Overview: Two mutants are brought to an academy for exceptional youngsters and recruited to choose sides between two dissenting opinions on humanity. 2000; 20th Century Fox; Rated PG-13; 104 minutes
The Crowd: Singer does an exemplary job of introducing us to a world of superheroes while maintaining the story’s focus and not allowing any one scene to become too crowded. It’s easy to cross into territory where too many characters to keep track of results in apathy toward all of them. X-Men succeeds in providing us with plenty of mutants to quench our superpower thirsts while still keeping the plot traceable and in continuous motion.
Just Two Old Friends: Although a case can often be made for lack in character development being directly proportionate to the size of an ensemble cast, two very human relationships keep us connected to these characters and what happens to them. The friendship, or developing lack thereof, between Professor Xavier and Magneto is one that leaves audiences continuously wanting more. The scenes in which Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart share simple dialogue are just as compelling as watching Halle Berry electrocute a human “Toad.” I could watch these grumpy old men play a simple game of chess all day.
The New Kids: This story largely revolves around the academy’s newest additions, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue (Anna Paquin). Jackman channels his inner Han Solo as he immediately slides into the role of rugged, likable anti-hero. The soft spot he grows to have for Rogue (as long as they’re not busy almost killing each other) gives us a glimpse of Wolverine’s loyalty, which adds some balance to the bad boy vibe he tries almost too hard to project. Under all that metal and anger, he’s just a big teddy bear. And Rogue, well, a typical teenage girl just wants to fit in, and who can’t relate to that? Her powers make her feel like a freak, which is not a far cry from the way most high schoolers feel on a daily basis.
Final Thoughts: Professor X’s attachment to Magneto along with mankind’s growing disdain for mutants also manages to create a grey area between the good guys and the bad, which means it’s okay to just wish these two could be buddies again. It’s also okay to root for Mystique just a little in that fight against Wolverine. Believe me guys, mutant or not, I know it’s impossible not to side against Rebecca Romijn wearing nothing but blue paint.