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X-Men: First Class (2011)

Witness the moment that will change our world

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 132 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A

After the success of JJ Abrams take on the origins of Star Trek’s famous duo of Captain Kirk and Spock, Matthew Vaughn has now had a go at reviving the stalling franchise of X-Men by exploring how Mogneto and Professor X came to be enemies. Previously, Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a ridiculously poor effort at this kind of thing but Vaughn seems to be getting better with each film he makes.

First Class charts the rise and growing animosity of Magneto (Fassbender) and Professor Xavier (McAvoy) from very different beginnings. As a child Erik Lensherr (aka Magneto) was split up from his parents at Auschwitz concentration camp and taken on by an evil Nazi (Bacon) who recognises Erik’s strong psychic powers. He is then taken to America by his mentor but grew to hate him before working for the side of good (the side of America of course) with other mutants, one of whom was Charles Xavier (aka Professor X, obviously), a nerdy academic specialising in genetics.

Spanning three decades and a whole host of countries, X-Men: First Class certainly is an interesting, thrilling ride. Let’s face it, the whole Magneto-Nazi storyline is much more interesting than McAvoy’s rather humdrum tale so whenever Michael Fassbender is on screen especially as he chases down Kevin Bacon’s suitably evil Nazi the movie is so much more entertaining and interesting. Fassbender is gaining a real screen presence and star power recently as his charisma shows though in spades. Also, he impressively recites pitch-perfect German whenever counted on to do so (probably, I’m guessing from two years of learning German at school and listening to Rammstein).

In the end, X-Men outstays it’s welcome as the 132 minute runtime as it ambles along at a pedestrian pace and rarely shows a humorous side. Uneven characterisation is also a flaw as too much time is spent on some of the minor characters and their insecurities at being mutants and others pre-dominantly women are under-explored and merely there to look good.

It's Got: Michael Fassbender in fine form, thrilling action and a decent plot for the most part

It Needs: A less pedestrian pace, more even characterisation, more for the women to contribute


A somewhat return to form for the X-Men series thanks to a few star turns and a pre-dominantly riveting story spanning three decades. Just forget X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine never happened.