"KEEP BUSTIN'."

God help us… Vern has seen X3…

SPOILER ALERT !!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Vern has done it again. I gut-laughed at least 3 times during this review… It contains some spoilers, so be warned of that. All these positive reviews for X3 give me hope for the film, but I am worried about a common thread going through these reviews that seem to say that if you care at all about the comics or how these characters will be different from their comic book forms then you might not like the film. Is it wrong to be a geek about a comic book movie? I just know that I loved the Dark Phoenix Saga and I wish I could shake the original comic telling of her story going into the movie, but I know I can’t. I really hope I’m smiling as hard as Vern was when watching the flick. Sounds huge and fun. After Vern, I have another review that is from a fan that is very honest about the film, but is kind of a sad read. Enjoy the laughter and happiness first!

X-MEN 3: THE THIRD AND LAST STAND OF THE X-MEN

Fellas,

In the talkback for my review of last week’s big movie, SEE NO EVIL, Brycemonkey requested that I review X-MEN 3: X3 THE THIRD X-MEN. As someone who strives for excellence that puts me in a tough position because on one hand I want to make the newsies happy by reviewing the movie, but on the other hand I’m not sure they’ll like it because I don’t know jack and/or shit about the X-Men outside of these movies.

Ordinarily that would be okay, most movies you’re not expected to do twenty years of preparatory research before you are allowed to have an opinion about them. But X-Men is different. I don’t know if anybody else has ever noticed this before, but through my personal experiences here and there I’ve made an observation that some people take this comic strip shit VERY seriously. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about you. You’re cool. But those other guys are fuckin NUTS. what a bunch of nerds, am I right? ha ha we’re different though.

X-Men: The Last StandDon’t worry I’m not gonna turn this into some attack on comic strip fundamentalism, but I just want to establish that some of you will still hate this movie, even though it’s good. Because I’m not looking for the same things you are. I don’t even know what to look for. But as someone who was surprised to enjoy the first two pictures (hell, read my review of part 2, RIGHT HERE it’s literally a love letter) I was satisfied with part 3. To my ignorant eyes, it’s just as good.

The movie picks up a little bit after X PART 2. Jean Grey is still dead underwater (like Godzilla) and Cyclops (remember, the whiny douchebag with the sunglasses) is real grim and brooding. You can tell he has been deeply changed by this tragedy, because he has stubble. However things seem pretty good otherwise because the president of the US was so impressed by Professor X-Man stopping time and making a big speech at the end of part 2 that he appointed a furry blue mutant to his cabinet as the Secretary of Mutant Affairs. This is of course Kelsey Grammar from ‘Cheers’ and although he does a good job this is probaly gonna be pretty controversial. The writers took alot of poetic license with his character, he doesn’t eat cookies or have googly eyes anymore and they call him “Hank.”

Hank is the first good guy mutant to find out about some fucked up bullshit that is the main plot of the movie. It seems that the fucking humans have gone and created a “cure” for being a mutant. My favorite X-Man by far, Mystique, was actually the one who caught on to this, stealing the info from the FDA, but she got apprehended by The Man. I always liked Mystique because she has the right attitude about being a mutant. Her power is to change into any form, so it would require no effort for her to appear “normal.” And yet she chooses to walk around as a scaly naked blue chick with orange hair and eyes. That’s just her thing, man. If you got a problem with it, what I would like you to do is take that problem you have and stick it up your ass. She’s here, she’s blue and orange, get used to it.

In part 2 of course my girl Mystique busted Magneto out of the joint, and Magneto is enough of a gentleman that he returns the favor. But the escape is botched. Poor Mystique. I kind of thought things would turn out bad for her, because I’m sure at some point Rebecca Romijn-she’s-not-Stamos-anymore-fellas is gonna turn down the opportunity to spend 4 hours every day getting glued and painted. But what happens to Mystique is worse than I imagined and, depending how you interpret it, could mean she’s not quite as right on as I always thought. But I believe in her.

Meanwhile, the other pretty lady in X-land, Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey comes back to life but is part evil and out of control and etc. This ties in to the thread from the whole trilogy where Professor X-Man tries to convince her to control her powers and Magneto tries to convince her to unleash them. But for the first time Magneto gets his way.

Like the other two, this exists in an alternate political landscape where this whole “mutant cure” business becomes a big controversy. A bunch of sellout uncle tom mutants including one of the Academy Award winning cast members line up to get cured while others protest and Magneto tries to lead a revolt. Even more than in the other two, I found myself siding with Magneto on this one. If the cure was voluntary like they say, that would be one thing. But we see that the fucking humans are shooting it out of guns, and that’s bullshit.

Magneto gathers all the mutants (you can tell by their tattoos and leather) in the woods and then they attack the facility that makes the cure, which by the way is on Alcatraz for some reason. So you got the two overlapping storylines of Jean Grey’s out of control magic powers and this bullshit with trying to cure mutants. And then sad things happen, etc.

There are two main things I like about the X-Pictures. The first one is the way they use this mutant concept as a metaphor for things we can relate to in our mutant-free world. Everybody always mentions that Magneto is Malcolm X and Xavier is Martin Luther King (which is kind of weird since Martin Luther King’s space age jet probaly didn’t have missiles on it) and I don’t know if anybody here has heard about this yet, but Bryan Singer is actually gay so you can read a certain symbolism about anti-gay bigotry into the way humans treat the mutants in the movies.

The other main thing I like is the way there’s so much grey area between good guys and bad guys that I always end up rooting for the bad guys. I mean don’t get me wrong, Logan Wolverine is cool and everything, but I think Professor X-Man trusts the humans a little too much. When they’re shooting the cure out of guns that crosses a line.

Well both of those two main things that I like are present in part 3 and maybe even more than in the previous ones. The whole concept of the cure can obviously be applied to alot of things in life. It makes you think about that silly idea of “curing” gays, but it can be applied to any minority or oppressed group. You could get the cure and people wouldn’t stare at you anymore and maybe you would make new friends. But then you would remember that those new friends are the same assholes that stared at you just because you were blue. Mystique knows getting cured is bullshit, and she also refuses to respond to her “slave name.” If you are ever in a bind ask yourself “WWMD(BSS)” which means “What would Mystique do (besides shape shift).”

That’s why even more than in the other two I was rooting for Magneto’s side. Admittedly, part of their plan involves killing a kid. Which I’m against. And they did have some part about taking over the world after they get rid of the cure. But the main thing is getting rid of the cure, which I can get behind more than the diabolical super villain plans Magneto had in the other ones. When The Brotherhood are attacking Alcatraz and the humans turn out to have a surprisingly good counter-attack, I found myself worried, thinking “oh shit, they’re gonna get slaughtered, what are they gonna do?” Then when Logan Wolverine and friends showed up to protect the building I actually got pretty uncomfortable. They seem like sellouts. What the fuck are they doing? And then an opportunity presents itself to defeat Magneto but it involves an ethical question, and I think Logan and friends arrive at the wrong answer on that one.

I don’t know, maybe that’s the one way that this was not as good as the other two to me, that I actually thought that what the X-Men were doing was wrong. But what the hell, might as well challenge me with a comic strip movie. It gives you more to think about than other pictures in the genre such as GARFIELD or GARFIELD’S A TALE OF TWO KITTIES or, I don’t know if there’s a ZIGGY movie or not.

Anyway, I like that the good guys and bad guys all understand that they have this mutant heritage thing in common. And even though Xavier and Magneto are enemies, they are also old friends. Remember in the first one, Professor X-Man gets Magneto locked up but then goes to visit him and play chess while he’s in the can? That type of respect and friendship comes through in this one too. That’s how it gets ya, it pulls at your heartstrings.

With as many characters as they have now they have to shortchange some of them or kill them off early (a handy trick they use in this one). Logan Wolverine is still cool and heavily involved in the Jean Grey storyline, but he doesn’t seem like the main character anymore. Storm actually has a little more important role and does cooler things, although she still talks like either Janet or Latoya. Kurt (the German guy) has such a small part that he’s not in the movie. I think they do a good job of getting across what they need to about each character within a small amount of screen time.

All the main new characters are pretty cool. I like how Hank is a thoughtful, well spoken diplomat who wears a suit and tie but happens to be blue and furry and hang upside down. In the small part of the movie dedicated to him he gets to have a little depth because it’s implied that he would like to take the cure, but instead he stands up for his people. I don’t like politicians but he seems like a cool guy. Then you got Hawkman, a small character just on screen enough to get an idea across. He’s the son of the inventor of the cure, but he has bird wings. It’s sad and then moving to see how he hates himself and then how he decides to metaphorically spread his wings and fly. (the wings being a metaphor for his wings.)

Finally there’s Juggernaut, played by Vinnie Jones (SUBMERGED). There’s no depth to Juggernaut, which is okay in this case. He’s just a big muscleman with a metal helmet who runs through walls and punches stuff. I never understood all this talk about “geekgasm” and what not until I saw the reaction to Juggernaut’s big scene. Alot of people were whooping and hollering but one particular guy got so excited he actually jumped to his feet and pumped his fists in the air yelling “YEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHH!!!! FUCK YEEEAAAAAHHHH!!!” well into the next scene, and I swear people were ducking for cover just in case he really did shoot his wad all over the rows in front of him. So now I get it what Harry is always talking about. You people are sickos but I get it now.

But the new character who matters the most is the director, Brett Ratner. I remember some of you guys had that plan to kidnap the furry bastard and strangle him with spider-man underoos for a little bit of the ol’ nerd justice. I never understood that because 1) okay he’s not Stanley Kubrick, but he’s not the guy who did Daredevil either, so cut the guy some fuckin slack and 2) he hadn’t even made the movie yet, isn’t he, as an American, innocent until proven guilty? and 3) if you don’t think MONEY TALKS is hilarious then I ain’t reading casper comics with you, buddy. At least give him credit for MONEY TALKS.

Well I’m never gonna convince you on that one but it’ll be interesting to see if you still want to assassinate this guy after you see X PART 3. In my eyes he did a good job. Like Mystique would, he has made an amazing facsimile of Bryan Singer’s style from the first two, completing the story. Don’t get me wrong, I consider Singer the better filmatist, but honestly if I saw this and didn’t know it was a new director I would’ve fell for it. He is a great fake Singer.

Not that I wouldn’t have liked a couple more Ratnerisms in there. The only one I really noticed was that he put Ken Leung, the villain from RUSH HOUR in a small part as the evil mutant Porcupine Man. There’s so many mutant extras I don’t know why he didn’t go for more cameos. I’m sure he coulda fit Chris Tucker in there. And Michael Jackson obviously would’ve made a good mutant too. Okay, maybe that would be distracting, but one thing I did miss was Lalo Schifrin, the genius behind the music for ENTER THE DRAGON, DIRTY HARRY, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, etc. and also the guy who scored most of Ratner’s pictures. I read he was gonna do this one, not sure if that was a mistake or if he got fired for being too awesome, but the score is by some guy called John Powell. Nothing against him, he did fine, but more than Brett Ratner is not Bryan Singer, that motherfucker is NOT Lalo Schifrin. He’s some other guy.

But I think Ratner did a good job. And he has the balls to include important information after the credits, something I always enjoy but rarely see. Remember, SEE NO EVIL was afraid to even put the awesome peeing scene at the end of the credits, they put it pretty much at the beginning. This one doesn’t involve peeing on a dead body, but it’s pretty good.

Now, I’m pretty sure I know how some comical book extremists will react to this movie. They will watch it three times in the theater and buy it on DVD to get a fuller understanding of why it is the worst movie ever made. But I think the average every day nerd on the street, the cool ones like you, are mostly gonna like it. I say this only because the crowd I saw it with (who got their passes from a comic book shop) mostly seemed to love it.

The end is a little weird, it acts like things are wrapped up. But the cure was not uninvented, so there is still a huge fucking dilemma. And plus we got some dead X-Men-and-Women. Still, it leaves you a little hope for if there was a next one. But of course, there are only three X-Men comic books probaly so that must be the end of the story. Too bad, would’ve been cool to see what would’ve happened.

thanks nerds,

Vern

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/23417

View the archived Ain't-It-Cool-News Talkback
This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006 at 4:46 am and is filed under Action, AICN, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

12 Responses to “God help us… Vern has seen X3…”

  1. You know, Vern, I hated this one when it came out because none of the holy shit moments really felt earned, and by the end of the movie all of the characters from the first two had been killed or neutered or otherwise removed from the plot so I was stuck with Halle Berry and a bunch of nobodies in stupid motorcycle jackets. It’s like if Han and Chewie got killed off and Return of the Jedi ended with Leia hanging out with that dude with the lips who co-piloted the Millennium Falcon. But the new Terminator and Wolverine sucked so bad that I kind of feel like I’m starting to remember it more fondly by comparison. At least Last Stand had the guts to make new shit happen instead of just coasting on prequel cruise control where everything is preordained so who gives a fuck.

  2. Nope, not a chance. Just because the geek franchises have sunk even further, doesn’t change the fact that X3 is a series of blundering, poorly timed sequences that should be exciting, should carry emotional weight, should pay off two great films worth of building and set up. It fails at pretty much all of those things, with like one or two exceptions (Mystique scenes are a standout)

  3. Okay, so I checked it out again, and despite what my respected fellow commentator Brendan said, I actually did like it quite a bit more. Knowing all of the disappointing “shocking” developments ahead of time meant that I could focus on the movie’s strong points, of which there were many. The mutant cure idea brought up a lot of ethical issues that weren’t all neatly resolved in the end, which I admire. I admit that putting the cure in a gun is pretty fucked up, but guns with bullets in them will cure most mutations pretty quick, too, and nobody minds that. Why is it okay for Wolverine to kill any mutant he wants to but he can’t stick him with a needle and render him harmless? Sure, the dude wouldn’t have his beloved rhino horn sticking out of his face anymore, but at least he’d be alive. Also, which would have been more humane (mutante?) for Beast to do: Giving Magneto the cure or just snapping his neck? He could have easily done either, but he chose the option that robbed him of his civil rights but left him with his life. The movie still has its problems (Cyclops still goes out like a chump, and Storm continues to be a boring character with no arc) but it made me think and had some cool action (though nothing on par with the Nightcrawler stuff from X2). At least it reaches for thematic and dramatic heights, unlike Wolverine, which just rehashes stuff that was already more or less told in the flashbacks in X2. Clearly, Last Stand would have been better if Singer had stayed onboard to really nail the emotion, but it’s actually way better than I gave it credit for at the time.

  4. Respected, huh? That’s a new one.
    Maybe I should go back and watch this again, see how it plays now. My main thing with your points is that I think you’re giving the ethical choices more thought than the filmmakers did. When the cure is presented to use against Magneto, it doesn’t seem to weigh on any of them. It’s a device they can use to win, so they use it, and then immediately move on. When Wolverine kills someone, it isn’t anybody with a personality or character that might make you question Wolverine’s actions: the people are almost always creepy looking wearing leather and straps, who seem fully aware of how evil they are.
    And what about this: Gandalf spends the whole movie pressuring Jean to unleash her powers, to not allow anyone to restrain her. When she finally does this, he immediately gets a shits-his-pants-look, dramatically comments “What have I done” and then runs away afraid. You could say that he wasn’t prepared for the Phoenix, but it just comes across as laziness.

  5. I will concede all of your points on the shoddy execution of the themes I discussed, which was what I didn’t like about the film in the first place. But nonetheless the themes are there, and that means it’s the rare big-budget special effects movie where the script is better than the direction. Yes, nothing in the movie was really 100% nailed, probably because it was rushed to meet an arbitrary release date even after its first director bailed at the last minute, but I guess I tend to rate movies more based on what I got out of them than what was put into them. It’s like a drunk who makes a good point, even if he slurs his words and doesn’t know what he’s saying half the time.

  6. All right, that sounds reasonable. I will concede that a lot of my frustration comes from knowing that if Fox hadn’t been such cunts we could have gotten Singer back, and he WOULD have made those themes and moments sing. Superman Returns was weak on story and action, but the big emotional moments were nailed.

  7. 100% agree on Superman Returns. The story is non-existent, but I defy anyone not to get a little misty when they show Ma Kent outside the hospital, having to share her grief with the whole world in silence. Besides, how refreshing was it to have a hero who wasn’t tortured or gritty or angsty (okay, maybe he was a little angsty, but how would you feel if your baby mama was raising your child with another dude? All things considered, I think he took it pretty well) but was just decent and true. He’s the anti-anti-hero.

  8. Going along with themes of persecution and being an outsider, I’ll go ahead and admit I’ve always thought X3 was the best of the original trilogy. Maybe because I never liked X2 like everyone else in the world, maybe because I never read the Dark Phoenix saga, maybe because I actually think most of Brett Ratner’s movies are pretty decent even though he seems like a giant douchebag in real life. (I think we all have to admit Michael Bay could never make a movie half as good as X3, though.)

    So when I rewatched it again, I was afraid I might not like it so much. I used to love Superman III but last time I saw it, it was a boring chore to sit through. Last time I saw Blade III, Ryan Reynolds finally stopped being funny and I now understood what everyone was saying about it being kind of terrible. But I’m happy to say I liked X3 about as much, possibly even better than the first time.

    The story is fast-moving and well-paced, there’s never a dull moment in this entire movie. Some may say it’s too fast-moving but they got most of the character development and relationship stuff set up in the first two movies, so this one has the luxury of being able to streamline it’s story. (Besides, despite the fast pace they still finally gave Storm somewhat of a character this time, and set up a cool new character in Beast). The action sequences are great – that fight in Jean Grey’s house is better shot and choreographed than most fights these days, and I love the chaos of the end battle. The score sounds like Lawrence of Arabia, but it gets the emotions going and that’s what it’s supposed to do. The dialogue is broad but I love all of it. Magneto’s line about the tattoo is still my favorite line in the series.

    I understand people not liking what happens in it (I don’t, however, understand complaints about it being an incoherent or incompetently made film), but as a non-comic reader I wasn’t offended but found it ballsy that they would kill off/de-power so many characters, and effectively give closure to the characters instead of keeping the money train going (it’s part of the reason why I love H20 so much). If I grew up a huge Rogue fan, I’d probably be pissed off too about the end, but I also think 99% of us would do the same thing if we had her power.

    **Brendan – it’s hard to spot, but when Beast and Wolverine look at each other before taking the cure needles to stab Magneto, my girlfriend (and probably most people) took it as a simple “hey, you thinking what I’m thinking? Let’s stab him!” bit, which I originally thought too. But watching it again, I think their look at each other is dragged out so long because they realize what they’re about to do is crossing a line they never expected to cross. You can actually see after Beast stabs Magneto he has a sad look on his face and throws the needles down in disgust. I do have to agree that Magento’s “what have i done??” line re: Jean Grey makes no sense in the context of the movie and seems put in because that’s what characters in other movies would say.

  9. I read the Dark Phoenix Saga numerous times in my lifetime but that’s not why I liked X2. I liked X2 cause it was the only movie in this franchise that did not bore me to tears. It was the most well balanced of the 3 I saw (the first 3 movies) and had the best character moments and setpieces.

    Sure the attack on X mansion may not be as much of a spectacle as the Golden Gate bridge sequence in this one on a technical level but I’ll tell you one thing it was a lot more engaging and suspenseful and unlike Ratner’s action never ever bored me. It was also a million times more involving and emotional than that lame ass Statue of Liberty sequence from X-MEN.

  10. I’ll save my thoughts for DOFP as a movie whenever Vern reviews it. But let me say this: I kinda find it intriguing as a new sort of reboot in Hollywood.

    Spider-Man or Batman or whenever a bomb happens and the reset button is pressed, the stories start over again and/or just ignore what happened before. But DOFP? It doesn’t ignore X3 or the first Wolverine movie. No what DOFP does is basically try to pull off what DC and Marvel have done in the past with their comics, an epic storyline involving time travel or parallel worlds or whatever convenient plot device that serves to streamline the universe and craft a new status quo. Or basically go salad bar, keep the shit you want and leave the rest.

    DC in the 80s famously did that with “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, which was meant to get rid of the dozens of parallel Earths that had been a staple of DC comics since what the 1950s?* During that story we had major creative turns like Barry Allen and Supergirl getting killed off. Many years back Marvel was ridiculed for their “Brand New Day” storyline which erased Spider-Man’s marriage to Mary Jane Watson so that he go back to being solo Spidey or something.

    So yeah I find DOFP fascinating in that regard.

    *=I never understood why though. Alot of those worlds, as insane as they were, are good fun. For example that opposite universe where the heroes are villains, villains are the heroes? Or that President John Wilkes Booth was assassinated by actor Abraham Lincoln.

  11. I got free tickets to DOFP and came out pleasantly surprised since I haven’t liked a movie in this franchise for 11 years now. It pretty much single handedly saved this franchise from oblivion. For the first time in 14 years I am excited of the future potential of this series. The one great case of untapped potential that I always felt hurt this franchise could finally be tapped into. Like you RRA I’ll get into this way more when Vern finally reviews it but as someone who has wanted an X reboot for years now I’m glad it basically rebooted within the current movie series like JJ TREK.

  12. RRA – I agree about the multiverse. It’s why I always loved the Elseworlds books. Thankfully DC realized their mistake after Infinite Crisis and brought back the multiverse concept and it hasn’t left since. Even when they rebooted 3 years ago, there is still a multiverse. Matter of fact my most anticipated comic books series this year is hands down Grant Morrison’s THE MULTIVERSITY where we will get to see some of these worlds and more explored in detail.

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