X-Men (2000)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hugh Jackman and Anna Paquin

There was a time when the X-Men franchise was of no interest to me. That was before I knew it was about Marvel superheroes. Clearly that changed everything. 

Logan (Hugh Jackman) is drifting. His entire past is nothing but a glimmer and he has no idea what or who he once was. Now, with nothing but his extraordinary, unexplained powers, he travels from one bar to another, sport boxing and feeling nothing. That’s when the young Marie (Anna Paquin) stumbles into his path. Poor Marie is a teenager who just wants a normal life, something that goes out the window when she has her first kiss and it results in her boyfriend being put into a coma. Something about her touch is poisonous – it instantly kills her victim. Confused, Marie leaves home. This puts her into the path of Logan and seeing he too is different, Marie becomes his unwilling shadow.

When the two of them encounter trouble from Sabretooth (Tyler Mane), a mutant who is a part of Magneto (Ian McKellan) and his band of baddies, they’re rescued by Scott Summers (James Marsden) and Storm (Halle Berry), two of Charles Xavier’s students. Rejecting everything Professor X (Patrick Stewart) offers to teach him, Logan finds the school he runs useless. His physical wound healed – thanks to the care he receives from Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Logan again prepares to flee… then his instinct kicks in and he finds himself drawn to protecting young Marie.

FILM REVIEW | X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Famke Janssen and James Marsden

While watching this, I was amused by how “outdated” it was – throughout the production that thought was a fixture and yet I kept circling back to the caveat that this was a “modern” movie. (Needless to say, it is thirteen years old and (bonus!) here’s a way to make me feel… um, mature…? – particularly now that I can say a thirteen+ year old film is in my generation.) Putting my finger on just what felt archaic is beyond me, though there were many instances in which they were obvious, and such is the business and progression of moviemaking. Beyond that quibble, the movie that started it all is good. I liked all of the character interactions – especially that of Logan and Marie and found the good-girl-almost-gone-bad vibes interesting.

Involved in this, the cornerstone of the main plot is a kind of redemption for Logan; even though he doesn’t know what he’s missing or looking for (thanks to CREEPY Stryker!), he is searching. Endlessly so. I find it interesting that he isn’t really thought of as a “caregiver” because time and again, these scripts have placed him in situations in which he could walk away, leaving bystanders to fend for themselves and instead, he stays – albeit begrudgingly so. It’s a noble trait that I admire of the character. In Marie, there’s a character who cannot “fit in” because she has a power she doesn’t understand yet the girl craves connection – something that is exploited. 
Anna Paquin and Hugh Jackman in X-Men

Watching these films out of order may not be in the best interest of an X-Men newbie, however I don’t feel like doing so was a disservice. Seeing the beginnings of the franchise firstly tells a lot about where these characters are at and what so many of their past transgressions have meant. Finally reaching the “beginning” of the original franchise has started off with stupendous promise. Though the deeper meaning of each movie is smothered in slaphappy CGI effects, there is something quite good going on in these flicks. The good guys are tempted to the bad side by the lie that humans don’t “need” them – that they would be better off destroying mankind and being the misfits they are, it’d so easy for them to fall into that trap. Time and again, this is a familiar ploy that Magneto uses – and sadly, it does work on some of the mutants. Fortunately for those of us who don’t like to root on the villain, the good always prevail – even if it is a repeat event. 

Unless the subsequent sequels break the mold (or my heart!), I think ‘First Class'  is still the tops, however I very much look forward to seeing the final two films in this series. If they follow in the footsteps of predecessors, they are bound to be extraordinarily entertaining.

(Parental concerns: the mutants all obtain a litany of powers – ranging from mind reading to retractable claws that impale as well as a woman who can conjure up a powerful storm. There are plenty of explosions and/or destruction unleashed; one man disintegrates into water. More than one woman is impaled and then heals herself. Minor sexual inferences are present and Mystique is – for all intents and purposes – “nude” for much of the film; she is most always in her “natural” form which is a blue “skin.” One scene may involve a brief instance of near-nudity. Minor profanities pepper the script like sh*t, h*ll and the like plus a crude hand gesture. The film rates PG13.)


  1. Ah, X-Men. Love this movie. While I liked X-2, I did not care much for the Last Stand. So glad you liked this one, Rissi!! :-D

    1. Funny you should mention how you rank the movies, Rosie. Just from reading the back cover of 'Last Stand,' I figured it wouldn't be my favorite of the bunch either.

      Me, too - and thanks, Rosie! I very much anticipate seeing X2. :)

  2. I love this franchise. I enjoy this first movie but it's by no means the best one in the series. (Yeah, that one belongs to First Class.)

    1. *HIGH FIVE*

      Even without seeing X2 or 'Last Stand,' I am still firmly on the team of 'First Class.' That movie was SO good. Eager to see its "sequel."

  3. I recently watched these too, mostly because I knew you'd watched and reviewed First Class awhile back. I was shocked when I saw the Marvel logo play at the beginning, because I, like you, did not know these were Marvel movies and how could there be a Marvel franchise that I had yet to watch?? :D

    All that to say...I.LOVE.THESE.MOVIES. Watched them all in like a 24 hour period and bought them the moment I had the money to do it with. :) I did not go and see Wolverine in the theaters here recently, because finances were tight, but I'm anxious for it to come out on dvd so I can watch it!! Of the original trilogy, the first and second where my favorite, with the third definitely falling last in place.

    But yay!! Hugh Jackman? Exactly. ;)

    1. I know, right!? How could we NOT know these were from Marvel - where have we been!? ;)

      Hip, hip hooray! So nice to know you like the movies also, Kellie. I've got X2 and 'United' yet to see, which is fun - I suppose I'm kind of stretching these out the films in some sense. ;) You and I both - anxious for 'Wolverine' to arrive to DVD as well. I've heard terrific things on it, so yeah, that'll be high on my to-see list. We can gush (or rant) about it together then. :)

      Good to know your rankings - I think tops is 'First Class' (even though it's not an original) and then X-Men. So far.

      Hugh Jackman IS wonderful in these.

  4. I used to stay up and secretly watch the X-Men 90's cartoon every night. lol. So it was a given that I immediately loved the X-Men movie and the sequel X-2. I agree with you - it is pretty outdated now, but like you said, its just genuine fun. Movies with memorable characters like that stay timeless to me. :D

    1. Well said, Fayehope. Movies that are "fun" and give viewers memorable characters *are* timeless - they have a kind of pizzazz that other films don't touch. :)

      Have you seen 'First Class'? It's my favorite. So far.


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