X-Men

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
X-Men Movie Poster Image
Comic-book adaptation has brains, brawn, and style.
  • PG-13
  • 2000
  • 104 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 25 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 71 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The film's messages -- that peaceful co-existence is preferable to conflict, that tolerance is preferable to prejudice, that being different is not in any way bad -- are intrinsic to the film's plot and themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Not only are the heroic characters stalwart, strong and morally upright, but even the ostensible villains of the piece have a certain point to make; X-Men creator Stan Lee has often put forward that the dynamic between the leaders of the opposite sides of the X-Men mythos was inspired by Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and that dynamic remains in the film.

Violence

Largely bloodless violence, some of which involves good old-fashioned fisticuffs and stabbing, some of which involves superhuman abilities like a control of magnetism or the weather, or shooting force-beams from one's eyes. Many of the characters have invulnerability or fast-healing abilities that make their injuries sustainable. A young girl is stabbed accidentally by razor-sharp claws, but her abilities enable her to heal from her wounds. Scary, intense medical imagery. A human being liquefies.

Sex

Some kissing; a blue-skinned, scaled mutant shape-shifter is, essentially, walking about naked, albeit covered by scales and cartilage that make her slightly modest.

Language

Light strong language, including "balls," "dick," "God," "damn," and "hell." A variation on the finger is given.

Consumerism

Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise. Some light product placement (Oakley Sunglasses, Mazda), but no mentions of brands.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A character smokes cigars -- and is admonished for doing so. Beer and hard liquor are drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that X-Men involves a great deal of comic-book violence executed with near-bloodless restraint but, at the same time, visceral efficiency. One character is a Holocaust survivor; there's much discussion about tolerance and hatred and prejudice, all in the film's fictional context of "mutants" with special abilities appearing in the human population -- and yet, this might provide a great conversation-starter for families.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 year old Written bymikeisawesome123 January 31, 2011

Good Movie

10+. Language is okay. Still strong. There is some passionate kissing and a full nude woman walking around. She is mainly covered in scales though. Lots of viol... Continue reading
Adult Written bySarah Grace October 31, 2010

evolution at it's finest :P

There is Mystique, the blue naked lady with scales (which doesn't really surprise me because a lot of comics and kid cartoons contain close-to-full nude ch... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 28, 2009

Iffy for small children

I saw the movie with my 9 year old sister. It was slightly violent with mild flirtly behavior between Jean and Logan. It was a well done movie special effects w... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 16, 2011

Worst X-Men

This is movie that i could probably see when i was 7. Not bad at all. The graphics were from 2000 when i was born so don't expect anything great. A good mo... Continue reading

What's the story?

In a near future, genetic anomalies -- mutants -- have begun appearing in the human population, some with extraordinary abilities (quick healing, telekinesis) and some with physical abnormalities; humanity's response mixes empathy and fear. These "mutants" are, after all, our children and brothers and sisters -- but their extraordinary abilities are powerful and intimidating. Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) heads a school dedicated to helping mutants, including an action team called the X-MEN who deal with extraordinary threats from other mutants; on the other side of the philosophical coin, Professor Xavier's old friend -- a metal-controlling mutant known as Magneto (Ian McKellen) -- is generating a terrorist plot to make the "mutant problem" a concern for the leaders of the world in a way they never expected, with one of Professor Xavier's new charges an intrinsic part of his plan.

Is it any good?

Launching a multi-film franchise, this is perhaps one of the best super-hero comic book adaptation, in part because it doesn't shy away from the big issues the comic explored, however clumsily. Instead X-Men embraces them. McKellen and Stewart are perfectly cast, and the remainder of the actors (with the exception of the seemingly-reluctant Berry) are all excellent. A super-hero film with real ambition and true talent can be very rare in Hollywood; X-Men is, alongside The Dark Knight and the first two Spider-Man films, one of the highlights in the modern exploration of the sub-genre.

Directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil), X-Men is an unerringly smart comic-book adaptation. It plumbs its source material for real relevance and deeper meaning while still delivering all the biff-bam-pow action a comic book fan could want -- as well as serving as the launching pad that made Hugh Jackman a star with his work as the feral-but-stalwart Canadian mutant, Wolverine. Some of the dialogue is a bit laughable -- and Halle Berry, as the weather-controlling hero Storm, doesn't do much to help with that when she's on-screen -- but the effects are top-notch, the script is smart, and the tone of the film is pitch-perfect, giving us characters with unreal abilities at conflict in a very real world.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about X-Men's allegorical relationship to everything from Civil Rights to apartheid, as well as the film's metaphors for acceptance, tolerance, and understanding.

  • Families can also talk about how often, fantasy and science-fiction are ways to talk about tough real-world issues; does the acceptance of the unreal make it easier to discuss the real?

  • Families can also talk about the popularity of super-hero stories -- what need in the audience do they meet? Are they simple fun, or can they be considered seriously as part of what pop culture says about who we are?

Movie details

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