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Saturday, June 03, 2006

"X-Men 3: The Last Stand"

X-Men 3: The Last Stand
Sigh, so this is what happens when a superhero movie franchise is given to someone who's never read a comic book until called upon to direct it. The only word I can use to describe "X-Men 3: The Last Stand" is "unsatisfying", or for the grammar Nazis, "unsatisfactory". I went into the show with an open mind, hoping that it would be a good Saturday afternoon flick. Alas...

But first, I should note that spoilers abound in this post, so read on at your own peril.

Overall, the movie was good eye candy. There were lots of special effects, some nice sets, pretty good angles, etc. Storywise, I learned what it means when a movie lacks story. And also what happens when good characters are underused.

Oh, the characters. So many of them were just plot devices:
  • Mystique -- to provide information to move the movie forward
  • Cyclops -- to show that Jean Grey has changed
  • Colossus -- for the "fastball special"
  • Rogue -- to personify good mutants who want to be "normal"
  • Angel -- to make the father look noble
  • Callisto -- to find characters who will move the movie forward
  • Arclight -- to clap hands and look evil
  • Spike -- for special effects
  • Multiple Man -- also for special effects
  • Juggernaut -- because Tyler "Sabertooth" Mane couldn't renegotiate his contract
Another reason the movie left a bitter taste was because it seemed to be wiping the X-universe clean, like what was happening in "Infinite Crisis" and "Decimation":
  • Cyclops -- dead
  • Professor Charles Xavier -- dead (or not)
  • Jean Grey -- dead
  • Rogue -- depowered
  • Magneto -- depowered (or not)
  • Mystique -- depowered
Notice that they're all main characters, particularly from the first movie? So many good characters, so much waste. Seriously, who's left? Even during the final fight scene. C'mon, six of them only??? In part two, Professor Xavier had a whole army of X-Men confront the President in the White House!

I felt especially sad for these three:
  1. Cyclops -- overshadowed by Wolverine in part 1, written off in part 2, tossed in the gutter in part 3
  2. Rogue -- though she was a pivotal character in part 1, she had already been written off in part 2. I guess there's only so much angst that can be written into a girl who can't touch people. I half-expected her to show up in the nick of time in the final fight. Still, I felt sad for her when she revealed that she was now powerless.
  3. Magneto -- I was awed by how he could move the Golden Gate Bridge. This guy has power! So it hit me deep when he was struck with the "cure" that removed his mutation. Yes, I felt sad for the villain. His was probably the only well-developed character in the entire franchise. And they depowered him, those bastards!
So what did I like? This is going to sound cheesy, but I really enjoyed the final fight. From when Magneto moved the Bridge to Jean Grey's death. I thought that it was a lot of fun. And seeing the X-Men enter the scene, haha, it totally made the comic book geek in me feel good!

Before watching the show, I had already been spoiled by readiing the novelisation. I had read the spoilers about the deaths of Cyclops and Professor Xavier. I had an inkling of Professor Xavier's return in the final scene after the credits. So in reading the book, I merely wanted to see how the deaths would occur. I also read the ending, and found discrepancies between the movie and its adaptation. In the novel, Hank McCoy joins the institute as a teacher and Wolverine conducts a class with some new students, including Gambit (!). Alas, those two events never happened.

Finally, I would've liked an end scene where Colossus and Kitty hooked up, like they would in the comics. Even a sideways glance or wink-and-a-smile would've been sufficient. But given Colossus' non-role, I guess this would've been too much of a stretch.

Oh, and I'm mad at myself for not seeing ahead that Professor Xavier would inhabit the comatose patient's mind. I had gone in with the preconceived notion that he would exist in the astral plane, affecting everyone psychically. Yes, I knew Dr Moira MacTaggert would play a part in his return, yet I totally missed it. Grr.

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