By Joan Alperin Schwartz: Right off the bat, I have to say that I gave 'X-Men First Class' 5 bagels out of 5.  I absolutely loved it. The director, Matthew Vaughn did the 'X Men' franchise proud.


'X-Men First Class' is a prequel.  Before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) was Professor X and Eric Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) became Magneto, they were just two mutant guys discovering their powers and figuring out how to use them.  Charles and Eric were also on the same side.  

Charles is your typical nice guy...goodlooking, brilliant, and super rich.  He's also an Oxford graduate whose speciality is genetics.  Charles also happens to be the world's most powerful telepath.

Eric comes from an entirely different background.  When we meet him, it's the 1940's and WW11 is in full force. Eric and his parents are rounded up in Poland and taken to Auschwitz.  When Eric is separated from his parents, he freaks out big time and winds up bending a heavy metal gate with his mind in order to follow them.  Bad move...This gets the attention of a deranged Nazi scientist, (were there any other kind)Dr. Schmidt (Kevin Bacon). The good doctor is determined to fully unleash and harness Erik's powers.  When the boy resists, Schmidt shoots Eric's mother dead right in front of him.  That does the trick.

Twenty years later, Eric is a grown man.  He has one mission in life: track down and kill Dr. Schmidt...aka Sebastian Shaw.  Shaw, thanks to his experiments on Eric, now has the ability to absorb energy and re-channel it into superhuman strength.  Not good...considering the guy is a sociopath and thinks the world would be a much better place without humans.

When Charles and Eric meet it's the 1960's.  They discover that they are kindered spirits and even though Charles lives to protect and Erik lives to destroy, they become friends and start to work together.    

After Charles and Erik become aware of the existence of other mutants, they also discover a plot that puts them in the middle of the escalating tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union which could lead to the world as we know it...coming to an end.

Hint: The Cuban Missle crisis.  For those of you who weren't paying attention in school, you can google it.  Anyway this leads to an uneasy alliance between the mutants and a covert U.S. government agency within the CIA called Division X, headed by MIB (Oliver Platt)  He sends Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) to keep an eye on his new recruits.

What's wonderful about this film is that we see how it all began...How the've all come to know and love...learned to harness their powers and embrace their uniqueness.

You meet the hot blue-skinned shape shifter chick with superhuman agility, Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Hank/Beast (Nicholas Hoult) Cassidy/Banshee - (think sonic blasts) played by Caleb Landry Jones...Angel Salvadore/Wings...Yep she can fly...(Zoe Kravitz) and Alex Summers, aka Havok (Lucas Till) - He's the dude who can emit rings of super-heated energy waves, causing his targets to burst into flame.

And we mustn't forget, Emma Frost (January Jones) Miss Frost is Shaw's right hand lady. She's also a sexy, telepath with diamond-like indestructible skin.  You definitely don't want to piss her off. 

How did Charles wind up in a wheelchair?  How did the X-Men come together? Where did the X-Mansion and Cerebro come from? How did Charles and Eric become arch enemies? All these burning questions are answered in 'X-Men First Class'.    

The film opens in theaters, Friday, June 3, 2011.  You're in for a first class matter what John says.