Mutants Vs. Mutants Vs. Humans 3: Giant Freakzoid All out Battle!
X-Men: The Last Stand
So here we are at the third installment of the nerd wet dream, the X-Men franchise. This time around, there’s not a whole lot different. Good Guy Mutant’s, Bad Guy Mutant’s, and scared non-mutants. This time the Non’s have found a ‘cure’ for the disease of mutation, and the muties are none to happy about it. In the black leather trunks are Team X, the Good Guy Mutants as they set out to convince the populace that it’s not a disease, and there’s nothing to worry about. In the red trunks is Team Magneto, hell bent on showing their superiority and set to oppress the Non’s. Mutant’s fight, human’s panic, and we have ourselves an X-Men movie!
This time around we have new faces in the crowd. We have the big blue fuzzy Kelsey Grammer as Hank ‘Beast’ McCoy, a mutant rights advocate, and member of the President’s Cabinet. We have Vinnie Jones as the phallic shaped Juggernaut, unstoppable mountain of man flesh. Ben Foster jumps in as Angel, the winged son of Warren Worthington, creator of ‘The Cure’, and last but not least, Ellen Page as the youngest wall phasing member of Team X, Kitty Pryde. There’s a host of other new faces sprinkled througout, but as it was in the comics, it is in the movies, and there’s always too many mutant’s to name.
The biggest new face to the X franchise is Director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour’s, Red Dragon). Replacing previous director Bryan Singer, Ratner was faced with the biggest new role of the entire cast. With a rabid fan base behind the first two solid X-Titles , Mr. Ratner was forced to fill Bryan Singer’s shoes, and with that in mind, the fanboy’s across the intarweb soon started speculation on Ratner’s failure, before the film had begun filming. Unfair to say the least, this left the theatre crowd’s entering on opening night with failure firmly in their minds before the credit’s rolled, but unfortunately for Ratner, it turns out it wasn’t completely unwarranted.
Where the first two films were solid in both story and character development, X-Men: the Last Stand hit the theatres as a hodge podge mess of good intentions. With key cast members returning, and all the new faces abound, we’re given a film that wanted to do good, was good in parts, but as whole landed well under par of the fanbase expectations. With so many new faces laying claim to key roles on the main cast, we the viewer need to have time for some character development, to get ourselves emotionally involved, but unfortunatley we never got that chance. As well, perhaps with an internet driven need to prove his doubters wrong, we are also given a film that tries to hard to throw new and exciting angels into the mix, and we have many characters and angles that could have proven a good addtion, but they were simply never used to their full potential.
So, for starters, here’s a list of things that could have been done better.
- The Beast. Yes, he’s meant to be highly intelligent and well spoken, and Kelsey Grammer fits that portion of the role correctly. Hell, I can even handle Frasier in the blue fur suit. The key issue here, the Beast has always been presented as having ‘beast like tendencies’. Animal lope, pencil grasping monkey feet, etc. etc. Aside from the trailer shown scene of Beast hanging upside down in his office at the beginning of the film, we see no attributes of this again until the final showdown at the end of the film. Other wise, he’s just Frasier in a bad wig.
-Character deaths. For the most part, these were handled okay. But if you’re going to kill somebody off, show it. Don’t leave a costume element laying about, and expect us to assume and believe it when Wolvie mentions it in a rage later on down the line.
-Underused additons. Throughout the marketing deluge when X-Men 3 first hit the theatres, we are shown image after image of Angel, wings spread widely and flying off into the distance. This is great, built up wonderful hype. In the final product? We see all of five minutes of the character, hyped so hard in the commercial. The same with Juggernaut. Hype hype hype, however we see about a minute’s worth of Vinne Jones crashing head long through walls Juggie style. Yawn.
-The pussification of Rogue. She’s a rootin’ tootin’ southern belle. Not a quitter. Gimmie a break.
There are more, but I risk falling into a fanboi diatribe on every minute point that the movie strayed from the comics. Really, that’s not my issue with X-Men the last Stand. I’m a full supporter of the idea that a film adaptation of a written work is going to be different. There’s going to be changes, not everything will translate to the big screen. The issue lies in sloppy character development and plot cohesion. These stand out even more glaringly, when compared to the first two films of the franchise given to us from Mr. Singer.
With the ranting of problems out of the way, there are some good elements to the film as well. The characterization of Ian McKellen’s Magneto, is showcased superbly. Sinster and cold, the essence of Magento is captured superbly by McKellen this time around. (Not that he was bad before) Showing the sheer cold manipulation of his underlings, we are given a Magneto with a single directive in his mind, who will stop and nothing, nor sympathize for anyone who is no longer useful to him. Adding to this, the love hate relationship of Magneto and Professor X again is showcased perfectly, as we see two masterminds pitted against each other, yet filled with nothing but respect for a former friend and ally, regardless of differing viewpoints.
And Wolverine. Hugh Jackman as Wolvie is, and has always been an excellent choice, and I’ll be there opening night whenever they get around to the Wolverine spinoff the studio plans on cashing in on in 2008. (Yay hetero man love!) Shocking when he was first cast years ago for X-Men 1, Hugh has shown yet again that he’s an excellent choice for the brooding badass with bad hair. As well, with the fight and action scenes in X-Men 3, we see a slightly more acrobatic and enthusiastic fighter in Wolvie this time around, and helps to capture the comic book imagery of his pen & ink counterpart.
X-Men the Last Stand was a let down after the likes of X-Men and X2. Yes, we can normally count on mindless sequels being subpar, in this case the first sequel was at least as good as it’s first, if not a little bit better. After seeing the first sequel reach these heights, one tends to overlook normal trends, and hope for the same amount of quality show previously.
Rent it if you are a fan of the first two, but this one doesn’t require a spot on your dvd shelf.
2.5 Kelsey Grammer furries out of 5