I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the X-Men. From a movie like this, one expects lots of special effects and little else but this is a well put together film with a nice cast and, most unusually, a script! As any boy of my age knows, The Uncanny X-Men is long running comic book series about mutants, each of whom has a different special power. In the movie, we find that normal people are becoming suspicious of the mutants and planning to put restrictions on them. There are two groups of mutants who have very different reactions to this threat. One is led by Professor X (Patrick Stewart) who runs a school for training young X-Men and the other by Magneto (Ian McKellen) who believes that a war is coming between mutants and normal people. The presence of these old pros from the Royal Shakespeare Company adds a lot of class, not to mention good acting, to this movie. The rest of the cast is made up of various good and bad mutants including Storm (Halle Berry), Rogue (Anna Pacquin), Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos). It's important to have a good nickname if you are an X-Man. And it doesn't hurt to have begun your career as a model (Berry, Janssen, Romijn-Stamos). Anyway, the good and bad mutants duke it out throughout X-Men while normal humans try to get out of the way. The special effects are good but, of course, they aren't that special anymore. What makes this movie is that they spent some money on a script and there is some plot and character development. The movie begins, strangely enough, at Auschwitz, where Magneto first shows his powers as he is separated from his parents. The action then moves to present day Alberta which may suggest to American audiences that Northern Canada resembles Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Here we meet Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue who are being pursued by both groups of X-Men. Wolverine is brought back to Professor X's school where he lands nicely into a little love triangle with Jean Grey and her boyfriend, Cyclops (James Marsden). Besides the verbal sparring of Magneto and Professor X, the film's best moments involve these three characters who have a good chemistry together. Needless to say, Cyclops and Wolverine hate each on on sight while Wolverine and Jean Grey have quite a different reaction on first sight. Wolverine also has the best line of the movie when he has to prove to Cyclops that he isn't just Mystique shapeshifting. Unlike the Batman movies which kill off long-time baddies such as Joker, Riddler and Penguin, X-Men cleverly leaves open the possibility of sequels and stays true to its comic book roots. Part of the credit for all this is due to the director, Bryan Singer, best known for the wonderful The Usual Suspects. This film has the right mix of action, interesting story, and characters. It's good summer fun.