on September 23, 2011
This is perhaps the most succesful prequel movie I've ever seen. Michael Fassbender really steals the show as Eric/Magneto. Really he and James McAvoy fill in really well for Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellan. The two play well off each other. Michael Fassbender actually convinced me that should Daniel Craig decide to stop being James Bond, he would be an excellent replacement. The way his scenes tracking down Sebastian Shaw worked it was almost like watching an old Connery Bond movie.
I also like Kevin Bacon as villain Sebastian Shaw, who with his mutant goons, does play it like a 60's Bond villain. Unfortunately January Jones plays Emma Frost about as well as a cardboard box with a playboy pin-up stuck to it. Her delivery is emotionless and it's a shame that a memorable comic character gets such a poor representation in the movie. I think a more accomplished actress in the part would've made a huge difference, but producer logic must've decided Emma's boobs were more important than having emotions. Too bad because it is the one big mark I have against the movie. All the other supporting cast play well in their limited roles. Wolverine even shows up for one funny scene.
The movie gives you some quick backgrounds on 4 of the characters, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and Raven / Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). The rest you have to guess at. And if you are like me, and have never read the comics, you are clueless and sit back and enjoy all the women in lingerie. It boils down to a good vs. evil scenario, which I can understand.
The good guys create a machine that will locate other mutants. Charles is able to cleverly locate all the mutants during a single music montage. Meanwhile Kevin Bacon wants to start an all out nuclear war so the radiation will kill all the humans and only leave the mutants. This is remake of the history of the Cuban missile crisis.
As always, great special effects. Background knowledge of the characters and other movies would be a plus, such as cameo by Hugh Jackman or Rebecca Romijn, but not necessary to enjoy the film.
The nuclear reactor controls on the submarine were totally bogus for any era. Favorite line: "I have been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again."
F-bomb (thanks Hugh for the F.O.) sexual situations and "Avatar" nudity. Excellent prequel.
After a dismal "X-Men 3" and a questionable "X-Men Origins", it was time for us to get a fresh new start, if not a better take on the subject. Having such powerful actors as Michael Fassbender (Shame, Hunger, 12 years a slave) and James McAvoy (Atonement) and complete with a very adequate ensemble cast, this movie explores the beginnings of the X-Men, how Xavier and Lensher met, how the X-Men started the school, and everything in between.
Audio and video are superb, more than satisfying and both help in feeling like we're inside the movie. And the score... what a score. The main theme for Magneto is probably THE best in the X-Men music. (I hope they keep it for Days of Future Past)
As far as special features go, there's plenty to be found in terms of documentaries, featurettes, interviews, deleted scenes and commentaries. Over 2-3 hours total, all of which is entertaining, informative and quick paced.
All in all, a superb resurrection for the X family, and we can only hope the future keeps getting brighter.
on January 19, 2012
Finally, a good X-Men movie! Done as a drama about actual events taking place over history, the story wins you over because of its very likeable characters. The story was well-written and the acting is generally good enough to pull us in and make us care about (or even love) these X-Men. Their powers are great but they also have human frailties. I'm sure that many people can identify with them and care deeply for them through their struggles. I also love how the film depicts the ugly side of humanity: fear and even hatred for that which differs from them, or their perception of reality.
This film takes place before the events of the previous films, mostly in the 1960's as Charles Xavier discovers his abilities and those of others, leading to the conception of a school of mutants (and thus the X-Men.) In this time he and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) are good friends and haven't yet parted ways. Mutants are in hiding for they are feared as supernatural creatures who may be a threat to humans. Xavier is an optimist who believes that mutants and humankind can learn to live together, while other mutants feel differently and desire to fight back against humankind with violence.
Charles Xavier, Magneto and Mystique are all very well performed. You accept Magneto as a villain you'd `love to hate' (but Shaw and the Hellfire Club are the main villains in this one.) Mystique is so well portrayed as Xavier's dear shape-shifting friend that you'd hate to see her go bad. Xavier works very well as a brilliant psychic and thinker whom you can't help but respect and wish you knew in real life. With all the CGI crap in films these days I find myself no more turned on than off by FX, but I can say that the acting is generally good enough that the FX feels believable. On the whole I think they did a fantastic job with this one.
The major shortcoming of this film is in the female actresses: some of them aren't as good as they should be (Emma Frost's portrayal being by far the worst.) Instead of quality actresses they went for model-looking ones. And by "model" I mean skin-and-bones. NEWS FLASH: men like meat on the bone! I'm saying this as man, speaking for all men I've known. At any rate, there is no excuse for not finding female actors as good as the male ones.
Another problem is that the scenes involving the Hellfire club feel a little hokey: they're presented as one-dimensional villains and they even look awkward together as a group. If it wasn't for these issues I would have given it five stars. I really love this film and will be watching it many more times!
X Men-First Class(released June/11)stars a great ensemble cast of actors,combined with a well written and fast paced script,topped off with great S/Fx.It all adds up to great fun and action and there is rarely a dull moment in the picture.This film may not follow the time lines of the comics but it does follow pretty well the X Men movie "bible" up to this point.
In this prequel story,we learn the beginnings of the X men.It all starts with Magneto and his experiences as young Erik,a Polish Jew,being separated from his mother.During the struggle he rips open a heavily locked gate and he is taken to the office of one Dr.Schmidt(Kevin Bacon).Herr doctor wants the youngster to lift a German coin off of the desk before the count of three,or he threatens to shoot his mother.He is too young to fully understand the nuances of his power,and he can only use it under extreme duress.The count of three comes and his mother is shot dead.This of course incites his rage and his power,which he uses to neutralize the Nazi guards and destroy an adjacent medical room.Schmidt is overjoyed and leads the youngster away to experiment on him further.
Fast forward to the early 1960s and a young Xavier(James McAvoy),a brilliant university student doing a thesis on mutation and very much the psychic and mutant himself,meets up with a young shape shifter Raven(Jennifer Lawrence).He takes her under his charge.Meanwhile a grown up Erik(Mike Fassbender)is seeking out the doctor(Kevin Bacon) for revenge,in Argentina;a common hiding place of ex-pat Nazis.He runs into two of Schmidts friends,dispatches them and gets a clue as to his whereabouts aboard a ship somewhere.
The outside Cold war is heating up.The U.S.has placed missiles in Turkey,which has prompted the USSR to place missiles in Cuba.The U.S.then puts up a blockade around Cuba,and the world stands on the brink of potential global annihilation.But someone is pulling the strings in the background to achieve a head to head confrontation,and it is Dr Schmidt himself,also a mutant,who has a cadre of other mutants working with him.Xavier and Raven come to the attention of the CIA and they are secretly recruited to help the U.S.fight this newest threat.
Xavier manages to locate Schmidt in his submarine,but at the same time Erik has also found him and is attempting to stop the sub Schmidt travels in,underwater.Xavier jumps in and saves Erik and both start to work together to get Schmidt.In fact they search the world looking for mutants and find quite a few to recruit.Watch for a brief but amusing appearance by Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine.Time and circumstance however will divide the two's line of thought about mutants and their place in the natural order of things.
It all comes hurriedly down to the sea blockade of Cuba where Soviet and U.S.ships are at a stand off.A Soviet ship,under Schmidts influence,is attempting to run the blockade and the U.S. is seconds away from blowing it out of the water and starting WW3.Two events occur to prevent this.First Xavier mind controls a Soviet officer on the bridge to fire one of its missiles which is deflected back to the ship itself,destroying it before it can cross the blockade line.Secondly,Erik literally lifts Schmidts sub out of the water and onto dry land.All this is in plain view of the U.S. and Soviet naval forces.
On land Erik finally confronts and gets his revenge on the doctor.The naval forces of both sides then fire a heavy salvo of missiles onto the beach,but Magneto stops them with his power.However he turns the missiles back to the ships,despite pleading from Xavier not to.During a struggle to distract Erik from getting the missile to their points of origin,Xavier is accidentally shot in the spine with a bullet.Magneto immediately extracts the bullet from Xavier but it is too late,he is paralyzed from the waist down.It is from this point on that Erik and Xavier diverge philosophically regarding their place in the human hierarchy. Xavier believes they will and should live WITH humans while Erik,now called Magneto,believes the mutants will be a source of contention for humans and that the mutants should strike back and rule the human race.They part enemies.The film ends as Xavier opens a school for mutants in a secret location and Erik breaks a mutant previously captured,who worked closely with Dr Schmidt,out of CIA headquarters.
The action in this film is really non stop and all the cast does a magnificent job in their respective roles.The film conveniently centres around some actual events of the early 60s and seamlessly blends them into the plot.I was surprised to see Kevin Bacon in the movie,who I thought brought alot of depth to his role as Schmidt.
Technically speaking the film is in its original a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include three featurettes on the film.
A highly recommended film in the X men franchise.I dare say this might be arguably,so far,the best film yet!
*You may be surprised that I was surprised to see Bacon in the film.So with your permission,here is a brief insight into how I review movies.Unless I actually see the film in theatres(which these days is extremely rare),I have NO preconceived notions or any ideas of the films plot and I NEVER follow any trade papers or press on newly released movies.So when I get a DVD to review,it is without any outside influences and I'm seeing it for the first time.That way I can say that I am truly writing from MY heart and head,not someone else's.My opinion will not always jibe with another reviewer but that is not my concern.Just as long as we all can form some kind of a consensus,and inform conscientiously,so that a customer can make an informed decision on their part,then our roles as reviewers here on Amazon will have not been for naught.
on October 26, 2011
yeah this movie turned out to be actually pretty good for an action/superhero flick thats rated pg. usually i have a hard time watching these kinds of movies like ironman because there is so much violence and distruction going on that they cant clearly portray the chaos that is going on while staying within the pg perimiter. X-men first class however had me totally interested. There were so many characters in it and we got to see how they all met and became who they are in the comics nowadays. this was all very interesting to me and the action took a back seat to learning about each individual character and their story, to top it all off the ending battle was great and i now look forward to further pg-13 superhero movies.
on June 12, 2014
This was a solid action-super hero type of story. Perhaps not the most deep of the x-men films, but definately worth a watch. There were lots of nods to the other films and comics, but not so much that you would get lost if this is your first x-men experience. It is great to see the young version of all of my favourite characters.