Movie Review

X-Men

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence

Reviewed by: Deanna Marquart
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teen to Adult
Genre:
Superhero, Sci-Fi, Action
Length:
1 hr. 33 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
Relevant Issues
Scene from “X-Men”

Can genetic mutations produce positive changes in living creatures?

Human gills—Is it true that humans have occasionally been born with gills?

Creation or Evolution—What difference does it make?

Creation / Evolution issues… visit our Creation SuperLibrary

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer?

What is the Occult?

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it?

Reviews of the sequels to this movie

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

X2: X-Men United (2003)

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Game: X-Men Legends

Game: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

Featuring: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, James Marsden, Famke Janssen
Director: Bryan Singer
Producer: Avi Arad, Tom DeSanto, Richard Donner, Stan Lee, Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox

Marvel Comic’s leading series, The Uncanny “X-Men”, makes its mark on the big screen with this summer’s hit release of “X-Men: The Movie”. Sure to delight X-fans everywhere and thrill action-lovers all around, this movie is most likely the best comic-to-film adaptation produced yet, despite a few changes made for the sake of creating an original story.

In the world of the Marvel Universe, the next step in human evolution has begun as genetic mutations are giving rise to a new species of humans, Homo superior. Commonly known as “mutants”, they possess supernatural powers. (This is the creators’ explanation for the emergence of their many superheroes and supervillains.) These mutants, however, are both feared and hated by the normal human race.

In this retelling of the X-Men saga, mutant hysteria is being fueled by the McCarthy-like campaign of Senator Kelly (Davison) who crusades the requirement of mutant registration, a law that would lead to the exposure and isolation of mutants from society. Two mutant leaders rise to oppose this mounting hatred, one for good and one for evil.

Professor Charles Xavier (Stewart, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”), the most powerful telepathic mutant, has established a School for Gifted Youngsters for the purpose of providing a safe haven for these mutant outcasts and to train them in the wise use of their special abilities. With his students, he desires to promote understanding and peace between the two genetically divided human species. His first students, Dr. Jean Grey (Janssen), Scott/Cyclops (Marsden), and Ororo/Storm (Berry), collectively called the X-Men, serve as teachers in this school.

Eric Lehnsherr/Magneto (McKellen), so named for his mutant ability to control magnetism and thus able to manipulate anything metallic, has created his own team, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, consisting of Sabertooth (Mane), Mystique (Romijn-Stamos), and Toad (Park). Having survived a Nazi concentration camp, Magneto is driven to make sure what happened before does not happen again, by whatever means necessary.

The audience comes to understand the world of the mutants through the eyes of Logan/Wolverine (Jackman), a mutant with the ability of rapid self-healing. His skeleton, to include three long claws that can project and withdraw from each hand, had been laced with a fictional indestructible steel alloy called adamantium. His past memory though, including who laced his bones and why, had been erased. A fierce vagabond, Wolverine is grudgingly moved to take in a frightened teenager, Rogue (Pequin), who stowed away in his trailer. Her recently emerged power causes her to temporarily absorb the essence of anyone who makes contact with her skin. Their truck is stopped by the savage Sabertooth, who knocks Wolverine unconscious. But they are rescued by Cyclops, possessing powerful optic blasts, and Storm, gifted with the power of weather manipulation, who carry them to the refuge. Professor Xavier promises to help Wolverine recover his memory and discover why Magneto is after him. Magneto’s plans, however, interrupt the fulfillment of this promise, and the X-Men, with the addition of Wolverine, step in to save one of their own and stop Magneto from using a device which would eventually kill all humans it affects.

Christian objections to the film are obvious. Foremost is the theory of Evolution, the basis for the superhuman powers of the characters. Additionally, some of the mutant abilities are powers normally associated with the occult, namely telepathy and telekinesis (moving objects with one’s mind). As a comic-based movie, it well deserves its PG-13 rating for violence. Parents note: this movie is based on the comics and produced with the fans in mind, not on the cartoon with children in mind. Wolverine is a vicious fighter and has no qualms with drawing his claws on anyone who affronts him. On a somewhat positive side, the fast action and special effects of the violence are emphasized over the gore it could produce. Sex and nudity are not a part of this film, that is if you miss the line where Jean states she and Scott share the same room, and if you see Mystique as being “clothed” with a rubber covering. Profane words, though existent are not highly noticeable, unless you are looking for it, except for where it is used for purposes of humor. One mention of God is given from Magneto, but it is that of one who has forsaken the God of his fathers, believing Him to have abandoned His people. This statement will either make you want to cry, scream, or pray for the man’s salvation (if he were a real person).

The film, however, does have some distinct positive lessons tucked into it. The hysteria mounting against mutants had been compared to the hysteria the Nazis mounted against the Jews, but it can also be compared to all prejudice mounted against those who are different, such as from race or religion. This film exposes such hatred for what it is: ignorant, unnecessary, and murderous. At one point, Kelly asks Storm if she fears humans; she replies, “Sometimes—when they hate me.” This brings out another lesson, that of fighting hatred with hatred verses hatred with love. Magneto’s return fight of hatred only serves to escalate the hatred already ensued against him. Xavier and the X-Men, however, in fighting to protect the humans show the world the error of their fears. The most heart-touching lesson in love, though, comes from Wolverine. Although tough in nature, he is big in heart, and he nearly sacrifices his life to save Rogue’s. “No greater love has any man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).

All in all, “X-Men” pulls its weight as an action film worth seeing, while faithfully delivering to the fans all they could expect and hope. The special effects are dazzling and do well in highlighting the cogency of the characters. The actors performed phenomenally in portraying their respective characters, remaining quite true to form. One word of caution: be careful of becoming drawn into the comics from this film. As one who had been lured into them from a friend, I know how addictive and consuming they can become. Remember that we are warriors, “fighting not against flesh and blood.” Unlike the comics, our fight is real and has worth for eternity.


Viewer Comments
Evolution as fact …it saddens me to see that Evolution is so often taken as incontrovertible fact, and is just as often forced down our throats in the media. And sadly, as stated earlier, X-Men is no exception. Although its commentary on injustice and prejudice is very uplifting, with very little in the way of foul language (mostly done nearer to the end) and no sex, aside from a few tasteless pick-up remarks, that is the only downfall, that many fellow Christians may find offensive. …I personally found this movie quite entertaining, having been a fan of the comic book for a long time; I thought it was well worth the all-too-long wait, and the money spent. Everything done in the film fits in well with the spirit in which the comic was made, and is an admirable portrayal of the book both in plot, action, character personality, and dramatic quality. My Ratings: [3/3½]
—Brandon Victorian, age 22
teaches tolerance… An excellent movie with good theme of tolerance for people who are different. Profanity and Violence is the only thing to watch out for. …The movie theme is good for christians, but you may find the evolution part offensive, but don’t. It’s not like the monkey into human evolution, it’s about humans changing to adapt to the world. Of course we will never be able to control the weather or shoot lasers out of our eyes, but it has been proven that animals and humans must adapt over time to stay alive. The movie doesn’t challenge Christianity, in fact God is mentioned in the movie in a positive way… My Ratings: [3/5]
—Patrick Groff, age 15
blue paint as clothing?… This movie was a little disappointing. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t think it lived up to the hype, or was as good as the previews made it look. However, my friend who is into comic books and has read X-Men thought it was fantastic. I appreciated the attempt at some character development—particularly with Wolverine—but the action scenes were fairly bland. Nothing near the outstanding action of “The Matrix.” It was very clean for a PG-13 rating. There did not seem to be much language—although I’m not one to sit there and make a count of the profanities used. There was no sex or nudity, although the one female character is basically naked with blue paint covering her and some scales at strategic locations. There is some violence, but nothing excessive is shown. Overall, a fairly enjoyable movie, but if you see one or two movies this summer you would be better off with “Gladiator” or “The Patriot.” My Ratings: [3/3]
—Mike D., age 18
“well done”… I had only previously seen a few of the cartoon episodes of “X-Men” but I knew when the X-Men movie came out I had to see it. The movie was really well done. Patrick Stewart did an excellent job as Charles Xavier and I hope that if they do a sequel that he will once again take the role. I also hope that maybe they will develop a relationship between Rogue and Wolverine. There was not any cussing until about half way through the movie and even then it was not that bad. I would definitely watch it again. I would recommend this movie for young adults but not for anyone under the age of 12. My Ratings: [3/4½]
—Shannon, age 22
“nice human interest angles”… The only thing I expected from this movie was a fun show with my 6-year old son. I generally prefer more serious movies, but my son likes comics and Wolverine, so I thought this movie would be fun. With no reviews yet at this forum, it was somewhat difficult to determine how much offensive language would be in the movie. However, it was given a PG-13 for violence with no mention of language. Of course, in society today, offensive language is no longer offensive to many. Was the movie fun? Yes, somewhat. I am a comics fan, although not a huge X-men fan. But the movie was pretty well done technically, had nice special effects, and a fairly interesting story line. I don’t try to read too much into the storyline—I don’t expect it to be Christian, and I am thus not terribly bothered by the viewpoint presented, since my expectations aren’t high anyway.

The story had some nice human interest angles. The overall theme, I guess, was that we should not judge others (mutants in this storyline) based on their appearance or our perceptions of them. I’m sure others would find aspects to object to on theological grounds, but as I said, I don’t expect accurate theology from most movies. The language wasn’t bad by today’s standards. I counted three instances of h—l, one s—t, and one b—ch. All gratuitous, of course. I don’t understand why the world believes such language is necessary—to make the movie “cool”, I guess. However, the violence was slightly more intense than I expected. Ultimately, I regretted taking my 6-year old son. He liked the movie generally, but couldn’t watch approx. 1/3 of it because he was a little scared of the violence. It may be ok for 7 or 8-year olds and up. Overall, if you are an X-men fan, you will probably like the movie. It appears true to the comic book version, and like I said, had some nice human interest angles (e.g., the characters caring for each other). I gave it a moral rating of “3.” Not too offensive to what Christians believe, but not uplifting from a Christian perspective either. Just a fun movie for X-men fans (and even non X-men could enjoy the movie as well). My Ratings: [3/4]
—Chris Howell, age 34
violent… “X-Men”, overall is a fairly decent movie, though the movie has talks about Evolution, which most Christians find offensive, is mentioned only a few times in the movie, even though the whole movie is based on it. If you liked the cartoon, chances are you will love the movie, if you didn’t like the cartoon, you still have a pretty good chance of liking it. The movie has a fairly decent story, and you don’t have to rely on the special effects to keep the movie going. In one scene, the bad guy, Magneto, is turning this guy into a mutant, and says something about fearing God, and he says that he doesn’t work fast enough, I really didn’t get what he was saying, so I couldn’t really find it offensive. It includes a little vulgarity, mostly when Wolverine is insulting Cyclops, and in one scene, Wolverine sticks his middle claw up to Cyclops, that’s about it. Now, on to the violence, as you know the X-Men cartoon was full of violence, the movie is no exception. Though most of the fights were very fakey, it’s still violence. I think if is wasn’t for the Evolution-based storyline, and saying that one day we will all be replaced my mutants this movie would’ve been a lot more suitable for Christians to see. My Ratings: [2½/3½]
—Nick Smith
save for video… Very very sci-fi. One of your mutant powers should be enhanced imagination to buy into this one. For christians, “X-Men” has nothing notable to commend it. Bizarre even grotesque mutations in the film are unpleasant on the big screen—I’d save it for video. All that said, “X-Men” comes through with enough drama, action, originality, fine special effects and even humor to make it worthwhile entertainment for sci-fi fans. I see the potential for some interesting sequels. My Ratings: [2½/2]
—Todd Adams, age 33
pushes Evolution hard… This was a pretty good “intro” film. It introduces you to some of the main characters, how the X-Men were formed, etc. An avid X-Men reader might not find his/her favorite hero or villain but I believe there will be more to come. The story was kind of shallow but who cares. I did’t expect an oscar winning film. I expected the X-Men and that’s what I got. The violence was mild enough that I would let my children watch it. I will not let them watch it however because of the scare factor i.e. monster mutants up close and screaming in your face. I’m tired of having the fable of Evolution presented in everything, and this movie pushes it hard. Apparently becoming mutants are the next step in our evolution. The special effects were excellent. Hollywood never ceases to amaze me. Overall, a pretty good movie for the sci-fi loving teen or adult and worth seeing at the theatres. My Ratings: [2½/4]
—J. Turner, age 29
bad-guy politician like a conservative Republican… Just saw this movie. Worth the $5 I paid. Initial reaction was: that was a fun movie. Hardly a female in the place though, so I guess it’s for guys. I’ve only read the comic book once, so I didn’t know what to expect. As far as surface level stuff, no nudity (just the mandatory cleavage and endowed women in as-tight-as-possible tops, not all that different what I see at work, alas), no foul language that I noticed. (There was a brief “giving of the finger”, although it was actually a giving of the metal claw!) There is lots of violence, although few if any people/mutants actually die. The most objectionable part might have been the gore, such as it was. Depends on your sensitivity. I wouldn’t let my wife see it, since she can’t handle any gore, but most movie-goers would think it mild. As far as message goes, the bad-guy politician who wants to register all the mutants is basically made out to be a conservative Republican, and the mutants are likened to the Jews of Nazi Germany. I expected the movie to go really far pushing a kind of pro-gay, politically correct message with this, but I think it stayed pretty much within the bounds of the comic book, except perhaps for the right-wing intolerant bad guy. People looking for any deeper messages or exploration of socio-cultural paradigms may be disappointed, in my opinion. My Ratings: [3/3½]
—Jonathan H.H. Bloedow, age 28
“some cussing”… X-men is by far the best comic book to big screen yet to date. Bryan Singer does an incredible job of bringing a fantasy situation into the real world and making it work. I mean, everything about this movie works (even the costumes and Halle Berry’s wig!) Let’s hope that Bryan Singer will see the success in this series and make a sequel… but until then, I’m ready to go see the first one again! (From a Christian aspect, I really didn’t see anything too offensive except for some cussing and the explanation of how mutants arose (evolution).) In other words, go see this movie! My Ratings: [3/5]
—Chris, age 17
two graphic scenes …There is no camp humor, the characters are defined well and in the process of growing, and the story is rooted in serious issues of tolerance and acceptance. …rich in character development and attention to detail. …The visual effects are crisp and stunning, and the fight sequences are on par with both the comic book and any of Jackie Chan’s movies. Even the heroes’ costumes are sleek and serious, evoking a “Matrix”-like quality—kudos to costume designer Bob Ringwood, who gave Michael Keaton’s costume the same serious fighting quality in the first “Batman” film from 1989.

Language is kept to a minimum—I only counted five or six words at most—and the violence is either implied off screen or mostly stylized comic-book action. There are, however, two sequences that could be seen as graphic, one involving Wolverine’s claws and one involving an unusual death, so parents should exercise caution in allowing younger children who follow the comics or the animated series to see this movie. Clearly this is for older viewers and the long-time fans who have followed the comic since its inception in 1963, and the fun part of the movie is saved for those long-time fans.

References are made to up and coming X-Men Kitty Pryde, Iceman, and Jubilee, and there’s even a cameo appearance by X-Men creator Stan Lee in one sequence. While there are no references to God in the movie, it does present a serious issue of racial equality and acceptance between humans and mutants, and that even in the eyes of God all people are beautiful creatures in His sight, even those with advanced abilities. Clearly this vision of equality and acceptance is shared by Professor Xavier and his X-Men, while on the opposite end it is countered by Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, who seek control by any means necessary. And it is good to see the film’s two focal characters—Logan and Rogue—choose what they know is right in their hearts, the same kind of choice we make when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives… My Ratings: [3½/4]
—Bill William, age 33
Movie Critics
…violence earns a slightly objectionable rating for [this] fantasty-adventure…
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…loaded with silly stuff, but at least it’s aware of its silliness…
—Mark Ramsey, MovieJuice
…a good old-fashioned superhero action movie, unabashedly about people with absurd powers…
—Eric D. Snyider, The Reel Site
…when the film version isn’t assaulting you with gizmos, it’s an awkward, depersonalized piece of hackwork…
—Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly