Movie Review – X-Men (2000)

Roar. Spoilers.

X-Men-2000

Okay, so I just saw the first X-Men movie. And since I’m apparently the only person in the world who hadn’t seen that movie until literally just now, I suppose I’m going to run the risk of sounding like a big idiot since everyone else will have some idea of what I’m talking about and I have no freaking clue. But since I laid this upon myself, I must continue. As Nostalgia Critic says, the review must go on.

I wanted to watch these movies mostly because I wanted to know what the hell everybody was talking about, and also to see if I could actually get into a superhero franchise for once. I’ve never really been into superheroes or superhero movies, but they’re all the rage now, and I suppose part of me wants to force myself to be interested in them. But, sadly, I haven’t been able to do that, and unfortunately X-Men didn’t really help much.

I had a very similar experience watching X-Men that I had watching The Matrix for the first time. I went in expecting to see this really awesome film that everyone’s all hyped up about, and all I got was a dumb action movie. Granted, X-Men wasn’t quite as dumb as The Matrix, but it was still mainly focused on the action and not much else. I’m pretty sure the scenes with dialogue are fewer than the scenes without, and with so many characters in one film, this is detrimental to character development because you never really get to know anybody. The only characters I felt had any true growth or charisma were Rogue and Professor X. Everyone else was just really good at, you know, fighting and stuff.

From what I understand about the franchise, X-Men’s main moral issue is that of prejudice, how the Mutants become outcasts in their society because of their dangerous superpowers. This causes many Mutants to live their lives in fear of either hurting other people or never being accepted into any sort of community. There are some Mutants, like Magneto, who want to use Mutant power to reverse the situation and put the normal kind down. It’s like the main issue in the first season of Legend of Korra, except in reverse – this time it’s the people with the power who are the outcasts, and the normal ones in control.

This actually is quite an interesting conflict, but the only trouble is it really doesn’t go anywhere. Just as the so-called “philosophy” in The Matrix never did anything beyond establish itself within the movie, the so-called central-conflict in X-Men is pushed aside for the action and is not very well executed. Oh, there are some good scenes – Wolverine’s talk with Rogue on the train is probably the closest the film came to really exploring the issues at hand. But like I said before, it’s hard to get invested in the conflict because you can’t get invested in the characters, at least not much.

I couldn’t possibly come up with one personality trait that any of these characters possess beyond their abilities. Even in an action movie, and especially one with this many characters, a unique and identifiable personality for each is necessary in order to have a smoothly flowing and relatable story. Unfortunately, X-Men commits the Star Trek: Into Darkness crime of trading any potential for great character development for the action. And for me, that’s a no-go.

Still, a part of me wonders, should I be judging this film so harshly? Because when you think about it, most people don’t go to see an X-Men film for story and character development; they go to see a bunch of superheroes kick some ass. And you can’t really deny that X-Men does deliver on that front. There are a bunch of superheroes, and they do kick some ass.

One thing I found myself really enjoying about these particular superheroes was how, in the case with most, their power involved interaction with the physical world around them. Oh, sure, there were some like Cyclops and Magneto who shot colored light or whatever, but many of the superheroes’ powers included manipulating things like weather, metal, human minds, objects, or even someone’s life force. I really liked seeing that, and it produced some very clever action sequences. My favorite was probably the one where Magneto makes all the policemen’s guns turn and point at them. That’s much more interesting and original than if he just shot them with silver light or whatever.

So, what was my overall opinion? Eh. But I understand that this is first and foremost an action franchise, and I’m willing to give it another chance. I will watch the second movie. Maybe I’ll get into it eventually.

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