run time: 104 mins
considered: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
director: Bryan Singer
starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Barry, Anna Paquin, Tyler Mane, Ray Park, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Bruce Davison
movie summary: The first X-Men movie is now 14 years old, but is a great introduction into these Marvel characters and their stories. Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) owns a school that takes in mutant students in an attempt to help them harness their super human powers. Eric Lensherr aka Magneto (Ian McKellen) recruits rogue mutants who have a rebellious side and are willing to use their powers for destruction and chaos. These two old friends will battle head to head with their students and armies in an attempt to preserve mutant history, whether it be for good or bad.
At the beginning of the movie Eric is in a concentration camp watching his parents being dragged away when he discovers he has the ability to bend medal. He is severely beaten and that is the last we hear of him for decades. Fast forward to the present day where Senator Robert Kelly (Bruce Davison) is attempting to get a bill passed that will force all mutants across the globe to reveal their identities and powers. The only person fighting to block the bill is Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), she insists that mutants are not here to harm people and that they should be allowed to keep their identities private. Meanwhile on the other side of the country, a 17-year-old girl name Marie (Anna Paquin) puts her boyfriend in a coma by kissing him. She has just discovered that she is a mutant so runs away from home to a small lodging town in Alberta. Inside a bar there is a guy named Logan (Hugh Jackman) who is about to be roughed up by a group of guys when he draws medal claws from his hands and takes everyone down. Marie realizes that Logan is a mutant too so hides away in his pickup truck.
Logan leaves the town with no real destination in site when he discovers he has a passenger. Marie, who knows calls herself Rogue, in the back and he reluctantly agrees to help her out. While driving the two are attacked by a mutant called Sabretooth (Tyler Mane), he is out to kill Logan who is also known as the Wolverine. He doesn’t get the job done because Storm (Halle Barry) and Cyclops (James Marsden) show up to rescue and extract them back to Professor Xavier’s school. Once Wolverine wakes up he threatens to leave because he doesn’t need their help and has been surviving on his for decades. The Professor tries to explain that Magneto is out to start a war and that he could use someone of his strength and experience to keep peace in the world. Wolverine agrees to stay on to protect Rogue from any dangers.
Magneto decides to up the stakes in the impending war by kidnapping Senator Kelly and transforming into a mutant. He unleashes his number one mutant ally Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) who has the ability to transfer into anybody she wants too. She impersonates the Senator back in Washington to draw attention away from the mutants while Magneto starts to work out a plan to turn everyone in the world into a mutant. After Washington Mystique finds Professor’s Xavier’s school and begins to taunt Rogue into thinking that she is a burden and that she doesn’t belong in the school. She runs away while Wolverine tracks her down and begs her to come back, just as the two settle their differences Mystique along with Toad, Sabretooth attack the train they are on and take Rogue hostage. Back at the school Professor Xavier tries to his Cerebro device to locate Rogue and Wolverine when Magneto has sprung another attack on the school that causes the Professor to fall into a coma.
The X-Men must carry out their mission to stop Magneto from launching his mutant transforming device without their fearless leader. The group learn through Jean that the device is at the Statue of Liberty in New York City, they pile into their X-Jet and make the journey to the big city where Magneto is expecting them and kidnaps them. With the X-Men chained up and their powers useless Magneto is set to destroy the world as we know it, the group has to do what they can to break free and stop Magneto before it’s to late.
my thoughts: It has been YEARS since I watched the original X-Men movies, that is until Sunday night when I had a min-marathon in preparation for this weekend’s new X-Men’s Days of Future’s Past release. I was disappointed with this movie because it is already 14 years old, but compared to X2 (review coming tomorrow) this one was by far the better of the first two.
The first X-Men movie is actually a great introduction into the series, storylines, and characters. We don’t get a lot of back history of who is who and how they got to be that way, but the importance to the story is simple. There are good mutants and bad mutants, those who choose to be good and try to harness their powers will train and go to school at Professor Xavier’s, while mutants who want to cause destruction and war will team up with Magneto. The best part of the story that deserves more screen time then it actually gets is the friendship between Xavier and Magneto, they know each other from interactions through out the years but don’t see eye to eye. Magneto has even gone out-of-the-way to create a special helmet to shield him from Xavier’s Cerebro device that can find any mutant anyone on earth. He uses this helmet to be a spear on his campaign to destroy the human race, if the world’s most renowned mutant profession can’t find him, no one can.
The writers and directors have a tough time making room for the superstar cast in a picture that is under two hours long. In my personal opinion Hugh Jackman is by far the most famous person in the X-Men group, while others mat disagree and say Halle Barry is. Both Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are legends in their own right and deserve so much credit for breathing life into both the good and bad rulers of their respective groups. The rest of the X-Men and bad mutants include James Marsden, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, and Tyler Mane.
X-Men may be outdated with special effects but this movie focuses more on story telling than battles scenes. It is smart and cunning while allowing each character to show off their powers in an epic battle of good vs evil.
my star rating: 7 out 10
imdb.com: 7.4 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 82% out 100%