HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: X-Men: First Class
HTS Overall Score:84
Well, with "Days of Future Past" being one of the first of Fox's 4K UltraHD releases and "X-Men: Apocalypse" just coming out the same date, it was a foregone conclusion that "First Class" would get the same treatment. Now all three of the "reboot" X-men movies have been given the upgrade and we'll give a little rundown on this release for you. Since Dale Rasco already reviewed "First Class" HERE I'll just fill in his thoughts for the summary as well as a few other bits that remain the same across both the Blu-ray and the 4K set (anything from Dale will appear bolded).
X-Men: First Class unveils the epic beginning of the X-Men saga - and a secret history of the Cold War and our world at the brink of nuclear Armageddon. As the first class discovers, harnesses, and comes to terms with their formidable powers, alliances are formed that will shape the eternal war between the heroes and villains of the X-Men universe.
In 1962, at the height of the Cold War, Charles Xavier (McAvoy) is approached by the CIA to assist in locating Sebastian Shaw (Bacon) before he single handedly orchestrates the extinction of mankind through nuclear war. Xavier locates and assembles a team of mutant G-Men working for the United States in hopes of stopping Shaw before it’s too late.
One of the mutants that Xavier recruits is Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender) who has his own score to settle with Shaw however; when the team is torn over what’s right, what’s wrong and what is, they discover that they will need more than their powers can offer if they are to survive and save mankind from extinction.
As the constant onslaught of super hero movies that flood our theaters continues, X-Men: First Class offers a fresh, quazi-retro origin story of one of the most beloved intellectual properties in comics and hits the mark on all fronts. After X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine, I had little hope that the franchise could return to its former glory that peaked with X2: X-Men United. That has definitely changed with this new tale and the only word I could offer to the filmmakers of X-Men: First Class is; ‘Bravo’! This new X-Men movie is hands down the best in the series and in my opinion one of the best films in the genre thus far. Director Matthew Vaughn has constructed an extremely original and flat out awesome ride for our dear mutated brethren.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81921[/img]To top things off we are given memorable performances by just about everyone involved. No, I’m not going to suggest that these Oscar worthy, but I will easily say that every actor in this one did their part perfectly and did an excellent job at drawing you into their world and making you care about what happens to them. I would also say that Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence stood out most in the cast.
Setting the story against one of the most frightening moments in history was brilliant as it rooted the series in our reality. Vaughn was able to masterfully give the film a vintage look while still making everything feel shiny and new. Stock footage from the era combined with modern filming technologies paid off huge and in the end I was left with a feeling of complete satisfaction. Being such a huge fan of comic books and super heroes in general, it was a real treat to finally see a film that I felt was at the very least in the same class as The Dark Knight.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81929[/img]“X-Men: Days of Future Past” gets a solid upgrade from 1080p, but it’s not the wild explosive leap in quality that I was hoping for. Sure there is a nice uptick in clarity amongst facial details and other intimate objects, but the film is slightly soft in comparison to many of the other 4K releases out there. This probably comes from being struck out of the 2K master that the Blu-ray came from 5 years ago (has it really been 5 years?) and the movie would probably need to be redone with a new Digital Intermediary to gain the full benefits of what the 35 mm Panavision film can really give. The 1960s vibe is nice and grainy (back when the X-Men series was still shot on film) and the colors are bright and vibrant. Like I said, it IS a bit soft and not as razor sharp as I would have hoped, but it is a distinct upgrade to the Blu-ray if you’re looking for it. The extra color saturation from the HDR ability of 4K is the most noticeable upgrade, and you can really see how it benefits the film with all of the blues and yellows of their uniforms and the BRIGHT blues of Beast and Mystique’s skin/fur. Shadows are well replicated and there’s no banding or other artifacting to see on the disc.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81937[/img]Sadly the 4K edition carries the same 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix that was included on the original Blu-ray, which is a little disappointing with the amount of 4K titles coming out that are remixed in Atmos. So, as with the plot summary, this will be Dale's original description of the audio from 5 years ago (although I have adjusted the score a bit due to the inclusion of Atmos tracks out in the wild has mad us adjust our scoring "bar" a little bit). Luckily it was every bit as good as the video transfer. There is something for everyone in this extremely dynamic and perfectly balanced 5.1 DTS-HD-MA gift from Fox. Surround channels are perfectly imaged to capture off camera conversations as well as ambient and action oriented audio. Everything throughout the film was incredibly well articulated and one of the clearest high definition audio experiences I have ever heard. Low frequency extension covers all of our favorite areas from the impactful, offensive and rude to the atmospheric and encompassing. The filmmakers brought there A-Game to this sound design and it shines from beginning to end. Dialogue reproduction was flawless and is perfectly imaged across all five channels. This is an audio experience that not only needs to be heard to be appreciated, but I absolutely demand you go out right now and buy it. Its ok, I’ll wait…..
• X Marks the Spot Viewing Mode
• Cerebro: Mutant Tracker
• Children of the Atom
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Composer’s Isolated Score
"X-Men: First Class" is a fun little outing that acted as the new reboot for a franchise that just about died out with "X-Men Origins: Wolverine". Matthew Vaughn's exceptional directing makes for a fun watch and the addition of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender makes the pot evne sweeter (although I will forever loathe putting Jennifer Lawrence in these new films, as her star power seems to overshadow the rest of the cast). Now the question of the hour. Is this edition worth picking up over my old Blu-ray? Well, if you want the best picture quality possible, then most certainly yes. Go down to the Amazon link below and buy away. However, with the exclusion of an Atmos mix (or even a 7.1 upgrade) and the lack of any wild and new special features I would personally just wait till the price comes down a bit. It's a solid upgrade in the video department, but it's not an ENORMOUS enough upgrade for me to plunk down $20+ for it. Still definitely worth it on the movie factor alone.
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Written by: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, English DD 5.1, French DTS 5.1
Runtime: 132 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 11th 2016
Buy X-Men: First Class On 4K UltraHD Blu-ray at Amazon
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