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X-men

The war is coming, Charles, and I intend to fight it... by any means necessary.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * * )

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X-men is probably the best superhero movie ever done. Most times when a comic book is pushed to the big screen, one major element is totally forgotten about. Story. Once again the suits think they can simply dress up a big star in a fancy costume, throw some special effects and backdrops in and make a blockbuster. Often they are right, but these blockbusters are far from good movies. X-men is a perfect example of a movie that didnít forget the story. Right from the first scene we are given a horrific image that explains to us exactly why our villain (Famke Janssen) arenít done quite as well. This is probably for the better, though as trying to fully introduce so many characters can be very difficult. Whether we like it or not, this movie is really not much more than a 30 minute story wrapped around a whole bunch of character introductions. For me this is perfect. I am hoping for a whole string of X-men movies, hopefully done as well as this. Had they tried to weave too detailed a plot, along with about seven major character introductions, I am not so sure it would have been near as good.

Now the bad parts. Some Monday morning, a suit must have slipped in and hand wrote in a love triangle that never should have been. Perhaps they felt that the women in the audience needed a little soap opera, but for Christís sake, it doesnít belong in here. The other problem I had was with the lack of detail in why the evil mutants are even working for Magneto. How did they come under his service and what are they being offered. There is a nice scene where Mystique (Bruce Davison) before kicking the crap out of him which helps, but I could have had more. There is also a scene missing when it comes to the fate of the senator that I really felt changed how you view Magneto. I canít really talk about it without spilling some of the plot, but had they put in one more scene, our view of Magneto would go back into the gray area where it belongs in the first place.

The DVD is a very nice transfer of the movie with a 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture, a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a directorís commentary, deleted scenes and featurettes. The package art is also very well done.

Of all the super hero movies that exist out there, X-men is the first one that can be taken seriously. The rest of them try to wow us with action scenes, special effects and big name stars, but X-men proves that the only thing these movies are missing is the excellent story that keeps comic folks reading them every month of their lives.