X-Men: First Class

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:12 Long
A Review by:
- The Dude on the Right

 

X-Men: First Class
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2011
Kiddie Movie: I’d send them to bed. It can get a little intense.
Date Movie: If she generally likes comic book movies.
Gratuitous Sex: Hinted at, but nothing gratuitous, although Mystique is painted naked.
Gratuitous Violence: It get’s pretty brutal, though not bloody.
Action: Lots of action going on.
Laughs: A couple of good chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Magneto lifting a submarine.
Memorable Quote: I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s during a cameo.
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

I’ve generally been a fan of the X-Men series of movies and thought they’ve done a good job keeping the stories moving along, but there was a hint of trepidation when I heard they were making a “prequel” kind of film, namely “X-Men: First Class.” I mean, how can you have an X-Men movie without Jean-Luc, I mean, Patrick Stewart, but there it was coming to my local gigaplex, and somehow I couldn’t find the time to make the theater.  After watching the Blu-ray, I really wish I had made the time.

Let’s get to the movie.

“X-Men: First Class” starts at the beginning.  Well, I’m not sure about the beginning, but we get introduced to younger Erik Lehnsherr, who would eventually become Magneto, at a Nazi Concentration camp, and the twisted Dr. Klaus Schmidt/Sebastian Shaw (An outstanding Kevin Bacon in a bad guy role).  It is there that young Erik’s psyche begins to take shape, his distrust for government folks, and desire to put humans in their place.  We are also introduced to a younger Charles Xavier, learning of his abilities and developing his first mutant relationship, with a young Raven who would become Mystique.

We then movie time-travel to the early 1960’s and find that Sebastian Shaw is building his own mutant army, hell-bent on pretty much destroying the human race in favor of mutants.  How? By manipulating the Russians and Americans into a nuclear war, of course.  Meanwhile, Erik (Michael Fassbender) is hot on Sebastian’s tail, seeking revenge for some concentration camp atrocities, and Charles (James McAvoy) is getting a reputation for his research into evolution and the possibility of mutants, as well as being a ladies man. Enter Moira (Rose Byrne). She’s with the feds, investigating potential problems with government folks and nuclear war.

Eventually the paths of everyone meet, Charles and Erik get recruited by Moira to stop Sebastian, and the personalities and destinies of Charles and Erik unfold with Charles wanting to do good, but Erik, although becoming friends with Charles, seeks his path of getting his revenge and building his army for a war against the humans.  In the meantime we are introduced to a group of mutants who join the ranks, some bad mutants affiliated with Sebastian who, of course, split to Magneto’s side in the end, and just general mutant showing-offedness in finally stopping Sebastian from his dastardly deed.

Here’s the thing with “X-Men: First Class”… I’m almost happy it ended up as a prequel rather than the first in the series.  It was way enjoyable watching the characters grow, understanding now how their personalities developed, seeing how Mystique ended up on Magneto’s side, and as it occurred to me at the end of the movie, after not realizing Charles was walking the entire time, it was good to see how Charles ended up in a wheelchair.  A very fine X-Men movie, indeed!

Now, as to why I was disappointed in not seeing this movie in the theater? Simply because this is a movie with blow-away effects and some beautiful scenery, that lends itself to your being engrossed in it, in a theater, with the sound blasting around you, and watching Magneto “lift” a submarine out of the water probably played out tons better in super-giant size. Sure, your home theater can do a decent job, but for the best effect this was a movie that should have been seen on the real, big screen.

So, for a great film about the beginnings of the X-Men, and I’ll be honest, I don’t know if it was generally true to the comics, but I don’t really care because it did work for me, I’m giving “X-Men: First Class” 4 ½ stars out of 5.  There were a couple of hiccup spots, maybe a little too much “here’s how this came about” stuff, but all in all a super-solid movie to make you appreciate your X-Men favorites even more.

Now, as far as the Blu-ray is concerned, it’s loaded with extras.  “Children of the Atom” gives you pretty much everything about how the movie was made, in various parts so if you don’t care about the make-up and just care about the effects, sure you can watch only that, but if you want to really understand how “X-Men: First Class” was made, from beginning to end, grab a bucket of popcorn and a soda and enjoy.  The “Cerebro: Mutant Tracker” is kind of cool, especially if you are looking for refreshers on all of the mutants, or quick summaries of who they are, as you select mutants as they fly by on the screen and get video clips from the movies they were in, and a nice summary chart.  The deleted and extended scenes are nice, but I’m glad they were left on the cutting room floor, and you can also watch the movie in “X Marks the Spot Viewing Mode,” sort of an extra blown commentary track that gives behind the scene scenes as the movie plays out.

All in all a fabulous Blu-ray – I just wish I had a full-blown screening room to watch it in!

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

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