X-MEN: 1ST CLASS
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael
Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence,
Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne,
Oliver Platt, Àlex González,
January Jones, Jason Flemyng
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 132 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox/News Corp.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Executive Producer: Stan Lee, Tarquin Pack, Josh
Producer: Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan
Singer, Simon Kinberg, Gregory
Writer: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack
Stentz, Jane Goodman, Bryan
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch, Chairman/CEO, News Corp.
Chase Carey, President/COO, News Corp.
Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen/CEO
Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp. (Fox Searchlight Pictures/Fox Atomic/FoxFaith)
10201 West Pico Blvd.; Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000
The movie opens with a scene from the first X-MEN as a young Erik Lehnsherr, later known as Magneto, watches his parents herded off into a National Socialist concentration camp during World War II. Through his rage, Erik uses his developing mutant powers to bend and break the barbwire fences holding in the Jews in the camp. Erik’s powers are observed by Shaw, a mutant who’s a Nazi leader. Shaw tries to use Erik for his powers, but Erik resists. So, Shaw kills Erik’s mother right in front of him, leading to Erik’s deep-seated motivation to kill Shaw.
Cut to the young Charles Xavier, a very wealthy, intelligent mutant who has a big heart and who takes in a homeless mutant, Raven, into his Hudson Valley Mansion. Charles wants to live at peace with the human beings who are not mutants. At Oxford, Charles writes a thesis on the mutations, so the CIA recruits him to help stop the mutants who are trying to turn the Cold War into World War III. Using his powerful telepathic abilities, Charles discovers Shaw is trying to take over the world with three other powerful mutants. In a mission to find Shaw, Charles meets Erik, who’s trying to kill Shaw in revenge for his mother’s murder.
Whereas Charles uses his powers to help, Erik uses his powers mostly out of anger and for his own will. Eventually, this discord causes the split between Charles and Erik and leads Charles to start the X-Men.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS tries to use shock and awe to entertain, but forgets that story is the key to great entertainment. The movie has good special effects and some poignant moments, but it’s extremely convoluted, with many different storylines developing at the same time. The stories include one about the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, one about Charles and Erik’s relationship, one about mutants discovering themselves, one about National Socialism, one about tolerance, one about elitism, etc. Clearly, the focus of the movie was on the spectacle and not the plot structure, which leads to the audience yawning. In fact, this is a jumbled, second-class B-movie.
Moreover, the foul language includes the “F” bomb and several instances of taking the Lord’s Name in vain. The violence also includes some very cruel killings. The sex is as intense as possible for the rating with many women running around in underwear and one character saying she prefers to be a naked stripper than a mutant because of the difference in the way men look at her when they see her as a mutant. By the way, human beings are merely stick figures used to advance the plot.
Finally, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS has a strong humanist worldview that promotes evolution. It also has some confusing Anti-American, politically correct elements asserting some kind of moral equivalency between the United States and Communist Russia that posits the U.S. started the Cuban Missile Crisis, though it later turns out that the National Socialist mutant was behind it all. This unbiblical, politically correct content is mitigated slightly by some moral, redemptive elements. These positive elements are not strong enough, however, so MOVIEGUIDE® must give X-MEN: FIRST CLASS an unacceptability rating of Minus Two, Extreme Caution.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS tries to use shock to entertain, but forgets that story is the key to great entertainment. The movie has some good effects and poignant moments, but it’s extremely convoluted, with many different storylines developing simultaneously. It also has a strong humanist worldview that promotes evolution and contains foul language, cruel violence and salacious moments. The moral, redemptive elements in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS fail to overcome the negative content.