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X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class

Genders: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz

Actors: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon

Year: 2011
Run time: 2h 12min
IMDB score: 7.8
Updated: 2 months ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: X-Men: First Class

Genders: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Imdb Score: 7.8

Runtime: 2h 12min

Released: 03 Jun 2011

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz

Actors: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon

Box Office: $146.4M

Company: 20th Century Fox

OfficialWebsite

Imdb Link

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Trailer


Review

Grand-Scale Storytelling Mixed With Superb Action

5/10 Fox can breath easy again because I think it's safe to say the even the extreme fanboys will be putting down their pitchforks and torches and smile after seeing this amazing film. I know for a fact that general audiences are going to love this movie. I know some fans can be irrational and hold on to their hate because they expect certain things they read in their books but I can't seeing anyone being that irrational when faced with a result that delivers what First Class manages to deliver. It honestly is a genre-defining movie on a level with any comic based film that has come before it. Everything in this movie is exceedingly better than what Fox delivered in their last two efforts with this franchise. Going back to the beginning and re-hiring the guy that brought us those films was a splendid idea. The acting here is superb and the dialogue is rich. Every character feels absolutely believable no matter what abilities they have on display. No cartoonish villains or cheese in sight, every side of the issue is presented by people who believe they are the ones who are in the right and the underlying message of tolerance and bigotry only add to the depth of this film. If not a genre-defining movie than maybe it redefines the comic book genre. It restores the sense of epic adventure and grand-scale storytelling that we saw in X2. In fact, it perfectly complements that great film and probably surpasses it.

This film is to X2 what Godfather 2 was to the Godfather. Seriously, First Class is an exceptional "flashback" look that links the best of the X-Men trilogy to the past. Instead of DeNiro playing young Vito Corleone we get James McAvoy as young Charles Xavier. Marlon Brando and Patrick Stewart made their respective characters popular but both were more fleshed out by incredible younger talent. I'm not placing the X-Men film itself on a par with the Godfather but both have become legendary in their particular genre. I am, however, saying McAvoy has a bright future as a complex and talented actor. Just like the young cast of Godfather 2 was legendary, the young cast of First Class has many great days and projects ahead of them.

Love this entire cast but Michael Fassbender delivers the best performance with an amazing presence and command of the screen. Everyone was extraordinary. What many expected indeed happens. By that I mean every scene that Fassbender and McAvoy are in together absolutely sing. It won't surprise anyone to know that Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt and Jennifer Lawrence are superb in supporting roles but Nicholas Hoult did stunning work as the Beast and deserves some love as well. January Jones and Rose Byrne are hot as can be but aren't just simple eye candy. Sure, the story is compelling and the action is amazing but the performances elevate this movie far above a common summer flick.

Movie of the year so far...

one year ago

A prequel that does not, in any way, suck. Amazing, isn't it?

9/10 There came a point, about half way through this film, when I emerged from the world of wonder on screen, took stock of my emotions in that instant, and realized that yes, by God, I am LOVING this movie.

I didn't really expect to, of course -- although certainly, I hoped for it. With such an incredible cast, an able director at the helm, a story of Bryan Singer provenance and the inclusion of some of my favorite, if lesser known, X-types (Darwin! Tempest! Havok!), I was eager to see this beloved band of merry Marvel mutants redeem themselves after the massive failures of X3 and X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.

Which they do. And how!

One thing that the avid comic fan must do when approaching this movie, however, is to divorce themselves utterly from almost all established four-color X-Men continuity. Oh, some bears up, but by and large this is a whole new origin story, a reboot of epic proportions, and yet it is a retcon so cleverly done, and one that offers up a such a delicious melange of complex relationships and sensible motivation, that all of the many discrepancies inherent in having Mystique on the side of good or having Moira McTaggert a CIA agent simply do not matter.

Speaking of McTaggert, Rose Byrne is both comely and convincing in the role, and almost every other actor is perfectly, one might almost say forcefully, cast. McAvoy brings a kind of laddish charm to Charles Xavier that he mixes nicely with both decency and naivete, and Michael Fassbender's nascent Magneto is relentlessly, even heart-breakingly, compelling. Their chemistry is electric -- theirs' is one of the most multi-faceted and sincere bromances the screen has seen in a good long while.

The younger cast all impress, though particular praise must go to Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence as the petulant but pitiable Raven/Mystique (The Academy Awards have been good to young, hot X-chicks; let us not forget that Rogue herself, Anna Paquin, won for THE PIANO). Former child star Nicholas Hoult is also outstanding as the troubled Hank McCoy, and perhaps the most surprising kudos must go to teenage dream Lucas Till, who conveys the particular anti-social asshole-hood of the turbulent Alex Summers very convincingly indeed.

The biggest letdown in the movie, acting-wise, is January Jones as Emma Frost. True, she is appropriately ravishing, there can be no denying that, but she lacks the the zing of the written character. There is very little intelligence, snark, or even personality behind her interpretation of this most intriguing of mutants; she's just kind of Stand There and Look Pretty -- which, for one playing Emma Frost, is something a travesty.

The only other weight under which this movie really labors is the fact that it is a prequel, and it therefore suffers from the feeling of inevitability that besets all such endeavors. Anakin Skywalker HAS to go Dark Side. Bilbo Baggins HAS to find the One Ring. And Magneto HAS to turn against humans; Mystique HAS to join him; Xavier HAS to end up in a wheelchair. With these definite plot developments looming, their eventuation is bound to be a bit of an anti-climax.

And yet the fun part about X-MEN: FIRST CLASS is the journey it takes us on to get us there. Offering up plenty of surprises, some kickass action sequences, mighty fine special effects, sly humor and a killer cameo, it is without doubt the best comic book movie of the year – nay, decade – thus far. And considering how overcrowded that list is, this is really saying Something.

Huh. A prequel that does not, in any way, suck.

Amazing, isn't it?

-- Rachel Hyland, geekspeakmagazine.com

one year ago

Superb! Rock-solid script, two amazing lead performances (the film is basically a bromance).

10/10 What you need to know about this movie before you go and see it.

1. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are superb. Each one, alone,
would have made the movie terrific, but together? Forgetaboutit! Every
step of the way, every scene, every emotion, these two men own the
movie and watching their bromance is a treat from start to finish. Make
no mistake about it, even when the world is on the brink of utter
destruction what really matters is how these two men relate to one
another. And when you watch the movie, you will care.

2. Everyone in the cast is good. Kevin Bacon has never been better, and
Jennifer Lawrence is wonderful. Rose Byrne and January Jones aren't
given much to do, Ray Wise and Michael Ironside only have a few short
lines, but - across the board - the entire cast are a delight.

3. The story is tight. You've got a bad guy with a plan, which he sets
about executing in A/B/C fashion. Against him, the good guys work
together. Their motivations are different, of course, but they pretty
much want him stopped so they unite. That's it.

4. Charles and Erik are fascinating characters. They debate. And
viewers can debate endless about them, and about who is right, etc. As
you watch you desperately wish they could stay friends, but you
understand why they ultimately can't. Even if they themselves, in these
early days, don't understand it yet. To have that so perfectly captured
in a Summer Blockbuster movie is part of what makes this a treat and a
future classic. But, aside from their relationship to each other, the
movie takes time to make each of them interesting in his own right. We
get to see Charles as a teacher, for instance, and come to understand
how he impacts upon the lives of those he tutors. Some of Erik's best
moments (away from Charles) are in his comments to Mystique about her
appearance, making it clear that this man has more to him than the
shadow of his past.

4. Most supporting characters have very little screen time. But that's
okay, since this isn't THEIR story, really. Of the bunch, it is
Mystique and Beast who are best served. Both have terrific character
arcs that - in a lesser X-Men movie - might have been the highlight of
the film. Here, their stories serve as quality background material to
the main event (Charles and Erik). Beyond that, we just learn enough
about everyone to know what they can do and like them a little bit,
mostly through their banter and most obvious character traits. Once
scene where most of the supporting characters are clearly terrified
will certainly go a long way towards making you care about them for the
rest of the movie. On the downside: Shaw's two henchmen don't get
ANYTHING to do except use their powers, and at the end of the story we
know as much about Emma Frost as we did at the beginning. But these are
the exception, not the rule.

5. Visually, this movie is a treat. The FX are good, no surprise, but -
much better - the actual sets/costumes are beautiful. Whether it's a
remote CIA lab or a lap-dance club, whether it's the Magneto helmet or
Mystique's everyday clothes, you are always admiring 'the look' of
what's on screen.

6. There are action scenes all during the movie, but - having said that
- the movie builds as it goes. The first half is more
story-heavy/character-heavy so that when the action REALLY starts we
care about everyone. And, again, it works. Even with the scant details
given their characters, when Banshee and Havok (for example) go into
battle you are invested in them to a certain degree.

7. There are surprises. Deaths, betrayals, cameos and name-dropping.
But, as well as being cool, all of this makes perfect sense for the
story/universe of the movies.

Superb! Rock-solid script, two amazing lead performances (the film is
basically a bromance). Haven't been this excited about the X-Men
franchise since X2: X-Men United.

one year ago

A franchise is reborn...

8/10 Beginning with a crime-thriller and a fantasy film on his directorial resume, it is safe to say that Matthew Vaughn may have already found his niche genre in the super-hero field despite only directing four films in seven years. His first super-hero project, 'Kick Ass,' opened in 2010 to solid critical acclaim and a finalized gross of three times the film's ordinary $30 million dollar budget. And after only two years, Vaughn returns with 'X-Men: First Class,' an origins story to accompany the Bryan Singer/Brett Ratner X-Men trilogy released between 2000 and 2006. It's intelligent, enthralling, well-acted, stylishly directed, and most importantly by focusing heavily upon the relationship between the two central protagonists, it does not feel like a conventional super-hero film.

Set within the political context of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960's, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is an up-and-coming Professor whose life is drastically altered when he is introduced to the other members of society who also share the same mutant gene as himself that supplies them with super-human abilities and traits. After stumbling upon the shape-shifting Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) within his mansion, the telepathic Xavier then encounters Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), the son of Jewish parents who were murdered during the holocaust by the narcissistic former Nazi scientist, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Erik, who can manipulate all metal objects around himself, wants retribution and nothing more from Sebastian who is now a successful and evil underground figurehead who commands a team of mutants (Azazel, Emma Frost and Riptide) to do his bidding for him. But, once his plan for world domination is revealed, they find that it far exceeds the constraints of humanity, and Xavier, Erik and a rag-tag band of young, hide-away mutants (Havok, Beast, Darwin, Angel and Banshee) who were discovered by Charles, must combine their powers in one last attempt to stop Shaw from destroying the planet and humanity as a whole.

Instantly where 'X-Men: First Class' works is in regards to its two central characters; Charles Xavier played by an incredibly affluently sounding James McAvoy and a rage-fuelled Erik Lehnsherr played by a stern-faced Michael Fassbender. Their instant on-screen chemistry provides the drive and ammunition for the plot to carry itself forward. Both characters have differing ideologies and their constant clashes due to this aspect allow the script to be brought to life. Instead of simply infusing their relationship with formulaic violent clashes, Vaughn has instead opted for more articulated verbal battles between the two characters regarding their stance within the society they are now becoming a part of. Xavier is an intellectual being who believes that humans will eventually be accepted within society as equals alongside humans, while Lenhsherr believes that mutants will always be hunted and unable to live peacefully side-by-side with the human race, his evidence for this resides in the anti-Semitism and hatred he received at the hands of the Nazi party during the holocaust. This heavy-set contradiction in ideologies allows their relationship to be imbued with pessimism, while they may be shown as friends and fighting together initially, fans of the comic books and films in general know this does eventually turn into a bitter rivalry and it's this development which drives the plot forward.

Aside from the script, it would also be rude to not praise the action-sequences which take place within the confines of the 1960's X-Men universe. With a modest running time at two hours and ten minutes, there are more than a few well-choreographed action sequences that would adequately satisfy any of comic-book-to-film aficionado's wishing to see this film. Each character's power or ability is at some point represented in a destructive or defensive capacity, taking full advantage of the fact that while many super-hero movies tend to concentrate on the aesthetic nature of the artillery characters can be seen to withstand from governmental agencies or blindsided human opponents, here it is shown and constantly emphasized that human reaction would be futile due to the overwhelming power the mutants possess. These scenes also allow the less important characters to show their physical presence on-screen. For example, during the climactic fight sequence at the conclusion of the film, every mutant character that is identified to the audience is finally shown using their abilities to full capacity, most notably the henchmen of Shaw and the rag-tag team of Xavier and Lehnsherr. This therefore accounts slightly for the lack of depth that has been attempted in these secondary characters due to the time and story constraints.

While it is a very good and accessible comic-book/super-hero movie, 'X-Men' does also contain two central flaws. The first is superseded in a way by the strength of both McAvoy and Fassbenders performances, as Kevin Bacon is constantly overshadowed as the one-dimensional antagonist of the piece. His plot to ultimately destroy humanity becomes second fiddle to the ever intricate complex relationship between Xavier and Lehnsherr, and his appearance seems too modelled upon that of a James Bond villain. He has the slick hair, the beautiful women and the villainous underground Club to boot, but Bacon unfortunately doesn't have the charisma to be accepted as a worthy opponent to the protagonists. The other flaw has to do with a minor aspect of the production itself, as the non-diegetic music, most notably during the action sequences, begins to diminish in its impact as the film carries on, leading to it eventually becoming the generic, genre-related fanfare associated with the conventional comic-book films.

'X-Men: First Class,' is not your typical comic-book movie, it may contain certain elements associated with the comic-book genre, but by placing a heavy emphasis upon the strength of the plot and the script at the film's core instead of the action-set-pieces taking place, Vaughn has intended, and succeeded, in transcending the stereotypical conventions of the genre and has created a film which will appeal to a wide range of audience members.

one year ago

X Marks again marks the spot! Great Film!

5/10 There are plenty of big action scenes throughout but it's the first half of the film that really impresses. Establishing these characters and the entire universe is done remarkably well and in a remarkably moving manner. This new spin on familiar "bad guys" Magneto and Mystique does give the actions and emotions for the characters a new level of appreciation and helps give them so much more depth and pathos. Both sides of the fence (Xavier's vision and Magneto's contempt) are advanced and the brilliance of the plot is that both sides are understandable and relatable. The viewer can simply sit and watch it unfold but also be emotionally invested in the journey. During the second half, plot threads move towards resolution and action picks up. Xavier is a shining example and his journey throughout the film matches that of Erik.

First Class never undermines the audience nor talks down to them and does all that is expected of it. It delivers great action, humor, effects and a strong connection between heroes, villains and those developing in between. The retro design is suave and making this a period piece gives it a cool and unique flavor. The collaboration between Singer and Vaughn apparently was a perfect blend. Vaughn did a brilliant job and Singer's vision from the first two films stayed in tact and was enhanced. I have to add that the score had a perfect heroic theme but was also moving and very well done. The overall impact of this film leaves you with a great sensation of a job well done. Fast paced yet filled with depth, spellbinding visual effects and a gripping finale. In the end, they succeeded in re-establishing these characters in a superb and interesting manner. There is more to offer and more depth to appreciate. I certainly can't wait for a sequel and inclusion of Scott and Jean from the original trilogy.

one year ago