Set during the cold war against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis, First Class tells the story of how Charles and Erik met, how the mutants banded together and the origins of some of the X-Men who appear in later films. It starts off well by extending the scene shown in the first X-Men movie when Erik is separated from his parents at a German concentration camp.
Before long, we’re introduced to Charles Xavier as a groovy Oxford graduate who is recruited by a foxy CIA operative to help stop a sinister mutant intent on starting a new World War. With Erik on a revenge mission and hot on the heels of the same mutant, it’s only a matter of time before their paths meet and the X-Men are drawn into a battle that could destroy all of mankind.
Despite the great two leads, especially Michael Fassbender as Erik, and a gaggle of fit women wearing mini skirts or stripping (or both), the big problem with First Class is that the mutants are a motley crew of nobody’s with genetic mutations that are either mind-numbingly uninteresting or nothing you haven’t seen in any other X-Men film. With the exception of Charles, Erik and Raven you really couldn’t give two hoots about the rest of them.
It’s a shame because the story is genuinely intriguing having been set against real world events and the main villain played by Kevin Bacon is one of only a few mutants with a special power that has not been seen in any of the other movies. Whereas the previous X-Men films introduced us to mutants with new powers, and let’s face it, most of us want to see cool mutations that push the boundaries of what humans are capable of, First Class just throws us the same old mutations we’ve already seen, some with a .1 update that cheapens the deal.
And the mutants they’ve chosen are the ones you’d pick last when selecting a football team. Ultimately, there is nothing wow about them and this could have been a much better film if it had the exact same storyline but with more exciting characters. Bit of a wasted opportunity then, the other X-Men movies and Wolverine spin-off were better.