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June 7, 2019

X-Men: First Class (2011) --- “Before They Were Enemies, They Were Allies. Witness The Origin.”

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
    It's the 1960’s at the height of the Cold War, mutant Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) grew up in a wealthy family while fellow mutant Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) lost his parents at Auschwitz during WW2. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, Charles and Erik form an unlikely friendship as they train the first class of X-Men in order to stop a nuclear war. But when situations arise that threatens to tear the team apart, can the X-Men put their differences aside in time to save humanity? Or will humanity face the consequences of their actions?
 Director Matthew Vaughn (Kingsmen 1, 2, & 3) co-wrote the script alongside a number of writers including Ashley Miller (Thor), Zack Stentz (Thor) Jane Goldman (Kingsmen series, Game of Thrones film), Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air), and Bryan Singer (X-Men series). By combining the work of the filmmakers with the original comic-book work by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the subsequent result is an adventurous, dramatic, and fun film that will leave you smiling during some moments and on the edge of your seat during others. While Vaughn has done an incredible job at directing this film, Bryan Singer’s involvement in this film is the highlight of the film, especially considering his involvement with the rest of the X-Men series. X-Men: First Class is part of prequel series that comes before the original X-Men series we know and love, as a result, the storyline is compelling as it chronicles the adventures of a Young Prof. Charles and a Young Magneto. Audiences get to see how the X-Men started, how Prof. Charles got handicapped, and the complex relationship between the Professor and Magneto. We get to see the History behind the X-Men and it’s two leading men long before the first X-Men film has a chance to take off. The filmmakers should be commended for their skill in showcasing the duel origin stories of Charles and Magneto with enough emotional depth that doesn’t allow for the film to feel misguided or chaotic. Humor is added throughout the film so as to add some funny amongst the extensive amount of serious moments.
   In addition, First Class also promises intense action sequences that will keep you hooked till the very end. There is also a level of sophistication and eloquence to this film that has yet to be seen in the X-Men film before. The visual style of the 1960’s pops with color and vibrancy that was fitting for the film’s theme and time period. Regardless of what other people think, I can safely say First Class is one of the few comic-book based films that goes beyond being just another comic-book film. This is a film that will attract new audiences to the series, as well as please old fans with its respect to the original series.
    The highlight of the film was the cast performances. James McAvoy (Split) was instantly likable as Professor Charles, while Michael Fassbender (Assassin’s Creed, Dark Phoenix) brought a lot of gravitas and angst to Magneto’s character. We get to see what made these two characters the way they are and it was nicely done. Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games, Passengers) gave her best performance as Mystique with enough character depth to make you feel for her character. Kevin Bacon (City on a Hill) plays the smooth and suave maniacal Sebastian Shaw quite-well, however, he did feel a bit cookie cutter. Supporting cast members, Oliver Platt (Chicago Med), Rose Byrne (Instant Family) Álex González (Orbitor 9), Jason Flemyng (Jamestown, The Missing), Zoë Kravitz (Crimes of Grindelwald), January Jones (The Last Man on Earth), Nicholas Hoult (Dark Phoenix), Caleb Landry Jones (), Edi Gathegi (Twilight), Corey Johnson (To the Night), Lucas Till (MacGyver), and Demetri Goritsas (Everest, Black Mirror) all did great in their respective performances.
   Overall, X-Men: First Class (2011) is the well-crafted and entertaining first installment in a new series. The story is filled with action, drama, humor, and adventure. There is also a lot of character depth that allows the audience to see the story behind the deeply rooted relationship between Professor X and Magneto. The visual style of this film is perfectly fitting for the film’s theme and time period. The cast performances were also great, especially from James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kevin Bacon. All in all, First Class is a great start in a new series so if you're a fan of X-Men and you have to see this film then I suggest you check it out.

Final Vote --- 7 of 10 stars

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