X-Men First Class, Blu-ray (2011)
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Studio: 20th Century Fox/Marvel [9/9/11]
Video: 2.35:1 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio only, French or Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Extras: 2-disc set with digital copy, Digital descriptive audio track, Isolated music score only track, “X Marks the Spot” viewing mode, “Cerebro: Mutant Tracker,” “Children of the Atom” eight-part documentary, Deleted & extended scenes
Length: 132 minutes
Interesting that this prequel to the other X-Men films comes out just after the success of the prequel to the Planet of the Apes movies. Being a Marvel Comics production makes it another comic book movie, but X-Men fans tout it as the very best of the series so far. It may be a little confusing to those unfamiliar with all the different powers of the various mutants, and some are hardly shown at all, but in general it’s a very good effort, with all the acting roles handled superbly. Kevin Bacon is the primary villain, and brings his acting chops to the fore in that role. The interplay between McAvoy (who will eventually be Mr. X) and Fassbender (who ends the film as the new villain Magneto) is well done. The two do a good job of mimicking the adults played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan in the other films, but still being themselves.
The tie-in of the genes experimentation by Nazi doctors makes for some unpleasant and unexpected opening scenes, and it is never explained how there can be so many mutants all over the world later from their awful experiments. There is a better tie-in to the horrific Cuban missile crisis for the grand finale, even showings characters watching actual videos of JFK’s national telecasts explaining the crisis and its resolution. It’s interesting to see the young mutants trained by McAvoy and Fassbender grow and mature into special superheros. Although some of their various powers are not made very clear for non-fans, the CGI special effects are impressive, and all in all this is one of the best of the comic book movies.
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.