Thursday, September 27, 2007

Last Stand or Last Gasp?

Last weekend I was able to catch on cable the third installment in the X-Men trilogy - X-Men: the Last Stand. I didn't get around to seeing it the theatres last year when it came out. To be honest, I only saw the first of the three films in the theatre anyway. I have the first and second on DVD, and it was on my big-screen TV that I saw the second film. Maybe that's part of the reason I wasn't so excited to see the third film as the second was okay but not spectacular.

As with most super-hero related films, I am willing to let my comic book roots go and judge the film solely on its own merits. I'm not a nit-picker about the continuity versus the comics, the tweaks to costumes and origins, etc. I'm willing to ignore that stuff and look at the film itself (or within the context of the franchise, which would be valid in this case).

Things I liked: bringing in the Beast (cast with Kelsey Grammer in the role - a nice fit) as well as the Angel (the flying effects with the wings looked sharp), the expanding roles of Kitty Pryde (loved the use of her powers against the mighty Juggernaut) and Iceman as well as Colossus, the introduction of the character Leech, the nice fanboy nod to "the Days of Future Past" story from the comics (I would have loved to see more of the Sentinels), and the creative teamwork of Magneto and Pyro on Alcatraz Island (flame-bomb cars are cool).

Things I didn't like: too many juggled subplots for a film that was only 1 hour and 45 minutes long (it was like they felt they had to cram so much into the film just in case it was the last - the whole Phoenix plot, the introduction of the Morlocks, the Legacy Virus, etc. - any one of these could have properly carried a film itself if explored in great detail), the killing off of so many main characters (either through depowering - which can be reversed, or death - though in one case we saw how they found an 'out' after the credits and in another case we never did see a body), and so many characters on screen through out that you sometimes get to know very little about a lot of them (which means the casual viewer does not develop a reason to care about the fates of any of them).

I enjoyed the special effects a lot, but at times it seemed that everyone was just standing around taking in the effects. And maybe it ties back to the writing making me not care so much about the characters. If I don't care about the character or find them interesting, I don't care that they're getting clobbered by a cool effect. It is like "so what". A good film will make me character about the character so that when they are about to get clobbered by a cool effect, I'll be think "#$%#@, NO!".

Now, rumor is that they plan to spin-off Wolverine and possibly Magneto into their own solo films. That might be a good idea. Maybe we'll get more character development that way - however, these two are probably some of the more developed of the cast of thousands from these three films already. Maybe that's just more overkill. I don't know. I know, however, that I'm not the least bit excited for those installments. Again, I'll pass on the theatres and wait to catch it for free at home.


Jim McClain said...

I think the part that bothered me the most was the off-screen death of Cyclops. It was like, "Oh, yeah, and Cyclops is dead too." Like it was an afterthought.

Definitely, Last Gasp.

Bob said...

Seems like the whole reason Cyclops' death was treated as a non-event because James Marsden accepted a role in Superman Returns... the same movie Bryan Singer took on when he was on tap to direct X3.

And I agree with Martin that they were trying to do way too many things. They started with Angel as a boy trying to cut off his wings, then fast forward to him as a young adult and he's having second thoughts about being cured of his mutation? How did we get from Point A to Point B?