X-Men

"Good"

X-Men Review


Well, comic book freaks can take a breather, as another sci-fi fantasy hits the big screen, this time in the long-awaited, highly-anticipated, it-better-be-good X-Men.

Without too much regret, I can say that X-Men will be palatable to fans and newbies alike. It's not a great film, but it will probably follow the arc of the Superman and Batman movies -- tons of sequels of variable quality until an abrupt and dismal end a decade later.

The film is largely focused on introducing the very idea of the X-Men to the audience. In the "not too distant future," the human race has mutated to the point where various members of it find themselves endowed with superhuman abilities: telepathy, walking on water/through walls, regeneration, and the like are commonplace. As with most modes of difference, the mutants find themselves vilified by the public, and a Senator (Bruce Davison) launches a crusade to mandate "mutant registration."

How the group of X-Men came to be is unclear, but we do know that Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is their leader and that he's wealthy beyond belief, funding an apparently tuition-free school for mutant kids where they can harness their powers in peace. Professor X (X-Men, get it?) recruits adults, too, with monikers like the laser-eyed Cyclops (James Marsden), the weather-controlling Storm (Halle Berry), and the telekinetic Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) -- the only X-Person who doesn't have a nickname. Together, the X-Men peacefully oppose the government's anti-mutant tide, while battling the "evil" Magneto (Ian McKellan), a concentration camp survivor that can control metal with his mind.

Soon the film begins to turn around newcomers to the X-Men -- the super-tough Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and the power-stealing Rogue (Anna Paquin) -- and a Magneto plot to capture them consumes the rest of the movie. Ultimately it is revealed that Magneto's plan is to give all the human leaders of the world a mutation of their own, through a contraption he's built that will be unveiled at a conveniently-timed "World Summit" on Ellis Island. Whew!

Strangely enough, X-Men is not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, its major flaw is that it spends the bulk of an hour simply explaining what mutations are, who the good guys and bad guys are, and what their respective powers are. Everyone has two names -- a real one and a nickname like "Sabretooth" -- and at least one has the power to shift shape (an unrecognizable Rebecca Romijn-Stamos with no lines in her own voice). The exposition is necessary to have the movie make sense, but it weighs the film down with a tedium that takes you completely out of the action.

That aside, X-Men's biggest flaw is that all mutants appear to be stupid beyond belief. Xavier and Magneto are presented to us as genius arch-rivals, but the plots Magneto cooks up to capture the enemy are straight out of an old "Batman" TV show episode. Why go to all the trouble to trick one mutant and poison another when you can just send your shapeshifter in to do the dirty work? Why can't Professor X figure out why Magneto is interested in Wolverine? I suppose questioning the logic of a movie called X-Men makes me sound a bit nutty, but there it is.

While fans will appreciate the largely accurate portrayal of the team (with the notable exception of Rogue being played as a barely pubescent teenager), inside jokes like cracks about Wolverine's yellow Spandex will be lost on most of the audience.

Ultimately, X-Men is a reasonably entertaining movie, but it's one that started to bother me the moment I left the theater. Here's why: The X-Men want to stop a potential war between humans and mutants, and Professor X thinks Magneto is brewing this war up. But Magneto isn't doing anything of the sort. He's cooked up this machine that will give mutations to humans -- and therefore a better understanding of mutants, and ergo, no war. Magneto has a great idea! If his machine worked right, everything would have been peachy. The fact that it doesn't feels inserted by one of the half-dozen uncredited screenwriters just to make the movie a little less nonsensical.

Anyway, I predict the legacy of X-Men to be this: 1) There will undoubtedly be a sequel. 2) It will be a whole lot better than the original. Vive la difference.

Dr. X: A man so egomaniacal he puts his initial on his doors.



X-Men

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th July 2000

Box Office USA: $156.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $157.3M

Budget: $75M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Marvel Enterprises, Donners' Company, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Springwood Productions, Genetics Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Fresh: 126 Rotten: 28

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Logan / Wolverine, as Professor Charles Xavier, as Eric Lensherr / Magneto, as Jean Grey, as Scott Summers / Cyclops, as Ororo Munroe / Storm, as Rogue / Marie D'Ancanto, as Sabretooth, as Toad, as Mystique, as Senator Kelly, Matthew Sharp as Henry Gyrich, Rhona Shekter as Magneto's Mother, Kenneth McGregor as Magneto's Father, as Rogue's Boyfriend, as Hot Dog Vendor, as Bobby Drake / Iceman, Sumela Kay as Kitty Pryde

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.