The '60s started with a lot of speechifying. On the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, not only does President Kennedy orate, so does nearly every superpowered freak in Matthew Vaughn's bombastic prequel. "Mutant and proud!" indeed. Fulminations aside, James McAvoy as the young Charles Xavier brings range to the role, from his come-ons to coeds (it's X-men meets Mad Men) to tears when he feels the pain of Erik (Michael Fassbender), the future Magneto. Erik has not yet turned evil, but seeks revenge against the Mengele-like monster Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who tortured him when he was a child in Auschwitz and who now aims to annihilate the human race by instigating a superpower confrontation. Erik joins Charles and the neophyte mutant team in fighting for the humans who hate and fear them, but for how long? Cartoonish, and not always in a good way, this installment still provides a metaphor for the outsider in all of us.
131 MINUTES | BOSTON COMMON + FENWAY + FRESH POND + SOMERVILLE THEATRE + CHESTNUT HILL + SUBURBS