The latest helping in the $3.8 billion-grossing Marvel mutant-superhero franchise, the imminent X-Men: Apocalypse, is unlikely to buck the trend of making more money than the previous one. First Class, the fifth film and first prequel, made $350 million in 2011, which is small change compared to Days of Future Past, which took $747 million. In many ways, the former is more lovable, as it’s a sweepingly rewarding origins story, tracing – under the sure direction of Matthew Vaughn – the roots of founder Professor X (played with wry English suavity by Scot James McAvoy), and his future nemesis, Magneto (a lithe, teeth-gritting Michael Fassbender). Going back to Nazi-occupied Poland in 1944 for a striking opening sequence, the action moves to the early 1960s for some effective, witty training sequences, and a climactic clash off the coast of Cuba (yes, they’ve audaciously co-opted the actual Missile Crisis). Nicholas Hoult and then-rising star Jennifer Lawrence give personality to the youthful cast.
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