Marvel vs. DC:
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Ray Park, Anna Paquin
We’ve finally broke into the 21st century, and Marvel’s sixth film is finally the first to break a score higher than 2*. X-Men, the first of nine (10 if you include Deadpool, with three more, again if you include Deadpool 2, to come) X-Men-based films, and it got off to a very solid start. We’re introduced to a whole host of X-Men and their villains, including Prof. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart, The Emoji Movie . . . it’s quite sad that the only film I have to put Sir Patrick Stewart in at the moment is that film), Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman), Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Ian McKellen, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), Ororo Munroe/Storm (Halle Berry, Kingsman: The Golden Circle), Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Scott Summers/Cyclops (James Marsden), Raven Darkholme/Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) and Marie D’Ancanto/Rogue (Anna Paquin). The story mainly revolves around the growing tension between humans and mutants, with a press conference scheduled, with Charles believing they can live in harmony with one another but, Erik fearful of being cast aside as outcasts or killed because of their special strengths, disagrees and sets about changing the entire population into mutants themselves so nobody is different.
The film does a nice job at introducing this massive array of characters (with a couple more mutant henchmen working for Erik) and gives them all a distinctive personality, so they don’t get confused in a mess of all sounding the same. Scott’s jealousy, Logan’s anger, Charles’ calmness, they all have a uniqueness to their characters and for non-established characters all coming together like this that worked very well. They’re also all well acted in their roles (it’s probably a high-3* for the acting category, but I know I’ve seen better performances from these in their roles), with Jackman especially conveying the right amount of anger at the world with a care for Rogue’s safety.
I also liked how they didn’t try anything too fancy (such as with X-Men: Days of Future Past) or go too overboard with the characters’ abilities, giving everyone enough time to show off slightly what they can do but hold back much more for later films whereby their powers can become more explored. My only real criticism would be aimed at its plot and its plot’s exploration. I loved the realism it uses, knowing in real life there would be press conferences and fear about people with extraordinary powers, but it doesn’t spend enough time (which would be hard to do considering it has to introduce everything) fully exploring the plot. There’s no moment that sets off the human’s fears (if mutants have been on earth for hundreds of years then why hasn’t a decision on their status been made prior to 2000?) nor does it give a strong reason as to why Charles isn’t so afraid whereas Erik is. I know in later films Erik is revealed to have had a tumultuous past, but none of that is really told here (bar the opening scene), so we’re instantly asked to just accept that Charles is a good guy fighting for equality whereas Erik is a bad guy fighting for mutants (although in a weird way he’s also fighting for equality). Its handling of its main plot did let it down slightly, but the film had so much to do that without adding on loads more time I can’t quite imagine myself how it would have achieved everything while maintaining a high standard of film.
It’s about time Marvel stepped up in this battle, with five previous failed attempts to even get a passable score, but X-Men was the catalyst for a change in Marvel’s film quality, while also setting off this franchise of films which, even 18 years later, are still being pumped out at an alarming rate, despite not being part of Marvel’s MCU. A very good introduction to all these characters and their individualities, with many references to back-stories we will see in later instalments, it was just unfortunately let down by a slightly lacklustre plot.
Plot: * * * Acting: * * * Writing: * * * Presentation: * * * *