The X-Men have had many different adventures over the years. The newest movie installment X-Men: First Class shows how it all began. In the early 1960s, young telepath Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is an Oxford graduate and does a thesis on mutation, which makes him an expert in the field.
Charles has a saying about mutation, “Mutant and Proud”. His foster sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) disagrees with that notion because her mutation affects her looks, even though she’s a shape shifter.
Meanwhile, Eric Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), who is young Magneto, seeks revenge on Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who is a very powerful mutant that can absorb energy and redirect it. Shaw killed Erik’s mother years ago while forcing him to demonstrate his powers, which are triggered by anger and pain.
It turns out that Shaw is now leading an attempt to take over the world by installing nuclear missiles in Turkey and firing them toward Russia. Shaw’s associates helping him out are Emma Frost (January Jones) a telepath who can also take a crystal form, Azazel (Jason Flemyng) a teleporter, and Riptide (Alex Gonzalez) who can conjure up whirlwinds from his hands.
After CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) witnesses this plot, she warns her superiors, but they don’t believe her. MacTaggert even invites Charles and Raven to CIA headquarters. Charles demonstrates his power, but the CIA superiors still don’t believe that mutants are real until Raven shows her power as physical proof.
Later, a Man in Black (Oliver Platt) takes MacTaggert, Charles, and Raven to his facility, where they meet Dr. Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) a brilliant young mutant with monkey feet. Eventually, Erik joins the team, but in order to stop Shaw, they’ll need to recruit more mutants. Hank has just the device for that. It’s called Cerebro, which also becomes a valuable resource to the team later on.
Charles and Erik go in search for these other mutants, which also includes Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), who has a cameo. It’s hilarious how he bluntly turns them down.
The chosen mutants are Angel (Zoe Kravitz) a flyer that can spit acid, Banshee (Caleb Laundry Jones) an ultrasonic shrieker, Havok (Lucas Till) who can blast circular energy, and Darwin (Edi Gathegi) a mutant with the power to survive any element. As powerful as they are, these young mutants have much to learn before facing Shaw, especially after Shaw invades the CIA facility. Angel joins up with him and Darwin gets killed.
Charles decides to train the mutant team at a new location, which is actually the building used for the Mutant Academy. The mutants can control their powers, but use more challenging tactics to provide a new edge. Once that’s done, the team goes to stop Shaw and save the world in an exciting battle with secrets revealed about several of the characters.
This is a great X-Men prequel about Professor X and Magneto’s back-story. I couldn’t help but notice the jokes about Charles going bald someday. Do you suppose that could be from a later battle, or maybe it’s from other students driving him crazy.