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Much like Spider-Man, I've never been a huge fan of the X-Men comics. I never had anything against them, but they simply weren't my cup of tea, and back when I was going through my comics phase, I preferred to spend my money on other releases. In fact, it's taken me eight years to finally watch the movie adaptation of this comic, and I really only picked it up because I found it in the bargain bin for just five bucks. Does this tell you how invested I am in the series? Now, with my "not a fan" speech out of the way, I think that it's a given that I can't tell you how "accurate" this film version was and I can't tell you whether or not it stays true to issue #19 and Storm's choice of hairstyles, but what I can tell you is that the movie was pretty damned fun; in fact, I'd venture to say that it's one of the best comic-to-film adaptations that I've seen.
Review by Chad
Added: July 25, 2008
Set in the not too distant future, the film takes place in New York and introduces us to Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison), a man who wants to impose strict regulations upon all of the mutants that are popping up. This doesn't sit too well with neither Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) nor Magneto (Ian McKellen), two mutants who are strongly opposed to this discrimination but who have radically different ideas about how to stand up for themselves. Magneto wants to create a device that will transform the entire population of New York into mutants so that they can see how it feels to live on their side of the tracks, and with the help of his minions Sabretooth (Tyler Mane), Toad (Ray Park), and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), they set out to do just that.
Of course, this doesn't sit too well with Xavier, a man who is also dealing with two mutants who have recently joined his school for the gifted and who are having troubles of their own stemming from their abnormalities. However, both of these new mutants - Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue (Anna Paquin) - will find that they're more deeply involved in this war than they could have ever imagined, so they must side with the original X-Men and attempt to put a stop to Magneto's insane plot. These two heroes alongside Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Storm (Halle Berry), and Cyclops (James Marsden) go to war with the villains, the fate of an entire population will be decided by the victors, and we have ourselves a film.
Ever since its launch back in the sixties, the X-Men comic has been seen as an allegory for discrimination against minorities. Sure, it's a comic about superheroes battling villains at its core, but even the most uneducated of readers can see the correlation between a nation who wants to impose sanctions on a certain subset of its population and... well, the comics. Although I was never a fan of these comics, I thought that it was admirable that they went beyond the traditional "good guys versus bad guys" approach with their storytelling, and honestly, this is the main reason that I never bothered to watch the movie. Based on the trailers and the general nature of Hollywood blockbusters, I was afraid that the intelligence and underlying theme of the comics would be thrown to the wayside in favor of fight scenes and explosions, but thankfully, I was wrong.
The filmmakers wisely chose to keep this aspect of the comics intact, and while the fans that simply want to see a comic book come to life on their screen will be happy with the results, those of us who want a little meat to go with our potatoes will enjoy the story as well. When you hear the comments about mutants being forced to be branded with a distinguishing mark, it's hard not to think of how the Jews were treated under Hitler's rule. When you hear the segregation remarks, it's difficult to ignore the similarities between America's treatment of blacks throughout a large portion of our history, and the quips along the lines of "Do you really want these people teaching our kids?" come straight out of today's newspapers - just replace "mutants" with "gays", and you'll see what I mean.
I also enjoyed how the film didn't necessarily present us with simple "good guys" and "bad guys." Sure, Magneto is hatching a plot to transform an entire city's population into mutants, but it's hard to fault him for that after seeing how he and his kind are being treated. If, during Hitler's reign of terror, a small group of Jews somehow came up with a plot to turn all of the Nazi's into Goldberg's and Perlstein's, do you really believe that the rest of the world would have shed a tear or lost any sleep? I thought not, and this is reflected perfectly in the film.
With all of that said, this is still a comic book movie at heart, and as such, it features everything that one would expect from such a film: mutant battles, action sequences, and of course, plenty of displays of bizarre powers and abilities. Overzealous fanboys may be disappointed over some small inaccuracies in regards to the comics (the Wolverine versus Sabretooth rivalry for starters - even I caught that one), but you have to think: the writers were tasked with condensing over forty years of comics and spin-off's into a cohesive ninety-minute movie that would appeal to both fans of the comic and general moviegoers alike. With that in mind, there were bound to be some slight changes made to the story and the characters, but the overall product is still damned satisfying.
Speaking of appealing the general moviegoers (such as myself in this case), I was pleasantly surprised with how we got a couple of genuine introductions to the characters along with a recap of their history. We all know who Wolverine is, but how did he come to join the X-Men? Magneto is the villain here, but where did he come from? Not all of the characters get this treatment, but it was nice that we were given a little history lesson on some of the main characters before getting down to business.
Overall, I was highly impressed with the film, and I'm disappointed that I waited so long to check it out. It's a perfect blend of summer blockbuster, comic book movie, action flick, and it all comes with a nice serving of honest-to-goodness storytelling. As an added bonus, it stays pretty damned close to the source material based on my limited knowledge, so even the fanboys in the audience shouldn't be able to find too much to bitch about. 10/10.
- added 07/25/2008, 11:16 AM
This is my second favorite of the franchise.
"X-2" is my favorite and "X-Men
United" my least favorite. This one gets
- added 07/27/2008, 09:15 AM
You're right to say it's not fair to expect the
writers to condense all that plot into a movie,
but at least keep the uniforms blue and
- added 07/27/2008, 08:08 PM
dude, watch the second one. out of all the
superhero/comic adaptations, X2 and spidey 2 were
probably my favourites. it's interesting to note
that this movie sort of kick-started the whole
comic book movie craze. it was huge to see a comic
book movie that a) didn't suck (batman and robin?)
and b) stayed true to the source material (judge
dredd!?) after so long. then spider-man came along
and... here we are. anyway, a great franchise
starter with an exponentially better sequel... and
an abhorrently, almost offensively awful
The Red Clover
- added 07/27/2008, 10:31 PM
The only thing I disliked about the
"X-Men" franchise was the fact that they
were using a plot from the comics that would take
more then three two hour movies to explain while
neglecting and leaving a lot of the elements from
that plot out of the films itself. I agree with
"bluemeanie" on this, "X-2"
has to be my favorite (maybe because I'm a
Nightcrawler fan and Alan Cummings rocked the
role.) For all the faults in the franchise this
has got to be one of the best casted hero films to
date. I even agreed with Vinnie Jones as the
Juggernaut in the third movie but I didn't like
the idea of him becoming a mutant considering his
abilities and powers were more religious/mystical
and I feel making the Juggernaut into a mutant and
ignoring the fact that Cain Marko is Charles
Xavier's step-brother took a lot of substance away
from a villain who was lacking substance in the
But the first movie was
definitely a 10/10. Well done.
- added 05/25/2010, 01:36 AM
Awesome movie and of course I would stick it in
Anna Paquin's butt. 9/10