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X-Men: First Class

The 2011 prequel to the "X-Men" film franchise directed by Matthew Vaughn.

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Vaughn's 'First Class' is Brilliant, Yet Leaves Something to be Desired...

  • Jun 4, 2011
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It's hard to believe that it has already been eleven years since Bryan Singer's first X-Men came to the big screen.  At that point in time, comic book movies had steadily been going downhill.  X-Men came along and brought the superhero film franchise back from the dead in a very cool, modern way that set the tone for both the Marvel and DC universe's for the next decade.  That's why it comes as a surprise that after some fairly mediocre films from both franchises of late, that Bryan Singer didn't come back and direct the film himself.  Sure, he may have wrote and produced the First Class, but it didn't have that Singer touch that every other film he has directed tends to have. While Matthew Vaughn behind the helm produced (not to be confused with producing the film) an excellent film, there were also many aspects of this particular X-Men installment that just did not sit right.

X-Men: First Class follows a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) as he goes around the world with best friend Raven (Mystique played by Jennifer Lawrence who also happens to be one of the low points of the film) discussing the finer points of mutation.  On another side of the world is Erik Lensherr (Magneto played by Michael Fassbender) who relentlessly hunts down Sebastian Shaw, the man responsible for killing his mother while imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp.  When the CIA finds out that Shaw is a mutant and preparing to pit Russia and the US against each other to provoke World War III, they recruit Xavier and a handful of other mutants to stop him.  When Charles and Erik cross paths during a CIA operation, the two become quick friends and join forces to help train the young mutants for the inevitable battle that is to come.

If the film had focused just a little more on the the friendship between Erik and Charles, it could have gone a long way to make First Class a lot better than it was.  The fact that their friendship is created within a day is insulting to the relationship they have in the comics as well as the X-Men films.  The way in which their relationship is resolved by the end of the film is not only quick, but just doesn't end up making to much sense if you have only been friends for a month.  If you want more details, see the film.  Mystique also had no business being in this movie.  For one thing, she is never friends with Xavier in the comics (though she does hesitantly work with the X-Men from time to time).  No, Mystique is mostly there for filler and be the films token emo character.  Finally, X-Men: First Class was unnecessarily filled with way to many continuity issues...far to many.  To be honest, you would need to write a thesis on the amount that there are.

Lucikly, what makes this film not so great, also makes it brilliant.  The chemistry between McAvoy and Fassbender is wonderful.  Both actors were able to fead off of each other to make the characters of Charles and Erik come to life, creating a unique and believable friendship.  The first time Charles truly enters Erik's mind and shares what was his happiest moment with his family, is one of the most moving scenes in the film.  By the time First Class is over, it's not to hard to believe that these actors will become the characters we see in the later X-Men films.  Despite her lackluster role, the few times Mystique shares the screen with Erik lead to some of the best interactions in the film and really build the stepping stones for the relationship they will later have.  On a side note, despite being underused, Emma Frost (January Jones) is another high point of First Class.  Not many people were pleased with this casting decision, but Jones was superb.  Of Course, you can't have an X-Men film without the X-Men and the creation of the first class by the end of the film is done very well.  From Beast to Banshee, to the first flight of the original Blackbird, the culmination of Charles and Erik's work really comes to fruition the during the last half hour of the film.

If there was just a little more Charles and Erik, then First Class really would have been a great refresh of the X-Men franchise, instead, it's just good.  Some outstanding acting really saves this film from being lackluster.  Luckily, it is a good film throughout, with some cameos along the way.  If you are a superhero junkie, than X-Men: First Class is a theater must.  It's a theater must either way really, but super fans will be more interest and have a little more knowledge of what is going on.  One thing is for sure, superhero movie season is in full swing.  Next up, Green Lantern.  First Class gets a 3.5/5.
Vaughn's 'First Class' is Brilliant, Yet Leaves Something to be Desired...

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June 10, 2011
Yes, I also wish there had been more development between Erik and Charles (and I secretly wanted them to kiss every time they were together, but that's beside the point, hah). Great review!
June 06, 2011
Yay, Julian! You're back! Hope life has been treating you well. Great review, as always, I might just save this one for Netflix.
June 05, 2011
Good to know Singer had something to do with this one!
June 04, 2011
welcome back, Husher! You haven't lost your touch in movie reviewing at all. I think we agree on this one and we rated it about the same. Thanks for sharing!!
More X-Men: First Class (2011 movie... reviews
review by . June 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Children of The Atom Equals An X-Citing Re-Boot Prequel!
When I first heard of the coming “X-Men: First Class” film, I will have to admit that I feared for the worst. The first three movies of the X-Men franchise have been a mixed bag for me; while the first film was decent, “X2: X-Men United” was real good, “X-Men: Last Stand” was just so disappointing that I hoped that the franchise was over. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was fun, but it just reshaped the “X-mythos” for me in the way that I didn’t …
review by . June 12, 2011
Marvel Studios must have a mutant named
It is a little sad that the when the first X Men movie kicked off the big budget comic movie boom in 1999 that it was the one that ended up needing rebooted in most people's eyes.  I actually liked X Men 3 a little bit and could at least see Wolverine as a halfway decent action movie in it's own right.  However, since X Men 3 is the movie that killed everyone's dog and Wolverine peed on the corpse; to the general public a few changes needed to be made.      …
review by . June 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Imagine if someone Nolan-ized X-Men. Ok, maybe we use the phrase “Nolan-ze” a little too often. But if Nolan ever did direct an X-Men film, it’d be something close to First Class. Whenever I was a kid I remember watching the Bryan Singer’s first two X-Men films, and compared to bigger, more fantastical superhero movies I was accustomed to like Sam Raimi’s Spiderman series and even the pre-Nolan Batman films, they weren’t my favorite. In fact they …
review by . June 03, 2011
X-Men: First Class is a Good Effort That Comes Up Short
When the “X-Men:The Last Stand” failed to score big with critics and audiences in 2006, many fans began to wonder if they would ever see their favorite mutant superhero team on screen anytime soon. Despite mixed reviews, 2009′s standalone film “Wolverine“, did sufficient box office numbers to warrant a sequel which is currently in development, indicating that the likely future of the series was with standalone character films. Then 20th Century Fox decided to tell …
review by . June 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Yes its a prequel, No it dosent suck, Yes im also a telepath.
I originally didn't want to see this movie because I heard that it is a Prequel/reboot two things I hate all rolled up into one package. It was actually the reviews here on lunch that changed my mind.      First class focuses on the young Charles Xavier and Erik Lensher before they become Professor X and Magneto, how they met and what tore them apart. (no it dosen't show how the Professor went Bald). The Movie also follows the lives of the first students …
review by . June 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         There has been much talk about how sequels aren’t supposed to be better than the films that preceded them. Does the same thing apply to prequels? If so, then X-Men: First Class has set a new standard. Apart from being the best of all previous X-Men films, it belongs on the same shelf as Superman, Batman, and Iron Man as one of the greatest superhero films ever made; it’s superbly cast, the characters are very well developed, it tells …
review by . June 03, 2011
'X Men-First Class' 'Two Jews On Film' Just Like Prof X & Magneto They Go Their Separate Ways- Video
   Right off the bat, I have to say that I gave 'X-Men First Class' 5 bagels out of 5.  I absolutely loved it. The director, Matthew Vaughn  did the 'X Men' franchise proud.        'X-Men First Class' is a prequel.  Before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) was Professor X and Eric Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) became Magneto, they were just two mutant guys discovering their powers and figuring out how to use them.  Charles …
review by . June 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Matthew Vaughn's "X-Men" version is definitely one of the movies that made me feel sorry for the skepticism I had before it's release. This proves once again that some trailers might not say anything at all about the final content. I was not impressed with the first footage and the first trailer of the film. I thought it was going to be just decent. Well, I was wrong because "First Class" is by far the best X-Men movie made and one of the best comic-book …
review by . October 10, 2011
2 1/2 stars :
We have all heard the stories before. The stories of these so-called super-humans, people born with special abilities that grant them the power to stand above all others and look down on us like the insects that we are, these stories were told in Greece during the time of Christ. They have been retold countless times over by the Romans, and then again by writers, family members, and teachers and comic book writers. We have all heard of these stories in one way or another; some might …
review by . June 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
There's no other way to fly.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS   Written by Ahsley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughan   Directed by Matthew Vaughan   Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Kevin Bacon       Charles Xavier: I believe that true focus lies somewhere between rage and serenity.       I’ve always had a soft spot for the X-Men within the ever-expanding realm of comic book film adaptations. Given my own, …
About the reviewer
Julian Brown ()
Ranked #33
Hi, my name is Julian Brown. I currently write for The Brotherly Game, a local Philadelphia soccer website where I cover the US Women's National Team and the local WPS Philadelphia Independence. I … more
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About this movie


X-Men: First Class
is a 2011 American superhero film directed by Matthew Vaughn. Based on the characters appearing in Marvel Comics, it is a prequel to the X-Men film series. X-Men: First Class was released June 1, 2011 in the UK and on June 3 in the US.

The film is set primarily in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis and focuses on the relationship between Professor X and Magneto and the origin of their groups, the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. The film stars James McAvoy as Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Magneto. Other cast members include Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoë Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult and Lucas Till. The film was mostly shot in England and parts of the United States.

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Director: Matthew Vaughn
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: June 3, 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Bryan Singer, Zack Stentz
Runtime: 132 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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