Nostalgic News: X-Men was released 20 years ago

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The original mutant action thriller starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart turns 20 this year and, besides some dated special effects, it holds up surprisingly well.

Hot on the heels of comic book failure Batman & Robin (1997) and cult hit Blade (1998), Bryan Singer’s X-Men (2000) revolutionised superhero cinema. Debuting at the turn of the millennium, the film tackled themes of prejudice, discrimination and intolerance through the lens of mutant superpowers. Produced on a relatively modest budget of $75 million, the long-awaited Marvel Comics adaptation went on to become a critical and commercial success, paving the way for various sequels and spin offs. The franchise’s popularity also reignited mainstream interest in the genre as a whole, indirectly birthing Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002), Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008) and the pop culture juggernaut known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the grand scheme of things, X-Men will perhaps be remembered most fondly for its mature subject matter. The film opens on a young boy being separated from his parents in a Nazi concentration camp before segueing into a senate hearing where fear monger Robert Kelly attempts to get a bill passed that will strip mutants of their civil rights. Needless to say, parallels can be drawn between the policies of Senator Kelly and those of certain real world political figures today. With the benefit of hindsight, X-Men could even be viewed as a cautionary tale. In this era of social unrest, one might argue that we need the X-Men now more than ever…

Feeling nostalgic? Watch the original trailer below:

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