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