X-Men: First Class (stylized onscreen as X: First Class) is a 2011 American superhero film, based on the X-Men characters appearing in Marvel Comics. It is the fifth installment in the X-Men film series. It is both a prequel and a soft reboot of the franchise, the film was directed by Matthew Vaughn and produced by Bryan Singer. The story is set primarily in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and focuses on the relationship between Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), and Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and the origin of their groups—the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, respectively, as they deal with the Hellfire Club led by Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who is bent on world domination. The film co-stars Rose Byrne, January Jones, and Oliver Platt. The film also introduces new actors to the series including Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence who, like McAvoy and Fassbender, reimagine popular characters from the franchise (Beast and Mystique) that were already established in the original trilogy.
Producer Lauren Shuler Donner first thought of a prequel based on the young X-Men during the production of X2, and later producer Simon Kinberg suggested to 20th Century Fox an adaptation of the comic series X-Men: First Class, though the film does not follow the comic closely. Singer, who had directed both X-Men and X2, became involved with the project in 2009, but he could only produce and co-write First Class due to other projects. Matthew Vaughn, who was previously attached to both X-Men: The Last Stand and Thor, became the director, and also wrote the final script with his writing partner Jane Goldman. First Class overtook a planned Magneto prequel that entered development hell and the Writer's Guild of America arbitration gave a story credit to Magneto writer Sheldon Turner.
First Class entered production in August 2010, with principal photography concluding in December and additional filming finishing in April 2011, just a few weeks before the film's premiere in June 2011. The tight schedule proved a challenge to the six companies responsible for the extensive visual effects, which included computer-generated sets and digital doubles for the actors. Locations included Oxford, the Mojave desert and Georgia, with soundstage work done in both Pinewood Studios and the 20th Century Fox stages in Los Angeles. The depiction of the 1960s drew inspiration from the James Bond films of the period.
First Class was a box-office success, becoming the seventh highest-grossing in the film series, and received positive reviews from critics and audiences, who praised the fresh revival of the franchise as well as the acting, writing, directing, action, visual effects, and Henry Jackman's score. A sequel titled X-Men: Days of Future Past was released in May 2014, with Singer returning as director and Vaughn as co-writer. Another sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse, was released on May 27, 2016. A third sequel, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, is scheduled to be released on November 2, 2018.
in occupied Poland during World War II|Nazi death camp]], Nazi ests, killing two guards and destroying the room. Meanwhile, at a mansion in Westchester County, New York, child telepath Charles Xavier meets young shapeshifteńr Raven, whose natural form is blue-skinned and scaly. Overjoyed to meet someone "different", like himself, he invites her to live with his family as his foster sister.
In 1962, Lehnsherr is tracking down Schmidt, while Xavier graduates from the University of Oxford. In Las Vegas, CIA officer Moira MacTaggert follows U.S. Army Colonel Hendry into the Hellfire Club, where she sees Schmidt (now known as Sebastian Shaw), with mutant telepath Emma Frost, cyclone-producing Riptide, and teleporter Azazel. Threatened by Shaw and teleported by Azazel to the Joint War Room, Hendry advocates deployment of nuclear missiles in Turkey. Shaw, an energy-absorbing mutant whose powers have de-aged him, later kills Hendry.
MacTaggert, seeking Xavier's advice on mutation, takes him and Raven to the CIA, where they convince Director McCone that mutants exist and Shaw is a threat. Another CIA officer sponsors the mutants and invites them to the secret "Division X" facility. MacTaggert and Xavier find Shaw as Lehnsherr is attacking him, and rescue Lehnsherr from drowning, while Shaw escapes. Xavier brings Lehnsherr to Division X, where they meet young scientist Hank McCoy, a mutant with prehensile feet, who believes Raven's DNA may provide a "cure" for their appearance. Xavier uses McCoy's mutant-locating device Cerebro to seek recruits against Shaw. Xavier and Lehnsherr recruit stripper Angel Salvadore, cabbie Armando Muñoz, Army prisoner Alex Summers, and runaway Sean Cassidy. They all create nicknames, and Raven dubs herself "Mystique".
When Frost meets with a Soviet general in the USSR, and uses her telepathic powers to pretend to have sex with him, Xavier and Lehnsherr capture Frost and discover that Shaw intends to start World War III that will trigger mutant ascendency and the extinction of the human race. Azazel, Riptide and Shaw attack Division X, killing everyone but the mutants, whom Shaw invites to join him. Salvadore accepts; when Summers and Muñoz retaliate, Shaw kills Muñoz. In Moscow, Shaw compels the general to have the USSR install missiles in Cuba. Wearing a helmet that blocks telepathy, Shaw follows the Soviet fleet in a submarine to ensure the missiles break a US blockade.
Raven, thinking McCoy is attracted to her in her natural form, tells him not to use the cure. When she later attempts to seduce Lehnsherr by taking the forms of various women, Lehnsherr tells her she is beautiful as she is, in her natural mutant form. McCoy uses the cure on himself but it backfires, giving him blue fur and leonine aspects. With McCoy piloting, the mutants and MacTaggert take a jet to the blockade line, where Xavier uses his telepathy to influence a Soviet sailor to destroy the ship carrying the missiles, and Lehnsherr uses his magnetic power to lift Shaw's submarine from the water and deposit it on land. During the ensuing battle, Lehnsherr seizes Shaw's helmet, allowing Xavier to immobilize Shaw. Lehnsherr tells Shaw he shares Shaw's exclusivist view of mutants but, to avenge his mother, kills Shaw—over Xavier's objections—by forcing the Nazi coin from his childhood through Shaw's brain.
Fearing the mutants, both fleets fire missiles at them, which Lehnsherr turns back in mid-flight. MacTaggert tries to stop Lehnsherr by shooting him but he deflects the bullets, one of which hits Xavier in the spine. Lehnsherr rushes to help Xavier and, distracted, allows the missiles to fall harmlessly into the ocean. Parting with Xavier over their differing views on the relationship between mutants and humans, Lehnsherr leaves with Salvadore, Azazel, Riptide and Mystique. Later, a wheelchair-bound Xavier and his mutants are at the mansion, where he intends to open a school. MacTaggert promises never to reveal his location and they kiss; later at a CIA debriefing, she says she has no memory of recent events. Elsewhere Lehnsherr, now calling himself "Magneto", frees Frost from confinement.