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X-Men: First Class

The 2011 prequel to the "X-Men" film franchise directed by Matthew Vaughn.

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X-Men: First Class

  • Jun 9, 2011
Before becoming enemies Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr were allies and good friends. That is till they realized that their views on human-mutant relations were so inherently different that they could no longer work together. You don't need to be a fanboy to know this. Anyone who has seen the previous movies know just by watching, which any decent screenwriter will tell you is the objective, show don’t tell. However the producers decided this was neither clear enough nor a completely profitable explanation. So they have given us the back story to all of the questions no one ever asked. And you still think that the World War Three was avoided through diplomacy during a very tense thirteen days. Pssh.

Matthew Vaughn takes the helm on this version of X-men. Bryan Singer returns to help with the story and while he was offered the directing chair had to turn it down due to other commitments (Jack the Giant Killer). It would have been nice to see what he could do with the story. The first two movies helped propel superheros from men in tights to stories that could crossover into mass appeal. Expectations were high for Vaughn who did good work with ‘Kick Ass’ if you’re into watching a 12-year-old swear like a sailor and get the shit kicked out of her, and who isn’t. With all of these elements and a high rating on rotten tomatoes it seemed the series was making a return to what we loved. What we got instead was a movie that seemed over run with characters, nostalgia, and alienated minority metaphors.

The movie opens with both men as children feeling isolated, not knowing there are more out there just like them. That changes very quickly as Vaughn likes working with as many characters as he can, that way if he feels that the action is moving too slowly he can just switch over to another story. Besides Mystique, who is overshadowed by her leading men, most of the other recruits are one note characters that you could probably understand as soon as you hear their mutant name. Meanwhile Kevin Bacon takes on the role of super villain Sebastian Shaw trying to rid the world of the dominant species and make room for the next evolution of mankind. He takes up most of the screen time for the opposition force, well besides January Jones playing the role of Emma Frost, her casting in Mad Man as the empty porcelain doll housewife Betty Draper is now completely clear. I would have liked to see more of, or at the very least one line of dialogue, from Bacon’s henchmen Azazel and Riptide as they have some bad ass scenes. There are so many characters that come in and out of the movie that it is hard to keep track of who and where they are, and even tougher to feel any level of connection as a member of the audience.

The movie isn't all bad; in fact there are moments that are downright enjoyable. A big part of that are James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender performances. When they are allowed a little wiggle room to riff off each other it seems like there is great potential for the movie. Even in some of the goofier scenes, they make it work. I mean they can't work miracles, forcing McAvoy to put his fingers to his head to show that he is using his telekinetic powers still looks silly and something Patrick Stewart didn't have to put up with. The scenes of them together debating competing philosophies were wonderful, but even when the scene or music, which was so often too cheesy for its own good, called for something ridiculous the two men still had enough charm for the scene to not seem out of place.

The most frustrating part of the movie was trying to follow all of the rules that prequels feel the need to follow: trying to explain everything. When the movie was allowed to just be, and tell its story it was much more enjoyable then when the writers needed to show why Beast was blue. But at the same time, I'm sure there were plenty of fan boys mad that we didn't see Magneto and Charles build Cerebro themselves. So that is a tough line to walk, and it seems the producers were looking to appeal to fans of the X-men more than a wider audience so questions needed answers. I suppose this desire for more original story really goes back to the last paragraph and my enjoyment of seeing these two actors together. I would have loved to see the movie deal more with these two competing philosophies than the creation of the X-men, but I didn't write the script so I'll have to take what I can get.

Don't mistake all the criticism to think that I didn't enjoy the movie; it was fun and a good popcorn flick. Maybe I just had this movie on a pedestal from all the high expectations I had going in. There wasn't too much to laugh about in the previous ones, which I enjoyed in the originals, or at least the laughs that were to be had all fit the characters who were delivering them. There are a couple very funny scenes, including a great cameo and a well placed F-bomb but 'First class' gets a little too campy to be taken seriously. C-

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June 09, 2011
thank you for the excellent breakdown; great way to review and you included the soundtrack too (which I usually forget). I too liked and was entertained by the movie but honestly, there were moments when it didn't feel right and I rolled my eyes. I hoped to see the X-films evolve past the usual themes and motifs (X2 tried) and go a little darker and more real. Thanks again!
June 09, 2011
"X2: X-Men United" will go down as one of the greatest films ever in an overall mediocre series.
June 09, 2011
no argument there. This may be the 2nd best of the franchise for me, but it isn't saying that much.
June 10, 2011
Zstoner, have you taken a look at last night's newsletter? thank you for all the contributions!!
More X-Men: First Class (2011 movie... reviews
review by . June 04, 2011
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The Children of The Atom Equals An X-Citing Re-Boot Prequel!
When I first heard of the coming “X-Men: First Class” film, I will have to admit that I feared for the worst. The first three movies of the X-Men franchise have been a mixed bag for me; while the first film was decent, “X2: X-Men United” was real good, “X-Men: Last Stand” was just so disappointing that I hoped that the franchise was over. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was fun, but it just reshaped the “X-mythos” for me in the way that I didn’t …
review by . June 12, 2011
Marvel Studios must have a mutant named
It is a little sad that the when the first X Men movie kicked off the big budget comic movie boom in 1999 that it was the one that ended up needing rebooted in most people's eyes.  I actually liked X Men 3 a little bit and could at least see Wolverine as a halfway decent action movie in it's own right.  However, since X Men 3 is the movie that killed everyone's dog and Wolverine peed on the corpse; to the general public a few changes needed to be made.      …
review by . June 09, 2011
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   Imagine if someone Nolan-ized X-Men. Ok, maybe we use the phrase “Nolan-ze” a little too often. But if Nolan ever did direct an X-Men film, it’d be something close to First Class. Whenever I was a kid I remember watching the Bryan Singer’s first two X-Men films, and compared to bigger, more fantastical superhero movies I was accustomed to like Sam Raimi’s Spiderman series and even the pre-Nolan Batman films, they weren’t my favorite. In fact they …
review by . June 16, 2011
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Yes its a prequel, No it dosent suck, Yes im also a telepath.
I originally didn't want to see this movie because I heard that it is a Prequel/reboot two things I hate all rolled up into one package. It was actually the reviews here on lunch that changed my mind.      First class focuses on the young Charles Xavier and Erik Lensher before they become Professor X and Magneto, how they met and what tore them apart. (no it dosen't show how the Professor went Bald). The Movie also follows the lives of the first students …
review by . June 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         There has been much talk about how sequels aren’t supposed to be better than the films that preceded them. Does the same thing apply to prequels? If so, then X-Men: First Class has set a new standard. Apart from being the best of all previous X-Men films, it belongs on the same shelf as Superman, Batman, and Iron Man as one of the greatest superhero films ever made; it’s superbly cast, the characters are very well developed, it tells …
review by . June 03, 2011
'X Men-First Class' 'Two Jews On Film' Just Like Prof X & Magneto They Go Their Separate Ways- Video
   Right off the bat, I have to say that I gave 'X-Men First Class' 5 bagels out of 5.  I absolutely loved it. The director, Matthew Vaughn  did the 'X Men' franchise proud.        'X-Men First Class' is a prequel.  Before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) was Professor X and Eric Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) became Magneto, they were just two mutant guys discovering their powers and figuring out how to use them.  Charles …
review by . June 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Matthew Vaughn's "X-Men" version is definitely one of the movies that made me feel sorry for the skepticism I had before it's release. This proves once again that some trailers might not say anything at all about the final content. I was not impressed with the first footage and the first trailer of the film. I thought it was going to be just decent. Well, I was wrong because "First Class" is by far the best X-Men movie made and one of the best comic-book …
review by . October 10, 2011
2 1/2 stars :
We have all heard the stories before. The stories of these so-called super-humans, people born with special abilities that grant them the power to stand above all others and look down on us like the insects that we are, these stories were told in Greece during the time of Christ. They have been retold countless times over by the Romans, and then again by writers, family members, and teachers and comic book writers. We have all heard of these stories in one way or another; some might …
review by . June 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
There's no other way to fly.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS   Written by Ahsley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughan   Directed by Matthew Vaughan   Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Kevin Bacon       Charles Xavier: I believe that true focus lies somewhere between rage and serenity.       I’ve always had a soft spot for the X-Men within the ever-expanding realm of comic book film adaptations. Given my own, …
review by . June 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
12A - 132mins - Action/Adventure/Drama - 1st June 2011   One problem that every prequel has to overcome it the ability to keep interest despite us knowing the eventual outcome of the movie. If you have seen any of the previous four films then it's quite probable you can piece together how this movie is going to end and how the characters are going to turn out. This therefore needs to be compensated for and is done so successfully by the introduction of plenty of new characters to keep …
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X-Men: First Class
is a 2011 American superhero film directed by Matthew Vaughn. Based on the characters appearing in Marvel Comics, it is a prequel to the X-Men film series. X-Men: First Class was released June 1, 2011 in the UK and on June 3 in the US.

The film is set primarily in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis and focuses on the relationship between Professor X and Magneto and the origin of their groups, the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. The film stars James McAvoy as Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Magneto. Other cast members include Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoë Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult and Lucas Till. The film was mostly shot in England and parts of the United States.

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Director: Matthew Vaughn
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: June 3, 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Bryan Singer, Zack Stentz
Runtime: 132 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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