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Posted at 5:44 PM ET, 02/10/2011

TRAILER OF THE DAY: Hotly anticipated 'X-MEN: First Class' last! [UPDATED]

By Michael Cavna

In less than two minutes, X-Men may have just moved to the head of the class.

At times during this season of cinematic superheroes, this year's Mutant reboot has seemed like the Marvel universe's sad, beastly stepchild as "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" drew greater heat.

But now, ask not what you can do for your trailer, 20th Century Fox; ask what a compelling trailer -- even one delivered hours later than expected tonight -- can do for you and your encouraged base.

The first full-length trailer [above] for "X-Men: First Class," struck at about 5:30 p.m. ET Thursday, and the jolt of sudden fan reaction -- judging by online chatter and comment threads -- has largely been positive. And here is all it took:

As we see Xavier's empty wheelchair, the trailer flashes the words:

"Before he was Professor X...He was Charles.

"Before he was Magneto ... He was Erik."

Soon we hear President Kennedy, in a televised Cold War speech, telling us that "The cost of freedom is always high" and that there's "one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender."

JFK's words set us precisely in 1962. The passages we hear are directly from Kennedy's prime-time speech -- on Oct. 22 of the year -- informing Americans of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Invoking this history, the guitar-drenched tone is set: This film will be all about defining moments, character-forging crucibles -- and a showdown soon teetering on the brink of shattering a world's peace.

Then, in large letters, we are enticingly encouraged to "Witness the beginning."


Marvel Comics, of course, debuted Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's X-Men #1 [right] a year later -- in September of 1963. (The very month, btw, that the U.S. deactivated all its weapons after the 11-month quarantine.)

But director Matthew Vaughn and writer Bryan Singer's "X-Men" (due June 3) features a cherry-picking of characters that pledges no certain allegiance to comic-book history.

The film promisingly stars Michael Fassbender as Magneto and James McAvoy as pal-turned-archenemy Charles Xavier. Elsewhere, Oscar-nominated Jennifer Lawrence plays Mystique; Rose Byrne is Dr. Moira MacTaggert; Lucas Till is Havok; Nicholas Hoult is Beast; and "Mad Men's" January Jones (ever comfortable in a Kennedy-era role) slips into Emma Frost.

And just like that, "X-Men" may have won the early-summer race for cineplex space.


By Michael Cavna  | February 10, 2011; 5:44 PM ET
Categories:  Geek Buzz, Superheroes  | Tags:  Marvel Entertainment, X-Men: First Class  
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