I grow ever-more weary of sequels, prequels and reboots and therefore approached this film with a certain amount of trepidation. I should've known that, with the involvement of the likes of Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and Bryan Singer, we are in safe hands.
Here we are shown the story of how mutants are first revealed to the world and how Professor X and Magneto go from being strangers, to friends, to enemies. These events are set against the background of the Cold War and, more specifically, the Cuban Missile Crisis, making for some excellent James Bond homages (albeit with a mutant twist).
In the original X-Men trilogy, for all the popularity of Wolverine, it was the interplay between Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier and Ian McKellen's Erik Lehnsherr that was the strongest element. Immeasurably powerful enemies dedicated to their opposing philosophies, and yet somehow still friends. So, for all the shiny new mutants introduced, it was always going to be the portrayal of these two iconic characters which would make or break 'X-Men: First Class'. Amazingly (almost impossibly), James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender do an admirable job of stepping into the younger shoes of two acting greats and every moment between Professor X and Magneto is a joy to behold.
For all the X-fans out there, we're also treated to a host of familiar faces including Mystique, Beast, Banshee, Havoc and Emma Frost. This film also features what may be the greatest character cameo of all time, when Charles and Erik meet Logan (I challenge you not to laugh).
Overall, an immensely enjoyable movie, with some great performances. If nothing else, you can be amused by the fact that very early on the lovely Rose Byrne is made to run around in lingerie for no real plot-based reason!