johnlink ranks X-MEN (2000)

With the prequel coming out which, supposedly, honors the story of the original trilogy, I thought I would revisit the X-MEN series. I’ve seen the first one many times, and remember it as a solid introductory story. I’ve seen the second one a few times, and remember liking it better than the first. And I’ve seen the third one just once, in theaters, and remember it as garbage which ruined a potentially great trilogy. Why can’t comic book movies get the third one right? Anyway, onto the write-up for the first one…

I watched X-MEN (2000) on 4.13.11. It was, I would guess, about my eight viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

I remember the excitement this movie brought upon its announced release. Nobody had done this yet. For better or for worse, X-MEN was the dawn of the modern comic book movie era. Watching this, there are certain cliches which have now been beaten to death. But this was the movie that did it first. It tries to discover how to go about dealing with costumes, with code names, and with unreal things happening in a ‘real’ world. There are some clunky moments, and films have gotten more sophisticated in dealing with some of these issues, but this is a fun, fun movie.

I remember having no idea who Hugh Jackman was when he was announced. I remember thinking that Picard would make a perfect Professor X (he did). Honestly, other than Stewart, I think that more people knew Anna Paquin than any other actor in this. Even Ian McKellen, though a good character actor for certain, hadn’t reached his pinnacle of fame yet. This movie was a risk, a low risk perhaps, but a risk. People were curious how a comic book movie would fare. I think it is safe to say that it did ok…

The movie introduces the X-Men as a group, but does a smart thing and uses the history of the comic book to plop us into the middle of the action. I’ve heard this called a good ‘origin’ film. It’s really not. We don’t really learn the origin of anybody except Magneto and Rogue, and with Magneto we have a 50 or 60 year gap in his life where, obviously, a lot has happened. The smartest thing this script does, as written by David Hayter, is give us credit for our ability to be dropped in the middle of all of this.

For the geek, there are the fun moments of seeing other X-Men as kids, trying to pick out who some of them will turn out to be. I remember many thinking the kid playing basketball was Nightcrawler. But Jubilee and Iceman are unmistakable. There is a sense of love for the source material, and while that may not heighten things for some viewers, it certainly makes the movie more enjoyable for me, as someone who read the comics as a kid (and I can’t imagine what it does for die hard comic fans).

Some of the CGI is a little weak. Especially the Jet landing in the river. But I can forgive that because those moments (unlike the terrible WOLVERINE film) aren’t vital to the plot. I remember saying I couldn’t understand how the claws got worse over ten years. Well, rewatching this film… it isn’t that the claws are much better. But Bryan Singer is a much better director. He knows how to shoot something and make the CGI NOT the focal point. The shot is about the man, not about how cool his claws are. You don’t notice the CGI because you aren’t looking for it. I was, because I wanted to compare. But it took me eight times watching this thing and looking for it to realize they aren’t particularly great. That’s the difference.

I give this movie all the credit in the world for being so much fun while trying to figure out how to tell this story in a new way. May not be an all time classic, but I would certainly never hesitate to watch it any time it was suggested.





~ by johnlink00 on April 13, 2011.

One Response to “johnlink ranks X-MEN (2000)”

  1. […] I watched X-MEN (2000) on 2.13.14. It was, probably, my fifth or sixth viewing of the film and first since 4.13.11. […]

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