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X-Men (2000), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 56
CAP Influence Density: 0.95
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NOTE: We make no scoring allowances for Hollywood's trumped-up "messages" to excuse, or its manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth. If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objectuve and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.
SUMMARY / COMMENTARY:
X-Men (PG-13) -- Two points above R, almost another "R-13"
For 20 some odd years, all comic book heroes and villains have steadily taken on darker and more sinister characteristics and personalities. X-Men are no different. This first (I believe) film version of the X-Men earned a CAP Final Score of 56 which is two points above the CAP scoring range for R-rated movies. Just like Batman Returns (1992), X-Men pushed the PG-13 envelope as far down as it could go and still be PG-13. The most prevalent ignominy in X-Men was violence [Ps. 11:5] and repeated presentation of a vulgar "sprayed-on" outfit on a female villain [Col. 3:5]. And that's about it. No adolescents screaming obscenities at authority figures. None of the most foul of the foul words. And only one use of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive. But there was proselytization of a different sort, but maybe not that different.
Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise (Patrick Stewart) hung up his uniform for a wheelchair and headmastership of a special school. As Professor Charles Xavier, he leads a special school for the "gifted." "Gifted" as they may be, but I would not expect such gifts to be from God [Job 2:10]. From where the "gifts" came is a moot point anyway since such powers do not exist. The school is a learning institute to help mankind be more tolerant and accepting of mutants. Though not incorporated into the Findings/Scoring (the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model), there lies the onus for a very cleverly ambiguous suggestion of support to the alternate lifestyle movement without any mention of the alternate at all. For example, the use of the catchy phrases made well known by the ongoing battle created by such a movement included "... simply because they were born that way", "America was going to be the land of tolerance (instead of the free)", "Do we want them teaching our kids" and others [Rom. 1:24-27]. While these phrases could indeed be taken as applicable to the racial stress of the time *X-Men* was developed by Stan Lee, that does not change the fact that these phrases and terms were made well-known in the 90s (twenty+ years later) by alternate lifestyle practitioners and their opponents. Indeed, some of them were spoken by the admitted practitioner of the alternate lifestyle, Ian McKellen (Magneto). The quintessential "bigot" in this menagerie was Senator Robert Kelly (Bruce Davison) who wanted the government to register all mutants so everyone would know when they had to deal with "one of them."
Key to the manifestation of the powers of the mutants was their puberty, as if we would expect anything else of modern entertainment. It couldn't be electric shock, a head injury, or birth on another planet like a regular super heroes and super villains -- it had to be puberty. Once a mutant reached puberty, his/her power would manifest. And in keeping with this theme one of the mutants, teenaged Marie (Anna Paquin) who called herself Rogue, found her power in her bedroom on her bed with a teen boy (both clothed) who spent three weeks in a coma after she discovered her "power" to absorb the "life force" of whomever she touches, even if the touch is a gentle kiss. In a selfless effort to protect her parents, after screaming at them to keep away, Rogue runs away. Now there's a twist in teen movies providing "justification" to run away. And this is the stepping stone for grimy and grungy Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to enter the picture and become mentor and even pretend pater to the hapless and hurting fragile young heroine wannabe. Jackman was good -- very good. I suspect we'll see more of this Australian newcomer. Jackman was wisely cast as the central character, even over the seasoned Stewart.
Leader of the X-Men was Cyclops (James Marsden) who possessed the ability to cast fire from his eyes. He was called Cyclops because of the single-lensed radial prosthetic he wore over his eyes to focus his power, configured much like the phaser array of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation series. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) possessed telekinesis and served as the team "physician." Storm (Halle Berry) was able to control the transcendental elements (weather). Even Satan does not have that power (ref: sermon by Dr. Kenny Copeland).
Leader of the bad guys was Magneto (Ian McKellen). Magneto was once friend and "professional associate" of Professor Xavier but is now Xavier's arch enemy, bent on making mutants of the world's population. And that he does -- to at least one; to Senator Kelly, who was the most ardent opposer of accepting mutants but who is now passive and accepting of them now that he was forced to "come out of the closet" as one of them. I believe the only "catchy phrases" I did not hear were "bigot" and "open-minded to new things."
The bad guys included Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), who was able to assume any shape she wished. She was the one with the sprayed-on outfit which covered some of her femininity, but not all -- not even most. Mystique even took on the form of Wolverine and did battle with him. It took a vulgar comment from Wolverine for Cyclops to be assured he was indeed talking to Wolverine after Wolverine defeated Mystique. If Wolverine had used a different expletive, it would have been funny. Also among the bad guys was Toad (Ray Park) who possessed a prehensile tongue. To wrap up the bad guys was giant Sabretooth (Tyler Mane) who possessed the strength and facial traits of a lion and with the eyes that looked more like a cow's eyes than a great cat. But I though a sabretooth was a tiger? And where is it we hear of a human with the mouth of a lion? [Rev. 13:2] Oh, well. It's just a movie. A movie with enough ignominy to push the PG-13 envelope to the max.
In addition to the examples of ignominy already revealed, other examples included exclusion of Creation in favor of the theory of evolution [Gen. 1:24-31], some pictures of the horrors of the death camps of Poland in the 40s, brutalizing of a young boy with the butt of a rifle, and graphic flesh mutilation [Ps. 101:3]. Several attacks with blades, long sequences of violent battles and fights, and stabbing injuries and deaths [Prov. 4:17; Matt. 26:52] cluttered the otherwise fantastic visual displays of artistic ingenuity and creativity. Some "caged rooster fight" violence, abduction with false imprisonment, and dozens displays of unholy powers [Eph. 6:12] gave a questionable luster to the movie. Further, numerous "miraculous healings" maybe lent a bit of discomfort for those who love Jesus. And murder was unavoidable for a movie of this genre.
FINDINGS / SCORING:
NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):