Movie Review: X-Men (2000)

Synopsis: Logan, a mutant with the ability to heal quickly and infused with a metallic skeleton who also goes by the nickname Wolverine, encounters a 17-year-old, "Rogue," and is injured while protecting her from other mutants. They are rescued and introduced to Charles Xavier, a telepath who runs a school/safe haven for mutants but soon learn they are being targeted by a group of militant mutants led by Magneto, who intend on turning the normal humans who discriminate against them into mutants too.

Who's in it? The move stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick StewartIan McKellenAnna Paquin and James Marsden.

Review: I came across this movie while waiting for my wife to get done with martial arts classes last night and since there wasn't anything else that looked interesting, decided to watch it. It's not the first time I've seen this film, but it's been more than a decade since I watched it in its entirety. I have to admit, it was better than I remembered.

I'm not a huge fan of superhero movies. I'm not saying I don't occasionally come across one I like (like Iron Man), but it's not my favorite genre. A lot of the reason for that is films like that tend to either assume you know everything to know about a superhero or bog the storyline down with a lot of origin story stuff. X-Men is a film I would refer people to if I wanted to explain how to do a superhero movie right.

The thing I liked most about this movie is the whole backstory/origin part of it was kept to a minimum. I mean, it does help that you can pretty much summarize each of the characters by saying they are mutants, but the film also keeps Logan's (Jackman) story to the basics - he can heal quickly, someone gave him a metallic skeleton and he has no memory of his past life.

There's also quite a bit of action in this film, almost from the very beginning, without the fight scenes becoming too redundant or too ridiculous. The fact the main bad guy, Magneto (McKellen) is someone I would describe as more of an anti-hero than a villain also helps with that. He had some valid points and that made me want to see his extreme plot fail but not necessarily at the loss of his life.

I also liked how this movie leaves the door open for a sequel (and there were several) while still giving closure to the main story. I've said this before but there are way too many movies out there (in multiple genres) that assume there will be a sequel and focus more on setting that up than ending the film in a way that is satisfying.

Final Opinion: This is a well-written superhero film that manages to bring out the best in the main characters without bogging things down with complex backstories or emotional drama that adds an extreme amount of unnecessary runtime. I don't know if I would describe it as the best superhero film I've seen (Iron Man was pretty good). But it is one of my favorites.

My Grade: A


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