Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thoughts on X-MEN 3

We caught X3 last night on the big screen and it was easily our least favorite entry in the series (I prefer the first, Chris likes the second). If this is the last gasp (or stand) for the characters and series then so be it. While Bryan Singer delivered emotional, compelling, exhilarating films that transcended the superhero genre, Brett Ratner's stab at wrapping up the series comes across as X-Men Lite. (Please understand that I've never read an X-Men comic and everything I know about the characters has been gleaned from the previous films or popular culture.)

I've never been a fan of anything Ratner has done and X3 does nothing to change my opinion. Shots are held too long, lines of dialogue land with a resounding thud, "twists" are telegraphed far in advance, and I frequently found myself wondering "Was that really the best take?" In addition, the evil mutant vs. good mutant storyline felt like one trip too many to the well and even Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan are reduced to ham-tastic versions of their previously solid characterizations. As for the pro-government conclusion, well, the less said about that the better.

Worst of all, though, are the "action" sequences and this is a complaint of mine whenever you have a director who isn't up to the task try and handle action scenes and fights (ie, Burton's Batman films, Ang Lee's HULK). Chris had the best analogy, comparing it to watching a widescreen film pan and scan.

On the plus side, though, we both really enjoyed Kelsey Grammer as Beast who delivers the one line that actually brought an intentional laugh from the audience. Everybody else, though, seemed to be either phoning it in or in search of a big enough jar of mustard for their ham.

Had the film been directed by Singer (and scripted by the director's team of scribes) instead of being handed to Ratner while Singer took over SUPERMAN RETURNS, maybe X3 could've had the same impact on me as the first two flicks.

Instead, the overwhelming sense of disappointment left by this film, the horrid GHOST RIDER trailer, and the impending announcement of a fourth villain in SPIDER-MAN 3 has me wondering if our Golden Age of Superhero Cinema may be coming to a close.

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