Thursday, June 01, 2006

X3! IS Xtremely Xciting!

Okay I promise that title will be the last X jokes I make. Last night I was given a rare treat, the time to actually sit through a whole movie. No kids, no cell calls, nuthin just me and what I was hoping would be 104 minutes of mutant xcitement! (okay sorry, I am trying.) I wasn't disappointed.

To put it mildly, Sir Ian McKellan steals every single scene he is in. His Magneto is angrier than in the first two movies. The mutant cure threatens everything he holds dear. Magneto, survived the Holocaust, and has no intentions of letting a second begin while he has the power to stop it. McKellan fully evolves his character into a believable and sympathetic anti-hero, he is just as cold as he is passionate.

This however is not Magneto's story, it is the story of a scared and powerful little girl named Jean Grey
(Famke Janssen). She grew up protected and sheltered by Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and loved by the clean cut leader of the X-Men, Cyclops (James Marsden). Yet inside her mind lies the dark unrelenting power of Phoenix. Supposedly killed in X2. Jean/Phoenix becomes the nexus for the final power struggle between Magneto and Xavier, to this end Ms. Janssen does a fine job. She doesn't have many lines, but she oozes menace and power.

Some high points. Marsden, continuing the role of the under utilized Cyclops, is simply brilliant in the one solo scene he has been given in three movies. It is short but Marsden nails it. Kelsey Grammer is Beast, and there should have been more of him. Jackman turns in another solid performance as Wolverine and Berrie's Storm finally gets something to do.

Now the bad news. 104 minutes was simply not enough. I do not blame Ratner, I blame Fox. They set an iron clad release date and forced this production down everyone's throat. It is really a shame because this could have been the extravaganza it was fighting to be. The Sfx in some scenes are not as crisp as they could have been. The story begged for more time, and possibly a fourth movie, was shoved like a 40 year old into his prom tux.

If you are a X-Men fan boy/girl, you will probably despise the deviations from "canon". Yeah, right... canon... like that exists in comic books. I've been through so many continuity crisises, clones, Red and Blue Supermen (if you never heard about that 4-color abortion, consider yourself lucky) and series restarts I'm not sure what the hell is going on anymore. The story told in X-3 completes the story arc begun in the first movie. It is logical and really does not feel forced or contrived, well at least in comic book terms anyway.

With this said I think kudos has to go to Ratner and a cast that seems to have pulled out all the stops to make this a memorable experience. Overall X-3: The Final Stand is a fun movie, it is not going to convert the unconvertible and it will probably make many a fan-boy scream blue murder in their Underoos, but it is certainly worth your entertainment dollars.

I await with anticipation Doubtful Reason's take on this. While we are sympatico on many things we often disagree, respectfully of course, on movies.

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