Now I must admit to not having followed the X-Men comic book (or
animated TV series for that matter) since I was a kid in the late 1970s.
So I wouldn't really know whether this movie version of the Marvel comic
(about outcast mutant superheroes who has to battle the prejudices of ordinary
humans - as if you didn't know that!) would satisfy hardcore fans. Then
again, fans can be so anal and one shouldn't spend too much time indoors
with any real life equivalents of the Comic Book Store Guy from The Simpsons.
Viewers unfamiliar with X-Men lore will however be drawn to the
movie because of its surface similarities to The
Matrix. Chances are they'll be disappointed - although featuring some
good special effects sequences, X-Men is a rarity: an understated
superhero comic book movie adaptation. It'll disappoint those expecting
any fierce pyrotechnics. The movie's task is closer to that of last year's
Phantom Menace, namely establish all the characters
and themes for an ongoing movie franchise.
brings us to another thing: when I picked up some X-Men comics
a few years back and tried getting back into it, I found the series to
be the comic book equivalent of LA Law or a day-time soap opera.
There was a horde of characters, each with his/her/its own
subplots. Getting into the groove of the story was practically impossible
because of the confusion. Wisely director Bryan (Usual Suspects)
Singer tries to keep the amount of characters to a practical minimum to
avoid too much confusion. Sure, some comic geek will complain about some
or the other character from the comics being left out, but take my word:
it is for the best.
While not as good as it could have been, X-Men is nowhere as
bad as it could have been (namely as craptacular as
Spawn and Batman & Robin). It is quite
entertaining, but it is simply too short. The ending feels like an anti-climax
and you'll probably want more when the credits start rolling. No doubt
there'll be sequels, and if this movie is merely setting up the scenario
for future films, then roll on X-Men 2 I say.