Paragon Pundit Hero Movie Review #2

Paragon Pundit Hero Movie Review
#2: X-Men

After reviewing “Zoom”, I thought I would give you a taste of what a REAL superhero team would be like, and give you a review of “X-Men”, based on the popular Marvel Comic series. “X-Men” was released by 20th Century Fox in 2000, directed by Bryan Singer, and stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Bruce Davison, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn, Ray Park, and Tyler Mane. The movie is available on DVD either by itself or in a box set with its two sequels, or on occasion on the FX channel.

The story starts with a young Jewish boy being separated from his family in Auschwitz in World War II. The fear of losing his parents triggers his mutant magnetic ability and almost manages to tear the metal doors open before being knocked out. Fast forward to 2000, and Senator Robert Kelly (Davison) is grilling Dr. Jean Grey (Janssen) about the existence of teenagers with mutant abilities and how the senator feels they should be treated as threats to the nation. The scene is observed by Professor Charles Xavier (Stewart) and Erik Lehnsherr (McKellen), who was that boy from Auschwitz now bitter at what he sees as history repeating itself.

The story switches from there to the plight of a young Southern girl named Marie (Paquin) who kisses a young boy for the first time and accidentally puts him in a coma. Overridden by guilt, she runs away and finds herself in Canada, where she meets up with a scraggly drifter that calls himself “Wolverine” (Jackman) and has razor-sharp claws that protrude and retract between his fingers. It’s here that she calls herself “Rogue”. She sneaks a ride on Wolverine’s truck and manages to get a few words in before they are attacked by a menacing blonde monster later called Sabertooth (Mane). He attacks the two of them, allowing Rogue to see Wolverine’s mutant healing power at work, before they are rescued by Storm (Berry) and Cyclops (Marsden).

The story then focuses more on Wolverine and how he finds himself in the Xavier School for the Gifted and how Xavier was once best friends with Erik, who now calls himself Magneto. Xavier asks Wolverine to stay and offers to use his powers and resources to help him unlock his past. Wolverine stays, partly because out of concern for Rogue, who has developed a crush on him, and partly because of his own attraction to Jean Grey, who is seeing Cyclops.

Meanwhile, Senator Kelly is kidnapped by two more of Magneto’s associates, the grotesque Toad (Park) and the erotic shape-shifting Mystique (Romijn). They take the senator to Magneto’s lair, where Magneto exposes him to a device that would turn normal people into mutants. Kelly escapes because of his new mutant ability and looks to Jean for help. Magneto’s forces overwhelm the X-Men and kidnap Rogue, who was running away after being accidentally stabbed by Wolverine. With the information they get from the senator, the X-Men take on Magneto’s “Brotherhood” at the Statue of Liberty.

There’s a lot that is missing from this summary, and that’s because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t seen this yet. There are plenty of heroic elements to this movie that make this one of the really best hero movies.

Even though Director Singer said that he didn’t want to do a “comic book movie”, he actually managed to make a realistic comic book movie. Although the costumes lack the “yellow spandex”, they would reflect the kind of realistic outfit that you would see from a group of mutants, and they still had the X-symbols on them. The Blackbird, the Xavier School, even Cerebro are all right out of the comic book. And the music has a heroic feel to it. We’re not talking pre-packaged MTV pop music. We’re talking orchestral music.

The casting is exceptional as well, with seasoned actors like Stewart and McKellen teaming up with (then) up-and-coming stars like Jackman, Paquin, Marsden, Romijn, and Berry (before she won her Oscar). Their characters interact quite well and almost come right out of the comic book. And of course the SERIOUS drool factor goes to Romijn’s Mystique character, who spends most of her time naked except for strategically placed scales and blue bodypaint.

I would definitely recommend this as a hero movie, and if you haven’t already gotten it on DVD, pick up the box set with the other two sequels.

Capes: I have to give 4 out of 5 capes and that only because while the characters are realistic, they’re not really iconic enough for all five capes.

Nothing but American Cheese (0). They really took this seriously.

Books: Definitely gets all 5 books from me. There is a solid story and great characters along with wonderful effects and an original score instead of pre-packaged pop.

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