Based on the popular comic series of the same name, X- Men chronicles the good humanitarian mutants as they battle the bad ones. The bad ones would rather wipe out humanity than deal with homo sapiens a few rungs further down on the evolutionary ladder. Xavier (Patrick Stewart, as Shakespearian as ever) leads the benevolent “School for Gifted Youngsters,” including mutants such as the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) who can heal himself and is equipped with savage namesake claws. Xavier's pals believe in peaceful coexistence. Ian McKellen's Magneto is their nemesis, heading his own posse of powerful freaks. The crowded, polychromatic action is filled with vivid characters and some seriously cartoonish special effects.
With a blandly political spin, Magneto alludes to Malcolm X, positioning Xavier as a Martin Luther King figure, but the film is far too summery to make any racial allegory work. X- Men may be a little stiff for a movie based on '60s comics, but it doesn't get much deeper than solid flashy fun. The screenwriters' reverence for the cartoon is evident; familiarity with the characters helps, although everything should make sense to the uninitiated.