Film Bitch History
Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.


Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!
Comment Fun

Soundtracking: Hustlers

"YES, this soundtrack was soooo good!!! The Fiona Apple 'Criminal' dance, instantly iconic." - JWB

"Does anyone remember Demi Moore in STRIPTEASE? They had her dancing to sad Annie Lennox songs. smh." - David

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for 500... no 461 Patron SaintsIf you read us daily, please be one.  Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience



Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

What'cha Looking For?
« Oscar Predictions & Curiousities : Visuals & Score | Main | The Darling Buds of May: May Welland »

Remembering X-Men (2000)

It's Mutant Week! With X-Men Days of Future Past, the 4th X-Men movie upon us nearly upon us -- Yes, fourth, shut up...Last Stand and both Wolverine solo movies do not exist...lalala ♪ I can't hear you -- we should celebrate Marvel's homo superior this week, even if we have to do so by way of 20th Century Fox.

Herewith a retrofitted piece celebrating my choice for "Best Shot" from the first movie. (If you'd like to play the Best Shot game, post your choice by tomorrow night and I'll link up in the index) 

In some ways the original X-Men (2000) is a tentative and mediocre movie: the budget limitations are obvious, Halle Berry is as lost as you remembered (though Storm is a strangely minor character), and the central evil plot is just dumb. But in other ways it's undervalued and not just because of the downward spiral that followed after the sequel.

X-Men makes smart choices about narrowing its focus for a first film (centering on Wolverine & Rogue) and the one character it totally reimagines -- that'd be Mystique -- is a major success.

What's more director Bryan Singer actually makes use of the widescreen in his mise-en-scène. Too few filmmakers do, just shoving everything into the center of the frame or shooting everything in relentless close-up. Even action sequences are shot with a preference for top of head and chin shaving close-ups these days but, much like musical numbers, action sequences are more memorable and coherent when they include whole bodies in the frame. And even though Singer's compositional tricks get a bit repetitive, like the recurring out of focus introduction of characters in the background, which you can see above, they're aesthetically pleasing.

X-Men was lensed by Newton Thomas Sigel, who has shot all of Singer's movies since The Usual Suspects (1995). This is my favorite shot in the film, Wolverine lost in the X-Mansion, bewildered by the new sites. He sees his reflection multiplied, across the team uniforms. Isn't it a beauty, narratively speaking? And Jackmanically speaking, too.

What are your fondest memories of the first film? 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (12)

Toad. I totally would have hit that. And I don't think I'm alone.


May 19, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I remember, this being the first big new franchise/comic to come about since Batman, literally counting the days down in a class room I was a student aide for. Historically, this was probably one of my most hyped films ever, being a big comic book fan and not knowing the overflow to come, let alone the overkill.

I do think this film is now underrated. It's action scene don't totally have the chops yet, and yes the dialogue can be weak, but damn if it isn't gorgeously shot and a real sense of who multiple characters are.

My personal favorite moment is probably that first interaction between Rogue and Wolverine in his truck, as he goes to warm her hands. Stupendous stuff.

May 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

The shot of Jackman just reminds me of how much more attractive he was with his natural build. The vein-popping, sinewy beast that he is now might be character appropriate, but it sure isn't appealing.

Though apparently in DOFP he bares his ass and Fassbender goes shirtless, and I won't complain about man candy.

I agree that the interaction between Rogue and Wolverine was possibly the best part of the first film. I was kind of disappointed to see that fraternal relationship put on the backburner in the subsequent films in favor of Wolverine and Jean Grey.

May 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I was soooo excited for this movie when it first came out. I was, and am, a HUGE X-Men fan, obssessed with the animated series and the toys and the comics. And I was so excited to see Rogue, my favorite mutant ever, on screen. And to my surprise I accepted all the major changes to the story and characters, Rogue in particular. I was just happy to see her even if it was in the Kitty/Jubilee role. I loved the movie then and I love it now.

May 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

I totally fell in love with Famke Janssen as an actress. And Famke-love led me to this site.I actually discovered this site because of Nathaniel's interview with her lamenting the treatment of the Dark Phoenix saga.

May 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJtagliere

I'm always baffled by the amount of hate/indifference this film has received. While it's not perfect, and X2 is definitely the superior film, I found it to be incredibly engrossing and well-done. In fact, I wouldn't have been nearly as excited as I was for X2 if this didn't exceed my expectations.

May 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

Grew up with X-Men comics and animated TV series so this movie was HIGHLY anticipated for me and I loved, loved, loved it. Of course I hated the Storm casting, but I feel like any self-respecting X-Men fan felt the same way then (and now). Anyways, don't really have one favorite part... just to see these heroes as live-action was enough. :D

May 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

While I prefer the 2nd film, my favorite moment is when Wolverine appears after beating Mystique and tells the rest of the team that it's him as Cyclops asks, "prove it" as Logan replies, "you're a dick". Cyclops says "OK" (I think) as it's a pretty funny moment. It's an imperfect film but an enjoyable one.

May 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

Yay on the Mystique love. Stamos killed in this role.

I agree with what the others have said. Best part of the film was the character building and relationship between both Wolverine and Rogue and Magneto and Dr. X. Casting McKellen as the big bad and his chemistry with Dr. X also was a big win (how great is this guy in everything he's in?).

I argue that this film has the best character building moments. With that said, I don't think any of the XMen films have aged all that well. I used to think they were some of the best superhero films ever, but upon rewatch of X2 (which I used to love), that's definitely not the case anymore.

May 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

Jtagliere -- oh wow. happy to hear that. that was such a cool interview. I had so much time with her and it was so low key in terms of stress. we even talked about august osage county (hot on broadway at the time)

May 20, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Great post. Here's my choice for best shot.

May 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>