I love the Xmen, I won't beat around the bush. There are so many mutants, heroes and anti-heroes that you relate can to at least one of them. The franchise has had its ups and downs. The first two films made the superhero genre what it is today. Stunning set pieces, breath taking special effects and a group dynamic that was brilliantly cemented in the second film. The third struck a middle ground where the spectacle overshadowed the narrative but was still a fun ride, and the last title Xmen Origins: Wolverine, was the only miss-step in the series. Xmen first Class is really very good. It manages to keep up with the first two whilst retaining an originality in its own right.
The Direction is great, Vaughn's clearly got a knack for angles and keeping the audience engaged whilst the story chops and changes. The look of the film is modern, yet still has a 60's and almost retro look about it. The special effects are very good, though some how not quite up there with Xmen: The Last Stand. The energy is fast and relentless and the action sequences blend in with the dialogue sequences seamlessly.
The acting is very good, though Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellen are definitely missed, McAvoy and Fassbender do excellent jobs and really are in keeping with the characters you already know and love. Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw are deliciously malevolent and Moira Mctaggart is perfectly pitched. My only reservation about the acting in the film is of Mystique, who I believe wasn't quite right, her motives in the film don't seem in complete continuity with the rest of the films.
A sequel has already been planned and I shall be eagerly awaiting it. Having Storm back in the series would be a personal highlight for myself, but not necessary. I would highly recommend this film to anyone that has watched the original films and even for newcomers.
One thing I will add that I have noticed since watching the original trilogy is that in 1980 Charles is walking, but according to First Class he loses this ability in the 60's...