X-Men (2000) – movie review

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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen

Director: Bryan Singer

This is a no nonsense adaptation of the successful Marvel comics X-Men. While in the past we?ve been treated to failures of comic book adaptations like the diminishing returns from Batman, The Phantom, Judge Dread and the start stop of the Superman project, X-Men should delight fans and is also commercial enough to make this enjoyable for the curious.

Word of warning though, do not miss the start of this movie. If you walk in late, you will be greeted to scenes of a German death camp. We are shown a young distraught Magneto who tries unsuccessfully to use his powers to save his parents from the gas chambers. Fast forward to the not too distant future and the human race fears those genetic mutants who only want to be accepted by society and the mutants themselves fear the humans that they are trying to save.

The evil Magneto, played superbly by Sir Ian McKellen, believes that humans would rather go to war with the mutants and is gathering up his little army consisting of Mystique the shapeshifter, Toad and Sabretooth while working up a mischievous plan. His opposite number is Professor X, Patrick Stewart in top form, who is the most powerful telepath in the world and is a champion to help other mutants control their powers with his school for the gifted. Unfortunately there is a feeling that some of the mutants are reluctant to use their power. Others like Rogue don?t realize that they have superpowers until it is too late. After an incident drives her away from home, we find her on the road, unable to come in physical contact with anyone for fear of hurting them. She comes across Wolverine with who she hooks up with and both are attacked by Sabretooth but are rescued by Cyclops and Storm, both of whom Professor X has sent.

As Magneto and Professor X know each other well as old enemies should, there begins a kind of chess match where Prof. X tries to anticipate what Magneto?s next move is. Why did Magneto send Sabretooth to attack Rogue & Wolverine? To reveal any more is to spoil the surprise.

The real surprise to the movie is Bryan Singer?s careful direction even though he was put under tremendous pressure when Twentieth Century Fox brought the release date forward by about six months. Regardless of this, the right actors were picked, none of the roles were hammed up and characterization of the characters is the saving grace for this movie. What makes this movie accessible to the casual viewer is the fact that, like the Superman movies, the surroundings are modern and familiar. The reluctant superheroes are played with humanity and you get a genuine affection to these characters. Even though Wolverine, played by the excellent Hugh Jackman, gets more of a showing here then the others, all the other characters are used to full effect without a feeling of overcrowding by numbers. The set pieces and special effect are excellently executed. The dialog is spot on in places. The only fault I found with the movie was that when the end credits rolled, you realize that the music soundtrack by Michael Kamen is lacking any dramatic impact and the score itself is not really noticeable during the movie. Otherwise this is one of the most enjoyable superhero movies since Batman.

Go watch and enjoy. I dare you.

6 out of 6 stars