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X-Men: First Class: Better on Blu-Ray?

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It was the summer of comic book movies, but few if any received the critical praise that X-Men: First Class received. Whether it was due to lowered expectations set by the last two movies – X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine – or something else, audiences and critics alike lapped up Matthew Vaughn’s prequel like slobbering dogs, lavishing it with praise that, frankly, it doesn’t deserve.

Nevertheless, despite its glaring flaws, X-Men: First Class is an entertaining movie that will fit nicely in a home collection. It’s now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

The movie, set in the 1960′s, follows the rise of Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) as the two most powerful mutants on the planet. Despite their opposing backgrounds, they team up to form a team of mutants to battle evil, specifically the advances of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), another powerful mutant who is responsible for murdering Erik’s parents.

X-Men: First Class has some good action sequences and interesting character dynamics, but, as stated in my original movie review, it feels rushed and incomplete. The action sequences aren’t nearly as engaging as those in Bryan Singer’s original films, and more importantly the movie bites off way more story than it can chew. What should have been accomplished over three movies is shoved into one – Beast’s transformation, Mystique and Magneto’s turn to the dark side, Xavier’s paralysis and so on – which leaves plot holes and questionable character decisions that don’t make a whole lot of sense.

Ultimately, X-Men: First Class didn’t blow me away. I’m surprised others were so easily charmed.

Despite its flaws, the movie is mindlessly entertaining, and the Blu-Ray gives fans plenty of behind-the-scenes material to keep them busy for a few more hours. Aside from a few forgettable deleted scenes and some interactive features that are never worth the effort, the Blu-Ray comes packed with two multi-part documentaries that look at all facets of the film and its production.

X Marks the Spot, which can be viewed on its own or during the movie itself (why would anyone want to do that?), and Children of the Atom, provide a detailed look at how Matthew Vaughn was hired as director, the thought process put into the characters, setting and story and how the various visual tricks throughout the movie were achieved. Though they are occasionally sprinkled with promotional tidbits, these two documentaries are some of the best I’ve seen this year.

My only real issue with the Blu-Ray set is that it didn’t work on my computer using Cyberlink PowerDVD Blu-Ray suite. Every time I tried to launch the disc, it told me my software was out of date – but when I tried to update it, I still received the same message. This may be more an issue of Cyberlink not maintaining their software, but be prepared for potential firmware issues. Also, the movie skipped in one or two parts, despite being fresh out of the package.

X-Men: First Class isn’t a great movie, but it is a good movie. The Blu-Ray complements the movie well, offering in-depth insights and other useful material. Recommended.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Action Movies, Comic Book Movies, DVD Releases, Movie Reviews, Science Fiction Movies
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