16 years ago, in the summer of the first year in the new millennium, one of the first thoroughly successful Marvel superhero films was created, that film was X-Men. Adapted from the successful long running comic series which spanned several decades, and numerous variations, X-Men helped prevent the rot Batman & Robin instilled in the genre three years earlier. It also kicked the Marvel movie factory into production, spawning an X-Men franchise and providing the platform for the likes of Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Punisher and Fantastic Four. We have a lot to thank X-Men for, but how does it hold up 16 years on and several sequels, prequels and spin-offs later?
The answer is pretty well. Though some of the CGI has dated, the main performances are really good and it’s a very light watch. Considering the majority of modern day superhero films run to 120 minutes, sometimes unnecessarily ballooning to 140-150 minutes (we’re looking at you Batman Vs Superman), the 100 minutes this runs for is refreshing.
Admittedly it’s not the best superhero film overall, but a large part of that is the quality of films from the genre that have come since. One thing that stands out after watching it again is how little character development there is outside of Rogue, and arguably Wolverine. There’s no real time spent on introducing the X-Men team, not that it’s needed, and from their first scenes the only difference between them is the screen time they get. Famke Janssen as Jean Grey benefits the most from the core team as she becomes the central figure in the love triangle with Cyclops and Wolverine. Speaking of which, it is completely underplayed in the film, more so in the trilogy as a whole. Something I’d never noticed before is that the scenes involving Jean and Logan really make Logan look pretty creepy, especially when he poorly attempts to flirt with Jean and muscle in on the relationship. I’ve never not liked Wolverine in the films, but he is quite the douche when it comes to this aspect and I really did not enjoy watching the scenes again. I imagine with a bit more time spent on igniting the flame between these three it would have played out better.
The idea of R rated (15 if you live here in the UK) superhero films was the talk of the town after the successful release of Deadpool earlier this year, but you can still get away with some pretty gnarly stuff in a 12A. For example, the scene where we get a eye line view of one of Wolverines claws slowly extrude from his fist at the beginning of the film isn’t really pleasant. There might not be a lot of blood visible but unsurprisingly we get a lot more from Wolverines stabbing throughout the film, even the scene where he sticks Mystique disguised as Storm and you can see the claws coming out the other side. Who needs R rated when you already have people being impaled?
Before I finish up, we must pay attention to one of the worst lines to have ever been committed to film. Once again this is not something I would have noticed on first watching the film as a young 12 year old boy, but watching it now it’s almost criminal, hilarious but criminal. Merely typing it out doesn’t provide the full impact of the horrible delivery and punchline, so we’ve kindly linked it in below.
So X-Men may have held up well for it’s age, especially in such a popular genre. It has a few flaws, some questionable dialogue, but it’s still better than X-Men: The Last Stand, but what isn’t? That is it from us from our latest re-view. Stay tuned for the Re-view of X-Men: First Class coming soon from James, as well as some more X-Men goodies later in the week.