Summary: Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 2nd June, 2011
Australian DVD Release Date: 19th October, 2011
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenwriter: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Sheldon Turner (story), Bryan Singer (story)
Cast: Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw), Laurence Belcher (Charles Xavier (12 years old), Rose Byrne (Moira MAcTaggert), Gregory Cox (Dr. Leigh), Matt Craven (CIA Director McCone), Don Creech (William Stryker), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto), Beth Goddard (Mrs. Xavier), Jason Flemyng (Azazel), Edi Gathegi (Armando Munoz/Darwin), Alex Gonzalez (Janos Questid/Riptide), Demetri Goritsas (Levene), Nicholas Hoult (Hank McCoy/Beast), Hugh Jackman (Logan/Wolverine), Corey Johnson (Chief Warden), Caleb Landry Jones (Sean Cassidy/Banshee), January Jones (Emma Frost), Zoe Kravitz (Angel Salvadore), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique), Morgan Lily (Young Raven (10 yrs), Eva Magyor (Edie Lensherr), James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Bill Milner (Young Erik), Glenn Morshower (Colonel Hendry), Greg Nikoloff (Mr. Lensherr), Rebecca Romijn (Mystque – older), Lucas Till (Alex Summers/Havok)
Runtime: 132 mins
OUR REVIEWS/RATINGS OF ‘X-MEN: FIRST CLASS’:
The X-Men series of films seem to get off to a brilliant start but then fell in a heap with the seriously ordinary X-Men: The Final Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. However, with director, Matthew Vaughn at the helm X-Men: First Class puts this series back on track with a prequel that will not only excite fans of the series (and the comics) but also stun those who have never heard of X-Men.
This time around we learn about the beginnings of several X-Men with the main focus being on Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) who fans of the series will know later on becomes Xavier’s nemesis, Magneto. The film shows as Xavier first meets Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) (who becomes Mystique) and realises that he isn’t the only mutant in the world. At the same time Erik is suffering at the hands of the Nazis. The two men are on two very different paths in life but meet when Xavier is recruited by the CIA to help prevent Russia and America heading into a war that is the brainchild of mutant, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Xavier tries to recruit Erik into his ‘first mutant class’ but Erik’s hate always threatens to bring everything crashing down.
Vaughn actually does an amazing job with this film, the way he mixes drama and action together ends up making X-Men: First Class the finest film in this series, and also one of the films of the year. As he proved with Kick-Ass Vaughn knows how to bring a comic book to life and this time around he has certainly outdone himself. The amount of work he puts into characterization means you are on Xavier’s side from the get-go, while Vaughn brings a natural feel to the film that makes you feel that you are watching a historically correct film rather than a piece of fiction. To his credit he doesn’t over-do the action scenes, and even they seem perfectly natural.
Also making this film a must see is some spectacular performances by James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence. McAvoy may have been worried about the fact that he may ruin a character made famous by the legendary Patrick Stewart, but he need not have worried. McAvoy is sensational in the role and his dramatic presence only enhances the film. Jennifer Lawrence also puts in a fine performance and she continues to show why everyone was blown away with her performance in Winter’s Bone. Also announcing himself is Nicholas Hault who almost steals every scene he is in.
Whether you are a fan of the X-Men series or not you will enjoy X-Men: First Class. This is a sensational film that only goes to show that Michael Vaughn is one of the best directors of our time… he is yet to make a bad film. The right mix of drama and action makes X-Men: First Class a film that shouldn’t be missed.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘X-Men: First Class′: This review of ‘X-Men: First Class’ by David Griffiths originally appeared in Buzz Magazine.
There are many X-Men fans out there who were extremely nervous when they heard that the X-Men series of films was being rebooted. To be honest they had every right to be feeling that way as the last film in the series, the ill-fated Final Stand left a lot to be desired… others would argue that X-Men Origins: Wolverine was just a bad. Even worse was the news that Patrick Stewart wouldn’t be on board as this film takes a trup back in time and sets out to explain the characters of Charles Xavier and Magneto. Well, the good news is the film works far beyond expectation.
As promised the film goes back to the start and shows Charles Xavier (James McAvoy – Gnomeo & Juliet, The Conspirator) first meeting another mutant in the form of Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence – The Beaver, Like Crazy), as well as showing Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto’s (Michael Fassbender – Jane Eyre, Jonah Hex) cruel treatment at the hands of the Nazis. When Xavier is recruited by CIA agent, Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne – Bridesmaids, Insidious) they decide to help put together a ‘mutant section’ when they learn that Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon – Elephant White, Bored To Death) is trying to force war between Russia and America. This sees Xavier recruit mutants from right across the country and try desperately to get Erik to work with them.
X-Men: First Class not only manages to re-boot this series but also brings so class to it. Once again director, Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Stardust) manages to do a fine job making a comic-book film remain interesting while making the film open to even those that haven’t read the comic. He almost makes this film seem like two films. The characterization around Charles and Erik is normally reserved for serious historical movies while the action sequences seem natural and never forced. He didn’t even go over the top with Hugh Jackman’s (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Australia) cameo… it was short and sweet.
The real stars of this film though are James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence. McAvoy puts in a brilliant performance and he certainly doesn’t have to worry about fans comparing him to Patrick Stewart. His portrayal of Xavier is spot on and once again the producers were correct in hiring a dramatic actor despite the ‘action-film’ tag associated with the film. He is also well supported by Jennifer Lawrence who hasn’t put a foot wrong since Winter’s Bone. X-Men: First Class also announces the arrival of Nicholas Hault (Clash Of The Titans, A Single Man) who doesn’t put a foot wrong in any of his scenes.
Michael Vaughn keeps his perfect record intact; he is yet to make a bad film, with X-Men: First Class a terrific film that mixes drama and action perfectly. This is a standout in the X-Men series and hopefully they continue to make more with this team at the helm.