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X3

Posted on Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Dave!Well, I went ahead and saw X-Men 3: The Last Stand despite the fact that I thought the first two X-movies sucked major ass. Turns out that X3 sucks too, but not nearly as badly as the previous films (hey, at least this time the super-powered mutants had moments where they were actually shown being super-powered mutants). In order to avoid ruining the film for anybody who hasn't seen it, my spoiler-ridden notes are in an extended entry. Suffice to say that I thought the film had a few geeky moments to please X-fans, but fell way short of being a worthy adaptation of the source material. Such a pity, because I am a major X-whore...

X-Dave

But here's the deal... as bad as I felt X3 was, it positively shines in comparison to the total ass-draining suckage that is known as The Da Vinci Code. Holy shit what a crap-fest of a film! Sure it was hampered by the lame source material, but Ron Howard & Company failed on just about every possible level to create any semblance of movie entertainment.

Long. Boring. Pandering. Safe. Uninspired. DEAD.

Even though I am not a big fan of the book, at least the written version had a small amount of bite to it. The film is just a mess that takes otherwise capable actors and waters them down to base stupidity. Audrey Tautou is absolutely brilliant in Amelie and the astounding A Very Long Engagement, but is given nothing to do here. All she gets is to stand in the corner all doe-eyed while Tom Hanks solves a series of by-the-numbers puzzles. A total waste of her considerable talent, and an even further embarrassment to the movie.

Maybe The Da Vinci Code is worth a video rental for a boring evening, but it's completely miss-able at the theater. Do yourself a favor and save your money. While you wait to rent the DVD at NetFlix, you can read The DAVEinci Code instead...

DAVEinci Code

And there you have it. A bad night for movies all around. If you haven't seen X3 and don't want it ruined, DO NOT read onward...

Spoiler Zone!

Remember the Star Trek spin-off of a spin-off Deep Space Nine? It was a better implementation of the show than Next Generation, with better writing and acting... but I hated it nevertheless. And do you know why? Odo. It was Odo the gooey alien shapeshifter. Except he was mostly non-gooey and never shape-shifted. That was his "deal" and yet he rarely did it. The special effects were expensive or something, so the series avoided showing him change shape. This pissed me off something fierce because, well, what's the point of having a shapeshifter if he doesn't shift his shape all the time? It bugged me so much that I stopped watching after only 7 or 8 episodes.

The "Odo Paradox" completely sums up my problem with the fist two X-Men films.

They both feature super-powered mutants that rarely use their powers to any serious effect.

Their powers are treated like accessories... or window dressing... rather than part of who they are. And since none of the mutants are really going all out with their powers, all the cool X-Men comic book stories are watered down to mere boring shadows of their original selves. Case in point, was the "death" of Jean Grey in the second film. Here is what I said in my previous review...

"When are we going to get an X-Men movie that has bad-ass battles that are even half as exciting as the comic book? Where are the all-powerful villains that will make the X-Men struggle? Sure, in X3 we're set up for having Phoenix arrive, but if things go as they have been, she won't be the all-powerful goddess that can destroy a planet, she'll be a bland imitation of Pyro that can burst into flame once or twice."

Turns out my prediction actually OVER-STATED what we would get out of Phoenix. She didn't burst into flame EVER in X3. All she did was stand around looking mean and occasionally vaporize people. WTF?!? This is Dark Phoenix for heaven's sake! DARK PHOENIX!! And yet every possible opportunity to make her bad-ass never happens. Sure she kills off a few important characters, but it's a far-cry from the world-destroyer she was meant to be. Hey, I wasn't expecting the entire Dark Phoenix Saga from the comics... that would be impossible... but surely they could come up with something better than levitating rocks! No Phoenix effect? Not even once? LAME!! Why call her Phoenix if she's really not? Why bother bringing her back at all?

Oh well.

Basically, we get two plots going on in X3. Jean Grey's return as the afore-mentioned Phoenix Lite; and a mutant "cure" that rallies Magneto to full-scale war against the humans. Sure it sounds exciting, but it doesn't really work because they crammed both convoluted ideas in a single film with a short running time (and no room left for decent story points).

About the only thing that they did do right was to minimize the "Odo Paradox". Wolverine is unleashed as the savage killing machine he is. Storm remembers that she can fly and hurl lightning bolts. Iceman and Pyro face off in a cool fight. Kitty Pryde manages to have a convincing battle with Juggernaut. Magneto is bad-ass ripping apart the Golden Gate Bridge. And even Phoenix has her moments (if you can resist comparing her to the comic version). Finally... SUPER-POWERED MUTANTS ON SCREEN... and it's pretty sweet.

Unfortunately, it's just not enough... flash but no substance. The movie was rushed to release and it shows. Much of it doesn't manage to hold it together in any meaningful way, and takes short-cuts through scenes that really need more time to develop properly or be explained (Why didn't Magneto's pawns simply wear armor to protect against the little anti-mutant darts? Since Magneto couldn't destroy the plastic guns, why didn't he just flatten everybody with the Golden Gate Bridge? What happened to Nightcrawler? Etc. Etc.). I didn't feel even remotely involved or connected with anybody in the movie. And that's a very bad thing considering how they kill-off and neutralize so many characters. Who cares if they're gone if you aren't emotionally vested?

And who they get rid of is no big surprise... it's every big name that collects a big paycheck. Psyclops, Phoenix, and Professor X dead. Rogue, Mystique, Magneto powerless. The Beast gone to politics. Storm gone to teaching. Only A-lister Wolverine is spared, and that's because he's getting a movie spin-off. So when X4 inevitably rolls around, we get Iceman, Kitty, Angel, and the B-team. Whoopee. The lamest part though is how the characters who are dead are not really dead, and the powerless characters end up not being totally powerless... all explained away in the final minutes of the film. I guess this allows selective recall of actors for sequels, but it's still pretty lame that what pathetic little drama we get is effectively wiped out at the very end.

And so here I sit and dream of a real X-Men film that will probably not happen in my lifetime. A film combining deep, powerful stories with amazing visuals of mutant power that will finally do the source material proud. Fortunately, I have a vivid imagination and all the original comics from the Dark Phoenix saga to keep my dream alive... until the next lifetime.


Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. adena says:

    Did you stay ’til the end of the credits? I heat you’re supposed to, it answers something very important.

  2. Dave2 says:

    Yes, I did… and it just added insult to injury, sadly. Death isn’t very impactful when it’s undone in the last two seconds. :-(

  3. Charred says:

    I never expected much from the DaVinci Squid, but I’m disappointed to hear that X3 will suck as badly as I was afraid it would.

    Stupid Hollywood.

  4. Brandon says:

    I was a big fan of the first two X-Men films, but I was never a big comic book guy, so I couldn’t be upset about them screwing it up. But X3 was just, meh. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it.

    But the DaVinci Coded sucked so bad, I still can’t believe it. I don’t know if you read my review, but the fact that they changed the Sophie Neveu character into such a weakling is my biggest beef. She was what made the book work because she was smarter than Langdon. She pushes the action. Here she just gets dragged along. What a joke.

  5. Karl says:

    What? What happened at the end of the credits? I was up and out of my seat before the first screenful of credits scrolled by.

  6. Mooselet says:

    The only reason I will go and rent X3 (I won’t waste my hard earned cash at the theatre) is to drool over Hugh Jackman and to wish I had Halle Berry’s boobs. That’s it. Thanks for telling me I can skip DaVinci – so overhyped I’m sick of hearing about it.

  7. Dave2 says:

    Carl: I’ll email the end-ending to you so as not to spoil it for anybody else. :-)

  8. Bre says:

    I’m enough of an xmen geek to have been frustrated by most of the movie. I kept saying “what are you talking about?! That doesn’t happen!!” much to the delight of the general audience.

  9. Kevin says:

    I really would’ve thought that the look of ToonDave lent itself to a better translation as Beast. Draw DaveBeast! Draw DaveBeast!

  10. Nicola says:

    Dave, I too left the cinema before the end of the credits, after magneto tried to move a metal pawn on his chess board! I missed a bit? even though I thought the film pants (as did most people I think). I need to see the ending. Can you send me a link or email it to me pleeease?

  11. Nicola says:

    Dave2,

    Sorry, couldn’t wait to find out, I went and checked it out myself. I think it actually makes it worse. What a stupid film.

  12. Jeff says:

    What? Are you trying to say that a masochistic albino isn’t enough excitement to carry a 2 1/2 hour anagram-laden waterlogged excuse for a movie?

  13. Eve says:

    I’m not in trouble for X3, am I? You said I wouldn’t be in trouble!!! My conflict with superhero movies is that even though they almost never live up to their comic-book counterparts, I can’t help but be grateful that at least we’re getting these types of movies, and maybe the genre will be improved upon (how wishful is that?).

    While I can rip the X movies to shreds, I did find some enjoyment of them — as long as I put the book aside. Though, I find that I have to do that with most movies, because 95% of the time, I like the book better.

    And, you know how I feel about Da Vinci Code, it was the same thing. It didn’t “suck” like I wanted to leave the theater, but I’d probably liked it better watching it on cable.

    BTW, the Wolverine DaveToon is going up there as one of my all-time favorite DaveToons!!!

  14. Dave2 says:

    Of course I’m not mad! :-)

    As I said, at least it didn’t suck as bad as the others for me. All I really needed was a little mutant on mutant battle action to be happy, and we FINALLY got that.

    It’s just that the story is so LAME. Dark Phoenix as Magneto’s lapdog is a travesty of biblical proportions. I truly wish that they would have JUST picked the Dark Phoenix story or JUST picked the anti-mutant story and then spent enough time to make the story truly work. As it is, there’s nothing really involving in either plot thread, and we ended up with a very uneven movie that’s only 104 minutes long.

  15. Eve says:

    Actually, they are saying that she’s “Phoenix” NOT “Dark Phoenix” which is how they get away with her being kind of lame. (Lame acting, not lame powered.) All reports before the movie came out were that they were NOT going to do the Dark Phoenix saga. But, they needed a way to bring her back and a reason to have her in the movie.

  16. lizriz says:

    Yeah, it was the dual storyline that was the big problem for me. I would have really appreciated/enjoyed a fully fleshed out movie about one or the other so much more.

  17. Avitable says:

    I’m disappointed that you didn’t like the first two. I thought they were pretty good movies that allowed a difficult comic history to translate well to a more mainstream audience.

  18. Bec says:

    Just got back from seeing it. It just didn’t engage me enough. Hmmm… The girl in me is annoyed the killed Cyclops… but Wolverine shirtless made up for it… a bit… Yes, the geek in me is screaming.

  19. Ah crud. I had such high hopes for X3. But then again, the others weren’t so hot either. What did I expect?

  20. Maggy says:

    Whaaa? I left a minute or two before the credits..I guess I missed everything.

  21. Challen says:

    I’m not trying to be a hater here folks but these movies (Xmen 1-3) are just comic book adaptations and not War and Peace. I do agree Dave that I’ve wanted some serious Mutant on Mutant action but sadly had to wait til now.

  22. SJ says:

    Damn. I was really hoping for a worthy sequel, something to make me say, “Now, that’s what I call a sequel!!!”

    Come to think of it, how often does that really happen?

  23. Brent says:

    I enjoyed the first X-Men film and I really disliked the second (too many characters, too quick, too little character development). Brett Ratner doing an X-Men film? Sounds like a bad combination. I’ll wait for DVD.

  24. claire says:

    Even without a comic background, I wondered what was up with calling her Phoenix (aside from her return from the lake which did not strike me as phoenix-like) when she spent her time turning other people to ash.

    I agree that it wasn’t fleshed out enough- even with a heavy dose of disbelief-suspension, I just didn’t buy Logan’s change of heart about the x-men team.

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