Okay, continuing on with X-Men Week, we have the movie that kicked off the series and started the now-common trend of superhero movies taking time to show emotion and turmoil. Does it still hold up after over fifteen years? Let’s find out. As always, I recommend you watch the movie so you can follow along with the review.
This part is well-written, and feels authentic to the general feeling of isolation experienced by the mutants. Not all characters are used to their full potential (looking at you, Storm and Cyclops), but aside from that, which I’ll talk more about in the direction section, the story is quite impressive, delivering on what the audience of a summer movie wanted at that point while sidestepping being the soulless drivel that summer movies were at that point with its thoughtfulness, moral ambiguity and dark tone. It’s got slightly more flaws than “First Class,” in my opinion (how did Wolverine not heal immediately after letting go of Rogue?), but it doesn’t detract too much from what you want.
Story Grade: 90% (A-)
Wolverine is the star here, and he’s a good star, but the other characters aren’t utilized in the way they need to be for it not to feel more like “Wolverine” than “X-Men.” I like all the other introduced characters except for Cyclops, who isn’t terribly developed at all, and the already established characters are still as interesting as ever. What more can I say?
Characterization Grade: 90% (A-)
Mostly good, if a bit stilted at times, particularly during the action scenes.
Script Grade: 90% (A-)
I prefer Vaughn to Singer, because Vaughn can work with an ensemble cast much better, but Singer’s certainly no slouch, either, even if he focuses a little too much on Wolverine to achieve anything that noteworthy for any other characters. He knows how to direct action effectively, as well as emotional moments, though some of his techniques don’t hold up as well today as they should, especially with the emotional moments, which seem to drag on unnecessarily in places. That said, I think he’s a strong director where the series is concerned and hope he continues to find solid work after “Apocalypse.” (Let’s hope what he does turns out better than “Superman Returns.”)
Direction Grade: 88% (B+)
Aside from Halle Berry, whom Singer seems to not work with that well, this area is very solid.
Acting Grade: 90% (A-)
Still pretty cool, even if the effects are kind of dated.
Action Grade: 95% (A)
While not always the best, this area is good, if not as good as “First Class.”
Execution Grade: 88% (B+)
It still holds up, even if it kind of feels more like Wolverine’s movie than an ensemble feature like the first one.
Final Grade: 90% (A-)
Join me tomorrow, when I review “X2: X-Men United.” See you then.