Skip to main content

Should I Watch..? 'X-Men' (2000)

Benjamin has been reviewing films online since 2004 and has seen way more action movies than he should probably admit to!

Poster for the film

Poster for the film

What's the Big Deal?

X-Men is an action superhero film released in 2000 and is based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created. The film shows a world under threat from a growing number of mutants displaying various superpowers. Two mutants, known as Wolverine and Rogue, find themselves caught in the conflict between Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants and Professor Charles Xavier's School For The Gifted. The movie stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romjin-Stamos, Ray Park and Anna Paquin, and it was directed by Bryan Singer. Released to critical acclaim, the film earned more than $296 million worldwide and launched the X-Men franchise, which comprises numerous sequels, prequels, and spin-offs.


What's It About?

In the near future, a growing number of mutants have appeared in society with countless superpowers developing between them. At a conference to discuss the situation, anti-mutant Senator Robert Kelly attempts to pass his Mutant Registration Act through Congress, forcing mutants to reveal themselves and their powers publicly. Watching these events are old friends Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, mutants who are on opposing sides of the debate about how to react to the Act. Lehnsherr, known as Magneto, believes that mutants are the future and mankind must be eradicated to protect their future. Xavier believes that mankind and mutants can co-exist peacefully and must learn to tolerate each other.

With the public growing increasingly scared of mutants, 17-year-old Marie (later adopting the name Rogue) runs away after her powers are inadvertently exposed. Stumbling across fellow mutant Logan (known as Wolverine) in Alberta, the pair find themselves thrown into the conflict after being attacked by Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants members. Saved at the last minute by Storm and Cyclops, Wolverine and Rogue are taken to Xavier's School For The Gifted and informed that a war is brewing between mutants—with mankind caught in the middle.

X-Men Trailer

What's to Like?

X-Men remains much more than a simple superhero flick despite the years since its release. The political subtext contained within the comics is still present in the film, turning the film into something intelligent and relevant—arguably, even more so today. But it can still be enjoyed as a slice of comic-book hokum, albeit a film that broke the mold with its polished look and impressive effects. Before this, comic book films were treated with disdain and plagued by low budgets and a lack of understanding from filmmakers. Without this film, it is quite possible that Marvel would never have launched their ambitious Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and that's a world I can't bear to think about.

With a stellar cast, it's no surprise that the film is littered with quality performances from top to bottom. Stewart and McKellen have natural chemistry between them (though their shared scenes are limited in number), but both bring gravitas to the material amid the explosions and fight scenes. However, it's Jackman's unforgettable performance as Wolverine that proves the most exciting as he has been inseparable from the role ever since. Paquin also does very well as Rogue, tortured by what she has become and isolated as a result. For her, being a mutant is a curse instead of being empowering.

Part of the film's success is the spot-on casting, particularly Jackman (left) as Wolverine

Part of the film's success is the spot-on casting, particularly Jackman (left) as Wolverine

Fun Facts

  • To help him get into character, Jackman would take ice-cold showers every morning of shooting at 5 in the morning. Not wanting to wake his wife, he realised that this was the perfect set-up for Wolverine—wanting to scream and lash out but having to hold his rage in check all the time.
  • Stewart and McKellen became firm friends throughout filming, much like Xavier and Lehnsherr were at one point. When Stewart married in 2013, McKellen performed the ceremony.
  • According to Marvel, Wolverine is quite short and stands at 5'3". Jackman is 6'2", so Marsden (who is 6') had to wear platform shoes to appear taller than his co-star.
Scroll to Continue

What's Not to Like?

There are places in the film where the effects are found wanting—this is especially noticeable in the scenes featuring Magneto's weird mutant machine and any leaping about done by Park's Toad character. The story also felt a little weak, especially compared to some of the sequels. Of course, this film has the difficult job of compressing nearly forty years of material into a summer blockbuster film, so there is obviously going to be some omissions—no Beast, Gambit or Archangel, for example. The film is a suitable introduction to the characters, but for fans wanting more, they'd need to wait before the series started hitting its stride.

Other than minor niggles like Wolverine not wearing his distinctive bright yellow costume and lack character development, there isn't much to dislike about X-Men. Despite the goofy story, the film is both intelligent and exciting enough to appeal to superhero fans. Without it, we wouldn't be enjoying the glut of superhero films currently flooding multiplexes the world over.

The film introduces us to the comic's core characters like Storm (left) and Cyclops (centre)

The film introduces us to the comic's core characters like Storm (left) and Cyclops (centre)

Should I watch it?

Not only is X-Men a well-paced and exciting action flick, but it's also a powerful allegory about the perils of discrimination and extremism. As such, the film has become even more relevant today than it was back in 2000 with the worrying rise of populism and extremist ideology. The film was pivotal in getting superheroes onto the big screen properly, proving to studios that comic-book adaptations could be successful as well as critically acclaimed.

Great For: Comic-book lovers, action fans, Hugh Jackman's career, political debate

Not So Great For: Marvel (who sold the rights to the characters in 1994), anyone who hates comic-book movies

What Else Should I Watch?

Well, there's no shortage of X-Men movies viewers can choose from. The trouble is that not all of these are as solid as this first film. The first sequel, X-Men 2, is even better with more characters and another brilliant storyline involving a scientist played by Brian Cox attempting to commit genocide. Other well-received films in the series include the 2011 prequel X-Men: First Class and its timeline-crossing follow-up X-Men: Days Of Future Past, which sees the younger cast from First Class uniting with the original X-Men cast to face off against the mutant-destroying Sentinels.

Together with Spider-Man in 2002, the platform was set for Marvel to launch their plans for the MCU - an ambitious series of films that would interlock with each other, crossing over and exchanging characters left, right and centre. With the release of Iron Man in 2008, the films would slowly begin to build up towards the epic Avengers Assemble, which is just about the best comic-book adaptation ever made. And before I get stoned to death by nerds, anyone looking for a more grown-up superhero experience should look at Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, featuring my personal favourite, Batman.

Main Cast


Hugh Jackman

Logan / Wolverine

Patrick Stewart

Professor Charles Xavier

Ian McKellen

Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto

Anna Paquin


Halle Berry

Ororo Munroe / Storm

James Marsden

Scott Summers / Cyclops

Famke Janssen

Dr Jean Grey

Rebecca Romijn-Stamos


Bruce Davison

Senator Robert Kelly

Ray Park


Tyler Mane


Technical Info

* story by Tom DeSanto & Bryan Singer, based on characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

DirectorBryan Singer


David Hayter *

Running Time

104 minutes

Release Date (UK)

18th August, 2000


Action, Sci-Fi, Superhero

© 2017 Benjamin Cox

Related Articles