There are a few ways to approach the comic book to big screen transition. Some comic book movies are ultra cheesy (Judge Dredd), some are darkly artistic (Batman), and others are in between. X-Men is an in between movie. It wanted to be as serious as possible while providing decent entertainment, but it fell somewhat short.
The story is simple comic book fare. Some humans, called Mutants, are developing special abilities as they evolve. Depending on your mutation, you might be able to control metals, regenerate incredibly fast, or shoot laser beams out of your eyeballs, among other things. A bunch of politicians want to force Mutants to register as such and have their abilities on record. Of course these actions scream HITLER and NAZI, and the story is presented as such in an almost annoying way. Any reasonably intelligent person can draw these parallels with subtle hints, but for some reason this movie assumes we are all morons and feels the need to beat this point into our heads. Over and over again. Anyhow, there are two Mutant factions. One faction, led by a man named Magneto, feels that Mutants should take over and essentially go to war with non Mutants. The other faction, led by Professor X and the X-Men, endeavor to protect the humans from Magneto and his thugs while being persecuted by the very same people they are trying to save.
The greatest failure of the movie is that I didn't find myself rooting for the X-Men. The Magneto guy really had a point and didn't come off sufficiently evil enough for me to care about the X-Men's fight against him. I found myself thinking that Professor X seemed more evil than Magneto, particularly after the whole Sabertooth mind control scene. I was far more interested in Wolverine and how he ended up with a skeleton welded with metal than I was in the fight to save humanity from Magneto's Mutants. I think this movie tried to do too much. The greater story arc just wasn't as interesting as the details of characterization, probably because the regular humans were all portrayed in a negative light. At the end of the movie I found myself wondering what Wolverine would discover, what would happen to Rogue, and whether Dr. Jean Grey would stay with Cyclops. I didn't give a shit about all the asshole humans the X-Men saved.
The acting is decent. It's hard to do a good job while spouting about mutants and calling your co-workers names like "Cyclops", so the actors are to be commended for carrying out their lines without falling into uncontrollable fits of laughter on the floor. The direction was good, and the sets were fantastic. Unfortunately, the X-Men costumes weren't very interesting, but the special effects made up for their blandness quite well.
The extra footage included with the DVD was lackluster. There were some deleted and cut scenes that were interesting, but the making of Fox special was really badly done. Of course the sound and picture quality were outstanding, which is a good reason to go DVD even if the extras aren't worthwhile.
But none of this review matters because for a large portion of the film you get to watch a naked blue chick with amber eyes perform martial arts moves in slow motion. That, my friends, is the real reason to watch this movie.