“Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.” – Storm
X-Men is based on the popular Marvel comic book series in which human evolution has resulted in Mutants, people with unique abilities. Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) runs a school where Mutants can train and learn to control their powers. The X-Men, an elite fighting force of Charles’, must save the world from both humankind as well as The Brotherhood of Mutants, led by Magneto (Ian McKellen).
Since this film is entitled X-Men, one would be led to believe that this is an ensemble movie, but I don’t feel like this is the case. In fact, if the movie’s title were completely honest, it would have been called, THE WOLVERINE Meets The X-Men, because the focus of this movie is not on the group itself; it is on Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).
Jackman, a relative unknown at the time, completely owns the role or Wolverine, from his voice to his appearance. His relationship with Rogue (Anna Paquin) is definitely the most believable in the film, which is bizarre considering there are other, supposedly stronger relationships in this movie (such as Cyclops/Jean Grey and even the often mentioned past of Xavier/Magneto).
While Jackman and Paquin both provide strong performances in this film, most other characters are very forgettable. This isn’t to say that the actors aren’t well-suited for their roles, but they are given so little screen time that you never feel any real connection to them. The only character I felt anything for was Cyclops (James Marsden), who I hated. I understand that for the Cyclops-Jean-Wolverine love triangle to work there must be tension between the two men, but I found Marsden to be irritating. In short, I felt that most of the cast was underutilized in this film, which is really a shame when you consider some of the talent involved (namely, McKellen and Stewart).
Since superhero movies are generally required to have some sweet action sequences, let’s address those. The fight scenes in X-Men were all pretty decent, with the best coming from the end of the movie when the X-Men throw down with the Brotherhood of Mutants. These fights hosted some pretty dated visuals, although for an almost thirteen year-old movie, I can’t really complain. These sequences have cool choreography and some pretty interesting locations that I think should keep you interested. The only complaint I would make about these is that most are (like the rest of the movie) focused on Wolverine.
The writing for this movie is where my main complaint comes. First off, Magneto’s master plan (which I won’t reveal for the sake of spoilers) is pretty silly and makes Magneto look crazy, which isn’t really the point of the character. This isn’t a huge gripe, however, since this is a comic book movie where over the top and ridiculous things do occasionally happen. The biggest issue with the writing isn’t in story but in dialogue. The characters in this movie are constantly cracking one-liners that are unbelievably cheesy (see quote before review). This is a problem from beginning to end, and it makes the movie feel more and more like a kid’s movie.
THE VERDICT: DVD Worthy
Despite the cheese, X-Men is still a really great movie that I think fans of the genre should definitely see. It is exciting, engaging, and I believe it is to thank for the modern superhero movie. Without X-Men, we might have been stuck in a world where the comic book movie was defined by Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin, so for that, X-Men deserves some credit. It is still fun to watch thirteen years later, showing just how special this one really is.
What do you think of X-Men? Did you like the review? Comment below or send me an email to let me know. As always, thank you for reading and make sure to stay tuned for more reviews.