One of the biggest surprises of the summer was X-Men: First Class. Director Matthew Vaughn managed to take a series that ended on a sour note and inject some new life into it. The film shows how Magneto and Professor X came about, from childhood into their earlier years of adulthood. It is because of the two phenomenal lead actors that the film succeeds. James McAvoy plays the smart, but innocent Charles Xavier all too well. He’s always looking out for fellow mutants and people around him and he only wants peace amongst everyone. McAvoy really adds some character to one that I never thought needed any. In addition to that you have Michael Fassbender showing the pain and suffering as Erik Lehnsherr, the troubled young mutant who is set on killing Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a Nazi doctor who is responsible for the death of Erik’s mother and the experimenting Erik had to undergo during his younger years.
The whole film is built on these two solid characters and it has no problem branching out and sharing the spotlight with some of the smaller, lesser known characters from the X-Men universe. The film managed to take a non-fan like myself and convert me. I’ve never cared for the comics or cartoons or even the previous movies until First Class. The only film I kind of liked before this was X2 and even that wasn’t anything special. I didn’t care for the first film and didn’t even get around to watching the third one until this past summer and I must say it really fucked up, but without the massive disaster known as X-Men: The Last Stand then maybe First Class would have never happened. Let’s not forget about X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the red headed stepchild that no one wanted to claim as their own. How could you mess up the coolest and most popular character from the X-Men universe? All you had to do was deliver some solid action and catchy one-liners, but instead we got half-baked special effects and a cruddy story that gave us very little back story on the character known as Wolverine.
The X-Men track record hasn’t been the greatest in film and it looks like Matthew Vaughn gave First Class extra special treatment because of his appreciation for the X-Men universe and because he knew how important this next film had to be. He really cut it down to the core and focused on character emotions and relationships, the feeling of being cast out and alone. He also managed to add in a bit of America’s scary past with the Cuban Missile Crisis and how we as a nation were close to getting wiped off the Earth. None of the past X-Men films can really say they did that. Sure, they dealt with touchy human subjects, but not with this much care. I applaud Matthew Vaughn for giving us the best X-Men film four films in. It’s a rare thing these days, to see a late entry out do the previous, yet it’s happened now with two series of movies in the same year. The first being Fast Five and the second being X-Men: First Class.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, this is probably the most random and jumbled up review you’ve ever read here at The Daily Rotation and I apologize, but hey I just had to gush and besides if you haven’t seen this film then just do it, no need to read any reviews at this point!
But for all of you still craving a proper review, check out Anthony’s full theatrical review right here. I think he hits it pretty well on the head, so no need to ramble about it twice!
Video: X-Men: First Class comes to Blu-ray with a very sharp 1080p transfer. It’s constantly clean and full of fine detail with barely any digital noise. Fox has done a wonderful job transferring First Class to Blu-ray and I don’t think it can really get any better than this. The film is full of a wide array of bright colors and they all shine like never before!
Audio: The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track is equally impressive. It’s a sonic boom of an audio mix that is full of explosions and activity. Dialogue comes across as easy to hear on the front channels with the back channels working well with the action. This is another stunning audio mix by Fox and it really makes one lucky to own a surround sound setup, particularly for the last act of the film, which is full of battle and mayhem.
X-Men: First Class comes with a bundle of special features that are all presented in high definition.
- X Marks The Spot Viewing Mode (HD): This is a cool little pop up feature that comes up randomly during the film and displays 8 features. It’s nice if you want to take a closer look at how they did the effects, story, editing, sound design and other various things.
- Cerebro: Mutant Tracker (HD): A bio feature that allows you to get the rundown on some of your favorite mutants.
- Children of the Atom Documentary (HD): A really insightful doc that gives you the rundown on why they choose certain mutants for the film plus influences and possible sequels.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes (HD): Thirteen scenes here that don’t really offer much. Glad they were cut!
- Composer’s Isolated Score (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Fox delivers the goods with the Blu-ray of X-Men: First Class. The film is a surprisingly good summer blockbuster that far exceeded all expectations. It gives you a fresh look at Magneto and Xavier, thanks to Fassbender and McAvoy. Matthew Vaughn directs a very slick film with shades of James Bond popping up every now and again. The story is strong, the acting by the two leads is very good and the rest of the cast does a good job with the roles they have. Despite its lower than expected box office numbers Fox still stuck some time and effort into the Blu-ray.
The 1080p video transfer is near perfect, full of detail and color and the 5.1 DTS-HD audio track is a sonic blast and a rockin’ good time for any speakers. The film comes with a respectable list of special features that is sure to please any fan. If you liked this film in theaters than I strongly suggest picking up the Blu-ray. If you haven’t given this one a chance than by all means rent it and see if it’s for you. It turned me into a fan and I’m sure it did with others too. There’s enough action to satisfy any action junkie and a good enough story to please someone looking to watch something engaging. X-Men: First Class is a fluke of a film that no one expected anything out of. I’m very curious to see what a possible sequel could do for the X-Men universe.
Movie – 9/10
Video – 9/10
Audio – 9/10
Special Features – 6/10
Click Here to buy X-Men: First Class from Amazon.com