X-Men: First Class  Starring James McAvoy (Wanted), Michael Fassbender (Jonah Hex), Kevin Bacon (Flatliners, Footloose), Rose Byrne (28 Weeks Later), Jason Flemyng (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), Zoë Kravitz (Californication [tv]), Jennifer Lawrence (2012’s The Hunger Games), January Jones (Mad Men [tv]) and Nicholas Hoult (Clash of the Titans).  Screenplay by Ashley Miller (Thor), Zack Stentz (Thor), Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass) and Matthew Vaughn.  Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass).

X-Men: First Class is the second spin-off prequel from the X-Men trilogy (2000’s X-Men, 2003’s X2 and 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand) with the first being 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine but it isn’t riding any coattails.  With a new director and set of writers, and a talented young cast, First Class is looking to breathe new life into the tired series.  Why?  Although The Last Stand and Wolverine grossed $459 million and $373 million worldwide respectively, both movies lacked a good story and director Bryan Singer (he directed and produced Superman Returns instead of returning to the finish the trilogy, and even turned down Wolverine).  Singer signed onto direct First Class, dropped out due to Jack the Giant Killer, but remained a producer on this film.

Matthew Vaughn, a producer-turned-director who was fresh off of Kick-Ass and was set to direct another 2011 summer Marvel movie Thor, stepped into destiny as he had to turn down The Last Stand.  Vaughn modeled First Class after the very successful Star Trek of 2009, directed by J.J. Abrams, which is a movie/television series all about spin-offs.  Just like the X-Men comics, this movie is reinventing and reinvigorating the story and characters that fans know and love including the friendship of Charles and Erik, and the human-before-mutant side of Hank McCoy/Beast and Raven/Mystique.  Unlike other superhero movies of this summer like Captain America and Green Lantern, X-Men: First Class stars an ensemble cast with an early-but-not-too-early-release that will capture new and old fans alike.  Vaughn compared the movie to Batman Begins saying “…you have the fun of introducing the characters and getting to know them, but that takes time.  But with the second one you can just get on with it and have a rollicking good time.  That’s the main difference between Begins and The Dark Knight.”  From the first reviews, Vaughn won’t regret any past work decisions but instead celebrate his work on X-Men: First Class.

Synopsis:  Before Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time.  Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known.  In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-MEN.  courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Rated PG-13 / 132 minutes

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