X-Men is the long-awaited big-screen outing for the Marvel Comic superheroes that have magic powers and – usually – two names, one real and one flashy.
Plot-wise, it’s good against evil and that’s about it. Magneto (Ian McKellen) has a device that’s going to turn all of mankind into the same bad-guy mutants he’s got running around for him. It is possible to have good-guy mutants though and that’s where telepathic wheelchair-bound Professor Charles Xavier (aka X) (Patrick Stewart) comes in with his special school for ‘gifted children’, or “Mutant High” as one kid calls it.
Rather than describe the background for every single one of the mob on display, we only get to see the beginnings for Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, who looks a little like Ewan McGregor and sounds a lot like Mel Gibson). That will suffice though because the film feels like it takes so long to get going before we get any type of action.
Wolverine’s ability is to look as unkempt as Liam Gallagher and produce Freddy Krueger-style razor blades from his knuckles.
First out of the good camp is the only one with a sensible name, Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who undergoes a transformation too and gets to use the force, Luke. She’s been dying to have a go at Xavier’s look-into-the-future-thingummyjig and when she does, it will transform her life too.
Keeping up the rear are two-eyed Cyclops (James Marsden), presumably so-called because of his special visor as displayed above, the electrying Storm (or Halle Berry in a dodgy long, white syrup) – whose qualities extend to whipping up a.. erm.. storm – and finally Rogue (Anna Paquin), played by the actress who won an Oscar in 1993 for playing a whining little brat in The Piano, but she displays no award-winning ambitions here – just a hairdo at the end that looks stolen from Eastenders‘ Rosa di Marco.
“It’s my way, or the hard way, okay?”
The baddies are fronted by the aforementioned Magneto who has apparently borrowed Jodie Foster’s sphere from Contact and uses the magnetic force to alter the DNA of those too close to appreciate it. We see the effect it has on abducted Senator Robert Kelly (Bruce Davison), who has been campaigning against the mutants. At first his life feels enriched, but it won’t be long before he’s not a well man.
Sabretooth (Tyler Mane) is Magneto’s right-hand ma.., er.. creature, but looks like a cross between Chewbacca and Bungle from Rainbow. Star Wars chief baddie Darth Maul was portrayed by Ray Park – an actor who charges a ridiculous £15 a time for signatures – and here he plays Toad (not of Toad Hall), who has a tongue that would put Kiss‘s Gene Vincent to shame. Finally, bottle-blonde model Rebecca Romijn-Stamos portrays the almost-silent shape-shifting Mystique, who has a blue Monday every week.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film, plus the extras.
“I get one line of dialogue, but I CAN do it with feeling!”
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.