Monday, June 05, 2006

X-Men 3

My wife and I went to see X-Men 3 last Thursday. I would have posted about it earlier, but preparations for the Kingdom Arts & Sciences and Royal University of Meridies event prevented me from getting to the blog until after the weekend.

Let me start off by saying that X3 is an entertaining movie that’s well worth seeing. That said, X3 is a noticeable step down in quality from the two previous installments. There is at least one noticeable deviation in character development from the previous two films, and this movie has continuity problems of a sort not seen in its predecessors. I blame these issues primarily on the change in directors; I just don’t think that Brett Ratner “gets” X-Men the way that Bryan Singer did. Singer left the X3 project to direct Superman Returns, which I’m not even all that interested in seeing (based on the previews so far).

Before I get into real spoilers, I’ll also highlight a problem that Scott Kurtz brought up in regard to X2. Do the writers of these movies just not like the character of Cyclops? His role was small in X1, negligible in X2, and it’s practically non-existent in X3. He’s an important character in the comics: why is he such an afterthought in the movies?

And another non-spoiler question: what was the point of bringing Juggernaut into this movie? In the comics, he’s not even a mutant, and he really has no place in either of the movie’s main plots.

For my opinions with spoilers, look in the Comments.

1 comment:

Lord Runolfr said...

OK, it’s time for some specifics on my disappointment with X3. I’ll start with the character development flaw that I mentioned. Magneto turns into a poor caricature of the man he was in the previous two films; he’s almost a complete cliche.

First, there’s the incident with Mystique. After going to the trouble of finding her to rescue her from the government, he abandons her moments later when she’s hit with a “cure” dart while saving him from the same fate. In a bizarre moment, he tells her she’s “no longer one of us”, as if the removal of her powers has somehow changed her DNA (which it hasn’t). I find this act to be completely out of character for Magneto, who I would not expect to abandon his long-time companion and confidant so callously. She may not be able to disguise herself any more, but she’s still incredibly smart, she definitely knows too much, and -- as living proof that the government plans to use the "cure" as a weapon -- she has tremendous propaganda value. Consequently, leaving her behind is a monumental insult to Magneto’s character.

This problem only gets worse when Magneto later refers to some members of his mutant army as “pawns”. Magneto might use “mundane” humans who were sympathetic to his cause as “pawns” and refer to them that way, but -- in the comics at least -- he would never treat another mutant with such contempt. As far as he’s concerned, mutants are too valuable to be sacrificed the way they were in X3.

Then there are some continuity issues within the movie itself. Again, these tend to revolve around Magneto. Bryan Singer was brilliant in demonstrating how Magneto could use his power over metal to devious and devastating effect. In X3, Magneto uses his power as a blunt instrument. This is most obvious in the “climactic” battle, in which he attempts to take away the guns of the soldiers defending the “cure”, only to discover that the guns aren’t made of metal. Didn’t he say earlier that he could “smell” the metal in Wolverine’s body from a mile away? Why is he trying to manipulate metal that he should already know isn’t there? Why doesn’t he manipulate the copious amounts of metal that are available to him -- like the metal towers, railings, cars, suspension bridge wires, and such -- to good effect. In X1 and X2, he was leading by example, taking risks along with his troops. Now he’s pretending to be a Nintendo boss monster.

I guess my real gripe, here, is that the storyline has been “dumbed down”, and I always hate to see that happen.

As for the secondary “Phoenix” plotline, it was barely there. I realize that X2 left that as a huge cliff-hanger that every X-Fan in the world was waiting to see materialize, but the execution ended up being rushed and unsatisfying. It was just tacked on to the “cure” plot, and it deserved better.