Two mutants, Rogue and Wolverine, come to a private academy for their kind whose resident superhero team, the X-Men, must oppose a terrorist organization with similar powers.
***“X-Men” laid the foundation for all the great Superhero flicks to come*** I think the X-Men films have been so popular because the X-Men dare to be different. The concept of the X-Men strays far from superhero conventions. If you approach the X-Men films thinking you're getting something akin to Superman, Spider-Man or Batman, forget it. The unique concept of the X-Men is that humanity is starting to evolve to the next level and a small percentage of humans all over the globe are starting to manifest superhuman powers from the mutant "X" gene. Two mutant leaders, who are old friends, take totally contrasting positions: Charles Xavier starts a school for mutant youths in upstate New York. His attitude is positive and his goal benign. Eric Lensherr or Magneto, on the other hand, is fed up with the paranoia of non-mutants. He starts a "Brotherhood of Mutants" with an attitude of superiority. Unfortunately, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. You could say that Xavier takes the approach of Martin Luther King Jr. while Magneto goes the route of Malcolm X, an interesting comparison. Although everybody has their favorite, I feel all three films in the original trilogy are of the same general quality: "X-Men" (2000), "X2: X-Men United" (2003) and "X-Men: The Last Stand" (2006). "X-Men" naturally lays the foundation by introducing the principle characters and the plight of the mutants. Wolverine and Rogue are introduced and slowly develop an interesting big brother/little sister type relationship. They come into contact with both Magneto's Brotherhood and Xavier's school and nobly opt for the latter. Magneto's bunch includes Sabertooth, Toad and Mystique, while Xavier's team includes Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm, as well as adolescents Iceman and Pyro. Both groups of mutants meet and tussle at Liberty Island in New York Harbor, which is the weakest part of the film, but not bad. When "X-Men" debuted in 2000 it was easily the best comic-to-film adaption since "Superman" (1978) and "Superman II" (1980). It was the precursor to all the great superhero films that came out in the 2000s and has only lost some of its allure due to the quality of many of those films. The movie runs 1 hour, 44 minutes with several interesting deleted scenes available. GRADE: A-
X-Men is a milestone in cinema history. Without it being actually good and such a smash success, we wouldn't be enjoying the comic book movie world that rules the box office today. The approach of X-Men was the right one. It told a relevant human story about prejudice, treating the source material respectfully and seriously. It's legacy may be greater than the actual movie, but X-Men is x-cellent!
Decent watch, might watch again, and can recommend. This is not a good "comic book movie", but as a stand alone story, it's decent if derivative. Just pretend I did a whole rant about how this isn't like the comics, we're both better off this way. There are a lot good points like balancing the characters and stars in a way that was lauded way more in Avengers later on because everyone liked those characters better and there was some definite "oomph" to the Avengers franchise that the X-Men franchise was missing from the start, but no one had done it right yet so it was unclear what we didn't know at the time. Fox clearly put enough money into this on the basis of the cast paychecks alone, and there are several good visual effects throughout the movie. Comic consistencies aside, they really shoehorned some of the things in and there character writing is clearly misdirected. The writing has a good skeleton to it, but there are too many places where they wrote "and something cool happens to distract the audience". X-Men is a drama story, and they carried that into the movie, but it would seem they were aiming to be an action movie with a deep plot and just landed inbetween. The action is all between characters that (and I fully believed the actors did all they could) are limited to being awkward, goofy, stiff, or empty.
'X-Men' is very good. Another franchise I'm checking out for the first time, despite knowing about it for a number of years. This is a positive opener, there is a lot to feel entertained by for sure. Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) is the star of the show, though Patrick Stewart (Professor X) and Ian McKellen (Magneto) are solid too. Intrigued to check out the sequels and the subsequent other productions. /copied directly from my Letterboxd review\
"Marie" (aka "Rogue" - Anna Paquin) really does know how to suck the joy out the relationship with her boyfriend, so runs away and hooks up with "Wolverine" (Hugh Jackman). Both of them are on the radar of the evil "Magneto" (Ian McKellen) so the benign "Dr. Xavier" (Patrick Stewart) dispatches "Storm" (Halle Berry) and "Cyclops" (James Marsden) to fetch them back to his school for the gifted. Here, he is able to train these powerful mutants so they are prepared to take on the megalomanic baddie. "Magneto", in turn, is intent on dealing once and for all with humanity, and it's intolerance of the whole of mutant-kind. This is very much an establishing film for a series yet to come. The backstories and identities are built up so we understand who is who, and why they are behaving as they do - and that includes the nervous humans led by "Sen. Kelly" (Bruce Davison). I'm not sure if it's search for mass appeal (it's rated 12) compromised it too much, but for the most part this is all just a rather procedural excuse for some long combat scenes and some special effects based around some handsome people in the cast. To be fair, there are a few fun rivalry scenes between Jackman and Marsden (though luckily no yellow spandex) but Stewart is just "Picard" in a wheelchair and though McKellen offers a more substantial effort as "Magneto", even he doesn't really have much by way of decent dialogue to get his teeth into. Indeed, the writing is really pretty lame throughout. It is a good film to watch, especially on a big screen, but let's hope the series storylines mature a bit for the next one.