A New Era in Comic Book Movies
After recently seeing The Wolverine at the cinemas the other day I decided to go through the X-Men film collection, but this time in chronological order (though I accidentally watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine first thinking it was set earlier), continuing with this.
After being attacked by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Wolverine, and Rogue are saved by the X-Men, and taken back to Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Meanwhile the Brotherhood's leader Magneto plans to make an impact after talks of a Mutant Registration Act start.
This was a brilliant film, and one that would shape comic book films as we know them today. Although the likes of Blade, and the Batman movies were out prior to this film, this would be the first in a new age of films, being the first proper superhero film to have been good using CGI, and without it we may never have had the Spider-Man movies, or any other Marvel film. The film itself also did a great job of introducing these characters to a new audience, with a great fun story behind it, well as plenty of action, and dram. Director Bryan Singer was one of the reasons that this was a great film, as although he didn't quite hit the mark with his later comic book film, Superman Returns, the two X-Men films he directed were amazing, with great depth, and understanding of the story (which he helped write), and I look forward to him returning as director in the new X-Men film X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The cast for this film was pretty good, as although not all the cast members were excellent choices, they all played their roles well, and looked close to the characters they were playing. There were however a couple of cast members that stood out more, with the main ones being Patrick Stewart as Professor X, Ian McKellen as Magneto, and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Stewart was simply born to play Professor X, as there isn't a bald actor who's as good as him, and although you could shave another good actor bald, it wouldn't look the same as someone who's naturally bald (plus it'd be hard to find as good an actor as Stewart in the first place). McKellen was also perfect, showing the sinister side to Magneto, and Jackman has in this film, and since owned the Wolverine role, being amazing, showing his characteristics perfectly. The other cast including Famke Jannsen as Jean Grey, James Marsden as Cyclops, Halle Berry as Storm, Anna Paquin as Rogue, as well as the rest of the cast were all amazing, with only Jannsen, and Marsden being slightly questionable, as Marsden didn't have a big enough personality, or presence, as although Cyclops is meant to be the more serious character, we don't get to see much screen presence from him, and Jannsen just didn't feel right as Jean, even though she looked the part.
The first two characters that were are properly introduced to in this film would be Wolverine, and Rogue, and they'd go onto be the two more main characters in the film. It was however the relationship that they would form that would interest me most, as with them both having met each other prior to being taken to the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, they were bound to form a bond, and the way both characters played off each other at times was nice. I did however feel that Wolverine may have been focused on a little too much in this film, as although it was nice to see him front and centre, especially considering he's my favourite X-Man, it did slightly take away from the team feel that this first film at least should have had.
Now although Wolverine, and Rogue were focused on slightly more than other characters, we did get to see the X-Men work together, which was amazing. One thing that I questioned was the change in suits, as although it's probably sensible to change it to black leather instead of spandex, I wouldn't mind seeing a hint of their comic book clothes. There was however a cool line, where Cyclops goes to Wolverine, "Well, what would you prefer? Yellow spandex?" referring to Wolverine's iconic yellow, and blue suit. I also loved seeing all the X-Men's abilities on show, as well as the Blackbird which was cool.
The villains in this film would be Magneto, and his Brotherhood of Mutants, which consisted of Sabretooth, Toad, and Mystique. Now what better villains to have than Magneto, and the Brotherhood, as they are probably the most well known villains in the X-Men's history, with only the Sentinels, and Apocalypse coming close. What I liked about this was that you could see that Magneto felt that he was doing what he felt was right for mutants, as having grown up in a World War II concentration camp he would already be used to prejudice, and would be expecting more for being a mutant, something which gave tons of depth to his character. I also loved Mystique, feeling that she was used perfectly, and portrayed wonderfully by Rebecca Romijn. I was however not as keen on Sabretooth, or Toad, as although Toad was cool, with both looking similar to their comic book versions, they just didn't fit well on film, and more so Sabretooth, who looked better in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
The main catalyst behind the events of this film would be the talk of a Mutant Registration Act, which angered Magneto. There have been a lot of great X-Men stories that have involved mutants being feared, and hated, so what better way to start a franchise than that way. Also in real life there would be people who would be scared of such people, as with good, and evil in the world it'd only be a matter of time before some evil mutant did something horrendous. I did however feel that the concept wasn't used to it's best advantage, as although it did the job by starting the tension between the X-Men, and the Brotherhood, it could have been so much more. Though in saying that you need to hold back on mutant hate if you plan on ever doing a Days of Future Past film, as they are now, as having too much mutant hate prior to that would raise the expectations of that to an unrealistic level (as with something like that you always want more).
The action in this film was also amazing, with some real exciting scenes. Even the cage fight that Wolverine was in near the start of the film was interesting, and exciting, but the best fight was the one between the X-Men, and Brotherhood near the end of the film. I did however also liked the sparing of words between Professor X, and Magneto, which was just as entertaining, and although the action overall wasn't the best out of the series, it was still excellent, and just right for an opening film.
This was a great opening film for the X-Men franchise, and would help shape comic book films as we know them today. It had deep characters, as well as some humour, and amazing action. It also had great emotion, as well as interesting concepts. It was however not perfect, as some of the characters didn't work in this film, but overall this was a great film, and well worth watching again, and again, which I'd highly recommend you to do.