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X-Men Reviews 7

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Post by Admin on Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:02 pm

http://bodyofageekgoddess.blogspot.com/2011/07/x-men-first-class-is-well-first-class.html

Sunday, 17 July 2011
X-Men: First Class is... well, first class
Charles and Eric: my new favourite bromance


So, about a century after the rest of the world, I finally got round to seeing X-Men: First Class yesterday - and I loved it. It managed the tricky balance of being a standalone movie with enough nice touches to please the fan crowd, while also managing to (almost) fit into the chronology and universe of the X-Men films.

Really, there was almost nothing wrong with this movie. I must admit I'm always a sucker for an origin story, and my love of the X-Men is, in my own geek universe, second only to my love of Star Wars, so the film would have to do quite a lot wrong for me not to like it, but it worked on a whole load of different levels.

The 60s setting allowed the film great scope - the fear of nuclear war, the rise of the atom, as well as making the Second World War, and the atrocities of the Nazis, close enough to still be raw for the protagonists. (Plus, of course, the clothes were cool). The story - encompassing the assembly of the original X-Men, the origins of Charles and Eric's friendship, the team's first mission and their inevitable fracturing - was a great balance of big set pieces and nice, smaller character touches, with some great laughs in the mix (the training sequences a particular delight). Throw in a couple of crowd pleasing unbilled cameos, and you have a winner.

Of course, the film couldn't be completely faithful to its source material - in fact, given the multiple universes, timelines and retrofits the comics inhabit, it would be impossible to be so - but it's certainly faithful to the spirit of the story. This comes both from clever writing (co-writer Jane Goodman proving with this, and Kick Ass, she really is a writing talent to watch) and for the most part immaculate casting. Despite being rewritten from a Scottish doctor to an American CIA agent, Rose Byrne's Moira McTaggert brings a clear-eyed intelligence to the role, Jennifer Lawrence's vulnerable turn as Mystique gives me high hopes for the Hunger Games (even if the decision to make her a childhood friend of Xavier's rather scuppers the timelines of the later films). Nicholas Hoult as Beast is an unexpectedly good fit, while Kevin Bacon's Shaw is suitably malevolent. But it's the pairing of James McEvoy as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Magneto where the film really scores.

In a million years I would never have thought to cast McEvoy, but he is pitch perfect: his Xavier is cocky and charming, a man of vision and heart but also used to being the cleverest person in any room: when Magneto accuses him of being arrogant in his assertion that he can guide a truce between man and mutant, he foreshadows much of the action of the comics, where it is Charles' arrogant idealism that is his fatal flaw. As Magneto, Fassbender is similarly good - his accent may wander all over the place, but he captures the wounded fury of Eric, the fact that in a different world, with a different upbringing, he would feel the same as Charles. The film isn't afraid to be open about how much the two men truly love one another - a bond that is both brotherhood and more, a recognition that their similarities are so much greater than the one, enormous difference that drives them apart. I loved the Stewart/McKellan dynamic in the later movies - the heartbreaking weariness of realising the one person you have most in common with in the world is the person with whom you're at war - and it was great to see it fleshed out here. (Also, on a truly shallow aside: Michael Fassbender is really, really hot).

And speaking of hot, I have posted before on how much I feared the casting - and the clothing - of January Jones as Emma Frost, and I'm afraid the film bore out my fears. While my male companion was fairly distracted by the fact Jones spends most of the film in lingerie, her undeniable aesthetic appeal didn't mask the truth that she was sorely miscast. Emma Frost is an ice cold queen of snark, a woman whose ability to see into the heads of those around her has given her an unshakeable cynicism. Jones gave us a woman who barely rose above a simper, and who instead of looking glacially amused by the folly of men, seemed barely to understand what was going on. And the costume was just awful... Still, even Jones couldn't derail this, a great addition to the X-Men cannon and a fantastically enjoyable movie.

Plus, I mentioned Michael Fassbender was hot, right?
Posted by Thrifty Gal at 04:37
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Post by Admin on Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:15 pm

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July 16, 2011
Review: X-Men: First Class
Filed under: Reviews — by Penny Redstar @ 10:16 am
Tags: Magneto, Professor X, X-Men:First Class

This is the beginning. Where it all started. It shows how Charles Xavier and Magneto became enemies, or what I like to call them frenemies. But it also creates those characters. It all the X-Men films we never really see why Professor X and Magneto are the way they are. This film explores that.

Xavier starts to build his group of X-Men in 1962 but not without some bumps in the road. And what I found interesting, is that at first, the group worked with the government to destroy the ‘bad guys.’ But once the government could see what these mutants could do, it goes scared and vowed to track them down and destroy or hide them.

Kevin Bacon as the bad guy Sebastian Shaw was an interesting casting choice. But not a bad one.

Shaw, together with some mutants, has become very powerful and he wants to create a war between Cuba and the U.S. I mean, who wouldn’t want to start the Cuban Missile Crisis. In trying to figure out how to stop Shaw, Agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) sees these mutants and wants to learn more about them. She tracks down Xavier (James McAvoy) to learn more about them and their abilities and convinces him to bring a few along to a government facility. Together they try to take down Shaw.

Meanwhile, Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) is trying to track down Shaw, who killed his mother when he was a young boy. Lehnsherr was one of the first mutants Shaw tried to train.

Just as Xavier and his team find Shaw on a submarine, so does Lehnsherr and soon Xavier convinces him to join his team as well. He promises him he can teach Lehnsherr how to control his ability and make it stronger. At first he is hesitant, but gives in slightly to gain power.

Xavier and Lehnsherr work together to not only take down Shaw, but also to gather more mutants to make their team stronger. And this is where the cameo of Hugh Jackman makes his brief, but memorable cameo as Wolverine.

With some more action and some more bad guy/good guy scenes, Lehnsherr eventually takes down Shaw. It is after this, that Lehnsherr and Xavier differ and fight over their views of mutants. And we learn that due to that fight, Xavier becomes paralyzed from the waist down. Lehnsherr becomes Magneto and forms his own group, while Xavier moves into his old mansion with his mutants and creates a school for them. He is now known as Professor X.

The government is still after them and so it begins….

I actually was hesitant to see this movie because it has some no-name actors. As I said, Bacon as the bad guy was a surprise to me, but then again I didn’t do my research. But I was pleasantly surprised that the acting was pretty good as was the story line. It kind of explained a lot to newbie comic book fans like me. And of course, has some great action scenes, which I love.

3 stars for a pretty good pre-quel to the X-Men series.
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Post by Admin on Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:16 pm

http://rfmp.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/x-men-first-class-passes-with-flying-colors/

“X-Men First Class” Passes With Flying Colors

Poster created by Jeffrey Zhang

So last night while millions upon millions of people finally went to the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2″ I went with a friend to see “X-Men: First Class” for the first time. We had an opportunity to sneak in and watch the Harry Potter movie, but I don’t believe in sneaking into to screenings without paying and my friend hates Harry Potter with a passion. (We may or may not have stuck our heads in for the trailers to see the “Dark Knight Rises” teaser trailer, and then promptly left.) By the way those Potter fans kept moaning with every trailer but then applauding when it turned out to be a movie they liked like; “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows” It went a bit like this: “Awww! We want Potter! We want Potter….WOOOO! Sherlock Holmes!” Anyway I’m not writing this article on Potter, perhaps another time. This is about “X-Men: First Class” I’m so happy to finally see what is the best movie of the franchise. I mean head and shoulders above the rest. To be fair I did not care too much for the 1st X-Men movie, I loved “X2″, I had mixed feelings about “x-Men 3″ and I absolutely hated “Xmen Origins: Wolverine”. So the competition wasn’t that stiff but in my opinion this is one of the best superhero films ever. My friend argues that the acting by the cast rivals “The Dark Knight” mmmmm perhaps on that, I wouldn’t put the entire film on that level however. Still its for sure in the top 10 superhero stories ever put to film.

The film was written by Ashley Miller and Zach Stentz, with additional writing credits from Jane Goldman and the director of the movie Matthew Vaughn. Bryan Singer and Sheldon Turner contributed to the story. Without spoiling anything you can’t figure out in the trailers “X-Men: First Class” primarily takes place in the 1960′s during the heat of the cold war. Mutants are on the brink of being exposed to the world and they also find themselves trying to prove their loyalty to humans and their country by aligning with the CIA in an alternate history of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Of course like people not all mutants are good and one sinister baddie named Sebastian Shaw played brilliantly by Kevin Bacon is determined to create chaos, at the humans expense. It looks like it’s up to the very first class of X-Men led by Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) to save the day. Charlies and Eric will eventually become Professor X and Magneto. That’s not a spoiler, that’s a fact of the series, remember this is a prequel.

Now I will start spoiling soon and I mean heavy spoilers so don’t keep reading if you have not seen the movie. To wrap up my spoiler free section of the review I will say that “X-Men: First Class” while it does not really stick to the true canon of the “X-Men” comics and really the previous 4 “X-Men” films to an extent it is the best of the franchise and it continues Marvel’s impressive streak of movies.

Poster created by Jeffrey Zhang

WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! Alright so let me break this film down, I of course loved it. The last review I posted was for “Super 8″ a movie I also really enjoyed and saw as the best of the year. This can rival that film for best of the year thus far. That’s not to say this film is perfect but its darn good.

The strength of the film definitely comes from the actors, they really own the characters and give them depth. The top 5 best performances in this movie come from Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon and Nicholas Hoult. The movie starts off like the very X-Men does with a young Magento in a Nazi concentration camp, being separated from his parents and in a fit of rage discovering his power to move metal and brings down a gate. The opening scene is disturbingly violent involving his mother’s death at the hands of Sebastian Shaw and I found myself worried for the very young children in the audience who couldn’t have been older than 6 with their mother. It was a bit alarming for me a grown man, I wonder how she will explain that holocaust scene to her apparent children. I also cringed a bit thinking of the young children in the audience during the admittedly funny cameo with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine when he tells Erik and Charles to go “f” themselves. We also get to see young Charles and young Raven as well, but that opening scene with Erik for me is one of the best opening scenes for a superhero film to date.

Fassbender owns the role of Erik/Magneto you know he’s going to become an opposition to the X-Men and yet he’s really the center of the story. He’s the character I found myself caring about the most, and he’s the most dynamic probably, though Raven/Mystique gets pretty close to being the most dynamic character in the film. Magneto unlike Charles Xavier for most of the movie is the one who has truly lost the most. He is bitter, cynical, angry and broken. Yet he seems the most human out of everyone. I’ve always liked the relationship between Charles and Magneto, because even when Magneto reaches the height of his villianry he and Charles still have a respect and vague friendship for each other. This extends to the movies, comics and tv shows. They don’t hate each other, they both have similar goals but just two different ways of approaching it. Neither are honestly perfect, though Magneto’s is certainly more violent and thus he is the antagonist. But here he is the clear protagonist of the film, let’s be honest did anyone want to see him let the monstrous Sebastian Shaw live? I don’t think any human deserves to die, but Sebastian wasn’t really much of a human anymore.

I'd still tap that.

Kevin Bacon is absolutely brilliant as Sebastian Shaw, he gives the best comic book villain performance since Heath Ledger’s Joker. Come on seriously who else has reached this level since then? The closest I’d say would be Loki but that’s a distant 2nd. Bacon is basically pure evil but doesn’t play it one note, he’s unbalanced in a good way for a character and adds real dimension to what could have been a cookie cutter performance. You want more than six degrees of separation between you and Shaw. (Oh yeah I went there.) At the last Academy Awards Jennifer Lawrence (wifey) was nominated for her role in “Winter’s Bone” a very dark and rough film. Here she still plays a pretty dark character but again even though we know she will eventually turn to the dark side, she remains herself. Her viewpoint shifts, but watching how everything unfolds you can perfectly emphasize with why she may feel a certain way about the world. It ain’t easy being green, but it’s darn right hard being blue. A lot of people in the film seemed to suggest she wasn’t beautiful when blue…..I had no problem with it. Plus how cool would it be to be married to a shape shifter? “Hey honey, tonight could you be Olivia Wilde?” “I was Wilde last last night, what about tonight I’m Vanessa Williams?” Come on dudes, who is with me on this! I like all colors of women; black, white, brown, blue…. but seriously Jennifer Lawrence nails it as Raven and I really liked the fact that at the end when she has to decide which side to choose its not a betrayal of Xavier. In fact he tells her to go, out of love. She will be better off where people understand her and she can be “A mutant, and proud.” This has only made me more excited to see Lawrence in the upcoming “Hunger Games” There are plenty of beautiful women in this film like; Zoe Kravitz and Rose Bryne (whose character really never did it for me. She was kind of flat to me, but she allowed Charles Xavier to show off some of his game so I’m not hatin’.) January Jones for sure took the cake as the sultry Emma Frost. I have never watched the show “Mad Men” even with Jones and Christina Hendricks there to tempt me into watching it, so I’m glad she did a movie where she is half naked or in tight clothing all the time. I’m a guy, sue me. The ladies were giggling and squealing for Michael Fassbender.

There are some issues with the film, I wasn’t crazy about a lot of the cinematography and the pacing at a few parts seemed a bit off. But the dialogue was solid throughout, the characters were deep, the story was rich and the special effects were well crafted. The soundtrack by Henry Jackman will soon be on my i-pod I am sure. I really got into this film while watching it, and so was the audience at the end of the movie when Charles tries to reason with Erik with the line “There are innocent people on those boats, soldiers just obeying orders.” There was that pregnant pause in the theater everyone knows Charles just said the wrong thing and like that we know Erik will become Magneto. It takes a lot for a movie to evoke that kind of emotional response from its viewers, so hats off to everyone involved. I’d much rather see more movies with this cast of actors than another “X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2″ who is asking for that? Nobody, let’s see more of these awesome actors filling out these roles. I’ll be first in line this time. My final grade 88/100. I still have several requested films to review such as “The Adjustment Bureau” and “Black Swan” but if you’d like to read my thoughts on a particular film leave a comment here and I’ll do it ASAP.

–Article Written by,

Matthew S. Robinson

July 15, 2011
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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:21 pm

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X-Men: First Class
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X-Men: First Class (2011) review


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

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

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

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

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

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

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Opens on Friday nationwide.

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

WITH: James McAvoy (Charles), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw/Dr. Schmidt), Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert), January Jones (Emma Frost), Oliver Platt (MIB), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Hank/Beast), Zoe Kravitz (Angel Salvadore/Wings), Jason Flemyng (Azazel), Lucas Till (Alex Summers/Havok), Caleb Landry Jones (Cassidy/Banshee), Alex Gonzalez (Janos Questad/Riptide) and Edi Gathegi (Darwin Armondo).
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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:26 pm

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011
“X-Men: First Class” Brings the Story Back to the Beginning
There are a number of memorable characters in director Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class,” but I won’t be mentioning them all. You can and should meet them for yourselves.

Full disclosure: I have missed several films in this franchise, and I don’t recall the comics at all. This stood me in good stead to thoroughly enjoy “X-Men: First Class,” for in addition to the film’s own merits (which are many), the story held more suspense and uncertainties for me than for avid fans and aficionados. Not quite recalling, I could wonder, “Was not she with Magneto in the first film? What’s she doing here? Who’s this dude? And what’s Kevin Bacon got to do with it all?”

The film opens as “X-Men” did, in 1944, at the separation of young Erik Lehnsherr from his parents entering the concentration camp. Some go left, some go right. Erik’s anger and despair manifest in the shaking and bending and rending of the metal gates — with his mind. Dr. Schmidt (the fun-loving Kevin Bacon) teaches him control through torture as if he were a lab animal.

Meanwhile, in Westchester, we meet 12-year-old Charles Xavier coming upon someone disguised as his neglectful mother in the kitchen. This is young Raven, disguised from her true blue form, which she will later call “Mystique.” Charles takes her in, despite the fact that he’s a child himself. Neglectful parents can be useful that way.

World War II chills into the Cold War. James McAvoy as the grown-up Charles Xavier is having fun at university and making his adoptive sister Raven (the wonderful Jennifer Lawrence) quite jealous. As we pull up to 1962, Erik Lehnsherr, too, is quite grown up. This tortured soul is now played by Michael Fassbender, describing himself as Dr. Frankenstein’s monster in a search of the Nazi doctor. Following the money, Erik travels to Switzerland, then to South America, then to the United States to find his “creator,” who now goes by the name Sebastian Shaw.

Some things Kevin Bacon said as Dr. Schmidt (and his other persona, Sebastian Shaw) nagged at me, a little bitty niggling in one part of my brain, while the rest had a fine time. He kept talking about the Atomic Age, which started in the 1940s, so why would it have affected him, already a middle-aged man in 1944? Mind you, I enjoyed him. Bacon does a jolly Nazi doctor, megalomaniac, egomaniac, and accomplished all that was required of a dastardly villain with relish. A little chewy, but fun.

Ah, that danged split atom. So many complications it spawned. Rushing the natural selection of evolution into high gear. Although I don’t quite understand why or how Shaw came to be a mutant, he has some nifty powers that make him tough to kill and allow him to retain his youthful appearance 15 years after we first see him. Bacon’s big grin dominates his manipulation of the American and Russian military, and throughout his evil is gleeful. He also has a nifty helmet his Nazi buddies designed for him that blocks psychic intrusions. More on that anon.

Erik and Charles first meet because of Shaw, and because of Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) — Moira saw the impossible, accepted it, then sought out Professor Xavier. Even more difficult, she convinced the CIA and the military to include Xavier in their search for a missing general. What they found and lost was Sebastian Shaw and his entourage. What they found and kept was Erik Lehnsherr in a fantastic display of his control of metal and magnetic fields, and his utter lack of control over himself.

From here the story moves along briskly, Charles and Erik displaying their mutant abilities to one another and discovering those of Shaw and his minions, while searching out mutants to join the good guy fold. These two actors are splendid, vying with one another for intensity. Friendship and trust develop between the two men without slowing the action. It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s far sadder than one might expect.

The learned Horvendile in his blog about this film writes an intriguing analysis of styles in Marvel and DC Comics, in which he explains that in the early years of the comic book series, the paths of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (later “Magneto”) did not cross in their youths. Happily the comic book series rewrote history twenty years into the run, and had them meet as young men, thus inspiring a great story of friends turning against one another — like two brothers in a civil war; or the Virginian and Trampas (that’s American literature, Owen Wister’s stories of two boisterous and virtuous young men who make different moral choices that make them enemies). This historic friendship between Charles and Erik makes their enmity as they lead their people on opposite sides of the struggle all the more poignant. Instead of merely showing a right-minded hero and an ornery villain, the heartbreak is built in.

Erik cannot give up the search for “Schmidt,” who brought out his anger and despair and thereby his power to move and manipulate metals. How ironic that Erik’s worst enemies, the Nazis, made the helmet that will eventually protect him from the probing mind of his only friend, Charles Xavier. Michael Fassbender is a many-layered actor as he becomes the Magneto we recognize. He sees a world that forces him to the outside because of his mutation, just as in his youth the world forced him to the outside because he was a Jew. What he doesn’t see is hope.
James McAvoy as Charles Xavier (Marvel)

What Charles Xavier — whether played by James McAvoy or Patrick Stewart — sees everywhere is hope. Not so tough since he came from a privileged background. He is a mutant due to his psychic abilities, but not only are these capabilities invisible, they afford him great power. Yes, this young man, never tortured, never without, never ashamed, uses his power for good. Erik speaks for the cynical among us when he remarks sarcastically upon what a “difficult” environment of luxury Charles was brought up in. An argument for nurture over nature in a film about mutants?

Matthew Vaughn’s direction is brisk even while it gives loving attention to the main characters, their relationships, their powers, and the booms and crashes and light shows those powers create in play and in battle.

Government folk: Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert believes what she sees and becomes a staunch supporter of the (not yet named) X-Men. Ms. Byrne’s style is simple and true, and I readily believed she was Moira. Oliver Platt made an all-too-brief appearance as the Man in Black. Likewise Ray Wise as the Secretary of State stating dreadful things. Let’s hope he reappears. And the under-sung Matt Craven as CIA Director McCone was governmental, annoying, predictable, and then human, in the best sense.

The mutants on either side of the battle don’t stand out so much individually but work very well together: Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy (later Beast), Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy (Banshee), Edi Gathegi as Armando Munox (Darwin), Lucas Till as Alex Summers (Havoc), Alex Gonzalez as Janus Quested (Riptide), and Jason Flemyng as Azazel. While Zoë Kravitz looked good as Angel Salvadore, she was lusterless.

Eva Magyar’s brief appearance as Erik’s mother was raw and heart wrenching. Charles’ and Erik’s lack of mothers in opposite ways gave opposite effects.

As for Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, how brilliant is this young woman. In the 2010 release “Winter’s Bone” she gave a gritty performance as the unglamorous Ree Dolly, then follows it up in 2011 with the young Mystique in this healthy Marvel franchise. She and/or her agent are geniuses. And then of course, there’s her phenomenal acting. She embodies this child — for really, Raven, her name in her “disguise” of a non-mutant, is just a teenager, a pouting adolescent, jealous of her adoptive brother Charles, who comes to soar with joy at her new found fellow-mutant friends, finally finding herself torn between two points of view, two modes of behavior, more than two identities, and two men.
Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique (Credit: Marvel)

The funniest scene is the one out of time, in which the two mutant buddies approach Hugh Jackman’s surly Wolverine in a bar, and back away at his foul-mouthed response to their civil greeting. (This gives Jackman the questionable honor of being the only actor to play the same comic book superhero in five movies.) Another nod for fans of the earlier films is a very brief appearance by Rebecca Romijn. Look for it.

Vaughn and screenwriters Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman (based on a story by Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer, who is also a producer of the film and director of the first two “X-Men” films) go back to the beginning of Bryan Singer’s vision of this Marvel comics tale and do it more than justice. They’ve revived the saga with characters and actors as powerful and engrossing as their predecessors. James McAvoy boldly steps into the footsteps of young Charles Xavier, allowing us glimpses of Patrick Stewart’s future Professor X; and Michael Fassbender introduces us to the Erik who will become Ian McKellan’s Magneto.

There are some drab bits. January Jones looks good for Emma Frost but does nothing. Everyone else stood up from those comic book pages, but she might still have been frozen there. Someone should have told her that even mutants have emotions and humor.

All in all, this is an excellent addition to the “X-Men” series of films, with a fast-moving storyline, plenty of action (all of it visually comprehensible, unlike some other “action” films I could name), humor, deep characterizations, and proof that the “Others” among us are as human as we are.
The good guys...... (Credit: Marvel)

How do I know this film gets it right? It makes me want to go back to the “beginning” of the film series to see what happens next.

~ Molly Matera, turning off the computer but not the light. I have stacks of comic books to go through.
Posted by Molly at 4:01 PM
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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:26 pm

http://95nation.com/2011/07/19/x-men-first-class-review/

X-Men: First Class Review

July 19, 2011 by bwith0407

X-Men: First Class had the right intentions, the right execution but the wrong characters. The film is very entertaining, especially Magneto but had Marvel studios done this movie with the first cast of characters, it would’ve been far better. The original X-Men were Professor X, Jean Grey (then Marvel Girl), Cyclops, Ice Man, Beast and Angel. If the producers of the first X-Men movies weren’t so impatient and money-driven, they would know that the X-Men title alone would draw money and viewers.

I guess I don’t get it. Why waste time with this movie when you should wait a couple more years, let the viewers get the awful taste of X3 out of their mouth and start from scratch. X-Men: First Class was a money grab to its core. They couldn’t recycle the same mutants, so they substituted “new” mutants and (may have) made up a couple new ones. No one cares about (or knows) Banchee or Havoc or some fairy bitch who spits fire balls. They’re second-rate for a reason.

The movie had two redeeming qualities: the cast and the action. James McAvoy (Charles Xavier) and Michael Fassbender (Magneto) played their starring roles exquisitely. Fassbender played Magneto as the total bad ass that he is. The main villain, Sebastian Shaw, played by Kevin Bacon, was a nice touch. I used to dislike Bacon (Primarily for forming a band with his brother called, The Bacon Brothers) but as of recently, I acknowledge the man has talent. Also, January Jones aka Emma Frost didn’t have to do anything to garner my praise. She is superb in Mad Men and was no different in this movie. (She also prances around in lingerie for a couple of scenes and that didn’t hurt either. I’m just waiting for Christina Hendricks to play Mary Jane Watson.)

Magneto’s vengeful killings were insane as were Azazel’s (a transportationist I’ve never heard of) evil/cool Nightcrawler-esque slaughterings and, gauging from the audience’s reactions, they thought so as well.

If I had no knowledge of the X-Men, I would give the movie 3.5 out 5 stars but I have extensive knowledge (that I can’t ignore) thus the movie gets 2 out of 5 stars. X-Men: First Class, more like X-Men: Last Gasp. (Sorry, it was too obvious/good to pass up.) My advice, (that will never reach a studio exec) start the franchise over with the characters everybody loves.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:31 pm

http://www.riftskills.com/?p=765

X-Men: First Class Like the original 2000 X-Men film, this one opens with young Erik Lensherr headed to a concentration camp in 1944 Poland. And while it might be intended to show the franchise’s return to the safe hands of producer Bryan Singer, it’s also a reminder of how much of this story we already know. The principal action takes place in 1962, when a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and pre-Magneto Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) meet and team up to stop a mutant exceptionalist (Kevin Bacon) determined to start World War III. Along the way, we get to see how Professor Xavier launched his School for Gifted Youngsters, introducing younger versions of characters we’ve already met (Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique; Nicholas Hoult as Beast) and a few new faces. Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) does a nice job of pulling all the pieces together, including some great old-school-seeming special effects by veteran John Dykstra. Yet as compelling as Fassbender and McAvoy are as a pair, there’s nothing fresh about their Malcom X-versus-MLK, radical-versus-pacifist counterpoint, or the mutant-as-metaphor subtext. As a summer adventure, it’s perfectly enjoyable, though seasoned with more than a touch of dèjá vu. (PG-13) (Regal Columbiana Grande)
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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:48 pm

http://amielzbth.livejournal.com/440779.html

First Class...
So I finally watched X-Men First Class and I found it quite entertaining. I also found Michael Fassbender (Magneto) utterly hot as hell! He could remove any source of medal for me anytime...DAYUM!

Magneto

James McAvoy is also gorgeous as Dr. X as his intelligence is enough to wet my whistle and then some! I mean s$#!...I can totally fantasize about the two actors in character. It put a smile on my face. "Oooh, Dr. X, tell me what I'm thinking..I bet you already know *wink*....

Dr. X

Thank God my fiance has a great sense of humor...

Ami
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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:02 pm

http://lylee.blogspot.com/2011/07/midsummer-movie-roundup.html

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

directed by Matthew Vaughn
starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Oliver Platt, others

Better than X-Men 3 and, by all accounts, Hugh Jackman's spinoff adventure as Wolverine (which I didn't see), but not as good as the first two. Michael Fassbender as a young Magneto is easily the best and most compelling thing about the movie, and not just because he's a dish. He's also mesmerizing as the man (excuse me, mutant) driven by pain, loss, and anger to an implacable desire for revenge that makes Wolverine's brooding (with all due respect to Jackman, whom I love) look like childish sulking. James McAvoy and Kevin Bacon also acquit themselves respectably as, respectively, Magneto's "old friend" and even older nemesis, and it's his relationships with these two that make up the core of the film. The rest is just filler, though watchable filler.

GRADE: B; Fassbender: A
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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:18 pm

http://doonie2882.livejournal.com/26269.html

X-Men: First Class- A review
location: Philadelphia, PA
mood: pleased pleased
music: theme song to Mad Men

Wow, was X-Men: First Class a good movie! It was brave enough to prescribe to the summer blockbuster period of openings, with the plump June 3rd weekend, while also insisting on a period production design that gave the whole piece a sense of great detail.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, 2010's 6th best movie), X-Men: The First Class largely is set in 1962, when a young Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) came across a gentleman named Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), and found their commonality that they had strange mutant superhuman powers. They forged ahead with a common goal of finding as many people as possible on the planet who had special abilities.

The film has its beginning in 1944, when a teenage Lehnsherr was forced to attempt to use his mutant superpower of telekinesis in order to prevent NAZI Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) from killing his mom. Lehnsherr writhes with effort, but does not yet have the control of accessing his ability on command or out of free will. This makes Shaw resort to desperate measures to set Lescher off, and it is a moment that will shape Lescher as he continues on in life. He can't call upon telekinesis to move a coin for Shaw, so the NAZI makes Lescher's mom pay for it. As Erik demolishes the office with his powers unleashed, a frightening Shaw shouts accolades in German.

It goes without saying that Kevin Bacon crafts Sebastian Shaw into one frightening villain, the likes of which comes around only a few times a year if we're lucky. His sinister gaze lets us know he will stop at absolutely nothing to make Mutants the master race. The fact that he starts out as a NAZI is in fact a metaphor, since aryan white Germans thought similar of themselves over Jews and Gypsie, and as such resorted to genocide to do away with who they thought to be inferior ethnicity. Shaw has targeted the human race as a whole. They can't understand mutant powers, and in his mind aren't worthy of breathing the same air as mutants.

Around the same time, in Westchester County, New York, a child-age Charles Xavier meets and takes in a young shapeshifing mutant, a girl named Raven, who entered his estate pretending to be his mother.

In 1962, we find Lehnsherr in a Swiss bank, full control of his telekinesis powers, and removing the fillings from a Swiss banker's teeth to get the address of Sebastian Shaw in Argentina.

We also find Xavier and Raven full-grown. It was tough for me to tell whether they were going to be romantic, or if it was more of a brother-sister relationship. The way Raven would collapse and lay on Charles on the couch seemed to me to be Matthew Vaughn's subtle hint that yeah, they're an item. I didn't read the comic book, though, so I guess I missed the memo that Charles and the future Mystique had no romantic history, it was brother-sister. Blake brought that point home to me that Charles and her were raised as brother and sister when we saw the film while meeting up in Minneapolis recently. That explained why he was honeytalking every dame in that bar except for her, and he accused her of harshing his style when she came to him. The fact that she didn't get jealous when he was trying to convince a woman to come home with him also cemented that Raven and Charles were totally platonic.

We learn, through the undercover spying work of CIA agent Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne, so great in Bridesmaids), that Shaw has some sway over the U.S. armed forces. At a gentleman's club in Las Vegas, we see Shaw encounter Colonel Hendry, whom he tries to blackmail into planting nuclear missiles in Turkey. Like Iron Man's Obediah Stane, Shaw works both sides so as to pit them against each other. Whereas Stane was interested in making a dollar as his bottom line, Shaw's was the supremacy of the mutant race. Not only would they rule the earth, by Shaw's logic, true victory could only be achieved by wiping out all of mankind in the process.

Shaw then goes on a bloody rampage, cooly taking out Russian guards, American diplomats on his yacht, CIA agents at Langley, and even a young fellow mutant, who decides not to go with him when he shows up trying to solicit them to leave their safehaven with the . The young mutants Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr manage to find on their international mission to recruit mutants includes Beast (Nicolas Hoult), also known as Hank McCoy, and a brilliant student; Angel Salvatore (Zoe Kravitz), who works at the Hellfire Club, and has learned to resort to her powers when she senses she has been made the prey; Banshee, or Sean Cassidy (Caleb Landry-Jones), who is able to coast off of the sonic waves of his screams; Darwin/Armando Muñoz (Edi Gathegi), a young cab driver who can develop gills in water, thick skin for cold, and in general adapt to just about any new environment, climate or ecosystem; and of course Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) who will one day become Mystique.

Raven is quite taken with Hank McCoy. It is interesting to observe how their philosophies differ with regards to their abilities. Hank sees it as a deformity, and seeks to develop a serum that will make him appear to be more like other people. Raven, however, takes the opposing view, and feels prompted to always appear in her blue form, and at one point dispenses with clothing alltogether, leaving all of her lady-like curves and contours for the world to see. I loved the scene where she walked into the kitchen and Charles Xavier did a double take, forcing himself to look away. I love a good bashful moment for James McAvoy. The scene in Atonement when Cecilia stripped to her undies and jumped into the pond to retrieve the water basin and emerged with much visible to Robbie came to mind. So who's right? Hank or Raven? Should they try to conform and show humans they're working together? Or should they wear their mutations on their sleeves and demand that humans conform to accepting them?

It is nice to see that at least for a time, the majority of mutants could all work together towards a common goal; developing their respective powers in an environment of mutual advocacy while coexisting peacefully with humans. It's a recurring theme you see across many movies; wizards living among muggles in Harry Potter; the autobots not only living alongside humans but provideing security deetail in Transformers: Dark of the Moon are two examples that come to mind. It is fair to say that Shaw is the Voldemort or Megatron, as he has special powers, but believes that humans cannot peacefully accept the "other" into their lives; as such, humans are the ones who should be conquested.

I sat back and watched in horror as Shaw carried out double-dealings, slaughtered innocent humans who were in fact allies to the mutants, and then took down a mutant like himself just for not being willing to go with him. Kevin Bacon really is working on a different level here. I know him best for playing the lady's man (Picture Perfect), the good-hearted new guy (Footloose), or a combination of the two (Apollo 13). But he scared me on a level of Gary Sinise, Peter Sarsgaard, John Lithgow, Javier Bardem, and Jeff Bridges. I really sensed death waited around the corner whenever he walked into a room.

Lehnsherr has justifiable rage at Shaw for his mother's demise at the deranged mutant's hands. He travels the globe trying to catch up with him, speaking numerous languages along the way. Meanwhile, Charles believes that terminating Shaw only continues the cycle of violence. With his pained eyes and searing twitch, he does his damndest to reason Lehnsherr out of outright killing the supervillain. I think Charles knew that even if Lenscherr were to avenge his mother's death by bringing about Shaw's demise, it wouldn't bring Lenscherr the closure he needed, and he would further subsume into his anger, having fewer inhibitions about exacting such vengeance using his super powers in the future.

Watching X-Men: First Class, however, it is very easy to look through from the lens of Lehnsherr.... Shaw killed his mother in front of his face, and Lehnsherr genuinely tried hard to do the telekinesis for that NAZI/mutant bastard. If any of us had been in Erik's shoes, we'd certainly want to know that there would be a day of reckoning for Shaw. It is worthwhile to add that Shaw was seeking to bring about the end of humanity as we know it by bringing the United States and the U.S.S.R. to the brink of nuclear war, in which missiles sent from each side would obliterate the other hemisphere, and blast the human race, what's left of it, back to the stone age. With that thought in mind, shouldn't Xavier acknowledge that any and all means must be taken to stop Shaw?

I preface this next statement by saying James McAvoy was great, he was in top form as Charles Xavier, portraying him as a professor and mutant with a sound moral compass who also had a penchant for honey-talking ladies. With all respect for his watchability, though, Michael Fassbender ran away with the movie. It was fitting that both actors got billing in the same frame during the credits. It was a two man job. Erik Lehnsher's transition into Magneto is utterly absorbing, and Fassbender's performance knowingly leads us inside the character's heart and brain (I know, lame pun, since Magneto uses the cerebro to find mutants and target humans in the original X-Men trilogy). Even if we know the consequences of letting his anger get the better of him will be, (ultimately utilizing his powers for the dominance of mutant over man, even trying to exact man's downfall), we fully understand him. We also understand Xavier's helplessness as he determinately persists in trying to talk reason into Lehnsher.

The big climax boils down to Shaw trying to manipulate Russian and American naval commanders into unleashing their arsenal of missile. Xavier, Lehnsher, and the good mutants try to dismantle his plans, and the future of mankind lies in the balance of Lehnsher's ability to access his telekinetic abilities. Can he marshall enough power to reroute all of those missiles? And upon doing so, is there any future possibility of compromise between him and Charles Xavier? Or will it come down to a showdown between Magneto and Professor X, with half of the mutants in their tutelage choosing between one mentor or the other? The line that divides the route of peace before war and the route of unconditional defeat of their adversaries to protect their own kind runs right down the beach of the sandy island where Xavier and Lehnsher joined forces to save the world. Which side will each of the youth mutants in their tutelage go to?

With great supporting work by the actors mentioned, as well as Oliver Platt as the CIA agent, January Jones and Lucas Till as baddies Emma Frost and Alex Summers/Havok; and Jason Flemyng and Álex González rounding out the Xavier/Lehnsherr mutants as Azazel and Riptide/James Quested; X-Men: First Class is one of the best films to come out of the summer of 2011; maybe one of 2011's best films period.

Three and 3/4 stars.

Posted on Jul. 18th, 2011 at 05:15 pm
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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:45 pm

http://streetwise.org/2011/07/screenwise-x-men-first-class/

ScreenWise: X-Men First Class

Tue, Jul 19, 2011

Posted by StreetWise in Latest News

Paul Meekin
StreetWise Contributor

Photo: www.onlinemovieshut.com

X-Men: First Class has the pop and style and comic book action and humor beloved in this genre. Director Matthew Vaughn, who cut his chops on the hyper-visceral, hyper-violent Kick-Ass has accomplished something sort of great here. He’s resurrected a sinking franchise.

Starting in sunny Nazi-occupied Poland, we meet the young Erik as he is ripped away from his mother by SS officers. So desperate to be with her, Erik unleashes his magnetic powers for the first time, mentally bending and contorting the metal fence keeping them apart. Immediately after this feat, Erik is greeted by SS officer Sebastian Shaw, played adeptly by Kevin Bacon by way of Christoph Waltz. Shaw threatens to kill Erik’s mother unless Erik uses his powers on command. He does, but mom’s killed anyway. Years later, an adult Erik (Michael Fassbender) embarks on a Munich-esque quest to hunt down and kill Shaw.

Meanwhile, the soon-to-be-Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is at Oxford with Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), the blue- man-meets-Na’vi character form the first three films. Mystique is in love with Xavier, but soon-to-be-baldy is not ScreenWise interested, possibly because Mystique looks blue and scaly.

Then the CIA gets involved. From there, the plot follows the creation of the illustrious X-men set against the backdrop of the Cold War, in which Shaw, the old, mutant, Nazi General (which is a phrase I wish I got to type more often), is attempting to start World War III, so that mutants can rule the world. It’s an entertaining origin story.

Things are actually fairly complicated for a summer action flick, but that’s okay. The interplay between Xavier and Erik is palpable, their life experiences very directly influencing their conflicting viewpoints that inevitability lead to their tragic falling out. Obi-Wan and Anakin, eat your hearts out.

With X-Men: The Last Stand being practically a cartoon, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine killing any hope of making any sense of the X-men continuity, Vaughn picks of the pieces of a shattered franchise and puts them back together the best he can, exceeding low expectations by leaps and bounds.

The movie hovers in this weird prequel / reboot area, almost like the 2009 Star Trek, but never gives us a reason why certain things are different, such as Hank McCoy suddenly being a lot older, or why Mystique is suddenly a completely different person.

By keeping the continuity of the old films, these characters can only exist in the past, in the past where we know Xavier won’t die. Beast won’t die. Magento won’t do anything earth shattering. No Wolverine. We know what comes next for these characters, and sure, the journey is sometimes more exciting than the destination, but comic books are by definition stories of “what happens next.” That’s why we buy the next issue.

The only knock I have against this film are these qualms. It seems Fox was eager to cast new actors, new producers,and give a brand new start to the franchise, but for some reason had a problem starting completely fresh.

Otherwise, The enjoyment derived from X-Men: First Class greatly depends on your level of comic book geekdom. Many of the best parts of the film are in-jokes and references to the sweeping and often confusing X-men continuity. Knowing the events that come after this film, in the movies that came out before it, can take this movie to a completely different level of enjoyment.
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Post by Admin on Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:48 am

http://jennellmlester.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class

July 20, 2011

jennellmlester Movies, Reviews alex gonzalez, anna paquin, charles xavier, cuba, cuban missile crisis, erik lehnsherr, famke janssen, holocaust, hugh jackman, ian mckellen, james mcavoy, january jones, kevin bacon, last stand, mad men, magneto, michael fassbender, mystique, nazi, origins, patrick stewart, professor x, rebecca romijn, wolverine, x-men: first class, zoe kravitz Leave a comment

A while back we went to see the newest X-men movie. In keeping with tradition, I liked it.


I was a bit concerned going in that the movie wouldn’t live up to my expectations, but I could not have been more pleased. The previous four X-Men movies (including Wolverine Origins) are some of my favorite movies. Each one was done so well and each character was played so well that I was worried about going the prequel route with this movie. Do I really care what Professor X was like as a young man? Do I care what Mystique was like as a moody teenager? Not really. Am I interested in a good story that is told well? Of course!

The story was told well, the characters were interesting and the actors were brilliantly cast. Setting the movie during the Cuban missile crisis was a genius move. Watching the characters find each other and seeing what drove their lives to where they will eventually end up was fun and engaging. Do I want to see X-Men: Second Class? I’ll watch it. But I’m not waiting for it or even asking for it. I’d rather see X-Men movies with Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Iam McKellen, Famke Janssen and Anna Paquin than Zoe Kravitz, January Jones and Alex Gonzalez.

Don’t get me wrong. All of the actors did an great job. James McAvoy did an amazing job as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender more than holds his own as Erik Lehnsherr and makes the Magneto story line totally believable, but once the Origin Story is done . . . it’s done. Let’s continue the adult adventures of the X-men and focus on where they’re going not where they’ve been.

Most reviews you read will tell you that January Jones can’t act. I know that this is a common critique of her (on Mad Men as well as in this movie) but I just don’t see it. As far as I can tell, Emma Frost works perfectly as an ice cold bitch. From the little I’ve seen on Mad Men it works for that character as well. I’d be interested in seeing her play a vastly different character, but from what I’ve seen she’s a fine actress.

The best part of this movie is Kevin Bacon. Kevin Bacon is the best villain you can get for a movie. That greasy, manipulative awful thing he does as a villain is fantastic. He’s exactly who you want to hate during this film. His interactions with Michael Fassbender are exactly what the story needs to move along, and you find yourself rooting for the guy you know is going to be a bad guy to do the things that make him the bad guy because this other bad guy is sooo bad! Beautiful. Critics of Kevin Bacon’s performance have called him out for the silliest thing. The movie opens in a concentration camp (Magneto is established as a Holocaust survivor in X-Men 3: The Last Stand) and Kevin Bacon is the Nazi who ‘helps’ him develop his power. The next time you see him; WWII is over, Erik Lehnsherr is (relatively) grown-up (but has not yet taken on the Magneto name nor the implications the name brings with it) and both have gone on to new endeavors. Is it really so surprising that a Nazi who survived the end of WWII and is ‘on the lose’ has no discernible German accent? If I had been a Nazi (god forbid) I’d have started practicing accents long before I took the job at the Death Camp.

Bonus info – Rebecca Romijn and Hugh Jackman make cameos in this movie. Both are hilariously perfect.

Four out of five stars for X-Men: First Class. Good movie. Probably won’t watch again anytime soon, but good movie.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:24 am

http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2011/07/24/x-men-first-class-the-best-film-from-a-franchise-tiring-out/

X-Men First Class… The Best Film From A Franchise Tiring Out

By Sumaya Samarasinghe

X-Men First Class is the prequel to the X-Men trilogy and one of the best of the series which was sadly losing its appeal and slowly sinking into ridiculous plots and characters – this being often the fate of sequels and prequels.

The movie, which is set mainly during 1962, probably one of the loveliest eras to film, also has the most absurdly good looking cast one could imagine and for the viewers luck, they happen to be excellent actors, starting with Michael Fassbender as a young and troubled Magneto, James Mc Avoy as the idealistic Charles Xavier and future Professor X who is great, but has to, for script purposes spend too much time with his hand on his temple summoning telepathic signals, Jennifer Lawrence whose amazing performance in her first film Winter’s bone” won her an Oscar nomination comes as Mystique, Rose Byrne who became known to a large audience by holding her own against Glenn Close in the mini series Damages and has since then appeared in several successful features is a CIA agent and finally Kevin Bacon needs no introduction since he starred in Footloose in 1984, is excellent as a former Nazi Dr. Schmidt and later as the power hungry Sebastian Shaw.

The film begins during World War II, when a young Erik Lehnsherr, who will later become Magneto watches his parents be taken away by Nazi guards. Terrified at the idea of being separated from his mother and father, Erik seems to be able to, from the power of his mind only filled with anger and anxiety, bend the metal gates that are keeping him away from his loved ones. This attracts the attention of the evil and sadistic Dr. Schmidt who decides to use Erik’s power for his malicious needs. Meanwhile, we see young Charles, living a lonely life in a huge castle until he meets Raven, a mutant whom he raises as his sister.

The film takes a 15 year leap forward and we now see an adult Erik played by the charismatic and talented Michael Fassebender, globe trotting around the world looking to take his revenge on Schmidt. At the risk of sounding unfair to the other cast members, the best sequences of X- Men First Class are those with Fassebender in them. In one scene, Erik is trying to get some information out from a Swiss Banker who is being difficult.

He uses his power to torture him and extracts one of the banker’s metal teeth. This scene could have been taken straight out of Marathon Man and gives one clear indication: Erik is ruthless and when pushed, he is dangerous, which of course, makes him the most interesting character of the film.Shaw, meanwhile, has developed a strange energy absorbing power which has magnified his physical strength and de-aged him.

Erik and Charles are recruited by a CIA agent played by Rose Byrne who wants to use their mutant abilities to stop Shaw from engineering a missile crisis which would magnify his power.He is helped in this venture by Emma Frost, played by January Jones from Mad Men who is a super powerful mutant with extremely developed telepathic abilities, way superior to those of Charles Xavier, but can also transform her body into an indestructible diamond veneer.

To fight the evil powers, Charles and Erik will have to recruit a new team of mutants who for some bizarre reasons all seem to be teenagers!This is one of the flaws of the film as the teen mutants increase, the depth given to their characters lessens. Despite having these fantastic powers, they remain in their heart of hearts kids ready for mischief and unfortunately they are not credible as teenagers living in the 60’s, except perhaps in their wardrobes.

Once the battle between Shaw and the rest of the mutants begin, the script somewhat loses a little of its clarity but those lapses are easily forgotten thanks to the overall outstanding performance of the cast and the super energetic filming of British director and producer Matthew Vaughn. This is one of the best X-Men produced, the fans shouldn’t miss it and for those who are not familiar with the world of mutants, here’s your chance to get acquainted.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:11 pm

http://flickeringmyth.blogspot.com/2011/07/365-days-100-films-38-x-men-first-class.html

Friday, 22 July 2011
365 Days, 100 Films #38 - X-Men: First Class (2011)
X-Men: First Class, 2011.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Lucas Till, Caleb Landry Jones, Zoë Kravitz, Jason Flemyng, Álex González, Oliver Platt and Ray Wise.


SYNOPSIS:

Mutants are starting to reveal themselves in 1960s America, with the intention of starting a nuclear war with Russia. A band of good natured mutants are the world’s only hope.


Shoes. Hundreds of them, old and battered, were piled on top of one another like the corpses in a mass grave to whom they probably once belonged. It’s part of the Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, which I visited before going to watch X-Men: First Class. Describing it to friends, I had gotten the name mixed up with a part of the Great War rooms in the museum’s basement level, the Trench Experience. “Really? They have a Holocaust Experience?” they remarked in confusion. ‘Exhibition’ sounds respectful; ‘Experience’ conjures up a touristy exploitation. And so it often is with cinema’s treatment of historical events.

X-Men: First Class uses many. The film opens, as does Bryan Singer’s original X-Men, on Erik Lehnsherr, a young Magneto. It’s the exact same footage of the boy being separated from his mother. She is dragged, screaming, through the gates of a concentration camp. A struggling guard holds Erik back. Another rushes over to assist. Both their feet slide back in the mud as an unseen force pulls Erik towards the metallic gates. A couple more rush over to restrain him. The gates start to bend and twist, distorted by Erik’s pain. A guard knocks him out with the butt of his gun and they collapse to the ground before the misshapen iron gates. Erik is a mutant with the power to manipulate metals.

Not a shot for shot remake, but the exact same footage. It’s a nice reference to Singer’s original, just as Singer used Brando’s voiceover in Superman Returns, but it does leave a slightly bitter taste. The first Superman was made almost 30 years before Singer’s, whereas that first X-Men was barely a decade ago. It’s an awkward reminder of how quickly franchises are rebooted these days, as though Hollywood ran out of the little patience it once had.

And then we get to the new stuff. Erik is brought to Dr. Schmidt (Kevin Bacon), a researcher working for the Nazis. Intrigued by Erik’s talents, he forces him to perform them again. But only anger seems to make them work. So Dr. Schmidt makes Erik angry. Dr. Schmidt likes Erik when he’s angry. The scene contributes an important aspect to the pre-Magneto Erik. Anger is psychologically woven with his power in Erik’s head. It’s something he must conquer to unleash his full potential.

Later, and now in the 60s, Dr. Schmidt is revealed as Sebastian Shaw, the film’s chief antagonist. He has a band of mutants aiming to replace us human folk. They’ve evolved beyond us, and we’re now obsolete. Shaw intends to engineer a nuclear war between Russia and the United States (read: Cuban Missile Crisis) through political manipulation (he counts the psychic Emma Frost amongst his team, who could use her cleavage alone to persuade most of the male characters). His argument is compelling and provides insight into the rise of the Übermensch: it is the sudden invention and implementation of the atomic bomb that has sparked a new stage in human evolution. In Shaw’s mind it is the nuclear age that has created him and his mutant-kind. It will also be the downfall of their Homo sapiens predecessors.

Moria MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), a FBI agent, uncovers this plot and forms a team of well-intentioned mutants, lead by the non-wheel-chair-bound, full-head-of-haired Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and the aforementioned Erik (now played adult-style by Michal Fassbender). Xavier is a big shot from Oxford University, and a little intellectually arrogant. McAvoy plays Xavier with a youthful cockiness, which sometimes comes across a little too smug, but he effectively conveys the character’s optimism for humanity and ability as a teacher.

It is this second trait that makes for the film’s best scenes. The most enjoyable part of any first superhero movie (as I wrote about Green Lantern) is watching the characters discover and hone their skills. First Class does so expertly in a long montage charting their progress. Mathew Vaugh injects similar comic book aesthetics that he used in Kick-Ass. If only more ‘superhero’ films could be a bit more ‘comic book’.

The ‘comic book’ style is not limited to this one scene. Apart from the opening scene, the entire film has a hyperised array of primary colours. The clothes they wear, which are of a 60s fashion, help the characters look more cartoony than realistic. All this colour comes to fruition in the film’s climactic battle sequence. Our two teams of mutants, evil and good, fight each other off the coast of Cuba on a US naval blockade preventing the nuclear weapon carrying Soviet ships from reaching their shores. A few mutants have defected to the opposite teams already. We all know one will by the film’s end.

The sea is almost turquoise-blue, the palm trees a bold green and the mutants are dressed in classic blue and yellow. The colours are bright and primary, whereas the emotional conflicts and drama being played out occupy various, darkened shades. It’s the contrast that makes comic book such affecting entertainment; that this world of muscled superheros and over-the-top villains can become deadly serious and poignant in the turn of a page. It helps the special effects too. CGI explosions and planes look more realistic amongst non-realistic surroundings. There’s no reference point for your eye to compare it against. As everything is so hyper-colourful, such effects are more believable than anything in Avatar or Transformers.

And so is the spirit of X-Men: First Class. Mostly because of Vaughn’s visual direction, it has stayed close to its source medium. Fine acting and an exciting script contribute to the enjoyment. It feels a little rushed, but the film was made in an incredibly short space of time for what it is. If only there wasn’t the odd aftertaste. Cinema should definitely address such important historical events, but when it is so unashamedly portrayed as entertainment you can’t help feel a tinge of guilt.

RATING ***


Oli Davis
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:04 pm

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Movie Review: X-Men: First Class (2011)
Posted on 2011/07/31 by Constanza

by Tony Dayoub

Given the decline of the X-Men movie franchise?which peaked fairly early with Bryan Singer’s X2: X-Men United (not just one of the best in this series, but one of the best superhero films, period) before ending up in the execrable X-Men: The Last Stand and the disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine?one would be justified in choosing to avoid the latest entry sight unseen. But the anomalous X-Men: First Class turns out to be one of the most surprising summer blockbuster hopefuls in quite a long time. The cheesy comic-book costumes glimpsed in the preview hinted that this may have initially been planned as a slapdash film hastened to the box office for fear that studio distributor 20th Century Fox’s rights to the series would revert back to Marvel. However, director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) turns the inherent camp quotient into a virtue, giving us a stylized, period look at the secret history of the mutant group and its origins, at times channeling the espionage-laden eccentricities of the early 007 films.

Playing Bond in this one is Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre) as Magneto, né Erik Lehnsherr, a holocaust survivor who uses his mutant abilities of lethal control over metals to further his globetrotting Nazi-hunting mission. As he gets closer to his nemesis, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon)?Schmidt, in his days as a sadistic Nazi doctor?Erik meets Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), a powerful telepath recruited by the U.S. government to gather a mutant team dedicated to stopping Shaw from inciting humanity’s armageddon.

Some of the best moments in X-Men: First Class come in the early part of the film, as Vaughn uses the period, early 1960s setting to supercharge the otherwise conventional movie. Erik’s turtlenecks, narrow trousers and short boots, his cutting sense of humor, and confident swagger evoke the Sean Connery of Goldfinger (1964) or From Russia with Love (1963). The wild, sexually provocative costumes which barely cover Shaw’s sidekick, the glittery telepath Emma Frost (January Jones), are easily explained by the front Shaw uses?a Las Vegas swingers’ hot-spot known as the Hellfire Club?as a cover for influencing the global power-brokers on his payroll. Frequent appearances by JFK remind us that this was a time both filled with promise for the future and dread for the nuclear Sword of Damocles which hung over both the U.S. and the Soviet Union and, as a result, the rest of the world.

Now, lest you think my enjoyment of X-Men: First Class was without reservations, here they are: The allegorical aspects of the franchise that equate the shame of mutation with closeted homosexuality float on the surface of the film. Any of the subtlety used to camouflage the topicality of the first two films is absent here. Also, the actresses in the film (perhaps the only exception being the capable Rose Byrne) are in over their heads. Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) displays none of the talent that garnered her an Oscar nomination last year, reading her dialogue flatly. Zoë Kravitz seems to have been cast mainly to capitalize on the intrinsic promotional angles associated with being Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet’s daughter. As for January Jones, is she a bad actress or what? Cast in the largest of the female roles, one wonders not only how she got away with projecting such a dull persona as a character that should stand out simply for the way she vamps it up as the film’s designated eye candy, but if Jones ever really merited any of the attention she received as Betty Draper on the acclaimed TV series, Mad Men? Kevin Bacon fares marginally better as the movie’s big baddie, but essentially his performance is yet another variation on the same smug asshole he’s played since he made his debut in Animal House.

Flawed as it is, X-Men: First Class has two stellar things going for it?a couple of charismatic leads in McAvoy and Fassbender. Both share the kind of chemistry and easy camaraderie often seen in the best movie duos like Douglas and Lancaster, Lemmon and Matthau, and Newman and Redford. They bring equal parts gravitas and humor to their parts, leavening the juvenile dialogue beyond its obviousness. For Fassbender in particular, who has long toiled in the world of indies but is unknown to most of the general public, this should be a star-making performance. If the producers of X-Men: First Class wish to ensure their franchise’s longevity, they should lock down Fassbender and McAvoy now, and start prodding their screenwriters to find something for the mutant team to fight in the Nixon Era.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:36 pm

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Saturday, July 30, 2011
From Comic to TV Cartoon to Big Screen - X-Men: First Class - Review

Normally this is Hollywood's thought and we get more and more diluted sequels until taking dip. Either that or go for the now trendy "Reboot" starring a young, hip cast of up and coming early twenties prettyboys and prettygirls.
They decided, this time to go with the reboot. However, with a twist. Instead of churning out some soulless cash in they decided to make a proper movie, hiring Mathew Vaughan, the director of the excellent Layer Cake and recent critically acclaimed Kick-Ass. A bold choice, as these were serious and adult movies. Not exactly the person you would expect Hollywood to give the reigns of one of their summer tentpole blockbusters. Vaughn then wrote the story with Jane Goldman and Bryan Singer.
They then decided to fill the cast with hot young actors who can actually act! James McAvoy one of the hottest actors in Hollywood after his turns in Atonement, Wanted and The Last King Of Scotland played a young Charles Xavier while the equally hot Irish/German actor Michael Fassbender, fresh from stealing the show in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and taking on the challenging role of hunger striker Bobby Sands in Hunger. (Even if he was in Jonah Hex. We won't hold that against him). Kevin Bacon played the bad guy (Which should help in your next round of "Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon"). Rose Byrne and January Jones and others filled out the younger roles ably.
The story was articulate: Set during the Cuban Missile Crisis it charts the creation of the X-men and Michael Fassbender journey from Nazi concentration camps to his eventual Magneto persona. As a result, Fassbender gets the meatiest role. His character arc is, by far, the most interesting. We see the torture of his youth in concentration camps and his relentless pursuit of revenge afterwards. He is always a charismatic and sympathetic character. Who doesn't want to see Nazis get their just deserts?
He is also the character most at ease with his powers, encouraging his fellow mutants to embrace their differences rather than hide them. If there is one flaw in his performance, it is his accent. For some reason, as the film goes on, his Irish accent becomes more and more apparent. While he never sounds like Jackie Healy Rae (Fassbender's father is from Germany but he was raised in his mother's home of Kerry) by the end of the movie his accent is pretty obvious. At least it is for an Irish audience. It probably isn't so apparent for others.
The action is slow to start as the film really is about the creation of the X-men so we see the introduction of various characters familiar and unfamiliar to viewers of the movies (All will be familiar to the comic readers of course) but once the action starts it comes thick and fast: flying submarines, nuclear missiles, and mutants aplenty.
All in all Fist class is a surprisingly mature comic book to TV to big screen film with a decent cast and director and story. I'm looking forward to checking out the sequel. Oh, and it has the best cameo EVER and it's not even the ubiquitous Stan Lee!

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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:59 pm

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X men first class
Jul30
2011 Written by admin

X men first class

School is in session for the latest x men class at Professor Xavier’s school for the gifted. My summer of the superhero’s made a stop with the x-men first class. This action sci-fi I drama stars James McAvoy. Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, and Emma Frost. The new first class runs 132 minutes and is directed by Matthew Vaughn.

This story is set in the 1960′s with Charles Xavier and Erik lensherr and the young x men learning about their abilities during the time of the cold war cuban missile crisis. This film bring s back characters raven/ mystique played by (Jennifer Lawrence), Hank McCoy/ beast played by (Nicholas Hoult) from previous films. The first class introduces Banshee played by (Caleb laundry Jones) havoc played by (Lucas Till), Darwin played by (Edi gathegi). They are brought in by the cia to help prevent a chance at possible nuclear war aka; the Cuban missile a crisis of the 1960′s that is being fueled by fellow mutant and mischief maker Sebastian Shaw and his crew of trouble making mutants.

While talking a tour of the cia hank show’s Charles a machine he invented called cerebro.Its’ meant to help find other people with similar powers like them. They go about finding other mutants such as Riptide( Alex Gonzalez),Angel Salvador( Zoë kravitz), Jason Flemynug( Azazel), Banshee(Caleb Landry Jones), and Havock (Lucas Til). They find out that a fellow mutant Sebaastian Shaw ( Kevin Bacon) and his co horts Riptide( Alex Gonzalez) Jason Flemynug ( Azazel) and the beautiful Emma Frost ( January Jones) have their own plans to create world war 3.

The struggles the xmen took to learn and harness there abilities with the help of Charles Xavier was very well told .The story of magneto from the time he was a child in the prison camp to his obsession with Sebastian Shaw, who murdered his mother right in front of him as a child took on batman begins type tone. He sets out across the country to find clues and discover who he is and take revenge on Sebastian Shaw for his mother’s death.

I enjoyed the films use of the script to mention the future. They had a scène where a young hank was showing Charles cerbo. Hank asks Charles are you sure you don’t want to shave your head before you use it charles say s don’t touch my hair. Charles makes reference to him teaching and says before you know it I’ll be old and bald. The cameos of Huge Jackman/wolverine, and Rebecca Romijn / mystique add to the appeal of the film. While Charles and Erik are out looking for mutants they come across wolverine in a bar they introduce themselves wolverine just looks at them says go F yourself. Rebecca Romijn shows up when a young mystique tries to seduce Erik and she asks do you like this side of me.

I have to admit the one thing I didn’t like was Kevin bacon as a villain he didn’t cut the mustard as a far being a villain. Other than that they did a great job bringing the x men franchise back to the beginning excellent script, acting , the use of old news footage to reenact the cold war. I think it was the best marvel film I have seen so far. I give the x-men first class 3 stars.

My name is Joseph Fornabaio my blog is http://www.thehollywoodreview.blogspot.com/
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:07 pm

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X-Men: First Class!
Claribel | Jul 29, 2011
The highly anticipated new chapter in the X-Men franchise is finally here. Starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, here is my spoiler-free review of Matthew Vaughn’s new film!

It’s been a long (short) and tough road for X-Men: First Class. Rushed production, rumored problems between the cast and director, etc…For a film with our favorite mutants, and this time the story takes place in the 60s, it is a known fact that this big production needed to be finished in a very short amount of time. So, is Matthew Vaughn’s new X-Men worth all the praise? More below.

THE GOOD:

As always, I am going to start with direction. Matthew Vaughn directed three films so far, and every one of them was good and got mostly positive reviews. I have been a fan of Vaughn’s work since Layer Cake, starring Daniel Craig, and he quickly became one of the best directors working today. His unique style for telling the story always brings something new and fresh to each of the films. X-Men: First Class is no is no exception. With the length of over two hours, films doesn’t have boring parts and it everything moves forward fast, but you have enough time to understand the story and characters and it keeps you entertained through the whole thing. X-Men: First Class has two main characters, Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr. Everyone else is the supporting part of the cast. James McAvoy plays a very interesting take on Professor X, and her really gives an amazing performance. From being funny, smart and of course serious, McAvoy managed to give this character much more depth which made the relationship between him and Erik simple and complicated at the same time. Which brings me to Michael Fassbender as Magneto…I know that we like to say a perfect casting a lot of time, but trust me, Fassbender is perfect as Erik. The very first scene we see Erik, you can tell by looking at him how emotional, angry and vulnerable character he is. Fassbender’s portrayal of Magneto is just amazing. The way he keeps this character enjoyable and very much relatable is truly great to watch. As for the rest of the cast, they were all good. Kevin Bacon plays Sebastian Shaw. This character is evil and cold, and Bacon does a great job playing a villain. January Jones was OK as Emma Frost, I love what they did with her powers and of course, her clothes. Smile

Caleb Landry Jones and Nicholas Hoult were also one my favorites. Playing Banshee and Beast, both actors delievered a good performance and I am looking forward of seeing a little bit more character development in the sequel. Same goes for Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique. She was very, very good and brings a different approach to the character than what we saw in the previous films, but I thought this time they made Mystique much better. Havok is also there, played by Lucas Till and he did a good job. It was really great seeing all these characters on screen. And in this film, we finally get to see team work, something that was missing in previous installments. Next up, the visual part of the film. I have to say, I was surprised by how awesome the visual effects were. From the trailers it looked OK, but to make all that CGI look that great in a short amount of time is just amazing. From Emma Frost’s diamond form, Magneto bending metal to rather unique Beast transformation and Banshee flying. Everything was really good. Maybe a minor bad CG shot here and there, like in every film of this scale. The music was a perfect fit with almost every scene, the camera work and cinematography is truly outstanding, and the editing was even better. You will definitely recognize some of the editing techniques that were used in Kick-Ass.

THE BAD:

I can’t think of anything big that ruined the film for me, but like I mentioned above more character development wouldn’t hurt. But since this is all about Charles and Erik, and we definitely got a lot from both McAvoy and Fassbender, we can expect much more in the sequel. We definitely need to see more of Azazel and Riptide. Plus, I didn’t really like Zoë Kravitz as Angel Salvadore, she was pretty much a one dimensional character and an uninteresting one.
With great actors, director and characters used in the film, this is definitely the best X-Men film so far and one of best comic book films ever made. It’s worthy of all the praise and hopefully a sequel will move forward as soon as possble. As for now, go see this film!

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jason Flemyng, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Bacon, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Jennifer Lawrence and January Jones, X-Men: First Class is in theatres now!
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:09 pm

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July 28, 2011 · 3:04 PM
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X-Men: First Class (or, ‘ERIK, TAKE MY HAND! ERIK!’)

This post contains spoilers, also known as an accurate and thorough synopsis.

X-Men: First Class is the prequel to end all prequels. I mean it. Following up on the great success of Wolverine’s story a few summers ago, First Class profiles Dr. X and Magneto, starting with their childhoods in World War II, all the way up to the demise of their friendship in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Erik Lehnsherr is a young Jew in Nazi Germany, Charles Xavier a pampered Brit in Westchester, New York. Erik is being sent to a labor camp, about to be separated from his beloved mother for good. As they are rounded up into two different groups, 12-year-old Erik rushes for the gates, but is pulled away just as they close. Kicking and screaming, he lunges for the gate, and his mother, with all his might– and the gate begins to oblige. The metal creaks and twists under the apparent force of Erik’s agony, opening at his will.

He is called to the office of a Sebastian Schmidt (played artfully by Kevin Bacon), a man who seems harmless enough… Until he isn’t. A “Dr. SS” (interestingly enough, these are also his initials) for the Nazi party, Schmidt is in charge of mutants and superpowers. Noting that Erik can only unleash his magnetic powers with great anger and distress, he proceeds to torture him throughout his adolescence, in the camps, in the interests of the Nazi party.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (note: Xavier Estate, which makes Hearst Castle look like a doll house), young Charles Xavier wakes to the sound of someone in his kitchen. Thinking there may be a burglar, he goes downstairs with his baseball bat to check it out. Instead of a burglar, he sees his mother, who offers to make him hot cocoa and insists she is only there for a snack. Young Charles proceeds to enter her mind telepathically, demanding to know who this person is and what she has done with his real mother, who wouldn’t be caught dead in that kitchen. The figure transforms into a tiny blue girl named Raven, who apologetically admits to stealing food. Charles is fascinated, and tells her she will never have to steal from anyone again.

Cut to the swingin’ sixties. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is an Oxford graduate student, picking up girls at the local pub. Seeing a girl with two different colored eyes, he sidles over and offers to buy her a drink, cuz she’s got a mutation. “A groovy mutation.” Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) comes too, disguising her natural form with long blonde hair and go-go boots. Charles introduces her as his sister, and we discover that they have been like siblings ever since that night in the kitchen.

Erik (Michael Fassbender) is on a different path. Slick as an oil spill and twice as handsome, he goes from place to place on the hunt to find Sebastian Schmidt and avenge his people as well as his family. His forearm bears his ID number from the war, and he is not above using his powers to manipulate metal to get what he wants. He is a classic lost soul, reliving his mistakes on the way to make new ones.

The pair find one another through Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne), a CIA operative who came in accidental contact with mutants on a Red Scare- intiated stakeout. Seeking an expert on mutation, she comes in contact with Xavier, who proceeds to help the CIA with small-scale missions. Erik is the object of just such a mission. After hunting down Sebastian, who is now going by the name of Shaw, he and the coast guard are both after Shaw’s ship. Shaw isn’t dumb; he keeps a telepath like Charles in his entourage at all times, as a sort of anti-tracking device. Charles does hear a mind in the water, and he realizes it’s Erik, attempting to sink Shaw’s ship with his powers. Charles rescues him from the water and brings him back to the CIA testing facilities.

After great discussion, a young government scientist named Hank convinces Charles to try his new machine. By hooking Xavier’s telepathic mind to a series of sensors, Charles can mentally locate young mutants the world over.

Cue montage. Erik and Charles walk into a bar. And an aquarium. A cab. A strip club. The state penitentiary. They return to CIA headquarters with an incredible group of misfits.

The young mutants were, in my opinion, one of the best parts of the film.

Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender, left foreground) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, right foreground) and their gang: Sean Cassidy (Caleb Landry Jones, left), Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence), Dr. Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne), Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), and Alex Summers (Lucas Till)

Raven, or Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, with a brief flash-forward cameo by Rebecca Romijn), the shape-shifter from before, parades around in short skirts and high boots. She’s majoring in waitressing, as she puts it, and her sense of humor is sassy and feminist. Angel (Zoe Kravitz) is a stripper who hides her literal wings beneath underwire and says she’d rather have men stare at her with her clothes off than see her for what she truly is. Hank, the CIA researcher (played brilliantly by Nicholas Hoult) is a Christopher Reeve type who mumbles his way through the lab and looks at Raven like she’s Lois Lane, has hands for feet, earning him the nickname ‘Bozo’ and later, ‘Beast.’ Armando, a smooth-operating taxi driver (Edi Gathegi), is nicknamed ”Darwin” because of his power to “adapt to survive.” Alex (Lucas Till) is a delinquent, halfway between James Dean and Cool-Hand Luke, whom they call “Havok”, a walking nuclear weapon. Sean (Caleb Landry Jones) is like the Beatle time forgot, called “Banshee” because of his supersonic scream.

The party appears to be in full swing. Kids that never felt normal are suddenly in good company.

And then the villain.

Sebastian Shaw is back, and he’s bigger than ever. You see, Shaw is a mutant too, capable of absorbing energy. That’s how he stays the same age while his progeny age around him. He wants a nuclear war between Russia and the U.S. because he wants the humans gone. The mutants will survive you see, because they are the superior beings. The human is the Neanderthal, an evolutionary step behind the times, and he is not to be trusted. Shaw and his team will stop at nothing to make this happen, using mind control, scare tactics and death threats.

Throughout, there is a struggle between good and evil in unexpected places. Self-confidence comes into question– Hank develops what he believes to be a serum that encourages physical normalcy from Raven’s DNA, at her request. But after a long discussion with Erik, Raven realizes that life is too short not to be mutant and proud. Angel doesn’t have the self-confidence to do what she knows is right, because what is right may end in harsh judgment from the outside world. Alex’s prison warden tells Erik and Charles that Alex is the first inmate he’s ever seen that prefers solitary confinement. And although Charles believes in the advancement and study of mutation, those closest to him can’t help but see the way he looks at the human world, as a sandbox in which to play, never having to be judged by a physically obvious mutation. Of course, fans of the series know that X doesn’t stay cookie-cutter normal for much longer.

Erik thinks he can only use his powers when angry– it’s what he was tortured into believing at the camps in his youth. But Charles, as his best firend and greatest ally, tries to convince him that the place of greatest focus lies between rage and serenity. By focusing partly on the injustice that angers him and partly on what he holds dearest, he can focus on the task at hand with renewed purpose. He calls himself Frankenstein’s monster, and regards Shaw as his creator. Fans of the series will also note that his rage and pain become all-consuming, injuring everything and everyone he loves and leaving him with nothing but his own self-loathing.

Overall, the film was amazing. McAvoy and Fassbender’s chemistry was halfway between a perfect friendship and “just kiss already” (Fassavoy forever), and they both produced deep, talented and touching performances. Kevin Bacon blew me away with his use of three languages (his German, although it could be criticized for being a bit too careful, was spoken with a perfect accent, and his Russian was hailed as excellent as well), and his ability to play such a graceful villain. Fassbender, born in Heidelberg, Germany and raised in Killarney, Ireland, spoke perfect German, decent (albeit Castilian) Spanish and very nice French. McAvoy dropped a bit of Scotch into the brew, but mostly kept up the English accent. Nicholas Hoult was a dead ringer for the original Superman (as I said before), without a hint of his native Brit (remember About A Boy? Skins? A Single Man?) and Rose Byrne only broke her American accent once.

There was decent attention to historical detail, aside from a few slip-ups (“La Vie En Rose” was not written at the time it was played, etc.), but the feel for the movie was a perfect hit.

Apparently I was the last one to see it.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:33 pm

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By: Lenita D. Glines Sunday July 31 2011
Map: Home | Business - Date Submitted: 2011-06-04 09:26:10 - Views: 1 - Word Count: 870
Much like any other X-Men fan learning of a new movie was some sort of bittersweet feeling. I was excited to view another story of my childhood pleasure turn on but was also inhibited of how Bryan Singer in addition to Matthew Vaughn would translate the full plot into an satisfying two hour movie. For insufficient a better word, I think the most likely word in my language is pure and ful awesomeness. I enjoyed the courtesy Bryan Singer implemented from your previous movies and the way they tied into this a single. I also enjoyed the particular surprising cameos.

It's no question that the makers of the preceding of X-Men films were being obvious Wolverine fanatics, so portion of my disappointment with the first three films was which the plot glorified his persona and back story. Wolverine was always an important, had the most psychological depth and somehow saved the afternoon. It was disappointing simply because every character's personal account is captivating in a right. This time it had been different. This time they first got it right. the unveiling of every character's backstory was beautifully done and I came across myself emotionally invested inside plot.

I found it brilliant that this plot connected itself to some true event, the Cuban Missile Problems. I'm also a significant other of villains and Kevin Sausage and January Jones did a wonderful job. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are Oscar potentials because they are acting sold me from needs to end. In the previous movies, Professor X and Magneto were just men too old to change and you accepted them that way. But it was definitely a pleasant tale to see his or her friendship grow, blossom and ultimately the direction they became enemies.

I think every movie goer ought to know by now, that immediately after many adaptions from classic tomes, comics, cartoons, etc. that the film version is never going to be 100% accurate. How can a film-maker be resourceful if all they're doing is recycling somebody else's idea??? Where's the fun in this? So if you're gonna the film hoping that'll be exactly like the anime or the comic, you will be really disappointed. My advice would be to go in the movie blind, if so, you will appreciate the evidence of obvious effort, detail and genius much more.

The score was good and suitable, the costumes paid homage to the original comic and viewed great. The plot along with script were nicely done. Kudos to the screenwriters whom captures the essence of each and every character without pounding us with thousands of words. The story was with regards to Professor X and Magneto but each character definitely made their mark within the screen when it seemed to be time; from Mystique, to be able to Beast, Emma Frost, Azazel, Pixie, Havok, Banshee, Sebastian Shaw, Riptide, Darwin, for example.

As I stated before they finally got it right. Just think of X-Men 1, 2 & 3 as well as the Wolverine: Origins movie as practice for that product that came out and about June 3rd. Enjoy!
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:43 pm

http://kalafudra.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/x-men-first-class-2011/

X-Men: First Class (2011)
Monday, 25. July 2011

X-Men: First Class is Matthew Vaughn‘s newest film, written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt, January Jones and Michael Ironside.

Plot:
Erik (Michael Fassbender) survived the Nazi concentration camps, mostly because he has the power to move metal and scientist Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) wanted to study him. After the end of the war, Erik starts continually hunting down Nazis, trying to get at Shaw.
At the same time, Charles (James McAvoy) is a leading scientist in the field of genetic mutation – and himself a telepath. He is approached by CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) who saw Shaw with a couple of mutants and tries to figure out what’s going on. Charles and his adoptive sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who can take on the form of other people, start working with the CIA and pretty soon the cross paths with Erik.
Despite their different backgrounds, Erik and Charles start working together to find other mutants – and to get at Shaw.

X-Men: First Class is not a perfect film – but it’s pretty damn close. The performances are mostly amazing, the script is intelligent, the action is wonderful and there is a lot of fodder for discussion.

Just to get the obligatory things out of the way: Michael Fassbender is freaking hot. And he’s got this smouldering thing going (as always) that works amazingly well with James McAvoy. Genevieve Valentine really was spot-on, as usual… (While we’re on the subject of being spot-on: Xavier is a dick.) It doesn’t work that well for me with Raven, but it never really crossed the line to creepy.

But generaly speaking the cast was brilliant. Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult are extremely likeable and talented actors. The supporting cast was great. [SLIGHT SPOILER] I would have liked to see more of Oliver Platt, though. But there were also the awesome cameos by Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn that just completely made my day. [/SPOILER] The only one who really can’t act worth a damn is January Jones. And Kevin Bacon’s German was surprisingly Swiss and far from accent-free.

The battle between Erik and Charles is explored nicely here – their worldviews collide over and over again, both have good arguments and it’s fascinating to follow their discussion and maybe even decide on which side you’ll end up yourself. In the end it’s a film that wants you to discuss it.

Matthew Vaughn has a good sense of pacing and as a result the movie never ends up boring for even a single moment. It really is an extremely satisfying thing.
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:57 pm

http://www.moviesoffice.com/x-men-class-movie-review/

X-Men: First Class Movie Review
– July 24, 2011Posted in: Featured, Movies Playing Now, Movies ReviewsTags: Bill Milner, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, X-Men: First Class

Rose Byrne, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Lucas Till, Jennifer Lawrence and Caleb Landry Jones in X-Men: First Class
X-Men: First Class Review:

New movie X-Men: First Class is a real “shot in the arm” to the X-Men franchise, which has become weaker and weaker. It can be said that upcoming movie X-Men is the best of the many Marvel Comics spinoffs that have shown up in theaters in the past few years. It’s packed full of young energy and is confident and just full of itself! According to movie forums this new movie release will be huge all over the planet.

The ghost of James Bond seems to hang over this film which is often British in tone. The setting is 1962 and full of the tension of the Cold War, a time when 007 first hit the Big Screens. The style and hardware of the movie are reminiscent of the ‘60s and are very appealing today. The dashing Michael Fassbender, who plays Erik, the one who will become Magneto, will remind viewers of Sean Connery in early Bond movies. X-Men: First Class, written by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn, does not follow the comic’s backstory. The story proposes that the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis involved manipulations by creatures with Super Powers and that men like Kennedy, Castro, the CIA, and all of the global forces combined were just doing the bidding of these Super Powers. In fact, the Super Powers were the Gods of Olympus, some of whom hoped for the extermination of the human race.

The story begins, as did the original X-Men, at Auschwitz. Here the youthful Erik, who has been challenged to display his magnetic powers, sees his mother killed by the camp doctor, played by Kevin Bacon. This occurrence is the beginning of everything that happens in the rest of the film. At the same time, two children in Westchester, New York, Charles and Raven, start to exhibit some odd behaviors which will, twenty years later, push them right to the front of mutant events.

Just like the thrillers of the ‘60s, “X-Men: First Class” jumps all over the world, from Geneva to Oxford, to Las Vegas, and then Argentina, Miami, and Washington, D.C. This is all to introduce a huge array of characters and their special powers. Vaughn is excellent at keeping things sorted out and dramatic. While this is going on, Erik is searching the world for Nazis, the highlight of which is a confrontation between Erik and two Nazis he finds in a tavern in Argentina.) Charles, played by James McAvoy, is now becoming academically successful and Raven, played by Jennifer Lawrence has been recruited by the CIA and will soon begin putting together a “Division of Mutant Powers.”

The movie develops amazing tension and momentum. Soon the evil camp doctor shows up in the guise of “Sebastian Shaw,” who can now soak up, use, and send out energy. His sexy partner Emma Frost, played by January Jones, is extremely telepathic and also has a diamond coating that is indestructible. When Erik finds them on a yacht and is ready to take his revenge, they manage to escape – just like they would were this a Bond movie.

Erik had been a loner but soon decides to team up with Charles under a strange CIA man played by Oliver Platt and an agent with a sense of adventure played by Rose Byrne. This is when the movie picture seems more like a traditional Marvel Comic movie. The mutants, Hank/Beast, played by Nicholas Hoult; Alex/Havoc, played by Lucas Till; Sean/Banshee, played by Caleb Landry Jones; Armondo/Darwin, played by Edi Gathegi, and Angel, played by Zoe Kravitz are trained to master their odd talents.
The new movie releases on June 2011
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Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:57 pm

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

Sunday, July 24, 2011
"X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" (2011) Review

Recently, I came across a comment that the last "X-MEN" movie, 2009's "X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE", had been a failure. I found this opinion surprising, considering that it actually made a profit at the box office. Failure or not, Marvel Studios decided to continue the movie franchise with a fifth entry called "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS".

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" is, like the 2009 movie, another origins tale. Only it traced the beginnings of the two friends-turned-adversaries, Charles "Professor X" Xavier and Erik "Magneto" Lensherr. The movie began in a scene straight out of 2000's "X-MEN" - at a concentration camp in 1944 Poland. While young Erik Lensherr was being separated from his parents by Nazi guards, he displayed an ability for magnetism manipulation by tearing at one of the camp's gates. This ability attracted the attention of the camp's scientist, Dr. Klaus Schmidt, who tried to coerce Erik into using his ability again by threatening his mother with death. Unfortunately, Erik failed and Dr. Schmidt killed Mrs. Lensherr. At an estate in Westchester, New York of the same year, young Charles Xavier awakened from a deep sleep by a noise from the kitchen. He investigated and found his mother searching for something to eat. However, being a telepath, Charles was able to discover that he was facing a stranger. The stranger turned out to be a young, blue-skinned shapeshifter named Raven "Mystique" Darkhölme. Charles invited the young stranger to stay at the Xavier mansion and the two became close friends.

"X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" jumped another eighteen years forward to 1962. Charles Xavier has become an instructor on genetics at Oxford University. Raven has remained his close companion in a sibling-like capacity. Erik Lensherr has spent the last decade or so, hunting down Nazis that escaped prosecution by the Allies - especially those who had served at the concentration camp where he had been imprisoned. He has especially become interested in finding and killing Dr. Schmidt out of revenge for his mother's death. The story shifted to Las Vegas, Nevada; where one Moira MacTaggart and other CIA agents are investigating the Hellfire Club, a social organization led by Sebastian Shaw (aka Dr. Schmidt). After infiltrating the club as an "escort", Moira discovered that Shaw and his mutant followers - Emma Frost, Azazel, and Riptide - are intimidating a high ranking Army officer into relocating military missiles to Turkey. Moira sought help from Charles and Raven to provide information to her CIA bosses about mutants. They also met Erik, during a trip to Miami to track down Shaw. After preventing Erik from drowning during an attempt to kill Shaw, Charles became close friends with the Holocaust survivor; as they work with Moira and the CIA to bring down Shaw.

Personally, I do not believe that "X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE" deserved its low reputation. I thought it was a pretty damn good movie - not perfect, but entertaining. However, I do believe I could say the same about "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS". I would add that it might be better than the 2009 film. Despite its flaws. In fact, "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" turned out to be a cleverly written movie that managed to weave two historical events - the Holocaust and the Cuban Missile Crisis - into its plot. Director Matthew Vaughn did an excellent job in maintaining an even pace for a movie not only filled with exciting and occasionally exaggerated action sequences and dramatic scenes. But aside from the director, the movie's main virtue proved to be its first-rate cast.

Someone once pointed out that the X-MEN movie franchise did an excellent job of using the topic of "mutation" or psychic abilities to reflect upon the themes of bigotry and tolerance in our society. This theme became even more relevant, considering the movie's setting of 1962 - a period that reflected the height of the Civil Rights Movement. I can go further and commend screenwriters Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Vaughn for daring to explore all aspects of the bigotry experienced and engaged by the characters.

Some of the movie's main characters experienced intolerance at the hands of others. Holocaust survivor Erik Lensherr not only suffered under the Nazi regime as a Jew, but also endured the U.S. government's (in the form of C.I.A. officials) wariness and contempt toward mutants, as did fellow mutants such as Charles Xavier, Raven Darkhölme, Hank McCoy and the group of young mutants they had recruited. C.I.A. officials Director McCone and William Stryker Sr. (father of the villain from the second and fourth movies) were ready to imprison Charles and Raven upon discovering their mutations. Fortunately, one C.I.A. man in particular - the nameless Man in Black - prevented this from happening. The script also focused upon the two mutants regarded as "odd men out" because their mutations were reflected physically. Raven's natural blue skin led her to maintain a "human" form that allowed her to blend with other humans and mutants. And C.I.A. scientist who constantly wore shoes to hide his mutation - animal-like feet. Their desperation to blend with the others on a regular basis led Hand to create a formula that eventually backfired.

Finally, the movie also focused on those mutants that viewed their mutation as signs of their superiority over non-mutant humans. Characters such as villain Sebastian Shaw and his Hellfire Club followers, and eventually Erik and Raven allowed their dislike toward humans to manifest into a bigotry that encouraged them to engage in plots of genocide that made the Nazis, North Americans of the 18th and 19th centuries and other bigoted societies look like amateurs. One such plot served as the background of "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS". The movie revolved around Sebastian Shaw's efforts to use his connections to the U.S. and Soviet military to start a third world war between the superpowers. Such a war would bring humanity to the brink of extinction, allowing mutants (with Shaw as the leader) to dominate the world. This plot eventually resulted in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The producers of "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" chose the right actors to portray the younger versions of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr. James McAvoy perfectly captured all of Charles' intelligence, talent for leadership and subtle wit. He also delved deeper into the character's idealism and occasional naivety. And McAvoy gave audiences an audacious peek into Charles' penchant for little seduction with pick-up lines that were both charming and wince-inducing. Michael Fassbender portrayed all of the intensity and anger of the vengeance-seeking Erik Lensherr. Every once in a while, an actor comes along with the ability to perfectly walk the fine line between heroism and villainy. Fassbender certainly achieved this in his portrayal of Erik. And looking at the screen chemistry between McAvoy and Fassbender, it seemed a pity that they had never shared a scene when they appeared in the 2001 miniseries, "BAND OF BROTHERS". Because they were dynamite together.

The supporting cast also proved to be top-notch. The X-MEN movieverse has always provided first-rate villains. Kevin Bacon's portrayal of the villainous Sebastian Shaw/Dr. Schmidt was no exception. If I must be honest, his Shaw may prove to be my favorite "X-MEN" villain. Aside from intelligence, wit and a taste for grandiose plotting and gadgets that rivaled a Bond villain, Bacon injected a joie de vivre into Shaw's character that I found very entertaining. Some critics and fans have criticized January Jones' portrayal of Shaw's consort, Emma Frost, accusing her of being "wooden". I am sorry, but I do not agree with this opinion. Yes, Jones portrayed Emma as Miss 'Cool Hand Luke'. But she also did a first rate job of conveying the character's strong attraction to Shaw and dislike of his occasional sexist attitudes. And thanks to her subtle comic timing, she provided the movie's funniest moment in a scene that featured Emma having 'telepathic' sex with a Soviet general. Her reaction to being caught had me laughing in the aisle. Instead of Rebecca Romijn, the film's producers chose Jennifer Lawrence to portray the younger Raven Darkhölme aka Mystique. And I thought she did a pretty damn good job. I have nothing against Romijn's portrayal of Mystique, but I believe that Lawrence was given a better opportunity for a deeper exploration of the character . . . and she made the best of it. The movie also featured fine support from the likes of Rose Byrne as C.I.A. agent and ally Moira MacTaggart, Nicholas Hoult as the young Hank McCoy, Jason Flemyng as the frightening teleporter Azazel, Oliver Platt as the C.I.A. 'Man in Black', and Zoë Kravitz's subtle and passionate performance as mutant Angel Salvadore.

As I had earlier hinted, "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" is not perfect. I believe it has two major flaws that prevented it from potentially becoming the best film in the franchise. The movie's biggest flaw proved to be its lack of continuity with the other four films. "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" included the beginning of Charles Xavier's paralysis and the end of his partnership with Erik Lensherr. Yet, Charles was still walking and working with Erik in a flashback set around the beginning of the 1980s in 2006's "X-MEN: THE LAST STAND". I am aware that Raven's cells allowed her to mature very slowly. But did the same happen to Dr. Hank McCoy? He was in his early-to-mid 20s in "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS". Yet, he looked somewhere in his 40s in the third "X-MEN", which was set some 40 years later. And the Emma Frost portrayed by actress Tahyna Tozzi in "X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE" looked at least five to ten years younger than January Jones' Emma in this latest film. And "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" is supposed to be set 17 years before the 2009 film. Charles began his school for young mutants in this movie. However, he told Wolverine in 2000's "X-MEN" that Scott "Cyclops" Summers and Jean Grey were his first students. They are no where to be seen and quite frankly, I could have done without this early edition of the Xavier School of Mutants. I found it annoying.

Another major problem proved to be the film's costumes - especially for women. The movie is set mainly in 1962. Yet, Sammy Sheldon's costumes reflected the late 1960s, not the early years of that decade. Just to prove my point, look at the following photographs:

1962 Fashions For Women

January Jones in "MAD MEN" Season Two (set in 1962)

January Jones in "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" (set in 1962)

In fact, the costumes and hairstyles for other female characters DO NOT reflect the year 1962, as well:

Both actresses Rose Byrne and Zoë Kravitz are wearing knee-high boots, which WERE NOT in fashion in 1962.

Yes, "X-MEN: FIRST-CLASS" had some major flaws. But I cannot deny that I still managed to enjoy the movie very much. Screenwriters Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn wrote a flawed, but very entertaining and epic story. The movie also boasted first-rate performances from a cast led by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. And Vaughn brought all of these factors together with some fine direction. "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" has made me an even bigger fan of the franchise and I would heartily recommend it for anyone's viewing pleasure.
Posted by Juanita's Journal at 12:17 AM
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Post by Admin on Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:13 am

http://www.thenationalstudent.com/Film/2011-07-22/Review_Xmen_First_Class.html

Review: X-men: First Class
by R. T. Lohse
at University of Surrey 22nd July 2011 18:41:37



Magneto and Professor X are back. This time in the forms of Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, respectively, in Matthew Vaughn’s prequel to the films of the popular comic book franchise.

Beginning with a recount of Erik Lensherr’s experiences as a young boy in the concentration camps during the Second World War, the film quickly introduce the audience not only to the film’s main villain Sebastian Shaw, but also to a major recurring theme throughout the film: the oppression of those who are different.

The rest of the film mostly takes place in 1962, where Charles Xavier and Erik meet for the first time, as the CIA requires mutants’ help to stop a forthcoming nuclear war between the States and Russia. As the two find other mutants to help them with their cause, they develop a friendship, despite their ideological differences on the subject of human-mutant relations: Charles believes they will all one day be able to live in peace with each other, but Erik – who has experienced firsthand how fear can turn people against a race – believes humans will turn against them, when they realise what superior powers they posses.

With this premise, X-Men: First Class does not disappoint: it is an entertaining film, with multiple references to the other films – Hugh Jackman, for one, making a cameo as Wolverine – and a tightly written, fast-paced script. However, due to the multiple plots to follow, some of the minor characters fall flat, as they do not receive enough screen-time to become fully-fledged.

Nonetheless, this is a rare film in that it is a blockbuster, which has something to say. The many references and parallels to the Second World War and the Holocaust is expertly used to especially develop the character of Erik, and it not only provides the audience with a plausible cause as to why Erik Lensherr eventually becomes Magneto, but also to why Erik and Charles’ friendship was genuine, if not still doomed from the start.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender both prove to be great choice of casting, in that they have managed to take two characters, who could easily have become cliché and one-note, and made them not only believable, but also relatable. Also important to note, is the chilling performances of Kevin Bacon and January Jones as Shaw and his assistant Emma Frost.

The film will certainly bring satisfaction to the veteran fans of the X-Men films, as this prequel provides the answers to things such as why Professor X ended up in a wheelchair and where Magneto got his helmet from, but it can also be watched by those not previously introduced to the franchise, as both the characters and the main part of the mythology is introduced within the first half hour of the film.

X-Men: First Class is thus all-in-all a better-than-the-average blockbuster, which not only provides nice special effects and big battles, but also insight into the human nature. Some of the minor character may fall flat, but the main ones are superbly portrayed, and the film succeeds where many other films based on comic books do not. It makes the viewer take the superhero seriously, even in all his costume and code-name glory.
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Post by Admin on Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:31 am

http://www.gracechurchflorence.org/x-men-first-class-review-by-santiago-ramos/

X-Men: First Class? ? Review by Santiago Ramos

by AUTHOR & ORIGINAL WEBSITE BELOW on July 16, 2011

Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Written by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Oliver Platt

x-men first class Once I saw the glistening and snow-white January Jones declare herself to be the villainous mutant Emma Frost, my first thought was, ?I wonder if she?s afraid that she?s been typecast to appear exclusively in films that take place in the 1960s?? Jones already plays the quintessential 1950s housewife/reborn 1960s liberated woman in the TV series Mad Men, and in that role, she has already taken part in an episode structured around the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis (the season two finale, ?Meditations in an Emergency?).

The plot of X-Men: First Class makes more liberal use of the same near-catastrophe, by crafting an alternate history in which a group of evil mutants (of which Emma Frost is a prominent member) engineers the crisis between the USA and USSR, in an attempt to destroy the human race and make the world hospitable to the new generation of mutated human beings?mutants with sundry powers and quasi-supernatural capacities, not least of which must include (one would assume) universal invulnerability to radioactivity. The chief villain, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) is also a 1960s echo. Assuming the role of a double-breasted, tight-pants-ed Bond villain whose lines and swagger are refracted through Austin Powers, Bacon had the unenviable and difficult task of acting a part that is only 67 percent ironic. If my memory tells me that he was lightly stroking a white kitten at any point during this movie, it is to the credit of the writing staff and the character that they created. But the writers were also able to mine a quarry that never stops yielding shiny objects which fascinate the public: the events of the 1960s.

I am now feeling a bit guilty about writing so flippantly about a movie that is, after all, 33% serious, so the first thing to do would be to point out that the heart of this story?a heart which the director did not allow to beat as vigorously as it could have?is the relationship between Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and the soon-to-be villain Magneto (Michael Fassbender) who in his younger days (and the time span of this film) is named Erik Lensherr. Xavier is a privileged son of a well-to-do New York family with a transatlantic accent; Erik is not as lucky as a child, having seen his mother shot before his very eyes by a Nazi during the Holocaust. What both men share in common, however, is an early awareness of their mutant abilities, which they take to be gifts. They also share a conviction that the rise of mutated human beings will herald a new horizon for the human race.

But what the two men do not share is the most important thing: an ideal. Xavier believes it is reasonable to hope for a future in which mutant and normal human can coexist peacefully. But of course, the intelligent, Oxford educated, cosmopolitan Xavier would hold such a dream. Erik, on the other hand, had all of his dreams destroyed by a totalitarian ideology, and he has never indulged in utopian ideals. He prefers simple vengeance. Both men agree, however, on one practical goal: that Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, and their lemmings must be stopped before they bring the two world powers to war. Erik also has some ulterior motives, however. Sebastian Shaw had been the Nazi who shot his mother. He would like to shoot him; Xavier tries to convince him that killing will not bring him the peace that he desires.

The conflict between Xavier and Erik is the morality tale within the script, and it lies somewhere beyond the central story of the movie. The story which pits Sebastian and the bad mutants against Xavier, Erik, and the young, alienated, but innocent mutants they can gather to their side, is only the plot of the movie, not its main concern. A point to ponder about this plot, incidentally, is the fact that the alternate, X-Men universe has non-humans both causing and resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis. The point in which humankind came so close to dramatically (and negatively) altering its own future becomes, in this film, an event which humankind cannot control. There are moral and philosophical implications there that the reader may wish to think about.

The morality tale is more significant. It reaches its climax after that final battle, when Erik and Xavier confront each other about what mutants should really do in this brave new world of armed human beings who do not accept them. The decisions that each man makes will have repercussions for the entire world. The repercussions of this standoff run throughout all the X-Men movies.

My favorite among those is still the third one, X-Men: Final Stand (2006), with its final scene of cataclysmic romanticism in which Wolverine tells Jean Grey, ?I love you? before he kills her. There is no such poetry in this film, even though there are stretches of compelling drama. Nevertheless, I would have preferred more Erik v. Xavier debates, and less of the young mutants showing off their powers and talking like teenagers (they are teenagers, but still). Ultimately, in the spectrum of comic book incarnations, this movie is closer to being campy like the 1966 Batman rather than tragic like The Dark Knight. It serves the purpose, however, of extending the franchise: I do want to know more about the X-Men and the world that they are trying to create.

Santiago Ramos is pursuing graduate studies in philosophy at Boston College.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheCatholicKeyBlog/~3/KFIo94sv1po/x-men-first-class-review-by-santiago.html
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