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File:Xmen first class 6834.png

A prequel to the X-Men series set in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Before the mind-reading Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) was known as Professor X, he lived a privileged existence as a young brilliant Oxford graduate specialising in genetics, living with his shapeshifting adopted sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence). Before he took the name Magneto, the metal-controlling Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) was a vengeful young Holocaust survivor bent on hunting down the depraved Nazi doctor who experimented on him and murdered his mother in the concentration camp, Dr Klaus Schmidt. The year is 1962, and CIA agent Moira McTaggart (Rose Byrne) finds that Schmidt -- now going by the name Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) -- is working alongside mutants in a conspiracy involving the highest levels of the American and Russian governments; when she enlists Charles to help her in hunting down Shaw, Charles and Erik are unexpectedly drawn together. As they become close friends, the two of them work together to build a team of mutants (some familiar, some new) to stop Shaw and avert the greatest threat to humanity the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opens, which begins the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men.

Inspired to some degree by the "X-Men: First Class" comic book series (though by no means a faithful adaptation), this film also incorporates elements of the originally planned but now scrapped film X-Men Origins: Magneto [1]. A sequel is set to start filming in 2013.

Tropes used in X-Men: First Class include:
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The film starts by accentuating the very different childhoods Charles and Erik experienced. And we get cute little girl Mystique.
  • Adaptive Ability: Darwin's Defense Mechanism Superpower. It does not make him as powerful as you would think.
  • Adorkable: Charles and Hank, the former when he uses his nerdy knowledge to woo girls at bars and the latter when he's flustering over Raven.
  • The Ageless:
    • Sebastian Shaw, whose energy-absorbing powers keep him young... somehow.
    • Also Mystique/Raven to a point, who ages at a very low rate due to the ability of her cells to alter their function, which makes more sense than Shaw's immortality in the framework of the established rules of the universe.
    • Logan already being roughly eighty years old, and only appearing around thirty-five, when a young Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr attempt to recruit him in a bar. Forty years before he ends up actually joining the X-Men.
  • Agent Mulder: Oliver Platt's character, who becomes the Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • All the Other Reindeer: Angel's motivation for joining Shaw.

 Angel: We don't belong here. And that's nothing to be ashamed of.

    • Implied with Hank, and subverted with his relationship with Alex, who acts this way toward him despite both being super powered. Hank has a visible mutation, while Alex doesn't.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The secret CIA base, rarely noticed even within the company, gets successfully invaded. Twice.
  • Almost Kiss: Between Hank and Raven. Erik walks in and kills the mood.
  • Amnesia Missed a Spot: At the end, Xavier (at least apparently) wipes MacTaggert's memory to keep the mutants safe from the CIA. All MacTaggert remembers is a few glimpses of leaves and Xavier kissing her.
  • And I Must Scream: The death of Sebastian Shaw. He's held immobile while a coin is pushed slowly through his skull. Xavier, who's psychically linked to Shaw in order to hold him immobile, does the screaming instead.
  • Anti-Hero: Magneto is one before Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and becoming a full-fledged Villain Protagonist.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Sebastian Shaw lightly scolds Emma, after she punts Erik off their yacht, that, "We don't hurt our own kind." Later, he kills Darwin.
  • Apocalypse How: Sebastian Shaw plans a species extinction (humans die in a nuclear holocaust, mutants inherit the Earth).
  • You Fail Physics Forever: Before Banshee's first flight attempt, you have Dr. McCoy, allegedly a scientist, telling Banshee "We need the sound waves to be supersonic!" Right, you need them to be faster than the speed sound....travels...at....huh?
  • Asshole Victim: Honestly, who felt sorry for those two SS escapees?
  • Attack Pattern Alpha
  • Badass: Erik and his execution of his revenge plot (and the sub lift, of course) qualify. In fact, this is an X-Men movie, so standard Badass Crew tropes probably apply.
  • Badass Bookworm: Xavier and Hank.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Sebastian Shaw, as well as his goons Azazel and Riptide.
  • Badass Long Hair: Riptide
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Pretty well sums up Erik's backstory. Well, Being Tortured And Seeing Your Family And Friends And Everyone You Know Killed Makes You Crazy, at least.
  • Betty and Veronica: While Mystique may or may not have feelings for Charles, her attention soon turns to sensible Hank (who prefers her human form) and enigmatic Magneto (who prefers her mutant form).
    • And on the Charles' part, he seems to have a choice between the blonde (in human form) Mystique, and brunette Moira. Note that Mystique, who is the Veronica, is his childhood friend, normally a Betty characteristic.
  • Big No:
    • When young Magneto wrecks Schmidt's lab in the beginning of the film in anger and grief over the murder of his mother, he lets out an extremely long "Nein."
    • Also, Xavier shouts this when Magneto pushes the coin through Sebastian Shaw's forehead.
  • Birds of a Feather: Initially between Hank and Mystique before the latter begins to accept her real appearance.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Darwin is the first mutant to die (and the only person on the team who dies), which is all the more ridiculous because his powers are all about survival.
  • Body Horror: When Hank McCoy turns into Beast.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Soviet Captain refers to an officer on the bridge as "zampolit", which is translated as comrade. The enthusiasm at which the crew later drag him off to the brig becomes understandable if one knows that zampolit is how soviet political officers were addressed.
  • Break the Cutie: Charles Xavier. When the movie starts he's a friendly, happy-go-lucky, idealistic Oxford grad whose only interests are protecting his sister, drinking yards of beer and picking up coeds. His initial reaction to meeting other mutants is a puppyish eagerness to find others like him, as well as a gung-ho enthusiasm to work with a superhuman team to fight evil. During the climax he gets smacked around in a variety of ways including telepathically experiencing Shaw's gruesome death at Erik's hands and getting shot in the spine... and having the US government, his best friend, and his adopted-sister figure all turn against him. By the end of the movie his government is trying to hunt him down, his best friend is preparing for a war against humans and he's crippled for life in a wheelchair. We know from future installments that he never quite abandons his ideals, but he's frighteningly subdued and obviously much more cautious about who knows his secrets.
  • Broad Strokes: They've outright said that they're giving story a much higher priority than continuity.
  • But Your Feet Are Beautiful: Mystique towards Hank. Unfortunately for her, Hank doesn't embrace Mystique's true form and prefers her "human" form instead. In contrast, Magneto prefers Mystique's true form.
  • But Not Too Black: Angel Salvador, who is played by multi-generational mixed race actress Zoe Kravitz. Kravitz' mother is Lisa Bonet (Black father and White mother), and her father is Lenny Kravitz (Jewish father and Black mother).
  • California Doubling: Cuba is actually Georgia's Jekyll Island with some palm trees.
  • Call Forward:

 Military Official: I've seen this before at a magic show. Are you going to ask us to think of a number between one and ten now?

Charles: No, Agent Stryker, although I could ask you about your son, William, who you were thinking about, which is very nice.

    • And this gem:

 Charles: Next thing you know, I'll be going bald!

      • Before that, there's the scene where Xavier uses the Cerebro prototype for the first time, and Hank struggles with fitting the electrodes on his head.

 Hank: Are you sure we can't shave your head?

Charles (annoyed): Don't touch my hair.

    • Magneto rejects Mystique's human disguises and tells her she looks perfect in her mutant form. In X3, when she is hit with the cure and reverts to her human form, Magneto abandons her - saying "She used to be so beautiful."
    • Xavier's pick-up line, '[Mutation] has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet,' comes directly from the voice-over at the beginning of the first X-men movie.
    • Xavier flirts with a girl who has heterochromia - each eye a different colour. In X2, Jason Stryker also has heterochromia.
  • The Cameo:
    • Wolverine, and given that PG-13 movies have only one "fuck" to use, they definitely chose the right place to use it. Hugh Jackman himself said he accepted to be the only one to swear in the movie!
    • Also Rebecca Romijn, the original Mystique.
    • A blink-and-you'll-miss-it case: One of the mutants shown during the first test run of Cerebro appears to be a very young Storm, and another looks like Cyclops.
  • Canon Dis Continuity: The movie steps on the toes of almost all the previous movies (Matthew Vaughn admitted that while basically an Ultimate Universe, he only used the first two films as continuity references). For example, Xavier has his spinal injury much younger than he apparently did in either Wolverine or Last Stand, and Magneto has his break with Xavier in the 60s before most of the characters from the other movies are even born, despite the scene in The Last Stand of him visiting young Jean Grey along with an noticeably elderly and mobile Xavier (not to mention Xavier getting his injury still with hair, while all his previous younger appearances had him bald and mobile).
    • Xavier also initially gets Cerebro from the CIA and Beast rather than building it himself with Magneto, though that Cerebro is destroyed in Shaw's attack on the CIA, and a new one located at the mansion would have been needed anyway.
      • It is possible the two could have, at least temporarily, resolved their differences long enough to build Cerebro in the mansion together. This could also explain why they're still somewhat chummy at the opening of X3.
    • The first movie is also contradicted when Xavier first meets Magneto, which he claimed happened when he was 17, while Hank's transformation into Beast happens years before his cameo in the bar scene in X2: X-Men United.
      • Although if you look closely at Beast's uniform in X3 it is identical to the one in First Class. He even lampshades the fact that he is now twice the size by pointing out it no longer fits him like it used to.
      • Also, Hank was supposed to be shown turning into Beast when the "destroy all Mutants" plan was launched toward the end of X-2, showing that his human-looking self was some sort of disguise.
    • Magneto obtains the helmet from Shaw and Xavier is fully aware of how it blocks telepathy, in X-Men, Xavier is shocked at Magneto's helmet being able to block his telepathy.
    • And regarding the Cerebro montage, Cyclops is a teenager in Wolverine and in his late 30's/early 40's in the original trilogy, which, if one does the math, would put him at infancy or at most, toddler age in the early 1960's, not the pre-teen we see playing ball. Ditto for the girl made to resemble Storm, who looks like she's a teenager in this film.
    • There is one thing that inexplicably matches up, however; if Banshee was a teenager in the mid-sixties, it makes sense that Siryn, who is canonically his daughter, appears in the original trilogy.
    • To say nothing of Emma Frost, who has a fairly significant role in Wolverine as a teenager, is now an adult a good thirty years earlier, in a completely different role, playing for the opposite side. Suffice to say that Xavier makes no comment about the resemblance when he sees her in Wolverine.
  • Care Bear Stare: Xavier uses his telepathy to help Erik recall a happy memory from long ago in order to unlock the full potential of his powers.
  • Casting Gag: In the comics, Magneto (Depending on the Writer) is half German-speaking Hungarian Jewish on his father's side and half Roma on his mother's. Michael Fassbender is half German Jewish on his father's side and half Irish Traveller (from Ireland, to boot) on his mother's.
  • Catch and Return: Magneto catches and then reverses a barrage of missiles. Sebastian Shaw's ability to absorb and release energy is also a form of this.
  • Chained to a Bed: Emma Frost, chained by the bed's metal railings. No points for guessing who did it and how.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The coin that Schmidt/Shaw gives to Magneto, which Magneto later forces through Shaw's head
    • Turns into a Logo Gimmick when a young Erik Lensherr twirls the coin between his fingers, and the movie's logo appears on said coin.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Almost doubles as Fridge Brilliance:

 [Erik asks Charles to help him train by shooting him point-blank]

Erik: You know I can deflect it!

  • Chess Motifs: It's subtle, but when Erik and Charles are playing chess the evening before the big battle, the one move we see is his king capturing Charles' queen, foreshadowing Raven joining him at the end of the film. And the chess game is almost directly followed by scenes showing that Erik is able to understand Raven, while Charles is...not.
    • This also counts as a subtle Mythology Gag, when you remember that the Hellfire Club from the comics (who the movie's villains are loosely based on) were known for their heavy use of Chess Motifs.
  • Chest Blaster: Havok's "training wheels" are designed as one.
  • Coming Out Story: Charles accidentally outs Hank as a mutant.

 Charles: Why didn't you say? ...Because you don't know. I am so, so terribly sorry.

Hank: You didn't ask, so I didn't tell.

  • Compliment Backfire: Erik tries to compliment Hank's Beast form, but Hank takes it as sarcasm. Erik is remarkably understanding about the mistake.
  • Composite Character: The movie's version of Sebastian Shaw is a composite of Shaw and Mr. Sinister. He combines Shaw's powers, personality, and slick businessman persona with Mr. Sinister's immortality, history with the Nazis, and obsession with mutant genetics.
  • Code Name: This film tells us where some of them came from.
  • Cold War: The setting of the movie and the source of the main plot.
  • Continuity Cameo: Rebecca Romijn showing up as an "older" Mystique.
  • Continuity Nod: The first scene with Erik in the camp is mostly identical to the first scene of X-Men, even down to some of the shots.
  • Continuity Snarl: See Canon Dis Continuity above. At the very least this movie takes a Broad Strokes approach to the other movies in the series, especially X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Most of the differences could theoretically be reconciled (Maybe the Xavier at the end of Origins was a psychic projection! Maybe Hank was wearing an image inducer in his cameo in X2!) But if you just saw the movies, the only reason you'd assume they were meant to be in the same continuity is Hugh Jackman, the Romjin cameo, and the references to Stryker.
  • Cooldown Hug: Invoked when Xavier finds Erik in the ocean trying to sink Shaw's ship.
  • Cool Plane: The Blackbird, of course.
  • Cradling Your Kill: Or, Cradling Your Cripple. Nice job breaking him, Erik.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Played with. It's the Big Bad who creates the villain, not The Hero. Lampshaded in Shaw's final monologue, and in Erik's references to himself as Frankenstein's monster.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Inverted. It happens two times, and both times it's a villain.
  • Cunning Linguist: Erik is fluent in German, English, French and Spanish. This is consistent with the comics, where he has been shown speaking French, and knowing Spanish isn't much of a stretch for someone like him.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Shaw and his cronies' first attack on the CIA facility - the entire staff of the base is killed, almost entirely by Azazel repeating the same brutal tactic, one by one, on each human at the base, with no way to stop him until all are dead.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Mystique as a little girl when Charles first meets her.
  • Darker and Edgier: The movie beats X2 to the title of the most dramatic, heart-wrenching, and pessimistic in the series.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Magneto, as an adult, tosses the coin into the "forehead" of a sketch of Dr. Schmidt.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Banshee. "Aw, I wanted to be called Mystique."
  • Death By Origin Story: Erik's mother.
  • Defence Mechanism Superpower: Darwin's power is... pretty much this trope alone.
  • Defied Trope: Jason Flemyng pointed out in an interview that he tried to avoid the cliche shot of the villain looking over the shoulder at their tail, as it always looks like the villain has just realised they had a tail for the first time.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: "This, gentlemen, is why the CIA is no place for a woman!"
  • Description Porn: Hank does this with Cerebro.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Sebastian Shaw, who (mutant powers aside) wouldn't be terribly out of place as a James Bond villain.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Sebastian honestly believes that he can convince Erik to join him, despite being directly responsible for the death of his mother and knowing that he has spent his entire life hunting him down. Erik even lampshades it in the end, stating that while he believes mutants are superior after all, there is absolutely no way he will ever forgive Shaw.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Magneto and Mystique.
  • Die or Fly: Erik takes this approach during Banshee's flying attempts (though given that Banshee's costume contained metal, he could easily have caught him if it didn't work). Later, Alex Summers grasps his energy-blasting ability just as he needs to.
  • Dirty Communists: Subverted. Although many Cold War cliches are in place, Russians are not portrayed as intrinsically evil or bent on world domination. They plan to install their missiles in Cuba not as a part of some Evil Plan to destroy capitalism, but as a counterweight to US missiles in Turkey (not to mention that both countries are being bullied and manipulated by the Hellfire Club). And, most importantly, the final act shows that Soviet sailors are Not So Different from their American counterparts.
  • Dirty Harriet: In order to infiltrate a Hellfire Club private party, Moira McTaggert strips to her lingerie and pretends to be one of the call-girls. Done fairly well as it's shown that she's not all that comfortable with it and is acutely aware of how vulnerable she is.
  • Double Entendre: "We'll show you ours, if you show us yours." Referring to mutant powers, but could easily have another meaning as it takes place within a strip club. Xavier wasn't exactly a Shrinking Violet with the ladies, after all.
  • Drink Order: It's subtle, but every time they're in a bar, Charles orders a cola, rather than alcohol, for Mystique, because he doesn't want her "slipping up" and exposing her true form.
  • Drunken Master: Although Charles Xavier doesn't gain any abilities from becoming drunk, his being drunk certainly doesn't hamper his abilities either, given his inebriated meeting with Moira MacTaggert. Does seem to hamper his skill with pick-up lines, though.
  • Dull Surprise: "What the hell did you put in my drink."
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Wolverine appears for a very brief scene and only gets one line. (However, it's one of the funniest lines in the movie).
    • Blink and you'll miss her, but when Charles uses Cerebro to look for mutants for the first time, a young girl version of Storm can be seen.
  • Epic Fail: Banshee's first flight... is not.
  • Epic Flail: Erik tries to sink Shaw's ship with its own anchor.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Magneto is obsessed with taking revenge for his murdered mother.
    • The whole "tortured in a Nazi concentration camp" thing didn't necessarily help either, though.
  • Evil Costume Switch: After completing his Face Heel Turn, Magneto dons his iconic Evil Overlord costume that he wore in the first issues of the comic book. Also, Mystique performs an Evil Costume Ditch after siding with Magneto.
  • Evil Is Stylish: Shaw and his goons.
  • Evolutionary Levels: All over the place, usually invoked by Shaw.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: Shaw's nice enough to explain his energy-absorbing powers to Colonel Hendry (and the audience), even noting how they make him ageless, before promptly using them to turn Hendry into a human firecracker.
  • Exposition of Immortality: There's Wolverine's cameo during the Xavier and Magneto seeking out mutant recruits montage; it's the 60s and Wolverine looks exactly like he has throughout the films.
  • Eye Scream: Azazel holds the point of his tail at a victim's eye.
  • Face Heel Turn: Angel, and later followed by Magneto and Mystique.
  • Fake Nationality: British Jason Flemying as the Russian Azazel, and German-born Irish raised Michael Fassbender as Polish Magneto.
    • Fake American: Scottish James McAvoy as Oxford English speaking Xavier, Australian Rose Byrne as Moira McTaggart and British Nicholas Hoult as Beast.
  • Fake Defector: Darwin. Shaw does NOT take the deception well.
  • Fallen Hero: Erik Lensherr/Magneto gets a more heroic treatment than usual, making him more of this trope than of the typical Anti-Villain fare.
  • Fanservice Extra: In addition to every major female character showing some skin at one point or another, the other girls in the Lingerie Scene at the Hellfire Club.
  • Fantastic Racism: Taken to new heights; Shaw wants to start a nuclear war that will wipe out humanity, while humans respond to knowledge of the mutants' existence and powers by trying to kill the people who just averted said war.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Shaw is impeccably polite even when he's going to kill your mom. Even when he's killing people who have slighted him, it's more on principle than any outright anger.
  • Femme Fatale: Emma Frost, who is then replaced by Angel. Mystique also starts to blossom into one.
  • Fiery Redhead: Notice how Mystique, blue with red hair, goes blonde in her public form.
  • Finger-Poke of Doom: One of Shaw's abilities. Emma Frost in diamond form gains diamond-sharp fingers.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • Magneto and Mystique's Face Heel Turns.
    • Even more painful is the fact that people who read the comics are quite aware that the subplot with Hank's serum will go horribly wrong, and that Charles is going to be crippled by the end of the movie. It's almost like a Foregone Trauma Conga Line.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When we first see Erik as an adult, he is staring at a picture of Shaw while handling a coin and uses his powers to slam the coin into the picture's forehead. This is how he kills Shaw in the end... but much slower.
    • Charles compares Hank to Jekyll and Hyde. Hank goes on to develop a serum which accidentally makes him even more beastly.
    • Right before the attack on the CIA base, Havok beats Darwin at a pinball game. Darwin declares, "Jesus man, you are killing me!" Later, Shaw uses energy absorbed from Havok's blasts to kill Darwin.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: A villainous example. Shaw is sanguine, Emma Frost is choleric, Azazel is melancholic and Riptide is phlegmatic (and, when Angel joins them, she is supine).
  • Funny Background Event: Combined with Brick Joke. The first woman Charles tried to pick up shows up again at his graduation ceremony - then she sees Moira approaching him, and leaves in a huff.
  • Futureshadowing: Charles Xavier is hilariously fond of the hair he loses by the time of the other films.
  • Genius Bruiser: Beast. The film involves him learning to embrace the latter part.
  • Genre Shift: The film incorporates many elements of the Spy Fiction genre. See X Meets Y below.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Raven is incredibly forward with Hank. Unfortunately he's too caught up in angsting over being a mutant.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Sebastian Shaw wanted to awaken Erik's powers and turn him into a Person of Mass Destruction. Serves him right.
  • Grew a Spine: Raven.
  • The Gump: Mutants caused the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Magneto hates Shaw and wants to kill him, but he eventually embraces Shaw's beliefs about mutant supremacy. It's even spelled out through the villain even wearing the helmet Magneto always wears.
    • Justified at the crucial moment because he separates revenge from his ideals, which is why he's able to compliment Shaw's vision while still hating the man to his core. Shaw the man wronged him terribly but Shaw the visionary is inspirational.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Professor X and Magneto, believe it or not.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
  • High Heel Face Turn: Inverted--Both female mutants working with Xavier have turned to the dark side by the time the movie is over, and aside from Magneto, are the only ones to do so.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Averted with James McAvoy (Xavier), but played straight with Nick Hoult (Hank McCoy).
  • Honey Trap: Emma Frost does this with the Russian general.
  • Hot Scientist: Charles Xavier, a very rare male version of the trope. He shamelessly uses Techno Babble to pick up women at Oxford.
  • Hotter and Sexier
  • Hope Spot: For a second, you're led to believe that Darwin might just survive. Some fans posit that he did.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Please stick to the main page.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Mutants are not well-treated in this film, to the point where Xavier's attempts to justify keeping the peace with normals basically boil down to "okay, they suck, but as the Superior Species, can't we set a good example?" Of course, it was the 60s, which was just plain bigoted in general.
    • Subverted by the fact that the film's Big Bad (Sebastian Shaw) is a mutant, as are his followers, so humans don't hold a monopoly on being bastards here.
  • Hypocrite: Shaw says "We don't hurt our own kind." A few scenes later, he kills Darwin.
    • Charles uses "mutant and proud" as part of his pick-up lines, which are basically a very erudite variation on "you have pretty (insert trait here)", in the presence of his adopted sister, who has been actively discouraged by Charles from taking any pride in her mutation.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Hank's and initially Mystique's reaction to their mutant forms.

 "I'd give anything to just be normal."

  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Platonic version - Charles sends Mystique off with Erik at the end, knowing it's what she really wants.
  • If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him/You Kill It, You Bought It: Erik kills Shaw and becomes the new face of the mutant revolution.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: It's said that nuclear radiation probably sped up mutation. Shaw takes this as gospel, and decides to start a nuclear war in order to accelerate mutant development.
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: Erik killing Shaw by slowly pushing a coin through his head with Charles feeling all of the pain from it because he's in Mr. Shaw's head, keeping him from moving or using his powers - and he can't let go because he might attack Erik or even loose his powers to fry the surrounding area for who knows how far. That scream was more than just agony over the moral decision of a friend.
  • Idiot Ball: Really, Charles? You're really going to tell a Holocaust survivor to spare people because they were "just following orders"? At least he has the sense to immediately realise what just came out of his mouth...
    • A few minutes later, he lets Raven join Erik and the other villains even after she shows she's willing to side with him over Erik. His reasoning is that he reads her mind and knows that joining Erik is what she wants to do, and he doesn't want to keep her from doing it even if she's willing not to. All well and good, Charles, but did you ever think about all of Mystique's future victims, and that you will be partially responsible for all the crimes she'll commit?
    • Angel, who defects to Shaw's side. We get that you don't like how normal people treat you, but joining the guy who just had his squad murder an entire CIA division and plans to start World War Three?! What?!
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: When Havoc starts to practice controlling his powers, he first ends up shooting everything EXCEPT his intended target. While he really was trying to aim, he couldn't control the sheer force of his powers yet.
  • Improvised Training: Xavier uses whatever he can find on or near his estate to train young mutants.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Magneto's mother.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "First, I'm going to count to three. Then, you're/I'm going to move the coin."
    • "Mutant and proud."
    • "Just following orders."
  • It Got Worse: After Erik's "I agree with everything you say" moment with Sebastian Shaw (which would have been a Wham! Line if we didn't already know that he would turn evil), everything just goes downhill.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Captains of both American and Soviet warships bid farewell to their crews with this line.
  • It's Personal: Erik wants revenge on Shaw/Schmidt for killing his mother. One of the reasons it feels like Erik is the hero of the film.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Magneto interrogates a bank President by using his magnetic powers to pull out his dental fillings. Later he cracks Emma Frost's diamond body with a bed frame...in such a way that a gentle tap would shatter her if she turned back before having time to heal.
  • Jerkass: Although the CIA staff in general acts like jerks most of the time, the worst is William Stryker Sr. What makes him most deserving of this trope is that John McCone, himself sexist and a hot headed jerk, actually calls out against Stryker twice, first in regards to his decision to keep Emma Frost detained (since the law requires that they hand her over), and the second when Stryker decides to have the American and Soviet navies bombard the Cuban shore to eliminate the mutants specifically because one of their human agents was present as well. Both times, he dismissed him, stating that he's not handing her over because the law doesn't apply to mutants, and in the latter case insensitively stated that the agent was "collateral damage."
  • Jerk Jock: Havok seems to be this to Beast.
  • Just Following Orders: The Nazis that Erik confronts trot out this line as an excuse for their actions. Charles later makes the mistake of echoing it while trying to calm Erik down. Definitely an Oh Crap moment for the audience when he says it.
  • Karma Houdini: About half of the Hellfire Club get off scot-free in the end. William Stryker Sr. also faces no consequences for unlawful actions (keeping Emma Frost in a secret prison - in the '60s that wasn't accepted practice...how times change) and the unethical and horribly unwise decision to have both the Soviets and the Americans bombard the Cuban shore to get rid of mutants despite one of their own human agents being located there (both actions are things that even John McCone, who was a certified jerk, called him out on). However, this may change if there are sequels to First Class.
  • Karmic Death: Erik kills Shaw by telemagnetically pushing a coin through his brain. It was the very same coin that Erik was commanded to move as a child to prevent Schmidt from killing his mother; Erik failed and Shaw shot his mother. Erik even gives an Ironic Echo of what Schmidt said to motivate him at the time.
  • Karmic Transformation: Hank's transformation into Beast is tragic, but he brought it on himself. He makes it a little more karmic by being a complete asshole to Raven just before using it - she tells him he's perfect just the way he is and doesn't need the "cure" and he responds with:

 Hank: It behooves me to tell you that even if we save the world tomorrow, and mutants are accepted into society, my feet and your natural blue form will never be deemed beautiful.

Raven shifts back to her human-looking morph.

Hank: You look beautiful now.

  • The Lancer: Erik to Charles for much of the film. Havok to Beast somewhat.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Charles uses a kiss goodbye to wipe out Moira's memories the last few weeks, and of where he and the newly formed X-Men are. This is notably against his current philosophy in the comics, but very much in keeping with his modus operandi in the comics produced in the early 1960s.
  • Left Hanging: What happened to all the other mutants between this film and the rest of them? Given the forty year gap between this and the principal films, anything could have gone down. Room for a sequel, of course.
  • Light Is Not Good: Emma Frost, (scantily) clad in white and able to turn her body into a mass of shining diamonds, is not a good girl.
  • Lingerie Scene: Moira's Hellfire Club infiltration technique. And Emma Frost in most of her scenes.
  • London England Syndrome: Moscow, Russia.
  • Love Triangle: Raven and Hank hit it off almost instantly, but the moment he refuses to accept his mutant form (and her mutant form) drives her to attempt to seduce Magneto, who prefers her appearance just the way it is.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Charles cites this when Raven, feeling insecure about her looks, asks if he would date her...although it falls a little flat coming right after he's answered the question with 'of course' in reference to her human form, before she clarifies that she means in her real form.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: After witnessing the mutants in action, this is the joint plan of the American and Soviet fleets to deal with them. And also Magneto's retort.
  • Mad Doctor: Well, the film does start in a Nazi camp.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Banshee. In an unusual variation, this includes the power of flight, by bouncing sound waves off the ground back into a wingsuit.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Sebastian Shaw. First he ruthlessly manipulates young Erik's feelings to awaken his powers, then he exploits the vices of both Soviet and American generals. Although he's not as good at it as he might seem - he ultimately has to resort to threats to get both the NATO and the Soviet generals put their missiles where he wants them (Turkey and Cuba, respectively).
  • Manly Tears: Magneto and Xavier shed them during particularly heart-wrenching moments. See Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas.
  • Master Race: How Sebastian Shaw and Magneto see mutants as a whole.
  • Meaningful Echo: Mystique encountering Charles in a kitchen in her true form like when they first met. However, this time around, it is to show how they've both changed and are starting to grow apart in ideals.
    • Also, shortly after they first meet, when Erik's about to go off on his own again, Charles tells him, "Shaw's got friends. You could use some!" Later, after Shaw's attack on the CIA when Charles wants to send the new mutant recruits home, Erik tells him "Shaw's got his army, we need ours."
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Hey, Erik, your quest to take revenge for the death of your mother is cool and all...but didn't you have a father, too?
    • Kind of justified. Erik's father was taken away and he never saw him again. He knows what happened to his father, but his mother was murdered right in front of him, and he technically had a chance to prevent it, but didn't know how to consciously access his powers yet. It makes total sense that he would be more motivated by the memory of his mother than his father.
  • Mental Affair: Emma Frost uses a Jedi Mind Trick on a Russian General to make him think he's having sex with her while she's actually sitting on his couch watching him make love to empty air on the bed. Charles thought that was a nice trick.
  • Mentor Archetype: Sebastian Shaw to Magneto. Professor X to the team. Magneto to Mystique.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: After circumstances force them to leave the CIA facility, the kids realize that they have to get their act together and learn to use and control their powers and work as a team.
  • Mismatched Eyes: The first girl Charles tries to hit on.
  • Monochrome Casting: Angel makes a Face Heel Turn and Darwin dies before the first half of the movie, which takes out our two Token Minorities. This leaves an 99%, glaringly, blindingly, obvious white-as-snow cast.
    • Even more egregiously, Angel joins an Ambiguously Brown person who can control wind and a literally red teleporter. The only other two people on Team Evil are the white Big Bad and his white Dragon.
  • Mook Horror Show: What the CIA agents and guards experience when their compound is assaulted by the Hellfire Club.
  • Morally-Bankrupt Banker: The Swiss banker Erik interrogates.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: As explained here, Vila Gessell is a beach, instead of the mountainous place depicted here.
  • Mugging the Monster: Subverted. When young Erik goes on a crushing spree in Shaw's office after the murder of his mother, his random attacks never reach Shaw, since he has neither the control to aim them nor the immediate metal on Shaw's person to offset that weakness. Even if he had the chance, though, Shaw's powers would have easily stopped Erik from harming him.
  • Mythology Gag: The team's original lineup includes an "Angel", but it's Angel Salvadore (a comparatively minor character from the comics) instead of Warren Worthington [2].
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Sebastian Shaw's supremacist ideology is basically mutant Nazism. No wonder that he collaborated with actual Nazis, and his vision of the future, glimpsed by Xavier, involves a lot of Putting on the Reich.
  • Nazi Gold: Erik lays his hands on some Nazi gold and even trolls a Swiss bank manager with it.
  • Nazi Hunter: Erik/Magneto spends the first twenty minutes or so of his screentime tracking down and killing Nazis. In fact, his reason for joining the X-Men is so that he can find and kill Sebastian Shaw, the mutant Nazi who killed his mother.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Charles is quite successful at picking up women by using his knowledge of genetics to basically say "you have pretty eyes/hair."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Charles and Moira do this to each other.
    • Moira desperately shoots at Erik, forcing him to deflect the bullets, one of which paralyzes Charles right next to him.
    • Charles erases Moira's memory, effectively ruining her CIA career. The fact that one of the few snatches of memory she has left is of their kiss is just the icing on the cake (see Deliberate Values Dissonance).
  • No Body Left Behind: Darwin is vaporized immediately by the blast he took, and one of his teammates even said, "We can't even bury him."
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: Said by Charles when Hank suggests Cerebro would work better if he were bald.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Michael Fassbender makes no attempt to make Magneto sound German.
  • Not So Different:
    • Magneto and Shaw. Lampshaded in their final confrontation. Shaw is what Magneto would be if he was guided by power rather than ideals.
    • In a good sense, American and Soviet sailors. Despite their ideological differences, both have a strong sense of honour and discipline, and both are obviously reluctant to shoot first and provoke World War III. Particularly obvious in their It Has Been an Honor moment.
      • Not only that - pretty much every scene with the American navy is almost immediately mirrored by a scene with the Soviets (or vice versa) showing them having the same reaction or feelings. If anything, the Soviets are more reluctant to fight; as a nation that saw far more of the horrors of war during WWII than the US did, this is perhaps realistic.
  • Not Quite Flight: Banshee.
  • Obviously Evil: Azazel, who looks as demonic as the name would suggest.
  • Oh Crap:
    • The faces of the Nazis in Argentina when Erik revealed his numbered tattoo.
    • Charles' face when he outs Hank.
    • Frequently by humans when they see mutant powers in action.
    • The look on Shaw's face when he realizes that Magneto isn't going to join him right after letting his guard down.
    • For any audience member who knows what made it famous, the moment when the last line in Charles's 'please don't kill those people' speech to Erik is "they were just following orders."
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The more evil Magneto becomes, the more Irish his accent.
  • Oxbridge: In this treatment, Xavier is an Oxford graduate. Scenes of the city and university buildings were actually shot on location.
  • Pay Evil Unto Evil: Erik cruelly disposes of/tortures Nazis and their sympathizers in the first act.
  • Pet the Dog: John McCone, the Jerkass CIA director, calling Stryker out on having the beach bombed even though Moria is on it, saying "We have an agent there! A good one!" It makes one wonder if his "The CIA is no place for a woman!" remark toward her later is just to cover that he really cares.
  • Period Piece: 1962. Groovy.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: All of the mutants to a degree, but explicitly emphasized as Sebastian Shaw's primary power--he can absorb energy... all kinds of energy. This makes him effectively bullet-proof, rocket and grenade-proof, and can even absorb the energy of your punches, no matter how strong you are. He also states that he is effectively immortal. Finally, he can absorb enough energy to simulate a nuclear bomb blast... and presumably come out the other side unharmed.
    • Havok considers himself to be this trope, only, unlike Shaw, he's not too thrilled about it so much so that he's a complete shut-in by the time Xavier discovers him.

  prison warden: "First guy I ever met who actually prefers solitary confinement."

  • Pieta Plagiarism: Erik cradling a wounded Charles on the beach.
  • Piggybacking on Hitler: Played with. Sebastian Shaw, alias Klaus Schmidt, jumped on the Nazi bandwagon mainly because it would further his research of mutation; however, he holds one of Nazism's tenets (Master Race and all that stuff) in very high esteem, and later adapts the ideology for mutant use.
  • Playing Both Sides: Sebastian Shaw cunningly manipulates both the USA and the USSR, exploiting the vices and vanity of their military elite to provoke World War III.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Spoken verbatim by Charles when a newly self-confident Mystique walks in on him while she's entirely naked. Amusing, given that this is the first time the character's constant nudity has been alluded to in the series.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: A relatively well-done version. Xavier or Magneto probably could have found the Hellfire Club's submarine on their own, but Banshee can do it more easily by using his Make Me Wanna Shout power as sonar. Beast's power isn't an obvious counter to Azazel's, but he's agile and strong enough to hold off Azazel, who is beaten when Mystique tricks him by turning into Shaw. Banshee and Havok team up to fight Angel.
  • Politically-Correct History: To some extent. Sexism is still present, but the racism of the era is glossed over.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: In the comics, Sebastian Shaw's power is absorbing kinetic energy and turning it into physical strength and stamina, but he's still at least somewhat vulnerable to physical attacks, and his power has limits. He generally relies on Mooks and other mutants to do his dirty work. In this movie he can absorb all kinds of energy, including Havok's blasts and nuclear radiation, and if he has limits they're set high enough to make him a credible threat to Magneto.
  • Power Limiter: Erik observes that Mystique's physical strength is effectively halved because she is concentrating on maintaining a human appearance. A bit of Fridge Brilliance regarding her tendency to 'decloak' for her She Fu scenes in the original movies.
  • The Power of Love: When Charles is helping all of the mutants train, the most effective memory to focus Erik's powers is Channukah with his mother, before The Holocaust.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Charles uses his telepathy to help him pick up chicks, though it's limited to "guessing" their drink orders and other harmless things. Mystique shapeshifts into an older woman in her efforts to seduce Erik. Emma Frost uses her telepathy to make a Russian general think he's getting lucky with her while she hangs out on the couch.
  • Precision F-Strike: During a montage of Charles and Erik finding and recruiting other mutants, their search bring them into a small, dingy bar where one man has no interest in their offer. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny. Not only the actor himself said he mostly accepted because of his line, but Rebecca Romijn said she wanted it in her cameo too.
  • Present Day Past: For a movie nominally set in the early sixties, people sure don't seem to pay much attention to race. By contrast, sexism is alive and well, even amongst the good guys.
    • When frustrated, Havok is heard to mutter, "Whatever..."
    • The Macross Missile Massacre fired at the end of the movie includes Harpoon and Tomahawk missiles, which entered service in 1977 and 1983 respectively.
    • Moira and Raven are often seen in miniskirts, which weren't designed until 1965, i.e. three years in film's future. To name just a few hairstyle and clothing anachronisms.
    • Some of the US sailors are wielding M16's, which were not officially adopted until the following year.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: That coin did make a pretty smooth journey through Shaw's head. Scarier when you realize that Erik is probably very aware of the fact that he's causing excruciating sympathy pain for Charles.
  • Product Placement: When in training at Xavier's mansion most of the X-men wear PF Flyers.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: For Magneto.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Seems to be a personal favorite for Charles.
  • Psychoactive Powers: Erik's control of his abilities is directly linked to his emotions. See Tranquil Fury below.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: How the CIA view the first generation of young X-Men.
  • Ransacked Room: After Beast transforms into his blue furry form.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Erik walks into his room and finds a naked Mystique lying in his bed. When he says, "Maybe in a few years," she responds by shifting her appearance to that of an adult woman.
  • Reality Retcon: Did you know the Cuban Missile Crisis was caused by and averted by mutants?
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Erik and Charles.
  • Retcon
  • Retraux: Everything has very '60s/'70s sensibilities, from Emma Frost's Bond Girl costumes to the BBC science documentaryesque credits sequence.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Erik's initial mission was to hunt down and kill Shaw and his Nazi underlings.
  • Romance on the Set:
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Emma Frost reveals a lot more skin than, say, Moira and Raven. Angel, the stripper/prostitute, is the only one to defect to Shaw's side. (not to mention Raven herself, as after defecting to Magneto's side she goes into the fully nude version seen in the other films)
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Charles and Erik display this, both in their physique as well as their philosophies and methods.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Angel favors backless dresses for her wings.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: Invoked when Darwin's body goes through one state after another to adapt to Shaw's energy cherry-bomb about to go off inside him. His body ultimately gives out. Or did it...? The comic book version of Darwin survived having his entire body destroyed, and eventually generated a new one.
  • Shooting Superman: Magneto isn't bulletproof, but he can deflect any metal projectile he knows is coming. At least one character who really should have known better tries to shoot him. Though it's not as if she had any better options, and just the distraction required to deflect them accomplished her goal. With the unfortunate side effect of Xavier being crippled in the process. She also came damn close to actually hitting him. Were it not for his shiny new headgear and her odd choice not to go for center mass, she'd have killed him.
    • The lead up to that counts, too. Stryker convinces the government to join with the Russians to take out the mutants on the beach. He should know for a fact that one of these mutants is a powerful telepath and the other controls metal. Both fleets just saw the latter lift a submarine out of the water. There's no reason for them to believe their metal weapons would be any more effective. They're lucky Moira came in with that distraction.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Many homages to old Spy Fiction, most obviously early James Bond movies.
    • A neon sign at a bar says "Marv's Beer," a reference to writer Marv Wolfman.
    • The Oxford pub, The Eagle. Which doubles as a reference to the reference to the Eagle Awards (named after the magazine) which the X-Men won in the 1970s and 1980s.
    • The neon sign at the bar where they find Angel is "Atomic" -- which is a reference to how mutants were called "Children of the Atom" in the comics. Also an example of Shown Their Work, since Las Vegas in the 60's and 70's was famous for the nearby nuclear tests, and everything was named after the famous atom; drinks, shows, and nightclubs.
    • A memory-erasing kiss? Xavier must be taking lessons from another superhero...
    • When Hank first demonstrates his power, he ends up hanging upside-down, right at Raven's eye level. Lampshaded, when Raven exclaims: "You're amazing!"
    • Erik's "String Theory and Dartboard of Hate" scene is incredibly similar to a scene in Kick Ass, also directed by Matthew Vaughn.
    • When the POV shifts to show what Xavier sees when he's looking through another person's eyes, the effects are staggeringly similar to the ones used in Dark City when Rufus takes a level in badass after getting administered with the scientist's ability-enhancing serum. Right down to perspective morphs and a silvery fringe around the frame.
    • Erik's magnetism-using gestures run the gamut from Neo to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
    • 'Beast, open the bomb bay doors!'
    • Erik's early scene where he lets out an epic Big No (in this case, a Big Nein) while crushing everything in the room, motivated by the death of a loved one.
    • Shaw is made of this, what with his "children of the atom" comments, his Hannibal Lecture to the kids where he tells them they can protect a world that hates and fears them or live like "kings and queens" in classic Hellfire Club style, his whole Bond Villain schtick, and of course the helmet.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: An interesting variation: Magneto responds to Shaw's Hannibal Lecture by saying that he agrees with him, but he rejects his We Can Rule Together offer because "Unfortunately, you killed my mother".
  • Shut Up, Kirk: Magneto gives a very good one to Xavier after the latter tries a Nuremberg Defence. Seriously, Charles, what were you expecting from a Holocaust survivor?
  • Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Trailer: Kevin Bacon is barely noticable in the promotional materials, despite playing the Big Bad.
  • The Sixties: Many iconic features of the period including the Cuban Missile crisis, the slang and the occasional James Bond Shout-Out. Lots of elements are very recognizable to anyone who's studied design or architecture. Mies' Barcelona chair is used appropriately for once!
  • Slasher Smile: Shaw gives one when he thinks he's convinced Erik to join him.
    • YMMV on this one, but Erik's smile when he successfully moves the massive satellite dish is somewhat manic. Maybe if we didn't already know he'd become a bad guy it wouldn't come across as this, but his realisation of just how much power he truly has is somewhat disturbing.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Subverted: The NATO general responds to the Hellfire Club's first display of mutant powers with "What the hell did you put in my drink?!", thinking that he must be hallucinating.
  • Something They Would Never Say: How kid Xavier pierces kid Mystique's disguise at the beginning of the film. Well, that and the telepathy.
  • Soviet Superscience: The telepathy blocking helmet that stymies Xavier in every movie is apparently of Russian make.
  • Start of Darkness: Magneto and even more so Mystique.
  • Straw Man Has a Point: In-universe. Sebastian Shaw carries a mutant supremacy message that Magneto ultimately embraces.
  • String Theory: Erik has a minor one on the wall before going to the banker.
  • Stripperiffic: Angel (who was originally a stripper) and of course Emma Frost.
  • Swiss Bank Account: Where Sebastian Shaw keeps his ill-gotten gains.
  • Take Over the World: Shaw's ultimate goal.
  • Taking You with Me: Beast uses this against Azazel when he tries his Tele Frag trick, grabbing hold of him so they'll die together if Azazel doesn't teleport to safety.
  • Tele Frag: Azazel uses the "100 feet up" variant quite a bit.
  • That Came Out Wrong: The loud-and-clear message of Xavier's Oh Crap face after "they were just following orders". Played for Drama.
  • That Man Is Dead: The film ends with Erik outright proclaiming that he prefers his new moniker: Magneto.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: In a deleted extension of the scene in Soviet Russia where the team is infiltrating, the search dog that the checkpoint guards have still sensed that something was amiss in the seemingly empty truck. Charles says that the reason is this pertaining to his telepathic power on dogs.
  • Took a Level In Badass: The mutant kids after their training. Plus several levels for Hank after he injects himself with his serum.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Played with. Erik pulls out a Swiss bank manager's metal filling, throwing him into agonizing pain.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Erik's Nazi coin.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Sort of. The trailers did show virtually every single scene from the climax--but edited them so as not to show exactly what was happening.
  • Training Montage: When Xavier trains mutant youngsters to properly use their powers.
  • Tranquil Fury: Erik's powers are manifested through anger, until Charles helps by telling him "true focus lies somewhere between rage and serenity."
  • Translation Convention: Averted for the most part: All the scenes with the Nazis/the Swiss bankteller/former German soldiers as well as the scenes with the Russians are spoken in German, French, Spanish, and Russian where approriate, with subtitles in English. A couple scenes use the technique of starting in foreign language, then shifting to English for the last few (and most dramatically important) lines.
    • Unfortunately, the foreign lines are usually spoken with an atrocious pronunciation, most notably the scene at the beginning.
      • This is a Narm source for Germans, because of the accents. 'Evolution', while written the same in german and english, has the stress just the other way around.
      • The scene in Argentina is a notable exception thanks to all actors involved being german or of german origin in case of Fassbender.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: At first, Magneto could only use his power under traumatic circumstances.
  • Typecasting: Edi Gathegi played a taxi driver before in Crank
  • The Ubermensch: Sebastian Shaw's ideal of a mutant.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Raven for Xavier. Xavier does a lot of flirting with other women, and Raven is clearly jealous. It's hard to tell whether she actually had strong romantic feelings for him, or if she just wants to establish that she's worthy of romantic interest, but either way he says that he can't see her as anything but a sister and someone to protect.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Erik until, well, the Holocaust and the death of his mother. And Raven, who is still rather innocent for the majority of the film and is absolutely horrified when she sees Charles get shot.
  • Verb to This: Shaw to Darwin, before killing him. Specifically: "adapt to this."
  • Villain Protagonist: Magneto.
  • Visionary Villain: Sebastian Shaw. Then, Magneto.
  • The Voiceless: Riptide has no dialogue in the film and Azazel has only a few words although it doesn't stop either from being Badass.
  • We Can Rule Together:
    • Shaw offers this to Magneto. Then Magneto offers it to Charles.
    • When Shaw introduces himself to the kids this is his main pitch.
  • We Used to Be Friends: The plot focuses on Charles' and Magneto's friendship and fallout.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • During the assault on the CIA facility where the younger mutants are staying, Shaw grabs one of the guards and demands to know where the mutants are. When backup arrives, he tosses the guy into the air. He never comes back down, and the backup starts firing like they've got clear line-of-sight. Did he pitch the poor bastard through the ceiling?
    • Sebastian Shaw supercharged himself with the energy of an overloaded nuclear reactor. Is that energy still stored in his dead body? Does it have a risk of going boom?
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Seriously, Erik's accent is all over the place. Although, considering his background, this could be justified.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Averted with Magneto. Instead of having naturally white hair like his comic book counterpart, he's classic Tall, Dark and Handsome.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: While Charles isn't exactly naive, his idealism is accentuated by the fact that everyone else seems to have a far more pessimistic approach to mutant/human relations. Though, it's suggested that this is at least partly because he hasn't faced persecution in the same way. It sets up a nice contrast with his portrayal in the previous films, where he's an idealist but a lot more cautious about it now that he's had personal experience.
  • William Telling: When Charles and Hank stand beside the target mannequin during Alex's target practice. They do back off a bit before it starts...
  • The Worf Effect: When he confronts the First Class, Shaw kills one of them in the conflict. Who does he kill? The guy whose power is that he gains the traits he needs to survive in any situation.
  • World War III: Shaw is trying to provoke a classic WWIII scenario involving a small nuclear tussle between the US and the Soviet Union.
  • X Meets Y:
  • You Are What You Hate: Erik hates Nazis, but ultimately embraces mutant racism which doesn't seem much better. Goes hand in hand with He Who Fights Monsters and If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Charles says this almost word for word to Magneto.
  • You Killed My Mother: Shaw should have known that Magneto was never going to let this go.
  • Younger and Hipper: "It's a very groovy mutation."

Notes

  1. though director Matthew Vaughn and producer/writer Bryan Singer deny that the script for Magneto had anything to do with this, which means Magneto was always part of this film's script; in that case, scrapping that film probably made sense, as it would have been a bit redundant
  2. who, going by the movieverse's timeline, wouldn't have been born at the time the movie takes place
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