X-Men - First Class Cover Personally speaking, I find that you need to have some substance, before you can have some style. Well, what is the point of living if you do not have something to live for, right? Though, there are a few exceptions to this rule – as seen in this film Directed by Matthew Vaughn; and Starring: James McAvoy, Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender, and Rose Byrne. It was made in 2011, and lasted for 132-minutes.

X-Men - First Class

It is the 1960’s, and two diverse factions really  want to get their hands on super powered terrorist, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).

Now the first faction is magnetic mutant, Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) - who wants him because of some past atrocities he had committed against him and his family. And the second faction is the CIA Agent, Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) - who wants him because of the threat he and his mutant buddies are committing during these cold war times.

However, both of these two parties do have a rather different way of instigating this endeavor! Because Erik tracks down Sebastian’s past cohorts, and terrorises them until they tell him where he is. Whereas, Moira seeks some aide in apprehending Sebastian, by gaining the employ of mutant telepath, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), and his shape shifting girl-pal, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence).

Over time, Erik, Moira, Charles, and Raven’s, paths collide, when they both eventually manage to find Sebastian upon a submarine, which is sailing off to sea. Unfortunately, though, this does not really end up in the way that these ‘hunters’ really wanted it to – as Sebastian gets away – resulting in Erik and Charles to join forces.

Obviously disheartened by this turn of events, Erik, Charles, and Raven, then officially ally themselves’ with Moria an the CIA, before trying to find fellow mutants whom are able to help them against Sebastian and his mutant guard. No – not Doctor Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) – he is already with the government. Instead, Charles telepathically injects himself into Hanks mutant tracking device, Cerebro, and finds a bunch of like-minded mutants for the task ahead.

Five like-minded mutants to be precise.

Though, that is if any of them are up to the task! You see, due to their initial impression as a team... errr? How can I put it? Oh yes! Ooops.

Plus I suppose you can say the same thing for Eric and Charles, when they set off try to capture Sebastian too. He is not there you see – his second of command, Emma Frost (January Jones), is. Worst still, whilst Eric and Charles are away, Sebastian and his buddies invade the compound that ‘the gang’ are staying in – and... errr... ooops again!

Still, all in all this does not matter all that much - because what next transpires is a rather bold and dynamic affair indeed. As war is on the cards – the team trains hard – cures turn men into Beasts – warriors become priests – and the fate of mutant kind is held in a toss of coin and in the hearts of mankind.

Not the end.

My God, what an appropriate name for this film – ‘X-men: First Class’ – because that is precisely what it is. OK, I have to admit, I was not really expecting much from this movie due to the prequel like nature of its story. Well, come on, lets face it – ‘Attack of the Clones’ – ‘Superman Returns’ – ‘Straddling Ms Daisy’ – and many more I care not to mention – prequels do have a bad name where it comes to entertainment, right?

Thankfully, though, not with this film it doesn’t (Opps! I think that I have just split my infinitive!).

The Cast of X-Men - First Class

Please let me tell you why I think that this film is class in a can: (1) Granted, this adventure is a recon of X-Men lore, and hardly anything that happens in it has been based on existing comic book continuity. For example, the only two members in this film who were actually on the first comic book X-Men team, where Beast and Professor X. However, there is good story here, one that is steeped in truisms, and has a cohesive and pertinent way in the telling. (2) This film is lavished with style though out, and really has a saturated and bold manner in both execution and design. I find that the colour pallet and the conception synchronises very well with its comic book counterpart – primarily, with its Jack Kirby and Joe Casey influences. (3) I loved the Hugh Jackman cameo in this film. Granted, it had nothing to do with the story at all – but it was a kick to see Ol’ Logan again. (4) Conceptually, this film feels like it has been based on a number of X-men tales – mainly of the re-conned ‘year one’ variety. Moreover, there seems to be other influences in it as well, such as: [a] The Peter Sellers film ‘Dr. Strangelove’ in the War Room scenes. [b] Another Peter Sellers film ‘Casino Royal’ in the sixties sets. And [c] Darwin Cookes DC Project, ‘ the New Frontier’ where it’s through line is concerned. And (5) There is a freshness to this film which I have not seen since Superman 1. It is as though everything that has been put on the screen – like the cast, the design, and the story – is new in someway... new and just great.

X-Men - First Class Poster

OK, fair fair dues, not everything was fresh air and roses with ‘X-Men: First Class’ - because being a bit of a story buff myself, I detected a couple of glitches in storyline.

  • Glitch One: The whole scenario with Hank trying to find a cure for the mutant gene, whist training to save mutant kind at the same time, did feel quite ‘dismissible’ overall. Well, you know from the start that this venture will come to nothing – because you see Hank in two of the subsequent X-movies (one of them in human guise). 
  • Glitch Two: Why wasn’t Charles and Roses relationship mentioned in the other movies? This felt a bit lacking to me, and kind of strange. Also, if a sequel is made – it needs some closure. 
  • Glitch Three: Havok is the younger brother to Scott Summers, A.K.A. Cyclops in the X-Men movies. But this film was set in the sixties? And the modern day X-Men came out some time afterwards. Oppps!

Listen, glitches aside, this film is just a brilliant piece of storytelling, and I am now really looking forwards to whatever is coming up next.

X-Men - First Class Banner

A class film, through and through.