Sunday, 6 February 2011

Film Review: X-Men [2000]

EDIT (2013): WARNING - I wrote these reviews aaaaages ago and possibly don't even agree with them any more.  I have since discovered that one sentence reviews are a lot more fun.  Please see One Sentence Film Reviews tab.

X-Men is an enjoyable action/adventure with depth.  In the not-too-distant future, humanity has discovered there are mutants living among them, and scared by these superpowered folk, want them pulled into the open and labelled.  Fear drives mutants into two factions, those who want humans and mutants to live in harmony, and those who want to destroy humans before they are destroyed themselves.  It’s a weighty idea, giving more intelligence to the usual superhero story, creating a compelling tale that revolves around two particular mutants struggling with their isolation, Rogue and Wolverine, who are taken in by a band of superheroes, the X-Men. 

The best parts of the film are those that focus on the interesting and emotional relationship between Wolverine and Rogue (expertly handled by Hugh Jackman and Anna Paquin).  Rogue’s plot alone, of a teenage girl who cannot touch anyone without killing them, is worth the whole film. 

Admittedly, X-Men isn’t perfect.  The story drags in the middle and the plot could use more explanation.  Several characters are completely flat; Storm is so superfluous it would have been better to cut her out completely and there’s an absolutely tedious love triangle, utterly out of place with the rest of the film (and guess what the sequels focus on).

Still, the heart is strong, the opening fascinating and the ending exhilarating, so it survives.  X-Men is moving, funny and exciting, which pretty much covers all bases for what makes a great film.  A mostly excellent film with plenty of potential, only spoilt by watching the sequels or the ‘extended’ version, so avoid those where possible.


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