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It always makes for an interesting narrative when prequels are made because it allows us to see a character evolve into the entity we already know. X Men First Class directed by Matthew Vaughn is one such that weaves the story of the two most powerful mutants Professor X and Magneto. 

The movie starts in a concentration camp in 1944 where a young Erik Lensherr’s magnetic powers are unleashed when he sees his mother getting murdered by a Nazi appointed scientist Schmidt (Kevin Bacon). On the other side of the world in a posh mansion in New York, young Xavier is introduced when he reads the mind of a homeless girl trying to steal something from his fridge. The girl is also revealed to be a mutant – a shape shifter. 

Years later, they have grown up and while Erik (Fassbender) has embarked on a vengeful journey to find his mother’s killer, Charles(McAvoy) has become a geneticist at Oxford accompanied by his foster sister Raven(Mystique played by the cute Jennifer Lawrence).Circumstances force them to reveal their powers to the CIA who hires them for a purpose and eventually when they meet, Xavier and Erik bond quickly. Their friendship is interspersed with entertaining scenes of  the recruitment of mutants of various kinds (features a great 5 second cameo ) from all over the world. In this, the story of how the various mutants come together feels like a cold war era bond adventure and we also have a megalomaniac to boot. Schmidt has now changed to Sebastian Shaw and whose machinations have brought the US and Russia to the brink of nuclear war, an alternate history platform derived from the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Shaw drives this conflict that will eliminate the human race while making the mutants the only surviving super species on the planet. 

The second half concentrates on the differing viewpoints of the two friends as we know with Xavier being the accommodator for coexisting and assimilating with humans while Erik getting increasingly disillusioned with the human race and its intentions for mutants. This is where the movie slightly loses its footing because we expect more drama in the two protagonist’s conflicts but poor McAvoy looks like a child in front of the imposing Fassbender and his magnetic personality (pun intended). It isn’t helped by the fact that one can feel that the movie is throbbing in its underbelly to jump to the next jaw dropping action set piece. For sheer jaw dropping though, one has to mention the submarine sequence, it is incredible. 

Overall the movie is First Class and one of the better comics to movies in recent time. From the actors , it is Michael Fassbender, the German-Irish actor who gets to exercise every acting muscle in his body, strain every thespian sinew and does a mighty good job of it. James McAvoy looks a shade immature but performs admirably. When it comes to playing megalomaniacs, Bacon nails it. Supporting characters don’t have much to do but special effects takes care of everything. Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique gives the most interesting and inscrutable character in the movie like her name. However the scene showing her brushing her teeth in the morning was a comical one, alas even superheroes or heroines can’t escape the mundane chores of life. 

Rating : 3.5/5 
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