We have a few new members since my last Horse Bucket entry. So, I'll spell out what kind of entry it is: Horse Bucket entries usually deal with ideas, issues, or other things on my mind that are not football related. The one subject I avoid all together in these entries is politics. In this entry, I'd like to rant a bit about the latest X-Men film titled X-Men: The Last Stand. By now, many have seen it. However, for those of you that haven't, please note that there are many SPOLIERS in this rant. You have now been warned.
More on the flip...
I enjoyed the first two X-Men films. They had heart, sensitivity, and a strong understanding of each and every character's soul. I grew up reading X-Men. I liked almost all the characters and, unlike many of my friends, I am not some X-Men purist who gets upset when Hollywood makes a change from the comic book. I enjoyed the subtle but appropriate changes to all the X-Men characters. Why? Because the scriptwriters and director Bryan Singer understood the soul of each character. Each X-Man and each villain seemed to have a strong character "spine" that resonated. You understood their motives, actions, and mindset completely.
You understood Eric Lensherr (aka Magneto) and his rage towards humans.
You understood Wolverine's reluctance, and you liked his bad boy attitude.
You related to Jean Grey's fears; her hesitation and his uneasiness.
You nodded in approval in X-Men 2 when Mystique ( played by a shape shifting Rebecca Romjin) tells the blue-skinned, devil-tailed Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) that they shouldn't have to hide their physical oddities. Living things should be respected for what they are, not what they look like.
You understood, or at the very least sympathized, with the themes dealing with racism, tolerance, and equality. Each character carried their stand on these issues wherever they went on screen.
All these details were present and appreciated in both X-Men and X-Men 2. They were noticeably absent in X-Men 3, which is why, in my opinion, it was a terrible, terrible film. Now, is it terrible in a Phantom Menace kind of way? No. I think Harry Knowles of AintItCool.com has the best review, and there are several more on his site. Like Harry, I think this film was handled with all the grace and sophistication of a thirteen-year-old trying to masturbate for the first time. Here are some reasons why I disliked X-Men: The Last Stand:
- Wolverine. Gone is the bad ass loner I enjoyed in the first two films. In his place is a wise-cracking goof more interested in playing for laughs. I always accepted Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. I thought he did an admirable job in the first X-Men, and a very good job in the second. What scared me about Jackman was this: the X-Men movies were the only movies of his worth a damn. In everything else this guy had done, his performances varied from mildly annoying to shoot-the-dork-now in range. If you saw Swordfish or Van Helsing, you know what I mean. It seems pretty clear that Bryan Singer had a very strong influence on Jackman, because the Wolverine in X-Men 3 is a pale shadow to the one presented in early films. I actually caught myself rooting for the bad mutants to kill Wolverine. That's how annoying he got! What was once a rich, dynamic character, who explored the primordial struggle of man v. self and man v. beast, was watered down as nothing but a standard, cheap, star vehicle-like character in order to further boost Jackman's popularity. Unforgivable. Because of this, I have no interest in seeing any Wolverine spin-off movies.
- Professor Xavier. The first fifteen minutes of X-Men 3 fool you into thinking the film is good. The opening sequence involving Xavier and Magneto meeting a young Jean Grey was excellent. For the first time, you see Xavier and Magneto when they were friends. After the first fifteen minutes, I had sincere hope that the film might be good. Those hopes were dashed on the rocks during one key scene, which I will set up for you: Xavier and Storm are walking through the mansion. Xavier tells Storm that he hopes, one day, she will replace him as headmaster of the school. Storm asks what the rest of us are thinking: "What about Cyclops?" Xavier's response is exhibit one that the handlers of this film knew nothing of the material they dealt with. Xavier responds that Cyclops is a "changed man," and that Xavier no longer trusts him to run the school.
Again, I'm not a comic book purist. I'm just going by what I saw in the previous two films. Cyclops was always at Xavier's side. Xavier raised him like a son. To simply dismiss him like this is just irresponsible, and it serves only one real purpose: to give Halle Berry more screen time.
There are other moments in the film where Xavier has lines that make one scratch their head. When Wolverine questions Xavier's motives for "brainwashing" Jean Grey, Xavier says, "I don't need to explain myself, least of all to you." Since when did Xavier become an elitist prick! In the previous films he was a powerful, intelligent, kind man who never placed himself above anyone (in stark contrast to his nemesis Magneto). Now, he acts like an ass? Silly. It's inconsistent character flubs like these that sap the soul out of X-Men 3.
- Cyclops's death. Unacceptable. This is a major character from the previous films. He's the field leader of the X-Men, the guy with the thankless job of organizing teams and leading them into combat. The producers felt they needed to stroke Halle Berry's inflated ego by giving her this type of leadership role in X-Men 3. Why they did this we don't know. I guarantee you, if Halle Berry's Storm were eaten by giant alligator, and then blown up by a flaming asteroid in the shape of Telly Savalas's face, the whole audience would have gotten up and cheered. NO ONE LIKED HALLE BERRY AS STORM! No one, except maybe the magazine moguls at Glamour and Vogue who plaster Halle Berry all over their covers, but who gives a shit what they like. When it was rumored she wasn't going to be in X-Men 3, I was actually pleased. However, not only did she decide to do the film, she got even more useless screen time. And in order for her to get this time, and not make the film 3 hours long, Cyclops had to get axed. The way they handled his death was just silly. Cyclops is killed off screen, and his death is mentioned in passing by two characters afterwards. No one grieves for Cyclops. No one seems to care he's gone. Heck, when Xavier died, he got a big monument and a huge funeral. Cyclops? Nothing. He gets a headstone after the climax of the film, but no one seems to give a shit. This is exactly how not to kill a character off. Ironically, I felt James Marsden was doing a great job before Cykes bought it. His scene with Wolverine in the mansion was good! In fact, James Marsden came off looking more badass in that scene than Jackman's lame-ass Wolverine did.
- The Evil Mutant Tattoo Brigade. Terrible. Just terrible. Note to self: whenever a director uses leather costumes and tattoos to make characters look "cool," it's a sure sign the director is an idiot. Leave the theater immediately!
- "The Cure." Yes, I know this is Hollywood. I suspend much disbelief when I see movies, and I dumb down my expectations when I see summer movies especially. However, I cannot accept the silly notion that a needle filled with green goop can alter your DNA in a matter of nanoseconds. I like the idea that the government wants to create a "cure," but something like that cannot just change mutants into humans that easily. Can you change a human into a primate? A primate into a fish with four-legs? No. That's dumb, and it would look dumb. We've been told from moment one of the first film that mutants are the next step in human evolution. Once again, a lack of attention to detail like kills X-Men 3. And yes, I know the "cure" is bogus because Magneto moves the metallic chess pawn at the end. That still doesn't make up for the dumb sequence were mutants are transformed into human wholesale in a matter of seconds.
- Too many characters! It's nice to see Angel, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, and Beast. However, their presence takes away from other characters that I'd rather see. If the issue was screen time, then simply getting rid of Halle Berry would have solved the problem. The whole Iceman-Rogue-Kitty Pryde love triangle was dumb. No one cares! The world is ending. People are dying. Cyclops and Professor X are DEAD! No one cares that Rogue can't screw anyone, and that Iceman is having trouble dealing with the fact that he can't tap Rogue's ass. Kelsey Grammer's Beast was handled well, aside from the silly make-up. I have no problem with blue skin. Candy blue fur, though, looks dumb.
Now, despite all these negative comments, I do admit the film has moments of brilliance. Several fight sequences are well shot. Ian McKellan, as always, is amazing. He might just be the best living male actor on the planet. I enjoyed Vinnie Jones as the Juggernaut. I caught myself actually rooting for him as he threw Wolverine around like a rag doll. However, these moments could not make up for all the plot holes, bad dialogue, and silly characters crammed into this mindless summer eye candy.
What separated the first two X-Men films from the normal summer movie garbage was their sophistication. They had great action, great effects, but also great moments between characters. They possessed a soul, and it was evident that the creators of those films cared about portraying something that was honest to its comic book roots while remaining grounded in good cinematic drama. The themes were adult, the characters strong, and the action sharp and kick-ass. This most recent film is no different from any other brand of summer schlock. All great movie trilogies go through this ringer. The Matrix, Star Wars, and the Batman films were all diluted by bad sequels. With X-Men, we might have several "spin-off" movies planned. One involves Wolverine, the other Magneto. I have no interest in the Wolverine film unless Bryan Singer does it. Magneto could be good just because it could involve McKellan.
All-in-all, X-Men 3 is a huge disappointment, not because the film isn't true to the comic book, but because the film is just plain bad. It's rushed, sloppy, and full of holes. It has shallow characters, bad acting, and shoddy dialogue. In short, it's a typical summer movie, and an unworthy sequel to the last two films.
X-Men: The Last Stand
This poll is closed