Marvel Comics maven Stan Lees maxim of creating superheroes with real world problems, which revolutionized comic-books in the 1960s, lends itself to the angst-ridden approach more than most. The X-Men film is a good deal lighter in that does not particularly follow Batmans dark, moody psychological lead. The film does however follow the example of rendering comic-book characters believable in real-world terms. It throws out the characters costumes from the comic-book and dresses them in normal clothing Wolverine, now clad in leather jacket and plaid shirt instead of his yellow and black suit and mask, even gets a sarcastic line denoting such: What would you prefer yellow spandex jumpsuits? The scripters make the canny choice of telling X-Men through the eyes of the comic-books most popular and complex character Wolverine. Aussie actor Hugh Jackman gives an exceptional performance in the part, getting inside Wolverines loner determination, yet also giving the character a line in wry humour as well. Hugh Jackmans tight controlled performance is excellent it is the part that gives X-Men life (and also subsequently served to propel Jackman into place as an international A-list star).
The fun of a show like X-Men is how it becomes the equivalent of a super-powered WWF tag-team wrestling match with all the superheroes employing their powers in different combinations against the other side. Bryan Singer proves especially good at setting up and directing the super-powered battles. The sequence at the train station with Magneto levitating police cars, turning cops guns around against them and halting bullets millimetres from cops foreheads is especially enthralling. So too is the Statue of Liberty battle at the climax with two Wolverines facing off against one another, Toad throwing people about with his tongue, Storm riding in on clouds of lightning and the like. Unlike many other action directors, Bryan Singer never sets up effects sequences for their own sake but always places them at the purpose of a series of immensely exciting action sequences.
All the actors give fine performances to a person. The show is completely commanded by Hugh Jackman, although Rebecca Romijn-Stamos proves equally striking as the lithe Mystique in a remarkable blue-skinned makeup job. The seniors, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, also give wonderfully dignified performances. (Intriguingly, in Apt Pupil (1998), Bryan Singer cast Ian McKellen as an evil former concentration camp commandant and in X-Men he casts McKellen as an evil former concentration camp survivor, specifically rewriting Magnetos comic-book origin in order to do so. All of Bryan Singers villains seem to have the shadow of great atrocities hanging over them so too did Kaiser Sozay in The Usual Suspects, while in Valkyrie (2008), Tom Cruise is trying to prevent the Holocaust).
Bryan Singer and most of the cast returned for a sequel X2 (2003), and this was followed by X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) without Singer, the prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), the prequel X: First Class (2011), Singer returning for X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), followed by the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019). The Wolverine (2013), Deadpool (2016) and Logan (2017), as well as the tv series Legion (2017 ) and The Gifted (2017 ) are spinoffs of individual characters that sit within the X-Men universe continuity.
X-Men was helmed by Bryan Singer, who had caught attention with his first film The Usual Suspects (1995) and then went onto the Stephen King adapted Apt Pupil (1998) about the relationship between a teenager and a Nazi war criminal. Singer subsequently hopped ship from Marvel to DC Comics to direct Superman Returns (2006) and then went onto the non-genre Valkyrie (2008) and the fantasy film Jack the Giant Slayer (2013). Bryan Singer has also executive produced the tv mini-series The Triangle (2005) about the Bermuda Triangle, and produced the horror anthology Trick R Treat (2008), X: First Class, the horror films My Eleventh (2014) and The Taking (2014), and the tv series Legion (2017 ). He has also announced potential cinematic remakes of Battlestar Galactica (1978-9) and Excalibur (1981).
Although it had been preceded by Blade (1998), the success of X-Men gave sudden cinematic life to a host of other Marvel Comics adaptations including Spider-Man (2002), Daredevil (2003), Ang Lees Hulk (2003), The Punisher (2004), Elektra (2005), Fantastic Four (2005), Man-Thing (2005), Ghost Rider (2007), Iron Man (2008), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Ant-Man (2015), Deadpool (2016), Doctor Strange (2016), Black Panther (2018) and various sequels to most of these, as well as the tv series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013 ), Daredevil (2015 ), Agent Carter (2015-6), Jessica Jones (2015 ), Luke Cage (2016 ), The Defenders (2017 ), Inhumans (2017 ), Iron Fist (2017 ), The Punisher (2017 ) and Runaways (2017 ).
(Winner in this sites Top 10 Films of 2000 list. Winner Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Jackman), Nominee Best Supporting Actor (Ian McKellen), Best Supporting Actress (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), Best Special Effects, and Best Makeup Effects at this sites Best of 2000 Awards. No. 4 on the SF, Horror & Fantasy Box-Office Top 10 of 2000 list).