From the Vaults: “A Review of the X-Men Movie”

What better way for a grad student in 2000 to express her disappointment with the X-Men movie than a parody the verse stylings of Robert Browning? I know, right? This is dated — it’s 20 years old, there are so many more superhero movies out there, really good ones, and Brian Singer… well. But maybe you’ll get a kick out of it.

 "A Review of the X-Men Movie," by Jessica Levai
after “My Last Duchess,” by Robert Browning
That is the X-Men movie on the shelf.
It just came out on DVD. Myself,
I find that work a bore. Young Singer tried
To make a gripping film, and yet it died.
Will't please you sit and watch a while? I mean
"Young" Singer, for I think he's seventeen
Years old, at most. It seems that all who hear
Me speak thus turn to ask, as if their ear
Deceives, how such a comic fan as I
(For this is true, and I've been known to buy
A book or two) could e'er have cause to state,
"The X-Men film was something less than great."
I see you wish to know as well. 'Twas not
The sets or costumes. Someone put a lot
Of care in their design. Indeed I think
They brought to life those forms of paint and ink
Quite well. Perhaps Young Singer said, "The screen
Must never hope to reproduce the sheen
Of spandex; leather suits it more." This stuff
Was clever, so I thought, and good enough
For fanboys and the rest. But oh, he had
A mind, an intellect, to soon made glad,
Too easily impressed. He liked whate'er
Was deep and dark, and saw it everywhere,
In everyone! Like how Magneto lost
His hope to war; or Rogue, whose power cost
Her human touch; or in the mutant known
As Wolverine, who starts the film alone,
Without a mem'ry of his past. And each
Of these would get his own revealing speech
Or scene, at least. Such drama - good! And yet
The other mutants, good or bad, do get
So little time on screen, with lines as lame
As "Don't you people ever die?" I blame
The writers and wish all the stars had skill
Enough to act. It would be better still
If editors perchance had said, "Just this
Or that in here is boring; here you miss,
Or there exceed the point." And so, bereft
Of comical relief, the film is left
To splashy visuals and fights that take
Too long, are poorly lit, and fail to break
The somber tone. Oh yes, I smiled, no doubt,
At all five jokes, but mostly watched without
Much cause to smile. I blinked, stifled a yawn,
Then all smiles stopped. Oh, but I do go on
As if you cared. Will't please you rise? We'll leave
Such talk for later films, for I believe
Fox Studios has much munificence
Toward franchise, if it sells, so no pretense
Of theirs for sequels will be disallowed
In years to come, perhaps - who knows? - endowed
With better scripts. Till then, I shall keep low
My hopes. Observe Tim Burton's Batman, though:
A superb hero film (a rarity),
Which I am proud to own on DVD!
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