X-Men: First Class (2011 Movies)
In 1944, in a Nazi death camp, Nazi scientist Klaus Schmidt witnesses a young Erik Lehnsherr bend a metal gate with his mind when he is separated from his mother. In his office, Schmidt orders Lehnsherr to move a coin on his desk, and kills the boy’s mother when Lehnsherr cannot. In grief and anger, Lehnsherr’s magnetic power manifests, killing two guards and destroying the room. Meanwhile, at a mansion in Westchester County, New York, child telepath Charles Xavier meets young shapeshifter 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 and trigger mutant ascendency. 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.
- The telepathic mutant leader and founder of the X-Men. He is a close friend of Erik Lehnsherr until their differing views of mutantkind’s place in humanity create a schism between them. McAvoy was Vaughn’s top choice for Xavier, and, after being cast, auditioned with every actor considered for Magneto to test the duo’s chemistry. McAvoy said he did not read comic books as a child, but added that he was a fan of the X-Men cartoons from the age of 10. While he describes the older Charles Xavier as “a monk… a selfless, egoless almost sexless force for the betterment of humanity and mortality”, he says that the younger Xavier is a very different person: “It’s quite fun because the complete opposite of that is an ego-fueled, sexed up self-serving dude. And not going too far with it, but he’s definitely got an ego and he’s definitely got a sex drive as well.” McAvoy admitted to feeling similarities between Xavier/Magneto and Martin Luther King Jr./Malcolm X, stating that the film was “sort of like meeting them at a point where they are still finding out who they are and you are still seeing some of the events that shaped them.” McAvoy avoided doing any callbacks to Patrick Stewart‘s performance as Xavier as Vaughn told him and Michael Fassbender to only take the allusion to Xavier and Magneto’s old friendship in the other movies as inspiration. Vaughn stated that since he considered that Professor X was “a bit of a pious, sanctimonious boring character, and he’s got too much fucking power”, the script would make young Xavier more interesting by “making him more of a rogue” who would become more responsible as his mission of finding more mutants went on.
- Laurence Belcher as Young Charles Xavier.
- A mutant capable of manipulating and generating electromagnetic fields. He becomes Xavier’s friend and ally until their philosophical differences create a schism between them. Fassbender had auditioned for an earlier Matthew Vaughn project, and the director had remembered him and sent Fassbender the X-Men script. Though Fassbender knew little of the superhero team, he became interested in the part after reading the script and familiarizing himself with Magneto in the comic books. Fassbender, who considered Lehnsherr as a Machiavellian character who is neither good nor evil, watched Sir Ian McKellen‘s performances to get the flavor of Magneto, but ultimately chose to “paint a new canvas” with the character, “just going my own way and working with whatever is in the comic books and the script.” Vaughn said Lehnsherr “is straight up cool; he’s Han Solo while Professor X is Obi-Wan Kenobi“.
- Bill Milner as Young Erik Lehnsherr.
- A shape-shifting mutant who is Charles Xavier’s childhood friend and adoptive sister. After the dramatic Winter’s Bone, Lawrence sought First Class to do “something a little lighter”. Despite having not seen any of the X-Men films, the actress watched them and became a fan, which led her to accept the role as well, as did the prospect of working with Vaughn, McAvoy and Fassbender. Vaughn said Lawrence was picked because “she could pull off the challenging dichotomy that Raven faces as she transforms into Mystique; that vulnerability that shields a powerful inner strength.” Lawrence had some reservations about her performance due to Mystique’s previous portrayal by Rebecca Romijn, as she considered Romijn to be “the most gorgeous person in the world”, and felt their portrayals were very contrasting, feeling hers was “sweet and naive” while Romijn was “sultry and mean”. The actress went on a diet and had to work out for two hours daily to keep in shape, and for Mystique’s blue form, Lawrence had to undergo an eight-hour make-up process similar to that of Romijn on the other films. The first day with make-up even caused blisters to appear on Lawrence’s upper body.
- Morgan Lily as Young Raven: with the actress wearing a slip-on bodysuit and facial appliances which only took one hour and a half to apply, as subjecting a child actor to the extensive make-up was impractical.
- Rebecca Romijn as Adult Raven: a brief uncredited cameo, which Vaughn added as an in-joke—the script has Raven “becom[ing] Brigitte Bardot or Marilyn Monroe, like an older sex icon of those times”.
- A CIA agent who befriends Xavier and Lehnsherr. Byrne said she was unfamiliar with both the comics and the film series, except for “what a juggernaut of a film it was”. The actress was cast late into production, which had already begun by the time she was picked for the role. MacTaggert was described by Byrne as “a woman in a man’s world, she’s very feisty and ambitious—you know, she’s got a toughness about her which I liked”.
- A genius scientist who has mutant abilities similar to those of the great apes. He attempts to cure himself of what he believes to be physically debilitating aspects of his mutation only to be transformed into a frightening-looking blue-furred apeman with leonine attributes. Despite his new appearance, he is kind and caring at heart. Broadway actor Benjamin Walker was previously cast as Beast, but eventually turned down the role to star in the Broadway musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Hoult was chosen for being “gentle with a capability of being fierce”, and admitted to being both an X-Men fan and enthusiastic on both returning to the action genre after 2010’s Clash of the Titans and working with the film’s cast. The actor had to use makeup that took four hours to apply when Hank becomes the Beast, which include a mask, contact lenses, a furry muscle suit and fake teeth. As Vaughn wanted Beast to look more feral than the version Kelsey Grammer played in X-Men: The Last Stand, the redesign went through various tests, which tried to make Beast not resemble any particular animal but still look like Hoult, as well as with a furry body, which makeup artist Alec Gillis of Amalgamated Dynamics likened to “something akin to a wolf’s pelt on his face, his arms-everywhere”. The suits employed actual dyed fur from fox pelts.
- A mutant who has the ability to absorb energy and discharge it as blasts. The producers told Till his audition served for both Havok and Beast, and the actor replied that despite his lifelong dream of playing a superhero, “I know you’ll kill me, but if I get Beast, I’m not in the movie. I’m not going through that makeup everyday.”
- A mutant capable of emitting incredibly strong ultrasonic screams, sonic blasts, sonic bursts, and sonic waves used in various ways including as a means of flight. Jones auditioned without knowing what X-Men character he was up for, saying he auditioned because it was a superhero that fit his biotype: “I’ve got red hair and freckles, I’m not gonna be Batman, Robin or Spider-Man“. The actor also stated that the script defined the character more than the comics, as Banshee went through various reinventions in print. Given Banshee gets involved with MacTaggert in the comics, Jones also tried to “look at her just a little bit differently, you know, when I can.” As Jones suffers from acrophobia, using the rig that was to depict Banshee’s flight required much preparation time with the stunt team.
- A former mutant Nazi scientist and the leader of the Hellfire Club, a secret society bent on taking over the world. He has the power of absorbing and redirecting kinetic and radiated energy. Producer Lauren Shuler Donner said Bacon was considered for Shaw for being an actor who could convey a villain “with different shades, that’s not always clear that he’s the bad guy”. Vaughn added that Bacon “had that bravado that Shaw needed”, while stating that the actor was his top choice along with Colin Firth. Bacon accepted the role as he was a fan of Vaughn’s Kick-Ass, and liked both the character of Shaw and the script, which he described as “a fresh look at the franchise, but also the comic book movies in general”. The actor considered that Shaw was a sociopath to whom “the morality of the world did not apply”, with producer Simon Kinberg adding that Bacon portrayed him as “somebody, who in his mind, is the hero of the movie”. Bacon also said that, “aside from the kind of evil side, I portrayed him as kind of a Hugh Hefner type”. Vaughn discarded Shaw’s look from the comics as he felt he would “look like an Austin Powers villain”.
- A mutant who has the ability to teleport, and is also a member of the Hellfire Club. Flemyng, who had previously been considered for Beast in The Last Stand, said he did not want more make-up heavy roles after playing Calibos in Clash of the Titans, but made an exception for Azazel as he liked working with Vaughn. Due to the Cold War setting, Flemyng tried to imply that Azazel is Russian to partly explain his pleasure in killing CIA agents. The actor spent eight weeks with fight training, particularly with swords, and had to undergo a four-hour make-up process, which like Mystique was designed by Spectral Motion—but did not include Azazel’s tail, which was computer-generated. Shuler Donner considered that the problems with the shade of red on Azazel’s skin – “some looked like the Devil, some like a man wearing red paint” – was overcome by adding scars that made him more human, eyes brighter than Flemyng’s own, and “a black mane of hair that seemed to tie everything in”.
- Oliver Platt as Man In Black Suit:
- A CIA agent and head of Division X, a government agency working with the X-Men. Vaughn had considered his friend Dexter Fletcher for the part, but the studio felt the cast had too many British actors, and Fletcher himself declined, to direct Wild Bill.
- An extremely strong mutant telepath who can also change her entire body into hard diamond form which grants her superhuman strength, stamina, psionic immunity, and durability, at the cost of using her telepathic abilities. She is a member of the Hellfire Club. Prior to Jones’ casting, Alice Eve was the subject of what Variety called “widespread Internet reports” that Eve “was set to play Emma Frost, although no deal was in place.” Jones accepted the role to get something different from her job in the TV series Mad Men. While discovering that like the show First Class was set in the 1960s, the actress considered that: “[Frost]’s so, so far from Betty and from Mad Men, and it takes place in that time but it doesn’t feel like a period movie.” The actress described the revealing costumes of the character as “insane,” saying, “She’s got quite the bod, which is very intimidating”. The actress stated that she did only a limited exercise routine to keep in shape, as “I’m a petite person, so I didn’t want to go into a strict workout and eating regime.”
- A mutant with the ability of “reactive evolution.” Gathegi became interested in a role in the X-Men films after seeing X2, and had previously auditioned for Agent Zero in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He read for Banshee while auditioning for First Class, and only learned he was playing Darwin a few days prior to the shoot. Gathegi worked out and entered an eating regime to get in shape, and also researched the comics about his character. All of Darwin’s transformations—getting gills, turning his skin into concrete—were done through computer graphics, with a computer-generated version of Gathegi that could seamlessly blend in and out of the human form.
- A mutant with dragonfly wings which are tattooed on her body and possesses acidic saliva. The make-up team took four hours to apply Angel’s wing tattoo on Kravitz, and the visual effects team had to erase the tattoo in case the scene required Angel with the computer-generated wings. To depict flight, Kravitz stood on elevated platforms and was dangled on wires, at times from a helicopter to allow for varied camera angles.
- A mutant member of the Hellfire Club, with the ability to create powerful whirlwinds from his hands and body. First Class marks the first English-language film for González, who auditioned while taking English classes in London. He enjoyed playing a villain as most of his film roles in Spain were for “good guys”, and compared Riptide’s respectable and polite personality, which can suddenly be dropped to perform fierce attacks, to a hurricane; in a translation of a Portuguese-language interview, he is quoted as saying, “When I see a hurricane from far, it is calm. The only thing I can see is a kind of tube. But from inside, up close, it is really dangerous.”
- A director of the CIA.
- Rade Šerbedžija as Russian General General
- A high-ranking Soviet military official during the early 1960s.
- Glenn Morshower as Colonel Hendry
- A US Army officer coerced by the Hellfire Club.
Director:- Matthew Vaughn
- Sheldon Turner
- Bryan Singer
Music by:- Henry Jackman
- May 25, 2011 (Ziegfeld Theatre)
- June 3, 2011 (United States)
Country:- United States
Budget:- $140–160 Million
Box office:- $353.6 Million
First Class employed 1,150 visual effects shots, which was done by six companies: Rhythm & Hues was responsible for Emma Frost, Mystique and Angel, as well as set extensions; Cinesite handled Azazel, the visuals for Cerebro and environment effects; Luma Pictures did Banshee, Havok and Darwin; Moving Picture Company did Beast, Riptide, and the scene where Shaw’s yacht is destroyed and he escapes in a submarine; Digital Domain created Sebastian Shaw’s powers, and Weta Digital was responsible for the climactic battle in Cuba. The overall coordination was provided by visual effects designer John Dykstra, who said the biggest difficulty was the tight schedule: “It was slightly less than a year and I’ve never done anything like that before (Spider-Man was frequently two years).” British company 4dMax employed special 3D scanners to digitize data of the sets and actors which would be used by the effects companies. This allowed for computer-generated sets such as the mirrored nuclear reactor where Magneto battles Shaw—for which the effects team used the mirror maze fight in Enter the Dragon as a reference—and the domed walls of Cerebro. Digital models of Washington and Moscow were also created based on photographs of the actual cities, with the Russian one in particular having vehicles and military hardware based on videos of a 1962 Red Square, and a digital army doing an actual Soviet-style march. With the exception of scenes featuring the actors on ships (shot on a small bridge set) and the X-Jet (done on a set replicating the front two-thirds of the aircraft, which was mounted atop a roller wheel so it could be spun) the naval battle was entirely digital, featuring a simulated ocean and high resolution 3D models of the X-Jet, Shaw’s submarine and 16 warships. The designs were mostly based on real vehicles, with the jet being a modified SR-71 Blackbird, the submarine a combination of various models from the 1940s and 1950s, and replicas of the actual US and USSR fleets in the 1960s — though a few were not in service in 1962. A particular Soviet cruiser was a larger version of the Kresta I and II, leading Weta to dub it the Kresta III. Practical effects were still used whenever possible, such as having on location most of the objects young Erik throws after his mother’s death, actors and stuntmen dangled from wires, and real explosions and light effects as reference for Havok’s beams.
While in the comics Shaw’s absorption power was depicted by having him grow up to ten times his original size, First Class instead does what company Digital Domain called a “kinetic echo”, where a digital Kevin Bacon would be rippled, deformed and at times multiplied in repeated “iterations” that appear in a short period, to “see [Shaw] displace and deform in a kinetic and organic way”. According to Dykstra, the biggest problem with Frost’s diamond body was depicting it “without looking like she was made of Jell-o or the polygon model of a human being”. The morphed Frost, which the visual effects tried to make look more like a faceted crystal than glass, was rotomated into Jones in the live-action plates, while still retaining the actress’ eyes and lips. As the character kept on going in and out of her diamond form, a motion capture tracking suit could not be employed, so instead the effects team used both gray and chrome balls and a jumpsuit covered in mirrors—which also served as a lighting reference. For Angel’s digital wings, the animators studied slow-motion footage of dragonflies to create the wing pattern in a realistic way, and the designers added iridescence to “make the wings prettier”. The visual of Banshee’s screams was done through a digital ring-like structure based on renderings of sound waves such as Schlieren photography. The visual for Havok’s blasts employed similar rings, concentrated in beams or rings of light which were then match moved into Till’s mimed throwing. For Banshee’s flight, the visual effects team used digital doubles only for distant shots, with closer ones employing Jones shot in a special flight rig. Azazel’s teleporting was made to resemble the “inky smoky effects” used with Nightcrawler, who appeared in X2 and is Azazel’s son in the comics. However, while Nightcrawler only left a smoke trail, the visual effects team had Azazel accompanied by digital fire and smoke “because he was more closely aligned with the devil”. The fire was also used “as a mask to hide or reveal the body”, according to effects supervisor Matt Johnson. Since the visible part of whirlwinds are the dust and dirt sucked up by them, the ones Riptide produces were made to resemble “a tornado of gas, made out of nothingness” by visual effects supervisor Nicolas Aithadi. The final product was mostly a practical effect made with dry ice, which was augmented by computer-generated imagery. The visual effects team portrayed Mystique’s abilities slightly differently due to this being a younger version, with “the scales being slightly longer and the transformation being slightly showier than when she became the more mature Rebecca.”For Beast, computer graphics depicted his simian-like feet, the transformation sequence, and a few facial replacements for when Beast opened his mouth wider than the mask on Hoult’s face allowed.
All music composed by Henry Jackman.
|2.||“Pain and Anger”||2:58|
|3.||“Would You Date Me?”||1:44|
|4.||“Not That Sort of Bank”||3:27|
|6.||“What Am I Thinking”||2:10|
|8.||“Mobilise for Russia”||1:18|
|9.||“Rise Up to Rule”||5:56|
|12.||“Rage and Serenity”||2:06|
|13.||“To Beast or Not to Beast”||4:47|
|15.||“Let Battle Commence”||4:45|
|18.||“Mutant and Proud”||3:28|
X-Men: First Class went on general release on June 3, 2011. In North America, the film opened on approximately 6,900 screens at 3,641 locations, debuting atop the weekend box office with earnings of $55.1 million across the three days, including $3.4 million in its Friday midnight launch. This opening was much lower than the opening weekends of X-Men: The Last Stand ($102.7 million), X2 ($85.5 million), and X-Men Origins: Wolverine ($85.0 million), but slightly higher than the original film ($54.5 million). Executives at 20th Century Fox stated they had achieved their goal by opening with about the same numbers as the first X-Men film and that it was an excellent start to a new chapter of the franchise.
First Class also opened 8,900 locations in 74 overseas markets, which brought in $61 million during the weekend—standing third in the overseas ranking behind Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and The Hangover Part II. The film opened atop the box office in twenty countries, with the biggest grosses being in the United Kingdom ($9 million, including previews), France ($7.1 million), Mexico ($5 million), South Korea ($5.4 million) and Australia ($5.1 million). In its second weekend X-Men: First Class dropped 56.2 percent, the second smallest second weekend drop in the franchise behind X2: X-Men United (53.2 percent), and came in with $24.1 million, in second place to Super 8. Overseas, it rose to number two behind Kung Fu Panda 2, with $42.2 million. The film grossed $146,408,305 in the United States and Canada and $207,215,819 in foreign markets, bringing its worldwide total to $353,624,124.
|Year of ceremony||Award||Category||Recipients||Result|
|2011||National Board of Review Awards||Spotlight Award||Michael Fassbender (Also for Shame, A Dangerous Method, and Jane Eyre)||Won|
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards||Best Actor||Michael Fassbender (Also for Shame, A Dangerous Method, and Jane Eyre)||Won|
|2011 Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Breakout Actress||Jennifer Lawrence||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Villain||Kevin Bacon||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Chemistry||Lucas Till, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz, Caleb Landry Jones and Edi Gathegi||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Sci-Fi/Fantasy||Film||Nominated|
|2011 Scream Awards||The Ultimate Scream||Film||Nominated|
|Best Fantasy Movie||Film||Won|
|Best Director||Matthew Vaughn||Nominated|
|Best Fantasy Actor||James McAvoy||Nominated|
|Best Fantasy Actor||Michael Fassbender||Nominated|
|Best Fantasy Actress||Jennifer Lawrence||Nominated|
|Best Villain||Kevin Bacon||Nominated|
|Best Superhero||James McAvoy||Nominated|
|Breakout Performance: Female||Zoë Kravitz||Nominated|
|Breakout Performance: Male||Michael Fassbender||Nominated|
|Best Cameo||Hugh Jackman||Won|
|Best Comic Book Movie||Film||Nominated|
|2012||2012 People’s Choice Awards||Favorite Action Movie||Film||Nominated|
|Favorite Ensemble Movie Cast||Nominated|
|Favorite Movie Superhero||Jennifer Lawrence||Nominated|
|Favorite Movie Superhero||James McAvoy||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Science Fiction Film||X-Men: First Class||Nominated|
|Best Make-Up||Dave Elsey, Fran Needham, and Conor O’Sullivan||Won|
The movie’s success led to the continuation of the film series. A direct sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, was released on May 23, 2014. 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.