Wednesday, June 1, 2011

X-men Marathon: X-men: The Last Stand

It took me awhile to actually sit down and watch this movie in order to review it. I was really dreading it. I'll be honest, I actually stopped it about half way through and came back to finish it later. I just needed a break. I would not say that this is a terrible film as much as it just contains scenes that really, really upset me, combined with minor annoyances and a couple things that make me happy. I'll try to break it down for you.

What I Like:

1. Kelsey Grammar as Beast. Kudos to a serious actor like KG being so willing to put on all the makeup and fur for this role. His appearance and demeanor here are absolutely perfect for me. Hearing him say "Oh my stars and garters" makes me giddy. I also absolutely love seeing him in action on Alcatraz Island, and that they placed him as a former member of the team who gets an important role in the film.

2. Seeing Iceman take ice form. It's a very small detail and moment, but this is what us comic geeks live for when watching these movie adaptations. At least it's what this comic geek lives for.

3. Depowering Magneto as a way of defeating him. I don't think this has ever been done in the comics, but it's actually quite smart. Take the man who thinks that mutants are superior in every way to humans and make him human. What is left then? Of course, the movie doesn't actually explore this, but it's a good idea anyway.

4. Seeing the danger room, the head of a sentinel, and two fastball specials.

5. While I would have liked to see Angel take a much larger role, I really like all the scenes he is in.

6. The way Magneto turns his back on Mystique the moment she is depowered, and the way she betrays him because of it.

What I'm Okay With:

1. Rogue being tempted to seek out the cure. I've seen it portrayed in both the comics and cartoons before and I think it makes perfect sense that this is something she would want.

2. While it doesn't sit well with me that the Professor essentially gave Jean a split personality, I think they were trying to at least partially adapt the idea that he shut off her telepathy from her at a young age. Her friend died while Jean was still telepathically connected to her, and it caused her a lot of pain and grief. So if you look at it that way, I guess I can deal with it.

3. Using Leech as a way to create the cure. I guess it doesn't matter that he isn't green skinned here.

4. Having Storm and Callisto fight each other, given their old rivalry in the comics. It's too bad this Callisto is absolutely nothing like the comics version.

5. The reason Jean goes ballistic, the way she begins to disintegrate everything because of it, and the way Logan is forced to stop her. (As an aside though, isn't it nice of her to leave behind some shorts as she strips his costume off him?)

6. Juggernaut isn't really a mutant, but I can understand making him one for simplicity's sake.

What Annoys Me:

1. The way so many mutants appear in name only. Besides Callisto, Kid Omega is also nothing like his comics counterpart. Psylocke seems to have her Crimson Dawn shadow power, though it looks more like a chameleon ability. They also could have included so many cameos amidst the Brotherhood but the only recognizable one I could catch was Spyke - everyone else seemed to just have generic freakish powers.

2. The fact that Juggernaut doesn't seem to be related to the Professor at all.

3. I have a problem with characters who have never truly died in the comics dying in this film. Maybe that's not fair since this is a different universe, but it still bugs me.

4. When Jean sacrificed herself in X2, Singer showed us a very long emotional moment where we saw what the Professor, Logan, and Scott in particular were all going through. It's a very sad scene. In this film, after the professor dies, Logan falls to his knees and then Ororo hugs him, before we immediately fade out to the funeral. It's the difference between a good director and a bad one for me. Overall this film puts action too far ahead of story and emotion.

5. Halle Berry waving her Oscar around and forcing Storm to be in practically every scene. While it makes perfect sense that the Professor would possibly pass the school on to Storm, the problem is this Storm isn't anything like the Storm of the comics. Storm isn't sassy and indignant. She's classy and majestic and keeps a cool head at all times. What's amazing is that they show us proof that her mood effects the weather, and then we see her throw a fit when she hears about the cure. Storm throwing a fit could cause a tornado or hurricane. She must constantly keep her emotions under control. The fact is, this woman won an Oscar simply because she knew how to portray trash, and she was not made for this role AT ALL.

6. Kitty being used mostly as a way to create tension in the Rogue/Iceman relationship. The only time we get to see her have personality at all is during the scene where she rescues Leech. It also bothers me that her costume has pink highlights when she's never had a pink costume, because it seems like it was done simply because she was the girl on the team.

7. Juggernaut referencing an internet meme. To me, that's the wrong kind of fan tribute.

What Makes Me Angry:

1. Cyclops was underused and mistreated through all of the films, but it's especially bad here. The only good moment for Scott in all of this trilogy is the moment in the first film when the Professor has been incapacitated and Scott vows to lead the team and take care of them. Otherwise he was regulated as nothing more than getting in the way of Jean and Logan being together. Supposedly he was only killed off in this film because James Marsden went to make Superman Returns, but that doesn't excuse the fact that NO ONE in this film mourns for him. I have my own issues with the character, but there's no mistaking the fact that he is what the X-men are all about.

2. Rogue choosing to get rid of her powers, and most specifically, how it is done here. There is always the issue in stories to show, not tell. All we SEE is Rogue being upset about Bobby getting close to Kitty and bitching that they can't touch, so at the end when she claims she did it because she wanted to, we can't really believe her because we haven't seen anything to prove otherwise. Perhaps if she had dumped him immediately afterward, for instance, that might have been a good form of proof.

3. I'll admit that there is a part of me that wishes to see the Professor as an almost perfect person. I stopped reading the X-men comics not long after the Onslaught saga because I didn't like the way they had portrayed the Professor at all. So the nonchalant way in which the Professor talks about subduing the Phoenix and tells Logan to go get lost really bugs me.

What Turns Me Into the Hulk:

Here comes the part that you probably saw coming a mile away if you've read enough of my other reviews and know my main online handle - the Phoenix as she is portrayed in this movie throws me into fits of rage. I hate the way she is basically a bad Exorcist impression far more than a cosmic entity or a secondary mutation. I hate the yellowed skin with the dark veins and the black eyes. I hate the complete lack of fire in relation to her using her powers. Why even call her Phoenix?? I hate the way they show her sucking the life out of Scott because it doesn't even make sense for her powers. I hate the way everything is floating at Alkali Lake when Storm and Wolverine get there, because a passed out woman couldn't be making all those things free float in the air. I hate the representation of the Phoenix as an inherently evil creature. It is a complete bastardization of what this character is and I just can't stand it. It directly contradicts everything that happened in the previous film as well, so you can't even use the excuse of this being different because it is a separate universe.

I've recently heard that they are renewing plans to make a 4th X-men film. I think this would be a horrible idea. They killed off too many of the key players and damaged some the remaining ones to go forward with any kind of decent storyline. If X-men: First Class turns out well, I would much rather see that as a reboot and go forward from there.

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