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X-Men

August 1, 2014

X-Men (2000)
Director: Bryan Singer
Actors: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen

x-chess.jpg (300×196)

Synopsis: When a hawkish Senator starts rousing negative publicity over the existence of mutants (humans with strange/extraordinary powers), the mutants’ reaction is split into two camps. There’s the more sympathetic ‘X-Men’ under Professor X (Patrick Stewart) who advocates peaceable relations with humans, where as Magneto (Ian McKellen) pursues aggressive, hostile acts against mankind. When two new mutants emerge, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue (Anna Paquin), Professor X and Magneto battle for their respective ‘talents’…

Review: As much as I want to like X-Men, and think it gains a lot from the grandiose theatrical casting of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the two main roles, the rest of the film is far too patchy and hammy – a reminder of a time when the superhero landscape was in the doldrums after the recent naff Joel Schumacher Batman efforts, Batman Forever and Batman and Robin.

X-Men never really manages to match its bravura opening moments – the sombre Auschwitz coda which explains the origins of Magneto, and the Congressional hearing on mutants where Magneto and Professor X have a seminal, iconically-staged meeting which beautifully outs their polar philosophies and sensibilities. Sadly, the film descends into mediocrity from that point forward, not helped by what I perceive to be the fundamental flaw with the whole ‘mutant’ conception which sillily conflates pretentious nods to evolution and discrimination with what are in essence juvenile superhero ‘skills’! (August 2014)

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