X-Men is a 2000 superhero film based on the fictional Marvel Comics characters of the same name. Directed by Bryan Singer, the film stars Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Bruce Davison, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn, Ray Park and Tyler Mane. It introduces Wolverine and Rogue into the conflict between Professor Xavier’s X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, led by Magneto. Magneto intends to mutate world leaders at a United Nations summit with a machine he has built to bring about acceptance of mutantkind, but Xavier realizes this forced mutation will only result in their deaths.
Development for X-Men began as far back as 1989 with James Cameron and Carolco Pictures. The film rights went to 20th Century Fox in 1994. Scripts and film treatments were commissioned from Andrew Kevin Walker, John Logan, Joss Whedon and Michael Chabon. Singer signed to direct in 1996, with further rewrites by Ed Solomon, Singer, Tom DeSanto, Christopher McQuarrie and David Hayter. Start dates kept getting pushed back, while Fox decided to move X-Men’s release date from December to July 2000. Filming took place from September 22, 1999 to March 3, 2000, primarily in Toronto. X-Men was released to positive reviews and was a financial success, spawning the X-Men film series and a reemergence of superhero films.
The film starts in a concentration camp in Germany-occupied Poland in 1944 as a young boy is separated from his parents upon entry. When he tries to get back after the gates close, he is restrained by numerous guards who he easily overpowers as they are sliding towards the gate, which is also curling towards them, as though attracted by a magnetic force. The boy is soon knocked out cold by one of the guards. 56 years later, a girl named Marie runs away from her home in Meridian, Mississippi after almost killing her boyfriend after kissing him.
In Congress, Senator Robert Kelly attempts to pass a “Mutant Registration Act”, which would force mutants to publicly reveal their identities and abilities. Magneto begins his plans to level the playing field between mutants and humans. Meanwhile, Marie (aka Rogue) meets Logan (aka Wolverine) in Canada. Rogue’s mutation makes her temporarily assume the powers of any mutant she touches while Wolverine possesses superhuman healing abilities, heightened senses, and claws that extend from his knuckles. Suddenly, both of them are attacked by Sabretooth, a mutant and associate of Magneto. Cyclops and Storm arrive and save Wolverine & Rogue and bring them to the X-Mansion. Professor Charles Xavier runs the facility, and leads a group of mutants who are trying to seek peace with the human race, educate young mutants in the responsible use of their powers, and stop Magneto from starting a war with humanity.
Abducted by Mystique and Toad, Senator Kelly is brought to Magneto, who tests a machine on Kelly that artificially induces mutation, though Kelly manages to escape imprisonment with his new abilities. After an accident causes Rogue to use her powers on Wolverine, she is convinced by Mystique (disguised as Bobby Drake) that Xavier is angry with her and that she should leave the school. Xavier uses Cerebro to locate Rogue at a train station. Mystique infiltrates Cerebro and sabotages the machine. At the train station, Wolverine convinces Rogue to stay with Xavier but a fight ensues when Magneto, Toad and Sabretooth arrive to take Rogue. Arriving at Xavier’s school Kelly dissolves into a puddle of water when his mutation becomes unstable.
The X-Men learn that Magneto was severely weakened in the test of the machine on Kelly, and Wolverine realizes he intends to use Rogue’s ability to transfer his powers to her so she can power his machine in his place, possibly putting her life at risk. Xavier attempts to use Cerebro to locate Rogue but falls into a coma due to Mystique’s earlier meddling with the device. Jean Grey fixes it and uses Cerebro to find Magneto’s machine on Liberty Island, which Magneto intends to use on the world leaders who are meeting for a summit on nearby Ellis Island. Just as the group arrives at the top of the statue and defeats Toad and incapacitates Mystique, Magneto and Sabretooth incapacitate the group and continue with their plans. Magneto transfers his powers to Rogue (which makes part of her hair go white) who is forced to use them to start the machine. Wolverine breaks free and initiates a fight with Sabretooth but is thrown over the side of the statue.
Wolverine returns, and Cyclops, with Jean’s help, blasts Sabretooth out of the statue. With Jean stabilizing him, Storm uses her abilities to send Wolverine to the top of Magneto’s machine. With time running out, Wolverine attempts to stop the machine and save Rogue, but Magneto, now having regained some of his strength, halts Wolverine’s claws. Cyclops manages to find a clean shot, wounding Magneto and allowing Wolverine to destroy the machine. Placing his hand to her face, Wolverine succeeds in transferring his regenerative abilities to a dying Rogue. Professor Xavier recovers from his coma and the group learns that Mystique is still alive (after Wolverine stabbed her at Liberty Island) when they see her impersonating Senator Kelly on a news broadcast. In an attempt to help Wolverine learn more about his past, Xavier sends him to a military base near Alkali Lake. Xavier visits Magneto in his plastic prison cell, and the two play chess. Magneto warns his friend that he will continue his fight, to which Xavier promises that he (and the X-Men) will always be there to stop him.
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