The big deal was that it didn't completely suck, and took itself fairly seriously, unlike nearly every previous "superhero" movie. (And before anybody cites Tim Burton's Batman as a "serious" movie, I'll remind you that the Joker shot an airplane out of the sky with a handgun, and Bruce Wayne slept hanging upside-down.) I'll agree that X-Men has deep flaws, and is at least somewhat responsible for the glut of craptastic comic book adaptations we've been inundated with, but I give it major points for having half a brain, at least until the climax at the Statue. But hey, it's not like Bryan Singer had much experience directing big action set pieces.
The others are just lifeless cardboard cutouts (Storm, Cyclops, Kitty Pryde, Jean Gray, Mystique)
Kitty doesn't even have any lines until the third movie, but I can't argue with the rest.
and/or just total dicks (Cyclops, Storm, Sabretooth, Magneto).
Well, to be fair, Sabretooth and Magneto are
villains, but I think Magneto comes off as fairly relatable, except for the megalomania.
The movie left me very empty inside, as though the x-men accomplished nothing, because there really wasn't much at stake in the first place. Magneto was going to turn ordinary people into mutants, So what?! I mean it's not as though we get to know any ordinary people in the entire movie, therefore the whole premise seems a tad thin.
We, the audience, are ordinary people. Anyway, I don't think it takes much to empathize with people who are about to be killed by a terrorist. (And they were
going to die, like Senator Kelly, not just become mutants.
All we get to learn about Magneto is that his parents were probably killed by Nazis... but there's got to be more motivation to his actions than that!
How about the fact that the US government was seriously debating making his entire species criminals, parallelling the Nazi Germany backstory?
I do agree that X-Men would've benefited from more backstory and character development, but the movie had to introduce an entire world, plus a large number of characters in a limited amount of time. When you consider the track record of superheroes at the box office in the '90s, not to mention the stigma associated with "comic book movies," it was a big gamble on Fox's part just making an X-Men film. Audiences never would've gone to see a Lord Of The Rings-length X-Men movie, which is pretty much what it would've taken to give all these characters and ideas their due. X-Men has a lot of flaws, and I admit I don't enjoy it nearly as much as when it first premiered, especially after the far superior sequel and Spider-Man movies, but it was pretty groundbreaking in ways.
And if you thought X-Men was bad, stay away from X-Men 3.