Tuesday, May 23, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

And that's for jumping ship to star in the disastrous Catwoman!

As always, you get the beef here - stay tuned until the end of the credits for one small scene which will probably put a smile to your face. Don't say I didn't warn ya! Oh and as usual with good Marvel movies, watch out for Stan Lee too!

The X-Men movies did one thing which I thought was almost impossible to do for the movies, and that is to massage the multi-characters' egos into one feature length film within reasonable screen time. Kudos are necessary for Bryan Singer and his team for pulling the original X-Men off, then top it with X2, beating odds that sequels generally suck, what with bigger sets, action, and horrors, even more characters!

With Singer's departure for another summer movie this year, the grand daddy of superheroes, Superman, the X-Men franchise was temporarily put into development hell, and was left directionless. Having its stars ask for more money and a bigger role, was natural too. But I'm glad that these issues were resolved and director Brett Ratner took on the thankless task of adding a rudder to steer a fitting last movie of a trilogy (will there be more? Hmm....)

And I'm glad to announce it's the best summer movie so far, one which surpassed my expectations, which probably was low to begin with. It had a decent storyline which is a direct continuation from X2, and had bleak moments interspersed throughout the movie. A cure has been found, extracted from a fellow mutant boy, which the humans offer to the mutants to become normal again. But just what is normal? Herein lies the ra-ra themes like you-are-who-you-are, stay-true-to-yourself etc. But it doesn't bog down the pace of the movie, not quite, especially since most will be in it for the action. And it's always human tendency to want to weaponize anything for that advantage over our enemies. We come in peace? Hell yeah :P

There are again plenty of set action pieces, some of which will disappoint, like the beginning which somewhat reeked from a bad Terminator setting, but on the other end of the spectrum, the Grey House battle is the best amongst all, beating even the finale. It's full of concurrent action, tense moments, loads of special effects with a dash of character development. The finale battle was cool (look out for the Iceman teaser), but I thought it was a bit of a letdown with its major continuity error with the cars on the bridge.

Not surprisingly, having Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry's names headlining the marquee, Wolverine (as always, the most popular X-character) and Storm had more leadership roles in this sequel. But, and no offense to the fans, it seemed that Wolverine's solo action sequence was a bit ordinary, like watching a scene from Mortal Kombat. If there's gonna be a movie spinoff, show off more slicing and dicing, up the violence a little and slap it with some rating.

But with the focus on the 2 main leads, as well as The Beast, little attention is paid towards Magneto and his brotherhood (then again, we need not have much introduction and can afford diving straight in), and fans of Mystique will be disappointed with the diminished role, as do other characters like Rogue, Cyclops and new kid on the block Angel (really cosmetic if you ask me).

The Phoenix was introduced to great fanfare, and it made a bit more sense without the fusion of that outer space element from the comics. This story-arc is the main pivot, and it was a fantastic scene in the beginning to witness the camaraderie between Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr, before they became bitter enemies. I'd tip my hat too to the little moments of acknowledgement and admiration one has for the other, despite being on opposites.

All in all, it was very much enjoyable, and I'm sure fans of the movie franchise will agree it's a fitting end to the trilogy, though it hinted the option of making a fourth, and the more lucrative potential of solo character spin offs.

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