I'm just back from watching the first midnight showing of X-Men: First Class - it's 3:30 in the morning and I am still trying to absorb this amazing film.
This movie is nearly flawless from beginning to end. This isn't just a good comic book movie - it's a good movie. I would even struggle to classify this as a "superhero movie" because it is much more character driven than action driven. The big, epic battles don't take up very much time on screen. Instead, this film really gets intimate with it's large cast and examines their inner workings and relationships to each other. This film clearly aligns itself with a set period in history and I loved how it used actual historical events as the backdrop for its story.
One of my big concerns going in was continuity - how did this film fit in with the other X-Men films? My first impression is that it is flawless. Clearly this film sets up the other X-Men films brilliantly. I didn't notice any obvious contradictions although I'm going to have to go back and watch the other X-Men films just to double check!
I think this movie will be enjoyed by fans by general movie audiences though I do feel that fans of the X-Men that have seen the first three (or four) films will get a little something extra out of it (there are a lot of little nods to long time fans and little easter eggs that they will pick up on).
So far, X-Men: First Class is the summer blockbuster to beat. Dare I say the best X-Men film to date? Dare I say one of the best comic book movies of all time? Yes, I do.
Oh - one last thing. DON'T STAY THOUGH THE CREDITS. THERE IS NO CLIP AT THE END OF THIS FILM. The audience I was with actually booed when the credits finished. Come on Marvel - the fans expect it! Why put a bad taste in fans' mouths after such an amazing film?