The latest movie in the X-Men franchise, X-Men: Days of Future Past comes out on DVD today, so I'll be reviewing that soon. First, here's what I thought of it's prequel, X-Men: First Class, which I saw in theaters back in the summer of 2011 and re-watched earlier this year. The fact that I watched it twice says a lot about this origin story.
First Class is not only a prequel to Days of Future Past, but is also set before any of the original X-Men movies, in 1962/during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Well, first it takes us back to 1944 and both Nazi-occupied Poland and the kitchen of a Westchester County mansion, where we meet Erik Lensherr, Charles Xavier, and Raven Darkholme as their pre-X-Men/Brotherhood of Mutants selves. (That's Magneto, Professor X, and Mystique for those of you, like me, who are unfamiliar with this world.)
These three eventually join up (back in 1962) and learn that there are kind of a lot of people--mutants--like them, with powers ranging from control of the elements to flight to strength to telepathy. A non-mutant (muggle?) and supportive CIA agent gets them government sponsorship with the idea that they will recruit like-minded mutants to help diffuse the missile crisis, which (surprise surprise) was started by another (evil) mutant with his own gang of genetically-advanced pals.
As far as origin stories go, this one has it all: peppy montages filled with familiar X-Men franchise characters and Rocky-style training, the USSR, clever foreshadowing, thinly veiled commentary on intolerance and prejudice, and Kevin Bacon.