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With a strong script, stylish direction, and powerful performances from its well-rounded cast, X-Men: First Class is a welcome return to form for the franchise. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In the early 1960s, during the height of the Cold War, a mutant named Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) meets a fellow mutant named Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). Despite their vastly different backgrounds -- Charles grew up with a wealthy family, while Erik lost his parents at Auschwitz -- the two become close friends. As the world teeters on the brink of a nuclear war, Charles and Erik with other mutants join forces to save humanity. However, a situation soon tears the friends apart.

Cast & Crew

James McAvoy
Charles Xavier
Michael Fassbender
Erik Lehnsherr
Rose Byrne
Moira MacTaggert
Jennifer Lawrence
Raven, Mystique
Oliver Platt
Man in Black Suit
Lucas Till
Alex Summers, Havok
Edi Gathegi
Armando Munoz, Darwin
Kevin Bacon
Sebastian Shaw
Caleb Landry Jones
Cassidy, Banshee
Zoë Kravitz
Angel Salvadore
Álex González
Janos Quested, Riptide
Matt Craven
CIA Director McCone
Rade Serbedzija
Russian General
Laurence Belcher
Charles Xavier (12 Years)
Bill Milner
Young Erik
Morgan Lily
Young Raven (10 Years)
Ashley Miller
Screenwriter
Zack Stentz
Screenwriter
Jane Goldman
Screenwriter
Matthew Vaughn
Screenwriter
Stan Lee
Executive Producer
Tarquin Pack
Executive Producer
Josh McLaglen
Executive Producer
John Mathieson
Cinematographer
Chris Seagers
Production Design
Lee Smith
Film Editor
Henry Jackman
Original Music
Sammy Sheldon
Costume Designer
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News & Interviews for X-Men: First Class

Critic Reviews for X-Men: First Class

All Critics (298) | Top Critics (74) | Fresh (255) | Rotten (43)

  • The acting, special effects, and writing were excellent, except possibly the two times Xavier tries to hit on women in bars by saying they have "groovy mutation[s]".

    January 7, 2021 | Full Review…
  • First Class can safely be watched by first-timers, but old faithfuls of the franchise will get a little more, tracing the origins of their favourite characters.

    April 2, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • If you didn't see the previous movies, you may not be able to appreciate some of the subtle references, but that won't make you enjoy the movie any less. Check it out.

    September 8, 2017 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • For reasons arising from the way the X-Men film franchise has developed, this is the first Marvel movie set in the period when the characters were created, and thus able to embrace the Rat Pack cool that was part of their original charm.

    July 14, 2015 | Full Review…
  • In truth, the film is a very conventional summer potboiler repackaged in reasonably pretty, moderately crisp wrapping paper. In short, not quite groovy enough.

    July 14, 2015 | Full Review…
  • In some glorious zone between Mad Men and Thunderbirds comes this X-Men prequel, as kinetic as it is character-driven, and full of ridiculous retro pleasures.

    July 14, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for X-Men: First Class

  • Mar 09, 2017
    With Matthew Vaughn at the helm, X-Men: First Class is a classy, fun time that brings the best out of it's strong cast. The action scenes and dialogue pop with a ferocity, and breaths life into a incredibly engaging storyline.
    Matthew M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 03, 2017
    There are a lot of great things about First Class, but I think the one that sticks out to me the most (even after years and tons of viewings) is that it works as both a reboot and prequel. Even though the continuity has since been mingled with even more, this film did such a great job of resetting the universe without tarnishing what came before. In large part, the strengths of the film lie with Matthew Vaughn's direction. Up to this point, I liked most of the X-Men films, but even the people who have loved the series would say that there wasn't much "fun" to be had. The original X-Men trilogy took itself very seriously and rightfully so. But there's something to be said for a mutant story that poses similar thought provoking questions and themes like before, while also making a fun adventure out of it. Vaughn does a wonderful job balancing the two. Setting an X-Men film in the 1960's meant having to recast all of the recurring characters. Luckily, casting was something 20th Century Fox had no problem with. I don't think we could have dreamed of a better pairing to take over the roles of Professor X and Magneto than James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. Perhaps, some would say that the two of them have outdone their counterparts, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan (I, myself being one of those people). Much like the film itself, McAvoy and Fassbender put their own spin on the characters, but bring enough similarity in their performance to understand the connective tissue between the pairs. Something the new trilogy of X-Men films does incredibly well is use the decade the films are set in to enhance the overall story they were going for. First Class is set in the 60's, and uses the Cuban Missile Crisis as the film's climatic sequence. But it uses it in a way that doesn't exploit that event, instead, gives a reason for there to be tension between Charles & Erik. This film and Days of Future Past nail the relationship between those two more so than any X-Men film to date. Going back to the fun stuff though, the rest of the mutants are made up of mostly throw away heroes and villains. No one was really asking for characters like Azazel, Riptide, Angel Salvadore, Havoc, Darwin, Banshee, or even more Mystique. But even as much as these characters could have felt like throwaway characters, Vaughn managed to build them into the story in a creative way. Everyone has their own arc and moment to shine. In fact, my favorite part of the film involves Charles & Erik recruiting, and subsequently training everyone. It's classic superhero stuff. Overall, First Class makes good with its new cast and setting. Matthew Vaughn transitioned what was originally planned as a Magneto origin story into a wonderfully balanced comic-book adaptation. One that nails the characters motivations and mindsets in a refreshing but respectful and realistic way. +Charles & Erik +Recruiting & Training +Score +Vaughn's directing +Setting adds to the story 9.4/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Oct 02, 2016
    whilst not stepping back up to the dizzy heights of x-men 1 or 2 or even reaching the somewhat solid level of the last stand, it is a must see for all x-fans! james mcavoy and michael fassbender make it worth your time. some mild comedy moments also make it worth the while.
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • May 17, 2016
    As a prequel, 'X-Men: First Class' is a well deserved and welcome return to form for the X-Men franchise. Matthew Vaughn's sleek and stylish direction helps give the franchise the boost, as did the well polished and compellingly written script. One thing that's always kept X-Men separate from other superhero film franchises was the well understandable and compelling character and plot motivations of the characters and factions. Even after two very lackluster entries prior to this film's release, it's standing ovation as a film as is it's incredibly gifted cast of ensemble characters are equally engaging as they are fascinating. On top of that it's this film's cast that almost gives the original X-Men film a run for it's money, as does all certain consistent qualities this franchise has kept up to this point, including it's elaborate sense of scale, production budget and visually impressive special effects. I don't have much else to comment on the fact this film restored my faith in the X-Men film series, and it's quality still live up to in this day and age.
    Luke E Super Reviewer

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