The first comic movie that brought about a major shift in comic book film making world showing what comic book movies could be in the 21st century. Before that we had the likes of ‘Batman & Robin’ setting the tone for big franchise comic book movies with films like ‘Blade’ only reaching adult audiences.
We talk about how ‘Batman Begins’ put Comic book Heroes in the real world setting but for a film like X-Men in which you have multiple characters with super human powers that can be anything your imagination can come up with it does a pretty good job of setting the tone of “heroes in a real world”. We don’t have characters in flashy bright spandex costumes matching the comics or overly bulked up to fit their comic appearance. Here it’s the fine quality of the actors which carry the characters beyond their comic book appearances.
Casting Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellen as Xavier and Magneto was a stroke of genius on Singer’s part as the two Shakespearean heavy weights bring much gravitas to the film as they battle their ideologies against one another. Which is important because X-Men is more than your average comic book movie. At it’s core it is an allegory for Human rights, the rights of other cultures, the rights of people who are outcast because of their race, sexual preference, religion or appearance. Bryan Singer nails this theme, I think not only because he understands it but because he is a Star Trek fan. Star Trek is a series which deals with these very same themes. Unlike ‘Batman’ or ‘Iron Man’ our heroes here are not loved by the society they live in. They aren’t intentionally trying to be heroes. They are trying to be accepted for who they are. Their powers are not a choice. Their actions are a response to the world they have to live in.
It was a lot of fun to watch this when it first came out in cinemas. It party reminds me of the TV animated series of the 90s in some respects if not for the main theme music having some similarities to that of the animated one. Hugh Jackman is the most perfectly cast actor of a comic book movie role.
Favorite Quote: “You’re so full of shit! If you’re really so righteous, it’d be you in that thing.” – Logan
X2: X-Men united
The best of the series and one of the best Comic book movies ever.
It delivers on the mystery surrounding Wolverine and his past, although it doesn’t fully flesh it out (That would be left to ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’). But here we have an excellent Human villain in the guise of Brian Cox who is really quite menacing. We also finally get Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine going berserker and taking out a crap load of men. Awesome stuff.
Magneto’s break out of plastic prison scene is awesome too. Very comicbookish in action and framing. The opening scenes featuring Nightcrawler are also mind blowing and give the Matrix sequels a run for their money in terms of how you improve upon bullet time. You gotta give Singer credit for the way he introduces new mutants demonstrating their powers in the most entertaining action set pieces imaginable. Lady Deathstrike is perhaps my favorite foil for Wolverine among all his foes.
The scenes inbetween the fast moving action are pretty full of drama too, take Bobby telling his parents he’s a mutant. In this scene Ian Mckellen suggested to the actor Shawn Ashmore who played Bobby to treat it as if he were coming out as gay to his parents.
Sentinels were originally envisioned for the film but unfortunately were cut due to the budget. But considering everything else that was stuffed into this film who can complain?
The ending is right out of ‘Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan‘ and boy is it a good one that sets up the next film nicely. I’m down with that. I’m waiting for the day when Singer will make his own Star Trek movie….
Favorite Quote: “Holy shit.” – Wolverine
X-Men: The Last Stand
It’s not a bad film but as an X-Men movie it comes off as disappointing and kills the momentum built up by the previous 2 films. I also was never a fan of the Phoenix Saga so I wasn’t eagerly anticipating this. I had hoped by the third movie this series would have bigger, newer villains like Sinister or Apocalypse.
The characters here seem a bit one dimensional and lacking the depth they had in the previous movies. Disappointing too that popular characters from X2 such as Pyro aren’t capitalized on and the younger mutants get a bit more angsty. There was a slight worry that these younger cast members might be carrying the future of the franchise after this film but it wasn’t to be the case. There is a bit too much focus on Storm and Logan in this third X-Men film due to the actors playing them having greater star power. I felt the previous films were more evenly handed in making the cast truly an ensemble one.
The action and effects seem a bit more stagey with obvious wire work action happening throughout parts. There’s nothing here that’s truly impressive or fresh. It’s a bit more standard.
Killing off a lot of the cast seemed excessive, Scott, Jean, Professor X. It’s as if they wanted to end the franchise and it’s future with this film, even the title seems to imply that….
Favorite Quote: “No one ever talks about it. They just do it. And you go on with your lives, ignoring the signs all around you. And then, one day, when the air is still and the night has fallen, they come for you. ” – Magneto
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
It’s a film I was pretty hyped about but in the end it tries to be something else other than a Wolverine origin story. The people want to see a movie about Wolverine but you get the feeling Fox just wanted another X-Men film with the amount of mutants they try to put into this. It’s a story about Wolverine, while I get that other mutants do exist I think he is popular enough to stand on his own without the background of a mutant world getting in his way. Just take a look back to the first X-Men film where is almost surprised to find others like him. A world where mutants are still not out in the open. But here it’s just the norm.
The movie is about his origin but didn’t we already get most of the answers to that in ‘X-Men 2’? In fact wasn’t a large amount of that about where he came from, who he was. This movie kind of rehashes that. While I don’t dislike that idea and was excited about it the execution is pretty poor. It’s a little over the top, a bit too fond of action sequences with explosions and the CGI is at times quite noticeable. At the time I was hoping to see him in Japan in the early days of his life.
How Logan/Jimmy loses his memory is a bit lame. I had always thought the adamantium procedure was what lead to him losing his memory as X1 and X2 seem to allude to….
Notes: Once again Hugh Jackman does a truly outstanding job with his physic. Since X2 he has really made the character stand out more with that body of his. Mucho credit Mr. Jackman.
Favorite Quote: “You whip out a couple of swords at your ex-girlfriend’s wedding, they will never, ever forget it.” – Wade
X-Men: First Class
Pretty darn cool flick. For a while there had been talk of a first class film. This was thought to do with the younger mutants such as Bobby, Shadow Cat and Rogue from X3 (which I dreaded). The other movie that was in the planning stages was a Magneto Origins Movie (which I looked forward to). Along the way the two ideas became one and we got a prequel movie with a heavy focus on Magneto’s story with a young Charles Xavier forming the X-Men.
It’s a great movie and very well made although for me I think X-Men and X2 are my favorites. Matthew Vaughn doesn’t put a foot wrong here and there’s plenty of nuggets of mutant history to chew on.
James Mcavoy and Michael Fassbender are the two rising stars with excellent acting talents that once again give a great deal of weight to the characters and story. They are the perfect casting choices to carry on the flame of Erik and Charles.
Favorite Quote: “Go fuck yourself.” – Logan