Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 38
  2. Negative: 2 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    May 30, 2011
    90
    After undergoing some unfortunate mutations in recent years, a beleaguered Marvel movie property gets the smart, stylish prequel it deserves in X-Men: First Class.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jun 2, 2011
    88
    In this cheerfully perverse origin tale of Magneto, Professor X and their mutant team, Vaughn delivers a fireworks display of action, smarts and fun, plus a touch of class from actors who can really act.
  3. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jun 2, 2011
    88
    Most of the actors live their roles, and Fassbender (Rochester in the last "Jane Eyre") is superb as the wolflike, undisciplined assassin.
  4. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jun 2, 2011
    83
    McAvoy and Fassbender are a casting triumph. These two have, yes, real star magnetism, both individually and together: They're both cool and intense, suave and unaffected, playful and dead serious about their grand comic-book work.
  5. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jun 3, 2011
    80
    It's not the artistry of X-Men: First Class that's particularly striking; though it's finely crafted, the film feels less the product of a visionary director than of the Marvel movies machine working at maximum efficiency.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jun 2, 2011
    80
    This prequel draws new energy from supersmart casting, plus the shrewd notion of setting the beginnings of the X-Men saga in the early 1960s.
  7. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    May 30, 2011
    80
    Audacious, confident and fueled by youthful energy.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jun 3, 2011
    75
    At least Erik/Magneto, as played by Michael Fassbender, is, well, magnetic.
  9. 75
    That's partly why X-Men: First Class is such fanboy fun, as the script departs from official Marvel lore to invent a whole new "origin story" for the mutant ensemble.
  10. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jun 2, 2011
    75
    This X- Men is indeed first class: an exciting, bold and thoroughly enjoyable summer blockbuster.
  11. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jun 2, 2011
    75
    First Class happily delivers on the escapism and rich narrative texture the best of its predecessors have promised.
  12. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Jun 2, 2011
    75
    Fassbender plays Magneto as a supercool assassin with a completely understandable set of beefs. I spent most of the movie rooting for him, and would watch a "Magneto, 1960s Nazi Hunter" sequel in a second.
  13. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Jun 2, 2011
    75
    Another crowd-pleasing comic-book film designed to bring in new fans while gratifying the old ones.
  14. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jun 2, 2011
    75
    An uncommonly polished and sophisticated superhero movie.
  15. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jun 2, 2011
    75
    Director Matthew Vaughn, who did last year's delightful "Kick-Ass," doesn't do witty this time around, but he does keep up a spiffing pace while making the action blaze.
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jun 1, 2011
    75
    Perfectly fine summer folderol, epic enough on its own terms if not quite big enough to expand beyond its genre and matter to people who find it difficult to care about characters who spit gobs of flaming phlegm. I realize there are fewer and fewer of us, but we're a hardy band and stubborn.
  17. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    May 31, 2011
    75
    X-Men: First Class still sings the praises of Marvel Studios' marvelous quality control of comic book movies. It's good, clean summer movie fun where the money they spend is up on the screen - with actors and effects - so that we won't mind spending our money on it.
  18. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jun 2, 2011
    70
    So while X-Men: First Class at first takes its source material with just the right amount of self-deprecating seriousness, it founders in the second half, when it becomes overburdened with squirrelly plot mechanics and an excess of self-evident dialogue.
  19. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jun 2, 2011
    70
    With its spy-on-spy globetrotting, old-fashioned villains, flirty but prematurely swinging minis and fan-boy bits (look for an eye-blink-fast tribute to "Basic Instinct" and a cameo from the cult actor Michael Ironside), the whole enterprise has an agreeable lightness, no small thing, given its rapidly moving parts.
  20. Reviewed by: Kerry Lengel
    Jun 1, 2011
    70
    X-Men: First Class isn't anywhere close to being a genre classic like "Spider-Man 2" or "The Dark Knight," but it is good enough to rejuvenate a franchise stuck on idle.
  21. Reviewed by: Todd Gilchrist
    May 26, 2011
    70
    What the film does well, however, is grasp the tone and rhythm of the original comic books.
  22. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Jun 9, 2011
    67
    It's all vastly superior to Brett Ratner's scorched-earth "X-Men: The Last Stand," of course.
  23. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jun 3, 2011
    63
    The easiest way to summarize my reaction to X-Men: First Class is with a shrug.
  24. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jun 3, 2011
    63
    X-Men: First Class is a mutant movie, half fun and half fearsome. For those who have developed an immunity to fanboy hype, the contradictory traits may seem to weaken rather than strengthen this beast, but readers of the "X-Men" comics will hail an origin story as satisfying as "Thor."
  25. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jun 2, 2011
    63
    An elaborate origins story with more datelines than an issue of Condé Nast Traveler (Oxford! Miami! Argentina! Poland!), X-Men: First Class has some fun trying to explain how Professor X, Magneto, and all those mopey mutants came to be.
  26. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jun 2, 2011
    63
    X-Men: First Class is competent weekend entertainment. It is not a great comic book movie, like "Spider-Man 2," or a bad one, like "Thor." It is not in 3-D, which is a mercy.
  27. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jun 2, 2011
    63
    Still, the deadliest single element in this film can be traced not to Bacon's character, but to composer Henry Jackson, whose music seems determined to kill us all with waves of dramatic nothingness.
  28. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Jun 2, 2011
    60
    Like Bryan Singer's X2 (2003), this fifth entry in the X-Men franchise is noteworthy for its gay-rights subtext and for its noted actors delivering comic book dialogue with Shakespearean portent. Otherwise it's indistinguishable from most other recent blockbusters.
  29. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jun 2, 2011
    60
    It's big, bright, savvy, and so expansive you'll undoubtedly leave feeling you got your money's worth.
  30. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    May 28, 2011
    60
    All you'd expect from an X-Men film (or spin-off, or prequel), but not all you'd hope for. It smacks of rush and compromise, but there's thankfully enough to make you feel optimistic about the series' future once more.
  31. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Jun 2, 2011
    50
    Uneven, occasionally silly, true, but it's also an improvement over 2006's "X-Men: The Last Stand."
  32. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jun 2, 2011
    50
    These ludicrous but endearing moments of bro-bonding are all that sets this otherwise stock-issue superhero movie apart from its mass-produced brethren.
  33. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jun 2, 2011
    50
    I was startled to look up the running time and discover that X-Men: First Class is only 104 minutes; the second half is so clunky it feels much longer.
  34. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jun 2, 2011
    40
    It's just another franchise nonstarter to toss in the superstore superhero deal bin.
  35. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Jun 2, 2011
    40
    Too bad that First Class torpedoes its lofty intentions with flights of idiocy so wrongheaded as to be almost endearing.
  36. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jun 2, 2011
    40
    A tedious two-plus hours. There were such possibilities in the origins idea.
  37. Reviewed by: Jaime N. Christley
    Jun 1, 2011
    38
    Despite his apparent comfort with F/X-heavy projects, the obligations of duty to the brand are too much for Matthew Vaughn's strange, singular voice, which rarely has the chance to shape the film unmolested by a curiously bland script.
  38. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Jun 3, 2011
    30
    A cameo from an old-school X-Man only serves to remind how stylish and witty the first installment was a decade ago. Lacking a single memorable joke or striking image, First Class is as perfunctory and passionless as would-be franchise resurrections get.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 914 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 265
  1. Jun 13, 2011
    8
    Another great X-Men film! McAvoy and Fassbender are excellent! This franchise continues to satisfy veteran fans and new fans alike. The film's story is elegantly intertwined in our nation's history with great finesse and attention to detail. My only criticism would be that we don't see much exhibition of the mutants' powers, which is what these films are all about. One could argue that the reasoning for this is that they are young, amateur, and under-developed with their powers, but with the shock and awe nature of these films, most audiences don't have that kind of time after 20 mins. Full Review »
  2. Jun 5, 2011
    8
    I had my doubts but it was the best movie of the franchise. To be honest, I never really found Prof X and Magneto to be interesting in the previous movies, But Matt Vaughn managed to make them very interesting and intriguing characters. The emotional core of First Class is surprisingly deep for an action flick, the friendships, the insecurities of being different and wanting to be accepted into society is really a solid backbone of the movie. I just wished that more of the running time of the movie would be devoted to the friendship between Xavier and Eric, I wanted it to develop and be explored more than what was given to us. The stand-out performance is by Michael Fassbender, he made Eric into such a likable person that we root for and sympathize with. He's just so good, ever since Inglorious Basterds. I hope the rumors are true and that when Daniel Craig steps down, this is the man who's going to be the next James Bond. But take nothing away from James McAvoy, he was perfect for the role of the smooth-talking highly charismatic Xavier. These two guys really made the movie what it is and it's all credit to Matt Vaughn for perfect casting. Favorite scene: surprise cameo by a mutant who shall not be named with the funniest line in the movie. Full Review »
  3. Jun 5, 2011
    9
    A must view for fans of the genre. As with all things superhero, fans with even a passing knowledge of the marvel universe will notice certain incongruities with some of the character threads and time-lines.
    This is not the problem as it may first appear, as those who don't have this knowledge will enjoy the movie none the wiser, and those that do will be so used to the multi-verses and parallel time-lines prevalent in so many comic book stories that the adjustment should not be too much to bear.
    Certainly the central premise of the movie - the meeting and friendship of Erik and Xavier - is handled very well. It may get a bit rushed and clunky towards the end, but there are some touching scenes, and laugh out loud moments. As noted in other reviews, the back story of the Cuban missile crisis gave it a real authentic feel.
    My only concern is the less than stellar opening weekend - I hope that as word spreads, people will realise it is a far better film than Wolverine and the hugely disappointing X-MEN 3.
    It not may scale the heights of my favourite super-hero movie so far - X-MEN 2 - but it isn't far away.
    Great cameo moment too!
    Full Review »