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X-Men: First Class [Blu-ray]
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X-Men: First Class brings together the epic scale and action of a classic blockbuster with a character driven story that unveils the beginning of the X-Men saga--and a secret history of the Cold War and our world at the brink of nuclear armageddon. As the first class discovers, harnesses and comes to terms with their formidable powers, alliances are formed that will shape the eternal war between the heroes and villains of the X-Men universe. The British dream team behind Kick-Ass--director Matthew Vaughn and writer Jane Goldman--are joined by a stellar cast including James McAvoy (Wanted), Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds), Nicholas Hoult (A Single Man) and Jason Flemying (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) in one of the biggest comic book blockbusters.
"Genuinely first class"--The Sun
"Unmissable 10/10"--Daily Star
When Bryan Singer brought Marvel's X-Men to the big screen, Magneto and Professor X were elder statesmen, but Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) travels back in time to present an origin story--and an alternate version of history. While Charles Xavier (Laurence Belcher) grows up privileged in New York, Erik Lehnsherr (Bill Milner) grows up underprivileged in Poland. As children, the mind-reading Charles finds a friend in the shape-shifting Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and Erik finds an enemy in Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), an energy-absorbing Nazi scientist who treats the metal-bending lad like a lab rat. By 1962, Charles (James McAvoy) has become a swaggering genetics professor and Erik (Michael Fassbender, McAvoy's Band of Brothers costar) has become a brooding agent of revenge. CIA agent Moira (Rose Byrne) brings the two together to work for Division X. With the help of MIB (Oliver Platt) and Hank (A Single Man's Nicholas Hoult), they seek out other mutants, while fending off Shaw and Emma Frost (Mad Men's January Jones), who try to recruit them for more nefarious ends, leading to a showdown in Cuba between the United States and the Soviet Union, the good and bad mutants, and Charles and Erik, whose goals have begun to diverge. Throughout, Vaughn crisscrosses the globe, piles on the visual effects, and juices the action with a rousing score, but it's the actors who make the biggest impression as McAvoy and Fassbender prove themselves worthy successors to Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. The movie comes alive whenever they take centre stage, and dies a little when they don't. For the most part, though, Vaughn does right by playing up the James Bond parallels and acknowledging the debt to producer Bryan Singer through a couple of clever cameos. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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With such a strong cast, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender embody the roles made famous by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in a way you really can understand they are the way they are when we meet them nearly 40 years later. Both actors show their dexterity in acting, from tapping into strong emotion and heartache but also warm friendship and humour as their relationship progresses and changes over the course of the film. A clever script and thought-provoking story make it all more relevant and gives them both something to really chew over in making their characters more than just cardboard copies of who they were, both actors create who they ARE in a wonderfully engaging way. And with great support from the wonderfully sly Kevin Bacon, the gorgeous January Jones and also ever likeable Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Holt fill the other important roles with great pathos and energy. Even our young mutant heroes in the likes of Zoe Kravitz, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi and Caleb Laundry Jones are easy enough to like, even though are just token additions to add the action stakes. All characters seen are used to move the story forward, not just expendable and throw-away characters to please fans.
Special mention goes to a great and inspired cameo by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, something that is referred to once again in ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’.
The film can feel a little long, but only because so much of it is spent on character development and narrative progression which is crucial to what director Matthew Vaughn wants from his film, in which that is to flesh out characters and gives us the reasons why they became the characters we met back in the original ‘X-Men’ film.
It’s a very clever and well thought out film, referred to as a blockbuster with brains, which is something why many action-heavy, CGI popcorn blockbuster audiences were wary of this film; intelligence in a blockbuster is a rare thing, but it gives fans of the series a reason to have faith in the future of the films, especially with the positive reaction for ‘Days Of Future Past’ as it lays foundations to build and develop on from a world more realistic and relevant than seen before with a cast that are strong, dedicated and understanding of the roles they are in.
The CGI action towards the end is a little touch-and-go in places, but still well staged with lots of time for the goodies and baddies to shine with their powers which makes watching the X-Men so much fun. It’s a strong film with an obvious underlying message of faith, family and friendship played out, and it’s all the better for it as it starts to strong, you can’t wait to see where it continues and thankfully we don’t have long to find out.
I Didnt need to be this movie is incredible. I heard somewhere that the guy who directed this was offered Xmen 3 but turned it down as he didnt think he was ready for such a big movie. There are two ways of looking at this. Firstly had he of done X3 it could have been amazing and the franchise would have carried on, or secondly this movie would not have been made and that would have been a real pitty.
The movie concetrates on the relationship between a young Charles Xavier played by James Mcavoy and a young Erik Lehnsherr played be Michael Fassbender. In the original Xmen movies we gather the two men were once friends but this movie shows the level of the friendship from there first meeting to the ultimate opposite outlooks that tear there friendship apart. Macavoy is brilliant as a young Professor X and carries himself with a little swagger as he attempts to chat up college girls at the beginnig of the movie to the paitient individual we met in the fist film when he is helping to train the original Xmen. But it is Fassbender that steals it for me from his small and fleeting one liners to the intensity as he uses his powers to pull a nuclear submarine from the ocean beneath him he is truly captivating when on screen and the chemistry between he and Macavoy is something to be seen. The rest of the mutants just sort of follow along with the exception of the key bad guy Sabastian Shaw played by Kevin Bacon who brings Magneto and Professor X together.
When the two friends finally go there seperate ways the pain in Magneto as he realises his friend will not join him is evident.
In closing this is an amazing superhero hero movie on par with the original two Xmen movies if not better. The cast is good the effects brilliant and a very good story. If there were a comic inspired movie out there to rival Marvel Avenger's this could be it. This is a well made movie and has a great deal of replay value.
This film is well cast, well written, well shot and for the most part well acted. Kevin Bacon does a reasonable (let's not get wild with "acting greatness"). The problem is, it doesn't really tell me anything new and suffers from the default problems most prequels have. "History" cannot be changed. After this, the amount of prequels I rate at 4 or 5 stars I can still count on one hand.
I find storytelling that looks back too much to be lazy and re-uses material instead of effort being put into something new. History looks back, stories go forwards! I would prefer film series (and X-Men is not an exception) to move forwards. For those simply interested in the background of the characters or who just need a boatload of more material, graphic novels, source books etc are a much less resource intensive way of doing that.
Still, both leads turn in a good performance that is mostly a joy to watch.
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