6.04.2006

X-Men: The Last Slap in the Face

I promised myself that I would not rely on movie reviews to provide content for this blog, but some things are too hard to avoid, especially when 20th Century Fox decided to steal my money by showing 104 minutes of absolute near-crap and calling it a movie.

I am not a super X-Men fan. I've read probably less than a dozen X-Men comics, watched a bunch of episodes from the early 90's animated series, and enjoyed the last two films (X2 in particular).

X-Men: The Last Stand (because X3 or X-Men III would be too much of a complicated title for audeinces to understand -- I'll refer to it as X3) is at times an incomplete movie as well as a movie that tries to do way too much and fails horribly. To paraphrase a review from Ain't-It-Cool, imagine trying to stuff several James Bond plots into one movie, except cut off about 40 minutes from your average Bond film running time. Kill M, Q, Miss Moneypenny. Rob Bond of all his gadgets and cars, and castrate him for good measure. Add mutants and you have the third X-Men movie.

The sad thing is that there are elements of X3's story that could have made it into a GREAT film -- one of the few sci-fi/action/comic book films that could have addressed current American social and politcal issues, as well as deep personal issues that affect nearly all of us. The movie screws this up in several ways.

Major characters are killed with little effect, could-be-major characters are introduced with little or no backstory (or dialogue for that matter). The final few minutes feel like the final few minutes of a Police Academy movie. Truthfully, the plot and subplots of X3 could have easily been divided into two or three separate movies, had they been expanded. Instead, the audience is treated to half-baked plot, poorly shot fight sequences, stupid one-liners and incredibly raw writing -- oh, and the feeling of a rug being pulled out from underneath us during the final scene and the "secret" post-credits scene.

Why couldn't the studio have trusted us, the fans? It's doubtful that anyone who skipped X1 or X2 would want to see X3, so why not make an X3 that would be enjoyed by those who did enjoy X1 and X2, rather than trying even more to broaden your audience? I don't blame director Brett Ratner for this. He was the captain of a sinking ship. The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of a studio that botched the creative process of what could have been one of the best comic book-adapted films ever.

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