Is “X-men: First Class” first rate?

Is X-men: First Class first rate?

Emma Minnick, Editor

“X-Men: First Class,” released in 2011, is a prequel to the X-Men movie series that began in 1999. The movie begins with the stories of our main mutant characters, Erik Lennsher and Charles Xavier. When Xavier, a telepath, is contacted by a CIA agent  to learn more about mutants, he crosses paths with Lennsher, who has the power to control metal. The two join forces to defeat mutant Nazi scientist Sebastian Shaw. The two form a crew of powerful mutants to battle this threat.

Firstly, let’s talk about the film’s strong points. The actors do an incredible job at bringing the beloved characters to life. James McAvoy plays Charles with the nuance an empathetic genius requires, and Michael Fassbender brings grey morality and a sympathetic backstory to Erik. Another of the film’s positive qualities is the characters themselves. Again, Charles and Erik stand out. In the film, they go from best friends to adversaries in a very nuanced way, making the viewer feel for the character. Finally, the film has a beautiful set design, notably the X-Mansion and Shaw’s submarine.

Of course, the film also has its flaws. One thing that felt a bit loose in the film was character motivation. For example, Erik Lennsher is a Jewish man who was taken into the custody of Nazis, who murdered his mother and experimented on his mutant abilities. Obviously, the Nazis have a mindset of superiority, believing “Aryans” are better than Jewish people. Erik has been persecuted by these people for his faith and ethnic background, and he clearly despises Nazi ideology. However, near the end of the film, Erik adopts the mindset that mutants are superior to ordinary people, and should be “cleansed” from the world. It feels out of character, not to mention insensitive, for a Holocaust victim to fall into the ideology of his oppressors. Also, the movie wastes characters’ potential, namely Emma Frost. Despite her unique power set, Frost is treated more as arm candy for Shaw than her own autonomous person. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Frost being beautiful and fashionable, but she lacks authority over herself. This is insulting because her character has been a key player in the X-Men universe since her first appearance in 1980.

If you are an avid fan of comics, especially X-Men, I think you would enjoy this story and all of its complexities. If you are just getting into the X-Men world, this story may be too fast-paced and elaborate for you. To conclude, I would give this movie a solid three stars out of five.