Flashback Review: X-Men

The 1960s introduced iconic comic book superheroes including “Fantastic Four,” Hulk,” “Iron Man” & “Spider-Man.” Fantastic Four are the first superhero team in Marvel Comics. Stan Lee created another superhero team called, “X-Men.” Introduced in 1963, the X-Men is a school for kids born with powers as mutants, learn to control their powers instructed by founding member Charles Xavier/Professor X. Once the students master a unique gift, they become full fledge members of the titular team led by boy scout Scott Summers/Cyclops. His teammates from the roster are Hank McCoy/Beast, Angel & his girlfriend Jean Grey. Together they combat Magneto. A tyrannical extremist known for magnetism, has a tragic backstory who’s prejudice towards humanity. He organizes The Brotherhood Of Evil. His henchmen is the unstoppable Juggernaut, Blob, Toad, and Magneto’s kids Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch. X-Men has some mature themes such as discrimination as a metaphor for mutants, deep characterization and troubled backstories involving the lead characters making them feel relatable.

Over the next few decades, the X-Men recruited more characters like fan favorite Gambit, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Bishop, Rouge, Jubilee, Shadowcat & everybody’s favorite cigar chomping hard drinking hot headed Canadian badass, Logan/Wolverine. The Brotherhood Of Evil also recruited known baddies such as Wolverine’s archenemy Sabretooth, Pyro, Omega Red & Mystique. X-Men spawned merchandise, crossover appearances, action figures, t-shirts, collectibles, video games and cartoons.

In 1992, “X-Men: The Animated Series” aired on Fox Kids drawing attention to a new generation of fans. I was one of them. I have to give Fox Kids credit for introducing me to Marvel before the movies existed. As a result of the show’s instant success and “Blade” resurrecting the superhero genre after butt ugly movies like “Steel,” “Tank Girl” & “Batman And Robin” insulted many comic book fans’ intelligence. 20th Century Fox (pre-Disney purchase) bought the film rights to produce an X-Men film with David Hayter (Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid) writing the script and Bryan Singer directing the film. After everything went according to plan, X-Men was officially distributed worldwide.

X-Men was released in 2000. It received positive reviews from critics, fans and movie goers alike. Plus, it made enough money at the box office. X-Men spawned sequels, Wolverine & Deadpool solo movies. Some of them are a hit and miss. My personal favorite X-Men films are “X2: X-Men United,” “X-Men: First Class,” both Deadpool movies and last but not least, “Logan.” Blade, “Unbreakable” and X-Men encouraged movie studios to capitalize on the success of superhero films. Most notably Sony producing Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, Universal’s Hulk and of course Warner Bros rebooting Batman. Fox tried to replicate the same success of Spider-Man and their X-Men series ranging from “Daredevil,’ “Elektra” & “Fantastic Four.” Unfortunately, they suck like Jojo Siwa’s music career.

After Fox was purchased by Disney, plans for the X-Men being integrated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU for short is in development. Marvel Studios is currently working on a reboot of Fantastic Four. Insomniac Games (Ratchet And Clank series, Spider-Man on PS4/PS5) recently announced a Wolverine video game is in the works. As a fan of Wolverine, I wanna share my thoughts on Hugh Jackman’s memorable role as my favorite Marvel hero before the game comes out in the future.

It doesn’t matter if SPOILERS are present, many of us grew up watching the 90s cartoon and movies.

Strong & Weak Aspects

Strong: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen all did an excellent job for their respective performances.

Fun Fact: Russell Crowe was a suitable candidate to play Wolverine. He dropped out, because Wolverine is too similar to Maximus from “Gladiator.” So he recommended his pal Hugh for the role of a lifetime. The rest becomes history. Russell will play Zeus in “Thor: Love And Thunder.” He also played Jor-El in “Man Of Steel.”

Other Cast Members such as Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn & Ray Park all did a decent job for their respective performances.

Bryan Singer did a great job directing the first film. I’m praising him as a director. He’s actually a POS.

David Hayter wrote the screenplay.

The late Richard Donner produced the film. Courtesy of his company, The Donners’ Company.

Michael Kamen (Lethal Weapon series, Brazil) orchestrated the music.

Cinematography was shot pretty well.

Visual Effects still hold up for a film released in 2000. Wolverine’s claws look real. They don’t look fake in his terrible first solo movie.

Prosthetic Makeup transformed Rebecca as Mystique.

Opening Credits remind me of the Opening Credits from “Fight Club.” Both films produced by Fox.

Opening Scene establishes Magneto’s hatred towards humanity. He was a Holocaust survivor who lost his mother. This was further explored in “X-Men: First Class.”

Wolverine’s first scene shows him as a cage fighter defeating an opponent at ease. His next scene at a bar shows off his claws when bigoted customers pick on him. He gives them a death glare not to screw with him and leaves without killing them in cold blood.

After waking up from a nightmare of The Weapon X Facility, Wolverine accidentally stabs Rouge. Suddenly, she touches Wolverine absorbing his healing abilities. Foreshadowing The Third Act with him placing his hands on Rouge’s skin to heal her.

Wolverine’s relationship with Rouge is similar to Jubilee. He sees them both as a daughter figure. Foreshadowing his daughter Laura/X-23 from Logan.

If you have a keen eye, a girl with a yellow jacket appears as a student. Obviously Jubilee.

Wolverine’s fight with Sabretooth on top of The Statue Of Liberty is worth the wait.

Stan Lee (God bless his soul) makes a cameo appearance as a hot dog vendor at the beach.

The Third Act gets better with the team fighting Magneto, Sabretooth, Toad & Mystique.

Toad does his impression of Darth Maul wielding a pole.

It’s so satisfying to see Senator Kelly getting a taste of his own medicine when Magneto uses his machine by turning Kelly into a mutant. Kelly is one of the most despicable characters to exist.

The Ending sets up X2: X-Men United. Wolverine travels to Canada for traces of The Weapon X Facility, Mystique poses as Senator Kelly & Professor X visits Magneto in prison.

Weak: I have nothing against Anna Paquin, but she acts nothing like Rouge from the comics or 90s cartoon. She’s supposed to be a free spirited southern belle not a depressed troubled girl on “My So Called Life.” Rouge needs to take a Prozac.

Black suits were controversial. Back then, Fox didn’t want to include Wolverine’s yellow and blue suit, because they think non-Marvel fans couldn’t take the costumes seriously. It was a dark time when Batman wore a Batsuit with nipples.

Too much exposition is kinda boring. Also lacking Action Sequences.

The Final Verdict: B, FOR BRIGHT!

The first X-Men movie is a decent start launching a franchise. I was gonna give it a B- for its flaws, but it deserves a B, because I have to give this movie alongside Blade and Unbreakable credit for encouraging movie studios to cash in on superhero films. Without the aforementioned three, the MCU, “The Dark Knight Trilogy” and “Watchmen” would’ve never exist. If you wanna refresh your memory before Wolverine’s new video game comes out, start with the first X-Men movie.

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