Saturday, July 6, 2013

Movie Review: X-Men (2000)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Decent introduction to the characters; engaging story
Cons: All the characters could be better developed
The Bottom Line
A decent story
And mutant introductions
Entertaining flick

"You Actually Go Outside in These Things?" "What Would You Prefer, Yellow Spandex?"

I know I saw X-Men when it was in the theaters back in 2000.  I also remember not being that impressed.  Of course, part of that was because it was so overhyped on some websites I visited I was sick of hearing about it by then.  Since my roommate's copy of the trilogy has been staring me in the face for months, I decided to rewatch this one.  The worst that happens is I get another review out of it, right?  To my pleasant surprise, I enjoyed the film despite some flaws.

The next level of human evolution is here.  Mutants with super powers have started appearing in the human population.  Us normal humans are not happy about it at all, and there is a bill before the Senate to require these mutants to register.  Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stuart) and Eric Lensherr (Ian McKellen) both oppose the legislation, although one of them is willing to go to bigger lengths to kill it.

Meanwhile, Logan (Hugh Jackman), a man with the ability to heal and some strange metal in his hand, is befriended by Marie (Anna Paquin), a teen who can absorb things via touch. Logan doesn't remember anything about his life until just a few years ago.  When the two are attacked, they wind up joining Professor Xavier.  But was their attack part of a bigger plot?

This is a weird mix of origin/set up and regular movie.  While Logan, aka Wolverine, doesn't remember much about how he became who he is, I did thanks to the prequel movie that I watched a couple years back.  Anyway, as Logan and Marie enter this new world, we get lots of explanations and introductions to the world of mutants.

On the other hand, most of the characters already know each other and are ready for the fight that is coming.  As such, it doesn't fall quite as much into the first superhero movie cliches that I am growing tired of seeing.  That in itself felt refreshing to me this time around.

Of course, there are several action sequences and lots of special effects.  I thought they blended well into the world the actors were inhabiting.  I believed what I saw, and I enjoyed the action.

The cast does an amazing job.  Rounding out things are the likes of James Marsden, Hallie Berry, and Rebecca Romijn.  There isn't a weak performance in the bunch.

However, there is a weakness to the film - the characters themselves.  I never feel like we really get to know any of them.  Yes, the cast is large, but even Logan and Marie, the real focus, don't seem as real to me as they should.  The movie was much more about action and story than characters.  Maybe if I knew the characters already from the comics, I would connect better.

Overall, I'm still glad I gave X-Men a second chance.  It's a decent superhero movie, and I'm looking forward to watching the sequel.

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