X-Men (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

It's a special effects film based on the popular Marvel Comic superheroes.
In the not-too-distant future, there is a large core of mutants amongst us. We fear them, and persecute them and they, in turn, fight back against the human race with their evil powers.

Except for a small cadre of young mutants under the guidance of Professor Xavier, who study at his special Mutant Academy (they rarely lose a sporting event). They are resolved to use their mutant powers for the greatest good of the planet, and they accept that they are not a separate race, but humans with exceptional gifts.


Rebecca Romijn is kinda naked under tons of body paint and prosthetics. Her breasts flop around loose during fight scenes, so there can't be too much else on top of the flesh.
These superheroes aren't omnipotent like Superman or my dad. They can't outrun light or turn back time or move planets to a new orbit. They have much more modest powers. One of them has the power to open any present so that the wrapping can be reused. Another has the power to correctly calculate a 15% tip to several decimal places, and a third knows the words to all the Beatles' songs. There are twin sisters, one of whom always knows her exact latitude, while her twin always knows the longitude, so together they can always determine where they are. Another hero can speed-read quite fast, one can do a pretty good impersonation of Edith Piaf, and I think one of the bad guys has the power to choose the winning place to scratch in those scratch-off lottery tickets. And there's a guy named toad who has the power to flick out his tongue really far and fast, and he would be quite popular with the female superheroes except that his other superpower is puking out green slime. And then Wolverine has the power to win at professional wrestling, Captain Picard has the super-ability to deliver any line so that it sounds pompous and meaningful, and Rebecca Romijn has the power not to talk, which makes this her best acting role by far.

The plot and dialogue are cliched and completely predictable, rounding up the usual comic book suspects, but who cares? If you want to see clever dialogue and plot, rent Sleuth. This is a comic book, for heaven's sake.

This film has some strong points:

1. Much better acting than you would expect from a comic book movie. Some of the characters are developed nicely, but frankly, there are simply too many of them for 104 minutes of movie. (The first cut was 136 minutes)

2. Excellent f/x

3. Superior art and set design.

4. The fact that Magneto is right. He may be extreme in his response, but he correctly sees the human treatment of mutants as precisely parallel to the Nazi treatment of Jews. (He was in a concentration camp.) This is true within the context of the film, as well as within the boundaries of what really would happen to us with mutants in our midst. You know damned well that politicians would exploit people's fears to advance their own careers. If there were realy mutants amongst us, Pat Buchanan could get elected. I really enjoyed seeing the very serious Ian McKellan make a complete fool of himself as Magneto. He's not exactly the first guy you think of to play the role, but it worked out great, much more believable than if they had gotten the usual cartoon bad guys like Gary Oldman, because Magneto is not supposed to be a deluded psychotic. He is a guy who sees himself in charge of the Jewish community, living in the Third Reich. Great casting, and a great job by McKellan.

I do enjoy thinking about what Magneto could have been if they had cast differently. How about Samuel L Jackson in the role? "Magnetism is the one power to have when you absolutely have to kill every motherfucker on the planet."

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen, 2.35:1 anamorphic. Looks great.

  • Trailer, deleted scenes, behind the scenes featurette, Wolverine's screen test, Bryan Singer talk show interview, miscellaneous ads and trailers.

I also really enjoyed Hugh Jackman as the conflicted and cynical Wolverine. He had the most complex role, the silliest haircut, and the best lines, and he did a good job with it. If you rent or buy the DVD, I strongly recommend watching Jackman's screen test. I've never seen a better screen test in my life, for any type of movie. When he showed up on the set, he already was Wolverine, and he already had the timing perfect. He managed to do in a screen test, with just his voice, his eyebrows, and turning his neck, everything that they accomplished in the final scene with editing and cutting and remixing and retakes and all the Hollywood tricks. Outstanding.

In other words, the film is really cool. OK, I admit that it is sound and fury, signifying nothing. So what? I don't think you care about that if you like comic book superhero movies. And if if you do like them, I'm pretty sure you'll like this one. And if you don't like this kind of movie, there's always plenty of dust gathering on "Babette's Feast" down at Blockbuster.

Hell, I don't especially like this kind of movie, but I enjoyed this one.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: about three stars. Ebert 2.5/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Apollo scores it 78/100.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. Quite good, 78% positive overall. The top critics weren't as impressed, only 55% positive.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.9, which is quite high for an escapist film. In the top 250 of all time! Apollo users agree, with 78/100.
  • With their dollars ... it was a mega-hit. $157 million box office in the USA, $134 million overseas, placing it in the top 100 of all time internationally. Given these numbers, and given the fact that Wolverine ended the film by going off to find his origins, you can expect sequels real soon.

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