Having finished up my math class. I decided to take some time off and rewatch ALL the X-Men movies that have been released up to this point in anticipation for X-Men: Apocalypse. X-Men:
While watching this today, I wondered if this is still a good movie. Or if I'm just spoiled and being snobby because of how decent modern superhero movies are. I'm grateful for what this movie did for the Superhero movie in the long run. In terms of proving that superhero movies can be profitable, alongside Blade and Raimi's Spider-Man. But It has NOT aged all that well. It's covered from head to toe in the trappings of early 2000's angst, not to mention black leather. There really isn't any sense of fun or joy in this movie like in later installments.
The fight scenes, might have been good at the time and I remember enjoying them when I first saw this movie back as a kid. But compared to scenes from later installments, they don't really hold up. The action always takes place in the dark, and only adequately edited. . . and with everyone wearing black leather it becomes hard to keep track of who's fighting who in the fight scenes. The only genuinely good action scene is the battle between Sabertooth and Wolverine on the Statue of Liberty head. Because that scene was well lit and I could tell who was fighting who.
While most of the CGI holds up particularly the scenes with Mystique, some of it hasn't held up which is forgivable to a certain extent because it's used sparingly. What isn't forgivable is how you can tell when a character is being lifted by the wires to emulate a superhuman jump.
Also, and this was understandable at the time because they weren't sure if the movie would be a big hit or not. Singer did not take any time to develop any of the other characters other than Wolverine, Magneto, and Xavier, thus denying the rest of the cast the rich backstory and complexity they have in the Comics and 90's Cartoon. A problem that would trickle down to effect the rest of the X-Men movie franchise to the modern day. Speaking of backstory, Singer altered Rogue incredibly. Making her a lot more like comic Kitty Pryde than the Louisiana girl we all knew and loved from the cartoon and comics. I understand that with a source material as longrunning and convoluted as the X-Men mythos, expecting them to develop every character, and make them all as complex as in the comics in only one or two films is just setting yourself up for disappointment.
But I do have good things to say about it. Hugh Jackman as always sells Wolverine as a badass, grump with a heart of gold, and Patrick Stewart, and Ian McKellen were perfect casting as Xavier and Magneto. That opening scene with Magneto as a child being torn away from his mother in Nazi Germany? Heartbreaking.
That overall saves the movie from having aged away into irrelevance. . .
Oh and this line
X2: X-Men United
Wolverine: Hey. It's me.
Cyclops: Prove it.
Wolverine: You're a dick.
In stark contrast to the first one. I'd say that this movie holds up excellently. You could show this one in the movie theatres today and people would still say that it's a good movie.
Every character gets time to showcase their powers, in great visually interesting ways. Storm takes down jets, Wolverine cuts up some redshirts and has a great fight with Lady Deathstrike, Iceman and Rogue get time to showcase their relationship, and Nightcrawler steals the show. Shame he didn't show up in the third movie due to Fox screwing up, and Bryan Singer leaving.
Jean gets decent character development that was clearly supposed to go on into the dark phoenix saga. Shame that didn't pan out the way it was supposed to. But thank god for the reboot we might see it done justice later.
and the Villain, William Stryker. . . he is just perfect. Played to southern fried perfection by Brian Cox. He has good justifaction for his amoral actions, but he's far from sympathetic, considering he's willing to lobotomize his own son to destroy what he sees as a threat to humanity.
The effects still hold up! Singer figured out how to make a character leap a long distance without us seeing the wires.
It still has some of the problems that the other X-Men movies have. Only keeping the focus on Wolverine to the detraction of the rest of the X-Men getting development (I think Lady Deathstrike was a huge missed opportunity). But overall this is still a great popcorn flick.