With that said, the film, as entertaining as it may be, has its flaws. Kevin Bacon plays Sebastian Shaw with your typical supervillain destroy-the-world (or something similar) mentality in which he smirks and smiles and scoffs his way through the film. His henchmen are even more one-dimensional - an especially stoney performance from January Jones. Additionally, Vaughn can't help but include campy elements like his depiction of Cold War threats and visions, corny thick-headed generals, cliché military leaders barking out cliché orders in cliché environments - elements that add an excruciating cartoon factor to an otherwise smart narrative; flaws that dumb the film down by resorting to lazy developments that reflect the typical run-of-the-mill Hollywood blockbuster. These shortcomings are unfortunate since FIRST CLASS does offer a compelling story that delves deep into significant societal issues that include prejudice, race, and an us-vs-them mindset. These themes were always a strength of the X-Men universe and an asset that proves vital to this narrative arc, and Vaughn successfully nails it here.
In the end, FIRST CLASS is a very good movie that rises above its X-Men peers. It delivers a last act in which the acting, visual effects, and action come together to form a gripping and sufficient climax. Composer Henry Jackman's score also stands out and makes watching X and Magneto grow into their personas that much more riveting. Though the flaws are frustrating, Matthew Vaughn's film is still well-made and marks an auspicious new beginning for the franchise.