Tag Archives: Halle Berry

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) Review

Time: 131 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence and offensive language
Cast:
Keanu Reeves as John Wick
Ian McShane as Winston
Mark Dacascos as Zero
Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King
Asia Kate Dillon as the Adjudicator of the High Table.
Halle Berry as Sofia
Lance Reddick as Charon
Anjelica Huston as the Director
Director: Chad Stahelski

After gunning down a member of the High Table — the shadowy international assassin’s guild — legendary hit man John Wick finds himself stripped of the organization’s protective services. Now stuck with a $14 million bounty on his head, Wick must fight his way through the streets of New York as he becomes the target of the world’s most ruthless killers.

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John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum was one of my most anticipated films of 2019. John Wick was a surprise hit upon its release back in 2014, no one expected it to be as great as it was, but with the action scenes, along with Keanu Reeves’s great turn as the titular character, it all really worked. Chapter 2 showed that the first movie wasn’t just a fluke, and continued the story and expanded the lore even further. And now, John Wick Chapter 3 has cemented this trilogy as one of the all time best action trilogies.

Chapter 3 picks up right after the previous film, with John on the run. It is more of a straightforward action movie, but at the same time leave some room to expand the lore and Wick’s story, and these scenes aren’t just used as breathing room between the scenes. The lore is one of the highlights of these movies and the expanding of it didn’t disappoint. Story-wise I feel like nothing could top the first movie because of how personal it is for the main character, whereas in Chapters 2 and 3 he’s forced into situations, in the first movie it’s a decision that he returns to his old life. That’s not to say however that every John Wick post the first movie has a weak story, Chapter 3’s story is actually handled quite well, at over 2 hours long it had my attention from start to finish. By the end I was on board with however long they want to make this series, I’ll be there watching every single one of them.

At this point I don’t think it’s controversial in the slightest to say that John Wick is Keanu Reeves’s role. Of course, everyone knows that he can do the action well, but on a performance level he’s also really good. There is this inner darkness and drive that you can see within him, it’s subtle but he conveys so well. Some cast members from the previous movies also make their appearance and all really add to the movie, particularly Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King, Ian McShane as Winston and Lance Reddick as Charon, they all work well. I also liked the additions, with the shining example being Halle Berry. She’s not in the movie as much as you’d think but she makes the most of the screentime that she does have, demonstrating that her character is at least on par with John Wick. I hope we get to see more of her in a sequel or something similar. Asia Kate Dillon plays the Adjudicator sent by the High Table, who meant to represent them. Unlike the rest of the supporting cast, she comes across as feeling a little weaker but I guess with how she’s written there’s not a whole lot that she could really do in the role. Faring much better as an antagonist is Mark Dacascos as Zero, the main assassin sent after Wick (and is probably the main villain of the movie). He was threatening, entertaining and all around worked perfectly for the movie, especially as a threat to John.

Chad Stahelski like with the past two movie directs this well. The action scenes as to be expected are great, no close up, shaky cam or quick cut editing that plagues some modern action movies, you can clearly see what’s going on and it’s all choreographed really well. The body count is tripled from the previous movies. If you thought that Wick killing people with a pencil was impressive, just wait till you see what he does in the opening scenes. With there being even more action than the past two movies, this could’ve resulted in some action fatigue but Stahelski and co. manage to bypass this by keeping each action scene fresh, with different environments and situations (yes, John Wick even rides a horse at one point). If there’s one small gripe I had with what I watched, its that certain action scenes felt like they went for a little too long, as much as I liked them. The movie like the previous two manage to show off John Wick as clearly being a lot more capable than most of the people he’s up against while making it seem like he could die and isn’t invincible. There are some moments in Chapter 3 where it does feel like he’s invincible but for the most part it’s handled well. Chapter 2 was stunning looking and that continues into Chapter 3, it’s not surprising that both films have the same cinematographer. Tyler Bates’s score works perfectly with the John Wick series, so glad he returned for the third movie, it just elevates everything to a new level.

John Wick Chapter 3 lives up to all the hype and surpassed it, I loved the story and the expansion of the world and lore, and of course Keanu Reeves delivers as always as the now iconic titular character. This, as well as Mad Max Fury Road and Mission Impossible Fallout are some of the most overwhelming cinema experiences I’ve had with regard to action movies. I’m completely on board for this series, I can’t wait to see more of John Wick, the rest of the characters and more of this world.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) Review

Time: 141 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains violence, offensive language, drug use & sex scenes
Cast
Colin Firth as Harry Hart/Galahad
Julianne Moore as Poppy Adams
Taron Egerton as Gary “Eggsy” Unwin/Galahad
Mark Strong as Merlin
Halle Berry as Ginger
Elton John as himself
Channing Tatum as Tequila
Jeff Bridges as Champagne “Champ”
Pedro Pascal as Whiskey
Edward Holcroft as Charles “Charlie” Hesketh
Director: Matthew Vaughn

With their headquarters destroyed and the world held hostage, members of Kingsman find new allies when they discover a spy organization in the United States known as Statesman. In an adventure that tests their strength and wits, the elite secret agents from both sides of the pond band together to battle a ruthless enemy and save the day, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy (Taron Egerton).

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle was one of my most anticipated films of 2017. I’m a huge fan of the original Kingsman, it was fun, violent, different, and was well executed by director Matthew Vaughn. With the sequel introducing the American equivalent of the Kingsman (Statesman) and including some top notch actors, of course I was excited to see it. Having finally seen it I can say that I liked The Golden Circle… but I was slightly disappointed. On its own, it is a fun movie with actors having a lot of fun in their roles and some entertaining action sequences. However, there were some odd choices made with story and character, and at times is a little too over the top for its own good.

I was consistently entertained throughout the 2 hours and 20 minute runningtime of The Golden Circle, I was interested in the plot or entertained in what was going on. This movie does have one of my concerns in the lead up to its release, which was that it would feel a little too much like the original Kingsman. Not that its bad, if it aint broke don’t fix it, its just that I would’ve liked some more differences. There were some differences that were for the worst. The original Kingsman was both good at poking fun at the spy genre, while still being its own thing. The sequel however falls into self parody at times, going so over the top that its borderline Austin Powers territory, and not necessarily in a good way. There is also a sequence with Poppy Delevingne’s character which was just completely random and pointless, and it is definitely the worst part of the whole movie. Think of Kingsman 2 as being Kingsman, just not done as great. However, I almost have to give credit to Matthew Vaughn ‘s willingness just go out there and make whatever he wanted to do, despite how bonkers it can get. Silliness aside I didn’t have too many problems with the plot, there were some decisions with some of the characters that were rather questionable however (and I can’t go into that too much because that’s spoiler territory).

Taron Egerton returns once again as Eggsy, who’s now a Kingsman agent. Taron is flawlessly charismatic and likable as ever. Usually I wouldn’t mention this up because it may be a spoiler but since the marketing seemed to show it, so I guess we can talk about Colin Firth returning. As usual, Firth is effortless as Harry Hart in both his action and non action scenes. I’m not a fan of characters in big franchises being brought back from the dead, but I have to admit it’s nice seeing Colin again. Also, the explanation for Harry returning is fairly good. Mark Strong also returns as Merlin, getting even more to work with than in the original.

One of the reasons I was so hyped for Kingsman 2 was the talented actors involved with Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry and Pedro Pascal. I wouldn’t say that they are used to their fullest potential in this movie but they do very well to leave an impression in their scenes. Don’t let their talent fool you, in the film they are very much supporting characters, some only appearing in a few scenes. With that said, apparently the original running time of The Golden Circle was 3 hours and 40 minutes, so who knows, maybe they originally had bigger parts to play. The standout of the newer cast to me was Pedro Pascal, there is something that they do with his character at a point though which still kind of irks me. I also think Sophie Cookson’s Roxy (who was in the original Kingsman) should’ve been used a lot more. Julianne Moore is the villain as Poppy Adams, a drug lord. Moore is a fantastic actress but for whatever reason, her character really didn’t do anything for me. Samuel L. Jackson’s villain in the original film was silly and not threatening but he actually seemed to work for the movie. Moore’s character… not so much. She was crazy while acting all sweet and I get that’s what they were going for, but she didn’t really leave an impression on me at all. I didn’t find her entertaining or interesting, not to mention Poppy has some very weak motivations. Moore definitely did as well as she could with the role and she looked like she was having some fun, but overall her villain felt quite underwhelming, though I wouldn’t call her bad. Also Elton John is in this movie, I am feeling quite mixed about him. At times he was fine and even funny, but at times he was given way too much screentime and became just rather distracting.

Matthew Vaughn’s direction and style really worked in the original Kingsman and he thankfully returns here, in fact its his first attempt at a sequel. The action like in the previous Kingsman was pretty good and entertaining. The action with Pedro Pascal’s Agent Whiskey character is particularly great, including a scene in a bar. If you remember from the original Kingsman, there was this sort of hypercam that was used in the church scene. Well it appears here many times, and it really wasn’t always utilized the best. A good example is the opening action sequence, the action is good but the way it was filmed was rather distracting. It wasn’t terrible but it did take me out of the movie a bit. The CGI like in the original Kingsman is a little fake at times. The score from Henry Jackman like in the original Kingsman was great.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is not as good as the original. It’s decent, has some good performances, its enjoyable if silly but it has some issues with regards to the plot and some of the characters. However it is so much fun to watch that I’m willing to overlook some of the issues. If you don’t like the original Kingsman, I don’t see this one being any different for you. For everyone else, give it a go and see it for yourself whether it does it for you, I know it did it for me. I’m perfectly willing to give Kingsman 3 a shot, despite some issues in this instalment of the surprise franchise.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) Review

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X-Men Days of Future Past

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine
James McAvoy as Charles Xavier/Professor X (Past)
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Past)
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkhölme / Mystique
Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe/Storm
Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy/Beast
Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat
Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake/Iceman
Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask
Ian McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier/Professor X
Director: Bryan Singer

Convinced that mutants pose a threat to humanity, Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) develops the Sentinels, enormous robotic weapons that can detect a mutant gene and zero in on that person. In the 21st century, the Sentinels have evolved into highly efficient killing machines. With mutants now facing extinction, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) volunteers to go back in time and rally the X-Men of the past to help change a pivotal moment in history and thereby save their future.

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Dabbling into time travel is a huge risk but Days of Future Past is one of those rare movies which actually managed to apply it quite well. In fact for me, this is the best X Men movie made yet. Everything from the acting, the story and action is so greatly done by Bryan Singer. This movie showed that First Class wasn’t just a fluke, the X Men series is great again, and it looks like it will be great for a long time.

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The problem with time travelling movies is that it can be confusing and contradictive but the film offers up logical explanations that helped explain everything well. This film also blended the old and the new characters quite well, all of them are portrayed quite well. There is a good balance between action and story, and it’s quite easy to care about what was going on, which was something that I felt was sometimes lacking in the previous movies. There definitely is more past than future, but it’s quite balanced out, the time jumps never feel jarring. I will also say without spoilers that the result of the time travelling actually fixes a lot of the mistakes in the previous movies.

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The movie combines the cast of the old and new films and all of them as usual was great. So actors of the old trilogy like Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan and others as well as actors from the new series like Nicholas Hoult were great. A particular standout for me was James McAvoy as Charles Xavier. Whereas X Men First Class was Magneto’s journey, Days of Future Past was Xavier’s journey. Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique is also pretty good and also gets a good balance of action and character in this film. A scene stealer was Evan Peters as Quicksilver, he’s not in the movie a whole lot but he’s great in every scene he’s in. His scene where he demonstrates his power is one of the best scenes in a superhero movie I’ve ever seen. I also thought that Peter Dinklage did a pretty good job as the villain.

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Bryan Singer always directs X Men movies well. The action as to be expected was great and it showcased the powers of the mutants well. But it was not just the action that impressed me. The visuals in the future time looked beautifully dark and bleak, the past time looked straight out of the 70s. Days of Future Past is easily the most visually beautiful of the X Men movies. The special effects again are excellent, everything is on such a big scale, whether it be the Sentinels in the future or a scene involving Magneto and a stadium. I also love the score by John Ottoman, who returned from X Men 2.

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X Men Days of Future Past succeeded on pretty much every level, it had fantastic acting and portrayals of these characters, it had great action and it has a pretty engaging story. X Men Days of Future Past is for me the best X Men movie at the moment. We’ll have to see what happens with X Men Apocalypse and whether it can gain that title, but even if it’s close to the level of greatness of this movie, I’ll be happy.

X-Men The Last Stand (2006) Review

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X-Men The Last Stand

Time: 104 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine
Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe/Storm
Ian McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
Famke Janssen as Jean Grey/Phoenix/Dark Phoenix
Anna Paquin as Marie/Rogue
Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Hank McCoy/Beast
James Marsden as Scott Summers/Cyclops
Rebecca Romijn as Raven Darkhölme/Mystique
Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake/Iceman
Aaron Stanford as John Allerdyce/Pyro
Vinnie Jones as Cain Marko/Juggernaut
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier/Professor X
Director: Brett Ratner

The discovery of a cure for mutations leads to a turning point for Mutants (Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, Kelsey Grammer). They may now choose to give up their powers and become fully human or retain their uniqueness and remain isolated. War looms between the followers of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who preaches tolerance, and those of Magneto (Ian McKellen), who advocates survival of the fittest.

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X Men: The Last Stand has gotten the reputation of being the worst X Men movie and I think that’s a little ridiculous (X-Men: Origins Wolverine was clearly much worse). But even if it is one of the worse X-Men movies, it’s still not as bad as many others are making it out to be. The main flaw was aspects of the story and direction, it could’ve been so much more and Bryan Singer’s absence can be definitely noticed. However I still think there’s still enough aspects that make it an above average movie.

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One thing that this film does is raise the stakes, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. An example of the latter is when the film does kill off characters, I’ve noticed a lot of complaints are aimed towards those moments. While I didn’t feel anything when these deaths happened (which is probably a flaw in the X Men movies as a whole), these deaths felt unnecessary. I guess it was because Fox thought that this would be the last X Men movie, so they tried to raise the stakes. But it felt so forced and unnecessary. A big complaint that many had was the execution of the Phoenix storyline, as I haven’t read the comics I don’t really know the differences. So I can’t really comment on that. I will say that I thought it was fine but it didn’t reach its fullest potential. The final act of the movie is a big mutants against mutants fight and I personally thought that was enjoyable to see.

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The cast was again good in their role, with Hugh Jackman of course stealing the show. Some of the additions to the cast were great, for example I loved what they did with Kelsey Grammer’s Beast. One flaw that I have acknowledged was the fact that so many new mutants are introduced and nothing is done with them. Vinnie Jones for example plays the Juggernaut, he was really entertaining (in a funny way, not in a badass way) in his 2 scenes but didn’t add anything. Ben Foster’s Angel didn’t do much either, his character was in the first scene of the movie but he’s only in a few scenes.

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The special effects are as usual good, they are on the same level as the other X Men movies. Even if you don’t like the movie, there’s no denying that there are many visually great moments. One example is in the final act involving the Golden Gate Bridge. The final action scenes was great and after seeing small groups of mutants fighting other groups of mutants (or in the case of X2, human soldiers) it felt so exciting and refreshing to see a great mutant on mutant war.

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I don’t really get a whole lot of the hate for X Men 3. Sure it doesn’t hold up to the previous movies but it still holds up as a decent movie. The action is still good, the actors do reasonably well and I liked aspects of the direction in the story. The main flaw is in the story, there are so many parts of the movie that could’ve been improved. I felt like Brett Ratner might’ve been the main flaw, Bryan Singer skipped this movie for Superman Returns (great choice by the way), and given Ratner’s track record, it’s easy to see why this movie would fail. The Last Stand is by no means a great movie but it isn’t a bad movie either.

X2: X Men United (2003) Review

Time: 134 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier/Professor X
Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine
Ian McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe/Storm
Famke Janssen as Dr. Jean Grey
James Marsden as Scott Summers/Cyclops
Rebecca Romijn as Raven Darkholme/Mystique
Brian Cox as Col. William Stryker
Alan Cumming as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler
Bruce Davison as Sen. Robert Kelly
Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake/Iceman
Aaron Stanford as John Allerdyce/Pyro
Kelly Hu as Yuriko Oyama/Lady Deathstrike
Anna Paquin as Marie/Rogue
Director: Bryan Singer

After the events on Liberty Island, everyone at Xavier’s (Patrick Stewart) School for Gifted Youngsters is settling in. Magneto (Ian McKellen) is locked up in a plastic cell, Rogue (Anna Paquin) and Bobby Drake (Shawn Ashmore) have finally gotten together, and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) has set off to find his origins. But it won’t stay quiet for long. After a mutant attack on the President, everyone starts to fear any type of mutant. William Stryker (Brian Cox), who plans to stop all mutants, takes over the school, causing Wolverine and his team of mutants to go into hiding. Stryker has managed to capture Xavier and will use him to create another version of Cerebro. Wolverine and the team must now team up with their enemy, Magneto, to stop Stryker before it’s too late.

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X Men was a pretty good movie and was one of the movies that brought back the superhero genre. Director Bryan Singer returns to deliver an even better X Men movie. With more characters, more development of the characters and a plot which isn’t just a rehash of the original, X Men 2 proves to be even better than the original. It’s still not the best X Men movie but it is the best of the original trilogy.

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I really liked the aspect of the X Men teaming up with Magneto, it would be so easy just to have them as enemies for the sequel but this time around it gives us something different. I also liked the pacing better here, while I did like the previous X Men, after watching it again I noticed that the pacing was a little slower, now that the characters are (mostly) established I think Singer could afford to have a faster pace. This also meant that more of the characters could be developed (at least a little bit). Once of the main criticisms of the first film was that aside from some characters (such as Wolverine, Rogue and Magneto) most of the characters were underdeveloped. Although I can’t call all of them fully developed (Especially Cyclops and Mystique) the film at least showed more aspects of them.

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All the actors from the previous movie return and once again are good in their roles, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, and the rest of the cast are really good but Hugh Jackman as usual steals the show as Wolverine, it’s hard imagining anyone else in his role. Brian Cox I thought did a pretty good job as the main villain, who has a lot of history with Wolverine. Alan Cumming Nightcrawler was a nice addition to the X Men, I’m actually surprised that he didn’t return for the sequel. As I said before, more of the characters are given more depth and I started to like them more, with the exception of Cyclops who doesn’t show up a lot in the movie.

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The action scenes once again are well filmed and there are much more of them as there is much more going on in the story. Highlights of the film for me were the opening scenes with Nightcrawler and the fight scenes between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike at the end of the movie. The soundtrack again was really good and added to the movie.

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X Men 2 is for me a better movie than the original X Men. That film was a good set up to the X Men, while X Men 2 was a great X Men movie. It’s still not the best X Men movie but it’s the best X Men film of the original trilogy. It has the best action scenes, it has the best story and it used the characters the best. It’s not a perfect movie, looking back at it not all of the characters are fully developed but it is an improvement over the first film.

X-Men (2000)

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X-Men

Time: 104 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine
Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier
Ian McKellen as Eric Lensherr/Magneto
Famke Janssen as Jean Grey
James Marsden as Scott Summers/Cyclops
Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe/Storm
Anna Paquin as Rogue/Marie
Tyler Mane as Sabretooth
Ray Park as Toad
Rebecca Romijn as Mystique
Bruce Davison as Senator Kelly
Director: Bryan Singer

Unique power-possessing mutants live in a world where their kind is hated by humans. Two mutants emerge: Logan (Hugh Jackman), a powerful and aggressive mutant with no past, no memories, and a girl, Rogue (Anna Paquin). Their quests for identities eventually land them in the sights of the fellow mutants and former friends, Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. Magneto (Ian McKellan), and Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Xavier wants a peaceful means of stopping the hatred toward mutants, while Magneto seeks to even things out with a machine that would speed up the mutation process in all humans. Xavier brings together a special group of mutants called “X-Men” to stop him.

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Superhero movies were very successful (and are still successful today) but in the 90s, superhero movies have started going down the drain, with movies like Batman and Robin, The Phantom and many others failing miserably. In the early 2000s though, some superhero movies started to become good and helped bring the genre back to praise. X-Men is one of these movies that helped the superhero genre do this and although I wouldn’t put it among my top 10 best superhero movies, it is still a decent movie on its own.

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Unlike some of the other comic book movies at the time, X-Men manages to be grounded in reality; the only parts that you have to really suspend your disbelief are that all these mutations could lead to super powers. The story is quite simple but it is effective. I do feel that apart from some characters like Wolverine, Rouge and Magneto, there weren’t a lot of characters that had a lot of personality or depth; this is particular with the villains (with the exception of Magneto).

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The standout performance in this movie is Hugh Jackman; he manages to bring out so much of his character. Patrick Stewart is also well cast as the wise Professor X and makes his lines convincing. Anna Paquin plays Rogue, a mutant who can’t touch a human being without harming them and she is quite good in the role; I know that a lot of people don’t share the same opinion as I have heard that she’s not like how she is in the comics. Ian McKellen was really good as Magneto, he’s one of those villain characters you can understand why they do what they are doing; he seemed human. Apart from these actors, the others do pretty well in their roles with what they got, however like I said, a lot of these characters don’t have much personality traits, especially the villains. Mystique was great in her fighting and transformation scenes, Sabretooth was a brute that didn’t really say anything and Toad, I still wonder why he was chosen as one of Magneto’s henchmen, he seemed the wrong choice. They looked good on screen and in action scenes but I can’t think of any personality trait that these characters showed; their personalities are set to ‘Villain Henchmen’ mode.

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The special effects were pretty good and were well used to show the abilities of the mutants. The action was also well filmed, particularly with the fight scenes, which the film had quite a lot of. The soundtrack by John Ottman was pretty good, if not as memorable as some other scores for other superhero movies.

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X-Men isn’t the best superhero movie ever made but it is an enjoyable movie to watch. In any case, it deserves recognition for being some of the movies that brought back the superhero movies in the early 2000s. Bryan Singer successfully brought the X-Men to the big screen the best way possible. It is worth checking out if you haven’t seen it already.