Looking for some top-notch hi-def superhero action? Then X definitely marks the spot...
Following the crippling one-two punch of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, time was surely running out for this superhero franchise. The only thing that could possibly turn things around was a complete reinvention of the series.
Enter Matthew (Kick-Ass) Vaughn. Having bailed from …The Last Stand during pre-production, Vaughn finally got his chance to tell the X-Men story he always wanted to with …First Class. Set against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis, this origin movie for Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) mixes ‘60s-style James Bond cool and espionage with over-the-top superheroics to impressive effect. It’s just a shame that this 1960s styling carries over to the script’s treatment of its female characters – most of whom end up in their bra and pants and least once in the film.
Picture: Unsurprisingly, this new X-Men outing looks first class on Blu-ray. The AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode is full of the kind of high detail levels, refined sharpness, saturated colours and stable black levels we’ve come to hope for from today’s blockbusters. On a big screen you’ll be left marvelling at the exquisite detailing in Beast’s fur and the fine textures woven into the material of the X-Men costumes the team dons for the finale showdown. Primary colours pop brilliantly when necessary, but the encode is also capable of demonstrating incredibly natural and subtly graduated fleshtones. Add in a complete lack of DNR and edge enhancement, and what more could you possibly ask for.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: X-Men: First Class also delivers the goods in the audio department thanks to an astonishingly rich and potent DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. Dialogue is delightfully nuanced and Henry Jackman’s wonderful score sounds tonally perfect, but what really makes this soundtrack sing is its aggressive use of the full 360-degree soundfield. Every location feels completely alive and part of a cohesive world thanks to the impressive sound design. And when the action heats up… Well, it’s safe to say that the mix’s booming bass and impactful dynamics will could well lead to some heated discussions with your next-door neighbours.
Audio rating: 5/5
Extras: The seven-part Children of the Atom is a surprisingly frank and open 70min dissection of the film’s production, from its origins, through casting to its 007 influences. Fans of Henry Jackman’s evocative score will be thrilled to find that an isolated version is included – although only in lossy DD5.1. Also included on the disc are 13 deleted/extended scenes and an interactive guide to 18 of the franchise’s mutants (more can be accessed via BD-Live – and there’s also the promise of exclusive online behind-the-scenes content on the service). The set also includes a DVD and Digital Copy of the film.
Curiously, one of the extras on the US disc – the X Marks the Spot pop-up viewing mode – is completely absent from the UK disc, meaning fans will have to make do without its eight short behind-the-scenes vignettes.
We say: This superhero stunner definitely has the X factor when it comes to AV performance
20th Century Fox, Region B BD/R2 DVD, £25 approx, On sale now
HCC VERDICT: 4/5
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