Reviewed by: Symon Parsons

"I'm afraid this can't leap buildings in a single bound, no matter what the hype says."

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's another summer movie action blockbuster. But I'm afraid this one can't leap buildings in a single bound, no matter what the hype says.

X-Men takes place in the near future where mutants with super-powers are split into two camps - those against humanity, and those who wish to protect it. The former are lead by Ian McKellen as Magneto, a Malcolm X-quoting survivor of the Holocaust. The good guys are lead by telepath Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier. So far, so intriguing - and the scenes between these two, crackle as Bryan Singer gets to the meat of this intelligent comic book film.

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Yet you feel Singer's enthusiasm slipping away when he gets to the donning of costumes, THIS is a job for... stuff. His actual superheroes are a pretty dull bunch, it's a shame that only Wolverine seems to have acquired the power of charisma.

The special effects, are of course, spectacular, but the action scenes are curiously limp despite the fact that the big confrontation takes place at the Statue of Liberty.

Plotwise, it beats action film rival Gone In 60 Seconds hands down (in that X-Men actually HAS a plot) and undoubtedly it contains more original ideas in five minutes than the whole of M:I2. Despite that, X-Men never quite comes to the boil, and doesn't come close to matching Tom Cruise's no-brain epic for the sheer headlong thrills.

Don't get me wrong - there's a lot to enjoy in X-Men, notably McKellen's sympathetic super-villain and Hugh Jackman as the unpredictable Wolverine. But what hamstrings this film is that it has to be a scene-setter for the inevitable Return of the X-Men, Revenge of the X-Men and of course, X-Men: The Phantom Menace. Having created this brave new world, I expect spectacular things of the sequels.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Mutants face a tough time in comic book film spin off.
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Angus Wolfe Murray ***

Director: Bryan Singer

Writer: Tom DeSanto, Bryan Singer, David Hayter

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Tyler Mane, Ray Park, Rebecca Romijn, Bruce Davison

Year: 2000

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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If you like this, try:

Mystery Men
X-Men 2
X-Men: The Last Stand