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Well, it's a good thing Dougray Scott (villain in Mission Impossible 2) dropped out of X-Men at the last minute, because relative newcomer, Australian, Hugh Jackman plays the Wolfman, er, Wolverine to perfection. For those of you unfamiliar with Marvel's long running success, X-Men comics, Wolfie is a loner with excessive attitude and Freddy Krueger appendages.

Jackman was under tremendous pressure to carry X-Men on his broad manly shoulders, and has definitely succeeded. His Wolverine is incredibly accurate.

Story goes...A pesky U.S. senator decides to get a bill past-- ala McCarthy-style-- identifying all mutant citizens thus, warning fellow Americans of their abilities and locations. He further believes the only good mutant is a segregated mutant.

Enter, evil Magneto ( Ian " British Teeth Syndrome for days" McKellen) an angry mutant with the ability to control metals. Maggie remembers all too well how secular hate grows and morphs into bloodshed. He decides a war is with humans is inevitable, unless he converts all humans into mutants. He's got a Rhode Island size chip on his shoulder. Then again, don't all arch villains?

Ah, but Magneto has a worthy adversary. Goody two shoes mutant, Professor Xavier ( Patrick "I don't want to talk about episode 21. Star Trek is a show. Please, get a life boy!" Stewart). The Professor runs a home for wayward mutants. A Mutant High, thinly disguised as a simple school for the gifted. X wants nothing more than humans and mutants living in harmony. Aw, how sweet.

He opens his little sanctuary to a particularly strange ranger, named Wolverine (Hugh-sigh-Jackman) . Wolfie comes with his young foster child/hitch hiker pal Rogue. Teen age Rogue (Anna "perpetual scene stealer" Paquin) has the unfortunate ability of sucking the life out those who touch her- literally. When you're a teenager at the verge of sexual discovery this can be, like, one humongous bummer dude. I don't think even a body condom could help her have safe sex. She's a little melancholy.

The professor is convinced evil Magneto is after Wolverine for his magnificent hirsute body whose skeleton has been surgically grafted with a titanium style metal that pokes out now and then when he gets excited. Wrong-em-boyo. As the professor will find out...

Most of our X-Men heroes are here. Storm (Halle Berry) the feisty platinum-haired lass with the ability to brew up a , well, a storm. Young Stud-a-snarous Rex, Cyclops (James Marsden) who blasts things away with his laser-like eye. And mutant in training, Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) with a little bit of both, telepathic and kinetic abilities. Together they must stop Magneto's Everlasting Gobstopper Thingamabobby from transforming the city of New York- then the world- into mutants! Hey, it's a comic book adaptation...go with it.

Director Bryan Singer ( The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil) has done a fantastic job of taking the four heroes and making them actually fathomable. He was careful to explain without bleeding the plot. Well done.

There is a bevy of special effects to titillate you. As well as a wonderfully authentic cast. Bad guys include, Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) with a painted on blue cat suit that should have men/boys fantasizing for months to come. She morphs into plenty of interesting characters, and does some elegant ass kicking. The bad guys also include, Toad (Ray Parks) the leaping, suffocating phlegm spitter with a cunnilingus tool used for a few dirty deeds done dirt cheap. And the cave-man like Sabretooth (Tyler Mane), in this X-Men just a smelly looking muscle man really.

My fave? Oh, I'll be crying wolf for a few weeks to come! Hugh Jackman, aka Logan The Wolverine even with his Dukes of Hazzard sideburns, is simply a Philly style mansteak sub with ALL the right fixings. Delicious!

If you're familiar with the X-Men characters, you shouldn't be disappointed. If your new to these super heroes, it's a wonderful introduction. Enjoy.

Snack Recommendation: Bubblegum packs of X-Men cards.

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Famke Janssen, Anna Pacquin,and Halle Berry

Directed by: Bryan Singer

Note: I enjoyed the line..."You Homo... (pregnant pause)... sapiens and your guns" from the mouth of now openly gay Ian McKellen. Bravo!



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