Hugh Jackman did a good job as Wolverine. Now, he is too tall for the role (remember that Wolverine is supposed to be Five feet Two inches tall), but his facial expressions, and his attitude were right on! His martial arts were good, and he held his own acting wise. They never got in to his bezerker rage, and he was cuddly enough to befriend the children (onscreen and in the audience), but that didn't make the character suffer. He was still gruff, and slightly (only slightly) foul-mouthed. Even the hair was close!
Many have criticized Rogue, but they did her quite well! The actress (Anna Paquin) is among the youngest Oscar winners ever (The Piano) so naturally her acting was good! I have the first appearance of Rogue, and this was pretty close to the young Rogue. Right down to the green riding hood! They eliminated some elements of her past... but that helped the story stay clear... not convoluted.
Patrick Stewart IS Professor X. Perfect! Cerebro was likewise dead-on! Ian McKellen was amazing as Magneto. He was just perfect. I never was comfortable with the bulked up Magneto of the nineties. He's tough, but looks his age! He played the part with dignity, and actually looked right even when flying around. His costume is sort of a combo of the original, and his X-Men Costume (does anyone remember that Magneto was the Headmaster of Xavier's School, and the X-Men's leader for a time back in the '80's?). Even that helmet is practical... it's not a super-villain thing... he uses it to block Professor Xavier's powers. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos made a good Mystique... I was skeptical, but she was fine!
The team is only unofficially called "X-Men". Basically they all wear uniforms and battle fatigues with the Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters symbol on it. Somewhere along the line the kids started referring to them as "X-Men"... makes it more grown up, no? In fact, these folks are treated like action heroes, not superheroes. They seldom even wear the uniforms.
The story isn't perfect, and won't win any awards for best screenplay, but is pretty tight. There is the occasional scene where I found myself saying "WHY?", or "That was pretty contrived!", but for the most part I was pleased. I won't reveal any details, because I don't want to include any spoilers! I will say that occasionally the slow-mo fight scenes got irritating... luckily this technique was rarely used. Bobby "Iceman" Drake (or should I say "Ice Boy" [Shawn Ashmore]) was ALL wrong... why even have him in the film if he was going to be a bowl of nothing?
The rest of the X-cast (I.E.: Cyclops [James Marsden], Storm [Halle Berry] and Marvel Girl [Famke Janssen]) was good. They made a fine ensemble without falling behind the main leads. The other villains Sabretooth (Tyler Mane) and Toad (Ray Park) did well. I liked Sabretooth almost in spite of myself. I didn't like his lion roars, but the presence was there! Toad was pretty funny. It was nice to hear Ray Park's voice for once, and it was cool to know that at least one of the actors did their own stunts! Of course he had in contacts again! Will we ever see his true eye color? The directing was great. It certainly had that Usual Suspects feel without being derivative. I think Singer is another great one. Again, without McKellan and Stewart it might not have been so good! But if you're interested in seeing a good action movie, see this one... hey, it's less comic-bookish than The Patriot!
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