X-MEN

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JULY 28, 2013

Bryan Singer starts strong with “X-Men,” proving that this venture’s most significant feat is casting. Assembling the perfect crew to embody these comic book characters is the most effective way to introduce them to the uninitiated while pleasing the hardcore X-Men fans who are finally seeing their heroes of choice come to life. “X-Men” is so strong because there are so many strong characters instead of other comic book heroes, where they are the star of their show.

In “X-Men,” you have Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), who has the most exciting storyline, coming from nowhere, not knowing his past, and being welcomed into the world of Dr. Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his school for the gifted. A strong connection is made between Wolverine and Rogue (Anna Paquin) as they embark on this discovery together, with Wolverine becoming her guardian of sorts. We also meet Storm (Halle Berry), Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), and Cyclops (James Madsen), who are all vital in their ways.

The plot of this first installment gets the ball rolling with the two sides of the mutant wars. One side has Dr. Xavier. The other has his long-time friend, Magento (Ian McKellen), who believes that mutants should not have to hide and should be the superior race, having had a childhood as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Germany to drive his strong will. Although his crew is not ideal, with the absent-minded Sabretooth (Tyler Mane) and the quippy Toad (Ray Park), his central associate Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) becomes one of my favorite characters from the series. With so many characters, many directors would find it cumbersome to move any story arcs along. Still, Singer proves to have a grasp on the world, and very early on in the comic book movie revolution provides a strong indicator that these films are here to stay, opening this world wonderfully and setting the stage for the great films to follow.

RELEASE DATE
July 14, 2000

DIRECTOR
Bryan Singer

WRITTEN BY
David Hayter
Tom DeSanto (story by)
Bryan Singer (story by)

BASED ON
“X=Men”
by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

STUDIO
20th Century Fox

PG-13
(for sci-fi action violence)

ACTION
ADVENTURE
SCI-FI

104 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Newton Thomas Sigel

COMPOSER
Michael Kamen

EDITOR
Steven Rosenblum
Kevin Stitt
John Wright

CAST
Hugh Jackman
Patrick Stewart
Ian McKellen
Famke Janssen
James Marsden
Halle Berry
Anna Paquin
Tyler Mane
Ray Park
Rebecca Romijn
Bruce Davison

PRODUCED BY
Lauren Shuler Donner
Ralph Winter

BUDGET
$75 million

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