Eleven years came out a modest little hit came out…Batman.
Heard of it?
When Tim Burton's dark take on the Dark Knight came out my inner child came out as well and basically took over! Before this movie I hadn't looked at a comic book in ages, and like everybody else, I dismissed them as kid's stuff.
But when Batman came out, I found myself visiting more and more comic book stores…and I discovered that comics weren't just for kids anymore.
Comic books had grown up impressively, and even the ones that were more childish were a lot cooler than when I was a kid.
So I started devouring all things Batman, but soon that wasn't enough. I started looking for more and more. Superman, Spider-Man, Green Arrow, etc.
Eventually I discovered the X-Men.
I liked it. I liked the look and I liked the characters. Apparently so did everybody else.
X-Men has consistently been one of the best selling comic books EVER.
And of all the X-Men, I liked Wolverine the best. Again, so did almost everybody else. So much so that he has his own title, as well as the gazillion X books that he appears in.
So anyway with the success of Batman at the box office, major speculation began about what other comic books would be turned into movies. Many rumors, and many, many years later, The X-Men finally hit the big screen.
However, since the success of the first Batman, and the cool darkness of the second, which I loved, despite the horrible climax, there haven't really been much decent comic book based movies.
Well, The Crow was awesome, but while it is based on a comic book, it so transcends the genre, it doesn't really fit the category. Blade was a surprise hit, but again, the actual movie didn't look much like a comic book movie, but a high tech horror movie.
Overall though, since Batman Returns, we had two more Batman movies which really sucked. And the folks at Marvel? Well they suffered through a Captain America so bad it went straight to video. The Punisher had almost no connection to the comic book at all. Fantastic Four was bad enough to never see the light of day or even a shelf at Blockbuster.
All that being said, I was worried about what would happen with the X-Men.
I knew they had a good director, Bryan Singer who wowed everybody with The Usual Suspects.
I knew that they had the perfect choice for the role of Professor Charles Xavier; Patrick Stewart!
I knew they had a great actor, but an odd choice for the role of Magneto; Sir Ian Mckellan.BR> But who was gonna play Wolverine???
Well they cast Dougray Scott…a choice I found weird, but was OK with. Then I heard he had to bow out because of his involvement with Mission Impossible 2. I saw that movie and was pissed because he seemed like a good choice for Wolvie.
So cast in the pivotal role of Wolverine was none other than Hugh Jackman!
Hugh Jackman is apparently pretty well known in Australia, but NOBODY in America ever had a whiff of him. I saw his picture, and was pretty disappointed.
OK, a little more history…when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman, everybody and their mother cried foul! What the fuck was Mr. Mom supposed to be doing protecting Gotham City?
Well, Michael Keaton turned out to be a damn good Bruce Wayne / Batman!
Much better than his two successors.
Well, I'm very glad to say that Hugh Jackman IS Wolverine! He nailed his role, BIG TIME!
Hugh, you gonna be a STAR baby! Damn, he was perfect!
Sure he's a little taller and a lot slimmer than the comic book version, but his personality and even his facial expressions were dead on! Big time kudos go to Jackman, and to Bryan Singer for a job well done!
Overall, X-Men is one of the best comic book based movies ever.
There are plenty of flaws though.
Anna Paquin, all grown up and looking lovely as hell, plays Rogue. And plays her well. She and Wolverine have a good story written around them, so they take up much of the screen time. The problem with that is that the other characters seem kind of cardboard in comparison.
True comic book fans will probably bitch about a lot of the particulars, but overall, this is probably the most respectful to the comic book a live action movie can be with out looking really, really cheesy.
I also love the way certain characters are shown in the background…hopefully a sign of what's yet to come.
Yeah I'm sure there will be sequels, but as long as they are done as well as this one, that's a good thing.