Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mutant Explosion

When I saw the trailer, I figured we were either in for a train wreck or a pretty decent movie. Normally, I'd wait until video and banish it to my "movies that didn't suck as much as I thought they would" category, but since I'm nothing if not a dutiful geek (and therefore a completist), I saw me some X-Men: The Last Stand over the weekend.

I've always been fascinated by jugglers; I think it's amazing that someone can keep all those chainsaws in the air without dropping them, but there's a little part of me hoping that at some point, one will slip and we'll have a sight to see. This was my big problem with the movie: too many chainsaws in the air.

Just because we're different doesn't mean were not human. Love conquers all. If we stand together, there's nothing we can't accomplish. I love my gay -- errr, mutant son. Brett Ratner managed to set up each of these plotlines, and in fairness, he did resolve them. However, it wasn't very satisfying, since you needed a scorecard to keep track of all the characters running around. I was getting confused, and I read the comics for 15 years.

I don't really blame the director too much here: the action scenes were well done and fun to watch, but while Bryan Singer handles the character and plot development better than the action, Ratner definitely brings the big action to the screen well.

The basic plot: pharmaceutical company develops mutant "cure", so Magneto gets pissed and raises an army to slap the government around and announce that mutants aren't taking anymore crap from any humans. Meanwhile, the house of Xavier is a little shaky: the X-Men are now Storm, a withdrawn and depressed Cyclops, and the inexperienced Colossus, Rogue, Iceman and Shadowcat? Ariel? Sprite? Kitty Pryde? (They never really said her codename). I believe this would have made a serviceable and fairly satisfying film, but it looks like the studio made a few "suggestions" designed to set things up for future films.

So suddenly, we have Phoenix; we have Angel and his father, who developed the "cure"; we have Henry McCoy, the Beast. All these characters and plots zip around the screen and they come crashing together in the end in a rather unsatisfying explosion of CGI. Had they gone with fewer characters and one or two less plotlines, this would have been a much better movie.

But despite all this, I didn't hate the movie. It did move along well, and the action sequences were well done (Kitty vs. the Juggernaut is a definite highlight; in fact, Vinnie Jones as the Juggernaut was an inspired bit of casting); however, I believe that had Bryan Singer finished the trilogy as was originally planned, this would have been a better movie and a stronger conclusion to the series. But Singer was drawn off to make Superman Returns and Ratner, originally slated to make Superman, took his jobless ass and made X-Men.

So if you're looking for a good check-your-brain-in-at-the-door movie, X-Men is a fine choice. It's no Snakes on a Plane, but what is? If you liked the character-driven stuff from the other two X-Movies, consider yourself warned. And if you do see it, stick around until after the credits end. You'll thank me later.

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