Wednesday, August 09, 2006

X-Men 3: Not Bad, Not Great

X-Men 3: The Last Stand
Originally uploaded by baldman76.
Ok, so we finally saw X-Men: The Last Stand. Paula and Alex, I must respectfully disagree with your “don’t-even-rent-it-it’s-so-bad” assessment. For the most part, I liked it a lot. I do agree that it was a step-down when compared to the previous two films (especially the superb X2), but it certainly wasn’t a bad film and not so terrible as to ruin the series as a trilogy (which, in my opinion, Matrix: Revolutions did. I hated the third one so much it has even spread its taint onto the first Matrix, and it was good.) The action sequences were good, the effects were pretty impressive, the acting not bad (though also weaker than in the other films.)

Now that I have established that I really did like the film, allow me to “rip it a new one” on a few points.

I do agree with Paula and Alex’s critique of the dialogue. The dialogue was pretty uninspired. The first film’s dialogue was not without its flaws (Storm’s poor accent). However, the second film was so good on every level that this movie’s dialogue was notably that much weaker (especially when coupled with the recent excellent writing of the two Spiderman films and Batman Begins). The movie was checkered with your typical “ACTION” dialogue that sounds as if it were written by a bunch of middle-schoolers. No subtlety or any real depth- just the bare minimum needed to convey that action is at hand. You know the kind I’m talking about:

Action Hero #1: My God, what’s happening?!

Action Hero #2: I think you know. [meaningful glance]. But what can be done?

Action Hero #1: I think we ALL know what must be done. And without us, what must be done might not happen. So, are you ready to do it?

[Tense moment of pensive thought and meaningful glances.]

Action Hero #2: I’m ready if you are. Ready?

Action Hero #1: LET’S DO THIS!

[Music swells, Action heroes run out of room. End Scene.]

Criticism #2: Don’t cop-out and write-off a major character is some pansy-ass way. I have no problem with main characters dying. But to bump-one off in the first ten minutes in such a stupid way? It shows a lack of creativity on the part of the writers.

OK, my last critique, and this goes for all movie’s in general: I don’t mind rambling, slice of life films, nor am I incapable of a “willing suspension of disbelief,” but don’t pad your movie with unnecessary sub-plots when ten more minutes of brain-storming could eliminate and give you a tighter/better movie script. The Phoenix? Yeah, she’s really powerful, back from the dead and Wolverine loves her- but she was essentially a sexy-looking but unnecessary plot point. But she’s powerful and can blow up the world! (ie, she’s an excuse for more special effects). But what did she DO, really? Not much. Ultimately, with the character development of the previous two films, the “mutant cure”–as-weapon was all that was necessary to spur the formation and offensive assault of Magneto’s Brotherhood. Presto! Better movie. Eliminate the superfluous, develop characters more. The movie would have been stronger. [It should be noted that the lack of relevance of Phoenix to the central plot line of the film was first observed by my dear wife, Katie.]

Oh, and Guy-with-Wings = Cool-Looking, but also unnecessary.

[Another classic example- Jar Jar Binks. Not only was he terrible and quoted the Olsen Twins from Full House, but totally unnecessary. Next time you see me, ask me how pointless he was (outside of toy sales profits) and I’ll elaborate how he could be totally written out of the story. Of course, the flaws in the newest Star Wars movies are a new topic in-and-of-itself, but I digress.)


wagsandpurrs said...

"Taint"? Great word!
Okay, I agree with you on the killing of Scott (who shows up in Superman). I kept waiting for him to rise up or something. And I totally agree with you about the Phoenix characater. But to be perfectly honest, I have always thought that the Jean Grey was boring. It could just be Famke J. but I am not one of her fans. Of course, Wolverine will be the next movie. Like Hugh Jackman said, unless he gets hit by a bus or falls off a cliff, there will be a Wolverine movie. Which is okay. I do NOT find HIM boring!! And yeah, the dialogue wasn't too great, and the reason the winged boy was there was to get acceptance from his father, I guess. I am glad I saw it, but Superman was better. And there were parts of it that I looked at my watch several times! Now CARS? I didn't look at my watch once! I highly recommend that!

discipleassisi said...

i LOVED cars :) definitely one i'd like to own...

Anonymous said...

Ok…I’m going to start showing my knowledge of X-Men years past.

As to the development of the character Phoenix, the unknowing movie watcher (non-comic book reader) may not have noticed hints at movies end. If you recall at the end of X-2, the audience may have noticed (if looked at carefully) of something in the water (reflecting….) of a phoenix. It cues you of what is to come in the next movie (Jean Grey’s return). In X-3, you had to catch a clue at the end of the trailers to catch a more obvious clip (to comic readers) of what is to come in the possible X-4. Those who were (are) X-Men fans may recall key the storyline from the comics and know what is pending. This is a key issue Marvel is attempting to maintain in the storyline.

Phoenix is an important character in the X-Men. Constantly dying and rising again (thus an appropriate name for this character). So I would not suspect that this is the end of Phoenix. It creates fear and concern when she returns into the X-Men’s lives. As for the scene in X-3 when a key character died within the first 10 minutes of the movie, I did not worry. For one needs to ask – did he truly die?

As to the “Guy-with-wings”, he is Angel. He was one of the first X-Men in the Marvel Comic Books. No longer an active member of X-Men, he lost his importance to other cool X-Men: Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Colossus, and Nightcrawler (BTW…what happen to Nightcrawer in X-3. He is one of the coolest X-Men and he was a no show – replaced by the Beast (AKA: Dr. Fraiser Crane) – Bring back Nightcrawer!!!) I find it interesting how they brought Angel backing to the Marvel movie universe.

I do agree X-3 is not as strong as X-2, but hope that in X-4 more cool stuff from the Marvel Universe appears. A few things were hinted to comic book readers (see Danger Room scene and how Professor Xavier approached Jean’s childhood home when first meeting the young girl in X-3). We saw in X-2 the role of Colossus and Kitty Pride in the Mansion scene – brief as it was. Well….in X-3, these key comic book characters had a more noticeable role. What is the point of this paragraph: I’m expecting X-4 to have more of the comic book universe in the movie.

Well……I digressed enough and wasted space on your blog. If you have questions on the specifics, please ask me directly.



(jim) Bo Ba Log said...

A. CARS most certainly rocks. Entertaining throughout, and I can't wait to get the DVD so I can watch for all the cool little details. I mean how perfect that Tom and Ray Magliozzi should show up in the movie. And the flying insects . . . why Volkswagen Beetles, of course.

B. Christopher, I'm a little surprised at you. The relative importance of characters in X3 are, as Dogwood mentions, tied more closely to the franchise. Being around at the beginning of the X-men comic, I am more disappointed that Angel took so long to get into the act, as he was vital to the beginning of the series.

C. Pansy-ass way of dying. Again, I am a little surprised at you. In the construction of fiction, let the audience assume Thing 1 so that when you spring Thing 2 on them, it is a surprise. I don't know that Scott is dead, especially since . . . ( did we all wait to the very end of the credits before we walked out of the theatre??? huh . . . did we?)

D. Besides points B & C. You are right in describing the movie as Not Bad, Not Great. My reaction as well.

baldman76 said...

OK, a brief and delayed response. I didn't mean to say that characters such as Angel weren't important to the X-Men mythology. I was implying that I felt this movie didn't know what to do with them and gave them weak stories just to throw them in there.

In fact, that's kinda my same beef with Cyclops. Whether he's dead or not, I felt that they just did his charater wrong. My friends Mike and Matt were pretty pissed about this. As Mike pointed out, Scott is the leader of the X-Men, and to portray him so briefly, weakly, and, well, wuss-ily just didn't do the character justice. I concur, and I am NOT any type of hardcore X-Men buff. From the movie stand-point, that was just one area with which I had a problem. But I thought they did a decent job developing the Gen-X characters for further franchise episodes. Next up, of course, is the Wolverine spin-off. I hope that's good.

And I haven't seen Cars yet.