X-Men was one of the first superhero movies of the new millennium, and it reinvigorated the genre, leading to ever greater comic book films since. As the beginning of this new string of superhero blockbusters, it’s less spectacular and ambitious than more recent films but brought enough memorable characters to the screen to warrant three sequels, a prequel, and a reboot (see three posts ago).
Some characters are perfectly cast, including Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier and Ian McKellan as Magneto; others are respectable enough and given room to grow in sequels, such as Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, James Marsden as Cyclops, and Anna Paquin as Rogue; and, as typical of films stuffed with characters, some are just space fillers for fight scenes, namely Halle Berry as Storm and Magneto’s two lackeys Sabretooth and Toad. The best character, though, goes to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, a role that continues to define his career to this year. My VC and I thought it would typecast him as the tough guy with claws, but his recent performance in Les Miserables showed how versatile an actor he is. (Cool fact: Russell Crowe, who starred with Jackman in Les Mis, was the original choice for Wolverine. That would have been…interesting.) Wolverine and Rogue offer the bulk of the character development, but the two old English actors do wonders with less central roles.
Having seen X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I wish there were some indication that Wolverine and Sabretooth knew each other and were in fact half-brothers. (I know Logan wouldn’t remember, but the most Sabretooth/Victor Creed does is pick up Logan’s dog tags. Also, since Sabretooth had Wolverine’s healing powers, his supposed demise shouldn’t really have killed him.)
The special effects are just good, not stupendous or awe-inspiring like other superhero films, and the writing ranges from thought-provoking to cheesy (Storm’s line upon beating Toad is one of the lamest I’ve ever heard). Joss Whedon wrote an initial script that was mostly rejected, but I think it’s notable that he was involved at the beginning of the superhero craze, as well as directing its culmination in The Avengers. X-Men offers a great ensemble, some inside jokes, and an ending wide open for more installments. Now, fourteen years later, we’re awaiting the hopefully awesome Days of Future Past so it’s only fair to give credit to the film that started it all.
Best line: (Rogue) “You know, you should wear your seat belt.” (Wolverine) “Now look, kid, I don’t need advice on auto…” (Boom—Logan’s truck crashes)Artistry: 6 Characters/Actors: 7 Entertainment: 7 Visual Effects: 6 Originality: 8 Watchability: 6 Other (some language and violence): -3 TOTAL: 37 out of 60
Next: #244 – Sheffey
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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