Sunday, June 19, 2011
I sat down to the first two installments of the X-Men series again recently. It had been a while since I'd seen either one, and it seemed a good idea to regain some mutant knowledge before going into Matthew Vaughn's addition to the franchise. I recall really liking the first X-Men, but that recollection is based on a memory of a 12 year old who loved pretty much everything he saw. Now I feel it's a little bit dated, a little bit rushed, and maybe just not as cool as we all thought it was years ago. The X-Men universe is so vast and rich with characters and their histories that it's difficult to make a good movie that introduces this world in a mere 104 minutes. Either there's going to be too much backstory and introduction and not enough plot or the exact opposite. The movie settles with the former, and while it's not a bad choice, there's no denying that the film lacks the substance and ideas to make it worth seeing again. Once you know the characters, X-Men is somewhat pointless. And with CGI still in development, the special effects seemed amateur compared to what we're spoiled with (and bombarded with) today. Still, there's a lot of nice touches in the movie that sort of spell the potential of the series. I love the scene Professor X sits in his car and manipulates the mind of Sabertooth (who, by the way, is another problem with this film) to tell Magneto to relinquish his hold on some police officers. And Mystique is used nicely too, taking full advantage of her shape-shifting abilities. But as a whole this is mostly a long intro to a group of beloved characters. While it doesn't necessarily make for a good movie, it sets the stage for what is unquestionably a great one.