X-Men: First Class (film)
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Produced by Gregory GoodmanSimon KinbergLauren Shuler DonnerBryan Singer
Screenplay by Ashley Edward MillerZack StentzJane Goldman Matthew Vaughn[1]
Story by Sheldon Turner Bryan Singer[1]
Based on Characters byStan LeeJack KirbyChris Claremont
Starring James McAvoyMichael FassbenderRose ByrneJanuary JonesOliver PlattKevin Bacon
Music by Henry Jackman
Cinematography John Mathieson
Editing by Eddie HamiltonLee Smith
Studio Marvel EntertainmentDune EntertainmentBad Hat Harry ProductionsDonners' Company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (USA/Worldwide)Odeon (Greece)Warner Bros. (Netherlands)
Release date(s) June 1, 2011 (2011-06-01) (UK) June 2, 2011 (2011-06-02) (SEA) June 3, 2011 (2011-06-03) (USA)
Running time 131 minutes[2]
Country United States United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $125 million[3]


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X-Men: First Class (film)

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Theatrical release poster

X-Men: First Class is a 2011 American superhero film directed by Matthew Vaughn. It is based on the characters appearing in Marvel Comics and is the fifth installment of the X-Men film series and prequel to X-Men. X-Men: First Class was released on June 1, 2011 in the U.K. and June 3 in the United States.The film is set in the 1960s and will focus on the relationship between Professor X and Magneto and the origin of their groups, the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. The film stars James McAvoy as Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Magneto. Other cast members include Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoë Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult and Lucas Till. The film was mostly shot in England and parts of the United States.


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At a German concentration camp in occupied Poland during 1944, young Erik Lensherr is separated from his parents by Nazi guards. The child's desperate mind remarkably bends a metal gate until a guard knocks Lensherr unconscious. Scientist Sebastian Shaw, who has observed this through a window, calls Lensherr up to see him. Placing a metal coin on a desk, he orders Lensherr to use his magnetism power to move it. When Lensherr cannot, despite his best efforts, Shaw shoots and kills Lensher's mother in front of him. In his rage, Lensherr's out-of-control magnetic power kills the two guards and destroys two rooms, to Shaw's delight. Around this same time, in a Westchester County, New York, mansion, a young Charles Xavier meets a young, shape-shifting girl named Raven, scrounging for food in the kitchen. Overjoyed to meet someone else "different" like him, he says she can come live with his family.

In Switzerland in the movie's present-day of 1962, Lensherr forces a banker to trace a bar of Nazi gold to Shaw's address in Argentina. Travelling there, he finds a tavern patronized by former German soldiers. Lensherr kills the three men after he learns that Shaw has a yacht in Florida. Meanwhile, in England, Oxford University graduate Xavier is publishing his thesis on mutation; his foster sister Raven, a waitress, lives with him. Simultaneously in Las Vegas, Nevada, CIA agent Moira MacTaggart follows U.S. Army Colonel Hendry into the Hellfire Club, where she sees Shaw, Emma Frost, and Azazel. After Shaw threatens Henry, Azazel disappears with the officer; moments later he is in the War Room, advocating that U.S. install nuclear missiles in Turkey. After getting what he wants from the officer, Shaw kills him by using his powers to absorb the blast of a grenade the officer was going to kill the group with, and turning it back on him.

MacTaggart seeks Xavier’s advice on mutation, and takes Xavier and Raven to the CIA to convince the chief that Shaw is a threat. After convincing them that mutants exist, they are to be taken to a covert facility, but first Xavier tracks down Shaw. At the same time the CIA arrive to take down Shaw, Lensherr arrives and attacks. Shaw escapes the attack in a submarine hidden inside the ship. Lensherr tries to stop him, but Xavier stops him before he drowns. Lensherr joins Xavier and Raven at the CIA facility, where they meet Hank McCoy, another mutant that Xavier accidentally outs. McCoy and Raven feel a kinship due to their similar appearance based mutations, and Hank promises Raven he will find a cure, hoping a sample of her blood will hold the key. McCoy and Xavier then use a prototype Cerebro to locate mutants and recruit several of them to train to stop Shaw. They find Angel Salvadore at a strip club, Darwin driving a taxi, Havok voluntarily locked in confinement at an army base, and Banshee at an aquarium. They also attempt to recruit Wolverine at a bar, but he refuses the men before they get a chance to ask him.

Shaw plans to meet with a Russian general, but sends Frost instead, who is then captured by Xavier and Lensherr. At the same time, the CIA facility is attacked by Azazel, Riptide and Shaw, with all the guards being killed. Shaw offers the gathered mutants a chance to join him, which Angel accepts. Darwin says he accepts, but then uses his powers to protect himself and Angel while Havok attacks Shaw. Shaw absorbs Havok's energy blast and turns in back onto Darwin, killing him. When Lensherr and Xavier return, they decide they need to go after Shaw. Realising the CIA facility is no longer they safe, the group move to Xavier's family mansion, and begin to train the mutants. Hank builds a device that allows Havok to better control his powers, as well as parachute-like wings for Banshee that allow him to fly with use of his powers. Xavier helps Lensherr to understand the true potential of his powers, teaching him to find a balance between peace and rage. After speaking with Lensherr, Raven is conflicted about hiding her natural form.

President Kennedy institutes a blockade to stop the Russian ships from moving missiles to Cuba. Shaw travels with the Russian fleet to ensure that the missiles get to Cuba. The mutants deduce that Shaw won't leave anything to chance and will be there to oversee the attack. The night before they leave to stop Shaw, McCoy offers Raven the cure he has made from her blood, but Raven, having spoken to Lensherr who believes she should take pride in her mutation, refuses to use it. Hank goes to his lab and uses the cure, which instead turns him into a hairy, blue beast. Xavier, MacTaggart, Lensherr and the mutants fly to the blockade using a prototype jet designed by McCoy to stop the fleets from engaging one another. Shaw uses a nuclear core from his submarine to charge himself up and a helmet to block Xavier’s telepathy. While Azazel kills the crew of the Russian missile ship, Xavier uses his powers to make a Russian ship destroy the missile ship before it crosses the line. After using Banshee's screams as a sonar to locate Shaw, Lensherr pulls Shaw's submarine from the water, but an attack from Riptide forces the jet and submarine to crash. While the other mutants fight, Lensherr finds Shaw in a psychic blackspot hidden in the wreckage of his submarine and removes his helmet, allowing Xavier to take control of Shaw. Lensherr puts on the helmet, then kills Shaw by forcing the coin that Shaw taunted him with through his brain. The two fleets fire their missiles at the mutants, but Lensherr, now fully in control of his abilities, holds the missiles in the air, then turns them on the fleet. In the ensuing fight, Xavier manages to distract Lensherr, but when MacTaggart fires at Lensherr, he deflects the bullets, with one paralyzing Xavier. Lensherr takes Raven, Angel Salvadore, Riptide and Azazel and leaves. Xavier and the mutants return to the mansion, where he will open a school. After sharing a kiss, Xavier wipes MacTaggart’s memory. Lensherr breaks Frost out of the CIA headquarters, and in his new uniform he tells Frost to call him Magneto.


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  • James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier: The telepathic leader and founder of the X-Men and one of Magneto's best friends until conflicts of opinion create a rivalry between them and their teams. McAvoy admitted that he did not read comics when he was a kid, but added that he was a fan of the cartoons from the age of 10. While he describes the older Charles Xavier as "a monk... a selfless, egoless almost sexless force for the betterment of humanity and mortality", he says that the younger Xavier is a very different person: "It's quite fun because the complete opposite of that is an ego-fueled, sexed up self-serving dude. And not going too far with it, but he's definitely got an ego and he's definitely got a sex drive as well." McAvoy admitted he felt that there was a comparison between Professor X/Magneto and Martin Luther King Jr./Malcom X stating that "A lot of the time... in the comic books, Erik comes and goes; he goes back and forward really in what he believes and how he is going to achieve it. And in this film it's sort of like meeting them at a point where they are still finding out who they are and you are still seeing some of the events that shaped them, not through their early life, but some of the key events in the sort of equal rights or civil rights struggle that helped shape them."
    • Laurence Belcher as a young Charles Xavier
  • Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto: The leader and founder of the Brotherhood of Mutants and one of Professor X's best friends until conflicts of opinion create a rivalry between them and their teams. Fassbender said that Matthew Vaughn saw him in an audition for one of his other films and just thought that he would be right for this film. After Fassbender read the script he said he liked it and then he tried to convince the producers that he was right for the part. When reading Magneto's history (he admitted that he did not know that much about the X-Men) he said to himself that he thought the story was going to be really interesting work. When asked if he was a good guy or bad guy at this point he said that he doesn't really think in those terms. He saw Erik as a Machiavellian character. Fassbender also admitted to watching Ian McKellen's performances to get a flavor of what Magneto was like (while also stating that he liked it) but decided to "paint a new canvas" of the character, stating "So I did my homework and preparation and you want to respect what someone else has done, especially because the fan base really liked what Ian McKellen has done with it. But while I could have gone and studied him as a young man and brought that to the performance, I don't think Matthew is very interested in that. So I'm just going my own way and working with whatever is in the comic books and the script."
    • Bill Milner as a young Erik Lehnsherr
  • Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw: a scientist and the leader of the Hellfire Club, a secret society bent on taking over the world. Shaw is a mutant who can absorb kinetic energy used against him and use it as super strength and speed.
  • January Jones as Emma Frost / White Queen: A mutant telepath who can also change her body into diamond form; also a member of the Hellfire Club.Alice Eve was originally announced to play Emma Frost.
  • Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira MacTaggert: A scientist, CIA agent and an authority on genetic mutation and love interest of Charles Xavier. Americanized for the film, she is Scottish in the comics. The change in the character disappointed many international fans of the comic counterpart.Rosamund Pike was previously up for the role.
  • Nicholas Hoult as Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy / Beast: A former scientist and political activist who transformed into a frightening looking mutant in an attempt to cure himself, but is kind at heart. Broadway actor Benjamin Walker was previously cast as Beast. He turned down the role to star in the Broadway musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
  • Jennifer Lawrence as Raven / Mystique: A dangerous shape shifting mutant.
    • Morgan Lily as a young Raven
  • Oliver Platt as The Man in Black: A CIA agent and head of Division X, a government agency working with the X-Men.
  • Ray Wise as the United States Secretary of State
  • Zoë Kravitz as Angel Salvadore: A mutant with insectoid physiology and a member of the Hellfire Club.
  • Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy / Banshee: A mutant with the ability of hypersonic screaming and flight. Americanized for the film, he is Irish in the comics.
  • Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok: A mutant who has the ability to absorb cosmic energy and discharge blasts from the energy.
  • Edi Gathegi as Armando Muñoz / Darwin: A mutant with the power of "reactive evolution."
  • Jason Flemyng as Azazel: A demon who has the ability to teleport.
  • Álex González as Janos Quested / Riptide: A mutant with the ability to spin his body at an incredibly fast rate.
  • Andy Callaghan as a member of the Hellfire Club.
  • Beth Goddard as Mrs. Xavier: A cameo appearance when Mystique elects to use her form.


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In April 2006, one month before the release of X-Men: The Last Stand, writer Zak Penn revealed he was contracted to write and direct a spin-off. He explained in 2007 that "the original idea was to have me do a young X-Men spin-off, a spin-off of the young X-Men characters. But someone came up with a pretty interesting idea [...] it was this guy who worked with me named Mike Chamoy, he worked a lot with me on X3. He came up with how to do a young X-Men movie which is not what you'd expect." Penn compared the idea to the comic book series X-Men: First Class, and Josh Schwartz was writing the screenplay in May 2008. Schwartz's writing assignment also included the possibility of directing of X-Men: First Class, but Fox approached Bryan Singer, director of X-Men and X2, in October 2009. The original idea was to green-light the film depending on the success of X-Men Origins: Magneto, but Singer added elements of the Magneto spin-off, merged into a new script by Jamie Moss. In addition to Moss, Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz were hired to rewrite the script. Miller compared it tonally to Singer's work on the first two X-Men films. Singer dropped out of the director's position in March 2010 due to his commitment to a Jack the Giant Killer adaptation. He formalized his duties from director to producer.Matthew Vaughn signed on as Singer's replacement in May 2010. With his hiring, Fox announced a June 3, 2011 release date, and Jane Goldman was hired for another rewrite. Vaughn wanted to model X-Men: First Class after the 2009 Star Trek film, taking the franchise in a new direction with a fresh, young cast. An action scene that was to have been set in a dream sequence with revolving rooms was scrapped after the release of Inception. The 1960s setting of X-Men: First Class will be technologically inspired by the James Bond films of that era, also adding to the international feel of the characters. The X-Men costumes will look much more as they did in the original comics compared with the first three films.

Principal photography began on August 31, 2010, in Oxford, England, which included St Aldate's street and some of the University of Oxford's buildings, lasting for two days. Production then moved to Pinewood Studios in Iver, and to Georgia in October, including Jekyll Island, Thunderbolt and Savannah, after sites in Louisiana, North Carolina and West Michigan were considered. Jekyll Island was chosen over Tybee Island after a producer reviewed the locations on Google Earth and thought the water near Jekyll looked more blue. Additional location shooting will take place in Russia. A section of the plot is set in the Argentine coastal city of Villa Gesell, but was filmed elsewhere; in fact, it features a lake and mountains which are out of place in the actual geography of Villa Gesell.


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The first domestic teaser trailer was released on February 10, 2011. A Russian trailer was released on March 15, 2011. The international trailer was released on April 10, 2011. The theatrical trailer was released on April 27, 2011. Twentieth Century Fox taps NFC-Mobile-Enabled X-Men: First Class - posters for mobile marketing film campaign.


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It has been announced that British group Take That will provide the official song of the film. The song, entitled "Love Love" will be released worldwide on May 11 and will be played during the end credits. It has been blogged that Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. is building customer engagement through a NFC-enabled mobile film campaign used with the X-Men: First Class posters.


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Pre-release reviews have been positive, with the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes showing a 98% freshness and a rating of 8/10 from 51 reviews counted as of June 1, 2011. Before May 24, the film was screened for film blog sites. Drew McWeeny of Hitfix called it "a genuinely good movie, not just a good superhero movie. Big and bold and aggressively told, it feels to me like this is the first film in a brand-new franchise, and even the few very wicked and enjoyable references to Singer's films that are hidden in this one don't tie it down." Brendan Connelly of BleedingCool.com said it "contains some of the briskest and most efficient storytelling I've seen in any recent blockbuster. An awful lot happens, and awfully quickly at times, but it’s all clear and while some nice moments might be over in the blink of an eye, this can only reward repeat viewers."

Peter Sciretta of SlashFilm.com wrote, "It strikes a great balance of being accessible to non-comic book fans and packing some pretty cool easter [sic] eggs that comic geeks will love." Whereas Den of Geek's Michael Leader said that "despite all the ropey posters and off-putting promo material, X-Men: First Class manages to be a summer movie with something to say. Let's just hope they don’t run this one into the ground, too, because I dread seeing an X-Men: Economy Class down the line."

Tod McCarthy of the The Hollywood Reporter described the film as "audacious, confident and fueled by youthful energy", and said that "director Vaughn impressively maintains a strong focus dedicated to clarity and dramatic power ... and orchestrates the mayhem with a laudable coherence, a task made easier by a charging, churning score by Henry Jackman...." Justin Chang of Variety said the film "feels swift, sleek and remarkably coherent", and that "the visual effects designed by John Dykstra are smoothly and imaginatively integrated...."

Simon Miruado of Quickflix.com felt less favorably, stating that "just when [Vaughn] starts to have a little fun, you can practically feel him pull back, lest he get too campy or weird."


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Fox envisions X-Men: First Class as the first film of a new trilogy. Donner compared the franchise plans to be similar to the darker, more mature content of the Harry Potter film series. While speaking about the sequels, director Matthew Vaughn said, "First Class is similar to Batman Begins, where 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."

Some of the content on this page has been provided by the following page on Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Men:_First_Class_(film)

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