Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Before Avengers = X-Men.
Before there was the Marvel Cinematic Universe that we had to look forward to year after year, there was the X-Men series. You might even be surprised to find how similar the two are in how exciting and satisfying they are, even without prior standalone films of each of the characters. When you think about it, the series could have maybe benefitted off of standalone character films leading up to an eventual X-Men flick, just like what they did for The Avengers, but at the same time, it’s not completely needed either. Just cool. To start off this remarkable series, we begin with Bryan Singer’s 2000’s X-Men.
The world has changed, and evolution has progressed, giving certain people powers, beginning at the time of puberty. These people, called mutants, has the world scared, and has the government debating on if mutant registration is required. All mutants are against the idea of being stamped and tagged, but there are two opposing teams when deciding how to go about it. One side is Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and the X-Men. The X-Men comprise primarily of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Cyclops (James Marsden), Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), and Storm (Halle Berry). The other side consists of Magneto (Ian McKellen), Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), Sabretooth (Tyler Mane), and Toad (Ray Park).
The X-Men believe in the idea of a peaceful co-existence between mutants and humans, while Magneto believes the humans will never listen, and harsh militant action is required. He got this idea after surviving the Holocaust and witnessing extreme prejudice first hand. Already, you know they are destined to face off against each other for all of time. So, what Magneto does is kidnap a U.S. Senator and with advanced technology and radiation, he gives the Senator a mutant ability, and plans to give the rest of the U.S. Senate the same, but what he doesn’t know is that the radiation is dangerous for humans, and only gives them powers for a short while before they end up dying anyways.
What a great and fun flick, and it looks great for its age. I want to start out with the themes and the moral of the story. The main theme of the film clearly has a lot to do with racism and prejudice and how to deal with the problem at hand. I love how they can make a theme as clear as day, yet still make it different enough to feel unique all on its own…just by adding powers. Also, in some way or another, you agree with Magneto, and I love that. Instead of showing a villain with the most evil of intentions, you have someone with a good plan, but unfortunate execution to make the plan a success. This has one of the most simplistic morals that a film can really have, and that is that it’s okay to be different, you can always find someone or some place that will accept you 100%. So many flicks have the same message, and I’m always surprised at how different they can make a movie with the same message and have it still be fantastic, and this was no exception.
I love that they took the fact that the comic was an allegory to civil rights, and found a way to present that in film. Magneto was inspired by Malcolm X while Professor X was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. Two men with similar goals, but different approaches on how to go about it. Peacefully or violently. I just want to say, that was brilliant, Stan Lee. This presents an acceptable way to relate to people that aren’t a fan of American History by allowing the viewer to escape into a fantasy world that they can strangely relate to better than the real world, and through that, may gain interest into really looking into its real world counterpart.
X-Men is one of the most popular and memorable superhero flicks out there, and it was before everyone was gearing for the next Marvel flick. It has one of the strongest plots, most memorable characters, and unstoppable excitement for the next film in the franchise.