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“X-Men: First Class” bullies past cynical motivations to deliver a smart, engrossing story that might just kick-start a whole new “X” franchise.

★★★★

TITLE: “X-Men: First Class”

CREDITS: Directed by Matthew Vaughn; screenplay by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Mr. Vaughn

RATING: PG-13, for intense action, partial nudity and strong language

RUNNING TIME: 132 minutes

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS