X-Men: First Class (12A)

Film

Science fiction

X Men First Class.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue May 31 2011

How to shoehorn gravitas into your superhero blockbuster? Plonk it at a critical juncture of twentieth-century political diplomacy by giving us a ‘Red Dawn’-style generic rendering of the Cuban Missile Crisis, before suggesting that our boys, the X-Men, were decisive in defusing this showdown? It’s a neat trick, already attempted and bungled by Zack Snyder in ‘Watchmen’. But while the context of Matthew Vaughn’s slick ‘X-Men’ origin story feels like it’s been filched from the notepad of a GCSE History student, there’s no shortage of breathtaking spectacle elsewhere.

Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender), is out for the blood of Kevin Bacon’s pantomime scoundrel Sebastian Shaw, the energy-sapping mutant Nazi who executed Erik’s mother. Meanwhile, in the cosy real-ale pubs of Oxford, fledgling genetics professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) has been roped-in by the CIA to use his telepathic powers to locate Shaw. What follows is a jolly collection of snappy montages, FX setpieces, a killer fanboy cameo and a torrent of disposable wisecracks that, while functioning perfectly as stand-alone episodes, fail to cohere.

McAvoy plays Xavier as a raffish boffin and his charming performance is one of the film’s high points. Fassbender, too, is on teeth-clenching powerhouse mode, until his accent dies a death on the home stretch. Jennifer Lawrence is less convincing as shapely shape-shifter Mystique, the torch-bearer for the film’s obligatory investigation into issues of identity and who dubiously adapts the black power slogan into ‘I’m a mutant and proud’. As with the previous ‘X-Men’ films, the many mutants look like they serve no purpose other than to be pretty punching bags for the film’s climactic scuffle. You wish as much time was spent on drawing together the disperate elements and devising a ripping yarn than was spent concocting the shiver-inducing final death scene, which – props to Vaughn – really is one for the ages.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Thu Jun 2, 2011

Duration:

132 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5
LiveReviews|26
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Wazza from Brum..

All the X-men film's are good,average 3 star,but X-men 1st class really is 1st class,and deserve's a 5 star rating,Kevin Bacon is very good at playing Bad.If there isn't a sequal to this movie its a Sin to the Movie industry and the fan's of D.C. films,please,please make a X-men 1st class part 2....Wazza :-)

Wazza from Brum..

All the X-men film's are good,average 3 star,but X-men 1st class really is 1st class,and deserve's a 5 star rating,Kevin Bacon is very good at playing Bad.If there isn't a sequal to this movie its a Sin to the Movie industry and the fan's of D.C. films,please,please make a X-men 1st class part 2....Wazza :-)

critique

JayneM - I too have not seen any of the other X men films and I enjoyed First Class immensely. I`m sure I missed out on a few references (take a look at how one or two reviewers enjoyed the Wolverine cameo, for instance) but the movie stands as an entertaining, well-produced spectacle in its own right. McAvoy is very charming and I dare say both Fassbender and January Jones will set a few hearts a-flutter too.

critique

JayneM - I too have not seen any of the other X men films and I enjoyed First Class immensely. I`m sure I missed out on a few references (take a look at how one or two reviewers enjoyed the Wolverine cameo, for instance) but the movie stands as an entertaining, well-produced spectacle in its own right. McAvoy is very charming and I dare say both Fassbender and January Jones will set a few hearts a-flutter too.

Lou

I left the cinema quite disappointed, it was all about the effects but generally that doesn't make me go to the cinemas, I was looking for a well told story, with coherence and depth on my favourite superheros, but the movie just falls short in both; someone earlier commented on the McAvoy-Fassbender portrayal of Prof X-Magneto vs Stewart-McKellen and there's no way you can even compare, I prefer the old guard, plus the fact that McAvoy had to touch his forehead when using his power was a bit annoying. The final battle was awesome but that's about it, the movie in general left me wanting more, had I seen it on tv I probably would've liked it more... PS: Wolverine and Mystique cameos were brilliant!

Lou

I left the cinema quite disappointed, it was all about the effects but generally that doesn't make me go to the cinemas, I was looking for a well told story, with coherence and depth on my favourite superheros, but the movie just falls short in both; someone earlier commented on the McAvoy-Fassbender portrayal of Prof X-Magneto vs Stewart-McKellen and there's no way you can even compare, I prefer the old guard, plus the fact that McAvoy had to touch his forehead when using his power was a bit annoying. The final battle was awesome but that's about it, the movie in general left me wanting more, had I seen it on tv I probably would've liked it more... PS: Wolverine and Mystique cameos were brilliant!

_Matt_77_

Overall this is a really good film which packs a punch with its awesome special effects (full of cool surprises), its dramatic fight scenes and the characters' developing personalities, personal dilemmas, split loyalties and in one or two cases personal tragedies. The story it tells, presumably lifted more or less wholesale from the comics (I wouldn't know), as you would expect neatly explains the characters you see in the later instalments and the tensions and strange bonds between them (especially Xavier and Magneto), I'm giving it four stars because I feel some of the character development was a little lacking in depth or gravitas (in a film which is clearly trying to tackle those kinds of areas seriously) and because I have one or two pedantic niggles with the film which annoy me, ... So what were my petty niggles? If I were setting out to pick faults, I would mention Magneto's accent somehow going kind of Irish towards the end of the film, which is a bit odd considering he's a German Jew; also the way he looks like he's been Photoshopped when he climbs down onto the aircraft fusilage in the big sea scene; also Shaw's funny accent at the start of the film, but to be fair it's the accent he's using when he's speaking German, so the non-German-speakers in the audience won't care, and I'm not a native speaker, so maybe I've got it wrong and his accent might be excellent, but there was something about it I didn't like. On a more substantive level, I felt there wasn't really enough put into fleshing out Shaw's background or his involvement with the Nazis, and I wasn't totally convinced by the personality development for Mystique or the fluttery-winged fairy girl. ... +1 to andrew's comment though:- Wolverine brings the awesome!!

_Matt_77_

Overall this is a really good film which packs a punch with its awesome special effects (full of cool surprises), its dramatic fight scenes and the characters' developing personalities, personal dilemmas, split loyalties and in one or two cases personal tragedies. The story it tells, presumably lifted more or less wholesale from the comics (I wouldn't know), as you would expect neatly explains the characters you see in the later instalments and the tensions and strange bonds between them (especially Xavier and Magneto), I'm giving it four stars because I feel some of the character development was a little lacking in depth or gravitas (in a film which is clearly trying to tackle those kinds of areas seriously) and because I have one or two pedantic niggles with the film which annoy me, ... So what were my petty niggles? If I were setting out to pick faults, I would mention Magneto's accent somehow going kind of Irish towards the end of the film, which is a bit odd considering he's a German Jew; also the way he looks like he's been Photoshopped when he climbs down onto the aircraft fusilage in the big sea scene; also Shaw's funny accent at the start of the film, but to be fair it's the accent he's using when he's speaking German, so the non-German-speakers in the audience won't care, and I'm not a native speaker, so maybe I've got it wrong and his accent might be excellent, but there was something about it I didn't like. On a more substantive level, I felt there wasn't really enough put into fleshing out Shaw's background or his involvement with the Nazis, and I wasn't totally convinced by the personality development for Mystique or the fluttery-winged fairy girl. ... +1 to andrew's comment though:- Wolverine brings the awesome!!

Henry

The best thing for me concerning this movie was the whole cast. But the real fans of X Men will definitely go home very happy, I believe!

Henry

The best thing for me concerning this movie was the whole cast. But the real fans of X Men will definitely go home very happy, I believe!

ebi atawodi

I quite enjoyed it and it was longer than expected, that came as a welcome surprise. If you are an avid Marvel comic reader be sure to expect a lot of discrepancy, otherwise good way to spend a saturday afternoon.

ebi atawodi

I quite enjoyed it and it was longer than expected, that came as a welcome surprise. If you are an avid Marvel comic reader be sure to expect a lot of discrepancy, otherwise good way to spend a saturday afternoon.

JB

Have to say I was disappointed overall by this one. As the reviewer points out, Fassbender's accent drop was really jarring and the film is definitely 15-20 mins too long. In spite of some good styling work by the set and costume guys I was never able to buy into the early 60s setting. January Jones was wooden and McAvoy and Fassbender just didn't have the rapport that Stewart and McKellen always have in the ealier movies.

JB

Have to say I was disappointed overall by this one. As the reviewer points out, Fassbender's accent drop was really jarring and the film is definitely 15-20 mins too long. In spite of some good styling work by the set and costume guys I was never able to buy into the early 60s setting. January Jones was wooden and McAvoy and Fassbender just didn't have the rapport that Stewart and McKellen always have in the ealier movies.

Marsellus

Amazing film - by far the best of the X-Men series. I wouldn't even say it's comparable to the other X-Men films as it has a greater maturity, a better script and better acting. Really refreshing to see an X-film this good after the terrible X3 and Wolverine films. McAvoy and Fassbender are standouts. Think I'll be going back to the cinema again for this one.

Marsellus

Amazing film - by far the best of the X-Men series. I wouldn't even say it's comparable to the other X-Men films as it has a greater maturity, a better script and better acting. Really refreshing to see an X-film this good after the terrible X3 and Wolverine films. McAvoy and Fassbender are standouts. Think I'll be going back to the cinema again for this one.

very excited filmgoer

I really enjoyed this film, but I found the tone a bit odd - kind of camp and gruesome, and sort of sleazy in places??? And I agree that the some of the young mutants seemed to be a bit pointless... but there's so much great stuff here, it's funny and exciting and gripping, with great performances - agree that Kevin Bacon is amazing, but Michael Fassbender was what the film was all about, I think.

very excited filmgoer

I really enjoyed this film, but I found the tone a bit odd - kind of camp and gruesome, and sort of sleazy in places??? And I agree that the some of the young mutants seemed to be a bit pointless... but there's so much great stuff here, it's funny and exciting and gripping, with great performances - agree that Kevin Bacon is amazing, but Michael Fassbender was what the film was all about, I think.

Heather

Excellent film, fantastic new performances. Would have liked more development from a lot of the characters and the final fight wasn't as epic as the other films. BUT still good, laughed, gasped and mourned... Well worth a watch.

Heather

Excellent film, fantastic new performances. Would have liked more development from a lot of the characters and the final fight wasn't as epic as the other films. BUT still good, laughed, gasped and mourned... Well worth a watch.

scrumpyjack

First the bad. Too much female flesh and unnecessary use of strong language for a Marvel (i.e. mainly kids) film plus (what a shock) it's too long by 10-15 min. However there are many good aspects. Committed performances (take a bow Bacon esp.) looks great, strong story and direction and some brilliant set pieces. Recommended, but parents of those pre 12 and jealous girlfriends (!) be warned....there's A LOT of scenes with women in next to nothing. (to think, when I was a boy all I had was me mums littlewoods catalogue!) 7+

scrumpyjack

First the bad. Too much female flesh and unnecessary use of strong language for a Marvel (i.e. mainly kids) film plus (what a shock) it's too long by 10-15 min. However there are many good aspects. Committed performances (take a bow Bacon esp.) looks great, strong story and direction and some brilliant set pieces. Recommended, but parents of those pre 12 and jealous girlfriends (!) be warned....there's A LOT of scenes with women in next to nothing. (to think, when I was a boy all I had was me mums littlewoods catalogue!) 7+