X-Men (2000)

Director : Bryan Singer
Hugh Jackman : Wolverine
Patrick Stewart : Professor Charles Xavier
James Marsden : Cyclops
Halle Berry : Storm
Anna Paquin : Rogue
Famke Janssen : Jean Grey
Villains : Ian Ian McKellen as Magneto
Tyler Mane : Sabretooth
Rebecca Romijn : Mystique

The movie opens with a scene of Nazis herding Jews. Years later we see a hearing on whether mutants are dangerous. The hearings are about mutants registering themselves. A McCarthy-like Senator says "I have here a list of names of identified mutants living right here in the United States." He goes on to say "The truth is that mutants are very real and they are among us. We must know who they are."

Professor X, in his wheel chair, then talks with Eric Lensherr (Magneto) who tells him not to get in his way. We find out the Professor X and Magneto have two different views about getting along with "normal" humans. Professor X thinks they can all get along, while Magneto comes to feel that they can never get along : the humans should be dominated or wiped out. Parallels can be made to the Nazi's treatment of the Jews, the American government's treatment of the native Americans and of society's treatment of gays. Whenever you are a minority you can be put in danger.

We next see Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) fighting in a cage fight, without the claws. But at night, in a barroom ball his claws come out. Wolverine meets Rogue, whose touch can hurt you. She kissed a boy and put him in the hospital.

After an accident, and an attack by a mutant, Wolverine and Rogue are saved by Cyclops and Storm (Halle Berry). Wolverine wakes up and finds himself in a compound with Professor X, and other mutants.

Professor X tells Wolverine about the people at the school : different but adapting. He tells about Eric Lensherr, Magneto, who can control metal and create magnetic fields. We then see a shape changing mutant named Mystique beats up Senator Kelly on a plane. The Senator later gets changed in to a mutant by Magneto.

In the "School for the Gifted" Wolverine and Rogue learn to get along. Rogue runs away but Wolverine goes after her. Magneto meets up with them : he wants Rogue to join up with him. Senator Kelly makes his way to Professor X and tells him about the machine that was able to create mutations in him, to turn him in to a mutant and then he dies.

Magneto has a plan to turn all the wold leaders at a summit in to mutants. He is going to use Rogue to power his machine. The X-men try to save Rogue and Wolverine battles Mystique who changes her shape at will. Sometimes he is even fighting against another Wolverine.

On Ian McKellen's website, he said in an interview: "When Bryan Singer first talked to me about X-Men he explained the Xavier/Magneto axis in terms of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. It's true that each civil rights movement splits between the integrationists and separationists : the proponents of non-violence versus violent activism. I have noted that amongst activists in the gay rights movement. Some of us move between the various approaches, me included. Any member of a minority facing discrimination can relate to the mutants' dilemma. So before I ever saw the comic, I knew what would be central to the film script - an ever-relevant political argument. That attracted me as a gay man and as an actor."

Bryan Singer, the director and writer, - who is gay - was attracted to the movies by the idea of persecuted minorities. He is also Jewish and as an adopted child is also searching for his true identity -- which is why he focused on, and identified with, Wolverine in particular. Ian McKellen was also attracted to the X-Men movies by its symbolism for struggling minorities. And Singer said he would often direct McKellen with a gay reference. In an interview in Total Film magazine (issue 44, September 2000), Singer was asked how he got the actors to find their characters (they were not allowed to read the comics), and he responded: "You find tricks and ways of getting them to speak, or intellectually: 'Look, Ian, this is a society of people who want to wipe out homosexuals. What do you feel about that?' There's ways to do it." In the same interview, Singer says: "The idea about reluctant superheroes, born the way they are, searching for acceptance in a world that hates and fears them, it's interesting. It's what every adolescent experiences at one point or another. It's what I experience every day." Producer Lauren Schuler Donner said in the same magazine article: "Thematically there's a lot to relate to. It's about oppression. It's about prejudice, it could be the Jews in World War Two, it could be gay people."

The X-men is an important movie because it talks about important things. A very good superhero movie.