[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=7073[/img]Title: X-Men: First Class
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
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 132 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: 9/9/2011
HTS Overall Score:96
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=7075[/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
The 1080P MPEG-4 AVC transfer for X-Men: First Class is impeccable. I could find nothing at all to complain about on this one. Colors were rich and deep with effortlessly pure hues. The black levels were penetrative and deep with fine shadow detail and perfectly adjusted contrast. Resolution speaks for itself in the fine detail inherent in such an exceptional transfer. Whether it was CGI or perfectly natural imperfections on textured surfaces, this is a clear and detailed presentation that pops out at you. Fleshtones are natural looking in all instances and never look flat or dead. There was some natural grain from time to time, but that never distracts from the rest of the transfer. Even the stock footage from 1960’s Las Vegas is a treat to see. This is one that you’ll definitely want to see for yourself, an A+ presentation.
Of course the whole experience would have been for naught had the audio been anything less than perfect. 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 Documentary
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Composer's Isolated Score
- BD-Live Exclusive - "Dogfight" Stunt Test
- Digital Copy
See? Didn’t I tell you it was awesome? All kidding aside, if you liked the first two X-Men films, or are a fan of superhero movies or of action movies or of adventure movies or just plain great movies; then you should pick this one up without hesitation. Ever since Layer Cake I have been a fan of Matthew Vaughn and he far exceeded my expectations with this one. The effects in the movie are awesome, the video presentation of the film is as good as I have ever seen in a live action movie and the AQ is off the charts. I challenge anyone to effectively argue that this is not one of the best, if not the best, Blu-Rays to come out in the past year or more. Yes, I’ll concede that it handily bests my beloved Battle: Los Angeles on all fronts. The entire cast put in a great effort and made a good idea a great movie. X-Men: First Class should serve as an example that you ca still take something familiar and make it feel new again. Highly Recommended!
Recommendation: BUY IT!!!
Official Blu-Ray Reviews Scoring