Turn the clock backwards 13 years to the start of the new millennium (gosh, that makes me feel old). The only big superhero movie successes were the Superman series from the late '70s and '80s and the Batman series from the late '80s and '90s (and we all know how that one turned out), both of which from DC Comics. Marvel Comics had very little presence on the big screen at this point in time (other than Blade).
|Also known as the bio-pic Wesley Snipes: Vampire Slayer.|
Rogue and Wolverine are introduced to Prof. Xavier, a kind old man in a wheelchair who teaches and protects teenage mutants at his institute for gifted youngsters. The Prof. believes that Magneto wants to capture Logan, because his skeleton is coated in a strong metal, adamantium.
As the story unfolds it becomes clear that Magneto actually wants Rogue so he can transfer his powers to her and force her to use a machine to evolve all of mankind (well, all of New York really), changing all of us knuckle dragging Homo sapiens into highly advanced Homo superiors (or mutants) in the process.
|Kind of like this ... but not really.|
|Or at least until the sequel three years later.|
And the casting is really well done. Stewart and McKellen make fantastic rivals as Xavier and Magneto (respectively). While the two aren't showcased much in this first film of the franchise, their roles become much more influential as the series progresses providing ample time to show off their acting chops. And 13 years later, Jackman is still playing the role of the man who is the best there is at what he does (Wolverine for those of you non-comic book fans out there).
X-Men isn't a bad movie, but it isn't a fantastic movie. It was, however, a start in the right direction for the mutant movie franchise, leading the way for two sequels, two prequels, a third sequel (The Wolverine), and an upcoming fourth sequel scheduled for next summer.
The movie also helped launch superhero movies into the mainstream because after its success Marvel made deals with 20th Century Fox to make Daredevil, and Fantastic Four movies, and with Sony Pictures to make Spider-man movies. While these movies ultimately weren't good (except for Spider-man and Spider-man 2), their failures and mistakes resulted in Marvel Comics buying their own production studio, Marvel Studios, which brought us the incredibly successful Marvel cinematic universe. None of this would've been possible without Bryan Singer's X-Men.