Movie of the Week: X-Men (2000)

Bryan Singer directs Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin and Ian McKellen in this Marvel superhero adventure that introduces a near future world of mutants with unique powers and the human society that rejects them.

The general consensus on this franchise starter is it is more a prologue used to establish all the players for future entries than a fully fledged movie in its own right. All I know is I’ve had an absolute blast each and every time I’ve watched it. Bizarrely me and my mum went to see it together at the cinema on opening weekend. I think we wanted to go do something while I was visiting back from Edinburgh. The brevity of it all is very appealing. The storytelling is so fat free and confident. The script feels gently wittier and more emotionally astute than its peers. Magneto, Rogue and especially Wolverine are given neatly iconic introductions. Singer does an excellent job marshalling his busy but talented cast and bringing some real world grit to an adaptation that could have easily been a day-glo hyper colour car crash. Instead, with a palette of leather blacks and varnished browns, he pre-empts Nolan’s Dark Knights by 8 whole years. The fantasy bursts come from a fixed recognisable stance, feet firmly in reality. The smaller scale action finale on the Statue of Liberty is only underwhelming if you need every superhero film to close with a world destroying nebulous vortex. Luckily McKellen’s Magneto is up there with Hackman’s Luthor and Nicholson’s Joker as one of the finest big screen antagonists. You don’t need an alien apocalypse if your villain is this efficient and charismatic. So it doesn’t feel epic or OTT… X-Men 1 still delivers a lot more excitement remaining relatively grounded and compact.

9

Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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