On July 14th, 2000, 20th Century Fox released X-Men, the first film in the long-running X-Men franchise. The film introduced the world to big screen versions of such mutants as Magneto (Ian McKellen), Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), Mystique (Rebecca Romijin), Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden) and Rogue (Anna Paquin).
The plot follows Wolverine and Rogue as they are rescued by Storm and Cyclops from an attack by Sabretooth (a mutant working for Magneto) and taken to the X-Mansion in New York. There they meet Professor Xavier, who runs a school that teaches mutants how to control their powers and who also works to prevent Magneto from escalating the conflict between humanity and mutants.
Magneto has created a machine that will artificially induce mutation in an otherwise “normal” human, and he plans to use it during a summit where most of the world’s leaders will be present. However, Magneto is not powerful enough to run the machine himself, but the young Rogue is, so he plots to bring her to him and get her to run the machine in his place (knowing that this would kill the young mutant). The X-Men are called into action and race to stop Magneto from igniting a war.
X-Men was very well-received and spawned a film franchise that is still ongoing. It also features the Hollywood debut of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (a role that he will finally be retiring from once he finishes with the sequel to The Wolverine (2013)).
It’s been a long time since I saw the original X-Men (I prefer X2 personally) but I still recommend it if you haven’t seen it before, or if you’ve only seen the rebooted X-Men films (with the younger cast).
One final note: it really bums me out that the X-Men and the Avengers exist in two separate cinematic universes (Fox owns the rights to the word “mutant” which is why the Age of Ultron Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have different origins). I wish they could come to an agreement just once because I really really really wish I could see Wolverine and Iron Man get into an argument (it happens more than once in the comics) and have a brawl.
Sorry this is so late (stupid cold) -Bex
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*poster image is the property of 20th Century Fox