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X-Men (2000) – Movie Review

Released almost 20 years ago, the original X-Men film paved the way for the modern superhero movie craze we know today and it changed the game when it was released. I remember watching the original X-Men trilogy during my youth and I owned the DVDs for the films. I was so intrigued by this universe and the fight for mutant rights and the battle between good and evil. I was such a fan of this franchise growing up and it helped me get more into the superhero genre. I feel this film doesn’t get enough credit, because if it wasn’t for this film, we would not have the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and upon rewatching this film, I was amazed by how this movie still holds up for the most part and it still remains a worthy entry into the superhero genre.

Set in the not too distant future, X-Men depicts a world where an unknown proportion of people are mutants, whose possession of superhuman powers makes them feared by humans. Involved in the fight for mutant rights are Erik Lehnsherr, who goes by the name of Magneto and is leading the Brotherhood of Mutants to oppose mankind, and his former friend, Charles Xavier, who is leading the X-Men to protect mankind. Two mutants, Logan and Rogue, are brought into the conflict between the two groups, as Magneto plans to turn many of the world’s heads into mutants.

While the main story does feel simple, X-Men delves deeper into the themes of prejudice, racism and fight for mutant rights. It quite resembles the real life fight for gay and human civil rights, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement. I love how we see two different people having their own different approach to fight for the liberation and acceptance of mutant kind and that creates an interesting conflict in the film. Director Bryan Singer does a phenomenal job in building up the world of X-Men and humanizing the characters.

This film features some of the best casting choices in any comic book film. Every cast member look perfect for the role, especially Patrick Stewart as Professor X, Ian McKellen as Magneto and most notably, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Jackman was criticized for being cast as the character due to his height, but he ended up proving everyone wrong and he gave a stellar performance. At this point it’s hard to see someone else in the role of Wolverine other than Jackman. Other cast members such as James Marsden, Famke Janssen and Rebecca Romjin also fit their perspective roles perfectly.

Another thing that I love about the film is the relationships between the characters. It feels so natural and realistic. I loved the father-daughter relationship between Logan and Rogue and Professor X’s relationship with Magneto and it feels so fleshed out. The action sequences and the visual effects are great for the most part. I also loved the black X-Men leather suits, as I feel it fit the film’s realistic tone. The only issues I have with the film is that some of the visual effects look terrible by today’s standards and Micheal Kamen’s soundtrack, while good, doesn’t feel really memorable. I also felt that some of the main characters, such as Cyclops and Storm, were underdeveloped and took a backseat for Wolverine, Xavier and Magneto.

Overall, the original X-Men film is a great start to the X-Men franchise and it helped pioneer the modern superhero genre. I think this film needs to be much more appreciated and while there are better follow ups, this film set the stage for what’s to come to the franchise and it’s still a fascinating science fiction and superhero film that manages to stay to true to the source material.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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