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"X-Men" is a rare treat-- a blockbuster that lives up to its hype and a
comic book adaptation that hits the mark.
Along with Tim Burton's "Batman", this stands head and shoulders above all other superhero movies. It's a genre that's usually synonymous with silly, campy, cartoonish crap, but Bryan Singer delivers a long-awaited exception to the rule. "X-Men" is smart, stylish, and very cool... one of the better sci fi/fantasy films of the last decade.
Of course, it helps to have good source material.
The X-Men comics, which originated in the 1960s, are more politically progressive and morally complex than older superhero stories such as "Superman" where the heroes are always right, and truth, justice, and the American Way always prevail. The series is a well-crafted parable about individuality and discrimination. The characters are mutants--struggling to find a place in a society that rejects them. Its primary villain, Magneto, isn't an evil lunatic-- he's a sympathetic character, a misguided revolutionary playing Huey Newton to Professor Xavier's Martin Luther King. The iconic character, Wolverine, is a beer-swilling anti-hero who cares little for ideals and fights only to protect himself and his loved ones. The female characters are as powerful and important as the men, rather than being mere love interests.
Rather than making just another flashy explosion-per-minute-special-effects-extravaganza, Singer practices the lost arts of character and plot development. As a result, the movie has a far greater depth than the average big budget summer flick. The acting is also quite good on the whole. Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine, is fantastic--a bona fide Clint Eastwood caliber badass. Some of the dialogue is fairly cheesy, but in the hands of Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart it sounds quite convincing. (Stewart has made a career out of making lame dialogue sound cool.)
Hard-core fans of the comics have complained about the omission of several popular X-Men. This is silly. A movie that gave the background on every character in the comic books would be 6 hours long. There will be plenty of time to develop new characters in the forthcoming sequels. Fans have also complained about the casting of Anna Paquin as Rogue. I disagree. Rogue is unable to touch another human being without harming them--she would not realistically act like a confident, sassy warrior. Paquin did a tremendous job of conveying the fear and isolation that such a young woman would feel. She will undoubtedly grow into the part in future movies.
In the end, "X-Men" is a comic book movie. Superpowers are explained with silly pseudoscientific babble, the plot revolves around a fairly ridiculous take-over-the-world scheme, and names like "Magneto" are spoken with a straight face. Don't read all the glowing reviews and expect Citizen Kane. But don't underestimate "X-Men" either. It is an intelligent movie that people will enjoy whether or not they are familiar with the comic.
There's no doubt about it, X-Men is not a stereotypical "comic-book film".
Whenever a movie is made that is based on comic books, there is always a
fear that it can and will be typically pigeonholed into the "comic book
film" genre and that the movie is basically made for the fans of that comic
book. Comic-book films are usually unrealistic and unappealing to the
Bryan Singer, however, did a wonderful job at making X-Men a movie that will not only overjoy the fans of the comic book, but also the general movie-goer as well. The movie is grounded, without the flighty unrealism of comic book material, and it delivers a message about prejudice that has always been what X-Men were about: fighting for a world that hates them.
The performances are outstanding, especially Hugh Jackman who, in my opinion, did a dead-on Wolverine, and Patrick Stewart, who never failed to show the peace and self-control that Professor Charles Xavier always strove to maintain.
Aside the characters, the plot was original (I couldn't tell you what was going to happen in the end by the middle of the movie) and most importantly: the world was REAL. The only suspension of disbelief that is required is the assumption that these genetic mutations can happen, and did, causing these extraordinary people. Honestly, I was a little disappointed that the colorful high-flare costumes were omitted, but I instantly forgave Singer when I realized why. It was simply to add to the realism.
All in all, X-Men was excellent. If you're a fan of the comic book series as I was, then you'll endlessly enjoy seeing these characters come to life. And if you've never been exposed to the comic book, this movie will give you an entertaining way to be exposed to its message about fear, hatred, and prejudice.
A tale of super-evolved mutants in a struggle against human oppressors,
X-Men is an instant sci-fi classic, combining impressive special effects
with an involving plot to create a truly memorable cinematic experience.
Lacking the tongue-in-cheek camp of the later Batman films and other recent comic books-turned movies, X-Men draws the audience into its world of mutants and superpowers, and prevents it from becoming tacky or absurd. Not to say that there isn't any humour in the film, in fact it delivers some of the best one liners in a film this year.
It is a rare thing for an action blockbuster to feature great acting, but with a cast that among others involves both Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen is bound to be above average. Both Stewart (as Professor Charles Xavier) and McKellen (as Magneto)deliver stellar performances, and their onscreen chemistry is compelling as they play two old friends turned arch enemies.
The rest of the cast deliver solid performances, including Hollywood newcomer Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Oscar-winner Anna Paquin as Rogue, and another rising star Rebecca Romijn-Stamos as the seductive but deadly Mystique.
A classic tale of good versus evil, with heroes, baddies, and great special effects, I don't think it's going too far to say that X-Men is destined to be mentioned in the same breath as Star Wars and other all-time sci-fi greats.
With so many movies out right now that are designed solely for entertainment
puposes--from "Gone in 60 seconds" to "MI-2" to "Scary Movie"--it is
promising to sit through a 90-minute film based on a comic-book that
actually gives you an opportunity to think and be challenged.
Bryan Singer's "X-men: The Movie" is nothing more than an introduction to the lives of the characters from the comic book. The very fact that his movie doesn't try to add new elements, or change elements that already existed within the comic, is what makes it so successful.
X-men the comic series has been around for more than 30 years. And for good reason. It has dealt with all of the important elements that good storytelling includes--rejection, loneliness, hope, fear, distrust, love, selfishness, power, and the price you pay for doing what you believe is right. By consistently exploring various difficult elements of humanity, the X-men comic has been able to be not only entertaining but stimulating as well.
Thankfully, Singer's movie translation is no exception. "X-men" is very well executed, with excellent character work for the leads (Logan, Rogue, Magneto and Xavier), a good exploration of the motives of each character, and dialogue that is sharp and intelligent. However, lest you think X-men is only intellectual, let me assure you that the special-effects department has done an incredible job of mingling the human elements of the story with action. From Wolverine's claws to Rogue's devasating touch, from Storm's namesake displays of nature to Magneto's awesome power, "X-men" constantly finds new and arresting ways of showing-off each mutants power. And the closer you get to the end, the more exciting it is.
True, the movie was not perfect. Certain story elements were modified slightly for big-screen adaptation (nothing, however, that is disloyal to the ethic of the series). The soundtrack was only sufficient, rather than being something truly memorable. And not all of the characters were given equal time on screen (some important characters were completely missing).
But for a 90 minute movie that needs an action plot, it's obviously impossible to give all the X-men (and their evil counterparts) equal attention or character development. In fact, the sheer scale of the series alone all but requires a sequel to flesh out what was missing in this first, "Intro to X-men" movie.
Yet, as a beginning exploration of the "X-men" universe, this movie shines. It is attractive, fun and meaningful. Whether you're an X-men fan, you're looking for something that will make you think, you want an action movie, you enjoy sci-fi, or you just want to leave the theater feeling like you didn't just waste a couple of hours and seven bucks, go see Bryan Singer's "X-men." You won't be disappointed.
The answer to that question can be found in this movie with a resounding
YES. Being a fan of X-Men comics and cartoons, I watched this movie with
great skepticism. It was wonderful how the characters remained true to the
The special powers that our mutant heros and villains possess are displayed exceptionally. It made me wish that I could have a special power of my own.
Enough can not be said of the phenomenal cast of actors that were selected for their roles. Not only did they fit their parts perfectly, but they made you believe. Bravo to Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen and a host of actors who were lucky enough to take part in this adventure.
Bryan Singer does a fantastic job of bringing it all together. The special effects in this movie, only enhance the great script and acting. After seeing the DVD with the outtakes, the editing was quite effective.
The true battle of good versus evil can always make for a great story but when a comic book is adapted to film and you feel that what you see is really possible, it is a true stroke of genius.
If this film had been given to the wrong director it could have been
incredibly cheesy. Being a reader of the comics I know that there are a
few things that works on the page of a comic book but not in a film and
let me say that the costumes is one of these things that in all
probability wouldn't work. Singer chose to go with black leather
outfits and I, for one, am very thankful for this choice. There are
many things in this film that works but unfortunately there are a few
things as well that prevent the film from being truly great.
Lets start with the things that work. Acting wise the film is very good. This is above all attributed to some excellent casting. Hugh Jackman is simply perfect as Wolverine and brings out the duality of the character in a very satisfactory manner. Also the scenes were we see a glimpse of the rage in the character work remarkably well. The only thing that could be said about him is that he is too tall but it seems most people, including myself, have accepted this fact. I think also that it was a wise choice to let a relatively unknown actor play the part because in that way we have no preconceived notions about him. As for Professor X no other man than Patrick Stewart could/should play him. Stewart simply becomes Xavier both in presence, voice and looks. An example of perfect casting. Ian McKellen is brilliant as Magneto and succeeds in creating a human villain rather than the usual cliché like villains we see in Hollywood productions. The acting aside from the ones mentioned above is pretty good. Not spectacular but good. The only one who does not look and act like the character we know from the comics is Anna Paquin who plays Rogue. The character is nothing like in the comics and Paquin's performance doesn't help the character.
When it comes to music and sound effects in general the film is a notch above average. The musical score has a very grand, even epic, feel to it and this suits the film very well. The score is not as memorable as the score from Batman (1989) but it is very adequate. As for the general sound effects they are both very fitting and believable adding to the overall credibility of the film which is considerable. The sound Wolverine's claws make when they come out is exactly as I imagined it. Very well done. The effects in general are also very well made. Not as good as in Spider-Man but still very good. A lot of care has been taken to make the effects seem as believable as possible and from where I'm standing they work. The only character whose powers I did not fully believe in was Toad's. Ray Park is an excellent athlete but many of his stunts look like obvious wire work. This is a pretty general complaint I have as some of the action look rehearsed. There is, however, some interesting action scenes and overall the action is acceptable.
The story is pretty well written and the dialog is both witty and sharp. Especially much of the dialog between Wolverine and Cyclops (James Marsden) is very entertaining and true to the comic books. Where I feel the story is lacking is in the climax which I am afraid to say is a little silly. Magneto's plan for world domination is actually pretty stupid when you think about it and that is a shame because much of the exposition is very well done. Generally, however, the first film is all about setting the stage for the films to come and it does do that in a satisfactory manner.
All in all X-Men is definitely one of the better super hero movies out there and although it was surpassed by the sequel it still stands as a true testament to Singer's skill.
The film version of Stan Lee and Jack "The King" Kirby's best-selling comic
book creation, X-Men, has finally succeeded where more than twenty years of
four-color, superhero movies have failed. They have finally got it right...
It is a stunning cinematic experience, faithfully adapting nearly 40 years of continuity into a stream-lined, fast-paced, wonderfully exciting trip into the legendary Marvel Universe. X-Men features incredible portrayals of much of the classic mutant cast, especially virtual unknown (at least here in the States) Hugh Jackman as Logan, the Canadian wildman we all know and love as Wolverine. Jackman seems born to play this coveted role with every bit of gruff and grim gusto; his Wolverine looks as if he simply stepped off one of Chris Claremont and John Byrne's exquisitely crafted pages. The rest of the cast was also pleasantly well-casted and well-suited for their roles, including the handsomely chisled James Marsden as the stoic field commander Cyclops and the gorgeous Anna Paquin as the can-never-touch-but-wish-we-all-could Rogue. Famke Janssen and Halle Berry are beautiful and bold as Jean Grey and Storm, respectively, not just appearing as fleeting shards of eye candy, but actually adding depth and strength to the flow of the film. Patrick Stewart's excellent Professor Charles Xavier is in fine Stewart fashion, extrapolating on his Jean-Luc Picard character, and adding genuine compassion and warmth.
Ian McKellan is superb as the tortured master of magnetism, Magneto, playing the part with malicious glee, tempered with an extreme form of jingoism for his cause of the militant uprising of mutants over "normal" people. His Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants is composed of Sabretooth, viciously and animalistically portrayed Tyler Mane, The Phanton Menace's Ray Park is the wickedly amusing Toad, and the stunning Rebecca Romaijn-Stamos is the shape-shifter Mystique. Park actually had the most to say of Magneto's henchmen, but it was appropriate as these three comprise an awesomely evil team of muscle and not philosophy like their leader.
The productions values were spectacular, as were the settings, taking us from a stark, malign concentration camp in Poland to the wilds of the Canadian north to the serenity of Westchester, New York to a mind-bending climax on Liberty Island. The action sequences were well-paced and action-packed, and much more smoother and better choreographed than any of the Batman films. The special effects, especially Wolverine's legendary adamantium claws, were truly awe-inspiring.
X-Men was meticulously directed by Bryan Singer, who along with 20th Century Fox, actually listened to and cared about what X-Fans thought and wished to see on screen. Although we would have all liked to have stayed in that theater for another 95 minutes, there are many more stories to tell, and God willing, Fox will let it happen.
Most importantly, X-Men finally gives Marvel Entertainment Group a firm footing on film, a foundation that was never fully in its grasp until the surprise hit of two years ago, Blade. Now that Marvel has discovered that it can succeed with its top-tier characters, the sky is truly the limit for its varied cast of great characters. I hope that Warner Bros. will sit up and take notice at what X-Men has accomplished. Maybe this will be a wake-up call to those studio executives in charge of Superman and Batman, and make them realize that the fans' input really does count in the end...
I've always been a fan of the X-Men, since the Animated Series aired (I'd never really read any of the comics though... ^_^). So when I heard they were making a movie about them, I was counting the days until it was released. Maybe that affected how I viewed the movie, but I was a bit disappointed. Director Brian Singer (Usual Suspects) did a good job with what he's got... the multiple characters, etc. The whole project seems a bit "safe," though, as if the producers wanted to make sure this big production didn't flop. It's a good movie, but not a great one. Fans of the X-Men might be especially disappointed if their favorite characters do not include either Wolverine or Rogue. Mine personally is Cyclops, but he had a minor role. James Marsden, who played Cyclops, was a bit on the stiff side, but I forgive him because I like him as an actor. On that note, all the actors did an excellent job, especially Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, as the forces of good and evil. It brought an endearing humanistic side to a story I had thought was dominated by sci-fi. If you're an X-Men fan, I would definitely recommend this film--but you probably have already seen it! What X-Men fan would miss out? If you're not a fan, maybe this movie can be a starting point for a new obsession... :o)
"X-men" is a well done sci-fi action film for all action fans: especially
for those who as kids dreamed of having special powers themselves. Each of
the main mutant characters has a special ability and during the film I
sometimes found myself thinking about which of those abilities I would
choose if I were given the chance. Of course all of those special abilities
are visible in the film's spectacular special effects. But the special
effects were not the only thing that made watching this film fun. There is
also plenty of action and character interaction besides shooting and beating
and using special powers. As each mutant character is given a past (to give
him a motivation) and a weakness, the film's plot never got boring because I
also wanted to know how things developed between the mutants themselves.
And I won't even talk about the ending. It actually surprised me. But go see for yourself
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tibetan Buddhist teacher Robert Thurman writes in Inner Revolution: "In
karmic evolution, the successful actions that lead to positive
mutations such as a human life are those of generosity, morality,
enterprise, concentration, and intelligence. Their opposites -
injustice, anger, laziness, distraction, and ignorance - are unsuccessful
actions, which lead to negative evolutionary mutations that take you down
the chain through animal incarnations." We got to thinking about this
we realized that the mutants in the sci-fi thriller X-Men are of two
the generous, moral, and intelligent ones, and the animal-like ones
out of revenge and anger. The message is clear: evolution can go toward
good or the bad, and there will always be a battle between the two
X-Men, with stories revolving around the activities of a group of mutant superheroes, has been a phenomenally successful franchise for Marvel Comics. Now director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) and screenplay writer David Hayter have adapted this series for the screen. The movie exposes the battle going on for America's soul. In doing so, it goes right to the heart of the country's shadow - our continuing inability to deal with those who are different from us, either by race, ethnic heritage, sexual preference, or generation. The story taps into the reservoir of feelings we have about diversity, tolerance, and exclusivity. And, let's admit it, all of us, at one time or another, have felt like a mutant outsider different from the "norms" of society and cut off from the "in" crowd.
U.S. Senator Robert Kelly (Bruce Davison) has a cause. There are mutants living in American communities, and nobody knows how and where they might use their strange and strong powers. He wants to protect human citizens by passing legislation to require them to register with the government. Indeed, even mutants with the best intentions can't always control their impact on others. When Rogue (Anna Paquin), a Mississippi teenager kisses her boyfriend for the first time, he ends up in a coma for three weeks. She can absorb the energy and memories of anyone she touches.
Fleeing to Alaska, Rogue meets Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), another mutant who has amazing healing powers, which come in handy when his retractable adamantium claws inadvertently inflict damage. These two "freaks" as the locals call them eventually team up and find their way to Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), the world's most potent telepath who has started a school for "gifted students" - a.k.a. mutants. His key assistants are Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) who has telekinetic and telepathic skills, Cyclops (James Marsden) whose eyes release energy blasts, and Storm (Halle Berry) who can manipulate weather disturbances.
Not only must these X-Men fight the forces of bigotry and repression afoot in America, they must square off against Magneto (Ian McKellen), a mutant who has survived the Holocaust and now believes that a war with the humans is inevitable. He concocts a plan to turn the world's leaders into mutants at a special U.N. gathering on Ellis Island. The X-Men come to the rescue and must contend with his evil team consisting of Sabretooth (Tyler Mane), a beast-like warrior; Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), a metamorph; and Toad (Ray Park), a high-jumping monster with a ten-foot tongue.
Thanks to its thematic riches, X-Men is far more interesting than the Batman superhero flicks. Most fascinating is the love/hate relationship between the peaceful Professor Xavier and the power-hungry Magneto. In the last scene of the film, they play a game of chess in a prison holding Magneto. We all know that the mutant villain has not made his last move.
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