"Tomorrow, mankind will know that mutants exist. They will fear us, and that fear will turn to hatred."We already saw them as mutant fiends in a few movies and sequels. Now the X-Men go back in time for a fascinating prequel in theaters, X-Men: First Class. We finally learn how the mutants came to be the butt-kicking superheroes their enemies have always loved to hate, and hate to love. We see who they really are behind all their alien-like abilities.
In the midst of an impending World War III outbreak in the 1960s, Charles Xavier (James MacAvoy, who we know as Professor X) assembles an elite group of fellow mutants to train them to sharpen their unique abilities so they can tag team against the evil Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his diamond-sharp gal pal Emma Frost (January Jones). Stepping into Mystique's sleek blue body is Hollywood "it" girl of the moment Jennifer Lawrence. The film also unites fellow mutants: the metal-bending Erik/Magneto (who has a personal vendetta against Shaw), Angel, Hank/Beast, psycho screamer Sean/Banshee, fire-thrusting Havoc and the chameleon, Armando/Darwin (Michael Fassbender, Zoe Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi, respectively). Together, along with CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), they stage the ultimate stand-off, complete with missiles, explosions, fire, and water eruption, in a dramatic finish.
X-Men: First Class defies the often difficult challenge of keeping a superhero prequel interesting, while relying fairly heavily on storyline (something many superhero movies suffer with). In other words, the audience is made to care about these actual characters: how they grew up with the stigma of being labeled "different," their strengths and their apparent kryptonite. It's no Batman Begins, but this prequel does its job.
Fassbender and MacAvoy are stand-outs as they bring the deeper, emotional factor to the equation. Meanwhile, the rest of cast of mutants, including Lawrence and Hoult, provide a more teenage, flighty attempt at the emotional by not cutting deep enough that will more than likely appeal to the younger audience.
In addition, the movies many locations--Nazi Germany, England, and Las Vegas--keep audiences interested and helps maintain the pace of the film. 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.