X-MEN: FIRST CLASS goes back to the beginning to explore the foundations of the mutant X-Men crew. It’s a confused jumble of tired plots covering too many characters, with shocking content used to spice up the story and humanist elements promoting false evolution theories.
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.
(HH, EvEv, C, BB, Ro, Co, AP, P, PC, LL, VVV, SS, N, A, D, M) Strong humanist, evolutionary worldview, with overt evolution dogma as the source of everything, a revenge motif, and elements of uncontrollable rage and anger, mitigated slightly by some redemptive elements with self-sacrifice as lead character saves the other lead multiple times, and strong moral elements such as multiple references to “doing the right thing” and “being the better man,” and one demonstration of Christian faith as man crosses himself, and Nazi racism rebuked, but with confusing Romantic, Communist, Anti-American, politically correct moral equivalency between Soviet Communist Russia and the United States in Cuban missile crisis, positing that the USA had provoked the crisis, although both nations were being manipulated by a Nazi mutant in the movie; nine obscenities, including the “f” bomb, and six strong profanities, including JC; very strong violence includes boy’s mother shot in front of him when he could not obey Nazi, man rips out metal filling from tooth of another man, young man crushes the heads of two men through his power, boy violently destroys a room, man stabs another man in the hand then kills two other men, explosions, gunfire, people murdered, man kills multiple people with sharp swords, coin goes all the way through man’s head and kills him, and men thrown to the ground and through windows; some intense sexual content and innuendo includes two scenes of woman trying to seduce men, man actually shown passionately touching well endowed woman in underwear but it turns out to be a mind control fantasy, two men on bed and showgirl comes in with exchange of crude talk, and passionate kissing; no explicit nudity but lots of show girls through many parts of the movie walking around in underwear; alcohol use; smoking; and, Jews are taken to concentration camp and revenge motif.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS shows the foundations of the X-Men superheroes and villains. Erik, the mutant later known as the villain Magneto, wants revenge on Shaw, the National Socialist mutant who murdered Erik’s mother. Cut to young Charles Xavier, a very wealthy, intelligent mutant who wants to live in peace. Charles writes a thesis on mutants, so the CIA recruits him to stop mutants trying to turn the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis into World War III. Using his powerful telepathic abilities, Charles discovers Shaw’s trying to take over the world with three other mutants. In a mission to find Shaw, Charles meets Erik, but discord between them threatens to derail their efforts to stop the bad guys.
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.