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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: X-Men

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen
Director: Bryan Singer
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 104 Minutes
Release Date: July 2000
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action

*Also starring: Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Tyler Mane, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Shawn Ashmore

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

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 SUSPECTS).

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

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