104 Min. | Action – Adventure – Sci-Fi | August 2000
IMDB Rating: 7.4
Director: Bryan Singer
Staring: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen
X-Men Review: “X-Men” is a rare treat – a blockbuster that lives up to its hype and a comic book adaptation that hits the mark. Along with Tim Burton’s “Batman”, this stands head and shoulders above all other superhero movies. It’s a genre that’s usually synonymous with silly, campy, cartoonish crap, but Bryan Singer delivers a long-awaited exception to the rule. “X-Men” is smart, stylish, and very cool, one of the better sci fi/fantasy films of the last decade. Of course, it helps to have good source material. The X-Men comics, which originated in the 1960s, are more politically progressive and morally complex than older superhero stories such as “Superman” where the heroes are always right, and truth, justice, and the American Way always prevail.
The series of X-Men, is a well-crafted parable about individuality and discrimination. The characters are mutants-struggling to find a place in a society that rejects them. Its primary villain, Magneto, isn’t an evil lunatic – he’s a sympathetic character, a misguided revolutionary playing Huey Newton to Professor Xavier’s Martin Luther King. The iconic character, Wolverine, is a beer-swilling anti-hero who cares little for ideals and fights only to protect himself and his loved ones. The female characters are as powerful and important as the men, rather than being mere love interests. Rather than making just another flashy explosion-per-minute-special-effects-extravaganza, Singer practices the lost arts of character and plot development.
As a result, X-Men has a far greater depth than the average big budget summer flick. The acting is also quite good on the whole. Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine, is fantastic-a bona fide Clint Eastwood caliber badass. Some of the dialogue is fairly cheesy, but in the hands of Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart it sounds quite convincing. Hard-core fans of the comics have complained about the omission of several popular X-Men. Fans have also complained about the casting of Anna Paquin as Rogue. In the end, “X-Men” is a comic book movie. Superpowers are explained with silly pseudoscientific babble, the plot revolves around a fairly ridiculous take-over-the-world scheme, and names like “Magneto” are spoken with a straight face. Don’t read all the glowing reviews and expect Citizen Kane. But don’t underestimate “X-Men” either. It is an intelligent movie that people will enjoy whether or not they are familiar with the comic.