Marvelous Mutants
Review by Ross Anthony

Back in high school, my best friends used to spend their allowances every Thursday on the week's release of new comics. "X-Men" topped that list.

Still comic book collectors today, they told me about the creation of this film some time ago. And so I looked forward to it, not as an apostle, but as an outsider peeking in. I hoped to share their enthusiasm, but I feared a cartoony recreation, overly impassioned with larger than life characters. Fortunately, my fears were for naught!

"X-Men" is a film for moviegoers. Yes it has the action, but also solid dialogue, acting, and careful astute direction. Often films beg some patience from their audiences whilst laying out the story in careful order to enter their climax at the right angle. The best films build steadily, compelling at every turn. "X-Men" levitates so effortlessly that the climax is upon us before we even know it. That's a careful script and excellent direction.

Of course the characters are endearing as well. It helps immensely that they don't take themselves too seriously, smirking at the overly profound nicknames they've each somehow acquired.

The X-men are mutants. Every so often evolution skips a millennium or so and leaves the human race a handful of individuals with varied and superior power. Wolverine (played superbly by Hugh Jackman) has a metal alloy integrated into his skeleton and the power to heal his injuries in seconds. Storm can summon the rage of a tempest. Cyclops can destroy any target with a pinpoint laser ray emitted from his eyeband. Etc.

Sounds like kids' stuff on paper, but David Hayter's script is so well adapted that I expect adults to be flocking to this film in greater numbers than non-conservative parents to "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." In fact, so many people rsvp'd that the pre-release showing I attended played in two screening rooms.

This story's conflict arises when regular humans fearing mutants in the classroom etc., discuss forcing mutants to register themselves and their specific powers. The mutants are split on how to counter this movement. Ian McKellen and old buddy Patrick Stewart are the two kingpins that play a game of chess with their small but talented mutant armies. The title says it all, there is very little regular human involvement here, however, there are some really sweet fight scenes between mutants including one that is ballet beautiful. More Kudos to the scriptwriter for keeping the combat dialogue free of "I'm going to get you!" or "Now I'm really mad!" type comic book cliché. In fact, the battle scenes are appropriately uncluttered with words. There's also drama and sweetly surprising humor sown in.

Simply put, "X-Men" is good entertainment.

  • X-Men. Copyright © 2000. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Rebecca Romijn-stamos, Ray Park, Anna Paquin.
  • Directed by Bryan Singer.
  • Written by David Hayter, Story by Tom DeSanto and Bryan Singer.
  • Produced by Joel Simon and William S. Todman, Jr. at Fox/Marvel.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:41:21 PDT