A look back at a movie I dreamed of living but at the same time felt too close to home.
I remember my first time watching X-men on tv. It was the Saturday morning cartoon that introduced me to the wonderful world of mutants and the X-men. I fell in love with it right away as a proud geek who watched it thinking one day will my superpowers come into play when I am a teen.
This franchise has seen its ups and downs with trying to live up to the highly expectation of the comic book and cartoon we all grew up with. The casting, special effects, even down to the sound that wolverine’s claws make when they come out of his hands were important in making these films successful. For the most part, the series is loved by many and have many devoted fans who will stick by the series no matter which direction they take. I couldn’t wait to watch this film on the big screen let alone get live action likeness of the characters I grew up with. Just seeing them on screen made me fall in love with this movie and made me look forward to each and every sequel thereafter. However, with that in mind, my geeking out may have blinded me from really critiquing this movie for what it is. Was the first one brought to us by Bryan Singer a good comic book adaptation? I tend to find out as I rewatched the movie again after 17 years.
1 hour and 44 mins later….
As an adult watching this film again, I am reminded of how much undertone meaning to the story of mutant vs. human. Mutants, who are beings that humans do not understand and fear is a metaphor for those who are unique and different in the real world taking on a prejudice and oppression. Stan Lee was onto something creating these characters. I thank him for it. Some even would say that the relationship between Prof. X and Eric Lansherr mimic the disagreement between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X respectively on how to handle the negativity and hatred towards African-Americans.
The movie however is a different story. X-Men is still entertaining to watch but definitely not the best film out of the series. I had this problem before watching it the first time, my biggest pet peeve of this film was their use of my favorite character and mutant Storm played by Halle Berry. While not my first choice (my choice was Angela Bassett) for Storm, I have come to accept Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe. Her character however got no development whatsoever. She is one of the most powerful mutant in the series and she barely uses them in a visual or combating way. Her moment to shine was seriously wasted and very anti-climatic.
Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning? Same thing that happens to everything else. – Storm
I am not so bent out of shape of reshaping characters or changing their origins of how they met or which age they were but the way the film is written is clearly just a catalyst for the character of Wolverine. They should just call it Wolverine and the X-men. I got more out of watching the villains of the movie, especially Toad, wreak havoc against the heroes. Ray Park, who is also known as Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, was the character that made me laugh and giddy over his martial art talents and sense of humor with the character of Toad. Mystique played by Rebecca Romijn did a wonderful job. Her makeup job and her stunts stood out amongst the other gifted co-stars. I had always hoped her character would have been developed more than just the main minion to Magneto. Watching her fight Wolverine in one of the final scenes was like artwork. So slick and smooth while also being sexy and kicking ass at the same time.
This movie played out like a pilot episode to a TV show that hasn’t been greenlighted yet. Everyone got to use their powers at least once in the most useless ways. If Prof. X wasn’t such a pacifist, he could take out his advisories and the movie would be over. Jean Grey who can move things with her mind barely used her abilities. Toad took on four of the X-men on his own and barely got a scratch on him. Halle Berry trying to pull of Storm’s accent, putting most of the focus on Rogue (Anna Paquin) to bring in the young female demographic. Such improvement in X-men 2, Bryan Singer knew exactly what he was doing the minute the sequel started with that amazing scene of Nightcrawler attaching the President through the White House. If this movie were to be a stand alone movie without the sequels, this movie would get so much more credit but with each follow-up in the X-men series just shows how much the original lacked in story, action sequences, and use of their characters. In the end, I have to appreciate someone deciding to make a move in making these characters come to life.
So it looks like my feelings about the film has changed. Sadly, I am giving it a harsher critique as before. The film doesn’t hold up as it did when it was first release. It is not a total bore watching it again so it does have some reply value. Watching it though you just wish you were watching the sequels instead.