Feature

X-Men: First Class

At the core of the fifth installment in the X-Men franchise is the friendship between two future rivals—Magneto and Charles Xavier.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn(PG-13)

**

This fifth installment in the X-Men franchise is “competent weekend entertainment,” said Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. We critics are supposed to tell you it’s more: After all, the fresh-faced actors in this superheroes’ origins story “all embody their roles convincingly” and “the special effects cope admirably” with each challenge the busy screenplay presents. But a climax that blames 1962’s Cuban Missile Crisis on rival “mutants”? That’s just hard to swallow. True fans won’t mind, said Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post. The heart of this film turns outto be an intriguing friendship between two future rivals—the metal-bending mutant who’ll become Magneto and the telepathic Charles Xavier, future leader of the good-guy X-Men. As the proto-Magneto, Michael Fassbender proves to be “one of the most nuanced” protagonists in comic-book-movie history. Yet the “underlying stupidity of the subject matter” lingers, said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. Do any of us need to give two hours to learning why a kid who survived the Nazis grew up to wear “an embarrassing faux-Spartan helmet?” I don’t think so.

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