X-Men; X-Men is the story of a group of mutant outcasts with special abilities who find themselves drawn to one another. On one side we have Professor X, who is played excellently by Patrick Stewart. He runs a school of mutant students who work to help society in any way. While the antithesis of their group is Magneto’s band of rebels who seek to spread the mutant gene to all of humanity. Magneto (played by Ian McKellan) is a great villain, as makes grey moral decisions that blur the line between friend and foe. The chemistry he has with Stewart is magnificent and their performances drive the film. Of course, this is also Hugh Jackman’s first role as the iconic Wolverine, and he settles into the character quite nicely. The physicality and raw energy he gives the character is what kept him in the role for 17 years and this film is what jump-started his career. The supporting cast is also admirably depicted by Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, James Marsden as Cyclops, and even Halle Berry as Storm. Each one of them is perfect in the role, and their younger counterparts have struggled to fill the shoes left behind by these great actors. X-Men is a solid first entry to the long running franchise, and its impact has been felt throughout all superhero culture.
X-Men: First Class; When it comes to reboots or prequels, most franchises tend to fall short of their predecessors. Whether it be a reboot inspired purely by cash grab – such as Ghostbusters (2016) – that tarnishes the series before it. Or if it be a prequel that is barely tied into the original films – like Insidious: The Last Key. It’s fairly agreeable that neither work out often. X-Men: First Class was a bit of both, though. Its story follows that of a prequel to the movies before it – even if the movie spawns a reboot-styled series of its own. The characters are interesting since we already had built up care for them over the decade prior. X-Men: First Class is an entertaining and enjoyable piece in the now very complex franchise. Albeit great throughout each category, X-Men: First Class goes above in beyond with the casting choices. Michael Fassbender (Magneto) and James McAvoy (Professor X) play their characters brilliantly – not to mention the antagonist Sebastian Shaw being played by Kevin Bacon. To put it simply, X-Men: First Class is crafted to be great and succeeds in that manner.
X-Men: First Class is in a class of its own. It not only manages to eclipse X-Men by a wide margin, but may also be the best of the best in this series’ history. X-Men: First Class is essentially a reboot and a prequel – as such it feels refreshingly new and completely original. The casting across the board is sheer perfection, from James McAvoy as replacing Patrick Stewart, to Michael Fassbender over Ian McKellan, and even Kevin Bacon as a new big bad villain. Every actor brings something unique to the table while also staying true to the characters they represent. It is a highly enjoyable experience thanks the great cast of characters and the unique energy X-Men: First Class is made with. The story is breezy, full of entertaining action sequences, and enough fan service to satisfy any who watch it. X-Men First Class is not only better than X-Men in pretty much every way, it also manages to take the series in a new direction – full of intriguing characters and some of the most entertaining superhero scenes we’ve ever seen.
X-Men – Cinemaster Score: 7.3/10
X-Men: First Class – Cinemaster Score: 8.9/10