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X-Men: First Class a relaunch for mutant franchise 

Chararcter development and historic context make for a super hero movie

The fifth X-Men movie feels like a fresh start for the franchise, and not just because it’s a prequel that chronicles the origin of the mutant superhero team in the JFK era. From the early introductions of the cocky but good-hearted scientist Charles Xavier (James MacAvoy) and the vengeance-driven Holocaust survivor Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), it’s clear that this is the rare comic-book movie where acting and character development trump fight scenes and explosions. The two leads are riveting---especially the, er, magnetic Fassbender---as men motivated by different reasons to assemble a group of youngsters whose genetic mutations have left them with various superpowers. In a fun historical twist, the team ends up field-testing its abilities in the Cuban Missile Crisis, as it tries to stop a bunch of rogue mutants led by Kevin Bacon from starting World War III. The extended MacAvoy-Fassbender duet, the mutant-as-hated-minority allegory and the real world context of the action make this the best X yet.
X-Men: First Class
Rated PG-13 (MPAA) · 131 min. · 2011
Official Site:
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz
Producer: Gregory Goodman and Simon Kinberg
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Oliver Platt and Kevin Bacon


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