X-Men (2000): ***
Directed by Bryan Singer
Hey, you know what? I liked this film. I'm not a big X-Men fan in general. In fact, I think that for the most part the X-Men comics suck. But I thought that this film was pretty good.
It's very light and breezy, and barely an hour and a half (I know htere's a longer cut out there with some 40 minutes of replaced footage, but that's not what I'm reviewing here). Basically the film goes like this:
- Introduce characters
- Introduce problem
- Almost immediately solve problem
The film easily spends half its running time simply exploring the characters. So it's a good thing that there are some really good characters in the film.
First off I have to give all possible props to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. This is one of the best superhero performances I have ever seen, rivaling Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man. Wolverine is the outsider who gets thrust into this crazy comic book world of the X-Men, and so we kind of experience the whole film through him. We get to watch him struggle to deal with being forced to step out of his existence as an isolated loaner to becoming a father figure to Rogue, a leader, and a hero. Hugh Jackman's facial reactions are worth the price of admission alone. It is an absolute treat watching Wolverine shifting uncomfortably, not knowing quite what to do when Rogue turns to him for emotional support, and yet clearly wanting to do something for the poor girl. Jackman portrays Wolverine as a man of instinct whose instincts don't quite apply to his situation, who is completely out of his element in the world of superheroes and villains.
The rest of the characters are all pretty much what you'd expect if you know much about the X-Men. Although it was delightful to see Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen have scenes together, knowing that they used to to Shakespeare together decades ago.
Anyway, the movie breezes along at a nice, fresh pace, although it is not afraid to take deep breaths and pause in order to emphasize emotions, which is very refreshing in an action flick. And then it's suddenly over. The actual action scenes in the film leave something to be desired, but fortunatley there aren't very many and they don't tend to last very long.
So X-Men is a nice, simple, short, fun little flick.
-Christopher Grant Harris
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