New on DVD/Blu-ray: X-Men – First Class

X-Men First Class (2011) Movie Blu-ray Cover

They’re here, they’re proud, get used to it. Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class”, his prequel to the lucrative “X-Men” superhero franchise, lands on DVD, Blu-ray, and for Download September 9th, 2011 from 20th Century Fox. The film, certified uber fresh by critics and fanboys alike, arrives with a whopping 2 hours of bonus content to satiate all your mutie needs.

X-Men: First Class is the thrilling, eye-opening chapter you’ve been waiting for…Witness the beginning of the X-Men Universe. Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their superhuman powers for the first time, working together in a desperate attempt to stop the Hellfire Club and a global nuclear war.

As a stand-alone movie, “X-Men: First Class” is a definite win, and deserves all the accolades it received upon release earlier this year. As part of the X-Men canon that Fox has been nurturing through the years, it’s still a winner, though admittedly there are parts of the film that don’t quite jive with Singer’s two “X-Men” movies or, for that matter, the oft-mocked Brett Ratner’s “X-Men: Last Stand”. (And don’t even get me started on “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. Ugh.)

The film traces the origins of X-Men founder Professor X (here played by James McAvoy with a bountiful of hair) and his close friendship with would-be Mutant Brotherhood founder Magneto (Michael Fassbender, all vengeance and fury). It’s not just about them, of course. Kevin Bacon provides slick villainy as the head of the Hellfire Club, a group of powerful mutants determined to ignite a world war that would take out humanity, leaving mutants the new kings of the planet. It’s up to Professor X and Magneto, and their new group of student/soldier recruits to save the day whether humanity likes it or not.

Set in the ’60s, the film certainly makes great use of its time period, in particular the White Queen’s uniform as capably worn by the ice cold January Jones. Say what you will about Jones, but the woman sure makes Emma Frost look good. The film also provides the first major studio work for indie darling Jennifer Lawrence, here playing Rebecca Romijn Jr., aka blue-skinned shapeshifter Mystique. Other notables roles belong to Lucas Till as the destructive Havok (brother of Cyclops, FYI), and Nicolas Hoult as the soft-spoken Beast, here still trying to control his basic instincts.

“X-Men: First Class” deserves to be highly regarded. It’s one of the better comic book movies out there, and definitely one of the better comic book origins movie. Matthew Vaughn makes great use of the film’s over two-hours runtime, and his script (with partner-in-crime Jane Goldman) brilliantly interweaves the ongoing plot with the Hellfire Club, Magneto’s revenge, and the founding of the X-Men as we would eventually come to know them as. There is plenty of humor, over-the-top comic book action, and the slick look that can only come with a big Hollywood studio budget. In a nutshell, “First Class” has it all. So if you didn’t get to it on the big screen for whatever reason, now’s the time to catch up.

January Jones and Kevin Bacon in X-Men: First Class (2011) Movie Image

The Blu-ray comes with two discs, the first holding the movie and extras, and the second containing the digital copy of “First Class”. Special features on the first disc include:

10 Marvel “X-Men” Digital Comics with exclusive “X-Men: First Class” Backstory Comic

Cerebro Mutant Tracker: An interactive character database featuring all the mutants that have showed up on in the X-Men universe so far, from the Singer movies to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. Essentially just a bunch of footage featuring the character you selected, followed by their stats. Not exactly exhilarating stuff, I’m afraid.

Children of the Atom: An hour-long behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the film. Lots of interviews with the cast and crew about the genesis and then the making-of of the film. Lots of inside stuff for those of you who really wants to dive into your movies. I’m curious why they didn’t integrate a lot of this stuff into the “X Marks the Spot” function (below).

“X” Marks the Spot: 20 minutes worth of behind-the-scenes featurettes and mini-docs that can be played either separately or while you’re watching the movie, which, I have to admit, can be pretty distracting since the featurettes cut in on the movie and suddenly you’re watching a documentary on the making-of the film and not the movie itself. My advice: watch the whole movie through first before you give this a try.

Extended and Deleted Scenes: 14 minutes of stuff that never made it into the finished movie. Since the film is over two hours long, I think it’s safe to say they got most of it in. You get more of Professor X and Moira McTaggert, Hank and Mystique, and more of Professor X teaching his students how to control their powers.

BD-Live Portal with additional Cerebro Mutant Tracker profiles

Composer’s Isolated Score

Theatrical Trailer

Buy “X-Men: First Class” on DVD or Blu-ray September 9th, 2011 from 20th Century Fox.

X-Men: First Class (2011) Movie Blu-ray Cover