Don’t be fooled by the dweeb factor for this flick. You don’t need to know a thing about The X-Men to go in and be completely entertained. Perhaps the best thing about this film is that, while following a story line, they also explain each character, which allows you to understand them and to get a real feel for them.
The X-Men movie is an adaptation from the highly successful comic book series from Marvel. In case you didn’t know, The X-Men are a group of genetic mutants with amazing abilities. Together they learn, train, and fight under their powerful leader, Professor Charles Xavier, played deftly by Patrick Stewart.
The opening sequence explains where Magneto’s desire and fear comes from and what drives him. It allows you sympathy for him later on in the film as he proves to be a powerful bad guy, one to be reckoned with. In today’s time period, the mutants are hunted down by the government in a way comparable to, although a bit softer than, the holocaust.
Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue (Anna Paguin) meet and bond in a way that will keep you enchanted throughout the movie. The action that follows finds the real starting point for this film’s takeoff. It is here that you start to feel their compassion for each other and the world around them. While the evil Magneto works to take over the world, it is the job of the X-Men to make sure he doesn’t.
Although this film doesn’t have any real plot twist or sexual undercurrents, you’ll find that it really doesn’t matter at all. The special effects make up for the lack of any true story. Batman often played in the dark, but the X-Men film never seems so disturbed. Where Batman director Joel Schumacher went too far with too little, The X-Men director Bryan Singer takes a little and goes far. He opened up a vast future for sequels that will be worth the wait.
Singer’s best contribution was the introduction of The X-Men characters to the masses. That was the most important job the film had to accomplish. My favorite character was Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine. His fierce yet cool demeanor is perfect. He blew away those wimpy Batman wannabes. James Marsden plays the strong yet dorky Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops, pretty well. And Halle Berry works Storm just fine even if she is rarely a factor, just as Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) goes without much notice. You certainly won’t make the same mistake with Rebecca Romijn Stamos who plays the evil shape-shifting Mystique. There isn’t much need for her to act in this part. She basically runs around turning into other people, but it is Mystique’s fight scene with Wolverine that turns her character around. That fight sequence is one of the best ever in a comic book adaptation. Forget Batman and the Catwoman. This fight is more The Matrix than Rocky.
I will admit that I enjoyed the first two movies in the Batman series. I also liked the first two in the Superman series. Flash Gordon had its moments and Blade was, well, occasionally entertaining, but none excited me like The X-Men. After seeing The X-Men, all I wanted was to be Wolverine. Childish, I know, but adults can dream too.
+ charlie craine