Another comic book comes to life. Or more accurately, it comes to live action. (How is it, in the CG age, that Hollywood has overlooked Plastic Man so long?) Evolution, as we join the story, has taken a far leap in the near future; and the good mutants of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, a/k/a Mutant High, are arrayed against the bad mutants under the command of the evil Magneto. (Ian McKellen, cast by the same director, Bryan Singer, as the Nazi war criminal in Apt Pupil, is now cast as a Polish concentration-camp survivor, although he remains the representative of evil.) If you are filling out a scorecard, you will have names like Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, and Cyclops on the one side, and Saber-Tooth, Toad, and Mystique on the other. Their powers -- Toad, for instance, has a tongue as long as a lariat, and Cyclops a gaze as penetrating as a laser -- are too many, too arbitrary, too fanciful, too facile. The special effects are ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto. With Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry. (2000) — Duncan Shepherd
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