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Film Review: X-Men

Updated on March 27, 2017
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 2000, Bryan Singer released X-Men, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Anna Paquin, Ray Park, and Tyler Mane, the film grossed $296.3 million at the box office.

Synopsis

In a world with mutants possessing superhuman powers that are feared and distrusted by normal humans, two mutants named Wolverine and Rogue are brought into a conflict between two groups who have radically different approaches to bringing about acceptance of mutants. One side consists of Professor Xavier’s X-Men, who desire to live amongst humans peacefully and the other has Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants, who seek to turn humans into mutants.

Review

Making superhero movies popular following a string of subpar releases, X-Men is definitely a product of its time. While not a bad film by any means, it certainly doesn’t bring the level of plot or characterization seen in many recent releases.

The plot in and of itself isn’t a grandiose story where the heroes have to band together to save the world. Rather, it involves Rogue and Wolverine meeting the X-Men and fighting against the Brotherhood of Mutants while the latter seeks to use Rogue as a catalyst for a machine that mutates humans. It employs small set pieces, utilizing Xavier’s mansion and Magneto’s hideout as the major locales with New York City as mostly a backdrop. Much of the film revolves around meeting the two teams, discovering their agendas, seeing what drives them and watching them clash. It’s a film working to acquaint viewers with the ideologies as opposed to dropping the audience into a world with machinations, agendas and rivalries already in place. The bigger story could come later.

The characters and their ideals drive the story. On one side, there’s Magneto who has seen firsthand the effects of people in power branding a subgroup of people as a danger and public nuisance in his experiences during the Holocaust. The other side sees Professor X who is under the impression he can help bring about coexistence between humans and mutants. Fascinatingly, the film does show both sides have valid points. Magneto has his own personal historical knowledge as to what can happen with fear mongering as opposed to Xavier realizing all humans want is really to live peacefully. The problem comes in Magneto’s methodology, using his own special brand of terrorism to achieve peace, therefore proving his foes correct. It’s seen when Senator Kelly is captured and tells Magneto whatever happens to him, he’ll be proven right.

The film’s special effects are decent for the most part, especially in Cyclops’ eye beams or Mystique’s shape shifting. However, there are moments where the effects date the film. Wolverine’s claws look decent for the most part, yet when they are moved in any other way than they’re supposed to, such as Magneto pulling them away in the finale, they bend in such a way giving them the obvious appearance of a computer generated image. The same goes for Kelly’s escaping his cell. The whole sequence is reminiscent of the Uncanny Valley.

The acting is all over the place as well with Jackman, Stewart, and McKellen giving the best performances and carrying the overall film. On the other hand, Berry has barely any charisma in her role as Storm, opting to emote as an unimpressed and bored woman in a wig. Granted, the line about toads being struck by lightning is silly, but the line could have been acted much better.

For what it’s worth, X-Men had a lot riding on it and failure could have ended any notions of more superhero films in the future. It succeeded, was a good film for its time and continues to be entertaining.

4 stars for X-Men

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinion

Awards won

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Science Fiction Film
  • Best Actor (Hugh Jackman)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos)
  • Best Director
  • Best Writing
  • Best Costumes

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Visual Effects
  • Second Place - Best Makeup

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

  • Favorite Supporting Actress - Science Fiction (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos)
  • Favorite Supporting Actor - Science Fiction (James Marsden)

BMI Film & TV Awards

  • BMI Film Music Award

Bogey Awards

  • Bogey Award

Empire Awards

  • Best Director

Publicists Guild of America Maxwell Awards

  • Maxwell Weinberg Award - Motion Picture


Nominated for

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best DVD Collection (For the "X Men Collection")
  • Best Supporting Actor (Patrick Stewart)
  • Best Performance by a Younger Actor (Anna Paquin)
  • Best Make-Up
  • Best Special Effects

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

  • Favorite Actress - Science Fiction (Anna Paquin)
  • Favorite Actor - Science Fiction (Patrick Stewart)
  • Favorite Villain (Internet Only) (Ian McKellen)
  • Favorite Supporting Actress - Science Fiction (Famke Janssen)
  • Favorite Male - Newcomer (Hugh Jackman)

Costume Designers Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Contemporary

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation

Kids' Choice Blimp Awards

  • Favorite Movie Actress (Halle Berry)

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Sierra Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects & Foley, Domestic Feature Film

MTV Movie Awards

  • Best Movie
  • Best On-Screen Team (Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, James Marsden & Anna Paquin)
  • Breakthrough Male Performance (Hugh Jackman)

ONline Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Visual Effects

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Makeup

Political Film Society Awards

  • Human Rights
  • Peace

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards

  • Best Script

World Stunt Taurus Awards

  • Best Specialty Stunt (Steven McMichael; Wolverine Blown Out of Truck)



Comments

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    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      17 months ago from Norfolk, England

      To be honest, this isn't really my kind of film. But your hub is very indepth. I particularly like nominations and awards won you added. It's useful. Thanks. =)

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