2011, Movies

X-Men: First Class (2011, Mathew Vaughn)

As a child, the X-Men were my favourite super heroes but for reasons I will no go into, I have not found the various X-Men films that I have seen particularly compelling. The first film was better than most of the other comic book movies of its era, but I did not enjoy the second or the third – though the third was better than Ratner’s usual output, I am guessing because the source material was better than his usual source material.

And so I watched this with some trepidation, because all the people I know who love comic book movies loved this one, but I don’t love comic book movies. But holy shit…

Putting aside the problems I have with super heroes in general, and putting aside the ridiculously corny coining of nicknames and the group itself – none of which feels natural – there is a real film here. I’d say it’s something like “James Bond meets the X-Men,” if Bond were somehow fragmented into other characters, the two obvious main ones, and then a few others for good measure.

But the thing I liked most about it was the ’60s vibe of the whole thing. Particularly the training montage, which was a not very subtle homage to some really stupid ’60s and ’70s film stylings; just brilliant – it might have been the best part of the movie. But, on the whole, everything is really, really good. Especially the cast, which is borderline fantastic.

On the whole, I find myself absolutely gobsmacked that I enjoyed this as much as I did, and that I am giving an X-Men movie an 8.


  • Directed by Matthew Vaughn
  • Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Gregory Goodman
  • Screenplay by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
  • Story by Sheldon Turner, Bryan Singer
  • Based on X-Men by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee
  • Starring
    • James McAvoy as Charles Xavier / Professor X
    • Laurence Belcher as young Charles Xavier
    • Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
    • Bill Milner as young Erik Lehnsherr
    • Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert
    • Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkhölme / Mystique
    • Morgan Lily as young Raven Darkhölme
    • Rebecca Romijn as adult Raven Darkhölme
    • January Jones as Emma Frost
    • Nicholas Hoult as Henry “Hank” McCoy / Beast
    • Oliver Platt as Man In Black Suit
    • Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok
    • Edi Gathegi as Armando Muñoz / Darwin
    • Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw
    • Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy / Banshee
    • Zoë Kravitz as Angel Salvadore
    • Matt Craven as CIA Director McCone
    • Rade Šerbedžija as Russian General
    • Glenn Morshower as Colonel Hendry
  • Music by Henry Jackman
  • Cinematography by John Mathieson
  • Edited by Lee Smith, Eddie Hamilton
  • Production companies: Marvel Entertainment, The Donners’ Company, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners
  • Distributed by 20th Century Fox
  • Release date: May 25, 2011
  • Running time: 132 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Budget: $140–160 million
  • Box office: $353.6 million

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