Back in 2000, director Bryan Singer released X-Men, paving the way for the countless comic book films that have reigned supreme at the box office ever since. In the twelve years that have passed, the X-Men series has both captivated and enraged its fans. What better time to look back and follow the mutants’ journey to becoming one of the most recognizable cast of characters in film history?
Upon discovering her own mutant powers, teenager Rogue joins up with brooding lone-wolf Wolverine. The pair stumble upon a battle being waged by the X-Men, led by the wise Professor X, and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, spearheaded by the brutal Magneto.
Creating a team-based superhero film back in 2000 was a gamble. A gamble that, as history went on to show, paid off many times over. It helped, of course, that X-Men is a pretty damn good film in its own right.
The film’s biggest victory is its absolutely perfect casting. Hugh Jackman has long since become synonymous with Wolverine, and until recently, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart were the definitive Magneto and Professor X, respectively. The three characters couldn’t have asked for more suitable actors to portray them. The supporting cast also shines, with Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, James Marsden and Rebecca Romijn all embodying their characters.
The relationship between the characters are what drives the film, making it an unusually personal affair for a superhero film with this many characters. This is aided by the action sequences, which feel relatively grounded. The sheer amount of exposition that inevitably follows a film of this magnitude bogs the proceedings down in a places, as well a few lines being straight out awful. We mean awful.
Final Verdict: Excellent characterization and capable handling of the action mostly make up for missteps in the script. More personal than many superhero films, Singer’s X-Men was a great start to the franchise – and a fantastic start to the craze that followed.