Thursday, June 1, 2006

X-Men 3

In spoilerless short: I liked it, definetly worth seeing in the theatre. I didn't like the switch in directors and it did seem like they tried to cram in too much but as this is an ongoing movie series, each movie does have to set up more stuff for later so in that respect it does feel like part of a greater story.

If you haven't seen it yet, stay til after the credits, too.
Like I said, it did feel crammed.


Jean & the Phoenix Saga
Obviously with Jean disappearing in the last film, the Phoenix Saga had to be addressed. The comic book version is way too sci-fi for the X-men world that the movies take place, in, which tries to make everything more realistic, so in that respect I like how they worked in this whole Jean backstory of her powers and worked it into the Phoenix just being part of her. I thought that was well done. It kind of felt like it was sort of taking too much of a back seat to the Magneto plot, though, with the Brotherhood on the one hand... On the other hand, with the Phoenix being a part of Jean (rather than a giant space opera thing) it would of been a weak film had everything centered SOLEY on Jean.

I thought her powers could of been emphasized a bit more but that could be because I'm an X-Men fan already and I'm used to the REAL Phoenix. I'd like to hear opinions from people wh haven't had much to do with the comic version of the story on this one.

Jean and Wolverine
OMG! Now, I'm a huge Wolverine fan, of course, and I have always been a fan of the relationship between Logan and Jean. I thought they've done a great job with the short span of time in the film (as opposed to the relationshpi taking a little longer in the comics). In the comics, Jean does have an element of reserve toward her own powers - and she loves Scott (Cyclops) because HE is safe and represents control and order. Logan on the other hand is wild and free - he calls to Jeans dark side.

In the film, I love how they did the paralell with Logan's memory blocks to Jean's memory blocks (something that doesn't exist in the comics). It was a fantastic way of further making their relationship a bit more believeable with the short time span. Just - the whole thing was showcased so well without being over the top, particularly with Logan having to be the one to take down Jean in the end - because he's the only one who could survive it with his healing factor compensating.

Speaking of the healing factor -- this film did a great job of showcasing his healing factor more. I'm used to the Wolverine of hte comics constantly being shredded to bits to where no normal person or mutant could survive. And it isn't uncommon for his flesh to give way and expose his bones (with or without adamantium). Also, Logan still feels pain despite his healing ability - and I thought Hugh Jackman did a good job of portraying that, particularly in the scene where he's fighting the dude in the woods who is pulling bone spikes from his body and impaling Logan with them. The whole thing was much more ... realistic in terms of how Wolverine is than, say, the fight between Logan and Yuriko at the end of X-Men 2.

And again, awesome acting on Hugh's part - particularly his body language. Wolverine is strong and confident but moves in an animalistic way. And they did a little bit more to showcase his animal-like senses, though they could of done more.

(For a second, I thought they were going to jump the gun on a Wolverine story when Magneto grabbed Logan by his skeleton. I thought Magneto was going to rip out Logan's adamantium right then and there, giving us a lead into a Wolverine spin-off film.)

They did a great job incorporating more Storm into this film. The character writing and the acting was awesome for the character this time around - much better than the previous films. I like how they incorporated Storm's leadership ability into this film, particularly since she WAS a team leader of the X-Men (dunno if she still is or not). Liked the hair, too.

Other X-Men
I liked the progression in Bobby/Iceman's powers. I like how his abilities finally manifested fully due to his life or death fighting situation with Pyro - that was a great way of working it out.

Angel's plot was only weakly worked in. The first scene of him as a child made me think it was going to link in more with everything else, since it was shown right next to the scene of Jean as a child. There were just SO many mutants in this film that they were showcasing it was *almost* jumbled but not quite. Like Beast being in there - I mean, he was there because he was working with the government and they hint at the fact he used to be an X-man way back in the day. And Angel's father was the one who made the cure, and he made the cure to help his son, not hurt mutants, giving the whole film less of a black-and-white feel, but it was so loosely woven I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Shadowcat/Kitty Pride -- she was awesome! Though she's a teen in the film, I like how they emphasized that she's not a fighter - she has to use her intelligence to defeat the enemy. That's how she was in the comics, too. She probably had my favorite fight/flight scenes of the whole film, too. Heh. Really stole the show from the returing characters.

Magneto and Xavier. I love the backstory on this being brought in and I loved the line, "Charles Xavier did more for mutant kind than you can even imagine". No matter their differences in approach for mutantkind nowadays, they have a healthy respect for eachother - again a great example of the shades of gray rather than black/white.

Mystique - she's an underestimated character, I think. She is very intelligent and mysterious. Kais and I discussed that part of that mystery is aided by the fact she rarely speaks in the film. It isn't because she's the "female bombshell" token character - that's how she is in the comics. With what little she did have to work with, I thought Rebecca Romijn did a good job - particularly after she was shot with the 'cure' and reverted to her original form in front of Magneto. Half of her shock was also in the fact that she's shapeshifted so much she doesn't recall what she used to look like, her past being lost to even herself.

Another point about there being so many characters -- this film has LOTS of them, it's not as isolated as the first two were. Though I'm not sure how it worked out for the movie, this IS how the comics are. A lot of the X comics are SO full of mutants it can be hard to keep track of what is going on. It really is epic - it isn't one hero isolated to one town, like Batman to Gotham. It's a whole planet of mutants struggling to find a place in the world. The first two movies do well to introduce us to the idea of mutants to begin with, and this movie acts to widen the scope.

I think that scope could of been more powerful, though. In the 2nd film, they really brought it home what it's like to find out you are a mutant by paralelling it to coming out as a gay person (the scene where Bobby tells his parents he's a mutant). That was more personal and I thought carried more weight. And when Jean was speaking to the ?senate? in the first film. This film was a bit more... cartoony feeling in that respect.

(oh, I also did like there being more mutants, if to show their teamwork better - like in the danger room scene, particularly with Rogue borrowing Colossus' powers to avoid getting hurt).

Set up for the next film?
I stayed til after the credits and it shows Moira McTaggert working in a hospital when suddenly a patient speaks out to her. It's a whiskered Charles Xavier calling her by name and she gasps and says, "Charles?" So it looks like the disintegrated characters will return (as I thought they might). I'm just not sure how that's going to work out. Did something Charles do save them? Or did part of Jean with her super abilities do something to save everyone she loved right before she died? That is definetly within her powers using the Phoenix force, for sure.

And we know that mutants who were 'cured' are regaining their powers. Before I saw the bit with Xavier at the end, I kind of thought that perhaps when his powers returned, Magneto might return to help lead the X-men like has happened in the comics. In particular it would of been a great homage to the "Age of Apocalypse" alternate timeline in the comics where history is altered because Xavier dies. The world becomes a much darker place and Magneto leads the Xmen in Charles' memory.

And Rogue... Is she going to cross paths with Mystique, the woman who raised her in other versions of things? Rogue is a hugely popular X-Character and I just KNOW fans are dying for her to obtain her invincibility and flying ability. I'm thinking they might work in a storyline where Rogue isn't aware she's got her powers back and accidentally absorbs Carol Danvers' (Miss Marvel)'s powers of invincibility and flight permanently, as happened in the comics.

But as for a greater storyline, I'm not too sure where they're going to go with it. I mean, the Phoenix Saga we all knew had to happen as it's one of the greatest Marvel stories ever told - it's quintessential X-Men. But where are they going next?

So, I loved all the little bits and pieces a LOT. There were lots of great moments. But that's what it felt like overall - little moments losely strung together. The whole thing wasn't as solid as the previous two films and yet it still works. It somehow feels wrong and yet ... not. Weird how that works.

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