X-Men: First Class

Rated 4.0

First Class is part prequel, part entrance into a series of its own. This time, director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) helms a movie heavy on plot, and lighter on actual action. But I’m not complaining. The casting, quite simply, is superb—especially for the two lead characters—Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender). As the film is set largely in 1962 we finally get to see how they meet and become friends before they are enemies. Xavier starts out here as a telepath who is writing his master’s thesis on mutations when a CIA agent (Rose Byrne) calls on his expertise to help the agency on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Lehnsherr, on the other hand, has a less-glamorous beginning. As a young Jewish boy in Nazi Germany, his talents for manipulating metal are discovered by an evil German named Dr. Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who teaches him to hone them using anger. McAvoy is charming as Xavier, and Fassbender is compelling as Lehnsherr, with his internal battle between the good world of Xavier and the evil from his past. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13 M.J.G.