Movie Reviews: X-Men




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     20th Century Fox (1 hr. 45 mins.)
     With no explanation whatsoever, a number of humans began to mutate into super beings.
     Halle Berry, James Marsden, Famke Janssen, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen
Bottom Line:


   X-Men is excellent comic book fodder for the summertime adventure crowd. Kids under 12 will love it. Hard-core fans may be slightly disappointed, but will eventually embrace it as a cult flick. And curious filmgoers will walk out of the theater and shrug their shoulders, wondering what all the fuss was about as they wander next door to get a second glimpse at Mission Impossible 2.
The reason for such indifference? Despite stunning computer generated special-effects and media hype, X-Men is not as engaging nor as memorable as Tim Burton's Batman ('89) released over 10 years ago.
   However, the average comic book fan should be satisfied with weather wiz Storm (Halle Berry), laser blasting Cyclops (James Marsden), telepathic Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), and Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) in their big-screen debuts.
   The star of the show is knife-wielding Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) who has razor-sharp metal alloy grafted onto his skeleton.
   But despite their supernatural gifts, the X-Men are not do-gooders in the Superman/Batman tradition - they all have serious self-esteem problems as branded outcasts, persecuted by the public and the government.
   Against this tide of public opinion, Professor Xavier embraces the mutants and takes them into his school of the gifted so they can learn to harness their powers and find their self-worth.
   Luckily for the plot, there are also other mutants in the world who suffer even more serious psychosis than Professor Xavior's bunch. Their consuming passion to get even with society through world domination gives our heros an outlet for their anxieties and aggressions and reason for all the computer generated special effects.
   Thanks to derranged mutants such as Toad (Ray Park), evil leader Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Sabertooth (Tyler Mane), the X-Men don't have a lot of time on their hands to sit around feeling sorry for themselves.
   Instead, they find themselves in a constant battle to thwart Magneto's plan to use the special power of X-Men teen Rogue (Anna Paquin) to absorb the essence of the world's leaders who have assembled in New York for a peace conference.
   Directed by Brian Singer, the X-Men's dialogue and characters barely stand up to the slick and edgy Singer standard of writing established in Apt Pupil and The Usual Suspects.
But then again, films like X-Men aren't about acting or dialogue. They're about getting the biggest bang for your buck - which Marvel comics and 20th Century Fox did. They used a moderate budget for cast and screenwriting and then spent the multi-millions on special effects. Oh well, that's show biz.


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