Blu-ray review: X-Men

With X-Men, Bryan Singer did not invent the wheel, he merely reinvented superheroes on the big screen…

x-men

3-three-stars

With X-Men, Bryan Singer did not invent the wheel, he merely reinvented superheroes on the big screen. Back in 2000 the genre was still in the shadows. Shrouded in Nineties efforts, all with a penchant for the darker side of heroics, audiences were growing accustomed to features such as The Crow and Blade. However, it took Batman’s swoop into garish territories to give the genre its real wake-up call. Displaying a canny knack for giving audiences a mere taste of things to come, X-Men gave the hero feature film as we knew it a jolt. Singer crafted a low-on-violence platform for Marvel’s mutants to rampage on. Barely able to contain its multitude of good and bad mutants, origins were all but ignored; bar a certain mutton-chopped mutant, that is. Unknown at the time, but regarded as one of Hollywood’s most on-the-mark casting choices in years, Jackman’s take on Wolverine anchors this movie. Flinging everyone around him to the wayside, his story drives the film. It’s easy to criticise Singer for underusing the politically charged battle of wills between old allies Professor Xavier and Magneto, and to an extent this condensed feature does suffer under the weight of unmet expectations. But, for the most part, X-Men serves as a great reference point – a film to revisit and bear witness to a genre in genesis. Unashamed in its tie-in roots to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this trilogy kick-starter on BD deserves to be given its dues. Getting past Fox’s lazy supplement rehashing – same DVD extras bar a cobbled- together BonusView and PiP track – both the picture and audio transfer are of a high level. Watching X-Men in HD and on the big screen, the film’s special effects hold up well when compared to say, Spider-Man on the format. Wolverine’s grunting introduction pulsates and the DTS-HD track is expert in picking up the clangs of his adamantium-bolstered limbs. As Wolverine battles through a snowy scrap with Sabretooth and settles into life at Xavier’s academy, the transfer abides by the film’s pace and never over-exhilarates. Hitting a pinnacle during a rumble at a train station, ceilings crumble, a storm rages and train carriages split open against the weight of magnetic force. It’s riveting stuff and through some careful presentation the sparse action sequences in X-Men have a blast on the format. Detail is kept, colours are balanced (if not a little washed out in places) and overall X-Men is well worth investing your time in.

Feature: 3-three-starsExtras: 3-three-starsPicture: 3-three-stars Audio: 4-four-stars

Price: £22.99
Classification: 12
Discs: 1
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan
Released: Out Now