Plot: The existence of super powered beings, or ‘mutants,’ has finally been brought to the forefront when Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison) tries to push through Mutant Registration. Magneto (Ian McKellen) responds by creating a machine that will eventually turn humanity into mutants. Magneto’s old colleague Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and his students known as X-Men attempt to stop him.
When X-Men begins in 1944 Poland introducing a young Eric Lensherr (Magneto) ripping apart a gate as he’s taken away from his family, we know we are in for a serious superhero movie. And that’s what director Bryan Singer gives us. It’s surprising it took till 2000 to get the first live action X-Men movie, but I’m glad this was it. The casting for this film is fantastic. Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and of course the legendary introduction of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, one of the most popular comic book characters of all time. The introduction to all these characters was great. I love watching Cyclops (James Marsden) use that optic blast for the first time. There’s some great interplay between most of these characters. The Cyclops and Wolverine banter is spot on. Wolverine using his claw to give Cyclops the finger is pretty damn clever. And the Professor X/Magneto relationship could not have been more perfect, especially at the end. We get plenty of bad ass mutant powers from everyone, they all get their moments. The end is really well done as the X-Men use their abilities together. We get to see the jet, which was pretty sweet. This movie also makes a great choice in terms of costumes. I’m sure there were die hard X-Men fans who cried night after night when the costumes weren’t yellow, blue, and silver spandex. But you know what…it would have looked stupid, alright. Great move making them sleek black. Simple. It may be a corny line, but Cyclops said it best: “What do you prefer…yellow spandex?” The movie does drag a bit in the middle, and aside from Magneto and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), the villains are kind of ‘meh,’ but this is without a doubt a great introduction into the world of X-Men.
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Great)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: Patrick Stewart as Professor X
-It was a legit three horse race, but this could not have been more perfect casting. He is Professor X…the end.
Worst Performance: Halle Berry as Storm
-Bland, boring, and a waste of time. She has one cool moment with her powers when she takes out Toad, but there was nothing here. Berry put nothing into this role, I’m sorry. It’s a shame, because in the cartoon she’s such a powerful presence. And what the hell is with that shirt? You know the one I’m talking about.
Best Line: “You’re so full of shit. If you were really so righteous, It’d be you in that thing.” –Wolverine to Magneto on him not using his mutant machine and transferring it to Rogue.
Worst Line: “You know what happens to a Toad when it’s struck by lightning…the same thing that happens to everything else.” –Storm before she fries Toad
-I remember the first time seeing this, and Storm saying the first part of that line: “You know what happens to a Toad when it’s struck by lightning…” And then you get that slight pause. I was thinking to myself, I’m sure this is going to be some lame one-liner. Never in a million years did I think she would say, “…the same thing that happens to everything else.” Wow. Who the hell thought that was a good idea?
-You can’t go wrong with Wolverine and Sabertooth on top of the Statue of Liberty. We get everything we need from this fight, including a nice haircut on the Statue from Wolverine. And there was even a good use of ‘bub’ thrown in there which got a huge cheer when I first saw this.
-Professor X is great, but I have to say, he was a little slow when it came to figuring out why Magneto wanted to kidnap Rogue. He knew Magneto’s machine weakened him. He really couldn’t put this together, but needed a big group discussion about it. He also should have known Magneto would have anticipated him using cerebro to find Rogue after she was kidnapped and that it’s probably been fucked with. That’s two big brain blunders from Professor X.
-The introduction of Wolverine. Holy shit. The wrestling part was awesome in itself; when you hear that metal clang for the first time…just epic. But one of the movie theater experiences I will never forget is when he unleashes those claws for the first time. I could hear every jaw hit the floor.
-Toad is played by Ray Park, who was of course Darth Maul just one year earlier in Star Wars Episode I: the Phantom Menace. I’ve always hated the moment when he grabs the pipe and swings it like the double bladed lightsaber and then literally smiles right at the camera. It was such a blatant throwback to Darth Maul. Give me a break.
-When Wolverine retorts to Professor X, “What do they call you, Wheels,” it gets me every time.
Bad Ass Moment:
-Magneto lifting the police cars, controlling all the guns, cocking the guns, and then stopping that one bullet, but still drills it into the guys head. It’s just a fantastic progression of awesomeness.