Film and Plot Synopsis
X-Men: First Class is the thrilling, eye-opening chapter you have been waiting for. Witness the beginning of the X-Men Universe. Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their superhuman powers for the first time, working together in a desperate attempt to stop the Hellfire Club and a global nuclear war.
‘X-Men: First Class’ Movie Summary
In a mansion in Westchester, New York, a young Charles Xavier (Laurence Belcher) catches a shapeshifting mutant named Raven “Mystique” Darkhölme (Morgan Lily) stealing food from the pantry of the mansion. Xavier invites the blue-skinned mutant to live at the mansion with his family and reveals to her that he too is a mutant.
Eighteen years later, Erik (Michael Fassbender) is a Nazi hunter, who seeks to find Schmidt to enact his revenge. Xavier (James McAoy) graduates from the University of Oxford and seeks to continue to research mutant powers. He and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) are still close friends and do most things together. Xavier encourages Raven to use her mutant ability to hide her true form to avoid confrontations.
At the same time in Las Vegas, CIA officer Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) follows United States Army Colonel Hendry (Glenn Morshower) into the Hellfire Club. She sees Hendry meet with Schmidt – now known as Sebastian Shaw – mutant telepath Emma Frost (January Jones), cyclone-producing Janos “Riptide” Quested (Alex González), and teleporter Azazel (Jason Flemyng). Shaw threatens Hendry and has Azazel teleport the colonel to the Joint War Room. Hendry advocates for the deployment of nuclear missiles in Turkey. Shaw is an energy-absorbing mutant whose powers have kept him young. Shaw kills Hendry by releasing the energy he absorbed previously from an exploding grenade.
Moira realizes that she is dealing with mutants and seeks out Xavier’s knowledge concerning genetic mutation. Moira brings Xavier and Raven to the CIA where Xavier convinces Director McCone (Matt Craven) that mutants are real and that Shaw is a potential threat to humankind. A mysterious CIA agent (Oliver Platt) offers to sponsor the mutants and invites them to a secret facility called Division X. Moira and Xavier track Shaw to a harbor just as Erik attacks him on his yacht. Erik is consumed with revenge and doesn’t want to give up on killing Shaw. Xavier convinces Erik to join him and Moira and brings him to Division X. Erik is introduced to Hank “Beast” McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) and Raven. Hank believes that Raven’s DNA may help provide a cure for his mutation.
Hank and Xavier develop a mutant detecting machine called Cerebro to find additional mutants to join them. Xavier and Erik are able to recruit Angel Salvadore (Zoë Kravitz), Armando “Darwin” Muñoz (Edi Gathegi), Alex “Havok” Summers (Lucas Till), and Sean “Banshee” Cassidy (Caleb Landry Jones). They are unsuccessful in their attempt to recruit James “Wolverine” Howlett (Hugh Jackman). Xavier and Erik work with the mutants to develop their control of their powers.
Erik and Xavier track Frost to the USSR where she is seducing a Soviet general using her mind. Xavier and Erik capture Frost and interrogate her. She reveals that Shaw intends to start a war between the United States and Russia. Shaw believes that that a nuclear war would accelerate and cause more mutations globally as well as kill many humans. Shaw leads an attack on Division X with Azazel and Riptide. Shaw’s team kills all the humans and Darwin. Shaw invites the mutants to join him, and Angel accepts.
Back in Russia, Shaw compels the general to have the Soviets install missiles in Cuba, which leads to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The United States forms a blockade to prevent the missile installation. Shaw uses a submarine to help the Soviets break the United State blockade.
Back at Division X, McCoy takes the cure he created from Raven’s DNA that would make him appear more normal. However, the cure backfires and further mutates Hank into a blue beastlike creature. Erik convinces Raven that she shouldn’t have to hide her true form.
Xavier and Moira lead Xavier’s mutants to the blockade line. Xavier uses his telepathy to influence a Soviet sailor to destroy the ship carrying the missiles. Erik uses his magnetic power to lift Shaw’s submarine out of the ocean onto a beach. The good and evil mutants battle. During the battle, Erik is able to remove Shaw’s helmet, allowing Xavier to take control of the evil mutant’s mind. Erik uses his magnetic power to force the same Nazi coin that Shaw tried to have the young Erik move as a child through Shaw’s skull, killing Shaw. Xavier experiences it since he has control of Shaw’s mind.
Erik takes control of the evil mutants. Erik shares Shaw’s view of mutant dominance. The combined forces of the U.S. and Russian fleets fire missiles at the mutants on the beach, each believing that mutants are the true threat. Erik turns the missiles back in mid-flight. Moira tries to stop Erik and shoots at him. Erik easily deflects the bullets, but one of them strikes Xavier in the back, paralyzing him. Erik rushes to his friend, allowing the missiles to fall into the ocean. Erik and Xavier part ways due to their differing perspectives on mutants place in the world. Erik leaves with Azazel, Riptide, Angel, and Raven.
Back at his mansion, Xavier, who is now confined to a wheelchair, decides to continue training mutants at his mansion and forms a secret school. Moira promises never to reveal Xavier’s secret and they kiss. However, Xavier uses his power to erase Moira’s memories of him and the mutants. Meanwhile, Erik, now calling himself Magneto, frees Frost from her prison. He wears Shaw’s helmet to prevent a telepath from accessing his mind.
Additional Film Information
- Peruse IMDb’s article on X-Men: First Class
- Learn more X-Men: First Class information at Wikipedia
- Get X-Men: First Class numbers at Box Office Mojo
- Find out what people think about X-Men: First Class at Metacritic
- Read X-Men: First Class reviews from the folks at Rotten Tomatoes