Drew McWeeny, pound-for-pound the best overall film-journalist to emerge from the "movie-geek boom" of the late-1990s (as AICN's "Moriarty"), has the web's first semi-detailed (and basically spoiler-free) impressions of "X-Men: First Class" up on HitFix... and he sounds happy with it. Go give it a read.
Money quote from Drew:
"This is ground zero, and I think Fox just got it right, really right, in a way I can't say it feels like they have on any of their Marvel films so far. With the right support, and with this film's key creative team onboard, a sequel to this could well be the "X-Men" epic we've been waiting for since day one."
It's going to be interesting to see how this is recieved. It's flown largely under the radar as the "and the rest" of the "Summer of Superheroes;" mostly because it's not part of the two BIG film-press narratives i.e. "build-up to The Avengers" (Thor, Captain America) and "Warner Bros. setting up the DC Universe characters to supplant the Potter cash-cow" (Green Lantern.) But the marketing has been strong, the cast is a who's-who of stars-in-training and Matthew Vaughn has major fanboy-cred after "Kick-Ass."
On the other hand, the decision to hedge bets by keeping vague continuity with the previous three films (this is still technically a prequel, not a "re-boot") means a dearth of ultra-recognizable characters; and after the twin disasters of "X3" and "Wolverine" audiences could certainly be forgiven for approaching another X-Men movie with trepidation. Also... there's a weirdly-resentful undercurrent in a lot of the fandom for any further Marvel movies being made outside of the Marvel Studios "shared universe" umbrella - as though fans are actively hoping for them to fail on the assumption that Marvel will then scoop the rights back up and make "Wolverine vs. Avengers" or whatnot.
We'll find out in about two weeks, one way or another.