The Movie: 8/10
I like a good old fashioned ensemble cast of mutant super heroes. The experience is fun and exciting. There is just something about the X Men version of the world that grabs my dormant comic book loving gene and wakes it up. X Men First Class is by far the best of the entire franchise. I’m not a fan of comparing movies, but come on, multiple movies in series about super heroes or galaxies far far away just cry out to have comparisons between installments.
First Class takes us back to when Professor Xavier and Magneto become friends and enemies, when Mystic finds her calling to be drawn to the dark side, and explains a lot of other elements of the future as we know it in the X Men saga. I loved it. I really really enjoyed every minute of this movie. It got my juices flowing for the multiple special skills and powers or mutations that the cast of character brings with them. A dude with big feet and a genius mind, a guy who can adapt to anything to stay alive (well almost anything), and a young lady who can fly with her delicate wings. These are just a few of the offerings to my desire to see and experience what humans can do with a little imagination.
The cast is all excellent. I can’t even pick out a handful who were better than the rest. From the leading characters to the most peripheral, it’s a classy group of folks who bring us into the skewed world of the 1960’s Cuban crisis. Along with the cast the music is awesome. It’s a powerful score of classy powerful accompanyment to the action on the screen. It’s not always necessary to throw the latest popular tunes at an audience for block buster movies.
The telling of the stories of what would be the leading male characters is so well done for what could have been just rushed through montages to “get to the action”. The director and writers really do justice to the development of Professor X and Magneto, from being young men of opposite childhoods to ultra powerful mutated humans who have to struggle to find their places in this world. The delicate egos and emotional needs of each leading or supporting character are addressed one way or another. From finding Angel, the winged wonder, in a strip club and thus instantly understanding why she might make some of the choices she makes later in the story, to the origins of Beast and his self esteem issues which leads to his transformation, they all come to life so fully and completely it makes the story that much more interesting.
We are introduced to a very bad man, Kevin Bacon, as a Nazi researcher or doctor, not sure what he was exactly, and he begins Magneto’s journey in a very very very bad way. Bacon does a great job of being creepy and evil and unappealing. He speaks about 4 different languages I think. His power is awesome and his crafting of a plan to bring plain boring humans’ reign over the world to an end is a bit over complicated but still compelling. It’s kind of other thought, since we are kind of easy to obliterate without elaborte plans, but whatever, it’s a comic book story so it needs to be diabolical.
Emma Frost is a woman made of diamond, how cool is that? She’s just plain awesome, even if she’s the bad guy’s right hand woman. Her style is so groovy, and the fact that we go all over the world and she seems to travel in class and with an outfit for every ocassion, well, I wish I had an Emma Frost doll and every design in her collection. I’m not even a fashion person at all, nor do I play with dolls, but that’s how friggin’ impressed I was with her character!
Mystic’s story is my favorite, even though I would have liked more of her actual back story and not just watching her struggle with accepting her natural appearance. Where did she come from? Why was she alone? Where are her parents? More more more, i want more about Mystic!!! Emma to for that matter. Let’s have a Mystic and Emma Frost movie. While I am usually the first to complain that women characters are not treated with much respect in movies, I have to mention but at the same time overlook the fact that these strong women characters are still mere assistants or pet projects of male characters. I have to take a deep breath and remember when and by whom the original stories were written and then remind myself that the writers and director of this movie are all men…get the picture?
With the international flavors all over the place, the big action sequences that look great, the super cool mutant abilities all over the place, and a good story, X Men First Class is a hit with me. I would recommend highly even if you are not a comic book fan, or super hero fan, or action flick worshiper. It took me to pure fantasy land and kept me there the whole two hours and more. It’s not perfect, but I think for a super hero movie it is a solid 8 out of 10 regardless of it’s flaws. I didn’t want it to end, and it did leave me wanting more of this cast of characters, and that says a lot.
- X Marks The Spot Viewing Mode – Great PIP viewing mode which can be watched full screen from a menu.
- Cerebro Mutant Tracker – Get the backstory behind your favorite mutants with this interactive encyclopedia of the X-Men.
- Children Of The Atom Multi Part Documentary – Very detailed behind the scenes documentary in three parts, covers all aspects of the movie from storyboards to onset interviews and behind the scenes.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes – Mostly extended scenes but the trist deleted scene with Xavier is worth the price of admission alone.
- Composers Isolated Score – Listen to the score while the movie plays without the talking, I highly recommend this as the score is AWESOME.
- Digital Copy – A digital copy of the movie to watch on the go.
- BD Live Lookup Powered By IMDB – I love this feature, I was wondering what Rose Byrne was in while the movie played and this answered my question. (Insidious)
- 10 X-Men Marvel Digital Comics – A code in the box allows you to read 10 X-Men comics on Marvel.com, more of a gateway drug to get you hooked into buying a subscription than anything but a cool feature nonetheless.
Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
I like the cover, even though there is so much more potential with this kind of movie to make a very bold cover, this one will do. It’s got the two leading characters and hints at some kind of conflict…imagine that. I might have it as a poster, but then again, I would rather just have a big poster of either Emma Frost or Mystique. The menu is fine, nothing special.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Obviously X-Men is one of Fox’s premium properties and they would’t want to stuff up the transfer on this Blu-Ray release. So what they have here is a PRISTINE transfer that goes right to the top of the pile of this years releases. This beautiful 1080P AVC encode is impressive with amazing detail (check out Beasts Fur) and superb color reproduction. The movie has a interesting color pallet especially near the end when the classic yellow X-Men suits come into play.
First up a big shout out to Henry Jackman who scored this movie, hes created a wonderful superhero main theme for the X-Men that is as recognizable as the theme from Star Wars or Superman. I hope FOX keep this theme for all future X-Men movies. Back to the disc the DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track is sure to impress with tons of LFE action and some amazing pans around the whole sound-stage. X-Men first class is my favorite super hero movie of 2011 and is a superb return to form for the series, I would actually say the best in the series which is unusual for a prequel.
I say get this one and have it for a rainy weekend. It’s long and great for popcorn munching, lounging and having a good time. I wouldn’t bother with the special editions and all that, just the Blu-Ray will do and if you are not into paying the price to own it, just rent it and have some like minded friends (or in my case I would invite my mom who has only recently confessed to loving sci-fi movies) for a movie night. I wouldn’t pair this with other X Men movies though. I say get something like the original Flash Gordon or Barbarella or early Bond movies. It’s the big fun and total escape that makes it worth a few bucks however you choose to present it.
Overall Score 8/10