X-Men Review Part 1

X-Men Film Review: Part One

  By: Justin Pomerville

By: Justin Pomerville

As we keep chugging along on our adventure through all sorts of comic movies, it's always nice to take a look back at time when we didn't really think that was going to be a real possibility. I mean, we had a few here and there; Marc Goldblatt's "The Punisher" in 1989 with Dolph Lundgren, Todd McFarlene's "Spawn" came to life on the screen in 1997, and even Marvel's "Blade" started it's three film run in 1998. But up until that point, I don't think most of us and the film industry alike thought they could get start some sort of comic based universe on a movie screen. It wasn't until July of 2000 when Fox and Bryan Singer decided to put out the first superhero film franchise that pretty much paved way for all the shared, comic-based, cinematic universes that we now see today. I bring you, "X-Men". Yes, there has been multiple Superman and Batman films before this, but that's a different argument for a different day.

When "X-Men" was released, it was the talk of the town every place I visited frequently. It grossed over $54 million on it's opening week and was considered a one of a kind and different way to tell the stories of Marvel's main mutants. At least that what I've been reading on the reviews on the IMDb page. So, over the course of many years and multiple movies, they have been growing a huge following and everyone likes them (for the most part). But I have been having a problem with them. I do not think they are very good...at all. And I'm not talking about just "X-Men 3". I do give them credit for what they have done for future films, but looking back, they felt like a bunch of films that didn't have much going for it it. Granted, it has been a long time since I have watched these films, but I still don't think any were memorable.

So, I came up with a fun little solution. As we countdown the 18 days till "X-Men: Apocalypse", I'm going to re-watch each X-Men film (Not including the Wolverine films) and write about what I didn't like or did like. Like I said, it's been a long time, so maybe I'm being harder on them then I should. I do warn you, this is going to both be pretty biased and some of my reasons will probably be disagreed with. Let's dive in with:

X-Men (2000)

Like most superhero movies, they usually start with some sort of origin story. Like Peter Parker getting bit by a radioactive spider and Bruce Wayne's parents being shot, it's a way for us to understand how they came to be what they are now. It is trickier with the mutants because the whole thing is that their powers are genetic. So, their version of an origin story is to show young Magneto in a concentration camp using his powers to bend a metal gate and then short jump into "the present" where Rogue kisses a guy and almost kills him. And we do have the voice of Professor X telling us what exactly it is to be a mutant, as well as Jean Grey giving a speech at the Senate about the mutant gene and to speak up against the Mutant Registration Act, where we first meet Senator Robert Kelly. That is the sole explanation/origin. It's pretty much just glossed over. 

As we progress through the movie, we meet Wolverine and Rogue as they first interact. So, Anna Paquin is just awful. Her portrayal as Rogue and trying to have a southern accent on top of her acting is just not the most amazing thing. It totally waters down the good acting that Hugh Jackman does give. Hugh Jackman does look like and can pull off Wolverine very easily. It's one of the few actors I liked in this film, along with Ian McKellen as Magneto and Patrick Stewart as Professor X. The collection of other actors in this film are just awful. Halle Barry (Storm), James Marsden (Cyclops), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), and even Tyler Mane (Sabretooth) play their roles very monotone and flat.

Then we reach the introduction of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, with the main teachers being Jean, Cyclops, and Storm. But there's a problem here. The original X-Men in the comics are Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, and Angel. Where are Beast and Angel? Yes, Beast shows up in a future film, but no one knows anything about Angel until the second film. And Iceman is a student. I know, I'm being very picky, but they could have at least kept the original four together and worked with that. And the fight between Wolverine and Sabretooth in the beginning makes no sense. Sabretooth and Wolverine have known each-other for years, decades even. And to set it up so they are complete strangers? That could have been a well used plot point, using their past to fuel their rivalry and to make it more rich, more memorable. Also, the whole love triangle between Cyclops, Wolverine, and Jean moves so fast, there was not development at all. And that is suppose to be a big piece for the future films. They just had to jump in on it.

As for effects, for the time, they were not too bad. But looking back to when Magneto uses the machine on Senator Kelly or even when Wolverine uses Cyclops' motorcycle, today's standards in terms of effects in 2016 are higher then ever, and these ones just don't keep a lasting impression. The only one that does work is the effect they use on Mystique when she changes form.

Even the ending climax of the fight at the Statue of Liberty is boring. They banked so much on the fights of Wolverine vs Mystique and Wolverine vs Sabretooth that the rest of the X-Men don't even have decent moves fighting Toad...TOAD!

Overall, this movie is not the worst of the bunch, they knew they really were trying to push the entire franchise on Hugh Jackman's back because of the popularity of Wolverine in the comics. This movie did what it was suppose to do. Make an open ended movie that can be added on to when they start the next one. For that purpose and iffy acting and story overall, this film for me get's a 5. That is on a scale of 10. 1 being awful to 10 being the best.