X-Men: First Class
I think I've managed to see every X-Men movie on opening day, with the exception of this one. It wasn't for any lack of excitement, but more of a case of practicality--I like taking the missus to the theater when it's not so crowded, so these days we wait a week.
This one's a prequel to all the other X-Men flicks. As I said on Facebook the other day, I like how it completely made X3 and that lousy Wolverine movie into something of the past. Granted, there were a few things that were inconsistent with all of the previous X-men films, but this one on its own was a really good story.
You've got Erik Lensherr in a Nazi concentration camp in WWII Poland. At the same time, Charles Xavier is in New York. They're children, they don't know each other, but we see how they meet each other and how they end up working together. Erik is on a revenge-bender for the murder of his family, while Charles is trying to figure out his role in the next phase of human evolution.
Ultimately, Erik's scenes were more fun to watch, but that's not to say Charles was a waste of screen time either. In a lot of ways they were the same character, just with a different set of circumstances behind their upbringing. They share equal levels of passion in the pursuit of their goals.
It's cool to see that Professor X wasn't always the moral bastion that we know from the previous films. There was a time when he wouldn't hesitate to mess with someone else's mind if he thought he needed to. And there were other times when he did it and really shouldn't have. His discipline had to come from somewhere, and it comes from the experiences he has in this flick.
We get a taste of how Magneto got his start, and what it was like when he worked with Xavier. However, the amount of time they worked together in this story is inconsistent with the other films. (In X3, they were still together well into their sixties, and Prof. X was still walking. The events of First Class make that impossible.) But if one movie has to lose in the annals of franchise history, I say screw X3. First Class was better.
Saw some cool mutants, too: Havok and Banshee being my favorites. Ultimately I can't pick just one, because McAvoy as Xavier and Fassbender as Magneto were flat-out brilliant picks.
Overall, if there is one thing about that flick I didn't like, it was the F-bomb that Hugh Jackman dropped during a really cool ten-second cameo scene mid-movie. And if there are two things I didn't like, the second one is January Jones as Emma Frost. She belongs on a soap opera, not my movie screen.
So go see it. It's a really fun one.