My grade: A
Probably the best X-Men movie yet. Yes, I'd say it is at better or at least on par with "X-Men" and "X2". There's a LOT of plot material covered, and a lot of epic moments, and it just works much better as a cohesive unit than I expected.
The continuity issue is an interesting one, and the film actually works better as a prequel than I expected. One could imagine that the Cuba incident was hushed up, and we could end up with the situation as shown in "X-Men". (Although perhaps my movie canon knowledge is foggy) Right or not, they certainly marketed the film as a prequel.
But I still wish that the movies had started out this way, instead of having a strict path and character end points that need to be followed. In that way, perhaps it would have been better if "X-Men: First Class" was a true reboot.
- McAvoy and Fassbender own their roles
- Azazel (?) way of killing was somewhat shocking but it makes sense
- The final end battle was pretty darn EPIC
- Angel, and the actress. Ugh.
- Emma Frost, and the actress. Ugh.
- Emma Frost's transformations, that somehow also made her clothes into diamonds. Bleh. Why couldn't they have her diamond shape wear the same lingerie?
Another somewhat bummer is that I wish the Professor-X/Magneto final plot development would have been left for a sequel. I would have liked to see them work together more.