The x-men franchise was flagging for some time to say the least, with entries into the series such as X-men origins (Poor Poor Deadpool) and X-men the Last Stand the series had seen better days. So to take on a prequel with an entirely new cast was a bold move, would Director Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman, Kick ass 2) be up for the challenge and revitalize the franchise?
Well First off we have the Stella cast, James McAvoy as Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique and Nicholas Hoult as Beast just to name a few.
The opening Scene revisits that of the first X-men film with a Young Erik displaying his powers, but going into more depth here as Kevin Bacon does his best worst German accent, encouraging Erik to use his powers before we return to the set time period of 1962.
Here we focus on the unique relationship between Mystique and Xavier, the coming together of the original X-men as they fully discover how to use their powers and of course the evil plot by Shaw.
Set during the Cuban Missile crises adding a real element within the X-men universe this is a coming of age story. As each member of the class whilst knowing they have abilities are unsure of how to fully utilize them. It’s only when under the guidance of Xavier they fully begin to understand just how much potential they have.
But the united front doesn’t last long as Shaw divides the team and Erik only has revenge on his mind despite Xavier’s objections. With the team divided there is little to stand in Shaw’s way, whom plans to ignite world war. The team whilst broken and disheartened have that pivotal moment of coming back together as the last defence before the world is plunged into chaos.
The cast are all on top form with Kevin Bacon proving to be a very worthy villain here, my only gripe about him is perhaps he could have had a bit more on screen time just to emphasize how dangerous he is (We don’t even learn his mutant name).
Once Shaw suffers a pretty drawn out and no doubt painful death the focus shifts back to Magneto and Xavier, even with his revenge Magneto is not satisfied and so begins his personal war against mankind. Stand with him of fall before him is his proposal, either way there is no stopping him.
After a quick scuffle amongst the group Charles is hit in the ultimate moment that will see him confined to his signature wheel chair. It is here that the line is drawn; sides are chosen as we reach the climax of first class.
First Class no doubt saved the franchise and stopped it churning out wolverine movies one after the other, (although Wolverines cameo in this is hilarious) this film was executed unbelievably well, expanding on the characters we thought we knew so well, adding much more depth to an already enriched story.
The X-men films have always tried to be serious whilst maintaining a tongue in cheek comedy element to them. But after the Last Stand they simply lost their way, this film opened so many options once again and ultimately lead to the fantastic Days of Future past.
Is it perfect? Not by any means but it provided enough backstory and action without dragging along or overloading the casual fan with information.
Overall this is very enjoyable and a more notable film despite being the sixth entry into the series.
So out of a possible five stars, X-men first class scores:
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