Saturday Night Comic Book Movie … Uh, Single Feature: X-Men

X-Men Trilogy
3-DVD Box Set

Buy at Amazon

I’m feeling a little too tired to attempt a double feature tonight. And since X-Men Origins: Wolverine is out next Friday, I figured this was as good of a time as any to re-watch the first X-Men movie.

This came out nine years ago. I find that incredible. I think a lot of comic book fans never thought it would happen, too. I don’t think I did. And I don’t think anyone thought it was going to be this good. X-Men definitely opened the door to superhero movies of quality and Bryan Singer made other “serious” directors think there was something to this whole thing.

In a bit of dream casting, we got Patrick Stewart as Professor X. We have have a knight as Oscar winners (even if one of them is in a bad wig). Of course, on the flip side, we have a couple of actors who aren’t really of note and, well, a supermodel and professional wrestler. But still, as far as the cast goes, this was pretty amazing.

After starting in an expected place — a concentration camp in Poland in 1944, the rest of the plot is probably too set-up as the X-Men assembles, but a lot of things are done right here. Wolverine’s relationship with Rogue is evocative of his relationships with characters like Kitty Pryde and Jubilee in the comic. He’s a troubled, somewhat unstable character, but he could also serve as the right sort of father-figure for Rogue. Wolverine’s sparring with Cyclops over Jean Grey is also fun stuff.

The friendship/rivalry between Professor X and Magneto is also gracefully handled. Their desires for mutants aren’t too far apart, but there are crucial differences that separate them. I like that this kept Magneto from being one-dimensionally evil. He was a villain to sympathize with.

The Senator Kelly stuff doesn’t quite work. Or at least, it doesn’t work as well as it could. Storm is also pretty useless. The effects look a little dated at this point, although still not terrible.

Nearly 10 years later, X-Men remains one of the more effective comic book superhero movies made. It’s true to the spirit of the comics and it’s still satisfying (the other two are … less so. The second one is still good. The third … well …). Watching it, I do feel excited for Wolverine. I think that’s a pretty cool thing, personally.

(Yes, I know the Amazon link is to the box set of all three, but I figured it was cheap enough. You can still find the first one and it seems to be under $10 at this point.)

Leave a Reply