This is a rare film that can please both the film viewer and the comic nerd at the same time. This is a well told tale with exciting characters that intergrate our history with superheroes. It is also a tale that keeps the general character arcs intact from the comic books but reimagines them in a new way.
The story is how a young Professor X and Magneto first met. They are brought together because another mutant, Sebastian Shaw, is behind the Cuban Missile Crisis and it's hoped that other mutants can stop him. They gather a team of young mutants and train them and try to help them put aside their personal problems before going to war. The story itself is fast, but never sloppy. It plays almost like an early James Bond film but with mutants.
Since the eighties we've known that Magneto was a concentration camp survivor. This gives him a very different point of view from Professor X who was raised in the lap of luxury. Magneto, aka Eric, feels that mutants have to strike first before the new camps are created. It gives his villainy a certain justification. While we naturally tend to be on the side of Professor X "Let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya" I think I'm not the only viewer who didn't exactly trust the Professor. His intentions were obviously good, but he seemed very shallow. For example, he takes care of Mystique which is of course nice rising her like a step sister but he is just very condenscending to her and her concerns over her natural shape. It's only at the very end to we realize just what he is willing to do for his dream.
Sabastian Shaw is a great villain specially as played by Kevin Bacon. He's smart, he's rich, and he's very powerful. There's a scene where he and his mutants take out a CIA facility that is just awesome. I have to admit it's also awesome to see Kevin Bacon speaking German. I really can't find too much fault with this film. The only thing I can think of off hand is that I like neither Emma Frost's diamond form or the look of the Beast here. For some reason both seem a little off to me. But that's a very small criticism of a very good film.