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'X-Men: First Class' manages to breathe new life into the franchise Jeri Jacquin | Fri, Jun 03 2011 12:23 AM

Opening in theaters this Friday from director Matthew Vaughn and 20th Century Fox comes a story of hero and villain beginnings. It’s “X-Men: First Class.”

This film tells the story of Charles Xavier (James MacAvoy) who, in 1963, opens a school for humans with super powers. Joining Charles is his childhood friend Eric Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) and together they take on the biggest enemy the world has ever known.

With them are other “mutants” such as Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Janos Quested/Riptide (Alex Gonzalez) and Hank McCoy/the Beast (Nicholas Hoult). But not everything is as it seems. There is a secret that Charles and Eric come face to face with.

In the midst of the struggle, their friendship begins to fall apart. What happens next is the beginning of a struggle between Professor X and his X-men and Magneto and the Brotherhood.

Final word: There is nothing MacAvoy does that I don’t like and his role as Xavier is no exception. Taking the character’s role from its very beginnings, he shows an amazing side that will thrill viewers. What could be better?

Adding Fassbender as Magneto gives the film a perfect pairing of these two fine actors. Standing head to head to bring about a fresh perspective on the X-Men franchise, Fassbender is nothing short of brilliant and perfect in the role.

Lawrence, as Mystique, has already proven she has bite and if you haven’t seen “Winter’s Bone,” add it to your list of must-sees. This young actress has a lot to offer in film and is choosing such diverse roles and playing these roles extremely well.

Hoult is another young actor who has proven his worth. From serious roles in “About a Boy” and the Oscar-nominated “A Single Man,” Hoult gets to jump himself, no pun intended, into the role of the Beast.

Other cast members include: Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert, Oliver Platt as the Man in the Black Suit, Jason Flemyng as Azazel, Zoe Kravitz as Angel Salvadore, and January Jones as Emma Frost.

Tubs of popcorn: I give “X-Men: First Class” three-and-a-half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is a film filled with thrills and special effects that are pretty well done. The story of these two friends/archenemies is well told. The film itself breathes new life into the X-Men franchise with its cool look.

The special effects are good and an equally good script with a dash of humor doesn’t hurt in the slightest. The cast is well chosen and director Vaughn has managed to do what most didn’t think possible — breathe new life into another Marvel creation.

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