Monday, May 29, 2006

X-Men 3: The Last Review

Let's just get this out of the way, shall we? This review is going to contain SPOILERS--if you don't like that, might I suggest you read earlier spoiler-free entries?

All right, are we done? Good.

Because I am so very very much the comic geek and one of those people who see movies they have been salivating over the very weekend they open, my Favorite Scientologist and I decided there was no better way to spend an idle Memorial Day afternoon than looking at mutants. It gives me the chance to put on my critic's pants--which are unbearably itchy at times--and sit in the darkened cool theater, eating candy.

(At this point, I have taken a pause to snack on said candy because I wrote about candy.)

Okay, first off: I am not going to go into the whole Bryan Singer/Brett Ratner drama. So Singer decided he wanted to spend more time with the Man of Steel than he did with Professor X. It was his choice. I will say this: I could tell it was a different director right off the bat. While Singer does big budget well, he also cares about the story, and Brett Ratner's directing gigs haven't exactly been what I would call "damn fine cinema," he definitely opted for visual spectacle over storyline. That's fine; I mean, it is pretty bloody exciting seeing the Golden Gate Bridge get sheared in half to form a new path to Alcatraz Island. I like special effects as much as the next person but not as much as say, people who dress like Star Wars characters. Again, being a writer, I like stories. The premise of X-Men 3 is fairly simple: a wealthy industrialist finds a "cure" for the mutant gene culled from a mutant called Leech. His impetus for finding this so-called cure stems from walking in on his young son furiously trying to remove the nascent wings on his back with any number of sharp objects. (That scene alone made me all squirmy.) Of course, years later, he announces he can cure the mutant gene, and it all comes down to perception. Professor X and his crew don't seem to have much of an opinion; oddly enough, it's Storm who gets on the soapbox here, telling the students, "There's nothing to cure. There's nothing wrong with us, any of us." My God, Halle Berry emoting. Must be the wig. Professor X looks curiously neutral. Wolverine glares. And Cyclops continues to mourn Jean Grey's death and look like a complete and total pussy while doing so. Seriously, that's all he does. Cry. Like. A. Girl. Meanwhile, the government has kidnapped Mystique and are holding her for ransom so they find that pesky Magneto. Don't get me wrong, I heart Ian McKellen, but man, does he love to act. He loves to tear up the screen with that lovely aristocratic voice of his, but sometimes he just needs to take it down a peg. Magneto's new right-hand man is Pyro (played by the awfully cute Aaron Stanford with a bad bleach job) and Pyro is itching to do what all young men yearn to do: set shit on fire. And I think we all know how Magneto feels about the possibility for the cure. I mean, we couldn't understand it enough from the first two movies where Nazism is implied at every freakin' turn. Mutants: the future, humans: assholes. I've got it. I couldn't get it more unless you dropped the Anvil of Obviousness on my head. And meanwhile, back at Cyclops' House of Heartbreak, he starts hearing Jean's voice in his head. (Some girlfriends just don't stay dead, eh?) So he goes back to Alkali Lake where he cries AGAIN and then the next thing you know, "Hey, here's my dead girlfriend looking way hotter than a dead chick has any right to look, but wait, this doesn't seem like her at all." Fanboys, you already know the Dark Phoenix storyline. And I'm thinking the rest of you can guess that Cyclops' won't get to enjoy his honey for too much longer. I'm okay with that. This is where the movie started to suffer for me. Too many stories trying to be told (I ain't even going to acknowledge the teen love triangle also put forth in the film)and not even enough attention paid to keeping them orderly and cohesive.

It goes like this: the Phoenix gets pissed, the Phoenix kills the Professor, and Magneto attempts to claim her for own his own. Wolverine, Storm, and Beast (played by a very game Kelsey Grammar) decide they have to stop Magneto from destroying the sad little mutant boy who is inadvertently responsible for providing a cure. Seriously, that part is sad. The kid has been nothing but a guinea pig for most of his life, so where's the pity? They take Iceman, Shadowcat, and Colossus with them--Rogue by now on her way to get the cure so she can touch people--to defend the humans and the sad little mutant boy. The battle at the end of the flick is fairly kick-ass; especially the "chase" scene with Juggernaut (played by the always awesome Vinnie Jones) and Shadowcat. Wolverine gets to stalk around and kill things--which I don't think he ever gets to do enough of in any of these flicks--Storm gets to be fairly useless, and Beast...well, he's just cool. The X-Men prevail as they always do, but not before they strip of Magneto of his powers, Wolverine kills the Phoenix, and essentially scour everything on Alcatraz Island to rubble. I know we all love to see these movies--especially us comic geeks--because we want to see what mutants make the cut. (Oh, Gambit, wherefore art thou?) But sadly, this venture out, too many mutants, not enough time. Angel doesn't really do much of anything in this film. He soars, he looks buff, but really? A little bit silly. Juggernaut, Multiple, and Callisto could have been more fleshed out, but weren't. Too many frying pans, not enough fire. Nonetheless, I have no doubt I'll see it as many times as I've seen the others. Perhaps repeated viewings will soften my opinion a little bit more.

Though I seriously doubt it.


Anonymous Vince said...

Sorry it took me so long to get to this, but I gotta say, I agree with most of the review. This is one of the few BIG SUMMER MOVIES that I think could have been about 30-45 minutes longer and really been the better for it. The stories were great, they just needed more room

2:52 PM  
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