johnlink re-ranks X-MEN (2000)

With the next X-MEN on the horizon, it is about time to revisit the originals. For this blog, only the first of the original trilogy has been considered. So I’ll do this one again, and see what the other two early films have to hold as well. Maybe we will even get to the WOLVERINE films, though the first cooled me to the possibility of the second. As for FIRST CLASS… we will see if we get that far (I’ve already ranked it once). It’s crazy that DAYS OF FUTURE PAST will be the 6th X-MEN film. How quickly a franchise develops…


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.

To consider where the comic book movie was before the year 2000 is to remember Shaq starring in STEEL or the early SPAWN film. Comic books were not seen as serious source material for films, let alone the boom enterprise they are today.

Bryan Singer’s 2000 film X-MEN can easily be considered the start of the new generation of comic book films. There were certainly misfires in the early years of the movement (and GREEN LANTERN shows there still are now), but Singer put the comic book movie on the radar for legitimate filmmakers.

X-MEN suffers from a few growing pains. The explanation of nicknames feels a little clunky when compared to today’s smooth scripts. The creation of a villainous lair feels outdated and impractical. The science of Magneto’s machine is laughable.

Yet, none of those are the things we remember. Instead, we see a relationship between Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) that goes far beyond the usual protagonist/antagonist relationship. We experience a perfectly cast Hugh Jackman, then an unknown, as Wolverine. We are privy to wonderful fight sequences, mostly effective special effects (even by today’s standards), and a manageable number of heroes and villains to follow.

The story, involving Magneto’s plan to use Rogue (Anna Paquin) to power a machine that turns humans into mutants, is about the alienation in attempted unity. By trying to force all humans into a mutant state, Magneto ultimately becomes isolated in a plastic room. The bookends of his youth in a concentration camp and his end, alone in a facility (at least for this chapter of the story), tell the story of a guy who will always be a prisoner in some way. Professor X has pity on him, he sympathizes with him.  Xavier’s own imprisonment has to do with his restriction to a wheelchair. However, his mental telepathy allow him the means to be anywhere he wants.

The layers of X-MEN are nicely stacked. No doubt the film benefits from a love affair with the expansive source material. This first film in the series does a great job telling an origin story while also satisfying its fans. While the series would become too swelled by the third, this first movie is just the right size and scope.





~ by johnlink00 on February 14, 2014.

2 Responses to “johnlink re-ranks X-MEN (2000)”

  1. Great review. And agreed. It has a few flaws, but for the most part, the first one works.

  2. […] in anticipation of DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. Well, like so many things in life, that never happened. I revisited the first one and stopped there. Now that the new X-MEN is in theaters it is time to plow through the others. […]

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