Sunday, June 11, 2006


2000, US, directed by Bryan Singer

One of the few consistently absorbing comic-book adaptations of the past decade, X-Men tries to inject an extra layer or two of meaning to the sci-fi action, and while the effort doesn't entirely come off, there's more intelligence here than in the vast majority of popcorn fare (even though the Holocaust allusions don't seem to have been entirely thought through). Although it's a pre-9/11 movie, it's hard, now, to see the film without reference to the climate of fear created since 2001, particularly given the conflict of values that lies at the heart of the film, pitting ordinary humans against their mutant (and thus possessed of unique skills) brethren. While there's plenty of action, particularly near the conclusion, the film is far more concerned with motivations and personal relations than with explosions, which lends the outbreaks of fighting, when they do come, that much more charge. Hugh Jackman is excellent as Wolverine, a conflicted yet (of course) noble mutant, while both Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen do the English thesp thing with their usual aplomb; Anna Paquin's Rogue is outstanding, both as a character and a performance.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States