|X-Men: First Class|
|Producer(s)|| Gregory Goodman|
Lauren Shuler Donner
|Starring|| James McAvoy|
|Release Date(s)|| June 1, 2011|
June 3, 2011 (USA)
|Previous Film||X-Men Origins: Wolverine|
|Next Film||The Wolverine|
X-Men: First Class is a 2011 American superhero film, based on the X-Men characters appearing in Marvel Comics. The film was directed by Matthew Vaughn and produced by Bryan Singer, and acts as a prequel to the X-Men film series. The story is set primarily in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and focuses on the relationship between Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), and the origin of their groups—the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, respectively. The film stars James McAvoy as Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Lensherr, leading an ensemble cast that includes Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoë Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult, Jason Flemyng, and Lucas Till.
Producer Lauren Shuler Donner first thought of a prequel based on the young X-Men during the production of X2, and later producer Simon Kinberg suggested to 20th Century Fox an adaptation of the comic series of the same name, though the film does not follow the comic closely. Bryan Singer, who had directed both X-Men and X2, became involved with the project in 2009, but he had to only produce and co-write First Class due to other projects. Matthew Vaughn, who was previously attached to both X-Men: The Last Stand and Thor, became the director, and also wrote the final script with his writing partner Jane Goldman.
First Class entered production in August 2010, with principal photography concluding in December and additional filming finishing in April 2011, just a few weeks before the film's premiere in June 2011. The tight schedule proved a challenge to the six companies responsible for the extensive visual effects, which included computer-generated sets and digital doubles for the actors. Locations included Oxford, the Mojave desert and Georgia, with soundstage work done in both Pinewood Studios and the 20th Century Fox stages in Los Angeles. The depiction of the 1960s drew inspiration from the James Bond films of the period. First Class received positive reviews, being considered a well-written and fresh revival of the franchise, and was a box-office success with earnings of $353 million worldwide. A sequel titled X-Men: Days of Future Past, also acting as a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand, is set for release in May 2014, with First Class producer Bryan Singer returning as director after X-Men and X2.
In a concentration camp in occupied Poland in 1944, Nazi scientist Dr. Klaus Schmidt observes young Erik Lehnsherr bend a metal gate with his mind when the child is separated from his mother. In his office, Schmidt orders Lensherr to move a coin on a desk, killing his mother when Lensherr cannot. In grief and anger, Lensherr's magnetic power manifests, killing two guards and destroying the room. Meanwhile, at a mansion in Westchester County, New York, young telepath Charles Xavier meets young shape-shifter Raven Darkholme, whose natural form is blue-skinned and scaly. Overjoyed to meet someone else "different", he invites her to live with his family as his foster sister.
Eighteen years later, Lensherr is tracking down Schmidt while Xavier is graduating from Oxford University with a thesis about mutation. In Las Vegas, CIA officer Moira MacTaggert, disguised as a stripper, follows U.S. Army Colonel Hendry into the Hellfire Club, where she sees Schmidt (now known as Sebastian Shaw), telepathic Emma Frost, Riptide and teleporter Azazel. Threatened by Shaw and teleported by Azazel to the Joint War Room, Hendry advocates the deployment of nuclear missiles in Turkey. Hendry is later killed by the energy-absorbing mutant Shaw.
MacTaggert, seeking Xavier's advice on mutation, takes him and Raven to the CIA, where they convince the Director John McCone that mutants exist and Shaw is a threat. Another CIA executive sponsors the mutants and invites them to the secret "Division X" facility. MacTaggert and Xavier find Shaw as Lensherr is attacking him, rescuing Lensherr from drowning as Shaw escapes. Xavier brings Lensherr to Division X, where they meet young scientist Hank McCoy, a mutant with prehensile feet, who believes Raven's DNA may provide a "cure" for their appearance. Xavier uses McCoy's mutant-locating device Cerebro to seek recruits against Shaw. Xavier and Lensherr recruit stripper Angel Salvadore. Later, taxi driver Armando Muñoz, Army prisoner Alex Summers, and Sean Cassidy join, and code-name themselves Darwin, Havok, and Banshee, respectively. Raven dubs herself Mystique. Xavier and Lensherr also approach Wolverine, but he rudely declines.
When Frost meets with a Soviet general in the USSR, Xavier and Lensherr capture her and learn of Shaw's intentions to start World War III and trigger mutant ascendency. Meanwhile, Azazel, Riptide and Shaw attack Division X, killing everyone but the mutants, and ask them to join him. Angel accepts; when Havok and Darwin retaliate, Shaw absorbs Havok's energy blast and uses it to kill Darwin. Xavier takes the mutants to his family mansion for training. In Moscow, Shaw compels the general to have the USSR install missiles in Cuba. Shaw, wearing a helmet that foils Xavier's telepathy, shadows the Soviet fleet in a submarine to ensure the missiles arrive.
Raven, thinking McCoy likes her in her natural form, tells him not to use the cure. When she later attempts to seduce Lensherr by taking the forms of various women, Lensherr instead tells her that she is beautiful in her blue mutant form. McCoy uses the cure on himself but it backfires, rendering his body with a blue fur and leonine aspects. With McCoy piloting, the mutants and MacTaggert take a jet to the blockade line, where Lensherr uses his magnetic power to lift Shaw's submarine from the water and deposit it on a nearby island. During the ensuing battle, Lensherr seizes Shaw's helmet, allowing Xavier to immobilize Shaw. Lensherr tells Shaw that he shares Shaw's exclusivist view of mutants but, to avenge his mother, kills Shaw—over Xavier's objections—by forcing the Nazi coin of his youth through Shaw's brain.
Fearing the mutants, both fleets fire their missiles at them, which Lensherr turns back in mid-flight. MacTaggert tries to stop Lensherr by shooting him but he deflects the bullets, one of which hits Xavier in the spine. Lensherr rushes to help Xavier and, distracted, allows the missiles to fall harmlessly into the ocean. Lensherr leaves with Angel, Riptide, Azazel, and Mystique. A wheelchair-bound Xavier and his mutants return to the mansion, where he intends to open a school. MacTaggert promises never to reveal his location and they kiss; at a CIA debriefing later, she says she has no clear memory of recent events. Elsewhere Lensherr, now calling himself "Magneto", frees Frost from confinement.
- X-Men (first appearance chronologically) (origin revealed)
- Professor X (Charles Xavier) (first appearance chronologically)
- Beast (Dr. Hank McCoy) (first appearance chronologically)
- Banshee (Sean Cassidy) (first appearance)
- Havok (Alex Summers) (first appearance)
- Magneto (Erik Lehnsherr) (first appearance chronologically)
- Mystique (Raven Darkholme) (first appearance chronologically) (impersonates Sharon Xavier and Sebastian Shaw)
- Darwin (Armando Muñoz) (only appearance) (death)
- Hellfire Club (first appearance)
- Brotherhood of Mutants (first appearance chronologically)
- Edie Lehnsherr (death)
- Colonel Bob Hendry (only appearance) (death)
- CIA Director McCone (first appearance)
- William Stryker Sr.
- William Stryker Jr. (mentioned)
- John F. Kennedy (computer screen, TV or hologram)
- Ororo Munroe (cameo)
- Scott Summers (cameo)
- James Howlett (cameo)
- Various Soviet soldiers and military officers
- Various American Navy soldiers and officers
- James Avoy - Professor Charles Xavier
- Laurence Belcher - Young Charles Xavier
- Michael Fassbender - Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
- Bill Milner - Young Erik Lehnsherr
- January Jones - Emma Frost
- Caleb Landry Jones - Sean Cassidy / Banshee
- Lucas Till - Alex Summers / Havok
- Nicholas Hoult - Dr. Hank McCoy / Beast
- Jennifer Lawrence - Raven Darkholme / Mystique
- Morgan Lily - Young Raven Darkholme
- Rebecca Romijn - Adult Mystique
- Kevin Bacon - Sebastian Shaw
- Edi Gathegi - Armando Muñoz / Darwin
- Jason Flemyng - Azazel
- Rose Byrne - Moira MacTaggert
- Álex González - Janos Quested / Riptide
- Oliver Platt - "The Man in Black"
- Zoe Kravitz - Angel Salvadore / Angel
- Hugh Jackman - Logan
- Don Creech - William Stryker Sr.
- Glenn Morshower - Colonel Hendry
- Matt Craven - CIA Director McCone
- Rade Sherbedgia - Russian General
- Michael Ironside - U.S. Navy General
- James Remar - U.S. General
- Annabelle Wallis - Amy
- Don Creech - Agent Stryker
- Brendan Fehr - Communications Officer
- Aleksander Krupa - Russian Navy Captain
Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Wolverine in an uncredited cameo in a bar, dismissing an approach by Xavier and Lensherr to join them. Jackman said he accepted the offer to appear because "it sounded perfect to me", particularly for Wolverine being the only character with a swear word. The cameo took about eight takes during a two-hour shoot on the Fox Studios lot in Los Angeles, and the actor changed his line in an ad-lib from "Fuck off" to "Go fuck yourself".
The premiere for X-Men: First Class took place at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City, on May 25, 2011, and a week later, on June 3, the film went on general release.
X-Men: First Class was released on DVD and Blu-ray September 9, 2011 in the US, and in the UK on October 31, 2011.
- Main article: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Fox envisioned X-Men: First Class as the first film of a new trilogy. Simon Kinberg, who co-wrote X-Men: The Last Stand and co-produced X-Men: First Class, will write the sequel, titled X-Men: Days of Future Past. Bryan Singer will direct and Matthew Vaughn will produce the sequel, respectively. The sequel began filming in April 2013 in Montreal, Canada. The sequel for First Class is scheduled for a release on May 23, 2014.