years it has been since you enjoyed the wonderful escapist pleasures of
comic books, you can relive those happy times of your youth by watching
Based on the comic books of the same name, first-time screenwriter David
Hayter has come up with a remarkably lucid tale given the complexity of
all the characters and their various skills, powers and motivations. As
the story opens, it looks like it will be another POKEMON, in which the
only ones who can decipher what is happening are long-time veteran
viewers of the series.
In no time at all, however, the story is clear. There are two groups of
mutants. One, led by the honorable Professor Charles Francis Xavier
(Patrick Stewart, STAR TREK's Captain Jean-Luc Picard), wants to live in
peace with humans. Another, led by the nefarious Magneto (Ian McKellen,
Oscar nominee from GODS AND MONSTERS), doesn't trust the human race and
has an evil plan to control them. Given the superhuman powers of the
mutants, Homo sapiens don't appear to have much of a chance.
Meanwhile, back on Capitol Hill, jingoistic Senator Robert Jefferson
Kelly (Bruce Davison) doesn't trust the mutants and wants the government
to register them all. This part of the story is lifted directly from
Senator McCarthy and the Commie scare of the 1950s.
Every mutant has different and unusual powers. Toad (Ray Park, Darth
Maul from THE PHANTOM MENACE) fights with a killer tongue like a
gigantic frog. Storm (Halle Berry) generates her own perfect storm to
blow others away. Cyclops (James Marsden) has killer, laser vision.
And Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is implanted with sharp, metal blades for
slicing and dicing opponents.
Hugh Jackman steals the show with his compelling performance as the
story's main fighter, Wolverine. All of the performances are quite
good, including the work by the leads, Stewart and McKellen. Anna
Paquin (THE PIANO), as apparently the most vulnerable mutant, Rogue,
turns in one of her best performances. Rogue is an unhappy girl who had
the misfortune to have put the first boy who ever kissed her into a coma
for three weeks. She has some special powers that are much in demand.
The fast-action fighting sequences are imaginatively choreographed and
fascinating, rather like watching gladiators with different weapons
going after each other. And the movie is smart enough to inject just
enough well-placed humor to keep it from ever flagging.
After one twist and turn after another, we end up with the big
confrontation sequence, set at Ellis Island. After this engrossing
battle, the movie makes its only small mistake, it takes too long
setting up for the sequel. Just a hint would have been enough. If they
will make it, we will come.
and would be fine for kids around 12 and up, depending on their ability
to handle a film of this intensity.
My son Jeffrey, age 11, thought it was great, giving it ****. His
favorite character was Wolverine, and he had a long list of things he
liked about the movie. His friend Steven, age 12, thought it was
exciting and gave it ***. Steven's twin John thought it was only kind
of exciting and gave it ** 1/2. None of them found it too violent, but
I'd still be careful about the movie when taking preteens to it if they
are sensitive to violence.
Copyright © 2000 Steve Rhodes