5 scenes in the original X-Men movie that make you cringe


Posted June 22, 2014

Looking back almost 15 years, X-MEN has stood the test of time and remains an entertaining flick. Yet, after a re-watch, there are some painful elements that you can't really ignore. Here are the five most cringe-worthy elements.

We all owe X-Men a debt of gratitude. Directed by Bryan Singer and released in 2000, this movie laid the groundwork for all of the great superhero movies that were to come. X-Men showed that these movies can be cool, and – more importantly for some people – profitable.

Looking back almost 15 years, this movie has stood the test of time and remains an entertaining flick. Yet, after a re-watch, there are some painful elements that you can’t really ignore. Here are the five most cringe-worthy elements.

#1: Sabretooth

If you were an X-Men fan, either by way of the comic books or the popular 90’s cartoon, this movie’s depiction of Sabretooth made you sick. If you were not a fan of the X-Men at all and went in to the theatre with an open mind, this movie’s depiction of Sabretooth made you sick.

Image from X-Men Movies Canon Wiki

Aside from the feral behaviour of the character on screen, Sabretooth in X-Men (2000) has little in common with the character from the source material. The bumbling oaf we see in the movie provides some of the most cringeworthy moments of the film. 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine provides a much more accurate portrayal of the character; it is unclear if these characters are meant to be one and the same.

#2: Storm as portrayed by Halle Berry

Having won an Oscar, Halle Berry is allegedly a decent actress. Maybe it was the a poorly written character, maybe it was bad direction, or maybe it was simply a miscasting – either way, Storm was terrible in the original X-Men movie. She acts like a wooden robot throughout the film, and does virtually nothing. This movie sets the stage for more poor acting and characterization in X-Men 2, and X-Men: The Last Stand.

Image from Theiapolis Cinema.

Written in the comics as a strong African-American with a rich culture and history, Storm in X-Men 2000 is reduced to lines like “Do you know what happens to a toad when struck by lightning? Same as everything else.” And what was with the bizarre accent? You’ll note the accent is completely done away with by X-Men 2.

#3: The Cheesiness of everyone’s Superhero Name

To be fair, X-Men 2000 was the pioneer of the modern superhero movie. This was before Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and its sequels which showed that you don’t necessarily have to refer to every character by their comic book name for them to be a good representation of that character. That being said, when writing the dialog that appeared in the film, how did they NOT think this scene would cause millions of eyes to roll?

Image from this blog.

Professor X: “Ah. Logan, l’d like you to meet Ororo Monroe, also called Storm. This is Scott Summers, also called Cyclops. They saved your life. I believe you’ve already met Dr Jean Grey. You’re in my school for the gifted. For mutants. You’ll be safe here from Magneto.”

Wolverine: “What’s a magneto?”

Professor X: “A very powerful mutant, who believes a war is brewing between mutants and the rest of humanity. I’ve been following his activities for some time. The man who attacked you is an associate of his called Sabretooth.”

Honestly. How lazy is that? Yes, they poke fun at this with Wolverine’s response: “What do they call you? Wheels?” … but it doesn’t make up for the minute’s worth of seat-squirming beforehand.

#4: Cyclops’ Motorcycle

Establishing a rivalry, halfway through X-Men Wolverine steals Cyclops’ motorcycle. This in itself would provide a good chuckle and display Logan’s bad-assery. But no, it couldn’t be just a regular motorcycle. For some reason this bike has a switch that makes it travel at a ridiculous speed. Since neither Cyclops nor Wolverine have superhuman reaction time, the feature makes little sense other than to sell a toy, and the result of Wolverine’s use of it should realistically have been an immediate crash.

Image from Gadget Him

Believe it or not, as bad and cheesy as this scene is, we could not find one photo or video of it on the interweb. Wow.

#5: The Leather Suits

Maybe we should cut this movie some slack because it was released in the year 2000, long before it was established that you could either (1) use costumes directly inspired by the comic books, or (2) not even use costumes at all. On the other hand, why is the default superhero-on-film costume leather? From Batman to Daredevil to X-Men… what the hell?

Image from Screen Rant. And yes, we know this isn’t a picture from the first movie. But you get the point.

Since they weren’t exactly in the spotlight saving cats from trees, it would have made more practical sense for these folks to just go out in their street clothes. Why do they need black leather uniforms that are displayed in glass cases underground?

The Verdict

X-Men‘s success set the stage for not just 6-and-counting sequels in the series, but also for the modern superhero film. The movie – which introduces the world of the X-Men through Wolverine, and Professor X’s school through Rogue – starts very strong. Suffering from some early-superhero-movie clich├ęs like an elaborate hidden lair for the villain, one-dimensional characters (Storm, Toad, Sabretooth), and stilted dialogue (“Believing that humanity would never accept us, he grew angry and vengeful. He became Magneto“) the movie stumbles to a more mediocre finish.

Yet X-Men has aged relatively well. Aside from a few cringe-worthy moments, Singer’s restrained use of CGI and the quality of the scenes between Professor X and Magento, Wolverine and Cyclops, Wolverine and Rogue, and Wolverine and just about anybody ensure the movie to this day an enjoyable flick that has a high repeat value. No wonder they ran with Hugh Jackman and the Wolverine character for so long.

Lack of Cheese
X-Men had a few moments that make you squirm in your seat, but they don’t take you completely out of the movie.

Logical Plot
This movie, for the most part, made sense. The bad guy’s actions were a bit extreme but were given reasonable motivation. But why did Cyclops have a super motorcycle?

Actual Emotional Engagement
An entertaining movie, but X-Men doesn’t exactly have you on the edge of your seat, trying to choke back tears because you’re a man, or rolling the ground laughing.

X-Men gets some points for doing enough things right to pave the way for at least a couple of decades of superhero movies. Yet, at the same time, other than some interplay between Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, there are no scenes in this movie which leave you floored.

The restrained use of CGI and strong moments between characters help keep the movie watchable; repeat viewings are frustrated by one-dimensional secondary characters.


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