Not so much an origin story as a Star Trek
-inspired reboot, this prequel chronicles the assemblage of the young mutant corps and the friendship-cum-schism between Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, embracing his Scottish accent) and Erik Lehnsherr/ Magneto (Michael Fassbender, struggling to stifle his Irish brogue), long the series' most intriguing aspect. They and the rest of their fresh-faced, superhuman recruits are caught in the middle of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, engineered here as a mechanism for World Domination by the megalomaniacal, ascot-wearing Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). McAvoy and Fassbender's excellent performances nearly compensate for the hokey '60s pastiche and contrived historical misappropriation. There is also an overload of underdeveloped subplots, with Xavier's childhood friendship with Raven/ Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) being is the lone welcome exception. Unfortunately, you know a film has problems when a 10-second cameo (you'll know it when you see it) is its highpoint.