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X-Men Reviews 3

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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:38 am

http://moviecynics.com/x-men-first-class-2011-new-movie-reviews/

X-men: First Class (2011) – New Movie Reviews
By Justin on Monday, 13th June 2011

I have to be honest, I never really liked any of the X-men films before this one. They were alright, but each one suffered from its own individual issues. Some were better than others, but for the most part they were all sub-par and mediocre. The first two in the series always bugged me because of some of the liberties they had taken with some of my favorite characters in the X-men universe. I’ve never been a huge fan of the comic series, but I still had my favorites and I found what they did to Rogue inexcusable. It was because of how unimpressed I was with the films that had been released in the past that I wasn’t exactly excited for First Class when I heard it was coming out. I knew they would find some way to screw it up again, pissing off even the least attentive of fans. Today, I’m very happy to tell you that I was absolutely wrong and they didn’t actually screw this one up as bad as I had thought they would. Okay, so the posters still suck, but the movie is actually pretty good.

X-men: First Class tells the origins story of the X-men. Okay, so it isn’t exactly the same as the story we’re told in the first few issues of the famous comic series, but it’s a lot more enjoyable than the past films have been. In First Class we are shown the making of some of the most important characters in the X-men universe as Professor X and Magneto actually work together for a common good. This is the story that tells us how they came to be enemies and why they are so diametrically opposed. The two meet first when Magneto is hot on the trail of the Nazi who killed his mother and forced him to develop his powers. His only motive is revenge, but for the time being Professor X is able to contain his rage and attempts to show him a better way of channeling it. The two work together with the CIA in order to find more mutants and to find and defeat the man who has caused Magneto and so many others so much pain. Unfortunately, if you know anything about the story of the X-men, then you know that this won’t end well.

So why does this movie work where others have failed? Simple. This movie contains characterization that explains the motivation and plot development within the story. In past X-men films we have seen the Nazi connection with Magneto, but the concept is never fully developed or explained. There is clearly an attempt in these cases to add a layer of depth to his character, but instead of using it to their advantage the filmmakers dropped the ball and simply turned Magneto into a faceless villain with unknown motivation. First Class breaks this trend by fully exploring Magneto’s past and the pain that he struggles with. By the end of the film it is very clear why he feels the way he does. The characterization of both Magneto and Professor X is good enough that it forces viewers to actually pick a side for once. Instead of constantly being pushed towards the side of the “good” or the “X-men,” this film presents a case for both sides of the argument and makes it easy to see that the difference between good and evil isn’t so clear cut in this case.

Needless to say, I absolutely loved the characterization and plot development in First Class. This is the way an X-men movie should look and feel. Unlike other films based on the comic series, this one tells us a story that is developed enough to make us care about the eventual action and fighting that takes place. That being said, there were still a few problems with this movie. It’s worth noting that, like the others, this movie is not a perfect re-creation of the real story as presented in the comic book series. However, that shouldn’t matter, because there’s no way that any movie adaptation will ever perfectly represent everything from its motivating story. What is important here is that they actually developed the story in a way that works for film and presents some of the main ideas behind the comic series in a way that has never been done in a movie before. You don’t exactly have to like what they did, but you should show some respect for the way that they decided to do it this time around.

My only real gripe with this movie was that the acting was really spotty. Some of the actors/actresses were very good, in particular James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender played an excellent Professor X and Magneto respectively, but others were just horrible. I still can’t quite see Kevin Bacon as a Nazi, but he played the villain of Sebastian Shaw pretty well. My real problem was with Jennifer Lawrence in particular, who played Mystique. The only thing believable about her character was the fairly well done CGI which helped to turn her into a mutant. Sadly, her performance was about as bland and lifeless as an elementary school play. It felt like she wasn’t delivering any power or feeling to any of her lines. You could get a sense for her character, but in the end it’s difficult to understand the decisions she makes. There were a few other cases of poorly acted mutant characters, but most of them had so little screen time that it didn’t even matter. This is just one of those movies which proves that you don’t have to have an excellent cast of actors/actresses to make something decent. What really matters is the amount of time spent developing the characters and the writers and filmmakers who are creating the world of the film. If they are all doing their job right, bad acting can’t kill the movie.

Final Synopsis: X-men: First Class is by far the best X-men movie I have ever seen. They didn’t get everything right, but they got enough right that it was far more enjoyable than past efforts. If you liked the previous films, chances are this one won’t disappoint you, but even if you didn’t like them you might still enjoy this one. I haven’t been too impressed with the movies that have come out so far this year, but this is definitely one I’ll be picking up when it is eventually released on DVD/Blu-ray.

Points Lost: -1 for Nazi Kevin Bacon, -1 for lifeless Mystique, -1 for not being as faithful to the series as most fans would have liked.

Bonus Points: +1 for being the first decent X-men movie.

Lesson Learned: Death by Coin is the coolest way to kill someone.

Burning Question: Why couldn’t they spend this much time on characterization in the other movies?

X-men: First Class

8/10
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:39 am

http://katepullen.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/x-men-first-class/

x-men: first class.

14 Jun

There are so many things I feel I need to incorporate into this review, I’m not even sure where I should begin. Perhaps I should reveal, as some sort of disclaimer, that although – from a design perspective – I am in complete awe of the Marvel comics, I know little about the intricacies of various plot lines and characters. I have previously watched the X-Men movies, and enjoyed them thoroughly, but as far as hardcore fans go, I’m definitely giving my review as a layperson.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, we can begin! Before any dissecting truly begins, I believe a synopsis of the plot may be welcomed.

It is 1944 and the audience is first given a glimpse of the two leading characters when they were both just boys: Charles in England, meeting the homeless Raven and discovering – with joy – that he was not alone in being different; and Erik in a concentration camp in Nazi occupied Poland, where scientist Dr. Schmidt watches him bend a metal gate with his mind. Demanding the boy show him more of his powers, Schmidt threatens Erik with his mother’s life and when the boy cannot comply, his mother is killed.

Almost twenty years later, and the majority of X-Men: First Class is set during 1962, when the world faced a very real threat of nuclear war, and Dr. Schmidt has now reinvented himself as Sebastian Shaw (played rather brilliantly by Kevin Bacon). A mutant himself, Shaw intends to turn the world in on itself, sparking nuclear conflict and allowing radiation to wipe out the lesser race – humans – thereby allowing mutants to begin their reign on top. The CIA, having followed Shaw for quite some time, inadvertently stumble across his mutant abilities when agent Moira MacTaggert (the lovely Rose Byrne) ventures undercover at Las Vegas venue, the Hellfire Club. Unlike her fellow agents, MacTaggert embraces the idea of cell mutation and tracks down the current leading mind on the subject, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). On simultaneous missions to stop Shaw, here Charles and Erik meet.

The pair become fast friends, Erik finally learning that he is not alone in his abilities, and Charles teaching him how to harness and enhance those gifts. They work together with MacTaggert and CIA mastermind Hank (who also happens to be a mutant, played handsomely by Nicholas Hoult) to locate and recruit more mutants just coming into their powers, so as to muster enough strength to destabilise Shaw. The final team includes Xavier (now dubbed ‘Professor X’), Erik (Magneto), Raven (Mystique), Alex Summers (Havok), Sean Cassidy (Banshee) and Hank McCoy (soon to be Beast).

Meanwhile Shaw has his own team of mutants, and his telepath Emma Frost (January Jones) has detected the presence of another. Intent on avoiding Charles’ telepathic reach, he enlists the help of the Russians to build him a helmet that is able to shield him from Charles’ power. The final showdown sees the destruction of Shaw at the hands of Erik, and the fragmentation of two great friends, as their conflicts of interest send them down opposing paths; Charles continues to believe in the strength of the human race and believes mutants should and can be accepted into ‘normal’ society, while Erik almost assumes Shaw’s position, believing mutants will never be accepted and should instead form their own, superior society.

Reading up on various forums and reviews, it has become clear that X-Men: First Class does not tally with existing films, or particular storylines of the comics. For example, Erik and Charles are to first meet when they are seventeen, though in this movie they are in their mid- to late-twenties. Additionally, in First Class the audience learns how Charles becomes paralysed, even though he is seen up and walking about in later films. Havok is supposed to be Cyclops’ younger brother, but Scott is nowhere to be seen in First Class. Emma Frost is a grown adult in this installment, but is shown as a teenager in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, set some seventeen years later. Similarly, MacTaggert appears to remain in her thirties during both First Class and The Last Stand, which take place almost forty years apart. Also, MacTaggert has a whole backstory which is not even hinted at in First Class. I think it is important to acknowledge these discrepancies but, let’s be honest, diehard fans were always going to be disappointed, because reality rarely lives up to fantasy.

Instead you’ve got to take the bad with the good and recognise that this is pretty brilliant film, and has helped restore the X-Men movies to their former glory. Without a doubt, the performances of every actor involved help in achieving this. James McAvoy breathes life into a character that can to some seem quite boring. He also shows a darker side to Professor X, who once employed his powers for selfish reasons, and was altogether a little arrogant. Thereby demonstrating he his still human, just like the rest of us (well, nearly). Michael Fassbender, as Magneto…well, is it too much to say he is a revelation? And I know Kevin Bacon gets a lot of s$#!, though I’m not too sure why, but as Shaw he did superbly. He has that suave, well-dressed criminal thing going on. The supporting cast did exactly that, supported their leads with grace, and poise, and some great acting. Particularly Nicholas Hoult (who many would know as Tony from the UK television series Skins), who injects some lovely, well-placed humour into the action.

I have now seen this movie twice and must admit, I absolutely loved it. One of the things I fancy most about comics is the attention to detail and the desire to flesh out characters so as to provide reasoning and direction behind every action. They are living, breathing, three-dimensional individuals, not merely drawn on a page to fill a certain storyline. And, despite all the hooplah surrounding the timeline of this film, no one can deny that the driving force behind X-Men: First Class was to give a history to the relationship between Professor X and Magneto, and it has certainly achieved that. I have also read interviews with director Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Kick-Ass) since seeing the film and his answers support my initial thoughts; Vaughn wanted to create a new world, and really focus on the dramatic elements of X-Men. It was intended to be a step back from the big bang-focused and specially effected-superhero films of late, and instead truly hone in on what makes these guys tick. With that in mind, it is much easier to enjoy X-Men: First Class as a brilliant, stand-alone film.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:40 am

http://goldenrationalism.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/movie-review-sort-of-x-men-first-class/

Movie Review (sort of): X-Men: First Class
13 Jun

Comic books are a little bit like soap operas; they need bigger thrills and more complicated stories just to stay original. I read X-Men, New Mutants, and X-Factor in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and got into the original X-Men (the actual first class) but stopped sometime after the original Madelyne Pryor incidents. If you know what I mean, you probably know what I mean. Good lord that was complicated crap.

There was a lot of stuff to love about the X-Men back then but, in retrospect, a little to be irritated by as well, some of which was echoed in this recent movie (but tongue in cheek). The irritating stuff involving old school sexism got fixed with the movies the way it got fixed in a number of sci fi films recently; Uhura’s got a better job than telephone operator and Jean Grey’s more than the token woman. I was disappointed in the first couple of X-Men movies that Mystique is just an attractive henchwoman. It’s a drop down from the comics, where she had a significant amount of power. I liked that she looked like she’d take on a more equal status in this new movie, and I hope to see some follow-up on that in the inevitable sequels. Like Star Trek, women in the X-Men, scantily clad and negligible as they could sometimes be, were often powerful story motivators and rescuers in their own right, with backstories as powerful and nuanced as any of the men. As a girl reading comics, this would be Important, and I believe it’s part of what makes the nerds and geeks of the world better at feminism than those who would mock them. As a boy reading comics, seeing strong, powerful, ethical (and some unethical) women with each new issue (every month!) probably built an expectation of the same for women in the real world, an expectation not found in people who only paid attention to who played every position on every team in whatever sports league they prefer.

I don’t worry about the Heavy Metal style of outfits. If I had a body like that, I’d probably wear those clothes, too, and the men’s outfits were equally skintight, so everyone had to work out. The women were not just hot, they just as much brawn and brains as the men. It balanced out.

Anyhow, I tried to get into some other comics, but only seemed to stick with the X-Men because it’s awesome. Don’t get me wrong, Thor was amusing and Spiderman had its moments, but the X-Men had something for everyone, if only because there were so damn many characters. There was the stoic Russian who could transform into metal, a Soviet good guy during the Cold War. There was the Jewish girl who wasn’t particularly religiously observant, who dated the Russian and could walk through solid objects. There was the blue-skinned, observant Catholic teleporter who had to live in the shadows because he looked like the devil, but still loved everyone. There was the African goddess who controlled the weather, but could never quite find a place to fit into the world. Later, there was the extremely powerful redhead who’d hunted and destroyed her own kind through her telekinetic and telepathic abilities, and needed to make amends. There was the scientist who was also extremely strong, but whose strength sapped his intelligence, and who eventually sacrificed everything that defined his sense of self in order to save his friends. There was the sheltered rich boy who still had an enormous sense of entitlement despite being born with an incredibly visible birth defect, namely an angel-sized set of wings.

All of these characters are mutants. I mean, everyone’s a mutant, that’s how humanity became human and didn’t remain single celled organisms, as outlined in the opening credits of the first movie and echoed in a pick-up line in this one. The mutation in these people, though, manifests itself as some kind of previously extra-human power. This can range from the things we think of as metaphysical, like telekinesis or telepathy, to corporeal powers like being able to change your body’s density so you can walk through walls, or having the power of flight. Sometimes it’s just that a person is really smart, which can have its own drawbacks when other mutants might not think it’s a Real Power. Maybe the power is the ability to dampen other mutants’ powers or to take their powers from them, either temporarily or permanently, depending on the length of exposure. Maybe it’s healing, either yourself or others, or you can turn into steel, or be invisible, or be heavy, or make other people heavy. There was really no end to the different mutant powers, and they were usually all slightly different, just like people.

Then there were the Bad Guys. These can be divided into two groups: the unrepentant bad guys and the humans (the homo superior in this universe). The former fall into the same category as, say, the Joker from Batman: evil to the core with no hope or desire for redemption. They’re not usually batshit insane, just power hungry megalomaniacs who don’t care who they step on. Psychopaths, basically. The latter are people see what other people are capable of.

Apart from finding someone to identify with, there were also the larger social issues that were paralleled in the X-Men universe, but often in ways that were far more subtle than, say, Star Trek. In X-Men, it was more of a ‘history is doomed to repeat itself’ thing rather than a ‘Nazis live on this planet’ thing. Everyone recognized that it had happened before, and would probably happen again, and they divided themselves along the same lines as previous struggles. If we look at the stories involving mutant hunting, registration, incarceration, experimentation, protest, and resistance, we can see echoes of WWII and the various civil rights movements of the 60s and 70s. There are, as mentioned, the unrepentant Bad Guys, but the non-psychopathic Bad Guys usually have some kind of valid point. They’re more anti-hero than villain. They are, if you will, the Malcolm X (ha!) of the mutant civil rights movement. The pump their fists in the air and they get in people’s faces to say “We’re here and we’re not going anywhere and if you think you can make us, you’ve got another ‘think’ coming.”

This group is fighting for its survival, and they are compelling, none more so than one of the primary adversaries of the X-Men. Given that he had a couple of different names in the comics, not to mention the number tattooed on his arm, for the moment we’ll stick with the name he takes for himself: Magneto. As a child, Magneto had seen his family and his people pushed to near-extermination by Nazis, blamed for the collapse of Germany, a threat to ‘decent’ society, and the passive acceptance, by the larger society in both Germany and beyond, that he and his people were not fully human. As an adult he refused to be passive any longer. Already an outsider in white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant society, his mutant abilities set him outside the larger society of, well, everyone. When mutants became known to non-mutants, and were seen as a threat, he resolved not to be passive and just accept his people’s extermination again. It was the disbelief that ‘this kind of thing’ could happen that led Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Catholics, and homosexuals to walk to their own deaths. Mutants had abilities they could use to defend themselves, and Magneto believed in the best defense.

Magneto’s mutant power is to generate and control magnetism. This allows him the obvious control of metal but also enables him to fly through his manipulation of magnetic fields. In the comics as well as the film, his first Bad Guy Act involved attacking a military group after bringing down their missiles, and he is defeated by Xavier’s first group of students. In the movie, of course, it’s not quite like that, and he is defeated by his own realization that his views are incompatible with those of his best friend.

His friend and adversary, Charles Xavier, was raised in a certain amount of luxury, although he suffers his own childhood traumas (death of a father, gold-digging step-father, step-brother who eventually turns into a Bad Guy). As an adult, he is confined to a wheelchair after a confrontation with an alien who drops a rock on him (comic book stories, not the movies). His inability to walk and his powerful telepathic abilities make him the ‘mind’ part of his partnership with Magneto who is, of course, the ‘body.’ Together they make a powerful team, but Western mind-body dualism is the fundamental theme keeping them apart. Which half makes us who we are? The answer, of course, is both, and it is the tension of the question that makes their story so compelling.

The X-Men universe not only provides individual models with whom every reader can identify, its use of the themes of civil rights and discrimination resonate with anyone who’s ever read or seen a news report. Magneto’s character is built around the refusal to sit quietly. He knows that without confrontation, nothing will ever change for a group that wants to be treated as fairly as the majority treats itself. He is in-your-face, war protesting, Black-Power-at-the-Olympics. Xavier, on the other hand, believes that by showing their best side, Other People will eventually see that mutants are not a threat en masse, although, just like there are bad homo sapiens, there are bad examples of homo superior. He sincerely believes that by providing a good example, people will follow. Magneto knows better. Magneto and Xavier have the same goals, which is what makes Magneto the best Bad Guy in comic book literature; he does all the wrong things for all the right reasons.

I found myself wondering, after seeing X-Men: First Class, about the motivations of the early writers. I’m not old enough to remember the 60s, or much of the 70s, but it sure looks like it was a tumultuous time, with people’s perceptions of their entire lives upending and reforming. Tactics taken then are still taken today, with oppressed groups getting ‘in your face’ because it’s the fastest way to acceptance, although it seems counter-intuitive. When the majority of society doesn’t see the minority, it can’t evaluate the situation in which the minority lives and breathes. For people who’d never seen a black person, for example, seeing one can be a shock. Even if you know they existed, it’s still odd to see them if you’ve only ever seen white people before. I’m white, and I grew up in a neighbourhood with a high southeast Asian population, so it was no big deal to me to see Vietnamese or Korean or Chinese people at the store or on the bus or wherever, but there were not many black people around. I wasn’t afraid of them and I had no fear or dislike of them (I saw that Star Trek episode with the half black/half white species), but when I did see black people, I didn’t want them to think I was freaked out, so I tried to act all casual, which I’m sure just made me look freaked out. The point is, only by being confronted with black people, i.e. seeing them at all, was I made comfortable being around them in general. If I’d never seen a black person until I was 30, I’m sure I’d have had an even stronger reaction.

This outlook can be extended to much larger social issues. Let’s start with feminism: there have been ups and downs in the rights of women in different societies and times, but in America (which is what we’re talking about, because we’re talking about the X-Men, which is set in America, more or less), attitudes about women were undergoing a sea-change in the 60s and 70s. Of course, women are at least 50% of the population, so they were not really a minority, but in terms of representation in anything that could remotely be called a power centre, they were vastly underrepresented. Business, the arts, publishing, movies, and anything that conveyed the visual and auditory representation of society was primarily populated by men. The male and female spheres of influence and understanding were so separate that a Venn diagram of those spheres probably only met at the dinner table. Given that the lives of men and women were so completely separate, the only way for women to convey to men that they wanted more from their lives was to be very, very loud, or the men would not hear. Feminist activism was not, in the main, violent, but as other underrepresented groups sought acknowledgement for themselves, they adopted and adapted the means that started with feminist activism, and these sometimes took violent turns. At a certain point, though, the violence created a tipping point of its own, and activists looked for alternate forms of communication with the mainstream, while remaining visible and loud.

In this context, we can see the motivations of the X-Men writers. I doubt very much that any of them were involved in the kind of activism we associate with the 60s and 70s, but they lived through it and were likely conflicted about it. Today, I find it hard to believe that Magneto was the bad guy. I mean, we see the end result of that activism in a generally positive way, that it shined a light on dark places, but at the time the upheaval affected the psyches of everyone. The writers must have desperately wanted an alternative. Magneto and Professor Xavier represent this problem.

Magneto isn’t so much a villain as an anti-hero, eventually even reuniting with Xavier and helping him teach mutants at the professor’s Academy for Gifted Youngsters. It’s been pointed out that Xavier’s creation was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. (and Yul Brynner) while Magneto’s inspiration came from Malcolm X. In the real world, Malcolm X eventually toned down his rhetoric, seeing that his aims were being distorted by people who used violence in a different way. Magneto eventually came around to Xavier’s methods after seeing that he was becoming the thing he hated: a person who harmed those weaker than himself. If Malcolm X was really the inspiration for Magneto, and both Malcolm X and Magneto are better known by the names they gave themselves rather than the names given them, one should wonder how much of Magneto is really in the X-Men, you know, because of the X, but yeah, I know it’s because of the X in Xavier, but still. Like minority activism, Magneto saw that the violence of his childhood had created a monster, but he also saw that he had become Frankenstein himself.

In the context of social activism, Xavier seems naïve in comparison with Magneto. He thinks that things will get better because for him, they always have. Magneto looks at the world through a Jewish lens: don’t let down your guard because every time Jews have thought it could never happen again, it has. Xavier grew up with a comparatively high level of reasonably wealthy angst, but nothing that would make him question humanity in general. Magneto can do nothing else.

[Spoiler section]

All of this background is distilled in the movie X-Men: First Class, which refers to the first class of X-Men, not that they’re particularly elite. As a young man, Charles (Professor Xavier) is intelligent and wealthy with a sense of entitlement that only the very rich can justify. Erik (Magneto) has a self-righteousness justified by the wealth of violence in his childhood. Charles grows up when he realizes that there are evil versions of mutants like him. Erik grows up knowing there are evil people. Meeting Charles allows Erik to improve his abilities, and he comes to understand Charles’ perspective, although he rejects it. Charles, however, remains the entitled rich (white) man who is there to teach everyone the right way: his way. Charles helps Erik see who he is, but for some reason, the intimacy of Erik’s shared memories doesn’t seem to affect Charles beyond simple facts. He cares for Erik and wants to help him be a better person, which Erik, broken from years of abuse by the only father figure he knows, surely needs, but none of that intimacy seems to change Charles.

As a teenager reading X-Men comics, I thought that Charles Xavier was a great man, someone who helped people reach their potential, which he does, but I left this film with a stronger sense of his naïveté, that his rich-boy sense of entitlement imbued him with the desire to bestow his wisdom on those not as intelligent as he is. Don’t get me wrong, he clearly helps people, but I don’t think it’s based on much more than a mutant version of the White Man’s Burden.

The interaction of Erik and Sebastian Shaw is substantially different from the comic book canon, but interesting nevertheless. Shaw becomes Erik’s father figure, albeit an abusive father figure, but he shapes Erik into the powerful mutant he becomes as an adult. This is never so clear as during their final confrontation, where Erik can’t even meet Shaw’s eyes after Shaw has devastated him in battle. Every time Erik meets Shaw as an adult, his body language shifts entirely; the confident, leather-jacketed, Nazi-killer becomes a scared teenager, afraid of being beaten. Only after killing his tormenter (in one of the Most Fantastic Revenge Scenes Ever!) does Erik really come into his own. It’s all very Freudian. He even refers to his mother during their confrontation. Only after killing his father figure does Erik grow up and become Magneto. His comportment is completely different afterward. He’s even able to confront Charles about his true motivations: no more hiding.

Given the wealth of civil rights battles available to the writers, the audience can read into the plot anything they want. We can see this film as the story of the first class of X-Men, and on the surface, it certainly is, but Magneto is a character of so much subtlety and charisma that he takes over whatever story he’s in, like Wolverine, and I see this movie as his creation myth. It’s like when you realize that Star Wars isn’t the story of Luke Skywalker, but Darth Vader. At the end of Episode III of Star Wars, when Darth Vader’s helmet snaps into place, I got a hitch in my chest, despite the sheer stupidity of the rest of the film. With that click, you see the future of Star Wars and the lives of the next generation mapped out. When Magneto puts on his own helmet, created by Shaw to stymie telepaths, he goes over to his own dark side, literally separating himself from the only person who can ever really understand him. The tragedy is that, as represented here, Charles never did understand Erik, despite his knowledge, and perhaps on some level Erik realizes this, and has nothing to lose.

I found Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Magneto much more nuanced than that of Ian McKellan, who’s a great actor, but he was playing Magneto as a straight bad guy, no shades of grey, and Magneto is all greys.

James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier is lovely to see as a grad student who uses his power to pick up chicks, and it is interesting to see him draw his line against Erik without violence. We can see that he knows there will be no going back after he points out Erik’s own failing, but ethically, he has no choice.

Kevin Bacon has more fun in this film than anyone has a right too, and can now give ‘swagger’ lessons.

Jennifer Lawrence is pretty good as Raven/Mystique, and I understand she’s a fine actress, but maybe it’s just because she has way more lines than Rebecca Romijn.

Emma Frost is underused, but I think that January Jones was inspired casting. If nothing else she’s got an extraordinarily disarming smile.

Everyone else does Just Fine, and it’s a very good film, but I believe that without Michael Fassbender anchoring the movie with his remarkable depiction of Magneto, it would not be half as good. Well, maybe it would be 75% as good, but no more! He’s one of my new favourites.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:41 am

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

X-Men First Class Movie Review

Posted by Brieanna Brock in Review
Comic Booked’s own Jeremy Colwill reviews X-men: First Class!

I just got back from seeing X-Men: First Class and all I can tell you right now is that it was worth the wait.

After two critical failures from X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine: Origins many fans and critics, including myself, were a little hesitant in jumping aboard to a new X-Men movie. I had my doubts that they could do anything to rebound from those two disasters and come up with something watchable.

Matthew Vaughn didn’t disappoint in his vision of the beginnings of the X-Men. As far as prequels go, this ranks up there with some of the best. With James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender leading the cast, it was a slam dunk when it came to their performances. Matthew Vaughn known for (Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass) was the perfect choice for revitalizing a somewhat critically dead series. Rounding out the cast are Rose Byrne, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon. There are a few surprise cameos in the film as well that harken back to the original X-Men films.

The film centers around the relationship between Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). It follows them as they discover their special abilities and learn how to control them. Along the way they meet people that will shape them into the men that they are known today. Watching these two on screen was a joy and probably was one of the best things about this movie. Having them struggle with competing ideals was interesting and they had some incredible dialogue together. The special effects and action scenes were up to par in my opinion, but I still go back to the meat of the story with Professor X and Magneto.

Unlike the previous X films, we got to know some of these mutants a little more. Dr. Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) plays a CIA Agent that introduces Xavier and Mystique to the CIA and inadvertently exposes mutants to the government. The story with Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) was a touching and informative piece of work centering on what is normal and accepting yourself for who you are.

Kevin Bacon plays Sebastion Shaw, leader of the Hellfire Club with his right hand Emma Frost (January Jones). Their story wasn’t that well written, but they were just there to set the tone and to be the antagonists for the main stars. It all ends with Professor Xavier and Magneto parting ways, knowing that they think at two different ends of the ideal spectrum.



While watching this movie, I began to think about what Magneto was saying and that humanity would never accept them. Sometimes people fear what they don’t understand. Professor X has always been an advocate for peace with mankind, while Magneto cannot fathom the thought of putting his trust in them. It all hearkens back for Magneto when his parents were put into a concentration camp in Poland. He has much disdain for people that persecute and murder others just because they are different.

As far as the movie goes, I found it to be quite entertaining. It had all the elements to make this a fantastic Marvel film and raises my hopes that they can continue this franchise if they stick with the same formula and fantastic writing.

I give this movie FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS.

-Jeremy Colwill
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:42 am

http://movieman32.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class
By movieman32

X-Men: First Class

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence; some sexuality including nudity
Rated ***1/2 (0 to 5 scale)

Once in a while movies have the ability to surprise me. X-Men: First Class, a prequel to the other X-Men, movies fits into category. You get some insight the into the characters Magneto (played here by Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and know their relationship didn’t start out as archenemies. This is a surprisingly as good origin story.

As we know from the other X-Men movies, Magneto spent some time in a concentration camp and saw his mother killed. I didn’t know Kevin Bacon was in it until this movie was released. He plays Sebastian Shaw who sold out to the Nazis and kept Magneto alive because of his superpowers. Shaw is revealed to have the power of not aging and the ability to absorb energy. Bacon is great at playing smarmy characters and this is no different. He reminded a little bit of Bond villain because of his aspirations of world domination. He wants to start WWIII (most of it takes place during the Cuban missile crisis) with Russia. January Jones (aka Better Draper on Madmen) plays his better half. Her name is Emma Frost, which suggests a Bond girl, and she even dresses like one with the skimpy outfits. Frost has psychic ability and can block other people’s thoughts.

I am getting ahead of myself here. A plot-line involves Magneto pursuing Shaw for the death of his mother. Another story line involves a federal agent (played by Rose Byrne who is everywhere these days) going after him as well. She stumbles upon these mutants (as some people call them). There is a brother sister relationship between Xavier and Raven (played by here winter’s Bone’s Jenifer Lawrence) which is endearing. They search for other people like them and they are worried about what the world will think of them.

My biggest problem with first X-Men movie was it spent first half of the movie introducing its characters. That is often a flaw with this genre. It can come off as little busy and boring. This film doesn’t fall into that trap and you actually find yourself caring everyone involved. Again, my only real complaint is the proceedings go on a little too long and drag at times.

One issue First Class creates a parallel to is gay rights. That could be the undercurrent of this whole film series. The superheroes want to be out in the open regarding their powers and they hope the government will accept them. Their motto is “Mutant and proud!” which seems to suggest gay pride. One of the mutants creates a potential serum that could make them “normal” Maybe I am reading too much into the analogy but that is what I see.

Most comic book movies have a distinct good and distinct bad guy. These good guys go a little a beyond that making them into complex people. Magneto sees things in black and white, but film doesn’t see him that way. Like Doctor Ock in Spiderman 2, he didn’t start out that way. He is simply a victim of circumstance. Time in a concentration camp really had an effect on him and how he views other people. These nice plot touches make this film a cut above other superheroes films

This entry was posted on June 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:44 am

http://www.asbigo.com/movies/x-men-first-class-movie-review-2/

X-Men: First Class – Movie Review
Posted in Movies by asbigo

Powerful performances, a clever script, grand direction, and a tip nick expel infuses a uninformed exhale of life to the 11-year-ancient X-Men franchise! X-Men: First Class, the prequel to the X-Men movies, has all the right mixture for a super strike show. Who would have guessed Professor X would have been a lively, desirable man who flirted around a lot, in his youth, or that Mystique was in fact really most like a sister to Professor X prior to fasten hands with Magneto, and tops of all, Magneto and Professor X were as tighten as brothers when they were still famous as Erik Lehnsherr and Charles Xavier. The show not only showcases the origins of the X-Men, but also the perplexing and interwoven relations common by the executive characters. The show starts with how Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr get to know of their powers in resisting ways, the approach they grow up, know their abilities, and learn to control them. Then the show goes on to show how they join army with the supervision to sentinel off a chief pyre during the cold fight period. There is not a singular dull moment, and the dialogues and repartees between the characters have been created awfully well. Some gems like “Concord was never an option”, and “Mutant and Proud!”, sojourn in the viewers mind even good after withdrawal the theatre.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender do finish probity to their roles as Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr correspondingly. Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, the sinful scientist who heads the hellfire bar which seeks to end the quadruped race, is menacing. Director Matthew Vaughn has ensured that the spectator gets to feel the rage in Erik’s eyes, and the care in Xavier’s voice, on a personal level. The risque exegesis and non-stop movement keeps the viewers riveted to their seats. X-Men: First Class answers all questions that a chairman would have had after examination the progressing X-Men movies, and it ensures that it is a ideal prequel in the clarity that it leaves no lax threads and establishes a plain height for the classification out of the X-Men universe. Head over to a entertainment nearby you and get to know all about how the X-Men came to be. This is a film good value a watch.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:44 am

http://www.eatsleepgeek.com/review-xmen-class-cause-school-session/

Review: X-Men: First Class, ‘Cause School is in Session
13th Jun, 2011 | No Comment | Posted in Featured Post, Geek Culture, Movies, Reviews
Posted by Dan X.

X Men First Class Magneto 2 9 11 kc Review: X Men: First Class, Cause School is in Session

Do you remember the cartoon show Denver the Last Dinosaur? I’ve been thinking about it for the past couple of days. It was a cartoon show from my childhood that I really enjoyed. It dealt with a blue dinosaur that would hang out with a group of kids while skate boarding, playing guitar and every once in a while letting them explore “the time of dinosaurs” by using a shell piece from a magical egg.

Now this has absolutely nothing to do with X-Men movie, but I thought it would be something nice to share. Out of all the teams in comic history, I feel that I really connected to the X-Men. There was something about how the characters were written and how they interacted with each other that just resonated with me. Not only were they a group of “like” individuals with super powers who got together to fought evil doers, the X-Men were more than that, they were a family.

This is where 20th Century Fox went wrong with the other X-Men films. They turned the X-Men films into a movie about Wolverine instead of having it be about the X-Men. Because of the backlash of the latest X-Men movie, 20th Century Fox went back to the drawing board. They wanted to make up for their mistakes and decided to tell the story of how it all started having you ignore the last one directed by Brett Ratner. First Class is the telling of how a young mutant by the name of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) gets together with a renegade mutant my the name of Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) to create a team to help stop a mad mutant Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) hell bend on the idea of wiping out the human race in exchange of a world dominated by mutants.

Wait? Isn’t this Magneto’s M.O.?

Well yes, Magneto’s big thing in the comics and the movies is to have mutants be the dominate race on the planet. But before Magneto’s binge on world domination, X-Men: First Class made it out to be Sebastian Shaw. The down side to this, is that it plays the same song and dance as the first X-Men movie did. X-Men: First Class makes Shaw so much like Magneto that at times I felt as if they should have just used Magneto but if that was the case, then they couldn’t do a love story between Magneto and Professor X.

Love Story? Ummm….what kind of movie is this?

Yes, X-Men: First Class is a love story, but not a love story in that kind of way. The love story here is the love of two friends. The result out of this friendship is the group as we know it now as the X-Men. This is what brings me back to my original statement of X-Men being more like a family than some silly team. No matter how much they messed up on some of the characters in the film, I felt that Matthew Vaughn (director) brought the essence of what the X-Men are all about.

Be sure when you go out to catch this flick, try and spot cameo of characters, see how many other X-Men mutants are flashed in front of your eyes. I’m sure for most of you, you’ll enjoy one character in particular.

Cheers.

ANGELO Review: X Men: First Class, Cause School is in Session

4/5
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:46 am

http://tj-teejay.livejournal.com/81160.html

13 June 2011 @ 11:02 pm
X-Men: First Class and The Glades
So I went to see the new X-Men movie on Sunday. And I liked it surprisingly well. I didn't really expect much, especially since I knew none of the main actors. Except maybe for Kevin Bacon, but I gotta admit that I wasn't even aware of the fact he was gonna be in this until I saw his face flicker across the screen.

I'm not gonna write a long, elaborate review, but I will say that I very much enjoyed all those aha-moments where things are explained that you see in the first three movies. (And, no, I've never read the comics.) I had a little, silent squee moment during Hugh Jackman's cameo and another completely geeky squee moment when I saw Brendan Fehr. I mean, his role was tiny. He barely had two lines. Still, the Roswell fan in me was very excited. Also, Oliver Platt! Okay, I didn't squee there, but I love watching something and finding it's riddled with familiar faces that I didn't even know about.

The one negative thing I have to say is: The German language parts. I mean, come on! Why does Hollywood try to keep selling us Americans for Germans? The American accent is a dead giveaway to any German watching this without dubbing. And it just makes the whole thing seem totally fake and ridiculous. Why can't they cast proper Germans who speak German without an accent? Yes, of course I get how that would have been difficult for the role that Kevin Bacon ended up playing. I'm gonna give him credit for trying very hard to make his German sound as accent-free as possible. He did a decent job, but I'll tell you: The whole theater watching this with me was riddled with Germans, and they all snickered when Bacon started speaking German. I'm not surprised, though, that Michael Fassbender spoke excellent German, seeing how he has a German father. That part, at least, was very belieable. And they're gonna get credit for casting a few real Germans later on in that bar scene in Argentina.

So, yeah, overall the latest X-Men installment gets a thumbs up from me.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:47 am

http://nerdvice.com/2011/06/13/x-men-first-class-through-the-eyes-of-an-x-men-purist/

“First Class” Through the Eyes of an X-Men Purist
By
ChrisX
– June 13, 2011

I’m writing this just an hour or so after I walked out of the theater. Since then I’ve gotten food at Taco Bell and watched 15 minutes of an episode of How I Met Your Mother. My point is that the whole movie is still pretty fresh on my mind, something you, the reader, wants in a review. Also, I am going to do my very best not to spoil anything. So, without further ado, let’s get right onto the review.

The Movie Itself

The highest point of this movie was the acting. It was superb in every ounce of the word. I must give a particular shout out to the leads, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. James McAvoy brought a youthful steak to the usually serious Professor, while Fassbender perfectly captured the rage and angst that would eventually create one of the Comic book world’s best villains.

The two of them played tremendously off of each other and nailed the close yet uneasy friendship that the two have had for all these years in the comics. I was honestly amazed that the two of them captured the relationship the way Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen did.

Haven't I seen this scene before?Regardless, it is still awesome.

The last movie I can remember Kevin Bacon being in was the vaguely watchable Punisher rip-off, Death Sentence. I was worried about his career but he managed to come back in X-Men: First Class with a vengeance, absolutely nailed the head of the Hellfire Club, Sebastian Shaw. January Jones actually managed to not f&#! up the sexy bitchiness of Emma Frost. The rest of the cast was excellent. The only notable exception was Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert; her acting was just seemed force and kind of fake.

The action and effects on the different mutants’ powers was top notch. Magneto’s powers were taken to new heights and they actually managed to make Banshee’s “Supersonic Flight” look pretty awesome. Darwin’s adaptability was very cool to see on screen and Mystique was the same as she’s been in the rest of the film series.

Finally, I have to applaud the writers for their choice to set the film in the 1960s. That was absolutely genius. This movie could have simply been set in Modern day times and ignore that there were any other X-men films (although in my mind, there were only three before First Class). But instead, they created a slick comic movie that had a little bit of a James Bond feel complete with Men in Black, the threat of Nuclear War, and a lot of subtitles to read.

In Relation to the Comics

Take a guess where the X in my name comes from. When it comes to comic books, the X-men are the comics I live and die by. An issue of Uncanny X-men was my very first comic. Since then, I’ve followed and studied X-men more extensively than any other series. So am I critical when it comes to the movies? Yes. I was not a fan of X3 and I am still trying to make the Wolverine movie not exist. So what did I think of First Class?

If you’re expecting to me to start off with how “Cyclops, Jean, Angel, Beast, and Iceman were the first class and only Beast was in it!” you’d be wrong. I understand the movie verse has already used those characters and made it impossible for them to be around in the Sixties aside from a much younger, non-Kelsey Grammar version of Beast. But X-men: First Class chose their characters tastefully instead of doing the mutant mash up two ton cluster f&#! that was X-men Origins: Wolverine

I think my message of hate for this moving is getting across.

They went for big characters and small characters to fill the cast. Along with Professor X and Magneto, the biggest characters to get from the comics to this movie were Mystique, Banshee, Beast, and Havok. Filling out the cast was a much smaller group of characters.

I thought the addition of Darwin, a newer character with X-Factor, was a brilliant idea. While I was a bit apprehensive at the addition of Azazel to the cast, he actually ended up winning me over. The only minor character inclusion that confused me was Angel Salvadore (not to be confused with Warren Worthing III from the First Class of X-men). The Angel in this movie is based on a minor character in Grant Morrison’s run on X-men that is only famous for mating with Beak and then later being depowered. Could we have had more notable X-character like Husk, Surge, or Mercury?

On the left: Angel's mate. Who was also in the Wolverine movie. Without a beak or any bird features. Played by Charlie Pace. With Electricity powers. I am done bitching about that movie, I swear.

Also, I need to throw this in somewhere because it bugged the hell out of me. Charles Xavier is the most powerful telepath in the X-men universe. Therefore, he does NOT f#%@#&! NEED to put two fingers to his temple every f#%@#&! time he uses his power. Just had to get that bit of nerdrage out.

But honestly, if this is my biggest problem with the movie, then it deserves a damn Oscar.

In conclusion:

I give this movie a solid 8.5 out of 10. And yes, this is the normal scale where 10 is super awesome and 1 is Mel Gibson’s The Beaver.

Definitely go see it and enjoy. It’s a good length of time so you are getting your money’s worth. They’re talking about sequels already and I pray they’re not run terribly into the ground this time around. Also, be on the watch out for two very awesome cameos. One final note, you know how every Marvel movie has something after the credits that you always clench your bladder to see? This one doesn’t, go ahead and go to the bathroom.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:48 am

http://cinemanerdz.com/reviews/movie-review-x-men-first-class/970

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class
June 13, 2011
Written by Mike Tyrkus

The X-Men franchise which, with the inclusion of X-Men: First Class, now boasts five films, started off well with Bryan Singer’s series-launching entries X-Men (2000) and X2 (2003). Then faltered, at least creatively as the box office didn’t seem to suffer, with the third film in the series, X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), and the franchise’s first spin-off, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). Now, the series is finally back on solid footing with its latest offering, a reboot of sorts – X-Men: First Class. In what is beginning to look like the summer of the superhero film (remember, still to come are Green Lantern and Captain America: The First Avenger), it is with a big, stupid fanboy grin that I report X-Men: First Class builds on the momentum established by the season’s first successful superhero, Thor, and delivers another solid, entertaining, and thoroughly satisfying comic book movie.

X-Men: First Class begins exactly as Singer’s X-Men (2000) did, in occupied Poland in 1944. There we are introduced to young Erik Lehnsherr (Bill Milner) as he is separated from his parents by the Nazis. Erik is then handed over to scientist Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), whose sadistic behavior towards Erik will ultimately shape his future persona as Magneto. Meanwhile, a young Charles Xavier (Laurence Belcher) is living a seemingly idyllic life in his family mansion (although the conspicuous absence of his parents suggests his childhood is not going as smoothly as he would hope either). The film then jumps to 1962, where Charles (now played with a profound sense of righteousness by James McAvoy) is graduating from Oxford University after publishing a thesis on mutation. This brings him to the attention of CIA agent Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne) who, after a harrowing run-in with the apparently forever youthful Shaw and his mutant cohorts Emma Frost (January Jones), Riptide (Álex González), and Azazel (Jason Flemyng), is looking to bring an expert on mutation into the fold. At the same time, Erik (now played with gutsy bravado by Michael Fassbender) is hunting down and killing former Nazis hell bent on murdering Shaw. Of course the CIA is initially frightened of the potential power of the newly identified mutants, but one CIA higher up (Oliver Platt) sees their potential and wants to create a team of mutants to serve the CIA. After Erik and Charles meet and agree to take down Shaw together, the begin recruiting mutants to form the first class of X-Men. These include, in no particular order: Charles Xavier’s longtime friend Raven (aka Mystique – played by Jennifer Lawrence), Angel (Zoë Kravitz), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Darwin (Edi Gathegi), Havok (Lucas Till), and CIA scientist Beast (Nicholas Hoult). The team then sets out to stop Shaw’s nefarious plans to bring about mutant domination via the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Despite what may seem like a confusing and frighteningly comic-book nerd-friendly plot, X-Men: First Class is an absolute blast. The cast is excellent and are completely at ease with their superhero personas (Fassbender and Bacon are particular standouts). Director Matthew Vaughn keeps things moving at such a brisk and entertaining pace that you’ll easily forget that you’re essentially watching the first film all over again. While on first glance, X-Men: First Class may seem like a prequel to the other films in the franchise (apart from the Wolverine film, of course, which just bounces all over the place), the new film really plays more like a reboot of the X-Men franchise. After all, those first couple films were made over a decade ago. They’re already doing reboots of the Spider-Man franchise and it worked out pretty well for Batman, so why not the X-Men too?

Now if you insist on forcing First Class into the existing X-Men time line, you may find enough conundrums and continuity problems between it and the other films in the series (even if you assume that the third and fourth films never happened – believe me, a lot of us do) to make you wish you had Magneto’s helmet to block them all. That’s where the whole logic of looking at the film as a reboot comes in. A friend of mine pointed out that we’ve already seen the top characters the comic has to offer and that First Class may have been just a little desperate for mutants when it put fringe characters like Darwin center stage. But, that’s only true if you try to place First Class within the context of the other films. That’s not to say you can’t include them as part of the series, there are enough nods to earlier films to easily accomplish that (a couple of excellent cameos that I won’t spoil here go a long way towards that). But, then you have to accept that all mutants age much more slowly than regular humans (okay, that could work) and that their memories are also a bit shoddy (like when Xavier says in X-Men that he and Magneto built Cerebro and in First Class it’s stated that Henry McCoy (aka Beast) built it and, if you factor in the actual storyline from the comics, it gets even more confusing). But that’s not the point is it?

No matter what, there will be something for devoted fans to argue about or justify. But, in the end, all that matters is X-Men: First Class is a flat out damn entertaining film. It’s a great superhero movie period, as well as a fitting reboot for such a fantastic property as the X-Men.
RATING: THREE AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE

Release Date: June 3rd, 2011
Rating: PG-13

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Jason Flemyng, Zoë Kravitz, Caleb Landry Jones, Edi Gathegi, Bill Milner, Laurence Belcher, Álex González, and Lucas Till
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:50 am

http://onemoreturn.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/the-square-the-coburg-bar-devigne-bar-hunter-486-x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class

To end the day, we hopped on the Circle Line to Vue Westfield and to the cinema contained therein. This time we have tickets to an “Xtreme” showing, which is the finest approximation of IMAX quality I’ve yet seen, although to give IMAX credit where credit is due, the two theatres are miles apart in image size, visual and audio quality. I will say it is worth paying the extra for the bigger screen. It also helped that this picture was in 2D, without the horrific colour wash-out that seems to be the hallmark of the 3D movement.

As for X-Men: First Class, it’s a mixed bag. I can’t say that it starts well and ends poorly, or vice versa. It’s not that clear-cut. There are plenty of fantastic scenes—action-packed, epic, contemplative, character-driven, emotional—that hold it together, and I was thoroughly entertained for the duration. And as in Thor, some clever humour is frequent and well placed to break up the seriousness of the story. This is, after all, a tale of the origins of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr; Professor X and Magneto. Both pillars of comic book history, both archetypes, one an idealist and the other driven by passion and political realism. The fiction deserves to be treated properly, and as a fan I emerged from the cinema satisfied that it had been.

But there are some very weakly played (or poorly written – I can never really tell which it is) parts. Some characters, I felt, were entirely redundant—simply there to fill out fight scenes. And an unsettling amount of cheese—excessive even by superhero film standards—cannot be overlooked. The placement of Michael Ironside (of Total Recall fame) as a United States navy commander in the final action sequence in particular, was beyond ridiculous, and I found the symmetry of several climactic scenes a little too perfect. At times this old world of the X-Men felt unreal; a weird hybrid of thoughtful exploration of personal themes and truly wacky montages.

I will say as an aside that if, like me, you loved Ian McKellan’s Magneto in Bryan Singer’s films, you will no doubt appreciate Michael Fassbender’s carrying of the torch. I also delighted in MacAvoy’s young Xavier, chatting up Oxford undergraduates in bars with practiced lines about genetics. I can imagine a parallel universe’s version of First Class consisting entirely of these two playing chess, fencing, sipping whisky and debating the future of mutant-kind. The possibility that such a universe exists is perhaps the most compelling reason for physicists to unlock the secrets of inter-dimensional travel.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:50 am

http://nerdzerkerpodcast.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/spillover-rage-2/

Spillover Rage #2
By cyraknoss

Our latest Nerdzerker recording, Episode 10, had us discussing X-men first class. As is always the cause of a Spillover Rage segment in the course of recording we forgot to talk about something. Specifically that something today is January Jones. I know we name dropped her for all of a second but we did not give her the time she was due.

January Jones, where do I even start on this one? How about the obvious, the name elicits thoughts of pornstars. Seriously who didn’t go there first? Yet, in spite of the name, her previous acting gigs, and even her good looks, January Jones managed to make women in their underwear terribly boring. This effect even extends beyond herself, as there is a scene with a whole cavalcade of scantily clad extras that is copmletely boring until Jones leaves the screen and we’re left with Rose Byrne. Byrne’s scene in her underwear is at least mildly interesting.

In the podcast I mention how bored Kevin Bacon appears with his role, honestly though I think I preferred that over the soulless card board cut out performance given by January Jones. Every scene she shows up in is dragged into the dirt, even with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender doing their damndest to keep it interesting.

Perhaps she was simply uncomfortable in the role and will do better, but I am one X-men fan who’s hoping January Jones as Emma Frost is inexplicably (and thankfully) absent from any and all sequels.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:52 am

http://jennybeam.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/istanbul-twists-massages-and-mcavoy/

After the relaxing massage, what better way to end the day than to have a gander at James McAvoy on the big screen? I swear, the man is so sexy!

Anyway, X-Men First Class is a very enjoyable film to watch. I love James, but I have to say, Michael Fassbender as Magneto stole the show. I enjoyed the movie. It was so worth the fast walk from Shangri-la to Megamall just so we can catch the 7:oo screening. We weren’t able to make it to the 6:40 screening at Shangri-la. My friend suggested that we just watch some other movie, but I threw a tantrum, stomping my feet and pulling my hair while screaming “I want to see JAMES!”. I kid, I kid. But that was what’s happening inside my head when I calmly suggested that we just watch X-Men at Megamall. Heh. Good thing she agreed. Razz

It was a fun day all in all. I need to get out more, but hopefully without spending too much money. Any suggestions?
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:57 am

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

X-Men: First Class

June 13, 2011

So last weekend, when X-Men: First Class came out, I went to the midnight showing Friday night with a couple of friends to see the movie.

I have to say, after the severe disappointment of X-Men: Last Stand and the Wolverine movie, I wasn’t sure whether I should get my hopes up for this one. The trailers looked good, no doubt about that. But then, so did the trailers for Wolverine. Trailers can be misleading.

However, I am happy to say that X-Men: First Class was not only not disappointing, it was actually really good. The characters, some of whom we’ve seen before and some we have not, had depth. There weren’t so many characters involved that the story got bogged down in trying to keep track of them all, but there were enough to show the world of the X-Men and how they get started.

Our two main characters were Charles Xavier, played by James McAvoy, and Erik Lehnsherr, played by Michael Fassbender. James McAvoy brought a very interesting twist to the class Professor X character we’re used to seeing Patrick Stewart portraying. Xavier was a recent graduate of college, a young man with a huge interest in genetics and a bit of a party-boy side to him. Despite being a huge flirt in the bar, James McAvoy is the character who grows up in order to aid others in their growth. He essentially is the Guide for the other characters.


Erik, on the other hand, is a character with a haunting past who is still tormented by it as an adult as he tries to hunt down the man responsible for all his pain. Michael Fassbender played the man who would become Magneto with so much intensity that he really stole the show from everyone else. His struggle between his vengeance and doing the right thing is heart-breaking, especially as he learns that this very struggle is what’s keeping him from harnessing the full potential of his powers.

Xavier’s best friend, and secret admirer, is a young woman named Raven, who most of us know as the elusive Mystique. To Xavier, Raven is like a sister. But Raven wants to be more than his sister, even asking if he would date her in her true form. Raven is the mutant struggling the most out of all of them. She can hide who she is, but she doesn’t like that she has to. As the movie progresses, her desire to simply be herself becomes much stronger, so much so that she eventually sides with the one person who doesn’t want her to hide.

The main villain is Sebastian Shaw, played by Kevin Bacon. Unless you are already familiar with the comics, the movie manages to surprise you by revealing that Shaw is an extremely powerful mutant who can absorb and transform energy. That makes him rather hard to kill, and ups the stakes as you sit there wondering how in the hell our heroes are going to defeat this guy. He also carries a hand in Erik’s tormented past, which makes the whole fight personal for both of them.


There are several other characters that we are introduced to as well, including Hank McCoy AKA Beast, a young scientist with a mutation that also must be hidden, Emma Frost, a woman who can turn into solid diamond, Banshee, Darwin, Havok, Azazel, and Angel Salvadore. The movie does a fantastic job of showing their struggle to control their powers as well as themselves. They help each other, they work together, they protect each other. The movie really is about the mutant accepting not only each other, but accepting themselves as who they are. They become not only a team, but a family. The first X-Men.

This is definitely the best X-Men movie to come out in a while. There is depth and emotion in this movie that is very much absent in earlier films. But it’s not just the depth of the story that makes it good. There is humor and a lot of really fun references to things that happen to the characters later on. For instance, shortly after Charles officially becomes an Professor at his school for mutant, he says jokingly to his friend Moira MacTaggert “I suppose I am a professor now, aren’t I? Next thing you know I’ll be going bald.” The subtle references such as this only add to this movie and make it just that much better.

I definitely enjoyed this film and if you are a fan of X-Men then you definitely will too. If you’ve already seen it, please let me know what you thought in the comments.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:03 am

http://thenatfactor.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class
In Movies on June 14, 2011 at 12:21 am

Hi guys, I am so sorry for the lack of updates. As promised, here is my review, but it’s been awhile since I watched it (and I watched several other movies after that), so I’m going to put down whatever I can remember.

So… what did I think of ‘X-Men: First Class’?

First class indeed. I have never been an X-Men fan, but I was sold when I watched ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine.’ After watching this ‘X-Men: First Class’, it’s sealed. Done. I am so into X-Men now.

When I first heard that this movie was coming out, I thought “Uh oh, is it going to be a flop? Who on earth can play and HOLD the characters of Professor X and Magneto except for Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen?”

Well, here you go.

Both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were brilliant in their roles. In my opinion, they nailed it. Totally.

Because of them, plus good script and overall neat direction of course, this movie is a must-watch.

Some of my friends didn’t really get the story, because they have not watched any of the previous X-Men. In my opinion, you don’t have to have watched any of those to enjoy this (because I for one didn’t), but you do have to at least know what X-Men is about – basically, mutants versus mutants versus some humans. There are several notable characters in the X-Men comics and movie franchise, including Wolverine, but the two main ones are Professor X and Magneto.

With this in mind, ‘X-Men: First Class’ will tell you how it all began – how Professor X and Magneto became such close brothers. And how they were eventually driven apart.

In fact, after watching this, you might find yourself wanting to have an X-Men marathon and catch up on the previous X-Men movies!

p/s: look out for a special guest appearance. Smile
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:04 am

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

The First (and Best) Class
Jun 13, 2011

This review of X-Men: First Class is somewhat delayed…but then again, a week on the beaches in Kauai tends to derail much creative energy. Check out my conversation with Tony about one of the best superhero films of all time and one of the more entertaining films of the year after the jump.

X-Men: First Class tells the story of the origin of the X-Men, but not the ones (Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, etc.) with which many of you are most likely familiar. The film traces the emergence of Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) and Professor X/Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) as leading mutants who have drastically different upbringings. The former, a victim of the Nazi concentration camps, experienced extreme torture at the hands of their scientists, specifically Schmidt (Kevin Bacon), who were attempting to perfect the human race. The latter, was a child of wealth and privilege who had a mutant adopted sister and attended Oxford University. The two develop a friendship when an evil mutant, Schmidt-turned-Shaw, and his colleagues, Azazel (Jason Flemyng) and Emma Frost (January Jones), attempt to exterminate non-mutants and create a new world order. Yet Magneto still retains his distrust of humans and the film concludes with mutant “battle” lines drawn between him and Professor X that set the stage for the X-Men movies already in existence. Not only is the film entertaining, well-acted, and frequently funny, there are some important themes for discussion in there as well.

Tony: As I shared via Facebook, I really think this is among the best superhero movies ever made. I normally tend to agree with the critics, but the reviews I’ve read so far on this one are too unkind. Michael Fassbender as Magneto is incredible, and McAvoy as Xavier is very impressive as well. The young mutants are not nearly as well rounded, but they do a decent job in the time allowed with Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). My biggest complaint here is that they don’t develop why it is that Xavier is so compassionate and understanding. From a psychological perspective, his philosophy of “helping those who hate and fear them” is not a natural human response, but a rare exception that usually needs to be developed through mental and spiritual discipline.

Ryan: Tony, I totally agree with you on all fronts. The film, to me, benefitted first and foremost from near perfect performances from the leads. I had stayed away from most of the trailers, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when I saw Kevin Bacon on screen! Magneto’s development and “turn for the worst” is pretty self-explanatory. I agree with your critique of the lack of development of the Charles Xavier/Professor X characters. I think the filmmakers assume (and have us assume) that his charmed upbringing allowed him to be so magnanimous. Of course, we know too well that persons or characters with such backgrounds also turn out to be far more like Magneto than Professor X!

Tony: I also like what appears to be a social commentary on the stupidity of war. The US and USSR are played against each other like two lumbering oafs who only know how to solve their differences with violence. The parallel shots where each side is shown doing or saying the same thing attests to their unwitting collusion in nearly destroying the world in nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Ryan: I know critics have said this already, but I appreciate how the film blended comic book history with American history and wish more films like this would do the same. The banality of evil on display here is, again, nothing short of ludicrous. I was, in a way, reminded of Dr. Strangelove (of course they’re in completely different leagues). The X-Men version of American history benefits from a powerful third party that is able to step in and prevent destruction…even as a member of this third party attempts to escalate the tensions. I’m left wondering what those real-world parallels might be for us now? Who helps escalate or ease the violent cycles in which we often find ourselves ensnared?

Tony: Speaking of cycles, there’s also a deeper moral lesson on the destructiveness of responding to violence with yet more violence, both broadly (between nations) and interpersonally. This is especially clear with Magneto’s history, particularly through the death of his mother and his quest for revenge against Schmidt (later Shaw), which simultaneously consumes him and turns him into a generally vicious person. Xavier, always the cooler head, tells him that killing Shaw will not bring him peace. Magneto’s refusal to listen to this wisdom inadvertently leads to the wound that paralyzes Xavier, his best friend.

Ryan: This is one of the narrative’s strong points as it shows us that our obsession with violent revenge not only consumes the individual and the “enemy” but destroys our friends and allies as well. Magneto’s assertion that “peace was never an option” had me questioning whether or not, among many of our world leaders and war profiteers (obviously), peace, indeed, is ever an option. Has war become so ingrained in the human experience that we struggle to make meaning without it?

Tony: At the same time, the film does not present the preferred position of peace and nonviolence without ambiguity, however. After the Americans and Soviets turn their weapons away from each other and toward the mutants, we see that Magneto was right about Xavier’s naivete regarding humans. Repaying violence with violence is not the answer, but neither is it viable to think that non-mutants will integrate mutants into society willingly and without conflict. On this point the film takes a thoroughly realist approach without giving us all of the answers about how exactly to respond. This, of course, is one of the chief conundrums of human interaction. To respond to oppression with violence historically breeds only more violence, but to respond to oppression by tolerating it passively only legitimizes the violence of the oppression itself. This difficulty has been at the heart of the X-Men franchise from the beginning.

Ryan: Violence and war and peace are certainly two of the major themes here, but let’s touch on another one in closing which also has rich spiritual, religious, and theological themes. What did you make of the intense attention to acceptance and individuality (mutanthood)?

Tony: This is chiefly Mystique’s conundrum, where for most of the film she covers up her natural blue skin with the white skin and blonde hair of a normal human. At first she feels driven to do this in order to be accepted in larger society, but Magneto in a few places tells her not to hide who she really is. The mantra “mutant and proud” is spoken in a few different places, and eventually Mystique adopts it as her own and joins Magneto. This lesson of self-acceptance is not learned by Beast, who, in order to pass as normal, takes a serum which he thinks will shrink his enlarged ape-like feet. What happens instead is that he grows blue hair all over his body and becomes more cantankerous…a nice piece of poetic justice! Interestingly I think the film does a good job of not identifying mutants with any one oppressed group. In the earlier X-Men film trilogy, mutanthood was most often read as an analogy for homosexuality. Here, it is portrayed not only in those terms, but also in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and social class. On the other hand, this message of accepting oneself regardless of how the larger culture sees you is borderline cheesy.

Ryan: I agree. At the same time, I’m wondering if, in a comic book action-oriented film, themes such as this (or violence and war and peace) can be anything other than almost-trite or almost-cheesy. It would be interesting to see if some of our readers could list similar films where the writers/directors have transcended this. As you pointed out, I’m still glad they included this message, especially for younger viewers, who will most likely flock to the film. Any non-hate-filled message, no matter how trite, is fine by me…especially in a film this fun!

X-Men: First Class (132 mins.) is rated PG-13 and is in theaters everywhere.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:04 am

http://eric135.typepad.com/eric135/2011/06/x-men-first-class-the-killing.html

June 13, 2011
X-Men First Class; The Killing

Xmen We saw X-Men: First Class last week. For some reason, I was expecting Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in it, at least for a little bit, CGI altered to appear younger. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender did an excellent job portraying Dr. Xavier and Magneto as young men. Their acting and the dramatic building of their relationship couldn't have been done any better had Captain Picard and Gandalf done the parts themselves. I normally would have been turned off by all of the character development, but I was entertained. And Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw served as a believable bad guy to balance out the heroes.

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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:05 am

http://movieswithabe.com/2011/06/movie-with-abe-x-men-first-class.html

Monday, June 13, 2011
Movie with Abe: X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Released June 3, 2011

Rebooting superhero franchises, it seems, is all the rage these days. Two years ago, the world of “Star Trek” was redefined with young actors playing all the parts and a return to the beginning of the story. Batman and Superman both got jump-started again several years ago, and a new “Spider-Man” is coming up soon, as all of the other Marvel characters also get their own origin stories as the “Avengers” film looms ever closer. This new take on the X-Men throws away most of what filmgoers – and certainly fans of the original comic book series – know about the team of mutant heroes.

Starting fresh is paramount in “X-Men: First Class,” as the team of young misfits consists of entirely different members than were seen in the first movie version from 2000. It’s a bold, risky effort, and it doesn’t entirely pay off. While a return to the 1960s and an exploration of the friendship between a hair-sporting, walking Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr does read truer to the actual 1963 comic book debut, little about the other characters is familiar. Instead of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, and Angel, a not-yet-blue Beast is joined by Angel Salvadore (Tempest in the comic books – not just a female version of Warren Worthington), Darwin, Mystique, Banshee, and Havok. Those first two, as well as one of the major villains, didn’t even appear in the comic series until this past decade, and the others definitely weren’t around when the team was founded.

Like “Star Trek,” this film imagines a universe not too different from the one fans might be familiar with, changing just a few small events and relationships, keeping the broader picture the same. Yet building towards a recognizable ending with different blocks can feel disjointed, and that’s the case here. There are far too many references to Xavier’s eventual baldness, and plenty of other in-jokes – only a few of them truly clever – referencing what those who have seen the other films know to be true. This can’t be considered much of a departure if those involved are only half willing to break free.

Aside from those expectations set for this specific set of characters, the film doesn’t stand up entirely on its own. There are several moments of exciting action, but they come far too infrequently. The film’s brightest moments come when its young heroes learn and practice how to harness their abilities, evolving from innocent teenagers into mature and powerful adults. The rest of the time, however, these super-powered kids simply stand around and watch as others around them fall, helpless to do anything about it. Ideally, casting two of the most talented international actors of this generation as the leads is a smart idea, but James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, good as they usually are, can’t hold a candle to Shakespearean actors like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. In terms of both the actors and the film, the idea is the same: it can only be so satisfying to ride a bike with training wheels once you’ve experienced the real thing.

B-

Posted by Movies with Abe at 6/13/2011
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:07 am

http://www.spacecityrock.com/2011/06/13/x-men-first-class/

X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class

The short version is X-Men: First Class is an excellent return to form after several missteps, capturing everything that made the series great and jettisoning must of the unnecessary stuff. That’s all you really need to know, but if you need more, keep going.

The problem with prequels is a lot like the problem with sequels, in that you want to remind viewers that this new iteration is related to a previous story while at the same time charting your own course and not falling into the pit of simply repeating what audiences liked the first time around. Prequels have it even tougher, because their endpoint is already known, leaving filmmakers to try and find an unlikely route to get there in order to create suspense.

X-Men: First Class, then, is a shining example of how to chart that course without giving up anything in the process. After a brief trip to the mid-’40s to remind us of the vast differences in the upbringing of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) in cushy upstate New York and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) in a Nazi concentration camp, we’re off to the Jet Age of the 1960s, where grown-up Charles and Erik are about to be thrown together to stop the machinations of mutant mastermind Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).

Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass) and his screenwriters, including original series mastermind Bryan Singer (Superman Returns), have returned to what made the series work in the first place: the interaction of the characters between each other and the world they live in, and how that ultimately drives the plot. And they do that by getting rid of quite a bit which had worked before, but it’s not missed.

Considering how much the X-Men franchise has to date relied so heavily on Hugh Jackman and the Wolverine character in general as its centerpiece, some people could be justifiably concerned about a film without that character driving it. But it turns out sending him off on his own is the best thing that could’ve happened for the franchise.

Despite the best efforts of the various filmmakers involved in the series, including Singer himself, it’s always been a tough fit to squeeze the man-against-himself struggle of Wolverine into the societal discrimination allegory of the X-Men series. Without him, the filmmakers have been able to focus on what is really the heart of the story, the choice between how to deal with discrimination in the form of Xavier and Lensherr’s own relationship. Given its own space to breathe, the relationship is finally allowed to come to the fore the way it always should have, dramatizing the film’s central message with often-poignant tragedy.

Vaughn and his writers have envisaged Xavier and Lensherr as near opposites of one another and cast to suit, pitting soft-spoken McAvoy against the tall, growling menace of Fassbender. While the acting is all around excellent — in an X-Men film that is finally allowed to be a true ensemble — it’s Fassbender who holds things together, and McAvoy often comes off somewhat less in their shared scenes. Fassbender embodies the Magneto-to-be in a way that outshines even Ian McKellen. He is the best kind of villain figure, the one who’s motivations and actions you can completely understand, even if you don’t agree with him.

Submitted to the cruelest torments as a boy by Sebastian Shaw’s Nazi puppets as part of his own quest to find fellow mutants with whom to rule the Earth, adult Erik just wants one thing: revenge. Revenge against everyone who ever allowed those awful things to happen, revenge against the normal humans who are terrified of him, and ultimately revenge against Shaw himself.

In one of those fatal meetings that Vaughn wisely resists the urge to over-dramatize, Erik’s quest to find Shaw leads him to the depth of the slippery kingpin’s Hellfire Club at the same time that Xavier and his foster-sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) lead beautiful CIA Agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) to the same point. Though Erik could care less, MacTaggert and Xavier have discovered Shaw is at the heart of a plan to start a war between the USSR and America, let the two wipe each other out, and leave the planet to the mutants. A plan that rests on installing nuclear missiles in Cuba.

If some of that sounds historically familiar, it also reveals the other realization that makes First Class go. The filmmakers have planned “First Class” out less like a standard superhero fantasy (though there is plenty of that by the end) and more of a classic ’60s spy romp. Just that instead of gadgets, James Bond has super powers. The story zips along quickly from Geneva to Las Vegas to Oxford to Moscow, unraveling the secret world of mutants and the length of Shaw’s reach, with its fair share of spies, underground lairs, and submarines popping out of yachts. But with mind-reading and shape-shifting. And Bacon, as it turns, out makes a great villain, completely controlled and resisting any urges to chew up the scenery.

As to be expected from a good spy romp, First Class lives in ambiguity. While there are heroes, their relationships with the villains are complex and not entirely negative. The closer Erik gets to Shaw, the more he realizes how alike they are, and despite hating the fact, he accepts it. Mystique, his future right-hand woman, has grown up her whole life with Xavier and truly loves him, and it’s heartbreaking to watch him unknowingly drive her away as much as Magneto draws her in. Tragedy is the name of the prequel game here, and Vaughn takes full advantage of it.

At least, as full as he can. For all the good it does, First Class can’t seem to escape some of the franchise’s recurring weaknesses, which are the mutants themselves. Someone somewhere along the line decided long ago that what the X-Men movies were really about were people with superpowers using them, and that’s fair enough. That point of view has frequently been taken to absurd lengths, however, to the point where some of the installments have been burdened with nameless, faceless characters whose only point is to represent a character from the books who could be removed entirely from the film and not be missed. It’s a point of view which ruined The Last Stand, and the franchise still refuses to part with it.

Once Xavier and Erik realize what Shaw is up to, they begin to gather their own team, but outside of young Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), most of the teenagers they’ve gathered do nothing but serve as the grounding for the effects creating their powers. They get a few moments here and there to define themselves, but not much. They’re better off than Shaw’s henchmen, however, who do nothing but stand around and look menacing — all except for literal ice queen Emma Frost (January Jones), who is so wooden she’s the only one of the supporting characters you wish would just stand in the background.

That said, what First Class does, it does well, juggling drama and pathos with humor and fun. Despite the depths it plumbs and the complex character relationships that don’t always work out, much of it is just a fun ride. And when the first team of X-Men finally do don their classic blue and yellow suits and fly out to try and stop the Cuban missile crisis before it gets going, the effect is ultimately joyful in the way a summer adventure film should be.

After giving in to its worst instincts, the return of Singer and the addition of a director with a real eye for character and performance have created the shot in the arm the X-Men franchise really needed. Maybe one day they’ll let them remake The Last Stand.

Cast: James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier; Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr/Magneto; Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw; Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique; January Jones as Emma Frost; Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert; Nicholas Hoult as Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy/Beast; Zoë Kravitz as Angel Salvadore; Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy/Banshee; Lucas Till as Alex Summers/Havok; Edi Gathegi as Armando Muñoz/Darwin; Jason Flemyng as Azazel; Álex González as Janos Quested/Riptide; Oliver Platt as The Man in Black; Ray Wise as the Secretary of State; Michael Ironside as US Captain; Glenn Morshower as Colonel Hendry; Matt Craven as CIA Director McCone; James Remar as US General; Rade Serbedzija as Russian General.
(Marvel Entertainment -- http://marvel.com/; Dune Entertainment; Bad Hat Harry Productions -- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bad-Hat-Harry-Productions/168399709841136; The Donners' Company; 20th Century Fox -- http://www.foxmovies.com/; X-Men: First Class -- http://www.x-menfirstclassmovie.com/)

Review by Joshua Starnes. Review posted Monday, June 13th, 2011.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:07 am

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Comic Book Buddy Rotating Header Image
Movie Review: X-Men First Class
Jun 13th, 2011
by Jason.

I went so see X Men First Class this weekend and it blew me away. This is by far the best movie Marvel Comics has released. Even though I really liked Thor, X Men First Class is way better. Although I was unfamiliar with some of the characters and the early X Men storyline. The way they introduced everyone and told the story was really well done. Michael Fassbender who played the great Magneto did a phenomenal job. He kind of reminded me of a Daniel Craig/James Bond type being both ruthless and like able. Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw was a great choice by the casting team. He did such a great job when I left I had the mindset to go home and watch more of his movies as they are all good ones. The special effects in this movie were top notch and the fight scenes are on the same level as any Jet Li film. The short cameo by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine made great use of the only F-Bomb this rated PG 13 movie could have in it. In short if you only see one movie this summer go see Green Lantern however if you see two go see X-Men First Class.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:08 am

http://clashofcultures.typepad.com/clash-of-cultures/2011/06/here-comes-summer-comic-book-movies.html

Jun 13, 2011
Here comes summer: Comic Book Movies

I am a nerd in a lot of ways. I'm socially awkward. I'd rather be inside with a book than outside enjoying the sunshine. I get obsessive about tv series, movies and podcasts. But one aspect of nerd-dom that has completely passed me by is comic books.

Maybe it's because when I was growing up, comics were still geared toward young boys. Maybe I'm more word-oriented than picture-oriented. Or maybe I just always thought it was a bit of a rip-off to pay the price of a book for something that amounted to one colorful chapter. Whatever the reason, I know little about the Marvel or DC universes or the new crop of darker 'graphic novels' that have come out in recent years. And yet, when summer rolls around, I'm just as excited as the next pimply skateboarder to see the latest comic book adaptation.

In truth, I'm probably easier to please than most fan-boys because I don't particularly care how close the movie sticks to the look or mythology of the original. I just want to be transported into another world with a good story and cool visuals. But for every "Spiderman" and "X-men", which I thoroughly enjoyed, there's a "Spiderman 3" or a "Wolverine" - overblown and undercooked sequels/prequels pushed into the theaters to tap into the goodwill of their built-in audiences that end up disappointing everyone (note to studio executives: nerds HATE to be insulted!)

Usually there follows some discussion about whether the comic book trend is over, or if it's time for a reboot and when summer rolls around again, a new crop of comic book movies are ready to head into theaters. So last week I celebrated June by going to see two movies that I'd been hearing good things about: "Thor" and "X-men:First Class".

First up: "Thor". This is a movie that got fairly good reviews, at least among critics I trust (including my Mom) and I was excited to see a film character entirely new to me. Plus, it's directed by Kenneth Branagh and co-stars Natalie Portman, so I figured it must be a somewhat 'classy' adaptation. I also admired the decision to go with a relative newcomer, Chris Hemsworth, who certainly looks the part, and actually manages to be somewhat believable as an alien/superhero who's power is basically that he can hammer really, really hard.

Actually, I have to give props to all the actors, especially Tom Hiddleston as Thor's "mischievous" brother Loki, who fully commit to movie's wacky sci-fi mythology and try to make you actually care about what's going on. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of there there. The plot, such as it is, involves Thor getting sent to Earth as punishment for having a super-sized ego, where he must prove himself worthy of his hammer (I kid you not) & foil a plot by other aliens to invade his homeworld.

This is a movie entirely built around massive CGI-enhanced sets, over-the-top special effects with little to no character development of either the aliens or the humans. Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings are pretty wasted in "the girl" and "the sidekick" roles and worse still, Idris Elba is criminally underused as some kind of mystical toll bridge operator who is not only completely clothed the whole time, but wears a helmet that covers most of his face!...At least there's that shirtless Thor scene where Hemsworth shows off his arms, the only truly spectacular moment in the movie.

So on to"X-Men:First Class." As mentioned earlier, I was a fan of the first X-men and was happy to find the same look and ambience as that film. In fact, the opening sequence of the new one looks almost like a shot-for-shot remake of the opening of the earlier film, although it is then expanded to provide more backstory for the character who will become the villainous Magneto.

With the exceptions of January Jones and Kevin Bacon, who I found less than compelling villains, I thought the casting of X-M:FC was impressive. The ever-charming James McAvoy and - yes I'll say it - the magnetic Michael Fassbender both shine as fully-developed individuals who are also convincing as younger versions of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan from the original "X-men". The film also does a good job of weaving its three main narrative threads - the formation of the X-men team, the escalating Russian-American nuclear threat, and Magneto's search for revenge on the Nazi who killed his mother - into one well-balanced and suspenseful plot.

This is a film that knows how to use its special effects in the service of the storyline, not as a replacement for one, and doesn't forget that human emotion is just as important as blowing s$#! up. (It also contains the germ of what would be an amazing prequel to the prequel: Michael Fassbender: Nazi Hunter. Who wouldn't pay to see that?)

Watching this movie actually made me want to delve into the X-men comic book series to learn more about its universe, which I suppose is the most any adaptation could hope for. So overall, despite my disappointment in "Thor," I will still be in line to see next summer's "Avengers" movie to see if it lives up to the hype. What are your favorite comic book movies? Are there any comics/graphic novels series you would recommend? And why can't James McAvoy be my boyfriend?
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:09 am

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Big Movie Day: X-Men First Class review
Written by myBIGearth.com | June 13, 2011

X Men First Class The Gangs All Here 19 1 11 kc 300x187 Big Movie Day: X Men First Class review entertainmentI’ve been a fan of director Matthew Vaughn since LAYER CAKE, which also made me take serious notice of Daniel Craig before his 007 days. His work behind the camera on that film and on KICK-ASS solidified him in my mind as a competent and visionary director, and someone who understands storytelling and action in admirable ways. When he became attached to X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, I was initially pleased, then eventually nervous upon realizing he had been given a breakneck schedule with which to complete the project. 20th Century Fox set the June 3rd release date giving Vaughn mere months to put together a highly-ambitious superhero origin story utilizing mutliple characters in a period setting. Many directors of his level would have cracked under the pressure, but he took the challenge, and in this day of comic book movies ruling theaters, he’s turned in a rather impressive feature that looks neither rushed nor sloppy. The only question now is whether or not X-MEN fans will take to the throwback tale, especially without any big name stars to sell the product.

The story opens very much the way Bryan Singer’s first X-MEN film did, showing a young Erik Lehnsherr being led by Nazi soldiers through a concentration camp during World War II, getting separated from his parents, and lashing out in anger by using his metal-controlling powers. Erik is then given a private meeting with a Nazi scientist (Kevin Bacon) who tries to help him hone his mysterious ability. Through a series of tragic events, the young boy begins to see the scope of what he can do. Elsewhere, a telepathic adolescent Charles Xavier meets a strange girl in his house who has shape-shifting powers, allowing her to take on any form she chooses. Her name is Raven (soon to be called Mystique), and the two take comfort in each other’s unusual abilities. Cut to the early 1960?s and Erik (Michael Fassbender) is now older and filled with thoughts of revenge, relentlessly pursuing the Nazi scientist (now going by the name Sebastian Shaw) who ruined his life. Charles (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) find themselves assisting the U.S. government and their liason Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) in thwarting Shaw’s mysterious but nefarious plans to start a war between the U.S. and the Russians. During a mission to get closer to Shaw, Charles meets up with Erik, and the two become unlikely friends. Together, they find themselves seeking out other “mutants” to help in their cause, eventually forming a team of superpowered youngsters. With the help of his own mutants Emma Frost (January Jones), Azazel (Jason Flemyng) and Riptide (Álex González), Shaw is using both U.S. and Russian military figures against their will to speed up his plans, and Xavier’s mutants may be outmatched before they even get started.

Certain comic book movies give us what I like to call “glory moments”, in which we see classic scenarios or character traits realized on the big screen in ways you never thought you’d experience. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS is filled with these moments, probably more than any other film of its type. The period setting going up against the Cuban Missle Crisis of the John F. Kennedy era is ever so fitting for the team’s origin story. Nevermind the X-Men comic books originated in the 1960?s, this is just the perfect time period to realize some of these events, and show it to us in a way we’ve not seen before. The CIA are men in suits with crew cuts, and all the cars are vintage with shiny black finish. It’s like watching a biopic of the era and peppering in all these superpowered beings, and it’s awesome to behold. While much of the film and character qualities will be familiar to fans of the other X-films, the screenplay by Jane Goldman, Vaughn, Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller (from a story by Bryan Singer and Sheldon Turner) manages to stay fresh and interesting, and consistently shows us new and unexpected events. The cast does a terrific job making these characters believable and sympathetic. Jennifer Lawrence shines as a young Mystique, a role made famous in three pervious outings by Rebecca Romijn, and gives more depth to that character than we’ve ever seen before. James McAvoy is engaging and sincere as Charles Xavier, a man who sees the neverending potential for good in mutants, depsite the perceptions of normal humans against them. Fassbender is easily the most impressive as the vengeful Erik Lehnsherr, taking that character to the darkest of depths and showing just how easily his ultimately evil agenda was to arrive upon. Many of his scenes are incredibly violent and at times disturbing, giving that role an edge barely touched upon with Ian McKellan’s performance. All of the familiar characters are much more layered here, and it’s really entertaining seeing how they all came to be what we’d eventually know in the previous three films. Kevin Bacon has a lot of fun as Sebastian Shaw, a villain that’s seemingly un-killable. It’s nice to see him back in sizable role in a big popcorn movie like this, and you can see he’s making the most of it. January Jones is sadly wasted as Emma Frost, getting little to do other than display he unique powers from time to time. For much of the film she’s confined in a holding cell, so don’t expect to see more than a few mildly memorable scenes with the MAD MEN star. Rose Byrne does a good job as the somewhat motherly figure of the team, being the voice of reason and well-meaning operative. Among the other mutant roles, only Nicolas Hoult stands out with his wolfman-like storyline as Hank McCoy, the young scientist who at first rejects his traits, but ultimately becomes the most unusual-looking of the group. Zoe Kravitz, Caleb Landry Jones, Edi Gathegi, and Lucas Till get momentary scenes of wonder, but as one would expect with a large cast like this are only mildly used. If the franchise continues, I imagine most of them will have much more to do.

As a comic book movie, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS moves at a steady pace, never getting bogged down in its 2 hour and 10-minute runtime. It’s also easily the darkest and most violent of the franchise, featuring many scenes I found disturbing as an adult viewer, so beware if you’re taking your kids. Overall it’s really fun, and a strong reboot of sorts for the Marvel movie line, so we’ll see if things continue in this universe. I liken it to J.J. Abrams impressive re-imagining of the STAR TREK universe, showing us characters we all know and love, but giving it a much-needed update and modern day sensibility. It may not be the best comic book film Marvel has produced, but it is a solid entry, and light years better than the third X-MEN outing, which lost the spirit and integrity of the first two efforts by Bryan Singer. Perhaps having Singer on board as producer and story developer was part of what made this one so good, but whatever the reason the mutants are back in top form, and deserve another look. While there’s nothing lurking after the credits, be
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:10 am

http://www.lizjohnsonbooks.com/?p=2014

13
Jun
Monday Movie: X-Men: First Class

Posted by: lizjohnson

My friends Ruth and Kaye and I have made it a bit of a habit of late to meet for dinner and a movie on Friday evenings. I confess it’s a lovely way to end the week. But at $10.75 a pop, I can’t make it too regular of a habit. But we did go see X-Men: First Class a couple weeks ago. It was so worth the ticket price.

I think it only fair to say that I am not a comic book nerd, and I wouldn’t know if they changed anything–even significantly. What I do know is good storytelling. And my boy James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender made this story come alive. They were superb as Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) respectively. Of course, I’m predisposed to love anything staring JMcAvoy (should I just start calling him J-mac for short?), but this really was a good movie.



In keeping with some recent lists (and borrowing format from my hero, Jenny B. Jones), here are my 7 favorite things about the movie.
1. It co-stars the girl that’s going to be Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games movie next year.
2. Before the Beast is a beast, he’s just a nerd. A really smart one.
3. Erik and Charles have a wonderful bromance that just makes me smile.
4. I didn’t once look at Erik and think about Rochester from Jane Eyre (even though he was great in that, too).
5. January Jones was only in it for like 8 minutes. (She’s not my favorite.)
6. There were some EXCELLENT cameos. That’s all I’ll say about that.
7. James McAvoy uses Jedi mind tricks on an unsuspecting Oliver Platt. DE–LITEFUL!

Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think?
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:18 am

http://reaperjoe.livejournal.com/45592.html

Friendships

Jun. 13th, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Caught X-Men First Class over the weekend and boy it was pretty good. The general consensus is that it rectifies the wrongs of the previous trilogy. Now while that may be true to some, it's not a film that should be seen from that perspective. Seen from a standpoint of a standalone film, it's in a league of its own. While the earlier films depicted a society where mutants were unaccepted and how most of them coped with it, this film, an origins film of sorts, shows how it came about in the slightest but what it should come off as is how most of friendships are tested in real life. And James McAvoy pulls it off with co-star Michael Fassbender. Crammed in the two hour long film is how they went from best of friends to enemies. It's safe to assume most of us have gone through this and the context of the film amplifies it to the audience.

Featuring less action and more dialogue focusing on the aforementioned topic of interest was a risk well rewarded for an X-Men film. To me at least since the film's box-office performance left much to be desired. The morality and scope of the friendship between Charles and Erikk proves that an action orientated franchise can take a different turn. Some may not agree with me but it's a fact that remains to be challenged. And while some may say that the 'unknown' actors contributed to the problem of selling it to the right audience, lets face it, James and Michael pulled it off fantastically. Lets look at James McAvoy, star of the film 'Wanted'. In that film, he was just a loser working a nine-to-five job who became an assassin. He did that well. How is one to go from that to a genius with telepathy? I'd say watch the film to find out. Pulling off Professor X is no easy task as Patrick Stewart from the original trilogy proved. But James does it and does it well. From looking to speaking intelligently, he should be proud of his performance. Michael Fassbender leaves no gaps between him and James as actors. As Erikk, he does the morality and divided society thing well and together, they left me impressed. Once again, it must be stressed that this is a film that should be seen from a standalone point of view. Forget the first three movies and go in with an open mind. I did, and it worked well beyond my expectations.
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Post by Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:20 am

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

Monday, June 13, 2011
X-Men: First Class (2011)

An Open Letter to X-Men: First Class Director/Co-Writer Matthew Vaughn and its Many, Many Screenwriters:

Dear Sirs and Lady,

I am writing to you as a long-time fan of both X-Men and films in general, with just a few follow-up questions/concerns regarding your most recent foray into big screen comic-book adaptations.

Now, I assume you've seen the first few X-Men films, especially those that the talented Bryan Singer worked on, considering he co-wrote the story for this version. Might I also assume you've read an issue or two of the X-Men comics? I wonder though, did you take anything at all from any of these efforts, in which the work was basically done for you and you had enough material to make a good movie? I imagine not, since instead you chose to ret-con the Cuban missile crisis and haphazardly throw in a tepid bromance (loathe as I am to use the phrase) and some dull-eyed super-powered teenagers and call it a day. Perhaps you guys were just all tuckered out after Kick-Ass and Thor. Poor babies. Poor X-babies.

My understanding is that your film is meant to be both a prequel and a reboot, but it seems we can't actually have both without everything being f#%@#&! confusing. Kudos for the Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn cameos, but then how the hell is Alex Summers- Scott "Cyclops" Summers' younger brother- hanging out with Xavier in the 60's? And how are Scott and Storm shown as kids in the 60's while being in their 30's in 2000? And why is Moira an American CIA agent here but a barely-aged British geneticist in X-Men 3? Come to think of it, where did anyone's usual nationality go? I can deal with taking a few liberties here and there, but casting an American dude-bro to play the adorable and super-Irish Banshee WHO TAKES HIS NAME AFTER AN IRISH MYTH is just ridiculous. And Xavier: Not British. And Sebastian Shaw: Well whatever he can be what he wants I guess, Nazi superdoctor or nuclear war fanatic or Hellfire Club leader, it doesn't actually matter to me. It's still Kevin Bacon.

What matters here, sirs and lady, is that you have taken so much of the fundamentals of these well-developed characters and completely superseded them with your own stupid ideas. I understand that you're trying to do your own thing, make your own mark on X-Men's daunting prolific universe, and I'm all for that as long as you make it somewhat recognizable and true to the basic cores of these people. Mystique is not a bratty teen who goes gooey over Charles Xavier. Never. She is a badass, super-independent lady with her own agenda. Xavier is a dick, it's true, but he wouldn't be so dismissive towards those who have physical mutations. And he's just all over the place in this movie. And he's not bald? What? Emma Frost doesn't parade around in a bra and mini-skirt fetching drinks for Sebastian Shaw and speaking every word with emotionless blandness. I don't care how much January Jones looks the part. She needed to step it up. Azazel is like a demon-mutant from hell who's crazy-clever and loves impregnating human women, and you downgrade him to a low-level cronie with a Russian accent and some throwaway dialogue? Didn't you think his obvious resemblance to Nightcrawler would confuse non-comics people? Since it's not like any of you are ready to bring up that he's Nightcrawler's dad or anything, just like Mystique being his mom has never been mentioned. Whatever. Nerd territory here.

Matthew Vaughn, I think if you put your mind to it you can make a fun movie, and I think that's what maybe you were trying to do here. I don't mind the 60's setting and tie-in to real events, since you obviously found it just too tempting. I'm surprised you didn't throw in some Rock-Hudson-is-secretly-a-mutant line. I get the Bond references, I get the over-bloated action stunts, and I get the need for a dumbed-down storyline that caters to the masses. But... did you intend to make it so funny? Or is it really just so STUPID that it's funny? I gotta say, your movie made me and my friends laugh a lot. At first I thought you guys were being all wink-wink-nudge-nudge and self-aware with the lingerie party and "SECRET MILITARY BASE" literal locations, and I giggled knowingly. But as the film progressed, I became less and less confident that anyone working on this film realized how ridiculous and over the top it was turning out. I have actually been quoting lines with my boyfriend all week in a continuing effort to milk the awful script. I've been putting my fingers to my temple every time I want to control someone's mind because it's funny every single time.

You did right with Michael Fassbender, I'll give you that. Magneto is a g*&^%$# badass and you pulled through on that one, giving him all the best action scenes and a more interesting storyline. Then again, Magneto as a character is always fascinating, and I know Fassbender to be a good actor, so I'm not sure just how much credit I can give you guys for this one, considering how much you f&%$#& everything else up I assume this is just a fluke.

I wonder when this turned from "let's make a movie about the very interesting relationship between Xavier and Magneto and the surrounding context of civil rights/deeply-rooted prejudices" into "let's make a movie about a thing blowing up or something and also some people fly and JFK makes a speech and oh look naked blue lady". You really should have stuck with your first instinct on this one, I'm sorry to say. What could have been a truly thought-provoking but still exciting superhero movie is just hyped-up drivel that makes less and less sense the more one reflects upon it, and a depressingly homogenous cast. The black guy dies first? Really? REALLY?

I postulate that you were coming down to the wire and no one actually had time to watch the final product before sending it out, am I right? It's ok, I won't tell anyone. Or were you all just drunk when you previewed it amongst yourselves? That makes sense to me, because I bet this movie would be a hell of an entertaining time if drinking heavily.

In conclusion: X-Men: First Class failed on many levels. Please take every single one of my comments into consideration, and immediately re-make your movie until it's good.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Alexandra Kittle, Esquire.

PS I'm not really an esquire, I just like the way it sounds. Nuff said.

PPS THE BLACK GUY DIED FIRST? REALLY??!!?!

So for those who skip to the end: I wasn't a huge fan of this movie. Eh.

As a movie: 2/5
As entertainment: 3.5/5 (imagined score if I'd been drinking; as I said, I did laugh a lot)

Watch Instead: Oh you know, X-Men and/or X2 for good X-movies, or OSS 117 and/or Austin Powers for fun Bond-ey 60's throwbacks. Better yet, just read some comics. Get educated.
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