X-Men: First Class is a 2011 superhero film directed by Matthew Vaughn and produced by Bryan Singer. Its based on the X-Men characters appearing in Marvel Comics and the fifth installment in the X-Men series. This film is the prequel of the X-Men trilogy, being set in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The story mainly focuses on the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr and the origin of X-Men groups.
Direction : Matthew Vaughn
Produced by : Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer
Screenplay by : Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Starring :James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon
Original Music by : Henry Jackman
Cinematography : John Mathieson
Editing By : Eddie Hamilton, Lee Smith
Studio : 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios, Dune Entertainment, Marv Films, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Donners' Company
Distributed by : 20th Century Fox
Release Date : 1 June 2011 (UK), 3 June 2011 (US)
Plot Summary :
At a German concentration camp in occupied Poland during 1944, young Erik Lensherr is separated from his parents by Nazi guards. The child's desperate mind remarkably bends a metal gate until a guard knocks Lensherr unconscious (the same footage that's in the first X-Men movie). Scientist Sebastian Shaw, who has observed this through a window, calls Lensherr up to see him. Placing a metal coin on a desk, he orders Lensherr to use his magnetism power to move it. When Lensherr cannot, despite his best efforts, Shaw shoots and kills Lensher's mother in front of him. In his rage, Lensherr's out-of-control magnetic power kills the two guards and destroys two rooms, to Shaw's delight.
Around this same time, in Westchester County, New York, mansion, a young Charles Xavier meets a young, shape-shifting girl named Raven, disguised as his mother, who is looking through the fridge for food. Xavier accuses his "mother" of being an imposter, and asks what it has done with his real mother, as she would not make him a sandwich or hot chocolate, at which point, Mystique shifts back to her normal, blue-skinned form. Overjoyed to meet someone else "different" like him, he says she can come live with his family.
In Switzerland in the movie's present-day of 1962, Lensherr forces a banker (by ripping out one of the metal fillings in his mouth) to trace a bar of Nazi gold to Shaw's address in Argentina. In a tavern there patronized by former German soldiers, Lensherr kills three men as he learns that Shaw has a yacht in Florida. Meanwhile, in England, Oxford University graduate Xavier is publishing his thesis on mutation; his foster sister Raven, a waitress, lives with him. Simultaneously in Las Vegas, Nevada, CIA agent Moira MacTaggart follows U.S. Army Colonel Hendry into the Hellfire Club, where she sees Shaw, Emma Frost, and Azazel. After Shaw threatens Henry, Azazel disappears with the officer; moments later he is in the War Room, advocating that U.S. install nuclear missiles in Turkey.
Shaw meets with Colonel Hendry on his yacht, and refuses to give Hendry his money, at which point Hendry pulls out a grenade and threatens to pull the pin, but Shaw takes the grenade and pulls the pin himself, and absorbs the blast (at which point we now learn that Shaw is a mutant, and absorbs energy, which also keeps him young), then taps Hendry, expelling the grenade's energy into the Colonel, blowing him up.
MacTaggart seeks Xavier's advice on mutation, and takes Xavier and Raven to the CIA to convince the chief that Shaw is a threat. After convincing them that mutants exist they are to be taken to a covert facility, but first Xavier tracks down Shaw. Lensherr attacks Shaw, and when Shaw escapes in his submarine Lensherr tries to stop him, but Xavier stops him so that he does not drown. Lensherr joins Xavier and Raven at the CIA facility, where they meet Hank McCoy, another mutant that Xavier accidentally outs. McCoy and Xavier use a prototype Cerebro to locate mutants and recruit several of them to train to stop Shaw. Upon the recruiting process, we also see Xavier and Lensherr walk up to Logan (Wolverine) in a bar and introduce themselves. He tells them to go to hell, and they walk off.
Shaw plans to meet with a Russian general, but sends Frost instead, who is then captured by Xavier and Lensherr. Xavier taps into Frost's mind and finds out that Shaw wants to start a nuclear war between the US and Russia in order to wipe out all normal humans make mutants powerful. The facility is attacked by Azazel, Riptide and Shaw, with all the guards being killed. Shaw offers the new mutants to a place on his side, but most of them refuse. He recruits Angel after offering and kills Darwin by forcing him to ingest a massive amount of energy when he tries to fight back. When Lensherr and Xavier return they all go to Xavier's mansion and begin to train, though Raven is conflicted about hiding her natural form. Hank creates a vaccine that is supposed to turn his and Raven's appearance normal, however, when Hank takes it his mutant physical features are enhanced.
President Kennedy institutes a blockade. Shaw travels with the Russian fleet to ensure that the missiles get to Cuba. Xavier, MacTaggart and Lensherr fly to the blockade to stop the fleets from engaging. Shaw uses a nuclear core to charge himself up and a helmet to block Xavier's telepathy. While Azazel kills the crew of the Russian missile ship, Xavier uses his powers to make a Russian ship destroy the missile ship before it crosses the line.
Lensherr pulls Shaw's submarine from the water, but an attack forces the jet and submarine to crash. Lensherr finds Shaw, he removes Shaw's helmet and Xavier takes control of Shaw. Lensherr puts on the helmet, admits that he agrees with everything Shaw believes about mutants and humans, and then kills him by slowly forcing the coin that Shaw taunted him with through his brain.
The two fleets fire their missiles at the mutants, but Lensherr, now fully in control of his abilities, holds the missiles in the air, then turns them on the fleet. In the ensuing fight Xavier manages to distract Lensherr, but when MacTaggart fires at Lensherr he deflects the bullets, with one paralyzing Xavier.
Lensherr takes Raven, Angel, Riptide and Azazel and leaves. Xavier, now confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, and the mutants return to the mansion, where he will open a school. He wipes MacTaggart's memory, and Lensherr breaks Frost out of the CIA headquarters, and in his new uniform he tells Frost to call him Magneto.
Reception : The film got high critical acclaim from medias and critics with 7.9 in IMDB rating and in Rotten Tomatoes 87% freshness and rating of 7.4/10 from 231 reviews.