X-men First Class

Posted: June 5, 2011 in Movies
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X-men First Class is a prequel to the X-men trilogy, primarily focusing on the relationship between a young Charles Xavier (Professor X) and a young Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), from their friendship to their eventual rift.

The source of that rift is Erik’s quest for vengeance. The film opens with the concentration camp scene  from the first film, only it is elaborated on more. Meanwhile we also get a glimpse of Xavier’s childhood, where the seeds are planted for his later role in life.

Cut to 1962, Erik, now a young man, has been traveling the globe hunting down escaped Nazis, seeking vengeance on those who killed his family. One of the things I liked most about first class is we see Magnetos true potential for violence.

Xavier, on the other hand, is a hot shot womanizing PHD student who is researching on genetic mutations. This puts him in contact with CIA agent Moira MacTaggart, who discovered strange phenomenon while investigating the Hellfire club, which is suspected of communist affiliations. The Hellfire Club in fact is a secret group of mutants attempting to manipulate the Cold War so that mutants will rule the world.

This investigation intersects with Erik’s quest for vengeance, which allows them to cross paths. From here other mutants are found, and while they don’t get as much screen time, do they have their own character beats. However the film’s focus is the relationship between Charles and Erik.

The historical backdrop of this story is the Cuban Missile Crisis. There’s a lot of buildup to it, including how the US put missiles in Turkey (which in actual history prompted the Russians to go to Cuba). We see Kennedy speeches on black and white TV, as well as news footage from the time.  That was a great touch.

The comic book beats are touched on. We see why they where the yellow suits (as they did in the first comics), why they train at Xavier’s home, how they got code names, why they’re called X-men. It all makes sense and feels very natural. Also the origin of Erik’s helmet was interesting. The only one I thought was a little forced was how Cerebro came about.

Like the best comic book movies, First Class is a character piece first, and an action movie second. It’s interesting to watch the ideological differences between Erik and Charles, and Erik’s viewpoint is shown to be completely understandable. We also get to see the young mutants grow more confident in their abilities while in training. One difference from the comics which is a positive is Mystique’s relationship with everyone, especially Charles, then later Hank McCoy and Erik. We understand why she chooses the side she does. It’s about accepting her for who she is.

First class is easily the best X-men movie, and is actually one of the best comic book movies made. 9.4/10.

MINOR SPOILERS.

There is a cameo by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. It has nothing to do with the plot and is just for laughs, and it is hilarious. We see Hank McCoy’s transformation, and it makes perfect sense. Xavier gets paralyzed, which calls into question him walking in Wolverine. Finally at the very end we see Magneto in his traditional red and purple outfit and it actually looks nice.

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Comments
  1. lindsymoran says:

    I should have read your review first. I watched it with my younger brother and he did not understand what was happening for the majority of the movie. Every other question was ‘who’s that?” and his number one comment was ‘when is Wolverine gonna be in this?’ I had read a list of Wolverine movies and this was on it. The cameo was so short for so much anticipation. I think my brother doesn’t trust my movie picking abilities anymore. 😛

  2. jemurr says:

    How old is your brother?

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