‘X-Men: First Class’ – What Did You Think?

The X-Men series hasn’t seen a genuinely great film in over eight years. It was way back in 2003 when Bryan Singer’s X2: X-Men United was released, a skillful blend of superhero action, social commentary, and strong performances. While the last two films, X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine performed extremely well at the box office, both were almost universally reviled by critics and fans.

Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class, which hits theaters today, has a hugely challenging task before it. Not only does this prequel seek to revitalize a moribund franchise, it must also tell an interesting story while not betraying the most beloved elements of the original series of films. On top of all that, it seeks to be an origin story. Can the film thrill the audience with a story they already know the ending to?

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Assume that SPOILERS lie after the jump.
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Matthew Vaughn is sick. Literally. On a Tuesday morning in late May, the director of the upcoming X-Men First Class called us from London with a case of tonsillitis. The timing couldn’t be worse. Vaughn is about to release the biggest movie of his career, 20th Century Fox’s summer superhero tentpole, X-Men First Class, a film that serves as both a prequel and reboot to a popular series of films that began in 2000 with Bryan Singer’s X-Men. Starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as younger versions of Charles and Erik, who will grow up to be Professor X and Magneto respectively, the Sixties-set film tells the origin story of the X-Men infused with the exciting action and fantastic social conceits that make the X-Men great.

On top of that, the film is solid; an entertaining love letter to the X-Men franchise that’s both a treat for fans but totally accessible to non-fans. Most of that is thanks to magnetic lead performances and a well-thought out screenplay that Vaughn co-wrote along with writing partner Jane Goldman and Thor writers Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz. X-Men First Class is up there with the best of the Singer X-Men movies and does its job so well that the franchise can go anywhere from here.

In our short 10-minute interview Vaughn talked about that, how he regretted not making X-Men: The Last Stand, how the insane profitability of Kick Ass (you read that right) could lead to Kick Ass 2 and much more. Check it out after the break. Read More »

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to see Matthew Vaughn‘s X-Men: First Class. Over the last year, we’ve heard about how the film had morphed from the original concept of X-Men Origins: Magneto into a prequel/reboot in the same style of what JJ Abrams did for the Star Trek franchise. I can confirm that the completed film is exactly both of these things. It fits right in with Bryan Singer’s first two X-Men films and is probably the second best film in the series next to X-Men United. And I say that with a certain but of nostalgia for the sequel, as it came out at a time when comic book adaptations didn’t strive to be anything more than popcorn fun. But the more and more I think about it, the more and more I think Vaughn’s film might have surpassed it.

Going into the film, I had so many expectations (most of which were set-up by the trailers).  I had assumed that the advertising was being packed with all the moments in an effort to sell a action-less origin story, but I was surprised at how much action was actually the film. I don’t think anyone will see this movie and come out disappointed. It strikes a great balance of being accessible to non-comic book fans and packing some pretty cool easter eggs that comic geeks will love (I will keep this vague as I don’t want to spoil any of the fun).

While I have read a lot of X-Men comics in the 1990′s, I’m not really clear on the origins on some of these characters and what events in the comic universe led to certain situations. So while I’m unable to assess how faithful it is to comic book canon, I will say that everything is handled quite nicely. Picky fans might notice some continuity nitpicks and possible timeline issues (especially if you look at this as a prequel to the film series), but nothing major

And Vaughn adds his trademark style to the series in all the right moments, without making the cinematography feel out of place in the period setting. For example, one such moment (and I wouldn’t consider a spoiler in any way) is Hank McCoy’s transformation into Beast. Vaughn handles the sequence like a werewolf transformation, but shot in a way I’ve never seen it before, from Hank’s POV. It is very cool. There is a bit of cheesy dialogue, especially in the scenes that focus on the younger mutants. But at the core, this is a story about Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (played brilliantly in this film by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender), two best friends who will become enemies at the center of the mutant revolution.

We can’t really go into specifics at this time, so I’m trying to keep everything general. I recorded a short video blog with Frosty from Collider, joined by /Film’s own Germain Lussier. Watch it now embedded after the jump.

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If you’re like me, with each photo and trailer (posters not included) that’s revealed from X-Men First Class, excitement and anticipation slowly rises. It seems like director Matthew Vaughn, with an extremely talented cast including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and others, might have actually pulled off something special. We won’t know for sure for a few weeks but, if the pacing and energy of this seemingly simple clip from the film is any indication, June 3 can’t come soon enough.

Check it out, as well as a few new TV spots, after the jump. Read More »

Of all the secondary characters in the X-Men universe, casual viewers might be most familiar with Mystique, mostly because in previous films she was played by Rebecca Romijn wearing little more than blue paint and contacts. Makes for a memorable portrayal, even if her version of the character really didn’t get to do all that much.

Yesterday we saw character trailers from Matthew Vaughn‘s  X-Men: First Class for Beast, Havok and Banshee, and now there is one for the new version of Mystique, who is played by Jennifer Lawrence. This shows that there is a lot more going on with the character in this film than in previous X-movies. Read More »

We’re long past the point where we didn’t know much at all about Matthew Vaughn‘s X-Men: First Class, as a parade of trailers has shown more and more footage from the film in the runup to the June 3 release date. The only problem now, for those who are really devoted to the property, is that there has been a stark contrast between the smartly-cut trailers and some of the terrible posters and bad early stills.

Now there are three new character trailers that introduce Banshee, Beast and Havok — characters that are familiar to long-time X-Men fans, but maybe not as much to casual audiences. Check out all three after the break. Read More »

‘X-Men First Class’ Theatrical Trailer

After a shaky start to its marketing campaign, fans were almost overwhelmingly positive about the teaser trailer to X-Men First Class, director Matthew Vaughn‘s period X-Men film chronicling the rise of both Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), the men destined to become mutant leaders Professor X and Magneto.

Now, 20th Century Fox has revealed the full theatrical trailer for the June 3 release. Will fan response be as strong? Watch it after the jump and judge for yourself. Read More »

The past 36 hours have been part of what was  probably the slowest news cycle of the year, so why not throw out two more short trailers for X-Men: First Class? They’re basically cut from the same mold as the one we saw earlier this week, with perhaps one or two glimpses of new stuff. Usually that wouldn’t be notable, but one of the new shots shows Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) putting his powers into action.

If that’s something you’ve been waiting to see, check out the first of two embeds that follow and wait patiently for the slider to hit the 1:01 mark. Read More »

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