In a Summer full of sequels, X-Men: First Class does more than live up to its franchise — it improves upon it. With a combination of great actors, a compelling story, and a fun, swingin' '60s setting, X-Men First Class is an entertaining blockbuster that doesn't sacrifice any substance for style. Technically a prequel rather than a sequel, First Class visits the universe of the X-Men before they came into their own as superheroes. James McAvoy is the young Charles Xavier, a new professor studying genetic mutation, with his own to boot: telepathy. Michael Fassbender plays Erik Lensherr, a man who witnessed the murder of his family during the Holocaust as a boy, and who has spent much of his adulthood tracking down and killing those responsible. At his disposal is his own mutation: the ability to attract and manipulate metal like a magnet, eventually earning the nickname Magneto.
When upstart CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) is monitoring suspicious businessman Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his involvement with nuclear weaponry, she witnesses his alliance of mutant minions. Moira consults Charles for his mutant research, recruiting him to help in her investigation. Erik and Charles encounter each other while Erik is hunting Shaw, who happens to be the man who killed Erik's mother. Erik and Charles find that they have much in common and form a fast friendship. Though the plot is propelled forward by the pursuit of the villain Shaw, the real meat of the movie is in the origin story of the mutant characters and how they came to harness their powers as X-Men. It's an angle that breathes fresh new life into the series, and the clean slate is an opportunity that's not wasted by director and writer Matthew Vaughn. Find out why I enjoyed X-Men: First Class so much when you read more