Now Playing: ‘X-Men’ Marks the Spot

For the second time this year, a blockbuster fifth installment to a franchise has become the best of the series. It happened first with ‘Fast Five’, and now with ‘X-Men: First Class’.

Please note that ‘X-Men: First Class’ is a prequel, not a reboot. ‘First Class’ is not here to erase previous ‘X-Men’ movies, nor ‘Wolverine‘. Instead, it’s here to introduce us to how the superhero team came about, to show us how the world first reacted to mutants, and to detail exactly what came between Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) and Erik/Magneto (Michael Fassbender).

Set in 1962, ‘First Class’ weaves the interesting origin story with historical events of the time, most importantly the Cuban Missile Crisis. I’ll bet you didn’t know the Cuban Missile Crisis was actually the first mutant attempt to destroy mankind, did you?

Coming from ‘Kick-Ass‘ director Matthew Vaughn, ‘First Class’ is a well-written, action-packed example of how the ‘X-Men’ movies should have been all along. It knows how to remain lightweight while featuring dark themes and stylized brutal violence. It features one of the coolest montage sequences of all time. It’s a rare high-quality crowd-pleaser. Its only downfalls are a corny action sequence that resembles Tinkerbell chasing Peter Pan through the air and a few too many winks and nods at the ‘X-Men’ movies of the past.

If you thought that Bryan Singer’s ‘X2‘ was the best the franchise was going to get, set all prejudices aside and think again. Die-hard fans of comics, lose your beef with the less-than-faithful adaptation and see what Vaughn was able to do with ‘First Class’.

Rating: ★★★★☆


  1. I’m confused as to hold old these characters are supposed to be in the movies if they’re sticking to the same continuity. If Mystique was, say, 20 (the actress is 21) in 1962, that would mean that she’d have been pushing 60 by the time Bryan Singer’s first movie was set.

    • Luke Hickman

      Don’t worry, they explain Mystique’s aging. Someone in the film they mention that her shape-shifting ability causes her to age half as fast as everyone else.

      Another thing to think about is if she can morph into any person, why not always be a young person? You would never know. And what does a scaly blue person even look like?

    • Patrick A Crone

      To be fair, First Class is actually a prequel with a dusting of reboot in it. The film takes many elements from the Singer films but it creates it’s own cannon. Best to not get hung up on the changes. Otherwise, you won’t enjoy the film.

  2. Josh…

    Remember, comic book time doesn’t equal real time – it’s compressed. Marvel time has been running relatively slow from 1961 – for them in comics now, it’s probably 1983 or so. There was an FF Annual where Ben Grimm travels to an alternate reality where it really was 1998 and all of the characters were significantly older.

    I’m more concerned about the relative ages between characters – Xavier and Magneto should be in their 30s at least. Xavier was in the Korean war, and Erik survived the prison camps of WWII. Everyone else should be significantly younger, except for Banshee possibly.

    • I know it’s an unwritten rule that characters in comic books don’t age, but it’s not literally supposed to be 1983 in the Marvel universe, is it? Is Reagan still President? Do the characters carry cell phones the size of toasters?

      • motorheadache

        The timeline of comic books makes ZERO sense. For example, the Punisher was a Vietnam vet, but first appeared in Spider-Man. So that means both Punisher and Spider-Man must be getting on in years– but oh wait, they aren’t really. You just have to ignore specific references to years and current events when reading back issues I guess.

        Mystique and Wolverine both don’t age like normal people, which was also part of the comic book, so that makes sense. Not sure about Beast though, although I hear the opening scene from X3 is totally contradicted. Maybe they are just following the canon of the Singer films?

  3. Ken

    Planning on seeing this after work tomorrow. Can’t wait after all the great things I’ve heard and with how disappointing X3 and Wolverine were.

  4. Luke Hickman

    Patrick, I knew what you meant, but have to disagree. Singer wrote it. ‘First Class’ is in complete harmony with the previous four ‘X-Men’ films. If not (SPOILER ALERT), why would Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romjin makes cameos?

  5. rockinross

    one thing though I’ve not seen it yet but i have been told that magneto has a helmet in this prequel that stops Charles reading his thoughts. However in the First xmen film magneto talks to Charles like the helmet is a new thing he has come up with.

  6. Alex

    Just out of curiosity, wasn’t Emma Frost a character in Origins: Wolverine? How are they resolving that she’s in this one as well?

    • motorheadache

      She was SORT OF in it (Woverine), but not really. They call her Emma, but they never say Emma Frost. I know that sounds like a stretch to buy, but think about it– if she was the sister of Kayla Silverfox, wouldn’t that make her name Emma Silverfox? Also, her role is so minuscule that she was really a non-character.

      Secondly, the sooner everybody just forgets about that movie the better. 🙂

  7. Saw this yesterday. The theater wasn’t particularly packed for a Saturday night on opening weekend.

    I’ve got to be honest, I was bored through a lot of it. It picked up a bit in the second half, but I felt like a big opportunity to have fun with the ’60s setting was largely wasted. The movie also suffers the same problem as most prequels, in that we basically already know what’s going to happen, and far too much time is spent connecting the dots to things we’ve already seen. (“Oh, so THAT’S why Xavier’s in a wheelchair…”)

    The big CG-fest action climax reminded me too much of the Golden Gate Bridge scene in The Last Stand. And my lord, January Jones is just THE WORST ACTRESS EVER, isn’t she? I’m not sure what’s worse, when she reads her few lines of dialogue off cue cards, or when she just stands there and stares off into the distance while other people talk. She can’t do either convincingly.

    I’d probably rate this just a smidge above The Last Stand. It’s certainly better than the Wolverine movie, thankfully, but X2 still safely stands as the best of this series, in my book.

    Comic book fans, how much does this diverge from the original origin story in the comics?

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