I recently watched the film X-Men (2000) about a team of mutants each of whom have specialized superpowers, such as the ability to create turbulent weather or magnetic fields or shift into other shapes, and so on. This was one of the films recommended to me by readers as one of the better examples of Hugh Jackman’s acting skills, whom I had never seen act in a film before.
While Jackman was good, the film as a whole didn’t quite grab me. I think the problem was that the central plotline was weak (it was never quite clear exactly what the evildoers wanted to accomplish and why it had to happen at the Statue of Liberty except that it made for nice action staging) and the film couldn’t seem to decide whether to focus on the battle of wits between the wily leaders of the two groups (played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen) or on the romantic relationship between Jackman and Anna Pacquin.
As an ensemble superhero film, I felt that it was inferior to The Avengers. There the Hulk and Iron Man characters had some depth and the dialogue was witty. I found myself caring about them in a way that I did not about any of the characters here.
A few questions for aficionados of the film and comic books on which it is based.
- Why are they called the X-Men when half of the team consists of women?
- Of all the superpowers, the one possessed by Mystique, the ability to take on the shape of anyone or anything so as to be indistinguishable from the original, seems like the best and most powerful superpower of all. With that power alone it is easy to see how the evildoers could have accomplished anything they wanted to. So why was she basically a minor character, playing second fiddle to a somewhat dimwitted muscle-bound Sabretooth?
- Why does Jane Grey not get a cool nickname?
My problem is that I tend to overthink things that should be just accepted uncritically.
Here’s the trailer.
And here’s a parody of X-Men which points out that Jackman’s Wolverine character has the least effective mutant power.