X-Men is property of 20th Century Fox
Hello, Spongey here.
Back in my Green Lantern review, I discussed Comic Book movies and how people react to them. Now, I will tell you what you already know: The beginning. Comic Book movies had been on and off in popularity for awhile, and by the end of the 90’s, it seemed like they were kind of dead.
But then, with today’s movie, people got into them again. Sure, Spider-Man is what really got the boom going but this movie wet their appetite. It’s stll fairly popular, even if people remember it for the legacy rather than the film itself.
I could go into the comic it was based on but the history isn’t all that important. All you need to know is that was about some mutants and it lead to one of the most popular franchises of all time. It got two sequels and 80 million spin offs that continue to contradict each other.
And with the latest film coming out in a few months, I thought it would be fun to look back at the first one. …You think I would have more set up considering how big this movie is. Any insight for the characters will go in the review, I guess.
I’ve seen all 3 X-men films (as well as First Class, haven’t seen either Wolverine movie though) but only once so I’ll come in, kind of fresh.
So from the future director of classics like Superman Returns and Jack the Giant Slayer, and the writer of The Scorpion King, comes this big trend setting comic book film .Does it hold up? …I think you know the answer by now.
This, is X-Men
The movie opens with Patrick Stewart narrating to us about how a boy’s wish is the most power-wait, wrong movie. No, instead he tells us about mutation. He just tell us what mutation is, and that every once in awhile, it leaps forward and gives us real mutants.
If you’re just gonna tell us the obvious, don’t waste minutes on narration. But it is Patrick Stewart, so it gets a pass. After the opening credits, we truly start in Poland in 1944, as some kid is separated from his parents upon entering a concentration camp.
He tries to reach them and he somehow ends up bending the gate without touching it. So we established super powers, character backstory, and threw in Holocaust imagery. Yep, this is gonna be a great superhero franchise, all right.
The boy is dragged away and as some text tells us, we cut to the “Not to distant future” (Already did the joke before, sorry) as we join a girl, played by Anna Paquin, hanging with her boyfriend. She kisses him for the first time but it puts him in a Coma. …Ouch.
Jokes aside, both opening scenes were pretty solid. We don’t know a lot about those character yet, but the tragedy displayed in both scenes is fairly well done. We then cut to Washington DC, as congress is discussing the matter of mutants.
See, in this world people have come as mutant freaks and the public reaction has been negative. Nope, not a Gay Allegory at all.
So they are thinking about passing an act that will require all mutants to revealing themselves. Two of the people that are there talk n private. Said people are Charles Xavier, played by Patrick Stewart, and the grown up version of the kid from the opening, Erik. They don’t say much but we can tell they are mutants, and Erik is clearly our human hating villain.
(Yes, I know who is who and all that but for the sake of the review, I’ll play dumb). Anyway, Marie, the chick from that previous scene runs off to Canada because that is where all the kids go. She walks into a bar (walking past the priest and the Rabbi) to see a fighting match going on.
We see one fighter who is called “The Wolverine (subtle), played by Hugh Jackman. Ah yes, the character who is more less the only X Men (er, X-Man I guess) they think we care about. Seriously, he’s gotten 2 solo movies and one of the cartoons is flat out called WOLVERINE and the X-Men.
Which what the movies became after awhile. Anyway Wolverine sits down at the bar, but the dude he was fighting shows up and says he knows what he is. He reacts by showing off his awesome retractable metal claws. Everyone always asks where those claws retract from and I don’t even want to know, cuz that shit has to hurt badly.
This gets him kicked out and he hits the road only to find out Marie stowed away in the back of his truck, cuz she needed a ride. I don’t care if he’s a mutant like, hitching a ride with a grown man who can beat people up easily is never a good idea.
Of course he kicks her out but he then lets her back on a moment later because….um….reasons.
“When they come out, does it hurt?”
Bitch stole my questions!
“What kind of a name is Rouge?”
And he doges the question to tell us the name she must have given him off screen.
“You’re name is Wolverine”
Oh, she’s got you there. Of course his real name is Logan, but I’ll call them Wolverine and Rouge from now on. The truck crashes but Wolverine has healing powers, so it’s all good. At least until he is attacked by some big dude.
Then some other mutants show up and save Rouge from the big dude. After a big fight and explosion, Wolverine wakes up in this place and he walks around. Eventually he ends up in Charles’ office as this happens to be his mansion, and our heroes were brought here by some of his pals for medical attention. This is his school for mutants and here they are safe, and all that stuff you readers already know.
Also, the guys that saved Wolverine and Rouge were Storm, played by Halle Berry, and Cyclops, played by James Marsden. Also, when Wolverine woke up he saw Jean Grey, who oddly enough, was on this blog not too long ago as that bitchy Mom in Taken.
Charles tells Wolverine that there is this guy out for them named Magneto, and the guy that attacked them is a goon called Sabertooth. Yeah, this is a very exposition heavy scene so I’m sorry I’m not providing many jokes here.
Of course, Wolverine thinks this is stupid (and mocks the dumb names even though he has own dumb name) but Xavier says they can help him. Speaking of exposition, Xavier dumps some more on us as he simply tells us more about the school and how it helps mutants young and old. It’s a place where all mutants are accepted, and not feared.
As incredibly subtle as the message, as I’ve always liked that X-Men is an allegory for prejudice, cuz we’ve all faced in it some way. Plus, making them all mutants just makes it cooler.
Also, Rouge is in class right now as she just went into the school right away, no questions asked or anything. Oh, to explain her first scene, she absorbs the life force of everyone she touches and on humans, it’s a bit deadly.
“The children are called X-Men”
Xavier shows them all the epic stuff they have on the lower levels. Xavier has the power to control minds, and he once meet Erik who could control metal. But then he turned evil and became Magneto. He’s more than a little pissed at humanity, while Xavier wants to make piss with humans.
Christ, this is a lot to take in at once. I feel like I’m not saying anymore than the movie is. It’s no issue for me but as a reviewer, big dumps like this are a nightmare.
We cut to Senator Kelly, a very anti mutant dude, as he is attacked by this mutant named Mystique, who is pretty much a blue chameleon that can change into people-
-and is um, naked a lot of the time. No comment.
“People like you is the reason I was afraid to go to school as a child”
Back with Wolverine, Jean Grey is looking at him again.
“Couldn’t wait to get my shirt off again, huh?’
He’s clearly talking to the fangirls watching.
By the way, I haven’t commented on Hugh’s performance yet, so I will now. He IS Wolverine. He’s the funny, awesome, badass we all know and love. Everyone agrees he makes the role, much like Micheal Keaton as Batman or Heath Leder as the joker. I don’t see an actor playing Wolverine. I see Wolverine.
After doing some studying, Jean tells Xavier later that the metal stuff in his claws is “Adamanitum” and they think Wolverine had some experiments done on his him to make him this way. Which all be explored in that movie everyone likes to forget ever happened.
Kelly is taken to Magneto’s liar as he is taken to Magneto, played by Sir Ian Mckellen .We’ve seen him a few times already but I waited until now to properly introduce him. They strap Kelly into some machine that does…something we won’t see just yet.
We cut to Wolverine as we get that scene where the dude has a scene with a chick, in this case Jean, only for her boyfriend, in this case Cyclops, comes in she has to go.
“Gonna tell me to stay away from your girl?”
‘If I had to do that, she wouldn’t be my girl”
“Oh and Logan. Stay away from my girl”
…Eh, it was still funny.
That night, Rouge goes into Wolverine’s room while he’s sleep (for….reasons) and she makes the mistake of waking up a clearly troubled angry dude and clawed. I hate to be a dick but….it was kind of her fault. Then she uses her powers on him which isn’t exactly good for him, and it gets the attention of some students.
She did that so she can borrow Wolverine’s ability to heal since hey, he fucked her up, may as well fuck him up while also getting healed at the same time.
Back with Kelly, it turns out that machine gave him some mutant powers. Said powers allow him to squeeze through his cell bars and escape. Gee, it’s liking giving your hostage mutant powers was a dumb idea!
Sure,. Mangeto shows up to take him back but his Kelly uses his powers to escape Sabertooth’s clutches and Magneto punishes him. Again, giving your hostage powers was not a bright idea, dumbass.
Kelly washes up on the beach where he sees,something interesting.-
THE OBLIGATORY STAN LEE CAMEO!
Back at the school, this dude Rouge likes, named Bobby, chews her out for taking Wolverine’s powers and tells her to get the hell out. I’d play the Sandler “clip” here but it turns out he Is Mystique in disguise so there.
Rouge runs away and Xavier takes Wolverine to this big room that has a device that amplifies Xavier’s powers, which he will use to find Rouge. By the way, Patrick Stewart is the perfect Xavier, and he’s one of the actors that can make exposition interesting.
He is able to locate her and he has Storm go out and talk to her. But Wolverine is feeling guilty since he’s part of the reasons she’s gone, so he goes after her too. He finds her quickly and apologizes to her for what happened.
This scene is pretty nice, as it gives that heart we needed amongst all this plot set up. Rouge certainly feels left out due her powers and with her telling Wolverine about how a boy she kissed got into a coma, they bond a bit and it’s fairly sweet. This will boast the movies score in the end.
But all is not well, as Storm is still looking for her and Sabertooth shows up and attacks her. Wolverine eventually sees this and we get a fight on a train until Magneto makes his grand entrance. He walks outside the train station and is faced with some cops trying to stop him, and that goes about as well as you’d expect.
He demands Xavier come out (cuz he’s here now somehow) but of course he doesn’t budge. So he just kidnaps Rouge and everyone else goes home. Excitement!
Wolverine wants to go out to find her for the 2nd time but instead he goes into Jean Grey’s office, as Kelly happens to be there .Yeah, he as too afraid to go into a normal hospital cuz of his ….condition so somehow dragged himself here cuz he knew about the place somehow.
Xavier looks through his mind and finds out about the mutation machine. They figure out the machine draws its power Magneto and it weakened him and his plan is to use Rouge’s powers to put his powers into her and power the machine that way, so she will get hurt instead.
That plan is…a tad odd. I mean, for one, when she takes your powers you’ll be weakened. Combine that with the fact she will have your powers and you are gonna get your ass beat. Wouldn’t it be easier to just make a machine that draws it’s power from anything else?
Storm tends to Kelly as his body doesn’t react well to mutation. He asks if she hates any humans like how he hates mutants. She says yes since some humans are dicks to mutants.
“You have one less person to be afraid of”
Then he dies. Ouch. Actually, his whole subplot was pretty good. This guy hates mutants but then he becomes one himself, dies of said mutation and learns that some mutants aren’t all that bad. It’s an interesting thing that adds to some of the substance this movie has.
So Xavier tries to use his amplifier thing to locate Rouge again Mystique got into this room earlier and messed with it so he goes into a coma. Man, this is not their day, is it?
Since Jean is a telepath too, she uses the machine to find out where Magneto is going on. Wait, how does the machine still work fine? The sabotage only made it fail once? How does that work?
Anyway, we cut to Rouge with Magneto on a boat headed to Liberty Island. He goes on about how there is no land of tolerance and people are killed for being different. His plan is to use the mutation on machine on some world leaders to make them just like him, to level the playing field as it were.
Eh, I could nitpick shit again but that plan seems okay on paper. For every dumb move he makes, he has a smart one right around the corner. So now our heroes must head out to stop Magneto.
Also, the suit up and Wolverine doesn’t like their team outfit.
“What do you prefer, yellow spandex?”
The butt hurt comic fans say yes.
By the way, when they get to this place, there’s a gag where Wolverine flips Cyclops off with his middle claw. That was funny until Epic Movie stole-i mean spoofed it. Anyway, Mysterioque shows up and fights Wolverine….after she turns into Wolverine.
Ever wanted to see Wolverine fight himself? Well, here you go. Then this other goon named Toad, played by Ray Park, shows up to fight the gang. This leads to a cool action scene where the X-Men get to show off their awesome powers.
This also leads to Storm’s Crowning Moment of Awesome as she uses her powers to shock Toad with lightning and take him out. Then Wolverine bumps into Storm after that, but it turns it to be Mystique and he takes her out.
So, Wolverine rejoins his pals..
“Guys, it’s me”
“You’re a dick”
Things seem okay until Magneto shows up and incapacitates our heroes.
“Storm, shock him”
‘Yes, a storm lighting next to a proper conductor”
Hey, pointing out the dumb stuff is my job!
Magneto goes into a speech how what he’s doing is right and all that. Then he goes to start up his plan with Rouge. While this is going on, Wolverine fights Sabertooth on the Statue of Liberty which is awesome.
Shit starts going on as the machine gets more powerful and all that. Wolverine is able to save Rouge until it turns out she’s kind of dead. But you all know that when someone on this blog dies dramaticly, they come back to life.
Thankfully, it makes sense here because she has power stealing powers so Wolverine uses that to give his regeneration powers to her. Logan is hurt a bit by this but we’ll be okay. By the way, as you can tell, the machine was destroyed and I guess they stopped Magneto for now in the process.
There was more to the climax that I skipped, so don’t worry, I like it. They go back home just as Xavier wakes up from his plot convenience coma. Jean tends to Wolverine and tells him Rouge is fine.
“She’s a bit taken with you”
“You can tell her my heart belongs to soemone else”
Jean? I’ve skipped some of her scenes but you guys shared like…a quarter of the scenes you’ve had with Rouge. Granted, she’s 17, you’re much older (the real love every parent fears?) so meh.
However, all is not well as is another room, we see that Kelly is on TV saying he is pro-mutant now. Yes, he is still dead. Yes, it’s obviously Mystique. Yes, I think Rise of Cobra likely ripped this part off.
Also, Xavier tells Wolverine they found a military base back in Canada that might have info about his past. So Wolverine has a nice moment with Rouge before heading out so find a sequel.
Over in Magneto’s prison cell (they captured him and stuff. I skipped a lot in hindsight) he and Xavier are playing a symbolic game of chess. Magneto boats that this cell will not hold him and the war is not ending soon. But Xaiver tells “lolno” and leaves. Roll credits.
The epic chess scene was far more epic than I made it sound, trust me. Also, a few statmtes about the ending.
1. Yeah, I made it seem abrupt..and it kind of is, in a way. It feels like after all that build up, things just kind of died down. But the ending itself is fine.
2. I usually don’t like it when they leave it TOO open for a sequel, but I think they balanced that fine so the 1st film still stand up on it’s own. Plus, the sequel was actually existent and good in this case.
Overall, I can sit with this ending, since I know there is a good sequel right after it. By the way, it’s weird to know there was a time where Marvel movies didn’t have an end credits scene.
Oh, and Fun Facts, 1. the driver of the truck that drops off Rouge back in the first Wolverine scene was played by the guy who voiced Beast in the animated series. Cool!
2. The place Xavier’s mansion was filmed was the same place they filmed the mansion in Billy Madison. Never thought you could connect Sandler to X men, eh? ..Oh, the new Sandler movie is coming out on the same day as Future past? FUUUU0-
Overall, I think this film holds up decently well. Yeah, it’s no Avengers or anything but for the time, it’s pretty good. It’s main draw is not being as interesting as something like Spider-Man or something. It lacks that big thing that a movie like this needs. As a result, some people say it’s mostly just there as a starting point and isn’t note worthy otherwise.
I disagree, as I still found this to be a good enough movie. The big thing to note is that a lot of this film is set up for a franchise, so it does often feel like most of it is spent explaining, but it is mixed in with actual character development, and it makes said explaining fun and enjoyable.
The plot does it it’s basic points, but the whole idea of Mutants standing in for Racism and all that, is well handled and it doesn’t feel too preachy. They tie it into the villains motivations nicely, and well, he would get more interesting in the sequel, he’s a solid foe here.
The characters are a mixed bag. Storm isn’t very interesting but Halle Berry does do a good job (insert crack about Catwoman here) and the same goes for people Jean Grey and Sabertooth and all that. Though Mystique was pretty ho-i mean cool.
On the other hand, Cyclops is fun, and there is a small handful of enjoyable minor characters. Xavier is Mr exposition but he has some stuff to him and fuck it, it;s Patrick Stewart so he’s awesome. And our main heroes, Rouge and Wolverine, are very good.
Wolverine is a funny badass, (helped by a fantastic performance by Hugh Jackman) and Rouge’s entire dilemma helps depict the film’s issue of alienation rather well. They were together even if it’s not all that complex compared to other movies.
So the people will focus on the most are solid, which makes up for how weak some of the others can be. The action is solid, the effects are great, but what I really like about this movie is the tone. It strikes the perfect balance of serious and sort of fun. It’s not too goofy like parts of the first Spider-Man nor is it The Dark Knight.
It can be taken 100 percent seriously if you want, but it’s also a lot of fun. Like I said, it’s biggest is that it is simple. But the issues it tackles are interesting, the main characters are well written, and all the performances are solid.
So overall, this one holds up fairly well. If you go into it knowing it’s place in History, it’s pretty good. Some have turned on it though, especially after X2 and First Class, but I think this was a good set up for a (mostly) good franchise to follow.
Yes, I will Review X2 but I’ll save that for another time.
So there you go, my insanely late X-Men review. And hey, next month is March! You know what that means!
THE EPIC TRILOGY ENDS
TOON’D OUT MONTH 3!!!!