Fans of the X-Men comic book series will find enough to cheer about in the first motion picture release from Marvel Comics.
"X-Men" (the movie) faithfully resurrects the principal superheroes and story line familiar to avid comic readers, a plus for the film's box office staying power.
It opened across the country, including at area theaters, at a record-setting clip, pulling in nearly $54.5 million, one of the largest openings ever.
That's good news for Marvel Comics, which has been struggling to bring one of its comic series to the screen for years, according to the trades. Its chief competitor, DC, has cut a big swath already with the Superman and Batman movies.
"X-Men" offers an entertaining summer movie experience, with characters that zoom on and off the screen as quickly as the turn of a comic book page. The pace is fast, the special effects aren't bad, and the skills of the superheroes are all over the map.
The X-men are male and female "mutants" whose evolutionary pace is faster and more spectacular than that of the rest of us, giving them amazing powers.
One group of mutants is pitted against another in typical good-and-evil fashion, lead by Xavier (Patrick Stewart) on the one hand and Magneto (Ian McKellen) on the other.
Magneto, who survived the Nazi Death Camps in World War II, is taking dastardly steps to avoid a presumed Holocaust for mutants, as some mortals speak out publicly for mutant registration.
Xavier (as in X-men) prefers coexistence with mortals and sends his followers into battle against Magneto's band of mutants, who are planning a preventive strike against the human race.
The newest X-men are Wolverine, who has amazing recuperative powers and a fistful of implanted knives, and Rogue (Anna Paquin), a teen-ager who's touch is lethal for mortals and mutants alike.
The other good guys are Storm (Halle Berry in a white wig), Cyclops (James Marsden) and Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). Their powers are niftier -- Storm can control the weather -- than Magneto's band, but that is why they are the good guys.
One complaint is that there are so many mutants involved in the script it takes most of the movie to get them all into the action. By then, the movie goer encountering the X-men for the first time may have already turned down the volume.
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