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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5

After writing a thesis on mutation, university student Charles Xavier is approached by the CIA for his expertise on the subject as they’ve been tracking the villain Sebastian Shaw, who keeps mutant company. Once convincing the CIA mutants exist, Charles begins to form a team of mutants to go up against Shaw before he can execute his plans to start a third World War.

Loaded with thrills, excitement, stunning SFX, fun cameos and a strong story, X-Men: First Class is an amazing prequel to the X-Men films that won’t leave you disappointed.

X-Men: First Class is one of my favorites. It was also a good chance to kind of give the X-franchise a boost after X-Men: The Last Stand. What was cool about First Class is it takes place in the same universe on the same timeline and is indeed a true prequel to the X-franchise we all know and love. Yes, there are some continuity flaws, but overall the whole thing flows. Besides, any other bumps that need ironing out can always be fixed with the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past as, well, time travel fixes everything.

The two main characters in this are Wolverine and . . . wait, kidding, it’s Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and this story goes way back to when they first met and were even on the same team fighting for the same ideals. You got to see how that friendship was forged because their friends-yet-foes relationship was so prominent in the other movies that to make it the spotlight of this one was a smart move.

This is truly an origin tale as you got to see Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) in her humble beginnings, Professor X all the way back to when he was twelve; they recreated the Nazi camp beginning from X-Men for Magneto’s origin and then expanded on that—which kicked off the main plot of the movie in which Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) wants to use the mutants under his command to kick off World War III—and also how Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hault) becomes all blue and furry as Beast.

Like the other X-flicks, this movie is amazing at being an ensemble film where each character is given care, the right amount of time in the spotlight, each having unique relationships with the others, and who-does-what-and-why is clearly explained. As a storyteller myself, I find this kind of writing fascinating because it’s easy to fall into the trap of just focusing on one or two people and that’s it, the rest of the supporting cast being way too supporting and not enough of their own people. I think the secret was the X-Men—whether good guy or bad—were approached from the angle of family, the idea that as mutants their mutation was their common bond and it was all for one and one for all regardless of personalities or even if people got along or not. There’s even a bond between the heroes and villains of this flick because of their mutation.

The SFX were out of sight. The flying sequences were thrilling, the teleportations were amazing, the nods to the other movies—complete with cameos so watch closely—totally added to the world-building of the X-universe. That and the attention to the source material—using the yellow costumes from the classic comics, for example—and the overall story make this an awesome X-Men movie.

Man, just writing this review makes me want to go watch it again.

Highly recommended.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon January 28, 2012
This movie is carried by the characters of Magneto, Charles Xavier and Mystique! They are very well played by the actors, especially Michael Fassbender that gives a very emotional and nuanced performance!

It could have been just another excuse to jam several x-men characters in a movie to make money, but instead, we started with characters at their beginning and slowly added layers to their motivations and past! What this does is to efficiently make us care for those characters. There are several dimensions to them. Magneto is not all bad. Xavier is not perfect. Mystique simply wanted to be accepted for being her true self. Because these are things that we all share in our daily lives, we are therefore able to relate to them!

Kudos to the writers and directors of this movie! They made something deeper, instead of the usual run-of-the-mill attempt at using and merging big name just to make a quick dollar!

Sure, there are lesser characters that are not as well played, but they are so secondary that it doesn't really bring anything down.

Well worth getting this movie!
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on April 14, 2016
The movie gives you some quick backgrounds on 4 of the characters, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and Raven / Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). The rest you have to guess at. And if you are like me, and have never read the comics, you are clueless and sit back and enjoy all the women in lingerie. It boils down to a good vs. evil scenario, which I can understand.

The good guys create a machine that will locate other mutants. Charles is able to cleverly locate all the mutants during a single music montage. Meanwhile Kevin Bacon wants to start an all out nuclear war so the radiation will kill all the humans and only leave the mutants. This is remake of the history of the Cuban missile crisis.

As always, great special effects. Background knowledge of the characters and other movies would be a plus, such as cameo by Hugh Jackman or Rebecca Romijn, but not necessary to enjoy the film.

The nuclear reactor controls on the submarine were totally bogus for any era. Favorite line: "I have been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again."

F-bomb (thanks Hugh for the F.O.) sexual situations and "Avatar" nudity. Excellent prequel.
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on April 6, 2012
Great acting by all. Enjoyable and entertaining. Good plot and tie in nicely with the the later sequal of the series, we have seen earlier. Gut wrentching special effects. Very well done! I wish there were more. .. Look forward to the next.
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on October 25, 2016
I enjoyed this movie. All of the actors are very handsome, especially James McAvoy. I started watching more of his movies once I became aware of this one. Really enjoyable action, adventure movie about this professor and his friend Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender, who recruit some mutants to stop this one evil mutual played by Kevin Bacon. You will find the two sequels following this really enjoyable. Sequels are usually disappointing, but you won't be disappointed with this nor the sequels to this. I really hope they make more sequels with the same cast.
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No Nightcrawler. No Storm. No Cyclops. No Rogue. No Gambit. And there's a noticeable lack of dignified old men like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

Yes, this is not the X-Men you're used to. "X-Men: First Class" goes back to the 1960s to tell the origin stories of both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, as well as their charismatic leaders Professor X and Magneto. The story itself is a puff piece used to introduce the characters, but the performances by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are absolutely spellbinding.

In the 1960s, a CIA sting operation discovers that the the cruel Sebastien Shaw (Kevin Bacon) (who is working with the Russians) also has a small group of superpowered mutants who can teleport, read minds, and so on. And the existence of mutants is proven to the government by mind-reading telepath Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and his foster sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence).

With Shaw planning to spark off a nuclear war between Russia and the US, Xavier begins gathering his own group of mutants -- including Erik Lensherr, a Holocaust survivor who is hell-bent on killing Shaw. The mutants begin training themselves so they can use their abilities to the fullest, but they may not be a match for Shaw... and even worse, Erik might be.

"X-Men: First Class" as a pretty fluffy main plot, since its main purpose is to bring Erik and Charles together as best buddies... only to have them splinter off in two very different directions. Yes, there's a lot of stuff about the Cuban missile crisis and impending nuclear doom, but it feels like it's just a backdrop for the REAL drama.

But it is a pretty fun popcorn movie, though not as powerful as the first two X-Men movies. There are some very striking moments (the FLYING SUBMARINE! Epic!), and some pretty impressive action scenes. However, director Matthew Vaughn really underplays some important scenes (such as Beast's transformation), and he really beats you over the head with the gay parallels of the mutants ("You didn't ask").

As for the cast, the villains are pretty lackluster. Bacon gives a good performance, but he feels strangely out of place, as if he doesn't quite click into the story. And January Jones -- aka "sparkly Christmas ornament with breasts" -- gives a performance like garden tools scraping through a chalkboard. She is so annoying that she actually infects any scene she's in. And sadly, there is an ugly undercurrent of misogyny running through the story, with all the women explicitly sexualized (there isn't one who doesn't get naked or seminaked).

But on the flipside, the protagonists are AMAZING. McAvoy and Fassbender are absolutely brilliant as two very similar men -- charismatic, intelligent, strong-willed -- who become fast friends, but are divided by their different views of human nature. Both actors really explore the bond between their characters, but you can see their differing beliefs slowly infecting it.

As for the younger X-Men, they range from excellent (the adorable Nicholas Hoult) to horribly flat (Zoë Kravitz), but the one that disappointed me the most was Lawrence as the young Mystique. Lawrence is a sublime actress, but she seems oddly "off" here... possibly because of Mystique's rather flat "teen outcast" characterization.

"X-Men: First Class" has a rather lightweight plot and some sketchy casting, but is saved by the presence of McAvoy and Fassbender. A fun watch for fans of the X-Men, if you can get past the constant objectification of women.
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on September 23, 2011
This is perhaps the most succesful prequel movie I've ever seen. Michael Fassbender really steals the show as Eric/Magneto. Really he and James McAvoy fill in really well for Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellan. The two play well off each other. Michael Fassbender actually convinced me that should Daniel Craig decide to stop being James Bond, he would be an excellent replacement. The way his scenes tracking down Sebastian Shaw worked it was almost like watching an old Connery Bond movie.

I also like Kevin Bacon as villain Sebastian Shaw, who with his mutant goons, does play it like a 60's Bond villain. Unfortunately January Jones plays Emma Frost about as well as a cardboard box with a playboy pin-up stuck to it. Her delivery is emotionless and it's a shame that a memorable comic character gets such a poor representation in the movie. I think a more accomplished actress in the part would've made a huge difference, but producer logic must've decided Emma's boobs were more important than having emotions. Too bad because it is the one big mark I have against the movie. All the other supporting cast play well in their limited roles. Wolverine even shows up for one funny scene.
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on January 5, 2013
Great movie liked the actors and the story line. Liked the whole series and this fits right in. Can't wait until the next 1 comes out
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on November 27, 2013
After a dismal "X-Men 3" and a questionable "X-Men Origins", it was time for us to get a fresh new start, if not a better take on the subject. Having such powerful actors as Michael Fassbender (Shame, Hunger, 12 years a slave) and James McAvoy (Atonement) and complete with a very adequate ensemble cast, this movie explores the beginnings of the X-Men, how Xavier and Lensher met, how the X-Men started the school, and everything in between.

Audio and video are superb, more than satisfying and both help in feeling like we're inside the movie. And the score... what a score. The main theme for Magneto is probably THE best in the X-Men music. (I hope they keep it for Days of Future Past)

As far as special features go, there's plenty to be found in terms of documentaries, featurettes, interviews, deleted scenes and commentaries. Over 2-3 hours total, all of which is entertaining, informative and quick paced.

All in all, a superb resurrection for the X family, and we can only hope the future keeps getting brighter.
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on March 14, 2016
Wonderful film. I like the fact that this takes place years before X-1 or X -Men and a prequel. The Extras are okay. Just was looking to a commentary track as the X - Men Trilogy had at least one on each one. Oh well.
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