X-Men: First Class

Just like the first X-Men film, First Class fades from black to a Nazi concentration camp.  After being separated from his mother, Eric Lensherr screams in pain as soldiers forcefully remove him.  Fighting for his life, Eric slowly pulls apart a chain link fence that sections himself from his mother.  The scene ends with a soldier knocking Eric out but the camera pans up to eerily looking man in a window, Dr. Schmidt.  Unlike in the original, the situation at the concentration camp continues as we learn a little more about Eric and his powers.  X-Men: First Class tells the story of a group of mutants as they discover and learn to appreciate their powers.

The story jumps around between, a walking, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) as a PHD student at Oxford studying genetics with his long time friend Raven (Jennifer Lawrence),  an older Eric Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) searching the globe for Dr. Schmidt, and CIA agent Moira Mactaggert (Rose Bryne) who stumbles on a conspiracy orchestrated by the newly names Dr. Schmidt, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).  These characters come together after the CIA learns of the existence of Mutants and Lensherr makes a bold attack on Shaw.  Brought together in a secret CIA faculty called Division X, the mutants look to bolster their ranks against Shaw’s Hellfire Club.  Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), a researcher and mutant at Division X, creates a machine that Xavier can use to search for other mutants called Cerebro.  The mutants train and battle self doubt before they are ready to fight Shaw to save the planet from Nuclear War between the USA and the Soviet Union.

The first half of the film had a lot of jumping around.  You knew where you were thanks to name cards but it seemed like we were in each place for only a few minutes.  It was not till the entire gang was together that the plot slowed down.  The audience could take a breath and actually engage with the story.  That being said the plot line was what you would expect from a X-Men film, cool powers and explosions.  It was fun to see characters that we have seen throughout the original trilogy as new mutants embracing and learning to control their powers.

The strongest part of the film was the relationship between Charles and Eric.  Their opposing viewpoints on the role of mutants in a human world was what caused the action in the original trilogy.  Seeing them as friends and engaging in this conversation opening and academically was a highlight of the film.  That juxtaposed to Charles aiding in Eric’s anger issues and the growth of his powers made an engaging storyline.  Professor X and Magneto are the cornerstone characters of the X-Men Universe.  To see them in an earlier state and see the actual development of their characters made was the best part of First Class.

On the same token, Charles Xavier was by far the best portrayed character in the film.  McAvoy’s portray of Charles as a suave academic made for delightful conversations.  He was witty but bold and carries a sense of poise that the other characters responded to.  McAvoy has stood out as an outstanding actor but to take such a well know character, who was already played by an amazing actor but still make it his own was quite a feat.  His subtle mentions of hair loss may have been a bit too much but it still was a memorable performance.

While watching the film make sure to be on the lookout for two former mutant characters who make a cameo.

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