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X-Men: First Class

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • 'X-Men: First Class' excels in film but its 4K upgrade splits opinions.

    X-Men: First Class 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • X-Men: First Class' 4K UHD release offers subtle detail and color improvements over the 1080p version, but its film-originated grain and softness, mixed with a somewhat muted HDR impact, don't fully meet high expectations.

  • Audio
  • X-Men: First Class's Ultra HD Blu-ray retains its excellent DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, disappointing fans expecting an immersive update; its soundstage is dynamic yet unchanged.

  • Extra
  • The X-Men: First Class Ultra HD Blu-ray set, with extras from previous releases and a notable isolated score, brings enhanced visuals but lacks new content, aiming more at collectors.

  • Movie
  • Matthew Vaughan revitalized the X-Men series with 'First Class,' blending historical events, a top-notch cast, and a 60s vibe into a critically acclaimed reboot.

    Video: 79

    X-Men: First Class on 4K UHD Blu-ray, presented by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, brings to the table an HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p transfer with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Shot on 35mm film and finished with a 2K Digital Intermediate, the upgrade to 4K involves an upscale rather than a from-scratch remastering using the original negatives. As a result, while there are noticeable improvements in detail and color gradations over the standard Blu-ray, these enhancements are somewhat restrained. Texture details such as the weave of the X-Men uniforms and the intricate scales on Mystique's body present more distinctly, alongside a more vibrant color spectrum that benefits significantly from HDR, particularly in bright light scenarios and when showcasing distinct colors like Mystique’s blue skin.

    However, this release has its caveats. The inherently grainy appearance and occasional softness attributed to its cinematographic choices and the limitations of its 2K DI source material mean that it lacks the sheer pop of visual clarity and fidelity found in newer or more meticulously remastered 4K presentations. Despite these factors, blacks are deep, flesh tones natural, and there is no significant banding or aliasing, indicating a clean transfer free from digital artifacts. The high dynamic range implementation heightens detail in high contrast scenes, though it doesn’t always deliver the dramatic impact seen in other Ultra HD releases. Specific outdoor sequences and brightly lit shots reveal the depth and richness of colors more markedly, benefiting from the wider color gamut.

    In essence, while the disc sports technical proficiency in its transfer, with commendable sharpness in certain scenes and an improved color presentation, it falls short of the transformative potential held by the format. The deliberate aesthetic choices, including the muted color palette for much of the movie and an intentional grain structure mimicking the era it depicts, ensure fidelity to the source but also underscore the limits of the medium's enhancement. Consequently, this edition of 'X-Men: First Class' represents a modest step up from its Blu-ray counterpart rather than a definitive leap, serving as a testament to both the strengths and pitfalls of upscaling in lieu of native 4K mastering.

    Audio: 84

    The audio presentation of the 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "X-Men: First Class" retains the original DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack from its Blu-ray counterpart, which, while exceptionally well-engineered, misses an opportunity for enhancement in this next-generation format. Professionals and enthusiasts alike might find this choice a letdown, as advancements in audio technology such as Dolby Atmos or DTS:X have set new expectations for immersive soundscapes in home cinema. The insistence on sticking with the established 5.1 mix, despite its quality, prevents the Ultra HD release from fully exploiting the potential of contemporary audio systems and does not incentivize the upgrade for audiophiles seeking beyond standard surround setups.

    Nonetheless, the existing DTS-HD Master Audio mix is lauded for its dynamic range, from subtle dialogue to robust action sequences, encapsulated within a detailed and nuanced soundstage. Dialogues maintain clarity and precedence across the front channels, while the surround channels engage vigorously, creating an encompassing auditory experience. Low-frequency effects lend substantial heft to the action, grounding the more fantastical elements with real-world sonority. Composer Henry Jackman's score pervades with clarity and depth, enhancing the overall ambiance and emotional cues of the narrative.

    Despite these accolades, certain aspects yearn for improvement or variation. For instance, the LFE channel, while competent in delivering the requisite blockbuster punch, could benefit from a more nuanced application in quieter scenes to elevate tension or mood without overwhelming the senses. Similarly, the use of surround channels, while generally immersive, occasionally misses opportunities to further draw viewers into the scene through more innovative or subtle sound placements. These critiques notwithstanding, "X-Men: First Class" remains a hallmark of audio design for home entertainment, albeit within the confines of existing formats rather than pushing into new aural territories as one might expect from a 4K release.

    Extra: 73

    The "X-Men: First Class" 4K UHD Blu-ray package offers a commendable range of extra features on its included Full HD Blu-ray disc, despite a lack of new content for those upgrading from previous releases. Included are the comprehensive "Children of the Atom" documentary – a deep dive into the film's making across seven detailed segments, and "X Marks the Spot", an interactive experience offering behind-the-scenes featurettes which can be viewed both during the movie and separately. Additionally, viewers can explore the "Cerebro: Mutant Tracker" feature, though its appeal may be limited. The set also contains a significant number of deleted and extended scenes, enriching the context of the film's storytelling. Furthermore, the Composer's Isolated Score, presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, is accessible on both Ultra HD and Full HD Blu-rays, catering to audiophiles and film score enthusiasts alike.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • X Marks the Spot: Dive into the creation of "X-Men: First Class" with this interactive experience featuring picture-in-picture vignettes like Erik in Auschwitz, Charles meets Raven, and more.
    • Cerebro: Mutant Tracker: An interactive feature that allows users to track different mutants.
    • Children of the Atom: A comprehensive, feature-length documentary detailing the making of the film across seven segments.
    • Deleted and Extended Scenes: A collection of scenes removed or extended from the final cut for pacing and content.
    • Composer's Isolated Score: Listen to the film's score in Dolby Digital 5.1 without dialogue or sound effects.

    Movie: 83

    "X-Men: First Class," under the direction of Matthew Vaughn, marked a much-needed and successful rejuvenation of the X-Men franchise, following the lukewarm reception of its predecessors. Vaughan, returning to the franchise fold after initially stepping away from "X-Men: Last Stand," redefines the series with a compelling 1960s backdrop intertwined with historical events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis. This narrative decision not only provides an engaging context for the emergence of mutants but also effectively leverages the period's aesthetics, reminiscent of classic Bond films, to enrich the storytelling. With Bryan Singer's blessing, Vaughan and Jane Goldman crafted a narrative that skillfully integrates these elements with humor and references, admirably resetting the franchise's course.

    Casting is another area where "X-Men: First Class" excels, with James McAvoy's Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender's Erik Lensherr (Magneto) offering nuanced, powerful performances that delve into their origins, ideologies, and the eventual divergence of their paths. Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of Mystique provided a fresh perspective on the character, contributing significantly to the film's dynamic ensemble. However, it wasn't without its flaws, as some casting choices, like January Jones as Emma Frost, were less favorably received. Nonetheless, the chemistry among the cast and Kevin Bacon's delightfully sinister turn as Sebastian Shaw underscored the film's strengths in character development and storytelling.

    The release of "X-Men: First Class" on 4K UHD further accentuates its visual and auditory prowess. The move to 4K, despite Fox's seemingly sporadic selection process for the franchise's 4K updates, offers an enhanced viewing experience that highlights the film's meticulous production design and effects. This release underscores Fox’s commitment to adapting its catalog to modern formats, ensuring that both new audiences and longtime fans can appreciate the finer details of this franchise cornerstone in unparalleled clarity.

    Total: 72

    "X-Men: First Class," a film that rekindled the franchise with its adept blend of comic book elements, historical contexts, and 1960s spy film aesthetics, delivers both an engaging narrative and strong visual presentation. The casting, script, and Matthew Vaughan’s direction coalesce to create a film that is simultaneously entertaining, poignant, and visually striking, making it a standout addition to the X-Men series. Despite its cinematic achievements, the 4K UHD Blu-ray release has received mixed reviews. The primary critique centers around its visual and audio upgrades—or the lack thereof—from the standard Blu-ray edition. The Ultra HD presentation, while offering fair video quality and excellent audio/video in HD, does not substantially improve upon the former release to warrant an unequivocal recommendation for upgrade, especially for those already in possession of the Blu-ray version.

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "X-Men: First Class" falls short of expectations set by other titles in the format, particularly in terms of video presentation and added features. The release uses the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack as its Blu-ray counterpart and includes no new immersive audio mix, which feels like a missed opportunity to enhance the viewing experience. Furthermore, all extras are carried over directly from the already available Blu-ray release, offering no new content or insights into the film’s production for collectors looking for something more. The consensus suggests that unless one is particularly keen on completing their 4K collection of the X-Men franchise, there may be little incentive to upgrade based solely on the merits of the UHD release’s technical specifications.

    Conclusively, while "X-Men: First Class" remains a pivotal and enjoyable installment in the franchise with both its thematic depth and entertainment value, its 4K UHD Blu-ray incarnation does not mirror the film’s innovative spirit. Potential buyers should consider their priorities; if utmost video quality and exclusive content are key, they may find this release underwhelming. It seems most suited to those new to owning the film or absolute franchise completists. As always, a rental or preview might be prudent before deciding on this particular investment.