The Disney+ Sci-Fi Action Thriller That Restarted A Franchise

By Charlene Badasie | Published

The 2011 superhero film X-Men: First Class is available to stream through the Hulu section of Disney+. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the movie serves as a prequel to the original X-Men film series, exploring the origins of the mutant characters and the formation of Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. It stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, and Rose Byrne.

X: Men First Class

X-Men First Class is set during the early 1960s against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The story follows telepathic mutant Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsher (Michael Fassbender), a mutant with magnetic powers. They initially work together to save the world from Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who plans to start a war between humans and mutants. 

As they recruit other mutants, including Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult), ideological differences emerge between Charles and Erik.

The Battle Between Magneto And Professor X

Toward the end of X-Men: First Class, the conflict between the friends intensifies as Erik, influenced by his traumatic experiences as a Holocaust survivor, decides to embrace a more militant approach to mutant superiority.

He turns against Charles, who advocates for peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans.

Erik takes control of a powerful metal-bending satellite, intending to use it as a weapon. Charles tries to stop him, leading to a psychic battle. Erik deflects a bullet aimed at him, but it accidentally hits Charles in the spine, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Setting The Stage For The X-Men Franchise

X-Men: First Class concludes with Charles establishing the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, a safe haven for mutants, with hope for a future where mutants and humans can live together peacefully.

Meanwhile, the rift between Charles and Erik sets the stage for their contrasting paths and conflicts that continue in future films within the X-Men franchise.

X-Men: First Class A Fresh Take

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X-Men: First Class was a reboot that aimed to refresh the franchise. The film performed well at the box office, earning over $353 million worldwide against a budget of around $140 million.

Critics and fans praised the movie for its engaging story and effective blend of action and drama. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were hailed for their performances as Professor X and Magneto.

Paving The Way

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The success of X-Men: First Class paved the way for future installments. X-Men followed it: Days of Future Past in 2014 (which retconned First Class into a prequel to 2000’s X-Men), X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016, and Dark Phoenix in 2019.

The film also marked a return to critical and commercial success for the X-Men series after the mixed reception of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Stream X-Men: First Class On Disney+

The X-Men film series has continued to evolve over the years. Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019 integrated the X-Men characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, promising new directions and crossovers for the iconic mutant team on the big screen.

As such, fans will be treated to Hugh Jackman suiting up as Wolverine once more when Deadpool 3 hits theaters on July 26, 2024.

Viewers who want to watch X-Men First Class via Disney+’s Hulu section, which is still in its beta version, will require a subscription to both services.