Moview Review: 'X Men: First Class' a hot and heavy fantasy film

I missed a couple of the "X Man" interations so I can't offer much in the way of comparisons, but world opening audience size was down from the last version. That said, 'X Man: First Class," now screening at the Fandango Galaxy multiplex in Carson City, is a film of its times, a melange of fast cuts, amazing technology which reveals its comic-book birthright with fantasy and some fact.

Seems that there are mutants among us (That's news? Not really, but never mind.) and Prof. X (James McAvoy is out to round them up. He's assisted by Eric Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) (he's also Magneto, founder of the good mutants' s society) although they have differences. Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw is the bad guy, a former Nazi scientist whose powers have enabled him to remain youthful and determined to have his own mutant society out to destroy us plain old humanoids without mutant powers. He was the one who discovered Prof. X's powers as a youth and has now founded the Hellfire Club, the bad mutants who want to take over things as opposed to Prof X's good mutants.

Then there's the mutants themselves, such Lawrence as Raven who can change from a nifty blonde to a nifty blue-skilled, pimple-ridden beauty at the drop of a director's cue. There's more, one with hands for feet (Rave's eventual boyfriend), another who can unless torrents of fire or raw power. There's more but let;s not get too complex.

The CIA gets involved with Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira MacTaggert who falls for Prof. X. (Forgot to mention: this all takes place in 1982 during the Cuban missile crisis and in a stunning battle scene with the U.S. Navy blockading Cuba as a Soviet freighter with missiles heads for Fidel-land.)

So the X men and women in a radical jet plane (looks like the RF-81 to me) are on the scene pursuing Kevin Bacon's mighty submarine. Big confrontation on a beach as missiles, Navy shells and rockets fly about (the pictures of the Navy fleet suck, poorly done amid all the other technical excellence) but mutants on both sides send the barrage going back and forth.

Prof. X heads the guilty here, but he's fun, even when he's thinking; he shows he is doing this with a forefinger cocked against his temple. Dah. (Lawrence Belcher is the youthful Prof. X.) Bryne as the CIA agent is charmingly normal amid all the kooky types. Fassbender makes a fine hero-type and Bacon a nice enough villain. All the women are beautiful, wise and strong.Director Matthew Vaughn keeps the wheels turning and on the w. Technical stuff is pretty terrific and it isn't in 3-D.

If you like your action fast and fantastic, settle into one of the Galaxy's comfy lounge seats and enjoy. OK, so it's comic book level. All those millions of comic book readers (viewers) can't be all wrong.

— Sam Bauman

Cast and Crew
James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier / Professor X : The telepathic leader and founder of the X-Men and one of Magneto's best friends until conflicts of opinion create a rivalry between them and their teams. McAvoy admitted that he did not read comics when he was a kid, but added that he was a fan of the cartoons from the age of 10. While he describes the older Charles Xavier as "a monk... a selfless, egoless almost sexless force for the betterment of humanity and mortality," he says that the younger Xavier is a very different person, "It's quite fun because the complete opposite of that is an ego-fueled, sexed up self-serving dude. And not going too far with it, but he's definitely got an ego and he's definitely got a sex drive as well." McAvoy admitted he felt that there was a comparison between Professor X/Magneto and Martin Luther King Jr./Malcom X stating, "A lot of the time... in the comic books, Erik comes and goes; he goes back and forward really in what he believes and how he is going to achieve it. And in this film it's sort of like meeting them at a point where they are still finding out who they are and you are still seeing some of the events that shaped them, not through their early life, but some of the key events in the sort of equal rights or civil rights struggle that helped shape them."

Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto: The leader and founder of the Brotherhood of Mutants and one of Professor X's best friends until conflicts of opinion create a rivalry between them and their teams. Fassbender said that Matthew Vaughn saw him in an audition for one of his other films and just thought that he would be right for this film. After Fassbender read the script, he said he liked it and then he tried to convince the producers that he was right for the part. When reading Magneto's history (he admitted that he did not know that much about the X-Men) he said to himself that he thought the story was going to be really interesting work. When asked if he was a good guy or bad guy at this point he said that he doesn't really think in those terms. He saw Erik as a Machiavellian character. Fassbender also admitted to watching Ian McKellen's performances to get a flavor of what Magneto was like (while also stating that he liked it) but decided to "paint a new canvas" of the character, stating, "So I did my homework and preparation and you want to respect what someone else has done, especially because the fan base really liked what Ian McKellen has done with it. But while I could have gone and studied him as a young man and brought that to the performance, I don't think Matthew is very interested in that. So I'm just going my own way and working with whatever is in the comic books and the script."

Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw: A scientist and the leader of the Hellfire Club, a secret society bent on taking over the world. Shaw is a mutant who can absorb kinetic and radiated energy and redirect it.
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven / Mystique: A shape-shifting mutant and Charles Xavier's childhood friend.
Morgan Lily as Young Raven (10 years)
January Jones as Emma Frost / White Queen: A telepath who can also change her body into diamond form; also a member of the Hellfire Club. Alice Eve was originally announced to play Emma Frost.
Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira MacTaggert: A CIA agent and love interest of Charles Xavier.
Nicholas Hoult as Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy / Beast: A former scientist and political activist who transformed into a frightening looking mutant in an attempt to cure himself, but is kind at heart. Broadway actor Benjamin Walker was previously cast as Beast. He turned down the role to star in the Broadway musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
Oliver Platt as The Man in Black: A CIA agent and head of Division X, a government agency working with the X-Men.

Ray Wise as the United States Secretary of State
Zoë Kravitz as Angel Salvadore: A mutant with housefly wings and acidic saliva.
Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy / Banshee: A mutant capable of ultrasonic screaming used in various ways including as a means of flight.
Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok: A mutant who has the ability to absorb energy and discharge it as blasts.
Edi Gathegi as Armando Muñoz / Darwin: A mutant with the power of "reactive evolution."[
Jason Flemyng as Azazel: A Hellfire Club member who teleports.
Álex González as Janos Quested / Riptide: A mutant with the ability to create powerful whirlwinds from his hands.
— Glenn Morshower as Col. Hendry
— Matt Craven as CIA Director McCone
— Rade Sherbedgia as Russian General
— Michael Ironside as a U.S. Navy Captain
— James Remar as a U.S. General
— Don Creech as CIA Agent William Stryker Sr.

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Produced by: Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner and Bryan Singer
Screenplay by: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Story by: Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer

Based on Characters by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Chris Claremont
Music by: Henry Jackman
Cinematography by: John Mathieson
Editing by: Eddie Hamilton, Lee Smith
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox (United States/Worldwide) Release date(s) June 1, 2011 (United Kingdom)
June 3, 2011
Running time: 132 minutes


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