Length: 104 minutes
Release Date: July 14, 2000
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Genre: Action / Adventure / Sci-FI
The “X-Men” comic books and cartoons series were immensely popular, so it only makes sense that Twentieth Century Fox would choose to bring everyone’s favorite band of mutant superheroes to life. After loner-mutant Logan meets a young runaway named Marie, a mutant named Magneto leading a rebellion against humanity attempts to capture her, hoping to use her special power for his own evil purposes. It is up to Dr. Xavier and his academy of peaceful mutants to protect Marie and stop Magneto. Featuring an action-packed plot and interesting characters, “X-Men” is a film that superhero fans don’t want to miss .
In a world where mutant humans with special abilities are feared and rejected by ordinary humans, a senator proposes a law requiring all mutants to publicly reveal their identities. The elderly mutant Magneto (Ian McKellen) hatches a plan to end the oppression of mutants by mankind. Viewers are then introduced to Marie (Anna Paquin), a teenage mutant girl terrified of her powers. She runs away from her home in Mississippi, and while in Canada she encounters the mysterious Logan, who has the ability to grow metal claws from his fists. Before they know it, the two are attacked by Sabretooth (Tyler Mane), an associate of Magneto.
Luckily, two mutants named Storm and Cyclops arrive to save Logan and Marie. Storm is a silver-haired mutant who can control the weather, and Cyclops is able to shoot a powerful laser beam from his eye goggle. After the fight, Storm and Cyclops bring the other two back to the X-Mansion. Run by a wise mutant named Professor Charles Xavier, the X-Mansion is a secret academy for mutants seeking refuge, where they can learn to control their powers and use them for good. Marie, who calls herself Rogue, feels at home at the academy almost instantly and begins attending classes. Wolverine, on the other hand, finds the prospect of working with others to be difficult and dangerous.
Meanwhile, Magneto’s beautiful blue assistant Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) and another associate abduct the senator to test a powerful machine on him. All they need, now, is the unique power that Rogue possesses. It is up to Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops and the other X-Men to protect Rogue and keep Magneto’s nefarious plan from succeeding.
“X-Men” features realistic action sequences, a complex plot and multi-faceted characters. This is vastly different from most superhero films that came before the release of “X-Men,” which featured simple plots, awkward dialog and polarized characters. “X-Men” is early proof that superhero films can be stylish, exciting and engaging. The realistic CG effects make the world of mutants feel believable, drawing audiences into the story.
The diverse characters are also a major draw of this film, as they cross lines of age, gender and color while meshing together perfectly. Rogue is a complex character who undergoes plenty of character development as she learns to accept and control her powers, becoming a strong and confident woman. Magneto is the villain in the story, yet audiences find they can sympathize with his desire to end the oppression of mutants. Wolverine, perhaps one of the most popular and mysterious characters in the film, struggles with a number of issues while putting on a tough mask to disguise his confusion and compassion. Audiences discover that he has no memory of his past, which provides the perfect segway for the Wolverine prequel to come.
The actors behind the characters are perhaps just as important, giving them personality and a unique flair. Hugh Jackman gives a commendable performance as Wolverine, perfectly capturing the rough, misguided nature of the loner. Oscar-winning Anna Paquin captures the hearts of audiences with her rendition of the troubled Rogue, and Halle Berry commands respect and attention as Storm. Ian McKellen is both sinister and awe inspiring as Magneto, drawing on viewers’ empathy without them even realizing it.
The plot of “X-Men” is both intriguing and engaging. Rather than focusing on the mutant phenomenon as simply the excuse for creating superheroes, director Bryan Singer focuses on the political implications of the split between races. This leads to an interesting battle not only between forces but also between ideals. It also creates a less black-and-white universe, adding to the realism of the film.
The “X-Men” movie experienced widespread success, leading to the release of a number of sequels and prequels in the franchise, including “X-Men 2,” “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Fans cannot get enough of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Halle Berry’s Storm and other memorable characters from the fantastical world of mutants.
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