Friday, September 6, 2013

The Last Stand--Until New Contracts Are Signed

There's been such a split of opinion on X-Men 3: The Last Stand. Some people thought it rocked, and that it was a fine ending to the series (until the ball would be picked up again). Others thought it was a waste of money. Some people were pissed at Bryan Singer, the director of the prior two installments, who passed on directing X3 in favor of Superman Returns. Others thought they tried to stuff too many mutants into one film, resulting in not giving any of them time to shine.

I had one friend call me and tell me, after a dramatic pause: "It was bad." This friend and I have disagreed on films before--to a polar extent--but he has a keen take on films, and his three words of preamble nevertheless struck me like a hammer on an anvil.

But here's the thing: I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Go ahead, throw your tomatoes. For what it's worth, I was expecting exactly the opposite of this film. One of the things I was worried about after seeing preview clips on the Internet was that they were going to skimp on effects. (Think Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and you'll get a sense of my dread.) And they did, here and there, but not to any great extent. For instance, Warren's wings were horrid--thankfully, his non-CGI appearances were brief. But otherwise, effects were status quo with the other two films.

In short, X3 gave me a great ride. See if you agree with me on these brief observations:

  • First, I don't really mind that they killed off Cyclops. I never felt the team leader vibe with Scott, like I do with his comic book counterpart. In most of his scenes with the team (in any of the films), he was rarely pictured at the forefront, as you might dramatically shoot it if you wanted to emphasize his status and importance; instead, he pretty much blended in with the other members of the team. If anyone had the leader vibe tacked onto them, it was Wolverine, who all but shoved Storm aside to assume the role in X3.
  • No Nightcrawler? All that time and money was spent on his character in the prior film, only to drop him? His presence would have been a great dynamic to the team. When Wolverine was giving his pep talk to the kids before taking them out on that mission, I kept looking for Nightcrawler in that group--as if there was a big erased gap on the original script that surely would have had him in that scene otherwise.
  • Why is Storm still channeling Buffy, the Vampire Slayer? She gets used as a punching bag--slammed into walls, tables, shelves--and not only gets right back up, but there's never a bruise on her. If a super-villain is coming after her, at the very least they intend to connect with enough force to take her out of the fight immediately--and if possible, they'll want to terminate her. I refuse to believe that she can be so brutalized, only to have mussed hair (barely!) to show for it. Ane while we're on the subject of Storm:
  • That "human top" spinning attack mode. Oh, Ororo. No. You just give your opponents time to either blast you out of the sky, or simply scatter out of your way. Thank your storm clouds that your standing-in-place foes were fighting according to script.
  • I think they handled Phoenix very, very well--and as someone who stubbornly stomped their feet at being deprived of the Phoenix Effect, that's saying something for me. I've never been a fan of Famke Janssen's "calm" acting method--but with some dark contacts and a fan blowing on her, she was put to good use here. Ditto for Magneto, whom Ian McKellen brings to life so magnificently. The scene where Jean puts an end to Xavier was absolutely awesome.

So, X3--a hit with you, yea or nay? Let's hear your reasons for either. Dibs on the tomatoes, though.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think Ian Mckellan as an aging Magneto sending armored cars flying around and suspension bridges tearing apart is worth it right there. And his speeches. The way Mckellan painted that character, with his tragic history and desperate ruthless single-minded pursuit of an ultimately unatainable goal was pretty powerful. But it seemed to me like he pretty much carried the movie.
I realize that usually the villain is the most interesting character (Shakespeare, Milton, and the Greek playwrights knew that, I would guess), but I spent the movie waiting for Magneto to show up on screen again.
It's not a bad movie at all, though, and for a comic-book movie, pretty good. Well worth watching. I thought the latest X-men movie The New Class, was even better.
I love how they use famous established actors like Kevin Bacon as villians in these films. Might be a throwback to an infamous superhero T.V. show I heard about somewhere from the 60's. M.P.
P.S. What is it with this robot test now? Shouldn't the characters at least resemble letters? I swear it's getting worse.

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