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Mankind is evolving, I hear,
To mutants with powers unclear.
This world on the brink
Doesn’t know what to think,
But most are responding with fear.
 
Young Rogue is disturbed by the fact
That she cannot have human contact.
Those touching her skin
Are then sapped from within,
Often causing a harmful impact.
 
She flees to the North’s wilderness,
And watches a man have success
On the cage-fighting scene;
He is called Wolverine
And has long metal claws that impress.
 
The pair is attacked in the snow
By a Sabretooth man they don’t know.
They are rescued by two
Mutant patriots, who
Take them both far away from the foe.
 
Wolverine (also Logan) awakes
In a school built for mutant kids’ sakes.
He is urged by Jean Grey,
A smart psychic, to stay,
But flees until told of the stakes.
 
Professor Xavier founded
This school for young mutants, surrounded
By those who have banned
What they don’t understand,
Which may provoke hatred unbounded.
 
The metal-controlling kingpin
Magneto wants mutants to win.
He threatens mankind
With the team he’s combined;
His latest plan’s due to begin.
 
His shape-shifting henchgirl Mystique
Nabs Kelly, who’s known to critique.
A machine in a tower
Magneto can power
Mutates Kelly into a freak.
 
Magneto kidnaps Rogue as well,
For reasons they can’t at first tell.
Then, after debate,
They fear he’ll mutate
World leaders and their personnel.
 
Once Kelly is dead from the change,
A death both horrific and strange,
They fly to New York,
Where Magneto’s at work
To metamorphose all in range.
 
The Statue of Liberty sees
Some tense and hard-fought victories.
The good mutants halt
The bad mutants’ assault
Through metal claws, lasers, and breeze.
 
Though Rogue nearly dies from the load,
Magneto’s machine they explode.
He’s captured and jailed,
But Mystique escapes, veiled,
And Logan gets back on the road.
____________________
 

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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