May 30, 2006

X-Men 3 Review: Wait For DVD
— Ace

Another big disappointment from a franchise that started off so beautifully. Wolverine is once again the main character. At times, he seems like the only character. I understand this -- hey, it's Wolverine -- but Wolverine loses some of his mystique when he's on screen all the damn time.

He also becomes less interesting when he doesn't have other characters to conflict with. The Cyclops-Wolverine conflict was one of the highlights of the first movie, along with his love of Jean Grey, and his brotherly relationship with Rogue (who has a not-so-sisterly crush on him).

But in this movie, all of those fun conflicts are missing.

Cyclops is once again taken out of the movie early (as he was in X2-- jeeze, this series hates Cyclops; they can never wait to get rid of him), so there's no whose-mutant-dick-is-bigger Iceman/Maverick one-upmanship.

Jean Grey is now an evil, inhuman thing named "Phoenix," so there's really no romance there.

Rogue disappears almost entirely, which I wouldn't mind, because she's not really all that interesting, but she did at least serve in the past to show a different side of Wolverine, a caring, protective part of him.

Wolverine has some minor conflict with Professor Xavier, who is just too Spock-like to have any real human conflict with, and with... Storm.

Storm has always been the weakest part of this series. Even in the comics, her powers kind of sucked, but at least she had this scary, regal bearing. Iman would have made a good Storm (or at least she would have ten years ago). Halle Berry is a soft-spoken, zero-charisma, low-wattage kind of actress, gorgeous but empty, and simply unconvincing as an action heroine. Or, actually, even as a human being. So having Wolverine bicker with her over stupid crap -- teamwork versus individual initiative, whether a good offense is the best defense -- doesn't make much of an impact. And those are action-movie-cliche type things to argue about anyway -- how many times have we seen a loose canon maverick who plays by his own rules chewed out by a black superior officer? Except here he's not being chewed out by Richard Roundtree, but by the blank-eyed sex-kitten Halle Berry.

Sparks definitely do not fly. "Wolverine, I've had enough of your insubordination! Turn in your X-badge and your claws!"

Seriously. This is Brett Ratner's idea of compelling interpersonal conflict? Kibitzing about team tactics?

So once again, as happened in X2, the movie loses sight of the more interesting, human conflicts between the X-Men that are really the interesting bits of the story, and focuses on the emotionally uninteresting conflict between the X-Men and Magneto.

In X2, we had a very interesting new character in Nightcrawler to liven up the overly-busy, plot-heavy storyline. Nightcrawler is a favorite of mine, but Alan Cumming did a great job. Apparently he couldn't return for this one, so instead we have Kelsey Grammer as Beast. I like Beast, but he's no Nightcrawler, and he adds little of interest. Plus, you know, he's just sort of Wolverine with blue skin and hair-- same powers and schtick, mostly. And it's hard to hide Kelsey Grammer's belly. They do manage to make him look sort of imposing, but it just all looks a little silly as Beast bounces around doing these amazing acrobatic maneuvers and you realize you're watching Frazier Crane twirl around a lamp-post like Nadia Comaneche in her prime.

The whole movie has a cheap look. I think they had to cut back on locations and special effects to bring the film in on a reasonable budget. A good part of it takes place in the woods, for example. And again we return to Alkali Lake, which I grow weary of, personally.

Finally, the movie features way, waaaayyy too many mutants. This is perfectly faithful to the comic books, which features even more mutants, many with unlikely or just plain stupid powers. But it's not the part of the comics you want to emulate. The first movie started off strong with a reasonable number of mutants. The second movie started to get out of hand, but still only introduced one major new character (Nightcrawler) and a couple of minor ones.

This one introduces several new characters, but they get little screen-time. Angel is introduced for a total of -- I'm not kidding -- two and half minutes total, tops. Kitty Pryde has a scene at the X-Mansion and some very minor combat-time; she's in the movie maybe three minutes, total screen time. Colossus returns, to say three words and do one or two things, just as he did in X2.

These are potentially fun characters. Why not do something with them? Instead, the movie heaps a lot of screen time on Bobby Drake/Iceman, who is... well, the actor is callow, the character uninteresting, the powers kinda gay. Of all the minor characters they could have promoted to first-tier status-- they chose Iceman? The kid who makes ice-cubes?

Finally, there has always been this there's-no-such-thing-as-too-many-mutants in the comics, with them creating a new mutant for every stupid, lame power you can imagine. Plastique-- can shape and control any plastic in a 500 yard radius!!!! The Sponge -- with amazing powers of absorbancy and liquid retention!!! Subwoofer-- can project a cone of powerful low-freqency sound!!!

Those aren't real characters (as far as I know), but they may as well be, because the X-Men comics just can't seem to discard any premise for a new mutant power as too stupid or limited.

Anyway, Magneto recruits an army of grungy, streetkid mutants -- apparently these are the lower-class kids Charles Xavier wouldn't allow into his upscale acadmey -- and they have a whole range of incredibly moronic powers. One guy sticks porcupine quills out of his body (and face), which is really dangerous weapon, when you're, you know, at a range of four inches or less. Another guy produces these strange root-looking spikes from his wrists, which he then... throws at people, meaning that he has a mutant power which approximately duplicates the combat power of a normal human being with a bandoleer of throwing-knives. Multiple Man splits into a bunch of different people, none of them particularly interesting or powerful.

Why, in just one person, he has all the awesomeness of an entire high-school A-V club!

And because these idiots are given screen-time, that means that top-drawer villains like Juggernaut are not given screen time.

The movie is also pretty humorless. The first movie had lots of funny stuff, the second movie was eh but still had some truly funny moments with Wolverine, this movie has... well, it has two funny moments in the whole thing, and they're only small chuckles.

Brett Ratner could have made this movie so much stronger by limiting the number of characters and giving them each enough screen-time to make an impact. Instead, he throws a lot of shit at the wall, and, alas, almost none of it sticks at all.

Juggernaut, one of the most powerful villains in the comics, the guy who the entire squad of thirty-plus X-Men can barely manage to contain, gets just as much screentime as Porcupine-Face-Guy. And all he does -- I swear, this is all he does -- is run through a bunch of walls.

His enemy in this film is not Wolverine. His enemy is... walls. Juggernaut-- THE UNSTOPPABLE SCOURGE OF WALLS!!! THE MERCILESS DESTROYER OF ROOM PARTITIONS.

Wow. Good use of an iconic character there, Brett. Not like it might have been fun to watch Colossus and Juggernaut go blow-for-blow for a little while, before Juggernaut sent the steely Russian flying into the next county.


Really, wait for DVD, unless you want to be bored and underwhelmed in the company of strangers. The whole movie seems to be made primarily to set-up coming X-Men films in which the pricier actors of the first three are retired from the series so we can have lower-priced, young no-name actors carry on the franchise.

With its new main character -- Iceman.

PS, I fucking hate Iceman.

PPS, Cyclops is a lot cooler than Iceman. If you can give Iceman ten minutes of screentime, you can give Cyclops at least five.

PPPS, I'm not a homo for Cylcops or anything. But he's been a major character throughout the X-history. He's kind of earned more than a one-minute walk-on in the beginning of each movie.


Posted by: Ace at 03:39 PM | Comments (67)
Post contains 1415 words, total size 8 kb.

1 At least the Juggernaut was cool. Angel was lame.
Oh look, a weakling with wings!

Otherwise, here's just too much going on in this film and you kinda need to be a comic book reader in order to follow it. I had to ask my 11 year old nephew about 20 times who the hell all these new characters are and how do they fit in.

Posted by: Log Cabin at May 30, 2006 03:52 PM (Vsh3q)

2 Juggernaut was potentially cool but wasn't. He got zero screen time, which is bizarre, as Juggernaut is one of the X-Men's greatest foes.

Plus, the actor was Vinnie Jones, who has never failed before to make an impact in a film... until now.

It's really a question of selectivity and focus. You simply cannot have a character be interesting or make an impact if he has so little screentime. There was no reason to have such a bewildering number of new characters, none of which well-used.


Posted by: ace at May 30, 2006 04:02 PM (h7Mal)

3 That was the major problem, I liked the film. but the XMEN would work much better as a episodic TV series on the Sci-Fi channel, because you have a entire season of eps to build up a story like this and be able to have many characters that you and rotate them in and out over a season.

BIGGEST problem I had: 3 movies and NO GAMBIT!

Posted by: GTBurns at May 30, 2006 04:06 PM (iInYK)

4 Oh, come on Ace! You have to give it credit for having the line "Don't you know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut bitch!" I liked it more than you did, but I will say that there was not NEARLY enough screen time for Mystique.

Posted by: Enas Yorl at May 30, 2006 04:06 PM (5wPX8)

5 I saw this movie this evening and thought it sucked. I still think it sucked. It sucked.

Wait for the DVD.

There were so many sub-"plots" going on with no real resolution... or much initial conflict at all. The first two movies seemed connected, as if they had an ongoing plot and theme, like they were building to something. Three movies, one vision (that sounds so lame). But this movie didn't really carry on from the first two movies.

The main characters got 10 minutes of screen time as opposed to 1,2 or 5 as the non-main characters got. So many lame powers. Angel was there to fly around all movie, no personality to him, just flying around... Colossus was a main character--yet he had as much screen time as he did in the last movie (in which he had a comeo). His entire purpose was to throw Wolverine.

Fan service.

Like the Danger Room at the beginning with no purpose but to be. Like the Sentinal. Like the inclusion of Phoenix without really doing anything with it. And that was half the plot.

The other part of the plot, a mutant cure, really served no story purpose except to have a big fight... to decide something or something...

X-Men could have been the perfect franchise; it could have had more longevity than James Bond. And without any recasting of characters--just rotating characters in and out.

But this really blew.

Posted by: ZRyan at May 30, 2006 04:07 PM (LiJvd)

6 What they did to Juggernaut made the audience groan and me cry. Where's Gambit damn it? They needed somebody to have a personality and Gambit has personality....

Posted by: Septeus7 at May 30, 2006 04:07 PM (8SQkN)

7 I found myself cheering for Magneto the whole movie. You have to admit the scene when he took out the motorcade was f'n awesome.

Posted by: Pupster at May 30, 2006 04:07 PM (9h6vV)

8 I think you're a little harsh on Iceman - he's one of the Original Five X-Men. And the only superhero who's ever quit the biz to become an accountant. (Seriously.)

And Cyclops has always been a boring dick. He's defined almost completely by two things- his angst over having to wear his ruby quartz visor, and his spot as Professor X's favorite (which rarely gets emotional enough to even call him the Prof's surrogate son.) Oh yeah, and there's that whole Cable's-father-in-an-alternate-timeline thing, but that's around when I stopped caring.

I'd really love to see a New Mutants spinoff series. Really, mutants with lame powers have always been some of my favorites. It's one thing for the world to hate and fear you because you can knock down buildings with your eyes, but what about someone like Cypher who faces the same prejudice, but all he can do is translate any language. (And there was a great New Mutants story about a kid who could make solid light sculptures - nothing at all useful in combat, just beautiful artistic creations - and kills himself because of the Original X-Factor's mutant-baiting commercials.)

Posted by: Eric J at May 30, 2006 04:09 PM (5PRM2)

9 I liked it, but I'm not hampered by knowing anything about canon. Same goes for Batman Begins...I know several people who do know the canon and disliked the changes.

And I, of course, am strongly in favor of action scenes involving a shirtless Wolverine.

Posted by: Mrs. Peel at May 30, 2006 04:09 PM (BYnc6)

10 I like Gambit but I can't see the point of adding a new major character when Colussus and Cyclops are averaging two lines per movie.

There must be something I don't know about Bobby Drake/Iceman. He must be testing well with thirteen year old girls or something.

There must be some reason that they give him so much screentime while denying any screentime to Cyclops, Colossus, Juggernaut or (another character quickly taken off screen) Mystique.

Posted by: ace at May 30, 2006 04:12 PM (h7Mal)

11 Great. I never read the comics, but I was familiar enough with the lore to at least appreciate the first two films as "faithful enough" adaptations, and I was really hoping against hope that Brett "No, really, I am a hack" Ratner wouldn't fuck this one up.

Guess that was a bad call on my part, eh?

Sheesh, what a lousy year for movies so far (only one "great" one-- United 93-- and that wasn't exactly a crowd pleaser).

Oh well. Can't wait to see how they gum up Superman Returns. . .

Cheers,
Dave at Garfield Ridge

P.S. For the record, if Snakes on a Plane doesn't kick all the ass it has to kick, I'm going to set fire to a dwarf.

Posted by: Dave at Garfield Ridge at May 30, 2006 04:12 PM (kc9zT)

12 The funny thing is I came into this movie being on Brett Ratner's side. I thought the critics were being unkind to him, just because Bryan Singer is a critic favorite and Brett Ratner is, well, Brett Ratner.

But Ratner did a good enough job with Red Dragon, I thought. It looked good, it seemed of high enough quality to stand with the other films in the Hannibal series. I thought he stood his own with Demme and Scott. (And Mann, I guess, though his movie is sort of not part of the current series.)

I actually expected this movie to be halfway decent. I had no anti-Ratner bias coming in.

I guess I should have.

Posted by: ace at May 30, 2006 04:17 PM (h7Mal)

13 Reading sites like Aint It Cool News it seems that Ratner did the best he could with the time allotted. They should have brought Bryan Singer back but balked and he took the Superman movie so the folks at Fox rushed X3 to theaters ahead of Superman Returns to kind of stick it to Singer. The made the movie in a little over a year when they should have taken 8 months more and really worked out the script to make it a better film. The take from devoted X-Men fans was the movie is a huge travesty compared to what it could have been.

Posted by: bcb at May 30, 2006 04:17 PM (9FGFx)

14 BUT WHERE IS JUBILEE?!!!!

YOU CAN'T MAKE AN X-MEN MOVIE WITHOUT JUBILEE!

Posted by: Bill from INDC at May 30, 2006 04:17 PM (hDDCf)

15 And I, of course, am strongly in favor of action scenes involving a shirtless Wolverine.

I again ask - Ladies, do you really want a sexually excited Wolverine putting his hand down your pants? What about group sex with Wolverine, Edward Scissorhands, and Freddy?

I personally prefer to keep razor sharp cutting instruments as far from my genitalia as possible.

Posted by: steve_in_hb at May 30, 2006 04:22 PM (rOmZa)

16 I'm sure she was actually in it at some point, if only in background in a class scene.

Here's the cool thing about Sentinels as villains (and why they should have been featured as the main villains, instead of the New Mutant Army)--

They're not really *characters* per se so you don't have to introduce them or give them lines. They just do what they're meant to do-- show up, menace the heroes, then get reduced to rubble.

With so many characters with speaking roles, it really would have helped the movie to feature a lot of villains who were just big robots.

Posted by: ace at May 30, 2006 04:22 PM (h7Mal)

17 I personally prefer to keep razor sharp cutting instruments as far from my genitalia as possible

been my policy ever since the big V.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at May 30, 2006 04:25 PM (s7t6E)

18 There are movies that must be seen in the theater. There are movies that are definately DVD purchases. There are movies that are merely rentals. And then there is X-Men 3. Not only do I miss the ten bucks I spent on this 'Fantastic Bore', but I know that on my death bed, I will greatly regret the two hours wasted in watching it... two hours that I will never get back.

Posted by: MagicalPat at May 30, 2006 04:26 PM (p2L0V)

19 Ace, mind spoiling the post-credits scene for those of us who haven't seen the movie yet?

Posted by: Eric J at May 30, 2006 04:29 PM (5PRM2)

20 I've just had to rebuild our spam blacklist, so if there are any problems with comments, it's all Mike's fault.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at May 30, 2006 04:32 PM (FRalS)

21 The trend continues. TV has become a far better medium for SF and fantasy than film. Theatrical productions may have the upper hand for visual splendor but characters and deep storylines are so much more memorable.

Posted by: epobirs at May 30, 2006 04:38 PM (52bjf)

22 Oh well. Can't wait to see how they gum up Superman Returns. . .

Well, the good news is that if they do manage to screw it up, Oliver Willis will cry.

And that's entertainment!

Posted by: Slublog at May 30, 2006 04:38 PM (aGpO3)

23 As a person who got a perfect score on that X-Men quiz the other day (the giraffe, how do you forget that?), I could see this coming. I've got a box-full of the source materials for these movies, and it sounds like they didn't bother to read much of any of it. Heck, Claremont could've done a plot of this thing in his sleep (with Byrne storyboards, and then Lee could draw the sets, and get Portacio in there to ink it all, Silvestri would to the Wolverine stuff of course...but you already knew that).

er...sorry about that...

Okay, like I was saying, I agree with you about the too-many-mutants thing. Should've started with putting together the late 80s group (they took the relaunch crew and added Rogue), and used that as their starting point. Then you only add enough characters to keep it interesting. Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, that's all you really need.

Oh, and as Enas Yorl, that saying of said Juggernaut is what annoys me. Fanboys like me have seen nothing of interest in this franchise from the start. If not for the fact that there wasn't anything else to see, and it was a comic book movie (read: take kids to see), then I don't think this movie would've made a dime.

Okay, so it would've made mad coin, but so what? That's only because An Inconvenient Truth was only on 4 screens. Which would you rather see: a gay, frigid iceman with the power to freeze anyone immobile in sight, or the X-Men movie? ZING!

Posted by: MBC at May 30, 2006 04:38 PM (GLL2F)

24 Ummm... well, I don't want to spoil it.

To explain that I'd have to give away other things that occur earlier.

The ending just basically undoes something that happened earlier in the movie. So, if you haven't seen it, no big deal-- basically, something happens in the movie, then in the ending they undo it, so everything is as it was before the movie.

If you haven't seen the movie, therefore, the ending means nothing. The X-Universe as you know it is exactly the same at the end of the movie as it is before. More or less.

The odd thing is, unexpected things DO happen in this movie. It's just... I didn't care about any of them.

And also-- they're all kind of cheats, because the movie calls Mulligans on all of them, pretty much.

Posted by: ace at May 30, 2006 04:39 PM (h7Mal)

25 Possible characters for XMen IV: The Continuation

The BassMaster Redneck Character - Super Ability: Catches fish ... on dry land ... with his mind

Pollo Loco Hispanic character - Super Ability - berserker like ability to run around as if his head were cut off.

The Atriot Milquetoast White Guy - Super Ability: Can Open Threads

InstaPunder Less Milquetoast White Guy - Super Ability: If he links to you , your brain is temporarily overloaded. Says 'h'eh' a lot.

BlogRoll Amorphous Entity - Super Ability: visits each of the characters.


MannyMoeJack Three Headed Entity - Super Ability: Can divide into three individual superheroes who can repair vehicles speedily - on time and within budget.

FrankenSense Glasses-wearing, Puffy lipped White Dude Super Ability: Comments negatively on any actions of the right-wing XMen at great expense to no one in particular.

.

Posted by: BumperStickerist at May 30, 2006 04:39 PM (PcDvW)

26 Possible spoiler if you haven't read any reviews...

Let me put it vaguely. Reviews have given this much away.

Some major characters are killed.

Some major characters lose their powers, "permanently."

But then some characters are un-killed.

And some other characters regain their supposedly lost-forever powers.

So, all these Daring Big Things happen, but they have no impact, because you know they're not for real, and, in fact, even in THIS movie they start taking them back.

Posted by: ace at May 30, 2006 04:45 PM (h7Mal)

27 Ladies, do you really want a sexually excited Wolverine putting his hand down your pants?

steve, I don't want anyone putting his hand down my pants, mutant or not. All I said was I like action scenes that involve him shirtless.

Posted by: Mrs. Peel at May 30, 2006 04:45 PM (BYnc6)

28 A minor nitpick, I guess, but what the hell was up with darkness falling so suddenly after Magneto swung the Golden Gate Bridge over to Alcatraz? It had been bright and sunny just minutes before. Little details like that bug the shit out of me.

Posted by: Sean M. at May 30, 2006 04:46 PM (dc5zY)

29 Mrs. Peel -

So your saying you have a TigerBeat like crush on him - oohing and ahing without a truly sexual component ;-)

Posted by: steve_in_hb at May 30, 2006 04:59 PM (rOmZa)

30 There's only so much time that they could dedicate to the seemingly endless array of characters. Lighten up and don't get so artsy-fartsy, it was an entertaining flick. It's a comic book movie, for goodness sakes, it's not going to be another "Ten Commandments" with a newfound Charlton Heston stealing the screen.

Besides, Kelsey Grammer kicked some major ass.

Posted by: RW at May 30, 2006 05:09 PM (ONNLo)

31 To those wanting a Gambit appearance in the film: a bit was apparently scripted for him, and pitched to Josh Holloway ("Sawyer" from Lost). Holloway thought the character was too much like Sawyer, and passed. The scene was never filmed.

So, on the bright side, we were all saved the appearance of another character for 12 seconds that se_rv_ed no purpose whatsoever.

Posted by: The Unabrewer at May 30, 2006 05:17 PM (CDwI3)

32 You have to wonder what they were thinking when they decided the Androgynous Clapper would be a fearsome villain.

Posted by: Justin at May 30, 2006 05:35 PM (yJ/68)

33 Yeah, that was very Joel Schumacher of them.

RW,

I think I'm being less artsy-fartsy than you, actually. You seem to proceed from the assumption that, because it's a comic-book movie, it's pretty much likely to be stupid. I don't make that assumption, myself, as I've seen comic book movies that were very smart.

Like the first X-Men. Like X2 (though less so, and dunderheaded about how much intricate plotting an audience is willing to tolerate).

I know girls who thought Eraser was a good movie. It's because they have extremely low expectations of the genre that they call a piece of shit like that "fun" and "entertaining." They don't really appreciate the comic-book/action-adventure genre to discriminate between a classic like Die Hard or Robocop and a piece of shit like Eraser or Die Hard 2.

Not saying you're a girl. Or even that that's insulting.

Just saying: it's actually the opposite of artsy-fartsy or snobbish to expect this kind of movie to be good, or at least fault it for not being so.

Re: Gambit

I think you guys may be showing your age on Gambit... I don't know this for a fact, as I don't keep up with the X-Men (never have), but it's my understanding that Gambit was flava-o'-da-month through the early nineties before everyone got bored with him, like the Punisher and a hundred other heroes that became popular but didn't have staying power.

Is this right, does anyone know? I know Gambit was the shizznat for a while but I don't think he's a major character anymore.

Posted by: ace at May 30, 2006 05:46 PM (h7Mal)

34 Did everybody else see the trailer for Ghostrider before X3? Granted, I was never a fan of that title, but it looks like a huge, steaming piece of crap.

Posted by: Sean M. at May 30, 2006 06:04 PM (dc5zY)

35 I turned off my brain and enjoyed the movie. That is all I have to say. Not defending the movie, just saying I took extra steps so I wouldnt be sad by its poor quality.

Posted by: Greg at May 30, 2006 06:04 PM (zi7JH)

36 "I'm not a homo for Cylcops or anything. But he's been a major character throughout the X-history. He's kind of earned more than a one-minute walk-on in the beginning of each movie."

Yeah, and I mean, on top of that, the triangle with Jean and Wolverine doesn't really work if you barely use him and when you do he's boring and lame.

Posted by: Alex K at May 30, 2006 06:11 PM (SAYku)

37 The other thing is that characters are often defined in opposition to each other. Wolverine seems more of the cynical, amoral, outsider renegade when he's contrasted with Cyclops, the moral (if prickish), All-American popular insider.

Without that contrast, Wolverine just seems like another guy. He seemed dangerous in the first movie, less so in the second, and in this one, he was no more dangerous or renegade than Storm.

Posted by: ace at May 30, 2006 06:34 PM (h7Mal)

38 One snort of the spice, and the Kwisatz Haderach could beat the skinny asses of all these lame-o "mutants." I can't wait for the year 10191.

Posted by: Kralizec at May 30, 2006 06:37 PM (m5x6c)

39 was anybody else dissapointed that they just treated juggernaut as if he were a mutant, same as everyone else? and i'd imagine that, even without his powers, juggernaut could still kick kitty pryde's ass pretty soundly.

i did find it funny that so many mutants were standing in a long line to get the cure, when the soldiers all around them were ready to cure anyone who stepped toward them.

Posted by: ramms at May 30, 2006 08:24 PM (zj6xd)

40 Hi all,

Well, I liked the movie a lot more than Ace did. Less angst, more ass-kicking, and mutants closer to being as powerful as they are in the comics; I think it's worth at least one viewing on the big screen.

Posted by Ace:

So once again, as happened in X2, the movie loses sight of the more interesting, human conflicts between the X-Men that are really the interesting bits of the story, and focuses on the emotionally uninteresting conflict between the X-Men and Magneto.

You seem to have missed the conflicts that take place over the central item in the plot - the cure for mutation. Rogue's desire for it, Storm's resentment of it, Magneto's fear and hatred of it, Beast's mixed feelings. They are in too hard a situation to squabble much over it, but I found it more interesting than the made-in-Hollywood love triangles or preachy "coming out" scenes that passed for conflict in earlier movies.

Posted by Ace:

Finally, the movie features way, waaaayyy too many mutants. This is perfectly faithful to the comic books, which features even more mutants, many with unlikely or just plain stupid powers. But it's not the part of the comics you want to emulate.

To me, there's nothing inherently wrong with having large numbers of mutants. The only real problem is splitting up limited screen time among them. And if they're just there to look cool in a giant super-powered melee before dying, as these were, I don't really care if they're shafted in terms of character development.

The movie also emulated the comics well in killing or de-powering large numbers of the lamer mutants, which Marvel did fairly recently in the House of M and Decimation events. The mutant population was cut down from millions to a couple of hundred or so; among those who lost their powers were Magneto and Professor X.

Posted by Ace:

Anyway, Magneto recruits an army of grungy, streetkid mutants -- apparently these are the lower-class kids Charles Xavier wouldn't allow into his upscale acadmey -- and they have a whole range of incredibly moronic powers.

Have you never heard of the Morlocks? That is pretty much an exact description of them. There's little doubt that the mutant gathering Magneto recruits from is based on them - Marrow, the mutant with the bone weapons, was a Morlock (though female in the comics; a male version called Spike was in one of the cartoons).

Posted by Ace:

Of all the minor characters they could have promoted to first-tier status-- they chose Iceman? The kid who makes ice-cubes?

Minor? He's one of the original five X-Men, who have now all appeared in the film series as of this movie. I'm no big fan of the character, or the actor, but if they can portray his powers as well as was done with Frozone in The Incredibles, I'd not begrudge him a bit more screen time in future movies.

Posted by: Marvel Zombie at May 30, 2006 10:15 PM (wHo9o)

41 Continuing...

Posted by Log Cabin:

Angel was lame.
Oh look, a weakling with wings!


Well, that's all he ever was in the comics - a rich pretty-boy weakling with wings - until Apocalypse got hold of him and buffed him up a bit.

Posted by Ace:

It's really a question of selectivity and focus. You simply cannot have a character be interesting or make an impact if he has so little screentime. There was no reason to have such a bewildering number of new characters, none of which well-used.

They are energy-bolt-fodder, and don't have to be interesting. It's the major characters who carry the story load. Saying more time should be wasted on the others is like complaining that Frost and Wierzbowski didn't get enough screen time in Aliens. The only one who got less than he deserved was Juggernaut.

Posted by Ace:

There must be something I don't know about Bobby Drake/Iceman. He must be testing well with thirteen year old girls or something.

I suspect he got extra time because the kid playing Pyro made a good impression in the last movie, and they tried to build up Iceman into a foil for him because they're of similar age and have opposed powers.

Posted by MBC:

I've got a box-full of the source materials for these movies, and it sounds like they didn't bother to read much of any of it.

I'm actually glad of this. I'd rather they did something original that kept the feel of the books, than try to follow the actual storyline and inevitably screw it up. And those whining about "too many characters" now would probably have their heads explode at the introduction of the Hellfire Club and the Shi'ar.

Posted by Ace:

The odd thing is, unexpected things DO happen in this movie. It's just... I didn't care about any of them.

And also-- they're all kind of cheats, because the movie calls Mulligans on all of them, pretty much.


This is a regular thing in the comics, and the X-titles in particular are famous for it. The X-Men have come back from death itself more than once - Jean Grey practically makes a habit of it. Many characters, including Storm, Rogue, and Gambit, have been de-powered before and regained their powers, well before Decimation. There's nothing unprecedented there.

Posted by Ace:

Is this right, does anyone know? I know Gambit was the shizznat for a while but I don't think he's a major character anymore.

Gambit kept his powers after Decimation along with most of the other X-Men (they were being shielded from the de-powering effect by Dr. Strange). He tried to infiltrate the organization of the mutant villain Apocalypse, was conditioned into actually serving him, and is now MIA. I'm glad he hasn't shown up in the movies; he is associated in my mind with the "Mutant Massacre" era when the X-titles started to go seriously downhill. Most people I've run into who like him met him through the Capcom fighting video games, where he's one of the cheesier characters.

Posted by ramms:

was anybody else dissapointed that they just treated juggernaut as if he were a mutant, same as everyone else? and i'd imagine that, even without his powers, juggernaut could still kick kitty pryde's ass pretty soundly.

I loathe the very idea behind the Ultimate line of comics, but I can put up with movies adapting from them for simplicity's sake (as the Fantastic Four movie did, heavily), and Ultimate Juggernaut is a mutant. As for kicking Kitty's ass...in the comics, she gots m4d ninja sk!llz, and in the movie, she just plain outwitted him - not a hard task, really.

Posted by: Marvel Zombie at May 30, 2006 10:20 PM (wHo9o)

42 but what the hell was up with darkness falling so suddenly after Magneto swung the Golden Gate Bridge over to Alcatraz?

Probably metaphore, alegory, or some literary shit like that. Writers love that kind of stuff even when the audience is just looking for cheap thrills and nice hooters.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at May 30, 2006 11:07 PM (gf5iT)

43 Ace and Will Collier need a cage match.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 31, 2006 12:12 AM (+rSRq)

44 This movie only requires one sentence to review:

Couldn't they have just like, you know, maybe taken a boat instead?

Posted by: Andrew at May 31, 2006 12:36 AM (zixKX)

45 We need to build a huge wall to keep these mutant creatures out. And don't give me that crap about them being willing to do jobs that ordinary Americans won't do. This "cure" is nothing more than amnesty under a different name.

I will not vote for any rep who does not vote to secure our borders from this illegal scourge.

Posted by: JackStraw at May 31, 2006 12:50 AM (rnOZq)

46 I had heard about the movie. I think its a one time watch. wat say??

Posted by: Bobby at May 31, 2006 01:44 AM (oc/pr)

47 Anyone ever read this Twisted Toyfare Theatre?

Prof X: "And this is Cyclops, our team's field leader."
Cyke: "Hello, I was planning to spend my Friday night in the library coming up with some new and useful tactical maneuvers for the team!"
Prof X: "Now you know why he doesn't have his own title."

I'm not sure that it's unprecedented for Wolverine to be featured so much in the movie. Doesn't he appear in something like 37% of all comic panels published by Marvel across all their titles?

I'm very disappointed in this news but I was expecting it. The first half of the first X-Men movie is among my top five favorite parts of superhero movies, the others being the first 2/3 of Batman Begins (until Gordon utters the execrable line "I've got to get me one of those", the visible turning point for the movie), the Hulk's escape until he gets to San Francisco, (I'm ashamed for this one) the fight in Metropolis in Superman II, and the entirety of The Incredibles.

Posted by: Lapsed Leftist at May 31, 2006 03:20 AM (U92Ux)

48 I agree with Ace that the movie was disappointing, speaking as someone who has never owned, read, or even perused an X-men comic book. Everything I know about X-men I learned from the movies or what friends told me. So, speaking as someone who is not terribly invested in the whole X-men enterprise, I found the movie to be rather rushed with little or no character development. And there were too many mutants. I don't mean that they gave some of the mutants short thrift (as much as he seems to be a favorite here, I'm not sure how much more they could have done with Juggernaut, although a Juggernaut-Colossus fight might have been a good move), I mean they simply had too many. The sheer number of mutants made being a mutant seem as interesting and unusual as having blonde hair.

But I disagree with Ace about one thing though: I was glad they got rid of Cyclops early. I'm sorry, but he has to be about the lamest "superhero" ever. If I were him, I would take the cure. His power consists entirely of shooting lasers out of his eyes. Exciting. Whatever coolness that power ever had, it was pretty well exhausted in the first movie. And why can he knock down buildings with his eyes, yet stop this power with a pair of flimsy sunglasses? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm sure they're made of some special material, but if that's the case, then why not make the enemies army's clothes out of that material? And the guy seems to be more of a liability than a help, since all you have to do to render him useless is to remove his glasses. That's a badass right there.

Not to defend Iceman since his powers are kind of lame too, but at least he has some cinematic potential. You can do quite a bit more with him on the big screen (not that they really have yet) than you can with Cyclops, whose ability was pretty much fully displayed in the earlier movies.

And I also thought that the one redeeming quality about the movie was the lack of the silly love triangle between Wolverine, Cyclops, and Jean that consisted largely of:

Cyclops: Stay away from my wife.

Wolverine: But I love her.

Cyclops: I love her more.

I'm not sure what more they could have done with that if they kept it going. However, I don't think they handled the newer conflicts in this movie all that well, either. They could have dealt more with the conflicts over taking the cure, which were mostly glossed over. Another missed opportunity was Magneto's "betrayal" of Mystique that could have been more fully dealt with, although I'm guessing Rebecca Romijn didn't really want to come back and only did so out of some sense of duty to give her character a proper send-off rather than just disappear like Nightcrawler.

Anyway, the movie's fine if you just want to see a bunch of action and don't care much about plot or character development. It's entertaining enough, but it's definitely a step down from the first two.

Posted by: Jason at May 31, 2006 03:30 AM (Y2Bw/)

49 Good review, Ace.

Posted by: Cary from Houston at May 31, 2006 04:05 AM (AhCOe)

50 I heard its beating out THE DIVINCE CODE

Posted by: spurwing plover at May 31, 2006 04:08 AM (A09bm)

51 And I, of course, am strongly in favor of action scenes involving a shirtless Wolverine.

Mrs. Peel cut to the quick on this one. All I wanna know is how Wolverine looks. Are his pants tight? Are there a few shirtless scenes? I am THERE! It isn't often where I can take the kids to a movie, and enjoy the scenery.

Posted by: at May 31, 2006 04:37 AM (MU/Oj)

52 drat. Me above. Oogling Wolverine.

Posted by: Carin at May 31, 2006 04:38 AM (MU/Oj)

53 AND, from a dating perspective - take a woman to the flick, and how hot and bothered will she be at the end?

something to think about.

Posted by: Carin at May 31, 2006 04:40 AM (MU/Oj)

54 The problem with introducing new characters was only partly in the number of new characters, it was also partly in the way they were introduced. X2 introduced Nightcrawler, Iceman, and Pyro as major characters with a few cameos. It also had Stryker, Mastermind and Lady Deathstrike as new major bad guys. Contrast that with X3 where every character is introduced with First Middle and Last Name, tell us where you're from and one interesting thing about yourself. You know what? Quill (Quill!) doesn't need a formal introduction. We didn't need to know his Class level, or even his name. I think we would have gotten the idea when spikes shot out of his body. Just have him show up, stick spikes out of his body, and leave. Instead we find out his name, powers, astrological sign, and hobbies in screen time that could have been used for Juggernaught.

Speaking of which, Juggernaught should have been inhumanly large, not just "hey that guy must work out" large. They could have used the makeup to make Prof. X and Magneto younger and saved the CG for Juggernaught. The worst part about Juggernaught's treatment, though, (we're doing *SPOILERS* down here, right?) isn't that his main nemesis was walls, it's that he ended up fucking LOSING to a wall. He fought a wall and the wall won.

Posted by: dorkafork at May 31, 2006 04:41 AM (ksDNy)

55 not for nothing ace, but there's a reason why a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. people who know only the movie x-men should enjoy the movie, and fans of the comics, by which i mean people who have read many of the comics and know the difference between beast and wolverine's powers (and read the comics in the last 10 or 20 years and not attempting to channel misremembered character traits and storylines from 1982 through a fog of a rapidly approaching midlife crises) will also enjoy it.

It's not brilliant, it's not close to perfect and some of your review is dead on. but many of your complaints have more to do with a misplaced nostalgia and limitations in production than in anything else.

many of the scenes should be enjoyed on the big screen. don't wait for the dvd but catching it at the second run cinema or a bargain matinee is fine.

PS Cyclops is gay. eyebeams? cummon!

besides iceman is a cute teen (or so the chicks tell me) and getting teen girls butts in the seats is preferable to paying Madsen all types of money to get more screen time. the cost benefit analysis proves this out i'm sure.

Posted by: iceman at May 31, 2006 05:01 AM (f3+yp)

56 I also thought the class level thing was kind of lame. I don't know if this is something from the comic books or not, but it seems to me that they had to create this because they created so many damn mutants that they needed to establish a method to distinguish between the really important ones and the expendible ones.

As someone who has never read the comic books, I wasn't upset about how they introduced the new mutants, although I didn't really need to know their names, and could figure out what their powers were when they used them. But seeing hundreds of mutants, in the final battle, all with the same apparent ability to jump really far and climb walls (like Beast), combined with the earlier scenes of thousands of normal-looking mutants protesting the cure and the "class level" thing, well, that kind of takes the mystique (sorry) out of being a mutant.

What consistutes being a "level one" mutant, anyway? Being able to remember long sequences of numbers or something? Being ambidextrous? Having a large penis?

Posted by: Jason at May 31, 2006 05:22 AM (Y2Bw/)

57 The Inclusion of Angel: "yawn"
The Inclusion of ArcAngel: "Sweet"
The in clusion of Beast: "Clap Clap Clap..."
The depoweration in order to ensure the defloweration of Rogue: "Without pics, that thread is worthless..."

IMHO

Posted by: Rob B. at May 31, 2006 05:51 AM (opyeT)

58 The Inclusion of Angel: "yawn"
The Inclusion of ArcAngel instead: "Sweet"
The in clusion of Beast: "Clap Clap Clap..."
The depoweration in order to ensure the defloweration of Rogue: "Without pics, that thread is worthless..."

IMHO

Posted by: Rob B. at May 31, 2006 05:53 AM (opyeT)

59 ...so there's no whose-mutant-dick-is-bigger Iceman/Maverick one-upmanship.

GOOD!

It was stupid in "Top Gun" and it was stupid in the X-Men films. There was one good line that came from the conflict (first film, Wolverine had to prove he was actually himself and not Mystique) but the rest was barf. "Stay away from my girl." O the pain.

I don't read X-Men -- comic books are for kids -- and I didn't think the first 2 X-Men films were high art. They were average action flicks, a little worse than Spidey or "Batman Begins" and a lot better than "Fantastic Four." So, I was expecting about the same from this movie, with the exception that it would be a wrap-up to previous plotlines. That's what X3 delivered, so I enjoyed it for what it was worth.

Spoilers...

I wasn't bothered by Cyclops lack of screen time -- he was a jerk in the previous movies so he wasn't missed -- and I liked Grammer's portrayal of Beast. Halle Berry completely sucked and I really missed seeing Mystique in action. I was happy to see Jean finally bite it as she was really a boring character whose only purpose was to be the Grand Prize in the Cyclops/Wolverine Skirt Chase. It was great to watch the X-Men get their azzes kicked in the scene at Jean's house. The movie did seem rushed and cut up, but since it was a finale of sorts for some of the characters they had a lot to resolve. I do predict that if they make any more X-Men movies they will be awful, particularly if they place Halle Berry at the helm.

I'd give it a 6 out of 10, which was the same rating I gave for Episode 3 of Star Wars.

Posted by: bbeck at May 31, 2006 06:15 AM (qF8q3)

60 bitch

Posted by: Halle Berry at May 31, 2006 07:22 AM (KWDEp)

61 Go act your way out of a wet paper bag...if you can.

Posted by: bbeck at May 31, 2006 07:33 AM (qF8q3)

62 Don't need to. My agent said so.

He's been giving me that advice for years.

Posted by: Halle Berry at May 31, 2006 07:46 AM (KWDEp)

63 What I didn't like was the way there seemed to be kind of a homo fashion theme going on. The guy with wings, when they showed him without his shirt he had on these super low riding jeans, the dude clearly had to shave his pubes. There were a few other shots like that, kind of faggy if you ask me.

Posted by: Uniball at May 31, 2006 07:53 AM (27iEn)

64 ** spoilers**

You seem to proceed from the assumption that, because it's a comic-book movie, it's pretty much likely to be stupid.
No, not really. I'm just saying that delving into the lack of character development of an ensemble cast based on a team-oriented comic book is asking a bit much. There's no way, save for having a Titanic-esque length, to develop that many characters. Heck, was there really any need to have Rogue in that flick whatsoever? Not even development....what did it add? She wants to touch her boyfriend, she gets jealous and she gets the shot. Bzzzt. Waste of her five minutes of screen time.
No, there wasn't enough cyclops, but that was the script. It was garbled enough, so I just sat back and enjoyed the action.
Hey, it's just a difference in opinions.

Not saying you're a girl.
At 6'5" and 235 lbs, I'd be one big bitch. Maybe I could test for the upcoming lesbian Batwoman movie?

Just saying: it's actually the opposite of artsy-fartsy or snobbish to expect this kind of movie to be good, or at least fault it for not being so.
Okay, point noted.
But, according to the comments and especially the box office (and other sources), yours may be the minority view on the matter. Besides, Rebecca Romeijn lying naked on her side w/o the body makeup, with just enough coverage to keep the flick PG and enough skin to let the imagination wonder.

Who couldn't like that?

Posted by: RW at May 31, 2006 08:26 AM (MHgCx)

65 I think I'm kinda like Ace and a few others here - I was a big X-men fan back in the 80's (I started reading at Issue #142, but did manage to get a hold of the whole Dark Phoenix story arc), and stayed with it until maybe around #200 or so. That means I really don't know much about all the mutants that have appeared since about 1987. Is there some sort of encyclopedia site on the web that details major character developments over the years?

And whatever happened to Dazzler? I had a crush on her in junior high.

Posted by: NCVOL at May 31, 2006 04:40 PM (js4az)

66 Hi again,

Posted by NCVOL:

Is there some sort of encyclopedia site on the web that details major character developments over the years?

Pretty good basic overviews at Wikipedia:

List of Marvel Comics Characters

List of DC Comics Characters

And you can get there from the Marvel list page, but here's a direct link to Dazzler's page for ya...

Dazzler

Enjoy!

Posted by: Marvel Zombie at May 31, 2006 07:02 PM (/p0TH)

67 Have to disagree with ace here. This film was like a Will freakin Shakespear play. Everybody was dead at the end. Thats what I really want to see in a movie dead main characters, particularly those who are boring or which i hate. Professor picard whom i despise, Dead! Boring assed cyclops, Dead! Neidermir Dead! well you get the point. I say make way for new muntants with lame assed powers by getting rid of old muntants with lame assed powers.

Posted by: Jones at June 01, 2006 07:20 PM (YiBJB)

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