James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
In this thrilling prequel to the popular X-Men movies, X-Men: First Class reveals how the friendship between Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender), also known as Magneto, blossomed.
It’s exciting to get the back story of why Professor Xavier and Magneto turn out to be enemies when they began as friends, and why they chose to be on different sides. Professor Xavier believes that humans and “mutants” (as humans with extra abilities are called) should coexist in peace, while Magneto believes they are the more privileged race and should be taking control.
Meanwhile, in X-Men: First Class when the two meet for the first time, they decide to team up against a common enemy: Sebastian Shaw (Bacon). Shaw is creating an ally of mutants to take over the world. Xavier agrees to help the CIA take Shaw down and persuades Lehnsherr to help instead of going on his personal vendetta to take Shaw down. When he was a boy, Shaw experimented on Lehnsherr, torturing him to bring out his powers (which was manipulating metal to do whatever he wants). Shaw also killed Lehnsherr’s mother to motivate the him to reveal his powers. Shaw believed by getting him angry enough, his powers would come out.
For those unfamiliar with the series, you don’t need any previous knowledge of the past three movies. However, there are a few references from the early films that you may not catch. One instance is when Xavier says, “I suppose I am a professor now. Soon I’ll be going bald,” which refers to the hairless Professor Xavier in later movies. As well as references, there are two surprise cameos of past characters making a quick appearance.
McAvoy and Fassbender make an excellent team. They portray a believable version of their characters’ friendship and of the event that turned one against the other. X-Men: First Class continues the thread of fun and entertainment the X-Men movies offers.