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2000 - PG-13 - 100 Mins.
Director: Bryan Singer
Producer: Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter
Written By: David Hayter, Tom DeSanto, Bryan Singer
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Tyler Mane, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Ray Park, Anna Paquin
Review by: Carl Langley

Hey, Michael Jackson enjoyed it...
The day X-Men, the cartoon television series, premiered in 1992, fighting the gigantic sentinels, I was hooked. Immediately, I was buying comic book editions, action figures, and I can remember at elementary school we developed our own infinitesimal X-Men club; Gambit was always the character of choice, the French inamorato who dealt out detonated ace cards like ambulance chasers dish out their business cards. The success that brought Superman and Batman to the silver screen gave me great anticipation of an X-Men adaptation.

Bryan Singer, who directed one of my favorite films of all time in The Usual Suspects, signed on to direct only augmenting my desire and enthusiasm. Many actors who I had imagined in certain roles were cast (Patrick Stewart as Professor X and Famke Janssen as Jean Grey) and there were others that I was skeptical about (Anna Paquin as Rogue, an unknown Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and a former wrestler as his nemesis, Sabretooth). I had to govern the fact that Rogue was young in the original comics and not a seasoned southerner with superhuman strength, as in the animated series.

Needless to say, when X-Men hit theaters eight years after the debut of its series, I was the first in line. My overall expectations were thwarted diminutively when the film version did not feature the characters of Nightcrawler, Beast, and most importantly Gambit. The storyline that forges battles between good and evil mutants is fair, however, X-Men is just as much of a character driven film than the aspect of an action/sci-fi piece. Singer and writers Tom DeSanto and David Hayter superbly developed each mutant – notably Wolverine and Rogue - and the only human (Bruce Davison as Senator Kelly) that immensely intertwines with the narrative.

To boil it down, Magneto (Ian McKellen) leads the mutant terrorist organization. Their goal is rid all humans because of the hatred towards mutants they bring with them. His opponent, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) assembles a team, with newly acquired Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and teenager Rogue (Anna Paquin), to attempt and restore peace and put a stop to Magneto’s rancorous plan.

To assist Professor X, there is Cyclops (James Marsden), who shoots powerful red laser beams out of his eyes. Storm (Halle Berry) controls the weather and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) has the power of telekinesis, much like her mentor. There are quick sightings of Iceman, Jubilee, and even Shadowcat, but if you blink, you might miss them. Villains that stand behind Magneto are: Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), a sexy blue shapeshifter, Sabretooth (Tyler Mane), who possesses similar powers to Wolverine (anybody who knows the storyline will understand), and Toad (Ray Park) who can do more magical things with his tougne than Cindy Crawford ever could.

My only complaint is having to wait three years for each sequel to come out. X-Men have cultivated franchise material and they should be popping films out like Harry Potter. X2: X-Men United, the second installment, was far superior to its predecessor because the mutants were already flourished and the sole concentration was on a comic book story; still no Gambit, although Alan Cumming was wisely brought on board to portray Nightcrawler. The ending clearly sets up the third chapter, but sadly, we may watch different actors in certain roles. Halle Berry as Storm and Hugh Jackman have not signed on yet for X3 but rumor has it Jackman is close. Berry, rising to A-star prominence is highly doubtful, because the role cannot bring her any positive outlook to her current status. Dilute the role of Storm, forget Berry and her lustful sex appeal, and sign Vincent Cassel on as Gambit, dangit! No applause necessary.
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

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