For many of you, your exposure to the slew of movies that have been coming out in excess since the year 2000 (because we’re ignoring EVERYTHING before then) has solely been with the film adaptation of one of my favorite mediums; The Comic Book Movie Adaptation!!
X-Men started the resurgence in popularity (much like Scream did for slashers). It stared a slew of accomplished actors and who were just getting their start, and let’s be honest this made their careers SKYROCKET (Side note: Did you know Anna Paquin was in She’s All That as Freddie Prinze’s sister… cause I didn’t and I love that movie and I love her so…. Wow, some people have come FAR). But really, a lot of people know Famke Jannsen (Xenia Onatop) as the red-haired psychic Jean Grey, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart (both accomplished actors with decades under their belt) as 1960’s best frienemies Magneto (Erik Lesherr) and Professor Charles Xavier, Halle Berry (interestingly enough she would go on to star in another Pierce Brosnan James Bond flick) as famous weather witch Storm, and Ray Park (Darth Maul!!) as the… overpowered Toad. Of course then there are those lucky actors who have grown near and dear to my heart (who knows about yours?) in the ensuing fifteen years of films and television alike: Anna Paquin (best known these days for True Blood) as Rogue (who really is just an amalgamation of Rogue’s power and Kitty and Jubilee’s characterization, especially where Wolverine is concerned), James Marsden as Cyclops (Enchanted, Strawdogs, Hairspray – but here he might as well be a silent mook considering he’s underused and nothing like his comic book counterpart… we’ll just leave it at that), Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake/Iceman (Notably NOT Smallville’s Jimmy Palmer as that was his twin brother Aaron, even though they often double for one another, and he was on Smallville as a villain so have at that as you will… no Shawn is notable for The Follownig with Kevin Bacon who would go on to play Sebastian Shaw AKA the White King in First Class), Tyler Mane as Sabertooth (who will later be known as the psychopathic serial killer who stalks his sister and kills all of her friends, Michael Meyers in the Halloween remake duology), Rebecca Romijn who would go on to star in a slew of tv shows like Ugly Betty and Eastwick, and who could forget Hugh Jackman our illustrious Wolverine who can steal the spotlight from the best of them (Famous for Les Miserables, but really just the X-men film franchise….).
See the characters you grew up with in wildly different interpretations in every regard except for their powers (leave that to Brett Rhatner and X-Men the Last Stand; I’m looking at you Callisto, Juggernaut, Psylocke, and… thorny guy?).
X-Men is an entertaining film but it was an adaptation of a comic book in the year 2000 and while it was impressive for its day, looking back on it there were a lot of flaws with it. Some aged well and others didn’t but in the end X-Men is still an entertaining film, just ignore everything you know about the comic books like I do when I’m watching an adaptation of a book and you’re golden!
What has always stood out for me in this series, though, is that for the most part the adaptations work (just ignore 3 and Wolverine Origins like Days of Future Past did and it’s all perfect). The characters are engaging when Hugh Jackman isn’t on screen, the plots can keep you guessing (especially if you’re apprised of the source material, the little changes make a huge difference and that can be a good thing if done properly). But most of all it did understand one thing that The Avengers will never have, a team film. For all of my jabs at Wolverine, he really is an integral character to the source material even if he debuted a decade after the series began. The X-Men films have always had a focus on team work, there aren’t any egos getting in the way of that and they trust one another implicitly. By the time you do reach the third movie, even with a roll of the eyes, their team is more a family than anything else.
As July 14th rolls up and Fox wants us to shell out more money for a sequence that was completed months ago but held back for the reason just listed, look forward to the more than likely much better version of X-Men Days of Future Past – X-Men Days of Future Past the Rogue Cut!