all people), or hunting the Nazi’s that, in a round about way of course, created you (Magneto).

There are two things I know to be true: First, that watching a reputable man, a respected and wise man such as Professor Charles Xavier “run game” as a youth is not entertainment. Sir Patrick Stewart wouldn’t do it, and neither would Captain Picard. They certainly wouldn’t need to rely on their God-given accent to make it work either. And secondly, hunting Nazi’s does make for world-class, grade-A entertainment.

Sadly, while hunting Nazi’s is part of the story at hand, it certainly is not the dominating and prevailing force that it could have been. Michael Fassbender, who plays Erik Lehnsherr, the young, dapper and very hardened man on a mission, who later becomes Magneto, delivers the only worthy performance. Every scene featuring the hell that was young Erik’s life and the obvious effect it had on him, to include the overall and awe-inspiring capabilities of his power, was well received.

However, the rest of the film showcases a “too smart for his own britches” flavor of Charles Xavier, as portrayed by James McAvoy and a handful of other quasi-notable characters from the franchises’ early years.

There is the half-hearted attempt at showing the transition young Raven goes through on her way to becoming Mystique. Though mostly the audience is suppose to find sympathy with how Jennifer Lawrence portrays the difficulty of growing up beautiful, yet blue.

Beast is an absolute abomination, if only by the sake of irony. Showing the “creation” of Beast was nice, but when “it” was finally revealed, the sense that a Care Bear wearing a jumpsuit two-sizes too small had found its way on set was the only obvious conclusion. Though one might try to argue that at least his “Care Bear Stare” power was rage, what was only briefly shown was a mere negligible amount of laughable anger at best.

All of the other “mutants” serve to be mere wall paper. Where the characters are far more interesting, powers included, the audience is forced to listen to McAvoy pontificate the psychological ramifications of everyone else’s actions, and to reassure everyone with how amazing they truly are, on the inside, and that it shouldn’t matter what other people think about you.

Regardless of the message, it was delivered ad nauseam. Too much was dialogue driven, and the moments of super power showcasing were too brief and too few. Understandably every story needs a foundation to build upon with the audience, but this franchise has had that chance more times than most. We get it – now, fight bad guys and get on with it. Re-telling, or telling the audience from a different moment in time how and why everyone got mad at everyone else in the first place has put this franchise on serious thin ice.

Where there are a slew of upcoming X-men related films with future releases lightly set in stone, “X-Men: First Class” comes as close as it can to sucking any and all excitement or even relative interest out of those upcoming films.

Cameos alone were not enough to save this butchering; in fact, (spoiler) Wolverine’s appearance sums it up perfectly – if only they had listened. Even with the addition of Kevin Bacon’s 7-degrees of involvement fails to move this film towards any memorable level of after-thought. This was a mistake, or at the absolute least, a miss altogether.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:16 am

http://crabhoward.blogspot.com/2011/06/teenage-mutant-hero-freakshow.html

Thursday, 2 June 2011
Teenage Mutant Hero Freakshow
Cine Review: X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
12A – 135mins – 2011
Story by: Bryan Singer and Sheldon Turner
Screenplay by: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Based on the comic book miniseries created by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Chris Claremont
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi, Jason Flemyng, Álex González, Ray Wise, Oliver Platt
___________________________

Controversially, I have always had very much a take-them-or-leave-them attitude towards the big screen adventures of Marvel Comic’s popular mutant super squad: even the much-lauded X2 didn’t swing my opinion. In point of fact I fell asleep during X-Men: The Last Stand and to this day have yet to rewatch it, while the least well-received critically – X-Men Origins: Wolverine – I honestly didn’t mind, although I recognised it for the shallow blockbuster it was and nothing more.

X-Men: First Class however, as the title implies, is set before all of these – taking us right back to the very beginning; before Charles “Professor X” Xavier (McAvoy) was bald and before Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Fassbender) was wrinkly, when the adversaries were friends united in the same cause before a rather monumentous difference of opinion regarding mutant-kind’s association with humans forced an X-shaped wedge between them which saw them take very divergent paths…

Set predominantly in the 1960s before a very real backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis, First Class sees Xavier and Lehnsherr fly around the globe recruiting those with unique superhuman abilities to join their resistance and live out and proud, in the shadows no more. During the two hour bonanza we are introduced to youthful depictions of “Mystique” (Lawrence), “The Beast” (Skins’ Hoult), “Angel” (Kravitz), “Banshee” (Landry Jones), “Havoc” (Till), “Darwin” (Gathegi), “Riptide” (González) and “Azazel” (Flemyng) – it’s quite an ensemble cast and some players get far more attention than others.

There are a cascade of ret-con explanations for how each of the character’s got their nicknames (it’s rather unspectacular to be honest), how “Magneto” came by his iconic metal helmet, how Xavier came to be paralysed and wheelchair-bound, and even a nifty cameo for a certain gnarled adamantium-clawed icon (whose origin has, of course, already been mauled to death).

They are the kind of fan-friendly winks to the audience which are neat when used sparingly but can get somewhat tiresome en mass. However, First Class compliments the call-backs (or should that be call-forwards?) with its own distinct story in its own distinct era. To claim it’s a reinvention or fresh start akin to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, however, is somewhat misrepresentative: this is very much the same Bryan Singer-produced X-verse, merely earlier.

Kevin Bacon mines his devious Hollow Man persona as former Nazi soldier turned megalomaniac mutant nemesis Sebastian Shaw who is hell-bent on causing nuclear war and bringing mankind to its knees. He isn’t quite as imposing or memorable as a comic book supervillian should be (particularly not when he surrounds himself with scantily clad lovely January Jones as Emma Frost), but you’ll certainly sympathise with vengeful Lehnsherr for wanting him dead.


In a CR@B Shell: Cooler and more collected than most hyperactive comic book blockbusters, X-Men: First Class manages to intertwine itself in the Marvel super-team’s expansive legacy whilst also telling a distinctive tale all its own. Whether we necessary needed a prequel, however, is something of a moot point…
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Created by ~ CR@B Howard ~ at 13:45
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:16 am

http://tboextra.com/content/2011/jun/02/well-acted-x-men-first-class-keeps-mutant-action-m/tboextra-movies/

Well-acted 'X-Men: First Class' keeps mutant action moving
20TH CENTURY FOX
"X-Men_ First Class" stars, from left, Caleb Landry Jones, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy and Lucas Till.
"X-Men_ First Class" stars, from left, Caleb Landry Jones, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy and Lucas Till.

By KEVIN WALKER | The Tampa Tribune

Published: June 2, 2011

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'X-Men: First Class'

Movie review

three star

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones

Info: Running time: 2:12.

Rated PG-13 (brief strong profanity, some sexuality and a violent image)

The "X-Men" franchise returns to form in "X-Men: First Class," with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender classing up the proceedings, making a good script even better with intelligent performances.

"First Class" isn't perfect or even as good as the first two "X-Men" films. For one thing, it's too long. For another, the middle portion sags and loses some of the 1960s flavor of the rest of the film.

But McAvoy and Fassbender make the long journey worth it, as does a frenetic finale involving superheroes, nuclear weapons and the naval power of the United States and the former Soviet Union.

For the most part, director Matthew Vaughn ("Kick Ass") keeps the pace humming. Ten minutes never go by without someone jumping, punching, flying or turning into diamond crystals (don't ask, you'll see).

He also gives the best parts of the movie, which is set in an alternative history of the 1960s during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a kind of James Bond feel, with Fassbender dressed the part of the mod superspy/assassin and both Soviet and U.S. military leaders meeting in gleaming rooms with large maps and many blinking lights, looking as if they were designed for the sets of "Dr. No" or "Goldfinger." There's even liberal use of the word "groovy."

Perhaps most importantly, the movie capitalizes on one of the franchises distinguishing characteristics: depicting alienation. Eric Lehnsherr (Fassbender) – aka Magneto – is reestablished as the angry patron saint of the misunderstood outsider.

The film goes to great lengths to make this point. Humans – up to and including CIA agents – badger, bully and mock mutants. Later, the military attempts to blow them up. We get it: these are some disenfranchised people.

But should they unleash their anger and seek vengeance, or "be the better man" and help protect the very humans who loath them? That's the heart of the movie, with the first philosophy espoused by Lehnsherr and the latter by Charles Xavier (McAvoy).

After establishing their pasts – upper crust Xavier raised with fellow mutant Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and educated in genetics at Oxford, Fassbender a Jew turned into a killer by Nazis – the movie moves into the 1960s, where the two meet while chasing Fassbender's former Nazi tormentor, now called Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).

They fail to capture Shaw, but both decide to join a new CIA operation and recruit mutants, including the brilliant Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Darwin (Edi Gathegi), Havoc (Lucas Till) and Angel (Zoe Kravitz). One of the film's flaws is that the group seems much more 2011 than 1962.

Meanwhile, Shaw has recruited the telepath Emma Frost (January Jones), the teleporting, demonic Azazel (Jason Flemyng) and Riptide (Alex Gonzalez).

Yes, it's a mutant a-go-go, and it all culminates in a big fight off the Cuban coast.

The high points include the aforementioned Messrs. Fassbender and McAvoy, who convincingly portray a complex friendship. Bacon seems to relish playing the nasty guy, and both Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn make nice cameos.

Low points include an underdeveloped relationship between Xavier and Raven, who becomes Mystique. Also – and this is to be expected with so many characters – motivations aren't always clear with every character and things get a little confusing about who said what to whom and why.

But ultimately it's what a summer movie should be – fun, action-packed, well-acted (at least at the top of the bill) and with just enough story to keep things interesting.

Movies are rated on a scale of zero to four stars.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:18 am

http://anistabetreviews.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/x-men-first-class-2011/

X-Men: First Class [2011]

1 Vote

Ever wondered how it all began? How Charles Xavier became to be Professor X and Erik Lehnsherr his nemesis Magneto? Of course you have. Now 11 years after the first “X-Men” movie, and 2 years after its spin-off “Wolverine”, “First Class” reinvents the franchise in a refreshingly new way. From the opening scene, the film sends all the good vibes as it begins in 1944′s Poland during WW II, where young Erik (Michael Fassbender) is forced to witness a tragedy and finds he can control metal with his mind, but only when he’s angry. It’s a dark start for a movie based on a Marvel Comics, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, for those who have lost hope in the series, “First Class” might just make you believe in it all over again. Make no mistake, it’s one hell of a ride. Back to our story: At Oxford, we meet the telepath Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) as a young man before he was paralysed. He will eventually operate a school to train mutants, in hope that one day they would be able to help the world. His archenemy here is Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon in a role he was born to play), the same man who tormented Magneto in the nazi camp. But the beating heart of the movie is when Michael Fassbender and McAvoy are on screen. Because let’s face it, “First Class” is ultimately the story about how two friends drift to differing sides of the fence (Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker anyone?).

Both actors are terrific too. Fassbender is intense and strong, while McAvoy is wise and smart (he nails his protrayal of Professor X, and he nails it brilliantly). If you had any doubt that McAvoy might be a future oscar winner and Fassbender the next James Bond, let “First Class” dispel it now. Kevin Bacon makes a sinister villain, both creepy and funny (a suitable enemy for our mutants). But the hero here has to be director Matthew Vaughn, who walked out of “The Last Stand” at the last minute, and directed last year’s “Kick Ass”. He certainly managed to revive a franchise many thought was dead and buried. I was impressed big time.

After the huge success of “Thor” earlier this year, 2011 may just go down as a very strong year for superheroes (“Green Lantern” and “Captain America” will be out soon). Meanwhile, there’s no reason for you to miss “X-Men: First Class”; it’s an absorbing, clever and enjoyable piece of big screen entertainment, and best of all, it’s showing in glorious 2D only. Wouhou!

Rating: 3/4

This entry was posted on June 2, 2011, 10:29 pm
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:19 am

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

June 2, 2011 by Alison Bailes

I can’t tell an X-man from a Watchman….so I’m not really the target audience for yet another movie about chromosomally challenged Mutants and it was with a heavy heart that I attended the Fox screening of “X-men: First Class”. The first three X-men films, plus that awful origins “Wolverine” one left me shuddering. But this [...]


I can’t tell an X-man from a Watchman….so I’m not really the target audience for yet another movie about chromosomally challenged Mutants and it was with a heavy heart that I attended the Fox screening of “X-men: First Class”. The first three X-men films, plus that awful origins “Wolverine” one left me shuddering. But this one stars Michael Fassbender, one of my favorite actors and James McAvoy who is a real talent. Surely they would raise this material up and provide some integrity to a franchise that I have often found to be rather silly?

I’m happy to say that I had a great time at “X-men: First Class”! The final battle scene, which relies heavily on special effects had me fidgeting a little bit, but Matthew Vaughn (“Layer Cake”) directs with such panache and flair that he has successfully managed to reboot the franchise and instill it with a sense of humor and a slight tongue in cheek tone which was missing from the others.

In fact the tone is what I enjoyed most about this. Vaughn draws on cinematic touchstones such as James Bond, Cold War thrillers, and globe-trotting CIA men in black to create a film that flirts humorously with camp, but stays true to the X-men mythology. It’s set predominantly in the early 60s with the threat of nuclear war hanging over the United States. With brief early scenes set in the forties, including a memorable Kevin Bacon as a Josef Mengele type Nazi, “First Class” shows us how a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) ends up running his school for mutants and how his good friend Erik (Michael Fassbender) eventually becomes his nemesis Magneto.

Fassbender gets to play a multi-lingual Bond here, hell-bent on revenge against his prison camp torturer (Bacon). In a tight turtle-neck and groovy Beattle boots he is almost an Austin Powers-like caricature except that Fassbender grounds Erik in pain and anger. These emotions are what give him access to his telekinetic powers and provide the film with the most heart-felt scenes. McAvoy has an easier role…that of explaining the science of mutant chromosomes to government agents (and to the audience), as well as training his protégés and teaching them how best to harness their powers. Joining him are Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Lucas Till as Havok and Caleb Landry-Jones as Banshee. Neither McAvoy nor Fassbender reminded me particularly of Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellen but that didn’t matter. A couple of references to Xavier’s head of hair cause a few chuckles, and a fleeting Rebecca Romijn appearance tips the hat to the future, but mostly “First Class” is happy to be its own entity.

Any great comic book relies on a great villain and Kevin Bacon is sufficiently eeevil to counterbalance the Xavier force of good. Bacon gets to wear outlandish Sixties cravats, swan about on a yacht that transforms into a submarine…. but best of all, he gets to hang out with Emma Frost (January Jones) who looks like a negative photographic image of Emma Peel from “The Avengers”. Clad in a tight white suit, with bouffant hair and frosted lips, Jones’ flat delivery won’t win her any acting prizes but somehow the blankness of the actress works well for the character…a duplicitous Mutant who uses her sexuality to do Bacon’s bidding. Together they are fiendish…and wildly enjoyable.

But the crux of “X-men” has always been the fraternal bonds and battles between Xavier and Magneto and without getting too head-shrinky, this episode parses the familiar but fascinating theme of nature versus nurture. If Magneto turns out bad, is it because of his upbringing at the hands of a very malevolent Dr. Frankenstein? Or is he inherently bad? And did Xavier’s safe, privileged upbringing destine him to protect and serve? “X-men: First Class” lays the groundwork for the future clashes that we know are coming between these two masterminds and presages the anti-Mutant discrimination of the later films. Apparently there will be two more “prequels” before we catch up to Stewart and McKellen in “X-men”….I just hope that McAvoy and Fassbender are signed on and that Matthew Vaughn will be at the helm.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:26 am

http://www.grouchoreviews.com/reviews/4041

X-Men: First Class
(2011) *** 1/2 Pg-13
132 min. 20th Century Fox. Director: Matthew Vaughn. Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Jason Flemyng, Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt, James Remar, Bill Milner, Rade Serbedzija, Ray Wise.

/content/films/4041/1.jpgThose anticipating Harry Potter withdrawal can take heart: X-Men: First Class is every bit as good as any of the Harry Potter films. Matthew Vaughn’s franchise prequel turns out to be a superb, stylish piece of modern mythology.

In 2000, director Bryan Singer delivered the comic-book-based X-Men, a mutant superhero action-adventure that also served as cleverly subversive sociopolitical allegory. Broadly dealing with the universal adolescent desire to “fit in” (while reflecting the angst of closeted youth), X-Men also posed the philosophical difference between peace-seeking Professor X and “by any means necessary” Magneto as mutant-civil-rights counterparts to MLK and X.

All of those themes get full play in the Singer-produced X-Men: First Class, with the added frisson of making text out of what once was sociopolitical subtext. The climactic crisis to which First Class builds is the Cuban Missile Crisis, which turns out to have a hidden history involving one set of mutants plotting mass destruction and another planning to prevent it. Before we get there, First Class deals with Nazi war crimes and secret CIA research into the paranormal. As for the superhero history, fear not: X-Men: First Class starts pretty much from day one, rewarding geeky foreknowledge but not requiring it.

Concentration camp survivor Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) will not rest until he hunts down the Nazi scientist—Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw—responsible for Lehnsherr’s greatest trauma. Meanwhile, child of privilege Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) becomes the world’s leading expert in genetic mutation. Both gifted with amazing powers demonstrating the evolution of the human genome, Erik and Charles will one day be supervillain Magneto and superhero Professor X, but first they will meet, bond, and be tragically torn apart by their unmovable cross purposes.

In a well-choreographed large-scale action sequence, Charles saves Erik from disaster, and they form a tentative alliance to pursue the shadowy Shaw, who has been manipulating events on the world stage. The loose-cannon Erik doesn’t play well with his CIA handlers (Rose Byrne and Oliver Platt), but he comes to an understanding with Charles. Charles' childhood friend Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) is already on board. So is young scientist Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult)—a.k.a. Beast—who gives the telepathic Charles the technological boost he needs to find more mutant recruits: Alex “Havok” Summers (Lucas Till), Sean “Banshee” Cassidy (Caleb Landry Jones), Armando “Darwin” Munoz (Edi Gathegi), and “Angel” Salvadore (Zoe Kravitz).

This “first class” of X-Men gets a first-class origin story, as directed by Vaughn and scripted by a bevy of writers including Vaughn, his regular co-writer Jane Goldman, and the team of Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz (Thor). Above all, this is a story of self-actualization through self-discipline and self-understanding, a message that will particularly resonate with young viewers finding their own paths. But it’s also about choosing a relationship, collaborative or adversarial, to the political and typically oppressive forces that rule our world. With carefully wrought emotional contexts, the characters are moved to action in moving ways.

Okay, okay, and it’s fun, too. This is the witty, winking, '60s-chic version of superhero adventure, with enough globetrotting, swingin’ gentleman's clubs, and Ken Adam-style lairs for a Sean Connery Bond marathon. The acting is above par all around, and the action and visual effects (designed by John Dyskstra of Star Wars fame) are top-notch, for some decidedly not-stupid mutant tricks. More power(s) to them: here’s hoping this reborn franchise makes a mint.

[This review first appeared in Palo Alto Weekly.]
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:40 am

http://lights-camera-critic.blogspot.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class-review.html

Thursday, 2 June 2011
X-Men: First Class Review

X-Men: First Class

After my disappointment with Thor, X-Men: First Class was one that showed great promise from the various trailers, the choice of director and the cast. The X-Men film franchise recently took a ‘tumble’ with the terrible X-Men: Last Stand and the awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine, therefore it was in need of a reboot. Director Matthew Vaughn’s filmography has been relatively positive. His last film Kick-Ass showed off his talent and ability to deal with the ‘hero’ genre while creating a dark and gritty atmosphere. Therefore the thought of a ‘serious’ and raw X-Men film was pleasing to the ears. In terms of the cast, the likes of Michael Fassbender and the new talent of Jennifer Lawrence seemed relatively suitable and clever choices in regards to a youthful band of ‘mutants’. The result is a superhero film that entertains but lacks finesse, especially in its writing.
Set in the 1960s, the film portrays young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) as he helps CIA agent Dr. Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) to stop Sebastian Shaw’s (Kevin Bacon) attempt to fuel Cold War tensions. Meanwhile, Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) seeks revenge on Shaw for killing his parents. The two join forces, with the help of other ‘mutants’ to take down the members of the Hellfire Club and prevent Nuclear War. The Cuban Missile Crisis and the ‘Red Scare’ setting never really comes through. While cars and technology and the archive footage of John F. Kennedy directly attempt to portray the era, you never fully experience it. If anything Watchmen did well, was its style and visual atmosphere that put you in various periods the film explored, from Noire to suburban culture.
The story is one that introduces the more obscure characters of the series, which plays more to the fans. Cyclops, Rogue and Storm have been swapped for the likes of Havok, Banshee and Emma Frost. Vaughn does a respectable job of developing some these characters, yet doesn’t expand on the more important individuals. The character of Emma Frost features heavily in the Comic Book universe, and seems underused. Yet, the character of Raven Darkholme (Mystique) and especially Hank McCoy (Beast), are fully realised and are well portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult. Their energy and charm help to bring a sense of youthful charisma in amongst the seriousness of Fassbender and the soft quiverring of McAvoy.


However, the primary focus of X-Men: First Class is the characters of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, and the growing relationship between the two. Patrick Stewart successfully became the face of the Star Trek but also managed to portray a charming, and noble Professor X, in the last four films. Therefore it was always going to be hard for James McAvoy to establish himself in the role. McAvoy’s recent career has taken a bit of a dive with the likes of Gnomeo and Juliet and Wanted, and this transpires into his portrayal of the Professor. His plucky, youthful character as graduate from Oxford University is entertaining and shows a different personality to the usually stern and moral Professor. However, when he finally does form the ‘X-Men’, McAvoy’s performance sags to a point where his soft, mumbling dialogue is lacking in presence.
Michael Fassbender steals the show, with his portrayal of the troubled Erik Lehnsherr/ Magneto. He comes across as a complete ‘bad-ass’ on a path of enraged revenge. Magneto’s character has been one that always intrigued me, and Matthew Vaughn has taken the time to developed him well and carefully. We see his pain and anger as he kills, destroys and tortures. My only nit-pick with Fassbender’s performance is his accent. The character of Erik is German which Michael’s own nationality successfully portrays. Yet his overall accent seems to generally change from American to Irish which is a minor niggle.
What failed with Thor was the lack of explosive set pieces as a ‘superhero’ film. But Vaughn provides great action throughout the film, that moves away from simply ‘force pushing’ enemies as we’ve seen in a lot these comic-book movies. There is a real power and brutality to the various character’s powers, whether its Magneto stabbing a dude with a knife, or Azazel (Nightcrawler’s Dad) teleporting and dropping a guy from the sky. While the CGI isn’t the greatest, it does well to ‘realistically’ show these enjoyable and destructive set pieces on screen.
However, X-Men: First Class suffers from some problems. The major problem with the film is its script. It is just poorly written and cliché, and not in an intended fashion. Comic Books have always had a ‘campness’ to them: the colourful costumes or the cheesy dialogue. Thankfully, Vaughn’s X-Men steers clear of the questionable outfit choices of the comic book characters. Yet when a film tries to distinguish itself from the previous series, and is a ‘serious’ reboot of the franchise, it is hard to forgive it for a rather laughable attempt at great storytelling. From the ‘God help us all’ from the Generals about to be killed, to the contrived speeches of Professor X, it all feels like it has been stripped from the printed medium. The various members of the writing staff were also involved in Thor and again the dialogue was below-par in that film. It’s a bit of shame after the clever, funny writing of Kick -Ass that X-Men: First Class fails to gain the similar ‘mature’ tones in amongst the adolescent nature of a Marvel film.
Overall X-Men: First Class is an entertaining film, yet never really amazes. There’s great action scenes and well organised and well balanced character development. It certainly was more enjoyable than Thor and has a very different but fresh take on the X-Men franchise. I’d argue that overall Vaughn’s take on the band of ‘mutants’ is better than any of the previous films. However the script flops and some of the major performance fail to top those of Bryan Singer’s pictures (X-Men and X2), in particular McAvoy’s.
7/10
Note: There is a fantastic cameo that Vaughn manages perfectly with enough humour and sensibility. You will laugh!!!!...............No its not Stan Lee (Thank God)
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:41 am

http://yeticket.com/wp/2011/06/x-menfirst-class-review-by-john-delia-jr/

X-MEN:FIRST CLASS review by John Delia Jr.
June 2nd, 2011 John Delia

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Kevin Bacon, Nicholas Hoult and Lucas Till

Director: Matthew Vaughn

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image.

Genre: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Sequel and Adaptation.

Runtime: 132 minutes

Release Date: June 3rd, 2011 (wide)

Distributor: 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios

By: John M Delia, Jr, Guest Writer

Stan Lee, creator of X-Men knows how to write a comic book including a good story and with the film X-Men: First Class he also knows how to keeps the audience interested. The fifth episode to the X-Men saga is better than the last and really fills in the gaps heading back to the first film, X-Men.

It’s starts in the beginning of X-Men showing us how Charles Xavier and Magneto become who they are, along with some other characters we know from previous episodes. The film also introduces some additional mutants that, although show some similar powers i.e. Riptide (Storm), Havoc (Cyclops) as well as Azazel (the father of Night Crawler), really grab your attention with their roles in the film.

A new evil character is introduced, Sebastian Shaw played by Kevin Bacon, a Nazi leader who searches for mutants and will do anything to find them. Bacon does an excellent job playing the antagonist and makes you believe that his mission drives the movie. Then there’s Charles Xavier portrayed by James McAvoy and Magneto played by Michael Fassbender who do an excellent job performing their roles and keeping the audience interested.

McAvoy makes his Professor X work as shown in the way he believes that helping mutants and guiding them to control their desires is for good not evil. While in contrast Fassbender’s Magnito builds a separate plot helping Xavier recruit mutants to help stop Shaw while hiding his desire to get his revenge.

Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Caleb Landry Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult and Lucas Till

Throughout the movie you get exceptional support performances from many actors especially with some characters you’ve seen before. For instance, Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique) does a great job getting the audience to understand the emotional issues of her character. Raven/Mystique, a shape shifter, who from a young age battles the desire to hide her true self and display a sense of beauty, sacrifices her desires to be loved by others.

Nicholas Hoult’s (Hank McCoy/Beast) also having emotional issues with his characters mutant abilities and really gives you a sense of his pain. Beast also troubles with the desire to be normal and show his true self or hide behind a false front. But, his role is key to the plot; by using his brilliance Beast works with Xavier to expand his abilities to contact other mutants and build a defense against Shaw’s attacks against humanity.

Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) does an excellent job answering all the questions on how it all began. He even makes some risky movies by retelling stories that could be interpreted a little different and manages to expand on them without any issues. He grabbed my attention and really entertained me throughout the movie. I was so intrigued that I can’t wait for the next sequel and wonder what they will do next.

So, as you can tell, I really enjoyed the movie and recommend it to all, especially the X-Men fans. It follows the storyline of the traditional X-Men comic, I am sure with the usual help from Stan Lee, and brings the story to life making the audience wanting more.

Film Grade: I Give it an A for excellent.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:44 am

http://www.nycfilmcritic.com/?p=3707

Thu 2 Jun 2011
Head of the Class

Posted by Ethan under Film Review, NYC Film Critic
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X-Men: First Class
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence
***

Fifth in production order but technically second in terms of continuity, X-Men: First Class, the latest feature starring Marvel Comics’ not-so-merry band of mutants, acts as a prequel to the first three X-pictures while running vaguely parallel to that Wolverine movie that stunk up theaters two summers ago.


Taking place predominantly in the early ‘60s right around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the movie depicts the first outing by Charles “Professor X” Xavier (James McAvoy, taking over a role originated by Patrick Stewart) and his original crew of X-Men, which then included his friend-turned-eventual-nemesis Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender, in for Ian McKellen). The novice team is on the trail of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon, hamming it up just a tad too much), a powerful mutant who intends to spark a nuclear conflict between the U.S. and Russia. Shaw is also the man that killed Erik’s mother before his eyes during World War II, when the Lehnsherr family was forced into a concentration camp where the boy’s magnetic powers first manifested themselves. (It’s worth noting that the opening scene of First Class is a re-shot and expanded version of the brief prologue seen at the top of the original X-Men outing.) In fact, Erik has only joined Xavier’s X-periment as a means to finally get his revenge on his mother’s murderer, but Charles keeps hoping he’ll be able to win him over to his more tolerant way of thinking, promising the hotheaded young man that man and mutant will be able to find a way to live alongside each other.

Released in 2000, the first X-Men adventure (directed by Bryan Singer, who produced—and was originally attached to helm—First Class) can be credited with kick-starting the current comic-book movie craze and establishing Marvel as a cinematic force to be reckoned with after years of sub-par attempts at translating their heroes to the big screen. (Just try watching the never-officially-released Roger Corman-produced Fantastic Four movie or 1990’s DOA Captain America flick if you dare.) Seen today, it still mostly works, thanks largely to Hugh Jackman’s star-making performance as Wolverine, McKellen and Stewart’s bemused turns as the Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. of mutant-kind respectively and a straightforward, economical narrative. In fact, X-Men clocks in at a swift 94 minutes, which is almost unheard of these days when studios lavish upwards of two hours on movies about a dude that dresses up in a bat suit or a Norse God who swings a really big hammer.

Still, Singer’s inexperience with big-budget blockbuster filmmaking, as well as behind-the-scenes studio meddling, does occasionally shine through, most notably in the action sequences, which feature choppy choreography and iffy special effects. The sequel, X2: X-Men United, is a more confident piece of direction, but it’s not necessarily a better movie overall. After a killer opening set-piece in the White House, followed by an equally effective assault on the X-mansion, the film’s energy flags as it struggles to keep track of its various pockets of characters until they all reconvene for the final showdown. While I’m not one of those folks that consider the third installment, X-Men: The Last Stand, to be an abomination, it’s a compromised movie that clearly suffers from a rushed production schedule and the lack of a finished screenplay. It’s bad, but it’s not that bad. (Most folks tend to blame incoming director Brett Ratner—who took over the project when Singer jumped ship to make Superman Returns—for the movie’s problems, but I personally think he just shot the script he was handed. Ratner’s chief skill as a director is delivering glossy, professional-looking studio product and that more or less describes The Last Stand, which does boast some of the franchise’s best action sequences. But he can’t elevate or fix material that’s just not working on the page.) As previously indicated though, X-Men Origins: Wolverine really is that bad, a shoddy, cheap-looking, borderline incoherent solo adventure for the most popular X-Man that even its star now seems vaguely embarrassed by. How else to explain Jackman’s thwarted attempts to recruit Darren Aronofsky to make another Wolverine adventure that he specifically promised would have almost nothing to do with its predecessor?

Given the uneven nature of the series, calling X-Men: First Class one of the stronger X-Men movies to date is kind of damning it with faint praise. But overall this is a solid, sturdy comic-book movie that combines X2’s showmanship with the first X-Men’s strong narrative throughline. However, it also would have greatly benefitted from the original’s brevity; First Class could easily stand to lose at least 20 minutes from its ungainly 130-minute runtime, especially in the exposition-heavy first half, which labors to get all the players on the chessboard and then bring them into contact with each other. According to some reports, a fair amount of Magneto’s storyline was actually appropriated from a separate solo project that Fox had been developing for the master of magnetism. Indeed, that material—from the character’s obsession with Shaw to his tenuous friendship with Xavier—often feels distinctly separate from the movie’s other major narrative thread, which involves Charles’ attempts to recruit and train a group of teenage mutants, among them sonic screamer Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), fairy-winged Angel (Zoe Kravitz), easily adaptable Darwin (Edi Gathegi) and energy blaster Havok (Lucas Till). Rounding out the pupils in Professor X’s first class are scientist Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Charles’ childhood friend Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), the blue shape-shifter otherwise known as Mystique.

It’s not entirely these young actors’ fault that their characters come across as afterthoughts to the far more interesting Erik/Charles relationship. Most of them are entirely personable—with the exception of Kravitz and Till, who are so wooden they could give you splinters—and in Lawrence’s case, she turns what was a throwaway role in the original trilogy into a heroine with a beating heart. (I guess I should mention that Shaw has his own team of mutant warriors as well, but the only memorable member of that crew is January Jones’ Emma Frost and that’s more for her cleavage-baring outfits rather than any distinguishable personality.) But one always gets the sense that director Matthew Vaughn would much rather keep the camera on McAvoy and, in particular, Fassbender, whose effortlessly charismatic performance will likely award him the major career boost that Hugh Jackman received following the first X-Men. Granted, Fassbender isn’t exactly an unknown, having appeared in lots of acclaimed art-house fare from Hunger to Fish Tank to Jane Eyre. Still, this is his first exposure to a mass audience and I have a feeling they’ll like what they see.

Perhaps what I appreciated the most about First Class is that it builds its set-pieces into its narrative, as opposed to structuring its narrative around a series of set-pieces. Too many blockbusters opt to go the latter route, which typically results in a movie that plays more like an improv sketch, with everyone involved making it up as they along. Even in its clunkiest, most artificially contrived moments I always felt that Vaughn knew where the narrative was going and had a firm grasp on the movie’s tone. That said, I do wish he possessed a stronger visual sensibility; much like his previous comic book-inspired features Kick-Ass and Stardust, First Class looks disappointingly generic both in terms of its production design and camerawork. The trappings of the ‘60s are present in the frame—hair, clothes, props etc.—but the film fails to capture the feel of the time period in the same way a show like Mad Men does on a significantly smaller budget. The locations all run together as well—oftentimes it seems as though the entire movie is taking place on the same soundstage. And like Ratner before him, Vaughn had to deal with an accelerated production schedule on the film, which may explain why the CGI-enhanced F/X are noticeably uneven, particularly in the climactic battle where you can almost spot the wire frames on a few key effects. Still, in a summer movie season that has so far lacked a piece of big-budget studio fare that successfully marries spectacle and story, X-Men: First Class is probably the cream of the current blockbuster crop. At least, potentially, until Super 8 arrives next week…

X-Men: First Class opens in theaters on Friday.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:45 am

http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/news/2011/jun/01/film-review-x/

‘X-Men: First Class’ offers franchise redemption

Josh Bell

Wed, Jun 1, 2011 (6 p.m.)
Image

Yeah, we see you. Now see us not sucking in the latest X-Men movie First Class. Even Josh Bell didn’t hate it.

See, there is a way to do this right: It’s easy to lose hope as a parade of soulless, cash-in sequels streams forth from Hollywood, but X-Men: First Class proves that even the fifth movie in a franchise more than a decade old can be fresh, fun and exciting. After a noisy, cluttered third sequel (2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand) and a dreadful spin-off (2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine), the X-Men superhero series was looking pretty worn, and a prequel featuring an entirely new cast seemed like the wrong way to set things right. But director/co-writer Matthew Vaughn and producer/co-writer Bryan Singer (back on board for the first time since 2003’s X2) take the series in an entertaining new direction while sticking to the core strengths that made the first two Singer-directed movies so enjoyable.
The Details

X-Men: First Class

Three and a half stars

James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Rated PG-13
Beyond the Weekly
Official Movie Site
IMDb: X-Men: First Class
Rotten Tomatoes: X-Men: First Class

Even without Ian McKellen, who plays Magneto in some of the other X-Men movies, First Class gives Michael Fassbender a platform to command your attention (and guns).

Even without Ian McKellen, who plays Magneto in some of the other X-Men movies, First Class gives Michael Fassbender a platform to command your attention (and guns).

The focus is once again on the rivalry between Professor X and Magneto, here played as younger men by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen played the older versions in the previous movies). In the 1960s, as mutants are first emerging, Charles and Erik (as they’re known in their pre-superhero days) are friends and allies despite their divergent personalities. They team up with a sympathetic CIA agent (Rose Byrne) and recruit a team of young mutants to thwart the efforts of the megalomaniacal Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who plans to start a nuclear war.

Vaughn reimagines the early days of the X-Men story as a sort of alternate history, with the Cuban missile crisis transformed into an inter-mutant conflict. Taking cues from ’60s-era action-adventures, Vaughn delivers a stylish and fast-paced movie, telling a complete story while also offering plenty of nods to continuity. Inevitably, the large cast means that some secondary characters are little more than background noise, and Shaw’s villainous motivations are a bit thin. But McAvoy and Fassbender do an excellent job of exploring the dynamic between Professor X and Magneto, and Vaughn nicely balances character development and historical resonance with the demands of a large-scale action movie. First Class shakes off the doldrums of its predecessors, and in the process shows other would-be summer blockbusters how it’s done.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:46 am

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-mendelson/x-men-first-class_b_870067.html

HuffPost Review: X-Men: First Class Is (Pick One) eXcellent, eXquisite, eXceptional!
Posted: 06/ 1/11 08:30 PM ET

X-Men: First Class

2011
132 minutes
rated PG-13

I have no idea how 20th Century Fox plans to fit X-Men: First Class into the mythology of the previous X-Men pictures. It theoretically works as a prequel to the first three films, even as it plays fast and loose with continuity. The vibe I'm getting is that Fox is hedging its bets. If the film under-performs at the box office, it will simply be considered a prequel to the Bryan Singer/Brett Ratner trilogy. But if it becomes a genuine smash hit, Fox will likely use it as a standalone reboot to shepherd a whole new batch of X-Men adventures. Whatever the case may be, as a singular motion picture, Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class is a genuine triumph, a glorious piece of popcorn entertainment that contains nearly everything that should be expected of big budget genre entertainment.

A token amount of plot: It's 1962 and mutants are living in secret amongst us. The CIA is trailing on Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who may be attempting to play Russian and American forces against each other. After witnessing some inexplicable mutant powers from this international foe, Agent Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne) recruits an expert in human mutation, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), who knows far more about the mutant phenomenon than he initially lets on. While Charles begins to recruit other mutants in order to confront this menace, one Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), a powerful mutant with a personal vendetta against Shaw, will enter the scene and change the face of mutant/human relations forever.

The film runs about 126 minutes before credits, and it is the best kind of long movie. It moves at an almost leisurely pace, where every character gets their moment and the film has ample room to breathe. The film puts a premium on character interaction over big-budget spectacle. While Vaughn does not skimp on the action and special effects, everything feels organic and casual. There is little lingering on the effects, and the visual razzle-dazzle feels believable and plausible to the world in which it takes place. Some may carp that certain special effects aren't as photo-real or perfect as they could be, but the entire film has a "believe your eyes" quality that makes its casual use of effects all the more effective. It feels less like a standard comic book adventure film than a character-driven spy film where most of the spies happen to have superpowers. Like Nolan's Batman series, Vaughn does not settle for merely existing in the "genre" of comic book adaptations. It is more a 1960s James Bond adventure that happens to have comic book roots.

Basing the film in a variation of our actual world gives the film a fuller sense of stake and consequence as well. Unlike too many comic book films where the hero must stop a problem of his or her own making or confront an intrinsically personal conflict, this film presents a variation on a real-world catastrophe and allows its superheroes to save the world from an outside threat. What is most refreshing about the picture is that it exists as a politically relevant character drama first, an exciting spy caper second, and a comic book adaptation last. Like the best comic book films, X-Men: First Class stays true to the spirit and characters of the original comic lore while disregarding comic continuity for the sake of success as a standalone movie. But none of this would matter if the film did not work as a character piece, and that is just where the film is at its best. The X-Men universe has always been a science-fiction soap opera at heart, and Vaughn's picture puts the character relationships front and center throughout.

The film also scores as an acting treat. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are the stars of course, and they deliver in spades. While the previous films have treated Xavier and Magneto as relatively ying-yang characters, one an omnipresent optimist and the other a cold-hearted villain with a sympathetic backstory, the shades are a little grayer this time around. McAvoy's Xavier is borderline naive, arrogantly using his mutation for his own amusement and failing to understand the difference between those gifted with invisible mutations and those unable to blend in with society at large. Xavier is a genuinely goodhearted person, and McAvoy makes Xavier's brilliance and kindness genuinely appealing. Xavier's flaw is that he believes that his open mindedness is representative of those around him rather than an anomaly. Fassbender gets the flashier role, playing a young-adult Erik as an embittered freelance Nazi killer who is unwilling to acknowledge the potential for decency in the human race, or even within himself. He is also far more sympathetic to his fellow mutants, especially those who feel the need to hide their physically-manifested mutations.

The rest of the film is exceedingly well cast. Kevin Bacon brings low-key smarm to what amounts to a super-powered SPECTRE agent. His philosophy is similar to what Magneto will eventually adapt, although he is far less concerned about collateral damage than the elder Magneto was in the prior pictures. January Jones alas gets little to do other than look gorgeous, and Byrne is undercut by a last-minute story turn that humiliates her character. But Jennifer Lawrence yet again proves that she is the real deal, as her Raven (aka Mystique) brings a fragile humanity to what was previously just Rebecca Romijn in body-paint. The rest of the young mutants have their moment in the sun, although only Nicholas Hault gets a full-blown arc as the scientifically brilliant, but personally ashamed Dr. Hank McCoy. Oliver Platt doesn't get enough to do, but that's more about me being an Oliver Platt fan. And Matthew Vaughn fills the background with crusty veterans, and part of the fun comes from spotting various character actors in brief cameos ("Hey, it's Ray Wise!"). One particular cameo involves a pitch-perfect example of a PG-13 film using its one 'F' word to the fullest.

The only truly wasted opportunity comes with the poor use of Edi Gathegi, who (slight spoiler) basically exists to perform that hoariest of horror film cliches. His big moment highlights the only real story flaw with the film. Despite being set in the 1960s, the film is far more concerned with making a gay-rights parable than with actually making any relevant statements about the Civil Rights and feminist movements that actually took place in the 1960s. It undercuts Vaughn's choice to set the film in the 1960s, showing that it was more of a stylistic decision than a truly artistic one. The other core flaw comes at the very end of the picture, with an awkwardly rushed epilogue that feels the need to quickly put everything into place to reaffirm the status quo as established in the first X-Men picture. Quite frankly, the set up and character work is strong enough to have justified another prequel that specifically dealt with how Charles and Erik parted ways. The final on-the-nose moments play out as if Vaughn and company were afraid that they wouldn't get to play in this particular sandbox again.

Issues with the political parables aside and a needless epilogue aside, the film works splendidly as a joyously entertaining adventure movie. The action scenes, when they do arrive, are expertly staged and edited with a clear sense of scope and geography, being both larger than life and appropriately plausible. There is a nice mix of quirky camp and deadly seriousness (even aside from the Holocaust prologue, there is some shocking violence in the picture). With terrific acting, razor-sharp dialogue, and uncommonly assured direction, this X-Men reboot/prequel stands amongst the very best comic book adaptations. It is not just a great comic book film or a great X-Men film. X-Men: First Class stands proud as a just-plain terrific film.

Grade: A-
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:47 am

http://the-book-thief.blogspot.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class.html

Wednesday, 1 June 2011
X-Men: First Class

After the less than satisfying finale to the original X-Men trilogy and the loathsome Wolverine spin-off in 2009, director Matthew Vaughan - last seen lighting up cinema screens with last year's excellent Kick Ass - had his work cut out for him to reignite the faltering franchise. Instead of rebooting the series entirely, he has decided to go down the prequel route with the 60s period piece - a first for comic book films? - X-Men: First Class, based loosely on the original comics by Stan Lee in 1963 and the mini series of the same name published in 2006.

Unlike pretty much every X-Men film previously, this one leaves Hugh Jackman's charmless Wolverine behind and concentrates on the early years and friendship of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnserr (Michael Fassbender) before they gained their infamous titles of Professor X and Magneto respectfully.

Over the course of the story we see them assemble the earliest form of the X-Men with stalwarts such as Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Havoc (Lucas Till) and Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) and go up against the devious Hellfire Club featuring Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), Emma Frost (January Jones) and Azazel (Jason Flemyng).

First Class certainly sets itself apart from the usual comic book films of recent times, no more so than in its beautifully poised 1960s setting. While being a brilliant, honestly good fun, superhero movie, it also manages to conjure memories of classic James Bond films from the Sean Connery and Roger Moore era. Michael Fassbender's portrayal of Magneto was very much his own and all the better for it, after having to step into a role made famous by the great Ian McKellen. He was a dark, tragic individual who I almost felt bad for hating by the film's closing moments. His chemistry with James McAvoy's Xavier was simply glorious, bringing up some of the more tender and philosophical moments of the film. Neither man could be argued for being right or wrong and if placed in their shoes, which side would you choose...

While X-Men films can be littered with too many characters to mention in one review, I'll say that the highlights were Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique who was giving probably a more care and attention in this film than she had in the previous trilogy - having a beautiful brother/sister relationship with Xavier, to a schoolgirl crush on Beast, to then being seduced by the ideals of Magneto. Matthew Vaughan also did a clever job of paying tribute to Rebecca Romijn who portrayed the character in the original films.

After having my reservations of his original casting, I particularly enjoyed Nicholas Hoult's Beast. As oppose to the gentle, sophisticated, creature seen in his later years of the X-Men comics, cartoon and third film, he was never a being comfortable in his own skin - or fur - even when in the presence of fellow mutants. His transformation into his more famous appearance managed to come off like the infamous transformation in An American Werewolf in London.

Other notable mentions include Kevin Bacon's return to form - and the mainstream - as the sinister Sebastian Shaw, who can take most of the credit for how Magento feels towards mankind, despite being a mutant himself. Rose Byrne did just enough to not be considered just another pretty face in the role of Moira McTaggart, though probably could've benefited from having a couple more scenes with McAvoy to make the love story grow a bit on screen. While I'm a huge fan of January Jones in her role of Betty Draper in TV's Mad Men, she didn't really do much as Emma Frost to convince me she can play any other character, but considering how Frost is in the comics, it would be unfair to say Jones didn't pull the character off well. Also look out for a certain cameo involving 'the man with the claws'. You can't miss it.

Matthew Vaughan should be praised for turning the franchise into something fun, exciting, light hearted and action packed - especially when looking back, the original films can look so beige in comparison. It was also quite brave, in a huge mainstream blockbuster, for the director to implore the use of subtitles for a large portion of the film's flashback scenes - including a tense opening in a Nazi concentration camp - and the moments set on foreign soil. It was a gamble that generally paid off and added much needed authenticity. Also the way the story managed to tie itself into the original trilogy's continuity was pulled off with much more panache and respect, than the disappointing Wolverine film from two years ago.

Final Thoughts
In a film which did everything in its power to put me off seeing it with the awful marketing strategy and half arsed posters, X-Men: First Class was a bold, fun, action summer blockbuster in the most traditional sense. It's not only reinvigorated an ageing film franchise, but with some fantastic performances and an exciting, immersing, plot, it's also managed to become the best film of the series to date. First class indeed...

4.5/5

X-Men: First Class is in cinemas everywhere now.
Posted by Andrew Moore at 16:35
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:48 am

http://www.lostinthemultiplex.com/2011/06/02/x-men-first-class/

X Men: First Class

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Reviewed by: Stewart Terry

Summary: 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.

Let’s be honest, this franchise became laboured once the curtains closed on number 2 but with original director Bryan Singer now on producing duties and the writer/director team from Kick-Ass (one Mrs JonathanRoss and one Mr Claudia Schiffer) behind the camera, the franchise has well and truly become reinvigorated.

Although much of the kudos awarded to X-Men will be (rightly) passed on Matthew Vaughn for his deft handling of the large action sequences and Jane Goldman for her ability to let the character’s nuances and personalities shine through a haze of 1960s fashion and politics, the lion’s share of the credit for this unexpected turn of events (and if you have seen some of the publicity materials you will know what I mean) should be passed onto McAvoy andFassbender.

Their performances as Charles Xavier and Erik Lensher rrespectively not only provide First Class with the heart, humour and horror that’s needed to keep superhero genre flicks from falling into the campery of a Joel Schumacher wet dream, but actually breathe new life into the work of their future forebears McKellan and Stewart.

Perhaps McAvoy and Fassbender won’t be treading the boards in a prequel to Waiting For Godot any time soon – and I would pay if they did – but the chemistry generated between their toing and froing is enough to make arch villain Sebastian Shaw’s (Kevin Bacon) nuclear aspirations look like a Calor gas stove.

With the two leads giving the audience so much drama to chew over, there are moments in which supporting characters fall into the background like Mystique impersonating a desk lamp. But as Brett Ratner will tell you after his experiences on X-Men 3, it’s difficult to introduce new characters with fantastical powers and then give them the screen time to fly. On the side of evil, only Kevin Bacon and Jason Flemyng appear to be having any fun with their characters, with Mad Men’s January Jones appearing completely lost and disinterested in the ability to turn her breasts into diamond encrusted treasures and the character of “Riptide” having the ability to appear about as menacing as a fart in the wind.

As the character that perfectly encapsulates the struggle between Charles and Erik’s political leanings, recently Oscar nominated Jennifer Lawrence provides an interestingly naive and fragile adolescent performance as Raven aka Mystique. Brilliantly, First Class gives her character an interesting back story as a living dichotomy rather than making her high kicking, naked shape shifting the easy solution to any given bad situation – something which the previous flicks in the franchise fell foul of.

At over two hours, First Class flew by. It’s funny, exciting, captivating and above all provides a new start for the beleaguered series at a time in which every other week sees a new superhero on the block.

9/10
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:48 am

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

02/06/2011
X Men: First Class

Whether a casual observer or avid superfan most would happily agree the most intriguing aspect of the X-Men universe is the relationship between Xavier (Professor X) and Erik (Magneto). After the unadulterated rubbish that was 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the powers that be are taking us back to the beginning to explore what made the leaders of the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants frenemies in the first place.

Despite some dodgy time lines (Emma Frost and Storm were a children in XMO: Wolverine but while Emma Frost is grown up in this, Storm is still a child) the action is relocated to the 60s in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis which gives excellent baddie Sebastian Shaw (THE BACON) a tenuous hook on which to hinge his insatiable thirst for the world and not much else. He's the leader of the Hellfire Club whose members include Azazel, bad ass teleporting demon, and the aforementioned Frost whose only use is to occasionally become a diamond, wear next to nothing and get pregnant.

But lets forget about the antagonists, the useless tacked on supporting characters (*cough* Angel *cough*), the slightly ropey effects and mildly unsuccessful sub-plot and focus on the crux of the film and its most successful component. Personally, I was always drawn to the X-Men comics and awesome 90s cartoon because it wasn't simply good vs evil facing off against each other but good and evil both fighting for social acceptance in their own way. Erik is Malcolm X to Xavier's Martin Luther King and their struggle is made even more intriguing by their differing attitudes toward achieving equality. Everyone knows Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian Mckellen are absolutely boss at everything they do but Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are equally awesome despite their interesting visual cues which are distractingly necessary in order to portray their insular powers. And since I mentioned Michael Fassbender, a man so unspeakably hot he gives horses a hard on, I think it's only fair to share a picture we can perv over:


You don't know how hard it was to not comment on his helmet. Oh, that reminds me, I have to make a few amendments to my superhero f&#!-it list:

1) Chris Evans (Captain America/The Human Torch)
2) Michael Fassbender (Magneto)
3) Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
4) Tom Hardy (Bane)
5) Michael Keaton (Batman)
6) Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
7) Hugh Jackman (Wolverine)

Chris Evans was almost usurped until I saw this. But, erm, yeah...in hindsight, X-Men: First Class isn't as perfect as I was initially screaming from the rooftops but it is pretty f#%@#&! good. See it please.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:56 am

http://deseretnews.blogspot.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class-movie-release-june.html

Thursday, June 2, 2011
Home » Movies » X-Men First Class Movie Release June 2011
X-Men First Class Movie Release June 2011

X-Men : First Class is a 2011 American superhero film directed by Matthew Vaughn. It is based on characters appearing in Marvel Comics-based and the fifth episode of the X-Men film series and prequel to "X-Men X-Men. First Class was published on June 1, 2011 in the United Kingdom and on June 2 Philippines to be released, and June 3 in the United States.

The film is set in the year 1960 and will focus on the relationship between Professor X and Magneto and the origin of their groups, the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants. James McAvoy play the major roles as Professor X and Magneto as Michael Fassbender. Other artists are Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoe Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult and Lucas Till. The film was mostly shot in England and parts of the United States.

The film 'X-Men: First Class "will be released in the United States on June 3, 2011 In contrast to the four films." X-Men, "which comes first on the big screen, featuring the movie" X -Men: First Class is "more of the young Hollywood actor and actress dominates.

In a film touted as a prequel to "X-Men" were the actors and actresses this young mutant play time the process of maturation. Where they are still searching, file a special ability to distinguish people.

The result, 'X-Men: First Class filled "soul-searching and crisis of identity experienced by a mutant-level addition to the dilemma, that is, to minimize their differences to the human race to accept or celebrate something they unique. makes.

In this film, the character Professor Charles Xavier is not played by Patrick Stewart, but the movie stars 'Atonement' James McAvoy. Viewers no longer see faces old actor Ian McKellen. Magneto has changed its character as a German actor Michael Fassbender.

The only actors who are veterans in the film "X-Men: First Class" perhaps only Kevin Bacon. In the director Matthew Vaughn will play the evil mutant named Bacon Sebastian Shaw.

x-men first class movie
Fassbender, previously starred in the film "Inglourious Basterds" with Brad Pitt revealed he did not believe Magneto character, being bound on the big screen before appeared.

is mentioned, "I think we all know there are many loyal fans out there, and we want them to do it," said Fassbender as news agency Associated Press (AP).

However, he said, the fate of the movie 'X-Men: First Class "is on the players from four known as film.' X-Men 'recent success and makes a lot of revenue. Previous stories lifted from Marvel Comics mutant has been made in four films, namely "X-Men" [2000], 'X2' [2003] 'X-Men: The Last Stand' [2006], 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine "[2009].

"If it: not ['X-Men First Class'] works, we will take all the mistakes," he said.

Since the beginning of the film, the director said he did not want McAvoy and Fassbender only as a younger version of Stewart and McKellen. Directed by "Stardust" is for them to play the character of young people in such turmoil.

There is something very interesting in the film "X-Men: First Class". to use the film that took the attitude of the 1960s, the director of the original recordings of President Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev during the trial at the UN debate.

In a German concentration camp in occupied Poland in 1944, the young Mr. Erik Lens separated from his parents by the Nazi guards. The child is desperate remarkable spirit, a metal gate to knock a guard unconscious Mr. Lens. Scientists Sebastian Shaw, who has seen through a window, calls Mr. Lens to see him. Place a metal coin on a table, he orders to use his magnetism Lens lord the power to move it. Lens not as troops, despite his efforts, shoot and kill Shaw Lensher mother to him. In his anger kills Lens Mr. Out-of-control magnetic power of the two guards and destroying two rooms, glad to Shaw's. Around the same time in a Westchester County, New York, Villa, meets a young Charles Xavier is a young, shape-shifting girl named Raven scrounge for food in the kitchen. Overjoyed that someone 'different' to meet him when he says that they can come and live with his family.

xmen first class movie
Switzerland to take in film today in 1962, Mr. Lens forces a banker to a bar of Nazi gold at the address of Shaw's in Argentina. In a tavern, there are patronized by the former German soldiers, killing three men Lens Lord when he finds out that Shaw has a yacht in Florida. Meanwhile, in England, a graduate of Xavier University of Oxford, the publication of his thesis on change, his foster sister Raven, a waitress who lives with him. At the same time in Las Vegas, Nevada, CIA agent Moira MacTaggart U.S. Army Colonel Henderson follows the Hellfire Club, where she sees young Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, and Azazel. After threatening Henry Shaw, Azazel disappears with the officer, a moment later, he is in the War Room, is the U.S. to install nuclear missiles in Turkey.

MacTaggart seeks advice on mutation and Xavier Xavier and Raven to the CIA to convince the boss that Shaw a threat. Once satisfied that there are mutants, they were taken to a hidden device, but first and Xavier Shaw feels. Lens attacks Mr. Shaw, if Shaw and escapes into his submarine Lensmaster tried to quit, but Xavier stops him, so he will not drown. Lens Mr. Xavier and Raven at the CIA facility where she will meet Hank McCoy, another mutant, Xavier accidentally outs. McCoy and Xavier used a prototype cerebro mutants and recruit more training to identify them to stop Shaw.

Shaw will meet with a Russian general, but instead sends Frost, which is then covered by Xavier and Mr. Lens. The facility attacked by Azazel, Riptide and Shaw, was slain by the guards, recruits Angel Shaw, killing Darwin. If Mr Xavier contact lens and they start the train mutants, although Raven hide their natural form is a contradiction.

President Kennedy Institute blockade. Shaw travel to the Russian fleet to ensure that the rocket to go to Cuba. Xavier, Mr. MacTaggart and Lens fly to the blockade to stop at the fleets of the intervention. Shaw uses a nuclear charge, and a helmet for Xavier's telepathy to block. Azazel kills the crew of a Russian rocket Xavier used his powers to a Russian ship, the missile before he crosses the line to destroy. Lens Mr. Shaw takes U-boat from the water, but an attack forces the jet and the U-boat crash. Lens by Mr. Shaw and his helmet, takes control of Shaw and Xavier relies on his helmet, then kills it by making the medal, which mocked him with Shaw by his brains.

The two fleets firing their rockets at the mutants, like Lens, Lord, now at full capacity, the missiles in the air, but draws attention to the fleet. In the ensuing battle Xavier distract Lens succeeds Lord, but when Mr. MacTaggart fired at Lens, he deflected the bullets with a crippling Xavier. Lens Lord is Raven, and Riptide Azezel and leaves. Xavier and the mutants in the villa, where he opened a school to return. He wipes MacTaggart Memorial Lens and Mr. Frost breaks from the CIA headquarters and in his new uniform, he told Frost called Magneto.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:57 am

http://www.suite101.com/content/x-men-first-class-movie-review-a373789

X-Men First Class Movie Review

Jun 1, 2011
Dominic von Riedemann

Twentieth Century Fox's X-Men: First Class, starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Rose Byrne, has more sympathy for the devil. 4/5.

Villains can make or break a movie. Let's face it: the big reason why the Die Hard sequels sucked was because none of the other villains were as cool as Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber. However, a movie can run into trouble when its villain is too sympathetic and the hero is ill-defined. That's the problem with the otherwise stunning X-Men: First Class, starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender.

Writer/director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) and co-writers Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman clearly had so much fun writing about the troubled mutant Erik Lensherr (Fassbender) that they forgot to figure out the film's ostensible hero: telepathic X-Men leader Charles Xavier (McAvoy). As a result, the film sends out a message it perhaps didn't intend.

Matthew Vaughn Directs Twentieth Century Fox's X-Men: First Class Starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender
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The year is 1962, and CIA agent Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne) is investigating a covert organization known as the Hellfire Club that is encouraging a nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union. When McTaggert sees Hellfire Club leaders Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and Emma Frost (January Jones) demonstrating unusual powers, she sends out an alarm her condescending superiors don't appreciate. Undeterred, she consults with 24-year-old Professor of Genetics Charles Xavier, who also has some telepathic tricks up his sleeve.

With the CIA's help, Xavier and his adopted sister Raven aka Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) assemble a team of mutants to battle Shaw and Hellfire. Among them is Lensherr aka Magneto, who recognizes Shaw as Klaus Schmidt, the Nazi researcher who murdered his mother. As the Hellfire Club uses the building Cuban Missile Crisis to further its agenda, can this conflicted group of mutants save humanity? And will ordinary humans appreciate the gesture?

The good news with this film is that it's a welcome return to form after the twin blunders of X-3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Vaughn's a master of action movies and he deftly takes this flick from superhero film to Ian Fleming territory and back again. Speaking of Ian Fleming, Kevin Bacon plays Sebastian Shaw like a Bond villain: you half expect him to purr, "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!" as he pets his favourite kitty . . . January Jones. Some have accused Bacon of over-acting, but it's actually a well-crafted performance that fits the film's vibe. Kudos also to Nicholas Hault as Beast (one of the more compelling character arcs in this film), and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. Also look for a couple of brilliant cameos from members of the previous X-Men franchise.
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However, Vaughn and his co-writers can't create a coherent narrative for Charles Xavier: why does this child of privilege end up the compassionate leader of the X-Men? The character is highly underwritten, and McAvoy plays him mostly as a thoughtless big brother to Mystique who doesn't have the vision and charisma to weld a bunch of wayward teens into a superhero team.

Another part of the problem is that Magneto's character is probably the best-written character of this film, and Michael Fassbender delivers a star-making performance to boot. He made the most of his few scenes in 2009's Inglourious Basterds and his Lensherr becomes a cross between Simon Wiesenthal and James Bond. An early sequence where he tracks down a pair of Nazis in a bar turns into a stunning fight. When Lensherr articulates his vision of a new world order at the climax of the film, it's so stirring that you wonder how Xavier ends up with any X-Men afterwards. All McAvoy can do is deny Magneto's call to arms without offering a wiser alternative.

One of the biggest ironies of the X-Men universe is that Holocaust survivor Erik Lensherr ultimately emulates his oppressors, promoting his version of the Master Race. Underlining that aspect of his personality a little more would have helped keep him as the troubled anti-hero and balanced out this film.

X-Men: First Class an Entertaining Return to Form, but Who Is It Really Rooting For?

Some will say, "You're over-thinking this; just enjoy it for what it is." And yes, X-Men: First Class is a highly successful popcorn flick that brings the noise and special effects any fan could ask for. But the way it generates much more sympathy for the devil is this movie's Achilles Heel, and that's why this otherwise enjoyable flick gets a 4/5.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:03 am

http://www.wpbf.com/entertainment/28083801/detail.html

'X-Men' Stars: New Movie Is 1st Class Story
Fassbender, Bacon Star In Fresh Beginning To Film Franchise
Tim Lammers, Contributing writer

POSTED: 2:23 pm EDT May 31, 2011
UPDATED: 3:22 pm EDT May 31, 2011

Michael Fassbender
20th Century Fox
It's been a whirlwind past couple of weeks for the stars of "X-Men: First Class," beginning with a press gathering for four days in London and then, with barely a day break in between, more time for media in New York ahead of the film's red carpet premiere.

It's only appropriate, though, that the cast of "X-Men: First Class" make appearances far and wide to talk about the film. That's because the mutants in the film are characters most everybody -- including stars Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon -- can relate to.

"It's a fairly serious film in the way it speaks to people who are outsiders, or people who are mistrustful of other races, genders or socioeconomic groups that are different from their own," Bacon said by phone from London. "It also speaks to the idea of accepting yourself for who you are."

Fassbender, who called in from New York, said he's been continually riveted by how the "X-Men" comics and films have been able to tell stories in a fantastical sort of way, yet be socially relevant at the same time.

"In a weird way, it's almost like the 'X-Men' stories have taken a mutant form to disguise what we as people deal with in real life," Fassbender said. "There's so much humanity in the stories. They address very universal themes."

Telling The Origins

Opening in theaters nationwide on Friday, "X-Men: First Class" is set in the 1960s, when the telepathic Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Fassbender) -- who can generate and control magnetism -- meet for the first time and assume the identities of Professor X and Magneto. Coming from decidedly different backgrounds, the compassionate Charles and vengeful Erik together forge a foundation to lead younger mutants who feel lost and confused in a society that mostly shuns them because of their extraordinary abilities.

Among those willing to exploit the most vulnerable of his kind is the evil mutant Sebastian Shaw (Bacon), the billionaire owner of a swank lair known as the Hellfire Club. A destructive force who can absorb and manipulate energy, Sebastian ultimately wants to eradicate humans and create a utopia where only mutants exist.

At the heart of "X-Men: First Class" is Charles and Erik's uneasy alliance against Sebastian, who is using the Cuban Missile Crisis to trigger nuclear war so he can reach his end game. Fassbender said he loved that -- like in the comics -- "X-Men: First Class" finds Charles and Erik working together and respecting each other's viewpoints despite their huge ideological differences.

"We're dealing with these very complicated and ambivalent characters. It's not your classic sort of hero and villain story with these two," Fassbender observed. "All through the comic book series we see Magneto and Professor helping each other out. Magneto helps him rebuild Cerebro and even takes over the school, even at a point where they are arch-enemies. I find that to be a very mature way of dealing with these characters.

"As we know, there are great political leaders who have opposite viewpoints, will often sit down and have lunch. But what do they speak about? What goes on behind closed doors? It's a very intriguing concept."

While "X-Men: First Class" signals a fresh beginning for the film series, Fassbender said he and McAvoy very much wanted to keep intact the essence of the respect Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart created between Magneto and Professor X in the previous "X-Men" films.

"The fans really responded to what Sir Patrick and Sir Ian created for the characters. They brought an awful lot of intelligence and authorities to the roles," Fassbender said. "James and I tried to get to those same heights for our portrayals of the characters. We wanted to create that connection for those two from the moment they meet. We wanted them to feel that they've each met someone who's an equal."

While Fassbender said he was inspired by McKellen's performances as Magneto, he was encouraged by director Matthew Vaughn go a different route with the character -- a direction that would bond, for the lack of a better word, the actor with an iconic performance of another legendary actor.

"I think Sir Ian's performance of Magneto is in the ether, specifically with the authority the character brings. But in an early meeting with Matthew, he brought up Sean Connery because the film was based in the '60s and Erik was sort of this lone assassin character like Connery in an early James Bond film," Fassbender recalled. "Matthew told me, 'Sean Connery worked as Bond because he had an unusual nuance in his accent and you have something similar, so I'd like to utilize that.' At that point I realized that I wasn't going to study Ian's physicality and voice."

While Bacon didn't have any previous screen versions of Sebastian to refer to, he said he found a lot of inspiration in the comics, even though the character from page to screen had undergone a significant transformation.

"Sebastian Shaw in the comics is a very huge, muscle-bound guy with a ponytail and dresses like George Washington," Bacon said. "There was a thing in the early days of the Hellfire Club being written where everybody dressed in a revolutionary, Louis the 14th kind-of look. Now he's a '60s billionaire playboy, but a lot of the essence of the original character of Sebastian is still there since I drew heavily on the comics for my research."

Bacon said he's well aware that diehard "X-Men" fans have scrutinized every last detail of the film during its production, and while he respects their viewpoints in relation to the comics, he said you ultimately have to find a proper balance between the original medium and its translation.

"I think we have a responsibility for sure to the fans," Bacon said. "It's the first time I've certainly worked in a situation where people are constantly blogging on the film and trying to get any update they could on what we were doing. It definitely was an interesting kind of vibe. I don't think you can please everybody ever -- I'm guessing people will go, 'Wait a second, Sebastian doesn't look anything like he does in the comics,' but on the other hand, I feel really strongly that the movie has to work beyond that."

Effectively, Bacon said, he wants "X-Men: First Class" to work for everybody.

"I want people who have never read a comic book to go and enjoy this movie. I want women who are normally not even drawn to a film like this, to go and get something from it, on an emotional level, a romantic level or whatever," Bacon said. "We had to be bold in that way. We had to be bold with our choices. We are not continuing the story -- we're going back and reinventing it in a way that I think is really clever."

And with any luck, the story of the new "X-Men" will continue, and not only because both Bacon and Fassbender had a great time making the film: Enrolling in another "X-Men" class will give Fassbender another chance to secure himself that super cool, retro Magneto helmet.

"Man, I really should have walked off with it -- I think I really messed up," Fassbender said, laughing.
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