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X-Men: First Class (2011)

 -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi  -  3 June 2011 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 381,677 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 673 user | 468 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

In 1962, the United States government enlists the help of Mutants with superhuman abilities to stop a malicious dictator who is determined to start world war III.

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Cast

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Beth Goddard ...
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Storyline

Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-MEN. Written by Twentieth Century Fox

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Before he was Professor X, he was Charles. Before he was Magneto, he was Erik. Before they were enemies, they were allies. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

3 June 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

X-Men: First Class  »

Box Office

Budget:

$160,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$55,101,604 (USA) (3 June 2011)

Gross:

$146,405,371 (USA) (23 September 2011)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where Charles Xavier and Raven walk out of a pub into Oxford's New College Lane (the Bridge of Sighs is in the background) they are actually walking out of a side door of Hertford College. The pub sign the filmmakers use is copied from The Eagle pub in Cambridge, where the pioneers of DNA research, where Francis Crick and James Watson announced they had "discovered the secret of life" to some surprised drinkers in 1953. (The pub sign for famous The Eagle And Child pub in Oxford has the bird facing the other way, and is carrying a baby in its talons.) See more »

Goofs

When Colonel Hendry meets Sebastian Shaw on his yacht, they are supposed to be in Miami. In one of the wide angle shots, you can see a long suspension bridge in the background. There are no suspension bridges in Miami. It appears to be the bridge near Jekyll Island, GA. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Charles Xavier: Mother. What are you... I thought you were a burglar.
Mrs. Xavier: I didn't mean to scare you, darling. I was just getting a snack. Go back to bed. What's the matter? Go on, back to bed.I, I'll make you a hot chocolate.
Charles Xavier: Who are you? And what have you done with my mother?
Charles Xavier: [telepathically in her mind] My mother has never set foot in this kitchen in her life. And she certainly never made me a hot chocolate, unless you count ordering the maid to do it.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film title appears on the side of the Nazi coin Shaw gives to young Erik Lensherr. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.22 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

A Little Bit of Soap
Written by Bert Berns
Performed by The Jarmels
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A franchise is reborn...
2 June 2011 | by (Sheffield, UK) – See all my reviews

Beginning with a crime-thriller and a fantasy film on his directorial résumé, it is safe to say that Matthew Vaughn may have already found his niche genre in the super-hero field despite only directing four films in seven years. His first super-hero project, 'Kick Ass,' opened in 2010 to solid critical acclaim and a finalized gross of three times the film's ordinary $30 million dollar budget. And after only two years, Vaughn returns with 'X-Men: First Class,' an origins story to accompany the Bryan Singer/Brett Ratner X-Men trilogy released between 2000 and 2006. It's intelligent, enthralling, well-acted, stylishly directed, and most importantly by focusing heavily upon the relationship between the two central protagonists, it does not feel like a conventional super-hero film.

Set within the political context of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960's, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is an up-and-coming Professor whose life is drastically altered when he is introduced to the other members of society who also share the same mutant gene as himself that supplies them with super-human abilities and traits. After stumbling upon the shape-shifting Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) within his mansion, the telepathic Xavier then encounters Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), the son of Jewish parents who were murdered during the holocaust by the narcissistic former Nazi scientist, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Erik, who can manipulate all metal objects around himself, wants retribution and nothing more from Sebastian who is now a successful and evil underground figurehead who commands a team of mutants (Azazel, Emma Frost and Riptide) to do his bidding for him. But, once his plan for world domination is revealed, they find that it far exceeds the constraints of humanity, and Xavier, Erik and a rag-tag band of young, hide-away mutants (Havok, Beast, Darwin, Angel and Banshee) who were discovered by Charles, must combine their powers in one last attempt to stop Shaw from destroying the planet and humanity as a whole.

Instantly where 'X-Men: First Class' works is in regards to its two central characters; Charles Xavier played by an incredibly affluently sounding James McAvoy and a rage-fuelled Erik Lehnsherr played by a stern-faced Michael Fassbender. Their instant on-screen chemistry provides the drive and ammunition for the plot to carry itself forward. Both characters have differing ideologies and their constant clashes due to this aspect allow the script to be brought to life. Instead of simply infusing their relationship with formulaic violent clashes, Vaughn has instead opted for more articulated verbal battles between the two characters regarding their stance within the society they are now becoming a part of. Xavier is an intellectual being who believes that humans will eventually be accepted within society as equals alongside humans, while Lenhsherr believes that mutants will always be hunted and unable to live peacefully side-by-side with the human race, his evidence for this resides in the anti-Semitism and hatred he received at the hands of the Nazi party during the holocaust. This heavy-set contradiction in ideologies allows their relationship to be imbued with pessimism, while they may be shown as friends and fighting together initially, fans of the comic books and films in general know this does eventually turn into a bitter rivalry and it's this development which drives the plot forward.

Aside from the script, it would also be rude to not praise the action-sequences which take place within the confines of the 1960's X-Men universe. With a modest running time at two hours and ten minutes, there are more than a few well-choreographed action sequences that would adequately satisfy any of comic-book-to-film aficionado's wishing to see this film. Each character's power or ability is at some point represented in a destructive or defensive capacity, taking full advantage of the fact that while many super-hero movies tend to concentrate on the aesthetic nature of the artillery characters can be seen to withstand from governmental agencies or blindsided human opponents, here it is shown and constantly emphasized that human reaction would be futile due to the overwhelming power the mutants possess. These scenes also allow the less important characters to show their physical presence on-screen. For example, during the climactic fight sequence at the conclusion of the film, every mutant character that is identified to the audience is finally shown using their abilities to full capacity, most notably the henchmen of Shaw and the rag-tag team of Xavier and Lehnsherr. This therefore accounts slightly for the lack of depth that has been attempted in these secondary characters due to the time and story constraints.

While it is a very good and accessible comic-book/super-hero movie, 'X-Men' does also contain two central flaws. The first is superseded in a way by the strength of both McAvoy and Fassbenders performances, as Kevin Bacon is constantly overshadowed as the one-dimensional antagonist of the piece. His plot to ultimately destroy humanity becomes second fiddle to the ever intricate complex relationship between Xavier and Lehnsherr, and his appearance seems too modelled upon that of a James Bond villain. He has the slick hair, the beautiful women and the villainous underground Club to boot, but Bacon unfortunately doesn't have the charisma to be accepted as a worthy opponent to the protagonists. The other flaw has to do with a minor aspect of the production itself, as the non-diegetic music, most notably during the action sequences, begins to diminish in its impact as the film carries on, leading to it eventually becoming the generic, genre-related fanfare associated with the conventional comic-book films.

'X-Men: First Class,' is not your typical comic-book movie, it may contain certain elements associated with the comic-book genre, but by placing a heavy emphasis upon the strength of the plot and the script at the film's core instead of the action-set-pieces taking place, Vaughn has intended, and succeeded, in transcending the stereotypical conventions of the genre and has created a film which will appeal to a wide range of audience members.


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